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June 9, 2005

Hot New York minute
Posted by Teresa at 03:08 PM * 182 comments

The halal chicken cart

Southeast corner of Broadway and 23rd, across from the Flatiron: fast, cheap, good, and if you take your food back to your office, everyone within sniffing distance will be wanting to know what you got. Also, I’ve been eating grilled chicken from that cart for years, and never suffered so much as an upset stomach.

The vendor’s a nice guy. He appears to be doing the whole immigrant success thing. This spring he traded his battered old bismillah-stickered cart for a shiny new one twice the size, so now along with spicy grilled chicken-and-rice, chicken-on-pita, and kebabs he’s doing falafel, Italian sausage sandwiches, and a spicy vegetable and rice thing.

It’s all good.

Queues and celery salt in the park

There’s an American-style burger shack in the park across the street from the halal guy. The good part is that it does classic pre-McDonald’s burger shack-style burgers. Even better, it does Chicago-style hot dogs with the full salady presentation.

What’s less good is that if you get there any later than 11:30 or so, there’ll be a line, and by 12:15 it’ll stretch halfway to the edge of the park. Some days, when you really want a Chicago-style hotdog, it’s worth it.

Kickshaws at Eisenberg’s

Eisenberg’s is a deli that’s across the street from the other side of the Flatiron. I think the only bits that date from later than the 1950s are the delivery boys and the textured coating on the north wall. The rest is a time capsule—like, not only can you get an egg cream there; you can get a lime rickey. They’re said to make the best standard tuna sandwich in New York, but I’m not big on tuna sandwiches so I wouldn’t know.

I’m curious about the terminology on their takeout menu, though. The section for side dishes is labeled “sidekicks.” Now, I know the etymology of sidekick has never really been nailed down. The word showed up in American English around the time the Flatiron was built. There’s a theory that it derives from a term for side-pockets on one’s pants, but that’s a best-guess no-real-connection kind of explanation.

Eisenberg’s has me wondering whether sidekick is derived from kickshaw: an interesting word in its own right. Kickshaw is an English repronunciation of quelque chose, which is French for “thingy.” It has two main meanings: a trifling, trumpery thing, or a side dish—what they used to call a “made dish.”

Kickshaw may have contributed genetic material to kicky-wicky, a term for “wife,” which Shakespeare used in All’s Well that Ends Well, II iii.297:
To the wars, my boy, to the wars! He wears his honour in a box unseen,
That hugs his kicky-wicky here at home,
Spending his manly marrow in her arms,
Which should sustain the bound and high curvet
Of Mars’s fiery steed….
Kickshaw has never fallen out of the language.

Meanwhile, in America, the recorded terms for a person we’d call a sidekick were side-pal (1886) or side-partner (1890). I find it very easy to imagine that kickshaw, “side dish,” collided with side-pal or side-partner and came out sidekick.

Trust me on this one

On the same block as Eisenberg’s are three deli-plus-salad-bar places. I strongly recommend the two southernmost ones. They never get shut down for penance and cleanup.

Achieving authenticity the hard way

Finding bits of historic New York is always a matter of knowing where to look and being able to recognize what you’re looking at. The Old Town Bar manages to look just like a nineteenth-century New York bar by dint of being one. If you want to hang out and pretend you’re waiting to meet a guy who’s with the Five Pointers, this is the place for you. It has good beer, good burgers, and good potato salad all the time, and other stuff that’s usually pretty good too. The food comes down from the second-floor kitchen via one of New York’s few operating dumbwaiters.

On a quiet afternoon in the summer, the Old Town’s first floor is one of the best places in the city to hide out: dark, cool, easygoing, with deep booths, and a very high hammered-tin ceiling that swallows up the heat and noise and holds it far away from you. The height of that ceiling makes the climb to the second floor surprisingly long, but the upstairs dining area is very pleasant.

Why I decided I liked the Old Town: Back before computers, before Selectrics with their swappable type balls, when an Underwood Electric Typewriter was about as good as you got, copy typists learned all kinds of little tricks, protocols, and maneuvers to make documents look as good as possible.

The first time I went to the Old Town, I opened their hand-typed menu and realized that (a.) it had no typos in it whatsoever, and (b.) the person who’d typed it—on a machine with nice clean keys and a new cloth ribbon—had used all those old-fashioned copy typist’s moves, the likes of which I hadn’t seen in thirty years. I immediately conceived a good opinion of the place, and it’s never given me any reason to change my mind.

Where it is: You know the big Barnes & Noble on Union Square? Okay, imagine you’ve set up a cannon facing it. If you fired a shot that crashed through the front wall of the B&N, flew across the store, and punched through the back wall, your cannonball would come to rest on the sidewalk in front of the Old Town. Which is convenient, because by then you’d really need to sit down and have a drink.

Comments on Hot New York minute:
#1 ::: Slothrop ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 06:04 PM:

I thought sidekick was cowboy term out of the Great American West. Roy Rogers' sidekick was, I don't know, Chill Wills, I think.

I'm sure it's derived from the combination of horseback riding and rounding up cattle, Rawhide-style.

#2 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 06:11 PM:

Sorry, Slothrop. The first recorded instance of sidekick is 1906, well into the era of barbed wire.

#3 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 06:16 PM:

Roy Roger's sidekick Pat Brady and his jeep Nelly Belle

#4 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 06:18 PM:

Incidentally for reasons that will forever escape me even after someone here explains them all the Roy Roger's gang shows up as yarns and associated with knitting?*

#5 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 06:38 PM:

Giving directions via artillery fire. I like that.

"Reo's Ribs? Well, you stand on the northwest corner of 185th and TV Highway, and you aim a bazooka at the sewing machine and vacuum cleaner repair shop . . . "

#6 ::: Slothrop ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 06:43 PM:

But "recorded use" would have been among non-cowboy (or cowgirl) dictionary-types in East Coast locales such as New York and Boston.

The term might not have migrated eastward until 1906.

Am I right?

#7 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 06:49 PM:

TNH: I strongly recommend the two southernmost ones. They never get shut down for penance and cleanup.

That's one of the absolute-best endorsements an eatery can have. I've had lunch with food inspectors, and the stories they tell - even over meals - will have you brown-bagging it for months afterward.

#8 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 06:55 PM:

pie in Wisconsin has cheese for a sidekick, according to law (1955? The Complete Book of Cheese - Brown, Robert Carlton (1886-1959).

Faust (Max Brand) used sidekick in a western setting early 20's. Karl May (died 1912) has things translated as sidekick but I have no idea what the original German is and no ready access to May in German - likely a translator's usage rather than a coinage.

#9 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 07:00 PM:

There's a place near here that makes great barbeque, but the owner sold it to a Korean couple and since then, they've had at least two critical violations all the time. For a while I convinced myself that the bbq was good enough, but not anymore. Check out the health records of Virginia restaurants.

#10 ::: Bill Blum ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 07:02 PM:

Right now, I'd do anything to secure myself a Chicago-style deepdish pizza. Local chain outlets leave much to desired.

( Well, anything BUT submitting to Publishamerica. That's just sick. )

#11 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 07:18 PM:

Hey, I used to live within artillery range of 185th and TV highway! I didn't discover Reo's until about 2 weeks before I moved away, alas.

#12 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 07:21 PM:

Bill -

I take it you're not on Lou Malnati's practically pr0nographic email list? (visit If you're in the continental US, they'll send you (damn good) deep dish packed in dry ice overnight. If you're not in the continental US, I have no advice. When I call my parents in the dead of winter, gloating about wearing shorts whilst xmas shopping, they taunt me with pizza.

I did enjoy a good NY slice last week - more than once, I'm afraid. The availability of riccota and spinach in addition to my usual pepperoni, and garlic knots makes me crave New York pizza almost as much as Chicago. I've found only one good place in LA for pizza (Casa Bianca in Eagle Rock) but console myself with the several Thai restaurants within walking distance.

#13 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 07:49 PM:

With all the smoke and smashed timber, you'd think Reo's had already taken a direct hit.

Also, Reo appeared a bit shell-shocked. All that heat and smoke . . .

#14 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 07:50 PM:


The closest to New York pizza in Pasadena is Domenico's. The most sincere California Cuisine pizza in Pasadena is Avanti (the whole garlic cloves pizza is amazing). Wood-fired ovens, all that.

There's the Golden Pizza Award in New York (or used to be). Imagine the shock when the first victor was Goldberg's Chicago Style. Queen's, in Brooklyn Heights, came in 2nd; it was the very definition of pizza to me, always will be, though the seriously obese cook probably expired long ago.

I speculate on the invention of Hawaiian pizza, not that I dislike it. Just one of those things like canned asparagus, nice enough as its own thing, unrelated to its namesake. Maybe an interior decorator. "I think we need something to contrast with the reddish-orange tomato sauce and the pinkish ham. I know! Some nice chunks of pineapple, for an off-yellow, sort of an effect, perhaps even nice circular annuli from a can, to reprise the circle motif..."

Any truth to the urban myth about white cheese, red sauce, and green basil to symbolize the Italian Flag?

#15 ::: Pfusand ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 07:52 PM:

Ah. Thank you. For years, I have had no clue as to the origins of "sidekick" and -- this is the odd part -- I really wanted to know.

Until now, the best guess I got was that it was your pal, who kicked his horse into a gallop just when you did.

#16 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 07:54 PM:

I don't know why, but I just can't bring myself to eat anything that ever came out of a pushcart.

#17 ::: Josh ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 07:57 PM:

The guy who runs a halal chicken cart is selling Italian sausage sandwiches? Did I read that right?

#18 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 08:05 PM:

pardon me, sir, but is your cannon loaded?
(sticks head in barrel)
that is not my cannon.

#19 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 08:18 PM:

Ah! I've eaten at many a sidewalk street-meat cart, but that one on 23rd & B'way is the best I've ever had. Middle-eastern style, that is.

For Chinese, there used to be a cart in Chinatown (the Manhattan one) I'd stop at sometimes on the way to Crossover back in the day. Scallion pancakes the size of my hand, fingers and all.

#20 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 08:34 PM:

Bill, I think Suparossa will deliver anywhere in the country.

Apropos of Chicago dogs, one of the best parts of moving to Indianapolis is the cuisine proximity allows me to find them easily. Along with Italian beef. There's actually a local place founded by some expatriate Chicagoans that is fast becoming one of my favorite places.

My sweetie had never had celery salt before we got dogs there.

#21 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 08:36 PM:

JVP: I speculate on the invention of Hawaiian pizza

Which, IMO, is neither.

The first time I encountered it, it was on a round pie cut into square pieces. I'm told this pizza-divvying method is SOP in certain midwestern states. boggle

#22 ::: Jon Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 08:41 PM:

OED's entry for sidekick has a note, saying it's a back-formation from the term sidekicker. They say it's from an O. Henry story in McClure's Mag, Feb 1903 ("Billy was my side-kicker in New York."). O. Henry (AKA William Sydney Porter) lived in Texas for a number of years before coming to New York, so he might've picked it up there. And OED requires dating terms from when they first appear in print, not oral tradition. Question is, how long would it've taken a cowboy slang term to migrate into respectable press?

p.s.: I am now extremely (and inexplicably) hungry for a kebab.

#23 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 08:41 PM:

Larry: that is, in fact, the proper way to cut regular, thin crust Chicago pizza.

I prefer it that way. It gives you pieces with and without crust, including the 'corner' pieces. Plus I find them easier to hold on average.

Leftover middle (crustless) pieces, served cold, make great breakfast. IMO and all.

I grew up with this, so the first time I encountered a pie-cut thin-crust pizza I thought it was veddy strange.

#24 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 08:46 PM:

As a 27-year resident of Hawai'i (and counting), I'm pretty sure Hawaiian pizza was made up out of whole dough and canned rings somewhere on the Mainland. We don't even like pineapple in rings out here; we like ours fresh, sliced into wedges and dripping with juice. If you've eaten pineapple properly you need a shower or a crate of those towelettes United used to hand out after long flights.

#25 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 08:50 PM:

Jon Hansen:

"Question is, how long would it've taken a cowboy slang term to migrate into respectable press?"

You have NO idea how hard I'm resisting a post of Cowboy Vocabulary from my draft paper on Westerns & Science Fiction.

#26 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 08:54 PM:

Tina: Hmmm - I guess I've limited my Chicago pizza experience to deep-dish. (My surprise pineapple pizza moment was in Indiana.) It does make me wonder how you could sell square-cut round pizza by the slice. Perhaps pricing is per square inch, or the way the Europeans do it - by the gram.

You can get the crust/no crust option on a Sicilian slice in NYC, but that's a rectangular, thick-crust pie cut into rectangular pieces. My pref is the edge piece from the short side.

