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Plant Love House Another Personal Thai Food Spot

Pretty funny. In Thailand the farang are always complaining about dual pricing on many things including restaurants. PLH has imported that to America with their serving sizes.
That's not the authenticity we need!

Jan 25, 2015
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

How to get breakfast in China outside your hotel

My experience, after spending time in 30+ non-touristy Chinese cities, has been that if there is no expat community western breakfasts outside of hotels are even worse than the mediocre breakfasts available in the hotels.
Fresh, hot dumplings and buns were always our choice, along with a McDonald's coffee whenever that was available.

queens: the lesson plan?

Yussdov has great suggestions.
Registan on 108 St is the friendliest of the Uzbek restaurants and the food is equal or better than the others.
Little Pepper certainly is the place to go for Sichuan food but there's little else in the neighborhood.
I'd skip the New World Mall and go to the Golden Shopping Mall instead. New World has better desserts but the Golden Shopping Mall itself is reason enough to come to queens. Nowhere else will get you as many authentic regional options within such a small space.

Dec 29, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Chengdu Heaven vs Little Pepper?

Little Pepper's braised fish is one of my two favorite dishes there (imho, their cumin lamb is the best of the 20 or so versions I've tried).

The dan dan noodles might be a little better at Chengdu Heaven.

I usually go to Chengdu Heaven when I'm alone. (I bring my bike right inside the mall.) Little Pepper works much better for big groups. The big advantage for Little Pepper is the ease of parking. I don't think I've ever parked more than 100 feet away. CH is a schlep on the 7 train, if it's running, and I wouldn't dream of taking a car.

Dec 26, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Please help finalize Chiang Mai destinations (researched!!)

Not a critique of your list, but of mine: It's not "Som Tom Ubon". The excellent Isaan restaurant is "Som Tum Pa Auan" on Soi Wiang Bua. It's a couple of blocks northwest of the Thanin Market, open daily from 9:00am to 7:00pm. No English sign but easily recognized by the number of patrons at lunch time. 20 different son toms, including excellent seafood som tom and a pomelo som tom. The also do a very good larb and moo nom tok.

When you return from your trip, please post a report. I'm especially interested in what you thought of the night markets.

Waterfront Alehouse Closing 12/28

Dec 02, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Please help finalize Chiang Mai destinations (researched!!)

Went to SoLao the other night. Very good and very crowded. Foreigner friendly. But despite an English menu with over 100 items, we were few foreigners there. Not sure if the cheap prices drew the Thais or the type of food scared off the westerners. It's the best Isaan food I've tried in the neighborhood but be forewarned, they didn't hold back on the spicing. It was very, very spicy and much better than Isaan 1 Mil %.

Please help finalize Chiang Mai destinations (researched!!)

afaik, all of the "Burmese" restaurants in CM can be further defined as Shan. They all have a mix of Shan and Thai dishes. There's a small Burmese restaurant on the corner of Nimmanhaemin Soi 8. They do the best tea leaf salad by far. Make that one of your snack stops. Nothing else there is worthwhile. There is a Burmese restaurant on the east side of the moat that caters to the backpacker crowd. My one visit did not inspire me to go back. The good news though is that there is one other Burmese restaurant, it's within walking distance of the Nimman area, and they just expanded their Shan menu. They do a variety of seasonal salads that you won't find anywhere like tamarind leaf salad and a fern salad. At lunch time they also have some Burmese curries. I haven't tried them yet but heard that the pork curry is very good. Note that the curries are prepared in the morning and served til they run out. If it's still there in the evening, I'd probably pass on it. The sign out front just says something like "Burmese, Shan, Thai food" with no name. I'll see if I can get you a name/address. Give me a call when you're here and I'll give you specific directions. For now, it's one block north of the Shell station on Huay Kaew Rd.

I went to "Isaan 1 million %" for the first time recently. There are lots of photos on the walls of celebrities who have supposedly eaten there. I didn't find anything exceptional among the 4 dishes we tried. SoLao is literally right across the street from where Wera's was. It was hard for me to not to go to Wera's. I did try SoLao once and thought it was fine. It has expanded since and now has a much more extensive menu too. it's on my list of places to revisit. Yod Sap is pretty far out of town and I can't imagine it's really worth the trip. There are many other similar restaurants. Khen Chai Issan inside the moat is very good when they're not too busy and will give you an explanation of their Isaan dishes not on the English menu. Som Tam Ubon on Wiang Bua Rd near the Tanin Market does a wide variety of perfectly grilled meats and Isaan dishes, especially their Som Tam Seafood. Open for lunch only. You could even go to the Sode Coffee Shop on Suthep Road opposite CMU and get some good Isaan food. It's a family business. One side is a student coffee shop in the garden and the other side is Krua Bella, serving a very good larb, hang lay curry, and green curry. you can sit anywhere and order from both.

