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Next Indonesian Food Bazaar: Church not Mosque

Here's a bit more info (via an email I received from the event organizer) re: what will be available on Saturday at the bazaar:

"For the Burmese menu, the cook informed us that she'll make Noodle Salad, Preserved Mango Salad & Ginger salad.

As for Indonesian menu, our team will have Lontong Sayur-rice cube with green papaya & chayote curry with choice of chicken or tofu, Tekwan-Minced fishball soup from Palembang, Nasi Rames-rice platter with choice of 3 items, Soto Ayam-Indonesian chicken soup with lemongrass, ginger & other spices, Nasi Lengko-vegetarian rice platter with tofu, tempeh, beansprout, peanut & soy sauce, Nasi Goreng Babat-beef tripe fried rice.

We will have more items, but we'd like to surprise the people because we use exotic ingredients such as torch ginger flower, keluwak nut, sator bean & blue pea flower. I promise the cooking on site will be interesting too.

Our guest vendor: Nina Mae Kitchen will have assorted Kue Basah-traditional Indonesian munchies. ...A lot of her munchies are unique & not every vendor in New York makes them.

Another vendor: Dapurnya The Tio, she's a regular at the mosque bazaar, but she will have Balado Jengkol-Dognut with chili & spices."

May 16, 2014
CitySpoonful in Outer Boroughs

Indonesian food bazaar

Looks like the next Indonesian Food Bazaar at Al-Hikmah will be on Sunday 15 September from 10am to 4pm (according to an email from the mosque), at the usual location:

4801 31st Ave.
Astoria, Queens
(M/R trains to 46th St. station)

Sep 04, 2013
CitySpoonful in Outer Boroughs

What's the word on 2 Kissena Blvd. spots: Mr. Noodle Restaurant and Mugi Bakery?

I passed by these two spots this weekend, but there was no time to stop in. Any intel on either of them?

Mr. Noodle is at the corner of Holly Ave. and Kissena Blvd.; Mugi is a few blocks away -- at the corner of Cherry Ave. and Kissena.

From the decorative garlands out front, I am guessing that Mr. Noodle may be new-ish? There were handwritten specials (in Chinese) on poster boards taped in the window (which I always take as a good sign) but otherwise no menu on display outside.

Jul 02, 2012
CitySpoonful in Outer Boroughs

Just moved to Parkchester (The Bronx)...

Neerob!!!

I also hear good things about Taqueria Tlaxcalli and Starling Coffee Shop (for Bangladeshi snacks: http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2012/0...).

Jul 02, 2012
CitySpoonful in Outer Boroughs

Kerala Masala Hut in Floral Park: any word?

It's on my list too. Hope to snag a friend w/wheels and head back that way soon. If I do, I'll report back.

Jun 26, 2012
CitySpoonful in Outer Boroughs

Kerala Masala Hut in Floral Park: any word?

I'm curious about a place I spotted on Jericho Tpk. in Floral Park -- Kerala Masala Hut. I haven't read anything about this restaurant, and it hasn't been mentioned on this board in other discussions of Keralan food in this 'hood.

I was in transit to a wedding, so couldn't stop to investigate on Saturday. But curious to know if it might be worth a return visit.

Jun 24, 2012
CitySpoonful in Outer Boroughs

Pure mustard oil, preferably in Astoria

what are the 3 brands? i have had good luck with Tez (or Taaza) -- something with a T & a Z (sorry! that rec requires some guessing on your part!)

May 10, 2012
CitySpoonful in Outer Boroughs

Best Greek restaurant in ASTORIA and bakery too(Greek) for dessert!

I'm too lat here, but I just had a pretty excellent meal at Thymari, the new Greek place that replace dPhiloxenia on 34th Ave. in Astoria -- and wanted to share the intel.

Overall, great quality food; big flavors, and generous portions. I hate to say it, but the food is a world better than the fare at my prior go-to Greek place in this part of Astoria, Zenon Taverna (though the prices are pretty much the same).

(Disclaimer: We're vegetarian, so no coverage of meat dishes here, though there were some great-looking octopus dishes on the menu...!)

REVITHOSOUPA: whole chickpeas in a mild broth with bits of carrots and onions and a hearty dose of lemon juice -- good but nothing special.

THYMARI SALAD: ouzo-soaked barley rusks (similar to Sicilian Friselle perhaps?) topped with pureed tomatoes, crumbled feta cheese and capers -- loved the combo of the tangy tomatoes/feta and salty capers w/the just barely sweet/anise-y ouzo in the rusks. This was really interesting -- apparently their take on a popular/traditional Cretan dish. I think I prefer the less fussy, simpler Sicilian variant, however -- chopped fresh tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, garlic, olive oil over rehydrated friselle.

