Author Archives: Ziggy

EV Bites – Sia, Fina, Chika, and Ginger

Ginger & Lemongrass Spicy LemongrassA new transgender accounting firm in East Village?  Not exactly.  Besides I’m pretty sure the name is already taken.  EV Bites is a new monthly feature, showcasing 5 places in or around East Village you should know about.  I will occasionally extend the border to Nolita and LES, and maybe even mention a name more than once.  East Village in case you are not aware is an incubator of top industry talent, and a goldmine of world cuisines.  A little taste of the outer boroughs in the city

Le Sia – A new Beijing style seafood and skewer destination next to tourist mecca McSorleys on East 7th.  Didnt think much of it at first after passing by so many times with my groups, but today word of mouth is spreading like wild fire.  And fire is what you can get when ordering their seafood boils.  I will have more on Le Sia soon but if you cant wait, get the Crawfish, Mung Bean Jelly, chicken wings skewers, garlic eggplant and send me a thank you note.  But wash your hands first, it can get messy here

Le Sia - Mung Bean

 

Ginger & Lemongrass (top)- Another newish spot, this one on Rivington in Lower East Side, dishing out Vietnamese and Thai inspired soups, salads and sandwiches.  Owner/chef Petra Rickman, is a Czech native who fell in love with Vietnamese food in Prague and spent significant time in Vietnam learning the craft.  This is her and Fiance Michal second location after finding success in Whitestone, Queens (Hanjan, Danji’s Hooni Kim is a fan).  In three cold weather visits so far, I had nothing but the outstanding deeply flavored soups, with the Coconut Lemongrass being my favorite so far.  You have your choice of chicken, beef and shrimp.  I’m partial to the chicken.

Mile End – Montreal’s Mile End neighborhood’s Jewish history is similar to that of Lower East Village.  Schwartz’s is Montreal’s answer to Katz’s, and Smoked Meat is their answer to Pastrami.  You can find Montreal style bagels, Smoked Meat, Matzoh ball soups and much more at Mile End in the Bowery.  But lately I’ve been enjoying their Poutine which is better than any I’ve had in Montreal in fact.  They have rotating Poutine specials like the one with Nashville hot chicken last month (pictured, should be a regular on the menu), and Duck Confit with Foie Gras this month.  But you cant go wrong with the regular Poutine with that wonderful salty Smoked Meat.  Good craft beer menu as well

Mile End Poutine

Mama Fina – Filipino food is one of the examples I use when I mention the wealth of Ethnic foods in East Village and nearby Lower East Side compared to any other Manhattan neighborhood.  Add Alphabet City newcomer Mama Fina to the local Sisig war.  Though unlike Pig & Khao, Maharlika and co, this Mama is not playing exactly fair.  Its a full onslaught of a dozen Sisig variations featured on the menu, from Pork belly to Salmon, to Pusit (squid).  Interesting that they dont offer third generation Sisigs like the pig’s face parts offered at the other joints, and you have to request for the egg yolk.  I only had the pork belly so far which I liked so much I forget to take a picture.  That nice looking, smelly Pusit is next!

Chikalicious Dessert Bar – Chika Tillman is one of the most respected pastry chefs in the city.  Ok make it the country.  How many other pastry chefs out there are also famous in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul, Dubai and more.  There are 13 other Chikalicious outposts around the worls.  But the East Village institution will always be the original.  It is as packed as ever, and Chika’s smile is as infectious as its been since they opened 15 years ago.  This is where you sit at the bar, watch Chika and crew work and go “I’ll have what she’s having”, which is usually one of the most famous “Cheese Cakes” in the city” –  the Fromage Blanc Island.

Chikalicious Cheese Cake

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

Cote – Korean Meat Erotica in the Flatiron

Cote FeastWhat do you give a girl that has everything?  What do you give a city that has everything?  The answer to both is Steak!  Its hard to go wrong with steak.  But Simon Kim of the Michelin Starred Italianish Piora just upped the ante.  Instead of opening just another steakhouse or just another Korean, or Korean BBQ, he created a new concept, a Korean Steakhouse.  Elevated Korean BBQ in a modern, sexy setting in Flatiron.

Its food porn, with a slight emphasis on the latter in this case, “porn”.  It starts as soon as you walk in and settle in the bar, and kicks up a notch when you go down to the basement.  You cant help but stare at the aging steak hanging in the red lit room behind the glass while listening to the soft porn jazz in the background.  Its the meat lover red light district.  The theme continues upstairs where you are presented with the said meat by a team of sharp looking Chippendales.

