Riding With Ziggy – Battle of the Bridges Part III

photo (17)Twice a year the Hummus Whisperer and I are freed by our spouses to ride with the winds between the boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan while enjoying culinary freedom.  This time our tour included a neighborhood in Brooklyn, a romantic deserted island, a burrito, and a whole lot of butt texting.  All photos and texting courtesy of an Iphone 5 fresh off a broken lock button, which meant butt calling and but texting galore before I realized that the top button no longer does it job.  I would call people while talking to them.. “Excuse me… oh its you”.. “What?”

photo (9)We parked near the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge as always, and this time we opted to stay relatively close for a breakfast snack and explore the area of Boerum Hill.  Walking on Smith st reminded me how much I miss that area.  I dont know if it was a hangover symptom but you can actually hear birds singing in some of the relatively quiet and tree lined side streets.  Smith st. has some of the best concentration of fine dining/bars/food stores in Brooklyn.  It was slightly truer before Michelin Starred Saul moved to the Brooklyn Museum.

photo (12)Our first food stop was Shelsky’s, a mini Russ and Daughter’s with an attitude if you will.  The plain bagel with cream cheese and a silky smooth Gaspe Nova was just what we ordered!  Great loxy flavor without the R&D pain (I’m talking about both Russ & Daughters and the lox our R&D dep’t consumes).

After our little picnic in Brooklyn Borough Hall, we picked up a bike and crossed Brooklyn Bridge which was relatively quiet at 10 am.  Plenty of bike lane wary tourists still but not wall to wall zoo as before.photo (14)

On the Manhattan side not too far from the bridge I noticed a large Asian group practicing Falun Dafa (or Falun Gong) meditation.  This practice which disciplines Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance, got so popular in china in the 90’s that it was quickly banned by the government as it was seen as a threat.  I was told by a Chinese woman that a million Chinese followers have either died or imprisoned over the years and the rest of the world cant do much about it.  Seeing this group was a sharp reminder that we take our freedom for granted.

Riding in Chinatown is not the most pleasant ride, but always interesting.  There arent too many neighborhoods out there where you get a sense of community like here.  At some point on Hester street we saw people dancing in a park.  Where else do you see that at 10 am?  HW and I debated whether to show them a few moves of our own but we had an appointment with dumplings, Prosperity Dumplings.  Four meaty, greasy (in a good way) pork and chive dumplings for a buck.  You cant get a better deal than this in NYC – its not economically feasible.  Last week I tried the recently opened Mimi Cheng’s dumplings in East Village which is getting some press and lines out the door.  While they were good, for $8 per 6, I would take Prosperity any day.Prosperity Dumplings

photo (99)We continued to ride to the East Village for a desperately needed thirst quencher and its pretty clear where we are headed since we get this drink on every one of those rides.  The Grasshopper at Liquiteria, a popular neighborhood fresh juice joint.  They used to make it fresh on the spot but now you can find it in the fridge on the left.  Try it with some Gray Goose for a much smoother Citibike ride

We now head North to the romantic portion of the trip to 60th, riding entirely on 1st ave which has a great bike lane btw.  Both of us making it to Roosevelt Island for the very first time.  I always thought I would make it with Mrs Ziggy one day, never with the romantically challenged Hummus Whisperer.  It took us about 30 minutes of aimless walking and some bus shuttle hopping to nowhere to realize that god invented Google for a reason.  Apparently we need to head to one of the ends, the closest one.  So we head south and now I see what the hoopla is all about.  Nice park along the water, another park, NYC’s only monument ruin (an old smallpox hospital), and right on the tip, FDR Four Freedoms Park.  This is got to be one of New Yorks most stunning parks, and what a setting.  FDR’s huge bust overlooking the island brought me back to my old FDR high school in Brooklyn where I learned how to write properly (you guessed it, the school is now closed!)

photo (19)

We headed back to the mothership island, and straight to a game I call Amazing Citibike Race.  Its where we realize that the area around us is suddenly short on bikes and we have to scramble.  For 15 minutes we had to scramble and run around while constantly checking the bike app.  We split, we texted (both real and butt) and at some point some running was even involved, until we got the bikes.

We cruised 2nd ave all the way back downtown.  I must say the east side (2nd and 1st) is much friendlier for bikers than the west side (8th,9th).  Our best eating is still to come.  Well, we haven’t eaten much as you can see and I’m approaching the elusive 1000 word mark (what the hell did I write about).  We nixed the two Ivan Ramens and opted for an infamous burrito, and one particular place in Brooklyn that I feel embarrassed for visiting for the first time.

photo (28)

The chicken Burrito at Missions Cantina was a burrito revelation.  I’ve had some crafty burritos over the years but this one may have topped them all.  The main difference.. no rice.  The lack of rice meant less heaviness (a welcome plus in the summer) letting the rest of the ingredients shine.  And the toasty flour tortilla is crispy, thin but holds its own for pleasant mess-free eating.  I want to come back for the wings and tacos.

