A cool bowl of Gui Zhou liang fen–sour, spicy, slippery–just the thing for the dog days.
There was a time and place when cold noodles meant one thing—and one thing only—sesame noodles. The time: circa 1976. The place: any number of strip mall Chinese joints in Nassau County. These days, here in Queens, the cold noodle choices are far more diverse from Korean naeng myun and Tibetan laphing serpo to Sichuan cold noodles and liang pi. The latest entry into Queens’ polyglot noodle pantheon is Gui Zhou liang fen.(more…)
The amount of times I’ve wandered into Astoria’s Muncan Food Corp. to ogle all the various cuts of burnished charcuterie without purchasing anything numbers in the hundreds. OK fine, sometimes I grab a bag of jumeri, warm nuggets of crackling made from hog jowls. So I was very pleased to learn that there’s a new sandwich in town that takes many of the old world Romanian butcher’s fine products and places them on a bun. (more…)
Fish tacos are tricky business. The batter fried ones are OK, but to this eater they seem like little more than fish and chips gone South of the Border. I prefer my fish tacos with a batter and a hard fry like they do at Tortilleria Nixtamal, where they use skate wing. The other day though I encountered a kind of seafood taco I never tried, octopus tacos. (more…)
I was a fan of Elmhurst’s Sugar Club since long before its recent relaunch. Back when it was a video store with a prepared food counter it was a source for everything from miang kana to Lays Thai potato chips and still is. These days I enjoy a breakfast plate that I like to call the Thai grand slam along with one of the more decadent takes on sticky rice around. (more…)
Alfonso Zhicay brought farm to table cuisine to Woodside.
As someone who’s been eating in Queens for more than 15 years I can safely say that I’ve never encountered a restaurant quite like Casa del Chef, an Ecuadorean-owned farm to table bistro around the corner from Filipino fast-food purveyor Jollibee. The chef in question is Alfonso Zhicay, who made his bones at places like Bouley and Union Pacific, and worked with Dan Barber for many years. I’m so very honored Chef Zhicay will be cooking alongside two other Queens culinary superstars Huge Dufour and Danny Brown at The Catskills Comes to Queens on August 1. Zhicay was kind enough to take the time out of his busy schedule to answer seven questions, including the accidental road to chefdom.
I’m so honored to have you participating in The Catskills Comes to Queens. Tell me about the dish you’ll be preparing August 1. It’s a seasonal favorite with our customers that combines savory and sweet: braised short ribs -cooked for 10 hours with lots of tamarind, fruit chutneys, Madeira wine and bay leaves.
What inspired you to open Casa del Chef? For many years I have been working with wonderful chefs in world-class restaurants. I have been looking for the right opportunity to open my own place where I can fully express my skills and passions in a cozy neighborhood setting.
What are some of your favorite ingredients to work with? There are so many, but a few of my favorites are sherry wine vinegar, basil oil lemon dressing, and of course fresh vegetables. (more…)
The bun can barely contain its contents of gelato and Chantilly cream.
“Oh my god you have to have the focaccine at Amorino,” my new friend Sara Massarotto told me last night in her broad Florentine accent over mounds and mounds of San Daniele prosciutto, speck, and ham at a swine and dine at Osteria del Principe hosted by my good friends at Tabelog and Joios! I ate a lot of pork product—thumbs up for both truffle ham and porchetta—but I didn’t let that deter me from trying the new gelato sandwich that Sara had enthused about. “Ask for Federico,” she reminded me as I left. (more…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
“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…)