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  • Black Curry Sour


    Black Curry Sour

    The bread's the thing at working-class Sri Lankan joints like Staten Island's New Asha Caf. Mottled brown on top, gloriously gummy underneath, rectangular rotis stand atop the counter folded and stacked like diapers ($1). Next to them totter amazing...

    by Robert Sietsema on January 8, 2002
  • Whitebait and Switch


    Whitebait and Switch

    It all began when my editor and I went out to celebrate my completing a manuscript scarcely more than a year late. She suggested a new place where she'd had a grand meal and we headed off to Marseille, a nouveau n on the increasingly gentrified Nint...

    by Jessica Harris on January 1, 2002
  • Some Like It Hotter II


    Some Like It Hotter II

    As we sheepishly asked for forks, the motherly waitress smirked: "In Honduras, we eat those with our hands." She was referring to the enchiladas ($3 for two). If you were dining in a Mexican restaurant, you'd call them tostadascorn tortillas fried f...

    by Robert Sietsema on December 25, 2001
  • Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers


    Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers

    I grew up in a garlic-free household. My benevolent despot of a father couldn't abide it, and my mother wasn't fond enough of pungent tastes to resist. When we traveled he studiously learned the words for "without garlic," and our voyages were punctu...

    by Jessica Harris on December 18, 2001
  • Some Like It Hotter


    Some Like It Hotter

    The name originally comes from the Babylonian word for fire, but similar Turkish, Hebrew, Arabic, and Persian words have been used for millennia to designate a beehive-shaped clay oven used to cook bread and meat. Surprisingly, the tandoor wasn't int...

    by Robert Sietsema on December 11, 2001
  • Mariquitas and Chango's Meat


    Mariquitas and Chango's Meat

    Zarela Martinez is a small lady with the vibrancy of a hummingbird. Twirling about on staggeringly high heels, she has taken television viewers on tours of her native Mexico. Now she unveils the delights of Veracruz, one of the original points of ent...

    by Jessica Harris on December 4, 2001
  • Rome, Romance, Romano


    Rome, Romance, Romano

    Though the dining public remains preoccupied with Tuscan, Brooklyn's ancient red-sauce palaces still beckon. Hunkered down in remote neighborhoods, eluding guidebooks and tipsters, they look to distant memories of Naples, Apulia, Sicily, and the Sorr...

    by Robert Sietsema on November 27, 2001
  • Swashbuckling Fare


    Swashbuckling Fare

    Gascony is one of France's celebrated culinary regions. The birthplace of King Henry IV, who knew that we all need a chicken in the pot every Sunday, it is home to foie gras, confit de canard, and Armagnac. It was also home to D'Artagnan, the most fa...

    by Jessica Harris on November 20, 2001
  • Lucky Hit


    Lucky Hit

    Though 118 Lucky is the most formidable of the Fuzhou cafs that have spread across the Lower East Side over the last five yearscreating a new Chinatown centered at the corner of Allen and Grand streetsthe premises are distinctly utilitarian. An au...

    by Robert Sietsema on November 13, 2001
  • Twice the Price, Half the Fun


    Twice the Price, Half the Fun

    I first went to AZ the week before it opened, in what seems another world and time. I loved the lounge's slickness and the opium den feel of its crimson-lit beige drapes, low couches, and fabric-covered lanterns. Most of all I liked the Asian-inspire...

    by Jessica Harris on November 6, 2001
  • Pasta con Chile


    Pasta con Chile

    It was our luck to arrive as the independence celebration was in full swing, commemorating the day in 1818 when a guy with the unlikely name of O'Higgins dubbed himself supreme director. As we squeezed in the door, an elderly platinum blond in a cowb...

    by Robert Sietsema on October 30, 2001
  • Comfort in Cholesterol


    Comfort in Cholesterol

    I never felt my bridge-and-tunnel status more keenly than when I undertook my first foray into midtown following last month's attack. I walked the streets in the same daze that hit me after my mother's death. Not ready to head downtown and face true ...

    by Jessica Harris on October 23, 2001
  • Tuscan Tribeca


    Tuscan Tribeca

    Can the word "rustic" be applied to an establishment just steps south of Canal Street? To a townhouse squeezed between an Irish bar and a plumbing supply store, with a sidewalk caf shaded by a lone tree, where Hudson River breezes mingle with the ef...

    by Robert Sietsema on October 9, 2001
  • Some Like It Hot


    Some Like It Hot

    For years I have been the beneficiary of the hospitality of a group of friends from Benin, and since they moved to New York five years ago we've sampled Gotham's upscale ethnic spots in search of a place where I could repay the lavishness of their te...

    by Jessica Harris on October 2, 2001
  • Brains and Brawn


    Brains and Brawn

    Now that the Times has finally discovered that many Arthur Avenue Italian restaurants are being run by Albanians, the real story is that restaurateurs are coming out of the closet. Proudly festooning their awnings with hard-to-pronounce names, replac...

    by Robert Sietsema on September 25, 2001
  • Adult Entertainment


    Adult Entertainment

    I spent the month of August on my favorite island off Cape Cod dodging places where the diners were too loud, the bar was too crowded, or where the hostess boasted a visible navel piercing. I've suffered through the din of table talk, cell-phone conv...

    by Jessica Harris on September 11, 2001
  • Slimed!



    Okralove it or hate it. While some recipes strive to obscure its mucilaginous properties, others hose you with slime. Khartoum delights in the latter. This Sudanese caf recently appeared on Fulton Street's thriving Muslim strip, where robed and sku...

    by Robert Sietsema on September 4, 2001
  • Food Combining


    Food Combining

    You say that you're in there looking for furniture for the dorm room or pricing low-cost linens for the spare bed. Let's not lie: I know that you're also cruising the aisles of Bed Bath & Beyond, searching for another similarly occupied single in hop...

    by Jessica Harris on August 28, 2001
  • Mo’ Better Pho


    Mo Better Pho

    A decade ago, Vietnamese cafs were springing up everywhere in Manhattan's Chinatown, offering over-rice meals cheaper than anyone else's. The delicate charcoal-grilled pork chops, lemongrass chicken, and steaming bowls of pho became an obsession wit...

    by Robert Sietsema on August 21, 2001
  • Duck Redux


    Duck Redux

    For five years I indulged annually in a Peking duck feast as a birthday celebration with my mother, who adored everything ducky. But after she died, I wasn't able to face the dish until a few weeks ago, when my Queens College lunch pals were looking ...

    by Jessica Harris on August 14, 2001
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