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Vegetarian Dim Sum


You can eat well here for $20. And that's for three big-appetited adults. No
it's not as full of greasy, porky goodness as traditional dim sum, but it is
tasty and you don't feel so gross after over-ordering. I know baby-ish
carnivores that eat here because they claim Chinatown food is full of
gristle and weird unidentifiable bits. That's so not true. I mean, that's
only one step away from saying they cook stray cats and dogs (I'm not saying
they don't eat "pets" in Asia, but I don't think it's common NYC practice.
And if dog meat turned out to be the secret ingredient in yummy dim sum,
then I'd be all for it). Anyway, fill up on meat-free renditions of turnip
cakes, shrimp dumplings and pork buns and rest easy about the gnarly bits.

Vegetarian Dim Sum
* 24 Pell St., New York, NY

Delhi Gardens

*This is still an Indian restaurant, though I'm fairly certain that it's changed names (2007)

Though I don't do it all that frequently, I love the occasional trek out to New Jersey for a Trader Joes and kick-ass Hong Kong Supermarket run. And that's just the tip of the iceberg, every chain store known to man populates these parts. I shop, but I rarely eat. Not because I don't want to, I'm just not familiar with the terrain. So, I on my latest excursion we decided to rectify this by a pit stop at Delhi Gardens, a Hyderabadi restaurant I'd heard good things about.

I've been a little Indian shy since becoming crazy ill after eating at Mina a few months back. But there wasn't any trouble. With only two of us, we didn't really get to sample much of the menu, and maybe missed some hits. We started with vegetable samosas, a safe choice, but giant, flaky, very homemade and fresh. For mains we had chicken biryani since biryani is a Hyderabad thing. I'm not an expert on the rice dish, so I can't compare, but the layers of herbs and spices struck me. We also had lamb curry, rogan gosht, I think that was nicely hot. Indian cuisine is one that I honestly need to learn more about to speak knowledgeably. I'm like one of those annoying (to me) people who talks about Thai food and only ever eats pad thai and green curry. Or even worse, someone who raves about a restaurant, but is vegetarian. Nothing against vegetarians, but how can I trust the opinion of someone who hadn't even tried most of the things I would order?

Delhi Gardens * 691 Route 1, Edison, NJ


* It's now Union Smith Cafe, and I'm still steering clear. (10/05)

Hideous, hideous, hideous. I'm so not on the Alan Harding bashing bandwagon. But this place just bothered me with its faux old-timey look, run-of-the-mill food and its filled to the rafters with precocious children and the free-thinking parents who made them that way. It's dining experiences like this that strain a relationship. James had a conniption after being seated between two tables crammed with kids, I wasn't any happier, but didn't feel like making an issue. One must be very, very careful when dining in Carroll Gardens. Eat too early and you're subject to a daycare atmosphere, but wait till 10pm and nothing is open.

Sonny's Bar and Grill * 305 Smith St., Brooklyn, NY


I normally wouldn’t eat at someplace like this. But it was assigned to and it was one block from my internship. Who could argue? The food was better than I’d anticipated, too. See my Time Out NY Eating & Drinking Guide review.

Pathmark of Least Resistance

Not too far from here, is this freakish, large-for-NYC Pathmark with a parking lot. I could never figure it out. I've passed it as a passenger countless times because it's en route between James's apartment, now my new one, and my old place.

The store gives the impression of being in the middle of nowhere despite being blocks from the Smith and 9th St. F/G line. Maybe that's because it isn't really in a particular neighborhood. That semi-industrial stretch of the BQE isn't quite Red Hook, Carroll Gardens or Park Slope, though it cusps all three. I think it's what they call Gowanus, despite not being an official neighborhood (though I do appreciate any word that contains 'anus' like that).

I always figured this Pathmark must be a draw for Red Hook residents since it's just on the other side Hamilton Ave. and that neighborhood is probably even a little more lacking in decent amenities than my old neck of the woods, Sunset Park north. In other words, it must be busted. But I was still curious about it.

James didn't even know it existed until a few weeks ago when I pointed it out (I guess driving takes a lot of concentration'I just assume those who helm notice the same things as passengers). As far as wide-aisle, lots of choice, cheap 'real' grocery stores go, he's pretty loyal to Western Beef in Ridgewood. Which is kind of silly and out of the way, considering that's now two neighborhoods ago for me, but it's quick in a car. But still, we figured Pathmark might be worth a peek.

