Got your plans set up for Labor Day weekend yet? No!?? Go check out the Parked NY Food Truck Festival on Governer’s Island this weekend on Sunday. It’s free to take the ferry and it’s free to attend the event. The food? Not free, but it’s going to be a stellar food truck line up and well worthwhile!
Some of the food trucks confirmed for the parked food truck festival so far include:
Jamaican Dutchy Food Truck, Rickshaw Dumpling Food Truck, Green Pirate juice Food Truck, Joyride Truck, Red Hook Lobster Pound, Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream Food Truck, Halo Berlin, The Cinnamon Snail, Kelvin Natural Slush Co Food Truck, Hermelinda Mexicana and more!
WHEN : Sunday, September 5th
WHERE : Colonel’s Row @ Governors Island
DOORS : Noon – 5pm
COVER : Free!
RAIN DATE: Sunday, September 26th
Ferry Schedule Link: http://www.govisland.com/html/visit/directions.shtml
I checked out Governer’s Island last week for the Jazz Age Lawn party – it was awesome. If you have a bike, bring it along. It’s a great way to check out the entire island. Governor’s Island is kind of shaped like an ice cream cone. Colonel’s row is runs West East across the island at the upper (bottom of the ice cream scoop) portion of the Island. Enjoy!! These NY Food Trucks won’t disappoint!]]>
72 Clinton St (at Rivington)
Back in 1998, when I would visit my friend Tizoc in the Lower East Side, the coolest place to hang out was Johnson’s (still is in my opinion) and the best place to eat was Cibao Restaurant. Both the bar and the restaurant have surprisingly survived the gentrification of the Lower East Side. PBR is still a few bucks at Johnsons and Cuban sandwiches are still less than $4 at Cibao. Cibao, in my opinion still makes the best Cuban sandwiches in the city. One reason is they roast all their pork fresh and keep it greasy and hot in their steamer next to their sandwich press.
If you can’t make it down to Cibao, here’s a recipe for you to make your own at home. It’s a perfect way to use that leftover pernil roasted pork.
Cubano Cuban Sandwich Recipe
3-4 slices of fresh roasted pork (make your own or buy at a local deli)
3-4 slices of ham
1 kosher dill pickle sliced
hero bread roll
Take the roll and cut lengthwise but don’t separate the pieces. Lather on the mayo and mustard. Add the ham, then add the pork, then add the pickle slices, then add cheese. If you have a sandwich press, press till golden brown.
If you don’t have a press, you can improvise by placing your sandwich inside of a toaster oven and pressing down the sandwich with your metal toaster tray. I used a metal cup to put extra force on the sandwich. Toast or broil for a few minutes till cheese melts and bread is golden and crispy. Slice the sandwich diagonally in the middle and eat immediately. Enjoy!
157 E. Houston St. (between Allen and Eldridge)
New York, NY 212.473.9900
Hours Everyday 5PM – 12AM Fri-Sat Open til 3AM
Macondo where swanky Miami meets semi-grungy lower east side AKA Lower-East-Packing. If you don’t mind the annoying Lower East Meat Packing crowd or if you get there early for their happy hour (till about 6:30 7pm?), Macondo is awesome. Sorry, I guess lately I’ve been kind of a hater of the lower east side. It’s just too over run with B&T and not too recently the meat packing crowd. Call it evolution, progress or gentrification. It happens.
Back to the food. The best way to describe the menu at Macondo is a unique mixture of fancy South American and Caribbean street foods. For happy hour, you can choose from a variety of small tapas dishes ranging from $3-$12 with some dishes that include a free Porron (sparkling red wine in a glass pitcher with a long spout from which you pour straight into your mouth – or someone else’s).
We started with a plate of the crispy spicy honey calamari which was a definite hit. The subtle spice, the crispy fried calamari with a sweet honey finish makes for a great appetizer. Then we split a cubano sandwich with a side of yucca fries. I’ve had better cuban sandwiches but this dish is definitely one that will do the job of filling you up since most of these dishes are on the small side.
Then our favorite dish was the Siete Potencias which is oysters, shrimp, clam, octopus, mussel, scallop, calamari in a tequila carrot aji-amarillo citrus sauce. Just think about these ingredients for a minute and you’ll realize how awesome it can really be.
We also managed to stuff down an arepa which turned out to be so so (I like the ones over at Caracas a bit more) and a sandwich with polenta and quail which had great presentation but as for taste, I can’t say I was a huge fan.
Also be sure to try out a few of Macondo’s special cocktails. The mojitos were very nice and I hear they have a special cocktail made from avocado, spiked with mescal, Cointreau and a coca leaf liqueur. Getting to Macondo early is my best advice and try to get one of the 2-3 stools by the sidewalk in the Summer / Spring time where you can enjoy your drinks al fresco. Enjoy!]]>
New York, NY 10027
(212) 662 – 0090
Take the 1 train or the M4 Bus to 125.
I know – Lots of Cuban posts recently and here’s one more to the pile. Floridita Cuban restaurant is one of those once a hole in the wall, now going upscale restaurants in Harlem. You know what I’m talking about – when a great successful restaurant with lots of customers recreates its brand and expands. Think Sylvias or Amy Ruth’s – both also in Harlem. Hey Amy Ruth’s has a fricking velvet rope on the side walk for the purposes of crowd control for crying out loud. Floridita has a new expanded Spanish Tapas lounge room next door. I have to say though, it can be a gamble when restaurants do this – they risk alienating their core local clientele at the expense of the new gentrified folks. I suppose they kind of did it right with this one by putting in the Tapas place next door eventhough it’s still under the same roof and management. As for the food at Floridita the prices are still reasonable – you can get an authentic Cubano sandwich for just $3.75 We ordered the Pollo Arroz for $8.95 (chicken and rice) and it was enourmous (what is it with these cuban restaurants I’ve been going to lately?) It is served in a large casserole pan and the waiter scoops out the rice and chicken onto your plate. Needless to say we had leftovers for 2 additional meals after stuffing ourselves. I also ordered the Chuleta al Horno (baked pork chops) for $8.95. It’s baked and served under a bed of grilled carmelized onions and comes with a large side of rice and beans. Again, plenty of left overs. Because Floridita is open early and closes late (maybe open 24 hours?) they have an extensive breakfast menu, dinner and late night snack selection – not to mention a featured special for each day of the week. Check it out my friend – it’s still totally worthwhile.]]>
