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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Red Hook'd: Taco Time?

Judging from all the emails, people are chomping at the proverbial bit for a Red Hook Taco Reunion at the Red Hook Soccer Fields.

Alas, you'll have to wait longer. Per Cesar Fuentes...

The good: Several vendors will be operating satellite stands at the Brooklyn Flea (market) in addition to Red Hook. Starting this Sunday (May 25th), the Vaquero, Hernandez and Soler stands will be selling elotes preparados, huaraches, pupusas, and etceteras. So get your fix here until Red Hook is up and running.

The bad: Speaking of which, Red Hook is NOT up and running. Per Cesar, “We cannot start until the city approves our permits [and these are] being processed as we speak. Unfortunately, that can still take a couple more weeks before we are given a go. Realistically speaking, we can probably expect to open Mid-June.

The Ugly: Everyone is keen for a Taco Reunion; less so (I suspect) for a New Kids On The Block Reunion. They are no longer kids, so what are they still doing “on the block”?

Back to the topic at hand: Full interview with Cesar Fuentes in the works. Check back next week for the entire scoop. Shoot us an email if you have specific questions you want answered. And in the meanwhile, support your kindred Taco Activists in La La Land by heading over to the flavorful Save Our Taco Trucks website and signing their petition.

One Taco,

–J. Slab


Friday, May 23, 2008

Playoff Fever

“Always calm under pressure, no need to act ill...”


Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Thrasymachus: Yoyoyoyoyo you heard about 2Plump?

Socrates: Yo I heard he's mad nice, been killin on the mixtapes plus son can freestyle

T: Word, where he's from?

S: I heard the Bricks but maybe Haiti, cause he speak French too

T: French?

S: Naw but don't get it twisted he be all about flavor. Mad flavor.

T: Like who?

S: Like if Chub Rock got with Biggie then they had this kid, but the Fat Boys raised him -

T: [interrupts] like in that movie?

S: Disorderlies? Naw, they was nurses. I'm just sayin tho-

T: [interrupts] ...and Chub Rock and Biggie are both dudes, you saying what I think you-

S: Naw listen kid, be easy. 2Plump be killin it all thru the summer.

T: You say grillin?

S: No doubt!!! And now you know the true meaning of Summer.In other words...

Breaking news: Classic American Warm-Weather Tube-Meat Grill-Dongs now come in four flavors: mind still boggling, erogenous flavor zones reeling.

That's right kids. D'Artagnan now makes Hot Dogs and they are delicious.

The what: Beef, Buffalo, Duck and Hog logs from this highly-regarded meat fancier.
The why: sustainable, small-farm meat; no antibiotics, hormones, additives, fillers or nitrates.
The how much: four-packs run about $7 or (for the “fancy” flavors) $8.
The skinny: each dog is nearly twice as big as, say, a Hebrew National standard. So it's more like an 8-pack.
The fat: indeed. 2Plump – which is why they hold up so well on the grill despite being skinless.
The taste:
  • Duck: Our surprise favorite. But now we're just surprised no one else has thought to make a duck dog. So juicy you can hear the quacking. Great flavor, distinctive but recognizable and totally enjoyable. Even your friend who scoffs at “pretentious food” will love these.
  • Buffalo: Another distinctive crowd-pleaser. Darker and gamier. “Real Buffalo taste” in every bite. Good with a dab of mustard. Also makes a great segueway to fake story about the first time you went “hunting for Venison.”
  • Pork: Heritage pork mixed in a smooth, pale link. Plump, fresh flavor reminiscent of a German-style wurst.
  • Beef: Perhaps the least unusual of the lot, but still delicious. Worth keeping on tap because, strictly speaking, this is the only link that qualifies as a “hot beef injection.”

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Taste The Love

Do you remember those 80's Reeses Peanut Butter Cups ads, good reader?

They would set an unlikely stage – at the opera, or playing Intellvision – for someone to accidentally “stick their chocolate” into a peer's “peanut butter.” The results were far more wholesome than the imagery suggests: culinary miscegenation proved less sexual innuendo than flavorful eureka; and the collision of parts always yielded a titillating whole, a candy bar that dared ride “up the down escalator” en route to gastronomic ecstasy.

Or something like that.

Regardless, mixing two different types of delicious seems like Sound Flavor Policy. Particularly if said types include bacon and ham. As fate would have it, this is precisely the hook of our latest Ham Of The Month: a wonderful “double dip” flavor explosion sold by the fine folks at Di Palo's. And it goes by the name of porchetta.
You Dropped Your Bacon On My Ham!

Before I get annoying emails correcting my choice of words, let me remind you that this is not the rolled, roasted suckling pig sold from the backs of trucks throughout Central Italy. It's still a big log of hog, but it's 100% ham – and at $12.99/lb., it's one of the Best Cold Cut Deals In Town.
Stack that on your bread and eat it

Imported from the Lago di Garda (halfway between Milan and Venice), Di Palo's porchetta is a pork loin wrapped in pancetta with rosemary and peppercorns. Slice it thin, and bask in the wonder: smoky and salty interior, sweet and creamy fat, herb and pepper aroma. The effect is nothing short of arousing, a cornucopia of flavors best savored over a bit of hearty Italian bread.
Sal DiPalo – like his brother Lou (top pic) – are masters of the slice

I first had it on recommendation of Sal Di Palo, one of the third generation of co-owners at this Grand Street institution. In a city besotted with neophyte yuppie foodie boutiques and self-satisfied go-green psuedo-organic haunts, Di Palo's is somewhat of a rarity these days: a real-deal respite where each customer is welcomed like a guest at an overflowing table. Hospitality and generosity (with their time and samples both) are the guiding principles. Which is how I came across their porchetta. Lingering at the counter and talking meat with Sal, he cut me off a slice. One bite and I was sold (1/2 pound to be precise), and eager to spread the gospel of this unique, memorable ham.
Dropping flavor since 1925

So run down and buy some. And while you're there, give thanks that the Di Palo's have been going at their own gloriously deliberate pace since 1925. This is a family in the know, and everything about their small, stuffed storefront exudes confidence and easy-going charm. Take the inevitably long time you will spend on line to peruse a selection of goods from throughout Italy (most from farmers and producers they know personally), and look forward to that moment when your number is called and porchetta is nigh at hand. Which is to say, Di Palo's is less a “specialty store” than an experience to savor; especially if you dive in ham-first. Can't you just taste the love?

Di Palo Fine Foods
200 Grand Street (at Mott Street)
Little Italy/Chinatown, Manhattan
(212) 226-1033
Open daily from 9 - 6:30 (4pm on Sundays)