Buon Natale! This wonderful yuletide window display from Irene Debenedittis and her sisters over at Leo’s Latticini, aka Mama’s of Corona reminds me of how my own mother decked the halls for Christmas. She was a prolific baker, too.Though I must say she never baked bread in the shape of Santa Claus. P.S. if you are looking to bu me a stocking stuffer I would appreciate some fresh mozzarella.
Apparently I’ve missed the deadline to order a Thanksgiving Turkey from Taiwanese-Malaysian spot OK Ryan in Flushing. Nevertheless the "exclusive Chinese-American Fusion recipe" sounds most intriguing, the “oil rice,” less so. It’s not the first Thanksgivng bird with an accent that I’ve come across in Queens. One year I actually ordered a Pakistani style one from Kababish in Jackson Heights, good not great. Happy Turkey Day!!
John Brown Smokehouse is throwin’ a hootenanny this Wednesday. Actually, it’s more of a pig picking. To commemorate Harper’s Ferry Day the Long Island City ‘cue spot,which has become something of mini-museum of ephemera devoted to abolitionist John Brown, will be smoking a 200-pound hog. And not just any old hog either but a very happy heritage breed pig from Tamarack Hollow Farm in Vermont. Pitmaster Josh Bowen has enlisted the aid of Tyson Ho, who knows a thing or three about cooking whole hog. The not-so-little piggy will smoking out front of the restaurant all day and should be ready to serve by late afternoon, $20 all the pork you can eat. Rumor has it that Bowen’s, banjo picking alter ego, Trainwreck Washington will be making an appearance.
Jumping Jehoshaphat them’s some big jackfruit! Spotted at Korean megamarket Assi Plaza in Flushing. Do people actually buy them whole? And to think people call the durian the king of all fruit. Compared to these bad boys the football-sized tropical fruit is a mere pretender to the throne.
Despite the container this is not a salad from Blimpie. It’s an order of jal muri,a delicious Bangladeshi chaat made streetside by a distinguished older gentleman who goes by the name Baul Daada. The combination of crunchy puffed rice, kala chana (black chickpeas) chopped tomatoes, cilantro, green chili paste, red onions, dried soybeans, cilantro, and spicy fried noodles is crunchy, spicy, and quite refreshing thanks to the addition of lemon juice and tamarind. Find Baul Daada at 73 St. near 37th Ave., Jackson Heights, from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
"It’ll be like B.B.’s Lawnside BBQ in Kansas City. You go there to eat BBQ and there just happens to be a bad-ass blues band over in the corner rocking out,” such was Josh Bowen’s vision for the new John Brown Smokehouse in Long Island City. After last night’s blistering double bill of R.L. Boyce and Daddy Longlegs it’s safe to say he has achieved his goal.
I love Long Island City from the gentrified waterfront that’s home to all manner of restaurants to the gantries to the grittier side near the Ravenswood Houses. That’s where I found this gigantic shiny ornate heart sitting in someone’s front yard near 11th St. and 34th Ave. Whoever put it there must love Queens and L.I.C. as much I do.
Liberty Avenue in Richmond Hill and Ozone Park is a wonderland of West Indian restaurants and markets. Like many of its neighbors S & A Roti Shop (103-06 Liberty Ave.) has the popular Trinidadian snack doubles—the rounds of fried bread encasing curried channa (chickpeas)—but it also has something even better, baiganee. Two bucks buys an eggplant fritter sandwich that cradles savory channa. And remember, nuff food cost nuff money!
The food offerings at Rockaway Beach these days would leave the Ramones scratching their heads: fish tacos, lobster rolls, Venezuelan hot dogs. One of the newest entrants to the beach’s gourmet grub scene is Surf Sushi (Beach 96th St.) Taka Terashita makes some fine sushi including spicy tuna rolls and the Rockaway Beach Roll (smoked salmon, tuna, avocado, spicy mayo, and yuzokosho). Better yet askhim for an omakase like this inside out roll consisting of fluke and avocado topped with negi toro.
Why am I not surprised to find this billboard soliciting snack food manufacturers on the corner of Main St. and Roosevelt Ave. in the heart of Queens’ largest Chinatown, downtown Flushing. (Yes, there are two the other’s in Elmhurst.)