Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Vendys 2011 Winners


Can’t complain about these well earned victories.

Vendy Winner: Solber Pupusas.

People’s Choice: Souvlaki GR.

Rookie of the Year: Korilla.

Dessert Winner: Wooly’s.


Furn: Project Shawarma


Get the real deal on Saturdays at Smorgasburg.

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2011 Vendy Award Tickets – Now On Sale!


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Brooklyn Flea’s Food Rundown


Here’s the rundown from the Brooklyn Flea site. The Flea is back outdoors and now it’s Saturdays in Williamsburg and Sundays in Williamsburg.

Brooklyn Bangers: The new sausage-sandwich venture from Saul Bolton of Saul and The Vanderbilt. Think about this: smoked kielbasa, veal bratwurst, lamb-and-pork merguez, brisket-fatback hot dogs. Now stop drooling. Sat/FG & Sun/WB

Dough: Fany Gerson‘s super-popular Clinton Hill doughnut shop (above) sets up shop at the Flea. Bring your best Homer Simpson. Served alongside deelish hot chocolate. Sat/FG & Sun/WB

Empire Mayonnaise: Noted chef Sam Mason‘s (WD-50, Tailor) artisanal-mayonnaise venture (three words you’ve probably never seen together) makes its world premiere at the Flea. There will be fries. Sun/WB

Flour City Pasta: Syracuse-area organic pastamaker Jon and co. sells handmade dried noodles, been a big hit at One Hanson. Sun/WB

Frgal: Cute Czech couple Katja and Janek make sweet-savory pastry pies from a hundreds-year-old Wallachian Czech recipe. Sun/WB

Kings County Jerky: Small-batch grass-fed jerky, made right here in Bushwick. Sat/FG

Mile End: The masters of smoked meat bring their Montreal special to our little plateau in the ‘Burg. Noah Bernamoff’s version is better than your grandma’s, and check out his new mobile meat smoker (!). Not in Fort Greene until later in the season. Sun/WB

Momufuku Milk Bar + Friends: The fine folks at Milk Bar have been selling with us for a few weeks, but outdoors they will inaugurate their “Milk Bar and Friends” concept, where Christina Tosi‘s Milk Bar employees sell items like grapefruit-and-hibiscus jam, and Peanut Butter Jellified’s all-homemade PB+J’s. Sat/FG & Sun/WB

Oystergirl: The folks from Mary’s/Brooklyn Fish Camp shuck oysters while you wait. Is there a better way to start a weekend? No, there is not. Around $1.50-$3/ea. Sat/FG

Rachel’s Pies: Brooklyn gal Rachel launches a new business using her Dutch ancestors’ pie recipes and lots of fruit ingredients from her parents’ Pennsylvania farm. Soon Gowanus will be the pie capital of the world! Sat/FG

Saltie: Caroline Fidanza and crew’s stellar Metropolitan Ave. sandwich shop will have all hands on deck for olive oil cake and buckwheat cookies (in the morning) and their perfect Little Chef and Romaine Dinghy sandwiches all day. Sun/WB

Sea Bean Goods: This new Greenpoint-based soup company will represent with warm bowls of their creative concoctions. Owners Brian and Nicole will prepare either clam and leek chowder, spicy sweet potato or cream of spring onion and oyster mushroom soup for their first day at the Flea. Sun/WB

This ‘n’ That Jam: Bearded Benjamin makes cardamom-honey pepita butter, lemon curd, grapefruit marmalade, and more; he works making healthy school lunches by day. Yum. Sun/WB



Every since my folks turned me on to this spot a few years back, I knew it was something special. Hands down the dopest chicken shawarma in the 5 boroughs. They start with a well spiced chicken hand layered on the spit, slathered in toum (Lebanese garlic sauce), pressed to a crunch, finished with house made pickled beets and turnips, and garnished with some parsley. Don’t be afraid to sample the Lebanese sausages and meat pies.

8519 4th Avenue at 86th Street in Brooklyn.

BZ Grill


Definitely the illest pork gyro that I’ve tasted is at the BZ Grill in Astoria. This is a fresh video illustrating the work that goes into layering a true gyro spit instead of the prefabricated cones that are the standard for the vast majority of gyro spots. The chicken gyro is hand layered as well, but lacks the flavor and punch of the pork.

NY Times “Inexpensive Restaurants That Stood Out in 2010”


NY Time’s favorite cheap eats for 2010. Can’t say I love this list.

AYADA This is a serious Thai restaurant that makes no concessions to Western palates. The menu is encyclopedic; the waitresses are patient. Put yourself in the gentle but firm hands of the chef and owner, Duangjai Thammasat (known as Kitty), and she’ll guide you toward the best dishes, complex orchestrations of tart and sweet, salt and burn. (Reviewed by Ligaya Mishan) 77-08 Woodside Avenue (77th Avenue), Elmhurst, Queens; (718) 424-0844.

BAOHAUS For $4, you get a lily-white bun (the bao) brimming with Niman Ranch pork belly, glossy with fat and topped with the classic Taiwanese condiments: sweet pulverized peanuts, pickled mustard greens and cilantro. Dissenters will quibble that you can get it for less in Chinatown. Not with this quality can you. (Ligaya Mishan) 137 Rivington Street (Norfolk Street), Lower East Side; (646) 684-3835,

CAFE ‘AT YOUR MOTHER-IN-LAW’ In this sunny space two blocks from the boardwalk you can order an amalgam of Eastern European, Korean and Uzbek dishes from Russian-speaking ethnic Koreans hailing from Tashkent. (Dave Cook) 3071 Brighton Fourth Street (Brighton Beach Avenue), Brighton Beach, Brooklyn; (718) 942-4088.

