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Closed: Huh, this is the first time I've become aware of a closing within 24
hours of the establishment actually shuttering its doors. Often months (or
even years) might pass before I realize a restaurant is no longer with us.

It's hard to give a well-rounded assessment since the only thing I've
ever eaten at this establishment is the B3 burger. James and a coworker
almost swear by it, but I'm not all that impressed. For one, it comes with
chips. Homemade chips, granted, so they're all fresh and crisp from the
fryer. But I don't like chips. I've got horrible eating habits and love junk
food, yet somehow I've never managed to develop a taste for chips, hot dogs
or soda. I wish I could say the same for sweets of all sorts and french
fries. I can't resist a fry, and call me a traditionalist but that's what
burgers should come with.

The B3 burger sounds good in theory: blue cheese and pepper bacon, but
the cheese is barely recognizable. If you're going to put that much extra
fat on a burger, it ought to be tasted. Oh, I've also had mussels, which
were perfectly fine. The weird part was when the waitress (who was crouching
next to the table–I hate it when they do that chummy stuff) asked, "are
mussels good for you?" and my first thought was that she must mean are they
high in fat because that's all girls seem to care about. So I told her they
were very low in fat, but she wanted to know about nutritive value, which I
was pretty clueless about. So mussels=fine, burger=passable. I'll have to
try something else next time, and I'm sure I'll be back since it's just one
of those places. (3/26/01)

B3 * 33 Ave. B, New York, NY


I'd been wanting to try Meigas for while, and a birthday seemed like the
perfect occasion (I'd sort of hinted at it as a Valentine's Dinner option,
but I wasn't terribly forceful and consequently ended up at Churascarria Plataforma, which was perfectly fine, but
definitely in a different vein). I tend to eat out a lot, but it's not that
often that I go to places with entrees over $25. It's not the price so much
(well, sort of, I am a pretty big penny pincher), but my big phobia
is the wine list. I'm no oeniphile and I'm afraid it shows. But sometimes
you've got to throw caution to the wind. I'mpressions, who cares?

I'd seen a prix fix tasting menu on their website and got all excited
about crazy things like broccoli rabe gelato and veal flavored with charcoal
oil. I mean, what exactly is charcoal oil, and should it be on your food? I
had to find out. I'd also heard about a garish mural, so that was the first
thing I looked for when I stepped inside. It was hard to miss. The entire
back wall was painted in this out of perspective, naive style, complete with
a table of food coming out of the ocean as the main focus. The best part was
the nebulous witch flying down out of the clouds from the upper right. I
only regret being seated with the monstrosity to my back.

We happened to get the intimidating half-man/half-beast waiter that's
always in the photo accompanying Meigas
. He hands-down wins the award for freak-out factor. I'm not
referring to his massive facial hair, which is neither here nor there, he's
simply intense and scary as all get out. You find yourself painfully
straining as he quietly mutters under his breath without making eye contact.
He bosses and yells at the other waiters in gruff Spanish, and he lopes
around in this beastly manner, hunching and swinging his left arm vigorously
with some unknown purpose. I cracked myself up trying to imagine if the guy
ever loosens up. Would he ever do something mundane like ordering out
Chinese and watching "The Sopranos" with friends?

I was scared to ask about the tasting menu since it wasn't on the menu I
was handed, and got nervous when he explained that the chef can specially
make things and rattled some dishes off, which I could barely catch. I went
in knowing I wanted the suckling pig and the baby squid served in its own
ink, and I'm pretty sure those words crossed his lips, but I couldn't say
for certain. I wasn't 100% sure what I was getting myself into, but I agreed
to this arrangement. I was eager to see what delicacies would make their way
to the table, and I love surprises. But at the same time, I was kind of on
guard because I had no idea what the price was (though I was guessing
somewhere near $60 since $59 was listed on the site. It ended up being
slightly more, but not by much). My biggest fear was spending over $200 on a
meal that I would barely be able to chew or taste due to my wisdom tooth
pain and stuffed up nose (ultimately, I managed alright. Only the coconut
truffle gave me some trouble at the end).

Unfortunately, I can only piece together the courses, since I didn't
have a menu to go by and it wasn't always clear what what was being served.
Sometimes it was announced as it was brought, and other times I figured it
out when the plate was cleared and the words, "How was your such and such?"
were uttered. First tapas were brought out. Fussy and small, but good. My
favorite was a tiny, balled croquette of some sort. Then came a pequillo
pepper stuffed with what I thought he said was cod, but it didn't taste like
fish. This was my least favorite of the night, simply because I'm not a big
fan of peppers. I did like the micro-mini croutons scattered throughout.
Next came the white beans with mussels (just one mussel really), which was a
big hit. I never thought something so simple could taste so amazing. This
was James's favorite, and it was his birthday so that deserves a mention.
Then came the squid in its ink, intimidating in a bowl of opaque black
liquid. I wasn't sure if you were supposed to pick the squid out of it, or
enjoy the broth in a soup-like manner. When it came down to it, the flavor
was almost like clam chowder, though nothing of the Campbell's variety. I
ended up sopping the thick juices up with some of the bread (which was very
good–especially the sweet, nutty one), which was nice, but looked crazy
with the light/dark contrast. (Beware, any places your lips may be chapped
will become stained for the night.) After that came the pompano (a
, as the waiter emphatically told us) with saffron rice and little
paprika infused olive oil swooshes. The crowning glory was the suckling pig
with a honey and sherry vinegar glaze served on top of potato slices with a
sprig of rosemary on top. Perfectly crisp skin, succulent meat, though I had
a hard time discerning flavors among the orange, green and white dabs of
accompanying sauces.

