A Weekend of Japanese Culture at LIC Flea & Food Saturday, October 5, Sunday October 6, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. 5-25 46th Avenue, Long Island City
Those who missed the Hokkaido Gourmet Food Fair at Mitsuwa might want to check LIC Flea and Food this weekend as it turns Japanese thanks to Kazuko Nagao of Oconomi. Foods will include okonomiyaki and yakisoba from Oconomi,tonkotsu ramen from Chef Koji of Hakata Ton Ton, onigiri from Maid Café, and experimental Sushi by Chef Sonny.
Butcher Paper Dinner: Rooftop Crab Boil Sunday October 6, 3:00 p.m., $80 Brooklyn Grange, 37-18 Northern Blvd., Long Island City Edible Queens and the Brooklyn Grangeare holding their inaugural Butcher Paper Dinner this Sunday afternoon. And they’ll need plenty of that brown paper to line the table because the series of dinners kicks off with a crab oil by none other than Will Horowitz, the chef behind the Cajun-Southeast Asian joint, Ducks Eatery. The menu includes fresh oysters,mountains of blue crab, plenty of farm fresh veggies, as well as beer from Queens Brewery and wine from Bedell Cellars. Tunes will be spun throughout the afternoon and evening by celebrated DJ and saxophonist Neal Sugarman, co-owner of funk/soul label Daptone Records and resident of neighboring Sunnyside.
Soft shell crab amid a sea of pickles and greenery.
PLEASE NOTE MOTORBOAT AND THE BIG BANANA IS NOW CLOSED
Now that I’ve made my first visit of the year to Rockaway Beach I can’t seem to get enough. As eager as I am for the waves I’ve even more stoked to support the neighborhood’s vendors and restaurants. That’s why this week’s Sandwich Wednesday is devoted to a dynamic duo of seafood sandwiches that can be found on the boardwalk.
First up, the soft shell crab po boy ($9) from Motorboat and the Big Banana. My favorite way to eat soft shell crabs is salt baked as they are prepared at Great N.Y. Noodletown in Manhattan’s Chinatown, but when I saw the soft shell crab po boy on Motorboat’s menu I was game to try it. And I am glad I did. A meaty specimen rises like a dorsal fin from waves of pickled onions and a sea of greenery. It’s a crunchy, messy, and thoroughly satisfying sandwich. With a bag of Zapp’s potato chips ($2), it’s as fine a pre-tanning lunch as any. (more…)
Som tum, the Thai papaya salad, really a slaw of sorts is a favorite of mine, crunchy spicy, and often possessed of formidable level of spice. As with most Thai food I prefer to eat it where Thai folks gather, specifically Zabb Elee. I like Zabb because it’s open late and because they have seven types of som tum. These range from a pretty standard Thai version with dried shrimp and peanuts ($8) to the Lao style som tum poo plara ($8). The latter is notable not only because Lao grub is as rare in this town as a humble Yankee fan, but because it does not hold back on the fishy, funky, fiery flavors of Southeast Asia.
Half of a preserved blue crab—salty and funky yet still sweet and juicy—sits atop a tangle of crunchy papaya, long beans, hemispheres of Thai eggplant, and, for added crunch, Thai chicharron. The whole affair sits in a shallow pool of liquid that’s a study in fishy, spicy, and citrusy flavors. It’s best ordered spicy with a side of kao neaw, Thai sticky rice ($2). I like to roll the sticky rice into balls and use it to sop up the liquid. Don’t be surprised if your waitress asks if you’ve been to Thailand when she sees you eating like a local.
Zabb Elee, 71-28 Roosevelt Ave, Jackson Heights, 718-426-7992