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METS/LaGuardia

Parkside is a great choice, a 10 minute drive from Citifield.

Danny Brown in Forest Hills is a little further, but Michelin starred and well worth the trip.

On a saturday night you'll need a reservation at either but reservations should still be available.

Let's Go Mets!

Aug 25, 2015
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Recs Sought for Thailand: Chiang Mai and Bangkok

Thanks for the link to the CM restaurants. I've been to most of them. Here are my comments about those I'm most familiar with.

Obviously we agree about TONG, not only in general but about specific dishes too. Their hanglay curry is great. Most places it's super-fatty but at Tong it's all edible meat (despite his photo). The grilled fermented pork with egg is excellent as are all the nam priks. There are better places for ant egg soup, when in season, but none of them have it on an English menu as Tong does. Go in the evening when everything on the menu is available (though they do run out of things as the evening goes on). There will likely be a wait of 15-45 minutes for a table but service is incredibly fast and English is understood by most of the staff.

And if you're not staying in the Nimmanhaemin neighborhood, plan to spend an hour or three AFTER dinner at Tong strolling the streets or in one of the hundred bars. It's mostly a very young scene. Very little English is spoken at many of them but it's pretty easy to order a Leo Beer at any of them. If you'd be more comfortable at a place with a slightly older crowd, go to Beer Republic. They are one block from Tong and have the best selection of imported beers in Chiang Mai.

I also agree with Wiens' likes (aeb pla, jackfruit salad) and dislikes (khao soi) at HUEN PHEN. They also do a great pomelo salad. As has been posted on CH many times, but Wiens fails to mention, is that Huen Phen is lunch only and the earlier the better. They are open for dinner but it's a completely different menu and served in the building next door. It's really two separate restaurants with little in common. Dinner has received mixed reviews here. I haven't been there for dinner in years.

I went to Khao Soi Khun Yai solely because of Wiens' write-up. I didn't find it to be anything special. Khao Soi is my favorite northern Thai dish and I've probably tried it in over 30 places in the CM area. My favorite happens to be a couple of blocks from Khun Yai. It has no name in English or any signage for that matter. Just go north from Chiang Puak Gate for about 200 meters. Turn right on the first busy street. It's the first noodle shop on the left, opposite Hillcoff Coffee and just before Chiang Puak Hospital. Their Khao Soi is a rich, thick curry with a bold spicy flavor. It comes with the traditional chicken leg, not some pre-cut chicken pieces. You customize it with as much shallot, pickled mustard greens, bean sprouts as you want.

The TOM PAYAM MARKET is the place for SAI UA, as mentioned. They have a higher concentration of sai ua vendors than any of the other markets. My favorite vendor in all of CM happens to be in there too, but it's not Sai Ua La Wan. If you're facing that stall just turn around and try the one directly across the aisle. Or try them both. Or try a small piece from all 10-15 vendors!

And after re-reading Wiens' reviews, in addition to spiciness he seems to also have a problem with oily food. None of the dishes I've had at any of the recommended places have been extremely spicy or very oily. That said, some of these dishes are pre-prepared so if it's spicy, it's authentically so.

Recs Sought for Thailand: Chiang Mai and Bangkok

I went through the first 3 pages of the restaurant link and couldn't find any for Chiang Mai. Please point me to someplace specific on that site. But, in general, Mark Wiens and I have different tastes. He seems a little more sensitive to spicy food.

Recs Sought for Thailand: Chiang Mai and Bangkok

Hi EJC,

I really have nothing new to add to my prior recommendations for Chiang Mai. I haven't re-read my posts but I still go regularly to almost all of my old favorites (with the exception of Wera's which is now a 25 minute drive away) and I haven't noticed a decline in any of them. The only place I would take off my list is the Khao Soi stand in the back of the Kad Suan Kaew mall. There are new people running it and it's nowhere near as good as it used to be.

As Mary says, Eating Asia also has some good recs. I certainly agree with Sorn Chan which is outstanding and unexpected given it's location in the heart of the tourist area.

