10/24/16 11:25pm


As I like to say, “Delicious mysteries of cuisine and culture lie around every corner in Jackson Heights, one of the most diverse pockets in the most diverse locations around.”  One could liken my 20-year exploration of the neighborhood’s cuisine and culture starting with Jackson Diner and leading to the present day Himalayan-South Asian diaspora to a scavenger hunt of sorts. All of which got me to thinking, this would be a great neighborhood for a scavenger hunt. So I’ve teamed with my good friends at The Gastronauts and professional game designers Interactive Escapes to transform the hood into The Jackson Heights Hangover: A Gastronauts Scavenger Hunt.

I can’t tell you all the details—heck even I’m on a need-to know-basis—but I can tell that the research for it enabled me to see and taste Jackson Heights in a new way, which is no easy feat. So if you’re ready for an afternoon that will tantalize your taste buds, challenge your intellect, and give you a unique perspective  on Jackson Heights, all while leading your squad to victory then join us on November 5 for what’s sure to be the tastiest most culturally enriching hangover you’ve ever had. Tickets may be purchased here.

12/16/13 10:21am

Lechon from Engeline’s will be just one of the items on offer.

Tomorrow night a bonanza of Pinoy food from balut and pork sisig to lechon and bibinka comes to Brooklyn for a Foodraiser for the Philippines hosted by the Gastronauts and Food Curated. Woodside, Queens, aka Little Manila, will be represented by Engeline’s, which is generously donating two roast pigs and a mess of balut to the cause.  In addition to traditional Filipino fare, there will be novel dishes like venison adobo and bone marrow fried rice from Ain’t2Proud2Brunch.

The event is being held from from 7–10 p.m. at The Woods (48 South 4th Street Williamsburg), and features a complimentary bar. Advance tickets are $50, or $60 at the door. Money will benefit the victims of the typhoon in the Philippines, give relief, and help devastated communities recover and rebuild. A large portion of the funds will go to Rose Charities, which is currently carrying out medical relief along the north coast of Negros Island. Missions are also being carried out by them in Cadiz City, as well as some of the small isolated islands which to date have had almost no relief.

03/08/13 1:08pm
The Gastronauts chow down on a meal of many parts, including lamb testicles and beef penis.

The Gastronauts chow down on a meal of many parts, including beef penis.


Last month on the two days before Valentine’s Day I had the dubious pleasure of co-hosting a very special Chinese New Year’s dinner with the Gastronauts. Curtiss Calleo, one of the masterminds behind the club for adventurous eaters and I endured not one but two days of juvenile humor along the lines of, “Please limit yourselves to five inches per serving.” I suppose we deserved it. After all we created a menu whose dishes included lamb testicles and quick fried beef genitals, i.e. beef pizzle. I’m pretty sure that my affable Henanese uncle, Steven Zhou, was pretty amazed that we were able to gather a gang of hard-drinking weirdos to buy out his restaurant with such a menu for two consecutive nights.

Uncle Zhou’s amazing cold platter. From center: headcheese,chicken hearts, tofu skin, beef tendon,quick pickle, and beef tripe.

From center: headcheese, chicken hearts, tofu, beef tendon, pickles, and tripe.

The festivities kicked off with a platter of cold dishes. Headcheese, chicken hearts, tofu skin, beef tendon, quick pickle, and beef tripe were all artfully laid out in concentric rings. “These are the best chicken hearts I’ve ever had,” one of my tablemates exclaimed. I’d have to agree, the peppery five-spiced hearts were quite nice. Next came the lamb testicles which had been artfully cross-hatched. They had plenty of cumin and heat, though they were a tad rubbery. At least they were not too gamy. (more…)