Thursday, September 22, 2011


Today I had Maoz for lunch with my co-worker Andrea.  (Drool over her new Missoni socks here.)  I first saw Maoz when I traveled to Amsterdam in 2010 and I remember coining it as "the vegetarian McDonalds."  I didn't try it then but I was intrigued to see Maoz start popping up in NYC upon my return from my semester abroad.  Maoz is a vegetarian fast-food joint specializing in falafel.  You can get falafel in a pita or in a salad, choose from a few different add-ins like hummus, feta or baba ganoush for extra $monayyy, and then romp around the unlimited salad bar adding whatever you please FO' FREE.  When faced with the dilemma of half eaten falafel pitta and no toppings in the middle, you can ravage the salad bar again.  No worries or paranoia from Maoz about the possible unsanitary conditions of bringing saliva sprinkled food up to the salad bar -- they're totally into it!

I went for a whole wheat pitta with falafel obv and sprung for the feta add-in.  I was super overwhelmed at the salad bar but managed to concentrate hard enough to pick up chick-peas, roasted red peppers and cauliflower.  I doused it all in stinky-delicious garlic sauce.  Bottom line: Maoz is bangin'.  First bite = light beaming down from the heavens.  The falafel was moist and abundant.  I never ran out of it; not even at the bottom of my pita.  All of the veggie toppings seemed fresh and the feta icebergs were huge.  Notice the greenish hue in the below photo?  I could edit that shiz out real quick but I decided to leave it for effect -- the entire store is shrouded in neon green walls and lighting to match the green insides of the falafel.  Chic right?
Like my nail polish? (watch out Diamond Star, I'm hittin' you up this weekend.)  This was taken after my second trip to the salad bar, but I'm afraid my photos don't do this beautiful food justice.  Andrea had pretty beets in hers and there was green tabbouleh too.  The situation really was just too messy to truly capture.  You have to see it to believe it folks.

Basically, Maoz is delicious and semi-guilt free.  I hear that the french fries are really good especially with the garlic sauce, but something in my conscience prevents me from matching french fries with falafel.  For this sandwich and a drink I paid just under $10.  Best part about this whole thing is I ate lunch like a vegetarian and got totally food-coma full.  Can't beat that.

This joint is on fire.  RUN there.  (Like the Amsterdam joint pun?? Or no?)

Maoz: 683 8th Ave., between 43rd and 44th.  See site for more locations.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I went to Felidia the other night for mom's birthday.  Felidia was opened by  Lidia Bastianich and her husband Felice, thus the combo-name.  Our party of five was seated at a large square table right in the front window, away from the main dining room.  At first it annoyed me to be near the door, but in the end the table worked out really nicely.
Obviously I had been drooling over the online menu all day and upon arriving I already knew that I was going to have.  An unforseen truffle menu threw me off for a few minutes but I was eventually able to stay on course.  I ordered a chicken liver starter with mushrooms, onions and pate, and a pappardelle primi with braised shredded Hudson Valley duck and mushroom.  I also tried a bit of some other apps floating around the table, including the pear and pecorino-filled ravioli and a daily special of veal tartare with tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. (yes, I eat veal.)
I'm having trouble finding anything negative to say.  I was a little nervous about the chicken livers but they were soft and delicious in a brown sauce with onions.  The pate was perfectly sweet.  The portion was very generous but I ran out of crostini for the pate quickly.  It always annoys me when I order something dip-ish and do not receive enough dipping vehicles. (i.e. chips and salsa, guacamole, spin-artichoke dip, you get it.)  

I was expecting the pear ravioli to be very sweet, but in fact the pear was toned down and made for a light combination with the pecorino.  The tartare was garlicky and I didn't eat any of the tomato, (actually, after a strong cocktail and an intense love affair with chicken liver I'm blurry on if there was tomato involved but I know for sure I didn't eat any) but it was very nice with the fresh mozzarella.  Very light.

My pappardelle was presented al dente with the braised duck and mushrooms in a brown sauce, sort of like a delicate ragu.  I didn't try any of the other entrees on the table because I was too busy letting duck melt in my mouth and talking about Michele Bachmann and Casablanca.  SOOO bouge.

I had raspberry tapioca and sorbet with pannacotta for dessert.  I only wished that the little baby pannacotta was the main event of the dish; it's my favorite.

