Monthly Archives: September 2019

Brooklyn December Tours Almost Sold Out

IMG_9992 (1)This is not a drill, nor a sales pitch.  Just a friendly heads-up.  Last year during the last few months of the year, I answered so many requests starting with the word “Unfortunately” that my smart phone started completing “Unfortunately” every time I started a sentence.  This year its happening much earlier.  I got plenty of availability between now and then, but the month of December is looking mighty busy already, especially with Brooklyn tours.

At the moment, there are a handful of open dates left.  The rest are mostly sold out Brooklyn tours, holidays (Christmas, Festivus…), and some time off.  There are a handful of mostly weekend walking tours (East Village, Hell’s Kitchen) with availability.  I imagine Dyker Heights Xmas lights is one of the culprits for the December tour spike as I get many queries about it.  A late Thanksgiving means a later Dyker Heights season this year.  Meaning I dont expect a full light show during the first week but I’ll know better when December starts.

Anywho, just want to give some readers the benefit.  Any questions or if you want to book a tour, email me at EatingWithZiggy@gmail.com

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

Le Sia – The Accidental Cajun

Eating With Ziggy

Le Sia CrawfishSeptember 10th, 2019 Update

Not so much as an update but a reminder that Chinese Crawfish specialist, Le Sia in East Village continues to click on all cylinders.  Its bustling on a nightly basis these days.  By 7 pm there’s usually a line spilling sometimes into Irish territory (McSorley’s).  Crab and beautiful meaty Crawfish dueling it out seasonally.  These days it seems crab is winning, with Louisiana crawfish season coming to a close.  They may be getting frozen crawfish from California until I’m guessing the end of the year.

Either way, the boils are even better these days as they come with chili infused corn on the cub and potatoes.  Its a messy dish.  A bib is a given, but its probably the only dish in the city where gloves are strongly encouraged.  The Spicy Mung Bean Jelly (Liang Fen) is still sublime but loses points when I’m the only…

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Banff – The Food Report

Juniper Bistro - Wild Boar

Juniper Boar

This just in.  There’s food, good food, in Banff.  You can spend weeks reading food blogs, publications, and review aggregators like Trip Advisor and Yelp without getting the proper understanding on Banff’s food scene.  My expectations were of similar to touristy, seasonal resorts like a Lake George, Ogunquit.  But we were pleasantly surprised by the depth of the offerings, and overall quality, especially of that tender Alberta beef.  And six people meant a glorious amount of samplings.  Heres the good and the not so.

Juniper Bistro – A few kilometers away from the city in the Juniper hotel.  Comfortable setting, large windows offering nice views, albeit over the highway.  Elevated, creative combinations, and great for sharing which was the case in most places.  Excellent silky smooth chicken pate, wild truffle scented (probably oil) mushrooms.  A gorgeously cooked wild boar loin, and Duck were the undisputed stars of the mains.  Recommend!

Juniper Bistro - Duck

The Bison – The second best meal of the trip.  A meat extravaganza.  I easily surpassed my annual Bison intake in just one plate.  The magnificent Bison platter includes Bison sausages, the exceptional short rib and rib eye.  Bison is leaner meat so leaner short ribs can be especially appreciated.  But the star of show was the Elk Poutine which didnt resemble poutine much (good thing).  Five hefty gnocchi with slowly braised pulled Elk meat and cheese curds.  So good we ordered another round.  By round I mean one.

The Bison - Elk Poutine

The Balkan – Good Greek food.  Sort of what you’d expect from a place like this.  Appetizers (hummus, dips) were forgettable, but mains were solid, especially the lamb shank.  If you are more than four, get the feast and the shank.  Less than four, share the shank and another dish or two.  Fridays and Tuesdays are belly dancer, “Opah” nights, where you can finally participate in a tradition you didnt know missing in your life.  Smashing plates against the wall.

The Balkan - Lamb ShankChuck’s steakhouse – Best meal of the trip as expected.  Superb quality especially from the striploin/New York cuts surprisingly over the Wagyu and Rib Eye.  Very clever sides (cauliflower!) and even better desserts.  I would skip appetizers here altogether and just concentrate on the prize.  If you are more than three, share some cuts that add to about 8-10 ounces per person, a few sides, and you are golden.  This is NYC quality stuff.

