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Best Oatmeal Cookie

I get my coffee every day at Panade (132A Eldridge St, New York) and while their signature choux pastry (especially with green tea filling!) is a wonderous thing, it is the oatmeal cookie that astonishes me. An oatmeal cookie is a treacherous thing -- there is so much that can go wrong with one! I myself have tried and failed for years to come up with the perfect oatmeal -- mine were eitiher too crispy or too soft or too something. Well, after tasting a Panade Oatmeal, I gave up the search. These cookies call to me, they ruin my diets, they make me eat sweets before dinner! They exist within a perfect harmony of oats to raisin; thick to thin; moistness to crispness; sweet to earthy -- not only that, they are the perfect size -- satisfying without making one feel piggish. I have tasted many an oatmeal cookie and I know throw down the gauntlet -- Panade makes the best Oatmeal cookie!

Jan 12, 2011
DeadlyDragonSound in Manhattan

Genius Sunset Park Day: Dim Sum, Chinese & Polish Style!!!!

It is typically parked right at the corner of 55th and 8th ave....or just walk down that stretch and keep your nose peeled for the smell of grilled meats!

Great Carnitas Tacos at Reyes Deli on the edge of Sunset Park

With Calexico Taco right around the corner from me and the entire Sunset Park Taco joint and Taco truck empire just a few minutes away from me in a car, I still find myself lusting after the Carnitas tacos at Reyes Deli. I'm not quite sure what it is about them -- the marniade, the spices? -- but they take awhile to make and are of the great simple variety -- carnitas and lime and onion and some green hot sauce on the side. In cold weather, I eat them in the car. In warm weather I eat them on the bench outside the laundrymat next store. Either way, when I bite into a Reyes Carnitas taco, I am blessed with one of the great bites around -- meaty, spicey and savory with the citrus tang of lime and the crunch of onion. It is the alchemy of cheap cuts of meat made tender through marination, a well used griddle and the thoughtful eye of a short order maven who knows when to gather it all up!

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Reyes Deli and Grocery
532 4th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Calexico
122 Union St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

Genius Sunset Park Day: Dim Sum, Chinese & Polish Style!!!!

There has been much discussion upon these boards about what food one would miss the most upon leaving New York. Well,I ended up having an entire day that reminded me of how much I love this city and how much i would miss it, if I were ever to leave.

The day started out jumping on the BQE and heading out to EAST HARBOR DIM SUM (714 65th St. in Brooklyn). This is the third time that I have gone to East Harbor and honestly I love it. First off, even on a day like I had where you get #115 and the numbers being called are in the 80s, and a freezing wind is tunneling through the door and the P.A. is so loud that you can't hear the person waiting next to you and there is nowhere to sit and a Chinese grandmother is stepping on your foot, an atmosphere of jocularity and good will seem to inhabit East Harbor. Where the staff of a place like Golden Unicorn, treat one like horrifying cattle who deserved to be electro prodded to their eventual slop, East Harbor's staff seem to genuinely be grateful that you are there and by the time your number is called, they verily rush you to your table and to get everything moving. Tea comes quick, drinks that are ordered come quick and the carts move out like Rommel's Panzer Division. Things are hot and fresh here...the basics (shu mai, har gow, Chao Xiu Bao, Rice Noodles with shrimp, Fish Ball, Spring Roll) are just great and all sorts of interesting items show up like shrimp encased in flash fried green pepper and a BIG, juicy slice of eggplant with Shrimp inside and some sort of glutenous rice dumpling with pork and cabbage. Quickly prepared (table side wok!) Cockles in black bean were a delight with a nice briney flavor and a black bean sauce that was light and not overly gloopinated with corn starch. There is better dim sum in the world -- Vancouver has some incredible spots and Hong Kong, of course, has some real power and even Dim Sum Go Go when it first opened was better than EAST HARBOR. But for right now, I think it is serving great food and I am always happy when leaving....

Which I did!!! And forsook the BQE and decided to take 8th Ave all the way back...As we passed 55th street my 4 year old son screeched -- STOP!!!!!!! There's the Chicken Man!!!!!! And yes, stop we did -- causing traffic issues and my wife leaped out to wait on line as we circled around for three sticks of grilled chicken....Oh yess....it is sooo good this chicken. Small cart with a charcoal fire and a bunch of sticks of grilling meats and seafood. I like the chicken -- SUPRA tender (I think the tenderize with a marinade that had some baking soda in it) ,perfectly grilled and then sprinkled with a dusting of cumin and hot pepper. With it combination of smokiness, cuminy sensuality, peppery notes and slight sweetness, it remains one of my favorite chicken dishes (sticks?) in the city.

