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Mom & Pop Mexican

Cabs, yes, but no car. Am willing to cab it a bit, but need to be within some level of reason. I'm at the Bellagio.

Apr 10, 2015
guanubian in Las Vegas

Mom & Pop Mexican

Hi. In town for about a week. I'm very interested in finding exemplary mom and pop Mexican in or near Las Vegas. I'm from NYC, so I'd especially like to find something you just don't see up my way. Thanks!

Apr 10, 2015
guanubian in Las Vegas

Exploring Jackson Heights--recommendations?

Do ask. Sometimes they forget to put it out. It's served in a generic yellow condiment squeeze-bottle.

Mar 27, 2015
guanubian in Outer Boroughs

Exploring Jackson Heights--recommendations?

I'd like to update this thread to note that a new Tibetan place has opened which is in the same quality tier as Phayul and Lhasa Fast Food. It's called Spicy Tibet and it's on Roosevelt between 74th and 75th Streets.

Their chili chicken is on par with Phayul's. In my personal experience, Lhasa Fast Food does the best momos, which are as close to xiao long bao as you'll get in a Tibetan place in NYC (complete with vinegar that is, or approximates, plum brand Chinkiang Vinegar); however, Spicy Tibet's momos, which have a different look and feel (more of a "pot-sticker" style), are very tasty, and worth eating with a combination of soy sauce and the yellow mustard they make in-house.

Mar 17, 2015
guanubian in Outer Boroughs

Exploring Jackson Heights--recommendations?

I will agree with you about Tito Rad, which impressed me a lot the one time I ate there years ago.

Mar 17, 2015
guanubian in Outer Boroughs

Spicy Ethnic Food in Brooklyn

I've always thought Malaysian in NYC (and Boston) more or less sucked, with the exception of a place in Elmhurst called, bathetically: "Taste Good". Some of their dishes are stronger than others, but overall it's pretty great. Their kari laksa is fantastic, and their satay and rojak are so good, though the latter is quite sweet (but not, in my view, insipid). Usually it stinks of shrimp paste (belacan) in there, which is a very positive tell.

I'm not sure I've eaten at Little Malaysia, but if you enjoyed your experience there, I strongly suggest trying Taste Good; it might really turn you on to Malaysian cuisine. And even if you are underwhelmed, which I doubt, you will be in the epicenter of Southeast Asian Queens, with food options galore -- including exemplary Thai (Chao Thai) and yummy Indonesian (on the top of Whitney Avenue) -- in close walking distance.

Mar 13, 2015
guanubian in Outer Boroughs

Spicy Ethnic Food in Brooklyn

If you want "spicy" "ethnic" food, in the sense in which people usually mean those terms, you should consider Queens too. Brooklyn's main "ethnic" offerings are Italian, Russian and assorted ex-CIS cuisines, Chinese, Arab and Sephardic / Mizrahi Jewish, Caribbean, and Mexican.

The latter two certainly fit your bill. You can go to Tacos Nuevo Mexico in Park Slope (convenient and awesome) or explore Sunset Park's Mexican enclave, where you'll find upwards of 20 authentic restaurants and cantina-ish joints.

Church and MacDonald Avenues are the epicenter of Bengali Brooklyn. There's a good place there called Ghoroa. If you walk to Coney Island Avenue and continue south a bit, you'll start seeing Pakistani places. There was one I used to like a lot called Bukhara.

There's a Tibetan place in Ditmas Park called Cafe Tibet. I don't know if it's any good; others can chime in.

There's a huge amount of soul food, African, and Caribbean throughout what some call "Black Brooklyn", east of Grand Army Plaza and Prospect Park. There was exemplary Jamaican / Trini food, especially jerk chicken, at places like Peppa's on Flatbush, but that place may have been superseded by now by other businesses. Culpeppers Barbadian has been great historically; haven't been for a while. Meytex Cafe, a fun, old Ghanian bar and restaurant, now seems to be closed, but there are things like that to be unearthed, including Nigerian.

If you consider Middle Eastern food to be "spicy" (it's certainly "ethnic"), then you can crawl Kings Highway between MacDonald and Ocean Parkway for Sephardic (Syrian?) eateries, or plant yourself in the Arab enclave in the northern part of Bay Ridge. I've had amazing experiences throwing darts, i.e. randomly choosing restaurants, there.

There was a good Sichuan Chinese place called Bamboo Pavillion on 18th Avenue.

Finally, in Russki Brooklyn, you might consider Kashkar Cafe, which does a Uyghur/Uzbek/Xinjiang fusion.

Mar 11, 2015
guanubian in Outer Boroughs

Georgian in Brooklyn: Pirosmani vs. Tbilisi vs. Tone Cafe vs. Mtskheta

I haven't been in years, but I always thought Pirosmani was superior to Tbilisi, though not by too much.

Feb 17, 2015
guanubian in Outer Boroughs

Thai in Queens

I guess it depends on how large a group you have, but some of the best are:

Ayuda
Sripraphai
Chao Thai
Zabb Elee

You really shouldn't miss Larb Ubol in Manhattan, which is run by a woman nicknamed Poodam ("dark skin"!), the Isaan wonder-chef who used to helm Poodam's in Long Island City, which at the time was my personal favorite of them all.