You know that the burrito was good when the ride across Manhattan bridge becomes a little more difficult.  I felt like telling everyone passing me “dude, I had a burrito.. without rice, more beans”.  Manhattan Bridge is a solid alternative to Brooklyn if you don’t want to share the lane with pedestrians taking selfies of themselves getting hit by bikes.

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Pok Pok, the Hummus Whisperer’s favorite restaurant in NYC was our last stop.  Although I’ve been a big fan of Andy Ricker, I somehow never made it before.  The new location in Red Hook looks like a simple diner, but the food is anything but.  We only had room for 2 dishes and one of them had to be the wings I kept hearing about.  Very solid meaty delicious wings that were plenty sweet and plenty of spice.  I liked the Cha Ca La Vong even more (below).  Catfish marinated and fried to flaky perfection with all sorts of herb action, rice vermicelli and tangy pineapple-y sauce.  Now I really cant wait to come back for more.  Great finish to a wonderful day

The End

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Turks and Caicos – Le Bouchon du Village

Le Bouchon EscargotI have to confess, last trip wasnt exactly dud free.  In fact, we had quite a few of them, mostly with new spots I wanted to check out (the things I do for you people, and for what?!?).  Le Bouchon du Village in the little picturesque village of “Regent” was most certainty not one of them.  Not exactly a shocker since I choose not to write about duds for various reasons.

In fact this was most likely our favorite meal at Le Bouchon, mainly because we got all our favorite Le Bouchon classics and even added a new one.  As usual my pictures at Le Bouchon look a little stale, mainly because a)  Its a little dark in there, b) we are way to eager to eat the food when it arrives, and c)  I suck at photography.

The classics at Le Bouchon according to moi:

The Escargot pictured above – This is how escargot should taste like everywhere.

The Soups – Both the Conch Chowder and the black bean soup are quite good even at extreme heat

Steak au Poivre – The only restaurant in Provo where steak is a must.  Perfectly executed, melt in your mouth buttery goodness, each time we have it, without fail

The Tuna – Our newest classic.  Fresh, expertly prepared Yellowfin.  Lightly seared to beautiful redness you can only get with fish this fresh, and lightly coated with ginger tomato reduction to take this to the next level.  It came with avocado, other veggies and Jasmine rice which was the perfect compliment.  Great dish

We also had a lovely Snapper, pan seared with light cream.  Mrs Ziggy particularly enjoyed this one.  And for dessert, their rich chocolate tart is always a hit and Profiteroles this time ended one of the most brilliant meals of the trip.  Pictures below followed by the previous post

 

Le Bouchon Tuna Le Bouchon Snapper Le Bouchon Profiteroles Le Bouchon Chocolate Marquise

 

03/13/13 Post…

Time for a Timeline…

Oct 1975 – Curious Ziggy discovers Snails are edible

Dec 2006 – Ziggy discovers Turks and Caicos

July 2009 – Ziggy eats at Caicos Café headed by Frenchman Pierrik Marziou

Oct 12th, 2010 9:34 pm – Ziggy goes on a hunger strike when discovering two Italians take over Caicos Café, Pierrik retires

Oct 12th, 2010 10:15 pm – Hunger strike is over but Ziggy vows not to eat at the new Caicos Café in protest

Dec 2010 – Ziggy eats at the new Caicos Café, gets Ratatouille moment, drops pen

Dec 2012 – Pierrik comes out of retirement, opens Le Bouchon at the village

Dec 2012 – Present – The Golden Years

So there you have it.  Pierrik and his gang are back is what I’m trying to say.  And back with a vengeance…

Le Bouchon - Burger with egg

A Parisian like Bistro on a sidewalk at Regent Village is Le Bouchon.  A family affair, with Pierrik, Julian (son), Justine (daughter) and any other children that start with a J.  Mom is there as well hustling and bustling.  A changing chalkboard menu with plenty to choose from adds to the excitement and the homey atmosphere.  In fact I did the same thing back home starting this week an today on the menu is cereal with 1%!

Le Bouchon - nicoise salad

Le Bouchon - BurgerDuring lunch one day we enjoyed a nice Niçoise salad, and a top eat of the trip nominee burger with egg.  You need to ask for the egg.  With the perfectly cooked sunny side up egg, the result is a messy, juicy goodness oozing with deliciousness.  Good to have this lunch option.