The bottom line in this post (recommended dishes) is a single item: Butcher’s Feast.  Four very different cuts cooked right in front of you, accompanied by a plethora of Banchan – side dishes.  I would like to meet the people that reported leaving hungry after ordering the feast.  The waiter starts us off with the aged Ribeye that comes with its cap dangling.  The cap, the Ron Jeremy of meats, the least appetizing meat out there, which is why you rarely see it anywhere.  But its arguably the best tasting part of the cow.  Bowery Meat Company in the Bowery uses only cap to for its infamous Bowery Steak, one of the most expensive hockey puck meats in NYC.Cote Meat

The feast continues with the Hanger, followed by a well marbled Wagyu Flatiron (when in Flatiron..), and Galbi, as the “meat dessert”.  Galbi is short rib marinated with soy and sugar.  A curious but logical finisher to the meat course.  By that point of the meal, the entire family flipping those meats like the pros that we are.  Three days later, the oldest makes her first egg over easy.  A week later, our kitchen is in desperate need of a paint job.

It was difficult to keep track of the accompanied sides in this one.  The egg souffle was a particular winner, along with the funky preserved Korean Perilla Leaves.  And I could happily dip my car keys in that spicy Ssamjang sauce if they let me, once we are done with the meat.  Then came the stews, the lettuce, the rice, and the question…  Did I really need to order that Kimchi Wagyu “Paella”.  A fine $28 dish that can easily lose itself in the shuffle, and not all that necessary if you get the Feast.  The feast ends with soft serve which I estimated will please 98.4% of patrons

Simon created something trendy and cool that even the trendy and cool haters can appreciate.  I suppose some traditional steak lovers may find fault with the execution.  And I suppose Korean BBQ aficionados may find issues with the delivery or pricing.  But for the rest of us, this is culinary entertainment at its finest.

Cote
16 W 22nd St (5/6), Flatiron
Rating: Three Z’s (out of 4)
Stars range from Good to Exceptional. Simple as that
Recommended Dishes: Butcher’s FeastCote Meat room

Cote

Eater

Categories: Gramercy, Flatiron, New York City | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Fiaschetteria Pistoia – Under the Alphabet Sun

Eating With Ziggy

sApril 2nd, 2018 Update:

Turns out Pistoia handles family style like they do with their families in Tuscany.  A feast for the ages for $55, house wine included.  Highlights:  The oh so silky prosciutto I cant get enough here.  The tiny but potent Zucchini flam.  One of the best simple Spaghetti with red sauce I’ve has in a while.  Perfectly cut and cooked Pappardelle topped with hearty slow braised meat ragu.  And delicate veal cutlets braised with Tuscan wine.

I rarely get this much satisfaction from a group.  The big reason is the people running the place.  You are not dealing with a corporation and an expensive super fixed menu.  You are dealing with owner Emanuelle who will not nickle and dime you and will make sure everyone leaves satisfied.  One of my favorite new Italian in NYC.

September 26th post:

There’s Off the Beaten Path, and then there’s Avenue C…

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Pinch Chinese – Soho Gets her Groove Back

Eating With Ziggy

Pinch Chinese Crab in Chinese RestaurantMarch 28, 2018 Update:

Pinch Chinese is clicking on all cylinders.  There’s something about sitting there at dinner time looking through the glass at that kitchen.  Like watching a team of physicians conducting a well orchestrated surgery.  If they would be making cupcakes I would be probably standing on a line for cupcakes, hoping they come with a side of soup dumplings.

Boy those bite size seafood/pork soup dumplings are explosive.  And the flavors on the room temperature cumin ribs really come through nicely.  Hard to try new dishes here when its just the two of us, and you want to eat the same things again.  But the Steak fried rice featuring a tender ultra beefy Wagyu sirloin, is the one big addition to the list.

