If I'm not eating Abuelita's, Mami's or Jaggie's cooking, what am I eating?
If you knew me 10 to 15 years ago, you knew a meat and potatoes kind of girl, with of course, my weekly dose of four slices of pizza and two days of chicken parm.
Grandma has moved to Florida and Mami currently only specializes cooking varied dishes including amazing soups for my niece Kayla and my Son, Max. Sopita and Arroz is the main dish on Mami's menu. Jaggie's not been cooking too much lately so where do I turn?
My "go to" spot is usually Dee's, Brick Oven Pizza spot on Metropolitan near the movie theater and the ice cream shophttp://www.deesnyc.com . The Brick Oven Pizza at Dee's is SENSATIONAL! Max LOVES their Garlic and Oil pasta and his dad's go to dish is the Salmon by Dee's, me I love to pick at the awesome appetizers: Dee's Focaccia Bread with Oil, Oregano and Parmesan, Hummus with freshly baked focaccia, grilled Artichoke AllaRoma <---to die for!, Spanakopita: baby spinach-goat cheese-feta cheese-phyllo dough and a mini Greek salad. The fried Calamari is like a party in my mouth and I don't ever really eat Calamari (the texture is too bizarre for my taste, usually). The service is always very good and the prices are beyond reasonable. I have been eating at this location since the late '90's. It's both Date and Family friendly, Go FIGURE!
If I am in Forest Hills near Austin Street, which I try to be often, I am most likely hitting Dirty Pierre's http://foresthills.patch.com/listings/dirty-pierres for the AMAZING Goat Cheese Salad. Their French Fries are spectacular and the ladies who work there are the sweetest! This place is tiny, it has only about 5 tables and a bar with two stool tables behind it but the pulse is great and the comfort food is worth the trip.
Another Queens Gem is Mood http://moodnyc.coml in Kew Gardens. I have been eating here since 2004 and I love it. It's the place where everybody knows your name, the food is delicious and the service is great. My go to immediately is the Maryland Crab Cake. The soup of the day is always something I want except for when they serve gazpacho, I just don't believe in COLD SOUP, it's an oxymoron. Moe tends bar and makes great drinks but don't ask for a mojito.
Both Dirty Pierre's and Mood are located right near the LIRR stations in Kew Gardens and Forest Hills, respectively. Dee's is near the Metropolitan exit on the Interboro, right near Forest Park.
If I am in Manhattan I am heading to Rayuela, http://www.rayuelanyc.com/, this has to be my most favorite restaurant, EVER. (Ok, if you know me, you know I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Italian food and my GO To spot for Italian food is Tony's Pizzeria Restaurant in Corona, Queens. I was raised on Ernie's, he is the owner of Tony's Pizzeria Restaurant, Pizza and Chicken and Shrimp Parm next to Abuelita's, Mami's and Jaggies, this place is my most favorite).
Once you step foot into Rayuela the adventure begins, the decor is simple yet classy. Order a "Coming Up Roses" drink and you will be transported to the smooth energy of Latin America. The Pan de Bono and garlic butter is served immediately once you take your seat. If you are lucky enough to be a liked regular you will enjoy a Seafood Guacamole appetizer, courtesy of Chef Maximo. Any dish you choose will delight your palate. Trust me, get on the train, take a cab, drive, run, don't walk to Rayuela's on Allen between Rivington and some other street. Check out the website for directions and when you go tell them I sent you. It won't get you a table or a deal but at least they will know I'm putting the word out there. ;)
If I'm having a late lunch or an early dinner the Nolita House salad from Nolita House http://www.nolitahouse.com is just what I need. I think I will go to SOHO next week just for a Nolita House Salad. If you are in the neighborhood, stop by eat, have a drink, try their artisan cheeses. This place has a great vibe ESPECIALLY in the summer time. Great people, good comfort food, amazing SALAD! :)
I will be back with more of the places I enjoy eating.
Ciao for now.