Overall, we all agreed that this was a delicious and very pleasant dining experience.  The service was attentive, helpful and friendly.  We weren't seated in the main dining room area, but it looked kind of squished back there, so in hindsight our placement was perfect.  It was an expensive evening, but if that's what you're going for, I definitely recommend it.  I want to go back again for the chicken liver NOW.  And the truffle menu, and the ravioli.

Felidia: 243 E. 58th St. between 2nd and 3rd. (212)758-1479

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Kabano's Polish Deli

On my 150 minutes on the train every day I distract myself from misery three ways: reading, sleeping, and looking out the window.  I've spent a lot of time staring out the window of the Babylon line of the LIRR over the years now and I have been continuously intrigued by the backside of Kabano's Polish Deli.  It backs up on the Copaigue station and during the summer months you can see into the kitchen through the back doors that open onto the parking lot.  I finally mentioned it to dad, who commutes sometimes also, and he said that he has had the same thoughts!  We resolved to go and check it out, and did today. For lack of a better idea, we drove west along the railroad tracks until we found it.
When we stepped through the door we basically stepped into Poland.  Everything was in Polish and everyone was speaking Polish.  We took a few minutes to figure out what was going on, and finally ordered one tongue head cheese with butter sandwich and one kielbasa, sauerkraut and mustard sandwich.  Both came on rye.  I got a beer and we also grabbed a pack of potato pierogies and a large cut of kielbasa for the fridge.
We retreated with our paper bags to the car.  Yeah, we drank a beer in the car.  Arrest me.  The smell of garlic wafting through the paper filled the car before we could even break the sandwiches out.  Opening these paper packages of goodness was like opening a new camera or pair of shoes on Christmas. (Do I have a problem?)

This is dad's head cheese:
The kielbasa and kraut: 
The sandwiches were freakin' delicious.  Mom and I didn't order mayonnaise but found it on our sandwich anyway.  Normally this would annoy me, but in this case it added to the experience.  The kielbasa was sliced paper thin and the bread was so soft and fresh.  I split the 'wich with mom, and after one half I found myself wishing for more.  When I've had kielbasa in the past it has usually been of the cheap, food-store variety and eaten plain in centimeter thick slices.  Kabano's unprocessed kielbasa was such a welcome change.  I would, like, go there again tomorrow.
Here are the pierogies and kielbasa en route to their new casa, my stomach.

A Polish woman told us that there were more Polish stores around the corner.  We found more delicatessens and a bakery, where we bought a poppy seed loaf.  Kabano's site says the cold cuts are made on premises.  This food is definitely worth a trip to Copaigue; go there.

Kabano's Polish Deli: 515 Oak Street, Copiague, NY 11726. (631) 842-3999

Monday, September 5, 2011

Flo's Famous Luncheonette

Clam bar pickiness plagues my family and we've been scouting the area recently for some new spots to try.  Mom and Dad heard about Flo's Famous Luncheonette this weekend so we headed east to Blue Point to check out the scene.  Flo's is a laid back version of Montauk roadside clam bars with outdoor seating only and no waiter service.  
We each ordered a Manhattan Clam Chowder, Dad had a Lobster Roll, and mom and I split one Lobster Roll and one Cajun Shrimp Wrap.  We were told that there were no clams available because clammers have not been allowed out due to recent storm runoff into the bay -- at least the clams are locally sourced.
The clam chowder was not amazing.  While it was obviously homemade, we found that the broth was a little weak.  Clams and potatoes were kind of elusive, and big tomato chunks were overabundant.  It was nice however that we were given the soup right when we ordered and before the rest of our food came out.  We each burnt our tongues on the soup.  I never know who is at fault in a burnt tongue situation.  Is it the restaurant's fault for serving scalding food, or my fault for being impatient?  This is a chicken or egg dilemma.
The Lobster Rolls were good.  They boasted big chunks of meat with a little mayo on toasted potato buns and came with nice french fries.  Dad said the roll wasn't the best he's had, but for $10.50 each, you can't really go wrong. (A lobster roll in Manhattan costs around $17)  We enjoyed the Cajun Shrimp Wrap.  The shrimp was perfectly cooked, spicy and tender and came with lettuce tomato and onion. 
I think next time I would definitely try something different, maybe the crabcake sandwich or fried clam strips.  The menu was diverse and had lots of non-seafood options, and there was also an ice cream window.  Overall I enjoyed Flo's and would definitely keep it in mind for the future.  

Flo's Famous Luncheonette: 302 Middle Road, Blue Point, NY 11715. (631) 363-0596 Flo's Luncheonette on Urbanspoon
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