Posts Tagged With: Taqueria el gallo azteca

Top 10 Dishes of 2018

Mushroom salad at Pig and Khao – One of two places making their second appearance on the Top 10 (the other is Pinch Chinese).  Once you start veering off the classics at some of them, only then you start to realize how good they really are.  And at the moment to me, this wild Mushroom with sliced shrimp, coconut, and chili salad is the unsung hero of P&K.  Its also one of the spiciest dishes here, so pair it with the most coconutty coconut rice out there.

Pig and Khao Mushroom Salad

Hummus at Vish – I often say that in this city we eat the world.  And its a wonderful thing.  But for better or for worse we rarely eat something that resembles its origin.  Tuscan food is not really the same as in Tuscany.  Uzbeki is not the same as in Uzebkistan.  And Lobster is not exactly the same as in Maine even though its the same lobster.  But the silky smooth, almost watery Hummus at Vish was one of those rarities, “Ratatouille Moment” if you will.  This hummus strongly resembles hummus in Israel.  Thats because Vish is an offshoot of an Israeli chain, and they make it the only way they know, multiple times a day.

Vish Hummus

Vish

Mafaldini at Scampi – To go to Scampi and not get the Mafaldini is like going to Katz’s and not getting the Pastrami.  Its a riff on the traditional Scampi and a serious contender with Lilia for the best Mafaldini in NYC.  Chef/owner PJ Calapa (Ai Fiori, Costata) Chooses Mafaldini for more chew, and tosses it with fresh shrimp, white wine, garlic and chili flakes.  But what makes the dish work wonders is the crunchy toasted Filone breadcrumbs (toasted with garlic and more).  The best way to eat this however is mix in some of their homemade Bomba dip midway.

Scampi Mafaldini

Seco de Pollo at Nano Ecuadorian Kitchen – If you are looking for the Avant-garde, the new and exciting, the hummus mention already hinted that this is not that list.  I tend to gravitate toward the Robert Sietsema kind.  Seco de Pollo is a hearty Ecuadorian chicken stew and Nano is one of the only places in the city to make it.  Its cooked with Naranjilla, a sour citrusy fruit grown in Ecuador.  Its a dish I eat every week.  Hint hint

Nano

Upma Polenta at Bombay Bread Bar – Upma, Oprah, Upma, Oprah.  I feel like saying it every time I mention it.  The first thing I tasted at BBB was the best thing, and showcases that Floyd Cardoz brilliance.  Its Semolina based earthy goodness with mushrooms and hints of Coconut and Kokum.  Like the most delicious grits you will ever encounter.

Bombay Bread Bar - Upma

Cauliflower at Miznon – Once in a while you come across a dish that dare I say, changes your life.  Ok, slightly.  A dish that makes you replicate it at home over and over again.  The eggs at Gato is one such example.  While people flock to Miznon for the fluffy pita sandwiches, rightfully so, they miss out if they skip this seemingly simple whole cauliflower.  Its delightfully salty and absolutely addictive.

Miznon Cauliflower

Wind Sand Chicken at Pinch Chinese – This is a Hong Kong classic that I havent seen on any other menu in NYC, but variations exist.  Its a $51 bird (as of now) that is cooked like Peking duck (which they also have).  Two days of Marinating (cinnamon, star anise, other herbs and spices), drying, spanking, and repeating.  The skin gets thin and crispy, and the flesh redefines moist.  Garnished with fried garlic flakes, like the “sand” that the wind brought, hence the name.  Maybe if they closed the door once in a while, they wouldn’t have this problem.

Pinch Chinese - Wind Sand Chicken

Porcini Flan at Bouley at Home – A staple at this house, and the previous Bouley residence.  Why reinvent all the wheels if some work so well.  The “Porcini Flan” is more like a superb earthy soup featuring Alaskan Dungeness Crab, and a Black Truffle Dashi that I can drink all day long.

Bouley at Home - Porcini Flan

Gnocchi Alla Romana at Faro – Bushwick produced one of the best meals and sadly one of the worst (Roberta’s) last year.  All the pastas at Faro were outstanding but this one particularly stood out.  This is semolina based Gnocchi that tastes more like fried polenta. Served with slow braised rabbit.  The playful pastas keep rotating and changing and so this is not on the current menu, but Faro still worth checking out.

faro gnocchi

Tacos at Taqueria el gallo azteca – I never thought the day would come.  Staten Island appearing on a Best list.  The most exciting thing to open in SI last year was Dave and Busters, followed by Shake Shack, and the lines are forming at the new Chick-fil-A in the mall as we speak.  But El Gallo Azteca in St George not far from the ferry served the best tacos I ever had in NYC.  Heaps of juicy steak and chorizo goodness, reminiscent of Mission District.

taqueria el gallo azteca tacos

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

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: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.