12/31/14 4:41pm

As 2014 draws to a close rather than offer up a roster of resolutions—less chips more gym, save money, etc.—C+M presents a list of 14 of our favorite things, a highlight reel of the year that was. Let the mostly Queens-focused cavalcade of offal, mashups, secret eats, and overall deliciousness begin.

RUGELSSAINT

The rugelssaint at Andre’s Hungarian.

1. Sweetest mashup
Part pain au chocolat, part rugelach, all decadence the chocolate croissant—aka rugelssaint—at Andre’s Hungarian Bakery was my go-to guilty breakfast this year.

BANGANSOUP1A

Ban Ga Ne’s got your large format goat feast needs covered.

2. Best goat meat bonanza
Not only was the three-course black goat meat feast at Ban Ga Ne one of the best Korean meals I’ve had in a long time, it was some of the best goat I’ve ever had. Plus as the proprietor pointed out, it’s um, invigorating.

NHZUPP2

Zuppardi’s glorious fresh shucked Little Neck clam pie.

3. Best pizza
Some friends and I made a pizza pilgrimage to New Haven this fall. Everything we tried was good, but the real revelation came when we dug into the fresh clam pie at Zuppardi’s Apizza. Fragrant with Little Necks and oregano atop a crackling thin crust, it was simply astounding. (more…)

12/17/14 10:04pm
JUNIVEAL

Juni’s veal and sweetbreads with quinoa and forest mushrooms.

Ever since I first tasted sweetbreads I’ve been a big fan. Whenever I see the veal thymus—aka sweetbreads—on a menu I order it. Rarely do I ever eat it with actual veal though. So I was glad to have dined at Juni last week where Shaun Hergatt has a veal and sweetbreads dish as part of his tasting menu.

Hergatt, who grew up on a cattle farm in Australia, counts himself a sweetbreads fan. Like the rest of Juni’s menu the veal and sweetbreads dish changes with the seasons. Currently, it’s in the winter incarnation. That means quinoa and several types of mushrooms. (more…)

12/01/14 1:10am
PLANTLOVE5

Plant Love House’s yum num tok.

It’s a good time to eat Thai in Queens. Arguably this has been true since Sripraphai Tipmanee opened her namesake restaurant in Woodside some 25 years ago. Of late though, Woodside and Elmhurst have blossomed into a Little Bangkok, with the emergence of spots like Khao Kang, Paet Rio, and Eim Khao Man Gai. The latest entrant into this arena of deliciousness is Plant Love House.  Judging by the logo of a street cart, this is back home hawker fare. This oddly named restaurant run by Peak Manadsanan and her family opened a week or two ago with an abbreviated menu in a space that had housed a Tibetan restaurant. Before that it was a Chinese noodle and dumpling house, so you could say that things have sort of come full circle. (more…)

11/19/14 10:04am
creole1

La Esquina Criolla’s sweetbread sandwich.

The draw at the half dozen or so Argentine parilladas scattered throughout Queens is meat, specifically beef in the form of steak, or mixed grills consisting of short ribs, sausage, blood sausage, and other goodies. Many of these casual steakhouses/butchers also offer sandwiches. I love La Fusta’s skirt steak sandwich. When I’m in the mood for something a little more adventurous though, I head over to La Esquina Criolla for a sandwich de molleja, or sweetbread sandwich ($9). (more…)

10/07/14 9:47am
CHARLES

Breakfast of champions at Chez Charles in Harlem.

Nobody ever accused me of writing a blog about health food. Thus the subject of today’s Twofer Tuesday, Charles’ Country Pan  Fried Chicken in Harlem. Now I’m not going to get into the debate about who makes the best Southern fried chicken in New York City, but let’s just say that Mr. Charles Gabriel’s is the best I’ve ever had for breakfast.

When you’ve journeyed all the way up to Chez Charles, it’s best to go for broke. So my buddy and I did, ordering that soul food power duo, fried chicken andf pigs feet.  The crunchy juicy chicken lashed with hot sauce and unctuous pigs feet were just part of our complete breakfast that morning.  And heck, those collards almost  made it a healthy one. Almost.

Charles’ Country Pan Fried Chicken, 2839 Frederick Douglass Blvd., Harlem, 212-281-1800

09/24/14 9:48am
Veal-Tongue-Slider2

Move over White Castle, veal tongue sliders are where it’s at!

Veal tongue, whether stir fried in spicy Tibetan chele katsa or sliced paper thin as a deli sandwich is a wonderful thing. Creamy rich tongue and heart are probably my two favorite types of beef offal. So when Andrew Zimmern, a man who has forgotten more than I shall ever hope to know about entrails posted a recipe for veal tongue sliders on his web site I had to check it out. (more…)

09/03/14 10:02am
takahachi1

And the award for most whimsical calf brain presentation goes to . . .

There are many, many wonderful beefy things to eat at Takashi, the Japanese nose-to-tail homage to all things bovine. Niku uni ($24)—tiles of marbled chuck flap atop a shiso leaf topped with uni—comes to mind, as does the miso marinated sweetbreads served over squid ink rice ($20). The place is a paradise for offal lovers. Each of the beast’s four rumens is on offer for tabletop grilling. Today’s post isn’t about any of those things, though. It’s about a sandwich, a sandwich of caviar and calf brain. (more…)

07/30/14 11:12am
VASTEDDA

A vastedda sans ricotta at Ferdinando’s Focacceria.

I’ve been hearing about the 110-year-old Ferdinando’s Focacceria for at least 20 years. Last week I finally made it to the Carroll Gardens temple of Sicilian soul food. There I met Francesco Buffa who convinced me to order a vastedda the old-fashioned way, that is to say without the dollop of ricotta, which he insisted is not how way the calf spleen sandwich is served back home. “You really get the flavor of the meat,” he said. (more…)

05/27/14 1:24pm

Offal—tongue, tripe, heart, even face, among other so-called off cuts—happens to be one of my favorite things to eat. As with most of my stranger culinary predilections, I blame it on my old man who always made sure to include plenty of hearts whenever he cooked up a batch of chicken soup. Thus I present a list of some of my favorite nasty bits.

FUQIFEIPIAN

Husband and wife offal slices at Golden Mall.

1. Fu qi fei pian, Cheng Du Tian Fu
The story goes that fu qi fei pian, or husband and wife offal slices, are so named because the couple who created this classic dish back in Chengdu, Sichuan, had an especially harmonious union. While that tale may be apocryphal the union of meaty beef tongue; funky chewy ribbons of tripe; and translucent swatches of tendon bathed in chili oil and shot through with peanuts cilantro, and just enough Sichuan peppercorn to set your mouth atingle is especially delicious. My favorite place to dig into this fiery heap of beef offal is Cheng Du Tian Fu in Flushing’s Golden Shopping Mall. Cheng Du Tian Fu, No. 31, Golden Shopping Mall, 41-28 Main St., Flushing (more…)

04/29/14 1:40pm
PELLICCIFUSION

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…)