“Snow Crab in a Chinese Restaurant” is still fantastic, and a good source of vitamin Crab, with those silky glass noodles.  The Peking Duck…

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Provo – Food for Thought 2018

Conch Shack Snapper

Even when we plan not to go to Provo, we go to Provo.  Even when we plan not to order the steak at Le Bouchon, we order the steak.  These magnetic forces are powerful and magical, even when the weather isnt cooperating.  I lost count, but its around 16 trips now to our second adopted home of Providenciales, Turks and Caicos.  Here’s the latest food recap.  Note:  I know there are a lot of followers out there waiting for this, but keep in mind…  This is a vacation first, a job second.  As much as I try to find new places, recent history suggests I should stick to the proven to avoid unnecessary vacation crankiness.  Especially on a short 5 nighter…

Da Conch Shack

Sunday is apparently Funday at the shack.  To me a beach shack like this loses some of the magic when its so packed, people are lining up for a table.  But I cant fault a place for being popular especially now that its next door neighbor closed and relocated (Kalooki’s).  We used to have a love hate relationship with the shack but now its just Love.  Jerk wings came lukewarm this time but still packed with that nice jerky flavor.  That sauce!  Whole Snapper was a mistake (we ordered a grilled Grouper) but we decided to say nothing once we saw it, and enjoyed it.  Red conch chowder still da bomb!

Delicious Dishes Takeout

Delicious Dishes

Possibly my favorite new discovery of this trip.  Just myself, Mrs Z and a goat, Billy, in a Curried form on the balcony of our 5th floor ocean front at the Seven Stars. Oh and there was also a plate of tender Oxtail, but that goat was pure joy.  Delicious Dishes is mostly a takeout place extremely popular with locals.  There are two locations, one of which near the hub.  From Seven Stars when you reach Leeward hwy, turn left, and it’s right there on the right side.  It’s inside a mini market with a couple of tables if you want to stay in.  It’s mostly prepared food that’s not looking very appetizing, but they keep things nice and juicy.

Le Bouchon

One of the usual suspects, and one of two musts for dinner on every trip.  Quite the contrast to the established Provence (See bottom).  Unpretentious French bistro cooking with Caribbean flair.  The most underrated items here I feel are the soups.  Black bean and conch chowder. The chowder packs plenty of heat and they still got the Hutzpah to add this Harissa salsa thingy (foody term) on the side in case you require more heat.  Salmon gravlux was outstanding.  If you enjoy good lux, get this.  Biggest discovery early on however was the “conch ceviche” which is sliced more like Carpaccio style, giving it a nice garlicky bite.

The steak is the same old tender awesomeness.  The “Strawberry Grouper” is firmer than Nassau Grouper, almost lobster like.  They serve it with garlicky butter to loosen it up, and its delicious.  Other places just call it “grouper” on the menu, but here they elect to call it by the full nameLe Bouchon Conch

 

Seven

We are in the extreme minority of Seven Stars guests who almost never eat at the resort other than breakfast (which keeps improving. Buffet is like an egg lover wet dream these days).  With kids I prefer to skip the finer dining and I’m just not the resort dining type. But this time we came without kids and after a little hiatus we returned to Seven.

Edwin the executive chef suggested the tasting menu and that’s what we had.  Some minor hiccups here and there but a very enjoyable meal throughout with plenty of hints of brilliance, some even Michelin worthy.  The scallops and the two-way tuna were the standouts.  I would come back just for these.

IMG_7871

Hemingway’s

Another regular rotation stop for the fish and chips and fish tacos.  This was our first meal ever in Provo over 10 years ago when we stayed at the Sands, so it holds a special place.  Whenever I eat fish and chips in NYC I start to quietly weep.  If anyone asks whats wrong, I say I’m allergic to fish.  And chips.

Flamingo’s

Regular rotation stop for the views, legendary Curried Grouper and the underrated jerk chicken. The place was packed and everyone around us was eating burgers.  Instead of adding more haute and the trending, I would love to see more places like this open on the island

Caicos Cafe

A smashed iPod?  Redundant Lucy?  What’s the expression for “beyond broken record”. I’m tired of recommending this place.  Even on a 5 day trip, we have to dine here twice.  The only dish I didn’t care for so much this time was the mixed seafood ceviche.  Nothing really wrong with it, just missing some of that originality found in other dishes.  Like that Octopus!  You can’t find better texture/flavor combination than this.  It comes with this chickpea mash, a few tahini and lemon drizzles away from becoming a delicious hummus.  Lobster Fra Diavolo was the same old awesomeness.

On both nights they had fresh Grouper and of course we had to order it on both nights.  You cant get this in NYC.  Simply dusted with magic dust and grilled to flaky perfection.  Great crab cake special which we enjoyed in the past.  And yet another new pasta, a green Troccoli, “Chitara” where chef Massimo uses his “guitar” pasta instrument to make Troccoli which is like spaghetti on steroids.  He tops it with this rich ragu of Lamb shank and cheese.  I keep recommending Caicos Cafe to seafood lovers especially, but the meat dishes here never disappoint.  Last time they removed the ribs from the menu there was an airport strike.

Caicos Cafe - Grilled Calamari

Chinson’s

Like a dark horse coming out of nowhere in the last round, “No View Chinson” (thats the horse’s name) becoming our favorite overall lunch place in Provo.  While all our faves got their classics that we order each time (see Flamingo’s, Hemmingways) , Chinson’s may be the most well rounded of them all.  In the past we enjoyed the curried goat, oxtail, pulled pork and more. This time solid Jerk chicken as usual but the big discovery this time was the steamed Grouper in parchment paper.  Huge, super tender flaky goodness with just the right gentle spicing.  So big we couldn’t finish it.  Get this!

Provence

If Provo would have a Hot or Buzz list like in NYC and many other cities, it would be an especially sad list of one. Provence is the hottest most talked about restaurant on the island at the moment.  We had a taste of Eric Vernice’s cooking when he was at the Beach House about 6 years ago.  Provence is oddly casual, considering how expensive it is.  Its Coyaba expensive, without the service and any sort of setting to match.  Perhaps unless you are lucky to sit at the counter facing the chef.

We weren’t so lucky.  Even with reservations we sat at the bakery next door facing a shelf of one small truffle cream and the lone toilet.  Zero ambiance turned negative when a group of 4 people sat right next to us and someone forgot to tell them that there are other people in the room, some of which sitting right next to them.  Service is a little confused. “We have lobster”, “we don’t have lobster”, “WE FOUND LOBSTER”, “wait, it’s lamb”, “no, it’s def lobster”.  They gave us every clue to change the order to something else but we didn’t.

Another thing about “French” Provence that made me think of The Emperor’s New Clothes is that it’s kinda sorta Italian(ish).  Fresh pastas section dominate the menu and the wall is covered by various places in Italy.  During our more memorable moments when we were not directing traffic to the bathroom we stared at the wall playing “where have we been”.

But I have a tendency to quickly forgive and forget if the food is good. Gnocchi with lobster had distinct lobster flavor but sort of one-note and under-seasoned. Similar issue plagued the dish labeled “octopus”.  It came with very little octopus, sliced and lukewarm with white beans, chorizo and shrimp.  It kinda reminded me of the salads I make at home with canned beans.  But the dish looked gorgeous!

The lamb and lobster were the saving grace in a way but you would need to put me and my cans of beans in the kitchen to screw these up. The lobster was average for TCI which is not really a bad thing.  It came with a nice artichoke mousse with whole peppercorns which was a nice touch and stole the show.  Lamb was perfectly cooked and came with a piece of lamb shoulder sitting in a cup of bulgar.  These are also fairly sizable dishes for “French cooking”.

Provence Octopus

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

Miss Ada – Its All in the Name

Miss Ada Labne Mousse

Food is the new high tech.  Israel, the size of New Jersey continues the sabra assault, sending our way talent and cauliflower in a furious rate.  From Nur, to Timna, to the Einat Admony empire, to Miss Ada a newish Israeli in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.  Buzzy Israeli joints are opening in a furious rate all over Manhattan and Brooklyn these days.  Good news?  Not entirely.  While I’m loving all these options, I would sub about half of them for a high quality sprawling casual place serving the simple stuff (Shawarma, falafel, Kibeh).  A place like Itzik Hagadol in LA, where I can take my extended family on a whim.  “Pita Off the Corner” in Brooklyn is close to that, but its way too fast-casual and low grade.  With so many high caliber, mid range $75 per person places popping up in Brooklyn the last few years, you just have to wonder.  Is Brooklyn the new Manhattan?

But the plan here was not to start with another anti gentrification rant, but talk about the awesomeness of Miss Ada.  Sometimes I start writing and just go where the wind blows.  But then I close the windows and get back on track.  Now its a gentle draft from the living room setting the stage for a much gentler post.  Miss Ada has been on my radar for about a year now.  Thats what happens when you open in Fort Greene.  I live in NYC, and visit Italy more often than that part of Brooklyn, even though I’m in Brooklyn 3 times a week.

Miss Ada

Miss Ada’s perfume of choice is Amba.  As soon as you enter, you smell this mango condiment engineered primarily for Shawarmas, but here used liberally in many dishes.  A curly Miss Ada looking like a typical Sabra pictured everywhere from the business cards to the menu.  So who exactly is this Miss Ada you may ask?  She’s a decoy!  Its a play on words.  Combine the words together and you have Missada which means restaurant in Hebrew.  This is Tomer Belchman first Missada after stints with Bar Bolonat, Gramercy Tavern and pork legend Maialino.  Ironic somewhat considering three hours prior to the meal, I was eating the best white beans in town at Nick Anderer’s (Maialino, Marta, king of Roman pastas, pizza, and beans) newest Martina, followed by an unexpected dessert: Beans with a spicy pork shoulder ragu, leftover from a sexy bean photo shoot at Martina

The menu is sectioned in a way that makes you order more than you can handle.  Like straight out of restaurant business school.  The whipped Ricotta is silky smooth addictive sweetness.  A little bit of honey and brown butter goes a long way.  Hummus Masabacha is essentially hummus with deconstructed hummus and other goodies.  We took a chance with the chicken liver and caramelized onions which worked and wasnt as oniony as it looked for onion sensitive Mrs Z.  The Short Rib (We ordered the Kofta, but got the rib.  Write it down people ;)) was nicely charred from the outside, tender and flavorful on the inside.  Like a true Sabra!  Came with Amba on the side.

Miss Ada Hummus

Jerusalem Artichokes (Sunchoke) are in season, and the soup always gets our attention.  This one is as good as it gets.  Spicy, complex, with pine nuts and crunchy apple bits.  And by law, Israeli places must feature Za’atar spices on the menu or on pitas I believe the law states.  Here you have both, including a well cooked salmon coated with that gentle Za’ataness.  Add Labne, charred shallots and Japanese eggplant and you got a St  Patty’s parade in your belly.  Labne Mousse for dessert is another winner.  While others use Granita to shock and overwhelm, here the Pomegranate Sumac Granita is carefully put on top of the delicate Labne with poached pear bits mixed in.  Nice use of fruits and veggies throughout the menu.

Miss Ada
184 Dekalb Ave, Brooklyn
Rating: 2.5 Z’s (out of 4)
Stars range from Good to Exceptional. Simple as that
Recommended Dishes: Whipped Ricotta, Salmon, Sunchoke soup, Labne Mousse

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

TCI – Food Itinerary Update

IMG_7871Missed me?  Me too.  I was on another assignment in the Turks and Caicos trying to gain some well deserved poundage (7 to be exact).  Only registered one bad meal on this one, but that is a doozy of a story.  Will write a full report soon, but meanwhile put your second favorite Ziggy in the background and read the latest on how to eat like a local in Provo…

How to Gain 7 Pounds in 7 Days

 

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The Staten Island Survival Guide

Randiwa - Lamprais

Randiwa – Lamprais

No, you dont need new contacts.  You have reached Eating With Me, and yes, I’m writing about the foodie desert Island of Staten.  But how do I do it without offending 499,996 residents and the entire state of NJ.  Almost impossible for someone who spends much of his eating time in Brooklyn and Manhattan.  But I do need to eat in Staten Island on occasion, and some gems do exist.  This will not be one of those marathon posts because a) I dont really have much time today, and b) Its Staten Island!

The best way to examine the cuisine of Staten Island is to look at the map.  is almost entirely attached to New Jersey, and a long bridge away (#16 longest in the world) from the rest of New York.  It looks and feels like NJ in more ways than one.  In fact I’m pretty sure the term “bridge and tunnel people”, a term now used in other parts of the US started in Staten Island.  Staten Island is first and foremost a suburb with mostly suburb food.   The inspiration for the post is really one place that we’ve been enjoying lately.  A place that is painfully empty compared to the island “Power Houses”.  But more on that later.

When you ask 100 Staten Islanders what’s good on the island, you’ll hear 115 (including some opinionated extras who happened to be in the area) saying its pizza and “Eyetalian”.  Zagat, Eater and other online publications tend to agree when you Google Best of Staten Island.  Its essentially one giant Italian/pizza fest.  They are not exactly wrong, but not quite correct either.