PANTZARIA: golden/red marinated beets, red onions and capers with chickpea skordalia -- perfectly tender beets that were well paired with the piquant red onions and salty capers. The chickpea skordalia was spicy and intensely garlicky -- a great way to kick in some added flavor. We loved this!

PIKILIA: trio of dips w/grilled pita...last night the trio included a roasted eggplant dip, a spicy pureed feta dip, and tzatziki (yogurt + garlic + cuc) -- the tzatziki and feta dips were much better than the norm; distinctly flavored and thick (not watery), but it was the smokey, tangy eggplant dip that really got our attention -- amazingly delicious. I think they put Greek yogurt in there (judging by the color and flavor) -- totally works. The flatbread, however, was a bit dry and flavorless -- eh. But with dips that good, we barely noticed...

FETA SAGANAKI: pan-fried feta with a crispy sesame crust and sweet berry-based compote -- another hit! The feta was perfectly soft, not too salty or tangy, very mild. Though I was skeptical, it went really well with its sesame seed outer-crust and the mildly sweet berry compote. A good, mild counter-point to the strong, very garlicky flavors in our other dishes.

Also, great, very attentive service and a very welcoming vibe. We were disappointed to see that the dining room was totally empty at 9pm on a Wed. evening. Hope business will pick up and keep these guys going. This is, in my opinion, the best Greek food in S. Astoria (below Ditmars) and may even give Agnanti a run for its money.

May 10, 2012
CitySpoonful in Outer Boroughs

Pure mustard oil, preferably in Astoria

I get mine at Patel's in Jax Heights. Did you try the little Bangladeshi grocery at B'way & 31st St. They might have it. Don't be deterred by the warning label: "Not for consumption." It's some import technicality. Totally fine to cook with. (And some people use it to moisturize their hair too -- dual purpose!)

May 10, 2012
CitySpoonful in Outer Boroughs

New Wafa's coming soon.

OK, clearly I need to be sure to try the Mujadarah next time. Sounds like an ideal veggie dish. And yes, that $10 veggie platter is a very good deal: both quantity and quality wise.

May 07, 2012
CitySpoonful in Outer Boroughs

New Wafa's coming soon.

Great meal at Wafa's Monday night. We tried the special soup -- brown lentils (the flying sauce-shaped ones) with swiss chard -- amazing! Lots of cilantro leaves and lemon in the mix. Crazy flavorful. Very light -- no oily sheen.

We also tried the chicken shwarma (which I can't speak to as a vegetarian, though it looked tasty!), falafel (eh), babaganous (smokey and heavy on the tahini -- nice, though I prefer the tangy baba at Home Falafel in Astoria; just my preference), tabouleh (amazingly fresh and flavorful; the best I've had in NYC so far), the okra stewed with tomatoes and onions (a little oily but way flavorful; this could've come out of any north indian kitchen!), and the moussaka (again, a little oily but distinctly flavored with tomatoes and onions and ample mint -- i think; perfectly cooked eggplant hunks...soft but not mushy...and chickpeas thrown in for a great textural contrast).

curious about the fattoush (salad w/pita chips, essentially) and the mujadarah (bulgur wheat and lentils) -- any word on these?

May 02, 2012
CitySpoonful in Outer Boroughs

Best bakery in Queens and why?

Rudy's in Ridgewood all the way! Linzer tarts and danishes are amazing, among much else.

May 02, 2012
CitySpoonful in Outer Boroughs

30th ave in astoria? what's good?

The owner was personally attending to us -- and he was lovely. Some of the best service I've had in a very long while in Astoria or anywhere in the city. Totally unintrusive but thoughtful and thorough.

If you're curious to see photos of some of our dishes, one of my dining companions wrote a review of our meal, with photos:

http://www.fooditka.com/2012/04/haris...

Apr 27, 2012
CitySpoonful in Outer Boroughs

30th ave in astoria? what's good?

Queenseats, definitely give Harissa Cafe a try! We just ate there last night for the first time and really enjoyed our food (a mix of Moroccan and Algerian fare).

Service was also attentive (but not oppressive), and the ambiance was surprisingly lovely. It doesn't look like much from the outside but inside it's a cozy space -- perfect for a weekend morning b'fast/brunch.

On to the food:

BRIK: a triangular-shape filo dough packet stuffed with tuna, capers, parmesan cheese, egg, herbs and fried. I didn't get to try this (the tuna is off-limits) but it disappeared quickly and the woman who ordered it looked satisfied.

