06/07/13 5:30pm

The Skillman Avenue BBQ Crawl
Saturday June 8, 3:00 p.m. till late
The Skillman Project hosts its annual crawl of the participating bars and restaurants of Skillman Avenue. The theme this time is Summer BBQ. Sign up at The Brogue (49-10 Skillman Ave.) between 3:00-5:00 p.m. To register and receive a wristband you must have ID and a $5 donation.

Big Apple Barbecue Block Party
Saturday and Sunday, June 8 and 9, 11:00-6:00
No doubt the good folks at The Skillman Project are referring to grilling when they say BBQ. This weekend the annual celebration of the smoky arts descends upon Madison Square Park offering tons of succulent hardwood smoked ‘cue. (more…)

05/02/13 10:10am

Uncle John’s hot links are revelatory.

Ligaya Mishan of the Times weighs in on Salt & Fat in Sunnyside whose pork belly buns are capable of “evoking not so much a Big Mac as your best childhood memory of it.” Mishan’s takeaway: “. . . not every dish is hellbent on living up to the restaurant’s name.”

Over at The Atlantic Michael Moss writes about a food that is hell-bent on the use of salt, fat, and sugar: the potato chip. Apart from an incisive analysis of why chips are so addictive, or craveable as snack industry gurus like to say there’s this revelation: ”chip companies spend a lot of effort creating a perfectly noisy, crunchy chip.”

The Village Voice offers a hit list of the city’s 10 best French fries, including Mile End’s wonderful looking smoked-meat poutine fries. Sadly the only entry for Queens is Huajio fried potatoes at Little Pepper.While the Sichuan-accented fries are quite good, surely Joju’s ultracrunchy bizarre banh mi fries deserve a spot.

And Tejal Rao makes me incredibly hungry for the pristine flavors and jewel-box presentation of Japanese vegan cusine as served at Kajitsu in Midtown.

O.G. ethnic food enthusiast Robert Sietsema files a dispatch headlined, “Shanghai Newcomer Full House Brings Back Soup Dumplings.” I’m sure the xiao long bao at this Bowery spot are quite good, but here in Queens soup dumplings never left.

Over at Esquire’s Eat Like a Man John Mariani writes about his bromance with the Bronx hood, Belmont where one can score fresh mozzarella that’s still warm and slurp clams on the sidewalk. Sign me up, John.

Max Falkowitz endures the wrath of a surly paesan working the counter at Little Italy’s Parisi Bakery and orders a dreadnought of a sandwich: a potato and egg on an 18-inch loaf of lard bread. Now why didn’t I think of that.

04/23/13 9:54am
Outside it was gray, inside Mediterranean sunshine on a plate.

Outside it was gray, inside Mediterranean sunshine on a plate.

I have a confession. The variety of delicious things to eat in Elmhurst, Flushing and Jackson Heights—dumplings, dosa, and Sichuan happy meals—is so amazing that I often overlook whole neighborhoods and whole cuisines. The Turkish scene in Sunnyside is a prime example of this gastronomic myopia. (Notice how I opted not to coin the word gastropia.)

The other night I was out to dinner with Max Falkowitz, the editor of Serious Eats New York—in Flushing natch—and he told me I should try the menemen, at Grill 43. “Menemen?” I asked between bites of crunchy Sichuan fish. “It’s like the Turkish version of shakshuka,” he said. “It’s really good.” I’ve never really dug the Israeli scramble that is shaksuka, but whenever someone whose taste I trust enthuses about a dish I know I’m in for a treat. And so it was with Grill 43’s menemen ($5.95).

The plate of fluffy scrambled eggs mixed with tomatoes and red peppers is as simple as it is delicious. An orange-hued liquid, the very essence of red peppers, sits at the bottom of the plate. Sopping it up with slightly salty wedges of homemade Turkish bread was the perfect antidote to what was an otherwise gray afternoon. As I was leaving the guy behind the counter said that some people like their menemen with cheese. Next time I’m going to ask him to make a Turkish egg and cheese sandwich.

Grill 43, 43-02 43 Ave., Sunnyside, 718-706-0600

02/14/13 12:15pm
Ain’t no party like a momo party, because a momo party don’t stop.

Ain’t no party like a momo party, because a momo party don’t stop.

I’ve known for quite some time that this past Sunday marked the Year of the Snake for Chinese. What I didn’t know until last week was that this past Monday was Losar, or Tibetan New Year.  So allow me to wish you “Losar la tashi delek.” I learned how to say “Happy New Year” in Tibetan from Tashi Chodron, founder of Himalayan Pantry at a hands-on momo making demonstration at The Rubin Museum of Art.

I also learned there are several regional types of momo. In Nepal, the dumplings are round and seasoned with Sichuan peppercorn, garlic, and ginger. Bhutan’s are tear-drop shaped and often filled with shiitake mushrooms. And, South Indian momo are crescent-shaped. And there are, of course, the Tibetan ones found all over Jackson Heights.

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