Articles by

Joe DiStefano

Newsstand
03/27/15 9:57am
wellswaffle

M. Wells’ Russian Waffle is delicious and quite photogenic.

“I’ll never use Instagram,” I once said. Famous last words. These days, I use it more than ever. Most of my non food nerd friends know my phone camera eats first. When I’m out with a posse of food nerds, it becomes an Instagram shooting frenzy, and I’ve learned to accept that I just might not get that perfect shot. But what about those other times? I am by no means an expert Instagrammer or food photographer, but I have learned a bit over the few years I have been shooting food. Below are some of my favorite tips. (more…)

03/24/15 10:07am
AREPATACONE

Chorizo and chicarron give a one-two punch of porky goodness.

The crew over at Areperia Arepa Lady have been busy these past few months. In addition to enlarging the dining room they’ve added mini arepas and patacones. The latter consists of plaintains that have been mashed, flattened and fried. They’re then topped with avocado and various meats. I went for a mixta ($8.50), topped with carne asada, chicharron, and chorizo. The combination of crunchy plantain, creamy avocado, and the one-two punch of pork made for a magnificent gutbomb. “I’ve gained 20 pounds” since we opened the Arepa Lady’s son Alejandro told me as I polished off the last bite. I believe him, I  think I gained five after my patacone.

Arepa Lady, 77-02AA Roosevelt Ave.,  Jackson Heights

03/23/15 9:56am
SICHICK1

Cheng Du Bo Bo Ji’s fried chicken is a ma la head’s fever dream.

“Are sure you can handle it,” the kid behind the counter at the newest stall in Flushing’s New World Mall Food Court said skeptically. “Yes, yes ma la,” I replied, indicating that I was down with the classic Sichuan numb-hot flavor that combines fiery chili heat with the floral and tingly Sichuan peppercorn. The dish in question was listed on the menu as Chong Qing Spicy Chicken ($10.99), but he referred to it as house spicy fried chicken. (more…)

03/19/15 12:02am
BKCROWD2

Brisket hungry hordes mobbed the Irondale Center.

“Wow, kids these days really love their meat,” I quipped to a gal on line at Monday night’s Brisket King NYC. The jam packed brisket competition was held at the sprawling Irondale Center, a gigantic space that was once a Sunday school auditorium. It was a fitting setting for faithful foodies to come out and worship brisket in all its incarnations, from straight-up traditional like American BBQ and deli to the downright strange, like bulogi and nigiri . (more…)

03/18/15 11:39am
SPAGWICH

Carbohydrate love, Italian style.

“It’s kind of like a banh mi,” the waitress said of the roast lamb sandwich at M. Wells Dinette. As I scanned the menu my eyes darted between the lamb sandwich ($12) and the spaghetti sandwich ($12). Lamb and Vietnamese sandwiches sit pretty high in my culinary pantheon, but ultimately I went with the spaghetti sandwich.  It bears pointing out this kooky sandwich predates, that other noodle-based mashup, the ramen burger. (more…)

03/16/15 12:01pm
SFYT

Yellowtail tartare, so much more than the sum of its multicultural parts.

Four years ago when Danny Yi opened Salt & Fat it was pretty groundbreaking. After all, the only small plates Sunnyside had ever seen were the mezze from the local Turkish joint. Each meal began with a paper bag filled with bacon fat fried popcorn, a treat that evoked the restaurant’s name, and ended with a shot of probiotic Yakult yogurt drink, a beverage more commonly seen in Korean restaurants. It’s a touch that evokes Yi’s Korean heritage. In between there was an oxtail terrine that called to mind a meat brownie, shaved foie gras with bacon brittle, and a pork trotter transformed into a crispy panko breaded croquette crowned with a slow-cooked egg. (more…)

03/11/15 11:32pm

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Those who follow my social media feeds have probably been wondering what’s been up with all the bucolic imagery of cows, pigs, and chickens. “Secret project,” I’ve told more than one inquirer. Well, now I can let the secret out. My good friend Chef David Noeth and I have formed a company called N.Y. Epicurean Events whose mission is to pair the agricultural bounty of the Catskills with New York City’s finest chefs. We’re having a little launch party this Sunday at Jimmy’s No. 43 this Sunday. We call it the NYEE Pre Spring Fling. The menu features freshly made charcuterie and roast lamb among other surprises. We’d love for you to stop by.  Click here to purchase tickets. Get ready to experience Farm to Festival in the Big City.

03/11/15 10:11am
MOMOBURGER

Behold the momo burger, a Tibetan-American mashup

Momo—juicy beef dumplings seasoned with ginger,onion, and special momo masala—are the national dish of Tibet. A Tibetan loves his momo as much an American loves his hamburger perhaps even more so. In no place in NewYork City is this more true than Jackson Heights. Momo are ubiquitous at the hood’s many Tibetan and Nepalese eateries. There are three food carts and a truck selling the dumplings and even an annual Momo Crawl founded by local tour guide Jeff Orlick. So it was only a matter of time before someone invented a momo burger. That time is now, and that someone is Lobsang Choephel, the chef of Little Tibet. (more…)

03/09/15 9:22am
sugarclubtoast

Kanom pang ping’s just the thing.

My pal Joel has forgotten more about Thai food and culture than I may ever know. A week ago he took a break from the wintry land of Boston to spend a day with me and some other Thai food nerds in Elmhurst eating at as many Thai spots as possible. We hit half a dozen Thai Town favorites, including Plant Love House and Paet Rio.

Joel and I started out bright and early at Sugar Club, where he was keen to breakfast on “toast soldiers” and kha-fai ron, strong coffee with sweetened condensed milk. The owner presented us with two orders of kai kra ta, the Thai equivalent of a Denny’s grand slam, two sunny side up eggs, sweet pork sausage, chopped pork loaf, and ground pork. It came with toast. And for dessert more toast, with sweetened condensed milk and pandan for dessert. All the toast we had that morning was excellent, but none of it was the aforementioned toast soldiers. (more…)