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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

Fried Chicken: Preserve 24

Preserve 24

I was having doubts about going to Preserve 24 for their fried chicken. Couple days before deciding to go, I had read what the guys over at The Infatuation wrote about their experience at Preserve 24. They gave the place a rating of 1.2 (out of 10) and basically said everything they ate was crap. Oh boy. But no matter what, I had to find out for myself.

Unlike The Infatuation guys, I went for brunch and not dinner because that’s the only time they serve the fried chicken. I took a seat in the near empty bar at around 12:30p. I ordered a Bloody Mary and the fried chicken.

The Bloody Mary tasted generic and was nothing special. After a moment, my fried chicken came. Sitting inside a cast iron skillet were 3 pieces of chicken (drumstick, thigh, breast), 2 biscuits, and a bottle of honey wasabi ($17). It looked pretty damn awesome but how did it taste? Well, it..was…pretty….damn…..good. The pieces of chicken were crunchy, salty, and juicy. Though if only the meat had a little more seasoning, this dish would’ve been great. Well, that’s what the bottle of honey wasabi was for. Drizzle that all over the chicken! And be sure to ask for a bottle of hot sauce too.

As for the biscuits, I really liked them. They had this really nice crispy outer shell which some people might hate but I enjoyed the crispiness. The inside was nice and fluffy.

Overall, I thought the dish was good and solid.

Preserve 24 177 E Houston St. Manhattan, NY

See what other fried chickens I have eaten for my fried chicken project.

Sheemaker’s Bounty At Untamed Sandwiches

sheemaker's bounty

Here in Brooklyn at a bar called South they serve what they call the Grilled PBJ&J. That’s peanut butter, jelly, and (pickled) jalapenos. It’s an incredible creation, taking something familiar — PB&J — and adding something unexpected — the jalapenos — that makes the sandwich special. The acidity and spiciness of the jalapenos makes the perfect bridge between the peanut butter and the jelly, and the sandwich is grilled so the bread is warm and crispy. I bring this all up because I recently had a peanut butter, jelly, and broccoli sandwich at a restaurant in Midtown. It’s called the Sheemaker’s Bounty, and at first it didn’t occur to me what I had ordered. It’s described as containing “charred broccoli, fried almond butter, and pickled raisin jelly.” As soon as I bit into it I realized that it tasted exactly like a PB&J that someone had jammed a load of broccoli into. Now this isn’t as bad as it may sound. There is actually nothing off-putting about the combination. But unlike the jalapenos in the Grilled PBJ&J, the broccoli doesn’t add anything or enhance the sandwich in any way — well, other than adding some nice green veggies to a PB&J (AB&J?). Does that make it healthier? Anyway, the sandwich was good but I can’t envision going out of my way to get another one.

Untamed Sandwiches — 43 West 39th St

Fried Chicken: Charles’ Country Pan Fried Chicken

Charles' Country Pan Fried Chicken

I LOVE YOU CHARLES! How can you not love Charles’ Country Pan Fried Chicken, a place that churns out great food and great fried chicken? Also for $13, you can do the all-you-eat and stuff yourself silly.

I have read many reviews about this place, some say it’s the best fried chicken while some complain about the actual tininess of the space and the use of heat lamps. All I can tell you is that, both times I went was right when they open on the weekends. I don’t know the quality of the chicken in the afternoon or at night. I can only tell you how the food tasted at 12:30p and it tasted great.

If you have never been to Charles’, you should know that this is not fried to order chicken. It’ll most likely be sitting inside the fried chicken case with heat lamps above it, keeping the pieces of wings, drumsticks, thighs and breast warm. Getting there right when they open is your best bet for getting some fresh hot fried chicken. There’s also the steam table full of mac n’cheese, collard greens, black-eyed peas, rice, okra and one time there was even a whole ham. Yes, if you pay $13 for the buffet, even the ham is all-you-can-eat. The fried chicken, with near perfect crispy non-greasy skin, was great but the both times I had them, I thought it needed just a little bit more salt in the meat. Though I just squirted some hot sauce and everything was just fine. The food on the steam table was pretty standard stuff which you can skip if your main goal is the fried chicken but I can’t say no to all-you-can-eat mac n’cheese!

What I really love about Charles’, besides the all-you-can-eat, is the relaxed atmosphere. I know that isn’t for everybody but I love walking in with couple friends, grab a big plate of fried chicken, stack them up real high, and just sit there for hours eating and eating. No fuss, no one to bother you, no need to deal with attitudes. And the best thing, after eating 9 pieces of fried chicken, I did not feel gross or wanted to die which is pretty important for buffets.

Charles’ Country Pan Fried Chicken 2839 Frederick Douglass Blvd #1, Harlem, New York

See what other fried chickens I have eaten for my fried chicken project.

Fried Chicken: Sweet Chick

Sweet Chick

Howard is my Yelp. Not that he bitches all the time about poor services and bland dishes but he is a bit critical about what he likes and dislikes. Hahaa! So when he said he really liked his vegetarian chicken and waffles at Sweet Chick, I knew we have a winner.

I’m a lover of chicken and waffles. I don’t quite understand why there are haters. It’s a GREAT combination. Crispy, carby, chicken, fried, syrup, butter, hot sauce, all great things. And Sweet Chick does it really really good. The pieces of chicken are juicy, tasty and crispy while the waffles are fluffy with nice crisp edges ($16). Also I love their inventiveness by having General Tso’s chicken and waffle and sometimes duck confit and waffles!

Sweet Chick 164 Bedford Ave Williamsburg Brooklyn

See what other fried chickens I have eaten for my fried chicken project.

Hot Beef And Pie At Four & Twenty Blackbirds

Hot Beef Combo

This past Sunday, I was introduced to something I have never heard of or seen before. Hot beef!

Four & Twenty Blackbirds hosted an event with Amy Thielen (host of Heartland Table on the Food Network) where Thielen served hot beef (a combination of smoked brisket sandwich with a scoop of mashed potatoes and covered in gravy) and the Elsen sisters paired it with their blackbottom oatmeal pies PLUS complimentary Jeni’s ice cream and Kelson beer. Oh…boy. The hot beef was delicious, well I mean what’s not to like about meat, bread, potatoes and gravy?! The meat, smoked by Fletcher’s, was tasty and tender. I went back and forth between the hot beef and ice cream. Dude, that’s Jeni’s ice cream! I couldn’t let it melt so 2 bites of hot beef then 1 bite of ice cream.

It was fun hanging out and catching up with the Elsen sisters and Alex aka Brownie.

Also the unlimited flowing of Kelso beer. Ah yeah.

Four & Twenty Blackbirds, 439 3rd Ave Gowanus, Brooklyn

Park Slope Chicken

Park Slope Chicken

So Chinese New Year is finally upon us. The year of the horse begins Friday 1/31 and my friend and I decided to host a Chinese New Year dinner. I’ve been thinking about what to cook and stuff. Trying to plan a meal that will be reasonably priced yet feeds 12 adults is hard.

But while planning this dinner, I thought about Peking duck. Duck is expensive so I thought, why not chicken instead? So I came up with this great idea of using chicken skin instead of duck skin and called it PARK SLOPE CHICKEN (well cause I live in Park Slope)! And then I can use the meat for the three cup chicken dish. Done! This weekend I decided to try it first and it came out pretty good. I had wanted to use 5 spice on the skin but I totally forgot to buy it at the store. So this version is just plain old salt and pepper. And it was super simple to make the cracklings, stick it in the oven for 40mins and it came out perfect.

So check out this recipe…

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