CHAKCHOUKA: scrambled egg cooked with green bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic and herbs/spices. This was totally different from the Israeli versions of Shakshouka we've had (whole egg cooked in tomato sauce), and we really enjoyed this. I'm not sure what seasonings were in the mix -- but they were what I would label Middle Eastern and were very distinct and tasty, too.

ZAALUK SALAD: roasted/pureed eggplant cooked with herbs and spices. I was prepared to be wowed by this, having read other bloggers' praise for it, but I was underwhelmed. It was definitely tasty -- smoky and distinctly flavored (though I'm not sure which spices/herbs were in the mix). But the begun bhartha at Neerob (Bangladeshi in Parkchester) is 10 times more flavorful (garlic, mustard oil, cilantro, chilies!); heck, most roasted eggplant dishes in Indian cuisine (it made properly) pack way more flavor than this did (or maybe I just prefer more strongly spiced food...).

LAMB TAJINE: A lamb and vegetable stew. I was disappointed that this didn't come out in its tajine but rather was plated nicely (not that that's entirely a bad thing). As a vegetarian, I didn't get to try this but the folks who ordered it raved about it, and their plates were totally clean by the end of the meal.

VEGETARIAN COUSCOUS: Hunks of roasted carrots, zucchini, potato and chickpeas over couscous. The couscous was perfectly cooked -- individual grains! And the vegetables were tender and incredibly flavorful -- cinnamon seemed to be the dominant seasoning. This is some of the best veggie couscous I've had yet.

MERGUEZ AOILISSA: Merguez & carmelized onions tucked inside a crispy baguette with Harissa (spicy, garlicky Middle Eastern condiment) aoili on the side (and French fries). I also didn't get to try this but the folks who ordered it said the sausage was legitimately spicy and the baguette was above average (crunchy outside; soft interior). The harissa aoili disappeared quickly.

Apr 26, 2012
CitySpoonful in Outer Boroughs

Indonesian bazaars, Masjid al-Hikmah, 2012

El Jefe, you totally called it. That gado gado was 100 times better than what I had at Upi Jaya (maybe I caught them on a bad day?). So fresh! And the peanut sauce was totally addictive -- spicy, salty, funky. I had one there and took one home with me. :)

If you're going next time, let me know. We could meet there. You know Indonesian food much better than I do -- would be curious to get your take on the offerings.

Apr 23, 2012
CitySpoonful in Outer Boroughs

Indonesian bazaars, Masjid al-Hikmah, 2012

Yeah, I think some of the vendors stayed away because of the rain. But there was some great stuff today.

These photos were taken at home afterwards -- it was far to rainy to snap photos at the bazaar itself: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?se...

But that means we didn't get photos of quite a few of the great things we tried (mainly the stuff we polished off before leaving), including:

*Coconut-y rice porridge with a sweet suace -- maybe brown sugar-based?

*Siomay ("shoo mee") -- boiled egg, steamed tofu, and steamed fish balls wrapped in what looked like wonton wrappers and doused in a thick, sweet-and-savory peanut sauce

*Hunks of tofu and bits of cabbage, breaded and deep-fried -- nice but nothing special (good vegetarian option

)

*Homemade tempeh -- you could still see the whole soy beans...nice!

*Kale sauteed in garlic and coconut milk -- this was amazing; still crunchy kale and very flavorful!

*Beef jerky doused in a spicy sambol-based (?) red sauce -- I didn't try this but others were raving about it

*Sweet glutinous rice probably cooked with brown sugar -- nice; mildly sweet

There were also some REALLY good looking SOUPS with meatballs and rice noodles -- unfortunately none were vegetarian, so we didn't get to try them.

The SATAY SKEWERS also looked great -- many were served over rice cakes with what looked like a thick, sambol-and-coconut-milk-based sauce.

And there were some really delicate baked, egg-washed COOKIES on offer at one stand. (I overheard mentions of pineapple fillings; others were coated with powdered sugar and resembled Italian cookies.)

My personal favorites were the GADO GADO (incredibly fresh veggies; addictive dark/spicy peanut sauce) and the CENDOL (pandan water + brown sugar water + coconut milk dessert).

We'll definitely be back next month for further explorations -- hopefully without the pouring rain.

Apr 22, 2012
CitySpoonful in Outer Boroughs

Favorites at Chao Thai

som tum (green papaya salad), jungle curry and anything with flat noodles!!!

Mar 28, 2012
CitySpoonful in Outer Boroughs

Woodside Cafe dinner (mostly vegetarian)

According to this flyer on their Facebook page, they are closed on Tuesdays:

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbi...

Sorry, I didn't realize that -- should've noted that in my post.

