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A Day Of Impossible Eating

24 Apr

It started out innocently enough. I wanted Chinese. He wanted Slovakian.

And so like any rational couple we decided to have both.

For lunch.

The View From Sunset Park

Saturday was glorious. Is there any better way to celebrate the first truly spectacular day of Spring than to eat yourselves silly and walk yourselves into the ground? I didn’t think so.

The View From Sunset Park

I don’t normally write about our meals outside the home. Why? Because I have an irrational fear of taking pictures in restaurants. Either we’re eating at a place where I don’t speak the language and fear being unceremoniously thrown out on my patookis and never allowed back, or we’re someplace terribly chic and expensive where I refuse to take photos of my food because I don’t want to disturb the other patrons. I hate it when people at neighboring tables do it to me. I firmly believe in that whole “Do unto others” thing. But I digress…

The View From Sunset Park

So why am I breaking this unwritten Granny Cart rule? A. Because both lunches were so good they deserve some mention, and B. At the one restaurant we were the only patrons and the dish was so ridiculous that I had to take the risk of being chewed out by a surly Slovakian.

Lunch #1. Lan Zhou Hand Pull Noodle – 5924 8th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY.

Tucked into a tiny storefront on 59th street lurks the very best sort of Chinese noodle joint. Hand pulled noodles. If you’ve never witnessed them being made, click here now. Not only is the making of the noodles mesmerizing, they taste awesome, too. They’re chewy, dense and intensely silky. I don’t know how Lan Zhou compares to the cultishly adored Super Taste in Manhattan Chinatown, but I loved them.

We shared a bowl of the noodle with Vege & Egg in Sauce ($4). The delicate, herbaceous soup, chock full of strange Asian greens and topped with a fried egg was slurptastically delicious. The array of condiments perched on every surface with which to customize the soups is, to me, the surest sign of quality. They have the requisite Sriracha as well as a far more fiery chile paste, soy sauce, and a mystery brown sauce that must have 1,000 cloves of garlic in it. Do I even have to mention the garlic sauce was my favorite? Didn’t think so. The boy and I both agree that we can’t wait for a cool, rainy day to go back and try some of the meatier options. I want the Pork Bone, with dumplings. He wants the Mixed Beef.

MTA Depot

Lunch #2. Milan Restaurant – 719 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY.

With a name like Milan you’d be forgiven for thinking this cafe on an ill-used portion of sidewalk in the South Slope of Brooklyn is another generic red sauce & white table cloth Italian joint. But like us, you’d be wrong. Milan refers to the name of the proprietor, and he’s not Italian, he’s Slovakian. While Slovakian cuisine has more in common with Polish or Hungarian, there’s a wonderful, goofy charm to Milan’s that put us both in mind of our time in Croatia. The coffee is strong, the menu is confusing, and there’s definitely grappa over the bar. We started with two salads, red cabbage & cucumber, both refreshingly tart and beautifully balanced. I preferred the kirbys, the boy, the cabbage. We’re such great eating buddies. For a main course we settled on the craziest thing on the menu: Fried Cheese with Ham and French Fries.

Slovakian Fried Cheese With Ham

I mean, look at that thing! It’s like a grilled cheese, with no bread! It’s two slabs of mozzarella-like cheese with a thin layer of ham tucked inside, covered in batter, and fried! Oh, and the best part? It comes with homemade tartar sauce! Cheese. Fried. Served with mayonnaise. Now you can see why I risked life and limb to get a picture of this puppy. I have no idea if this is a traditionally Slovakian dish, but it’s ridiculously delicious. Especially if you have some need to scare the bejezus out of your cardiologist. Highly recommended. We’re both excited to go back on, yes, a chilly, rainy day to partake in the rest of Milan’s menu. The stews and pierogis and dumplings have us bewitched and almost looking forward to winter again.

Green-wood Cemetery Flower Shop

After two lunches, walking is not just a good idea, it is an imperative. But I think we learned something important here. Man does not need to live on one lunch alone. With a good walk in between and portion control, the multi-ethnic “lunch graze” just might become this summer’s impetus for leaving the neighborhood on weekends. First up? The Sunset Park Taco Crawl. Yes, I know, I said multi-ethnic, but maybe we’ll start off slow, with multi-regional.


And so to end our Day Of Impossible Eating, we kept it European in tone, with a dinner of bread, cheese, salad greens served with a Dilly Bean vinaigrette and tomatoes. Tomatoes? Yes, tomatoes. I’ve been meaning to write about them for at least a week now, but I got scooped by NY Mag.


I met the proprietors of Shusan ‘maters last week at the Union Square Wednesday market. I’d been eyeing their tomatoes for the previous two weeks, but they finally had samples. One bite, and I was sold.


If you love tomatoes more than any other fruit of summer, be in the Square tomorrow. They’ll be there. Buy as many as you can carry home because they are awesome. They taste like August.

Dilly Bean Vinaigrette

Head below the jump for the recipe for Ann’s Amazing Dilly Bean Vinaigrette.

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