Best Dishes in Hell’s Kitchen – Round 4

Blue Ribbon Sushi Oxtail Fried Rice

Rest of the rounds can be found here

Oxtail Fried Rice at Blue Ribbon Sushi – Responsible for roughly 27% of my wet dreams.  We are blessed with all sorts of crazy fried rice dishes all over town (Ivan Ramen, Gato, Pure Thai), but this one may top them all.  Adding to the richness are bits of bone marrow, and on top of all this craziness is an egg omelette.  Once you mix it all, you get something really special.  This Blue Ribbon is inside the 6 Columbus Hotel, and depending on who you ask it may not be exactly in Hell’s Kitchen.  Some sites like Yelp think it is, and if you ask me, deliciousness should know no borders (I just came up with this)

Danji Tofu

Tofu at Danji – I smell this dish as soon as I go in.  Along with the fiery Korean Wings (some of the best in the city), Bulgogi sliders, the tofu is a must order for me on every visit.  The fact that its a tofu dish alone, and its on this list speaks major volume.  Four rectangles are flash fried, and topped with ginger scallion dressing, and that wonderful soy vinaigrette I smell upon arrival.  The result is crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside, and incredibly delicious throughout.  You will want to eat every single detail of this dish.

Pork Buns

Steamed Pork Buns at Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns Ramen – These are Xiao Long Bao, aka Soup Dumplings, not the pork buns we know and love (Momofuku, Ippudo).  In fact everything about the place is confusing.  The Ramen is not exactly Ramen, there’s no Kung Fu anywhere, and the pork buns are not pork buns.  But they are quite spectacular, once you develop the art of eating them properly.  You may want to hold a napkin in your right hand initially as you may splatter some juice on your neighbor.  But practice will make perfect , and after a few of these babies you will be eating them like a pro.  Just scoop it up unto the soup spoon (add some vinegar before or after), nibble once to make a hole, let the steam out for a few seconds… attack.  This is not a place to linger, nor for a fancy pre-theater meal, as you may share your table with common folk who may not be wearing Louboutin.

Pam Real Oxtail

Oxtail Soup at Pam Real Thai – This is a no-brainer since I included it in the Best Dishes of 2014.  Delicious lasting heat, complex broth, with two hefty meaty bones.  Fatty in all the right places, like slow dancing with your mother-in-law.  If my mother-in-law could cook like this, I would have an affair.  I believe it has miracle powers (cured all my flu like symptoms, and frontal balding).  It’s my favorite soup in the city of Ramen.  Disregard the lazy, minimalistic decor at this old timer (compared to the rest of the Thai in the area).  Though once you try Pam’s cooking, the decor will look like something out of a contemporary French country catalog

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Pastel de Crema at City Sandwich – Yes, we are listing the city’s top sandwich stop and not having a sandwich.  Criminal in a way.  Until you try these things at this Portuguese inspired joint.  Yes, I suppose you can find them in your nearest Chinatown as well (They were introduced to China via Macau while under Portuguese rule).  This is the Portuguese national snack.  A creamy egg custard inside a flaky crust.  But if an egg tart is not to your liking, try their mini Panna Cotta

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Why Di Palo’s is my Favorite Food Store in NYC

IMG_1622Walk on Mulberry street between Broome and Hester on a sunny day, and you may notice a peculiar thing, or three.  People sitting, watching other people, and everyone is eating the same thing.  Penne with red or vodka sauce (I presume for the Russians), Frutti di Mare, and the occasional chicken parm parked right next to their guidebook.  I apologize to the people watchers who had to endure me through the years but I just love walking on that stretch simply because its such an interesting and unique attraction.  A street in the middle of Chinatown devoted entirely to tourists.  Dont get me wrong, I would not expect anyone to know that there are gems like Rubirosa, Osteria Morini, and Parm less than 5 minutes away, just like I would not know where to eat in their hometown.

