Newsstand
06/28/15 11:52pm
Bing fan is topped with ice, mixed fruit, and cloud ear fungus.

Bing fan is topped with ice, mixed fruit, and cloud ear fungus.

“It’s like the shwarma of shaved ice,” I told some pals by way of describing Snopo. We were at the start of a three-hour food crawl of America’s best Chinatown starting with some of my favorites at New World Mall Food Court. My foodie friends were sad to learn that the purveyor of fluffy shaved ice has been closed for quite some time. “Don’t worry I have something else in mind,” I said. (more…)

06/24/15 11:20am
At first glance it looks like a chicken burger on steroids.

At first glance it looks like a chicken burger on steroids.

As the self-proclaimed culinary king of Queens I’ve made something of a cottage industry of hating on Brooklyn, particularly the legions of kombucha-swilling beard-sporting gastrohipsters. The notable exceptions to my Kings County antipathy are old-school spots like Bamonte’s and its slightly more new-fangled neighbor, The Meat Hook. It’s taken me a good six months to visit the butcher shop’s nearby sandwich satellite. Yesterday Chef Dave and I stopped by after braving what seemed like hours of traffic. (more…)

06/23/15 8:58am
Mamu’s roat det has an incredible depth of flavor.

Mamu’s roat det has an incredible depth of flavor.

There’s been such a renaissance of Thai cuisine in Queens that it’s sometimes hard to keep track of the players. Which is why I’m very glad my friend Connie asked me to lunch at Mamu Thai. I’ve been meanng to try the Astoria eatery, which got its start as a noodle truck for at least six months. We ate enough for a small army of Thai truckers that humid afternoon, but there are two dishes that stood out:one, a beguiling beef noodle soup, and the other a not-so-simple off-menu omelet. (more…)

06/17/15 10:48am

PASTRAMI

“We’re thinking of calling it Pop’s,” Will Horowitz told me a few months ago when he gave me a sneak peek of his new Alphabet City trading post/deli/laboratory. He was taking delivery of a comically large immersion blender that looked like an outboard motor. The name’s been changed to Harry & Ida’s Meat and Supply Co., and I had a chance to stop by earlier this week.

Never has such a short menu of sandwiches confounded me so much. “Gee the cured meats with fennel chili butter sounds real good, and so does the smoked eel with kalechee butter,” I said like a kid in a candy—er meat—store, “but I really want to try the pastrami.” (more…)

06/15/15 10:54am
Zhi zi liang fen, slippery cool, and garlicky as all getout.

Zhi zi liang fen, slippery cool, and garlicky as all getout.

“What’s your favorite noodle dish?,” is a question I’m asked all too often. As a food nerd I have about a dozen favorites encompassing Thai, Uzbek, and Chinese. One of my top Chinese noodles these days is the ma la liang mian or cold noodles—humming with ma la flavor of tingling Sichuan peppercorns combined with red chilies—from Szechuan Taste.

It’s so good that it’s taken me a year to start ordering the stall’s other cold noodle specialties like zhi zi liang fen, or gardenia bean jelly ($3.75). Despite the English name, there are no flowers in it whatsoever. Just Like its bone-white cousin liang fen, this sunnier version is made with mung beans. (more…)

06/11/15 10:30am
One of Lord Ganesh’s favorite snacks.

One of Lord Ganesh’s favorite snacks.

The canteen located in the basement of the Šri Mahã Vallabha Ganapati Devasthãnam, more commonly known as the Ganesh Temple, is one of my favorite non-Chinese haunts in Flushing. I’m especially fond of turning tour groups on to the 2-foot long paper dosa. In addition to many varieties of the rice and lentil crepes there is an abbreviated selection of snacks and sweets. The other day I tried a ladoo. Slightly smaller than a handball the golden hued treat is made from chickpea flour, and is the elephant-headed god’s favorite mithai. (more…)

06/10/15 9:04am

It’s been said that the breakfast sandwich is a New York City invention. My favorite is the classic bacon egg and cheese recently extolled by Pete Wells in the Times. Alvin Cailan the chef behind Eggslut in L.A. takes a nontraditional approach for his ultimate breakfast sandwich.

“I always have Hawaiian sweet rolls, it’s like a law if you’re Filipino,” the chef says as he prepares to make his sandwich. Another Filipino favorite that makes its way into Cailan’s sandwich is Spam. “If you eat Cheetos and all that shit you might as well eat Spam too,” Cailan says. Sriracha mayo also figures in his creation.

At one point in the video Cailan whips out a gold switchblade to cut the rolls in half. I’m pretty sure you can make his sandwich with any old knife though. So what’s your favorite breakfast sandwich?

06/08/15 9:42am
Crunchy, spicy, and salty baby squid from Shanghai 33.

Crunchy, spicy, and salty baby squid from Shanghai 33.

As an Italian-American, I cut my teeth on fried calamari. Whether made at home by my old man or at the Long Island outpost of Vincent’s Clam Bar, it was almost always eaten with a marinara sauce spiked with copious amounts of red pepper. The other day I tried a Chinese twist on fried squid at Shanghai 33 that was simply amazing. (more…)

06/05/15 12:01pm
HIKMAH1

This grilled fish is one of the best things at the Indonesian Food Bazaar.

The Food Bazaar at Astoria’s Masjid Al Hikmah is perhaps my favorite of the many homegrown food festivals that take place throughout Queens. Several times each spring and summer more than a dozen vendors selling soups, satay, and other Indonesian goodies set up in the mosque’s parking lot. The next one is this Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (more…)

06/03/15 10:24am
A fish sandwich with a sidecar.

A fish sandwich with a sidecar.

Truly good Chinese sandwiches are few in and far between in Queens. While the yang rou jiao mou—a spicy cumin lamb sandwich from Xi’an Foods—remains a long-time favorite, the house special pork chop from The Crispy Pancake is my current Chinese sandwich crush. A deep fried pork cutlet topped with lettuce and crowned with a runny fried egg is stacked between two shatteringly crisp pancakes, forming one of the craziest, most delicious Chinese sandwiches in downtown Flushing. (more…)