Some of the lunch options are available for dinner as well.  Like the fun Charcuterie board (I love Charcuterie boards – you never know what you getting) with a nice assortment of salami, ham and duck terrine.  Escargot was absolutely delicious! The perfect garlic, butter, herbs balance which very often restaurants cant quite get it right.  I still have garlic breath after that Escargot we had in Brooklyn last week and after eating half a head of garlic at lunch today!Le Bouchon - Charcuterie

Mussels were a big hit that evening as well.  The shrimp a la plancha however was a bit puzzling since it was one large shrimp over risotto. More of a tapa dish really than main. Although the wife and my oldest who ordered it enjoyed it

I went for the steak au poivre which along with the chilean sea bass is a staple on the board I believe. Plate cleaner. Covered with light peppercorn sauce that even made the fries taste great. Cooked medium rare as expected after ordering medium (French undercook) and plenty of flavor.  A month before this meal we ate at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon in Las Vegas where I had a NY strip with peppercorn sauce.  That NY Strip was twice the price and half the flavor of the steak at Le Bouchon.Le Bouchon - Steak

For dessert the winner was the chocolate mousse which I actually didn’t get to try. That’s how good it was. Tarte tatin (pronounced according to Justin, “Ta”) was good, creme brûlée just ok. Dinner overall – Le Magnifique

Le Bouchon is new but you wouldn’t know it while eating there.  This is one of the only dining options on the island that does not need to rely on tourists alone due to the kind of local following established over the years.  So needless to say I’m not the only one raving about this “addition”.  Bienvenue Pierrik and family!

Recommended dishes: Burger with egg, Escargot, Charcuterie board, Mussels, steak au poivre, chocolate mousse

Le Bouchon - Tarte tatinLe Bouchon - Creme Brulee

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Turks and Caicos – Flamingo’s

Flamingo's Curried Grouper7/25/14 Update: Reaffirming island must status.  As must as it gets in fact in Providenciales.  Besides that celebrated legendary dish, there are a few more reasons to come

1)  Rum Punch.  You know when you see couples walk on the beach holding hands, to make you go “Awwwe”.  Grace Bay can do it to you.  But when Mrs Ziggy and I do it, it usually means she just had the rum punch at Flamingo’s and I’m simply preventing her from walking into an Island Vibes boat.  Those guys aren’t shy with the rum, and the flavor simply kicks ass.

2)  The Curried Grouper.  I already talk about it extensively below.  Arguably the most celebrated dish on the island.  This time around not only it didn’t disappoint but it even had some extra punch.

3)  Everything else is pretty good.  If you are not into seafood than this is not much of a must, but everything else we tried over the years has been anywhere between ok and pretty good.  The ribs are good enough, so is the curried chicken when they have (forgot about what the menu says).  But this time we really liked the Grouper burger.  Nicely seasoned, great flaky texture.  A bit too much bun action so I would just disregard half of it.  Respect the fish!

Flamingo's Grouper Burger Flamingo's Ribs

3/18/13 Post:

The Dish! This one is going to be short and sweet and to the point (plus i’m a little tired from dealing with the Devil Time Warner cable for much of the day)

Whenever I recommend this one on TripAdvisor I always pause for a second to think what exactly is the name of this place.  Is it Flamingo’s, Flamingos, The Flamingos Cafe, Ricky’s Flamingo’s, Inga’s Flamingos?  I’m not really sure.  But I AM sure that its Curry Grouper is one of the top dishes on Providenciales.

Once in a while I eat something that makes me turn into Andrew Zimmern.  The kids get a good kick out of it.  I just shake my head and mumble various Zimmern words that may or may not have anything to do with what I’m tasting… “Its woodsy, its earthy, its gassy”.  Sometimes when I try something for the first time my youngest would say “Well dad, is it woodsy and gassy” Yes!

There’s really not that many dishes on the island that give you that kind of pleasure with every morsel.   Sweet, smooth, savory, melt in your mouth deliciousness.  Like eating the most delicious butter. This is why I come here.

This is also TripAdvisor legend CaribDesi’s favorite dish on the island.  Or one of the favorites at least.  No, I’m pretty sure that’s his favorite.  I hope he’ll clarify with a comment here one of these days.  Get well soon buddy.  We miss you.  Here’s to you.

View from Flamingos

 

 

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To Whom It May Concern

Ziggy:

An 18 year old TCI lover who gets it…

Originally posted on Back to the Islands:

To Whom It May Concern,
My name is Mackenzie. I’m an 18 year old girl with a passion for this island, a passion for beauty, a passion for helping dolphins. Turks and Caicos has become a place I like to call home over the years. That being said, I just have a few things to point out for those of you who support the Dolphin Cove and this dolphinarium on Provodenciales, Turks and Caicos. I write this to you to inform. To persuade. To convince.