But lets think for a second what would happen when the guidebooks finally get the memo that there is no such thing as Little Italy anymore.  All the businesses will most likely close, except for one, Di Palo’s.  Ok, maybe La Mela as the last of the red sauce mohicans.  But Di Palo’s has been there for almost 100 years, and unless they get booted out they are not going anywhere anytime soon.  Instead of sitting at a place that bills itself as home to the “Best Canolli in the World” (of the pre-filled and frozen kind) and watch people that look like me (again, I’m sorry), you should be sitting in Di Palo’s breathing history.  This is the real Little Italy stuffed in this small enclave on Grand steet, with a story bigger than all the red sauce joints on Mulberry combined.IMG_1616

This is not the place for a quick purchase, unless you come early in the morning when they first open.  In here you linger.  This is the only store in NY where you feel good about getting a number and dont really mind waiting much, because you know you’ll be getting the same kind of treatment when its your turn.  Once your turn is up, you may get one of the Di Palo’s (Lou, Sal, Marie) or one of the trusted workers who are probably used to seeing people skipping turns just to get one from the family.  Either way, you will get a personal interaction that is almost unheard of in NYC.  With almost zero regard to the amount of people waiting, you will be able to taste just about everything the store has to offer, and have fun doing so.  Spending more than 30 minutes is not that far fetched, and if you get Lou, Sal, Marie, chances are you’ll want to be there for an hour.  Many top NYC chefs do the same thing, come in and take a number. Chef Daniel Boulud calls Lou Di Palo one of the seven wonders of New York.

What to try/get:  Their fresh Mozzarella is extremely popular.  Burrata, aged Pecorino, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Mortadella from Bologna, not NJ.. Soppressata, Prosciutto di Parma, Cacciatorini (hunter salami), peppered salami, Finocchiona, Felino from Felino, not Utah.  The one item I absolutely must get every time is Truffled Pecorino.  They have several, usually from Sardinia or Tuscany.  Eataly has none.  Also you can get Sullivan Street Bakery Focaccia (great for a picnic), fresh pasta, various sauces including Urbani truffle sauces and more.  If you havent been and enjoy good food, you owe it to yourself

Di Palo’s
200 Grand St

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Categories: Chinatown, New York City, SoHo, NoHo, Nolita | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Bassanova – Some Ramen are Better than Others

Ziggy:

Bumping this one up with a lame update, but hey the pictures are great

Originally posted on Eating With Ziggy:

Bassanova YuzuApril 12th, 2015 Update:

I have mixed feelings about reblogging this one.  On one hand I have an important update on Bassanova (Important to me at least.  To roughly 89% of yous this is as important as the news that Bruce Jenner is now wearing a bra).  But on the other hand, after reading the original post below, I have no clue what the hell I’m talking about there.  I suppose I can just rewrite the entire thing, but that would not be keeping it real.  You are with me folks, with the good and the bad, and the terrible.  And the “He must be high on kasha or something”.

I’ll make this one quick and painless, without any Morrissey references.  Its painful enough for me to even spell Morisseey.  But I really do wish everyday was like this Sunday.  A nice day of eating with the misses where I introduced…

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Take Your Daughters to Roberta’s Day

IMG_1598I, Ziggy U, because Google will not allow accounts without a last name a la Cher, hearts Roberta’s pizza.  I’ve been eating Roberta’s pizza for the past two years.  I’ve been stung by its Bee Sting, and started riots when they stopped offering it at Madison Square Eats.  I’ve been touting its pizza and recommended Roberta’s to total strangers asking for pizza and even non pizza stuff (Can you recommend a good shoe lace store in Bushwick that wont break the bank).  I’ve gone to the annual Roberta’s festival in its back yard once where they give away the pies for free.  I’ve done it all.  Except for one tiny little detail…  Eat at Roberta’s.  Up until yesterday I’ve never eaten inside Roberta’s.  I’ve gone close a few time.  Remember the Zizi Limona post last year?  I didn’t feel it was fair to Zizi to mention that we were actually on our way to Roberta’s that day, but the wait for a table was over an hour.

IMG_1602That’s the norm at Roberta’s.  Over one hour waits.  Regulars will be drooling over the pictures here, not so much for the all too familiar food, but the empty tables.  This is Wednesday at 3:30, nap time at hipsterland, and perfect timing before 4-5 where only pizza and Romaine salad are available.  Why are there long waits?  A)  Its extremely popular B)  The pizza is great C)  There’s nothing else whatsoever in the immediate area, but empty lots and graffiti filled structures.  Its also pretty freakin far.  We somehow, by pure Hanukkah miracle, survived the drive and ensuing meal without the unimaginable:  The youngest’s phone dying.

