Posts Tagged With: Dizengoff NYC

Chelsea Lately – 2018

Miznon CauliflowerIts that time of the year, readers.  When I dissect piece by piece this tourist trap in Chelsea we call the Chelsea Market.  Did I get your attention now?  “Tourist Trap”, a term used often when you read reviews about ultra touristy establishments.  “Migrane” is something you get when you read what others have to say about something you know and love.  “Himalayan Meditation Retreats” is what you Google three months after you open a restaurant in NYC.

But I suppose every touristy restaurant on the planet can be and will be called a Tourist Trap by visitors from all over, who fail to capitalize on the establishment’s full potential.  After all, I just called such market in Madrid, and I have a very hard time believing otherwise.  But there are two very important ingredients missing in Chelsea Market in order to quality as a Tourist Trap.  Mediocre food, and lack of local interest.  Make it knowledgeable local interest like the Chowhounds who know NYC food scene better than anyone

Food courts are popping all over the US like presidential tweets.  NYC alone has around 20 of them.  And due to that vastness you keep seeing some of the same generic names in many of them.  Like food trucks that keep multiplying, selling the same items all over the city.  They are there more for convenience rather than destinations.  What makes CM different is that its not loaded with the usual suspects, but vendors who call CM their only home.  Why?  Well, mainly due to the fame and foot traffic that comes with it.  I just dont recall CM being as culinary rich when mostly locals used to go there.

Miznon

Miznon

But Chelsea Market is soooo crowded, you say.  Well yeah!  But its really the cramped former Nabisco factory space that is the main culprit.  Its a pita smack in the face as soon as you walk in, and some cant wait to come out from the other side (10th ave).  But if you do, at least check out the pictures on the right near the 10th ave exit where you’ll see the old factory and a picture of the last west side cowboy with his flag down.  Before the High Line rails got elevated, these cowboys rode before the trains on “Death Ave” waving their flags as a signal for the coming trains.

But if you opt to stay for a while and you like to eat, deliciousness awaits… and seats!  When you start branching out of the main hall you will discover that CM is not as crowded as it seems and you can sit down.  Here’s a list of items I would target.  Its a nice mix of items for pescatarians, vegetarians, carnivores, and even pediatricians.  I would pick about 3-5 items of the list (to share with your special someone(s)), allow 90 minutes, and perhaps walk it off on the High Line after or during.

Hummus at Dizengoff – You are not there just for the Hummus, but the entire package. The hummus with the rotating toppings (right now they got a good looking Sabich – egg, eggplant, Amba combination on the board), the pita, the Salatim, and homemade Z’hug.  This is a a nice light option to share.

Dizengoff Hummus

Cauliflower at Miznon – Its a simple roasted cauliflower, but delightfully salty and quite delicious.  You can bring that to Dezengoff and start eating it there while you wait for you Hummus.  Though there’s something about eating inside Miznon.  Like stepping into a Tel Aviv fast food joint.  If you skip Dizengoff, share a pita sandwich here.  I’m partial to the veggie combos

Cumin Lamb at Very Fresh Noodles – If I have to pick one item in the entire market, this is probably it.  It doesnt get as spicy as Xi’an Famous but what it lacks in heat, it gains in flavor.  This is the only place where I struggled with seats in the past, but they now added counter seating facing the “Biang Bianging!”, and there are usually seats.  The Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup is another hit

Grilled Cheese Sandwich at Saxelby Cheesemongers – A good excuse to go downstairs and escape the selfie sticks of the main hall.  While you wait for your sandwich, sample some hot sauces at the shop next door.  I’m partial to the Bronx sauce.

Double Cheeseburger at Creamline – If you are coming from another country, and have this thing called “American Burger” on your list, this is as good as it gets in NYC for this price range.  To me it beats Shake Shack, from the bun, beef, and the optional egg which you should add.  I also like the choc milk here, and Turkey burger

Creamline Burger

Hot Dog at Dickson’s Farmstand – A very solid hot dog. Or for something perhaps a bit more tangy and tingly…  Paprika or Kaese Currywurst from Berlin Currywurst.  If you never had a proper hot dog, go for the former.  If you did, do the latter (yes, add some spicy sauce, at least on the side)

Adobada Taco at Los Tacos #1 – The Shawarma of the south. Well it did come originally from Arab immigrants in Mexico.  This is a quick delicious snack you eat standing up.  Or/And get a Fish Tacos at Los Mariscos to at least earn that secret bathroom visit.  Yes, a bathroom with no lines.  When standing on that line to Los Tacos, look left for the Los Mariscos entrance.