First of all, dolphinariums, to put it shortly, kill dolphins. Many dolphins are slaughtered in the capturing, and the “lucky” survivors get to perform tricks for human entertainment. But, the majority of the dolphins end up developing diseases, behavioral issues, and other illnesses. Dolphins end up dying in the process. They are not bred to be in captivity,

I’ve read hundreds of articles about this…

View original 444 more words

Categories: Turks and Caicos | 4 Comments

Hearth – The Booze Megillah

HearthI’m on page 18 of the so called “Wine List” at mothership Hearth, and I still haven’t seen any mention of wine.  I am about to get brainwashed into ordering a Riesling bottle by the 10 pages of why I should be drinking more Riesling, followed by an essay about the glory of Riesling, followed by a solid argument that Riesling is more fun than babies.  This is like letting one of those Jehovah witness pairs inside your house (Why do they always come with a kid?)  But just before the Riesling brainwashing, the champagne section chapter’s picture on top is reminiscent of the Torah I carried when I turned 13.  And it occurred to me at that moment… can this wine list be more difficult than my Bar Mitsvah studies? Readers, this thing is freakin 75 freakin pages.  It provokes you, it challenges you, and it makes you order Riesling

I called it the mothership because Hearth and its Megillah spawned a whole bunch of Terroir wine bars all over town.  I think their goal is to have one for every page.  We passed one just between the parking spot and the restaurant.  Inside its a little bit dark (for the camera), a little bit loud, and I’m a little bit hungry.  “Put yourself in our hands” the top of the menu reads.  NEVER!  Havent you done enough?  I’m sitting here writing this, drinking a freshly purchased cheap Riesling from the bottle while naked.  Anyway, no tasting menus tonight as we are with the kids this time.  Here’s what we ordered

Ricotta Sformato – A nice ode to the dysfunctional Broccoli family.  Roasted Broccoli, Pine Nuts,  Cauliflower, Spigarello (the uncle you see once every 4 years) and ricotta.  Enjoyed this one

Hearth Ricotta Sformato

Grilled Quail – Expertly cooked quail with rosemary, but what stole the show was the accompanying salad of Faro, Cucumber, Onions, Quail Egg, and very nice tomato preserve that tied everything together.  I would order just the salad

Hearth Quail

Rigatoni with pork ragu – Outstanding! Not your typical heavy ragu.  More like a light summary version.  In the picture you can barely see any pork, but there was just enough porky goodness. Which came with peas, ricotta and more rosemary, as if fellow Tuscan Cesare Casella of Salumeria Rosi came to visit.  Note:  Only two pastas at this Tuscan inspired joint, an attribute I actually find refreshing.  The smaller the amount the better

Hearth Rigatoni

Gnocchi side – This led to an uncomfortable conversation with the waitress as I remember reading years ago about the legendary gnocchi of Hearth as one of the best gnocchi dishes in NYC.  I asked the waitress if there was perhaps another more substantial gnocchi dish on the menu before (answer is no) and I had to repeat a few times “don’t get me wrong, this is great”.  This was excellent but basic cheesy buttery pillowy gnocchi side dish.  I do recommend getting this

Hearth Gnocchi

Spatchcock Spring Chicken – Good, moist, but after a few bites tasted like ordinary chicken.  Not as flavorful or imaginative as all the great chickens we’ve enjoyed over the years in the city (NoMad, Annisa, Louro, Scarpetta), but still a solid shareable option for the picky eaters.  If not for our Grouper fest last week in Turks and Caicos I would have ordered the fish here.Hearth Chicken

Veal and Ricotta Meatballs – Absolutely delicious meatballs.  But once you take out the Swiss Chard Cannelloni that comes along you are left with $10/meatball.  Perhaps the priciest in NYC?

Hearth Meatballs

Hen of the Woods side – Even though I’m the only one in my family that likes mushrooms I had to have this thing.  Its such a distinct earthy taste, and so so ugly looking (I cant even show you the picture or the selfie I took with it)

Panna Cotta – Good but could have used a little more berry compote.  Venice Panna Cottas spoiled us forever.  I also noticed they have an Affogato which made me wonder if Affogato can be without any sort of liquor (just ice cream and espresso) and lo and behold it can.  I learned something new today

Overall we enjoyed this one and can comfortably recommend Hearth especially to the pickier eaters out there

Hearth
403 E 12th St
$$$$
Recommended Dishes:  Quail, Rigatoni, Gnocchi, Meatballs, Hen of the Woods

Hearth Panna Cotta

 

Categories: East Village, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

TCI – How to Gain 7 Pounds in 7 Days

Seaside - Tuna SashimiAnd still eat well!!

