Pizza At Houdini Kitchen Laboratory

margherita

Ridgewood is an interesting neighborhood. Technically in Queens, it’s right on the border of where Queens and Brooklyn meet. I was last there for Bun-Ker, which is hard to get to by train. Much easier is Houdini Kitchen Laboratory, a new pizza place that’s been getting a lot of buzz on all the food blogs lately. I stopped by on a weekday for lunch, and found the place tucked away next to a loading dock. They have a really beautiful, airy and open dining room, as well as an outdoor patio. I sat on the patio, with a view of that loading dock, and I ordered the Margherita. You may have noticed that the pizza crust has none of the char that I love so much. Instead, the crust is flatter and more like a regular pizza-shop pizza. The pie was still good; a little wet in the center, like a traditional Neapolitan pizza, with a nice balance of sauce and cheese. The sauce could have used a little more salt, but after eating the first slice I doused the rest of the pie in some of the chile oil provided on the table and that helped some too. While I enjoyed the pizza at Houdini, I wouldn’t call the Margherita destination-worthy. If I lived in the neighborhood I’d probably be there pretty often, but I have better, closer options right here.

Houdini Kitchen Laboratory — 1563 Decatur St, Ridgewood

Prince St. Pizza Is Worth The Trek To SoHo

Prince St Pizza

Happy Friday! I suggest leaving work early and head straight down to SoHo for a slice of this incredibly deliciousness at Prince St. Pizza. A Paulie Gee approved pizza joint, it is situated in the heart of SoHo. If you have live in NY long enough, you’ll probably wonder…..a great slice joint in SoHo?! Yes! The corner slice, $3.95, that I got (the Spicy Spring) had a nice crispy bottom and gooey top. The crust was chewy and light and who can say no to those cute looking slices of pepperoni.

Also, I love the corner slice. Are you a fan of the corner slice, if so…we’re best buds!

A great way to start the weekend.

Prince St. Pizza 27 Prince St, SoHo

Vegetarian Ramen At Momofuku Noodle Bar

hozon ramen

As a vegetarian, I’ve never really felt the urge to dine at any of the Momofuku restaurants. When he first started out David Chang made it pretty clear he didn’t care much about vegetarians, though over the past few years that’s started to change. Then I read this article on Eater about a new vegetarian ramen they’ve been serving at Momofuku Noodle Bar with Hozon broth. Hozon is a local company, also owned by Momofuku’s David Chang, that’s been making fermented products similar to miso, and at the Noodle Bar they’ve made it into a ramen broth. It’s not as good as the both at Chuko, but it’s a great bowl of noodles. The broth is salty and rich, and is studded with fried chickpeas, crispy crackers, and sauteed kale for texture. Better still were the noodles; so firm they almost snapped between my teeth, and with an almost buttery aftertaste. I’m glad I finally gave Momofuku Noodle Bar a chance, as I can now cross that one off my list of NYC restaurant experiences.

Momofuku Noodle Bar — 171 1st Ave, NYC

Vegetarian At Rockaway Tacos

rockaway tacos

I’ve lived in NYC for almost exactly 11 years now, but up until recently I had never been to the Rockaways. So on a beautiful summer day I took the train out as far as it would take me and emerged on a lovely strip of beach. After getting my toes wet I was ready for some food, and I knew just where to go: Rockaway Taco. Tucked into a tiny storefront space a few blocks from the beach, Rockaway Taco is a Rockaways institution. I got a couple of tofu tacos, piled high with fresh veggies and avocado. There was no way to eat them without making a mess, but I’d gladly do it again; the tacos were fantastic. Dare I say it — I enjoyed them more than the tacos I usually get at the Red Hook Ball Fields. I don’t know when the next time I’ll find myself in the Rockaways, but when I do I know where I’ll be eating.

Rockaway Taco — 95-19 Rockaway Beach Blvd, Rockaway Beach, NY

Banana Durian Ice Cream From Morgenstern’s Finest

morgenstern's ice cream

Ignore the pink scoop on top — that was Strawberry Sassafras, which was fine but not particularly remarkable. The pale yellow below that, however, was one of the tastiest things I’ve eaten all year. The Banana Durian ice cream at Morgenstern’s Finest, on the Lower East Side, was incredible. Durian is a fruit native to SE Asia, notorious for its unique odor, it’s custad-like texture, and its flavors of cheese and onions. Click here for my reaction to eating fresh durian for the first time. The banana mixed in helped mellow the durian flavor, but it was still quite pronounced in all of its funky glory. My first bite of the ice cream made me sit up and take notice; I was transported back to the streets of Kuala Lumpur. My second confirmed my first impression — this was something special. I couldn’t get enough of it, and even considered going back for a pint to take home. I think it’s better as an occasional treat, though, and there’s something comforting in the knowledge that there’s banana durian ice cream out there, just waiting for me to return.

Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream — 2 Rivington St, NYC

Go Get Portokalopita Right Now

portokalopita

A couple of years ago Donny wrote about the portokalopita from Uncle Gussy’s food truck. Although I never tasted it, I started thinking about it. It sounded so good, but I hardly ever went to Midtown and anyway it’s not something they always have. Made by the owner’s aunt, the cake made of orange zest, cream, syrup, and filo is an occasional special on the menu. Cut to last month, when I was briefly working in Midtown. Donny texted me to let me know that Uncle Gussy’s had portokalopita, so finally my chance had come! Unfortunately Donny was wrong, they were going to have the dessert the following day. So I had to wait another whole day. Anyway, it was worth the wait. The portokalopita manages to feature every fragrant flavor of an orange — sweet, sour, and bitter — and pack them into a delicious cake. So go follow them on Twitter and if you see they have the dessert, go and get it.

Uncle Gussy’s Food Truck

Meat Hook Sandwich

Meat Hook Sandwich

After months of drooling over photos of The Meat Hook crew testing out potential sandwiches, they finally opened their sandwich shop to the public.

Their menu is short and simple, consisting of 6 different sandwiches. Gyro, Italian, roast pork, roast beef, ham and cheese, and a chicken sandwich. I sort had my heart set on the roast beef sandwich, until I got to see the more detailed menu at the counter. The chicken sandwich wasn’t just a chicken sandwich but a hot fried chicken sandwich ($12). Ding! You know I can’t say no to a fried chicken sandwich. This sandwich was massive and I loved every bite of it. Spicy, crunchy, flavorful, sauce dripping, and everything held together nicely by a very nice bun.

Though just heads up, when Robert Sietsema of Eater went, I noticed the cannibal sandwich had replaced the chicken sandwich. What da what?! On Instagram, Brent Young told me that the menu will rotate like crazy. I’m glad I was able to try the chicken sandwich and can now move onto try the other sandwiches.

Their hours are 11 – 4p everyday.

Meat Hook Sandwich 495 Lorimer St. Williamsburg, Brooklyn