Pizza – Yes, it is very good overall.  Joe & Pats is a local legend for good reason and one of our favorites.  So is Giove on New Dorp.  Capizzi on Hylan, is dishing out solid individual Neapolitan(ish) pies, but not quite to the level of its sister in Hell’s Kitchen.  Staten Islanders swear by Lee’s Tavern and its bar pizza.  In fact Lee’s Tavern created an entire category for pizza (bar pizza) but not a destination pizza by any meand unless you are opening a bar and wants to learn a few tricks.  Perhaps the most underrated pie in SI comes from Nonna’s in Great Kills.  Plenty of solid options all over the Island, but today not quite in line with the brilliance of Manhattan and Brooklyn.  These days you can even have a taste of SI in Manhattan through Rubirosa (Joe & Pats cousin), Denino’s in Greenwich Village, and the soon to come Joe & Pat’s of Staten Island in East Village.

Giove pizza

Giove

Italian – Pass.  Its essentially one giant “Little Italy”, red sauce orgy.  Nothing really wrong with that, as many of them are actually pretty good at what they do.  But its 2018 and SI still doesnt really have any sort of regional Italian-Italian cooking.  Capizzi and Enoteca Maria are probably the closest and the only ones I would consider on the island today.

MexicanTaqueria el gallo azteca in St George is not only the best on the island, but some of the best tacos I’ve had in NYC.  You can combine it with New Asha nearby for a mini best of SI food crawl.  The new half Peruvian Zabrosura is looking promising after my lone lunch.  And the same goes for Tamales Martita which is attracting plenty of locals Mexicans, some of whom from the days when the owner used to feed the ball troops with her Tamale cart.  Otherwise, some average to mediocre places throughout I wont mention.

Taqueria el gallo azteca

el gallo azteca

 

Sri Lankan – This is where things start to get interesting, and perhaps the only reason to stay more than 5 minutes when you take that ferry.  You got San Rasa, and Lakruwana (like a Sri Lankan museum) doing their thing in the far north, though my favorite ferry area joint these days is New Asha but its more of a quick lunch or take-out place.  My overall favorite restaurant in Staten Island these days is a newcomer on Richmond ave called Randiwa.  Chef/owner used to own San Rasa when it was at the old location.  We go for the Mulligatawny soup, Lamb Curry with Hoppers, Lamprais, Deviled dishes, Chicken Biryani, and Kottu.  Though New Asha probably boasts best Kottu on the island.

Asian – This is where SI is severely lacking.  There’s really no good Chinese, Thai, Japanese or anything really.  Just about 100% of them adhere to the western palate.  With that said if you absolutely must, East Pacific in the SI Mall is decent for Thai and Chinese, and Ocean Sushi is our go to for acceptable cheap Sushi.

MiscBayou, Beso, Vida are fairly reliable palate pleasers.  They are like watching Family Guy.  I dont get particularly excited about going, but when I go, I enjoy myself more often than not.  Vida and Enoteca Maria are consistently mentioned in the Michelin guide, but I doubt inspectors cross that bridge much.  Inca’s Grill serves decent Peruvian but keeps moving around like nomads.  Taste of India II is just about the only Indian on the island.  Indian in general in Staten Island come from the school of “If I add a 2 in the name, it will sound more convincing”.  There is no 1’s

That’s all I got.  Many others I’ve been are not worth mentioning.  And its entirely possible I’m missing some gems here, so let me know if I do

String Hopper Kottu San Rasa

San Rasa Kottu

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

Italian Street Food in NYC

Mr. Panzerotto

******* PLEASE DONT POST THIS ON TRIP ADVISOR 😉 ***************

You just came back from your first trip to Italy.  You are antsy and eager to talk about all the wonderful stuff you did and ate with your colleagues and friends.  You are taking more than your usual water cooler breaks in order to bump into as many people as you can.  No one does any real work on their first day after vacation anyway.  You talk about your trip, like people talk about their babies.  You receive pleasure even when you realize they are not listening.  Your wife and kids want to eat those rice ball thingies they had on a walking tour in Rome and you now find yourself on a mission again.  Here’s a quick guide to help you out

Panzerotto at Mr. Panzerotto (West Village).  This is the Calzone’s younger cousin from Puglia.  It’s a small fried pocket usually filled with cheese, tomato and other ingredients.  The dough is light and airy.  While not quite like the one I had in Padua in December, this was surprisingly good and filling for a $5 snack.  Blink and you’ll miss it (look up) on Mcdougal.Panzerotto

