Offal—tongue, tripe, heart, even face, among other so-called off cuts—happens to be one of my favorite things to eat. As with most of my stranger culinary predilections, I blame it on my old man who always made sure to include plenty of hearts whenever he cooked up a batch of chicken soup. Thus I present a list of some of my favorite nasty bits.
Husband and wife offal slices at Golden Mall.
1. Fu qi fei pian, Cheng Du Tian Fu
The story goes that fu qi fei pian, or husband and wife offal slices, are so named because the couple who created this classic dish back in Chengdu, Sichuan, had an especially harmonious union. While that tale may be apocryphal the union of meaty beef tongue; funky chewy ribbons of tripe; and translucent swatches of tendon bathed in chili oil and shot through with peanuts cilantro, and just enough Sichuan peppercorn to set your mouth atingle is especially delicious. My favorite place to dig into this fiery heap of beef offal is Cheng Du Tian Fu in Flushing’s Golden Shopping Mall. Cheng Du Tian Fu, No. 31, Golden Shopping Mall, 41-28 Main St., Flushing(more…)
Getting to the heart of the matter, Sicilian style.
I’ve been told more than once that I have forsaken my Italian heritage to devote myself to Asian cuisine. Usually I take this in stride, especially since my Sicilian-American father inspired my love of Asian food. Sometime though I need to feel that red sauce flowing in my veins. I head over to Mama’s of Corona for a meatball parmigiana sandwich. If that doesn’t get my Italian heart beating then I know I need serious treatment, a pilgrimage to that shrine of Sicilian soul food, Joe’s of Avenue U, located in deepest Brooklyn.
Via the F from from Queens it’s an hour-plus trek. Visible from the subway platform Joe’s specializes in all manner of Sicilian grandma food like cacocciuli stufati ($7.99.) I cut my teeth on my mother’s gigantic globe artichokes stuffed with a mixture of garlicky breadcrumbs. More unusual is the occasional special of cacocciuli frittu ($6), or fried artichoke hearts. It’s something I haven’t seen outside of Joe’s. I could go for some right now and perhaps a vastedda ($6.99), a calf spleen sandwich topped with a dollop of ricotta. I think feel a pilgrimage coming on.
Joe of Avenue U, 287 Avenue U, Gravesend, 718-449-9285