Visiting Providenciales any time soon? Want to know where to eat?  What to eat?  How to pronounce conch?  No worries, good ole’ Ziggy is here to help.   After years of experimenting and taking some for the team I recommend the following 7 day eating itinerary.  Of course, in order to have a great meal there are many variables involved, especially since most of these establishments are geared toward tourists and offer very full menus.  And you just never know when the executive chef leaves on maternity leave (happened) or just leaves (always happens).  Its a probabilities game folks.  And in my humble opinion the odds increase with this plan.  Click on the names where available to see reviews, pictures and suggested dishes

**UPDATE 7/19/14.  Added Chinson’s, Three Queens instead of closed Jerkies and an underperformer (I rather not mention).  Moved Flamingo’s to dinner because lunch is congested.  Besides Curried grouper tastes even better during sunset

7 Lunches:

Las Brisas – Starting with the obvious.  I don’t normally recommend places just for the view and I will not start now.  Luckily the food, consisting mostly of Spanish tapas is pretty darn good, and the view of stunning Chalk Sound can only help.  Try the killer Lobster Salad when in season.

Hemingway’s – By far my favorite Hemingway’s in the Caribbean (Is there a Caribbean island without one), and one of the better resort restaurants on the island.  Situated in the Sands resort, this reasonably priced old timer has been dishing out those Fish Tacos since.. well… I have no idea actually.  A long time!  Try also the luscious fish and chips

Chinson’s – Don’t worry about the views of Leeward highway.  The view will get much better as soon as you sit down and get greeted by Mr Chinson to the grooviness of Jamaican Reggae.  And once you taste the succulent BBQ ribs and jerked chicken and wash it down with the house ginger beer, the highway turns into an ocean.  An ocean of new Royal TCI police vehicles just arrived a few weeks ago.

Three Queens – An island staple in Blue Hills since 1970 and the definition of “Local”.  No menu, no problem.  You eat what the glorious Ms Marta made that day which could be fresh fish (grouper or snapper), oxtail stew, curried goat, or curried chicken.  You wont see this one on top of other lists (I’m looking at you Trip Advisor) mainly due to the location, but if you are seeking the more adventurous eats, it doesn’t get much better than this

Bugaloos – Another fun local spot.  Once you find this one in Five Cays you will get rewarded with one of the best setups on the island.  Try the conch salad (middle picture), and the fresh catch (sautéed – Yum!)

Lupo – Putting this among the lunches since my dinners are full, but something tells me dinners can be even more eventful.  Well, the fresh pasta filled menu told me.  But for lunch you can still enjoy the signature meatballs, the sick romaine lettuce (yes, that’s right, I said romaine lettuce), and don’t leave the island without trying the Lupo Tiramisu.

Mis Amigos – Gaining popularity with the locals as we speak.  Once you try the killer Margaritas at this new all in the family Mexican you will understand why.  If still not convinced the addictive chips and salsa, and lobster quesadillas will certainly do the trick

Bugaloos Conch Salad

7 Dinners:

Caicos Cafe – Starting with one of the musts.  Brilliant, inventive Italian with a Caribbean twist by a mad, menu OCD genius chef/owner Max Olivari.  Pay special attention here to the specials, the right side of the menu, and more importantly pay special attention to the left side of the menu.  Some of the best seafood on the island, like grilled Calamari, Wahoo Carpaccio and more

Coco Bistro – One glance at the dishes floating around and Coco the cat and you will understand why you are here.  Chances are you will eat well at perhaps the island’s favorite dining establishment.  Try the Tuna Sashimi and that Lobsta!

Le Bouchon – The former Caicos Cafe owner thankfully back in the game.  Sidewalk Parisian Champs-Elysées style without the Parisians and the tourists.  Hmmm, actually now that I think about it its pretty much all Parisians and tourists.  Try the Escargot, and if you don’t try the legendary Steak au Poivre, we are no longer friends

Seaside Cafe – This is not your old Seaside Cafe.  New owners took over a few years ago, brought in a Coco Bistro veteran who’s dishing out some marvelous stuff:  Great Tuna Sashimi (top), dazzling Escolar (white tuna), and a most satisfying lobster mushroom risotto.

Flamingo’s – Come here for one of the Island’s most celebrated dishes, the curried grouper.  Another local stunner right on Grace Bay.  But dont make the mistake I did (twice) and come here without cash.  Otherwise, No Grouper For You! We normally comes here for lunch, but sunset dinners are just as grouper friendly.

Seven – Only a few years old and taking the island by storm from the comfort of the Seven Stars.  Leave it to floor manager Alan Duffy to take good care of you and help you with the goodies filled menu.  Try the Vanilla rum butter poached lobster with papaya buttermilk risotto, or the best end of lamb.

Garam Masala – Ok, how much conch (pronounced Conk) can you eat already.  We know Indian! We love Indian!  This is good Indian!  Try the Conch Kebabs!   :roll:

Or… how about some more local food a the Thursday night fish fry, perhaps a splurge at Coyaba, experience the classic Tuna dish at Magnolia, or the new Via Veneto for authentic Italian.

