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Friday, December 25, 2009

Some Little Pepper pictures

(Little Pepper has moved.)
I can't think of any food I would rather have on a cold Christmas day than Little Pepper... I can almost feel these hot peppers warming me up right now. Luckily, it appears to be open (as are most Chinatown restaurants in NYC), so out I go--just as soon as I do some practicing!

Some pictures from a recent outing there by the tireless Jose...

Wontons in red hot oil:

The broth is not as fiery as it looks. In fact, the overall effect is (for me, at least) that of comfort food!

My favorite cold appetizer, chicken in spicy sauce:

My new favorite rice dish here, the fried rice with Sichuan brined vegetable (what the name doesn't mention is the minced pork!):

Enhanced pork (similar to twice-cooked pork):

Braised sliced fish in spicy soup base:

Cauliflower with smoked pork belly:

Shredded pork with dried bean curd:

And, what is probably my favorite dish here, the whole fish with spicy minced pork:

Little Pepper
133-43 Roosevelt Ave., Flushing 11354
(7 train to Main St.-Flushing, then a block and half west)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Café Sim-Sim, revisited (CLOSED)

Café Sim-Sim continues to be my all-round favorite restaurant in New York. I eat here on an average of perhaps once a week, and let me tell you, it is NOWHERE close to where I live. But for food of this quality, prepared with this kind of care, it is worth every bit of the effort it takes to get the there. And folks, it's not such a bad trip: 3 blocks from the Ditmas Ave. stop on the F-train. Go. Enjoy. Return. Try everything on the menu. I've worked my way through probably two-thirds of the menu and haven't hit a dud yet.

Here's some food porn from one of my many recent visits, courtesy of Jose. Unfortunately, we still don't have a picture of my favorite thing so far on the menu, the home-fried potatoes with chanterelle mushrooms (described here). And for you sturgeon fans, Aron cures all of his fish in-house and offers two kinds of smoked sturgeon--I am especially partial to the Sevruga. Also not pictured are the sturgeon kebabs, which are, as one would expect, fantastic. But this should entice at least a few of you to give this place a try.

The "Stolichniy" salad, or Russian salad--a delicious take on egg salad, with the addition of ground chicken:

The wonderful lipyoshka bread (лепёшка), served warm:

Piti, a hearty soup made with lamb on the bone:

Kharcho, a soup of lamb, vegetables (tomatoes, onions sweet red peppers), and rice, garnished with cilantro:

Kebabs and fried potatoes: chicken lyulya (each wrapped in its own piece of lavash flatbread), and a piece of pork neck:

My favorite kebab on the menu, pork neck, starring in its own solo shot:

As I recently found out the hard way, it's probably a good idea to call ahead just to be sure they're not closed for a private party. Although it's not a bad trip if one gets to eat upon ones arrival, it's a huge annoyance to be go and be turned away, and you'll get no apology from anyone for it.

Café Sim-Sim
312 Ditmas Ave., Brooklyn 11218
(F train to Ditmas Ave., then 3 blocks east)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Lao Bei Fang Dumpling House

Tonight I understood that it's worth a trip from almost anywhere to eat the beef stew hand-drawn noodle soup at Lao Bei Fang Dumpling House. The noodles are pulled right when you order them, and the stewed beef is sublime (and not to be confused with the "beef hand-drawn noodle soup", which is just thinly sliced brisket--sort of--and beef broth). Be undaunted by the chunks of tendon and cartilage: they add flavor--not to mention texture--dimensions to the dish that are vital to its fabulosity.

I was also told here that hui xiang is dill, but it appears that fennel is the more accurate translation. I think I like the pork and hui xiang dumplings even more than the pork and chive ones.  (This place has since moved around the corner to 83-05 Broadway, where I don't actually know if it's still possible to watch them pull the noodles when you order them.)

Lao Bei Fang Dumpling House
83-05 Broadway, Elmhurst 11373
(G, R, or V train to Elmhurst Ave., 1 block south on Broadway, then left on Whitney)