Thursday, May 15, 2014

Food Porn is For Sacrilegious Sinners.

Peace to Lewis and Clark, the godfathers of the American exploration game. As I navigate the city streets, I channel their 2+ year expedition, presumably in a safer and more civilized fashion. I'd also like to take this time out to pay homage to my father, whose passion to travel and revisit their trail has been ingrained in me, via several trips out west. Sacagawea, the woman in the painting was his favorite Native American female. Outside of my mother, Saca G was tops on his list. Explain why else would we have visited her namesake park in Livingston, MT.

When I started this blog nearly 6.5 years ago (HOLY SHIT!!!!) my intention was to shed light on restaurants and food spots that had no exposure. And obviously talk my shit. Plenty of times I would drive by a spot that looked appealing, went home to google it (pre smart phone era), and zilch. I couldn't be the only person inquiring about said place? So I took it upon myself to do the knowledge.

At the time I was living in Woodlawn, the North Bronx. An Irish enclave, I wasn't checking for any scone, bangers and mash, or blood pudding reviews. In hindsight I should've had a Cadbury bar a day post but nope. Sorry lads. Rather I was hyped for the smorgasbord of West Indian delicacies lining White Plains Road, just a stone's throw away over the Bronx River. And there were tons of them. Where to start? Is this spot really the king of jerk chicken? The self-proclaimed patty champions? It was tough. Entering a different culture's establishment can be nerve wracking. The unknown. Language barriers. Embarrassment of having no clue what you're doing. The "Did I order the right thing?" panic. And since I did the majority of my grub all by my lonely, there was no one to get suggestions or recommendations from.

Photoshop courtesy of yours truly

I say all this because I'd like to bring HFE back to the essence, or at least attempt to. The fun, the excitement, the challenge. The idea that my words, my thoughts would be digested by others is very cool. Being the source of food intelligence, I want to be that, and I've been slacking. Yes, the climate is extremely different now. Food porn is rampant and I will join the Right Wing Foodist Values sect to put an end to this. The Lord does not agree with those that use delicious goodness as descriptive terminology. Nor does the Lord condone hashtag nomnomnom. Hashtag fartfartfart. It is an uphill battle, but I have filled the tank with ethanol and we're going to keep trucking! You crazy for this one Willie!!

With that said, stay tuned for updated accounts on the Odyssey of Howfresh. Side note, looking for a staff taxidermist to handle all roadkill and game that poses a threat. The mantle is naked and could use some accessorizing.

Q-Tip, Phife and Ali Shaheed provide some of the soundtrack for this journey. And of course, sit down Indian style...

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Get Him to the Greek- Taverna Kyclades

They gave us mythology. They gave us the diner. They gave us Yanni. They gave us fraternities (I had the best pledge name EVER). I mean, they even gave us democracy. But what the Greeks can do to an octopus trumps all of the afore mentioned. How they tenderize this cephalopod, it defies logic. But maybe I'm giving the entire culture too much credit. My best friends since nursery school are Greek. Can they outsmart the 8 armed Mensa member? I highly doubt it.

But Taverna Kyclades, a recent addition to the East Village, knows how to. After killing the game on Ditmars Blvd. for years, they took it to primetime. No disrespect to Queens, I got love for ya. The kitchen, it's as if as if Zeus is manning the grill, Poseidon walks in with the fresh daily catch, and Hephaestus sparks the grill. Peace to the gods for real. By no means am I an octopus expert, but more often than not the consistency is tough, fibrous, a tad too chewy. 2 visits in less than 2 months, and the dish was basically identical. Looks, texture and flavor. Fall off the bone tender, even if there is no bone. Minimal ingredients and simple preparation, charcoal grilled served with olive oil and some lemon juice. The epitome of Greek seafood.

A Greek salad? Cliche? Not when it's banging malaka. A huge brick of feta cheese sitting on a tomato heavy salad. Clean and refreshing with just enough olive oil. Just wish there was more of the chopped romaine lettuce and that the chief of salad was more heavy handed with the kalamata olives. I need that briny hit playboy! Sidenote, the small is large. More than enough when ordering a bunch of items.

