Monthly Archives: September 2014

Osteria Morini – From The One Who Knocks

Osteria Morini CalamariUpdate 9/30/14:

Another fantastic meal at one of my favorite Italian trattorias in NYC.  While the entire city is still recovering from their brunch or stands in line to see the new Central Perk, we enjoy our traditional early Sunday meal at a half full restaurant.

Breaded Grilled Calamari as good as before, except that I’ve enjoyed the little salad with the yogurt a little bit more this time.  Used the bread to “Scarpetta” the heck out of this thing.  When in Emilia you eat the Salumi which is top notch here.  Mortadella from Bologna, not upstate NY as you find in other places.    Funky aged Prosciutto di Parma, and even funkier Felino Salame.  I will be passing by the town of Felino where that Salame is made in the ER in about a month time.  Wait until Mrs Ziggy finds out that we have an hour drive for lunch that day

Osteria Morini Salumi

Had another great round of the fabulous Cappelletti and Stracci as the middle course.  The Stracci with mushrooms especially is addictive.  Its wide ribbon pasta that takes a lot of that braised mushroom juice with a little bit tomato, garlic, and rosemary oil.  I wouldn’t mind eating just those mushrooms as its own dish.  Tagliatelle Ragu is as good as Tagliatelle Ragu Bolognese can get in NYC.  The freshness of the pasta is very evident.  The only thing we didn’t care for was their deconstructed oversalted Porchetta.  Cauliflower and Escarole Gratin side dish was fine.  No dessert, 2 glasses of wine, 2 kids, one wife, $210 after tip

Osteria Morini Stracci

Original 9/24/13 Post:

Its the last Breaking Bad reference this month I promise you readers.  I have no doubt that when I will look at this post a year from now I may either not understand the title, or feel too embarrassed about it.  I already feel that way when I look at my old posts.  At the very least some posts trigger a “What was I thinking” like this one.  Did I really take that picture just so I can have a picture.  Whatever!  Sometimes, the content correlates with the mood at the time.  And when I read them with a different frame of mind I cant help but wonder.

I not only have trouble keeping up with NYC restaurant scene, I have trouble keeping up with the Kardashians, and Michael White, who is opening new places left and right seems like.  I already wrote about Costata where I met the man, and Marea has long been my favorite.  While I still haven’t made it to Ai Fiori, I finally made it to Osteria Morini today (yes with the hummus whisperer yet again).  I have to admit I was a little skeptical about this one, but boy was it good.

Calamari breaded, “cheesed” and lightly fried was some of the best calamari Ive had in a while.  Served with a yogurt sauce and a nice salad.  Fantastic starter.

Prosciutto and Mortadella Meatballs – Cant get much more flavorful than this.  Melt in your mouth tender goodness.  Well donOsteria Morini - Cappellettie!

Stracci (wide ribbon pasta) with wild mushrooms and Rosemary Oil – Delicious!  Mr White sure loves his Rosemarys.  Ive seen this pasta on some “Top 100 pastas in NYC” list.  You may think this is not saying much, but in NYC it does.  Its an honor to be nominated.

Cappelletti (above)- Basically ricotta ravioli with prosciutto and hints of truffles – Outstanding.  Airy sweet and savory ravioli, reminiscent of a similar dish at Giovanni Rana.

This is Emilia Romagna cooking at a high level.  The only other place I know that does ER well is Da Andrea but something tells me without setting foot in ER (planning next year) that Osteria Morini stays a bit truer to the region .  Here White pays homage to his mentor Gianluigi Morini owner of the famed San Domenico near Bologna.  This is the source of Mr White’s inspiration

Mr White is a trend setter.  He Is The One Who Knocks!

Osteria Morini
218 Lafayette St
Recommended Dishes: Meatballs, Calamari, Salumi (choose 3 or 5), Stracci, Cappelletti, Tagliatelle with Ragu

Osteria Morini Taglietelle Osteria Morini Porchetta


Osteria Morini meetballOsteria Morini

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

Marta – Roman Rule, Stage 2

Marta Patate alla Carbonara

Update 5/30/16:

4-5 trips since the last update and a lot more awesomeness out of Marta to compensate for the dubious title (I must have just watched Gladiator for the 100th time).  The Carbonara pie is just about my favorite pie in NYC at the moment, though recently I also discovered the Mushroom pie that does it for me.  Rabbit meatballs was replaced by chicken but you hardly notice a difference.  Get the grilled chicken people.  One of the most tender, gorgeously brined birds out there.  The Suppli Cacio e Pepe (there he goes again with the C&P) carry a lot of punch.  Took friends here last night and Marta Marta Marta delivered yet again.

