Half the fun of discovering a new restaurant is sharing it with people you know will enjoy it. As Rachael Ray’s resident restaurant guru, here’s an inside look at what I report back to Rach about some of my favorite restaurant finds and food experiences!
Sent: Thursday, January 3, 2013 1:34pm
Subject: NYC Asian Food Crawl
Hey Rachael -
As you know, it pains me when I have too many places to go and not enough days to do it. Enter, the food crawl. As you also know, I’m a big Asian food fan. What started out as a quick bite with a friend turned into a few quick bites - one with a friend, and two solo.
It all started at Pok Pok Wings on Manhattan’s Lower East Side - a place that literally only serves Thai-style wings and papaya salad. This was Chef Andy Ricker’s entrance into Manhattan, via his Portland outpost. This concept (and menu) then grew and headed over to Brooklyn. In between my visit and my writing this note to you, what was once a wing-centric location is now Pok Pok Phat, which focuses on Phat Thai, featuring 5-plus options to be exact. Are you following? When it was wing-specific, I popped in and tried both the Thai-style wings (pictured above) and papaya salad and they rocked my world. To say that I need to pay a visit to his newer Brooklyn restaurant is an understatement - I can’t wait!
From there, I cruised over to Café Asean, which claims to focus on Southeast Asian cooking, spanning Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines and Singapore to be exact. While picking at the fantastic crispy shrimp dumplings and the chicken with basil, I got into conversation with the server, who was telling me about one of his favorite Thai restaurants. I’m a sucker for Thai food, so I basically stopped eating to save a little room for his Thai recommendation. Café Asean came recommended from a colleague and it’s a cool little place if you’re looking for some unique Asian food in the West Village.
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From there, I headed right over to Zabb Elee in the East Village and posted up at a seat at the kitchen counter. I ordered my favorite Thai item (when a Thai place has it): Thai-style beef jerky. You’ll sometimes see it listed as Neua Dad Deo - it’s essentially marinated strips of dried beef that they then deep fry until crispy and cooked through, and it’s amazing! I also picked at a crispy pork dish whose name escapes me, but if you ask for a spicy crispy pork dish, they will know. Actually, be careful, their spice level is pretty true to Thai standards and when you say medium, that is most people’s spicy. Tread carefully!
And that’s what’s on my plate!
127 Columbia Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
117 West 10th Street
Manhattan, NY 10011
75 2nd Avenue
New York, 10003
Andrew “Kappy” Kaplan loves food. A professionally trained chef, by day he runs Yum-o!, Rachael Ray’s charity focused on kids and cooking, and keeps special projects running smoothly for her. By night he hops course to course, place to place, all across the country. He’s Rach’s own personal dining guide! You can also follow Kappy on Twitter to see what’s On Kappy’s Plate in real-time!