I was excited by the desserts, but then I always get a little crazy
where sweets are concerned. A chocolate mousse with chocolate pieces was
fine, but I'm not a huge mousse lover. There was a spoon containing white
fluff, a coconut truffle and a glob of gelatin that I think was supposed to
be eaten in one bite (though I picked it apart) to meld the flavors. My
favorite was the most confusing. I originally thought there were four
desserts and that the mound of sour, freaky tasting walnuts were meant to
stand alone. It wasn't until I meshed them with the mini cheesecake covered
in red glaze (not sure of the flavor) and dipped it into the neon green pool
next to it that I realized its true beauty. When the chef, Luis Bollo, came
out to see how we enjoyed our meal (always a nice touch, and I noticed he
only did this with people ordering the tasting menu. There was a group of
men at the table next to us who were always one course behind us), I had to
ask about the dessert. It turns out the walnuts were mixed with apples,
gorgonzola and vinegar (I didn't catch what the fruit was in the
green sauce). What a combination, I was very impressed.

After dinner, we were treated to a sweet glass of Valencian muscatel
which I didn't realize was part of the meal. Oh, for the wine–I chose a
moderately priced Galician white. It was a worthwhile excursion for sure.
And since I noticed a sign in the window for a $20 lunch, it's pretty
certain I'll be back. (3/24/01)

Out of business, and have been for quite some time. but recently I've
been re-reminded of Meigas because Luis Bollo is now executive chef or
somethin Suba, a place I've never had any desire to visit. (10/2/02)

Hmm…I think Meigas has reopened in some form in Norwalk, CT. Odd.

Meigas* 350 Hudson
St., New York, NY


Macchili IncrEdibles Oh my…I’m almost speechless. I’ve never actually seen these in the store (probably for a good reason) so I’m not sure if they qualify as “newborn.” Fetus is more like it, and they’re about as appealling as one too. The Breakaway Foods Company is taking fast food to a new level with such tasty American favorites as mac & cheese and scrambled eggs and sausage–on sticks! Those mini microwavable Chef Boyardee atrocities were just too much work, I suppose. I mean, it’s tough using your hands and opening your mouth at the same time.


I agreed to visit Saratoga Springs in a work-related capacity. This means
sight seeing, stopping in Chambers of Commerce, small-talking B&B owners and
the like. No fun, right? All I cared about was finding good food. S.S. is a
prissy sort of place, moneyed and full of beastly, aging, tan women.
Fortunately in March, the place is pretty dead and I could explore my

Our first night in town, we were peeking in the windows of Hattie's when
we witnessed a freaky altercation between a drunk girl and her boyfriend.
She was yelling at some woman for wearing a fur coat, he was trying to get
her to shut up, then completely body slammed her in the alley next to the
restaurant. She was out cold, it was eerie as heck and I was like what are
we supposed to do? I swear, this kind of shit only happens when I'm out of
the city.

During my research, Hattie's immediately jumped out. No horse racing
memorabilia, no lattes, no continental American cuisine. This is a place
known for their fried chicken and other southern specialties. Maybe that's
out of place in upstate New York, but it intrigued me. I do know that it was
run by Hattie herself until her death, and supposedly the recipes are the
same. I can't vouch for consistency or authenticity, but the food was a
definite breath of fresh air.

Of course, I had to get the fried chicken. (This prompted a mini
argument. I thought we could both get fried chicken [with the same two
sides] if we wanted to, but James thinks that's wrong. That two people
shouldn't order the same thing like it indicates ignorance or some sort of
un-cultured-ness. Is this really true?) My two sides were collard greens and
mashed potatoes. I was wary of the succotash since I've only sampled the
canned variety, and the yams sounded good, but I figured I could sneak a few
bites off James's plate. He refused a double order of chicken and opted for
the smothered pork chops, which was my second choice. I think he actually
would've preferred my choice, and vice versa since I'm a bigger fan of the
meat/sweet combo, but oh well. The yams were deliciously candied and nothing
like the pan of bright orange mush you find on Thanksgiving tables.

The chicken was near greaseless and had a light quality. James insisted
it was nothing special, but that's just because he likes to think he makes
the best fried chicken. I'll agree that the chicken wasn't heavily seasoned,
but that's how I prefer it (and to be honest, he puts a little too much salt
in his coating). The greens had a sweet and sour aspect which combated the
potential for an overly heavy meal. My only complaint is that for such a
large half chicken portion, I'd have liked more greens to scoop up with my
meat. But that's just me.