A special mention for Breakfast and light lunch:  Caicos Bakery near Caicos Cafe.  Nice Baguettes, quiches, almond croissants and more.

Hope it helps.  Stay hungry my friends!

Bay Bistro Pecan Crusted Conch

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Sweet T’s – Sweet Compromise {TCI}

Sweet T's ChickenHave you ever taken a Bulldog to a park that also happens to be his favorite pooping ground?  Its quite a sight.  The anticipation makes him (and you) sprint with delight while farting the entire time.  “Does he always do this”  I asked my friend Val.  “Without fail”.  The same type of anticipation fills us while sitting on the plane that just arrived in Provo, trying to figure out if we are closer to the front or rear of the plane for quicker exit.  The fact that we are the only ones looking back while everyone else looks forward reminds me that everyone is here for the very first time, and some of them are staring at me wondering about my purpose.  “The front of the plane is this way buddy.  Too much to drink?”

Food is on my mind.  But in this case its more of a hurdle to the main treat.. Grace Bay beach.  I gotta have something delicious but quick enough so we could still make a run for booze and have a productive burn-fest (although in this trip it turned into more of a Burning Man festival due to the initial heat and pain).Sweet T's

Enter Sweet T’s.  Right off Airport Road, just pass the first major roundabout, after the pink flamingo sign on your right.  No sign, so look for this building.  There will most likely be a line of locals without a tourist in sight but do not despair.  The chicken is of the delicious kind.  Crispy, moist, juicy, and just enough of a kick.  The drumettes look like fat popsicles.  Oh, and “cheap” is an understatement.  You order by the dollar.  $8 of chicken (more than the 4 of us needed.  see picture above?  two of those containers.  $6 would have been fine), $2 of fries, and $2 cokes meant 2 cans of coke.  Thats a $12 meal for 4, quick bite, and off we go for this.  leave some chicken crumbs in your rental in the middle somewhere.  Chances are you will see at some point the same rentals (model, color) parked near yours, and the crumbs will help determine which is yours.Sweet T's Chicken

 

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Beautiful by Nature

photo (9)

That’s my youngest above, staring ever so watchfully at the looming cloud action over Grace Bay, Providenciales.  Knowing her, she must be wondering at that moment which direction the clouds are moving, and whether she’s allowed to have steak tonight.  She then remembers that she had steak yesterday and tonight is most likely fish night, and continues to wonder if she would be happier with another family where she could eat, like a lot more steak, and have more sleepovers.  Steak sleepovers!  Me and 3 of my closest friends, nails, hair, Peter Luger, sleepover.  What if that adopted family isn’t that close to Peter Luger or even a decent Hibachi.  Thoughts slowly shift back to “Pretty Little Liars”.  One out of many random thoughts during our 9 nights in our adopted home of Turks and Caicos.  Here’s a recap of what we did

Ate

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Lower East Side for Meshugenahs

Eastwood Israli Scotch Eggs****** Taking a much needed break in TCI beginning tomorrow which means no posts for a little while *******

009To continue our Meshugenah series we move over to the Lower East Side, a neighborhood rich with Jewish history.  When we parked our car we couldnt help but notice this beautiful red church right in front of us on Norfolk street.  However, by the time we came back to the car for the all important shoe change (women schwomen you know what I’m saying?), the church transformed into a synagogue, after overhearing a tour guide stationed with a group right by our car.  Evidently German Jews built all sorts of modern looking synagogues in “Little Germany” as it was once nicknamed, and some of those synagogues have been designated as historic landmarks by the city

In fact the entire Lower East Side neighborhood has been added to America’s Most Endangered List by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, who is suspect #1 in the case of Mission Chinese closings by the way.  Is it too late for Lucca style Kebab Laws?  Most likely.  But something tells me the Jewish identity will remain in the area for a while.  That something is the guidebooks and tour groups flocking the area.  You cant walk a block in there without a “And this place here is home to New York’s best Knish, but their Gefilte Fish sucks”.  Our food focus on our annual father’s day (delayed by a few weeks this time) neighborhood crawl wasn’t particularly on Jewish food, but it did start out that way…

Russ and Daughters loxRuss and Daughters.  Our only iconic stop of the afternoon was at this 100 year old legend.  I’ve enjoyed those sandwiches before, but not my family.  The new R&D café had a 90 minute wait so we settled for taking a number at the original which turned out to be a 45 minute or so wait.  Silky smooth, rich Scottish Salmon with cream cheese is as good as it gets.  Unless you get the same Salmon rubbed with Pastrami seasoning with onions.  Great stop at this old timer appetizer (an old NYC originated term for such Jewish places) that involves a little bit of pain.  But if you have a low pain threshold, consider the following lox stop, with less of the hoopla, and much of the flavor