#27 ::: Jon Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 08:55 PM:

"Resistance is useless! Bring on the vocabulary lesson!" he cried, all the while remembering this isn't his netspace.

#28 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 09:05 PM:

Thanks for the tips, since I'm often in the nabe. Some (e.g., Old Town) I'm quite familiar with, some not.

Speaking of W.S. Porter, I saw a book just the other day, a bilingual Chinese/English edition of Ethan Frome printed in China, that had among the other titles on the flyleaf a collection of stories by "O'Henry"...

#29 ::: Sherwood Smith ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 09:06 PM:

Recent discovery of cheap, unpretentious but incredibly delicious food: Veselka, over in the East Village. Yow what great food.

#30 ::: Craig Moe ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 09:12 PM:

Oddly enough, I just read a pretty interesting profile of what I assume is the same burger place in the park this morning,

#31 ::: Chad Orzel ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 09:18 PM:

The first time I encountered it, it was on a round pie cut into square pieces. I'm told this pizza-divvying method is SOP in certain midwestern states.

Also in New Haven (well, vaguely oblong pizzas cut into approximately rectangular pieces, anyway).

New Haven is, of course, home to pizza wars that are almost as intense as those between lovers of New York thin-crust and Chicago deep-dish styles. In this case, the arguments are between partisans of Sally's and Frank Pepe's (links are to a pizza weblog, and you just knew there had to be one, didn't you?). Of course, they both do basically the same style (thin-crust like New York, only the bottom crust is usually burnt...), but they make up for the lack of major culinary difference by being located two blocks apart on Wooster St.

#32 ::: S. E. ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 09:31 PM:

Damn it. Too much food over here today. Between the halal chicken cart and the Gulab Jamun mercenaries, I may have to actually cook.

*wonders if there're any falafel fixins in the house*

#33 ::: sundre ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 09:51 PM:

I am confused.

What makes a hot dog Chicago-style?

Celery salt?

#34 ::: bill blum ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 09:57 PM:


Lou Malnati's on-ice is something I've had before, but the cost is... prohibitive. I long for a local supplier of deepdish. The dominant style of pizza locally is thin crust, square cut, toppings to the edge--- aka 'Dayton Style', or 'midwest style' pizza.

( Donato's pizza is the biggest purveyor of the stuff in this area, followed by Cassano's. )

Only two of the non-chain pizzerias in town actually do thickcrust pizzas...


Suparossa may offer shipping anywhere--- but they ain't Lou Malnati's.

#35 ::: Anton P. Nym (aka Steve) ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 09:58 PM:

Regarding Chicago deep-dish pizza, I ate at Gino's East one night. Other than some cafeteria stuff it was the only pizza I had in Chicago, so I don't have much of a baseline on whether it's typical or not, but ohohohohohoho it was *good*.

They'll deliver. However, the prices are a touch beyond my reach, so it's a good thing they only deliver in the 48 contiguous states.

#36 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 10:00 PM:

"What makes a hot dog Chicago-style?"

A Vienna Beef dog (that's a particular brand, and it's an important detail) on a sturdy hot dog bun, topped with lettuce, tomato, hot "sport" peppers, green peppers, inedible-looking "neon" relish, cucumbers, pickles, onions, mustard, and the all-important celery salt. Lots and lots of celery salt. Mmmmm.

Also known as "dragging a hot dog through a salad."

They're delicious. This New Yorker, who views Chicago "deep dish" pizza with alarm, regards the Chicago dog as a pinnacle of junk-food civilization.

#37 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 10:02 PM:

(To be fair, the Chicago pizza place in the Loop that Erik V. Olson dragged us to in 2000 served some really good eats. I wouldn't call it "pizza" but it was fine stuff and I went back for seconds.)

#38 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 10:06 PM:

"The guy who runs a halal chicken cart is selling Italian sausage sandwiches? Did I read that right?"

I dunno, maybe he's using all-beef Italian sausage. I haven't had one yet.

Or maybe his idea of "halal" has become...flexible. That's what happens in the big cosmopolitan city. One minute you know not to eat of the swine or of creatures that crawl on the sea floor, and the next minute you're knocking back bacon-and-oyster milk shakes and making eyes at the gentile bass player. Cities are like that.

#39 ::: Elizabeth Genco ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 10:11 PM:

Avram: I know that Chinatown cart! It was run by Lo Mein Guy. Good lord, heaven help the girl who succumbed to the temptations of Lo Mein Guy. No need to eat for a week after that.

For all lovers of the Old Town (which would include me, natch), might I humbly suggest the Ear Inn, as well? It's a little out of the way (waaaay over on Spring Street on the West Side), but worth the trip for the ambiance and history alone (the food's not bad, either).

I think the Old Town has one of the best veggie burgers in the city, oddly enough.

#40 ::: Alan Hamilton ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 10:18 PM:
Sorry, Slothrop. The first recorded instance of sidekick is 1906, well into the era of barbed wire.
To be fair, that's true of most of what we associate with the old west.
#41 ::: Anton P. Nym (aka Steve) ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 10:33 PM:

PNH, that pizza place; did it have a *lot* of graffiti on the walls? I mean floor-to-ceiling, and along railings too? If so, that was Gino's. *sigh* I regret not eating more there.

That was because we'd already filled up at a Brazilian churrascaria called Fogo de Chao earlier in the week, just a block away. Oh, man, that place made me want to set up a wood-fired BBQ on my balcony, fire ordinances be damned. If you can, and you like meat a LOT, do go. Unlimited quantities of superbly-prepared skewers of meat (fillet mignon, picanha, a top sirloin cut called alcatra, beef ribs, leg of lamb, bacon-wrapped chicken breasts, a kind of parmesan-coated beef, and so much more...) brought to your table and carved to your specification by gauchos who stop by frequently to offer another serving... just one more; it's "wahffer thin"... The price looks steep at $30/plate for lunch, but it's actually worth it.

D'oh, now I'm hungry again.

#42 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 10:35 PM:

The Old Town's veggie burgers are so good that I've ordered them, and I'm not remotely vegetarian. Their turkeyburgers are good too. Both have that essential burger quality of savory grilled-ness, without the bloopy sliminess of most faux burgers.

While we're on the subject, however, allow me to recommend--no, allow me to urge you to RUN OUT OF YOUR HOMES AND CONVERGE ON--the utterly unpreposessing Dumpling House on Eldridge Street, which will sell you fried dumplings, five for $1, which approach the quality of a religious experience. And that's not even their best offering. For that, we yield the floor to sometime ML commenter Andrew Willet:

[I]f the dumpling was heaven, then superlatives fail to describe the beauty of my own lunch. A ‘sesame pancake with beef,’ they called it: it started with a pizza-sized round of soft dough, white and chewy and dusted with sesame seeds and then fried like a dumpling. The dough was cut into sectors (again, think pizza here), and then split through the middle, so the top could be peeled back from the bottom. Into the middle they layered handfuls of fresh grated carrot, fresh chopped cilantro, and cold roast beef flavored gently with anise. Over that, they squirted a peppery-vinegary red sauce. Then they close the thing back up, slip it into a pale wax-paper envelope, and there you are. For a dollar freakin’ fifty.
That was maybe three hours ago, and my taste buds are still all twinkly. We walked from Chinatown to Chelsea and I had a big goofy smile on my face the whole time.

#43 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 11:02 PM:

More on Chicago pizza:

Pizza-by-the-slice is cut pie-style, but I consider that distinctly different than 'a thin crust pizza'. It's its own animal.

Suparossa is a reasonable place to get pizza. Kind of like Gino's East. Neither of them are what I consider the pinnacle of Chicago pizza, but they'll both do nicely.

I feel about New York pizza roughly the way Patrick appears to feel about Chicago style pizza: it's not what I consider 'real pizza', but it's certainly not without its merit. I sha'n't argue about it, though; it's a matter of opinion.

I actually am a far bigger fan of Chicago-style thin crust than I am of deep dish, which was a hell of a problem when I lived in California, where 'thin crust' is actually closer to what I think of as pan.

Even in Chicago there's debate over which is the true Chicago pizza, of course. For my 20 yen, it's Aiello's thin crust.

About Chicago dogs:

There's actually two Chicago dogs: the basic, and the dredged-through-salad type Patrick mentions. A basic has a slightly lighter ingredient list. The mustard, onions, nuclear relish, pickle, tomato, sport peppers, and celery salt are required. The additional veggies are a nice touch but they are optional. The local place serves the stripped-down version, and that's the style I tend to make.

But definitely the celery salt must be used in quantity.

BTW, another good use for celery salt is on a cottage-cheese stuffed tomato.

#44 ::: Fran ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 11:06 PM:

I don't know if Lipton's Sidekicks (dehydrated starch based dishes in a pouch) are sold in the States or not, but they're approaching staple status in Canada, although still well behind Kraft Dinner. In fact, I just checked the back of a cupboard and found a package of Farmhouse Chicken & Vegetable Brown Rice. It may be older than the Burmese at my feet, but it's probably still edible. Well, as edible as it was when I first bought it.

This stuff is marketed via vaguely ominous commercials showing a suburban Mum cooking in her kitchen while the sounds of kids at play, mixed with an odd crinkling sound, drift in the window. Cut to a shot of the backyard, where a pair of grinning children are playing soccer with a six foot tall Sidekicks package guarding the goal. That poor bastard is going to block shot after shot in that hot, airless sack, and then they're going to bring him in the house and eat him.

Only in Canada? Pity.

#45 ::: Bill Humphries ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2005, 11:41 PM:

One of my coworkers, just back from two weeks in Europe, taunted me with the perfection of the pizza he had in Italy.

Thin crust, sauce, and cheese: minimalism at its finest.

#46 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 12:10 AM:

Those familar with old school David Letterman will recognize the Old Town as the bar that the camera went through. And yeah, it's a great palce to eat. Good service too.

I still have yet to find a San Francisco style burrito in NY. I hear Chipotle comes closest. Sad. We used to sneer at them in San Francisco.

#47 ::: I. ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 12:44 AM:

Thanks for the Flatiron food tips. My office moved two blocks south of yours in March, and we're all still exploring the neighborhood.

I've been to Eisenberg's enough times to know that I vastly prefer the chicken salad and bacon sandwich over the tuna, but I hadn't figured out what was the difference between all those generic-looking delis.

The halal cart serves Italian sausage, and Eisenberg's serves BLTs. Clearly, it's a conspiracy.

#48 ::: Misha ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 01:16 AM:

Chipotle's? There are a couple of actual decent imitations of the SF burrito in New York (Moe's in Chelsea, and La Taqueria in Park Slope) -- they're not in the same league as the Mission District, but they're a whole hell of a lot better than Chipotle's. Try chowhound for more recommendations: they'd know.

Also, we got ridiculously quick service at the Snack Shack on a Saturday evening, but that's not very helpful for someone who works in the area weekdays...

#49 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 01:30 AM:

My roommate (also from the Chicagoland area) prefers Chicago thin crust, which Casa Bianca does get pretty close to. My pizza preference is for 1. Deep Dish 2. New York Slice and 3. Chicago Thin Crust.

I haven't had Malnati's in awhile (no, it's not cheap to have it shipped) but I'm visiting the 'rents next month, and they live about a mile or so from the Lou's in Schaumburg. It is always a condition of my visit that they take me there.

For Angelenos craving a good Chicago dog or Italian Beef, there's a place in Burbank called "Taste Chicago" that does a damn good job. I'm pretty excited that Portillos is going to open a franchise here, but I'm still wondering if there's some sort of law against deep dish in this area.

And now I'm hungry again! Damn you literate food people!

#50 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 02:56 AM:

Has anyone compared the best deep-dish commercial pizza in the Bay Area (Zachary's, in Oakland and Albany-maybe-Berkeley-depending-on-who-draws-the-line) to Chicago? I've given my heart to their deep-dish sausage, mushroom and artichoke heart offering.

#51 ::: chris242 ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 02:57 AM:

i'm still not understanding how one serves square slices from a round pie!!!

May I recommend Rizzo's pizza in Astoria Queens (Steinway street and 30th avenue) as the best NY-style thing crust in NYC?

#52 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 03:38 AM:

You get square slices from a round pizza by cutting in a grid pattern, not radially. (The edge pieces will of course have a curved side.) At most of the pizzerias I know that cut this way, it produces small slices that will fit on saucer-sized plates, which can be good if you're serving party snacks rather than dinner. It won't suit the (nominally) "New York style" of buying a slice, folding up the edges, and dining on the move.