Update 9/28/14:

Two more fantastic meals at Marta.  Patate Alla Gricia – Good amount of potato with Guanciale, Pecorino, Black Pepper, and egg which was a supplement at that time.  The Gricia was later replaced with Patate Alla Carbonara.  Same potato, Guanciale, Pecorino but now with lovely egg “juice” poured all over the pie.   While I missed some of the original black pepper this was still quite fantastic.  Another must is the Rabbit Meatballs with fresh Ricotta – Some of the best tasting meatballs I’ve had in NYC (though I fully admit I’m saying it quite often lately).  The plain Margherita is where you can really appreciate the thinless of this thing.  Any thinner than this and you get an Olsen twin.  Once done with the pies dont let them take the tray away until you have a chance to play with the crust crackers leftover.  By play I mean eat (for the bread fetish readers).  The chicken here is delicious as well.  Its what every family BBQ chicken should taste like.  Its beer brined and the result is super moist, juicy, and very flavorful.  Gelato sandwich is more than a respectable finish.

In Rome, a tourist can come and go back to the boat or hotel room without ever experiencing the true Roman Pizzerie.  And there’s a very simple explanation to that.  It’s closed!  The tourist may have seen pizza by the slice (Pizza a Taglio) at some stores or bakeries and may have enjoyed some of those, and perhaps a pizza Bianca or 3, but for the true Roman Pizza experience you need to seek out the wood burning oven joints that are normally open at night only.  Some open as late as 8.  I can go on and on explaining why pizzeries are open so late and that Italians take their lunches more serious than Americans, and historically even more serious than dinner… But I have to make this post quick because I have to go feed the kids and check their homework, and yell at them for not vacuuming the kitchen (I have muffin crumbs stuck to my feet.  Tastes like chocolate so its them).

Marta's Nick AndererSo while Romans have to wait until 8 to eat their pizza, new Yorkers can now have it starting at noon.  It would have been just as odd to make this one evenings only for New Yorkers, as taking away a free bread basket at the Italian restaurant near you.

Roman Pizza is Matzoh-like thin.  Danny Meyer and Nick Anderer’s second Roman venture Marta opened 5 days ago in the Martha Washington hotel.  Nick is there mopping the floor and inspecting every pie coming out to make sure its Kosher.  Get a seat at the bar to watch the team in action including Rabbi Nick inspect every pie coming out of the wood burning oven.  He lifts the pies up as he looks for consistency, a crisp bottom (dont we all) and to make sure he sees the ceiling light fixtures through it.

Started with the Popettini di Maccheron, a pair of aromatic fried pasta balls with tasty tomato pecorino sauce.  The balls had a hard solid exterior which provided a nice crunch, unlike your average Arancini that break apart when you just stare at them

Marta Pasta Balls

I broke my own rule and started with something other than Margherita (I do it often these days and I’m not liking it).  This is the Salsiccia – Mozzarella, Tomato, Pork Sausage, Crimini Mushrooms.  Very good overall.  Not soggy whatsoever, cracker crisp at the edges and fairly crispy thoughout.  No forks were hurt or needed in the process to scoop up ingredients trying to escape.  Nicely done!  With Roman pies I found that less is more, meaning the more ingredients and toppings you add the less exciting the pie gets.  This was simple enough with good flavor, but I do want to try the Margherita next.  And the rest of the good looking, fried filled menu.

Marta (Martha Washington Hotel)
29 East 29th Street
Recommended Dishes:  Rabbit Meatballs, Patate Alla Carbonara, Chicken, Ice Cream Sandwich

Marta Rabbit Meatballs

Marta Rabbit Meatballs

Marta Patate Alla Gricia

Patate Alla Gricia


impeccable concentration

Marta Margherita Marta Crsut Marta Chicken Marta Ice Cream Sandwich Marta Smile Marta 077

Marta - Pizza

Sausage Cremini Mushrooms

Marta - Pasta Balls

Categories: Gramercy, Flatiron, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Don’t Get Hemorrhoids, Go to Piedmont!

