Newsstand
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.”

Served in the shell atop a bed of ice lined with shiso leaves with a teeny pitcher of aged Japanese soy sauce it was truly outstanding. An old friend once characterized bad uni as tasting like it was scraped from the bottom of an oil tanker.

After eating it I am pretty sure that my favorite way to eat uni would be to dive for it myself. So here’s what I’d like to know. What’s your favorite way to eat uni? For that matter, what’s the best uni dish you’ve ever had? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter.

Momo Sushi Shack, 43 Bogart St., Bushwick, (718) 418-6666

 

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…)

07/10/14 10:08am
FRUITMAN

Nothing beats the heat like fresh tropical fruit.

It’s hot in the big city children. As much as I like to sweat over a bowl of mapo tofu or tuck into a bowl of Thai soup, sometimes the best way to cool off is the tropical way, by sipping on the cool hydrating milk of a freshly hacked open young coconut. And there’s no better place  to get one than the decidedly laid back Dominican gentleman who his fruit stand sits on the north side of Rooosevelt Avenue near 104 Street. I’ve been waiting for him to set up shop and was glad to see that he’s back on the street food scene. (more…)

07/09/14 12:16pm
WAGYU

The steak sandwich of my feverish dreams.

If I could up and leave New York City right now I’d hop on a plane to Japan. This sudden burst of wanderlust stems not from a desire to eat sushi in its homeland, but rather to savor a sandwich. What sort of sandwich is worth flying halfway across the world you ask? Why a glorious looking deep fried wagyu steak sandwich, naturally. (more…)

07/07/14 12:27pm
TCPRAINBOW

Dorothy and the Wizard would no doubt approve.

“Let’s go for Thai,” I said to my pal Adrian the other day. “I’ve got a place over on Woodside Avenue,” he said. Never one to trust another’s taste in Thai, I countered with a better place also on Woodside. “Oh, no not that big place, that won’t do,” he said. “No not Sripraphai,” I said. And that’s how we wound up at Thailand’s Center Point where I discovered something called Over the Rainbow ($13.95).

It had been months since I’d visited Aom “Annie” Phinphatthakul’s cute little spot. And I was eager to see what new creations would be highlighted in multicolored chalk on the specials board. And then I saw it: “Over the Rainbow, diced crispy fish with Thai herbs in special spicy lime.” (more…)

07/02/14 12:08pm
GOTHAM3

Court Street’s take on the roast pork Italian.

Ever since I heard about Gotham West Market—the highly curated Manhattan food court that includes everything from Ivan Ramen Slurp shop to the meatastic offerings of the Cannibal, Blue Bottle Coffee, and an outpost of Brooklyn Kitchen—I’ve been intrigued. I stopped by for a visit the day of the Italy-Uruguay soccer match, and had a look around. I couldn’t pull the trigger because I was overwhelmed, much like I was on my first visit to Flushing’s Golden Shopping Mall. (Actually, that’s a lie. I was too full from eating hot dog and French fry pizza.)

As much as I really wanted to try Ivan Orkin’s famed ramen and The Cannibal’s lamb tartare, the thing that intrigued me most was Court Street Grocers, with its roster of a dozen sandwiches, many of which fall into the Italian-American canon. So, a week or so later I returned to Gotham West, after a most restrained browsing of the Summer Fancy Food Show. (more…)