Most of the new (to me) restaurants I go to are outside of town, rarely have English names, and will be impossible to get to without your own transportation, or a traveling companion who is fluent in Thai. Most aren't really destination worthy anyway, but authentic Thai food for Thai people. If you happen to be staying in the Wat Jed Yod area, northwest of the city, I'll pass along a few suggestions.

I'd love to join you for dinner one night but I'll be in NY for most of October.

Not about food:
I doubt you're planning on it, but bring your bike. The riding in CM is great.

Jalapenos in Vietnamese food--just an American thing?

I agree with Curt and Phil.

The Thai chilies in vinegar (as used as a condiment in most noodle shops in Thailand) are similar in taste and heat to jalapenos but look totally different. The Thai chilies are a much duller green than most jalapenos. Those are the ones I've seen in Vietnamese restaurants in VN and, more recently, in Vietnamese owned restaurants in Laos.

My only experience with Vietnamese restaurants in the US is in NYC(mostly in Queens) but I don't recall ever seeing a jalapeno there either.

Aug 09, 2015
el jefe in General Topics

Best Filipino restaurant in Queens?

Went to Sariling Atin on Queens Blvd in Elmhurst for lunch again today.

Roosevelt Ave in the 60's may have the biggest concentration of Filipino restaurants but so far my experience has been that Sariling Atin is the best of the turo-turo places. (I haven't tried House of Insal.) I've tried a dozen dishes there and haven't had one I didn't like. The choices change regularly.

May 26, 2015
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Inexpensive ethnic CLEAN newish restaurant in Queens?

@Jeff

Most posters on this Board seem to think that the Jackson Diner went downhill about 20 years ago. I'm one of the few who thinks it's still OK.

Please re-read the original post.
I know you're Jackson Heights-centric but the OP was very specifically posting about the Jackson Diner's Bellrose location. I can't talk about the food there. I've been past about 5 or 6 times thinking about going, but every single time I would have been the only customer. Very weird.

May 26, 2015
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Mr. Nilsson Restaurant in LIC

Don't remind me. I just read your original review earlier this week and tried to make reservations for tonight, then found out that they gave up on Mr Nilsson.
And even though I never got to try it, it was worth knowing about it just for your review. Thanks, Pooki!

May 21, 2015
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Seeking advice: Week long foodie trip from Japan to somewhere else.

Totally agree with Phil, giving the advantage to Singapore over Penang solely because it's probably much easier to get to Singapore with many more options than Penang.
I was going to add Chengdu as a 3rd choice but Phil beat me to that too.
Just to add another option to the list, if you're looking to add something different, Chiang Mai is a great food destination with options you won't find in Bangkok and it's probably no harder to get to than Penang or Chengdu. (I'm in the process of planning the trip in reverse, from CM to Tokyo or Osaka.)

Chiang Saen in Golden Triangle, Northern Thailand-- anywhere to eat?

I'm probably too late with this but I just happened upon it, a great post on where to go in Sop Ruak, not far from Chiang Saen and even closer to the Anantara:
http://eatingasia.typepad.com/eatinga...
It's three years old but the author knows her food and is well respected. And, I bet the un-named resort she was staying in was the Anantara

The Supposed Best Pad Kee Mao in Bangkok

My favorite place for Khao Soi is an unnamed shop across from Hillkoff Coffee, next to Chiang Puak Hospital, about 200 meters north of Chiang Puak Gate.

Khao Soi Mae Sae on Ratchapruak Rd (zigzag north from the Shell station on Huay Kaew Rd) is my solid second choice.

The Supposed Best Pad Kee Mao in Bangkok

Curt, I agree 100%.
I haven't been to Raan Jay Fai, but up here in Chiang Mai social media is more important than substance. Good restaurants fail because they don't get the right publicity on social media and ordinary places survive for years on their reputation. The perfect example is the Khao Soi places. This week especially. The famous ones will be packed. The best ones will be closed for the holiday.

Cape Town and around again

We're staying in the Gardens area for 6-7 nights. So anything within 3-4 kms would be a nice walk. (I posted separately about Simon's Town.