Please do give them another shot -- it's well worth it.

Mar 20, 2012
CitySpoonful in Outer Boroughs

Sugar Freak Astoria

Yep, no go on dinner last night. Ended up at William Hallet instead. Eh.

But Mr. Porkchop -- thanks for the thorough break-down. I can see it's worth re-attempting a meal there!

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William Hallet
36-10 30th Ave, Queens, NY 11106

Mar 20, 2012
CitySpoonful in Outer Boroughs

Northern Blvd Canvassing

Are these available on a daily basis? Only weekends? Very curious!!!

Mar 19, 2012
CitySpoonful in Outer Boroughs

Woodside Cafe dinner (mostly vegetarian)

Yeah, like you I had no idea people would want to eat that stuff without seasoning it or cooking it. But it works.

Their chiura (beaten rice) is nice and flavorful and crispy, so that helps too.

It's hard to eat that stuff with your hands, though (I'm thinking of the newari thali, which has the beaten rice, rather than the cooked basmatic rice) -- nothing sticks together!

Mar 19, 2012
CitySpoonful in Outer Boroughs

Sugar Freak Astoria

Anyone check out Sugar Freak yet? Heading there for dinner tonight. Curious for recs re: dishes not to miss (the charbroiled oysters?) -- both veg and carnivorous!

Mar 19, 2012
CitySpoonful in Outer Boroughs

Food stalls on the corner of Maple and Main street Flushing?

Yes, the folks at the Steam Dumplings stall were amazingly gracious and patient with my total lack of Mandarin skills (I should've at least learned the word for "vegetarian" by now...!)

Mar 16, 2012
CitySpoonful in Outer Boroughs

Woodside Cafe dinner (mostly vegetarian)

I haven't tried the samay baji and Tawa Nepali Hut -- very curious about it now.

I can tell you that they make (aka, roast?) their own chiura (beaten rice) in-house, and it's got a really nice flavor and crispness to it. It's much better than the poha you can buy in bags at Patel's.

I also like the daikon pickle at Woodside Cafe better than Tawa Nepali's. Woodside's pickle has a more subtle flavor (sesame oil is prominent), the pieces are smaller and more delicate, and it's much less oily than Tawa's. Just my opinion. :)

Mar 16, 2012
CitySpoonful in Outer Boroughs

Woodside Cafe dinner (mostly vegetarian)

And Woodside Cafe's menu, in case meat-eaters are curious about non-veg options!

Mar 14, 2012
CitySpoonful in Outer Boroughs

Jax Heights Meanderings: Punjabi fare at Raja Sweets & Hole-in-Wall Paan

While making our way through Jax Heights after a great Nepali meal at Woodside Cafe on a recent evening, we decided to check out Raja Sweets (37th Ave.), a pure veg place for Punjabi chaat, sweets and cooked dishes (steam table!). We've always scorned it in favor of the much snazzier selection of sweets at Maharaja (across the street). But we were surprised to find some interesting offerings in the steam table. They had a great looking kadu (pumpkin) dish and surprisingly good looking Punjabi-style kardhi (a stew made of chickpea flour and yogurt simmered slowly with onions & spices). They were also frying up fresh mirchi pakoras (using those long & skinny Korean spicy green peppers), and they looked very enticing.

We couldn't resist taking home some kardhi, and it was lovely!! :) Very flavorful and low on oil. This is actually a very tricky dish to make -- very time consuming -- and it's comes out poorly if you try to cut corners. So most restaurants do a pretty horrific job with it -- it usually has an orange-y, oily sheen and very little flavor. I'm not sure what spices they used at Raja, but the flavors were unusually piquant -- not what I usually cook with (cumin seeds, ginger, onion, turmeric, chilis). I loved it, and so did my husband (who is a huge kardhi fan and is very picky about it).

We also took home some sooji (semolina/cream of what) halwa. Ugh. Weird chemical flavor and mega oil overload -- avoid!

But we'll be back w/less full stomachs to try the pumpkin dish and sample some of Raja's chaat.

As we were leaving Raja, we happened to glance around the corner (onto 73rd St.), where several people were lined up at a little window with a sign that said "PAAN." Normally we hit the paan guy near the former Eagle Theater (pretty eh), so we were curious to try a new paan vendor -- evidently one with quite a following.

We weren't disappointed. It was probably the best paan I've found in NYC (note: I'm no expert here) It was very fresh, with a fragrant flavor. Maybe this paanwala (aka, paan-maker) uses imported ingredients from India?

We snagged the paanwala's business card -- apparently the operation is called Shetty Paan Centre. Check them out between 10am and 10pm any day of the week. Paan is a great way to cleanse the palate after any meal.