CAMPO DE’ FIORI The dough for the pizza is a result of 15 years of experiments by an engineer specializing in the molecular properties of flour. But you can have a beguiling meal here and never taste a pie. The food is plain-spoken and appealingly rough around the edges. Although the vibe could be cozier, it’s worth lingering awhile. (Ligaya Mishan) 187 Fifth Avenue (Berkeley Place), Park Slope, Brooklyn; (347) 763-0933,

CASTELLO PLAN Quirky and wonderful wines are paired with delicious small plates, cured meats and cheeses at this wine bar. Relax in the dark dining room, or on the side deck when warm weather returns, grazing until late at night. (Betsy Andrews) 1213 Cortelyou Road (Argyle Road), Ditmas Park, Brooklyn; (718) 856-8888,

THE COMMODORE A dive bar with great food that feels as if it’s been around forever. The Commodore’s kitchen turns out a vaguely Southern array of crunchy, spicy, greasy, gooey and salty dishes that push all the right buttons when you’re rolling through your third drink of the night. (Oliver Strand) 366 Metropolitan Avenue (Havemeyer Street), Williamsburg, Brooklyn; (718) 218-7632,

DOS TOROS The food here is simple and succulent, stripped-down cooking served in spartan conditions. The restaurant will bring to mind the sort of fresh, quick and cheap eating found at Mexican joints in the San Francisco Bay Area. (Oliver Strand) 137 Fourth Avenue (13th Street); (212) 677-7300,

DOSA GARDEN The deep, smoky, vibrant curries of Chettinad, in the southern Indian state Tamil Nadu, are featured here, along with a range of dosai with a rich, deep sambar sauce. Flavors build in fragrant waves, from sweet to spiced and earthy to a subtle, integrating chili burn. It’s all delicious. (Betsy Andrews) 323 Victory Boulevard (Cebra Boulevard), Staten Island; (718) 420-0919,

HECHO EN DUMBO Daniel Mena, the chef, is at his best when he takes the big flavors of his native Mexico City and strips a dish down to its fundamentals. He believes in his ingredients; a dish like the short-rib tacos doesn’t need anything more than a squeeze of lime. The place is serene in the day, a scene at night, but food like this is worth standing and shouting for. (Oliver Strand) 354 Bowery (East Fourth Street), East Village; (212) 937-4245,

HILL COUNTRY CHICKEN Hill Country proved that great Texas barbecue can exist in Manhattan. Now the owners repeat the feat (down the street) with fried chicken and other Southern dishes. (Julia Moskin) 1123 Broadway (25th Street); (212) 257-6446,

KUTI’S The chef and owner, Abdhul Traore, marries West African and Middle Eastern flavors from his native Ivory Coast, and insinuates a few French techniques in dishes like shrimp piri-piri and what must be the city’s only escargot panino. (Dave Cook) 355 West 116th Street (between Manhattan and Morningside Avenues); (212) 222-1127.

MEXICUE Winning combinations and smart deployment of sauces make it worth seeking out this truck offering Mexican sliders and gorgeous artisanal tacos. (Betsy Andrews) For locations: (260) 639-4283,

THE NORTHERN SPY FOOD COMPANY The menu at this Greenmarket-driven restaurant reads like a roster of favorite snacks and midnight feasts, executed with a precision honed in high-end kitchens. (Ligaya Mishan) 511 East 12th Street (Avenue A), East Village; (212) 228-5100,

NO. 7 SUB Visit this takeout shop for subs stuffed with ceviche or broccoli; roast beef layered with pickled blueberries; or lamb with peanut butter, all with extras like candied wasabi, papadums, fried lemon or fermented soybean paste. Results, for the most part, are exhilaratingly delicious. (Ligaya Mishan) 1188 Broadway (29th Street); (212) 532-1680,

PIES ’N’ THIGHS This restaurant’s new home is a Brooklynite’s imaginary version of a meat-and-three in the South. The thighs are as crunchy and as golden as ever, and the pies are honest, American and sweet. They’re enough to restore the faith of anybody who’s eaten too many fancy desserts that look like Frank Gehry’s rejected sketches. (Pete Wells) 166 South Fourth Street (Driggs Avenue), Williamsburg, Brooklyn; (347) 529-6090,


Taim Mobile


A well revered falafel spot opens up their own truck with a menu that includes falafel fried to order, fresh soups, skinny fries with aioli, and zattar spiced pita. It’s like that. Ask them to go heavy on the s’rug or get some on the side. If only Karam had a shawarma truck!

Pappy Van Winkle’s & Corner Creek Bourbon


The winter bourbon of choice. A decadent beverage with a big carmel entry and an oaky finish.

The Corner Creek Reserve Bourbon is a real solid and old school sipping bourbon perfect for any occasion.

Souvlaki GR Truck



This is a new school cart with an old school sensibility. As you may have surmised, they specialize in freshly grilled chicken and pork souvlaki kebabs ($1.50 each). It would indeed be a mistake to pass on the pita souvlaki ($2.50), where the tender and charred flavor of the souvlaki kebabs are stuffed into a Greek pita with tomato, red onions, a house made tzatziki with a few french fries. (Full disclosure: I will be loyal to any sandwich purveyor who inserts french fries into their wares without me asking.) Perhaps the chef d’oeuvre is the Bifteki sandwich ($4.00) which is a Greek-style, moist kefta stuffed into a Greek pita with tomato, red onions, tzatziki and, yes, french fries.

The food here is tasty and well spiced like an old school halal chicken & rice cart, and sanitary, focused, with attention to detail like a new school hipster cart. The cart itself is an homage to Greece with turquoise and white detailing, and stray references to the owners’ Greek heritage. A true find indeed. Check the menu.