Tag Archives: Israeli

I’m counting down the 100 best dishes I tasted in 2016…

2016 was a tough year. From a whirlwind political circus to the loss of many beloved celebrities to worldwide tragedies, the news was full of sad things. But there was still joy out there and as usual, I found a lot of that joy through food. And here in New York, these are the 10 dishes that gave me the most joy….

NUMBER 10: HOT DOG at FELTMAN’S OF CONEY ISLAND

A Coney Island historian named Michael Quinn bought the Feltman’s brand this year. For those that don’t know, Charles Feltman was the originally creator of the hot dog in 1867 and was the employer of the more famous Nathan’s. Pepper and garlic flavors explode with each snap of the lamb casing. The warm grilled sauerkraut and homemade apple cider vinegar mustard plus the addition of no nitrates or chemicals help put this in the running for best hot dog in the city. Price: $4

FELTMAN’S OF CONEY ISLAND
80 St. Marks Place (between First and Second Avenue),
Inside William Barnacle Tavern,
East Village
https://www.facebook.com/Feltmans-of-Coney-Island

NUMBER 9: PUEBLA DRINK WITH NO NAME at MAYAHUEL

SADLY, MAYAHUEL IS NOW CLOSED.

It’s no secret that I love Mayahuel. It’s become one of my favorite bars, visiting it often on the Craft Cocktail tour but also bringing friends who are in town by for a drink. I was looking for a smooth, chocolatey drink to pair with their excellent churros and one of the servers suggested this classic. It has no name (well, sort of) but lots of intense flavors – spicy and smoky mezcal infused with chile de arbol, a moscatel sherry infused with ancho cili, some aged rum, cacao, and mole bitters. It’s modeled after a Oaxacan mole sauce, but it’s also the perfect final sipper to a night out. Price: $15

MAYAHUEL
304 East 6th Street (between First and Second Avenue),
East Village
(212) 253-58888
mayahuelny.com

NUMBER 8: KUBANEH BREAD at TIMNA

It’s hard for me to justify paying for a basket of bread. But this is not just any basket of bread. It’s called kubaneh and is a traditional Yemenite breakfast bread with a yeasty, steamy center. It arrives in a flowerpot with accompaniments of jalapeño salsa, crushed tomatoes, and a dollop of yogurt. Each piece rips apart easily and releases aroma and steam that adds to the experience. This slightly sweet, soft and tender bread disappeared too quickly. It had the sweetness of a brioche, the softness of a popover, and the brownness of a pretzel. Imagine that lovechild. Price: $12

TIMNA
109 St. Marks Place (between First Avenue and Avenue A),
East Village
(646) 964-5181
timna.nyc

NUMBER 7: CLASSIC BURGER at SALVATION BURGER

SADLY, SALVATION BURGER IS NOW CLOSED.

After Salvation Burger finally re-opened following a debilitating fire, I finally made it up to check out April Bloomfield’s hip, swanky burger palace. I was hesitant to spend so much money for a burger and even more doubtful that it would be worth it. It well-exceeded my highest expectations. The classic burger is modelled after thin-patty fast food burgers but it’s full of meaty char and topped with a secret cheesy sauce, sweet caramlized onions, and bold tangy pickles. If McDonald’s burgers tasted this good, I would have a serious problem. Price: $17

SALVATION BURGER
230 East 51st Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenue),
Inside the Pod 51 Hotel
Midtown East
(646) 277-2900
salvationburger.com

NUMBER 6: PANDI-ICE CREAM at HOUSE OF INASAL

We’ve all probably had an ice cream sandwich, but not necessarily one quite like this. The popular Filipino street food is composed of sweet eggy pandesal bread that is toasted and liberally painted with thick halaya, which is ube (purple sweet potato) jam. Then it’s topped with a scoop of the same deep purple-colored ice cream. And finally, it’s garnished with some pinipig (crunchy rice) and young coconut. It’s sweet, warm, cold, crunchy, and absolutely luxurious.  Price: $5.50

HOUSE OF INASAL
65-14 Roosevelt Avenue (between 67th Street and 65th Place),
Woodside, Queens
(718) 429-0709
houseofinasal.com

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

TIMNA, 109 St. Marks Place (between First Avenue and Avenue A), East Village

Bread baskets were actually a very trendy thing here in New York just a few years ago. And I’m not talking about complimentary bread baskets like restaurants used to offer. I’m talking about an appetizer of some fancy, freshly baked bread with some interesting butters and spreads. Some people complained that bread should be included with the meal. But that didn’t stop chefs from charging a few dollars to fill up on fancy carbs before the entrees arrived.

The bread at Timna, a new modern Isareli restaurant in the East Village, is actually $12 per order. But after reading about it over and over again, I thought it might be worth taking the plunge. And oh boy was I right. (more…)


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

BREADS BAKERY, 18 East 16th Street (between Broadway and Fifth Avenue), Union Square

I was not expecting to visit Breads for my official cheesecake search. This is an Israeli-owned bakery known more for their breads, rugelach, and babkas than cakes. But this past summer they celebrated cheesecake month and focused on making a different cheesecake dessert each week.