Los Mariscos Tacos

The Splurges….

Lobster Roll at Cull & Pistol – This is one of my overall NYC faves.  Owned by the Lobster Place so everything comes from next door, the city’s top fishmongers.  Ignore confusing old reviews by Infatuation.  The lobster roll at $29, is one of the most expensive in town, though you will not find a lobster below $25 at any full service.  And yes, they are this tiny everywhere, and most not quite as good.

Sushi at Lobster Place – Its my go to place for Chirashi bowl.  I also buy Salmon burgers here to grill later.

For Dessert….

Halvah from See & Mill – Especially for those who never had Halvah.  Try it with their ice cream as well

Cherry pie at Sarabeth’s bakery.  A classic!

Gelato at L’Arte del Gelato – Or for something a little more interesting, explore the High Line and area head to Gelato Giusto on 9th.  Owner Lorenzo from Milan is like a sorbet wizard but knows his Gelato as well

Cull & Pistol Lobster

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

Top 10 Dishes of 2016

Lilia Malfadini“Strange” is the first word that comes to mind.  Its been a strange and sad year in pop culture, politics, and even love life.  And by love life I mean food, not the other stuff which is fine thank you, and knock on.. ahem… wood.  But that’s another post for another day, that I imagine wont be a free one.  During 2016 we traveled a little more than usual, and so the best dishes came from overseas, especially Italy.  We also didnt quite have our share of the usual haute fine dining last year, as I continue to discover more and more exciting cheap options in all 5 boroughs.  But we did have our fair share of exciting eats, which made the selection difficult as usual.

Porgy at Ssam Bar

Its quite the site when this Long Island Sound beauty arrives in all her glory.  Head and teeth and all, without the main bone that was surgically removed.  The fish is dressed with the momofuku signature ginger scallion sauce.  One bite, and you can tell this is not your average grilled Branzino.  Another bite and its an entire Havah Nagilla rendition in your mouth.  By the 5th inning, you remember to try the accompanied lettuce and tortillas to make fish wraps.  You experiment by adding some pickled bean sprouts, cabbage, and creme fraiche, and you are suddenly the world’s greatest fish taco maker.  The fish comes with all these goodies in “Ssam” style.Ssam Bar Porgy

Octopus at Timna

The usual challenge with these lists is going back to the earlier moths to see if anything stood out.  This one did.  Some of the best octopus I’ve had in a while in a year filled with glorious octopus (Avlee, Cull and Pistol, just to name a few).  Nir Mesika from ZiZi Limona fame tenderizes, sous vide style, the heck out of this thing (I’m guessing by the size and bite, it was enjoying the coast of Portugal a few days prior).  Then he finishes it on an open flame like the Bedouin do 200 kilometers south of Mesika’s hometown in Israel.  All that smoky goodness, served with black eggplant puree, pickled cabbage and hummus, tells your brain just one thing.  Taim!Timna Octopus

Mafaldine at Lilia

Just about every other Best List out there this year features Lilia’s striking Agnolotti, which is fantastic dont get me wrong.  I would order it again and just about every other thing I ate (If I can get another reservation one of these days.  It’s simpler to score a shopping date with Ivanka Trump).  But my nod goes to the the ‘imperfect’ Mafaldine or Malfadini that looked and tasted pretty perfect to me.  Take your average Cacio e Pepe, change the pasta to something with more texture, sharper cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano, and pink peppercorns, and you essentially got Cacio e Pepe on crack.  Top picture

Hummus at Dizengoff 

I spent much of 2016 biking to/from Chelsea Market, and wrestling with tourists.  Guess who won?  This guy!  And much of these visits I spent at Dizengoff including two days after they opened when I met the great Michael Solomonov (turns out we have a lot in common, other than fame).  Its not just about the hummus and its perfect silky smooth texture and taste, and its hard to get excited about a Hummuseria to begin with.  But its much about the whole package.  The insanely delicious hot off the oven pita on steroids. (Calling it pita almost sounds insulting), the pickles, the homemade S’hug and the rotating seasonal toppings that make this place so magnetic.Dizengoff Hummus

Chicken Wings Skewers at Biang!