628My office is undergoing major renovations.  Last week it was time to shut down the bathrooms and start using the bathrooms on the 6th floor again as we’ve done in the past (normally when people decide to flush their belongings and clog the toilets).  Problem is the 6th bathrooms now require a key.  So we were given 2 keys attached to pocket size keychains that we can use and put back in the jar when we come back.  Apparently that concept proved a little too much for some of my co-workers and both keys were lost by the morning of the next day.  Solution:  Attach the key to a binder.  So here we are walking with the blue binders all the day long.  Everyone suddenly looked busier and more professional to other office workers from other offices.  Except that our binders were totally empty and we were not heading to any meetings.

photo (9)The binder experiment failed rather quickly after we realized it was a little awkward and we suddenly were short on binders.  Enter.. Disco Sticks.  Like the ones they handed to you at the last Bar Misvah right after the oversize glasses and the hats.  The bathroom keys are now attached to flashy glowing disco sticks.  So picture this, while all the female employees enjoy the luxury of being able to use a small keychain, the male employees are walking around with flashy disco sticks.  Other offices are starting to notice that as well.. “What are they doing with those sticks”  “Is he just happy to see me”. “No, he’s going to the bathroom”, “and no one can be this happy to see you Betty”.  Its embarrassing.  Sometimes we, grown men, have to go in groups (single file) because we only have 2 sticks.  Feels like a tour guide leading his group to the bathroom.

The worst feeling is when you need to go to the bathroom before a long meeting and there are no sticks to be found.  Or you have been texting your way into a high level meeting, not realizing you just showed up carrying one of the disco sticks, in flashing mode (there’s a switch that turns it on, and the frequency of the flashing).  “That’s probably the guy that lost the keychains” you can hear then whispering.  Actually the worst part is when you sitting in the bathroom and hear keyless people trying to get in.  At that point you feel the need to stop your Candy Crush and start rushing things.  A recipe for popped veins and Hemorrhoids as I see it.

Piedmont cant come soon enough is what I’m trying to say.  I should have timed this trip better to avoid all this.  In about a month time, with the help of my disco stick, I will be leading a group of 2 out in the rolling hills of the Langhe and visiting the legendary Truffle festival in Alba before moving on to Emilia Romagna.  I’m seeing reports of 30 euros per shaving which is much higher than I originally anticipated and much higher than shavings of black truffles we’ve enjoyed in the past (apples to oranges but still).  At the NoMad last year I paid $34.   Truffle season is also here in NYC btw.  Marta will have them sometime this week or next (you may be able to shave them over eggs and pizza) and the Nomad, Maialino and the rest of the gang joining soon in the action.  But I will wait out the month truffle free.

You know those cable commercials “Don’t wake up in a roadside ditch, switch to cable“.  Don’t get Hemorrhoids, go to Piedmont!

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

Crispo – Eat Drink Man Woman

Crispo Carbonara

Crispo Carbonara

One food related task that I dont particularly enjoy much is picking a place for a family function.  Normally what I have to deal with is a large group, not enough time, a place we havent been, not too adventurous Italian.  Good luck, you have 24 hours.  Normally I enjoy picking restaurants but this can be as much fun as a vasectomy consultation (ok, last vasectomy joke this week I promise.  Its not even that funny if you ask me).  But somehow, by pure miracle, perhaps with the help of Whole Foods cereal I was having that morning, I came up with the perfect spot.  No problem reserving a table since the place has been around for a while, perfect menu for this crowd, and a table that is… let me put it this way… If Don Corleone ever needed a table to entertain 20 of his immediate family in NYC, that is the table he would get.  Located in the Crispo garden, partly covered which was perfect for a cool summer night, this table set the tone to a beautiful dinner.

Crispo yardCrispo is one of those spots I’ve known for years but somehow never made it.  The menu featured classics from the entire nation of Italia, a few neighboring countries (neighboring to Italy, not talking about Canada), and some food trucks.  Without knowing the quality of any of these ingredients I can see an Italian Slow Food student throw up a little when looking at the menu.  Its almost as if they kept adding items without ever removing anything.  This is more of an observation than a complaint however.  Americans in general love big menus.  I don’t particularly care for them, but I can bare it, especially with a large group.

The result was a scene from Eat Drink Man Woman, something Anthony Bourdain and I share in common – our favorite food movie.  Great food, a good time with the family, helped by a great wine list

Crispo godAs usual we shared a bunch of starters.  A fine Prosciutto, figs, parmigiano platter from the Prosciutto section of the menu.  Risotto Balls were especially popular, and so was one of the best Caponatas I’ve had in NYC.  Normally, its a disappointing bland mess, but that wasn’t the case here.  Mixed olives – I wouldn’t know.  They were ordered by someone who’s rapper name would be “Dame Never Shares A lot.”  Stuffed hot Cherry Peppers was the only early regret.  Reminded me and everyone else on the table why I don’t care so much for Cherry peppers, and their taste buds altering ways.  Bad idea in particular to have them right before the switch to a young but feisty 2010 Renato Ratti Barolo.  The Caprese Salad here features the sweetest beefiest tomatoes you can possibly imagine in a Caprese salad, with Mozzarella as rich and thick as the accent of a young Vito Corleone.  Note:  This was one of 24 Insalatas one the menu.  To further explain my “Slow Food” comment, at Da Roberto in Montisi in Tuscany, there is one salad on the menu on any given day.

Crispo Prosciutto, Figs & Parmigiano

Only 14 pastas on the menu.  The Carbonara here is one of the specialties.  It features the 3 “P” Pancetta, Smoked Pancetta & Prosciutto with an egg that you need to mix in on your own.  It worked overall, quite enjoyable actually, but not as addictive as the more traditional one you can find in Lupa or Maialino.  The Black Truffle Ricotta Ravioli certainly had its share of truffle aroma and flavor, unlike so many dishes out there with the word “truffle” in it.  And just when you think you’ve eaten all the pasta shapes out there there’s a Trofie, Twisty, thin, chewy little noodles, a specialty of Genoa.  This one featured more truffle juice (yes please), with peas and prosciutto.  By the way, did you hear the horn?  Alba white truffles season is upon us, and supplies are looking good so far.  Then there was the good and basic Mike Tyson’s favorite, Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe & Fennel Sausage, and a Shrimp Spaghetti Fra Diavola consumed quickly by Dame Never Shares A lot

Crispo Pork chop

To find a memorable Secondi these days can be as tough as pronouncing Secondi correctly.  One glance at the Pork Shank and two things come to mind.. Huge and dry.  Nope!  huge and juicy with sweet pleasant tones was the result, and enough of it to go around.

The desserts here were quite good.  Highlighted by the Italian Beignets, Zeppole with Chocolate SauceTorta Cioccolata was on the dry side even for the kids.  Panna Cotta with Berries and Biscotti di Mais  was surprisingly delicate for a dry Panna Cotta.  Tiramisu as a cake, not in a cup was a delight to the Dame.  And a duo of Crème Brûlée & Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding was satisfying.  Recommend!

240 W 14th
Recommended Dishes: Prosciutto, Risotto Balls, Caprese Salad, Ricotta Ravioli, Trofie, Carbonara, Pork Shank, Zeppole, Panna Cotta

Crispo CapreseCrispo Barolo



Crispo Orecchiette



Crispo Panna cotta crispo Crème Brûlée Pudding CrispoZeppole Crispo



Categories: New York City, West Village | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Nargis Cafe – Uzbek Beauty With an Attitude

Nargis Cafe Samsa

8/30/15 Update:  Another great lunch in one of my Brooklyn faves.  You cant get this stuff in Manhattan.  The Plov is still Killa!  So are the Monti, those giant dumplings filled with cuminy meaty goodness.  The chicken kebabs and Lyulya kebab are some of the juiciest tenderest kebabs you will ever eat.  Among the starters I particularly like the red eggplant dish (over the green) and the avocado salad.  They make Lagman noodles but only offer it in soup (very good).  It doesnt look like they have Pilmeni any more but they do offer its fried uzbek cousin Chuchvara.  Wash it all down with the Szech draft beer (the second one, forgot the name) or their terrific Kompot (Russian fruit punch).  Very busy place, sort of approaching local institution status.  You cant get this in Manhattan.  Did I already say that?  Well I’m saying this again.  I just read the post below and I think I must have been high on something…

Original post  9/14/14:

A love hate arranged relationship followed by a happy marriage is a good way to summarize this one.  We started dating awhile back, sparks were flying and things got intense.  But then she started seeing other people.  A lot of them!  To the point of having to make an appointment and sharing her while sitting very close to the other people and having to leave much sooner than before.  Time for a break, and to check out the rest of the Uzbek fish in the sea.  There was Kashkar, Oasis and some other flirts, but I kept thinking about her, my Nargisachka, who pleased me like none of the others.  To quote from the great Top Secret, “she took advantage of me in ways I cannot describe”  “Oh Nigel, it must have been awful” (Rolling Eyes Smiley)

Anyway, in a town suddenly filled with all sorts of Uzbek action, Nargis is probably my favorite at the moment.  You got all the usual Russian/Uzbek goodies here, and pretty much everything is cooked well.  Nice little Pilmeni (Russian dumplings) which I particularly like here because of its cumin action.  Good eggplant salad, fried potatoes with mushrooms which is a staple among the “Russian” spots in the city.  Great Monti, like giant Pilmeni that come covered in a basket.  Samsa, the Uzbek bourek is another winner at Nargisachka.  Last time they had a Samsa special, a hefty Chicken Samsa surrounding a drumstick.  Like a Samsa lollipop if you will.  They are known for their Uzbek Plov with lamb, chickpeas and liberal use of fresh scallions.  Terrific Tashkent Salad (meat, shredded radish, eggs, fried onions).  The kebabs here redefine tenderness and juiciness.  Chicken, lamb, veal, Lulya kebabs are as good as you will find anywhere on Coney Island Ave (plenty of competition on this street)

This is a very popular spot with the local families, and its best to come here with a group so you can sample enough.

Nargis Cafe
2818 Coney Island Ave, Brooklyn
Recommended Dishes: Plov, Samsa, Tashkent Salad, Monti, Avocado Salad, Kebabs, eggplant salad, Chuchvara

Nargis Cafe Monti Nargis Cafe Plov Nargis Cafe Tashkent Nargis Cafe Kebabs

Categories: Brooklyn, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Best Burgers in Hell’s Kitchen

The Marshal*** Please excuse horrible iPhone pictures.  I get light headed if I don’t eat the burger right away and I rush the picture taking process.  I do think of you audience, but not at that moment *****

First of all, let me just be the first blogger to say this… most likely these are NOT the best burgers in Hell’s Kitchen. There are way too many places providing quality burgers in the area, and contrary to popular belief, I am human and cant possibly eat all of them and/or judge accordingly.  This list is also a list of places where you can most likely find locals as opposed to tourists.  So no Shake Shack, Bareburger, 5 Napkin, and not even the napkinless Five Guys.  That’s not to say my picks cant match against any of those guys.   I’m also trying to mix and match different types of burgers even if it means including something that’s not even considered a burger but worth mentioning.  Special attention is also paid to the fries and the place itself.  Another reason why you wont see Shake Shack.  “So why are you calling it Best Burger, Ziggy”?  Good question tommy.  For the same reason everyone else does.  Its much more Google friendly than “exceptional burgers”, or “decent Burgers”, and besides, they might very well be “The Best”

Island Burger and Shakes – Perhaps the obvious one and the place I frequent the most.  Great Burgers and.. you guessed it.. Churrascos!  Churrascos are chicken sandwiches grilled in over 30 ways – blackened, or spiced any way you want it.  The same goes for the top quality burgers where you have all these combinations to choose from including various toppings like Au poivre, pesto and even peanut thai sauce.  And 6 types of bread including a fine Ciabatta.  But don’t be afraid to try a very simple one with swiss, and perhaps sautéed onions or mushrooms.  What separates them from the rest is that they always grill the burgers to perfection (unless you are with a group of 8 as happened to me yesterday).  A medium rare is usually a medium rare.  Fries here are good but extra, though I usually share them with someone.  Oh and I’m noticing lately lunch specials of $10 that includes a plain burger, fries, beer, and a flue shot.

Island Burger

The Marshal –  (top) I already discussed The Marshal extensively but haven’t discussed the burger. As with anything else on the menu, attention to detail here is key.  An oven roasted fatty patty, a combination of chuck, brisket, and hanger along with kidney fat produces a perfect 80/20 fat ratio. This is the juiciest thing I’ve had since college!  No fries here but the duck fat potato chips and slaw make up for it.  The menu changes regularly so if you show up and the burger is not on the menu, I suggest you make a scene (how else they gonna learn).  Or just have something else for a change

Genuine Roadside – Essentially a Shake Shack fast food burger without any of the pain.  Every time I pass by Shake Shack on 8th ave I just want to shake a random German sock and sandals tourist and explain that there’s nothing in the land of pizza and burgers worth standing in line for.  Because you can find similar quality just about everywhere.  My only visit to this Shake Shack location was as much fun as a Vasectomy.  At Genuine, in food mecca Gotham West, you walk in, order, get a beeper, and wait a few minutes at one of the many booths available, instead of the standing room only Shake Shack.  Get the Double Stack, with american cheese, sweet pickles and house sauce which is essentially a mayo, ketchup, and mustard blend.  The patties are 80% chuck, 20% hanger, on the small side like Shake Shack and generally cooked well.  Fries are extra and well worth it.  But the one item on the menu I prefer over everything else is the Buttermilk Chicken Sandwich