I shall take the opening to speak well of the Zyliss pizza cutter, which has a wheel blade as usual for home cutters, but puts a large blade inside a half-circle clamshell, so that you press straight down on the axle. The shell comes apart for cleaning (it does require a bit of caution with the open blade), and it'll cut lots of things besides pizza -- cookie bars or brownies, f'rinstance. Cook's Illustrated claimed they couldn't get the hang of using it, in which case I would hate to be in the room when they tested a stick blender.

Old Town Bar is a splendid place to meet people, because you can with small effort imagine that you're in a Scorsese movie, and at any moment DeNiro and Cathy Moriarty . . . or John Garfield and Marie Windsor . . . or Bill the Butcher, for that matter, will come in and things will get all plotty. And with real beer, which you can't usually have on a shoot.

#54 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 06:10 AM:

What exactly is "celery salt"? Salt and celery mixed together? Salt that's been packed with celery, but is now by itself except for the flavors it's picked up?

#55 ::: Yonmei ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 06:35 AM:

The rest is a time capsule—like, not only can you get an egg cream there; you can get a lime rickey.

You can? Oh, damn: the only time I was ever in New York, the only place I found that claimed to sell egg creams was a stall in a building near Grand Central station, and it was closed. I wanted to drink an egg cream and think of Harriet the Spy... and I never got to.

#56 ::: John dB ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 07:25 AM:

Delurking to share my junk-food reflections.

I grew up in a town in Connecticut that's about 60% Sicilian (almost all from one town in Sicily!), but I never had "Sicilian" pizza until I moved to New York. We did get some extremely delicious square-cut-from-circle pizza, at a place run by creepy old Greek guys. Was it Chicago-style? I don't know. The crust was thin, hard, and crunchy. My favorite pizza from home has a thick, soft crust and very sweet sauce; it's like no other pizza I've had. Generally, I don't really like New York pizza at all, or brick-oven pizza, or "fancy-restaurant" pizza... Or, rather, it's not that I dislike it, but it's not what I mean when I say I want Pizza, just like Patrick and Tina, if I am reading them right.

My dad grew up in Chicago and now and again he would get a hotdog and get everything the vendor offered piled on, but he would always seem discontented; I think he sought the real deal, which was just not available in Connecticut.

It's interesting to me that when it comes to these junkier foods, regional differences really become obvious. I was never more miserable abroad than when I found myself hungry for potato chips in France. Nothing tasted right at all. Maybe it's because when I'm eating "good" food, I'm appreciating the differences and subtleties, but when I'm eating junk I want it to always taste the same?

#57 ::: John dB ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 07:27 AM:

Oh yeah, and I've never been to a diner in either Brooklyn or Queens that didn't offer an egg cream. But I don't really know what they are, so I'm not sure if they were the real thing or what.

#58 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 07:31 AM:

That stuff we had at Grimaldi's (IRRC) was might fine eats, and I've suggested the place to travellers many a time.

It's not pizza, mind you. But it is good eats.

Scale: Three healthy SF fans can take down 2 large NY pizzas in twenty minutes, then head off for dessert. Same three fans, faced with a Medium deep dish, take half back to the hotel.

That was the same trip that I bought you the hot dog on Navy Pier. First hit's free...

Note that while a Vienna Beef is canonical, any all beef is acceptable. And it's a sturdy hot dog bun *with poppy seeds.*

It's the details, as you know, Bob.

#59 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 07:57 AM:

Tom: Artichoke hearts are too Californian, they're barred from Chicago Pizzas by custom. However, there is the lovely spinach and tomato pizza. Note that, as a class, tomato sauce is barred. You want tomatos (and who doesn't?) you put tomatos on the pizza. Ditto, the hotdog, lo the heathen who asks for ketchup. You want tomatos, and just tomatos? That's cool, the vender may well wink and admit he likes 'em that way on a hot day.

Chicago pizza is a trinty: The deep, the thin, and the mighty stuffed. (Amen.) A peice of thin is a nice snack. A slice of deep dish is a nice dinner. A slice of stuffed will get you across the continental divide, and halfway back. Chilled, the mass of cheese forms a self sealing barrier.

The crust variations are complex, as well. Due's crumby, Reggio's butter crust, Gino's breadcrust, and so on. Mike Pins nailed it. "The best Chicago pizza outside of Chicago is Eduardo's, the best Chicago pizza inside of Chicago is a holy war."

I wont point out that TNH wrote on the booth with a black marker. Well, not like she was the first. Or the thousandth. It was that Ginos -- rough, raw, and the pizza was fine. I'd say we should have gone to the one on Superior, but hey, we had hot doodling action!

I will admit some crogglement in this thread. We keep talking about Chicago Food and Old Town, but those words doesn't mean what you think they mean, at least to me. Old Town was a huge part of my life, for reasons that have nothing, and yet everything, to do with music. To me, it was just part of home.

Travellers! If you should be flying to Chicago, in Terminal G, Chicago O'Hare International Airport, in the rotunda, you will find a Gold Coast Dogs. It's a bit cleaner that most, but the dogs and beefs are spot on, and the burger and fries are first rate as well. I've been known to give people connection information at ORD that carefully routes them by this dog stand. I think my goal is to hook every Tor editor on the proper hotdog.

Why? It's part of being Evil and Good, actually.

Wait, I'm flying to Chicago today. Thus, the eternal question. "Dog, or beef?"

All I want is a proper kind of hot dog,
made with the proper dash of celery salt.
I may not want a malt,
but I want my proper hotdog
with a proper dash of salt.
Kosher red hot dogs and
onion covered dogs
they are not good to me
If I can't have a proper kind of hot dog
with the proper color mustard, then
I'll have Italian Beef."

(Patrick, walking into a museum in New York, finding that, because of a baseball exhibit, there are Chicago hot dogs in the basement. "I'm there!" Then they tried to put cheese on one of them. Odd.)

Last food bit. At SMOFcon a couple of years ago, I called in a tactical pizza drop. Most were too busy with stuffed pizza to say anything (part of my evil plan.) Tammy Coxen was amused at how I managed to nail the budget perfectly. (Google up "Fermi Piano Tuners", and learn. Hey, that's even a Chicago Reference.) Tom Veal merely said "Smart of you to order Giordanos, and not the really good stuff."

#60 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 08:02 AM:

I shall take the opening to speak well of the Zyliss pizza cutter, which has a wheel blade as usual for home cutters, but puts a large blade inside a half-circle clamshell, so that you press straight down on the axle.

Park Tools, favorite of Bike Geeks Everywhere, sells, of course, the PZT-1

It's very sharp. Do treat it as the fine tool it is.

#61 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 08:04 AM:

Steve, it was indeed Gino's. Erik Olson took us there. When he told us Father Greeley sometimes eats there, I knew what I had to do. I got out my fat-tipped indelible Sharpie and drew a Tor logo in a prominent spot.

The food there was good. Not what I'd call pizza, but darn good.

My favorite pizza place -- I haven't been there in far too long -- is in Brooklyn, down at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. It's called Grimaldi's, for its founder Patsy Grimaldi, and the first several times I went there, the placemats were covered, in multiple columns of small type, with an account of the long-standing feuds and lawsuits between the people who own the right to call a pizza parlor "Patsy's," and the owners of Grimaldi's who had to settle for the surname.

There's a lot of art depicting Frank Sinatra on the walls, and the jukebox is a mix of Sinatra, opera, and misc. other.

Grimaldi's has a mighty coal-fired brick pizza oven, and if you ask they'll give you a piece of coal. You can watch the pies being made. The dough has a lot of gluten in it, and gets spun out into thin disks that bake up crisp and tender. On top of that, a thin layer of spicy tomato sauce with a nice herbal aftertaste. Then, dead fresh mozzarella (made several times a day), and if you've ordered it, large perfect basil leaves laid on.

Yeah, you can get sausage or pepperoni or onions and olives. As soon as I get tired of the pizza margaria, I'll try adding the other toppings. Any year now.

It bakes fast. It's served fast, with attitude. It's ambrosial. And by the way, the right way to eat a wedge of pizza is to grab the crust end, give the slice a little extra strength by giving it (one-handed) a lengthwise pleat with your fingers, and eat it out of hand. If it flops over, you're either in the wrong pizza joint, or you're eating it cold for breakfast the next day, so it doesn't matter that it flops because it's congealed and won't fall apart.

Slothrop, the phrase might have migrated eastward from the plains, but that's not the way to bet. Cowboys made new language for their work, but they didn't need a new term for "friend and minion."

Bob Oldendorf, I wouldn't have wanted to speak ill of the third deli.

Clark: Aha, sidekick used to describe side dishes again! I think I'm on to something.

I suspect we retroactively imposed "sidekick" on a bunch of Westerners who didn't use it.

Pfusand, my explanation isn't official, but I think it makes as much or more sense than any of the other explanations that've been tendered.

Alan Hamilton:

TNH: Sorry, Slothrop. The first recorded instance of sidekick is 1906, well into the era of barbed wire.

AH: To be fair, that's true of most of what we associate with the old west.

I'm not sure what you're saying here, since by 1904 the Old West had long since gone out of business. Do you mean all that Hollywood cowboy gimcrackery? If so, yeah -- not that I associate that stuff with the Old West.

Fran, we don't get Lipton's Sidekicks here, but I'm delighted to know they exist: more fodder for the sidekick/kickshaw theory.

Bill Humphries:

One of my coworkers, just back from two weeks in Europe, taunted me with the perfection of the pizza he had in Italy.

Thin crust, sauce, and cheese: minimalism at its finest.

Exactly! That's the stuff you can find in NYC if you know where to look for it. It's amazingly good. All those gunky toppings are what you put on inferior pizza to disguise its shortcomings.

#62 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 08:06 AM:

That was because we'd already filled up at a Brazilian churrascaria called Fogo de Chao earlier in the week, just a block away.

Obligatory Simpsons Quote: "This man died of beef poisoning."

Fogo de Chao is evil. EVIL. BWHAHAHA. ahem.

However, I admire someone who dares to take on the Fogo de Chou *and* a Chicago deep dish in one week. That's like carrying a mailsack on a marathon.

Haven't tried the Chicago one, I'm sure it's evil as well. As to the Gino's, yes, that was the one, as alluded to, above.

#63 ::: Anton P. Nym (aka Steve) ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 09:18 AM:

Erik: However, I admire someone who dares to take on the Fogo de Chou *and* a Chicago deep dish in one week. That's like carrying a mailsack on a marathon.

No mailsack was ever so pleasant to carry. Besides, we did a lot of walking; probably the only reason I didn't gain a few tons on the trip.

(Photos of Fogo and Ginos and a few other sundries on my Livejournal, if anybody's interested.)

Sadly, here in London, ON, the options are a touch more limited... however, less than a block from my office at work is Sammy's Souvlaki, a London fixture for decades in trailers but now with a new sit-down location. Real pork souvlaki, from an authentic Greek recipe, though the fries are merely okay. For pizza it's mostly the big chains but Tony's (four locations) has truly mastered the panzerotti experience. Not for the cholestoral-challenged, but delicious.

Come to think of it, maybe I shouldn't run down London cuisine; we get a lot of refugees from around the world, and half of them seem to want to start restaurants. You can track world crises by the founding dates on our local eateries and subtracting 3-5 years. Korean, Thai, Vietnamise, Lebanese, Somali, Balkan, Hallal... I think I should be a bit more adventurous when going to lunch.

Oh, and the Lipton Sidekick thing... they're perfect bachelor chow up here. Pasta or potato flakes in a sealed pouch with powdered sauce or gravy or whatever; just empty into boiling water (or water/milk mixture if it's a cream sauce) and stir. Hey, it's better alfredo than I'd be willing to make.

But the ads can be kinda creepy.

#64 ::: Carlos ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 09:42 AM:

Of course Chicago deep dish pizza is real pizza. You folks sound like socker fans complaining about real football.

Seriously, a choice between Gino's East and Grimaldi's is difficult. Still, in terms of Maslovian peak experiences, one of the finest I've had was eating by myself at Gino's East. A pepperoni and mushroom deep dish pie, a pitcher of beer -- Berghoff, I think -- and a Chicago Bulls playoff game during the glory years of Michael Jordan. I hadn't eaten anything since 4 AM that morning, and had been running on adrenalin and coffee -- a whole day of craptacular air travel, hotel mishaps, missed important phone calls, et cetera.

[food porn deleted]

Finished the pie, the pitcher, and the game all about the same time; went back to my hotel room and slept like a baby.

The Chicago pie... it's a pie. People forget that. It's exactly what you'd expect malnourished Sicilian peasants to come up with when faced with the agricultural bounty of the American Midwest.

