Edible Americana meets Japanese culinary tradition.
Those unfamiliar with Keizo Shimamoto, the man behind the Smorgasburg sensation known as the Ramen Burger—which sandwiches a beef patty between two noodly buns—might think the Japanese chef is no ramen purist. Anyone who’s been to Ramen Shack, his modest restaurant hard by the Queensbridge, Houses can attest to Shimamoto’s ramen reverence though.
Shimamoto serves what he calls “ramen inspired ramen,” and the other day I came really close to having a steaming bowl of his classic shoyu. With spring somewhat in the air though, I flipped the menu over to the B side where I spied Burger Ramen ($12), a soupless bowl I’ve been meaning to try for some time.(more…)
A big shoutout to my pal Lisa—my go-to source for all things Whitestone and Bayside—for hipping me to Honey Pig Donut Company, which has been open just under two months.
The other day I stopped in and decided to try the shop’s signature confection, a maple bacon donut. I really wasn’t going to get a second donut until I noticed a pink glazed number showered with day-glo specks. Even though I knew full well that they were Fruity Pebbles I somehow couldn’t process that bit of visual information and found myself asking, “What’s that?” before promptly adding one to my order. (more…)
Bacon makes everything better, including ice cream.
I am the type of salty sweet enthusiast who finds most salted caramel ice creams lacking. Until I visited the outpost of OddFellows Ice Cream Co. in Urbanspace Vanderbilt I didn’t realize that what they lacked was bacon among other things.
Brooklyn’s most unique ice cream artisans have joined forces with the culinary juggernaut that is Roberta’s to create a powerhouse of a savory sweet frozen confection. The flavor has no name, it’s announced by its ingredients: coffee ice cream, Roberta’s sticky bun bread pudding, bacon and salted caramel. One scoop in a cup made for a fine dessert after a chicken sandwich.
I must say that while I was eating it I felt much like the monkey in the photo. The new creation will be available through Labor Day.
OddFellows Ice Cream Co., Urbanspace Vanderbilt, 230 Park Avenue
KFC’S Double Down in all its cheesy, chicken glory.
Let me let you in on a dirty little secret. Sometimes the search to find a sandwich to write about every Wednesday isn’t easy. Sometimes I’m driven to desperate measures. And that’s how I came to try the KFC Double Down, the fast-food chain’s frankensandwich of two fried chicken breasts in lieu of a bun with bacon, cheese, and mystery sauce in between.
Desperation to find a sandwich to write about aside, what really spurred me to try it was the three-foot picture of the sandwich outside an Astoria KFC that bore the come-on “Back for a limited time.” Once inside I couldn’t find the 610-calorie behemoth on the menu board. As I stood there confused, I was reminded of many marijuana-fueled high-school nights where I stood slack-jawed for a seeming eternity in front of a fast-food menu. (more…)
A large pie—half bacon, half bacon and clam—from Frank Pepe.
The running joke among certain food writers is that I’ve forsaken my Italian-American heritage to sup on various and sundry heavily spiced offal platters at basement hawker centers in Queens. To some extent that’s true, but I always welcome the chance to explore my roots, which is why I was particularly psyched to go on a New Haven pizza expedition with three fellow food writers—Jeff Orlick,Dave Cook, and Rich Sanders—last month.
My last journey to the cradle of New England pizza was 10 years ago with Adam Kuban, founder of the pizza blog Slice now turned pizzaiolo in his own right. It was high time for a revisit. We rendezvoused at 9:15 a.m. in Long Island City and piled into Jeff’s car to make the trip. There had been talk of visiting Louis Lunch and even Connecticut lobster rolls, but we all decided that at least in this case, discretion was the better of gluttony. The day’s mission was to be solely devoted to pizza. (more…)
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…)
Both the full English and the penne Pellicci are impeccable.
I’m grateful to my new friend Anton Diaz of Our Awesome Planet, a Manila-based blogger who I met over the weekend in London at the 2014 Chowzter Awards. For without his gentle prodding I might never have experienced the wonders of a proper English full breakfast at E. Pellicci, an old school East End diner. On my last evening in London the jet lag was kicking pretty hard, but I’m glad that I ventured out next morning to Bethnal Green with Anton and two other international food bloggers Catherine Ling of Camemberu and Stanislaus Hans Danial Subianto of Eats and Treats to this family-run institution. (more…)
Biscuits of the Pillsbury variety—warm fresh and slathered with ersatz butter—were a childhood favorite. I didn’t try true blue fluffy Southern biscuits until many years later. After my good friend Elyse Pasquale forced me to visit Empire Biscuit in the East Village last night I’m convinced I don’t eat them nearly often enough.
I’m only half kidding when I say she forced me. We’d just eaten our body weight in hors d’ouevres—including a killer creation of smoked mackerel nestled in a curl of whey steamed onion, topped with shaved foie gras—at an event hosted by Tabélog at Skál. Elyse doesn’t play when it comes to food, so when she told me that they were the best biscuits ever, I agreed to undertake the long march from Chinatown to the East Village. (more…)
There are a lot of sandwiches to be had in Queens, so for this week’s Sandwich Wednesday, I thought I’d call out seven of my favorites. Some are big, and some are small, but they’re all delicious and hold a special place in my heart and stomach.
Each sandwich is about the size of your head.
1. Tortas Pumas,Tortas Neza You’ll need to round up some amigos to help you eat this $14 behemoth from Queens’ tastiest torta truck. The ingredients include headcheese, a chorizo omelet, and fried hot dogs. 111th St. and Roosevelt Avenue, Corona
Scotch bonnet pepper sauce makes it even more bangin’.
2. Bangamary Sandwich,Sybil’s Restaurant & Bakery A crunchy fried fillet of bangamary—also known as the king weakfish—is tucked into a Guyanese roll. What makes this sandwich ($6) truly great though is a medley of condiments, including tamarind and tartar sauce. A bit of fruity, fiery Scotch bonnet sauce sends the whole thing into the flavor stratosphere. 132-17 Liberty Ave., Richmond Hill, 718-835-9235(more…)
I have never been to one of Thomas Keller’s restaurants, nor have I seen the film Spanglish, in which Adam Sandler plays a chef. But I am quite glad to have come across this video in which this chef’s chef makes a late-night snack with Opera Man as his sous chef. This short appears as an extra on the DVD and seems to have a been a consulting gig for Keller, and a delicious one at that. As some less culinary enlightened commenters point out, it’s just a BLT with a runny fried egg and cheese. Not quite it’s a BLT with egg and cheese made with chefly care and precision, which means there are such common-sense tricks as alternating the bacon. And then there’s gems like this: “Most chefs worth their salt carry their own salt box. Most chefs have such a high tolerance to salt that they need to have extra salt on everything.” (more…)