The meal was enjoyable, and creepily, we were seated right next to the
window overlooking the alley where that girl was practically dead in a heap
the night before. It weirded me out a bit, but of course, that didn't stop
me from gobbling like nobody's business.

* 45 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, NY

Jaya Malaysian

Urges are weird and unpredictable. Right in the middle of lifting weights, I
got the strongest craving for laksa, not even real laksa, but this odd
semi-authentic version I used to eat all the time in Portland. Laksa
thoughts continued to pop up in my head for days afterward, but it wasn't
until the following week that I was able to seek out my fix. This craving
prompted a conversation where I was asked if I had food urges even when I
wasn't hungry. Well, of course. Isn't that normal? Not that I'll always
follow through. A giant piece of cheesecake may sound good, but that doesn't
mean I'm going to go out and eat some every time it crosses my mind. I'd
like to hear from you freaky types who only crave food when you're actually

Anyway, Nyonya is usually my first choice Malaysian, but you've got to
branch out sometimes. I've walked by Jaya enough times and not gone in that
it seemed worth a try. They didn't have the turnip cake or mee siam like I
was hoping for, but they did have a good, cheap roti canai, a whole section
separate from soups devoted exclusively to laksa and a rambutan beverage. I
always have to check for the rambutan on the menu (not that I order it, but
I've gotten a kick out of the demented fruit ever since I first laid eyes on
the prickly beasts in Toronto).

The main thing is that my laksa craving was temporarily sated. And it's
not every day that you can wolf down a bowl filled with spicy oil and
coconut milk without thinking of your arteries just a little bit. Gone are
the days of yore ('95-'97) when I could eat a bowl or two a week without
even blinking an eye. The weird thing is that I'm so used to the fake laksa
that I think I prefer it. Jaya's had thick yellow egg noodles when I'm used
to rice vermicelli (actually this is the only difference that I really
miss). Jaya's broth was much spicier and yellower–more curry or tumeric, I
guess. Now that I think about it, the fake laksa's broth was more like the
roti canai gravy, minus the potatoes. Gravy? Broth? It's all the same. I do
that I ate a bowl filled with a satisfying liquid, left stuffed (but not
ill) and in a pretty good mood.

Jaya Malaysian Restaurant * 90 Baxter St., New York,NY

Chip Shop

I don't even like fish and chips fish, however, I do like heavy,
fried food like steak and kidney pie–and who can say no to chips with malt

The menu was typical casual English food in a sit-down fancified
environment with prices to match (not that they were outrageous or
anything). It's all to be expected since this isn't an authentic chip shop
replica, it's a dining establishment in a gentrified neighborhood. My
favorite Park Slope moment came when the kid at the table next to us asked
his mother, "what kind of music is this?" and she informatively replied,
"techno." Ah, Brooklyn and its free spirits.

The funny part was when they told James he'd received the last piece of
cod. We also ordered fried Mars bars and when they said they'd have to check
if they had any, it made me a little nervous. It wasn't until we left that I
noticed the sign on the door (that wasn't there when we entered) saying
they'd ran out of food, and due to the impending storm, didn't know when
they'd have more. Not just out of fish, but food altogether. That was
pretty absurd. I don't know if it was opening week underplanning or if Park
Slope residents just love their pub fare. I felt lucky to have snatched up
the last scraps.

It seems that I've been spending an inordinate amount of time in
brownstone Brooklyn these days. I guess I never frequented the area until
late '00 when I got a job in the neighborhood. It's not something I want to
make a habit of. Be forewarned, it's the stomping grounds for aging,
were-never-quite-hipsters, and precocious tots and the parents (who are
largely comprised of the aging, were-never-quite-hipsters) who made them
that way. (3/3/01)

Deep-fried Twinkies…what more can I say? (9/6/02)

Chip Shop * 383 5th Ave.,
Brooklyn, NY


Nobody seems too keen on this place. I guess Vera Cruz is the cooler Bedford Ave. Mexican choice. But I find the food to be more authentic (or maybe just in the style I prefer) than most places around town. It's not fast food (in fact, it's just about the slowest food in the world), but it's certainly not fancy either. Prices are great, food is better than average, it's open 24 hours…so what's the stumbling block? The service!

It's crazy. I've been when it's busy, the food came at a snail's pace, then I ran into a friend who was leaving without eating because they just couldn't take it anymore. The waitress always appears to be on her first day at the job. At first, I thought it might be a language barrier issue, but now I think she's just brain damaged (not that she isn't nice). Appetizers come after the main course, beers are forgotten, and all the while she looks confused and harried (even when there's only four customers in the entire place). The icing on the cake was when we gave her two twenties for a $25 meal and didn't realize til later she'd only given $4 in change. I know it's not the world's biggest crime, but it irked me, nonetheless.

The menu is better than decent and they offer many fresh squeezed juices and a kick-ass cafe con leche. I like what I've eaten like the al pastor and carnitas burritos and the little jalepeno potato croquette things, so I wish they would work out the kinks.

I don't know what's here now. The whole Bedford strip is in flux and I certainly wouldn't consider myself a regular in the neighborhood. (6/6/05)

Azteca * ? Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, NY