Russ and Daughters Sandwich Russ and Daughters

Nordic Preserves Fish & Wildlife Company at Essex Market – One of the most talked about sandwiches on the forums is the Nordic…  Nova Scotia lox, black lumpfish caviar, some onions, dill, tomatoes, capers on a Ciabata from Pain D’Avignon, a high quality French bakery also in Essex Market (some of the best baguettes in town).  An outrageously delicious, high quality sandwich cheaper than the R&D sandwiches.  Nordic Preserves is unlike anything you will find in NYC, selling all sorts of imported Scandinavian items from candy to jams, caviar, game meat and more.  As hidden gem as it gets in NYC

Nordic Preserves

Schapiro’s – We then needed a rest after all that eating and stumbled upon this nifty looking bar.  One quick glance at the menu and.. Jewish theme is still very much intact (will be broken very soon though).  An Israeli Gastropub? Hebrewpub?  Very interesting menu filled with all sorts of inviting goodies.  Couldnt quite pass on the not so traditional, but still quite tasty Shakshuka (the Israeli version of Huevos Rancheros).  And to make the little one happy, her favorite dish in the world, Mac and Cheese – A slam dunk as far as crafty mac and cheese in the city goes.  Schapiro’s is an homage to another neighborhood icon, Schapiro’s wine company which ruled the neighborhood for 100 years (1899-2000) right next door.  A very nifty, inviting space

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That was a failed eating break by the way.  I just wanted to go somewhere for a drink while catching some of the Russia-Belgium world cup snooze-fest.  We then walked down to the east river for some nice waterfront views under Williamsburg Bridge and New York’s most hidden attraction…. the East River Sea Lion Park, a bunch of Sea Lions sculptures I discovered while Citibiking with a friend a few weeks ago.  Kids, summer, water, sea lions, what else can you ask for.  Tacos!  But that’s later (well that was the plan at least)022

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EastwoodEastwood – Its been over 45 minutes since the last Hebrewpub visit and my left hand started to shake.  What happens when you put a falafel and an egg in one room to the tunes of Michael Bolton with Brokeback Mountain showing the background?  Israeli Scotch Egg (top picture).  A hard boiled egg wrapped in a falafel, served with a side of Tehina.. a crafty and tasty little snack which I had before but wanted to show Mrs Z.  And surprisingly solid Fish and Chips (the things I do for the Brits here, and for what?) can be found in this fun, as local as it gets Hebrewpub.  I first learned of Eastwood at last year’s Grub Street Festival where I met its energetic and fun owner.

Eastwood Fish and Chips

Eldridge Street Synagogue exteriorWay before the term “Hebrewpub” was even invented (10 minutes ago), there was the Eldridge Street Synagogue, on you guessed it, Eldridge Street.  Arguably, the most important establishment in the LES with the richest history.  While its really inside Chinatown these days, the synagogue is as much part of LES as anything else.  Opened in 1887, it was the first Synagogue built by Eastern European Jews in the USA.  Late 19th, early 20th centuary saw roughly 1.5 million Jews moving to the Lower East Side, while less than that moved elsewhere in the country.  The hour long tour (included in your admission) on the hour can help you imagine the daily activities and what this place meant to the community.  Although we actually did not take the tour (kids started to get tired, and I started to get hungry) we briefly spoke to the young girl running the tours, and also saw her in action while inside.  This is a striking looking structure by the way that will surprise even the European church lovers inside with its craftsmanship

Eldridge Street Synagogue

Prosperity Dumplings, Vanessa Dumplings – Jewish theme continues.  It is after all what we eat on Christmas.  These dumpling places are on every Cheap Food list, and for good reason.  Four delicious dumplings for a buck just doesn’t get any more value than this.  Verdict: Prosperity (left).  Bigger, fuller, more flavorful Pork and Chive dumplings than Vanessa’s.  Also, there’s something about irregular shape anything food that I find more attractive.  Like pizza for example.

Vanessa's Dumplings Prosperity Dumplings

 

Melt Bakery – This first rate ice cream sandwich shop was more of a secret 5 minutes ago, before they opened their 4th location.  Delicious ice cream, and even better cookie dough (choc chip walnut, hello!).  I also love that they have mini sizes so you could try more, or just have a smaller one.  I’m finding many of the artisanal ice cream sandwiches out there too big and too expensive these days.  This is New York’s first Ice Cream Sandwich Shop, and they now also have a stand on the Highline

Melt Bakery

This was the end of our little LES adventure but… I came back for more after a few days…

Di Palo’s – While not technically in LES, close enough and worth mentioning to those that are not aware of this neighborhood institution.  This is as old school as it gets.  For over 100 years selling imported cured meats, cheeses, and other Italian specialties (pastas, truffle sauces, fresh red sauce, etc).  But what is so special about this store to me is that even when quite busy with people waiting with numbers in their hands, you still get what I call a “Salumi Concierge” that will guide you and let you try anything you want with zero hassle.  You can be with your concierge for 30 minutes and no one will mind, because the people waiting want the exact same experience.  Try the Prosciutto, Finocchiona (salami with fennel), Cotto (Cooked ham) including truffled, and top notch Mortadella.  And don’t leave without trying some of their Truffled Pecorino – yes, more than one kind.  A rarity in this town.