We started with a salad, which turned out to be $5 more expensive since in true a la carte fashion, the bread and butter is a menu item.  This is a New York trend that I hope reverses soon as I didn’t find much wrong with the concept of receiving the bread and butter for free.  Here, you expect to get something that resembles this, but instead you get something that you normally get for free elsewhere, albeit a nice warm baguette and butter that was a little oversalted.  The Romaine “I cant believe its not Caesar” Salad was as good and fresh as Romaine Salads can get, with candied walnuts, Pecorino and mint.

IMG_1592Ribs or Carbonara? Ribs or Carbonara?  “We are out of the Ribs”.  That settles it me thinks.   The Carbonara arrives looking nothing like traditional Carbonara, and more like some heated yellow mess, was surprisingly quite delicious.  The Guanciale was missing its snap, but the pasta was peppery, eggy and rich.  We attacked this thing with full force.  The pizzas were the same classic Neapolitans we’ve been enjoying for years.  Margherita was perfectly light and airy, and so was the busier secret menu item Bee Sting with the honey and Soppressata.  Try it at a food festival near you, or take the schlep over the bridge and then some

Roberta’s
261 Moore St, Brooklyn, NYIMG_1595IMG_1597 IMG_1600 IMG_1601 IMG_1603 IMG_1605

 

Categories: Brooklyn, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Momofuku Ko – Son of David

Momofuku Ko huckeberryOn this fine second Seder eve, the beginning of Nutella week (I only eat Nutella with Matzah), I’ll start with a question I’ve been asked many time.  How can Jesus be the son of David!  Jesus was born 1000 years after David, and yet he is repeatedly described in the new testament as the Son of David.  Was David the first ever sperm donor?  I didn’t think so.  Mmm, a moment of silence as I reflect on the fact that I haven’t and most likely never will produce sons.  I get this moment every now and then.  But the answer to our questions is that its just a Messianic title, like “Son of god”.  Jesus, born in the city of David, Bethlehem, was the long awaited Messiah, deliverer, the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies.

Momofuku KoCoincidentally (or not) “Ko” means “Son of” in Japanese, and Momofuku Ko is the son of David Chang, the long awaited Messiah that came to free us from  French dominance, and who broke all the rules and then some, like an inspired blogger suddenly writing with run-on sentences.  Chang like Ko, is a trend setter that continues to reinvent himself.  In a recent editorial piece by Chang about the flux state of ramen in NYC, I couldnt help but notice the extensive profanities in the piece.  Some may say Vulgar.  I say fucking inspiring!Momofuku Ko Art

The best way I can describe Ko is like this.  A religious experience for non-religious food geeks.  A rather indescribable event that perhaps you should not read much about beforehand, like the back of the Netflix white sleeve envelope.  Even the cuisine itself is not something you can categorize.  The default “American (new)” is perhaps the closest but only because its the default, and not because its comparable to anything else in its category (with the possible exception of Atera and a few more).  Yelp lists it as “Korean, American (New)”.  Might as well say “Turkish, Uyghur, Fried Chicken”.

Ko DudeYou almost need to become religious when you try to make reservations.  You have to open an account with fuku, set a reminder exactly two weeks before the date you want at 9:55 am and start flexing the fingers.  At 10:00 am reservations open, and at 10:05 they pretty much close.  If you miss your big chance, they can put you on a calling list in case someone cancels on the same day.  For me it required a small village, with “fuku” texts from friends reminding me after many failed attempts.

Its counter seating, with ample room between you and other guests.  The 2.5 hours meal costs $175 and features a set menu of 18 or so dishes.  Overall it felt like what a 2 Michelin star in NYC should feel.  Professional, efficient, yet not too stuffy at all, even though you cant drop a napkin without someone handing you a fresh one within seconds.  Part of the enjoyment is sitting there watching the cooks do their thing, including someone we dubbed Momofuku Eddik who looked like our friend Eddik.