Ever since I discovered the magic of Biang, it has become the dining equivalent of Netflix binge watching.  I cant get enough of it.  The entire menu and its noodle lineup is fantastic, but its all these skewers that you cant find in the Xi’an Famous near you that I’m most attracted.  No one that I know prepares Lamb, Enoki Mushrooms and Cauliflower quite like this.  But its those perfectly seasoned whole wings that are so big they need to occupy two skewers that I need to have each time, sometimes with a tour group (usually on East Village tours on Fridays).  I just love a good wing.  And every morsel of this thing just makes me want to run around the room with scissors, naked.  Yes I’m seeing someone about that.biang-wings

Clams Grand Lisboa/Toasted Noodles at Nishi

Two incarnations, two names, one triumph.  Some of the original dish names got simplified over time for those unfamiliar with what Ceci or Grand Lisboa got to do with anything.  But there’s nothing simple about the entire Nishi noodle lineup (I’ve had all of them just in the past week).  The clams are dressed with Oregano based sauce, sitting on top toasted Chow Mein noodles and cabbage.  Calling this Cho Mein noodles is an insult to this dish.  Its cooked with apple cider that give it this sweet something, like no Chow Mein you’ve had before.  And clams with oregano is like a match made in Fukuland.  Fukuland is my heaven.  You are on a beautiful beach, fed something unique every hour by heavily tattooed bearded men, and heavily tattooed bearded women.Nishi Grand Lisboa Clams

Pretzel at Werkstatt

Yes a pretzel somehow sneaked itself into a best of list.  Pretzels are something I usually only eat when I’m about to pass out from hunger, but for this one I drive all the way to Ditmas Park, Brooklyn to have it.  It the best pretzel in NYC!  Well, that’s what its called on the menu.  So make sure to order the right one, otherwise you may wind up with just an “Adequate Neighborhood Pretzel”.  And did I mention that it comes with its own Lipitor!  Or is it “Liptauer”, a buttery, cheesy, peppery, paprika infused spread that requires a German born pretzel the size of half a pretzel cart to fully enjoy.  Forget the mustard and spread this beast with the Lipitor.  And if the pretzel will make you thirsty, they have a cure for that too.Werkstatt Pretzel

Eggplant at Atoboy

Its the year of the simplified dish names;  “Lettuce”, “Corn”, “Fish”, “Noodles”.  I see it on menus all over, and in some cases (like Nishi) menus actually change entirely to that.  Is it a fad, or we just getting dumber.  Dont really mind or care.  But in some cases, the ingredient doesnt tell the whole story, or even close.  The “Eggplant“ at this new playful Korean inspired in NoMad, on first glance looks like a Babaganoush gone horribly wrong.  But the makeup of the dish and the result is a lot more revealing.  You got layers of smoky eggplant, Dungeness Crab and Tomato Jelly, all easily combined in a spoonful of pure ecstasy.  And yeah, reach for the spoon for dishes like this.  They are not there for just soupsatoboy-eggplant

Fish Inihaw at FOB

Sometimes the best meals come from unexpected places.  The homey Filipino in Carrol Gardens surely delivered in more homey way than one.  Some if not all the recipes came from the chef’s parents.  And when mom and pop didnt quite agree on something, they included both versions on the menu (the two chicken dishes).  But the fish here was my favorite, and there was nothing particularly outrageous about it.  The day’s fresh fish (Pacific Flounder in our case) simply grilled in banana leaf, and topped with an extremely complimentary tomatoee Adobo.  We’ve had quite a few such dishes last year, including in Michelin Star La Vara a few blocks from FOB, but this one left the biggest mark.fob-fish

