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Dave Cook
I maintain a website called Eating In Translation about interesting, usually inexpensive food in and around New York.
Interests: Classic films, fiction, travel (even if it's an extended day trip), poker (friendly games only), collecting (mostly flat things, since my apartment is small), trivia (covers most everything else).
Recent Activity
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Nepal's capital and largest city, Kathmandu, sits 4,593 feet (1,400 meters) above sea level, in a valley framed by four mountain ranges. Ridgewood, Queens — named for the once thickly forested land atop a terminal moraine, the heaped leavings of a glacier that retreated some 18,000 years ago — claims... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Eating In Translation
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Even while wrapped, tamales dulces ("sweet tamales") hint at their contents. Stray bits of tinted masa cling to their husks; over-bright colors glow from within. Unwrapped, they're unmistakable. Breakfasttime eye-openers: bubble-gum-red raisin, golden pineapple ($2 each). Atlixco Bakery & Deli 12 St. Paul's Ave. (at Van Duzer St.), Tompkinsville, Staten... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Eating In Translation
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Bagel shop by day, destination for Thai chicken-and-rice (and more) by night. While we wait for our order at one of the wood-topped tables in the dining area, we wonder what the morning crowd knows of khao man gai. For many of them, the shop might be nothing more than... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Eating In Translation
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Beef, not goose or duck; spicy, not subtle; served not as pâté, but in a pita. This Egyptian "foie gras" shared little with its French counterpart but the name — and the richness intrinsic to "fat liver." It was one of the savory interludes on a festival afternoon that began,... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Eating In Translation
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Trash Talking: How NYC Is Fighting Food Waste Thursday, September 21, 6:30-8:00 Essex Street Market, 120 Essex St. (Delancey-Rivington Sts.), Manhattan www.Eventbrite.com/e/trash-talking-how-nyc-is-fighting-food-waste-tickets-37250905461 Free admission with online registration Holy Cross Greek Cultural Festival Thursday through Sunday, September 21-24, various hours, rain or shine Ridge Blvd. between 84th and 86th Sts., Bay... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Eating In Translation
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Greece's entry in the fried-dough food group, honey-glazed division: loukoumades (loo-koo-Mah-des, small, $5). Does anyone turn down the offer of powdered cinnamon? St. Markella Greek Orthodox Church Street Festival 26th St. between 23rd Ave. and Ditmars Blvd., Astoria, Queens www.Facebook.com/saintmarkella /posts/473691042986440 (The 2017 festival was held on September 14-17) Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Eating In Translation
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Simpler was better. My herb grass jelly with coconut milk ($3.75) was swamped with sago pearls and buried under mango; a potential third free add-in went unchosen. Colorful, yes, but the flavor of the grass jelly paled in comparison to the best I've tried. A dining buddy's taro sago soup... Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2017 at Eating In Translation
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Recent addition to the ranks of New York culinary metaphors: dry pork purple sticky rice onigiri ($3). For "dry pork," read "pork floss," and for the Japanese "onigiri," substitute the Chinese "fan tuan" ("rice roll"), a snack item known from Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. And, evidently, Fujian province, previous... Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2017 at Eating In Translation
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At least two chefs at this outdoor festival's "Nordic alley" were putting seafood to the flame, and many other items were more brightly caparisoned. This dish promised layers of flavor: the richness of blood pancake, the tartness of wild apple, the brininess of coarse sea salt, the superb sweetness of... Continue reading
Posted Sep 16, 2017 at Eating In Translation
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What does traditional lace-making have in common with traditional nokedli-making? The first was demonstrated, at a past festival, by Hövej, Hungary-born craftswoman Mrs. István Szigethy; the latter was evidenced that afternoon by E&Z Catering of Holmdel, New Jersey. (The most painstaking part of the prep work had been conducted offsite.)... Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2017 at Eating In Translation
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Harvest in the Square Thursday, September 14, 7:00-9:00 North Plaza, Union Square Park, Manhattan www.Harvest.UnionSquareNYC.org Tickets: $125 advance/$150 onsite, or $400 for hour-earlier VIP entry; proceeds benefit beautification work in the park St. Markella Greek Orthodox Church Street Festival Thursday, September 14, 5:00-10:00; Friday and Saturday, 5:00-11:00; Sunday, 1:00-10:00 26th... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2017 at Eating In Translation
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Chopped long beans, shredded coconut, and subdued seasoning are common bonds in these dishes from Bali Kitchen, a new fast-casual restaurant on the site of the former Pinisi Café & Bakery and, before that, Borobudur. Shown above, from the restaurant's soft opening: ayam betutu ($12.95), featuring spiced roasted chicken, and... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2017 at Eating In Translation
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In the American South, "meat and three" denotes a restaurant at which the customer chooses one from a daily roster of meats, then three from a larger lineup of side dishes; the term also applies to the assembled meal itself. Cornbread and sweet tea are usually included. In modest Chinese... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2017 at Eating In Translation
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"This isn't food," a disputatious customer might have contended. "Food is a meal; this is only a nosh." To cut off that line of argument, the managers of this Borough Park fabric shop have posted an extra-long list of no-no's at the front door. Compare the custom-fitted sign at a... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2017 at Eating In Translation
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The mole version of this vendor's tamal con pan (15 pesos, about 75 cents at the time) sounded more exotic than his rojo con queso or his verde. Between the bread, however, the masa was crumbly, and the mole lacked verve. See also this Jackson Heights torta de tamal. Tamal... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2017 at Eating In Translation
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"Case of the Mondays": pretzel crust, Nutella, peanut butter, chocolate, potato chips (slice, $5). Ask your pie-maker if it's right for you. Daly Pie 665 Vanderbilt Ave. (Prospect Pl.-Park Pl.), Prospect Heights, Brooklyn 347-425-9251 www.DalyPie.com Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2017 at Eating In Translation
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Always in fashion: The pork-beef-garlic-onion frita Cubana ($11) is dressed in a cascade of potato sticks; a behind-the-scenes coating of "special sauce" helps them cling in place. Also shown: the best Cuban sandwich in town ($11). You can't rush it; figure on 10-12 minutes, so it's not only pressed flat... Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2017 at Eating In Translation
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The German-Jewish Cookbook Thursday, September 7, 7:00-9:00 PowerHouse Archway, 28 Adams St. (at Water St.), Dumbo, Brooklyn www.PowerHouseArena.com/events /book-launch-the-german-jewish-cookbook-by-gabrielle-rossmer-gropman-sonya-gropman Free admission; online RSVP appreciated Closing weekend: Sour, Sweet, Bitter, Spicy: Stories of Chinese Food and Identity in America Exhibition concludes Thursday, September 7, 11:00-9:00; Friday through Sunday, 11:00-6:00 Museum of... Continue reading
Posted Sep 6, 2017 at Eating In Translation
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For a taste of lemon-and-salt simplicity on a stick, read my latest story on Culinary Backstreets. Continue reading
Posted Sep 4, 2017 at Eating In Translation
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Brooklyn Bugs Friday through Sunday, September 1-3, various times, rain or shine Various locations in Brooklyn www.BrooklynBugs.com See website for ticket details Opening Day: Mad. Sq. Eats Saturday, September 2, 11:00-9:00; continues daily through September 29 Worth Sq., near Fifth Ave. and 24th St., Manhattan www.UrbanSpaceNYC.com/mad-sq-eats Free admission Blues, Views... Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2017 at Eating In Translation
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Ham, baby swiss, and pickles pressed on sourdough. At this butcher and sandwich counter, it's called a Balboa ($10), though it lacks one defining ingredient, roast beef. To me, it evoked a Cubano, though the roast pork essential to that sandwich is absent, too. Perhaps I was swayed by the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2017 at Eating In Translation
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On many Dominican menus, you'll find a belly-filling combo called tres golpes, or "three strikes," namely salami, cheese, and eggs, all of them fried. Mangú, boiled and mashed green plantain, is the default accompaniment. This tre golpe sushi roll ($14) — since it does not incorporate "sushi," Japanese for "vinegared... Continue reading
Posted Aug 28, 2017 at Eating In Translation
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Indian-American reminiscence of a visit to Mexico: chikoo ice cream (small, $3.95), prepared from a fruit also known as chicozapote, which I'd savored six months earlier. (And, after a fashion, also "by the scoop.") The flavor of the fruit mingles "brown sugar and pear," Margret Hefner notes in Frutas y... Continue reading
Posted Aug 27, 2017 at Eating In Translation
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The thinly documented sandwich called the steak-n-take is apparently a variation on the cheese steak. I've spotted it in Philadelphia, Newark, Jersey City, and, rarely, in New York. Never, however, in the company of a roast pork sandwich — many steak-n-take vendors explicitly keep halal. Number Seven Sandwich Hub, for... Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2017 at Eating In Translation
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Sometimes the very contours of a restaurant sign tell a story about an earlier business. Shalimar, in San Francisco, serves no alcohol, but it's clear that for at least one previous tenant, cocktails were a specialty. Punjabi Kitchen's pole-mounted sign, though repainted, retains the leaflike shape once favored by a... Continue reading
Posted Aug 25, 2017 at Eating In Translation