We barely spotted Spot, the dessert bar off of St. Marks where Pichet Ong creates Asian American fusion desserts, ice creams, and bubble teas. Located below street level, it's a pretty small place, with wood paneling that is evocative of a Wild West saloon, artificial turf in the entryway, and a ton of college-age kids loudly getting a sugar fix. READ MORE
The burning question at Question Mark Café is just what sort of food you'll find there. This mostly takeout spot in the East Village got some attention not long ago for a Serbian-style hamburger. Since it changed hands in June, the flavor of the month has been Indian. And really good Indian, says bigjeff, who loved the chicken keema and thick, creamy dal. Even the rice was a standout, uncommonly moist and flavorful.
jeff declares this "some of the cleanest, freshest, simplest and healthiest Indian food I've had in a long time"—a step below Queens's best, perhaps, but way above the underachievers on nearby Sixth Street. As for that Serbian burger, it apparently didn't survive the ownership change, but the deli sandwiches and Middle Eastern dishes did.
Question Mark Café [East Village]
135 First Avenue (near St. Marks Place), Manhattan
The stuff ChiefHDB's recent dreams are made of is a buttery round of bread, filled with cheese and crowned with a raw egg and yet more butter. That’s the Georgian acharuli khachapuri at Pirosmani in Brooklyn, and it left him sated but not speechless: "I don't think you can make something more perfectly decadent than this khachapuri. What more could you possibly want? What more could you possibly need?"
It was the big winner of a blowout spread that the Chief recounts through a honey-pepper vodka haze. Breads were front and center, as you might expect at a Georgian restaurant. Shotis puri was a crusty and awesome thing, "a long, thin bread that looks like it swallowed a football." (But imeruli khachapuri was an overly buttery misfire.)
Balancing out the starch were badrijani, eggplant filled with a crunchy walnut-and-herb paste; lobio, fresh-tasting kidney beans with walnuts; and a dill-scented salad of cucumber, tomato, and parsley. Mtsvadi (lamb and pork skewers) were grilled to a great smoky char, a nice match for the sweet/sour plum sauce that came on the side. And khinkali, dumplings filled with beef, pork, and broth, posed a daunting challenge. "The goal," says the Chief, "is apparently to not lose any of the broth. I failed miserably by sending an explosion of it over my plate (blame the vodka)."
Pirosmani [Sheepshead Bay]
2222 Avenue U (between E. 22nd and 23rd streets), Brooklyn
Discuss: Pirosmani for Georgian?
An article in the Baltimore Sun examines the complications that can arise when workers bring their lunch to work and eat at the office, such as food left in the fridge so long it starts to sprout, fish reheated in the microwave that leaves a pungent odor, and the unholy stink of burnt popcorn. And some people have a real panic attack when they see pumped bottles of breast milk in the communal fridge. READ MORE
The dessert cart at Eleven Madison Park isn't standing still, RGR reports. New this summer is a fabulous kouign amann, the crusty, buttery cake from Bretagne. And back from last summer is the equally fabulous strawberry shortcake.
Also back from last summer is the Dessert Truck, idled almost a year ago by permit problems. Now rolling again, it peddles its hound-approved wares from various parking spots, mostly along Third Avenue in the East Village. Current offerings include vanilla crème brûlée, chocolate bread pudding (with vanilla or bacon custard sauce), and a goat cheese cheesecake with blackberries and rosemary caramel.
Eleven Madison Park [Flatiron]
11 Madison Avenue (at E. 24th Street), Manhattan
Dessert Truck [East Village]
Location info available on Twitter
"Enjoy the fireflies in Tompkins Sq. park and eat your lamb or pork burger while it's hot. I can't get enough of the hand-pulled noodles, they are addictive, with A1, the cold Liang Pi noodle, a close second for summer. The crowds are crazy so be patient or go in off hours." – hungrycomposer on the newest location of Xi'an Famous Foods, opened this month on St. Marks Place
"Watched my Reds get shut out by Santana and the Mets, but it was ok, because the Italian special was so damn good. Great fresh mozz and I really dug the marinated mushrooms." – ChiefHDB on a sandwich from Mama’s of Corona at Citi Field
Diary of a New Food Truck Owner is an ongoing series where we talk with Meg Hilgartner, co-owner (with Siri Skelton) of a fledgling San Francisco mobile soft-serve ice cream business called Twirl and Dip. In this installment, Meg and Siri meet a beekeeper, learn how to make ice cream sodas with a really cool tool, and discover what is taxable (but not why). Read all the installments.
I don't know how many times I've said this but we're really almost ready to go. We haven't heard from the San Francisco Recreation and Park guy yet, so we don't have a city spot. But we're actually getting a lot of calls for different events, private events and festivals and things that want us to come out with the truck. We know people who are events coordinators, and they know people who know people. Someone found us on Twitter and contacted us asking us to do a corporate party. I told her we weren't exactly permitted yet. She said, "Oh no, we're corporate, we have to do everything by the book. But you're so honest, I'll hire you again."
Moonshine! Booze-lovers and bootleggers think hooch is the bee's knees and a swell way to get spifflicated, but the stuff still gives the feds the heebie-jeebies after all these years. The BBC reports on the state of modern American bootlegging (minus all the zany Jazz Age slang), noting that "Against the backdrop of the recession and the current craze for artisan produce, illegal distilling clubs and 'kitchen-sink' operations are popping up all over the US, from California to New York and Pennsylvania."
No food-focused trip to Brooklyn would be complete without a stop at the Brooklyn Flea, a Saturday outdoor flea market that has become ground zero for the Brooklyn artisanal food scene. It's held in a schoolyard in Fort Greene. Residents Eric Demby and Jonathan Butler started the flea two and a half years ago, says Demby, as a spot for vendors, including those traditionally parked at the Red Hook Ball Fields. (The much-loved vendors have ongoing issues with permits and the city.) Antiques dealers, crafters, and other food vendors followed suit, and the Flea suddenly became a kind of testing ground for everything from start-up candy makers to kimchee-topped-hot-dog sellers. READ MORE
Now that we're a good way into this CHOW Tour, we've started to notice some food trends that just keep coming at us. Here's some stuff we're beginning to see repeat: READ MORE