Miso Cherry ice cream at Oddfellows

Say it with me.  Miiiiso Cherry….  Say it like you mean it.  2016 is the year I took a break from gelato and rediscovered the joys of ice cream, but with a scientific twist.  I imagine these odd fellas in a Breaking Bad like lab in a Williamsburg warehouse experimenting on willing humans.  I cant think of any ice cream out there that had such an affect on me.  The Miso flavor is very evident here, and it works big time.  Since I had it, I’ve been bringing tours here on a regular basis, only to see Miso Cherry missing in action.  But no worries, they promise.  Its coming back very soon.oddfellows-miso-cherry-ice-cream

 

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

Chelsea {Market} Lately – 2016

Chelsea MarketTime to update the old what to eat at Chelsea Market post.  But instead of simply updating it, I will just make a fresh one.  As fresh as the Hummus at Dizengoff, the latest sensation to hit the market.  You can say what you want about the market.  Its increasingly busy, packed with tourists, and theres a decent chance a large polish gentleman will step on your feet.  But largely due to that foot traffic, the market also attracts vendors like no other market or food court in NYC.  For every Amy’s Bread, and Num Pang that you can find all over town, there are 10 vendors and purveyors that are unique to the market.  And besides, the traffic doesnt hamper my movement much.  I come, I eat, I go, juts like anywhere else.  Since I’ve been to the market around 20 times this year alone, I will only post about the food that I like and target these days, not something I’ve eaten 3 years ago and now dont even look at that direction anymore (I’m looking at you Rana!)

Chelsea Lately – 2017:  This year I’ve been spending some time at Los Mariscos, Los Tacos #1 sister restaurant hidden off the Los Tacos space.  While staring at Los Tacos, look left, and walk through the hallway.  It will look like you are doing something illegal and you are about to enter a secret Food Network club where everybody is playing poker and Guy Fieri is the dealer.  No!  Keep walking until you get to Los Mariscos.  Its like a Mexican seafood shack that feels like a Chelsea Market speakeasy.  Their baja style fish tacos are perhaps the ones to beat in NYC at the moment (had today at a competitor – Feh!).  And guess what else they have… bathrooms!  With no lines!  You welcome!

For dessert lately I’m flirting with Sarabeth’s mini Cherry pie, but only if there’s no line.  I’m a little allergic to lines.  This is it.  The rest of the lineup is still awesome….

Lobster Roll at Cull and PistolNo Surprise here.  I’m attracted to this place like a magnet, like Germans to David Hasseloff.  Even when I go elsewhere, I often stop by to check out the ever-changing menu, and on occasion see a game and plan changer (Lobster Ramen!).  This is my go-to Seafood spot in NYC, and an obvious inclusion in the Z-List.  Although I’m picking the lobster roll for the purpose of this post, the entire menu is essentially the freshest of the fresh from the Lobster Place next door.  While most tourists head to LP for the miniature $18 roll, this is much more like it, albeit at $27.  I go for the Connecticut style, hefty amount of mouthwatering, buttery, warm claw meat with a touch of mayo stuffed inside a toasty bun with a good amount of great fries

Cull & Pistol Lobster

Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup at Very Fresh Noodles – One of the newest kids on the block.  As of this writing, they are still under soft opening with a minimal menu, though this kind of menu works for me.  Its not the size, but what you do with it, and how you pull the noodle that matters!  Two giant pulled Biang noodles go into the bowl along with slow cooked braised beef shanks, scallion, cilantro, and chili oil.  The aromatic beef broth packs plenty of heat and leaves a nice tingle for some time.  The noodles are a bit uneven, with some parts chewier than others, but a delicious dish all around.  Sitting is very limited in that hidden corner of the market

Very Fresh Noodles Taiwanese Soup

Adobada at Los Tacos #1.  The Shawarma of the south.  First rule of fight club: you see a line you stand on it, as long as its not the bathroom line.  Second rule of fight club: stand on this line, enjoy the view of the pork goodness dancing on a spit and become its Tango partner a short time after.  The lines move quick, but your mouth should move slowly to the tune of this juicy marinated pork awesomeness.  Dont yield to temptation and add more ingredients because they are there and they are free.  You dont want the flavors of some of our best tacos to get lost. (Note:  I was clearly very hungry when I wrote this)

