First and foremost: Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated!!! For those of you who E-mailed and wondered what the dealie-yo(my inner-city eighth graders are starting to rub off on me) was, I thank you for your sweet concern... Despite the stomach problems to which I occasionally allude, I am still alive and well in the buccolic borough of Queens in search of the yummiest food with which to honor my insatiable cravings..... I've been very busy with Board of Dread business (finally got appointed to District 25- don't know whether I should laugh or cry!!!) and LAB testing of the steady stream of immigrant children that are admitted to my ESL program...C'est La Vie.... At least my job allows me the opportunity to grill my kids' parents about great ethnic food!!!!!
I keep a pad next to my computer and every time I have a wonderful meal, attend a cool culinary event, or spot a new food/dining book, I jot it down for a future posting. I currently have 21 scribbles!!!! Next week's winter recess will give me some much-needed free-time and hopefully I'll be able to write some of it up and we can chat and compare notes...
I had an absolutely wonderful meal at Bayside's Pier25A a few nights ago (215-16 Northern Blvd. 718-423-6395). It's the place Zagat's has been calling a "glorified seafood diner" for the last few years and to be honest I've always liked the place just fine but it's never been first on my list for a local dinner... Monday night changed all that.
Gus, the grey-haired, affable owner greeted us with a huge smile and brought us over to a nice table facing a window (nothing like the sight of traffic-jammed Northern Blvd. on a cold, grey night..) He advised that at least one of us have the snapper for an entry and highly recommended the grilled octupus for an appetizer. Of the many things we ordered these two suggestions were among the best dishes.
The mussels posilipo appetizer was in a fantastic garlicky, chunky tomato broth and I couldn't resist sopping up the fragrant liquid with some of the garlic bread from the breadbasket (also in the breadbasket are delicious sesame-coated breadsticks that go wonderfully with the tray of iced carrots, celery and olives that are put on each table...)The grilled octopus was an instant hit and the balsamic vinagrette with which it was sprinkled gave it a unique sweetness that was a welcome change from the usual olive oil and lemon to which I've grown accustomed. Gus winked at us when he saw the second order being brought to our table....
After the crisp feta strewn Greek salads (make sure you don't say "No" to the optional anchovy- it's big and chewy..) that are part of all the dinners were eaten, our enrees arrived. Now let it be known that I am not by any means a big fan of salmon. If it were meat I'd say it was too "gamey" tasting but since it's salmon I'm not quite sure how to explain why I don't love it that much... It always tastes too, uhhhh, salmony. Even at Le Bernadin, so don't E-mail me and tell me it's because I've had unfresh salmon all my life :) Anyway, the salmon dijonaise at Pier25A was SOOOOOOOOOOOO fantastic- a gorgeous, huge filet (I positively abhor when it's cut into steaks...) with a light dijonaise sauce that had been cooked to perfection and had slightly browned on top giving it the slightest crust... Praise to the culinary Gods!!!! But guys, I'm not finished!!! I had ordered the red snapper marichiara and the giant slab of snapper that appeared in front of me was a dream-come-true. Snow-white, lightly floured and then ever so slightly browned and topped with the lightest tomato-tinged white wine sauce, it quickly became one of my favorite fish dishes of all time. The flesh was sweet and firm and the accompanying side dishes of sauteed esacrole, stingbeans in tomato sauce, and rice pilaf were well suited to it. The fried Fisherman's platter was very ordinary- scallops, calamari, and flounder.....It could have been rancid and the snapper still would have made up for it.....
Alaskan King Crab legs, Danish lobster tails and a zillion other fish and seafood selections are among the entrees.
Believe it or not, even I was too full to be tempted by the luscious dessert tray (the bowl full of fresh berries looked sugar-sweet..)that was brought to the table for salivation... Have to leave something for next-time!!!! We all agreed there would be a next time VERY soon....
P.S. Check out John Krich's recently released book:"Wan Ton Lust: In Search of the World's Best Chinese Food" Great Stuff!!!!
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