Ko DudesDescribing the dishes at Ko can be as complicated as describing Japanese elder porn.  I dont usually take notes while I eat so I will try to do my best describing and will omit some that were not so memorable, like the millefeuille, the only photo not taken (probably around the time I spotted Mr Chang.  I’m glad he didnt recognize me because I was having way too much fun with Mrs Z and didnt feel like being bothered)

Lobster Paolise was the highlight of the early round of small bites, served in a cylinder shell like a shot glass.  Paloise is essentially minty Barnaisse.  A terrific Vegetable Roll followed by less memorable millefeuille and pomme soufflee.  Madai (Japanese Snapper looking Sea Bream) served raw with clear jellied consomme and shiso was a nice little transition to the lightweights.  Razor Clams swimming in basily pineapple dashi was perhaps the first wow moment, only to be followed by much bigger ones.  Sunchoke (Jerusalem artichoke) aided by dry aged beef fat was meaty yet delicate.  Then comes a sensational Venison tartare with fermented black bean puree and shredded fried brussels sprouts providing a nice crunch.  One of the best dishes of the nightMomofuku Ko Paloise Momofuku Ko veg roll Momofuku Ko Madai Momofuku Ko Razor clamsMomofuku Ko sunchoke Momofuku Ko Venison

The Mackarel Sawarazushi that we saw our new friend Jay torch time and time again during the meal, was well balanced, and not as strong as mackerel can get sometimes.  Surprisingly, in a way I preferred the dashi (soup) they made with the mackerel with shredded King Oyster Mushrooms and Asian Pears.  Like the sickest Miso soup you will ever eat.  Soft scrambled eggs with Osetra caviar and breadcrum-like fried potatoes was quite the dish.  Add the homemade bread and radish butter and you got a triumph.  Like breakfast at Putin’s.  Momofuku, change the name to Breakfast at Putin’s

Momofuku Ko mackerelMomofuku Ko Torching Jay Momofuku Ko dashi Momofuku Ko eggs Momofuku Ko bread

The Pilmeni/ravioli like Kaboocha squash dumplings were light and springy.  A nice transition to the heavyweights of the meal (perhaps its a good time to say, skip lunch).  The lobster dish was another winner.  A few pieces of lobster tail with sweet potatoes and some sort of lobster espuma which was like the greatest lobster bisque on the planet.  When you make the sweet potato almost match the lobster in taste, for this sweet potato hater, you are doing a lot of things right.  The best way I describe the pork piece is steroid injected, beefed up incredibly delicious Canadian bacon.  They brine that thing for 6 days.  Add some Kimchi and onions and you got yourself an Ooooboy!  If you didn’t have your religious experience by now, it will probably arrive with the frozen foie gras liberally shaved on top of Lychee, candies pine nuts and Riesling Jelly.

Momofuku Ko Kabocha Momofuku Ko lobster Momofuku Ko Pork Momofuku Ko Frozen goie gras

The desserts, while perfectly acceptable, did not carry the similar oomph you get with the rest of the menu.  A Huckleberry sorbet with bee pollen, minty chocolate tart, some mignardises in a form of tiny macaroons.  The best thing was the last warm dessert that’s not on the menu but reminded me of a sticky toffee pudding.

Needless to say, put this Momofuku high up there on your NYC bucket list.  The first slot sounds about right.

Momofuku Ko chocolate Momofuku Ko mignardises Momofuku Ko dessert

 

 

 

Categories: East Village, New York City | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

Two for Tuesday – Spain via Montreal

Despana GoodiesTwo for Tuesday is a brand new column on EWZ, featuring two places generally in Manhattan that well represent another city, state, or country.  For the time being Two for Tuesday will be featured on the 5th Tuesday of every March!  I may increase productivity if I get enough likes.

Mile End Deli

Once you are done with our Jewish Delis, why not visit a Jewish Deli!  A Montreal Jewish Deli.  Just like in New York, Jews from Eastern Europe flocked to Montreal at the turn of the 20th century, bringing along all their recipes, including unfortunately for many, Gefilte Fish.  Some of them opened delis (one of which invented the Montreal Seasoning) and over time a distinct meat smoking/curing style was born.  “Pastrama” as the Romanian Jews called it back in the day (and now), became “Pastrami” in NYC, and “Smoked Meat” in Montreal (probably sexier in French) where its done with Brisket (not nave) and seasoned differently.  At Mile End on Bond Street you can comfortably taste a full lineup of Montreal Deli goodies from Matsoh Ball soup to Poutine without fighting the selfie stick filled brouhahas you get at the other delis.  The Smoked Meat is sliced thick, brinier and less marbled than the pastrami.  While I still give a slight nod to the pastrami, there are a growing amount of Montreal fans out there.  Try for yourself.Mile End Deli

