chowzdown's Profile

Title Last Reply

Rockaways or Howard Beach

Rockaway Taco!!
This seasonal place just opened last year and the tacos are really good...fish tacos, carne asada, chorizo, and tofu...
There's a small patio with informal seating and no table service. Popular hangout for surfers and beachgoers on the weekends. Check it out!

Rockaway Taco
95-19 Rockaway Beach Blvd Queens, NY 11693

(For some reason, can't get the location link to work...)

Aug 05, 2009
chowzdown in Outer Boroughs

Eton Dumplings - New Location

Agreed...I live a few doors down from Eton and eat there all the time. Although you pay more than in chinatown, the dumplings are bigger...and the rotating special dumplings are usually pretty great...bbq pork, salt cod, beet and goat cheese, duck a l'orange, etc...
As for the wait, it's definitely worth calling first, but I'm surprised to hear about an hour wait; I rarely have to wait more than 20 minutes, and I eat there at least once a week.

Aug 05, 2009
chowzdown in Outer Boroughs

the old NUT TREE - ginger bread cookies [Moved from SF Bay Area Board]

I grew up in Walnut Creek, and my grandmother lived in Sacramento, so this was a frequent stop for my family in the 80's and early 90's. We would get our pumpkins there every year. The train was awesome, and I remember dying to get the little model cars they had in the toy store. I drove by the new Nut Tree a few weeks ago but didn't stop in. It looked a little too pristine...the Nut Tree I remember was a little bit funky...

Aug 05, 2009
chowzdown in Home Cooking

good, cheap catered food??

My fiancee and I are getting married in Chicago this fall, and we are looking for a good, affordable caterer. If possible, we'd like to stay away from traditional catering companies in favor of a local restaurant that has catering capabilities.

We would love to do Mexican food, but we're having trouble finding Mexican restaurants that can cater a wedding. Any recommendations, for good Mexican food or other affordable options?

Thanks!

Apr 21, 2009
chowzdown in Chicago Area

Catered Mexican Food?

I'm getting married in Chicago in September and we really want to have Mexican food at the wedding. We would like to stay away from catering companies and instead have a really great Mexican restaurant cater the wedding. There's so much great Mexican food in the city I would think it wouldn't be a problem. We love the food at Maiz in Humboldt Park and would love something along those lines. Any recommendations?

Jan 24, 2009
chowzdown in Chicago Area

Red Hook Ball Fields

If anyone has a chance to try the food being sold at the baseball fields in lieu of soccer tacos, I highly recommend it! I went last weekend and after waiting in line for about 20 minutes, I saw the older woman inside of a red van dipping her bare hands into a bucket of what looked like mashed up liver. Turned out the only two options they had were barbacoa (stewed goat meat) and tacos de sangre. I love barbacoa, and although this one was a bit on the fattier side, it was delicious. I was a bit hesitant about the taco de sangre but was pleasantly surprised...it was rich and flavorful, not too gamey or "bloody" tasting at all. If you can get past the name and the bare hands, it's definitely worth it. I'm not sure if this was truly a bunch of coagulated blood that I was eating, but if it was, I consider myself converted.

May 18, 2008
chowzdown in Outer Boroughs

What's authentic?

It can get tricky to try to qualify foods as "authentic". For example, I've always loved the Mexican food in California, but it's obviously very different from the Mexican food in Mexico. Even within the borders of California, the food varies from region to region...San Diego taquerias are different from LA taquerias, which in turn are different from the SF variety. This would suggest that the Mexican food in CA is "inauthentic" since over the years it changed to match the particular tastes of the local population. However, at some point, this evolution of flavors came into its own and was eventually considered a regional cuisine. The same can be said for Italian American cooking. The sauces and flavors are very different from what one would find in Italy, but eventually it became its own unique (and authentic) cuisine. Likewise, Indian food in London is considered by many to be the best Indian food in the world outside of India (it's certainly better than much of the Indian food here in New York), but I'm sure it's quite different from Inidan food in India. I also think any given immigrant culture not only tailors its food to local tastes in order to sell more food, but it also undergoes a change in its own preferences as it assimilates into the host culture. The fact is that all cuisines and popular preferences are in a constant state of evolution as cultures interact; we just don't usually notice it because it can happen so gradually.
That said, I haven't been to Dubliin, but it sounds like maybe the Asian food there never experienced the fortunate synthesis that we see in California Mexican, London Indian, or Italian American cuisine....

