Newsstand
07/29/14 10:09am
CHIPSOREO

Sometimes more is less when it comes to cookies.

The Oreo has been one of my favorite cookies since I was a kid. Dunked in milk or even deep-fried, it’s a taste of simpler times.  A few years ago Nabisco began rolling out a whole range of new flavors, some good—notably chocolate and peanut better—and some bad, like watermelon and banana split. In fact there are some many flavors that I like to joke about new Brand Expansion Oreos. Now Nabisco has jumped on the mashup bandwagon with Oreo Crème Filled Chips Ahoy. (more…)

07/28/14 2:08pm
MWELLSBEET

Beet tartare, as refreshing as a summer’s breeze.

The running joke about me and M. Wells Dinette is that if I had an editor they’d tell me not to write about the place so much. Since I don’t, here goes. Yesterday I stopped by to check out their pig roast and petanque scene in the courtyard of at MoMA PS1. Finding myself in the mood for neither, I headed into the restaurant.

“I kind of want beef tartare, but can’t justify having it since I ate my body weight in red meat last night,” I said to Aidan O’Neal. “You should try the beet tartare,” he said. I flat out refused claiming somewhat hyperbolically that it goes against everything I believe in. It sort of does since I am no fan of mock meat and veggie burgers. “Try it, I think you’ll be surprised,” the chef persisted. Eventually  I caved and ordered the $14 vegetable tartare. And I am glad I did. (more…)

07/24/14 10:15am
DAISYPUPUSA

Daisy’s pupusa topped with curtido and a housemade relish.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of dining in Flushing’s only pupuseria. El Ranchito De Daisy Salvadoreno sits mere blocks away from the bustling K-tropolis that is Northern Boulevard. It is by no means the best pupusa I have had in Queens, but it gets extra credit for its improbable location in what is otherwise a Korean stronghold. (more…)

07/23/14 2:28pm
astoriabanhmi

Saigon Café’s Ho Chi Minh sandwich.

In the dark ages of bánh mì, there was no place in Queens to get a decent Vietnamese sandwich. Then came JoJu, which continues to turn out some amazing bánh mì. Now Astoria has its very own Vietnamese sandwich shop, Saigon Café. In the grand New York City tradition of bánh mì, shops popping up in improbable locations—jewelry stores, under bridges, etc.—the three-month old joint is situated on a residential side street adjacent to a realtor. (more…)

07/22/14 12:57pm
RICECRACKLING2

Is that chicken crackling atop my rice rolls? Why yes, yes it is.

I can trace both a passion for Chinese food and a tendency toward dietary excess to my old man, who was of the more is more school of cooking and eating. Oh Craig Claiborne’s recipe calls for a teaspoon of preserved black beans? I’ll put three it’ll be better, right? Wrong! Which brings me to the subject of today’s post, a calorific, cholesterol-laden little number I call hung jiang chang fen ji pi, or mixed sauce rice rolls with crispy chicken skin. (more…)

07/18/14 12:42pm
MOMOUNI

Surely Bushwick’s freshest sea urchin.

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of dining at Momo Sushi Shack with my good friend Tyson Ho. While everything was excellent—especially the red wattle pork chop with greens—the standout of the evening had to be the live uni. With its creamy texture and marine flavor with a touch of funk it was like the triple crème brie of the sea. Tyson pronounced it his “best bite of the year.” (more…)

07/16/14 12:52pm
KLT

Chef Joey Campanaro’s bacon, lettuce, and kiwi sandwich.

I haven’t thought this about much about kiwis since I used to pack them for lunch. Back then they were cheap and relatively tasty, if somewhat tart. It’s been years since I’ve had one of the fuzzy fruits once known as Chinese gooseberries. Last night the good folks at Zespri Kiwifruit and Chef Joey Campanaro of Little Owl changed my mind about the fruit. For one thing a properly ripened kiwi is quite tasty, sweet and juicy with just a hint of tang.

The coolest thing I learned about the kiwifruit last night though was its culinary applications: as a meat tenderizer, in prosciutto wraps, tacos, and the BLK. That last a bacon, lettuce and kiwi sandwich that I would gladly eat for lunch daily were not most of days spent chasing down noodles, dumplings, offal and other delights in the culinary wonderland that is Queens. (more…)

07/15/14 1:45pm
UBOLCRAB

In Manhattan som tom poo plara comes with a nutcracker.

One of my favorite cuisines to eat in the dog days of summer is Thai. And one of my favorite dishes is som tom poo plara. There are many types of som tom, or Thai papaya salad. This one though, with its addition of salty preserved crab and pickled fish, is particularly bracing. The chili heat and fishy funk along with the cool crunchy papaya are most restorative on a sweltering day.

My favorite spot for som tom poo plara used to be Poodam’s in Astoria where Ratchanee “Poodam” Sumpatboon made a bangup version. Multiple napkins where involved as I’d pick up the blue crab and suck out the salty flesh dredging balls of sticky rice through the liquor at the bottom of the plate. (more…)

07/14/14 10:30am
sichnoodles1

‘Sweet noodles’ lashed with sesame sauce and topped with garlic paste.

Cold sesame noodles are an American Chinese staple that I haven’t eaten in quite some time. It’s not that I don’t like them. It’s just that the hyper-regional, hyperauthentic hawker stands that I frequent don’t serve them. Yesterday I learned that there’s a warm Sichuan version of this dish. It goes by the moniker sweet sauce noodles. Or at least it does at Cheng Du Tian Fu, my favorite Sichuan snack stall in Flushing’s Chinatown. (more…)

07/11/14 9:49am
ODDFELLOWS

Cornbread with salted caramel syrup and burnt sugar.

Last Saturday was sweltering. It was even hotter if you were waiting on line to view Kara Walker’s “A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby,” at the soon to be demolished Domino Sugar Factory. As we left the domain of the massive sugar sphinx-mammy I tasted  a few grains of what I presumed to be some ancient turbinado sugar that was laying on a girder. Back outside in the heat I pondered whether that was a good idea, and my crew and I decided to chill out with something sweet and cool at the nearby OddFellows Ice Cream Co. (more…)