Mike Winston’s Best Bites of 2013

Given the number of insanely delicious things I've eaten over the past year, selecting the best of the bunch is a very difficult task. Over on Foodspotting I've released a long version that's over 200 items long which includes every single dish jaw-dropping dish from the last year. Here, instead, I've chosen the very best in select categories. In no particular order, let's begin!

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Two Takes on Spicy Cumin Lamb in Flushing, Queens

*Editor's Note 2/19/15: This restaurant recently changed its name from Fu Run to Fu Ran for some reason and listed prices may be outdatedWhen you think of Chinese food, what comes to mind? Maybe wonton soup? Lo mein? General Tso's chicken? Dumplings? Maybe even Peking duck? I'm willing to bet you were not thinking of lamb. Though you may not realize it, there are a some regions in China that do specialize in lamb and make it quite well.These regions are mostly located near the northern reaches of China with proximity to Mongolia or the Middle East. The lamb is often heavily treated with Middle Eastern spices, especially cumin. On this visit to Flushing, with my friend Harrison in tow, I was questing to sample these unique Chinese cumin spiced versions of lamb.

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Bizarre Ethnic Food in Queens: Himalayan Yak Restaurant

_DSC1124_editMy buddy Evan moved to NYC about a year ago for Med School. Whenever he can get away from his studies long enough for us to get together, he's always up for an adventure and will indulge my need to experience new cuisines. I've known Evan just about for forever, so when I contacted him about going on an adventure, his first reaction was 'How about Elmhurst?' Well yes, I had been meaning to head out to Queens and check out a whole variety of ethnic places, so I responded to his request with a list of some ideas I had in the neighborhood. One of the options I sent over, a Tibetan restaurant called Himalayan Yak, piqued his interest so that's where we decided to meet.

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How to Have an Epic Asian, Cheap Eats Food Crawl in Flushing, Queens

Flushing, Queens is one of my favorite places to eat really well for really cheap. There's such a great variety of authentic, spicy, filling Asian food you can choose from. But I won't lie, it's a little overwhelming. That's were this guide comes in. I'm providing a map of some of my favorite eats in Flushing which includes some of my favorite food anywhere in the world. Most of it is very cheap although I've included some worthy splurges. Enjoy and eat well!

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Muncan Food Corp: Incredible Romanian Bacon & Butchery in Queens

Welcome to the Romanian Willy Wonka factory of cured meats. After demolishing some BBQ with Tom at John Brown Smokehouse, our meat-filled adventure in Queens wasn't even close to over. I recently watched the Queens episode of Bizarre Foods featuring one of my eating idols, Andrew Zimmern, and saw something I knew I had to have. He went to a magical place called Muncan Food Corps that he described as a meat processing plant. I think this was a pretty sterile name for a place as incredible as this.

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Outstanding Barbecue in Queens at John Brown Smokehouse & a Final Visit to the Street Art Mecca 5PTZ

*Editor's Note: I'm sad to report that the incredible 5Ptz has been demolished and no longer exists.This day didn't go exactly as planned. I had met up with my buddy Tom and had intended to bring him to MOMA PS1 in Long Island City, Queens to eat at one of my favorite places in the world, M. Wells Dinette (see: here, here, here, & here). Whenever we get together, it always ends up being an exercise in gluttony. Meat for days. However, as soon as we walked up to the entrance of MOMA PS1, I knew something was wrong. There was a number of t-shirt-wearing staff outside guiding visitors into a line. Not a good sign. I asked one of the staff members if M. Wells was open and was informed that there was a special event going on called EXPO 1 and that we would not be able to eat at M. Wells on this visit. Bummer, but not to worry, I'm more than able to salvage the venture.

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