May 06, 2007
chowzdown in General Topics

Bar Bossa INSTEAD of Cafe Habana

I had put my name down on the list at Cafe Habana and decided to kill some time at Bar Bossa across the street on Elizabeth. After examining the menu we thought we'd give it a try. Turned out to be an excellent choice...

We started off with a hot bacalau appertizer served in a tiny cast iron skillet with a few crostini on the side. It was piping hot, barely crusted on top, perfect saltiness, and it had a nice coarse consistency. Delicious...

We also tried the roasted pork "sanduiche prensado" with roasted peppers, gruyere and pickled jalapeno. The pork was tender and lean and each of the peppers and pickled 'penos gave it a nice tangy flavor. The avocado, queso fresco, pico de gallo and chipotle mayo sandwich was equally wonderful and simple. With the recent glut of panini and pressed sandwich places in this city it was refreshing to taste something a little different and much better than the rest. The waitstaff was also extremely friendly and personable, which always helps. Of course much of the credit must be given to Sullivan St. bakery, which supplies their bread. Without these delicate, crusty loaves, the sandwiches may not have made the impression they did. Obviously I haven't tried many items off the menu, but I'm definitely going back for some more samples.

Next time you're waiting for a table at Cafe Habana, consider skipping the slightly ridiculous scene and just-above-average food in favor of this quaint hole-in-the-wall across Elizabeth.

May 01, 2007
chowzdown in Manhattan

Mazzola's Lard Bread

Esposito's does usually have lard bread, but I don't think they produce it themselves. Sausage sounds like a good addition but I could see how that would be a bit too much.

May 01, 2007
chowzdown in Outer Boroughs

Look at Those Crazy Vegans!

Point taken...I agree the painting analogy is a little off. And I do understand that you are actually rejecting a negative experience for yourself, and not an entire artform. I guess it just comes down to personal taste. Anyway I appreciate your thoughts on the matter!

May 01, 2007
chowzdown in Features

Look at Those Crazy Vegans!

I didn't mean to say that vegans feel guilty about being vegan, but that perhaps being vegan soothes some already-present guilt.

What I really don't understand, and to me the most troubling facet of veganism (other than the up-for-debate nutrition issues) is its effective rejection of hundreds (even thousands!) of years of culinary traditions from around the world. It is impossible to understand the historical trajectories of various cuisines, the infinite combinations of flavors and textures, without eating meat. Rejecting meat-based food is like rejecting oil-based painting because you consider the use of oil in painting to be gross and wrong. This negates so much beauty and poetry and history...why would you choose a much narrower range of experience? I don't get it!

I'm actually in a new relationship with a vegetarian so I've recently been thinking more about it...normally I really don't care what other people eat...

May 01, 2007
chowzdown in Features

Look at Those Crazy Vegans!

Is it possible that these people make their dietary choices based on a certain brand of neo-puritanical self-denial and withholding of pleasure?? Every clear-thinking and eating person knows that meat-based food has a more complex and wider range of flavor. While there are some delicious and historically valid vegan cuisines, in general, vegan food lacks richness (I have tasted excellent vegan food, but let's face it, these establishments are few and far between). This is the first level of self-denial: eating bad-tasting food.
Secondly, the daily search for edible vegan fare is full of trials and tribulations. This is the second level of vegan self-denial: making food hard to get.
Is it possible that this process of "sacrifice" soothes some sick, guilt-addled part of the vegan soul...?

May 01, 2007
chowzdown in Features

Mazzola's Lard Bread

Interesting...and good to know. thanks.

Apr 28, 2007
chowzdown in Outer Boroughs

Mazzola's Lard Bread

No red-blooded American can resist these peppery, slick-crusted, meat and cheese-stuffed lard loaves...especially a hot one.

