What’s For Dinner? In which we stop random New Yorkers on the street and ask them about their food lives.
Who: Shameel Arafin
Where: Taking a break outside his office on Cooper Square
What’s your best food memory?
My friend’s kitchen on the Lower East Side. She cooks a lot and has me over. Recently, she made an octopus salad…skate…she makes all kinds of weird things.
What’s the strangest thing she’s ever made?
Where did she get bear?
I don’t know, she’s French.
Did you like it?
Not especially. It was too tough.
What’s the most delicious dish she’s ever made for you?
The skate. She baked it lightly, and it had a light white sauce, lemon and white wine. I’ve known her for 12 years, so that’s a lot of dinners. I have a French friend and and Italian friend, and they both cook for me, so that’s good.
Any favorite restaurants in the city?
I eat out a lot because I don’t cook. I like Soy [102 Suffolk Street]. It’s Japanese comfort food; they don’t really have sushi, it’s more meat and potatoes…like ginger pork with pickled cabbage. It’s kind of a divey place. The owner is a lady who used to be a handbag designer, and she realized there was nowhere to eat in the neighborhood, this was several years ago, so she converted her store into a restaurant.
I also like Yuca Bar , for a boisterous time. Burgers, ribs…mojitos are their specialty.
What’s your first food memory?
Being forced to eat tomatoes by my mom.
Do you like tomatoes now?
They’re okay. And spinach. I don’t eat spinach to this day.
What’s for dinner tonight?
I’m not sure, I don’t have any plans. I’ll walk out my door and figure it out. I live on Meserole Street in Bushwick. There’s a place called Mojito Loco nearby. Bushwick is quite hip these days. It’s not going to stay cheap for long.