Genuine Roadside

Brickyard Gastropub – For the health conscious.  If you noticed that burgers with diet coke is not helping you lose wait, try beer with Bison Burger.  You see what I did there kids?  Bison meat is leaner than cow meat and has more nutrients.  Brickyard offers regular burgers of course, and bison burgers that are slightly gamy and very tasty.  But you must pinky promise that you will order the truffled fries as well.  On first look they will seem greasy, but than you suddenly cant stop eating them.  A total opposite than my experience with the truffled fries at the super popular Umami.  But the burgers at this sport bar are solid overall.  And a cute Irish bartenderess that knows her food can only be a major plus

Brickyard Gastropub

Bulgogi Sliders at Danji – If the overrated Montmartre Patty Melt can be seen on “Best” lists than I’m adding sliders.  Its my blog, I make the rules, and those sliders will make you break the rules.  In a CNN 2011 reader’s poll of the World’s 50 most delicious foods, Bulgogi, a Korean style marinated beef was voted #23.  Soy Sauce, garlic, sake, car keys, and a whole bunch of stuff go into a typical marinade, and you can sample this deliciousness at Hooni Kim’s Danji with a lovely spicy pickled cucumber & scallion salsa.  Add the tofu and KFC wings while you at it

Happy eating and stay hungry my friends

photo (12)


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

When Ziggy Met Zizi {Limona}

Zizi Limona Cowshuka

March 9th, 2015 Update

Another fun meal at Zizi with friends.  You know that you are eager to get somewhere when you park in front of a fire hydrant and don’t realize it.  Like a Bulldog going to his favorite poop spot.  Everyone enjoyed the meal.  Aunt Trippo is now my favorite aunt by default.  My only requirement is the ability to make a decent falafel.  I’m very east.  Grilled Beets, surprisingly appetizing for a non beet supporter.  Crazy Baba is still Meshugenah, and the Shishito with white beans is a fun little snack

The tender Chicken Tagine was a winner, spiced properly with Moroccan spices, with chickpeas and Israeli Couscous (bubbly tiny pasta balls).  Some enjoyed their fish with tomato based sauce a la Taboon.  My Short rib was as tender as short rib should be if not a little gamey (in a good way).  It came with Risotto style Freekeh (a Farro like grain), and tasty wild mushrooms.  Nice dish.  And speaking of Taboon, they even have their own version of the great Silan, which could use some crunch (nuts of some sort), but it didn’t stop me from a full blown attack.

In true Middle Eastern fashion, you will not find anything bland here.  A fun, eclectic menu in an energetic room.  Great place to take friends, second dates, or a hot mother-in-law.

Zizi Limona - Shishito Zizi Limona Chicken Zizi Limona - Short Rib

September 7th, 2014 Post:

It was love at first chick(pea) at the Israeli Williamsburg neighborhood hotspot, Zizi Limona.  Stemming from the two city hummus empires Hummus Place and Hummus Kitchen owners, plus another Israeli chef, the three Israeli amigos opened a very affordable place that every neighborhood should have.  Mine has a good shoe repairman, a gas station, and your ordinary Chinese, which is why I sometimes have to eat in other neighborhoods (40 mins away) and pretend I live there.  But if I ever need to repair my flip flops while waiting for my gassy General Tso’s, I’m all set.  At Zizi on the other hand you can also shop for Pereg seasonings among other products off their shelves.  If they could also offer the much sought after refrigerated Pereg stuff like the best S’chug ever made, and repair your flip flops while you wait for your hummus, rent in that hood will skyrocket

Zizi Limona insideZizi is like Balaboosta light, or a slightly less polished Bar Bolonat.  The lunch menu is small but deadly.  When it comes to menus, the smaller the better as far as I’m concerned.  Drives me nuts seeing reviewers complain about such things.  Drinks here, you can tell, are taken very seriously.  My “Mosquito” was like a refreshing twist on Israeli “Limonana” (Lemonade with Mint) with Moscato, lime, mint, and soju.  Wifey enjoyed her pomegranate Zimosa, and kids claimed “best water this side of the Gowanus!”.  But I couldnt help but recall the Mosquito” fart in the phone app, and when we hid the phone along with a timer at a co-worker desk when he went to the bathroom.  “What kind of blog is this”  I hear the three Israeli owners asking.  The good kind amigos.  The kind you dont see on SeriousEats.  But lets dive into the food before they stop reading…Zizi Limona drinks

