Friday, February 29, 2008
2. The whole thing about no meat on Fridays during Lent came about because the clergy was in cahoots with the fishermen (and not because God is made of meat), so I have no remorse about eating sausage, roast pork, and chicken today.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
BFTC Annual Beefsteak Dinner
All You Can Eat and Drink (and the zipcar): $55
Fellow meathead The Cease does a wonderful job of covering this glorious occasion on To Beet or Not to Beet. Below are some more photos. If you go, don't eat the bread. Also, Leo Chase is a fraud. An hilarious fraud, but a fraud nonetheless. Buen provecho.
Conlon Hall. I bet there's been some mean CYO games played here.
James H multi-tasking
Che G. Pre-Hypnosis
The Cease post-beef (note the bread pile)
Thank you for regularly changing out your grease. The cheesy tots were a hair shy of perfection, and the only thing keeping them from such elevated status was my guilt for eating deep fried macaroni and cheese.
Thank you also for the freshly prepared Whopper Jr. I really did get to have it my way.
P.S. The reggaeton background music was also a nice touch.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Friday, February 15, 2008
Already a day late, will Che also be a dollar short???
ps- Importunitiousness isn't a word. I made it up.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
1. Its name is La Nueva Conquista.
2. There is no set menu, and everyday they have a new selection of dishes to choose from. They include more traditional dishes like chicken guisado, beef stew, and baked chicken, but they also have way crazier stuff like goat stew and pigs feet. And everything is served on a giant bed of beans and rice, with your choice of white/yellow or red/pinto, respectively. And, if you get there early enough, you can also get plantains.
3. They offer to put gravy on everything. Think about it. Putting gravy on your beef stew. Just think about it.
4. The dude that works there is wicked fat and has the craziest coke-nail I’ve ever seen. He’s really proud of it. You can tell.
5. They don’t really have set hours, but rather they close shop when they run out of food. This adds an extra level of excitement as you rush home at the end of the night.
6. Its super cheap. Each plate is only $7. You can’t even buy two tacos at La Esquina for $7. That’s the magic of low overhead.
Definitely check this place out if you’re in the neighborhood.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
The concentration of restaurants in Chinatown is such that one might think a soup dumpling is easy to come by. But a delicious soup dumpling? That's a little more difficult. My limited expertise in the field led me straight to New Green Bo on Bayard St. and east of Mott St. It was 15 minutes through the crowds to get there from the Canal St. stop on the 6 train, and once in the vestibule of the restaurant, I knew it would be an hour more. On to plan B, Shanghai Cafe on Mott St. north of Canal. Another crowd sidestep ballet and I was there. Since the parade was focused south of Canal, Shanghai Cafe had yet to be bombarded, and I was seated immediately. Moments later, the first of two orders of soup dumplings arrived, tiny blossoms taunting me in their bamboo sauna. I had to let them cool off, and after doing so, I employed the system of dumpling on spoon, hole in the dumpling, slurp the soup, and pop the remaining deliciousness in your mouth. And once you get the system down, it's hard to restrain yourself from going on a soup dumpling bender. The size and flavor of the soup dumpling tricks your mind into thinking you never have to stop. Thank goodness it's a lunch hour, and not a lunch afternoon. Buen Provecho.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Apparently this is an organized dinner in which they serve offals, which are basically organ meats and entrails. I love how people come up with ambiguous names for these parts of the animals so you think that maybe it’s something delicious. Like sweet breads. As in, “Would you like to try the sweet breads, sir?” and I’d be all like, “Sweet breads?? Sure. That sounds delicious. Is it anything like figgy pudding??”
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
La Esquina is amazing for as many reasons as it is terrible. On the up-side, its open 7 days a week from noon to 5 am. I'm not sure who needs tacos at 5 am on a Tuesday, but apparently somebody does. Now, I'll admit that sometimes that someone is me, and when it is, that someone is wasted. But they don't judge. No way. They'll serve tacos to just about anyone willing to pay three times what a taco should cost.
And there's the rub. Every time I go there, I have to spend just a little more than I wish I had to spend. Not a lot more, but enough to make me long for easier access to a Grilled-Stuffed burrito with a side of Cinnamon Twists. And they have a $15 minimum on credit cards, which is just dumb.
But perhaps the greatest thing about La Esquina is its most unlikely menu item... La Hamburguesa. As many people know, hamburgers have become a big thing in New York these days, which is why I'm so surprised that I've never seen the burger at La Esquina on anyone's list (Fidel just informed me that it did make it on the Chowhound's top 5). I probably never would have ordered it myself had it not been recommended to me by a very hungry man, but I'm glad he did. Here's what good about it:
1. It's grilled and it tastes grilled, like a something you'd cook in your backyard. Its the only hamburger I've had in the city that truly tastes like it was good on a charcoal grill. It has the grill marks and everything.
2. It not only has lettuce, tomato and onions, it also has avocado and some sort of special sauce. I guess this is how they justify calling it La Hamburguesa. I also add ketchup.
3. Its just the right size. Its not a freaky-huge burger like you get at Jackson Hole, or 22 feet tall like Dumont. Its not by any means small, but you won't need a bib to eat it.
But the best part is this- since you can only order take-out, the burger gets kind of banged-up, the way McDonald's burgers do. Sort of smushed and delicious. I'm not sure why that makes it so good, but it just does. And to that end, if you eat at the bistro next door (not the fancy spot downstairs), don't order La Hamburguesa. It's just not the same thing. I'm not sure how they manage to screw it up so bad, especially since I believe its the made in the same kitchen as the take-out counter, but stick with the tacos (and order a Michelada).
Monday, February 04, 2008
There's always tomorrow's lunch break for that. Buen Provecho.
Friday, February 01, 2008
9th and Broadway
Lunch, no soda: $5
The aroma that wafts from the corner of 9th and Broadway holds a special place in my heart, right next to pool exhaust. It's comforting and familiar, and it's the siren song Rafiqi's uses to get you in line for a box of meat and rice, salad, hot sauce-white sauce. The general consensus is that street meat will kill you. Your intestines will explode with the fury of a thousand Spartans, and afternoon productivity levels will reach new lows as you spend the rest of your day in your "other" office. Logically speaking, a street vendor is subject to much more scrutiny than that of a storefront, and it's difficult to conceal hygenic shortcomings in a 5' x 5' stainless steel box. In that respect, I trust it. On the other hand, how can you get a healthy portion of chicken, lamb-flavored meat product, and rice for less than five bucks?
The answer is not low overhead. The answer is cut-rate ingredients. The "lamb" is really pressed meat and spices. Texturally, Rafiqi's does the right thing with it. It's cut from the shawarma-tisserie and thrown on the grill until a crunchy shell forms. Nonetheless, it's simply cubes of halal spam. The chicken is just plain wrong. In the age of chicken breasts, I'm not used to eating fatty chicken. It has the consistency of undercooked chicken, and no matter how many spices you rub it with, the texture screams salmonella. The salad is soggy lettuce and one slice of tomato. The rice is overcooked. The sauces are nothing more than mayonnaise and sriracha, and you'll get at least a cup of each squirted all over your platter. Aside from the crispy "lamb," the dish was a major disappointment.
This is one outpost of many Rafiqi's. Quite possibly, the expansion of the operation has diminished the quality of the food. The testimonials printed all over their cart sing their praises, but I have to put them at the bottom of my list of halal food trucks. If you're near 9th and Broadway, spend the extra money and time and make your way over to Chickpea on 3rd Avenue and St. Mark's Place. Buen Provecho.