I Love This Falafel

The Old Standby

The Old Standby

…from Oasis in Williamsburg.  The spot right next to the Bedford Avenue L stop.  Yeah, you know it, we’ve all hit it up.  I go to it usually post a night out at Zablozki’s or as a quick snack on my way to band practice with my now-defunct post-hardcore/punk/metal band that used to jam in Greenpoint.  Ahh the memories. 

The strongest bit about this falafel sandwich has always been the toppings.  Red cabbage, sour pickles, onions, tahini, and hot sauce.  The perfect formula.  I find that the falafel itself isn’t really the best in the burg, preferring Ali Baba’s on Macdougal, but I do love that this place is always consistent with the flavor and quality of the ingredients.  The grape leaves are pretty dope too.  I just used “dope” to describe grape leaves, deal with it.

Observation

I was out with a friend today who made an astute observation… it seems like restaurants at locations where the main draw is not the food, you will always get a mediocre meal.  For instance, today we were at the Chelsea Piers, enjoying a few beers after hitting some golf balls towards the Hudson. We felt a bit peckish, and ordered a “Margarita Pizza” from the restaurant.  Surprise, surprise…  it was sub-par. 

Not a Draw

Not a Draw

The crust reminded me of Ellio’s, and the sauce was blander than Ragu.  The pizza you get at random bars in Williamsburg free with your pint tastes better.

Does this mean that a landmark draw like Tavern on the Green would produce food that default would be a sad disappointment?  Unfortunately I’m inclined to say yes.  For instance, the old Yankee stadium had some of the worst ballpark food out there, Niagara Falls has terrible pizza, and I defy you to find a decent pastrami sandwich anywhere in Yellowstone Park!  Negative Proof!

The Plantain Smash

I think I just invented a winner… instead of a boring ole’ banana split, why not have a tastier variation? 

The multi culturally friendly plantain smash!  Take a plantain, fry it, smash it, fry it again, dry it off, salt it and add the scoop of your choice. 

Last night, I was engaged in a heated conversation the tenets of the banana split and decided it needed to be upped, arguing heavily in favor of the fried plantain.  It would add so much more texture and flavor to the whole banana split concept.    A certain young lady from Mississippi mentioned that the Southern-style Banana Foster was the way to go, but I still like my vision the best.

I think this is going to have to be a proof-off.  Smash it up!

Pork Bun

Pork Bun

Pork Bun

Pork in a bun, what’s not to love?

Seriously though, these things are big in Japan, and with good reason.  They are fluffy bread dumplings stuffed with some seasoned meat and veggies inside.  It is truly a grand idea.

The ones I tried were a gift from a Japanese Ex-patriate who knows a thing or two about a thing or two.  An experienced expert on the universe of tasty pork snacks from Japan.

The buns were very soft with some elasticity.  The contents was simple, pork, some scallions, the standard Asian dumpling fare. 

Positively Pork Meat

Positively Pork Meat

I was advised to add a little soy sauce for flavor, and I found that this was definitely necessary as the buns themselves were very bready and needed a little something to spice it up. 

Would I go out and purchase a box of these bad boys for myself?  I think so… in fact I was pretty marvin’ today and my box of frozen pork buns really hit the spot.  A step above let’s say… a frozen pizza or a frozen burrito.  However, not as awesome as a few frozen White Castle cheeseburgers.  Proof.

CBH

CBH

CBH

CBH means Corned Beef Hash.  This is the stuff dreams are made of.  Look at the back of the can though people, it probably is the worst thing that you could put in your body, but for some reason it tastes mmmmhhhh mmhhh good.

I had my first ever variation on the good ole’ corned beef hash today:  Duck confit corned beef hash.  As always I am a purist, but you can’t really go wrong with duck, so I gave it a whirl.  Long story short… badda boop badda beep… PROOF.

Best Proof Yet! Ketchup

jan-09-5-029

Chup With That?

 

We have all pondered this eternal question… which has the best ketchup packet, McDonalds or Burger King?  News flash hot shot… they are both Heinz.

Just kidding! 

Sorry for the ruse folks, and I also apologize for the lack of material for this week.  I’ve been snowed under at work.  However, I will be getting back to proving the hell out of your favorite  gnoshes and libations, and also debunking various myths and fallacies around the city this very weekend.  Hold tight to your keyboards and Iphones loyal readers, the proof will be coming soon.

Proofmeister OUT!

Smokey Bacon and Roquefort

The Bomb Chips

The Bomb Chips

The best potato chip flavor yet known to mankind has been discovered!

