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
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Note 2/19/15: This restaurant recently changed its name from Fu Run to Fu Ran for some reason and listed prices may be outdated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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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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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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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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The Best Artisanal Pickles in NYC are at Horman’s Best Pickles

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.

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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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