Beautiful Breads

The month-long celebration has ended, but it caught my eye and I discovered that they make a year-long cheesecake. Turns out their unique take on the classic rivals many of the old time Italian bakeries in the city. (more…)


Category: Cheesecake

Checking Out the Cheesecake

It’s strange writing a conclusion for cheesecake because I feel like I already did that. A few months back, I was asked to write an article for Gothamist about the best cheesecakes in the city. It sped up my journey and I kind of feel like I can now send people to that article when asking where the best is in the city.

But I still should have some sort of conclusion on this site. And so here it is.

(more…)


Category: Cheesecake

I’m counting down the 100 best dishes I tasted in 2015…

It was actually very difficult to narrow down all the things I tasted this year to the 100 Best. It was a good year for food in New York. Food is the best way to create memories and these top ten are dishes I’ll never forget.

NUMBER 10: GRIDDLE PANCAKE SKEWER at TASTE OF NORTHERN CHINA

Griddle Pancake at TASTE OF NORTHERN CHINA

The specialty of the house at this hard-to-find Chinatown haunt are northern Chinese skewers. Proteins and vegetables are put on a stick, marinated with spices, and then grilled. The most surprising one I discovered was not made of protein or vegetables. It was a pancake. Playfully presented on two sticks (also because it makes it easier to cook the bread over the charcoals), the pancake is like a dense Naan bread, slightly doughy and enhanced by its grilled exterior and seasoned with the same spice mixture the others get. While cumin, chile, and salt are obvious for meat and vegetables, it works even better on this pancake. Price: $1.25

TASTE OF NORTHERN CHINA
88 East Broadway, #106
(entrance on Forsyth Street),
Chinatown
(917) 302-8831

NUMBER 9: CHOCOLATE NUTELLA BABKA at BREADS BAKERY

Chocolate Nutella Babka at BREADS BAKERY

If you’ve never had the Jewish cake known as babka, it’s both good and bad to start with this one. Good because it is so delicious, but bad because you might never find another babka to compare. This one is the perfect babka. Each layer is filled with Belgian chocolate and Nutella and tastes yeasty, buttery, and sweet. While it might look like a gnarled burnt pretzel, the flavors and freshness speaks volumes. It certainly helps that the very busy Breads bakes their babkas three times throughout the day. Price: $12

BREADS BAKERY
18 East 16th Street (between Fifth Avenue and Union Square West),
Union Square
(212) 633-2253
breadsbakery.com

NUMBER 8: JERK FRIED WINGS at GLADY’S

Jerk Wings at GLADY'S

It takes chutzpah for a white Jewish kid to open a Caribbean restaurant in Crown Heights, a vibrant Caribbean neighborhood. But the community has embraced him. There is no denying he is doing this food justice. A perfect example are the chicken wings, which are sticky and sweet with a backbone of that smoky, spicy jerk heat. Each piece of meat just fell right off the bone yet held on tight to lots of flavor. On the side was not blue cheese, but a sweet, spicy dipping sauce. Price: $7

GLADY’S
788 Franklin Avenue (at Lincoln Place),
Crown Heights, Brooklyn
(718) 622-0249
gladysnyc.com

NUMBER 7: PIZZA at ARCADE BAKERY

Pizza at ARCADE BAKERY

I love hidden cafés and restaurants. You totally feel in the know when you walk into a non-descript office building confident about the hidden little bakery in the lobby. That’s the case with Arcade Bakery, but there not just a gimmick. Their bread and pastries are some of the best in the city. The crust is not usually my favorite part of a pizza, but here it’s all about the bread. The rich softness of the olive-oil slicked crust made me wonder if there was cheese inside the crust (there wasn’t). Each bite revealed a warm yeasty interior and I got lost in the doughy bites contemplating the beauty of life itself. All while hiding out inside an office building lobby. Price: $9

ARCADE BAKERY
220 Church Street (between Thomas and Worth Street),
Tribeca
(212) 227-7895
arcadebakery.com

NUMBER 6: THE KOREANO at FUKU

The Koreano at FUKU

Many food critics have proclaimed the fried chicken sandwich the dish of the year. I tend to agree and most people’s favorite is David Chang’s Korean spin at Fuku. I was skeptical by the hype, but quickly won over. The gigantic piece of chicken is comprised of juicy thigh meat and a super crispy breading that hides lots of spices and flavor. Even more flavor hid inside the bottle of magical Ssam sauce. The funky flavors of ssämjang (fermented bean and chile paste) mingle with the sweetness of sherry vinegar and the spiciness of kochujang. It’s truly incredible and addicting. Price: $9

FUKU
163 First Avenue (between East 10th and East 11th Street),
East Village
momofuku.com/new-york/fuku/

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

NOAMI'S KOSHER PIZZA, 6828 Main Street (between 68th Road and 68th Avenue), Flushing, QueensEvery time I move on to another food journey, I turn to my readers to find out where they think the “best” version of this dish can be found. Before I even begin eating, I can usually predict the winners. But in the case of falafel, a realtively unknown little kosher pizzeria named Naomi’s won the poll by a landslide. This place is way out in Flushing, Queens nowhere near a subway stop yet it beat favorites like Taim and Mamoun’s by a landslide. It received close to 5 times more votes than any other falafel restaurant.

I wonder how this happened. Maybe Naomi’s launched a campaign for their customers to vote for them or perhaps I have a huge readership out in Flushing. Or maybe it’s more well-known then I gave it credit for. (more…)


Category: Falafel

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