Back to the grill again, the grill again! I'm a seafood junkie and I need another hit. Come on trick daddy! Just one tentacle baby! You have the option of calamari grilled or crispy. Healthy How opts for the non fried version, especially when dealing with fresh product. Again, olive oil, lemon and a charcoal grill. Tender with a little snap. Just how you want it. Had this cold the following day and it was just as enjoyable.

Oooooooh, the Pikilia aka home made assorted Greek style spreads. This dish was actually served first, but we kept dipping throughout the entire meal. From left to right, Melitzana, an eggplant yogurt dip, my least favorite due to my eggplant allergy, but apparently also the lady's since it was the only dip left at the end. Tzatziki up next, a yogurt cucumber spread more mild than the common tangy variety. The feta cheese spread with red and hot peppers called Tirokafteri rested in the middle. To the right of that is Taramosalata, a fish roe based spread with olive oil and a binding agent, usually bread or potato. Not as fishy as you might think. Finally we have Skordalia, a silky garlic and potato dish that is delicious. Warm pita wedges accompanied the spreads and served as a great palate cleanser throughout the meal. A must have for future visits.

Potatoes? We writing about potatoes? What are we writing about? Potatoes man. Peace to AI. I hear you. As my pops used to say, FDP, aka Fuck De Potatoes. And I hear that. But Greeks are known for their lemon potatoes or as John Stamos likes to call them, Patates Fournou, and I had to try them. Soft and lemony. The end. They doubled up as great hash browns for brunch the next day.

The entire ensemble in all its glory. Similar to the food, the restaurant's ambiance was clean and simple. Blonde wood tables and chairs filled a split large white room with various Greek posters throughout. There is a full bar beyond the dining room next to an ice display where the fresh seafood flaunts its stuff. The tables aren't that big, so if ordering a nice selection, things can and will become crammed. The food comes out pretty quick and for a slow eater such as myself it can prove a bit challenging. But that won't keep me away. It'll just force me to eat this great grub quicker.


228 1st Ave.

New York, NY 10009

(212) 432-0011

Monday - Thursday 12:30-11pm

Friday - Saturday 12-11:30pm

Sunday 12-10:30pm

Some tunes for your listening pleasure...
Mc.Serch Back To The Grill Ft Chubb Rock Nas... by homhom

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

NOLA Kneaux How Pt. 1: If I was a Po' Boy...

...Na na na na na na na na na na na na na na naaaa. And we're back in business. I think I finally fully digested my final bite from the Big Easy. Shit was causing the mad writer's block, among other blockage, ya digs?!?! Potty humor off the jump. And you thought I was all grows up. I wish.

Iconic food items are not lacking when you think of NOLA. Gumbo, jambalaya, oysters, muffulettas, etouffee, and of course the Po' Boy. Having tried and thoroughly enjoyed 3 of these marvelous sandwich creations, today they get top billing when waxing and salivating poetic about the Crescent City. This is a formal warning for the gluten free vegans reading this. HAHAHAHA. As if. Turn away or risk metamorphasizing (new word alert) into a life of gluttonous carb filled bottom feeding treif sin. These pics can turn tricks. And I doubt the dressing is locally grown organic.

All hail the Peace Maker, Acme Oyster House's homage to the native sandwich. WHO DAT WHO DAT WHO DAT!! The menu reads...

Voted #4 in Top Ten Sandwiches Golden fried oysters & shrimp, seasoned to perfection, with TABASCO® infused mayo

Now, I have no clue who's poll they're referring to but fuck it, they can be #4 in my book. Or at least # very delicious. Crustaceans overflowing from the pillowy bread bassinet aka the baguette. The original Psalms passage was supposed to go like this... my shrimp runneth over. But then the Lord invented Kosher so they had to edit.

Crisp, golden fried locally sourced shellfish dressed to the 9s, aka with lettuce, tomato, pickles and mayo. Shrimp and oysters on the smaller side, perfectly sized for a sandwich. The ideal bite would include all of these elements, and since Acme has been in business for more than 100 years, founded in 1910, they know how to provide many of these. That said, none of this would be possible without the bread. The highly touted and sought after New Orleans French Bread. A crisp thin shiny shell surrounding soft white bread that coddles the fried protein, posturpedic for heroes. It's pretty amazing how the bread dictates the outcome of the sandwich. Usually all focus is spent on the fillings, the sauce, accoutrements, but not the vessel. It finally clicked. Now I understand where I've gone wrong my entire life. Problem solved, case closed.

Fast forward to a night out on Frenchmen Street following a Pelicans victory, enjoying some drinks, brass bands and Mardi Gras Black Indians repping the Yellow Pocohontas tribe. Hunger kicked in, and with a pointer from a rather eccentric local named Thaddeus, we made our way to the Verti Marte on Royal Street in the French Quarter. I would like to take this time to thank the whoadie, because without his inside scoop, I highly doubt we would have entered this typical run-down looking corner store.

Narrow aisles and sparsely filled white metal shelves led you towards the counter in the back where a huge chalk board menu hovered. Options were plentiful, but we were focused on that boy boy. Luckily for us, not the quickest deciders (usually me), there was a line so we had some time to place the order. I was fairly positive I'd be getting the shrimp po' boy, even though it was similar to the afore mentioned Peace Maker. The shrimp needed to have a solo before we headed back north. Now what was the lady to order?? Hmmmmmm. We heard chatter about their signature sandwich "All That Jazz." Listed front and center under their specialties, how much of a risk could it be? Apparently not much based on a quick Google search.

Whats's there to say?? I mean, look at it. Don't be scared to click on it. Admire it. It's perfect in all of it's simplicity. Shrimp lightly seasoned and breaded, then fried the way a shrimp should be. Tender with a snap. Lettuce for some texture, tomato for a sweet kick and some acidity, and the mayo to tie everything in. And again the bread. Peep the cross section. It molds around the scrimps, yet it doesn't waiver, it doesn't collapse. Thaddeus, you crazy for this one!!

All That Jazz was really all that jazz consisting of "a medley of grilled ham, turkey & shrimp, swiss & american cheese accompanied by grilled mushrooms, tomatoes, on grilled french bread with our original "wow sauce". DAMN SON. That's a super group right there. Not the small assembly of amateur musicians that play on your shoulder. Purdie on drums, Eddie Harris on the sax, Dizzy on trumpet, Ramsey on piano, Grant Green on guitar and of course my girl Bobbi on the flute. Compared to the shrimp po boy, this was hefty and rich. The ying and the yang. But it was GOOD. Most definitely an ideal meal when sauced up. And even better the next day cold out the fridge. You the man Thaddeus.

I'm sure there are other po' boys out there that are as good, if not better. Parkway and Johnny's were recommended, but they just didn't make the cut. Any online research will throw out a whole other bunch of names. I guess that's just another reason to head south. However next time, we might throw the remix on and go Muffuletta hunting.

Stay tuned for more NOLA Kneaux How...

I thank Louchie Lou & Michie One for providing me with subject fodder, but that won't be played on HFE. Instead, let's invert a bit and play one of my favorites...

Verti Marte

1201 Royal St.

New Orleans, LA 70116


Acme Oyster House

724 Iberville Street

New Orleans, LA 70130


Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Had I known my last post was going to be frozen in time for nearly 3 years, I can guarantee it would not have been an ode to cherry juice. I would have called a last minute audible. Possibly delve into my cross country trek to score happy hour oysters in Seattle. Or tell you about that time I went to Portland and left Voodoo Donutless. Or recount the summer of Momofuku Milk Bar red velvet/cream cheese frosting soft serve. But no. Instead I decided to opine about cherry juice. Cherry juice?!?!? Really? Cherry juice?? Damn dude. No disrespect to the burgundy super fruit, but I'm better than that. This is Howfresh EATS cotdamnit, not DRINKS.

The gluttony. The meals. The snacks. The epicurean adventures. And don't forget the potato chips. Endless amounts of food capable of removing hunger from 3rd world countries. Bites documented from all angles. But none of that was shared. None. I was selfish. I hit the light switch and left the room. The masses had to walk and eat in darkness. I won't even talk about the customized H caps aka the buttahs, or the weekly vinyl nights I never invited you to.

H hat in hand, fresh off the plane from NOLA with funkaaaay MATERIAL for days, please accept my apologies. I come with a truckload of them LED bulbs, lasting longer than those phased out incandescent joints. The HFE marquee will not dim again.