Chuck's SteakhouseIndian Curry House – We know Indian.  We love Indian.  This is good Indian.  By the last day we were craving something spicy and tall buildings.  ICH took care of one part, while Calgary took care of the other.  Not everything was super authentic like the too tomatoey Chana and  the surprisingly mild beef (yes, beef is allowed here) Vindaloo (get it still), but really excellent Chettinad among other dishes

Indian Curry HouseBear Street Tavern – We know pizza.  We love Pizza.  This was not good pizza.  But its popular pub fare, with a solid beer lineup.  Skip the mooshy wings

Truffle Pigs – This serves as a nice break between Emerald Lake, and Takakkaw Falls in Yoho.  Its in a little village called Field thats worth a stroll while waiting for your table in one of the only options around.  Serviceable burgers and flatbreads

Truffle PigsFor breakfast head to Wild Flour Bakery and get the Frittata sandwich.  One morning we picked up their fine baguettes and just bought butter elsewhere for a Parisian breakfasts in the hotel room.  Best full breakfast was at Coyotes Southwestern Grill.  Marginally better offerings than the busier Tooloulous next door.

Best ice cream was at….. Shell Gas Station! A fridge full of rare Magnum bars. Better than the top rated ice cream on the strip.

Try to avoid the Fairmont Lake Louise deli or Icefield visitor center cafeteria and plan lunching at the Post Hotel instead.  We didnt and it was a mistake.

And dont forget to remove your bear bells from your pants before entering any of these establishment.   You are safe now.

Wild Flour Bakery - Frittata

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Casa Vieja – The Anti-Yelp

Casa Vieja - Tingas and TacosSocial Media is a wonderful, powerful thing.  Until its not.  I dont recall how I first learned about Casa Vieja in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.  Perhaps I read about it on Chowhound or the excellent Eat The World.  But it was most certainly not via Yelp.  In fact after the first time I took Mrs Z to Casa Vieja and posted about it on Instagram, my friends were curious about taking my culinary spoiled wife to a place ranked so low on Yelp (three stars).  Thats because the type of people that visit Casa Viaja dont review on Yelp.  A whopping 15 reviews for one of the three oldest Mexican in Sunset Park (Tacos Matamoros, Tacos El Bronco are the others).

Like some of the Arab eateries of the neighboring Bay Ridge, and the Chinese neighbors in the East, it helps to know the language in this part of 5th Avenue.  I think I’m getting to the point that its a little too late in the game to tell my regular waitress that I dont really speak Spanish.  I’ve given her many clues, like not speaking a word of Spanish, and even accidentally uttering a Buonasera once or twice in the few attempts we tried.  We are not only the only non-Spanish speakers in this casa, but in the entire block sometimes.  If you measure authenticity by a foreign country like environment, Casa Vieja is as genuine as it gets.

Casa Vieja

Eat The World

However very often “authentic” doesnt translate well due to poor ingredients, execution, or cultural differences.  Sometimes in order to appreciate a dish, it helps to grow up with it.  Thankfully this is not the case here.  Everything I’ve had here so far has been fresh tasting and pleasing to the palate.  Flavors I dont expect in cheap Mexican restaurants.  I usually start with the Tingas these days.  Mini crispy tacos loaded with delicious shredded chicken with chopped tomato, lettuce, crumbled cheese and some tangy aioli.  The corn on the cob is always solid although oddly overpriced.

Tacos, even on 5th ave can sometimes be bland and uninspiring.  Not the case here, at least with the Al Pastor and Chorizo.  The Mole here is superb.  Try it on Enchiladas with steak.  But the one dish I must have every single time, that usually follows me to the car is the excellent Lomo de Puerco Adobado.  Beautifully marinated Pork Loin, with zucchini, corn, and dressed with sauce that got some seriously sneaky heat that even the Szechuan loving neighbors to the east can appreciate.

Casa Vieja
6007 5th Ave (60th), Sunset Park, Brooklyn
Rating: 2 Z’s (out of 4)
Stars range from Good to Exceptional. Simple as that
Recommended Dishes: Lomo de Puerco Adobado, Tingas, Enchiladas with mole, Tacos

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

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