Monday, July 11, 2011

Around the World, Chinese, Vietnamese, German and Austrian

Hey again. I was looking through photos I had of all the tasty adventures I went on, and realized that I have a lot of different foods from many places. So the next few posts will highlight the fun of trying new things, as well how much diversity is here in NYC.

First are some noodles from the famous Xi'an Foods in Flushing, then some Vietnamese rice vermacelli cold noodle salad with grilled pork (bun gao) at Pho Bang, in Elmhurst, then for a fun turn, some German tastiness from Manor Oktoberfest in the Atlas Mall, Glendale. Finally, I take a stroll around where I work in search of Schnitzel & Things in Midtown East in Manhattan.

I will admit, that despite being a New Yorker, and living in Queens, AND going to Flushing somewhat regularly, that I found out about Xi'an Foods by watching "Bizarre Foods" and "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations." But hey, NYC is a HUGE place, and I'm only a Level 1 foodie. Besides, who cares how you hear about it, as long as you do, and you go check it out. So The Fisherman and I saw Xi'an Foods, and were excited. Of the locations, I think we picked the original place, located in a basement in Flushing.
 My hot oil seared noodles. Also good, spicy, not as good as the lamb. Unfortunately, napkins were hard to come by....This stuff BURNS, but in all the right ways!

The Fisherman's Cumin Lamb with Hand Ripped Noodles. Really good, amazing noodles. If anything, go for lamb, savory, delicious. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

Pictures of the greats (Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern) and their trips to Xi'an Foods. I'll end it by saying this: If you're in NYC, go. Pick a location, and go. Burn your lips off, but you'll enjoy it.

Next, a local spot, Pho Bang is one that, I'll be honest, have walked past for years, and was a bit apprehensive about going since I had very little knowledge of most Asian food. Thanks to The Fisherman, I am more comfortable and am more willing to try more things. We've come here before a few times (actually one of our first dates was at Pho Bac, located a few yards from Pho Bang) I remember which is which by remembering that the one "in the back" is Pho Bac.

But anyway, The Fisherman and I have gone to Pho Bang, usually for their beef pho (first time I had it more beefy "things" than I prefer, so I get just the beef (sometimes I can be brave, sometimes I'm a wimp). We also LOVE getting the spring rolls, so good. But the last time we went, we were joined by The Fisherman's parents. They all got various types of pho, but I was really hot, and while you go to Pho Bang and Pho Bac for the food, you do not go for the ambiance. So I was sweating like I ran a Marathon, yet I was sitting down, so I was not down for pho, sadly. What I did see that intrigued me was bun gao, a rice noodle salad. Mine had pork and oh man, was it GOOD!

It was good, I found a recipe that I haven't tried yet, but want to. I want to get a nice mandoline or benriner before I attempt this, but haven't yet because I really do fear cutting off a finger, again. On a humid sticky day like today (and tomorrow), this is great. Light but filling, it has your veggies, some protein (their pork was wonderful), satisfying but not heavy.

Next up is this place I found on a venture to the Atlas Mall, a very interesting mall in Glendale, Queens. While checking the place out I came across Manor Oktoberfest, a German restaurant. Now, I know of some German stuff, my step-grandfather was German and he made a couple of things, such as braised red cabbage, which I now make for Thanksgiving. But, I don't know a whole lot, so I went to check it out. First of all, any place that offers bacon as an appetizer is a good place to go to. As in thick cut bacon, as in awesome. Then, you have the braised cabbage. Not like mine, but good.

Here's the breakdown: sauerbraten, spaetzle, braised red cabbage, bratwurst, knockwurst, sauerkraut. I really like the Germano-Polish-Russian sour and sweet elements to cooking, especially with something as rich as meat. I think next time around I will try this with some German beer. Hey, when in Munich...

Finally, in a similar vein, something else I saw on TV, Eat Street, was Schnitzel and Things. At first, I was going to stalk the food truck, as it ventures around where I work. But then when I found there was a restaurant nearby as well, I was even more excited! So I went one Friday, and got the traditional pork schnitzel, with sauerkraut and German potato salad. Really really good, the acid from the kraut really helped with the rich, and delicious breaded fried pork cutlet. I shared with a co-worker, but I would have tried in vain to finish, and then take a nap.

Now, what to post for tomorrow? Perhaps a trip to little Warsaw in my old stomping grounds, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, maybe a beloved dumpling spot in Elmhurst, or some made to order dim sum in Flushing? Until then, mangia!

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