It's like the classic Midwest Italian steakhouse (a dying breed, sad to say). Salads worth eating. Steaks rubbed with a little garlic, a big plate of spaghetti instead of a baked potato, and a decent house red. Italian cheesecake for dessert, lemon zest and ricotta. Coffee that you can't see the bottom of the cup.

Anyway. I have to plan an expedition to the burek places in the Bronx, since my co-blogger is raving about the cheap eats in Tirana.

#65 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 09:52 AM:

Erik, if it were me, I'd get the beef. The dogs are easier to assemble at home, except for finding sport peppers.

OTOH, one can always have Portillo's ship a box of fixings for either. Or both.

One of the best holiday presents I got while stuck living in California was a box of Portillo's beef.

And yes, stuffed pizza is the third part of the trinity. It's also the one in which, conflating several ideas, I am most likely to get spinach. A good stuffed spinach pizza is... actually sounding really good right now... hrm. Wonder if there's anywhere around here I can get one...

One thing I can say about New York pizza: it's the one I enjoy most as cheese-only. I'm generally more a fan of the garbage pizza than the plain, but for the NY style it works.

#66 ::: Vidiot ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 09:52 AM:

Teresa, I've been meaning to check out Grimaldi's for some time now, and I think you've just inspired me to do it tomorrow.

I like Lombardi's on Spring Street in SoHo/NoLita for just the same reasons. Coal-fired pizzety goodness. (And you can go across the street to Rice to Riches for dessert.)

Best egg creams in the city (there are lots of inferior ones to be found) are at the Ukrainian newsstand (some say it's nameless, some say it's called Ray's) at 113 Avenue A, just north of 7th St in the East Village. And you can get cherry-lime rickeys. But the egg creams are and creamy, with a nice thick head that takes a spoon to eat.

#67 ::: Jon ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 10:04 AM:

>Southeast corner of Broadway and 23rd

Thanks! I've been sniffing these things for years now and have always been too scared to try 'em. Somehow the whole "I have walls" thing makes me feel more secure eating food. But now I know where to go, even if it is a 10-block hike. :)

#68 ::: Jack Womack ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 10:33 AM:

Lime rickeys!

The other place in Manhattan that still sells them (that I'm sure about) is not so preserved in amber as Eisenberg's. However, I actually watched the miraculous transformation of the Mill Candy Shop into the Mill Korean Restaurant (Broadway just below 113th) over the course of a decade.


1979: Mill Candy Shop. Space last painted probably right after the war. Dented wire paperback & comic revolving racks. Wall rack of mags, half porn. Small lunch counter with soda fountain, stools and grease-coated backbar/grill area. A couple of tables with tape-repaired chairs. Front counter with wooden register, slots for candy, i.e. Goldberg's Peanut Chews, Choward's Violet Gum etc.; all candy needs dusting. Owners: elderly couple, husband wears sleeves rolled up, tattooed camp number clearly visible on his forearm. One young man (never the same for longer than two weeks in a row) working the counter. Lime rickeys and other soda treats served at counter fountain. All lit by front window light and a 40-watt bulb in lamp by register.

(In 1979 there were still probably a thousand places or more almost exactly like this in New York.)

c.1981: young Korean guy hired to work counter, doesn't leave.

c.1985: Owners retire; young Korean guy takes over the store from them.

c.1986: wire racks gone, interior painted, better lighting, cleaner, no porn in mag racks.

c.1987: Tables added. Magazine rack cut back to single rack. New stools at counter.

c.1988: Counter removed, all tables now. Menu has many more Korean items on it. Youngish Korean guy hiring waiters and waitresses.

1990: Tranformation complete with further remodeling (i.e. front candy counter, peanut chews etc. finally removed).

2005: Still in business as fine Korean restaurant owned by middle-aged Korean guy and the only one in town where you can get a fresh-made lime rickey with your bibimbap. It's good, too.

#69 ::: ben wolfson ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 10:48 AM:

All these comments about food and not one detailing typistical tricks?

#70 ::: Santos L. Halper ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 10:48 AM:

I beg to differ about the trio of delis on 5th ave (west side) between 23rd and 22nd.

Marino's (northernmost) actually has really good pizza by the slice, which is surprisingly hard to find in the neighborhood (forget Maffei's on 6th and I don't even know what's up with Mozzarelli's on 23rd; that place is garbage).

City Market Cafe (southernmost) is over-priced but makes good sandwiches.

Deli Marche (in the middle): those are my peeps. Orange juice and croissant represent, what what.

Some other things you should try in the 'hood include:

J'Adore (tiny-ass little bakery on 23rd around the corner from the BoA atms)

Uncle Moe's (mexican, 19th bet. 5th and 6th)

Toasties (7th Ave bet. 22nd + 23rd)

Everything else is, how do you say, CRAPPY.

#71 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 11:18 AM:

Word question -- if "kickshaw" came from "quelque chose", then had we kept the Chaucerian "belle chose", meaning female genitals, that would presumably have ended up something like "belshaw"?

Hoom hom, mustn't be hasty, but maybe I could use that in the same story where they call a gun a gavelock.

#72 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 11:28 AM:

One of the few ways in which I have not New Yorkified in the 23 years I've lived in the NYC Metropolitan Area is my taste in pizza.

I still think any pizza that can be folded in half lengthwise without gooshing all over is for the birds. Moreover I've never had crust here that was anywhere near as tasty as the crust we had at Bell's in East Lansing, or the even-better pizza joint I can't remember the name of, where "extra crust" was an item, and worth ordering, because the crust was so good as to make the sauce and cheese seem almost like an afterthought.

I think New Yorkers like their pizza with superthin crusts because the crust just isn't very good. And I like getting toppings, especially bizarre ones like avocado and sundried tomatoes (how yuppie, I know).

That said, one of the many One! True! Original! Ray's! had some pretty damn good slices. You couldn't get more than one topping because they wouldn't FIT. If you got mushrooms (as I invariably did), you were eating a pretty big heap of them. Yum.

Teresa, there's a Grimaldi's in Hoboken, too. It also used to be a Patsy's, and (we maintain) was the original Patsy's of great fame. The people who wound up with the rights to the name had 800-pound lawyers, that's all.

#73 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 11:34 AM:

TNH - If memory serves, Grimaldi's also offers homemade roasted red peppers on its magnificent wood-fired pizzas.

The speed of pie prep and serving there is such that one can be nearly finished with the first, or appetizer pie, and order the second, or main course pie, and experience no particular delay.

Grimaldis, along with Triple Eight Palace (beneath the Manhattan Bridge) for dim sum were on my "Dining Under Bridges" mini-tour. Glad to hear that Grimaldi's is still good. Anyone know about Triple Eight?

#74 ::: lia ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 11:42 AM:

The burger shack in Madison Square Park is called Shake Shack. It's run by Danny Meyer, the guy behind Gramercy Tavern, Blue Smoke, etc. They also serve St Louis-style custards and concretes!

(I went soon after they opened last year and put up a review with photos, if anyone wants to see what the place and the food look like.)

#75 ::: Scott Janssens ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 11:46 AM:

"Erik, if it were me, I'd get the beef. The dogs are easier to assemble at home, except for finding sport peppers."

If you get a chance, Erik, stop at any grocery store where you can buy jars of sport peppers and hot dog relish (Vienna brand, even).

For lunch, I no longer have a choice but to stop at Max's for a hot dog.

#76 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 11:47 AM:

Xopher - The Brooklyn Grimaldis was also formerly Patsy's, which is how I still think of it. I have to remember to call it Grimaldi's when I send people there.

#77 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 11:49 AM:

I'm pretty sure that the Lipton Sidekicks are what they market Down Here as Rice & Sauce/Pasta & Sauce. (There's certainly a Pasta & Sauce Alfredo.) Perfectly okay sides/casserole bases. Give us this day our Unilever, as I kinda hope not too many people are saying.

#78 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 11:55 AM:

Must add that I'm looking for a chance to say "sport peppers" aloud. Sport peppers - lovely to say and so evocative.

I'm suppressing a picture of anthropomorphized pepperoncini surfing, playing tennis, snowboarding...

#79 ::: Sandy ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 12:00 PM:

I am such a barbarian on pizza. . . I blame it on the suburbs, somehow.

I liked St. Mark's Pizza, next to the Continental, but can't explain why. It's been replaced by something froofy; if punk wasn't dead before, it is now.

(I have a twisted urge for homemade pizza with fresh, fresh mozz on it now. I hate you all. )

#80 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 12:40 PM:

Aw, fer corn sakes, you're in Boing Boing now, for this post.

Do they think I have time to keep reading the same post on different blogs all day?

Oh well. I'll just get on with life, I guess.

#81 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 12:43 PM:

Food Post!

First, a reponse:
Best egg creams in the city (there are lots of inferior ones to be found) are at the Ukrainian newsstand (some say it's nameless, some say it's called Ray's) at 113 Avenue A, just north of 7th St in the East Village. And you can get cherry-lime rickeys. But the egg creams are and creamy, with a nice thick head that takes a spoon to eat.
You're close, but I hold that you're about three blocks off. Gem Spa (corner of 8th(st.Marks) and 2nd) has the best egg creams in the city. As to the ease of finding an egg cream at all, one wonders where the searcher was looking.

Halal Food Carts:
My favorite is the one on 55th and park. The one close to me is only so-so, unfortunately.

Chicago Pizza is properly a casserole. As far as NYC pizza goes, I do like one of the called-Patsy's Patsy Grimaldi-descended stores: The brick/coal oven one up on 118 and 1st. The actual name settlement is quite complex, but this is an old-line store, with what I feel is the best of the lot. Crisp, smoky crust, not too much cheese or sauce, and all of it very fresh.

I like the store that seems to actually be called "Fried Dumpling" -- it's on a street whose name I actually didn't know until very recently: Mosco, which runs from Mott to Mulberry, and is how I get from the courts to Wo Hop or Fried Dumpling when I'm downtown. $1 gets you five fried dumpings or four buns. Insanely fresh (made in front of you), insanely good.

Chinatown Food Cart: I love those guys. I once bought a container of tripe from one and MAN was it good.

#82 ::: Jennifer Pelland ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 12:44 PM:

Mmm...falafel. Andy and I have just found a place that delivers falafel in Waltham. It's not freshly cooked, but man, it's nice to have a guy ring your doorbell and hand you falafel.

#83 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 12:59 PM:

Falafel pizza. An idea whose time has come.

#84 ::: Anton P. Nym (aka Steve) ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 01:06 PM:

Give us this day our Unilever, as I kinda hope not too many people are saying.

Can't... resist...

Ye Broadcaster's Prayer

Our Sponsor,
Who art in the boardroom,
Hallowed be Thy brand.
Thy market-share come
On the street, as it is in forecasts.
Give us this day our daily feed,
And forgive us our dead air
As we forgive those who drop us.
Lead us not into insolvency
But deliver us from creditors.
For Thine is the contract, the rider, and the amendment,
Forever and ever,

#85 ::: Anton P. Nym (aka Steve) ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 01:13 PM:

Sorry to double-post, but I swear that I didn't see the "Astroturf" article until after writing the above post.

Synchronicity weirds me.

#86 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 01:19 PM:

Falafel pizza. An idea whose time has come.

Yes, but with any luck, it'll pass quickly.

#87 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 01:40 PM:

Lime rickeys are also available, along with several best-of-category-available-in-NYC items, at Yonah Schimmel's Knishes, on Houston near Chrystie.

Thanks for the knowledge about Dumpling House -- I am looking forward to next time I am downtown. Two other Chinatown places everybody should know about: New Green Bo on Bayard, best Shanghainese in Manhattan and I think in NYC; and Sweet and Tart Cafe on Mulberry (If I am remembering my street names correctly) for excellent Dim Sum -- their original location is in Flushing but I think the Manhattan place is on the same high level.

#88 ::: JennR ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 01:51 PM:

Erik- Wait, I'm flying to Chicago today. Thus, the eternal question. "Dog, or beef?"

The proper answer, of course, is yes. One on the way in, one on the way out.

I've never heard that verse. Is that bit of doggerel a variation from a TFiA performance, or did somebody besides them filk it?

#89 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 02:00 PM:

Xopher - Felafel and pizza is the mark of a Kosher pizzaria. Felafel pizza is the mark of the beast.

#90 ::: TChem ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 02:08 PM:

For people a few hours north of NYC, lime rickeys are ALSO available on Star Island, part of the Isles of Shoals, off the coast of New Hampshire. The kids make the simple syrup during lulls. The snack bar's only open during the summer, but it's a lovely day trip.

I'd never heard of rickeys when I started working there, and wondered where they came from. The way history invades the island, they could have been made accidentally by a Richard 30 years ago, and tradition instantly took root. I'm glad to know the truth.

