theeatenpath's Profile

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Georgian bread coming to King's Highway

ChiefHDB and I had the adjaruli at Brooklyn Bread House last weekend, and it made for a wonderful breakfast! I'm hoping to try the same variant (listed as "guruli") at nearby Apani the next time I head south. Trying to get a handle on when that's typically available.

Feb 08, 2013
theeatenpath in Outer Boroughs

Georgian bread coming to King's Highway

Thanks for the confirmation, Jen! I look forward to make a khachapuri trek to both.

Jan 21, 2013
theeatenpath in Outer Boroughs

Georgian bread coming to King's Highway

Dave, have you been to Brick Oven Bread in Brighton recently? Wonderful khachapuri made with a nice, sharp sulguni -- both the large, tandoor-baked disks and a less-common-in-new-york penovani khachapuri, made from a puff-pastry-like dough. I haven't been able to make it out since before Sandy, still a bit worried about a potential closing.

I wonder if this might be a related business, or just the usual adventures in overlapping nomenclature.

Jan 21, 2013
theeatenpath in Outer Boroughs

Sky Ice: good Thai food (and ice cream) in Brooklyn--can it be??

I'll put in another word for the sweet/savory divide at Sky Ice -- that is, sweet is worth the trip and savory is often regrettable.

The savory dishes are much more often misses than hits, but ordering strictly vegetarian tends to help. Their veggies are mostly fresh and well prepared, though tofu tends to be clunky and eggplant is bland. I think the focus on healthy preparation definitely hurts as a constraint -- though the "non-fried fried rice" is quite excellent once you take it home and fry it :) I'll be making return visits in hopes that the daily specials are better.

As for sweets, I haven't tried the full run of the menu, but every ice cream I've tasted has been outstanding. Black sesame seaweed is a knockout combination, perfectly executed. Thai Tea is excellent, and Honey Ginger is an incredible blend of sweet honey, milky cream, and a no-punches-pulled ginger burn. It's worth the price tag, and keeps me coming back to try the next most interesting flavor.

Jul 14, 2012
theeatenpath in Outer Boroughs

David's Brisket House: Renovation or Out of Business?

ChiefHDB and I went back for a second visit after our trip on Wednesday. The boys at David's are definitely still trying to get into their groove -- the breakfast hash platters were not available this morning, and they'd have a hard time adequately serving a full house.

Still, I thought the pastrami was solid -- I'd agree with the description that it's mildly spiced, but the flavor is full and the texture is excellent. For the price, this is a steal, not a "meet me halfway" compromise. The same goes for brisket; ask for yours with gravy and add a healthy shot of salt and pepper for a fantastic sandwich. The small ($6.50 a pop) is still a plenty satisfying serving, and thankfully it holds together fine on rye.

I'm rooting for these guys, too. They're clearly very happy to be back on their feet with nonstop orders, and I'm looking forward to regular visits.

Feb 18, 2012
theeatenpath in Outer Boroughs

Forget What I Said About Hua Ji Pork Chop

Just another confirmation: I had lunch at Hua Ji this afternoon, meaning it was most definitely open for business. They are regularly closed on Sundays.

Feb 08, 2012
theeatenpath in Manhattan

Forget What I Said About Hua Ji Pork Chop

Hua Ji was totally shuttered today at at 2:30pm. Perhaps their days/hours of business have changed, or this has something to do with ongoing New Years' festivities (we're still not 15 days out from 1/23)? I'll try to stop by again later this week to see what's up.

Feb 05, 2012
theeatenpath in Manhattan

Forget What I Said About Hua Ji Pork Chop

Very, very happy to hear this. That's all I have to say.

Feb 04, 2012
theeatenpath in Manhattan

Forget What I Said About Hua Ji Pork Chop

Very sad to hear this. That's all I have to say.

Feb 03, 2012
theeatenpath in Manhattan

Chef Edwards' in Oakland is closed. Does anyone have the Chef's contact #?

Hey Oakland hounds,

I was sad to hear from multiple sources that Chef Edwards' BBQ near the Greyhound station has closed its doors. Does anyone have a way of contacting John Edwards directly? Apparently he had left a cell number on his answering machine, along with a declaration that he will continue to cater, but the line is now disconnected.

