An Amazingly Warped Sense of “Lite” at the Old Traditional Polish Cuisine Truck in West SoHo

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Working in West SoHo has its perks. With so many digital agencies planting roots out on Hudson and Varick, a lot of New York City food trucks have taken notice. Pretty much any day of the week, there will be four or five gourmet trucks serving lunch to the masses, each amazing in their own right. But there’s one I usually don’t see people waiting in long lines for or raving about online that I think deserves some attention, the Old Traditional Polish Cuisine truck.

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Awesome, My Mouth Went Numb at Lers Ros Thai in SF

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I might be a little sadistic when it comes to spicy foods. I love consuming them, but I also love watching my friends squirm eating them. Among the many spicy cuisines out there, I’m particularly fond of authentically hot Thai food, although my body usually disagrees with that decision within a few hours of the meal.

In NYC, I’ve often found it hard to find Thai restaurants outside of Queens that will take a white guy seriously with regards to flavors and spice levels. I often find myself let down by the mild and watered down dishes served to me and if I really want it made right, I have to be very insistent that I know what I’m getting myself into. This is definitely not the case at the San Francisco mini-chain Lers Ros Thai. Everything on their menu is very authentically prepared, spice level included.

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Flavorful Filipino Fast Food at Lumpia Shack Snackbar in the West Village
Filipino Fast Food at Lumpia Shack Snackbar in the West Village

Flavorful Filipino Fast Food at Lumpia Shack Snackbar in the West Village

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I’ve been pumped for the West Village arrival of Lumpia Shack from the moment I heard about the impending expansion. I’ve loved Filipino food for quite some time as you may have seen previously on Winston Wanders, but my passion has grown substantially while dating my quarter-Filipina girlfriend and eating with her Filipino family. More Filipino food in my life is definitely a good thing.

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It’s So Much More Than Just Plain Old Greek Yogurt at Chobani in SoHo

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In a neighborhood where models, fashionistas, and shopping enthusiasts roam wild it’s almost unsurprising that a cafe like Chobani exists. I’ll be the first to admit that I openly scoffed at the idea of a fresh Greek yogurt specialty shop when they first opened up in SoHo, but I’ll also be quick to tell you that everything is actually incredible.

You, like me, are probably saying “Really? It’s just Greek yogurt with toppings in a bowl?” Well yes, that would be the simplistic way of looking at it. But, there are actual chefs back there behind the glass wearing actual chef coats putting together super-fresh, interesting, flavorful sweet and savory Greek yogurt and gourmet topping combinations.

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Big, Hot, Soothing, Bowls of Noodle Soup at Pho Vi Hoa in Los Altos
Big, Hot, Soothing, Bowls of Noodle Soup at Pho Vi Hoa in Los Altos

Big, Hot, Soothing, Bowls of Noodle Soup at Pho Vi Hoa in Los Altos

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Tucked away on the outskirts of Mountain View, CA you’ll find the lesser-known, tiny town of Los Altos. In this town, situated in a nondescript shopping center on the main highway there’s a restaurant called Pho Vi Hoa that serves phenomenal bowls of pho ’til 10 PM. When rain strikes in Silicon Valley, I’ve found nothing more comforting than a big, steaming bowl of Asian noodle soup and I thank Pho Vi Hoa for providing a great one to me.

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Rare Xi’an Region Chinese Specialities at QQ Noodle in Cupertino
Rare Xi’an Region Chinese Specialities at QQ Noodle in Cupertino, CA

Rare Xi’an Region Chinese Specialities at QQ Noodle in Cupertino

I drove 20 minutes across Silicon Valley to quench a Xiao Long Bao craving at Shanghai Dumpling and was sternly turned away at 8:35 by a strong “we’re closed”. The restaurant was still full and running at full speed, which led me to wonder if my blatant whiteness got me rejected from the nearly entirely Asian-filled restaurant. Um, hello, Yelp says you’re supposed to be open until 9:30 on Sunday nights! Way to be racist, Shanghai Dumpling. I acted quick on my feet and went elsewhere to get my Asian food fix that night.

As it turned out, this particular shopping center was a sort of Cupertino Chinatown with a number of Asian dining options to choose from. Directly next door to Shanghai Dumpling there was a similar looking restaurant called QQ Noodle. Sure, why not. It was bright and clean looking and had pretty standard Asian restaurant decor. I figured I’d give it a shot and try to remedy my Asian dinner dilemma.

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Spectacular Sicilian Pizza Slices at Golden Boy in North Beach
Spectacular Sicilian Slices at Golden Boy Pizza in San Francisco

Spectacular Sicilian Pizza Slices at Golden Boy in North Beach

As a native New Jerseyan and current New Yorker, I feel like I’ve earned the right to hold pizza in other places to high standards. Usually I scoff at the idea of anywhere else in the US producing any such worthy slices of my patronage, but I’ll damned if I didn’t stumble across some truly excellent pizza in San Francisco at Golden Boy Pizza.

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A Rare, Spicy Indian Take on Chili at the Desi Food Truck in SoHo
A Rare, Spicy Indian Take on Chili at the Desi Food Truck in SoHo

A Rare, Spicy Indian Take on Chili at the Desi Food Truck in SoHo

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In the western reaches of SoHo there are tons of office buildings loaded with hungry workers in need of a good lunch. This draws a wide variety food trucks to the area to line those streets on a daily basis. Most of these trucks are the hipster-fusion variety which attract long lines and park on either Varick or Hudson just below Houston.

But if you walk just one block back east, you’ll find a strange triangular park called SoHo Square Park on 6th Avenue between Broome and Spring. At the top edge of the park, on most days, you’ll find a bright yellow food truck painted with very stereotypical Indian stylistic colors and decorative flourishes called the Desi Food Truck serving humble Indian dishes and never has a line.

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Hangover Busting Southern Comfort Food at Kelly’s Country Meat Block in Opelousas, LA

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Like I said in my previous post at Palace Cafe, a friend’s wedding brought me to the literal middle of nowhere Opelousas, Louisiana. As it often occurs at weddings, many drinks were drunk which led an absurdly hungover morning. Before hitting the road to embark on a two hour drive to New Orleans, we knew needed some comfort in the form of a hearty, greasy fried food-filled meal. A quick search of the Opelousas area led me to discover a little shop called Kelly’s Country Meat Block & Diner, more commonly referred to as Kelly’s Diner.

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Old World Cajun Cuisine at Palace Cafe in Opelousas, LA

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How on earth did I end up in Opelousas, Louisiana? Well, my girlfriend, Amy, is from Texas and Louisiana isn’t that far. Some of her friends from high school ended up working in Lafayette, Louisiana and we all ended up in the area for their wedding.

As is my usual plan of action wherever I am, I had to find great food. Since I was in Cajun country, I knew that was the kind of food I needed to get for lunch. After a bit of online research, I decided on a spot in downtown Opelousas, right near the courthouse called Palace Cafe.

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