Sorn Chai is very good. If you wind up near Tapae gate, it's your best choice in that area. I've never been to "Loong Thai Khao Gaeng (Lung Thai)".

I would make it a point to walk past Tong at about 7:00pm on your first night in CM and decide if all the camera toting Bangkokians waiting in line are wrong. They're certainly not there for the atmosphere. Save one of your later evenings for dinner there. They only have a limited menu at lunch. Huen Muan Jai is equally good and has a much nicer atmosphere but Tong is what the Bangkok tourists line up for.

Mary is partially right. It's always better to go with a group and get more dishes at most of the places I mention dishes are usually $2-3 each, making it easy to order 3-4 dishes on your own. Sharing, though, means you'll have room for 4 or 5 meals a day. I agree with everything else she wrote.

Kao Soy--new Thai in Red Hook

Thanks for the compliment MissMasala, but I was hoping to avoid this thread. I haven't eaten here so I can't comment on the food, just the menu.

Yam Som O is one of my favorite dishes. It's both spicy and refreshing at the same time. I can't think of too many other dishes that meet those basic qualities. I love wing bean salad but don't see that too often in NY. If Kao Soy's version is good, that alone might be worth the trip.

I also like that they use zucchini in their green curry. I use it whenever I make green curry. It's a good substitute for the pea eggplants that are very uncommon in NY. Most restaurants use long beans, which is a deal breaker for me.

It sounds like many of their dishes though are nouvelle Thai. There's nothing wrong with that. If it's good it's good. Gaeng Hang Lay is always made with fatty pork belly and no other protein. I've never seen it made any other way, ever. I've tried many versions, mostly to eliminate the fattiest ones. I prefer a more non-traditional Hang Lay curry where the meat to fat ratio is much higher. (My dogs prefer that I get the fattier versions. The plastic bag that the sticky rice comes in makes a great doggy back for a fatty treat.) The top round and fried drumstick may be for western tastes so they can eliminate some of the fatty pork, or it's a reason to charge a higher price. Either way, it sounds interesting.

They also do a non-traditional Khao Soi. In northern Thailand, it's always one drumstick, never two, though you can sometimes get a pork version. The huge bowl and double drums is certainly for western taste and pricing. And a papaya fritter? Is that in the khao soi or on the side? That's the Brooklyn version!

We all know there are many authentic, traditional, Thai restaurants in Queens serving excellent food. If Kao Soy needs to tweak it a little and do something different to succeed in Red Hook, then they're pretty smart and will do well.

I won't get to try Kao Soy on this visit to NY. I'm off to Chiang Mai in a few hours!

Nov 02, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Pawpaw / paupau fruits

The paw paws are long gone for the season.
please send me an email off list for a possible alternative solution.
If you click on my name above this post, my email address is in my profile.

Oct 30, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Indian in/near Kew Gardens

No pressure!
I vaguely remember some kind of crepe/dosa station at Five Star. I've only been there a few times on weekends and it's been a while. btw, afaik, it's still there.
Jackson Diner used to have a dosa station on weekends but it might be even longer since I've been there on a weekend.
I'm going to try to get to Kerala Kitchen this weekend.

Oct 29, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Where to shop other than Trader Joe's / Whole Foods...sterility vs. other [moved from Chains board]

Jen, thanks for pointing out the middle ground. Taking your example one step further, I only know of one restaurant that does a better palak paneer than TJ's frozen version. There's always a box or two in my freezer. Whenever I get a chance I stop at Tawa Food and pick up a package or two of their paratha to go with it. The leftover paratha also goes in the freezer.

Most of my shopping is at local supermarkets (Key Food, TJ's, etc) with an occasional stop at an ethnic market when I'm passing by and have time.

Oct 29, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Please help finalize Chiang Mai destinations (researched!!)

Well researched and very ambitious.

Congratulations on choosing the Nimmanhaemin area to stay in. It's tourist friendly, there is plenty of English spoken, yet very few western tourists.

You've obviously read the previous threads here so there's no need for me to add anything but I'll help you cull your list a little.

The last post to D-Lo's FB page was March 1, 2012, just before they abruptly disappeared.

Wera's Larb Phed moved across town to the other side of the river. I haven't been to their new location yet but I hope to get there in November. For someone new to town, it will be impossible to find. Taxi, songthiew, and tuk-tuk drivers are useless. If I remember to take a camera, I'll try to post a photo of their sign and I'll pin it on a map. But even so, their limited hours of 6:00pm-9:00pm may make it one of your back-up choices.