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Maharaja Sweets and Snacks
7310 37th Ave, Queens, NY 11372

Raja Sweets & Fast Food
72-31 37th Ave, Queens, NY 11372

Mar 14, 2012
CitySpoonful in Outer Boroughs

Northern Blvd Canvassing

Any intel on a little Korean restaurant at 154-28 Northern Blvd. in Flushing? We passed by last night but neither of us read Korean, and there was nothing in English on the awning -- except Gaji Corp. I grabbed a takeout menu, but the name is only in Korean. Looked like a truly Mom & Pop operation -- very humble decorations. Interesting menu. An entire section dedicated to Jungol (a sort of stew, I gather) -- anyone know more? Also a "special menu" that lists these three dishes (these are the English translations):

"boiled whole duck with traditional herb and black sesame and mung bean porridge"
"fermentation skate sashimi with boiled pork and rice wine"
"boiled chicken with ginseng and chicken porridge"

Also an a la carte / takeout "Jokbal" menu with monkfish, boiled pork hocks, boiled goat meat, snals, femented skate sashimi, makuro, boiled tendon and the like.

And a "Meal" section with more familiar dishes -- various kind of tang, jigae, dupbap, baekban, bokeumbap, guk, and even a seafood soon dubu.

Pretty expansive selection of sojus, too. :)

Has anyone tried this place? Very curious!!

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Gaji Gaji
154-28 Northern Blvd, Queens, NY 11354

Mar 14, 2012
CitySpoonful in Outer Boroughs

Northern Blvd Canvassing

Just tried Bon Juk last night -- really enjoyed the Octopus + Kimchi Juk -- thick and flavorful, without being too heavy. Much more flavor than Chinese congee -- ingredients are simmered into the rice porridge, correct? (Rather than added at the end/on top, as with congee.)

Portions are huge (2 of us split one and were perfectly full), and the ban chan are refillable (kimchi, shredded beef, some sort of spicy-gingery paste). So it was a $15 meal for two -- not bad at all.

Curious to try the vegetarian versions (including one with cheese -- mmm?).

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Bonjuk
152-26 Northern Blvd, Queens, NY 11354

Mar 14, 2012
CitySpoonful in Outer Boroughs

Woodside Cafe dinner (mostly vegetarian)

Definitely ignore that stale pizza in the window. In two visits, I haven't seen anybody order it. It's all about the Nepali stuff. In fact, on both visits, I've been at the only table not filled with Nepali ex-pats.

I went back again and this time snagged a take-away menu. So here's some more info (names mainly) on things we tried.

The soy beans appetizer w/mustard oil is called MUSYA PALU. The spicy potatoes appetizer is indeed ALOO PALOO. The grilled beef dish is called HAKU CHOILA. The pan-fried momo are the KOTHE MOMO (as opposed to the steamed or deep-fried momo).

I did indeed drag my husband to Woodside Cafe for our anniversary, and we tried a few new dishes that we really enjoyed.

The ALOO CHWON is basically potatoes and black eyed peas (the menu mentioned bamboo shoots too, but I couldn't spot these in the mix) cooked in Indian spices with ample, very flavorful gravy (aka, thurrywala!). This dish was lovely -- low on oil and had a beautiful flavor -- maybe from ample use of cinammon-y garam masala? This definitely reminded me of North Indian home cooking.

Since it was a weekend, the NEWARI THALI was available (Fri/Sat only). It's basically a larger version of the vegetarian thali we tried last time -- it included the same black chick peas, black eyed peas, sauteed greens (they're mustard greens -- mm!), those awesome soy beans (musya palu), both daikon and potato achar (pickle), as well as the aloo chwon and a sweet (yogurt with a gulab jamun plopped in the middle of the dish). The key difference -- the Newari thali comes with the beaten rice (chiura) rather than with the cooked basmati rice that comes with the veggie thali.

We also ordered a side of that SPLIT URAD DAAL, which was even better this time -- it clearly had been made with ample ghee (it had that signature rich, nutty flavor). Thin, thin broth and lots of flavor. Perfect.

Mar 14, 2012
CitySpoonful in Outer Boroughs

Best St. Joseph's Day pastry (sfingi di San Giuseppe) in NYC?

Second Villabate in Bensonhurst! Loved their ricotta filled zeppole for Feast of San Giuseppe last year!

(photo: http://www.cityspoonful.com/feast-of-...

)

Also love Sal & Dom's in the Bronx -- great, authentic Sicilian bakery...but haven't tried their zeppole. Can only assume good things about them, though. :)

Mar 14, 2012
CitySpoonful in Outer Boroughs