Q&A: The Arepa Lady Gets a Permanent Location

Colombia native Maria Cano is a former judge, but she's better known to late night Queens diners as the Arepa Lady. Her food cart under the 7 train on Roosevelt Avenue is famous for the golden, cheesy, salty-sweet arepas it has been doling out since 1990. But the arepas haven't always been easy to come by: the cart is open only on particular nights, from about 10:30 p.m. to 4 a.m., and only in warm weather.

Until now: Cano and several family members who help out with the business are opening a brick-and-mortar store, due to debut at Roosevelt Avenue and 77th Street next month. We spoke with Cano's son, Alejandro, about the transition to restaurant ownership, and how Maria came to be one of the most beloved vendors in the city.

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Eye Candy From Myung San, This Week's Reviewed Restaurant

Categories: Photo Essay

All photos by Bradley Hawks
Flushing's Myung San (162-21 Depot Road, Queens, 718-888-1245) is known for fermentation, Zachary Feldman learns when he stops in for this week's review and dips into cheonggukjang, otherwise known as dead body soup. "When more than two tables order the soup -- with its musty, rust-colored kimchi broth murky with bean paste and punctuated by cubes of semi-firm tofu -- walking into the spare 26-seat space feels akin, at least olfactorily, to entering a shipping container that doubles as a poorly ventilated hot yoga class for Medieval Times knights," he writes. "But then you take a deep breath, unsheathe your individually wrapped silverware bearing the restaurant's name, and plunge spoon-first into a world of fermented funk."

How was it? Check out this eye candy from Bradley Hawks, then head on over and read Feldman's full review.

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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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Our Five Best Cheap Eats This Week

Thumbnail image for francelaveggies.jpg
Laura Shunk
Tax Day no doubt left at least a few of you feeling a little bit poorer, and it's for you especially this week that we present a list of five great NYC restaurants where you can eat for less than $10. Nothing striking your fancy? Check out our Cheap Eats archives for more ideas.

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How Small, Immigrant-Owned Taquerias Are Weathering the Lime Shortage

Categories: ¡Oye! Comida

Scarlett Lindeman
A multitude of factors have converged to contribute to the drastic lime shortage in the United States this month. Thanks to citrus blight, erratic weather, and inner-state narco politics in Mexico, the price of the little green citrus fruits has skyrocketed, prompting the public to reconsider the ubiquity of an everyday commodity. What is a bowl of pho, a gin and tonic, or a taco without a squeeze of lime?

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Buvette's Jody Williams: "I Don't Like Any Label"

Categories: Chef Interviews

Gentl & Hyers
Walk into Buvette (42 Grove Street, 212-255-3590) during the throes of its dinner service, and your best bet is to surrender yourself to its rhythm. You will not find the icy hostess who guards the threshold of most New York restaurants, keeping a hold of the table turns and reservation book. You'll likely feel like you're in the way as you scan the room for a seat, and once you find one, you'll very likely be sharing elbow room with a stranger. It is exactly how chef-owner Jody Williams intended it, and so long as you're able to give up formal dining's rigid rules for a night, you'll probably have a great time.

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10 Ways to Celebrate Passover in NYC

Categories: Eating

Image courtesy BLT Steak/BLT Prime
Braised brisket at the BLT restaurants.

Passover began last night, and if you've ignored the holiday until now, there's still plenty of time for redemption; lucky for all of us, this city is filled with great Passover options for every level of religious commitment, whether you're a by-the-book kosher zealot, a "cultural" identifier with a Jewish grandmother somewhere down the family line, or a curious bystander who'd like to have a lesson in tradition.

Here, we offer 10 ways to celebrate the gift of freedom, some kosher, some kosher...in spirit.

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High on Home Cooking: Celebrate 4/20 With the High Times Cannabis Cookbook

Photo by Sara Remington, courtesy Chronicle Books
Ganja spanakopita from the Cannabis Cookbook.

Publishers love to send us cookbooks here at Fork in the Road, and often those books come straight from the chefs at some of New York's best restaurants. So we decided to share the love, and each week, we'll feature a new book, a recipe, and a few thoughts on cooking from the authors. Check back every Tuesday for a new book.

The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook
By Elise McDonough and the editors of High Times Magazine, 160 pages, Chronicle Books, $18.95

In a week punctuated by Passover Seders, Easter brunches, and all the feasty, family-fraught gluttony spring can muster, we're here to make sure you don't forget that Sunday brings another venerable celebration: 4/20. In honor of this hazy holiday, we're de-shelving a 2012 book of reefer recipes that will both get you blitzed and taste good.

In typical High Times fashion, the book is a culinary journey and a trip through the annals of American counter-cultural history, with tales and recipes from folks who pushed marijuana culture and cooking forward in our great nation.

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Attention: Get Your Early Entry Choice Streets Tickets Before They're Gone

Categories: Choice Streets

Laura June Kirsch
Our Choice Streets food truck tasting event is less than a month away, and we're moving quickly through tickets -- so quickly, in fact, that our VIP fares are sold out, and we have just a few Early Entry tickets remaining. It behooves you to snatch one of these while you can: You'll get a half an hour of early tasting, which means you'll have to contend with fewer lines once the doors open.

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UPDATED: A Complete List of 2014 Tax Day Deals in NYC

Categories: Deals

Celebrate tax day with free ice cream
Those of you eagerly awaiting your refund probably have just one thing in common with others who are weeping over a hefty check to Uncle Sam: You're happy tax season is over. And per usual, this town's restaurant industry is ready to help you celebrate, with plenty o' deals for those of us who feel a little light in the wallet.

Here are all the deals we know of in the city (aside from the fast food chains, some of which are offering freebies, too). Seeing others? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook, or via Twitter, and we'll update this post accordingly.

UPDATE, 4:39 p.m.: We've added BLT Steak New York, BLT Prime, BLT Fish, BLT Bar & Grill, Casa Nonna, and GO Burger Bar & Grill.

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