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Aya Tanaka

Aya Tanaka

Columnist

I think about food all day long

Columns

  • Website
  • Location: New York
  • Favorite foods: fish tacos, kare-raisu, katsuo sashimi, macarons.
  • Last bite on earth: Spaghetti with olive oil, garlic, pancetta, Parmesan, and parsley.

Kids Welcome: Where to Eat Near Central Park

There are many things to do and see with kids in Central Park all year long. In summer you ride the carousel, in winter you skate in either or both of the Park's two rinks; in spring you watch the cherry blossoms, and in the fall, you can go watch the brilliant autumn palette. This abundance of activities and fresh air is bound to awaken appetites big and small. Thankfully the options are many in and around Central Park. More

Kids Welcome: Persepolis

It's hard to convince anyone to go to the Upper East Side for a meal; the argument has to be compelling, as there's probably not much food there that you can't get elsewhere at an equivalent or better level. It happens, however, that the Upper East Side is home to some of the best Persian restaurants in Manhattan. On a Saturday night when we fancied a taste of Iran, we trekked across town to Persepolis on Second Avenue, and we were glad we did. More

Kids Welcome: La Fusta

Anyone seeking a South American grill experience or to revive the memories of a trip to the Rio de la Plata should go to La Fusta, the cheerful and well-priced Argentine restaurant in Elmhurst, Queens (with a second location in North Bergen, NJ). La Fusta ("the whip") is decorated in an equine motif, a reference to the country's love for horses. On a recent Saturday night visit, the clientele ranged from large to small families, from old to young couples. We were all greeted by a maitre d' full of cheer, and tended to by attentive, muy simpatico waiters. More

Kids Welcome: Takahachi

Takahachi may be my new favorite spot for lunch in Tribeca (and I am almost thinking jury duty might not be that bad after all). The lunch specials, in the $15 range, may also be the best Japanese food bargain you could get for the amount and quality of the offerings at this beautiful restaurant on Duane Street. More

Get Out of Town: Chatham, Kinderhook, and Ghent

Unlike Hudson and the Rhinebeck areas, where restaurants may well be the focus of a weekend trip, a visit to Chatham and its neighboring towns, Old Chatham, Kinderhook, and Ghent should perhaps focus on the beautiful farms and products from the region. (It's a good idea to have a cooler in your trunk to collect the goodies you'll want to bring home!) More

Kids Welcome: Pongsri

Lunch in Midtown is a challenge in so many ways—time is limited, good eats may be scarce, and service is by necessity rushed and harried. While lunch at Pongsri Thai Restaurant on West 48th Street is not exactly a relaxing experience, the restaurant's wonderful food and attentive service make it, against all odds, a delightful place to go have a family lunch. More

Get Out of Town: Rhinebeck, Red Hook, and Tivoli

There is no lack of entertainment in and around Rhinebeck, the pretty little town about an hour and forty-five minutes north of New York. Between grand estates, lovely hikes, welness centers, Gehri-designed art performance center, and even a very cool art film theater, New Yorkers will find plenty to do during a weekend or day trip. But who really needs entertainment when there is so much to eat in Rhinebeck, Red Hook and Tivoli? More

Kids Welcome: Itzocán Bistro

There is a two-block stretch of Lexington Avenue in the low 100s that's filled with charming little dining establishments; one of them is Itzocán Bistro, which promises and delivers Franco-Mexican fare. True to its name, Itzocán is more of a bistro than a Mexican restaurant, and you won't find chips and salsa here. Rather, bread and butter are brought to the table. Mexican ingredients and flavors impart a lively, subtly assertive twist to a traditional French bistro repertoire of dishes, putting Itzocán Bistro in a class of its own. More

Get Out of Town: Hudson

Whether you're looking for an escape from New York City or coming in from elsewhere, the Hudson River Valley presents us with many opportunities to enjoy nature, culture and great food as well, as many well-trained and experienced chefs choose to settle in the region to benefit from and support local agriculture. Check out some of our favorites eats. More