#91 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 02:49 PM:

I'd guess at a relationship to the usage Ace - kicker in cards for both usages and nothing to do with working cattle.

#92 ::: Matt ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 02:51 PM:

For what it's worth, Old Town also has the best urinals in the city: enormous porcelain receptacles fit for a swaggering swell from the early part of the century (the 20th, that is), when New Yorkers were still glamorous. Sneak in and check 'em out sometime, Teresa.


#93 ::: Paula ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 02:56 PM:

One of the things I miss most about the East Coast (Philadelphia in my case) is food from pushcarts. Not just hot dogs and soft pretzels, though the latter were $.25 in Philly when all you could get elsewhere were doughy imitations for $2 (I think they're up to $.50 now) but Chinese food, sandwiches, bowls of incredibly fresh fruits, some of the best Mexican food I've had in Philly (at a time when that wasn't saying much, admittedly) and pizza at Le Bus, when it was still a bus. Cheap and plentiful and you wouldn't get sick if you were careful to pick the Chinese carts that had a few people waiting in line.

#94 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 03:43 PM:

Tina, et. al. Of course you can make them at home. But that's not fun. For one thing, you won't wrap the paper correctly, and it's hard to find the right relish, since most groceries don't have adequate hazmat licenses.

Plus, you miss the performance. Stand, counter or actual restaurant, half the fun is the assembly. (The Gold Coast at ORD fails this -- kitchen in the back. Sigh. Airports, they dehumanize everything.)

Ask TNH about Windycon, Portillios, and the guy running out a dozen red-hots at a shot. Like me, she admires professionals, not matter the realm. Get a scanner radio, and listen to the ORD tower controllers sometime. You'll either grok, or you wont.

Well, I'm sure that the LGA and JFK controllers are just as good -- but the Chicago controllers sound like Chicago Cops, in all their disorder preserving glory. One of the treats of Summer Chicago Life is watching the traffic cops berate people who forget what the basic rules are. It's not just that the lawbreakers are punished, it's the artistry. And, hey, which would you rather have? A bit of humilation from a cop who's hat makes him look like a cab driver, or a big ticket and points on the license?

Jenn - won't have a chance inbound, need to dash to the El and meet up with Dave and Helen (Yes, I'm going Inbound to go Outbound, but it means they don't have to go out to ORD, then over to Naperville. It's a win for them, and I avoid the cab.)

I can always get both on the way back.

Tina: Yeah, Portillo's sends kits (god bless 'em) -- but I typically hit Carm's out in the 'burbs off Roosevelt when I drive to Chicago, and get five pounds of beef, a pound of sweet peppers, and a quart of juice. One things St. Louis does have is bread, Italian, perfect (I will now summon expat St. Louisians with the holy trinity: Fritz's, Drew's and Ahmigettis'. Told you I'm evil. EVIL. Bwaha hack hack cough. Ahem. Sorry.) So, I don't need to haul the bread.

Then, I invite the family, and we sort of stop talking and start eating. It's not pretty, but what little charm the Olson's have has little to do with looks.

Besides, it's a beef. And it's much easier to cook at home than the pizza. The Frugal Gormet acutally has a very good version of the Due's crust for home cooking that works very well, but make sure you take all of them out of the oven when you're done.

The neighbors still talk about "burntzas."

#95 ::: Fran ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 03:44 PM:

I'll see you a falafel pizza and raise you a donair pizza. When my husband and I went to Nova Scotia a couple of summers ago, I thought the local pizza sounded pretty intriguing. I waited inside a dingy Pizza Delight for over 40 minutes waiting for them to put one together, then pounced on it once we got back to the hotel.

Well, the base of the pizza was adequate, and meat was sufficiently meat-ish. But why, oh why, had no one warned me the sauce was made from a mixture of evaporated milk, sugar and white vinegar?

#96 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 04:03 PM:

Santos L. Halper writes:

"Some other things you should try in the 'hood include:

"J'Adore (tiny-ass little bakery on 23rd around the corner from the BoA atms)"

Good coffee and excellent pastries. I have a problem with them--I cannot, for the life of me, make myself understood to the two women behind the counter, and after multiple iterations of having to re-state my order a half-dozen times, I kind of gave up. Teresa still goes in there, and sometimes brings me one of their marvelously carmelized cookies.

"Uncle Moe's (mexican, 19th bet. 5th and 6th)"

This one is entirely unknown to me, but I'll check it out!

#97 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 04:06 PM:

I've been gradually realizing that I don't think I'm familiar with the Chicago object being referred to by various people as "a beef". Erik?

I did very much appreciate Jack Womack's social history of modern New York as expressed through a single storefront business.

#98 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 04:19 PM:

I just now heard a horrified scream from the next room.

"Are you reading Fran's comment?" I asked sweetly.

"Aaaaaaaaaugh!" he confirmed.

There was a pause.

"Have you looked at the page she linked to?" Patrick said. "Apparently that's a regular Halifax thing."

"It's - it's - it's - what?" I said; then "What?" again, two octaves higher. "It's real?"

Condensed milk, white vinegar, sugar, and powdered garlic. I will show you terror in a handful of dust? Hah. I will show you horror in a slice of pizza.

#99 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 04:34 PM:

OK, I finally realized that I am not unfamiliar with the workings of my oven, nor basic cooking technique. Therefore, it is silly of me to sit here in lovely California, whining about the lack of decent pizza. This month, I will be personally testing various proported Chicago style pizza recipes found online, including one from a Mark Malnati, of Lou Malnati's pizza (although I am skeptical of any deep dish pizza recipe which calls for "tomato sauce" - will have to substitute).

I will be facing two things for the first time: working with raw tomatoes, and making a raised crust. I have thus far avoided any actual breadmaking as it's generally time-consuming and yeast is, when you think about it, kind of weird. (you make it all fat and happy feeding it sugar, and then you shove it in the oven! very Hansel&Gretel.)

Wish me luck!

#100 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 04:48 PM:

Patrick, 'a beef' is an Italian beef, which is slices of beef simmered in seasoned juice, served in a sandwich roll (which should be moistened/dipped for maximum flavor) with either sweet peppers or a hot garden mix. I favor the latter, but they're both good.

The next closest thing I can think of is a french dip, but the seasonings are very different.

#101 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 05:20 PM:

Ah. If I've had one of those it's lost to memory, but it sounds like something I'd like.

#102 ::: michelle db ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 05:50 PM:

Todd Larason,
Celery salt is dried celery seeds ground together with sea salt in approximately a 1:2 ratio.

#103 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 05:56 PM:

Speaking of finding food by artillery fire, one of the main armament turrets on HMS Belfast, moored in the Pool of London, is laid on a motorway service area on the fringes of London.

This should not be taken as a recommendation.

You could, when I visited the ship a decade ago, go right down into one of the forward magazines, with dozens of six-inch shells on the carousels ready to be run up to the turret.

Nobody is likely to walk off with a six-inch shell but, watching the video of those young seamen loading the guns, you could understand why the Royal Navy made a sport out of racing field guns.

#104 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 06:18 PM:

Paula, you will be horrified to hear that the University of Pennsylvania has systematically devastated the food truck ecosystem. Their preferred method involves destruction of habitat by lobbying for "quality of life" improvements. In the past ten years, all the food trucks have been removed from Walnut street by Penn-backed legislation. Initially, there was some notion of a food truck court, in which all the trucks would be sequestered. The food truck courts were located far from anyplace with substantial foot traffic, with predictable results.

Most of the trucks are gone now, including Penn's only Thai truck. (I miss Jow's Thai truck something terrible— he used to serve a dish called Crying Tiger that was so hot that he had to add a note to the menu saying, "No refund if too spicy.") My "quality of life" has not been improved.

#105 ::: David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 06:32 PM:

When last I was in Singapore, they'd done a really good job of rounding up their street vendors in such a way that you could still get excellent street food.

But a lot of stuff that works in Singapore doesn't seem to work as well when exported.

#106 ::: Lloyd Burchill ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 07:42 PM:

Years ago I worked nights for a bank just seconds from Halifax's "Pizza Corner" -- four Lebanese-owned pizzerias on a single intersection -- and I'd often succumb to a demented 2 a.m. craving for a donair slice.

It's a sweet-sour-meat-dairy-tomatoes-bread-and-grease bus crash with enough calories to stun an ox. Don't let it drip on your pants! The whole idea nauseates me now, but back when I was keeping vampire hours, donair slices seemed somehow plausible.

#107 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 07:57 PM:

Honolulu has lunchwagons all over the place; raise our taxes to fix the sewers if you must, but if you try to eliminate lunchwagons there'll be a citizens' revolt.

Here's a good example. Note that one of the items has the legend "no refund if too hot."

#108 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 08:13 PM:

... back when I was keeping vampire hours, donair slices seemed somehow plausible.

I've kept vampire hours most of my life, (for that matter, by a particular technical standard I am one) and it is quite possible that dining while the moon is an electric bug zapper upon a stormy sea does have an effect on bon saveur.

Of course, given what vampires are supposed to eat, is anybody surprised?

#109 ::: kate ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 08:23 PM:


I'm only familiar with raspberry lime rickeys. (Which you can find plenty of in Massachusetts, but most of them aren't any good.)

What are cherry lime rickeys like? (Other than, you know, cherry-flavored. That may be the main explanation, in which case, my curiousity is assuaged.)

Keep in mind I find most raspberry lime rickeys to be too sweet.

(Not to derail the thread, but do any Massachusetts people (Boston-centric) know where you can get a GOOD rickey? JP Licks doesn't count.)

#110 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 08:41 PM:

"with enough calories to stun an ox." Here in Greater L.A., once can purchase a Carnitas, Chorizo and Chicharrones (deep fried pork-rinds) taco with cheese. Enough fat to stun that same poor ox.

I remember Junior's, in Brooklyn, where the Egg Cream was considered low cal compared to the Malted. Is there something different about Malteds in Brooklyn from anywhere else?

Best restuarant name on my home street, after I moved out: Capulet's on Montague.

#111 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 08:50 PM:

Oh, forgot to mention (when I was misspelling restaurant) that, whether or not the creation myth of red, white, and green pizza connects to the Italian flag:

Chiles en nogada is called the "independence dish" as its colors are those of the Mexican flag. Made with green chilies stuffed with ground meat and almonds and covered with walnut sauce, and then garnished with pomegranate kernels.

Growing up in New York City in the early 1950s, my first Japanese restaurant and my first Mexican restaurant were there, both probably beta tests for the wave of Americanized versions, followed by the revisionist wave of more authentic one, and then the crossover mutant wave adding local ingredients and hybridizing cuisines. Just as the first true Szechuan restaurant was in Cambridge, Massachsetts area, right? That's what the hackers at MIT told me, circa 1973, when they tried reverse engineering Chinese algorithmically using a Chinese menu corpus of texts.

Have those Salvadorean Chicken places invaded Brooklyn yet, fighting for the Papusaria and El Pollo Loco niches?

#112 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 09:49 PM:

JVP - Back in my insufficiently misspent youth, I used to frequent Capulet's, along with my APO brothers. Man, I have great memories of that place! I think it's a pasta joint now. :-(

I don't think pupusas have hit NY yet. They sure as heck haven't hit Seattle, and I'm craving that goofy cole slaw-like salad that comes with them.

#113 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 09:54 PM:

(Not to derail the thread, but do any Massachusetts people (Boston-centric) know where you can get a GOOD rickey? JP Licks doesn't count.)

Emack & Bolio's has one on the menu. I liked the one I got, but I'm not sure I've had a "real" one to compare it to. YMMV.

#114 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 10:46 PM:

Larry Brennan:

"Capulet's... I have great memories of that place!"

Cool! Did they have live music sometimes? Or am I confusing memories, the last time I was there being with a fellow Sound Options editor, after we'd been hanging out with Allen Ginsberg, and I was not quite coherent.

"goofy cole slaw-like salad."

Pupusas, the national dish of El Salvador (approximately a thick tortilla traditionally made by slapping the dough from palm to palm to flatten it out, stuffed with cheese and shredded pork or other meats, then grilled) are always served with curtido, a variant of cole slaw, made from shredded cabbage and carrots pickled in vinegar, to become a relish sort of averaging cole slaw and sauerkraut, with a shot of hot pepper. One can also serve pupusas with a dollop of sour cream.

Pupusas can also be approximated as a cross between a quesadilla and a northern Chinese chong yow bing (onion pancake), with the curtido being parallel to a cole slaw without the creaminess hence similar to the Thai achart without the Thai chilies. Sweet, salty, crunchy, all contrasting nicely with the moist cheese-meat-grease-pancake dimension.

