Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Icy and Sot on Thompson

Icy and Sot
  

Monday, April 29, 2013

Hot Kitchen

Sichuan wontons in red oil, Hot Kitchen

Continuing our quest for the city's best chongqing chicken, we stopped into Hot Kitchen, in the East Village. We started with Sichuan wontons. At the time we were just hungry, dunking each package of pork into the chili oil, trying to gather as many pepper seeds as possible, tearing the outer layer to let the chili permeate the insides. But now, looking at the photo, we see that this dish represents a war --- pure plain skins vs. fiery red flavor.  
 
Then we tried malatang, or vegetable hot pot. It arrived pre-prepared, meaning we weren't privy to most versions' DIYD (do it yourself dunking). Nevertheless, it was a complicated stew of greens and mushrooms, competing to see who can soak up the most chili oil favor. We called it a draw as soon as our lips stopped tingling.  

So, how was the chicken, you ask? Delicious, but different. Elsewhere the little bits are fried to a crisp. At Hot Kitchen, however, they were soft and tender and sauteed, so it was up to the Sichuan peppers to do all the textual work. As with the hot pot, purists might scoff, and keep on walking to Land of Plenty or Legend, looking for a battle of crunch or more authenticity. That's OK. New York's a big town, and can support many different Sichuan styles. When it comes to this kind of Chinese food, fighting should only occur among ingredients, or among diners squabbling over who gets the last bite.    

Mala tang, Hot Kitchen

Chongqing diced chicken, Hot Kitchen
  

CBS New York: 5 Great Stores for Rain Gear

Hey everyone, we're also writing about New York for CBS New York. Periodically we'll link to content here that we produced there.
 
Rain, Blue Sky
 
According to the saying, April showers bring May flowers. Here are five stores to help you cope with the mist, fog, drops, and puddles that lead to such beautiful blossoms [read more].
 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Prince Avalanche at the Tribeca Film Festival


Striking a balance between his elliptical independent films and his gag-loaded mainstream comedies, David Gordon Green's Prince Avalanche features Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch as a mismatched two-man road crew painting lines through a fire-ravaged patch of Texas. It's funny, yes ("If you were in beauty pageants, what would your special talent be?" "Triple jump." "What's that?" "It's three jumps."), but also moving: the bond between Rudd and Hirsch feels genuine and warmhearted, and the scene between Rudd and Joyce Payne (an actual victim of a fire whom the producers wandered across during the shoot) is as dazzling and inventive as anything in George Washington. Given the sharp divides among Green's fan bases, he might have just done the impossible --- made a movie that pleases everyone.

  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Book Thug Nation

Book Thug Nation

In addition to having a great name, Williamsburg's Book Thug Nation has a great selection of books, especially considering that it's about the size of a suburban living room. The fiction, philosophy, poetry, and history sections are eminently browsable, but we particularly like their collection of pulps, including, on our visit, a bizarre edition of Pnin, which is the kind of thing you can only find in a store like this.
  

CBS New York: 5 Great Juice Bars

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

Drink your way to better health by visiting one of these juice bars, purveyors of freshness, temples of nutrients, vendors of all-nature goodness [read more].
 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

CBS New York: 5 Best Soap Shops

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

Mud

Spring cleaning shouldn’t stop with the house. Read on for New York City’s best purveyors of housemade, artisanal soaps [read more].

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Inside Out: The People's Art Project at the Tribeca Film Festival

JR

In 2011, street artist/photographer JR won the TED prize, $100,00 to use to change the world. He decided "to use art to turn the world inside out," and Inside Out: The People's Art Project documents the results.

The premise is simple: log on to the Inside Out site, upload a portrait of a person that "exudes life," then wait. JR's studio will transform the photo into a poster, which needs to be put up somewhere meaningful, such as the walls of Township Alexandria in Johannesburg or the streets of Lower Manhattan as part of Occupy. Inside Out. More than 100,000 posters have been sent to people in 108 countries since March 2011, the world's largest participatory art project.  

