Posts Tagged With: Azuri Cafe

Best Falafel in Manhattan

Taim falafelWe are well into Falafel season in New York City (April – March).  I will make this one nice and painless, almost W42st pick-5 style.  When I want a good Falafel these are the only places I consider.  They are fairly spread out, so helps with your sightseeing, quick bite needs.  I cant think of a better, more affordable snack in town other than a well crafted Falafel.  For most of you EWZ old timers, other than one place perhaps (Ba’al) this wont offer anything new.

Nish Nush – Any Falafel discussion should start and end with the Nish Nushes (or Nish Nishe).  Two of them now, though I still prefer the original Tribeca location over FiDi.  Pitas at FiDi didnt do it for me last time.  The regular “Classic” over the other flavors (Tribeca, FiDi) any time.

Taim – Pronounced Ta-eem, as in “Delicious” in Hebrew.  Its indeed delicious, but not exactly a NYC secret.  I have to admit, I changed the wording in the first paragraph to “Consider” from “Frequent” since I dont really frequent Taim as much as I used to.  The Nolita location crowds makes me slightly noxious when I pass by.  But the falafel platter here, with 9 gorgeous schweddy balls, fresh salads, and pita with Za’atar seasoning, is divine.  (West Village, Nolita)

Taim

Taim

Gazala’s – Although not exactly a recent discovery, I feel like the falafel here is.  I’ve had it before, but lately cant get enough of it.  I dont know if its the type of oil they use, but it just tastes fresher.  Nice golden scrips on the outside, perfectly seasoned and herbed on the inside.  This is not a sandwich recommendation per se.  You get the plate with paper thin pita (ask for it) and hummus that is another must order (Hell’s Kitchen)

Ba’al Cafe and Falafel – Tucked away in the quieter parts of Soho, Ba’al is the definition of hole in the wall.  There’s nothing fancy here but a simple solid Falafel sandwich.  My secret weapon (Soho)

Azuri – This is a pick for those looking for a little bit more excitement to their falafel experience.  And by excitement I mean something more akin to riding a scary roller-coaster.  You not only get a beautifully crafted falafel sandwich in a thick whole wheat pita, but you get to deal with Ezra the Falafel Nazi.  (Hell’s Kitchen)

Mamouns – Just kidding.

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Nish Nush

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Gazala’s

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

Happy, Healthy Hell’s Kitchen

fresh-from-hellIts that time of the year again.  Resolution season!  The slowest eating month of the year.  The time of the year when Mrs Z says “Enough”, and I have to sneak out of the house Shawshank Redemption style in order to eat something that doesnt have Quinoa in it.  I then find myself in a dark room in a basement, a resolution speakeasy,  with other men indulging in pizza, and chicken skin dumplings.  These are dumplings deep fried in chicken skin instead of dough.

If you are a well balanced individual, meaning one who can stand on one leg for more than 5 seconds without breaking a wrist, you probably poopoo the entire resolution concept.  Why does one wait until January to change bad habits.  But for the rest of us, who sometimes cant see our own feet in the shower (I’m being nice here with feet), we use January as an alarm clock.  Its time to hibernate.

That leads to this irony.  W42st, the new(ish) Hell’s Kitchen magazine responsible for banning your Ziggy from 3 places Hell’s Kitchen establishments and counting, is back at it again with a new feature.  Its a foldout little zine inside the magazine, or sometimes just sitting on top of it at places.  And inside you have a map of various lists like new places, cool bars, top palm readers, and something called Ziggy’s Eat List where I feature 5 places related or not to the theme that month.  So my first contribution is listing 5 healthy options in Hell’s Kitchen (the irony).  For those who cant get the magazine (this feature isnt available online), here are the places…

