Sunday, November 30, 2008

Treasure Trove: Jackon Heights Edition

The 7 train is probably the best subway line in New York, as far as eating adventures go. It cuts diagonally across some of Queens' most interesting ethnic neighborhoods: Sunnsyide (Latin America), Flushing ("The Real Chinatown"), and my personal favorite, Jackson Heights. JH was traditionally an Indian/South Asian stronghld, though in recent years a profliferation of taco trucks and Peruvian restaurants have started springing up along Roosevelt Ave. Still, the 74 St/ Broadway stop is rife with regional Indian delicacies, and with most things packed together tight in a 5-10 block radius, the JH Indian sector is a colorful, easy-to-navigate chunk of fun. Below, some of my favorite finds from Patel Brothers, an Indian grocery store on 37th Ave.

DeDe "Basil Seed Drink with Honey." Look at those crazy basil seeds floating around in there! It's like bubble tea but better. The seeds just kind of hang there, suspended in the liquid, perhaps indefinitely. Although the instructions read "Shake Well," I'm not sure why exactly this step is necessary.

100% pure cow ghee, by the gallon. Like many things, ghee is not very exciting to look at until you see it packaged in huge quantities. There's like 1 million calories in there. Cool!

Kawan brand Jalapeno & Cheese Naan. I just sense that somewhere, some preciousIndian grandma is cringing at the sight of this "traditional leavened bread" being bastardized with the unofficial flavoring pairing of 7-11s everywhere.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Breakfast of Champions

Brunch, as the last stop for the week's goods, is a time of great creativity in kitchens. Unexpected treats oftentimes crop up on brunch menus, and it's also one of the few acceptable times to drink before noon.

I am firmly in the pro-brunch camp, as evidenced by the photo above.
This particular plate was a special at Lodge, one of my most frequent brunch haunts in south Williamsburg. It's a pile of cheddar grits, pulled BBQ pork, and poached eggs.
Look at this monster! Oh, it was a glorious conquest.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Tuna Takeover 2000

I think my love of the absurd reached its zenith last weekend, when B and I crossed state lines to attend Mitsuwa Marketplace's "Fresh Giant Bluefin Tune Cut Performance" in Edgewater, New Jersey. The event is fairly self-explanatory, but in a nutshell, a team of Japanese master chefs reduced a 400-lb bluefin tuna to sashimi before a thong of adoring fans. It was a beautiful display of knifemanship, slightly morbid, and totally ridiculous.
Check out a video (not mine), here.

Mitsuwa is one of the largest Japanese supermarkets in America (other Mitsuwa stores are located in Chicago and California), featuring a vast array of imported produce and meats, a foodcourt, a bookstore and more. Families can often be found carrying empty suitcases or coolers into the store and stocking up Japanese provisions.

All that was left of the tuna after about 4 hours of slicing and dicing.

This was by far one of our more epic food adventures. B and I have literally waited hours for ramen and gone to the depths of Queens for curry chicken, but rarely do our meals involve taking a shuttle bus from Port Authority. This one did, and was entirely worth it. My next post will review some of our non-tuna purchases, like Japanese pancake mix and, of course, candy.

The final product.