Despana

Little Eataly, Little Spain, Eatspana? I personally call it Despana because thats what it’s called.  Started as a chirozo factory in 1971, the Queens branch is still the hub, while the Manhattan branch is the retail source to everything Spain.  Chances are most NYC tapas joints deal with Despana is some shape or form, and so can you.  A large array of Spanish wines in the wine store.  The who’s who in Spanish cured meats… Jamon Serrano, Iberico, and “we only acorn” jamón iberico de bellota.  Marcona almonds – if you never had Marcona almonds, you never had almonds.  Since my local Costco stopped carrying them, I noticed sudden mood changes.  Bocadillo Sandwiched.  The famous white anchovies(boquerones).  You can enjoy a wide array of tapas in the communal tables in the back, or just browse around the store and try many goodies available before buying.  While in other markets, you are not able to try anything and at times it feels like a can of sardines.  Talking about cans of sardines, their cans will make you look at your local market sardines not quite the same way again.  The other day day I had the spicy red sauce ones over leftover Kasha (buckwheat).  Magnifico!

Mile End
53 Bond St

Despana
408 Broome St

Despana Despana in Despana Wall

Categories: New York City, SoHo, NoHo, Nolita | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Mission Chinese 2.0: Possible

Mission Chinese DumplingsYesterday I got a disturbing text from my barber.  It wasnt so much about the content of the text, but rather the fact that I got a text from my barber that was alarming.  Initially I concluded wrong number, but then I remembered that my barber was the only person I know that calls me by the wrong name.  I gave up correcting him 5 years ago and simply play along.  “Terry, I moved to the other side of the mall, by Macy’s.  Please confirm that you received this text”.  After confirmation, he was very delighted that I showed understanding, and opted to stick with him!?!  Well, why on earth shouldn’t I.  Should I consider perhaps that other side of the mall is further away from my house.  Maybe he’s implying lack of parking.  I’ve only been with him for 16 years.  Should I drop him because the other side of the mall doesnt have an Auntie Anne’s soft pretzel stand, and hire one of the old schmucks taking a nap at 10 am.  I always show up to a Bunny Ranch-like lineup of sleeping barbers.

Mission ChineseIn similar fashion Mission Chinese Food moved from the LES to Chinatown, pretty much the same distance as my barber.  Danny Bowien, and MCF opened with a bang initially, even winning in a rather shocking fashion the coveted Best New Restaurant of 2013 from the New York Times.  Not too long after, it was closed by the Health Dep’t, reopened shortly after, only to close for good shortly after that.  For its fans this unfolding was difficult to watch.  As difficult as watching a baby seal getting clobbered to death.  If I would only have a nickle for every favorite Chinese restaurant closed at some point by the Health Dep’t, I would have a Quarter by now. Who cares if there’s evidence of mice.  As long as the mice and I are not there at the same time.

The new space, compared to the old, is comically stunning.  Like a bizarre cross between a fancy diner, a steakhouse, and a Lucky Cheng’s.  It kept some of the furniture from previous tenant Rosette, including a pizza oven which they utilize for pizza and bread.  Comfortable booths, chandeliers, and Lazy Susans unlike the Lazy Susans at my Doctor’s office where you just got lazy women named Susan.  When you add this all up, including the many mild additions to the menu, you get something you can bring your family, or even your in-laws.  But contrary to the way it looks inside, and the sign outside, it is very far from your average Chinese joint. Mission Chinese Tom Khallins

Started with one of the most unique drinks in recent memory (about a week give or take).  Tom Khallins – Old Tom gin, coconut milk, kaffir lime, lemongrass, ginger, chile, and sesame oil served in a small tea bowl.  After this and Pok Pok I’m really starting to get into those coconuty drinks.

The “Bread Service” is essentially a delicious smoky round Laffa with kefir butter spread.  It comes with a price tag ($7) that will make any Israeli or Arab shiver, a la the Jerusalem Bagel at Bar Bolonat.  Although the great free cilantro and scrambled eggs dumplings leave less room to complain.  One good reason NOT to get the bread is that it takes a lot of space on the table that you will struggle for very soon.

