Portugal—just the very sound of the country sounds warm, and true it is, but this is also a country full of flavors. So, while you’re out soaking up the sun, you should also take some time to do some gastronomic research during your stay and indulge in the delicious food and Portugal has to offer. Here are some of the country’s best best food and drink.
1. Pastel de nata
These custard tarts are both a treat and a cornerstone of Portuguese culinary culture, and you simply can’t leave the country without trying one – there are plenty of places, too, so there’s no excuse to, either. The dessert varies slightly depending whereabouts you are in Portugal, but one of the best places to sample these sweet sensations is the Antiga Confeitaria de Belem, in Lisbon, where they are known as Pastéis de Belem. The shop is a hit with locals and tourists alike and is one of the oldest in Portugual for producing this dessert, so they sure know what they’re doing! (more…)
Sky Cafe’s crab noodles feature the cutest fish balls ever.
There’s nothing quite as comforting as a bowl of chicken noodle soup. Here in Queens, we’re fortunate to have many varieties from mellow matzo ball to fiery pozole rojo. One of my favorite approaches to the dish is what I like to call the deconstructed Indonesian chicken noodle soup as served at Elmhurst’s Sky Cafe.
Mie komplit is a two-bowl affair. One vessel contains a light chicken broth, while the other holds egg noodles mixed with chicken and mushrooms and some greenery. Sip them separately or add one to the other, the choice is yours. (more…)
A selection of golden fried seafood from Bigelow’s.
I must have driven past the cheery blue and white Bigelow’s Seafood on Long Beach Road thousands of times in my life. It was a favorite of my father’s, but for some reason we never ate there when I was growing up. Some 30 years after first laying eyes on the cheery blue and white building, I finally got the chance to dine at the 76-year-old institution and try their infamous Ipswich clams, among other things. (more…)
The Madison Square Park area has never been known for izakaya, the Japanese gastropubs that are haunts of salarymen, sake drinkers, and adventurous eaters alike. Izakaya NoMad is out to change all that as I learned during a press dinner recently. With a whimsical dining room featuring a Godzilla mural, it offers an accessible alternative that sits somewhere between the rarefied air of a Sakagura and St. Marks’ grease bespattered yakitori joints. (more…)
When I was a kid my father and brothers used to catch blue claw crabs. Eating them was a fun, but messy process. These days I don’t have much patience for that process, but I do enjoy N.Y. Noodletown’s salt baked soft shell crabs, and I love munching on the pickled crab in a Thai papaya salad. Believe it or not after more than 30 years of eating Chinese food, I had yet to eat a Dungeness—or donkey as my father used to say—crab until last week. Fresh seafood is a staple of Cantonese cuisine, so what better place to try the giant crustacean than Flushing’s Canton Gourmet. (more…)
Crazy Crab, a stealth Burmese restaurant masquerading as a Cajun crab boil/pan-Asian eatery might just be one of my favorite places in downtown Flushing. The crab boils themselves—get the off menu green curry sauce—make for some fun, messy eating. But it’s the Burmese specialties like tea leaf salad, ohn-no kout swei, and Yunnanese yellow tofu that get me really excited and really hungry. So when Gina Liu asked me to stop by for a taping of Eyewitness News New York’s Neighborhood Eats with Lauren Glassberg I immediately said yes. (more…)
In Manhattan som tom poo plara comes with a nutcracker.
One of my favorite cuisines to eat in the dog days of summer is Thai. And one of my favorite dishes is som tom poo plara. There are many types of som tom, or Thai papaya salad. This one though, with its addition of salty preserved crab and pickled fish, is particularly bracing. The chili heat and fishy funk along with the cool crunchy papaya are most restorative on a sweltering day.
My favorite spot for som tom poo plara used to be Poodam’s in Astoria where Ratchanee “Poodam” Sumpatboon made a bangup version. Multiple napkins where involved as I’d pick up the blue crab and suck out the salty flesh dredging balls of sticky rice through the liquor at the bottom of the plate. (more…)
“This is either going to absolutely great or a friggin train wreck,” my buddy declared while perusing the menu at Crescent Grill. The confit frog leg ($12) with an oddball combination of cheffy ingredients and techniques including braised Vidalia onion and balsamic gelee the is the type of dish some food writers call critic bait.
“This is the prettiest train wreck I’ve ever seen,” I thought when I saw the cup of bibb lettuce cradling frog leg confit ringed by Vidalia onion. It tasted even better, like late spring by the fishing hole,with the frog taking nicely to the confit balanced by the sweetness of the onions and the sweetly acidic pop of the balsamic gelee.
Spanish red prawn paella as served at Lot 10 in Hong Kong.
These days the old social media channels teem with food photos, good, bad, and ugly. I like to think that mine are good. One Instagrammer who never fails to make hungry is little_meg_siu_meg, a well-travelled and well-fed Hong kong Kong resident. This photo she snapped of grilled prawn paella at On Lot 10 in Hong Kong left me speechless. Her description of the aroma of roasted shells makes me want to eat this right now. To submit your delicious finds to Photo Friday simply tag your Instagram photos with #CMSHUNGRY.
Every time I step into the Grand Central Oyster Bar I feel like I’m in an old movie. The vaulted tile ceilings and décor speak of a time when rail travel was still grand,when gents wore fedoras cocked just so, and when oysters were decidedly more plentiful and cheaper. I’m not a commuter, but I like to think of it as a haven from the teeming crowds on the terminal’s upper level. A haven where I always order the same thing: a dozen mixed oysters, preferably East Coast ones, the brinier the better. (more…)