I'm hoping to interview the good chef for a story (and sincerely hoping that the joint didn't close because his health took an unfortunate turn). If you can put me in touch, your help would be very much appreciated.

In search of your favorite red borscht

Thanks for the tip, Honeybuns -- I've been meaning to check out U Teshi for a while. I was actually down in Brighton today, but for bread; the "crusty" dark loaf at Brighton Bazaar's bakery counter is probably the best I've head since I was in Petersburg.

I fell off this trail a while ago, but now that the weather is cooling off, I'll be back on shortly. My favorite borsch in the city so far is still the plain red at Lomzynianka in Greenpoint. Tart, well-spiced and clean, and served in a teacup for under $3. I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn't had good Polish borsch or wants a pick-me-up without a bowl of vegetable chunks.

Sep 13, 2011
theeatenpath in Manhattan

Flaming Hot Cheetohs

Hey, Flaming Hot Chowhounds -- any fresh leads on Flaming Hot Cheetos in 2011?

I need something to go along with my Kool-Aid pickles.
I'm totally serious; it's a fantastic combination.

Sep 07, 2011
theeatenpath in Manhattan

Mama Meena's Family Restaurant - Woodhaven, Queens

...and I can confirm that the meat pickin's at Mama Meena's are fatter than ever.

Aside from crispy pata, lechon kawali, quikiam, chicharong, and the dishes mentioned above, we tried:

-Beef pochero. Essentially stewed short rib with carrot, potato, plantain (fantastic), and green bean. I found it satisfying but not stellar; it's a competent, comforting stew.

-Pinakbet. Green beans, squash, bitter melon, tomato, eggplant, shrimp and pork stir-fried in fish sauce. This was my first taste of pinakbet, a dish that traditionally includes a type of purple shrimp paste. I expected the flavors to be more pronounced, but enjoyed the dish nonetheless.

-Pancit malabon. Thick rice noodles tossed in a light fish-and-shrimp sauce, then topped with prawns, hard-boiled egg, ground/crumbled pork rind, green onion and a lemon wedge. I really enjoyed these; the noodles had a pleasantly springy texture, and tasted of sweet shrimp broth. The pork rind clinging to each strand was a nice reminder that one cannot escape from pork at Mama Meena's.

Sizzling sisig still stole the show as my favorite dish, and I was happy to find that the melon was extremely generous in its inclusion of freshly shredded cantaloupe. The drink itself was a bit too sweet, but I bet you could make a request to lower the sugar proportion a bit should you order.

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Mama Meena's
94-20 Jamaica Ave, Queens, NY 11421

Jul 07, 2011
theeatenpath in Outer Boroughs

Uncle Zhou 大河人家 Elmhurst

I finally got around to trying this dish, and I am in total agreement.

Jun 27, 2011
theeatenpath in Outer Boroughs

Uncle Zhou 大河人家 Elmhurst

Thanks for stepping in to correct and opine, jefe :]

Jun 22, 2011
theeatenpath in Outer Boroughs

Uncle Zhou 大河人家 Elmhurst

Thanks for posting the gallery, Dave.

An armful of us, led by missmasala and Joe MacBu, shared the dishes pictured last night and were disappointed by nothing. I'll identify what's pictured to the best of my ability; I'm sure others who were there can offer additional insight and commentary/clarification.

Starting from the upper-left and advancing to the right (and referencing the restaurant's folding paper takeaway menu):

1. "Smoked fish" - one of three cold dishes ordered off the menu. I believe this one was sitting in the display case beneath the register. Very meaty chunks of fish (not sure what kind), bone and (very flavorful) fat/skin included, permeated by a sweet sauce with some mild heat on the back end. Not discernibly smoky, but I heard no complaints.

2. Bean curd skins - very springy and firm slices of cold tofu skin tossed in sesame oil with thin-sliced mushroom and bell pepper. No surprises here; the flavors were straightforward, and your feelings toward it probably depend on your stance towards the texture tofu skin.

