Monthly Archives: June 2014

7 More Provo Bites

Bugaloos - SnapperA sample of some of Provos top dishes as featured in the summer issue of Where When How.  For past Provo Bites, click here.  We’ll be there in a week for another culinary adventure.

Wahoo Carpaccio at Caicos Cafe – If there’s anything as exciting as the left side of Caicos Cafe’s menu it is in my humble opinion the right side of the menu.  All that excitement causing the specials on the board to look lonely and out of place, like the lone sock in your sock drawer missing its partner (Why do people keep the single socks.  Hard to say goodbye or are they waiting for a miraculous appearance of some sort).  At any rate, all sorts of food magic can also be found on that special board, and if there’s fresh Wahoo in the house there’s a good chance  “Mad Max” will add it in this Carpaccio form.  Expertly prepared, sprinkled with capers and pink peppercorns, perfectly cut, silky smooth, melt in your mouth buttery “When Harry Met Sally” seafoodgasm goodness, worthy of a run on sentence.  Get this!Caicos Cafe - Wahoo Carpaccio

Conch Chowder at Le Bouchon.  Yes, these guys make a killer Steak Frites.  Yes, their escargot will make you slap your mama.  Yes, the place is always full of beautiful people, and NO that’s not the main reason we keep going back there Mrs Ziggy, aka the most beautiful woman I know.  And yes, even the simple stuff like the smoky, perfectly spiced, uncreamy Chowder is a winner at Le Bouchon Du Village.  If there’s one dish that showcases Pierrick’s and Julian attention to detail, this may be the one.

Le Bouchon - Conch Chowder

Peruvian Conch Ceviche at Seaside.  Here’s a fun tidbit for your next cocktail party.  Most people don’t realize the role Peru had on our ability to function as society.  Transportation networks, roped bridges, The Pisco Sour, all invented in ancient Peru.  But the biggest contribution that most dont know about is the Ceviche, the grandfather of TCI’s national dish, Conch Salad.  Young master chef Francois mixes in various peppers including Scotch Bonnet to give it the proper pleasant heat with just enough acid from the lime.  And in true Peruvian style, he throws in plenty of fresh veggies including corn to make it the island Conch Salad to beat.  The equally outstanding tuna Sashimi made this choice a tough one.

Seaside - conch salad

Romaine Lettuce at Lupo –  We all have our routines right before heading to Turks and Caicos.  Mine is having my fortune told.  “You will choose wisely” was a common theme, and I have to tell you readers, those fortune cookies are correct more often than not.  So I went against my comfort zone more often and ordered things that I normally never do, like this play on Caesar Salad.  Quite possibly the best Caesar you will ever eat.  Smoky Romaine, sharp Parm and crispy Pancetta bits round this piece of deliciousness.  Nicely done Lupo!

Lupo Romaine

Kerala Chicken Masala at Garam Masala – Garam is becoming a regular for us due to its splendid kebabs and colorful curries such as the Dal Makhani, Chicken Tikka Masala and this South Indian delight from the Kerala region.  Bright, complex, flavor packed dish we couldn’t get enough of.  In a strange way it reminded me of white Alba truffles as in a similar matter I was still enjoying this hours later via a series of pleasant little burbs.  Much to the chagrin of the NJ couple I met on the Beach a the time.  I suppose I could say its payback for the smells of Central NJ, but I’m too much of a professional to say or write something like that

Garam Masala - Kerala

Fettuccine with Guanciale and Black Truffles at Via Veneto – The fatty, deliciously salty Guanciale (pork cheeks) plays an important part here.  But its all about that truffle essence that tells the brain “now this is gonna be yummy (foodie technical term)”.  Just like when you put your shoes on and it feels sort of wet inside and you suddenly remember that your toddler was playing hide and seek again in the closet the night before and got a wee bit excited, your brain tells you its time to remove those shoes from your feet.  Via Veneto is quickly becoming another Italian force to be reckoned with.