I'd think New Yorkers would love them, so there must be a pupuseria somewhere in the Big Apple.

#115 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2005, 10:47 PM:

I dunno about Salvadoran chicken. We do have a lot of Latin American chicken here in Little-Mexico-On-Long-Island, otherwise known as Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

Most notably, recently, we have our own branch of Pollo Campero, the biggest fast-food chain south of the Rio Grande, and wow is their fried chicken ever good. Colonel Sanders can bite me, I'm a convert to this stuff.

#116 ::: Kaleberg ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2005, 12:01 AM:

So, what were those great copy typist tricks? Inquiring minds want to know. There is no reason to let such arcane knowledge die.

#117 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2005, 01:35 AM:

Unspeakable horror dwells in Halifax. Ewww on the donair pizza.

(No, Lloyd, I didn't mean you. Good to see you here.)

I always thought someone should start a Mexican fried chicken chain called Chicken Itza. Or maybe Itza Chicken!

#118 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2005, 02:30 AM:

When we got home from seeing Howl's Moving Castle tonight I had to order a pizza and it's ALL Y'ALLS' FAULT. Good pizza though -- it came from the place down the street where I took T for Italian when she was here. Unlike every other Italian place in Seattle it is owned by actual Italians though it still has the traditional Greek dishes on the menu.

Courtesy of The Deluxe Bar & Grill I've been introduced to a Columbian/Venezuelan dish called arepas -- which sound a bit like pupusas but a little thinner. I've acquired the proper corn meal with which to do my own experimentation (since the Deluxe's version is actually hotter than I like) and intend to do that Real Soon Now. I loved cornmeal based stuff.


#119 ::: nina armstrong ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2005, 02:51 AM:

Oh, food downtown Phoenix, they used to have a ton of them that sold Sonoran hot dogs-yummy-wrapped in bacon instead of a bun..most of them are gone now-replaced by standard hot dog carts. Boring.
And I miss carts with paletas-Scottsdale discourages them...
Teresa, if i offended you I apologize greatly..

#120 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2005, 03:33 AM:

Michelle DB: Thank you!

Mary Kay: pointers, please, to the good Seattle Italian place?

#121 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2005, 03:45 AM:

Mary Kay:

The description of arepa that I find most convincing is in Linda's Culinary Dictionary

"arepas (ah-ray-pay-rah) - Similar to an English muffins but made from precooked corn flour, it is a cornmeal patty or pancake that is considered like bread in other countries. Arepas are popular throughout South America, but especially popular in Colombian and Venezuelan. It is considered the national dish of Venezuela (the local equivalent of an American hamburger). You can find arepas in small restaurants called Areperas. The most famous arepa is La reina pepiada, made with chopped meat, avocado and cheese. The favorite way to serve them in Venezuela is to split them open, remove some of the steaming moist corn meal, and then stuff them with your favorite ingredients. The arepa is wrapped in a square of slick paper (like butcher paper), and handed to the purchaser to eat standing up. Very few people make arepas at home, choosing to buy them at the store or have them delivered directly to their homes."

"You can also find them all over Miami, Florida (the traditional arepa served in Miami has two cornmeal pancakes with a layer of cheese inside)."

"History: First made by the Indians of Columbia and Venezuela, an important part of their diet just like corn tortillas were to the Aztecs. For many centuries, it was considered a food for the poor. Today they are considered a comfort food for everyone."

But the nice photos are at delectation,
January 31, 2005

"Arepas de Queso: Venezuelan Cornmeal Biscuits, filled with Fontina Cheese, Grilled Corn and Tomato Salsa (buttery, chewy, with a very nutty corn flavour.)"

However, some tweaks are required to these:

(1) arepas are distinguished from other corn flatbreads because they are made without salt.

(2) Well, as to saltlessness, that's at least in the Columbian version, I can't swear as to the Venezuelan version, as they have such a vast spectrum of pancakes (including wheat arepas), chicken, pork, beef, soups and stews, most famously Pabellón criollo (shredded flank steak and onions, with patacones [fried plantains], cheese and black beans, with tomatoes, on rice), often with unique blends of saffron, cumin and indigenous vegetables.

(3) Arepas can be served plain, as opposed to stuffed with cheese and/or various meats.

(4) The late Professor of Physics professor Ricardo Gomez, whose father was on the Columbian Supreme Court in pre-drug-lords era, was married to a splendid cook, who would serve these with sancocho (yucca and chicken soup). Colombian arepas are in the same fillings state-space as empanadas (meat-filled turnovers), and hallacas (chicken and meat wrapped in steamed banana leaves).

(5) Columbian arepas are, moving towards the sugary axis, related to cachapas (fresh sweet corn pancakes with ham or cheese). I think that eggs are more likely the filling ("Arepas con Huevo") in Venezuela than in Colombia, but I'm not positive. Ditto, if the filling is not shredded but parillada (barbecued meats).

(6) I hear about Arepas Rellenas Con Guiso De Carne in Venezuela, but don't have a clear taste-memory.

Teresa could report to us if the Venezuelan arepas in diminutive Flor's Kitchen (East Village) fit the description and rave reviews. Or in Jackson Heights, Queens, along Roosevelt street (good Columbian).

Is the Brooklyn Ice Cream factory next to Grimaldi's? And how far to Jacques Torres's chocolate store? And how's Gino's Pizzeria in Bay Ridge, or the Park Slope brick oven pizza at Franny's, or the pizza on Court St. in Carroll Gardens at Sal's or Mola? My cousin Cindy lives around the corner from Smith Street, and there are new good eateries each time I visit her there.

Also, although the original location of Nathan's in Coney Island is unrelated to the Chicago hotdogs earlier in this thread, I have fond memories.

#122 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2005, 09:00 AM:

Ah, Singapore. Not that I was ever there, but when we were in Guangzhou, I ordered "Singapore-Style Noodles" from room service, and they were so darn good. Long, thin noodles in abundance along with shrimp and chicken and pork and egg and onion, and there was a brown sauce with a faint tang of curry coming off of it.

I looked for those here, and the folks at our local Chinese carry-out said those would be Mei Fun Noodles, so I get those sometimes, but of course they're not the same. More industrial, and the curry sauce is nowhere to be found.

#123 ::: sundre ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2005, 01:02 PM:

All this talk of street food has me craving doubles.
Alas, there is no West-Indian food stand, restaurant, or grocery in this town.

#124 ::: cd ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2005, 01:07 PM:

Donair slices: sold here under the name "kebab pizza" (a lot of the local (.se) pizza places are run by people from ex-Yugoslavia (who were brought here in the 1950s by Volvo and other companies), and a lot of them sell donair (a.k.a. "döner" in Germany, and "kebab" here) - and combine 'em.

For your further horrification, some choice offerings from my local pizza place:
"Pizza Babylon": tomato sauce, cheese, fillet of beef, ham, champignons, and sauce bearnaise.
"Pizza of the Sea": tomato sauce, cheese, prawns, clams, tuna, crabfish, remoulad sauce (made from mayonnaise, capers, pickled gherkins, and parsley).
"Kebab Special" (n.b. this is a pizza): tomato sauce, cheese, kebab meat (i.e. donair meat), garlic, texmex sauce, ham, peppers. After baking add paprika, tomatoes, and onion.
"Pizza Testarossa": tomato sauce, cheese, fillet of beef, mincemeat, ham, asparagus, and sauce bearnaise.
Et cetera.

#125 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2005, 01:48 PM:

Mary Kay: My grandma was Venezuelan, and she made arepas that resembled JVP's description which we always ate plain. She also made empanadas, similar to those that are street food in NYC except with cornmeal dough instead of wheat. My aunt still makes them for special occasions; I should find out how. And when I have a spare $20 or so to blow on a meal, Flor's Kitchen is one destination I have in mind.

Kip: I love mei fun, but the curry version you describe I generally see specifically listed as Singapore Mei Fun. So try asking for that.

#126 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2005, 03:52 PM:

In Prince Georges' County, MD, they enacted a law years ago to outlaw selling food from cars or trucks (mostly to stop the crab & bbq sites). Now the local pupusaria vendors have gotten together to change the law.

We don't have food carts in Manassas (except during street festivals), but there's food places on the bottom floor of most of the buildings in Old Town.

Mary Kay, how did you like Howl's Moving Castle? Both of the WashPost reviewers hated it, and the local NBC critic said it was a very strange movie.

#127 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2005, 03:56 PM:

My wife, who lived in and got dual citizenship from Australia, and sneers at "SyBePa," hypothesizes that "Hawaiian Pizza" was invented in Australia. It's more popular there than in the USA, and Australia does grow a lot of pineapple. Aussies go for such concoctions, as with their hamburgers topped with a slice of beet-root and a fried egg, or their canned spaghetti sandwiches.

#128 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2005, 04:04 PM:

Marilee - FWIW, The NY Times liked Howl's.

I'm not a bit movie-goer, but I may just go see this one. Unfortunately, it's not showing at the Cinerama, which would make going a no-brainer.

#129 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2005, 04:42 PM:

Todd: The place is Palermo on 15th Ave. East. They even have a web site. Lemme know when you want to try it out and I'll meet you. Since I live on 15th Ave E myself I eat there or order take out from there rather more often than might seem prudent.

JVP: yep those sound like what I'm thinking of tho I didn't remember them as being that thick

cd: and I thought the Brits and Irish were weird for putting sweetcorn on pizza

Marilee: We didn't much like it actually. The last half was completely incoherent. There were some magical moments but on the whole, eh.


#130 ::: John D. Berry ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2005, 02:16 AM:

"Quelque chose" means "something," not just "thingy."

Not sure precisely what "thingy" would be, but it might one of these two: "le machin" or "le truc," which are basically "thingamajig" and "whatchamacallit" (not necessarily in that order).

("Truc" is also "trick.")

-- Quelque chose que soit

#131 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2005, 03:07 AM:

"Je suis Monsieur Quelquechose. Voici mon truc."

"Infernokrusher or not, buddy, you can't park da sucker here."

#132 ::: Lois Aleta Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2005, 03:19 AM:

JVP asks, "Any truth to the urban myth about white cheese, red sauce, and green basil to symbolize the Italian Flag?"

It certainly seems to be widely believed.

Article here about the history of pizza says:

Some writers have considered the pizza an invention of the man who is responsible for making it an international phenomenon (but the fact that this man worked in a pizzeria makes it difficult to call him the father of pizza!). In 1889, Rafaele Esposito of the Pizzeria di Pietro e Basta Cosi (now called Pizzeria Brandi) baked pizza especially for the visit of King Umberto I and Queen Margherita. To make the pizza a little more patriotic-looking, Esposito used red tomato sauce, white mozzarella cheese and green basil leaves as toppings. Queen Margherita loved the pizza, and what eventually became Pizza Margherita has since become an international standard. Pizzeria Brandi, now more than 200 years old, still proudly displays a royal thank-you note signed by Galli Camillo, "head of the table of the royal household", dated June 1889.

#133 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2005, 06:57 AM:

Speaking of words for "thingy", does anybody use "whizzer"? My uncle, who comes from North Dakota originally -- I think the only places he has lived are ND, Vietnam (in the milieu of US Army) and California -- calls thingies "whizzers" or "whizzes" but I have never met anybody else who did that.

#134 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2005, 02:31 PM:

Jeremy - The only whizzer I'm familiar with is usually made of porcelain. :-)

#135 ::: Jon Lennox ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2005, 03:27 PM:

Kip W: Chinese restaurants here (NYC) regularly have "Singapore Mai Fun", which is indeed Mai Fun noodles with curry and various meats.

I'm sure it's not as good as you get in Singapore, but it definitely matches your description.

#136 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2005, 04:03 PM:

Round pizza cut into little squares was something I encountered in Clinton, Iowa. Rastrelli's up in Lyons was the place to get it. Big teen party fare.

Another Iowa pizza thing is the sauerkraut and Canadian bacon pizza; a Happy Joe's Special at the Happy Joe's chain. Quite good if you like sauerkraut.

And in Ohio, there's Cincinnati chili. On spaghetti with shredded cheddaroid cheese on top for your basic 3-way. Add beans or chopped onion for a 4-way. Both for a 5-way. Oyster crackers on the side, frequently with a couple drops of hat sauce. Yes, on the crackers.

#137 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2005, 04:10 PM:

Cincinnati chili also includes mandatory cinnamon (and optional unsweetened cocoa or chocolate).

See, for instance, the recipe at
Cincinnati chili

"Outside of the state of Texas, Cincinnati, Ohio, is the most chili-crazed city in the United States. Cincinnati prides itself on being a true chili capital, with more than 180 chili parlors. Cincinnati-style chili is quite different from its more familar Texas cousin, and it has developed a cult-like popularity. What makes it different is the way the meat is cooked. The chili has a thinner consistency and is prepared with an unusual blend of spices that includes cinnamon, chocolate or cocoa, allspice, and Worcestershire."