Nov 05, 2014
guanubian in Outer Boroughs

Italy-Bound -- In Search of Salumi, Cheese, Wine, Liqueur

Thanks! Roscioli looks great. Calendar marked.

Sep 19, 2014
guanubian in Italy

Italy-Bound -- In Search of Salumi, Cheese, Wine, Liqueur

Thanks so much for this. Tonight is our first shot at Venuce and we'll try your suggestions.

Does anyone have more info about Rome or Sorrento? This was great!

Sep 19, 2014
guanubian in Italy

Best Ecuadorian cuisine in NYC

I don't know about the best, but I've enjoyed myself at Hornado Ecuatoriano on Roosevelt Ave in Jackson Heights. I like their version of guatitas.

Sep 16, 2014
guanubian in Outer Boroughs

Italy-Bound -- In Search of Salumi, Cheese, Wine, Liqueur

Thanks! Two days in Venice, four days in Rome and five days in Sorrento and the surrounding area.

Sep 16, 2014
guanubian in Italy

Italy-Bound -- In Search of Salumi, Cheese, Wine, Liqueur

Ah, good question. I should have specified: we're interested in eat/drink places -- immediate gratification!

Sep 15, 2014
guanubian in Italy

Italy-Bound -- In Search of Salumi, Cheese, Wine, Liqueur

My wife and I are spending our honeymoon in Rome, Venice and Sorrento during the second half of the month.

Our priority, of course, is food and drink. We are especially interested in recommendations for enjoying the best of the following in the areas we will visit:

1) Salumi - "cold cuts" of cured pork and other meats made by small, traditional shops / producers
2) Cheese - Italian varieties made by small, traditional shops / producers
3) Wine - We love it all, but especially Amarone, ripassos, reciotos, and related dinner and dessert wines
4) Liqueurs - Amaro, grappa, things like Strega and mistra anise, etc.

Thank you for any help you can provide!

Sep 13, 2014
guanubian in Italy
1

Exploring Jackson Heights--recommendations?

I was only including Elmhurst restaurants that closely border Jackson Heights.

I've had a bunch of things at Playground that were excellent, or perhaps "very good", or "very very good". I haven't been for a while. I don't like it as much as Ayuda, Larb Ubol, Chao et al, but it's not to be sneezed at, and it's a fun environment, though if you go alone it can turn somewhat dark and depressing after three Singhas.

Sep 12, 2014
guanubian in Outer Boroughs

Exploring Jackson Heights--recommendations?

The place next to Friends is called Chautari. It's good (and has a liquor license), though I've only eaten Nepali stuff there, so I'll reserve comment on the unconventional notion that it's better than Phayul.

For Filipino, hmmm. I think Renee's is the best option in that Woodside-bordering-JH area, though I haven't tried the new steak place next door. I've been increasingly less and less impressed by Ihawan, which years ago seemed like the best Filipino BBQ place. Renee's has great -silogs for brunch and the best tocino around, though it's a bit pandering in its sweetness -- like a respectable version of the red "spare ribs" that symbolized crappy Chinese-American places in the 80s and 90s.

Sep 09, 2014
guanubian in Outer Boroughs

Exploring Jackson Heights--recommendations?

I second that. I think all the carts from the train station to 77th make good stuff.

Sep 03, 2014
guanubian in Outer Boroughs

Exploring Jackson Heights--recommendations?

You have an embarrassment of riches to choose from.

Nepali: Dhaulagiri and Woodside Cafe (nearby in Woodside) are fantastic, in roughly that order of awesomeness, depending on what you order. Dhaulagiri's style of Nepali cuisine is Thakali; Woodside's is Newari. Also Laliguras is great, and Thakali Kitchen is (or at least was -- I haven't gone in a while) very good.

Tibet: Phayul is best, followed closely (or arguably tied) by Lhasa Fast Food on 74th Street in the business cluster. LFF is a little hard to find; it's in the back of a building it shares with something that looks like a cell phone store. You should see a menu on the sidewalk and a sign on the door that says something like, "Tibetan Restaurant Open" in the back. They make the best butter tea in the area -- hands down.

Mexican: I've never understood the praise for Coatzingo. Yes, the specials can be special; but the staples are not, and thus I don't think this restaurant deserves the renown it has accumulated, especially considering how many great options are nearby. You don't need to go all the way to Nixtamal -- try La Chipotle on the corner of 77th Street and Roosevelt; they have a comparatively limited menu, but do fantastic grilled stuff and top-shelf micheladas. Also Guadalajara de Noche is very good; I really enjoyed their mocajete. There is one more place I know of that is even better, but I can't recall the name right now. It's under one of the 7 Train stations -- 90th, Junction or 103rd -- on the busy cross street off of Roosevelt. I'll find the name eventually and make an update.

