05/25/16 10:37am
Wendy's new chicken sandwich looks way better than it tastes.

Wendy’s new chicken sandwich looks way better than it tastes.

I’m a sucker for ad campaigns touting the latest fast-food gimmick be it McGriddles or Dorito’s Loco Tacos. Upon seeing the commercial—usually while climbing a virtual mountain at the gym—I can’t wait to try the latest and greatest mass market meal. And that’s how I came to eat two fast-food fried chicken sandwiches yesterday. The first was Wendy’s Jalapeño Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich. Ever since seeing the commercial I’ve wanted to try it, so much so that I had it for breakfast.

Unfortunately the soggy lukewarm chicken breast, topped with diced jalapeños, and an evil yellow slurry that called to mind the cheez on movie theater nachos was disappointing as were the ghost pepper fries. Sure everything was spicy, but the execution was just terrible. I don’t blame Wendy’s though, I blame my unrealistic expectations of fast food. If anything I thank Wendy’s for the experience. It spurred me to try the second sandwich, the original chicken sandwich from Delaney Fried Chicken.  (more…)

01/20/16 10:41am

Just as New York City delis have their Italian combo sandwiches–some as big as your forearm like the Bomb at Sal, Kris, and Charlie’s and some garlicky, like the Uncle Joe at Sorriso’s—New Orleans has its muffuletta. Now the Big Easy favorite has come to Sunset Park, Brooklyn, thanks to John Ratliff, of Ends Meat NYC. Ratliff’s muffuletta is lighter and greener, but no less delicious than any I’ve had in New Orleans.

The sandwich begins with the namesake Sicilian muffuletta roll from Generoso’s, a fourth-generation Italian bakery. Ratliff always uses his housemade mortadella and rotates out the other meat. On the day I visited it was cacciatorini, a black peppercorn salami. (more…)

01/14/15 11:30am
CENTRALMUFF

Central Grocery’s muffuletta.

There are many, many sandwiches to be had in New Orleans as I learned when my fellow Chowzters set themselves the mission of eating every po’ bo they could get their hands on. I skipped that mission and focused my sandwich eating energies on the muffuletta. Leave it to this Italian-American boy to go all the way to New Orleans for a Sicilian sandwich.

Central Grocery, located in the Big Easy’s French Quarter is credited with inventing this Sicilian sandwich combo. It takes its name from the round sesame seed-studded Sicilian loaf. Central’s version consists of Genoa salami, mortadella, ham, mozzarella, and provolone, dressed with an olive salad. My eating buddy Joe “Hungry Dude” Hakim split a half sandwich as we were saving room for yet another Italian-American meal, fried chicken at Fiorella’s. (more…)

01/13/15 12:59pm
WILLIEMAYS

Willie Mae’s fried chicken is astounding.   Photo: foodbitch.me

When it comes to New Orleans—land of jambalaya, crawfish, and po boys—fried chicken isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Turns out though that, like much of the South, the Big Easy has some mighty fine fried chicken.

I ate more fried chicken—heck more everything—in the course of a whirlwind weekend with my good friends from Chowzter than I have in quite some time. A quick cab ride from Louis Armstrong airport and Yvo “Feisty Foodie” Sin joined our fellow Chowzters at the iconic Dooky Chase’s, where everyone from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall to President Barack Obama have dined. (more…)

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!

06/25/14 12:35pm
MUFF

Ain’t nothing better than a muffuletta!

Summer is officially here and that means beach time. It’s also my favorite time of year to pack a sandwich and go on a road trip, or in my case a fishing trip. A couple of weeks ago I had the good fortune to go out on Long Island Sound for an evening of fishing. It was my first time, and I was a little bit nervous especially since I’m not the world’s greatest swimmer. So as I often do I took comfort in food, in this case a muffuletta sandwich that my buddy Dave had made for each of us. (more…)

03/10/14 9:45am
Bo's - Roasted Skrei

Norwegian skrei cod as prepared by the crew at Bo’s.

When I first  heard of skrei I thought it rhymed with drei, and couldn’t stop saying  “eins, zwei, drei,” over and over again. Once I got that out of my system I paid a visit to Todd Mitgang’s restaurant Bo’s to try this prized Norwegian cod. I learned two things: 1) It is pronounced “skree” and 2) It is absolutely delicious: pristine, white and flaky. Mitgang and executive chef Alex Priani first tried skrei at a tasting held by the Norwegian Seafood Council at the French Culinary Institute. Rather than avail themselves of an array of ingredients the two chefs prepared the fish with little more than olive oil and sea salt to let its flavor shine through. (more…)

10/02/13 10:37am
CHEEKYBOY

Photo: Dave Cook/Eating in Translation

Most people go to Jazz Fest for the music. I go to Jazz Fest for the food, and there is no food I enjoy on the fairground of Jazz Fest more than an oyster po-boy. “What’s the big deal?” ask those who are less obsessed by food. “A po-boy is just a sandwich, right?” Well, not exactly. If it’s just a sandwich then it should be possible to find a well-executed po-boy anywhere in the world. The truth is the probability of finding a good oyster po-boy diminishes the further away you get from New Orleans. Even in the Big Easy, you find many mediocre po-boys but few great ones. (more…)

07/10/13 12:58pm
Soft shell crab amid a sea of pickles and greenery.

Soft shell crab amid a sea of pickles and greenery.

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…)

02/26/13 11:04am
The Chinese name for these crawfish translates to ‘spicy little lobsters.’

The Chinese name for these crawfish translates to ‘spicy little lobsters.’

Even though I pride myself on being an adventurous eater, it took a good 30-plus years before I tried crawfish. It’s not that I have a problem with seafood. After all I grew up with an Italian-American seafood bonanza—shrimp scampi, seafood salad, lobster, fried calamari, and baked clams—every Christmas Eve. The opportunity just never presented itself. Then one day crawfish, a delicacy most often associated with New Orleans, appeared in a most unexpected place, a Henanese noodle stand in Flushing’s New World Mall food court.

I handed over my $9.99 and was soon presented with a bowl of má là xiǎo long xiā. Bathed in chili oil, and shot through with palate-tingling Sichuan peppercorns and bits of ginger they were simply amazing. Little lobster is an apt name for these succulent crustaceans. Simply pop the tail off and pull out a nugget of sweet meat. They are truly the spiciest, tastiest Henanese crawdads in all of Flushing. And, I want a bowl of ‘em right now.

Li’s Lanzhou Hand Stretched Noodles, No. 12, New World Mall Food Court, 40-21 Main St., Flushing