Tag Archives: Middle Eastern

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

2016 was a pretty sad year for the New York restaurant world. It seemed like every week another announcement revealed that an old standby or well-regarded food spot was closing – victims of astronomical rents or high labor costs or just plain bored chefs.

Carnegie Deli, Soto, Montmarte, Betony, Fritzl’s Lunch Box, and Pork Slope were just some of the great dining establishments we lost. But the saddest for me by far was Victory Garden.

I didn’t write enough about this goat milk ice cream business in the West Village. I think that’s probably because I was so busy enjoying it and always forgot to sit down and reflect. It was definitely the place I visited the most – after dinner, after work, on the way home. Whenever I could. The soft serve was simply divine and the flavors were healthy and surprising.

But unlike most of those other businesses, we haven’t completely lost Victory Garden. Thank the good Lord!! They will still be packaging their ice cream in pints at local grocery stores, summertime will bring an ice cream wagon, and their incredible soft serve is available (albeit in one flavor only) at a cool little stand at Chelsea Market.

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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

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

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

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

Chicken Schwarma Sandwich at KARAM

I really only came out to Karam because I heard the falafel was pretty good. But I should have read the signs and immediately ordered their chicken schwarma sandwich because that’s the thing that makes this Bay Ridge joint a true destination. Succulent pieces of shaved chicken are stuffed into a pita along with pickles, lettuce, and a game-changing lemon-garlic sauce known as toum. Price: $7

KARAM RESTAURANT
8519 4th Avenue (between 85th and 86th Street),
Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
(718) 745-5227
karam1.com

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

TURKISS, 104 Macdougal Street (between Bleecker and West 3rd Street), Greenwich Village

When one falafel joint closes, another opens. It doesn’t always work that way, but it almost always does in and around Bleecker Street in the West Village. Yatagan sat on Macdougal Street for years churning out doner kababs and falafel. I never made it to Yatagan, but now that it’s been replaced by Turkiss, I finally got to give the space a try. (more…)


Category: Falafel

I bring my sense of food adventure with me on the road, searching for the most authentic, iconic, and delicious dishes of a different region…

Fight to the DeathI knew I’d have my fair share of seafood in Boston, but I didn’t realize it would practically be my entire diet for a week. I like to eat the local, iconic food in a city and what else is there really to eat in Boston?

That was my dilemma when researching the possibility of filming an Eat This episode in Beantown (the episode launches tomorrow). Not to bring up a sore subject, but New York has very obvious iconic food. Boston?  Not so much. Even when I asked people from Boston what “the food” of that city is, it took some serious thinking to come up with an answer. Chowder, roast beef, Italian food, what?

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Category: Travel

Come back every Wednesday for another funny, informative video documenting my inept food adventures. NYC Food Cart Tour is my exploration of the hard-working vendors feeding NYC’s population every day.

The greatest day in mobile food vending is back. On September 12, the Vendy Awards will take place on Governor’s Island honoring the greatest in New York’s food vending community. Tickets are still available for purchase here. For the next few weeks, I’ll be documenting all of the nominees in three categories.

Rookie of the Year: The Shuka Truck

We have so many trucks selling pizza, Korean tacos, and lobster rolls. But nobody was attempting to make Middle Eastern shakshuka (eggs cooked in tomato sauce) from a mobile vehicle until Josh, Solomon, and Gabriel appeared on the scene earlier this year with The Shuka Truck. The three friends who were soldiers in the Israeli army together are now cooking up egg sandwiches and platters with the traditional red tomato sauce, mixed with hummus, or with their own colorful creations of veggie-laden green or a rich, earthy white sauce.

The Shuka Truck

Dessert of the Year: Butter & Scotch

At their Crown Heights cocktail and dessert bar, bakers Keavy Blueher and Allison Kave pair their inventive riffs on childhood treats (like s’more pies or maple bacon cupcakes) with boozy drinks. Sometimes the booze ends up in the desserts too. Even better. You can also find Butter & Scotch‘s delectable goodies at Smorgasburg on certain weekends.

Butter & Scotch

Market Vendor of the Year: Carnitas El Atoradero

Earlier this year, the food world mourned when Mexican favorite Carnitas El Atoradero announced they would be closing their Bronx eatery due to escalating rents. Immediately fans and customers rallied and owner Denisse Chavez found a new home at Vendy Plaza, where she sells her lovingly prepared homecooked delicacies, and will also be opening a new restaurant in Brooklyn.

Carnitas El Atoradero


Category: Video

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