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  • Slow Boat to Monrovia


    Slow Boat to Monrovia

    When I exit the subway at my stop, Nostrand Avenue, the scene recalls great West African markets like Dakar's Sandaga or Abidjan's Treicheville: hair-braiding salons abound, tailor shops sprout like millet after the harmattan, and until the fall wea...

    by Jessica Harris on September 21, 1999
  • Article

    Frog in My Throat

    Clad in a checked gingham scarf and apron, the waitress trips across a rustic bridge to deliver the casserole, doffing the lid with a flourish to reveal a well-browned chicken-and-mushroom crust concealing a cheesy rice interior. But though it wouldn...

    by Robert Sietsema on September 14, 1999
  • Article

    Louie Louie la Franais

    I didn't head for the beach on my vacation. Instead I searched out used bookstores and homed in on the cookbook sections like a cockleshell-bedecked pilgrim sighting Compostela. On an inclement day, as rain pelted pleasantly overhead, I uncovered a...

    by Jessica Harris on September 7, 1999
  • Article

    Watering Hole

    Once it was a Chinese carryout. Now, teal blue tables, a powder blue drop ceiling, and plum banquettes--a color scheme that doesn't quite work, according to a decorator pal--replace flaming woks. Apart from a gilded screen shielding the restrooms, th...

    by Robert Sietsema on August 31, 1999
  • A Family Affair


    A Family Affair

    If you can't hop the Hampton Jitney or put the fire out on the eponymous island, you can still garner a bit of salt air and a hint of New England with a swipe of a MetroCard. On City Island, New York's in-town resort, the lobsters are steaming and th...

    by Jessica Harris on August 24, 1999
  • Monster Mash


    Monster Mash

    For the last decade Senegalese, Ghanaian, and Ivory Coast restaurants have held sway over the city's West African food. Now it's Nigeria's turn. While earlier establishments offered a handful of toned-down dishes, African Village Cafe mounts the most...

    by Robert Sietsema on August 17, 1999
  • Article

    Blue's Buppies

    My neighborhood's changingagain. Former bodegas offer designer coffees along with the de rigueur mangoes, real estate brokers patrol the streets, and there are now white folks at my bus stop. Increasingly, dinner no longer means BBQ shoved undernea...

    by Jessica Harris on August 10, 1999
  • Article

    Dairy State

    Most of us have zipped past the intersection of Canal and Broadway dozens of times without noticing a restaurant, but pause and gaze skyward toward the southeast and you'll see a pair of neon signs glowing "BAR." A forbidding wooden door provides ing...

    by Robert Sietsema on August 3, 1999
  • Pretty Ducks All in a Row


    Pretty Ducks All in a Row

    I have a weakness for restaurants that look as though transported from an outer arrondissementplaces where I half expect the mustachioed patron to pop out of the kitchen to share a pastis with the diners, his Rubenesque wife to woman the cashier, an...

    by Jessica Harris on July 27, 1999
  • Article

    Goodbye Ruby Foos

    Like a Fu Manchu movie crossed with a small upstate university's art collection, Ruby Foo's flaunts its Asian artifacts. Make your way up the sweeping stairway and you'll encounter snarling temple dogs, fur-trimmed skullcaps, serpentine bronze candl...

    by Robert Sietsema on July 20, 1999
  • Article

    East Village Other

    Gentrification is the scourge of bohemians both budding and gone to seed. The transformation from happening to hot to ho-hum occurs in the blink of an eye: independent bookstores close, Baby Gaps open, and diets change. Bye-bye bodegas, hello D'Ag ...

    by Jessica Harris on July 13, 1999
  • Article

    Hey Joe, Where Ya Goin With That Noodle in Your Hand?

    Kissena Boulevard is the strip-mall capital of Korean Flushing, lined with clusters of barbers and beauty shops, greengrocers and video stores, bars and restaurantsamong them Haejo, billed as "Korean-Chinese" on the green awning. In its bright inter...

    by Robert Sietsema on July 6, 1999
  • Article

    Ital Itations

    Most religions have their dietary rules. No meat on Fridays for Catholics, no pork for Jews, no pork or alcohol for Mohammedans, no meat for Hindus, and the individual proscriptions of Santera's orishas. Ital Rastafarianism is hardly an exception: n...

    by Jessica Harris on June 29, 1999
  • Article

    Bistro Africain

    Tucked under the chin of the verdant and mountainous Marcus Garvey Park, African Grill occupies the former premises of a Harlem dive known as the Fifth Avenue Hideaway, the exterior still stenciled with a champagne bottle and a carousing couple. And ...

    by Robert Sietsema on June 22, 1999
  • Return to the Tonic


    Return to the Tonic

    As someone who's passed the half-century mark, I know that this culture reveres neither old people nor old buildings. It's refreshing, therefore, to see something venerable treated with respect. The bar at the late Chelsea Tavern could have gone the ...

    by Jessica Harris on June 15, 1999
  • Article

    Great Balls of Masa

    Stuffed with cheese or pork, hand-patted, then cooked to speckled brownness on the griddle, pupusas are one of the great comfort foods. These uniquely Salvadoran masa pancakes get their name from a Nahuatl Indian expression meaning "swollen tortilla....

    by Robert Sietsema on June 8, 1999
  • Gone Fishin'


    Gone Fishin'

    In this food-crazed metropolis, the success of one or two emporium-cum-eatery concepts has spawned a raft of unworthy clones. A few chairs near the salad bar at the greengrocer and they think they're Dean & Deluca; a table or two at the neighborhood ...

    by Jessica Harris on June 1, 1999
  • Upscale Mexican Takes a Road Trip


    Upscale Mexican Takes a Road Trip

    Streaked a single shade of peach, Cafe Frida parrots a too familiar design ideaa village with tiled roofs, arched walkways, and multilevel seating areas, one on a cramped rooftop. Though the effect is marred by an air conditioner descending from the...

    by Robert Sietsema on May 25, 1999
  • Article

    Tabletop Editing

    A fashion adage suggests that jewelry be edited: once all pieces are on, one should be removed at the last minute. I'm not sure I agree about the bijoux, where I've always been of the Sammy Davis Jr. school, but it's a damned good rule for salads. In...

    by Jessica Harris on May 18, 1999
  • Still Hungary


    Still Hungary

    For most of this century, Manhattan's Yorkville harbored a sizable Hungarian population. Their coffeehouses, butcher shops, and restaurants were anchored by Paprika Weiss, a store highlighting the Magyar obsession, available in mild, medium, and hot ...

    by Robert Sietsema on May 11, 1999
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