Island Time with Michelle L.

Being a recent full time working stiff, I  did not have the benefit of spring break.  But fortunately for my friend Michelle (whom you might remember from her food discoveries in a Bangkok mall or her shabu shabu soliloquy), a member of that noble but oft disrespected breed known as an NYC public school teacher, she did have a spring break. And she took good advantage of it by going to Jamaica.  Judging from her latest dispatch, it looks like she had a high time, indeed.  You see, I’m alluding to the fact that people have been known to smoke the ganja in Jamaica.  I think I might be the very first person to have ever done that in the history of words.  Anyway, I am in no way implying that Michelle partook of such herbal remedies, but looking at the photos of the food she ate on her trip kind of gave me the munchies (not that I know what that feels like).

Click on the photo below for the full story and you too will be feeling irie.

7 Mile beach



NYC Eats (with a smaller group of people) – Fu Run

This is the final installment of the NYC Eats (with Matt and other friends).  I wanted to get this out sooner, but I got a little waylaid by the recently acquired full time j-o-b.  So although this meal was eaten almost two weeks ago, its flavors  have been seared into my cerebellum and I remember it like it was yesterday… okay maybe like a week ago.  What I do remember is that with the exception of one dish (which was merely mediocre) the food was uniformly fresh, intense, full of strong, primary flavors and a whole lot of lamb.  We went to a Dong Bei restaurant in Queens called Fu Run. Using a year-old NY Times writeup about the proliferation of Dong Bei Restaurants in Flushing as a guide, we suggested for  Matt’s last NYC dinner one of the the recommended restaurants: Northeast Taste Chinese Food (don’t know if that was a direct translation or what).  Running late as usual – my fault, as usual – Shefali and I speed-walked from the Flushing subway stop the nine blocks to NTCF where Matt, Alex, Waine had been waiting for about half an hour.  Unfortunately, despite it’s super creative name,  in the year since the article was published, Northeast Taste had changed ownership and was now a Peking duck restaurant. While, we all love a good Peking duck, were really had our minds and stomachs set on food from former Manchuria so we stopped by another of the four recommended restaurant from the Time’s article, a nearby place called Hong Yi Shun.  Yet again – I was starting to sense a pattern here – HYS  had transitioned into a different restaurant and while the menu looked appetizing, it didn’t offer quite the dishes we were looking for.  The urgency of the situation was rising as I sensed the growing pissed off-ed-ness of everyone including myself  due to our lateness and the continued emptiness of our stomachs.  We decided to put our faith in the article one last time and headed to a third recommended restaurant, Fu Run which was all the way back where we’d all come from, a block from the subway.   After a wrong turn had us panicking that this restaurant was also no longer in existance (what had we done in our previous lives to deserve this karma?),  we finally righted ourselves and spotted the large awning and bright windows of the promised land, aka Fu Run.  After another nearly interminable wait, during which I kind of lost it – I get emotional when I’m hungry – we were finally seated. And then we ordered.  And then we ate.  Praise Buddha, did we eat.  Take a look for yourself.

[not pictured above: the two varieties of lamb dumplings]


NYC Eats (with a bunch of people) – Tanoreen

Matt is long gone, but the memory of this meal remains strong. We wanted to take Matt to a Michelin star restaurant so we headed straight to Bay Ridge Brooklyn, of course, to one of our new favorite spots, Tanoreen.  You might remember that back in November, I took Shefali there for her birthday.  Since then, we vowed to return but with a larger group of people so we could further explore the numerous dishes on the menu.  So, with Matt’s visit as an excuse, we got a great group of eaters to join us.  In no particular order, the participating eaters were: Matt, Alex and Leo, Maria and Ahmad (my Tokyo eating buddy , Minori (of tonkatsu fame), Shefali and me. I’d say we did a pretty decent job.  You be the judge.



NYC Eats (with Brett and Matt) – Brooklyn Pizza tour (lite)

When I asked Matt what he really wanted to eat while in  NYC, one of the first things he mentioned was DiFara Pizza. Because I’m such a great host – or a genie, I made his wish come true.  But, I’m also a believer in the Protestant ethic – that one must earn one’s pizza (I think that’s what Protestants believe) – so I suggested that we hop on our bikes and make the four mile ride to Midwood where DiFara is located.  I told Bret (aka meatball hands) and instigator of the original Brooklyn pizza tour to meet us at DiFara and he did.  Then  after we ate a whole delicious pie between the three of us, Bret suggested we head to L&B Spumoni Garden to sample a totally different style of pizza, so we did.  Matt and I hopped back on the bikes for the three mile ride to L&B.  On the way I suggested that we should hit Totonno’s in Coney Island but then I remembered we we had to meet Bret at L&B because he drove separately.  Once there, true to our words, we each got a square of L&B pizza which was totally superfluous, but still delicious.  Here’s the photographic proof.




NYC Eats (with Alex, Matt, Shef and Shuna) – Peels

Day two of Matt’s visit saw us making big plans. First we’d get some culture by going to the New Museum.  After burning serious calories appreciating contemporary art, we’d go have lunch at Peels where our friend Shuna is the pastry chef extraordinaire.  So did we succeed in our grand plan?  Well 50% percent of it.  But for that 50% we gave 110%.  You see, the musem was closed (that’s a proper excuse), so along with our friend Alex and later Shefali, who came after work, we devoted the entire afternoon to a four hour lunch.  Basically, we showed up, Shuna recommended some things we should order and we ordered all of them. Here’s what it looked like.