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Insights, tips, and restaurant reports from CHOW editors and Chowhound.

This Is What a Snuggie Tastes Like

What the hell is going on here? It’s a wine bar, and everybody’s drinking out of Mason jars. A sign says “Order at the counter,” but when you sit down, several different servers wander by, asking if you’d like to order. No origins or varietals are listed on the wine list, but rather descriptions like: “Softer than a Snuggie.” Polanski’s Knife in the Water is being projected on the wall, but generic ’90s alterna-rock is blasting from the speakers.

Don’t overanalyze it. It’s called Heart, not head. READ MORE

Iced Coffee, Fully Loaded for Summer

La Colombe's iced coffee packs something extra, says sam1: a double shot of espresso. The resulting brew is one of the best in town, bracingly strong but not burnt-tasting. The simple syrup that sweetens it has something unexpected going on, too; vanilla, sugartoof surmises.

The difference in Stumptown's delicious iced coffee is a deep chocolaty note, sam reports. Miss Needle detected something similar in the strong, smooth iced Kona at Roasting Plant.

Other hounds cool off with iced coffee at the single-origin-bean specialist Kaffe 1668, Abraço ("serious kick," reports Bone Thug n Hominy), Joe the Art of Coffee, Jack's Stir Brew, and RBC NYC.

And new in town is the Village outpost of Brooklyn's Nut Box, with a cold-brewed iced coffee that's thick, rich, and deeply flavorful. "Very delish!" Jess321 declares.

La Colombe Torrefaction [Tribeca]
319 Church Street (at Lispenard Street), Manhattan
212-343-1515

La Colombe [SoHo]
270 Lafayette Street (between Prince and Houston streets), Manhattan
212-625-1717

Stumptown [Midtown]
18 W. 29th Street (between Broadway and Fifth Avenue), Manhattan
212-679-2222

Roasting Plant [Lower East Side]
81 Orchard Street (between Broome and Grand streets), Manhattan
212-775-7755

Roasting Plant [West Village]
75 Greenwich Avenue (near Seventh Avenue S.), Manhattan
212-775-7755

Kaffe 1668 [Tribeca]
275 Greenwich Street (between Warren and Murray streets), Manhattan
212-693-3750

Abraço [East Village]
86 E. Seventh Street (at Mott Street), Manhattan
212-226-1033

Joe the Art of Coffee [Greenwich Village]
141 Waverly Place (at Gay Street), Manhattan
212-924-6750

Jack's Stir Brew Coffee [Greenwich Village]
138 W. 10th Street (between Greenwich Avenue and Waverly Place), Manhattan
212-929-0821

RBC NYC [Tribeca]
71 Worth Street (between Church Street and Broadway), Manhattan
212-226-1111

The Nut Box [Greenwich Village]
49 E. Eighth Street (near University Place), Manhattan
212-677-7165

Discuss: Best iced coffee?

Stopping In at Wayfare Tavern

Celeb chef Tyler Florence's new restaurant, Wayfare Tavern, just opened and is packing in foodies and Food Network fans alike, says Foodnut8. The chef de cuisine, Michael Thiemann, comes from Merriman's in Hawaii and the Hapuku Lodge in New Zealand, but the focus at Wayfare is on American comfort food made with local and sustainable ingredients.

The food is "surprisingly very good for a brand-new place," says Foodnut8, who particularly liked the baked avocado with crab, pickled anchovies, organic fried chicken, and smoked Sonoma pork ribs.

The old-fashioned decor is "out of the Barbary Coast era with dark wood floors, old school lightbulbs, lots of hunting trophies," and other details, Foodnut8 says. The dining area sprawls over two floors, and there’s also counter and rustic booth seating, plus a billiards room.

Wayfare Tavern [Nob Hill]
558 Sacramento Street, San Francisco
415-772-9060

Discuss: Wayfare Tavern – Tyler Florence's new San Francisco Restaurant

The Basics: How to Make Basil Pesto

The Basics: How to Make Basil Pesto

Simple, quick, summery, and classic. READ MORE

In Asian Elmhurst, a Mexican Surprise

In a sea of very good Asian food—Thai, Malaysian, Indonesian, and more—an island of hound-worthy Mexican has surfaced. The El Picosito truck turns out fine lengua and carnitas tacos from its customary spot in front of a Walgreens in Elmhurst, Queens, E Eto reports.

In the prime taco turf along Roosevelt Avenue to the north, E Eto's top tier includes Los Cuatro Vientos, Tia Julia, El Gallo Giro, and Tacos y Quesadillas Mexico. El Picosito's tacos rank right up there, he says.

El Picosito [Elmhurst]
Broadway between Elmhurst and Whitney avenues, Elmhurst, Queens
No phone available

Discuss: El Picosito taco truck in Elmhurst

Diary of a New Food Truck Owner, Part 8: Loud Generators Make Neighbors Hate You

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 wrangle with the Health Department, learn how to make window screens, and explain how easily they could become the scourge of a new neighborhood. Read all the installments.

So much stuff has happened since the last time we talked, I don't even know where to start. Let's see. We've been making fruitsicles, which are truly, truly fantastic. We make them out of really ripe fruit we get at the farmers' market. We did a strawberry with a little slice of berry tossed in sugar frozen in the middle. And something I got a little creative with and called summer salad. It was blueberries, cantaloupe, and sweet corn. It sounds gross but It. Was. Delicious. The corn was raw and puréed, and gave a little toothsomeness to the popsicle, and they were sweet, and a really beautiful purply-blue color. We did three different kinds of peach 'sicles: peach with riesling, peach with brown sugar, and peach with a little blueberry frozen in the middle.

READ MORE

Yummy, and Good for Your Tummy

Yummy World lives up to its name with subtly flavored, healthier-than-usual Cantonese fare, hounds say. “The steamed egg white with tofu and seafood was excellent—soft and delicate and sweet with somewhat salty egg whites,” says charliemyboy. It's great comfort food, pilinut agrees. “The egg whites were so tenderly cooked that we needed spoons to eat the dish.”

"The kitchen is expert in frying," comments Melanie Wong, who loved the salt and pepper fried beef, and tofu and calamari platter garnished with fried garlic.

The restaurant does seafood well—sweet, succulent lobster shines alongside flat egg-and-wheat e-fu noodles. Clams in black bean sauce shows off fresh, plump clams, while clams in steamed egg have "that creamy custard texture that's so difficult to replicate at home," says foodlover. Honey walnut prawns are expertly done, with a light hand on the sauce and house-prepped honey walnuts.

But there are also good meat dishes, like the meltingly tender pork with preserved vegetables. House special pork chop is nicely fried, with a sweet-tart sauce; chicken with Chinese sausage has "great flavor and wonderful texture in the mushrooms," charliemyboy says.

Perhaps most notable of all: This is a nice restaurant with modern decor that doesn’t skimp on quality or authenticity. Even the presentation of the dishes is well thought out, comments vliang.

Yummy World [South Bay]
2216 S. El Camino Real, San Mateo
650-212-1166

Discuss: Yummy World – San Mateo
Yummy World, San Mateo

Two Destination Sandwiches, Italian Style

Di Palo's Fine Foods, a mecca for Italian cooks, is a destination for sandwich eaters, too. Its porchetta sandwich is simple yet sensational, Westminstress reports: just freshly roasted pork on good ciabatta. "The pork was so juicy and flavorful from the herbs," she says, "and every bite had a bit of crispy crackling."

Meatball parmigiana lovers keep coming back to Frankies 17 Clinton Street Spuntino, whose standout sandwich comes on rosemary bread from Grandaisy Bakery. It's "mighty fine," promises Blumie.

Di Palo's Fine Foods [Little Italy]
200 Grand Street (at Mott Street), Manhattan
212-226-1033

Frankies 17 Clinton Street Spuntino [Lower East Side]
17 Clinton Street (between Houston and Stanton streets), Manhattan
212-253-2303

Discuss: Amazing porchetta sandwich at DiPalo's
Meatball Parm Nirvana

Fried Chicken to Go-Go

Hounds looking for fried chicken to go in the East Bay can choose between the traditional soul food version and Chinese style, which is usually just drumettes.

Scend's and the thin-crusted chicken at Merritt Bakery are the top picks in the soul-food category, while shanghaikid has relied on Best Taste in years past for a drumette fix.

In San Francisco’s Chinatown, davidljam likes New Golden Daisy's drumettes by the pound, while RiverGal58 goes for the seasoned ones at Tai Chi.

Scend's [East Bay]
3627 San Pablo Avenue, Emeryville
510-547-9238

Merritt Bakery [East Bay]
203 E. 18th Street, Oakland
510-444-8680

Best Taste [East Bay]
814 Franklin Street, Oakland
510-444-4983

New Golden Daisy [Chinatown]
1041 Stockton Street, San Francisco
415-392-0111

Tai Chi [Nob Hill]
2031 Polk Street, San Francisco
415-441-6758

Discuss: Best to-go fried chicken in Oakland / East Bay?
Chinese-style fried chicken drumettes and wings outside of Chinatown

Overheard on the New York Boards

"Douse their soups with their chile paste; they have the best chile paste in ctown by far (well, Bo Ky's is just as good, actually); it's got shrimp paste in it and I believe some black bean." – Lau on New Chao Chow and New Bo Ky

"Go to the roof of the Met and have cocktails up there. They're a little pricey, but that view is amazing and in the summer it's so nice to be up there and see the trees in the park and enjoy the breeze that is hard to get on the ground." – alysonlaurel on the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Roof Garden Café

"The odds of finding an egg with a double yolk are about one in a thousand. You can stack the deck, however, if you're lucky enough to get on line early at Knoll Crest farms at the Union Square Greenmarket. Knoll Crest, from Clinton Corner, New York, occasionally offers a dozen super jumbos for the bargain premium price of just $5.25. ... Virtually every egg in the package delivers a double yolk." – guttergourmet