Thursday, July 15, 2010
When the cousin's away the mice will play -- and thus I finally made it to Cascabel taqueria the other night, on 80th and 2nd avenue. Cascabel is a brightly colored storefront with images of La Lucha wrestlers and other kitschy decorations. The room is set up as if for counter service, though they were doing table service for dinner that night. It was totally packed, and people were lined up for takeout as well as for tables.
The food: spicy guacamole with hot, house-made tortilla discs; shrimp tacos with black beans, chili oil, and fresh oregano (perhaps a little too much fresh oregano); slow-roasted Berkshire pork butt tacos (NO MORE NICE JEWISH GIRL!) with pickled onions and crispy chili de arbol; pickled vegetables in brine, a Lagunitas IPA, a glass of house sangria, a blueberry shaved ice, and a little bag of mini-churros!
The standouts were probably the tacos -- both were excellently seasoned and un-messily cradled by delicious, sturdy house-made corn tortillas. The pork could maybe have been moister, but was aided by a delicious smokey hot sauce that we had on the table. The shaved ice was nice but maybe a little too solid to eat with a spoon -- I suspect it was blended rather than shaved.
I would go back to Cascabel for the tortilla soup, the vegetal tacos (fingerling potatoes and oyster mushrooms) and a spicy mango margarita.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
91 S. 6th St., Brooklyn
I'm back on the meat train (tentatively) and I'm hungry for some Dragon Pullman toast with Master Fat. And Manilla clams, and Heritage pork ribs, and smoked crab laksa. Fatty, sustainable meats and Southeast-Asian seasoning are getting married and I want to go to the wedding -- I just need to know what train to take.
Did you see that episode of Bethenny Getting Married when she's interviewing potential assistants and one shlubby guy who has no business hanging out with Bethenny Frankel tells her she should go to Taim, that it's better than Mamoun's? I DID, 3+ times. That's what reminded me to visit Taim, a tiny falafel storefront in the West Village. It was one of the first Want entries I made on this blog. It had been hard to find a time to go here for a few reasons:
1. The weather had to be good, because there's basically no seating
2. I work right next to Maoz, which is amazing, so I always go there
3. I get lost everytime I go to the West Village
But I found myself in the neighborhood, not so lost, on a dry if exceptionally hot day last week around dinner time, so I went to Taim. I tried the harissa-spiced falafel sandwich, which comes with hummus, Israeli salad, and tahini -- and if you ask, pickles and hot sauce at no extra charge.
This Frankel-assistant-hopeful guy was right -- Taim is so good. You can choose between three different kinds of falafel balls: green (typical parsley, mint, cilantro blend); harissa; and red (roasted red pepper.) They're all fried to order, and they're perfectly crispy and browned on the outside and moist and flavorful within -- not crumbly or undercooked like some falafel. This was almost creamy. It's not necessarily better than Maoz though, and given that it's a little pricier and slightly out of the way, I'm probably not going to convert. But Bethenny should, if she's still going to Mamoun's!
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Soon after I moved to Brooklyn, I took a walk down Henry Street from the Heights and into Carroll Gardens. Along the way, I stared into the glass store-front of an abandoned corner drug store; it was one of those ghostly places where time stood still, where one day, no one came back--door locked, stock left on shelves, raincoat hanging on a coat rack, waiting. The accumulation of dust was fantastic, and the amount of stuff, incredible. If you don't believe in expiration dates--and I don't--there was a store of aspirin in there that would make you weak in the knees. It wasn't until several weeks ago that I noticed some action at the old pharmacy, and now, since my return to the BK, it has (re)opened it's doors as an old-fashioned soda fountain, egg creams and all. I want to go to there and drink one with a boy, two straws.