Cincinnati chili lovers order their chili by number. Two, Three, Four, or Five Way. Let your guest create their own final product.

Two-Way Chili: Chili served on spaghetti

Three-Way Chili: Additionally topped with shredded Cheddar cheese

Four-Way Chili: Additionally topped with chopped onions

Five-Way Chili: Additionally topped with kidney beans

[Unrelated to this, I clearly recall some rattlesnake chili I had once; "tastes like chicken" but not quite, perhaps closer to alligator as in the unique alligator sausages of Louisiana]

#138 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2005, 07:53 PM:

That sounds interesting; next time I have a layover in Cincinatti I'll drop by the chili stand in the food court.

Or I could dump a can of Nalley's beanless on some spaghetti, I guess.

#139 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2005, 01:27 AM:

Jeremy: Whizzer is, I think, Brit school boy slang from some time back where it means something which today might be called really cool. I.e., The new Harry Potter is a real whizzer.

This is the only usage I've encountered.


#140 ::: Cornfed ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2005, 01:36 AM:

Another Iowa pizza thing is the sauerkraut and Canadian bacon pizza; a Happy Joe's Special at the Happy Joe's chain. Quite good if you like sauerkraut.

Oh Holey Barking Cats! Now there's a happy memory. I loved that pizza and am convinced it was the genesis of my 'kraut addition (I even commit the heresy of having it put on Chicago Dogs).
No proper 70's Des Moines birthday party was complete without a visit to Happy Joe's. They did a great taco pizza too. Other good Iowa pizza places include Felix and Oscar's out by Merle Hay in Des Moines (awesome deep dish with the sauce on top) and Mamma Nick's Circle Pizza in Waterloo. A Mamma Nick's with hand ground in-house Italian sausage and pepperoncini is bliss on a plate.

#141 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2005, 01:50 AM:

Stefan - I've had the Cincinnati n-way chili in the airport (which is, of course, in Kentucky) and found it bland, even with the proferred hot sauce. I hold out hopes for a more savory version in the city proper, but can't think of any reason I'd ever have to be there.

#142 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2005, 01:56 AM:

Cincinnati chili...yum. There are several chains that all claim to be The One, as with any local food specialty. I prefer Skyline, but Gold Star is acceptable.

I also want to hear of the typing tricks.

Food trucks: MIT still has theirs in the Kendall Square parking lot (next to bldg 68), and even laid out space for them on the other side of the lot by the Stata Center amphitheater (though they haven't moved yet...don't know why).

#143 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2005, 08:05 AM:

I'm adding this comment a bit late although it was about the first thing to occur to me when I read Teresa's post:

You guys all know about Chowhound, right? It is basically an online message board for talking about restaurants and food. (Originally it was devoted to New York restaurants but it is a good deal broader these days.) A nice place though I hang out there less than I used to -- blog-reading eats up a lot of my time online. A lot of the commentary in this thread reads like the cream of Chowhound postings. (And yes there is a fair amount of dross to filter out; but nothing like Usenet signal-to-noise ratios. Cream - dross -- I think this is a mixed metaphor but I don't have to hand the proper term to set in opposition to cream.

Disclaimer -- I am friendly with Jim, the owner/creator of Chowhound and I'm sure this biases by opinion of the site. OTOH I liked the site before I knew him.

#144 ::: Chad Orzel ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2005, 08:49 AM:

Food trucks: MIT still has theirs in the Kendall Square parking lot (next to bldg 68), and even laid out space for them on the other side of the lot by the Stata Center amphitheater (though they haven't moved yet...don't know why).

These were described to me by a former MIT student as "Technically, they serve food, because after you have some, you don't feel like eating for a while."

It wasn't all that bad the last time I was there, though.

#145 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2005, 09:54 AM:

Marilee: Howl's is great. According to someone who's read the book (I intend to put hands on it today), it compresses some themes and characters, but that's a universal problem of filmization. It's a Miyazaki movie, so if you're one of the people who just doesn't like wondrous landscapes, ecstatic flight, young women who refuse to give up, and a consistent anti-war message and therefore doesn't like Miyazaki, you won't like it. Even the dub's good.

The ONE thing I miss about being in S.Florida is the lowered availability here of arepas con queso. Sure, I can get them if I'm willing to go and get them, and there's acceptable versions available at the MozzArepa carts at every street fair (though I prefer to have a Dominican pork sandwich at those events), but there's an arepa cart in Pro Player stadium, which I must admit is nice.

And to further this thread turning into Chowhound, I should take a moment to recommend Andre's Hungarian Pastry Shop on Queen's Boulevard -- and in just a few days, in their new UES incarnation on 85th and 2nd.

#146 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2005, 01:00 PM:

I liked Howl's, but I liked it the least of the Miyazaki films I've seen. Which means I want to see it again to figure out what I'm missing. I think I agree with MKK that the second half is muddled, and I wonder how much of that is Japanese cultural expectations as opposed to USian cultural expectations.

#147 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2005, 03:15 PM:

Chad: the pan-Asian food truck is pretty reasonable, and by far the most popular with both students and local workers (who can presumably afford better).

#148 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2005, 06:21 PM:

BSD, I've read the book and seen all the Miyazaki movies I can get my hands on (and like most of them -- Kiki's Delivery Service is my favorite). Maybe that experience will make it better for me. But I think maybe it will be on DVD, not in the theatre when I watch it.

#149 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2005, 07:10 PM:

Tom -- I was expecting a bit of a muddle; to me Jones is not a highly organized writer. But I think the movie doesn't have much of the book (which I reread right afterwards); I think Miyazaki indulged all of his obsessions (airplanes/flying, anti-war, ...) at once, not just his interest in the fantastic, and that meant that some of the harder plot details he kept (e.g., why what was on the shovel was important) got piled around or cutified.

#150 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2005, 10:06 PM:

I'd want to see the subtitled version before I was sure of that, CHip. There was a lot of places where the dialogue was minimalized in ways that made the story difficult to follow (and I re-read the book just before going to see the movie).

#151 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2005, 10:24 PM:

Tom: what Jordin and I saw was the subtitled version and I was wanting to see the dubbed version to see if things were clearer in it...

Jordin's hypothesis is that someone had somehow imposed a time limit on Miyazaki and he just spent too much time on his obsessions and not enough on the story.


#152 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2005, 11:04 PM:

I guess I like Jordin's hypothesis. I was a bit puzzled / bemused by aspects of _Howl's_ plot. Especially the last-minute revelation of Turnip's true identity.

Um, let's not let Miyazaki off the hook. Perhaps he should have done a more faithful adaption of _Howl,_ and then done a whole movie about a rotten war between airship-wielding nations.

Mind you, I thought _Howl_ was astonishing. Utterly gorgeous and kind-hearted.

#153 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2005, 11:44 PM:

JVP, Junior's in Brooklyn is still there, turning out the city's best cheesecake. Not that I care all that much; cheesecake has always been a blind spot of mine. It's the rest of their menu I love. I'm especially fond of their buttermilk fried chicken, with their collards on the side.

(For the Brooklyn-impaired, Junior's is a Brooklyn landmark. It's owned by the Rosen family, which has been running eateries here since the late Twenties. Its menu is a sort of fusion between old-style kosher deli, Southern black cooking, and bits of Caribbean this and that, plus a deep commitment to major desserts.)

My favorite time to go to Junior's is Sunday afternoon, when the black church ladies show up in hats of power. But any time's good.

Did you know they have a cookbook out now? They fearlessly give away the famous cheesecake recipe. There are no surprises in it. Take a thoroughly debugged expert recipe for cheesecake, make it using top-notch ingredients and equipment, and you may be able to duplicate Junior's cheesecake. On the other hand, you can just pick one up, which is why there's a perpetual traffic jam on that block caused by people double- and triple-parking while they run in.

I'm surprised to hear that anyone at Junior's keeps track of calories. Another revelation from their cookbook is that there are four cups of heavy cream in one family-size batch of their rice pudding.

If you want to compare their egg creams with their malteds, I can give you the recipes for both. Did I mention that Junior's now either owns or distributes U-Bet chocolate syrup, the canonical syrup for egg creams?

Junior's Chocolate Egg Cream

2-3 oz. U-Bet chocolate syrup
4 oz. very cold milk
cold selzer, about 6-8 oz.

Use a tall soda glass that holds at least a pint. Pour in about an inch of chocolate syrup, then stir in enough milk to fil the glass one-third full.

Tilt the glass and squirt in enough seltzer to generate a tall white head of foam. Serve immediately.

Junior's Chocolate Triple Rich Malted Milk

2-3 oz. U-Bet chocolate syrup
8-9 oz. very cold milk
2-4 tbsp. malted milk powder
1 giant-size scoop chocolate ice cream, about 6 oz.
Junior's never-fail whipped cream

Use a tall soda glass that holds at least a pint. Spoon about 2 inches of chocolate syrup into the bottom.

Pour in enough milk to fill the glass two-thirds full, add the malted milk powder, and stir until no more streaks of chocolate syrup appear.

Scoop on the chocolate ice cream, attaching it to the rim of the glass and letting it hang over slightly. Using a pastry bag with a large fluted tip, pipe a mountain of whipped cream on top.

So you see, the egg cream really is the lower-calorie option.

Aren't those recipes interesting, thought? I think that must be the old unmechanized version of the chocolated malted -- which, come to think of it, was originally called a "malted milk."

Egg creams are notorious for containing neither egg nor cream. I've wondered whether the name isn't a hand-me-down from the older flips, syllabubs, nogs, and possets, which often contained both.

#154 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2005, 12:30 AM:

Years and years ago, and maybe still, I-Con parties used to feature egg creams. (Yeah, we were a Long Island convention, but that was practically New York if the party was in Chicago or San Digeo.)

I used to fly / drive to Nasfic / WorldCon / Boskone or whatnot with jars of U-Bet. I recall it being really hard, in some cities, to find actual seltzer.

The drinks were a mixed success. Some people came back for seconds. Others took a few polite sips and left the cups in the corridor outside.

* * *

Apropos almost nothing: My mother used to work in a methadone clinic. She and the other dispensing nurses used to hand out the patients' daily doses dissolved in water and Fox's U-Bet _orange_ syrup.

#155 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2005, 12:54 AM:
(For the Brooklyn-impaired, Junior's is a Brooklyn landmark. ... Did you know they have a cookbook out now?

I've never actually been to Junior's (what can I say - I haven't been to Brooklyn since before I got to choose what restaurants to eat in), but I can certainly endorse the cookbook. The latke recipe makes some of the best I've tasted (the best according to friends of mine). They might be even better if you are not lazy like I am and skip the blanching step.

#156 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2005, 01:16 AM:

With all this talk about egg creams, I feel compelled to put in a word for the vanilla version. Mmmmm. Vanilla egg creams.

The one impediment to making proper egg creams these days is the absence of seltzer, delivered in old fashioned siphon bottles in beaten up ten bottle wooden crates by a crotchety old man in a vintage seltzer truck.

When I was little, the last vestiges of the once bustling traveling vendors of Brooklyn were, in order of earliest extinction, the pickle man, the *branded* square-truck Good Humor man, the seltzer man and finally the knife sharpening and umbrella repair man. There once were many more, but that was before my time.

#157 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2005, 07:59 AM:

So, Once Upon A Time, Last Friday.

No. That won't do. Let's use the other opener.

No shit, there I was, on the El, heading into the loop to meet up with my ride at 100W Madison. As the train is about to pull away, three gents rush on. Given the accents, chattiness, and the Boston Red Sox caps, I quickly surmise where they came from, and make the obligatory California joke. Quick conversation where they're going. They ask what they call Comiskey Park now, I answer them with the correct answer. [1] They're wondering how to get to the hotel, I tell them, along with the brief primer on how they can get around town. [2]

We talk baseball. I mention St. Louis, they smile, I explain that, as a Cubs fan, watching them sweep the Cardinals was a beautiful thing. We discuss various teams, but mostly, it all boils down to "Needs Pitching." Albert Pujolds is mention, as he should be, given the monster hitter that he is.

Then, one asks, and I kid you not "Have you heard of this place called Gino's East?"

Lo, children, I was tempted. I could see Darth Sarcasm, right there, beckoning me. "Feel the power of the smart side!"