However, we're told by the grizzled old heads of the hood that the best lard bread could once be found at Cammareri Bros. on Henry and Sackett in it's pre-Naidre's, pre-Cher/Cage days. Unfortunately I missed those days. Maybe the handsome loaves at Monteleone and Cammareri successfully channel that same mid-century magic. But so far, I have not allowed myself to buy one out of dumb loyalty to Mazzola's. One of these days I suppose I should do some comparison shopping...anyone know of a really magnificent lard bread?

Apr 28, 2007
chowzdown in Outer Boroughs

Brawta open again

Wow...I didn't know they had closed. I haven't tried it, but have been dying to taste their curried goat and jerk chicken. And the ackee and codfish...and the oxtail. so which should I try first?

Apr 27, 2007
chowzdown in Outer Boroughs

Exploring Carroll Gardens: Where to Go?

Bocca Lupo is excellent and fairly inexpensive, although the cheese plate they served me on Tuesday was a bit lackluster. The wall-size windows are conducive to mind-imaging yourself onto a peaceful sidewalk with a wife, a stroller, and a goddammed kid.

I agree, Chicory's sandwiches are excellent. Some of the sides, like the mac n' cheese brick (whatever they call it, that's what it was) are well below par.

Frankie's is the best Italian restaurant in neighborhood. The food is simple and they use high-quality ingredients. The truffle-oil drizzled cremini mushroom bruschetta is excellent, even though it always has a vaguely "human" flavor.

I would also recommend Schnack, on Union, between Hicks and Columbia, for some cheap and delicious sliders with greasy, thin-cut french fries.

Patois on Smith St. has a great brunch prix fixe brunch deal at 12.99 including, I believe, a choice between one blood mary or unlimited mimosas.

If you're near the corner of Henry and Union, try the lard bread at Mazzola's. If you can get a fresh loaf, not only will you become 100% dedicated to this bustling bakery, you will put on some serious LB.'s. At around midnight, stop by the back door and the bakers will sell you a surprise loaf straight out-the-oven.

Apr 26, 2007
chowzdown in Outer Boroughs

Difara Pizza Impressions

Thanks for the post, SirChowzALot. I, too, ate at Di Fara Pizza tonight, although I did not sample their square pizza. When ordered as a whole, fresh pie, the square pizzas appear to be as olive oil-drenched and delicious as the round pies (which in my opinion is the second best in New York City, after Totonno's Coney Island location).

Apr 26, 2007
chowzdown in Outer Boroughs

Really Lousy Burger, I Mean REALLY Lousy, at Paul's Palace, East Village

Yes, the servers at Paul's are rude and oblivious. The buns are made of cheap, spongy whitebread which quickly become sodden and sloppy. But the burgers were always flavorful, moist, and (sometimes) cooked according to customer preference. However, the last time I went to Paul's I was greatly disappointed by the overcooked meat and its lack of flavor. Maybe they were training a new cook or changed beef suppliers, I don't know. I did manage to eat about a pound of half-sour pickles, although I had to ask for them 3 times. I never did actually spit out bits of half-chewed burger in the middle of the restaurant. That is just disgusting.

Apr 26, 2007
chowzdown in Manhattan

Best Brunch

Also on Smith St. - Patois has a great prix fixe brunch for $12.99...including unlimited mimosas!

Apr 26, 2007
chowzdown in Outer Boroughs

How Can It Smell So Bad and Taste So Good?

I recently tried durian for the first time while traveling in Indonesia, a land of avid durian consumers. My host was constantly singing the praises of the fruit's pasty white flesh, promising a transcendant gustatory experience (as well as an aphrodisiacal effect), so I finally sampled a few messy fistfuls of the stuff. However, I was extremely disappointed to find that the flavor was much the same as the odor, that is, of rotting garbage...to say nothing of the goopy, spackle-like consistency. Naturally I really want to like durian...next time I will see how many durian one must eat before either acquiring the taste, vomiting into an Indonesian pit-toilet, or spontaneously humping the nearest palm tree.
In related news, a team of Thai scientists is hard at work developing an odorless durian, much to the dismay of hardcore durian-eaters worldwide:
http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/03/3...

Apr 26, 2007
chowzdown in Features