Kids Welcome: Malagueta

Brazilian food lovers have plenty of decent options in New York. If you want a churrascaria, Plataforma and Riodizio will do the trick. For cool Brazilian atmosphere, Barzinho, Favela Grill and Bar Bossa are pleasing options. For cheap and delicious-by-the-pound bounty, Copacabana is the best bet. If you want to make it yourself, Rio Bonito supermarket will provide all the necessary groceries for a Brazilian feast. Yet my favorite all around Brazilian restaurant in the city is Malagueta, located on a quiet, easily accessible corner in Astoria, Queens. More

Kids Welcome: Himalayan Yak

The Himalayan Yak's staff was very attentive to my daughter and smilingly guided us through the long menu. The restaurant is large and comfortable (they also have live music Friday through Monday) and a good place to introduce kids to Himalayan fare at very reasonable prices (the highest priced item on the menu are prawns at $12.99). More

Kids Welcome: Blossom

If vegan food were always this good, I would happily give up my pancetta. Blossom, with two venues in the city (Chelsea and Upper West Side), plus a takeout place and a chocolate bar, serves flavorful organic, vegan dishes that will impress animal-free food lovers as well as steak-eaters. More

Kids Welcome: New Leaf

New Leaf Restaurant and Bar's greatest asset is the synergy between its food and locale. Located in northern Manhattan's Fort Tryon Park, one of the highest points in Manhattan and the home of the Metropolitan Museum's medieval art branch, the restaurant is unique not only because of its beautiful setting in a cottage-like building in the middle of the park, but because it is actually a charitable and environmentally responsible operation. More

Kids Welcome: Bottino

Spring is, at least officially, upon us; despite the unpredictability of the weather, we just want to shed that winter coat and be outside. In Chelsea, a neighborhood not particularly known for its child-friendliness, the place to get that whiff of spring and let the children run a bit are the suspended gardens of the Highline. Some parents might even want to try checking out what's happening the art scene in one of the area's many art galleries. And when hunger strikes, an early dinner at Bottino might be all you need to end the day. More

Kids Welcome: Kum Gang San

Serious Eats: New York has been on a Korean food kick lately, and while there may be other restaurants in Flushing, Queens offering extraordinary renditions of particular Korean dishes, Kum Gang San (in Flushing, with a second branch on 32nd Street in Manhattan) is an excellent choice for parents searching for a solid Korean meal with their children. The restaurant is large (with gardens, fish ponds, and waterfalls); the food is delicious, plentiful, and easily enjoyed by children; and the service is extra-attentive to the little ones. More

Kids Welcome: Tanoreen

The ride to Bay Ridge might be long for some New Yorkers, but if the destination is Tanoreen, the much praised Middle Eastern restaurant in Bay Ridge, the effort is plentifully compensated. Chef Rawia Bishara produces food that is well-balanced and perfectly executed, and despite the bountiful portions of the entrees, the delicate harmony of spices and textures produces an indulgent restaurant experience that lingers in your memory without weighing in your stomach. More

Culinary Ambassadors: Breakfast in Brazil, Strong Coffee and Pao Frances

A typical, middle- to upper-class breakfast in Brazil would likely consist of strong coffee, with or without milk, sweetened with sugar or sweetener (Brazilians love the liquid sweeteners); kids will drink chocolate milk (the Brazilian version of Nesquik, which is sweeter). Bread will most likely be a "pao frances," a small loaf of bread, eaten with butter or, most often, margarine. Fruit is plentiful in Brazil, but I would say that one of the most traditional breakfast fruits are papayas.... More

Introducing the Serious Eats Magazine!

Kids Welcome: Where to Eat Near Central Park

There are two indeed, but I find the one on Amsterdam and 98 a lot more kid-friendly.

Kids Welcome: Ed's Chowder House

Thanks for believing in our little ones' taste buds! We really enjoyed the new kids' menu and we hope it will be available beyond January.

Kids Welcome: La Fusta

We will! There is so much more to try there, we are definitely going back.

Get Out of Town: Rhinebeck, Red Hook, and Tivoli

Although the map shows Fleishers' in Kingston this post is really about the towns across the river. Kingston et al should be the subject of another left bank-oriented column. But thanks for all the great tips!

Get Out of Town: Hudson

Yes, indeed, Ca'Mea is just fabulous!

