Friday, April 18, 2014

Comida Economica Mexico

Chorizo cemita, Comida Economica Mexico

Comida Economica Mexico, on the Upper West Side, has a fun backstory: the chef/owner of Land Thai Kitchen so enjoyed his sous chef's family meals that he decided to open a new restaurant to serve them. Heartwarming, right? 

The chorizo cemita (top photo) was yummy, if a bit sloppy, since the chorizo nuggets kept slipping out. We also liked the jalapeno cornbread (middle photo), but the tacos (bottom photo) were forgettable. When people talk about how troubled / inauthentic / lousy Mexican food can be in New York, they're talking about plates like that. Certainly cuter were the vegetable empanadas, pockets of pumpkin, leeks, corn, epazote, and collared greens. Far more delicious too. 

We're always really skeptical of those Top Chef-isms about cooking with love. The Mexican food on offer didn't feel cooked with love, but it didn't feel not cooked with love either. It just felt cooked --- and a good thing too, since salmonella isn't high on our list of things we search out when we eat. 

Vegetable empanadas, Comida Economica Mexico

Avocado cornbread, Comida Economica Mexico

Chicken taco, Comida Economica Mexico

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bunna Cafe

Feast for two, Bunna Cafe

Bunna Cafe began as a super-popular pop-up. These days, it's a recently opened, super-popular restaurant in Bushwick. Indeed, it purports to be the city's only vegan Ethiopian cafe. 

When we went, the restaurant was still ironing out a few issues, including a weirdly dark dining area and how often the authentic coffee ceremony would take place per service. Nevertheless, we ate every single scrap of the feast for two, scoops of every savory entry on the menu. Of particular note were the yesuf fitfit, in which shredded injera is mixed with peppers and tomatoes and soaked in roasted sunflower milk, both cooling and unusual, as well as the gomen, steamed kale combined with garlic, herbs, red onion, and carrots, a bright spot on a not-so-bright day. 

Sambusas, Bunna Cafe

Monday, April 14, 2014

CBS New York: Manhattan's 5 Best Indian Sandwiches

Hey everyone, we're also writing about New York for CBS New York. Periodically we'll link to content here that we produced there.
 


What’s so special about Indian sandwiches? Well, everything. Rather than deli meat piled high, they tend to rely on smaller portions of cooked meat or veggies, liberally doused with spices, and rolled up into a wrap, pressed into a bun, or spread between two pieces of bread. The restaurants listed below offer some of the best Indian sandwiches in Manhattan [read more].

CBS New York: Best Dim Sum in Manhattan

Hey everyone, we're also writing about New York for CBS New York. Periodically we'll link to content here that we produced there.
 


Way back when, dim sum was first served to weary travelers in teahouses in China. Today, it’s a particularly popular brunch option, but the restaurants below will stuff you silly with small bites of Chinese delicacies morning, noon, and night. Read on for our five favorite places for dim sum in Manhattan [read more].

Friday, April 11, 2014

Las Delicias Mexicanas

Longaniza and al pastor tacos, Las Delicias Mexicanas

Known for its burritos, Las Delicias Mexicanas packs in customers like the cooks pack in flavor. This East Harlem restaurant offers a wide array of Mexican food, as well as a Cheers-like atmosphere. We're pretty sure we were the only people who didn't get fist-bumped during lunch. Our chorizo and pork tacos and a bean, rice, crema, and shrimp burrito were hearty and filling, warming and tasty --- in a word, delightful. 

Shrimp burrito, Las Delicias Mexicanas
  

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Maison Kayser

Nutella, banana, and strawberry tartine, Maison Kayser

Paris is for lovers, as they say, but they never say what kinds of lovers. Oh, sure, you can assume Paris is for people lovers. But what about breakfast lovers? Does anyone do a more civilized morning repast than Parisians?

We set out to find out on a sunny Saturday, arriving at Maison Kayser, when this Flatiron bakery / cafe was almost but not quite at capacity. Our very unscientific experiment included several pastries: a plain croissant that was enlivened by miniature tubes of jams, while a plie au chocolat ate better than it looks, courtesy of chocolate chips caramelized in custard. Don't be fooled by the fruit above: hiding beneath strawberries and banana was a thick layer of Nutella. We carefully rested knives against the heavy plates, themselves carefully placed on marble tables. We watched dogs walk by in sweaters. We even held our pinkies up to drink orange juice and chocolate milk.  

Croissant, Maison Kayser

Plié au chocolat, Maison Kayser

Friday, April 04, 2014

A&A Bake and Doubles Shop

Double, A&A Bake and Doubles Shop

After trying doubles for the first time, we had one lingering question: Where have you been all our lives? Courtesy of A&A Bake and Doubles Shop, among other storefronts and steamtables in Bed-Stuy, this Trinidadian street food ladles curried chick pea stew between two super-moist pieces of flatbread. Not quite a sandwich, a doubles (it's plural even when it's singular, grammar nerds) isn't quite akin to a taco either. Instead, it's wholly itself, something that needs to be eaten to be believed. Say yes to the hot sauce, made from scotch bonnet peppers, and yes, please to the napkins. You're going to need them. A doubles will squirm and squish, dripping down shirtfronts and onto bellies, but it sure will satisfy.
 