3. Pickled cucumber - this was my favorite of the cold dishes. Fresh cucumbers very thinly sliced and lightly brined, they were mostly sweet, slightly tart and had a warm spread of heat from first bite. Excellent veg pick!

4. Lamb and chive dumplings (Dumpling Menu #5, $3.00) - just about what you'd expect: boiled dumplings filled with loose ground lamb and chive filling. Just a bit gamy, with a thick, slightly chewy dumpling skin. This is the only dish I personally wouldn't order again, mostly because there is so much in the way of more adventurous dishes to explore on Uncle Zhou's menu.

5. Braised vegetable with black mushrooms (House Specials #4, $7.95) - fantastic veg dish. Bok choy was perfectly cooked, shot with chopped garlic and served with hearty, tender shiitake mushrooms in a pool of the braising liquid.

6. Big Tray of Chicken (House Specials #14, $12.00) - certainly a crowd pleaser, this was an enormous kitchen sink platter dominated by bite-sized chunks of dark meat chicken on the bone (I love that almost every meat was served on the bone). The meat was accompanied by well-salted potato, chilies, the occasional clove of roasted garlic, and a sprinkling of fresh cilantro that never overstayed its welcome. Beneath it all were broad "hand drawn" noodles, the perfect form for soaking up chili oil and juices. I can't believe this was twelve bucks.

7. Surplus (slurplus?) broad noodles were brought out on request and tossed into whatever was available. Uncle Zhou's hand-pulled noodles are very tender, and their broad noodles are optimal for sauce-based dishes. The cooks are not just noodling around here (ChiefHDB made me say it, I swear).

8. Noodles late to the party but not too late to get totally sauced (I take full responsibility for that one).

9. I only knew this off-the-menu dish as "meatballs." Loosely packed, moderately seasoned, touched with a hint of sweetness, fall-apart tender and permeated by the braising liquid. Another comfort pick. I went back for seconds.

10. Spicy crispy rabbit in big tray (House Specials #11, $18.50) - this was something of a consensus favorite. Very well marinaded chunks of rabbit (some still on the bone), fried to a uniform brown and served in a heap of chilies with chopped green onion and cilantro (again playing their role very well, adding the perfect amount of brightness to a rich and meaty dish). I was surprised at how moist and juicy each morsel of meat was, considering how crisp they were around the edges.

11. (Dial) Oil Hand Drawn Noodle (Staple Food M10) - Joe MacBu requested that these be prepared with knife-cut noodles instead of the usual thin-pulled la mian, and it was an excellent call. The knife-cut noodles were just a bit softer than the broad pulled noodles, and never revealed a clumpy spot or chewy knot. This dish had the most complex flavors in our menu, but make sure you mix it well or you might end up with a mouthful of crushed chili or a suddenly powerful shot of vinegar.

12. Fried tomato with sweet and sour sauce - Not exactly a parallel to America's fried green tomato, these red tomato slices were encased in a thick and soft dredging and swamped in a sweet and sour sauce that was, thankfully, mild in its slightly fruity, slightly honey-tinted sweetness.

13 and 14. Baked Noodle & Fish (House Specials #1, $12.95) - fresh whole whiting (the owner literally walked out to obtain a fresh fish after we had finished ordering), beautifully sauteed and served atop a bed of sweet and sour sauce and under a bed of dried house-made bei mian (angel hair hand-pulled noodles).

Celery and Sauteed Lily Bulbs (House Specials #13, $6.95) - not pictured but enjoyed by all, this was described at the table as "celery and garlic with some other stuff." The celery, served slightly warm, was still very crisp. The aforementioned lily bulbs were scarce among the stalks and chopped garlic.

It's worth stressing how friendly the staff and the owner of Uncle Zhou's are. They brightened the lights when they saw us taking photographs, and happily answered any questions about the dishes to the best of their ability. When we began discussing mei bian with the owner, he immediately rolled a stainless steel table out from the kitchen and had two of his cooks demonstrate their ability to make such fine strands with nothing but their bare hands. Watching the two take on a ball of dough in succession was not too different from seeing a breakdancing duo taking turns on the subway car -- elegant, entertaining and done with pride.