The documentary focuses on three areas: a community of teen artists in Haiti struggling to get by, a depressed family in North Dakota mourning a rash of youth suicides, and a group of photographers in Tunisia in the immediate aftermath of the revolution. What they share is a belief in the power of the image to spark conversations and change lives. Even as the movie borders on the hagiographic, it's difficult to refute the rhetoric of "art for the sake of art in the street," as the director Alastair Siddons phrased it during the Q&A. And, really, why would you want to? It's the hardhearted person who won't get inspired while watching a mosaic of photos of ordinary people replace larger-than-life images of a dictator, or hearing the joy of people seeing themselves represented as individuals for the first time. 
 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Taqueria Cocoyoc

Goat, chorizo, and carne enchilada tacos, Taqueria Cocoyoc

No doubt Bushwick has an awful lot of taco places, but we never get tired of finding a new one, such as Taqueria Cocoyoc. Our MO is always the same: flip through the menu and try not to butcher ordering whatever we want too badly. In this case, cabrito barbacoa (goat), carne asado (both top), and pescado (fish, bottom), so fresh we could feel the sand between our toes. At some point, we whisper an apology to our high school Spanish teachers for our inability to roll our Rs or make that in-between D sound.

Then we chug a fruit punch Jarrito, and shove every last bite of the stuffed soft tacos, covered in both salsa verde and salsa roja, into our bocas.

Fish tacos, Taqueria Cocoyoc
 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

CBS New York: 5 Great Cleanses

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

Devotees claim cleanses revitalize the mind while detoxing the body. The five places listed below offer a range of options. Have a sip and see how much better you feel [read more].
  

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Crash Mural at Houston and Bowery

Crash

  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

La Vie en Szechuan

Clear noodles with Szechuan chili sauce, La Vie en Szechuan

As others have noted, La Vie en Szechuan is a frivolous name for a nonfrivolous restaurant. Indeed, the folks here take their spices very, very seriously, and at least one chef came out to see which yokel wanted to test the kitchen's mettle by ordering not only the clear noodles with Szechuan chili sauce (top photo), a boiling orangy sea of oil, garlic, and peppercorns, but also the spicy chicken with fried twists (bottom photo), spilling out from an actual basket. 

We keep coming back to that second dish. Oh, the crab and asparagus soup was fine, and the crystal shrimp dumplings decidedly destination-worthy, thanks to their plump salty innards. But the spicy chicken demonstrated such a deftness, such a thoughtful consideration of textures, from the chilis to the slightly sweet twists, such a manipulation of the thin line that separates pleasure and pain in the human brain. Really, it is we who should have gone to ogle the chef, to say thank you and more, please, although it's the rare addict who thanks his/her pusher.

Crab and asparagus soup, La Vie en Szechuan

Crystal shrimp dumplings, La Vie en Szechuan

Spicy chicken with fried dough twists, La Vie en Szechuan
   

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

CBS New York: 5 Great Places to Play Catch

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

Running the bases

A good game of catch requires a few things: warm weather, at least two people, a ball, and an uninterrupted stretch of field. But not all fields are equal [read more].
 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Thierry Cohen at Danziger Gallery



To live in a city means to live with light, especially at night. But what if it didn't? What if we could see the city and its night sky? As a result of an innovative project by photographer Thierry Cohen now showing at Danziger Gallery, we can. Cohen took multiple photos of a cityscape, then replaced the light pollution-filled sky with an image of the stars and galaxies taken in a less densely populated area along the same latitude. The results, “Villes Eteintes” (Darkened Cities), are mystifying and utterly spell-binding.

Photo: thanks and thanks
 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Grimanesa Amorós's Terrarium

Terrarium

Terrarium, Grimanesa Amorós's site-specific installation in the lobby of the Bayer Building, uses glowing, color-shifting balls to, um, iluminate Tribeca's past and present.

Terrarium

Terrarium

Terrarium

Welcome home

Friday, April 12, 2013

CBS New York: 6 Best Venues to Celebrate National Poetry Month

Hey everyone, we're also writing about New York for CBS New York. Periodically we'll link to content here that we produced there.
 
2012 Poets House Showcase

April may be the cruelest four weeks of the year, according to some, but it’s also a time to celebrate National Poetry Month. Check out these venues and organizations for all your versifying needs [read more].
  