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Emmett's

Deep-dish pizza with sausage, Emmett's

Is it sacrilege to seek out Chicago-style deep dish pizza in New York? If so, the flock is fleeing the shepherd, as evinced by the the three-hour waits at Emmett's, which two brothers from outside Chicago opened last year. One reason for the wait is that the restaurant is barely large enough to contain the Superfans, but mostly New Yorkers are insanely curious about "tomato soup in a bread bowl."

Having had exactly one Chicago-style deep dish pizza before, we can't speak to Emmett's authenticity, but we can say that the spicy sauce, gooey cheese, and fennel-packed sausage left us very full and happy for the better part of a weekend. (It's, um, filling.) While we're not quite ready to convert, Emmett's does remind us of the merits of being latitudinarian.
  

Monday, March 31, 2014

Big Daddy's Diner

Strawberry and blueberry pancakes, Big Daddy's Diner

Begging to be franchised, Big Daddy's prides itself on big food, big service, and big smiles, or so we surmised during breakfast last week. By 9 am on a Saturday, the Park Avenue location was standing room only, as parents broke (sticky monkey) bread with their kids, tourists plotted their day over omelets, and construction workers fueled up with sandwiches made from waffles.

As for us, we went with berry pancakes (top), which had an excellent berry-to-batter ratio, and French toast (bottom), made from not-too-chewy, not-too-eggy challah. While we waited, we played Trivia Pursuit (cards provided tableside) and listened to the restaurant's piped-in 80s remix. While there are cheaper breakfasts to be had closer to home, we nevertheless left giving Big Daddy's big thumbs up.  

French toast, Big Daddy's Diner
  

Friday, March 28, 2014

Barn Joo

L.A. galbi fried udon, Barn Joo

We can't ever order bibimbap without also saying "mmm . . . bop," which gets that terrible Hanson song stuck in our heads. Is it in your head now too? If so, sorry. Also, did you know that the youngest member of Hanson is almost 30? Must everything in the world constantly conspire to make us feel old? 

Blame the light-on-flavor bibimbap (far below) we got at Barn Joo, a pricy Korean gastropub in Union Square. Not that it made us feel particularly old, because it didn't. It didn't make us feel much of anything, actually. Too innocuous, too lacking in the telltale crispy crust. But it did get us started on the above rant, so it does warrant some scorn. 

Better were the LA galbi fried udon (above), like a saucier lo mein, with juicy short ribs. Better still were the chicken wings (below), with a nice, thick batter --- perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that the best thing we ate at a gastropub tweaks typical American bar food. And yet isn't the capacity to be surprised a sign of youth? Eh, sonny?  

Salt & pepper BJ wings, Barn Joo

Tofu stone bowl, Barn Joo
  

Thursday, March 27, 2014

CBS New York: Best Ethiopian Restaurants

Hey everyone, we're also writing about New York for CBS New York. Periodically we'll link to content here that we produced there.
 


For the best in Ethiopian food in New York City, try one of the places listed below. Once there, relax into the atmosphere, make sure your hands are clean (after all, you’ll be using them, rather than utensils, to eat), and order a combo platter, to ensure you get to try lots of flavors and preparations. Above all, enjoy!  [read more]

CBS New York: Best Savory Pancakes

Hey everyone, we're also writing about New York for CBS New York. Periodically we'll link to content here that we produced there.
 


Like their sweet counterparts, savory pancakes offer an excellent vehicle for toppings, stuffings, and sauces. We’ve given this some thought, and decided that the six types of savory pancakes listed below represent New York’s best. Herewith, what to eat and where  [read more].

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Influx in Flux

Icy & Sot and GILF! @ Influx in Flux

Influx in Flux connects teenagers with working artists to create murals in various locations in the East Village. Those shown here were found in First Street Green, on a sunny, snowy Saturday.

Influx in Flux

Influx in Flux

Influx in Flux

Influx in Flux

Influx in Flux

Influx in Flux

Influx in Flux

Icy & Sot and GILF! @ Influx in Flux

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cachapas y Mas

Pollo patacon, Cachapas y Mas

Here's what we love about Cachapas y Mas: todo! We love the patacón (above), a shredded chicken sandwich that replaces ordinary bread with pounded, fried slabs of plantain. We love the more sweet than savory cachapa (immediately below), with its thick, barely melted hunk of Venezuelan cheese folded into a large corn pancake. And we love the yoyo (far below), not only because it's almost more fun to say than to eat, as the puffy plantain tends to fall apart after a bite or two. No matter --- that's what forks are for. We love the roast of the roasted pork. We love the pink dipping sauce, the result of mayo marrying hot sauce. We love how crowded the dining area of this Washington Heights institution gets. We love how said dining area has two flat screens that always seem to be showing Animal Planet, no matter when we're there. Like we said, we love it all. 

Queso de mano cachapa, Cachapas y Mas

Pernil yoyo, Cachapas y Mas

Friday, March 21, 2014

CBS New York: Best Spring Film Festivals

Hey everyone, we're also writing about New York for CBS New York. Periodically we'll link to content here that we produced there.
 


