08/26/15 12:49pm

Friends and fans alike know I have a real soft spot for 4 a.m. Malaysian kari laksa as served by the good folks at Curry Leaves in Flushing. Recently I tried the asam laksa—a spicy sour soup enriched with fish—at Pulau Pinang. It’s a palate-jolting, head-clearing wonder of a bowl.

It’s taken me a summer cold and about 15 years to finally develop a taste for asam laksa. Now I’ve a jones to visit Malaysia and try some regional variations of the spicy noodle soup. I blame the above video from SAYS Malaysia and Air Asia. In it a diverse group of Malaysians taste an equally diverse group of laksas and attempt to identify their origins. (more…)

07/09/15 2:47pm

I was a fan of Elmhurst’s Sugar Club since long before its recent relaunch. Back when it was a video store with a prepared food counter it was a source for everything from miang kana to Lays Thai potato chips and still is. These days I enjoy a breakfast plate that I like to call the Thai grand slam along with one of the more decadent takes on sticky rice around.  (more…)

03/31/15 1:17am

“Live from killer Queens” so begins BOOMBAP! Episode 2 of a new Korean cooking showl from Woodside, Queens-based rapper Lyricks. The show takes its name from the 90s rap style with the “Dorito crunch snare” and is also a play on bap, the Korean word for rice.

Lyricks, aka Rick Lee, eschews measurements and teaches cooking in the way I imagine his parents and grandmother taught him. “I’m not trying to disrespect the ones doing it scientifically, the obes that went to school, the ones that this is their life,” he says in Episode 0. ” Much respect, I’m trying to work to your level.”

This approach combined with his MC persona makes for fun and mouthwatering watching. “It’s serious when I bring in the Kumon lamp,” he says before beginning to make braised mackerel stew for his girlfriend.

“Ladies, at my age it doesn’t matter if you’re cute. The question is, ‘Do you mince?’” Lyricks says managing to combine knife skills and relationship advice. The Korean-American rapper says that since he’s almost 30 he made his stew a little less spicy. “If you’re younger than me and your soup doesn’t look redder than this I’m a slap you.” I’m looking forward to a gamjatang tutorial.

02/13/15 9:02am

Ever since I was a kid I’ve been hearing about the Automat, Horn and Hardart’s, much tastier precursor to today’s fast-food chains. I’m quite sure I would have loved putting a nickel or a dime in the slot and opening the door to reveal a piece of pie, or a Swiss cheese sandwich, or a slab of meat loaf and gravy. The other night I was excited to learn that there used to be an Automat in Flushing, Queens. I am perhaps even more excited for a new film by my friend Lisa Hurwitz called The Automat. It chronicles the chain’s  rise and fall. Enjoy the trailer. Don’t blame me if it makes you want to sport a fedora and grab a grilled cheese from behind a wall of magic little doors.

01/12/15 1:24pm

As a good eater, gourmand, glutton and reluctant foodie I’ve been meaning to visit New Orleans for at least 20 years. This weekend that long-deferred wish came true when I attended the Chowzter Awards for North America. As the Chief Chowzter for Queens, I really wanted Team Arepa Lady to take home a trophy, but alas, they did not. The winners, ranging from a stupendously tasty sounding raw honey and sea salt doughnut from Pip’s Original in Portland,Ore., which took won tastiest dish to the ricotta ravioli from Rino’s Place in Boston, which won tastiest pasta, all sounded truly amazing. The winner that most impressed me though was the town itself, New Orleans, which won the award for Foodiest City in North America. I was there for only a weekend and can’t wait to go back. Given that I ate everything from fried chicken to an elegant sit-down awards dinner at Commander’s Palace, I guess when it comes to New Orleans I am indeed a foodie after all.  Stay tuned for a whole lotta Big Easy coverage here on C+M!

06/27/14 9:43am

Summertime and cookouts are here people. Even though I grew up calling afternoons of grilling—sausage and peppers, burgers, Dad’s secret Sicilian chicken—barbecue, I now reserve that word for meat that’s cooked low and slow over hardwood embers. Heck, in Eastern North Carolina barbecue’s even more specific. It only applies to whole hog cookery, a method I’ve come to know and love thanks to my pal Tyson Ho. (more…)

05/14/14 11:32am

Action Bronson is many things: rapper, chef, Twitter oversharer, and gourmand of prolific proportions. Above all though, he’s my favorite emcee, spitting complex rhymes that are as dense with references to Queens as they are chock full of food. So it’s no surprise that his home borough features heavily in the debut of his new Vice Munchies series, “Fuck, That’s Delicious.” (more…)

02/24/14 10:35am

China’s Hunan province is renowned for its fiery cuisine, so much so that’s there’s even a classic folk song “La Mei Zi,” or “spicy girl,”from the region. A savvy C+M reader tipped me off to this rousing video by superstar Chinese soprano Song Zuying. Much as I enjoy hearing her sing the title refrain I am even more amused by the proliferation of hot peppers and the reckless abandon with which they are handled. There’s enough chili peppers in this video to keep the Sriracha plant in business for a year.

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10/21/13 10:37am

The block of 49th Street that houses Brian Donaldson’s Native Roasters is in the 11103 ZIP code,which covers three neighborhoods Astoria, Long Island City, and Woodside. Between different delivery protocols for the USPS,UPS, and FedEx that can be somewhat of a logistical nightmare he says. Perhaps the fact that his eight-month old small batch coffee roaster exists at the nexus of three neighborhoods explains why this video is part love letter to Queens, and part love letter to coffee. With its jazzy sound track, I know it perked me up. (more…)