Spicy & Tasty

The Roommate and I went to Mets opening day this year, and by the second inning we were already looking past the inevitable Blue Smoke -or- Shake Shack -or- That Awesome Taco Stand decision to dinner.

(Mind you, it was a great game, too, but this is not a baseball blog.)

Dinner, we decided, if we were not too drunk to make the trip (were, did anyway), would be held at Spicy & Tasty out in Flushing, because goddamn it, how hard is it to find decent Chinese in New York?

S&T did not disappoint at all. The dan dan noodles were so good I could have skipped the rest of the meal. The shredded beef with peppers was exactly the thing that we always try to order from other places and that never lives up to its description, and it bowled us both over. The other stuff we ordered? Lost in the haze of Sichuan peppercorn, hot chilies, and beer.

One serious standout, however, were the sticky peanut ball things (real name unknown), pictured below. Sticky bun-ball, crushed peanut, sugar. I can't underscore how ridiculously rich these things were. Between the sweetness of the sugar, the savoriness and salt of the peanuts, and the rich, sticky texture of the bun, these things are a challenge to end a meal with, but provide the perfect punctuation to say, "Ok, I am definitely done eating now."


Baohaus: As Expected

While eating third bao-taco-wonderment of the night, and second pork belly of such, inadvertently blurted out: "Hrrrnnng I wanna fuck this sandwich." Seriously, it is the greatest thing since... steamed bao? Note to self: try not to say that in public again.

Also, I found out this evening that Baohaus has "Bao fries." Bao fries are little fried chunks of bao that look like pretzel bites and taste like a Taiwanese funnel cake. They are served with a sauce that from look and effect can be described only as "black tar heroin." Holy bao, they will change the way you think about life, and how they are robbing you of it, bite by precious bite.


Baohaus Addendum

I am returning to Baohaus tonight. I am so excited I can barely get through the day. It's like a magic combination of pork belly and crack. Is it time yet?


Bow Down To Baohaus

Holy shit, holy shit, I found it! I have found the best pork bun in New York. Yes it's less traditional than the offerings at, say, Vanessa's on Eldridge, yes it's actually more like a miniature banh mi (sans carrots) in a squishy bao bun than anything else, but it's essentially pork on a bun, and it is the best.

This guy pictured below, called the Chairman Bao (har har), is some of the sweetest, fattiest, most delectable pork belly you've ever had, paired sparingly with cilantro and crushed peanut, and laid gently in a squishy, wonderful bao bun.

But look, what's important here is the reaction of the eater. In this case, one bite was sufficient to produce entirely involuntary, vaguely bestial sex noises. Two bites raised the volume, and three incited a declaration that I was eating the "best fucking thing in the entire goddamn world." The sandwich lasts only four bites, so, you know, get two.


Disco Stew Doesn't Advertise

So last weekend the roommate and I decided to hit the Grand Army Plaza Farmers Market and visit our meat friend. Can't remember the name of the farm. Will post in an update.

We got a big-ass bone-in chunk of cow, dusted a 15" cast iron skillet with flour, centered the meat, surrounded it with veggies (also from the market), poured in some broth base, and threw it in the oven. The result was amazing. For our broth base we went with chicken stock and beer (Schlitz, I believe), but pretty much anything will work.

General cooking rule for this kind of thing: when the potatoes are done, check the meat.

Regarding flour: when you stir (which you should do about halfway through cooking), it will mix with the broth and the fat that renders off the meat, and thicken your stew considerably. If you want it soupier, use less flour or more broth. We used an unmeasured dusting of flour and enough broth to 1/2 cover the veggies, and it turned out a little thicker than ideal.

If, however, your meat is done before the rest of the stew, as was ours, pull it out, cut it up, and reserve, but be sure to return the bone to the stew. Nothing enriches a bowl of beef stew like some melted-out marrow. Mmmmmmarrow.

A word on making stew with beer: when cooking a soup or stew with beer, eat it all when it's hot. You are heating up beer. When you refrigerate it, it will get cold. Then you will heat it up again. Then your stew will be skunked. Don't do that. If you're cooking for leftovers, use something else.

And finally, a word on romanesco broccoli: it has a more neutral taste than broc, a little on the sweet side, but none of that really matters. It's a vegetable with fractal self-similarity, and that means it is the best.


A Word On Crif Dogs

"Mmmmrrrrrrffff." That is the word.

Pictured below is a bacon-wrapped dog with chili, cheese, jalapenos, and cole slaw. It is called the Spicy Redneck, and it will be your new best friend.

And when I say bacon-wrapped, I don't mean they wrap a piece of bacon around a hot dog. I mean they somehow lattice bacon around the dog like a little crunchy jacket, and it is the greatest thing ever.

And when I say mmmmmrrrrffff, I mean that I am going to someday marry a girl who is exactly like this hot dog, but hopefully longer-lasting.


Chocolate and Chorizo? Sure.

Just throwing this out there really quickly -- dark chocolate and spicy chorizo go really well together, even if it's a little weird. You can mitigate the weirdness by getting super dark (75%+ cacao) chocolate, melting it, and serving it with a sliver or two of a chili pepper, or failing that, a dusting of cayenne.

Or you can just slap the two together and have at. It's not perfect as presented below, but gets the job done in terms of mouth-happy-making.