Roquefort (sheep milk bleu cheese from southern France) and smokey bacon!  Leave it to the British to come up with this winning combo!    The chip itself was dense, bulky, and thick.  This made it super crunchy and really bitable.  A very serious chip for a very serious appetite.   The dry zing of the bleu cheese couples perfectly with the sharpness of bacon.  I recommend having a icy cold pilsner on the side as well.

In all seriousness, these things are the best.  The one downside is that this bag is an import.  The ole’ USA still has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to crisps.  Proof.

Country Music Sucks, BBQ Rocks

Bubba Approved

Bubba Approved

Hill Country BBQ, (30 West 26th Street) NYC.  I rarely venture north of 14th street for an outing… but I have heard good things about the brisket in this spot, also a birthday party karaoke-jam in Korea Town was planned to follow.   A pretty good night was in the cards to say the least.

The good: the brisket is amazing.  Opt for the one that ISN’T lean.  Fat=flavor.  The mac and cheese and coleslaw were pretty outstanding as well.

The Bad:  Ahhh yes.  I can go on and on.  First of all, country music sucks, and  if you sit downstairs, you better be ready for some beer-swillin twangy vocals, cowboy hats and corny lyrics with a steel-pedal guitar.  Definitely not good for one’s digestion.

Badass Brisket

Badass Brisket

Also, this BBQ joint doesn’t really serve you.  It’s cafeteria style…  which sounds good… but not when you are paying 50 dollars for a meal where you have to walk up to the counter like an escaped lunatic with a plastic tray, and then have to awkwardly balance your beer bottle and platter of food on all the way down a flight of stairs to your table.  Give me a waitress for that… or a waiter… or a dumbwaiter…  Or at the very least, a chimp on some kind of a lever/pulley system. 

Cheesy Mac

Cheesy Mac

The worst bit:  We had to wait on five, count em’ FIVE lines!  My friends and I waited on a line to get INTO the bar area to get drinks.  Then we waited at the bar area (the reservation got messed up apparently) for our table.   Then there was a  line at the bar in the restaurant for more drinks (naturally).  Oh yeah, then the double-whammy, the meat line and finally the side-dish line.  Unless it’s an amusement park, and there is a roller coaster the end of the line, (or in this instance maybe a mechanical bull?) then why am I waiting?  I just want some brisket.  

Okay, I really, really want to give this place a negative proof… but the brisket may have been THAT good.  Reluctant Proof.  Smarten up Hill Country!  The whole experience could be improved upon.

Happy Opening Day… Don’t Eat This Cookie

Hard to Swallow

Hard to Swallow

Eleni’s bakery in the Chelsea market is trying to hone in on some local sports excitement by baking some baseball-themed cookies for opening day…

Be forewarned!  I myself watched as a Mets fan’s smile turn into a frown after he took two bites of this stale, tasteless cookie and tossed it remorsefully into the bin.  Is this an omen for the 2009 Met’s season?  I’d have to say yes. 

Thanks Eleni’s!  You gave me an easy setup and a NEGATIVE PROOF!

Taqueria Downtown, Jersey City

Fish Taco

Fish Taco

Jersey City, New Jersey.  I rarely venture this far away from Brooklyn on a school night, but a good Jersey friend promised me it would be worth the trip to try the best tacos from across the Hudson. 

The Taqueria Downtown menu has a refreshing disclaimer on it.  If I may paraphrase, it reads: No fajitas, no nachos, no adobe plates to match the adobe interior, crema fresca… not sour cream, no table-side guacamole show, no mini tacos, mini chimis or anything else mini, no pillow-sized burritos… and again absolutely no fajitas!

Rice and Bean

Rice and Bean

Taqueria is totally a no-frills taco joint.  The ordering procedure is that you have to order in the front at the counter, and then sit at any table and the staff brings your freshly made tacos and a few cans of Tecate right over to your seat.  Brilliant!

I had the fish taco, the lamb, and the steak.  I gotta say that the fish taco was one the best I’ve had in the New York area.  Really juicy, really fresh, with some crisp cabbage and a nice citrusy flavor.  The lamb was really tasty too.  The steak came in third, unfortunetly it was completely outshined by the other two.  The fish taco was so good I actually had to order another one (and another Tecate).

The Aftermath

The Aftermath

In a world of elaborate foods and eateries racing around following the latest trends, it is always refreshing to eat at a restaurant whose priorities are just making a good taco the right way.  Taqueria Downtown… I like your style.  You are a proof positive!

Taqueria Downtown is located at 236 Grove Street, Jersey City, NJ.  (PATH to Grove St. stop)