As 2013 draws to a close rather than offer up a list of resolutions—less chips more gym, save money, etc.—C+M offers a list of 20 of our favorite posts, a highlight reel of the year that was. Let the mostly Queens-focused cavalcade of offal, sandwiches, mashups, secret eats and deliciousness begin.
1. Best use of Pig Face
Crazy Crab’s Yunnanese pig face salad is a spicy sour, salty, and unabashedly funky showcase for swatches of cool, slightly chewy pig skin.
2. Best Fizzy Water for Gluttons
Apart from being the preferred beverage of Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin the selling point of Borjomi, a Georgian sparkling mineral water, is that it “Gets rid of unnecessaries,” or as expressed in more forthright language elsewhere on the company web site, “Borjomi also improves functioning of intestines and supports slag excretion.”
3. Flushing’s Cheapest Veggie Burger
The $1.25 cài bĭng at Super Snack, a counter just outside Golden Shopping Mall is packed with crunchy piquant mustard greens and is as fine a snack as any.
4. Most Festive Filipino Breakfast
Manny’s Bake Shop serves up some of the best Filipino breakfast around. Best of all there’s cake for dessert.
5. Best Rap Song About Feta Cheese
“I drink the broth from the pail with fish roe salad for a snack,” sings Greek rapper So Tiri in “Feta Kai Psomi.”
6. Funkiest Soup
The tsak sha chu rul ($3.99), or “beef and Tibet cheese soup,” at Phayul is a fortifying bowl that bears an unmistakable aroma of stink cheese. The tangy funk of the cheese is tempered by chilies and bits of beef and thin strands of noodles lurk beneath the grayish broth.
7. Most Amazing Macaroon Egg Tart Love Child
The coconut egg tart from New Flushing Bakery is stupendously delicious. Lighter than a macaroon and less eggy than an egg tart, it is truly delightful.
8. Best Nepali Jerky
The strips of sukuti, an air-dried Himalayan beef jerky of sorts, hanging in the window give the postage stamp size Dhaulagiri kitchen the air of an Italian salumeria.
9. Most Marvelous Middle Eastern Mashup
The falafel slice at Benjy’s–a slice of old school New York City pizza topped with six falafel balls is messy, salty, nutty, crunchy, cheesy and spicy. Skip the crushed red pepper in favor of tahini and hot sauce.
10. Calmest Chinatown Culinary Experience
Fang Gourmet Tea is just steps away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Flushing’s Chinatown. Tasting tea in the tiny shop is part education and part meditation.
11. Most Regal Accolade for Queens
Writing for Delta Sky, Andrew Zimmern crowned Queens “King of the american Food Scene,” and dubbed me the borough’s “de facto food critic.
12. Best Surf and Turf
This dish from Spicy Road literally puts the turf in surf and turf, by filling a fish with cumin sautéed lamb, a Dongebei surf and turf if you will.
13. Spiciest Fast-food Sandwich
Not only is the Sriracha Chicken Melt from Subway the spiciest fast-food sandwich I ate all year, the chain’s use of rooster sauce marked the conclusion of this year’ Srirachapocalypse.
14. Best Dumpling House
Tianjin Dumpling House, a stall in Golden Mall offers about a dozen dumplings. Standouts include minced lamb with green squash and delicate seabasswith ginger.
15. Best Latino-Indian Mashup
I have yet to eat a Cronut or a ramen burger but C+M’s Desify created something to rival both. The empanosa, an Argentine-style, baked empanada made with Indian roti dough and stuffed with Indian leftovers
16.Best Ceviche Ice Cream Cone
Leave it to Hugue Dufour to create the M. Wells Sweet Fish Ice, a ceviche ice cream cone that combines two great Queens foods shaved ice and ceviche.
17. Most Wonderful Shawarma
They spell it shuwarma at Grill Point, but the lamb shuwarma sandwich (a blend of lamb and Turkey) is simply amazing a perfect balance of crunchy browned meat from the shwarmic wheel’s exterior and succulent flesh from within.
18. Most Excessive Fried Chicken Sandwich
This sandwich almost killed me. I am not sure what twisted instinct of my lower nature made me think topping a pork belly gua bao with Taiwanese fried chicken was a good idea.
19. Best Mexican Cocktail
Not the kind with tequila but rather a shrimp cocktail as crafted by Pedro at La Esquina de Camaron Mexicano. Watch the ceviche mixologist fill a cup with seafood and then top it with a pour of a tomato-based concoction, olive oil, diced onions, avocado, salt, and hot sauce. Delicioso!
20. Best Lebanese Lamb Tartare
The kibbe nayeh at Wafa’s is a relative of the fried footballs of cracked wheat and meat except that this kibbe is nayeh, that it is to say raw. Wafa Chaimi makes it to order, blending freshly ground leg of lamb, bulghur, walnuts, basil, black pepper, and Lebanese seven-spice mixture.