The Falafel plate, Aunt Trippo’s Falafel is of the Revelation kind.  Who is this Aunt Trippo and what is she smoking?  Golden, crisped to perfection balls sitting on top of this brilliant curry Tahini yogurt which I swear I just had this same sauce somewhere but cant remember where.  Pickle, and some ultra tasty smoked tomato to round up this little one.  I would come back just for this.  The next aunt is another Crazy Baba, as in Babaganoush, but this one is “greened” with basil and is spot on.  You will be hard pressed finding a better Baba in the city including in Brighton Beach.  Rule of thumb in Israeli spots, if you see Grilled  Cauliflower, order 17 of those.  This grilled beauty included artichokes and did not disappoint.  When you find yourself with three plates sitting there where you cant quite decide which direction your fork should go, you either came to the absolute wrong place, or the right one.  Loved the apps here.



grilled veggies

grilled veggies



The Chicken Shawarma served on thick solid Hummus is what every Chicken Shawarma should taste like.  The Cowshuka was far from your ordinary Shakshuka, where much of the tomato stew was substituted with Tahini, with eggs and in this case “I cant believe its not polish sausages” sausages that won me over (top pic).  More of their Hummus came in the form of the Hummus Masabacha with eggplant, hard boiled egg, and tahini.  For the Brooklyn Challenged, you can also get a nice Masabacha in Nish Nush in the city.  We capped this one off with an exceptional Malabi.  $90 later, all I can say is that I cant wait to have dinner here.  GO!  Nice to meet you Zizi.  Ziggy

Zizi Limona
129 Havemeyer St, Brooklyn
Recommended Dishes: All of the above, especially the small plates





Zizi Limona


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

Vasectomy Tips for Foodies

3_GreenGiant72I believe we already established that this is not your ordinary food/travel blog.  If you can find another food blogger that posts about vasectomies I will take you to a restaurant of your my choice and pick up the tab.  So while you are busy Googling your way to a free meal, here are some tips and general observations about this most misunderstood procedure.  But why for “Foodies”, Ziggy?  Well, who else is reading this blog.  Certainly not politicians, or health professionals.  Unless they are Foodies.

The procedure is misunderstood because its not really much of a procedure.  But instead of telling you all about it, I would rather direct you to the place that taught me everything I needed to know about Vasectomy.  So now that you are on your way to half-manhood…

Try scheduling the procedure before some major Sporting events like US Open Tennis/Golf, Football Sunday, or anything else you are interested in.  So you could at least enjoy the time off.  The recovery time is usually 48 hours, but take all the time you need.  Remember, this is your time to shine (so to speak, no pun intended. If shining gets really bad consult your dr)

Make sure you are booked for the morning.  Some doctors will tell you that the time of the booking will be determined closer to the date, but you need to be on top of this since you will not be able to eat for a while prior to the procedure.  So a 2:00 PM procedure for example is almost the equivalent of a Yom Kippur fast.

Office romance is an often overlooked benefit. Look at the overall picture, beyond your original reasons.  But before you start looking for any hotels that charge by the hour, and before you start hitting the bars again, you need to wait a few weeks in order to “clean the pipes”

Another big benefit is all the legit “My dog ate my homework” type excuses that come with it….

“Ziggy, can you finish the report by the end of the day” – “Sorry sir, but I have a Vasectomy scheduled for this afternoon”
“Sir, It will be 30 minutes”  “Can you make it faster, I have a Vasectomy coming up”
“Dude why are you home watching Ellen” – “I had a Vasectomy”
“Dad, can Jennifer sleep over” – “Sorry not today, dad is recovering from a Vasectomy”
“Can you throw out the garbage” – “Vasectomy!”

Get the picture?  You cant get better excuses than this.  Use it 3 times a day or as directed.

Use frozen peas instead of Ice pack for easier application to the infected area.  And yes, most likely you wont look at frozen peas the same way again.

You dont have to lift anything heavy for the rest of your life marriage

Remember Mr Foodie, this is the equivalent of you giving birth.  Make the recovery a little worse than it is.  Use phrases like “YOU DID THIS TO ME!!” to get your message across, and you are all set for at least a few months

Coming up next year – Vasectomy Reversal Tips for Foodies

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

All’onda – New Wave Riding with Giada

All'ondaAll’onda in Italian means “Wave”, pertaining perhaps to the soupy Risotto Astice prepared All’onda style which will make waves if you tilt your plate (versus drier risottos like in Piedmont).  Or it may relate to the new wave style of Asian influenced Italian cooking that chef Chris Jaeckle, formerly with EMP and Ai Fiori, is trying to introduce.  Or perhaps 30 years later my obsession with new wave music is not going away anytime soon, and now reflected in my blog post titles.  Every restaurant in the world should have Depeche Mode or the Smiths in its soundtrack and just like that the world’s conflicts are solved.  With the exception of Pure Thai Cookhouse, who’s funky Thai disco matches the atmosphere and Thai porn posters perfectly.