You picked the busiest time of year for Thai tourists, especially in the Nimman area. Lots of places there will have long waits. One of the few places inside the moat that will have an equally long line is Huen Phen. I recommend that you skip breakfast and get there for lunch between 10:30 and 11:00am. After that, service will suck, especially for a single diner, and they'll run out of many items.

SP Chicken is only open dinner time.

For markets:

You're really not missing much by not being there for the Sunday Walking Street. Saturday Night on Wulai Road is much better for shopping. The food is equal.

For the markets you mention in #5, I've never heard of Malin Plaza. The Tanin market is the biggest of the others. It also has the longest hours, from 8:00am to 8:00pm, though 10:00am to 5:00pm is probably best.

The Tom Phayom Market is smaller and may have the most fresh fruit vendors. I do buy my sai Ua there but I don't know the name of the vendor stall.

Chiang Mai Gate (south side) has both a morning and a night market. The morning market sells fresh food. in the evening, vendors set up along the moat in a typical night market. From late morning til late afternoon, it's very quiet and little is available. Chiang Puak Gate (north side) has an almost identical setup. The famous Cowboy Hat Lady with her stewed pork leg is here.

The Somphet market is the smallest and is marginally more expensive because of their location but that location also makes them the best for non-Thai speakers.

The Kad Suan Kaew market is Wed thru Sat in front of the mall. it's the oldest, lowest class mall in CM. The night market reflects that. It's good for snacks but little else.

There are small night markets that set up all over Thailand. if you have time and want to see a typical one nearby, just cross Huay Kaew Rd to the new Maya Mall and walk a few hundred yards north. There is a market that sets up every night near the Tarin Hotel and another, smaller one just past that. A very local market but easy to get to and get by without a word of Thai.

I'm not into the CM coffee scene but since you're on Nimmanhaemin you should go past Ristr8to. They have an award winning barista. The crowd and lines will spill out the door on most afternoons and evenings.

I'm leaving for CM on Sunday and will be there thru April. If you'd like to be able to try several dishes at some of the places, my wife and I would be happy to join you for a meal or two.

Indian in/near Kew Gardens

Thanks. I have trouble getting there for their weekend buffet and haven't been back since they changed management again. I've recommended Kerala Kitchen (and New Kerala Kitchen, Taste of Kerala Kitchen, etc) in the past but couldn't do so now without knowing the current state of affairs. Keralan is my favorite regional Indian cuisine and, as you said, it's very different from the typical fare at most Indian restaurants.
If you say it's still good, that's good enough for me.

Oct 23, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Indian in/near Kew Gardens

Stuart, have you been to Kerala Kitchen in it's latest incarnation? How is it now?
I haven't been there since it's last change in management/cook/ownership a little over a year ago.

To the OP -- if you're request includes Sri Lankan cuisine, Spicy Lanka at 159-23 Hillside Avenue is very good. There was a long thread here a few months ago with recommendations and detailed descriptions of some of the dishes.

Oct 22, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Where to find Pumpkin Spice Latte in KL?

Personally, I'm not a fan of the seasonal pumpkin-everything and am glad that the fad rarely lasts for more than 1-2 months a year.
I'm based in Chiang Mai and rarely get to KL. I'm disappointed that the pumpkin craze has reached SE Asia but I'm thankful that I rarely see pumpkin anything here in CM.
But taste is individual so I hope you find what you're looking for.

E-Pie in Flushing: Sweet, Savory Xianbing and More from Eastern China

Sorry, Babs, I've got bad news. Pajunia has been closed every time I've gone past for about a month. Not a good sign.

Oct 18, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Paw paw

His trees were planted over 10 years ago and it was a record crop this year. I have no idea how the weather affected that since we all know there were no figs this year.

I'm sure if he has a good crop again next year I'll be able to "borrow" a few paw paws for my Chowhound friends.

We're both curious though what a pound of paw paws goes for in the greenmarket.

Oct 18, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Paw paw

Usually "paw paw" does mean papaya and every time I hear someone say paw paw in Asia, i think of these, not papaya, and I'm always disappointed.

This is the paw paw referred to above:

I doubt you'll find them again this year. It's a very short growing season, the fruits on each tree all ripen within a 2-3 week period, and paw paws are extremely fragile and do not ship well at all.

My brother has two trees in Queens and harvested over 100 pounds of paw paws in the last month. there may only be a few left on the trees. Whatever couldn't be eaten fresh (they go from not-yet--ripe to over-ripe within a couple of days) was peeled and pitted and frozen for smoothies.

Oct 14, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Continued Feedback on Moderation Changes, and More Guidance for Bloggers

I bet Jim Leff will find it sad but amusing that a well respected poster on the Outer Boroughs board posted that he's waiting for more posts on Yelp to bring up a restaurant's ratings.
Then there was this thread -- http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/988399 -- where the chef/owner posted asking us to please post to Yelp to help his business.
it's becoming obvious that the changes to Chowhound are making it irrelevant and Yelp is the place to be.