Mission Chinese Bread ServiceThe Cumin Lamb Ribs while on the fatty and chewy side were somehow more satisfying that the previous version.  The Dates in this dish alone are worth the price of admission.  On the other hand, the Kung Pao Pastrami went from my favorite to least favorite of the night.  The pastrami this time was much more charred, with texture closer to the potatoes it came with rather than that great pastrami of 1.0.  It wasn’t bad overall, but the rest of the lineup was just better.

Like the great Beef Jerky Fried Rice with Beech Mushrooms.  Wildly flavorful, but only the second best fried rice dish of the day (oxtail fried rice @ Blue Ribbon near Columbus Circle for lunch).  And if I would have to pick a favorite this night, it would probably be the Green Tea Noodles with ginger scallion, hoisin, and the great matcha flavor which makes the dish.  The only issue with this one is that the noodles are so stuck together (not so much in a bad way), that its difficult to remove a portion if you are sharing.  Eat this like Chinese eating rice.

Mission Chinese Food
171 E Broadway
$$$
Recommended Dishes: Tom Khallins, Beef Jerky Fried Rice, Green Tea Noodles, Cumin Lamb Ribs

 

Mission Chinese Pastrami

Mission Chinese Green Tea Noodles Mission Chinese Cumin Lamb Mission Chinese

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

Is Maialino Turning Stale?

Malfatti

Malfatti

Maialino has always been one of those easy, solid, high probability recommendations over the past 3 years.  I’ve recommended it to people not only looking for “Italian” in NYC but also “Not Italian”, with the hopes that if anything will convert them this is it.  I’ve been singing its praise to restaurant owners from Naples to Alba while touring the country.  I’ve been a fan of Nick Anderer for years, and since meeting him at the Parla/Bonci event at Paulie Gee’s, had some fun conversations with him at Marta, which is one of my favorite new places in town.  Hence, its somewhat awkward for me to write this post, but I’m doing it out of love and appreciation, not hate. I would hate to see the place turn into another Union Square Cafe

The meal wasnt terrible by any stretch.  But the name carries certain expectations, and anticipations, especially when its a special birthday dinner with the family.  I always think about that walk to the park with my friend Val and his Bulldog Rocco who out of sheer excitement, farts his way the entire length of the walk until he finally gets to his favorite pooping spot.  You can feel and smell the anticipation along the way.  But imagine if after all these years, Rocco finds out that his spot has been discovered by a Yorkshire Terrier, or worse, replaced by a condominium development.  Something was off the other night, and I’m hoping it was just a Sunday night off-night

The Salumi here has never been a strong suit to begin with, although I found the selection plate still orderable partly due to lack of other desirable options (where’s that octopus when you need it).  The Mortadella for example is cut thick with texture and taste resembling its bastardized Bologna more than actual Mortadella.Maialino Salumi

The Cacio e Pepe and Carbonara still delivered, although the Cacio carried a little less magic than in the past.  But that Guanciale in the Carbonara, I can chew on that forever.  Or more like 5 minutes, which is like a lifetime in Guanciale years.  The Pappardelle was just fine.  Chunks of tender nicely cooked pork with light cream.  Not your typical Ragu, and missing that beautiful marriage between meat and pasta.

For main we shared another pasta, the Malfatti with the braised Maialino (suckling pig) and arugula.  But wait a minute, this dish looks familiar.  As in 7 minutes ago familiar.  Way too identical to the Pappardelle, but sounded much different.  “Malfatti” I suppose is a very loose interpretation of something misshaped or badly formed, and I’ve always associated it with ugly pasta-less (more like gnocchi) ricotta/spinach dumplings as in Al Di La in Brooklyn.  But here it looks like hand ripped thin pasta, like Pappardelle “squares”.  The pig had decent flavor if not a bit one-note (salt), but by this point we were craving for something more Raguish.  The Garganelli which I enjoyed in the past with rabbit could have filled the void but was missing in action.

Very often one dish can make or break a meal, and in this case the decider was the Oxtail.  When I had the dish before, the beautiful tender meat was easily falling off the bone in liberal fashion.  This time I had to work hard managing the unrendered fat, distributing the kill like a mother wolf feeding her three babies.  The surprising highlight of the evening was the panna cotta look-alike Cheesecake with sour cherries.  Hope I’m still welcomed at Marta, but if not I’ll understand  Maialino Pappardelle Maialino Carbonara Maialino Oxtail Maialino Cheesecake

 

Categories: Gramercy, Flatiron, New York City | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Turks and Caicos – Seaside Cafe

Ziggy:

An update on an old favorite…

Originally posted on Eating With Ziggy:

Seaside - tuna sashimi

March 21st, 2015 Update:

Get the Fish Sandwich for lunch people.  Its a couple of pickled carrots shy of being the perfect Banh Mi, although I sort of prefer this simplified version.  Toasty baguette courtesy of Caicos Bakery filled with expertly blackened fish grilled to flaky perfection.  Great little sandwich.  Moving on from Vietnam to Peru, Amazing Race style.  The Peruvian Conch Salad brings out our animal instincts, each time without fail.  If there’s one tip I could offer to the 15 TCI viewers I get per day (over 200 look at the Hell’s Kitchen Survival Guide alone, 15 at TCI), get some of that Peruvian.  We dont even need to open the lunch menu here.

We also had another outstanding dinner later on.  Nice and springy flatbread with goat cheese, pesto, and arugula.  A new discovery was the Conch Chowder that may have cracked our top three.  More of the delicious Tuna Sashimi…

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Crackpot Kitchen {TCI}

Crackpot Kitchen LobsterFirst, the confession.  I was not in a rush to get here.  For selfish reasons I enjoy discovering new places on the island, and make an effort to visit them as soon as I can.  Some (Caravel) work better than others (Fresh Catch, Kalooki’s).  When we like a new place, we get this sense of accomplishment that fixes just about everything.. rashes, frontal baldness, etc.  The weather may suck but at least you are eating well, and unless they shutter for not being on the beach, you will eat well next time as well.  Crackpot was the exception, as I tried to avoid it for as long as I could.  “Unassuming” was just not the word one could describe this one after coming out of the gate rather strong.  Reports of Chef Nick indulging elsewhere just weeks after the opening added to the confusion, and intrigue at the same time.

Crackpot KitchenFast forward a year later (commercials included), chef Nik and company, not only weathered the storm, but managed to survive at what I call the closest middle of nowhere location in the world.  Taking over the former Lemon space, Crackpot is in the middle of a large abandoned development one needs to drive into even though its walking distance from some of the resorts.  And to get there, one needs to maneuver between a series of potholes, a can of coke, and three cats carrying a wounded cat on a stretcher.  Not much changed decor wise since the previous tenant left (after a nasty split, but that’s for another blog.  Divorce Courting With Ziggy?).

Servers, efficient, albeit acting as if they just graduated from server academy.  Nick, the famous son of Smoky, and local cooking show personality stopped by apologizing for his attire, although it was way too dark to even see what he was wearing.  I apologized for my attire as well and we moved on.  The place overall felt as if Coco Bistro and Flamingo’s hooked up, got drunk and produced a crack baby.  But food wise, everything worked for the most part

Crackpot Kitchen Conch FrittersThe conch salad was a little different than the norm.  On the zestier, fruitier side of things, with bits of pineapple, and melon finely intermingled among the usual conch salad suspects.  Not bad at all.  The lobster salad was of the cooked variety, essentially a crab salad gone wild.  Conch fritters were more like conch kebabs, skewered, surprisingly delicious even while lacking that outside crisp.  The ribs here were quite wet and with good flavor.  More sauce on side (for the Stern fans) was totally unnecessary.  Not sure where they rank on the island but somewhere behind Chinson’s and Caicos Cafe’s version I suppose.

Got my Goat fix here and I must say this was a good goat curry.  Minimal dryness, and quite addictive, although this blogger is a bit more obsessed with Goat curry than the next guy.  They also have a good looking Oxtail cooked with Guinness.  The one glaring fail of the evening was the Grilled Lobster.  A dry, overcooked mess with stuffing, and other various concoctions on the side that didn’t work.Crackpot Kitchen Lobster salad Crackpot Kitchen Conch Salad Crackpot Kitchen Ribs Crackpot Kitchen Goat

Categories: Turks and Caicos | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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