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NYC for the weekend

Peter Luger, Brooklyn

 

I’ve written about the steak at Peter Luger many a time – it will always have my heart (and stomach), but Luger’s also serves a burger that I have read a lot about but have never managed to try as they only serve it for lunch. Last week, my college buddy Alex mentioned that he really liked the new girl he was dating, so I decided I wanted to get a look at this creature and suggested we met for lunch.

 

Alex, his girlfriend and her best friend arrived an hour late for our noon reservation. Alex admitted that he fell asleep before picking them up and it was “all his fault.” Unfortunately for Alex’s wallet, this meant lunch was on him, and I wasn’t going to stop with just a burger. A burger (divided 4 ways), 2 porterhouses for 2, 3 slices of their awesome house bacon, potatoes, creamed spinach and a house green salad (GF’s BF’s request) later, Alex had to run to the bank for more cash (no credit cards accepted). I hope the GF was impressed with Alex’s generosity and I hope he learned to never keep me waiting for an hour again.

 

How was the burger? My quarter of the burger only amounted to two bites, but it was delicious; the meat was a beautiful pink medium rare, well seasoned and tasty. I was not impressed with the American cheese and I thought the thick sesame seed bun created a high ratio of bun to meat. I liked the raw onion and the extra thick bacon is a must have.
 

If I lived in NYC, I would certainly come back for the burger, but until then the steak still eclipses everything else. The steaks, as always, were sublime.

 

Flushing food crawl

 

 

Two years ago, the New York Times did a big article about the food scene in Flushing, Queens, propelling it from an ethnic outer borough neighborhood to foodie destination, a mecca for finding authentic good eats. Wendy and Shane, who have lived there for 8 years, thought it was hilarious that people who never wanted to visit them before (It’s all the way at the end of the 7 train!) were calling to make dinner plans. Admittedly, I’m also guilty of this, whenever I visit NY, I have my hit list of favorite places to go and seldom have the extra time (or calories) to try somewhere new. But I rectified this on Saturday and we spent the even meandering around the neighborhood sampling the best of Flushing.

 

Xi’an Famous Foods

 

We started at Xi’an Famous Foods. It’s in a basement space, filled with food stalls. This is not for the faint of heart. It is a tiny, cramped space and you wonder when the last time the board of public health stopped by. But everyone from the NYT to Bourdain have raved about this place (in fact, we sat at the same table that Bourdain did). We had two lamb burgers, which they are most famous for, and the Spinach liangpi cold skin noodles. The lamb burger is not a burger, but lamb cooked with onions, jalapeño peppers, and cumin, served on a flat bread. Xi-an cuisine has a strong Muslim influence not found in other Chinese cuisines. It was delicious – the lamb was tender and flavorful. The noodles were supple and taut with a springy mouth feel. The cold of the noodles balanced with the spicy nature of the chili oil and garlic sauce. Still, by the end, my mouth was on fire. The food was quite inexpensive – the burgers were $3 each and the noodles were $5.

 

http://www.xianfoods.com/

 

Lanzhou Noodle at the Flushing mall food court.

 

Next, it was noodle time. A food court usually conjures up thoughts of McDonald’s, Sbarro and some Cujun/Chinese/Japanese chain handing out bad chicken samples on a toothpick. But this is not the food court at the Flushing mall. At Lanzhou, the noodles are pulled to order and served in a tasty broth with your choice of protein. For $5, we dined on a bowl of beef brisket noodle soup. At first I was worried about the inconsistent thickness of the noodles, but it ended up being a positive thing. The thicker noodles were chewier and more toothsome while the thinner ones were silkier. I liked having the contrast.

 

Woman pulling the noodles

The Xinjiang BBQ cart at the corner of Main St and 39th

 

Street food is not for the squeamish, but if you are willing to brave it, you can purchase a skewer of meat (beef, chicken or lamb) for $1. We got the lamb and the meat was tender and had great smoky flavor – unfortunately it was also coated in an excess of cumin. It’s not a pleasant experience to get cumin up your nose. Shane tells me that this is not usually the case. 




Chung Moo Rollrice and Dongas

 

Our next stop was a small corner Korean food shop and we got fried seaweed and noodle rolls. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was jap chae noodles, wrapped in seaweed, dunked in tempura batter and deep fried. Surprisingly delicious and addictive! I didn’t think I had anymore room but I found myself having seconds. The old Korean woman was friendly and gave Waverly a free piece of fried yam to gnaw on.




39-04 Union St
Flushing, NY 11354

 

Our last stop was Koryodang bakery, right next to Chung Moo. Even given my disdain for Asian desserts, I felt like something sweet to end the night. It is a Parisian influenced Korean bakery. I got some small Madeline cookies and small walnut coffee cookies. Both were decent and hit the spot, but nothing extraordinary.

 

koryodang.com

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