Suppli at Martina (East VIllage).  The Roman answer to Arancini.  Rice “balls” but closer to small fat mozzarella sticks.  They are filled with rice, cheese and tomato, then dipped in egg and bread crumbs and fried.  You go to Martina for the Roman pizzas but you can also have all sorts of interesting snacks like the great meatballs, beans and these Suppli.  This is possibly the most satisfying snack of the bunch

Martina Suppli

Piada at Non Solo Piada (Hell’s Kitchen) – This is a flatbread folded like a taco.  Dough is usually made with lard (rendered pig fat) or olive oil. A specialty of Emilia Romagna coastal area (Rimini, Ravenna…  Owner from Rimini).  Eataly Downtown made them when they opened but it’s now a Ravioli stand.  This place is getting very popular and I recommend people try it but I wish they’d find a way to make the dough a little crispier and more fresh tasting.
Non Solo Piada
Trapizzino at Trapizzino (Nolita) – A relatively new Roman invention, a triangle pizza pita pocket stuffed with various combinations and ragus like oxtail and chicken.  It made a brief cameo appearance at Madison Square Eats 7 years ago from something appropriately called Broken English.  They also sell Suppli and Italian Sodas like Chinotto (*like*).  Spacious and inviting space in the increasingly touristy NoLita
Trapizzino Oxtail
Panelle at Ferdinando’s Focacceria (Brooklyn) –  These are flat chickpea Fritters you can have as is or in a sandwich.  You can find them in the famous street markets of Palermo, or Ferdinando’s Focacceria in Brooklyn.  They can be a little greasy but still delicious when done right.  Ferdinando’s making them since 1904 is like a mob movie movie set.  This is as old school as it gets
Cecina at Santina (West Village) – Made from Chickpea flour Like Panelle but bigger like a pancake or pizza in some cases.  A Tuscan coast specialty, but can be found all over the Liguarian coast.  Also called Farinata.  In Lucca they cook them in wood burning pizza ovens like pizza.  At Santina its round, soft and spongy like the Ethiopian Injera, allowing you to make wraps with the items you order with it (Tuna, shrimp, Mushrooms, etc) or eat it anyway you want.  Can be a nice (albeit expensive) snack after your High Line stroll.Santina Cecina
Calzone at Tramonti (East Village) – I dont eat Calzones very often these days but this was a standout and possibly the best I ever had in NYC.  Dough is light and delicious with top notch imported ingredients inside including the spicy Soppressata.  Tramonti is one of many underrated pizza gems in East Village.  Owners from the village of Tramonti in Naples, the place that invented pizza.  At least thats what they’ll have you believe if you stay long enough and have a few drinks.  Just nod and smile
Calzone at Tramonti
Arancini at Piccola Cucina Osteria Siciliana (Soho) – These are the famous Sicilian rice balls normally stuffed with ragu, cheese and peas.  A more common way to find them is from the Arancini Bro’s in ballparks and festivals.  But I recommend Piccola, probably the most Sicilian focused menu in the city.  We are talking about the real Sicily here.  Not Brooklyn.Arancini at Piccola Cucina Osteria Siciliana
Tramezzini at Tramezzini (Lower East Side) – Fat crustless sandwiches you can find in the north like Venice and Cremona.  I never had Tramezzini here or any Tramezzini in NYC for that matter.  But still listing it here for that water cooler dude from the top paragraph who just wont shut up about his trip to Venice
Categories: New York City | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Lilia – Cacio e Perfect!

Eating With Ziggy

Lilia Agnolotti

February 23rd, 2018 Update:

Forgive me readers, for I have sinned.  Its been 643 days since my last meal at Lilia.  Its just that it continues to be one of the toughest tables in Brooklyn.  You either need to have friends in high places, or low places.  Or just call at 10 am when they open 30 days out.  Thats the biggest tip I can give you on this update.  10 am!  Not 10:01, not 9:58.  10!  Its imperative that you try the simple brilliance of Missy Robbins, and do it soon.

Add the Fettuccine to the list of classics.  Robbins uses a thin but potent Tomato Passato with spicy lamb sausage and Fennel seeds.  After the initial palate shock, it settles down into one heck of a “Red Sauce” dish.  Another new hit for me is a starter of Roasted Trumpet Mushrooms, rocket, balsamic, and Sicilian almonds (the best almonds on the…

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