I have yet to eat one, but the combination of smoked pork loin, fried eggplant, kicky pimento cheese, piquant pickled green tomatoes, fruity mincemeat, and maple cream looks absolutely heavenly. Click on over to Esquire’s Napkins Necessary for the recipe, or better yet throw on a sweater and take a stroll over to Harry & Ida’s.
Harry & Ida’s Meat & Supply Co., 189 Avenue A., 646- 864-0967
As someone who’s constantly devouring the delicious diversity that is Queens it’s possible to become spoiled by choices, even jaded. Luckily for me leading food tours affords an opportunity to turn others on to the culinary delights of Queens. My passion for the borough and its food is rekindled by seeing it from somebody else’s perspective. Which is precisely what happened when I led ace travel blogger Jon Barr on a whirlwind food tour of Jackson aka Himalayan Heights last week.
“It smelled so good the second I stepped off that train and walked down the stairs,” Barr exclaimed as we strolled over to the aptly name Diversity Plaza for our first stop, some Indian chaat. No tour of the hidden gems of Jackson Heights is complete without a visit to Lhasa Fast Food where we feasted upon momo and cold skin sushi.
All told we visited four countries and two continents in under 10 minutes, plus I got to use my Telemundo announcer’s voice. Be sure to check out Jon’s Youtube channel here and click here for my info on my Queens food tours.
Gimbap—a Korean after-school snack that at its most minimalist form consists of little more than American cheese, white rice, and daikon rolled up in seaweed—is not exactly anybody’s version of extreme eats. Sure there are more flavorful varieties like spicy tuna and spicy squid, both of which I find quite lovely and enjoy at Song’s Family Food in Murray Hill, Queens. To find a truly extreme kimbap, or gimbap, as it’s also spelled, I had to turn to the internet, specifically Korean cooking Youtube channel cookat TV.(more…)
Before all these recent accolades, in fact before Harry & Ida’s even existed, the Pop’s Pastrami Sandwich received the highest accolade of all being named “The World’s Greatest Sandwich.” The honor came from the creators of video series Make Me A Sandwich— Rob Serrini and Jeremy Spector—who upon tasting Horowitz’s creation declare their quest to find the world’s greatest sandwich over. (more…)
As many of you may know Queens has been getting its fair share of media attention lately, with everyone jumping on the Lonely Planet #1 destination bandwagon and, of course, with the U.S. Open in town. Pizza maven Adam Kuban alerted me to what is my favorite bit of recent Queens media glory. It’s a U.S. Open commercial that features two Queens icons: old school slice joint John’s in Elmhurst and The Unisphere, along with plenty of tennis.
The spot makes a comparison between “New York style tennis” and New York style pizza. The pizza at John’s is as fine an example of old school New York City pizza as any. It’s a slice of glory with a crispy crust that comes from placing a perforated disk betwixt pie and pan. The best thing about John’s though might be its circa 1969 dining room complete with counter seating. I do believe I shall eat a slice or three tomorrow. John’s Pizzeria, 85-02 Grand Ave., Elmhurst, 718-457-7561
It’s been a while since I’ve had sandwiches de miga, the dainty crustless Argentine triple deckers. Leave it to Youtube to stoke my hunger for them. La Cocina del Sandy makes several, including a lovely looking one with one ham and, hardboiled eggs, and pimento.
Before getting down to sandwich making she goes over miga mise en place—ham, roasted peppers, cheese, eggs, etc.—and then spends a good two minutes describing how to prepare a special mayonnaise in which manteca plays a crucial role. My Spanish is just good enough for me to understand some of what she says, but not good enough to understand the entire recipe. All of which makes me very glad to live just a short subway ride away from La Nueva Bakery in Jackson Heights.
Once upon a smokier, saltier, schmaltzier time in New York City, the Jewish deli was king. And, if I am to believe the trailer for the film Deli Man, which hits New York City theaters today, “There was a delicatessen on every single corner.” (more…)
The good folks at Visit Philly have chosen to make me hungry on this rainy Christmas Eve. And I, in turn pass this gift on to you. I’m a Tony Luke’s man—roast pork with provolone, broccoli rabe and cherry peppers—but this highly instructional, hunger-inducing video makes me want to spend a weekend in Philly eating my way through all of its cheesesteaks. I might have to make a road trip just to try the brisket cheesesteak with wasabi spread and crunchy onions at Jake’s Sandwich Board. By the way, how do you take your cheesesteak wit or witout?
As cool as that Alton Brown grilled cheese video that’s been making the rounds is I think this video love letter to a Mumbai grilled cheese is even cooler. Before anyone asks, yes such a sandwich is available in the fair borough of Queens, at Mumbai Express. The sandwich in Chowder Singh’s video looks even better than the one I’ve had in Queens though. It comes from a streetside stand at Mahalaxmi Race Course in Mumbai. The combination of bread slathered with butter and green chutney and topped with cucumber, green chili, tomato, red onion, and a blizzard of cheese looks amazing. And Singh’s closed-caption commentary is priceless: “Ze tomato expertly sliced. More butter. OOF!” I am by no means a vegetarian, but I’ll bet this grilled cheese is as tasty as the kimchi grilled cheese at Queens Kickshaw.
“Sure I eat with my hands,” you say. “Fried chicken, burgers, tacos.” Let me clarify, do you eat South Asian food—Indian, Tibetan, Bangladeshi, Pakistani—with your hands? I’ve tried it a couple of times with Nepalese food at Dhaulaghiri kitchen. In theory and practice I understand that it’s tastier that way, but since I was raised using a knife fork to eat rice I’m self-conscious and almost always opt for utensils.
Arun Venugopal on the other hand was raised with the Desi tradition of eating with his hands and discusses it in the wonderful WNYC Micropolis video above. He makes the point that in Indian restaurants, people don’t eat with their hands, saving that secret practice for meals at home with family. Based on what I’ve seen in Queens I’d say that’s not the case among South Asians, but that’s only because they feel so at home when eating in the borough’s ethnic enclaves.
“My Dad’s attitude is, it’s just very impersonal to eat with a fork or knife or chopsticks,” Venugopal says. “One of his sayings is, ‘the hand is our God given fork.’” So here’s what I’d like to know, have you tried eating south Asian food with your hands? Did you like it, or did you find it off-putting? Do agree with Arun, is it the secret to everything tasting better? Let me know in the comments.