There are probably some hamburgers out there worth a 20-minute subway ride and a 20 minute walk involving traversing the BQE. Sadly the cheeseburger at Jackson Hole is not one of them. The loosely packed behemoth is steam griddled, that is to say cooked on a flat top under a dome. A burger should breath free—sputtering and sizzling on the flat top or under a salamander—not suffocate in its own fetid vapors.
Ordered medium rare it was a mushy flavorless gray travesty of a burger utterly devoid of a char. I found myself wishing Tommy DeVito would walk in and put two in the back of my head so that I didn’t have to finish thing.
I did not bother to ask what type of meat it was, it could have a blend of unicorn chuck and golden calf short rib for all I care, the cooking process would still turn it into drek. There’s only tasty steamed burger out there kids: White Castle.
All that said the decor can’t be beat. There’s a reason the folks behind Goodfellas used it in a scene, the exterior of the diner is iconic, all stainless and neon. It’s evokes a time that was simpler and also more glamorous. I’ll bet it was a time when people gave a shit about how their burger tasted.
Jackson Hole, 69-35 Astoria Blvd., Astoria, 718-204-7070
A Peruvian breakfast sandwich in a Rego Park diner.
An old school diner is the last place one would expect to find such Peruvian specialties as papa la Huancaina, sliced potatoes in a cheese sauce spiked with aji amarillo, and cau cau, a tripe stew. In Queens though, such cultural cross pollination is becoming more and more common. Take the Rego Park Café, where a separate menu called La Mistura Peruana went into effect over the summer.
I’ve been meaning to try out the diner’s 12-item “Peruvian mixture” for months. I had my hungry heart set on the chicharron con camote sandwich ($6.95), a typical Peruvian breakfast of pork and sweet potatoes. They were out of it the day I stopped in, so instead I slurped augadito de pollo ($4.50) a verdant chicken and rice soup that gets its color from handfuls of cilantro. (more…)
The other day I stopped by LIC Market for a late lunch. I was eager to try Chef Alex Schindler’s fish sandwich special. Sadly they were out of it by the time I arrived. As I perused the list of other, presumably less special, sandwiches my eye fell upon the BLT ($9). The bacon, lettuce, and tomato is one my favorite things to order in a diner. It’s a comfort food classic. I’d heard raves about LIC Market’s BLT, but really how good could it be? The answer as I soon found out that day, is very good indeed. Let’s take a closer look.
Creamy avocado co-stars with thick-cut bacon.
The combination of bacon, lettuce, and tomato—savory salty and refreshing—is tasty enough on its own. When you use thick cut premium bacon instead of the supermarket stuff and spicy arugula instead of iceberg things start to get exponentially more tasty. What really makes this sandwich though is the avocado. The creamy chunks of alligator pear become even creamier next to the hot bacon. I closed my eyes for a moment while eating it and I could swear it wasn’t avocado but fluffy scrambled eggs. Sometimes the simplest things are the most delicious. I still can’t wait to try that fish sandwich though.
LIC Market 21-52 44 Dr., Long Island City,718-361-0013
Way back in the day before I was a professional glutton, before Sriracha sauce was a staple condiment, I was an English major. So in honor of my roots today’s edition of The Seven is devoted to some of my favorite poems about food. For your dining pleasure I’ve suggested food pairings.
2. A Supermarket in California, by Allen Ginsberg Beat Poet Allen Ginsberg’s encounter with his inspiration Walt Whitman in a supermarket. Pair with “artichokes . . .[and] every frozen delicacy.”
3. The Clean Plater, by Ogden Nash
Nash’s ditty about an indiscriminate passionate eater is best paired with,”Food/Just food/Just any old kind of food.” That said the author seems to have a preference for
sirloin and asparagus tips vinaigrette.
4. This Is Just to Say, by William Carlos Williams
This classic apologizing for author’s snatching some fruit from the fridge is best paired with cold, sweet plums. (more…)