Los Tacos

Double Cheeseburger at Creamline.  Simple American classics suggests, just like with Los Tacos, quite busy with families, school groups, and other Ziggys who simply admire the craftsmanship.  Grass Fed dry-aged burgers from the butchers next food (Dickson’s), with perfectly matched soft sesame bun makes this one of the best “fast food” type burgers I’ve had in a while.  Order, take a number, and look for a seat which I usually find.  Who said there’s no seating in CM?  I did!  But thats not the case anymore, especially with the selections in this post.  Turkey Burger here is good as well

Creamline Burger

Chirashi Bowl at Lobster Place – Did I mention that Lobster Place has some of the freshest fish in town (see Cull & Pistol)?  As much as I love lobster its usually the last thing on my mind when I’m inside (and not next door).  I get a seat at the Sushi counter and order the same thing every single time, the wonderful Chirashi bowl.  Then I order this at other Sushi places and weep a little.  Last time I got dry rice shaped like a heart.  I will just let the picture do the talking here

Lobster Place Chirashi

Hot Dog at Dickson’s Farmstand.  Hot Dog killed the (previously recommended) Pastrami star.  Instead of paying for a dirty street hot dog, how about spending a few more bucks for a clean naturally raised beef dog.  Or the Mortadella dog that gives me just about the same satisfaction except that its much more twitter friendly.  Mortadella hot dog just looks and sounds much cooler than “Hey look at me, I’m eating a hot dog, that looks like any other hot dog.

Dicksons Mortadella Dog

Hummus at Dizengoff.  The hottest, most anticipated addition to the market since they added another women’s bathroom.  This is a Hummuseria by Michael Solomonov and the rest of the team behind Philly famed Zahav.  Solomonov’s acclaimed hummus has been featured in cookbooks, magazines, children books (“Goodnight Hummus”), and now found its way in section C of Chelsea Market (the hottest section to hit the market since section B!).  Hummus, as fresh as it can get, can be topped with slow cooked lamb neck, egg, tehini, among other seasonal goodies.  You also get a small salad, some pickles, and a wonderfully chewy thick pita bread straight out of the pizza-like oven.  Once you are half way into the hummus, start experimenting with the intense homemade red S’hug sitting on the counter.  And yeah, try sitting at the counter watching the men and women at work

Dizengoff Hummus Dizengoff

Halvah at Seed + Mill.  Raise your hand if you never had Halvah.  Halva is one of those funny trendy items hitting the streets of NYC as of late.  Halvah ice cream, halvah donuts, halvah ramen.  Ok maybe not.  But its funny to me since I’ve been eating Halvah for breakfast with either bagel or fresh baguette for as long as I remember.  And whenever I’m around Seed+Mill it never ceases to amaze me how many people are trying Halvah for the first time, and go “fascinating”, “what a concept”, “who knew”.  Well, we all knew pretty much, but even if you know your Halvah you can try it for free here for yourself.

Seed+Mill4

Gelato at L’Arte del Gelato – This is not your standard, typical NYC gelato or ice cream.  Great raw material like Hazelnuts from the Langhe hills of Piedmont.  This is just about as good as it gets.  And if you always wandered about the difference between ice cream and gelato, this is a good place to see the difference, starting with the way it looks

L'Arte del Gelato

Chocolate Chip Cookie with Caramel at Liddabit  – This is simply an awesome cookie!  Dont believe me?  Just ask my friend Lou who is a self proclaimed cookie snob.  When I brought him the cookie, this is how the conversation went

“So, how do you like it?”

“This is a good cookie!”

See?  What sets it a part for me is not so much the caramel, but the liberal use of dark chocolate chunks all around.

Enjoy Chelsea Market, and remember… stay hungry my friends.  (I dont even know what it means anymore honestly)

Liddabit Cookie

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

Blog at WordPress.com.