So yes, it actually is a real grocery store with a normal produce section, bakery, fish counter, etc. (however, they don't have gruyere, which is a benchmark I've been using since I had trouble finding fondue ingredients a few months ago. The Pathmark on Atlantic does have gruyere and is a little more upscale than this location, but that place is pain to deal with and is housed in the most broken Brooklyn shopping center with the world's saddest Old Navy, Marshall's and Macy's). They have Coinstar machines, self-serve checkout (which always makes me nervous outside suburban areas, people here have a particular knack for fucking the thing up, assuming it's even working. At Home Depot, you're lucky if one of four kiosks is up and running) and a bizarre mini mall arrangement inside with a Dunkin Donuts, optometrist, 99-cent type store, and liquor store that's open on Sunday. It's an all right place, especially if you're one of those types who just enjoys the feel of pushing a cart around aimlessly and browsing varieties of Hot Pockets (not that I'm buying Hot Pockets, I just like seeing the flavors. Beef Taco just seems wrong.)

I was enjoying my leisurely Saturday afternoon stroll through the supermarket (yeah, this is what passes for fun once you start living with a guy) when out of the corner of my eye I see my old upstairs neighbor with that hideous, always-squealing toddler with a balloon jammed into a shopping cart mere inches from me. I was like oh shit, jerked my head to the right, then saw the dad on another aisle. And this was weird because just last week I had been speculating on where my upstairs neighbors shopped and conducted business because they don't have a car either, and during my three-year stint in Sunset Park I'd never once seen them hauling groceries or laundry.

Running into my week-old former neighbors wouldn't have been doomsday, but I like tidy endings. When I dropped off my keys with them last week it closed that chapter. It wouldn't have been a big deal to just say hi at the supermarket, but I didn't want to. It was like they were continuing to invade my world, as if it wasn't enough to hear screaming, jumping and balls bouncing through the ceiling and have their horrible macaroni and cheese and Cheerios back up into my sink, and soapy shower water pour through the walls of my bathroom, they had to be in my new found grocery store too'!

Argh. I don't even know how they got there, it's not on a direct subway line, but they're those Brooklyn types who take car services all over. I freaked out and ran into the frozen food section. And it's not like I was really that well camouflaged considering that besides the foursome I was trying to avoid, James and I were practically the only other white people in the place (I don't think it's racist to explain a clientele in terms of color or ethnicity, but James thinks this is heinously wrong and embarrassing. But I don't see how it's offensive. Would it be upsetting if I said we were the only white people in a Chinese restaurant' Maybe it's using 'white.' Is saying we were the only non-Asians any better' Should I be P.C. and pretend like I don't notice differences: 'love see no color' [this was a lame slogan on street vendor tees in Portland in the early '90s]). It's kind of like when you're a kid and you see your teacher at the grocery store, running into them out of context is awkward, paths aren't meant to cross in certain environments. There's no escape in this world, I guess.

Pathmark * 25 12th St, Brooklyn, NY


I'm crazy for a pressed sandwich, and who isn't these days? All the delis in town now have those glossy mass produced signs advertising them. Bye bye wraps. So, it's weird that I've been in Carroll Gardens for a while and hadn't visited Panino'teca yet. I took the opportunity on a rare visit from a friend and Williamsburger (you know how hard it is to convince them to leave "the shire" She's only branching out because she's in a mini-spat with a mutual friend who also lives in her nabe. Yes, I just said nabe.) to check this little cafe out.

James ordered a glorified BLT (hardwood smoked bacon, tomato, red onion, arugula and mayonnaise), and I opted for the capacolla, peperanota, provolone with red chili mustard. Sweet, meaty, spicy and tangy at the same time. Nice. The bruschetta, salads, and cheese and meat plates all sounded worth trying. So many of the family-filled restaurants in the neighborhood just plain depress me, but not this one.

Panino'teca * 275 Smith St., Brooklyn, NY

Basta Pasta

1/2 This is a crazy Japanese Japanese-Italian place that you could walk by a million times and not really notice. Ingredients tend towards luxe (lobster and foie gras) and portions are small (definitely a nod to the Japanese rather than Italian side). Normally, I might shy away but it wasn't on my dime. I will admit dining is much more enjoyable when cost isnt a major issue. See my Time Out NY Eating & Drinking Guide review.

Basta Pasta * 37 W 17th St., New York, NY

Cafe Lalo

Cutesy Upper West Side cafe that Ill probably never go to again. But they do have an impressive dessert case. See my Time Out NY Eating & Drinking Guide review.

Cafe Lalo * 201 W. 83d St., NewYork, NY

Good World

Good World isn't half bad for dining. It's pretty obnoxious for drinking. Go early if you're claustrophobic. See my Time Out NY Eating & Drinking Guide review.

Good World Bar and Grill * 3 Orchard St., New York, NY

Dock’s Oyster Bar

Ick. Overpriced blah seafood with bizarre midtown clientele. Everyone who got seated next to us (like three separate parties) asked for another table. Then the guy who decided braving being adjacent to me wouldnt stop staring, he was totally boring a hole in the side of my head with his inexplicable, relentless gaze. I'm not joking. And the service was horrible too. An all around scarring dining experience. See my nicer Time Out NY Eating & Drinking Guide review.

Docks Oyster Bar * 633 Third Ave., New York, NY