But, no, Honor prevailed. I allowed that I might have some recollection of the place. Two of them moaned -- apparently, this guy spent most of the week not shutting up about how he had to go to Gino's East. Had I known that, lo, they might have ended up in Andersonville. [3]

Directions were given, mention was made of the large amounts of beer on Navy Pier, and how one should stop by Grant and Millenium Parks to see Fountains and Bean, and as I reached my stop (Clark and Lake, for those following along) I bid them farewell, and walked the three blocks to 100W Madison, met up with Dave and Helen, and returned to the convention world, whereupon, it rained mightly.

During the short walk, I did stop, briefly, and paid my respect at the spot where the Bluesmobile fell apart, as any good person should. But that's another story.

I miss the lake breeze, I do.

[1] Sox Park.

[2] I wonder how dazed Bostonians and Londoners get dealing with the right-angles and straight lines of the Chicago Street grid?

[3] Svea's or Sather's acting as apology. Mmm.

#158 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2005, 08:08 AM:

And, I just realized that I took both PNH&THN and a medium sized group from SMOFcon by the spot where the Bluesmobile died, and failed to point such out.

I'm so very ashamed. But, if anyone should ask, yes, you were there, on the very spot.

#159 ::: jse ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2005, 10:44 AM:

I know I'm late in this thread, but I just couldn't let it pass by without recommending the Pink Teacup if you're ever in the West Village. People will say Sylvia's or Copeland's or Charles's has the best soul food in new york. They are all, without doubt, either uninitiated or intentionally delivering lies of omission for the sake of saving themselves table room (the Teacup only holds about 20). It's at 42 Grove street. Small sign. Tucked away. You sometimes have to look for it. But trust me, it's worth it.

If you are lucky enough to go, I recommend the strawberry pancakes with porkchops and a side of collared greens.

#160 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2005, 12:01 PM:

When I arrived in Olympia, Washington, on my first-ever visit to the Northwest, my question at the local pizza place was, "What's geoduck [mispronouncing it like it's spelled]?" I doubt you can get it now--they export it all to Japan.

Jack, Mill Luncheonette, as it was known then, with its original Holocaust-survivor proprietor, dates back at least to 1967. It was much as you originally describe it then.

PNH, I've been to the Dumpling House several times, and will no doubt go again, though I favor the even more spartan Fried Dumpling (Allen St., a few doors south of Delancey St., on the west side). High volume means they're always made pretty fresh. But I'll have to try that pancake. Sounds like a variant on the classic Vietnamese sandwich.

#161 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2005, 02:52 PM:

Robert: They still had 'em at the Pike Place Market when I was there last month.

The geoduck: the most phallic mollusk I've ever seen.

#162 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2005, 04:28 PM:

... and a side of collared greens.

*Collard* greens, please! (Y'all must be Yankees.) "Collard" from the Old English colewort or colewyrt (cabbage plants). Very high in anti-oxidants, and the plants are practially indestructable. Traditionally they are cooked into submission, preferably with the help of some pork product, but steaming to "al dente" better preserves their nutritional value. There's a 15th century recipe for "buttered worts" that calls for clarified butter rather than pork fat, and cautions mysteriously "... late none otemele come there-in." Good advice, I'd say.

And Teresa, thanks for those egg cream recipes. Even down here in this sleepy little southern college town, we can get U-Bet syrup.

#163 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2005, 05:41 PM:

Robert, we always dug our own geoducks.

Tracie, collards are inedible. All cooked greens are.

#164 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2005, 06:23 AM:

Some greens are better for being cooked; lightly steamed rather than boiled to death, though. Brussels sprouts are a good example (and they are so greens, little neotenic cabbages).

#165 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2005, 11:20 AM:

Larry Brennan: "When I was little, the last vestiges of the once bustling traveling vendors of Brooklyn were, in order of earliest extinction, the pickle man, the *branded* square-truck Good Humor man, the seltzer man and finally the knife sharpening and umbrella repair man. There once were many more, but that was before my time."

I can't vouch for the others, but the knife-sharpening man's still around. When we lived on Carroll Street in Park Slope, I'd sometimes see him of a morning parked at the intersection at the top of our block, where there were three highly-rated restaurants and a couple more pretty good ones. The sous-chefs would be starting their day, and he'd be looking to see whether they wanted their knives sharpened. A few times I ran up and had him do an expert job on some of my odder knives.

Tracie: Harleian, right? "Take all maner of good herbes that thou may gete, and do bi ham as is forsaid; putte hem on the fire with faire water; put there-to clarified buttur a grete quantite. Whan thei ben boyled ynogh, salt hem: late none otemele come there-in. Dise brede small in disshes, and powre on pe wortes, and serue hem forth."

Since I'm not Marilee, I'll volunteer that that's a dish I'd happily eat. Come to think of it, that's a dish I've made (slightly modified), one cool rainy year when the usual crops weren't coming in on schedule, and the vendors at the farmer's market were filling in with seldom-seen greens like dandelion and purslane and nettle. I served it to Patrick as a soup. He liked it well enough; I liked it better.

"Late none otemele come there-in" doesn't seem all that mysterious. I'd take it to mean "don't try to thicken the vegetable broth." If you used an interesting variety of greens, and reduced the amount of water you used to cook them, the liquids they'd throw off in cooking would combine to make an interesting broth. It's the same principle I use when I'm making my vegetable soup.

The only thing I can think of that you'd use oatmeal for in this context is as a thickening agent, like we'd use cornstarch or a roux. It can't be to pad out the dish; that's what the bread's for. Neither would it be there to sop up excess salt, as when they'd tie up a good handful of oats in a cloth and put it in to cook with the broth coming off a piece of salt meat. Must be oatmeal as thickening that's invoked in order to be dismissed.

Note also that when you're getting the dish ready to serve, the verb is "powre," and that there's no mention of straining the cooked greens, so the broth is going onto the diced bread along with the greens. Letting it soak into bread cubes is a way to show off a broth, so it's fair to assume that the cook wanted it to have its proper characteristics.

Tom: Brussels sprouts still on the stalk are one of the weirdest-looking vegetables in nature. Don't you love gross morphological mutations? The first time I saw doughnut peaches, aka flying saucer peaches, I had to buy one to see whether the pit was flattened too. (It was.) And broccoli romanesco's just glorious, so manifestly fibonacci-built and fractal. When we first saw it, Scraps said "Broccoli from Oz!", and was right; but I think it was Patrick who then said "Mandelbroccoli." (Unless it was you. It's the sort of thing you'd say.)

#166 ::: Lisa Spadafora ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2005, 01:57 PM:


I'm very late getting back to this thread, but my favorite lime rickey is at Mr. Bartley's Burger Cottage (Bartley's, to the initiated) in Harvard Square. Plus they have to-die-for onion rings and fun burgers. If you don't mind the kind of place where other diners aren't so much at their own table as in your lap and no bathroom, it's definitely worth a visit.

You can also get a great limeade at the Brown Sugar Cafe, in the Fenway neighborhood, along with the best Thai food in Boston. (save room for the fried ice cream)

#167 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2005, 06:06 PM:

Tom, I *do* like brussels sprouts, if they've been pouched in an acid. I hadn't thought of them as greens, but they are, in a very infantile form.

#168 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2005, 07:11 PM:

TNH: you've expanded my horizons again -- I'd \never/ have dreamed up something like broccoli romanesco. I would have expected fibonacci shape (I've read it's common in nature as a way of maximizing use of sun), but this looks like it went through Inverter #2 (the one in Doorways in the Sand

#169 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2005, 07:19 PM:

Wow - that broccoli is pretty amazin' an' edumacational an' all, but how's it taste?


Marilee - I love Brussels Sprouts, but have never thought to poach them in an acid - what do you use? Lemon juice? Rice vinegar? I usually just blanch them and sautee in olive oil with garlic and red pepper flakes.

#170 ::: Eimear Ní Mhéalóid ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2005, 06:00 AM:

Mmm, Veselka. Some friendly NY fans took me there on my one and only visit to your fine city. I think I'll save this thread and print it off for my next visit ... apart from making me hungry this is definitely putting the longing on me to return.

#171 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2005, 08:18 AM:

Hey, I used to cook at Veselka long about 1992 or so! I'd advise any old East Villagers with Veselka nostalgia to skip it, renovations and expansion 5 or so years ago took away most of the charm and few of the old cooks are still in the kitchen. Better options include Ukranian Village Home next door, or the Ukranian place a few blocks down 2nd Ave that I can never remember the name of.

#172 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2005, 01:56 PM:

Lisa Spadafora: Seconded on the Brown Sugar Cafe recommendation. There's another (larger) location near BU, as well as another one owned by the same folks near the CambridgeSide Galleria (a short walk away from where I work, conveniently).

#173 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2005, 05:45 PM:

Larry, I usually use apple juice and put in some dill. I'm a supertaster (at least when I was tested before the stroke and my experiences since lead me to believe I still am) and the acid takes down the sulfurosity. I say that's a word.

#174 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2005, 06:13 PM:

I'm not sure how authentic this is, but it is tasty. Trader Giotto's frozen "Pizza Gorgonzola e Pere" = Gorgonzola & Pear Pizza, cooked in woodburning ovens, crust is wheatflower/salt/sunflower oil/brewer's yeast, also has mozzarella, asiago, and grana.

#175 ::: Alter S. Reiss ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2005, 04:13 PM:

[TNH on travelling street vendors]

I can't vouch for the others, but the knife-sharpening man's still around. When we lived on Carroll Street in Park Slope, I'd sometimes see him of a morning parked at the intersection at the top of our block, where there were three highly-rated restaurants and a couple more pretty good ones. The sous-chefs would be starting their day, and he'd be looking to see whether they wanted their knives sharpened. A few times I ran up and had him do an expert job on some of my odder knives.

Well, in some of the less well-off neighborhoods in Jerusalem, you'll still get alte zachin men. They go around, with a little cart or suchlike, saying "alte zachin", which is yiddish for 'old things', and will buy a wide variety of used things. And they'll sell the stuff that they've already bought, as well.

Nowadays, most of the alte zachin men are Arabs; it's sort of strange to hear an Arab guy calling out in Yiddish to people whose first language is either Hebrew, Amharic, or Russian, but it gets the message across.

#176 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2005, 05:27 PM:

For those of you in Brooklyn, here's a translation of some common phrses in Los Angeles (courtesy of L.A. Times Magazine, 12 June 2005, p.30):

A New York minute = an L.A. hour

I'm running a few minutes late = I hope you brought a book

We're setting your table now = the couple who have your table are almost finished with their appetizers

I'm just getting into the car = I'm just getting out of the bath

I'm on my way = I forgot we were meeting

I'm stuck in traffic = I may reach my destination, or my mummified remains might be unearthed by archaeologists in 2136

Let me get back to you = I'm hoping for a better offer

I think we should reschedule = In another lifetime

#177 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2005, 10:58 PM:

Alter S. Reiss -- Just curious, is "z" in Yiddish pronounced like "z" in German ("ts") or like "z" in English? I am wondering what the cry of "alte zachin" would sound like.

Today was going to be my big chance to try out Dumpling House on Eldridge but alas, things did not pan out that way, nobody else wanted to walk that far. Instead we went to Excellent Dumpling House on Lafayette, which is while not exactly bad, certainly of less superlative quality than its name suggests.

#178 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2005, 11:58 PM:

Jeremy - Just a note that Yiddish is a written with Hebrew letters, so the "Z" could be Hebrew Zayin and pronounced like English "Z", or German initial "S", as in alte Sache. Ahh, the confusion of transliteration.

Somewhat off topic, I had a college friend who worked for NYC checking in on elderly folks on welfare. He's an African-American, and his German is near-fluent, so they posted him to Midwood (Brooklyn), a Jewish stronghold. He quickly learned variants that made his German more Yiddish-like, so the old ladies on his beat who otherwise might have been hostile or suspicious towards him fell instantly in love with him and were always trying to feed him.

I miss Brooklyn.

#179 ::: Alter S. Reiss ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2005, 12:52 PM:

Yeah, the "z" is pretty close to the English z.

#180 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2005, 03:49 PM:

I made a discovery today that I should share: the Kati Roll Company. Apparently, they've had a little place down in the Village for a while, but now they've got another, slightly-less-little one on 46th between Times Square and 6th Ave. They sell only one thing: the kati (or kathi) roll, which is Calcutta's answer to the wrap sandwich.


One of the two rolls I bought had crispy-crumbly ground lamb spiced with cardamom and loads of black pepper, plus a vegetable pickle with peppers and sweet red onions, all wrapped in a six-inch paratha round that was hot and dense and just a little greasy. It was spicy and savory and filling and Really. Good. I blather further on about it here, if anyone's interested.

#181 ::: sherry ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2006, 05:07 PM:

what is the name of the drink made with chocolate syrup, selzer and possibly milk

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