We then meandered back to Carrol Gardens where we live...but we had to stop at JUBILAT PROVISIONS (608 5th Ave)! Jubilat is a small, Polish butcher shop that outshines any other Polish butcher spot in the city...actually not just New York, but Chicago as well! They have everything here...even sometimes (if you are lucky) smoked trouts and mackerals! They have many varieties of homemade and home smoked Kilbasie (double smoked, garlic, etc), fresh Black Forest hams, Blood sausage, head cheese, stuffed veal breast, bone-in fresh bacon, three varieties of dried sausages (Take That Slim JIM!!!!!!), barrels of pickles and sauerkraut -- a veritable wonderland of meats!!!!!

We then headed home where we ended the day with my wife's incredible Oden with Daikon Radish and Japanese mustard. Ahhh Life! Not so bad, when you live in Brooklyn!

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East Harbor
714 65th St, Brooklyn, NY 11220

Trinidadian Blood Sausage at Conrad's Bakery in Brooklyn

Today I stopped over at Conrad's Bakery on 299 Utica Ave for some chicken patties (they have uncommonly good ones -- flakey crust and just spicey enough fillings) and noticed a bunch of people lined up for what looked like thick links of homemade blood sausage. I inquired and found that, yes indeed, blood sausage it was! So I ordered up an order and a good six inches of sausage were chopped into 4 pieces and doused with hot sauce. As far as blood sausage goes, this was pretty damn good...kind of mealy and gelatinous like Korean Blood sausage but with some additional spice and heat. Sooo...If you are looking to try something knew, stop by Conrad's and see if he is serving up the blood!

What New York food could you not live without? A Q from CHOW

Hmmm...As someone who once lived outside of New York for 8 years -- there is a simple answer. Bagels, Bialys and pizza or more specifically a classic slice pizza. The more complex answer is that i missed the restaurant culture of New York -- the fact that people feel comfortable in restaurants here, that they like eating out and from the fanciest spots to the most basic coffee shop, people treat their dining out experience as an extension of their personal life. It might seem like something basic, but in other US cities people treat going to a restaurant as something seperate from their day-to-day experience which, to me, makes all restaurants seem "off" somehow.

THE best Udon / Home Style Japanese In New York City!!!!!!!!

My wife is Japanese and one of the all time great home style Japanese cooks. Her Gyozo mark the zenith of the dumpling art; her pork belly is a thing of wonder...Her tempura floats on air. Suffice it to say that I have a high standard for precisely the type of food that Samurai Mama serves up. To my surprise Samurai Mama (despite the goofy name) hits those standards with flying colors. One, the room is lovely -- big, communal tables carved out of wood, comfortable booths and a generally warm and pleasant vibe with none of the pretentious hipsterisms that I associate with Williamsburg restaurants. We started with gyoza and they were PERFECT -- delicate wrappings, juicy interior and best of all, finished with rice flour water so that they are cooked with a delicate and CRISP glaze on the bottom. Also, the gyoza were served with a really interesting sauce (on the side) made of fermented seaweed. We then had their pork belly appetizer -- with was delicious. Slowly simmered pork belly in a sake/soy sauce/mirin broth with poached daikon radish and a softly boiled egg -- open that egg up and mix the yolk into the broth and the result is one of the best Winter dishes that you can have in New York City. Absolutely splendid. Then we had superior fried chicken -- peppery, crispy, greaseless exterior and moist and tender interior! What could be better? Then...the Udon. Oh yes, my friends....THE UDON!!!! I have to say that it was the best Udon that I have had outside of Japan. The noodles are of a very very very high quality -- with a perfect combination of soft, mouth feel and springiness . The broth was perfect as well. Altogether, it blows my old standard udon spot, OMEN out of the water. The service was wonderful also -- which for me is very important plus the wait staff and the chef were super nice to my 4 year old son and his friend.

This is a spot I would return to again and again -- the warmth of the Samurai Mama makes it a perfect neighberhood spot and the quality of the cooking makes it a somewhere that people should travel to. All in all, I would name it the BEST restaurant for home-style Japanese food in the city.

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Samurai Mama
205 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY 11211