You can see a video of the demonstration here: http://youtu.be/TMn_9i_EH30

Thanks to the organizers! It's surely a place worth writing home about.

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Uncle Zhou
83-29 Broadway, Queens, NY 11373

Jun 21, 2011
theeatenpath in Outer Boroughs

Mama Meena's Family Restaurant - Woodhaven, Queens

The veg situation is somewhat grim at first glance. 8 out of 9 items on the "Vegetables" menu include meat -- the exception is ginataang langka (green jackfruit sauteed in coconut milk). You should call and ask if they can make dishes 100% vegetarian on request before making the trek.

Jun 21, 2011
theeatenpath in Outer Boroughs

Mama Meena's Family Restaurant - Woodhaven, Queens

A few friends and I made it to Mama Meena's today for an almost all-pork lunch. Almost everything we tasted was fantastic, and not too heavyset when taken in reasonable doses (which my group definitely did not do).

-Crispy Pata was exceptional in texture, but didn't have a terribly meaty or porky flavor. The layer of cracklin' and chewy bits of browned pork were a joy to chew on, and the their taste was brightened/cut by dipping bits of meat into accompanying bowls of vinegar before eating.

-Lechon kawali (the fried pork belly) was a good upshot to the pata. A tad dry in parts, but nearly greaseless, perfectly crunchy on the outside, and not *entirely* fat on the inside... though it depends on which piece you take :)

-Lumpia Shanghai were well done, but not very adventurous. Quikiam (pork and veg ground into a creamy paste, partitioned into fingers, wrapped in a tofu casing then deep-fried) were the more enjoyable appetizer. I have no frame of reference for that dish, but I'd order it again with a group.

-Meena's sisig was definitely my favorite dish: the various bits of hog head are chopped to an almost uniform consistency, and while the bits are pleasantly gritty, they never feel gristly or greasy. A squeeze of lemon juice and splash of vinegar mixed into the meat up the complexity of the dish, giving it a nice contrast between deep, savory flavors and the tartness of the garnish. And the added bonus of an egg adds to its richness. Like Daniel says, letting the bits crisp and mixing a big spoonful into your rice makes for fantastic comfort food.

-Chicharong Bulaklak (deep fried "ruffles" cut from around the pig's intestine -- or is it just intestine?) were my second favorite of the hyper-rich pork dishes. They're little flowers of crisped fat, muscle and cartilage that have a... challenging texture and comforting taste. Like most of the pork dishes we sampled, this is not one I would order without a group to help me wolf it down!

My group ordered 4 apps, 4 dishes, and 1 halo halo to share. With service charge, our total came out to $16 each -- a great bargain. I plan on returning to Mama Meena's soon to try their other specialties and usual dishes... this time avoiding the pork overload! I've got my eye on pinakbet, pancit, chicken tinola, and ginisang stew.

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Mama Meena's
94-20 Jamaica Ave, Queens, NY 11421

Jun 19, 2011
theeatenpath in Outer Boroughs

Neerob Chowdown Report (Long)

I really enjoyed the shutki chatni, which JFores has already broken down. He told me that this particular serving wasn't as potent as it usually is, so the paste was less pungent and more earthy and spicy in flavor. It was fantastic when mixed into the various bhartas with rice. I'm now curious to see if I'd feel the same way when it's at full stinky strength!

Jun 13, 2011
theeatenpath in Outer Boroughs

Rack & Soul and Charles Southern Kitchen

Charles once broke down his routine for me (this was a little over a year ago, but seemed to apply the last couple times I've visited). Mon-Thurs he's in the original location for a few hours from opening, runs errands for the rest of the afternoon and returns for dinner. Sometimes he has a catering gig at Columbia or elsewhere, which takes him out of commission for the dinner hour.

Charles usually takes down himself and does prep for the next day late at night (he also gives surplus food to scrappers before closing the doors). On weekends he checks in at Rack and Soul, but I'm not sure if he is actually cooking during that time (he put it to me as quality control and training of the R&S staff). And is he still cooking at Aretsky's Patroon on Friday evenings? If so, he'll be holed up there for the entire day.

