Where do you dine when you are hosting out-of-town guests? What if they are from out-of-the-country? Seems to me that right now most people would choose a French-style bistro since those have become so popular recently, but our guests were from France so we certainly were not going to bring them to an upscale American rendition of their pedestrian food. For this meal, Reynard – a very highly regarded, trendy, remote restaurant in Williamsburg – was selected for us.
For over three years I have been lucky enough to work within walking distance of Chinatown. I’ve done my fair share of exploration and feel like I have a handle on most of the options. Every now and then I find something really unexpected. On this occasion, I was wandering around the streets of Chinatown deciding what I should have for lunch and when I decided to try something new on a hunch. Inside of an unassuming bubble tea shop on Bayard Street there are signs advertising some non-bubble tea offerings. Who would dare eat lunch at a bubble tea shop? This guy.
While walking around my new neighborhood, Greenwich Village, I spotted a place I had to check out. Right at the corner of 6th Ave and Carmine St. next to the farmer’s market stand is a big, bright yellow stall selling pickles called Horman’s Best Pickles. I’m a pickle lover, that’s for sure. But I am also very particular about how they need to be in order to enjoy them. For me, they can’t be soggy and they can’t be sweet. Thin, floppy bread-and-butter pickles just don’t do it for me. I had to stop by to sample the goods to see if they live up to my standards.
Let’s talk about the state of Mexican food in New York. I grew up in the Northeast, so I can safely say that for most of my life my understanding of Mexican food was incomplete. I happily enjoyed Mexican food all over the Tristate area for many years unaware of its full potential. Then something happened. My girlfriend brought me to Texas and my eyes were forever opened.
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.
*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.
I did it again. For the 9th consecutive year, I moved to a new apartment. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? It is, but this move was a little bit different. My girlfriend and I got an apartment together. We woke at 6:15 in the morning to move out of both of our previous apartments and spent the entire day unpacking, sorting, organizing, arranging, and purging our stuff only to realize at 9 PM that we desperately needed to have dinner.
Ah yes, Umami Burger. I had been so anxious to try this food since I first heard about their burgers inciting drool up and down the West Coast. “Umami”, the 5th sense of taste, is an indescribable savory richness that Adam Fleischman, Umami Burger’s owner, claims to have invented a number of recipes around. Personally, I’m a huge fan of meaty, savory, salty foods so this sounded absolutely perfect to me.