Ah, springtime in New York. The trees are budding, the snow is melting, and film festivals are popping up all over town. Here are our favorites [read more].

photo: thanks

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night at New Directors / New Films



Despite the title, this movie, which opened the New Directors / New Films festival last night at the Museum of Modern Art, isn't about victimhood. Instead, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is about vampires, more specifically it's about a vampire who lives in an Iranian ghost town called Bad City, preying on those who truly deserve it.  Oh, and it's in Persian, with English subtitles, but was filmed near Bakersfield, California.

Asked what inspired her to write and direct a Western noir in black and white about an Iranian vampire, Ana Lily Amirpour said, "I like vampires and I like dancing, and I was lonely." She also noted that wearing a chador leftover from a previous film made her feel like a bat --- indeed, some of the best shots of the movie feature the unnamed undead protagonist riding a skateboard, her chador puffing out behind her like wings. Others feature her dancing to moody pop in Persian and English, while still others include a fat cat who likes to be carried (sadly absent at the Q&A). While the movie has a narrative arc, it's more concerned with the visual expression of emotions, setting such feelings as alienation, despair, and even the first tiny blooms of trust between two souls to music. 
 
photo: thanks

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Radiant Light: Stained Glass from Canterbury Cathedral at the Cloisters

Radiant Light: Stained Glass from Canterbury Cathedral at the Cloisters

The stained glass exhibit currently on view at the Cloisters lets believers and non ogle six pieces from Canterbury Cathedral, made circa 1178-80. They also encourage a fun game known as 'consider the name.' Why is it that we likely all know a Jared or a Noah, but no Phalec, Thara, or Lamech? Is it time to bring those bad boys back, or should we let sleeping consonants lie?  

Radiant Light: Stained Glass from Canterbury Cathedral at the Cloisters

Radiant Light: Stained Glass from Canterbury Cathedral at the Cloisters

Radiant Light: Stained Glass from Canterbury Cathedral at the Cloisters
  

Monday, March 17, 2014

Treat House

Treat House

Is there such a thing as a dessert too cute to eat? Probably not, but the mini Rice Krispie rice and marshmallow treats at Treat House come close. They come in a dazzling array of flavors --- mint chocolate and chocolate peanut butter are favorites of ours --- and their diminutive portions makes them both eminently poppable and guilt-free. How could something so dainty and delicious possibly be anything but good for you?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

CBS New York: Best Used Bookstores

Hey everyone, we're also writing about New York for CBS New York. Periodically we'll link to content here that we produced there.
 


New York City is lucky enough to boast many independent bookstores, but don’t take them for granted. Instead, take your spare change and loose bills and head over to any or all of the bookstores listed below, and see what treasures you can find for less than the price of a cup of coffee [read more].

CBS New York: Best Cannoli

Hey everyone, we're also writing about New York for CBS New York. Periodically we'll link to content here that we produced there.


Cannoli come in all shapes and sizes, from miniature versions to monster versions, stuffed with a creamy ricotta filling, dipped in chocolate, or transformed into a cheesecake or crepe. Our five favorite cafes and bakeries for cannoli tend to be a little more traditional, a little more old school, a little more old country. Have a bite and let us know if you agree with our picks [read more].
 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The 39 Steps and The Lady Vanishes at Film Forum


You know what there really should be? An all-Hitchcock TV channel. Until that glorious day arrives, there's The Complete Hitchcock at Film Forum, running through March 27th. (The affiliated complete screening of the Hitchcock-directed TV episodes is at the Paley Center.) This weekend, we caught the double feature of The 39 Steps and The Lady Vanishes, two films in which Hitchcock's familiar concern with innocent people caught in a menacing and mysterious situation meets up with historical circumstances --- namely, the looming European conflagration. Both movies are delightful, intelligent entertainments, but our preference was for The Lady Vanishes, with its gripping conceit and flawless tonal tightrope-walking. Who wouldn't want to see that 24 hours a day?

Monday, March 10, 2014

SMITHE Mural on Vandevoort Place

SMITHE, Bushwick

The latest artist to cover the 200-foot wall of the Bushwick Art Park is SMITHE, from Mexico City, who gives the neighborhood a quasi-futuristic clash of the titans.  

SMITHE, Bushwick

SMITHE, Bushwick

SMITHE, Bushwick
  

Friday, March 07, 2014

Indikitch

Pulled pork vindaloo feast, Indikitch

We're rooting for Indikitch, recently opened near the Flatiron Building and definitely looking to do for Indian what Chipotle has done for Mexican. In other words, this fast-casual restaurant is begging to be franchised.

You pick your type of meal (we went with the "feast"), along with your rice, your protein, your sides, and your naan, all while watching the line cooks make your pulled pork vindaloo (top) and paneer tikka (bottom) sizzle. Not only was the food really fresh, it arrived nicely seasoned (you can specify how hot you want it). Are we starting to sound like potential investors? Perhaps. We did drink an awful lot of the Kool-Aid, courtesy of the dining area's Coca-Cola Freestyle Drink Machine.    

Paneer tikka feast, Indikitch

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