This brutal winter has me craving Chinese hotpot. Do you have a favorite place? — Jane S., College Point
I’m not the biggest fan of huo gou, or fire pot as it’s known in Chinese, but I had a great experience at Dip Dip (135-21A 37th Ave, Flushing, 718-888-0711) recently. Apart from excellent hotpot—with such add-ins as baby ginseng and well-marbled ribbons of beef and lamb—the place looks like a movie set. I half expected Lucy Liu and her henchman to come leaping out of the upper room. This weather makes me want to go back and try the medicinal black chicken pot.
Is there any place to get vastedda in Queens? — Bruno J., Astoria
If only there were, Bruno! Alas Queens—usually no slouch in the offal department—has no traditional Sicilian focaccerias to serve the calf spleen sandwich. For that you shall have to make the trek to Booklyn. I wholeheartedly recommend the 110-year old Ferdinado’s Focacceria in Carroll Gardens. There you can get your spleen on with the works, including ricotta or have it as they do back in Palermo with just caciacavallo, the better to enjoy the flavor of the meat.
I saw your post on Chipotle, why do you hate vegans? — Chris J., Long Island City
Perhaps I was a bit strident, I don’t so much hate vegans as I don’t understand them. I was quite intrigued to learn that C+M actually has vegan readers, one of whom said she really likes Biang! in Flushing and Himalayan Yak in Jackson Heights.