My search for the best beer in New York continues….

Things have slowed down recently on this blog. I’ve been pretty consistent with my Dish of the Week every Thursday, but have not managed to write many other reviews. A few reasons for that:

I’ve been immersed in some other projects (including a video series that will be debuting soon) and I had a baby so my life has changed dramatically. It’s amazing how much more difficult it is to get things done like writing blog posts.

But through all of that, one thing has been easy. I’ve been able to drink more beer (is that the reason for this potbelly or is it the fatherhood thing?) So really, no good excuse for not posting more beer reviews.

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Category: Beer

Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

I’ve had all sorts of fake meat over the years. Broccoli hot dogs. Veggie burgers made from just about anything you can imagine (except meat. of course). And most recently I tried a yuba philly cheesesteak that blew my mind.

But through it all, I’ve never tasted anything that pretended to be fish. Unless you count those imitation crab sticks. So I was intrigued and a bit skeptical when I discovered that Orchard Grocer, the new trendy vegan bodega was serving lox made out of carrots.

It’s pretty ballsy to hawk a bagel with vegan cream cheese and carrot lox in the Lower East Side. Despite the changing demographics of the neighborhood, the breakfast sandwich is still associated with the historic Jewish immigrants that once lived here.

But I tell you, the masterminds behind this vegan deli would have made bubbe and zayde proud.

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Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

Last weekend I had the great opportunity to design a special food tour for a hungry family from New Jersey. They had already explored much of Manhattan and wanted to learn about the best food in Brooklyn. They came to the right guy. We had a car and hopped from food stop to food stop in the hippest borough.

Now this couldn’t really be all the best things in Brooklyn because it would have been a week-long tour. Instead, I curated a list of places that tell the story of food in Brooklyn (we visited a hipster Asian restaurant, an old time Italian red-sauce joint, a brewery, coffee roaster, and dessert).

I also knew that I wanted to showcase the new immigrant food that is iconic to much of Brooklyn. Since the tour would be mostly in South Brooklyn, I looked to Sunset Park. I had my pick of places here – on one side of the neighborhood is Brooklyn’s growing Chinatown along 8th Avenue and on the other side is a large Latin American community huddled around 5th.

So in the name of research, a few days before the tour, I did an unofficial taco crawl trying to decide which of these iconic spots to take the group to.

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Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

It doesn’t seem like there has been much innovation in the local Vietnamese food scene. I think our options haven been so limited for so long that when modern Vietnamese restaurants open, the most innovative thing to do is to go back to tradition. Places like Bun-ker and Hanoi House have recently opened (or re-opened) and for the most part, they focus on authenticity which is very exciting and mostly new for New York Vietnamese standards.

Lucy’s Vietnamese Kitchen also focuses on tradition, but there are a few flourishes that make it very exciting and dare I say, totally innovative.

This tiny storefront (only one small communal table) sits in a still-changing area of Bushwick. It’s named for the grandmother of the young American-Vietnamese chef who grew up in the neighborhood.

You might recognize the Vietnamese staples like banh mi and pho, but there a few differences to what you might expect. (more…)


Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

I just got back from another trip to Philadelphia. And while there, of course, I had to try another of the city’s famed cheesesteaks. One day (after many more trips to Philly), I will have an answer for what I think is the best cheesesteak in the city of Brotherly Love. For now, I say it is Dalessandro’s.

No question, you need to head 90 miles southwest to appreciate a real cheesesteak. But I often get asked (mostly by international visitors), where to get the best cheesesteak in NYC. I have a few suggestions (Phil’s Steaks, Shorty’s), but my newest discovery will definitely be the most controversial.

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Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

I’ve been to Lisbon three times now. Really not sure how that happened. A few years ago, Portugal wasn’t even on my radar as a destination. Now it’s the place I’ve visited the most in Europe.

And I love it – it’s a beautiful city, with heartfelt people, and an amazing undiscovered culinary culture. Each time I visit, I drink lots of Vinho Verde, eat a ton of incredible seafood (I’ve visited the legendary Ramiro all three times), and consumed my weight in pastries. One thing I’ve never been able to do (but always wanted to) was explore the African and Indian cuisines available in Portugal.

Mozambique, Goa, and Angola are all former colonies of Portugal, so due to many immigrants in Lisbon, the food is pretty authentic (at least that’s what they tell me). All three of these cuisines are rather underepresented in New York so since I was here, I wanted to explore it.

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