Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Spicy & Tasty

I've been to Spicy & Tasty now a number of times. Most Sichuan-cuisine fans would rank it one of the best in New York, perhaps only behind Little Pepper.

When going there, I would advise to get several cold dishes (cold as in room temperature). When you enter, you see a whole cold station for concocting these wonderful treats. This is some of the spiciest and most flavorful stuff on the menu. Pictured here is one of the cold dishes, ma la tendon. Ma la is what a lot of these dishes are: spicy and numbing. The sichuan peppercorn, not found outside the cuisine, is responsible for the numbing part.

I went again a week ago, and this visit we tried Stinky Tofu, but it was only mediocre. But we also tried the hot pot, which was pretty nice. They brought frozen squid balls, beef slices, bean-thread noodles, vegetables and a few other things. It was divided into a non-spicy section and spicy section. I preferred the spicy section, but the items boiled in either were nice. The spicy section wasn't overwhelming.

We had a number of other really good dishes, including the tea-smoked duck, cold conch, cold eggplant, and a few others I can't even remember. It's always a great meal, the prices are good, and the spicy, garlicy taste is intoxicating and addictive.

Spicy & Tasty is located in Flushing on Prince Street. Try it out!
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cafe Sabarsky

A few weeks ago I and a few others went to Cafe Sabarksy, which has
the reputation of being a very authentic Viennese cafe. I've never
been to Vienna, so I really can't comment, but it was very nice
looking, with wood paneling, nice silverware, and a general relaxed
but sophisticated vibe.

I got a cafe creme, which had the same smooth chocolate notes that I
remember from drinking those Nestle Viennese coffee mixes a long time
ago. I'm sorry to compare the two, since I'm sure the one at Cafe
Sabarsky is made with much more care.

We also got some dishes and a slice of cake. Everything was elegantly
prepared, and was well seasoned. I had a beef consomme with root
vegetables and wide noodles made from sliced crepe (which I hadn't
seen before) . It matched the rainy day quite well.

The chocolate cake slice we had was exceptional. It was intensley
chocolaty with cute little shave chocolate curled on top.

The whole thing was a bit expensive. I'd recommend trying it out, but
maybe a coffee and cake would be the best value.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Malaysia Taste Good

This weekend I went to Elmhurst to satisfy my craving for a good,
spicy, noodle soup. Malaysia Taste Good (an oddly but accurately named
restaurant) fit the bill. I had a curry fish ball noodle soup for
around $5.50. It was a medium-sized bowl full of a nicely spiced,
coconut-based soup, with noodles, fish balls, and a handful of bean
sprouts. The noodles were soft and thick, without much chew. The soup
was well balanced and really flavorful. I'll be back again for the
exact same thing.

After the soup, I noticed that Elmhurst now has a Quickly bubble-tea
store. Good bubble tea is hard to find, and Quickly is the best you
can find here. It comes from the Bay Area, and there it is solid but
unexceptional. Sometimes I miss that place. I actually noticed a
fruity taste in my tea, which shouldn't have happened since my tea was
black tea flavored. Otherwise, the tea was good.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Hakata Ippudo

On Thursday, my friend Ben and I went to try the new ramen noodle shop, the Tokyo-based Hakata Ippudo. It was packed with a mostly Japanese crowd. We were seated within ten minutes in an elegant medium-sized room that sat about 40.

The soup I ordered was very well executed. It had a rich porky broth, but it was well balanced. Not too salty, but very robust. The noodles were thinner than the usual ramen noodle, but they had a great firm texture. I think this is the best ramen noodles I've had. Unfortuntely, I have not been a good food blogger, and did not write down the name of the soup. But it was the second soup on the small menu. 

For dessert we had a macha green tea creme brûlée.  It came with a lychee ice cream, and it all worked very well together. 

The past year has seen a huge ramen rennaisance in New York. And it is not over, more Tokyo-based shops are coming.  I love it! 

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Taqueria Coatzingo

Last weekend I went to try the tacos at Taqueria Coatzingo, in Jackson
Heights. They come with a surprising amount of guacamole. They were
good, better than most California tacos but not quite as good as the
best Taquerias I've been to. Tacos are all about the meat, and this
meat was well prepared, but it lacked the strong meaty taste of the
best taquerias.

I hear the other food here is very good and authentic. Next time.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Chicago pizza

I made a good Chicago style pizza yesterday. One of the things I did
differently this time is that I did not precook the sauce. This turned
out to make a lot of difference, since the sauce is cooked for 45
minutes in the oven anyway.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Today for lunch I went to Luzzo's in the East Village for some coal-
fired pizza. The pizza was ready very quickly, and was superb. It had
a crust that was fairly soft like a neopolitan, but not so soft it
needed a knife and fork. The buffalo mozzarella tasted fresh, and the
entire pie was light tasting.

I think this is now my current favorite coal-fired pie.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


DiFara's prices have increased, but it still is well worth it. It's
not my favorite pizza in the city, but its close.

I went there today with some coworkers. Most thought the square pie
was truly special, while the round pie was merely good. Both are
rather rich, but the square pie has that rich, proscuitto-infused
sauce. For me, though, the relative lightness of the round pie made it

Monday, February 25, 2008

Pizza Making

Lately I have been making pizzas at home every week. It is cheap, fun
and not actually all that hard. This weeks pizza was my first really
successful dough. It was soft and stretchable. I made it fairly wet,
gave it a 20 minute rest before and after kneading the dough, and did
a 15 minute wet knead.

I also baked it on the upper part of the oven, which encouraged
browning from the reflected heat from the top of my gas oven.

Overall, I think it came out pretty well. I now need to work on
getting more oven spring, probably by playing around with yeast
quantity and rise times.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Chao Thai

For lunch today I stopped by Chao Thai in Elmhurst. I decided to order
one of my favorite dishes from Sripraphai, Penang Curry. It was
soupier than Sripraphai's, and therefore didn't have quite as much
punch. But, it was still a tasty, spicy and balanced curry, with that
familiar earthy pungency that makes a good Penang Curry.

I'll have to try this place again, as well as the other numerous Thai
places in Elmhurst.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Nutrition House

In Milpitas, CA, near the Ranch 99, I had a meat-filled dinner of
DongBei cuisine. The Chinese name is 5 Fish 2 Loaves, a New Testament
reference that is overanalyzed in many comments I've read. It is at
least a better name than Nutrition House, the English name.

There was lots of good stuff here, but the highlight was probably the
impossibly tender lamb meatballs.

The latest in my cappuccino creations. I really think I've got it now.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Nanjing Xiaolongbao

Last weekend I went to Flushing to eat at Nanjing Xiaolongbao. It's been a while since I had some good soup dumplings. My friend Ben and I met up and ordered both types of soup dumplings, Shanghai noodles, "Shengjian" (pan-fried) buns, and cold bamboo in red oil. I think the soup dumplings there were nearly as good at Joe Shanghai, with both (and most NY places, IMHO) suffering from dumplings that are too large. The dumplings skins were also slightly too fragile, and tore on two occasions. Otherwise, though, the soup inside was delicious, as well as the pork itself. It's one of the better versions I've had in New York. The Shanghai noodles were actually some of the best I've had. And the pan-friend buns were great as well. The bottom is brown and crunchy, and the top is soft. And of course the middle is a nice dumpling filling (no soup inside, though). It's a great snack that I'd eat a lot of if given the chance...

I have no pictures of this event, sorry to say.