Via Veneto - Fetuccinne

Sautéed Whole Snapper at Bugaloos (top)- A Snapper a day keeps the doctor away… and brings the creditors closer.  Take your creditors to Bugaloos so they could understand.  Freshly caught Red Snapper doesn’t require too much handling.  Some coconut milk, onions, pepper, garlic, and simple seasoning is the best compliment for the mouthwatering perfectly flaky piece of fish.  The inner barbarian Ziggy came out to attack this one with full force.  While the inner feminine Ziggy required an emergency cookie stop 20 minutes later.

Categories: Turks and Caicos | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Best Dishes in Hell’s Kitchen – Round 3

Pad Ped Moo Krob at Larb UbolPad Ped Moo Krob at Larb Ubol (above) – Everything I love about Thai food is bundled oh so nicely in this dish.  Crunchy, well cooked fatty pork, sweet pleasant chili heat, green peppercorn galore, that wonderful curry paste, and plenty of veggie action including Thai eggplant which I cant get enough.  Perfection on a plate, but not for the heat sensitive.  Dont confuse this unassuming Thai on 9th/37th with the rest of the mostly mainstream Thai on 9th and 10th.  This is Isan (North) cooking at its finest.  However, if you still hesitant to trek to Hell’s Kitchen out of fear of being kidnapped by the Westies,  Zabb Elee in East Village may do the trick

Rotisserie Chicken at 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, and not in the Guide quite yet, but will be be very soon.  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.  Mrs Z wont allow me to quit my job and do what I do best… hard boiled eggs Rotisserie Chicken at Poulette Al Pastor Tacos at Tehuitzingo – Midlife crisis is pushing me into a taco craze as of late.  When I don’t eat out with my lunch buddies, I construct a little taco tasting in a neighborhood abundant with Taquerias and Bodegas.  Tehuitzingo, a bodega turned Taqueria is always the last stop, and their porky goodness Al Pastor is second to none.  When they closed, food tour leaders went on a collective hunger strike (only two meals a day), but not only they reopened, they multiplied (second branch on 9th/41st). tehuitzingo al pastor Ceviche Mixto at Inti – Talking of Inti, why not feature one of their specialties.  The Peruvians, I bet you didn’t know, invented quite a lot of things that keeps society ticking.  Transportation systems, roped bridges, Pisco Sour, and yes they invented the ceviche.  At Inti you get fresh chunks of fish, shrimp, octopus and calamari marinated in lime juice and mixed with red onions, cilantro and rocoto hot pepper, and served with sweet potatoes and baby corn.  Good luck finding this in a Pio Pio near you. Inti Ceviche Ice Cream & Popsicles at the Brooklyn Kitchen – “Winter Is Coming” says Game of Thrones.  Get the summer goodies while you can.  Enter Gotham West Market, go straight, look down, deliciousness awaits.  Amazing artisenal ice cream sandwiches, and popsicles from popular area vendors like La Newyorkina.  No mass production stuff here.   Small batches and high quality ingredients is key.  You will not taste anything better than this

Ice Cream Sandwich at Brooklyn Kitchen La Newyorkina Popsicle

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So I Shaved and Went to Marea

Marea OctopusI Ziggy the II, bite my nails!  I dont do it because I’m often nervous, gamble, or watch “The Bachelor” a lot.  Its just a habit I developed as a child that never really went away.  And after reading a report on Twitter by a reliable source that, get this, people who bite their nails tend to have a stronger immune system & rarely get sick, I’m not stopping any time soon.  I may even offer to bite other people’s nails if they suffer from this fetish.  I do very rarely get sick.  I also have this thing where I need to lick my fingers before using a napkin, no matter who I’m eating with, and where I am.  Using napkins on saucy fingers just feels very wrong.  I may have been also a tiny little bit stinky before this particular meal, after a 4 hour walking tour of Hell’s Kitchen I was conducting right before the meal.  Not to mention the bike run to Tribeca for Nish Nush Falafel for lunch.

MareaSo here I was…slightly stinky, tehina smelling, unmanicured fingers, on our anniversary dinner at the oil tycoon section of 2 Michelin Star Marea.  Being surrounded by big glamour, and wealth I felt as comfortable as watching a Cialis commercial with the kids.  But, after 2 drinks it didn’t take long until we settled down and enjoyed another fine meal at one of New York’s finest.  By the way, I did shave for this one.  I’m not an animal!

 

1st Course:

Crudo trio –  Pretty forgettable overall.  Exhibit A:  I don’t remember much of it.  Tried the razor clams, langoustine, and snapper.  The snapper (Dentice) had the most flavor, and the Razor Clams not nearly as good as little sister Costata.Marea Crudo

2nd Course:

Astice –  I was totally wowed by this a few years ago, but not this time.  This dish if you recall won a spot at the ultra coveted EatingWithZiggy Best dishes of 2012.  This time I felt the supporting cast.. the basil seeds and eggplant forgot their lines and stumbled on their faces.  All I was tasting was the lobster and your average burrata.  Nevertheless it was still far from terrible, and a dish I recommend targeting for first timers.  After the initial impression I was just expecting way too much

Octopus – (above) Outstanding!  Some of the most tender, flavorful octopus I’ve ever had.  Loved the accompanying smoky potatoes and the salad (onions, radish, chilies).  I twitted this dish after the meal and a response from Marea followed saying this was on the menu from day oneMarea Astice

3rd Course – Both half portions:

Agnolotti – (half portion) Stuffed with milk braised veal these pillowy ravioli simply exploded with flavor as properly made Agnolotti should.  Enjoyed this one a lot even though I was disappointing by the little tiny cube thingies they call “Porcini”.  We are from the amazing Porcini we had in Siena

Strozzapreti with Crab and uni – (half portion) One of their classics which they mistakenly excluded from the online menu at the time of this dinner.  So if you don’t see it on the online menu, don’t believe it.  Perfectly al dented, chewy “Priest Stranglers” with the Uni dominating in a very good way.  The sauce seems a little different this time around than two years ago but still quite lovelyMarea Agnolotti Marea Strozzapreti

4th Course

Fusilli (full portion) – Of course I had to have this again.  This is one of the most celebrated pasta dishes in town and I may have enjoyed it even more now.  Generous amount of octopus, perfectly cooked Fusilli but the red sauce with the bone marrow is as addictive as red sauce can be.  A joy with every scoop

Halibut – I wasnt too sure about this one.  I mean its a freakin halibut (firm, mild, dries quickly), and very often for us after all those rich primis, fish just doesnt deliver much.  This one did!  Halibut cooked nicely, not too dry, but what made the dish was the Fregola Sarda, little bubbly Israeli couscous-like pasta.  With a little pleasant heat the pasta worked very well with the mild fish.Marea Fusilli Marea Halibut

5th Course

Aria Mascarpone – very good sponge cake with pistachio cream and an excellent robiolina (cheese) gelato.  After two meals and having some of the their most popular items like the Bombolonis I still dont have a solid dessert recommendation.  But, cant recommend Marea highly enough.  Just make sure to shower

Marea
240 Central Park S
$$$$
Recommended Dishes: Astice, Octopus, Agnolotti, Strozzapreti, Fusilli, HalibutMarea Dessert Marea Check

 

 

 

Categories: Midtown West, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

New Orleans Sculpture Garden

NOLA 2014 739NOLA 2014 693 NOLA 2014 695 NOLA 2014 707 NOLA 2014 715 NOLA 2014 696 NOLA 2014 709 NOLA 2014 710 NOLA 2014 716 NOLA 2014 720 NOLA 2014 724 NOLA 2014 728 NOLA 2014 730 NOLA 2014 732 NOLA 2014 736 NOLA 2014 738 NOLA 2014 748 NOLA 2014 752 NOLA 2014 753 NOLA 2014 692 NOLA 2014 761

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Walk in the Park Part 3 – Dinner at Gazala’s

Gazala's HummusThe trilogy conclusion you were so anxiously waiting for.  Part 1 is here.  Part 2 is here

****Spoiler Alert****:  The killer is the hummus!

Although I’ve been to Gazala’s Place in Hell’s Kitchen probably more than 20 times, I never actually met Gazala herself, the hardest working woman in showbiz.  That’s because she is hardly ever there.  A few years after opening tiny Gazala’s Place she opened this Upper West Side flagship where she spends most of the time.  To finally meet her and see her in action was as thrilling to me as meeting Michael White, or Bobby Flay.  She is a woman of few words, and all business in that kitchen.

