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01/15/19 12:11pm

Cumin-coated wild boar skewers.                                                                      Photo: @foodmento

Winter calls to mind warmer times—with plenty of good old-fashioned BBQ and cold beer to wash it all down. Which is why this month’s Queens Dinner Club will be a down-home Nepali style BBQ feast at Bajeko Sekuwa on January 28. Tickets are $52 and may be purchased here.

The new spot in Sunnyside whose name means grandpa’s BBQ was started by Dinanath Bhandari who used to grill sekuwa skewers at a hawker stand on the road to the Kathmandu airport. His once humble stand has grown into a mini-empire with 14 locations in Nepal, and just one in the U.S., in Sunnyside, Queens. (more…)

01/09/19 7:36pm

Soup and a sandwich via Lhasa, Elmhurst, and Instagram.

There are some who say Instagram—with its over the top milkshakes, noodle pulls, and levitating food—along with Yelp and the other usual suspects—is just another sword in the slowly dying animal that is food writing. I am of the opposite opinion, if you know where to look Instagram is actually quite inspiring. Which brings me to the subject of this post, a beefy soup and sandwich combo inspired by Tibet and one of my favorite places to look: self-proclaimed prolific eater @nigelsie. (more…)

01/07/19 7:56pm

Meaty pork spine lurks beneath a blanket of green chilies.

It’s no secret Arada Moonroj, the lady who brought Lanna cuisine to Elmhurst’s Thai Town is a fan of the pig. The menu at her restaurant Lamoon features every part of the beast, from brain and blood to belly and bits of ear in the sai aua sausage. The latest addition? Spine as featured in leng zabb, a spicy soup of slow-cooked meaty ribs and vertebrae.

The bones are stewed for hours until they give up their marrow and collagen and the whole lot is finished with fish sauce, fresh lime and showered in green chilies, cilantro, and garlic. The menu describes it as “brutally spicy,” but I wouldn’t characterize it as a challenge dish along the lines of the phaal at Brick Lane Curry House. It certainly got my attention and gave me the sniffles, but it’s more of a bright chili heat than the incendiary burn often associated with the phrase “Thai spicy.”

It was quite satisfying to suck every last but of meat and marrow from the bones, but it would be nice to have had some plastic gloves to aid in wrangling the bones. One thing’s for sure though, the lime juice, chili, and garlic should spell the end of this lingering midwinter cold.

Lamoon, 81-40 Broadway, Elmhurst, 917-745-1168

12/12/18 10:30pm

It takes a true charcuterie master to make a masterful sandwich, and Don Rodrigo Duarte is such a master. I first met Don Rodrigo four years ago when I helped to launch Charcuterie Masters.

Today was my second visit to his shop, Caseiro e Bom in Newark’s Ironbound. I’ve tasted his exquisite Portuguese charcuterie several times, but it occurred to me and the New York Epicurean Events crew that none of us had ever had a sandwich made by the master.

“O.K. I’ll make you guys a sandwich,” Don Rodrigo said after giving us a tour of his subterranean curing chambers, which are filled with precious pure breed Alentejano hams. (more…)

12/11/18 12:18pm

Top row: raw puerh tea from 2017, bottom the prized 1976 raw puerh.

Fang Gourmet Tea is one of my favorite places to take food tour guests when exploring the bustling neighborhood that is downtown Flushing. It’s a great way to get to know my new friends. Plus, they’re always surprised to find the oasis of calm lying at the back of a minimall, just steps away from the often chaotic energy of America’s Greatest Chinatown. The puerh tea that I typically order—Little Brick—is great for the digestion, and it’s always neat for my guests to see the bullion-sized break expand over the course of five steeps. (more…)

12/10/18 5:40pm

A verdant reminder of spring on a cold Elmhurst evening.

Despite all the writing I do about various international cuisines there remains a soft spot in my heart and stomach for pizza and pasta, particularly as served by New York City pizzerias. It’s a rarity to find homemade pasta at the corner slice shop, so I’ve been curious about the homemade pasta at Louie’s Pizzeria for years. The thing is I’m usually too full after eating two or three pieces of their award-winning grandma slice to enjoy it. (more…)

12/05/18 9:59am

“We got Queens in the house today?” Action Bronson recently asked a studio audience during a cooking segment on Good Morning America. One person from New York City’s most majestic borough responded with a whoop. So, since many folks from Queens didn’t see the segment I thought I’d present it here. It’s an ode to a very particular New York City sandwich, no not the pastrami on rye, but the breakfast sandwich.

“I’m going to make an egg and cheese on a roll, which is a New York City breakfast staple,” Bronson says before preceding to sear $150 worth of wagyu in pan. It gets better from there, ending with a mountain of parmigiano reggiano grated on top before he hands the it off to ex New York Giant Michael Strahan, but not before mentioning that it is “keto approved.” Action, if you’re reading this can you pretty please open a coffee cart?

12/03/18 9:25pm

Not your corner takeout kung pao!

Chen Du Tian Fu, the stall that lies at the bottom of the stairs of Flushing’s Golden Shopping Mall has been my favorite Sichuan spot for more than 10 years. I’ve even taken such luminaries as Sichuan food expert Fuchsia Dunlop and Anthony Bourdain there and once ran into Mission Chinese founder Danny Bowien and his staff.

I’ve tasted tremendously good cold noodles, fiery water poached fish, and superb ma po tofu, along with many, many other specialties from the vast menu. There’s one dish that never appeared, kung pao chicken, or gong bao ji ding as it is known in Chinese. (more…)

11/26/18 9:53pm

My friend Cherry—the bundle of wacky energy that is the creative force behind Elmhurst’s best Thai boat noodles—has been saying I should stop by her joint Pata Cafe when she’s there cooking on Tuesdays. I’ve been there before, but since the cafe, part after school hangout with French fries and part Thai hawker food, was just given a Michelin Bib Gourmand, I figured a return visit was in order.

When I arrived, she reminded me of a special chicken dish, gai tod hat yai, that she had started making according to the recipe of Sunisa Nitmai who runs the kitchen at Pata Cafe. Named for the Southern city of Hat Yai where it first became popular, it is indeed quite special, crunchy and flavorful thanks to a marinade that includes coriander, coconut milk, cumin, and black pepper among other things. It’s served with a sweet chili sauce and nam jim jaew, a spicy funky mix of fish sauce and chili bolstered by roasted rice powder. It needs neither.

“The trick is you have fry them and make sure it’s crispy and not overcooked,” Cherry says, making it out to be far easier to make than it is.

Pata Cafe, 56-14 Van Horn St., Elmhurst, (347) 469-7142

11/19/18 5:05pm

It took me at least three years of attending the monthly NY Indonesian Food Bazaar to get around to trying a stand called Mie Tek Tek. I’d passed Chef Andy Sutanto many times as he tossed noodles and rice in his wok. For about a year one of the only things I ate at the movable Indonesian feast that takes place in Elmhurst’s St. James Parish House was bubur ayam, the rice porridge topped with chicken, crunchy soybeans, and spicy peanut sauce. I also had a thing for Pecel Ndeso’s tripe and other offal delights.
For whatever reason though on Saturday, even though I was really in the mood for soup, I decided to try Chef Andy’s Jakartan style street food. (more…)