Azuri Cafe
As far as Falafel and Shawarma in Hell’s Kitchen go, there’s no Better Than Ezra. Its an institution that comes with a little attitude.  Ok, a lot.Azuri Cafe - Chicken Shawarma
Indie Fresh
Bison Borscht anyone?  Da!  A Gotham West Market staple dishing out healthy soups, broths, and even burgers, utilizing top notch raw materialsindie-fresh
Mooncake Foods
A delicious hole in the wall with a varied Asian influenced menu.  Although I come here for the best Wonton soup in town these days, the rest of the healthy lineup is excellent.  Mooncake Foods Wonton soup
Fresh From Hell
A fresh and promising Hell takeout discovery in a very convenient spot.  Great soups, smoothies, and sandwiches featuring, fresh from hell too, Sullivan Street bread (picture top)
The Marshal
Close relationship with 14 area farms means close relationship with many patrons.  It also means delicious salads, but I cant pass on the bread and the meat options.The Marshal - Capreseimg_4981
Categories: Midtown West, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Best Dishes in Hell’s Kitchen- Round 2

Pure Thai Ratchaburi Continuing the best of hell series where I feature 5 dishes from Hell’s Kitchen.  Round one can be found here.  Will try to make it a monthly feature pending approval from my gastroenterologist

Ratchaburi crab and pork dry noodles at Pure Thai Cookhouse (above)– The neighborhood’s dry(er) noodle offerings are intensifying as of late, but this is perhaps the original and still the one to beat.  The noodles are handmade in house in the Thai shophouse-like setting (in fact originally Pure’s name was Pure Thai Shophouse until Chipotle made them change its name – long story).  That dry but tender bright delicious pork, the wonderfully chewy tasty egg noodles, the sweetness of the crab, and nuttiness of the “I cant believe its not Broccoli Rabe” Yo Choy.  Add some of the citrusy broth from the bottom for added flavor.  Easily one of my faves, named after the Ratchaburi region in Central Thailand where one of the owners (the wife) came from.  BONUS:  For an app get the Ribs (below)Pure Thai Ribs

Chicken Shawarma at Azuri Café – I hear disturbing reports lately that Ezra from Azuri is cracking smiles at tourists.  I’m not sure if it means a change in attitude, trouble with Mrs Ezra, or?  This is simply not the neighborhood Ezra we know and love to hate.  With that said, the falafel is still the best in the area.  But you can get good falafel all over town, and lately its the Shawarma that’s winning me over.  After a good amount of shaving from the turning spit, he cooks it a little longer on the griddle with secret sauce and spices.  Then he stuffs the goodies in the whole wheat pita with the fresh salads in the same careful technique that made his falafel a neighborhood icon.  And in true Israeli style adds some Amba sauce (Mango based condiment), pickles, and if you want… spicy “Harif” S’chug.  You have to say “HaRIF” with the jewish spitting Chhhh if you want it though.  The result is a glorious mess of flavors thats worth the extra Shekels.Azuri Cafe - Chicken Shawarma

Trenette at Mercato.  There are quite a few excellent pastas at my favorite casual Italian in Hell’s Kitchen, but if I have to pick one, its the simple but addictive homemade Trenette.  Almonds and garlic used liberally, tomato and basil contribute to the flavor explosion of this $12 dish (yes, a $12 pasta in NYC).  Save some of the bread for this one and I dare you to leave anything on the plateMercato Trenette

Empanada mamma Spicy ChickenSpicy Chicken Empanada at Empanada Mama – Ok, I keep trying various empanadas and every time I go, I must order at least one Spicy Chicken to enjoy last.  I especially need one good one to cool me down after the Viagra Empanada, perhaps my second favorite of the bunch but for different reasons.  Hey, I don’t name them.  Chunks of tender, mouthwatering chicken slowly cooked in Mama’s special picante sauce creating this super pleasant heat.  Just like mama used to make!  Well, its just an expression, my mom has no idea what Empanadas are?

Silan at Taboon – Vanilla ice cream with puffed rice and date honey sprinkled with caramelized pistachios and topped with shredded halva, SHREDDED HALVA!  Need I say more.  I probably should.  But I’m tired!  Laila Tov!

Stay hungry Amigos!Taboon Silan

 

 

 

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