1620 SW 8 St.
Down in Miami a few weeks ago for a conference and checked out Casa Panza in Little Havana Miami. It’s a Spanish Tapas restaurant that features a free Flamenco show and on Mon and Weds you can take salsa dance lessons by Dimension Latina Dance Studios in the back room from 7-9PM or call David at 305 979 4419. David, his sister and his girlfriend run the salsa lessons – really great people and excellent dance instructors. The back room of Casa Panza also has a large stage where they host live bands – I’m sure it gets pretty crazy on the weekends. I was there on a Weds night so it was a little slower but I enjoyed watching the flamenco dancing in the restaurant. The food is a little pricey but little did I know how enourmous the plates were. I had the osso bucco which was amazing. They also have a fixed menu that has a wide range of classic dishes like Arroz Caldoso, Paella de Mariscos, Frito de Verano, and Chorizo Guisado con Patatas.
I’m sure it’s a lot of fun on the weekends with the live music and dancing. Definitely going to go back and check this out again.]]>
1950 SW 8 St
Miami FL 33135
“Welcome to my Little Havana” – I didn’t see any signs that officially marked out the beginning of Little Havana or Calle Ocho in Miami, but you can pretty much sense the borders of this vibrant ethnic neighboorhood. I was so happy to find this place – Not like I have anything against South Beach, but one can only take so much of the touristy food. Little Havana, is about 10 or 15 blocks long and is a self contained area packed with Restaurants, Clubs, Bars, Grocery Stores, Accountants, Doctors offices, Post Office and everything else you would need. Basically a Cuban version of Chinatown. During the Carnival celebration, Calle Ocho hosts one of the largest Cuban festivals with over a million visitors. Another fun fact: Calle Ocho earned an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records when 119,986 people formed the world’s longest conga line on March 13, 1988.
I drove down Calle Ocho a few times and decided to start with a hardcore local joint to get a real taste of the food and culture in Little Havana. I spotted “Nelly Restaurant” -shrouded in a protective steel security gate with its bright red ‘Comida Cubana’ sign next to the take out window, this restaurant literally called out to me. (I felt like I was back in Spanish Harlem). Inside, the restaurant is peaceful and relaxing, a mid day soap is playing on Telemundo on the TV above the food counter – the restaurant owner and a local customer exchange greetings in Spanish. I don’t think this place has changed much since it first opened – very simple and functional. Which by the way, is a great sign that the food is top notch. I check out the steam warmed food station and order a plate of chicken and a cuban sandwich. The chicken is juicy and the sauce is amazing. The cuban sandwhich (only $2 here vs $11 on South Beach) is also really good – they have a real panini press to grill the bread and melt the cheese to perfection. In my short stay in Miami, I’m so happy I found this neighborhood. So much for the South Beach Diet and touristy food. Who needs it anyway?]]>
820 Ocean Drive
Miami Beach, FL 33139
I was out in Miami this week for a conference and on the first day I checked into my hotel at the Royal Palm hotel. Unfortunately they had an annoyingly late check in (4pm) so I decided to grab some lunch down the street on Ocean Drive. Here, I found a lot of your typical touristy seafood and burger places but because I was in Miami I really wanted to check out something more authentic and local. It was pretty difficult – every place had these massive shrimp cocktails and lobster on display curbside. Lario’s kind of stood out (no fake food in the front), no ladies in leapord print tights (hey this is Miami), just pretty a tasteful restaurant. Got a cup of Ceviche to start, a cuban sandwich and a side order of plantains. The Ceviche was massive and I was almost too full to enjoy the Cubano and Plantanos. (Both were excellent). But the quest continues – I discovered Calle Ocho / Little Havana. Posts to follow.
Was out in Hoboken, New Jersey a few weeks ago. Haven’t been out there for a long time and it sure has changed. Every block there’s at least 3 or 4 real estate offices selling luxury condos on the waterfront with Manhattan views. Yes, there’s still the loads of bars in Hoboken, but for the most part I’d have to admit when these new glass condos are built nearby it’s never going to be the same again. Fortunately there’s still some local flavor in the neighborhood such as La Isla – A Taste Of Cuba. This is a major locals hangout where you can get some great food for low cost. I believe it’s BYOB too at least that’s what it says on the card. I ordered a cuban sandwich or ‘cubano’ – it was also on a toasted bread like they do at Sandwich City in Spanish Harlem (actually I am sad to announce that that Sandwich City is no longer in business) Anyhow this sandwich was good but again, I have to say the bread makes a difference and here it just tasted like a regular bread roll – nothing spectacular. The other items we ordered however were amazing such as the plantains, the rice and beef steak and the Papa Relleno It’s basically a deep fried mashed potato. Potatoes mixed with picadillo spices, eggs, and breadcrumbs then deep fried to a crisp. The outside is a golden brown and the interior has the savory and spicy potato filling. I’d probably travel all the way to Hoboken for one of these (until I can find a place in Spanish Harlem that makes these). As the landscape and demographics of Hoboken / Jersey City change, I certainly do hope that places such as La Isla – A taste of Cuba survive and continue to give a little flavor to the neighborhood.]]>