I spend most of the year split between NYC and Thailand so it's easier to say what I'm not looking for. French, Italian, Thai, Mexican. Game would be great. (Thanks, Bruce, for those recs). other African cuisines too.

I can do high end easily in NY. If you have a recommendation for an inexpensive restaurant that serves good, interesting food, I have no problem traveling to get there.

Thanks.

Feb 25, 2015
el jefe in Middle East & Africa

Cape Town and around again

We'll be in Capetown for several days/nights next month. There's great info here from Erica and Ponder but I'm curious if anyone has any updates.

We have reservations at Test Kitchen and will probably have lunch at Pot Luck Club.

We're more interested at this point in downscale than in sophisticated, high end places.

TIA

Feb 22, 2015
el jefe in Middle East & Africa

Going to Thailand Looking for Guide

I can only answer for Chiang Mai. There are several local companies offering food tours but imho none of them are worth the price. They all take clients to markets, noodle shops, and food stalls in the main tourist areas. It's nothing you couldn't do on your own.

And if doing it on your own, there is plenty of up-to-date info on authentic northern food in CM if you do a quick search on this board.

Simon's Town, and Noordhoek?

I'll be spending a few nights in Simon's Town next month. I can't find much info on good restaurants there. Does anyone here have recent experience?

Also, I've heard good things about the Food Barn in Noordhoek. If I can work that into my schedule (without a car), is it worth the trip?

Feb 15, 2015
el jefe in Middle East & Africa

Asian Taste 86 in Elmhurst--Mostly Indonesian

Then Java Village rented the front of their shop to that horrid Chinese snack stand and the inside became claustrophobic. I agree with your downhill report on the food too. I stopped going about a year ago. There are just too many other good-to-great places within a few blocks of there.

Feb 13, 2015
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Chiang Saen in Golden Triangle, Northern Thailand-- anywhere to eat?

The Sriwan is one of several new places on the river that have opened in the past year or two. It looks nice. I haven't been. Chiang Saen isn't a food destination. According to TripAdvisor the best restaurant is a pizza place 10 miles outside of town.

I try not to spend too much time in Chiang Rai and have never had a memorable Thai meal there. There used to be a great American restaurant, run by a Texan but, sadly, he retired. You might be able to find some useful info here on the expat forum:
http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/3...

Chiang Saen in Golden Triangle, Northern Thailand-- anywhere to eat?

I live in Chiang Mai for much of the year and my travels occasionally take me thru Chiang Saen. It's a typical small Thai town -- laid back and quiet -- with just enough amenities to make it a pleasant place to spend a night.

Phnom Penh short report

The ant egg dishes are interesting. Usually it's a soup or an omelet. the soups are very herbal and the eggs add a little protein. Technically, the ant eggs are larva too. Usually you would never know what the eggs were but this time of year you'll occasionally get a full grown white ant in your soup.
If you get another chance somewhere on the trip (Laos, northern Thailand, Issan) you should order an ant egg soup just for the photo op!

Chiang Saen in Golden Triangle, Northern Thailand-- anywhere to eat?

Though I've never been to the Anantara Resort and can't say with certainty, you're probably correct that you'll get toned down spicing for westerners there. The food may still be very good though.

I've been to Chiang Saen several times, though not in the last year or two. It's a sleepy little town where few tourists spend the night. There is a small night market along the river where vendors sell grilled fish and other basic Thai dishes. There are also several noodle shops and small restaurants on the main street that runs perpendicular to the river (Route 1016?). They all do a good job at standard Thai dishes and there is little reason to recommend one over another. I don't recall that any of them specialized in northern Thai cuisine. There are a couple of bigger, newer restaurants on the river as you head south/east out of town but I haven't tried them.

If your meals are included with your room, I'm not sure I'd give up a meal at the Anantara for a green curry or pad see ew at a local restaurant. If they're not, then yes, you should spend a late afternoon wandering around the old city walls and stay for downscale dinner in town.

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
1

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