Sep 29, 2014
el jefe in Site Talk

Cuy...Guinea Pig...Ecuadorian Delicacy

My brother bought a frozen one in Jackson Heights and smoked it. It was far better than the one I had recently in Quito.
I haven't figured out yet why cuy is so expensive. I've yet to hear someone say it's the best meat they've ever had. Pound for pound it's more than baby lamb chops or a good steak.

Sep 28, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Trip Report: Myanmar (Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Mandalay) & Chiang Mai/Chaing Dao

Thanks for a nice report.

I'm glad someone posted about Chiang Dao Nest. I agree 100%. I get there once a year and they do a very good ... though rarely perfect ... version of interesting western food (venison on occasion) at a relatively expensive price point.

You're also spot on with your review of Huen Muan Jai. Glad you liked it.

Indian/Thai/Vietnamese in New York.

There are/were 3 Keralan restaurants in that neighborhood that may still exist.
Five-Star in Nassau County may or may not exist any more. I haven't been past in about 2 years.
Kerala Kitchen and it's newer incarnations -- Taste of Kerala Kitchen etc, changes owners so often that i can't keep track.
I've been going to Taste of Cochin on Union Turnpike but I've only been for their lunch buffet where they always Fish Molly (unfortunately they don't use kingfish), and two excellent Keralan vegetarian dishes that they rotate. Their palak paneer and goat curry, while not Keralan, are always good too.

Aug 26, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Long Gone But Not Forgotten! Outer Borough Memories

I don't remember Scott's. It was probably too upscale for my parents in the '60's or '70's.
I actually miss the Howard Johnson's on Queens Blvd next to Alexander's. Specifically for the ayce fried clams.

Aug 21, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Long Gone But Not Forgotten! Outer Borough Memories

Broadway Sandwich Shop for the best Cuban food in Queens.

Bownie for Sri Lankan.

Burmese Cafe

A Fan Ti, maybe the original Dong Bei restaurant in Queens.

Aug 19, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

kavkaz (kavkaze / kavkazi) food in kensington/ditmas/midwood?

I've never had a "service charge" added to the bill at any of the Bukharian restaurants in Rego Park or Forest Hills, though I've only been there with groups of more than 4 on two occasions.

Aug 15, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Inviting Professional Voices to the Community

My first reaction was going to be "I wonder what Jim Leff has to say." My second reaction is to say "read what he wrote above and go to his link."

I've only been reading and writing here for 14 years. It's been pretty easy to spot the shills but the decline of Chowhound has been going on for a long time. Now it will be no better than TripAdviser and Yelp. :((

Sky Cafe - Indonesian in Elmhurst.

How was the Mie Complet?

Jul 21, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Sky Cafe - Indonesian in Elmhurst.

Quick review based on one visit. Three of us went to Sky Cafe yesterday, the new Indonesian restaurant on Whitney Ave in Elmhurst. We shared 5 dishes; all were good to excellent. The Beef Rendang was the best version I've had in any of the Queens Indonesian restaurants. We're looking forward to working our way through the rest of the menu.

Service was friendly and excellent. Most surprisingly, even though every table was taken at 4:00 in the afternoon and the restaurant has only been open for four days, the kitchen was up to the task. Dishes came out quickly, the timing was perfect.

Jul 21, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Best Filipino restaurant in Queens?

Reviving this mostly 11 month old thread, I finally made it to Tito Rad's. Too bad I didn't go before they moved to their new space next door. Maybe the kitchen and staff could have better handled the number of tables they had before the move.

We ordered 3 dishes:
Ginataang Langka -- excellent; it says "with shrimp ..." so it could have done with more than two size 61/70 shrimp, but it was still the best dish of the night.
Sizzling Sisig -- by far the driest, toughest version I've ever had.
Inihaw na Baboy-- small serving for the price and nothing special about it.

The Crispy Pata and Kare Kare on other tables looked good.

The most disappointing part of the meal though was the service. Approximately 35 minutes after we ordered, a waitress brought us a new pitcher of water. That was still the only thing on our table. Three times after that, someone came by to say our food would be out "in a few minutes." "A few" turned into another 15. 50 minutes is unacceptably long. The waitress did apologize at the end in an attempt to salvage a tip for the staff. A complimentary avocado shake or a dessert would have been appropriate under the circumstances.

This was my first and probably last experience at Tito Rad's. I miss Mama Meena's. I'll be going back to Ihawan, Renee's, and Papa's Kitchen for my Filipino fix from now on.

Jul 16, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs