Some days you just want sugar. Loads of it. A treat that’ll have you bouncing off the walls. Other days, you want subtle. Just a kiss of sugar to satisfy your sweet tooth. A few days ago, I wrote about a place that’ll have you flying like a kite. For a light sugar buzz, here are a few options… MORE »
Yes, I know banh mis are so early 2009, and yes, I know everyone knows about Banh Mi Saigon, the small Vietnamese sandwich shop in the back of a jewelry store on Mott Street, but I recently made an invaluable discovery. For the longest time, although I love the Pork Banh Mi ($3.75) at Banh Mi Saigon, I missed the pâté the other famous Vietnamese shop in Alphabet City has in their pork sandwiches. (As I mentioned in a previous post, I actually prefer the Alphabet City store, but for some weird reason I got food poisoning once, and now I go almost exclusively to Banh Mi Saigon.) So on a recent trip to Banh Mi Saigon, I asked if there was a way I could get some pâté in the Pork Banh Mi, and of course, it was just a matter of asking. For one dollar extra ($4.75 total), the wonderful people at Banh Mi Saigon will spread a very generous layer of creamy pâté, even possibly too much, into an already overstuffed sandwich of roast barbecued pork, Vietnamese bologna, fresh cucumber sticks, cilantro, jalapeno slices, pickled daikon, and pickled carrots. One bite and you’ll be serious umami heaven. Now if only I could get them to add some Vietnamese headcheese (giò thủ), life would be closer to perfect. MORE »
Grilled corn on the cob is good, but smothered in a creamy mayonnaise concoction and sprinkled with spicy chili pepper, salty Cotija cheese, and a squirt of lime, it’s amazing. Walking by Cafe Habana in the summertime, it’s hard not to stop in for some elote — on the menu as Grilled Corn Mexican Style ($1.95 from the takeout section next door to the restaurant) — especially when you see the hordes of pretty people outside licking their lips as they gnaw on their orders of corn. A while back, as I sat on the wooden bench in front of Cafe Habana chowing down on my elote, Heather Graham appeared out of nowhere and proceeded to nonchalantly eat her order of corn right in front of me. This corn is Hollywood endorsed!
I haven’t had the elote at Pinche Taqueria yet, but compared to La Esquina, I prefer Cafe Habana’s corn because they grill the corn the perfect amount so it’s sweetly charred but not too dried out. La Esquina’s corn leans towards the latter.
If you don’t live in New York, or want to pig out on elote without breaking the bank, it’s quite easy to make elote at home in the oven or on a grill. I’ve had successful results trying both methods. Below is an adapted recipe from one of the co-owners of Cafe Habana, Richard Ampudia. Just plan to double the recipe if it’s for more than two people. I know I can eat a whole lot of corn, especially Mexican-style corn. And perhaps if you make enough, Heather will stop by for a bite. You never know. MORE »