Gazala'sThankfully for us, Gazala chose the al-Juhhāl  (loosely translates to “the Ignorant”) way of life in the Druze village near Haifa, Israel where she grew up.  It essentially means she chose the non-religious way, which meant among other things, she is free to travel and in this case, spread the word about the Druze.  The word is Hospitality.  When you visit a Druze village like we did in Israel a few years ago (coincidentally Gazala’s sister village), you are welcomed and greeted with warmth warmer than your aunt Sally.  And so much of that welcome is conveyed via what I can only describe as Trays of heaven.  No way aunt Sally can cook like this

Treys of heaven started flowing in very quickly at Gazala’s by the usual army of Russian waiters/waitresses I’ve come to know over the years.  Don’t be fooled by the “Asian” looking waitresses, as they are also Russian.  For some reason, perhaps a misunderstanding with the agency Gazala works with, other than the cooks, she only employs Russian workers at both branches.  A fine Labneh (goat cheese) with Zaat’ar spices to start the party.  The Bourekas (flaky pastry) is top notch as usual.  They call it the “Boureka of the day” but we all know they always have the Cheese/Sun Dried Tomato which is what I usually get, Cheese/Spinach, and on occasion the Cheese/Mushroom.  This is the only place where I order this as I’m not normally fond of the Bourek/Bourekas.  Fresh Israeli salad, and surprisingly punchy meat cigars were in the starters mix.Gazala's Bourekas

Here me now and listen to me yesterday (an old SNL joke for the uninformed, or “Ignorant”).  As I’ve said before many times, this is my favorite Hummus in town.  Freshly made daily, it has that perfect creamy texture and that extra oomph that I’ve only had in Israel.  Nish Nush makes a fine rendition, the Hummus Kitchen chain produces a good one, but this is still the one.  I can taste it as I’m writing this.

The big meat platter, Moshokal, with lamb, chicken & kafta kebab with rice delivered strong flavors, perhaps with the exception of the slightly bland lamb.  The Date cookies and the Baklava we got by mistake were fine but perhaps the biggest discovery this time was a pair of Yogurt puddings charged with oranges and rosewater called Osh Al-Saraia.  A heavenly finish at heavenly Gazala’s

Gazala’s
380 Columbus Ave
$$
Recommended Dishes: Hummus (plain or with chickpeas), falafel, Bourekas, grilled chicken, Osh Al-Saraia

Gazala's Meat Cigars Gazala's Israeli Salad Gazala's Moshakal Gazala's Osh Al-Saria

 

 

 

Categories: New York City, Upper West Side | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Walk in the Park Part 2 – The Walk in the Park

057Part 1 is here.  Part 3 (the highlight) to come

Water and Israel were the theme in Central Park on this day (June 1st).  Israel supporters swarmed the park after the annual Israeli Day Parade to commemorate Israel’s independence.  Coincidentally, water is the theme in the Israeli holiday Shavuot which followed this day.  Wrong day to be a tourist in Israel where kids flock the streets with water guns and water balloons.  Perhaps the spritzer above us at Rosi’s was just practicing? (read part 1)

We started at the usual magical spot, where we sang Strawberry Fields Forever.  Well, I sang, while the kids sang “stop”.  One of the parks gems for sure.  We then moved to the always striking Bethesda Fountain, until we settled at the Boathouse to stand on line for a boat.  Playing tourists in our own town.  It took about 40 minutes, which turned agonizing to the couple in front of us who realized they didnt have the $35 cash to rent a boat ($20 of that refundable)

The boats were fun, although most likely built during biblical times.  I developed a child labor technique called OOM-PAH (patent pending).  Shouting “OOM-PAH” meant they both row to the drum-like beat, “OOM” means just the right child, “PAH” means left.  The faster the chant, the faster the row.  It worked for us in that we got back in time (1 hour) and no baby turtles were hurt in the process.  One mother turtle got almost killed, but she was at the wrong place, at the wrong time.

After that we looked for a table at the boathouse for a drink but no luck.  So we trekked a little further to the other boat rental spot where you rent a remote control to navigate your assigned sailboat.  Had some fun with that, climbed Alice in Wonderland (I think I may have killed something else – another turtle), Belvedere Castle, and headed toward dinner.

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Walk in the Park Part 1 – Lunch at Salumeria Rosi

Salumeria Rosi CharcuterieThe first part of the “Walk in the Park” trilogy.  Not just any park – Central Park.  It was one of those great food days you can only have in NYC.  And in some parts of Jersey, Central Connecticut and Israel.  First stop is a visit to this guy’s place which included great food, an assassination attempt, and saving a tourist from bankruptcy and potentially messy divorce.

Cesare Casella who always smells of fresh Rosemary for some reason is quickly becoming a NYC culinary force to be reckoned with.  Not surprising from someone who took his parent’s restaurant outside of Lucca (one of the most magical cities we ever visited) and transformed it into a Michelin star celebrity magnet.  Now, two restaurants hugging Central Park from both sides are owned by Cesare and his partner Parmacotto, a cured meat producer from Parma.

Salumeria Rosi is not your average NYC Italian restaurant like a Maialino or a Mercato.  Its a Salumeria, where you can sample some top quality cured meats, pastas and other small plates consisting of high grade ingredients not normally available at a Trattoria near you.  Leave it to the guy with the fresh Rosemary in his shirt pocket…(hmm, that may explain the question above)

salumeria rosi

Caprese Salad – Fresh, refreshing.  Everything you expect from a Caprese

Salumi Board – As good as it gets in NYC (and we’ve had our share).  All my favorites minus Finnocchiona were featured on this board, so beautiful that it deserves 2 pictures.  Prosciutto di Parma, Mortadella from Bologna, Both sweet and spicy Soppressata, Coppa (like Prosciutto but from shoulder), Cotto (Cooked ham), and the red little things peeping out in the middle are Cacciatorino, small spicy hunter sausage.  We returned later on to buy more of these goodies for the kids school lunches.

Assassination Attempt – Midway through the meal we got splashed with water (I hope it was water) coming from the building on top of us (we were sitting outside btw).  It happened so quick that we didn’t know what hit us at first.  But it wasn’t too bad and more importantly NO SALUMI WERE HARMED in the process.  Although the kids were wondering if I wrote something bad about someone who lives in this building.  Pretty sure this was coincidental

Amatriciana – This was an excellent rendition of the Roman classic featuring mini Rigatoni with a blend of various meats, tomatoes and onions.  Nicely done red sauce dish.
Salumeria Rosi Salsiccia
Lasagna – A very good Bologna style lasagna with pork and beef ragu, and béchamel sauce.  The only issue I had with it, it was on the small side and not very shareable for the four of us
Saving  Marriage – I noticed a couple riding Citi bikes parked in front of the restaurant and stayed for a few drinks.  I jokingly said something like “that’s a lot of overtime” and to my surprise they said not to worry, they have a 24 hour pass.  I tried to explain that it doesn’t mean that they can keep the bikes for 24 hours straight which they didn’t believe at first but most likely got the idea eventually
Salsiccia (above)- Maybe our favorite dish here.  Tender, flavor packed house made pork sausage with heirloom beans and tomatoes.  After struggling to find top quality beans in NYC, Cesare took action and started growing them himself in Italy.
Costina – Wasn’t blown away by this.  Room temperature two pork spare ribs slow-cooked with tomatoes, rosemary and garlic.  Much prefer the sausage dish.
Overall a very good lunch and a very good start to our day.  Bravo Cesare!
283 Amsterdam Ave
$$$
Recommended Dishes:  Salumi Board, Amatriciana, Salsiccia, Lasagna
Salumeria Rosi - Charcuterie salumeria rosi caprese Salumeria Rosi Lasagna Salumeria Rosi Costina Salumeria Rosi Amatriciana Salumeria Rosi inside
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Top 10 Things We Ate in New Orleans

Peche Crawfish Capellini“America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans.  Everywhere else is Cleveland.” ― Tennessee Williams

Having been to New Orleans, and San Francisco, while living in NYC, I’m starting to believe it.  He was talking about food, right?  I believe so.  As I’ve said before, I always compare the excitement of going to NOLA to that of Italy.  Amazing, in a way somewhat foreign cuisine in one heck of a unique setting.  Without further ado, here are our top NOLA bites during a recent trip.

(Note:  For the Dessert list, click here)

BBQ Shrimp at Bevi – I’ll start with the no-brainer.  Perhaps our top eat came from a little shack in Metairie about 30 minutes out from the quarter, close to the airport.  We came for the Crawfish boil and got that and so much more.  Huge, plump fresh perfectly cooked head-on gulf shrimp complimented by what I can only describe as Sauce of Dreams.  Or maybe it was the beer talking, as in Canebrake beer, the sauce main ingredient.  Move over Mr B’s, and say hello to Mr B!

Bevi BBQ Shrimp

Savory Bread Pudding at Atchafalaya – Funny how this trip turned out.  After eating our way through eight sweet Bread Puddings on the previous trip and therefore aiming for more of the same this time, it was actually a savory one that won top marks.  Filled with Mushroom, Sundried tomatoes and topped with tomato sauce, this was addictive stuff to say the least. A joy with every morsel at this popular neighborhood brunch spot.  Bonus:  Try the Eggs Atchafalaya and Shrimp and Grits

Atchafalaya - Bread Pudding

Blue Crab Beignets at La Petite Grocery – This is an absolute must at LPG.  Those little suckers are packed with fresh crab and explosive flavors.  For my TCI readers these are like Conch Fritters on crack!  Bonus:  Get the Ricotta Dumplings, Hand-Made Spaghetti and Turtle Bolognese

La Petite Grocery Blue Crab Beignets

Chargrilled Oysters at Felix’s – Last trip we enjoyed them at Drago’s who invented the Chargrilled Oysters, but now we have a new favorite looks like.   They are not as cheesey and buttery at Felix’s but lightly breaded, some lemon, oil and a little bit of cheese just enough to bring out the flavors of the oysters without overpowering.

Felix's Chargrilled Boilers

Gnocchi Bolognese at Herbsaint.  So much for the “Lets avoid all things Italian since we enjoy great Italian where we live and in Italy” —  We not only managed to eat a lot of interesting pastas pretty much daily, but somehow 3 Bolognese dishes.  Expertly done pillowy goodness with a fine lamb ragu.  But the thing that took it to another level was the herby notes from the Mint Gremolata.  Get this.  Bonus:  Spaghetti with Guanciale and Fried-Poached Egg,  Lamb Neck.  Pastas here are superb

Herbsaint Gnocchi

Whole Grilled Redfish at Peche – Another no brainer.  This one is quickly becoming one of the most celebrated dishes in town.  Expertly cooked Redfish, perfectly complimented with first-rate minty oily Salsa Verde.  You dont mess around too much with greatness.  This little guy can easily be shared by 3, 4 at this multiple James Beard award recipient.  Bonus:  Crawfish Pasta (Top Picture) and too many to mention.  Read the post

Peche Whole Redfish

BBQ Shrimp at Mr B’s – Yes, two BBQ Shrimp dishes on the list this time, which prompted to ask on Chowhound where can I get this in NYC.  No replies so far and its been at least 5 minutes!  This thing was our top eat last time and the only repeater on the list.  If you cant get to Metairie, or even if you can, get this!

Mr B's BBQ Shrimp

Beef Cheeks at Sylvain – If you never had beefy cheeks, you are in for a treat!  Beef doesnt get any more tender and juicy than this, without getting all soft and mushy.  Especially love the supporting cast here of potato purée and field peas.  PS. New Yorkers,  try Bar Bolonat’s Tagine for more cheeky goodness.  Bonus:  Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Chick-Syl-vain Sandwich

Sylvain - Beef Cheeks

Seafood Platter (aka the “Shell Beach Diet”) at Brigtsen’s.  Six different items on the plate including a great Drum Amandine with plenty of almond action, two different baked oysters, a terrific smoky shrimp jalapeño cornbread (really liked this) and shrimp coleslaw.  The only thing I didn’t care for is the Why-So-Sweet scallop but what a fantastic jam-packed plate. Bonus: Crawfish Shortcake, Paneed Rabbit, Pecan Pie

Brigtsen's Seafood Platter

Beignets at Café Du Monde – Yes, this is a cliché I know.  But considering we ate Beignets every single morning I have no choice but give credit where credit is due.  Just edging out Café Beignet, these Beignets were consistently great.  Nice texture, not too daughy, not too airy, just perfectly executed Beignets.  The lines for a table move quick, and don’t forget to look inside for the best views of the action and history

NOLA 2014 460

Categories: New Orleans | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Danji – One of a Kind

Danji Bibim - BopI will make this one nice and quick, just like a lovely lunch at Danji in Hell’s Kitchen.  Photos this time courtesy of the Iphone 5 with semi sweaty palms.  Spring was cancelled this year in case you haven’t noticed, so we went from winter straight to sweaty palms

Danji, the only restaurant in the world that owns both a Michelin Star and a spot in Ziggy’s Hell’s Kitchen Survival Guide.  No one else can claim this dubious distinction.  Hakkasan, the only other Michelin Star establishment in Hells Kitchen, tried but failed.  Maybe next year Hakkasanians.  Don’t know how Daniel and Masa alumni Hooni Kim feels about this accomplishment, but my gut tells me he probably doesnt even know.  I mean seriously, how many people you know even heard of Michelin Stars!  Certainly none of my Korean American friends.

Anyway, Danji is the type of place you take your sexy new coworker for lunch to introduce her to the neighborhood.  I cant think of a better culinary introduction to Hell’s Kitchen, even though Danji is not located on the prettiest block (ugly industrial looking office buildings + an army of people waiting for a table at Totto staring at their phones).  Reservations arent accepted for parties less than 6, but I never had any trouble getting a table for 2 and something 4 for lunch.  The menu, which you will find in a drawer under your table is full of a Korean inspired fancy bar food.  Mostly small plates.

After several lunches with family, friends, loved ones, here are 4 dishes that will make your taste buds go Gangnam style

Tofu W. Ginger Scallion Dressing soy vinaigrette – Creamy interior, crunchy exterior, delicious all around.  One of the best tofu dishes I ever had.  EWZ historians claim that this is the only recommended tofu dish on EWZ

Danji tofu

Spicy ‘K.F.C.’ Korean Fire Chicken Wings honey, garlic, four chilies – These are simply some of the tastiest wings you will ever have in NYC.  Plenty of heat, plenty of joy, and plenty of finger licking followed by Gynecologists convention like finger smelling session

Danji - Wings

Bulgogi Beef Sliders spicy pickled cucumber and scallion salsa – One of Danji’s specialties.  Small and explosive

photo (12)

Kimchi Pork Bibim-Bop satur farm vegetables, jidori egg, and aged kimchi w. pork – My latest discovery (top picture, below mixed).  Mix in all the goodies with the sauce  and you got a beautiful medley of textures and flavors.  Note, my vegan friend, lets call her Phoebe (because thats her name) really liked the veg version.  Bring your vegan friends here.

Danji - BibimBop Danji

 

Categories: Midtown West, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Scenes From the Ninth Avenue International Food Festival

Warning:  Some of these images may be disturbing.  They may include large crowds, pictures of alcoholic beverages, tender grilled octopuses (yes, octopuses is not only acceptable but rolls off the tongue better.. try saying it a few times.. Octopuses) and ways in which we can cheat the system and walk around holding an alcoholic beverage on the streets of NY.  They may also include scenes way too familiar to the average NY food festival goer including pictures of Shish Kebab, corn, and strange looking dudes sporting cats and giant beer bottles on their heads.

I’m also taking this opportunity to award the first ever ZAG award to the vendor showing excellence via most palatable eats.  The ZAG (Ziggy Against Gyros) goes to Empanada Mama and their terrific Brazil and Spicy Chicken Empanadas.  Congratulations guys.photo (9) photo (8) photo (25) photo (24) photo (23) photo (21) photo (18) photo (19) photo (20) photo (17) photo (15) photo (14) photo (11) photo (12) photo (13) photo (10)

 

Categories: Midtown West, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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