05/20/15 9:55am

Ube ice cream topped with crunchy beaten rice and coconut all in a warm roll.

The pandi-ice cream ($5.50) at House of Inasal is surely the most elaborate pair of ice cream sandwiches to ever be served under the 7 train. I haven’t been this excited about an ice cream sandwich since the Chipwich.

A friend has been encouraging me try to this dessert in the Little Manila spot for months. Yesterday it was finally hot and humid enough. “Ube ice cream sandwich with halaya, coconut, and pinipig,” read the menu. Despite the menu language pandi-ice cream turns out to be two—not one—sandwiches each served on a warm pan de sal. (more…)

09/23/13 9:53am

A Coco Cocada will set you back $1.50.

I’d just finished a most restorative coctel de camaron y pulpo from Pedro El Cevichero, when I encountered a miniature Ecuadorean snack stand off the corner of 80th and Roosevelt. “Que es esto?” I asked in my best bad Spanish, pointing to a stack of brown plastic-wrapped slabs. “Cocada de coco, uno cincuenta ,” the proprietress said as I fished through my pockets for $1.50. The little brown slab consisted of shredded coconut bound together with lots of sugar. Sticky, sweet, and coconutty a perfect bit of sweetness after a big serving of seafood. As I munched away the little old lady told me she’s at her post on Saturdays  and Sunday, and handed me a card that read, “Doña Luisa,platos tradicionales Ecuatorianos.” I showed up around 3, so if I had to guess I’d put her hours at late morning to evening. Among the other traditional Ecuadorean specialties on offer that day were quimbolitos, which a quick search of the gustatory interwebs reveals to be a delectable cake steamed in a leaf.

Doña Luisa, 80-08 Roosevelt Ave, Jackson Heights, weekends only

07/15/13 3:07pm
This Thai shaved ice packs a sugary wallop.

This Thai shaved ice packs a sugary wallop.

Shaved ice is a refreshing summertime favorite for this hot-blooded Italian-American. Latino versions of the treat skew toward minimalism, just some flavored syrup and perhaps a drizzle of sweetened condensed milk. In Asia it’s a more elaborate affair, often featuring red beans, boba, pudding, and fruits. The most elaborate one I’ve encountered is the nam khaeng sai ($5), at Tea Cup Café. (more…)

01/21/13 9:45am
Sweet, salty, and fun to eat.

Sweet, salty, and fun to eat.

There are many wonderful things to eat at Flushing’s Curry Leaves, including an entire hawker style soup service that runs from 4  a.m. to 11 a.m.. One of my favorite things is a psychedelic green and white pandan confection.  I don’t know whether to call the mostly green parallelograms pudding or gelatin. One thing’s certain, they are delicious, sweet with just a hint of savoriness. The sweet comes from the green portion and the savory from the thin white layer, which tastes of coconut and a whisper of salt. The cool pandan pudding is a fine snack on its own. It also makes for an especially welcome finale to the often fiery fare here.  Four of the wobbly scalloped-edge blocks and an iced coffee will set you back a mere $4.50.

Curry Leaves, 135-31 40th Road, Flushing, 718-762-9313