Food | A Continuous Lean. - Page 3

Caught in Time | Nom Wah Tea Parlor

Aug 30th, 2012 | Categories: Food, Kate Dulin | by Michael Williams

Dim sum is one of those things that I always want to eat, but rarely do. Chinese restaurants in New York City with dim sum are madhouses on weekend mornings (when dim sum is typically served in the States), and it’s best to go with a big group in order to maximize pushcart access and dumpling variety. But rallying a bunch of my hungover, bacon, egg, and cheese-craving friends for anything but an American-style brunch early on a Sunday morning is never an easy task.

Thankfully, a friend of mine recently recommended Nom Wah Tea Parlor, where it’s totally acceptable to eat dim sum anytime, regardless of the day of the week or who’s coming along. Though new to me, Nom Wah is the oldest dim sum restaurant in the city and a New York City institution. It opened at 15 Doyers St. as a bakery and tea parlor in 1920, but lost its lease in 1968 and was forced to move into the building next door. It has been at 13 Doyers ever since.

Below: Pell St & Doyers Street circa 1901.

Parma & Co. | Taking Prosciutto Very Seriously.

Jul 20th, 2012 | Categories: Drinking, Food, Italy, Milan | by Michael Williams

Wine, prosciutto, parmesan cheese, bread and a little pasta with basil and tomatoes. That is really all one could want for on a sunny afternoon in Italy.  There’s a salumeria called Parma & Co. that happens to be the perfect place to enjoy the tastes and pace of Brera, one of Milan’s most enjoyable neighborhoods. Brera is quaint and historic with a lot of great restaurants and shops. It’s more low key than some of Milan’s more happening neighborhoods, and is my favorite place to hang out while in Italy’s most stylish city.

The food at Parma & Co. is simple and delicious, very typical of Italy. The must have is the Prosciutto di Parma — the restaurant claims to have won some type of Italian cured meat award, something I don’t doubt actually exists. Regardless of its prosciutto bona fides, your author can confirm that Parma & Co. definitely worthy of a detour, some of your hard earned money and an opportunity at an enjoyable Italian lunch.

Still Going | New York’s Prime Burger

Mar 5th, 2012 | Categories: Food, New York City | by Michael Williams

A few weeks back, I wandered into an old greasy spoon in Gramercy Park and was reminded of a certain New York that has become more the of exception rather than the rule. The general speed and efficiency of the classic New York bodega or greasy spoon is still something that impresses me. I notice lack of New York pace more and more as I travel around the country and the world. While the speed of the City is, at times, appreciated, what I really love is the old school ambiance. That’s why I obsess over places like Keen’s, Eisenbergs, The Side Car, Harry’s, 21 Club and all of the other classic New York spots.

If you aren’t clear on the specific ambiance I am talking about, this video from This Must Be the Place (found via Devour) does a great job of illustrating what makes old school independent businesses so enjoyable. Prime Burger is no exception. It’s about the place and the food, but it is also about the people who have stayed for years or even decades. Supporting the little guys, the independents more fun and keeps our world (and New York) interesting.

Don’t forget about Viand, the high rent diner. And there’s more disappearing New York food and drink here.

Chicago’s Most Famous Obscure Sandwich

Feb 7th, 2012 | Categories: Food, Kate Dulin | by Kate Dulin

A lot of American cities have an iconic sandwich. In Philadelphia, it’s the cheesesteak. New York’s got pastrami on rye, New Orleans: the muffuletta. In most cases, these sandwiches are well known enough outside their respective cities that tourists hunt them down and imitators attempt to introduce them in new cities with limited success. But there are also sandwiches that manage to escape national recognition and remain untainted by Subway (unlike The Big Philly Cheesesteak).

Often eclipsed by the Vienna hot dog in the national sandwich dialogue, the Italian beef is the most famous Chicago sandwich that no one outside the Midwest has ever heard of. After moving to New York, I was shocked to find out that none of my East Coast friends had ever tried a beef. The only way I can explain it to outsiders is by comparing it to a French Dip, although the ingredients in these two sandwiches are similar, the end results are entirely different. The Italian beef at its most basic level uses thinly shaved roast beef that is allowed to soak in its own garlicky, seasoned juices for hours until it has fully absorbed the flavor of the gravy. The beef is then piled inside chewy Italian bread and topped with sweet or hot peppers. Of course, this foundation allows for a number of different sandwich combinations, and every beef stand in the city offers its own flavors and variation on the classic style.

The Layover

Dec 28th, 2011 | Categories: Food, Travel, Video | by Michael Williams


I spent a lot of time flying around this year — my frequent flyer account tells me 127,000 miles flown ytd — and the one thing that makes me not regret all those hours spent on planes next to a bunch of C.O.S. is all of the time I was lucky enough to spend experiencing a bunch of different cultures and cuisines. It’s easy to say that no time was more enjoyable than my exploration of Italy with my good friend Courtney, who has been the most amazing guide to all things good in not only Italy, but in life.

With it being the end of the year, I’m guessing that everyone is either on a beach, a ski slope or killing time (at home or work) on the internets. So I figured it would be a good time to think about the places and adventures that will shape 2012. This idea came to me recently while watching every episode of Anthony Bourdain’s food / travel show The Layover. I missed all of these shows when they originally aired (because I don’t really have any time to watch teevee), but thankfully all of the shows are available online and for me to share with you here.

Cured Meat for the Soul | Salumeria Biellese

Oct 26th, 2011 | Categories: Food, Kate Dulin, New York City | by Kate Dulin

My family has always had a theory that the uglier and more out of the way a restaurant, the better the food. When I was a kid, my dad was under the impression that there was nothing worth eating in our suburban Chicago town, so we routinely found ourselves at 65 Restaurant in Chinatown, which had a giant red and gold Buddha in the entrance and a wonton soup to which I compare all others.

I felt a little out of the loop when other kids would talk about eating deep-dish pizza from our local Giordano’s chain, but we had Buffo’s; a sleazier, wood-paneled joint 45 minutes from home with decidedly better pizza. While it used to annoy me, I’ve come to embrace the theory wholeheartedly as I’ve gotten older. It’s no secret that restaurants that look like they’ve stood the test of time tend to serve great food, or maybe food just tastes better when you have to work a little for it.

Either way, Salumeria Biellese is one of those places. If it weren’t for the sun-faded press clippings and awards plastered all over one of the font windows, you could walk by every day and not realize that it offered anything to distinguish it from the hundreds of other generic corner delis in the city. It resides on a stretch of 8th Avenue below Penn Station with little to lure in crowds besides superior encased meats. While locavorism and slow food have become increasingly popular in recent years, Salumeria Biellese has been making its own cured meats and sausages since 1925. They expanded operations to New Jersey a few years ago, but local family farms continue to supply all of their meat (mainly Berkshire hogs), and the salumi are based on traditional Piedmontese recipes.

Viand Coffee Shop: The High Rent Diner

Jun 30th, 2011 | Categories: David Coggins, Food, New York City | by David Coggins

The diner is a rightly beloved cultural institution, and yet it remains a curious one. In one sense they all resemble one another—you could order in any diner without referring to a menu. And yet they also reflect their owners and neighborhoods—they may have an unexpected specialty or insist on serving something only one way. (We won’t get into the hash browns v. home fries debate at the moment, though it is a rich one.)

Consider the Viand, on Madison Avenue and 61st Street. It’s near Barneys and Hermes, not the exact provenance of a fried eggs and bacon—unless you’re ordering room service at The Pierre. The Viand is narrow—the booths are only one person wide—and nearly always crowded with one of the more unusual cross-sections of diners in the city. You may sit at the counter next to a high-powered lawyer or a woman who would typically lunch in a far tonier setting. But it’s not always an overly smart crowd, you come across tourists, office workers, shopping Europeans. It’s local and international at the same time, which is to say, it’s a uniquely New York institution.