Thai: The usual suspects -- Ayada (technically Elmhurst) and Sripraphai (really Woodside) -- plus yes, Arunee was always very good and in the same galaxy as those places, though I haven't been for a long time. Also Playground is fun and excellent, as well as Zabb Elee. Khao Kang nearby in Elmhurst has gotten a lot of buzz lately.

Bengali: Haat Bazaar and Premium Sweets.

Indian/Lahori: Basera Restaurant

Sep 03, 2014
guanubian in Outer Boroughs

Exploring Jackson Heights--recommendations?

I've gone there up to three times a week for weeks now. I'm a little addicted, trying to wean myself off.

I think the service leaves something to be desired, though I haven't had it as bad as you described. I don't find it to be an impediment to my enjoyment.

I have experienced the missing utensils thing once or twice; though never any hygiene issue to speak of. In fact, I think the place has a "fresh" and clean atmosphere, at least in comparison to most similar restaurants.

Sep 03, 2014
guanubian in Outer Boroughs

Weakest cuisines

I have not. Is there a go-to place, or just throw a dart?

Aug 27, 2014
guanubian in Manhattan

Weakest cuisines

I agree that Bali Nusah is pretty lame.

Try Java Village and Upi Jaya in Elmhurst.

There used to be two Indonesian places on Whitney Avenue in Elmhurst, up a ways from Chao Thai on the same strip. These were Mie Jakarta and Minang Asli. They are both defunct. Something Indonesian and pretty good -- I went only once -- took the place of the former; I don't remember the name. I don't know what now occupies the space formerly held by Minang Asli.

Aug 27, 2014
guanubian in Manhattan

Weakest cuisines

I had fantastic sushi in Seattle at Shiro's. I didn't get around to trying Vietnamese. Thanks for the heads up. I'll make a point of trying it there if I get another chance.

Aug 26, 2014
guanubian in Manhattan

Weakest cuisines

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Flu...

Note there's an LIRR station called "Murray Hill".

Aug 26, 2014
guanubian in Manhattan

Weakest cuisines

I think the Murray Hill section of Flushing has some good Korean places. I've also heard from Koreans very good things about Fort Lee, NJ. Obviously the consensus is that LA is on a different level than anything on the East Coast.

Aug 26, 2014
guanubian in Manhattan

Weakest cuisines

Having grown up outside of Boston, our nearly non-existent Armenian and bad-to-mediocre Persian immediately stand out to me. Adjacently, I don't know of any Afghan standouts.

There is a big gaping hole where Cambodian should be. Same for Burmese.

I agree with you about Vietnamese (as I just got done saying in another thread), though I don't think NYC is specially remiss. I've never been blown away by Vietnamese food in the States.

There is some good Ethiopian here, but it's much better in DC and the area.

South African food isn't particularly well done here. Madiba is pretty good. Cape Cookery is grossly underrepresented outside of its native setting and it's fantastic.

There is almost no Surinamese.

Aug 26, 2014
guanubian in Manhattan

Indian/Thai/Vietnamese in New York.

Thanks for this! I had no idea and will check this out. Haven't so far found good Keralan here -- do you remember the name of the place?

Aug 26, 2014
guanubian in Outer Boroughs

Indian/Thai/Vietnamese in New York.

I've been to Thailand and Vietnam, and in my opinion you can get some Thailand-worthy Thai food in NYC (mostly in Queens), whereas Vietnamese food here is categorically inferior to much of what you get in Vietnam. (I've never encountered Vietnamese food in this country that even approaches the quality of what I ate in Saigon.)

Thai standouts include Larb Ubol in Manhattan, and Ayuda, Sripraphai, and Chao Thai in Queens.

I would argue that Indian food isn't too great in NYC. I've had much better Indian food in London and South Africa. There is some very good South Indian vegetarian food in Murray Hill (aka "Curry Hill") in Manhattan; for example, Pongal. (If you go, order the "mooru" spiced buttermilk drink.) There are also very good Indo-Muslim offerings in Jackson Heights (Queens), such as the Bengali Haat Bazaar and Premium Sweets (ne' Alauddin Sweet Meats), as well as a very good Lahori hole-in-the-wall on 73rd Road called Basera. There is a Little Bangladesh-type neighborhood in Brooklyn situated around Church and McDonald Avenues whose marquee restaurant is called Ghoroa. And there is a comparable Bengali place in the Bronx called Neerob, which for most people is a huge schlep.

Aug 26, 2014
guanubian in Outer Boroughs

Guide to NYC's 10 Best Greek Restaurants and Tavernas

Is Elias Corner still operating in Astoria and any good? It was great in the late 90s and early 00s.

Jul 16, 2014
guanubian in Outer Boroughs

Spicy Lanka: Sri Lankan Cuisine Returns To Queens

Phayul is a great find. Neerob, while very good, wasn't overwhelming to me; certainly not worth a schlep from Brooklyn. Just opinions.

Phayul is consistently fresh and the range of dishes, while not vast, is intriguing. I love their spicy cucumber salad, which is soaked in a Szechuan peppercorn soy sauce!

Jul 01, 2014
guanubian in Outer Boroughs