A Taste of This Week's Review of Cheri

Categories: Featured

Bradley Hawks
Zachary Feldman heads to Harlem for this week's review, popping into Cheri (231 Lenox Avenue, 212-662-4374), a well-styled French restaurant that's been luring in a hip crowd.

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Weed Eaters: Stoner Food Isn't Just Blowing Smoke

Categories: Featured

Jeff Drew
Click for larger version, man.
Think of the craziest plate of food that might work as an actual dish. Consider the components, the flavors, the interplay among them. A work of art in early spring bounty. And we're not talking some boring variation on beet-ramp-blood orange-lamb shank here: Find the third path, the one that leads to something new. Something never tasted before.

Food Network chef Justin Warner founded his Bed-Stuy restaurant, Do or Dine, on the premise of "Fine Diving" — or in layman's terms, "great, crazy, unabashed food, with little or no pretension."

Or, as many are calling it, stoner food.

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Rancho Feeding Recall: Why Sick Dairy Cows Might Be to Blame

Categories: Featured, Recalls

Renowned rancher Bill Niman, pictured here on his ranch with wife Nicolette and son Miles, has several hundred thousand dollars worth of pasture-raised product tied up in the massive Rancho Feeding Corp. recall. [photo courtesy Bill Niman]
Rancho Feeding Corp., a slaughterhouse in Petaluma, California, has suspended operations indefinitely and is recalling more than 8.7 million pounds of meat that has reached 30 states. In the words of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the meat is "unfit for human food." The facility has "processed diseased and unsound animals and carried out these activities without the benefit or full benefit of federal inspection."

A rancher who's worked for 40 years with the slaughterhouse speculates that the recall has to do with its dairy cows, and New York butchers say the USDA's number is a political exaggeration.

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Our 10 Best Restaurants in Elmhurst, Queens

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The southern Mexican food is fine at El Jalapeno, but maybe you'd rather go for the opulent nachos regulares, shaped like a sunflower.

To look at the neighborhood today, with its bustling commercial strips, tidy frame houses, apartment towers, and plentiful parks, you wouldn't know Elmhurst was founded in 1652, when it was named Newtown. By the 19th century, the wafting stink of Newtown Creek caused the town elders to rethink the name, and they came up with Elmhurst--a rather poetic moniker that stuck. The town became part of New York City when it was consolidated into the new borough of Queens in 1898.

Today, only the random twisting and abrupt turns of the streets of Elmhurst recall its colonial heritage. More important, the town became home to one of the broadest collection of ethnicities in New York, as immigrants from 111 foreign countries arrived in the 1980s, making Elmhurst one of city's best places to eat. So hop on the R train, and join us in a tour of the best and most interesting restaurants in the neighborhood.

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Monday: Our 10 Best Restaurants in Elmhurst, Queens

Categories: Featured, Sietsema

This do-it-yourself cold rice noodle dish from Ayada provides you with pickled mustard greens, sprouts, fried pig skin, dried chiles, and an incendiary soup for pouring and dipping. It's great, but will it be great enough to catapult the restaurant into our top 10 for the neighborhood?

As one of five Chinatowns in NYC, Elmhurst is perhaps the most diverse, with not only Cantonese, Hong Kong, Sichuan, Taiwanese, and Mandarin hot-pot places, but with all sorts of other Asian restaurants, too, including Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Indonesian, Japanese, and Korean. But that's not all. The region also boasts plenty of Southern Mexican places, as well as Argentine, Colombian, and Dominican cafes. We've spent the last three weeks eating our way through the neighborhood to make sure our list is solid, but don't hesitate to throw in your two cents if you disagree with our ranking.

So please tune in bright and early Monday morning for Our 10 Best Restaurants in Elmhurst, Queens. In the meantime, check out our index of neighborhood 10 Best lists.

Our 10 Best Upper West Side Restaurants

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Topped with bacon, slaw, and fried green tomatoes and sided with cheese grits, the fried chicken biscuit sandwich at Jacob's Pickles
Update: We have revised our guide. Be sure to read our new list of the 10 best Upper West Side restaurants, published on November 20, 2014.
A score of years ago the Upper West Side was known as one of the worst dining neighborhoods in the city. Well, what happened? You may trace the transformation back to the opening of Picholine, but there were other harbingers, too, so that now the finger-shaped neighborhood that runs along the west side of Central Park, and was immortalized in West Side Story, is now a bonafide dining destination, and you should have no compunction about going up there to eat, say, on a date. Here are our current favorite places.

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Monday: Our 10 Best Upper West Side Restaurants

Categories: Featured, Sietsema

Burger patties flaming in the window of Big Nick's

Four years ago, FitR inaugurated Our 10 Best series. For most of that time, we've put it up at 8 on Friday mornings -- but now we're going to start posting it Monday at 7 a.m. instead. This Monday, look for Our 10 Best Upper West Side Restaurants, the first time we've ranked the restaurants in that neighborhood -- which was originally designed to look like Paris, and still does.

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Our 10 Best Chinese Restaurants in NYC, 2013 Edition

The amazing "big tray chicken" at Manhattan's Spicy Village

It's been over two years since Fork in the Road appraised the relative merits of the city's Chinese restaurants - things have changed so much in the interim. Northern Chinese fare continues to rule Flushing, Elmhurst has increased the breadth of its offerings beyond Taiwanese, and Sunset Park remains a bastion of familiar Cantonese eats - improved these days with Hong Kong style. Meanwhile, Manhattan's Chinatown absorbs all these influences, while remaining a hotbed of Fujianese, Shanghai, Cantonese, and now Northern Chinese fare. Other trends include the outmigration of great restaurants from Chinatowns, and the hipsterization of various regional cuisines.

Anyway, here are our favorite Chinese spots today. After you've fully digested the list, compare it with the 2010 ranking.

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Tomorrow: Our 10 Best Chinese Restaurants in NYC, 2013 Edition

Categories: Featured, Sietsema

The braised pork shoulder at Shanghai newcomer Full House is perfectly executed, but will it be enough to catapult that Chinatown establishment into our top 10?

With wave upon wave of new immigrants arriving, the city's collection of Chinese restaurants is in a perpetual state of flux. Ten years ago, Fujianese places caused excitement, to be replaced five years ago by Northern Chinese ones from places like Dongbei, Qingdao, and Xi'an.

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Fork in the Road's Updated Dim Sum Dictionary

Categories: Featured, Sietsema


Fo tiao qing, braised pork tendon

Way back in 2009, Fork in the Road offered readers an original dim sum visual dictionary, our tool to carry with you as you seek out the best small-plate parlors in the city. It was intended to be a resource for identifying and enjoying the traditional dim sum dishes that abound from Sunset Park to Chinatown.

In anticipation of the upcoming Chinese New Year (which begins this Sunday), we decided to polish up our chopsticks and refer to our sourcebook. While we'll still rely on the established dim sum standbys Dun Huang and East Harbor, we've also sought ought meat-free plates at Chinatown's Vegetarian Dim Sum House.

Here's our updated dim sum dictionary.

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