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Bryan Collier's BECH Mural in Harlem

Bryan Collier / BECH

Bryan Collier / BECH

Bryan Collier / BECH

Bryan Collier / BECH
  

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Body and Soul Vegan Bakery

Chocolate and sunflower cookie, rosemary cornbread muffin, and apple and spelt muffin, Body and Soul

Having basically eaten our weight in Girl Scout cookies over the last month, we were looking for something(s) to satisfy our sweet tooth while making sure we didn't have to reinforce our couch or bed with steel beams. Enter Body & Soul, a vegan bakery that sells its goodies at the Union Square Greenmarket.

Of the chocolate and sunflower cookie, rosemary cornbread muffin, and apple spelt muffin, the apple was the best, chewiest, gooiest, and truest as in 'eating this doesn't make us feel sad or deprived.' We've heard nice rumblings about the turnovers, although we have yet to try those. Perhaps there's a visit to Home Depot in our future after all.  
 

Monday, April 08, 2013

CBS New York: The 5 Best Restaurants Near Citi Field

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

Sure, you can eat really well inside Citi Field. Or you can try one of the many great restaurants located close by [read more].
  

Sunday, April 07, 2013

CBS New York: 5 Delicious Restaurants Near Yankee Stadium

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

Jerk shrimp, Feeding Tree

Console yourself regarding the dismal situation at Yankee Stadium by eating at one of these restaurants pre- or post-game [read more].
 

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Jin Ramen

Spicy tonkotsu ramen, Jin Ramen

Another weekend, another two days for exploring the city's denizens of deep depths, murky broths, long squiggles of noodles, shards of protein and spikes of vegetables. In this case, Jin Ramen, a restaurant more or less wedged beneath a Harlem overpass that specializes in porky Hakata ramen. 

The spicy tonkotsu (top) took the standard pork (rib) bone tonkotsu and reddened it with chili oil, a lot of chili oil, while the miso ramen (bottom) was mild and muddy in the best possible way, chock-full of chicken sausage and sprouts. There's deftness and variation at work here --- and the crowds have followed.

Miso ramen, Jin Ramen
  

Friday, April 05, 2013

CBS New York: 5 Great Hat Stores

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

Chris Stain, Beacon, NY

Protect your dome with a purchase from one of New York City’s best hat shops [read more].

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Sottocasa

Cime di rapa pizza, Sottocasa

The blurb about Sottocasa in New York magazine goes as follows: "Another Neapolitan pizza place for Brooklyn. This one boasts fresh mozzarella and crushed Italian plum tomatoes—wait, don't they all?" The answer, of course, is yes, but we still very much liked our broccoli rabe with sausage (top), the cheese incredibly pillowy and prevalent, as well as our salsiccia (below), with spicy meat and bright sauce. Even better was the salt-sweet interplay happening in the dough. IOHO, too much of a good thing like Neapolitan pizza is never enough. We also promise never to use an internet acronym again --- one of those is always enough.      

Salsiccia pizza, Sottocasa

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Sergio Alexis Perez Mural in Harlem

Sergio Alexis Perez

Sergio Alexis Perez

Sergio Alexis Perez

Sergio Alexis Perez
  

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Gordon Parks at the Studio Museum



In celebration of Gordon Park's centennial in November 2012, the Studio Museum is featuring selections from his seminal photo essay, A Harlem Family, published in Life magazine in 1968. Probably best known for being Hollywood's first major black director, Parks was above all a photographer, and his best work uses a split-second shot to capture a much larger, much longer event or situation. Here, he depicts the Fontenelles, a family living in a tenement, trying to get by in truly awful conditions, and uses their struggles to stand in for the desperately poor, largely African-American, urban underclass at a time when many US cities were rioting. Fast forward many decades, and only one child, Richard, lived past the age of 30, in large part thanks to his connection with Parks. The exhibit is on view through June. 

Photo: thanks
 

Monday, April 01, 2013

CBS New York: Five Great Salads

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

Winter greens salad with lemon, Pure Food and Wine

Here are five restaurants whose salads are worth your fork time [read more].

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