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Eaten, Barely Blogged: Double Happiness

qi floating market stewed beef noodles

Qi Thai Grill Sometimes a craving for Chinese food can be satisfied by looking southeast instead. Every so often, especially when I’m feeling rundown, I really want a bowl of Hong Kong-style beef brisket noodle soup (a la Mak’s) without leaving the house. Even if I wanted to leave the house, I’m not sure who does a good version of this in NYC. A satisfying alternative for me (native Hong Kongers, please don’t go crazy on my ass) is the floating market stewed beef noodle ($11.90) at Qi Thai Grill. Ok, you won’t find bean sprouts or beef balls in the original and the broth is a little oily, but the flavor is exactly I’m looking for: deep and rich with star anise, ginger and cinnamon, and body from the tendons. When I’ve tried making this at home, it always comes out wan and lacking. It’s best sipped when extremely hot and you’re on the verge of getting a sore throat. And for lunch, the $5.50 five spice stewed beef soup is essentially the same thing, just in the smaller size takeout container minus the noodles. Perfect if you’re an afternoon carb-avoider and can’t stand another salad.

peking duck house

Peking Duck House is no Decoy, at least I’m guessing, but still a perfectly good standby especially if you just want the duck, no nonsense, and happen to have a bottle of 2009 Domaine de l’Horizon Blanc rattling around in your bag. (I used to be very down on diners who brought their own wine to dim sum restaurants and taquerias, but now I’ve matured and stopped judging others–or rather, now have a friend who sells wine and usually has samples to share.) A $38 duck split however many ways (two is generous, three would work too) is hard to beat. Plus, a duck in a chef’s hat? Come on.

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