Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sweet Melissa - Brooklyn

An Old Sweet-Tooth Favorite
I'm headed back to Paris today and saved Sweet Melissa for last. This is one of the four places in NY I would confidently take a Parisian for baked goods (the others are Baked, Trois Pommes and Amy's). It's a patisserie/cremerie/sit-down brunch/lunch spot. It's one of those rare places where I like everything they make and is named after a real person, Melissa, who can often be seen hunched over a bowl of dough, covered in flour, a big smile on her face. She loves baking and you can taste it, especially in the almond brioche bread pudding. Unlike other versions, hers is light, moist and brimming with flavor.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mile End - Brooklyn

Jewish Deli Straight Outta Montreal (but in Brooklyn)
Let me jump right to it - here are the reasons why I like this place:
One, the owner quit law school to open it - which is like a two-fer. Second, the brisket on rye pictured below was SLAMMING. Third, they were running a Joy Division soundtrack. Joy Division! Who the hell knows from Joy Division these days?

The Victory - Brooklyn

What The F???
Say this in your best John McEnroe voice: "YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!!!" This place, the Victory Cafe, may just be my most beloved coffee spot in the world. So, it felt like a punch in the gut when I read this sign on their door this morning.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mom's Diner - Syracuse

This One's for My Girlfriend
This blog's readership has grown over time, usually because folks are searching for places to eat in Paris. Some of the Paris entries may lead you to believe we're fancy - but we're not. More often than not we're easily satisifed with the simplest of foods. So, in keeping with the mission of the Puff List, in honor of that cutesie girl whose photos are to the right, I offer up one of her favorite, simple meals - something we in the States take for granted - a nice greasy spoon diner breakfast of scrambled eggs, hash browns and toast.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tangra Masala - Queens

Chinese Indian Mashup
Unlike the mash-ups that I do myself (see here) this one came pre-mashed. During the meal, my Indian colleagues and their wives debated the origin of Tangra food - Chinese re-mixed for the Indian palate. A little post-meal research proved one of them right - it originated from a specific neighborhood in Kolkata (Calcutta) where many Hakka Chinese settled. Tangra is traditional Hakka food with Bengali influence. I don't know Hakka from Bengali but I can tell you this - if you like it deep-fried and spicy, this place is a godsend. Just take a look at this shrimp pakora!

Monday, January 18, 2010

One Girl Cookies - Brooklyn

I Draw the Line at Cookies for Breakfast
Ok, that's not true. I have, in the past, eaten cookies for breakfast. Matter of fact, I still do whenever I play hooky from work - my version of a bad boy double-down (yes, I know, I'm so scary dangerous.) Anyway, this morning I was chatting with the Puffin, who is half-way around the world and mentioned I may visit One Girl Cookies, one of her favorites. Her jealousy was palpable. I knew I'd hit paydirt when she tried to talk me out of it. See, making each other food envious is part of our relationship. I'd been there before and found the cookies to be overpriced for their size. This visit I got a biscuit and scone.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

L.A. Burdick - Manhattan

Chocolate Infestation
I'm always happy to welcome a new chocolate spot, you can never have enough of those. I learned about L.A. Burdick from Dessertbuzz a while back and ventured over there today to give it a spin. They're definitely shooting for a high-end clientele. Question is - am I high-end?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Fresh-N-Fast - Manhattan

The Burger Wars as Spectator Sport
Some folks take their burgers very seriously, I'm just not one of them. I simply ask that they taste good and refrain from sitting stubbornly in my stomach like a monkey wrench. That doesn't mean I'm not enjoying the "In-N-Out rip-off" controversy - I am - but I'm not going to let it interfere with my analysis. You see, I've been in Paris for a long time and they ain't got no burgers in Paris. Know what I mean?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Caffe dei Cioppi - Paris

Italian Lunch, in Reverse
I was so full, but I just had to do it. The fondant au chocolat stared at me through the whole meal (or was it the other way around?). I paired it with a steaming hot latte for good measure. If you're gonna take a two hour lunch, you may as well go all the way.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Noodle No 1 - Paris

On the Drawbacks of Being White...
There aren't many negatives to being white but when it comes to spicy food, there's a major one: nobody will serve you any. They figure you can't handle it, or worse, you'll drop dead on them in mid-chew. I've been on a Dan Dan noodle hunt here in Paris and got a recommendation from a reader, Daddy D, who pointed me to Noodle No 1. Today was perfect timing, a frosty winter day that would be laughable after a mouthful of fiery Sichuan noodles. I did everything I could to signal I wasn't a typical gwai lo, I even ordered in Mandarin, but it just wasn't to be.....

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Dalloyau - Paris

On the Twelth Night of Christmas...
There's a special cake to celebrate the end of Christmas here in France. Today, Jan 6th, is the festival of epiphany, where you eat the Galette des Rois - the "cake of kings", to celebrate the three kings. The cake, a puff pastry filled with frangipane (almond paste), is only sold during this time of year - you can find them everywhere, not just in Dalloyau.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Kwong Satay and Swee Guan Hokkien Mee - Singapore

Looking for Gold, Finding Diamonds....
Of all places, I was in Jakarta watching television and saw a show about good places to eat in Singapore. This Singaporean guy was waxing philosophical about Swee Guan, a place that specializes in Hokkien Prawn Mee (otherwise known as wok-fried noodles with shrimp.) I convinced Puffin to take me there. Turns out, the real find was the stall next door, Kwong Satay. We're talking delectable....

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Casuarina Curry - Singapore

Another "Famous Stall"
Everyone in Pingle's family knows I love Roti Prata. First thing I get when I arrive in Singapore is a Roti Prata breakfast. I don't necessarily have a favorite - I usually just go to a local spot in Serangoon. Of course, this being Singapore, everyone wanted to bring me to a "real" Roti Prata place so I could get a good one and learn the difference. This may just be a case of personal taste but most of the Roti Prata at Casuarina Curry just didn't do much for me.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Ponggol Nasi Lemak - Singapore

Hitting a "Famous" Stall
I'm always a little wary about visiting a famous place because it's usually over-crowded and not good enough to deserve the wait. Ponggol is "the" place to get Chinese-style Nasi Lemak, a Malaysian dish of rice cooked in coconut milk, egg, anchovies, sambal (chili paste), sliced cucumber, peanuts and in my case a fried chicken drumstick and a side of eggplant.