I hope that helps a bit. I am relieved to know that Charles is still up and running on Frederick Douglass!

Jun 06, 2011
theeatenpath in Manhattan

Decent Bar in Jackson Heights?

I don't think you oversold at all; I agree with your take and was adding my own, since I just recently paid a visit and intend on returning. I do tend to be harder on pork preparations, for what it's worth. And I am interested in knowing what kind of salt rub should be applied to my angle :)

May 20, 2011
theeatenpath in Outer Boroughs

Decent Bar in Jackson Heights?

I paid a visit to Legends for the Ranger's barbecue last month, and most of what we ordered was terribly dry and flavorless. The brisket, pre-sauced pulled meats, and pulled pork were all really tough for me to get behind (especially the brisket, which was DOA).

That said, we had phenomenal pork ribs (perfectly rendered fat, fantastic rub), a nice smoked Kielbasa (tough it could use a bit more kick), and a decent beef short rib (Hill Country and Blue Smoke, for whatever flaws they have, both consistently put out a much juicier and more flavorful beef rib). The Pilsner Urquell tap was great, too.

You're right to call out the "Texas BBQ" red herring, because this is basically a continental barbecue joint - drawing from multiple regional styles but using the "Texas" angle in its name for branding. Was "Texas BBQ" in the name when Pearson and co. ran the joint? Wish I could have tried it during the supposed glory days in LIC.

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Legends Sports Bar
71-04 35th Ave, Queens, NY 11372

May 20, 2011
theeatenpath in Outer Boroughs

In search of your favorite red borscht

I had the borsch at B&H a few months ago, actually - a little too much on the sweet side for my tastes, but still a fine cafeteria-style bowl :) I'd imagine that a place like B&H would do better with cabbage soup, anyway - the cabbage soup at Stage Restaurant across the street is outstanding!

May 06, 2010
theeatenpath in Manhattan

south bronx tamale gold

A truly amazing find - I've been hitting up this stand for just a few weeks, and I can't believe how completely it blows the competition out of the water. I actually was under the impression that the verde was pork and the rojo chicken (one time I was told that only pork was left, and I walked away with a bag full of verdes). This could just be one of those embarrassing moments in which I find out I can't tell what my favorite meat tastes like once it's stewed :P

If anyone reading this doubts that they're worth getting up at 6:30 in the morning for, I'm attaching some photos from my blog writeup here to put some weight behind those words.

I can't wait to try the cheese, peppers and fruit!

May 05, 2010
theeatenpath in Outer Boroughs

In search of your favorite red borscht

Whoops. *Ukranian National Home.

Dec 17, 2009
theeatenpath in Manhattan

In search of your favorite red borscht

I'm happy to say, I've already tried Veselka's borsch, and it's great, if a bit pricey for its size. Still, thanks for the tip!

Dec 17, 2009
theeatenpath in Manhattan

In search of your favorite red borscht

Wow; are you referring to the Christmas borsch? Or by "pine needles," do you mean dill? :)

In any case, I'll have to try that winter special. I do like Veselka's regular borsch, but when it comes to Ukranian, I'm a bigger fan of the bosrch at the Polish National Home Restaurant (comes with a great spread of bread, too).

Dec 17, 2009
theeatenpath in Manhattan

In search of your favorite red borscht

I've lived in Russia and spend time in Poland and Odessa, so I've had my share of great soups. I've got my go-to stops for a nice bowl of borscht here in NY, but I'm interested in really digging into bowls of beet that I have yet to try. Polish borscht, Ukranian borscht, Russian borscht... I want it all!

So where do you hounds go to get that crimson red borscht fix? Why is that particular bowl your favorite? What else should I order where I'm at it? I'm willing to travel anywhere to try em all out.

Nov 23, 2009
theeatenpath in Manhattan

RIP Sal of Sal & Carmine's

I agree! Thanks for making sure the news made it to CH, sad as it is.

I've posted my own writeup of S&C, seeing how there seems to be a general lack of blogging on how great their pizza is and hopefully will continue to be. Hopefully it does the man justice: http://theeatenpath.com/2009/06/07/sa...

Rest in peace, Sal.

Jun 09, 2009
theeatenpath in Manhattan

Don't Leave NY Without Eating...

Best Slice: If you're downtown, Artichoke will seriously live up to the hype. The Sicilian slice blows the other options away, so try for that if you make the trip. If you're uptown and don't mind your pizza on the salty side, I would highly recommend Sal and Carmine in the Columbia area. A great no-frill slice with really flavorful, chewy crust and a distinctly delicious cheese- I don't know what it is about that cheese, but it has a much fuller flavor than the cheese I've had on any other slice.

Best pie/slice: If you have time for the pilgrimage, go to Di Fara in Brooklyn. Google the name and you'll read plenty about its merits. As long as you don't go during a high traffic period, it'll be more than worth it.

Best Doughnut: Peter Pan Bakery in Greenpoint, Brooklyn is not too far from the city and serves outstanding, cheap doughnuts of all kinds. They taste good even when they've been out for half a day, and only a couple varieties tend to run out, so you won't have to get there very early. I recently posted about this place on my blog, so you can check that out for details if you'd like.

Best Polish: One of my favorite restaurants, Lomzynianka, is a few blocks away from Peter Pan in Greenpoint- it's a BOYB family Polish joint that serves the best Polish meals I've had outside of Poland itself. Try the zurek (fermented rye soup), fried sauerkraut pierogi, bigos, golabki... anything that'll fit will be amazing :) One of my best friends went on a whirlwind food tour while visiting recently and he said that this was his favorite meal of the entire week.

Best Ramen: shio ramen at Ramen Setagaya on 1st Ave (not to be confused with the new Ramen Setagaya on St. Mark's). Unless you entirely abhor seafood, this is an incredible bowl of ramen that you don't have wait an hour for (now that people are flocking to Ippudo/Momofuku, the OG Setagaya is almost awlays a convenient trip). Again, more details about Setagaya on my blog.

Best Dog: I'm a Papaya King+Gray's Papaya believer. Crif Dogs are also a solid choice.

Best Cart: Lamb at 53rd/6th with a healthy amount of spicy sauce. Have you seen midtownlunch.com? That's a great place to look up more details about food carts.

Best dessert: A ton of stuff to cover here, but I'll throw out a few favorites. Sugar Sweet Sunshine makes my favorite style of cupcake (cupcake less dense, more spongy - frosting less sweet, more buttery). They also have a GREAT banana pudding. On the West side near Madison Square Garden, D'aiuto's serves a nice, cheap slice of straight-up cheesecake. Perfectly layered and textured without taking things overboard. No crust, even, which didn't hurt as much as I thought it would.

Best Lox: Russ and Daughters! No argument from me there, but I think their bagels are terrible. I'd buy the lox and cream cheese there, and get a bagel elsewhere.

Best Burger: Yep, I'm a Shake Shack loyalist. I'm also a big fan of Five Guys, but don't know if they already post in your town.

If you're into beer, I would highly recommend that you visit Radagast Bier Hall in Williamsburg. Hell, I'll meet you for a beer there if you want; I live five blocks away. They have PALM, my favorite beer in the world, on tap (some local delis import bottles of Palm, but they're the reject expired boxes that the brewery in Belgium won't sell to its own people). They also have a great selection of German wheat beers that blow Pyramid/Widmer/what have you completely out of the water. You can get a pitcher for $20 and food from the grill from $10 (a variety of sausages with french fries, a fantastic sauerkraut and a variety of mustards).

Best Chinese food: Are you planning on visiting Chinatown or Flushing Chinatown in Queens? There's plenty of great stuff to be had. I'm far from expert on these locations, but I do love the fried dumplings at Prosperity Dumpling, walnut shrimp at Big Wong, and the steamed dumplings and spicy beef hand pulled noodles at Super Taste. I've heard lovely things about Grand Sichuan and some other places but have yet to try them myself.

I hope this helps a bit. Have fun, and make sure to overdo it wherever you end up eating!

May 09, 2009
theeatenpath in Manhattan