But I digress.  I cant even recall the music at All’onda.  All I remember is the food, and the long line to the bathroom upon arrival.  The line consisted of roughly 100% of members of my family but still.  They found out the hard way that stopping at Starbucks before a long drive from Woodbury Commons is not as brilliant of an idea as they originally thought.  Women Schwomen you know what I’m saying?

But I digress, again.  I always associate “Venetian Cuisine” with all those beautiful creatures found in the Venetian lagoon.   Like the amazing bay scallops you can see in one of my rotating top pictures which you can find just about every day in the greatest outdoor museum on the planet, Rialto Market.  So before the meal you could color me ‘I don’t get it’.  But after trying some cichetti (Venetian inspired snacks), Risotto Astice, clams, and evidence of Nero di Seppia on a previous menu, I see just enough similarities.  Perhaps “Influenced” is the more appropriate word in the description, but it just doesn’t sound as convincing.  Although it didn’t finish as strong as I was hoping, this was still an outstanding meal

So we started with the aforementioned Venetian style Cichetti.  Perfectly buttery chicken liver, pickled cherries and hazelnuts Crostini worked very well.  You got to start with some Crostini as soon as you pull up your gondola on Canal Street.  The Arancini here were oozing with flavor and black truffle aroma.  They will add Arancini balls as necessary for your party

All'onda Crostini All'onda - Arancini

From the lagoons of Rhode Island, comes this Calamari, fried to perfection with pickled peppers, white wine, and sopressata.  I like ordering fried Calamari in places like to make up for all those horrible fried calamari I’ve eaten in the outer boroughs in the nerdy years.  Same idea goes for the Clams Casino with pancetta and panko which is Japanese breadcrumbs (made from crustless bread).  Problem with the clams is that they are not very shareable, and at $15 for 5 not a whole lot of value.

All'onda Calamari All'onda clams

The pastas here were outrageous.  Oversized Agnolotti filled with Mortadella, and topped with pistachios, Soppressata and  homemade XO sauce, a fishy (in a very good way) Chinese sauce, this one made with dried shrimp and scallops.  Don’t let the fishy part deter you.  The sauce, along with the Soppressata adds nice depth to the Agnolotti which in this case would not survive on its own.  Get this.  The zesty Garganelli with sweet peekytoe crab and tarragon was another winner.  peekytoe crab is another one of those recent made up names describing those little crabs the Maine fishermen used to throw out until one NY chef stepped in, added it to the menu, and a market was born.  The Lobster Risotto (Astice) came in Venetian style soupy, but toughened up eventually and was quite good.

All'onda Agnolotti All'onda GarganelliAll'onda Risotto

Here’s where things started to tail off.  I ordered the Short Rib for 2 to be shared with all of us.  Its $62 for this little beast which is quite reasonable.  Upon the first few bites I was transported to short rib heaven, where everyone looks like Giada De Laurentiis and Alba white truffles are available year round, and shaved daily on your pasta, by one of the Giadas.. before she brings the short rib.  Ah my Giadachka!  Ok, where was I?  Oh ye, so I was enjoying this super tender slow cooked Giada meat, until I opened my eyes and realized I was the lone enjoyer.  The rest of the family had major issues with the amount of fat content they had to struggle with and just gave up on the meat too soon.  Still, I would recommend this for 2 people without children

The desserts were lackluster.   Hazelnut mousse was pretty to look at but with zero substance, like Paris Hilton.  We all disliked it and gave up on it quite early.  Same goes for the Affogato, one small scoop of Vanilla with Amaretto Espresso in an ashtray.  I bet Giada can make a killer Affogato, in a glass, like we have every year at our favorite restaurant in the world, Caicos Café in Turks and Caicos.

Giada if you reading, I would like to invite you to All’onda where we feast on Asian flavored pastas, learn how to say Pancetta, and make the Affogato together, wearing appropriate cooking attire

22 E 13th St
Recommended Dishes: Crostini, Arancini, Calamari, Agnolotti, Garganelli

All'onda Hazelnut Mousse All'onda Affogato



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

Blog at