02/26/15 11:23pm
SOTTOPIZZA

Sotto 13’s pork pie pizza topped with head cheese.

Last November I had the privilege of being taught how to make turducken by Ed Cotton, the executive chef of Sotto 13. “Come back some time; I’d love to feed you,” he told me after our lesson and frankenbird photo shoot. A couple of weeks ago I finally took him up on that offer.

The meal began with that week’s special pizza, pork pie. Provolone cheese, caramelized onions, and cabbage are topped with pork shank meat. Once the pie comes out of the oven it’s blnaketed with housemade coppa di testa and lashed with mustard vinaigrette. It’s like a subtler, more sophisticated version of an Italian combo sandwich. Cotton changes out the pizzas regularly and recent iterations have included beef carpaccio with creamy kale, wild mushrooms and fontina and this week’s special: spicy lamb sausage pizza with n’duja, ricotta, and mint. (more…)

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…)

12/22/14 1:01am
TUAREPAXMAS

Tu Arepa Pizza Café’s plato navideno.

One of the coolest things about pizzerias in Queens is ethnic hybridization. Sometimes it takes the form of outright fusion—witness the falafel slice—and sometimes a separate cuisine coexists with the pizza. The latter is the case at Tu Arepa Pizza Café a spot that sells slices side by side with such Venezuelan specialties as cachapas and arepas. (more…)

11/24/14 11:39am
NHPEPE3

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…)

10/30/14 12:11am
luciataiwan

Two great tastes in one via Taipei and New York City.

Until very recently I was a pizza purist. Then I ate the falafel slice at Benjy’s Kosher Pizza Dairy Restaurant and Sushi Bar in Flushing. This surprisingly delicious mashup of Israeli and New York City street foods can be found on Main Street in Flushing , not the Chinese portion but the Jewish neighborhood sometimes called Kew Garden Hills. Yesterday I created a decidedly non-kosher mashup in the heart of Flushing’s Chinatown. Ladies and gentlemen, I present the Taiwanese chicken parm slice. (more…)

07/01/14 10:11am
FIAMMAPIZZA

Fiamma 41 has taken the breakfast sandwich and turned it into a pizza.

La vera pizza Napoletana. Four words that conjure up my ancestral homeland, and authenticity. Not every blistered pie that’s emerging from wood burning ovens in New York City hews to the classic aesthetic these days. Today, a look at two brick oven mashups, for better or worse.

First up, the breakfast pizza at Fiamma 41 in Bayside. The ingredients of a New York City breakfast sandwich—bacon, eggs, and American cheese—have been put on a pizza along with mozzarella. It’s a novelty that seems tailor-made to satiate the late-night munchies. When it comes to breakfast mashups, I prefer my invention, the breakfast dumpling.

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01/20/14 10:02am
TLAYUDA1

Way better than Taco Bell’s Mexican pizza.

I’ve passed Cienega Grocery & Deli dozens and dozens of times in my perambulations through Corona. I’ve always meant to stop in this Mexican grocer/restaurant. The other day the stars aligned in such a way that I poked my head in and learned that this humble deli specializes in the seldom-seen cuisine of Oaxaca, in the country’s Southwest. “Que es tlayuda?” read a hand lettered menu board. “Tortilla gigante de maiz orginaria de Oaxaca,” it continued, listing several options, including al pastor and chorizo.

I don’t if I was more excited to read Oaxaca or tortilla gigante. “Do you have chivo?” I asked. Once I got through the formalities and told them I knew what chivo was, I asked for a tlayuda topped with goat and eagerly awaited the arrival of the mystery antojito.

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12/24/13 10:17am
HALLACAS

Tu Arepa opened just in time to start selling hallacas for Christmas.

Tu Arepa Pizza Cafe stands in the grand tradition of Queens pizzerias with a sideline in ethnic eats. At Tu Arepa, that sideline is the griddled corn cakes known as arepas and other Venezuelan specialties. Come Christmastime that means hallacas ($8) and pan de jamon ($28), both yuletide favorites back home in Puerto La Cruz. A mixture of pork and chicken studded with raisins, green olives, chopped potato, and peppers fills the rustic hallaca at Tu Arepa. (In case you are wondering about that pan de jamon (ham and olive bread) all of tomorrow’s 18-inch loaves are presold, but the shop will be taking orders though the end of the year.) (more…)

12/17/13 12:08pm
FALAFELSLICE

It might look meatballs and marinara but it’s not.

When it comes to pizza, I am a hidebound traditionalist who hews to the classic New York City slice as served at Lucia. Glistening with orange grease and dusted with garlic powder and crushed red pepper there’s nothing better. Sure I’ve been known to enjoy blistered noveau Neapolitan pies from places like Co. and Motorino, but there’s one type of amalgam of cheese and dough for which there is little room in my pizza loving heart: the novelty slice. Buffalo chicken, barbecue, and ziti are all legitimate food groups unto themselves and have no business topping pizza. Neither, for that matter, does falafel. Yes, falafel. The falafel slice, as served at Benjy’s Kosher Pizza Dairy Restaurant and Sushi Bar in Queens is the best and only novelty slice I have eaten to date. (more…)

10/17/13 1:05pm
BANKSY1

Do they know they’re standing in the epicenter of ethnic food?

I am more street food connoisseur than street art aficionado. That didn’t keep me from jumping on the Banksy bandwagon though. No, I was not fortunate enough to purchase a $60 “spray art” canvas in Central Park. When I read on Monday that the British street artist had put up a piece in Queens as part of his monthlong New York City residency I hastened to a block of 69th Street in Woodside’s Little Manila not far from the rumbling 7 train. I couldn’t help but wonder whether the crowd of camera toting street art fans had any idea they were standing at the epicenter of ethnic food in New York City.

“What we do in life echoes in eternity,” it read in Banksy’s signature stenciled script. Well, almost, that last word was cheekily in the process of being obliterated by an old-timey looking character. (That’s a quote from the film Gladiator, by the way.) Having partaken of some culture in the form of art—and Instagrammed, Tweeted and Facebooked it—I took off in search of food culture.

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