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

Filipino Throwdown on Roosevelt Avenue

The point-and-peck Filipino eateries of Woodside, Queens, are going at it, and the newest contender, Fiesta Grill, is taking it to the competition. Anicca reports excellent pork stew and kare-kare (oxtail in peanut sauce), accompanied by pancit noodles.

Jeffsayyes says Fiesta Grill outpoints Fritzie's Bake Shop, another turo-turo (point-point) restaurant next door, with the sheer variety of its steam-table spread. Fritzie's has its fans, though, especially for lechon carved from the whole pig behind the counter. The locals have caught on to Fiesta Grill, and they're packing the place day and night. They're also benefiting from a price war: Fiesta serves two dishes plus rice or noodles for $5.95, and Fritzie's has responded by knocking its price down a couple of bucks to $5.50.

For fans of Filipino chow, it's shaping up as a bounteous summer along Roosevelt Avenue, which is also home to Renee's and Ihawan, among other hound favorites. At least two more Filipino restaurants are poised to open soon, jeff reports.

Fiesta Grill [Woodside]
69-12 Roosevelt Avenue (near 69th Street), Woodside, Queens
718-205-4010

Fritzie's Bake Shop [Woodside]
69-10 Roosevelt Avenue (near 69th Street), Woodside, Queens
718-507-0205

Discuss: Fiesta Grill - Great new JH Philippino
Near Broadway/Roosevelt Subway, Open for Lunch
Guide to Woodside
Red Ribbon Bakery about to open in Woodside

Wanted: Dessert for a Dinner Party

This could happen to you: luckiestduck was invited to dinner, cuisine unknown, and asked to bring dessert. The hosts love cake and chocolate. So what to do?

sam1's go-to source for sweets is Black Hound, whose orange cheesecake goes nicely with just about anything. Black Hound also bakes a chocolate-raspberry cake that's delicious yet not "sinisterly chocolate-y."

For a rich, unique conversation starter, he suggests a cake from Momofuku Milk Bar, where the current lineup includes chocolate chip with passion fruit curd and banana cream with hazelnut and gianduja fudge.

Or, thinking outside the cake box, sam reminds us that Key lime pie from Steve's is a Chowhound perennial. And you don't have to trek to Brooklyn to get one; it's sold at Citarella, among other places.

For something cakelike that isn't cake, daffyduck recommends Levain Bakery's big, soft chocolate chip walnut cookies, "very cakey and chocolatey with a beautiful crispy exterior." Warm them up and serve them with gelato from Screme.

Other excellent frozen options are gelato or sorbet from Il Laboratorio del Gelato or Ciao Bella, firni notes.

Of course, hounds can't talk dessert without talking cupcakes. Two favorite stops, downtown and uptown, are Sugar Sweet Sunshine and Two Little Red Hens (try the deeply chocolatey blackout variety).

And for something easy, and easily portable, consider a selection of chocolate truffles from the Chowhound mecca Kee's.

To all this sweet talk, khoffdenver adds a wistful plea: "Can I come to this party?"

Black Hound [East Village]
170 Second Avenue (at E. 11th Street), Manhattan
212-979-9505

Momofuku Milk Bar [East Village]
1593 First Avenue (at E. 13th Street), Manhattan
212-254-3500

Steve's Authentic Key Lime Pies [Red Hook]
204 Van Dyke Street (near Ferris Street), Brooklyn
718-858-5333

Citarella [Greenwich Village]
424 Sixth Avenue (at E. Ninth Street), Manhattan
212-874-0383

Levain Bakery [Upper West Side]
167 W. 74th Street (near Amsterdam Avenue), Manhattan
212-874-6080

Screme [Upper West Side]
2030 Broadway (between W. 69th and 70th streets), Manhattan
212-362-2111

Il Laboratorio del Gelato [Lower East Side]
95 Orchard Street (between Broome and Delancey streets), Manhattan
212-343-9922

Ciao Bella [Nolita]
285 Mott Street (between Houston and Prince streets), Manhattan
212-431-3591

Sugar Sweet Sunshine [Lower East Side]
126 Rivington Street (between Essex and Norfolk streets), Manhattan
212-995-1960

Two Little Red Hens [Upper East Side]
1652 Second Avenue (at E. 86th Street), Manhattan
212-452-0476

Kee's Chocolates [Soho]
80 Thompson Street (between Spring and Broome streets), Manhattan
212-334-3284

Discuss: what dessert to bring for an unknown meal

Jerky Just Like Your Korean Grandma’s

Lovers of beef jerky and Korean barbecue might well love Go-ggi, too. Created by a Westchester guy channeling his grandmother's recipe, it's beef top round seasoned bulgogi-style, then dried. "If you like sweet/salty/peppery all in one bite with the perfect amount of 'jerkiness' u gotta try this brand!" urges UES Mayor.

He got his direct from the maker, Artisan Snacks, but Go-ggi jerky is also sold around New York by some retailers, including Grace's Marketplace on the Upper East Side and Stinky Brooklyn in Carroll Gardens.

Artisan Snacks
347-426-8241

Discuss: FOUND AMAZING BEEF JERKY!

Overheard on the New York Boards

"The crostini are a waste of money and calories. ... But the pizza is fantastic. The Mezzaluna is a unique creation ... half calzone and half margherita pizza. Delicious." – NAtiveNewYorker on 57 Napoli

"Delicious, done to perfection on a light toasted bun with fantastic fries and salad. I was surprised by this because Bar Tabac always struck me as the kind of faux-french clip joint that would be annoying and have overpriced/bad food." – squinchy on the hamburger at Bar Tabac

"No contest in the chocolate cake department: Good Enough to Eat on Amsterdam and 83rd. Their coconut cake and banana cake are equally memorable. Their pecan pie is not." – mahler5

The Dawn of iDining

The restaurant Pearl in Melbourne, Australia, is moving to an all iPad-based ordering system. According to the Australian, the owner...

"...is set to convert his restaurant to an all iPad operation with specially written interactive software that he claims will make it the first restaurant in Australia to employ Apple's red-hot tablet for both menus and wine lists."
READ MORE

Poor Man’s Limonata

San Pellegrino's sparkling, tart-sweet soda Limonata now has a down-market sibling: Jelly Belly's Lemon Drop. It doesn't have the Euro cachet of Limonata (my, that Jelly Belly logo is looking inexcusably '80s) and the color is an artificial piss-yellow, but the flavor is there: pleasantly tart, crisp and bubbly, and a nonsyrupy aftertaste (it's sweetened with sugar, not HFCS). The soda, which is sold at grocery stores and Walgreens across the country, is available in four-packs for about $4 and comes in flavors including sour cherry, green apple, and tangerine.

Jelly Belly Gourmet Soda, $4

Will Arnett and Jason Bateman Give You That Good, Clean Feeling

Yes, this video appears to be a commercial for Orbitz gum. But it stars comedic geniuses Will Arnett and Jason Bateman. Three cheers for smart advertisement. There's no way to embed it, so click over to DumbDumb and watch.

CHOW Tour Is Coming to Your Town

On July 1, CHOW editors Lessley Anderson and Roxanne Webber are going to kick off a culinary tour that will go from San Francisco to Los Angeles and then New York, in search of "deliciousness with a twist: innovation." There will be blogging, there will be vlogging, there will be tweeting. In fact, there already is, at @lessleyanderson and @roxanne_chow. Check it out and weigh in on where you think they should go!

Discuss: Innovation: the CHOW tour

Ceylon Supreme

What are the odds that the only straight-up Sri Lankan restaurant in the Bay Area would be really, really good? Well, we must be really lucky because Kadupul, the offshoot of a catering company, is definitely worth a trek, in my opinion.

The tiny restaurant looks more like a Mediterranean café than a South Asian eatery. But the food delivers deep, complex flavors with the characteristic notes of sweet spices and coconut. Hoppers (a.k.a. appam) are bowl-shaped crepes made with fermented coconut-rice batter, fluffy on the bottom and lacy and crisp on the sides. They're perfect for sopping up the delicious prawn curry. The "prawns" themselves are just mediocre shrimp, but they're beside the point. A condiment of intense caramelized onions with star anise, on the other hand, was pretty great all by itself.

Lamprais is like biryani in a bundle, spiced rice and your choice of meat, chicken or mushrooms, and veggie croquettes wrapped in banana leaf. It's yummy stuff, and so is a side dish of okra, bathed in a light sauce.

But avoid the roti—it's like coconut-flavored cardboard.

Kadupul [East Bay]
8939 San Ramon Road, Dublin
925-566-3170

Discuss: Hoppers, lamprais and other Sri Lankan fare at Kadupul

Should You Tip on Takeout?

Should You Tip on Takeout?

A to-go faux pas. READ MORE