Tuesday, August 15, 2006

In Case You Missed It...

Here's the skinny of what's happening in my favorite kitchens!

You may want to venture out into the concrete jungle one of these days… and when you do, you should check out this stuff happening right under your nose, slacker.

Bubble, Bubble…
You’ve heard about it. You’ve read about it. Now you need to drink it. That’s right, Bubble Tea, the asian inspired “drink du jour” is now flowing literally all over the city… although I still believe the best versions can be found in Chinatown.
Quickly (pictured) can get you started… but in my opinion, the best in the city is that of the frozen variety around the corner on Mott at Ten Ren. Caution: HIGHLY ADDICTIVE STUFF

Jiffy Pop It Ain’t
Yes, I am a popcorn freak. Do I own my own commercial popcorn machine? Yes. Do I use theatre grade coconut popping oil? Yes. Will I die of coronary disease at age 54? Likely. But I truly love the stuff, and consider it a major food group. But where can I eat good popcorn when I’m not at home? Well, in NYC options are limited, but Dale and Thomas is the right place to start. With gourmet options like Chocolate Chunk n’ Carmel, Ragin’ Cajun, Sweet Georgia Pecan, Sweet and Spicy BBQ, Buffalo and Blue Cheese and six or seven others, you should be able to find that satisfying crunchy snack brought to us by our friends, the American Indians. Oh yea, their plain old popped and Kettle Corn ain’t bad, either. Locations across Manhattan and at DaleandThomas.com

Power Brunching on the UWS
It can be said that the Upper West Side may have more brunch spots than any neighborhood in the city. Sure, the Village has it’s hangouts and the Lower East it’s funky dives… but for some reason, the sidewalk café scene on the UWS has evolved into a genre all it’s own. For my money, GOOD ENOUGH TO EAT may be one of the neighborhood’s best. Why? Well, homemade corned beef hash for one… with huge chunks of deli grade corned beef, fresh cut potatoes and onions. I had my plate with scrambled eggs and a side of grits and scratch biscuits. I could have opted for the Peach French Toast… but why have the girly meal when I could consume an additional 1000 calories?

Can It Be?
Can is be that the city’s best Chinese restaurant is a Bayard Street dive? Word on the street is that NEW GREEN BO may be not only the best kept secret, but simply the best Chinese restaurant in NYC…. and after a visit, I may believe the hype. You can get it all here… tiny steamed pork buns, shu-mei, cold and hot noodles, boneless pig leg, crispy eel, winter melon soup, and nearly 100 variations of your favorite lobster, shrimp, pork, chicken, beef and vegetable dishes. It’s all dirt cheap and piled high. An important observation: they’ve got your sesame chicken, but if I were you, I wouldn’t make the trip and miss the beef stew over rice. 66 Bayard Street btw Mott and Elizabeth in Chinatown

Smoke Em While You Can
It wasn’t long ago I told a friend of mine that it would be a cold day in hell before NYC outlawed smoking in bars in this city. I bet him $20 bucks. Well, needless to say that money is long gone, and I am without a place to sip a martini and enjoy a fine crafted cigar….. almost.
In the rebellious style of the prohibition days of the past, FLORIO’S, a wonderful old school Italian joint in Little Italy has been able to “skirt” the issue, and allows patrons to light ém up at the bar, in the front of the restaurant. Larry, the kind and hospitable owner can show you his vast selection of top shelf stogies, but do yourself a favor and request one of his own hand-rolled, spicy cigars he has made especially for his customers. Equally as tasty is Larry’s food, which features thin crust Roman style pizzas and wonderfully rich pastas, including my favorite there, the rigatoni con vodka, in a perfect pink sauce. Long live Florio’s.

When you need to be cool…
You roll out of bed, unshaven and slightly hungover. As you glance down you notice the alarm clock… 11:40am. Unable to actually speak a coherent phrase, you slide into your jeans and sandals, and make your way to the subway platform… headed to Brookyln’s DUMBO.
By noon, you’ve arrived at RICE, the uber cool rice house featuring ten types of the holy grain, from jasmine to Bhutanese red. You choose your rice, select a topping (the Thai Coconut Curry will do the trick) with a side of Aleppo yogurt. Washed down with a glass of fresh watermelon juice, you may be the hippest person in the five boroughs.