Two Takes on Spicy Cumin Lamb in Flushing, Queens
Two Takes on Spicy Cumin Lamb in Flushing, Queens

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Note 2/19/15: This restaurant recently changed its name from Fu Run to Fu Ran for some reason and listed prices may be outdated

When 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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Authentic Czech Kolaches at Dos Gatos in San Marcos, TX

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On the final day of our whirlwind road trip across the great state of Texas and back, we departed San Antonio early in the morning to head to Austin for our flight home. While on the road we decided that we needed to make of last pit stop to fill up our bellies with something delicious to prepare ourselves for the long day of travel ahead. A quick Yelp search in San Marcos, a small college town halfway between San Antonio and Austin, revealed a well regarded kolache shop on the outskirts of Texas State University. As a fan of this Czech-Texan specialty, I knew we had to make a stop.

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Come for the Hot Dogs, Stay for the Mac & Cheese at Dogmatic
Come for the Hot Dogs, Stay for the Mac & Cheese at Dogmatic

Come for the Hot Dogs, Stay for the Mac & Cheese at Dogmatic

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*Editor’s Note: I’m sad to report that this restaurant is not longer open.

Along the Greenwich Village strip of MacDougal between Bleecker and 3rd Street, there is an extraordinary density of fast, cheap eateries and college-focused sports bars. This probably developed as a direct result of its proximity to the heart of NYU.

Even with so many choices, I still always get excited when new additions arrive. For instance, this week I was treated to the opening of Dogmatic, a diminutive, pristine, bright white, glowing shop with a small and unique menu that recently relocated from the Union Square area. The menu consists mostly of hot dogs and hamburgers and claims to make “naturally good fast food”.

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Hot Dog Insanity at Los Perros Locos LES
Hot Dog Insanity at Los Perros Locos LES

Hot Dog Insanity at Los Perros Locos LES

*Editor’s Note: I’m sad to report that this restaurant is no longer open.

What’s the craziest meal you’ve ever had in New York? I know, there’s many types of crazy meals, whether it involves something outside your comfort zone like organ meat or a perhaps it’s a meal served in pure darkness. But, I’m talking about a different kind of crazy. The kind that makes you stop at ask what kind of clinically insane person thought up the menu. The kind that makes you actually utter ‘what the fuck’ out loud. Well, this is it. This is some of the most out-there food I’ve found in NYC and honestly, I don’t know anywhere else in the US quite like it either. Even the name of the shop foreshadows the wackiness to come. Welcome to Los Perros Locos. If you haven’t already guessed, they served over-the-top hot dog varieties.

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Bizarre Ethnic Food in Queens: Himalayan Yak Restaurant
Himalayan Yak Review

Bizarre Ethnic Food in Queens: Himalayan Yak Restaurant

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My 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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Seriously Good, Cheap Fried Chicken at Dirty Bird To-Go in NYC
Dirty Bird To-Go Review

Seriously Good, Cheap Fried Chicken at Dirty Bird To-Go in NYC

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In TriBeCa, nearly invisible, tucked away under some construction scaffolding on Chambers Street for as long as I can remember, you’ll find some of the best and most reasonably priced fried chicken in NYC. This is no dive. It’s a very well designed, polished space that feels like they should be charging double what they are. This is one of the those gems that feels like such a deal and nearly the entire menu is excellent.

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Savory & Sweet Japanese Crepes at Eight Turn Crêpe in NYC
Eight Turn Crêpe Review

Savory & Sweet Japanese Crepes at Eight Turn Crêpe in NYC

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If you’re in SoHo, perhaps shopping, where do you stop for a quick, easy lunch? There’s plenty of trendy, pricey sit-down cafes in the neighborhood, but you have to look a little harder to find something fast, casual, and actually good. I had heard about a great new Harajuku style Japanese crêperie in the area and knew I had to check it out. Do I sense a Harajuku mini-trend happening in NYC?

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Hidden Dollar Bill Covered Chinatown at 69 Bayard Restaurant

*Editor’s Note 2/25/16: I’m sad to report that 69 Bayard has permanently closed.

In Chinatown, you’ll find a ton of restaurants serving a wide array of mostly Asian cuisine. Right in the chaos of it all, on Bayard Street, you’ll find a strange, tiny place called 69 Bayard. I must have walked by this place a million times without considering to stop in to check out their food. Maybe it’s because they don’t offer a lunch special. Maybe it’s because I’d never heard anything one way or the other about it. Probably it’s because of the decor, which I suppose could be viewed as either a plus or a minus to some.

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Late Night Street Meat from New York’s The Famous Halal Guys

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A friend from college recently moved from Philly to NYC. His apartment is in the East Village on 10th Street between 1st and A, which I consider to be a great area for food and drinks. I know a ton of great, cheap eats in the neighborhood since I used to live nearby, but we were still struggling to decide what to get. In a stroke of genius, I remembered that the Famous 53rd and 6th Halal Guys were opening up a brick-and-mortar location on the north edge of the East Village as well as a cart that had already launched. On this Saturday night, we wanted something quick, cheap, and tasty to prime us for the night of drinking ahead and this sounded like the perfect option.

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