Georgia’s Eastside BBQ – While killing time waiting for Mission Cantina to open, I stumbled upon this tiny BBQ joint.  I did hear about this place before, but had no intentions of eating here on this particular day, as my mission was clearly on Mission and their highly regarded riceless Burritos which we didnt get to a few days prior.  Mission failed again.  Half a rack of spare ribs ($11) was simplify glorious.  Meaty, good quality, fall off the bone, perfectly seasoned dry rub with a side of homemade BBQ.   Plan was to leave room for the burrito, but I couldn’t help it and attacked this thing with full force.  Just solid!  The menu features all sorts of southern goodies like catfish and fried chicken.  Cant wait to bring the family here next.

Georgia's ribs

Luca & Bosco – The most famous dogs in the neighborhood will soon become the most famous dogs in the city, Luca and Bosco.  Their proud owners opened this Ice Cream stand inside Essex Market about 7 months ago, and folks, it just doesnt get much better than this.  Drunk and Salty Caramel with candied pecans was heavenly.  Light, fresh and very gelato like.  They are currently making the ice cream at an incubator in East Harlem, but soon moving to a new place with a bigger kitchen.  One of the partners studied in Florence, the gelato capital of the world, where she mastered a few techniques.  Anyone who ever visits Florence knows how standards get elevated.  Highly recommend this one.

Luca and Bosco

End of my eating adventures in the LES.  Other notable spots in the area:  Cata,  The new Ivan Ramen, Mission Cantina ;), Gaia, il laboratorio del gelato, and Katz’s of course

Follow my latest TCI eating adventure on twitter @Ziggy601

Stay hungry my friends.

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Categories: Lower East Side, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

HK Guide Update

Annabel PizzaA Frenchman walks into a bar with a chicken on his head. ‘What the hell is that?’ asks the barman. The chicken replies, ‘I don’t know – it started as a wart on my ass and grew.’

A little French chicken humor for ya to set the mood.  The list is getting bigger, my sense of humor is getting smaller, here’s what I’m adding…

Pizza and Beer – Annabel.  Just tried it a few hours ago (the things I do for you people.  And for what?).  Just opened last week.  Kinda striking, woodsy space.  Great Neapolitan like wood oven pizza with nifty toppings like ricotta, duck prosciutto, blueberry chutney, an even better looking craft beer menu on tap, fresh pasta and more.  Cant wait to explore the rest of this menu.  Behind the name is another cow story

Vietnamese – Co Ba 53.  About time we get some decent Vietnamese here.  Nice Pho (soups) and Bahn Mi and very affordable combinations for lunch. Try the Banh mi thit -assorted cold cuts, grilled honey plum glazed pork, house made pickles, cilantro, jalapenos, and mayo.  For something a bit more exotic but really exceptional try the Bun Co Ba – Crispy spring rolls with grilled tiger shrimp, and honey plum glazed pork over rice vermicelli with fresh herbs, served with a chili lime dressing and peanuts.

Sushi – Ageha Sushi - So I went on a Sushi Sabbatical of sorts in the neighborhood and discovered.. new Italian bars that I’m very excited about!  And yes, decent sushi can be found here indeed.  At Ageha I felt most comfortable alone, and with a group.  Sashimi is nice and fresh, and the Chirashi although not too traditional, was plentiful and very satisfying.  For something slightly higher end looking but just as affordable consider Shimizu which also has excellent lunch deals.

Rotisserie Chicken – Poulette.  Little French Chickens invading Hell’s Kitchen.  Young French dude, quits his job in finance to follow his dream.. manufacture French style Rotisserie Chicken.  Only a few weeks old.  I tried the half with 2 sides which turned out to be a bit of a struggle to finish for a big eater like me, so a quarter chicken next time.  This thing was love at first bite — Moist, delicious, coated with plenty of herbs which was the difference.  Some of the best Rotisserie I’ve had.  This is more of a fast food place.  If you require more of a restaurant for your chicken needs, try Inti on 10th for Peruvian style Rotisserie chicken, and Ceviche.

Stay hungry my friends!

Categories: Midtown West, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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