Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Best Recent Eatings

Just thought I'd blog up a little about places I've eaten in the last month-ish.

Han Dynasty

New East Village Sichuan spot, I've been here for lunch three times now and am torn between exploring the menu and sticking with the stuff I knew I'd love.

Their Dan Dan Noodles are easily the best I've ever had. A major standout.

Spicy cucumbers were very nice.

And their Dry Pepper-Style Chicken (a.k.a. Chong Qing Chicken on many other menus throughout the city and world) is very nice. Chong King Chicken is one of my favorite dishes, period. An Han Dynasty makes their's very nice and crispy.

The East Village is also suddenly filling up with new taco spots. First I tried Tacos Diana because I heard they had Al Pastor from the spit on tap.

But I am so, so sorry to report that the taco just did not register with me. What coulda been a .357 bullet was just a blank. Makes me want to hang my head and cry.

A few blocks up 2nd from Tacos Diana there's this other new place, Otto's Tacos. 

Upon arriving, red flags abounded. For example: Valentina at every table? Who uses Valentina? This is like hot sauce for potato chips (I'm serious), not tacos. And they weren't cooking meat to order, it was sitting on skillets underneath heat lamps.

But I must tell the truth: these tacos (I tried the asada, carnitas and shrimp) were very tasty. There's no way for me to get around it, Otto's Tacos made me some very nice tacos ("fresh" homemade corn tortillas were a little cold, though) and the side of rice and beans I ordered was quite generous and tasty itself. So I can say this: If you're walking down St. Marks to 2nd Avenue and craving a taco, turn left. Not right.

Educational or Redundant?

While we're talking Mexican, there's also this new place La Taquitoria on the LES that serves ONLY taquitos, either Classic Style or Not-Classic Style. I got an order of chicken and an order of pork. And you know what? They tasted exactly like they should. This place should do very well with the late-night LES drunk crowd. Can't really say it's a destination restaurant worth coming down from Inwood to try, but certainly worth ducking into before heading home to 200th street, if that's the sort of thing you have to do.

Okay, why stop the Mexican streak? The other week I went to a Food Writer and Rock Star birthday party at Mission Cantina, the new Mexican restaurant by the Mission Chinese Food people that will be opening later this month. I didn't think it would be appropriate to blog about eating at a hot new restaurant that isn't even open yet (in fact, from what I understand it was their second night serving food to friends or family) or a birthday party that wasn't mine . . . but now more Mission Cantina stuff is appearing on the internet, so I think it'd be okay to blog it with some decorum.

I ate a ton of stuff that night, photographed very little, was surprised by how traditional and authentic the flavors were. I didn't eat very many things that represented as wild a Mexican cuisine as the Mission Chinese take on Chinese food, if you follow me. But I'll go on the record with this: Best Carnitas taco I've tasted in ages, if not ever. Holy cow. They should put a family-style Carnitas feast on their menu, a Mexican Bo Ssam, if you would.

Moving away from Mexican food.

Remember how my family gave me a ton of hamburger gift certificates for my birthday? I'm still working on all those hamburgers. Recently I put my Five Guys certificate to work.

As well as the Spotted Pig.

I'm still eating cheap noodles in my neighborhood,

And Chinese chili tacos before I go to the Film Forum.

Recently I grabbed lunch at the remodeled Mile End in Noho, enjoying the heck out of the smoked meat poutine.

Some Brussels sprouts,

And Matzo ball soup.

Oh, and also, the other morning I had a Mc Donald's Big Breakfast platter for the first time in, say, 25 years? I'm not sure it was even on the menu board. Jeff just knows the right way to order from the McDonalds secret menu.

No comments: