101 St. Marks Place (between Ave A and 1st Ave)
New York, NY 10009
Cafe Mogador is the definition of the type of restaurant that I love. It has all the right components to keep me going back again and again. I’m almost sad that I just discovered it now because it is just that good. It satisfies my criteria of:
- Having really great food (duh)
- Having a speciality food (I hate places that do “all things” because it is impossible to do all things well) – Moroccan specifically (think tagines, cous cous, hummus, babaganoush…)
- Having really reasonable prices (~$20 an entree and ~$10 an appetizer)
- Having the right “mood” that pauses time and allows you to get lost in your food and conversation
The drinks are also strong. There’s really nothing not to like! It’s been around since 1983 so is pretty much an East Village landmark. A colleague of mine said his wife grew up going to Cafe Mogador as a little girl. I can’t imagine growing up in East Village but if it involved coming to Cafe Mogador every weekend, I’d be pretty happy about it.
LAW, B.A., B.P., H.W., and I came on a Friday night and definitely waited a good hour before we got a table. It was warm out (YES warm nights!) so it wasn’t so bad. We started with the Hummus Falafel Platter with green sauce ($12). The hummus is the best I’ve had in the city, not quite at Jordanian hummus level, but very, very, good. Not as machine-made smooth as store-bought… FRESH is how I would describe it. Fresh, light, and creamy. The falafel was also the kind I like: small, crisp on the outside, and fluffy on the inside. Hate it when falafels are over fried and have a thick crust and dense filling. Continue reading Cafe Mogador: NYC’s pioneer Moroccan restaurant
2512 Steinway St
Astoria, NY 11103
If you follow me on Facebook, you’ll know that I’ve been sick with the flu, hence, the lack of publishing. I haven’t eaten much other than soup and cough drops for days now. I’m feeling better though! Writing this post made me long for the days my taste buds could differentiate between unique flavors. Recently, I had to go to Astoria for a work project and had some time for myself to eat whatever I wanted. A friend of mine, Miss A.M., who is obsessed with all things Egyptian highly recommended Kebab Café, mostly for the delicious food but also for Ali, the owner and chef.
I came in when it was too late for lunch and too early for dinner, so I had the restaurant to myself. Ali was preparing food. The “kitchen” was tiny, taking up just a small part of the already tiny restaurant. This is Ali here, behind the mound of fresh vegetables. Throughout my meal, we spoke at great lengths about his passion for food. He says he was born in the kitchen and that to truly understand someone, you have to understand their food. “This is Alexandrian food, not Egyptian,” he made sure to mention to me may times. When I told him I was Chinese, he smiled knowingly. “You guys know how to appreciate food.”
I couldn’t stop looking at all the beautiful vegetables he was working with.
Some slow-cooked meat with lots of veggies he was preparing for dinner. Continue reading A Delicious Plate of Alexandrian Food in Astoria
128 E 7th St
(between Avenue A & 1st Ave)
New York, NY 10009
Started with this glass goblet of some Greek wine that the waiter suggested. I told him I like my wines like how I like Beyonce – full bodied, which is exactly what this wine was. Great for a cold spring night.Our meal began with complimentary piping hot soft pita with creamy hummus on the side. This is something I would pay for as an appetizer. It tasted even better because it was free.
We ordered the Htapothi Scharas ($16), a classic grilled, marinated octopus with a balsamic reduction sauce and capers. It is the most expensive appetizer on the menu but is so highly recommended by all Yelpers that I had to get it. And they were so right. The octopus was DELICIOUS. Continue reading Pylos, a Greek gem in the East Village