Kids Welcome: Blossom

There is a lot of appetizing choices at Blossom, it's not so easy to order! Thanks for the tip.
(and what other vegan places are fabulous?)

Overcooked salmon

Made Rigatoni with onions, leeks, pancetta, chicken broth, salmon and cream in the end and it was great. The salmon provided some nice, hum, texture. Thanks again everyone!

6 chiles poblanos in my fridge

Thanks for all the suggestions, husband here doesn't do eggs, so it becomes complicated.... but I think I might try the rajas con crema or cheese. And I will look up the casserole!

6 chiles poblanos in my fridge

ah, excellent! I didn't know that.

Overcooked salmon

thanks, thanks! I think I am going to go with pasta and some leeks, some cream -- which is what I have available here tonight... I hope it's not a waste of a good leek! I appreciate all the suggestions and yes, I have a cat, but she is finicky....

Overcooked salmon

ah, I love SE Talk. I've been gone for too long.

I think the problem is that the salmon was not terribly flavorful to start with, so it needs a boost from something else.

Thanks for the suggestions. Keep them coming!

Kids Welcome: New Leaf

@gutreactions we had a lovely meal at New Leaf and if some of the details were not quite perfect, they did not detract much from the overall experience. And indeed, while the manicotti was not successful with any of us, everything else was great. The salmon was cooked beyond what I asked, which was medium rare, but that's it.

I like New Leaf both for dinner and brunch and I am always impressed by their food, setting and service. Brunch is really good if you can manage the wait.

We've known and loved Scott Campbell since SQC. He was not in the day we went.

Where to Eat in London

Win Tickets to the James Beard Foundation Awards, Monday, May 9, in NYC

Poll: Panettone, Way or No Way?

Sounds like a lot of people like Panettone -- as something else!

Me too. This is what happens every year: I get a Panettone although I've said I don't like it many times. I open it because perhaps this year I'll change my mind. I hate it because it's so dry. Then I leave it open and it dries even more... Then I make bread pudding with tons of butter, cream, eggs and sugar. Then I like Panettone.

Would really love to have a good one one day.

Taste Test: Hot Chocolate Mixes

JT rules! And you can get Frozen Hot Chocolate too.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Charles Chocolate

Weekend Cook and Tell: Edible Giftables

I'm making mexican wedding cookies -- I think they look christmas-y -- and chocolate truffles to give away in "goodie bags" after my xmas party tomorrow.

10 Food Memes, Themes, and Schemes of 2010

I think Seoul Station is closed.... any other places to get Korean tacos in NY?

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Southside Market Sausage

Churrascaria Plataforma in NY

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: La Quercia

very thinly sliced, all by itself.

Help with beer: Mini keg

hi everyone, it's just a little japanese curry party, not a beer party. @Embackus i think about 10 people. I don't know anything about kegs, but I guess I should have done a little more research in advance of posting here...

Wedding Venues in Westchester/Hudson Valley

I got married 12 years ago at the D&H Canal Museum, and we had our reception across the street at the Depuy Canal House in High Falls. It's about 1h45m from NY, west of Kingston. We picked the place because we loved the restaurant, and to date people mention our 7-course lunch. We also considered the Malborough vineyards, but it was a bit too special.

Too Much Parsley - What to Make??

taboulleh and/or chimichurri, yes.

Sunday Brunch: Cherry Clafoutis

I was truly sold on this cherry clafoutis the next day, when I had a sliver straight out of the refrigerator; the flavor and texture of the custard were best when it was cold. Pitting the cherries takes some time, but otherwise this is truly a lightning-fast batter. More

Dinner Tonight: Crema De Chile Poblano (Roasted Chile Poblano Soup)

This unique, full flavored soup is another winning recipe from Susana Trilling's Seasons of My Heart. Her Oaxacan recipes use humble and simple ingredients, yet create incredibly complex and refined dishes. The roasted poblanos add some heat to this soup, but also a gorgeous smokiness to every bite. Requesón, a delicate fresh cheese, calms the spiciness. A good ricotta can stand in for the requesón. More

What to Eat on Flushing's Golden Shopping Mall's First Floor

Flushing, Queens, in many ways, is its own world. While only two stops away from Manhattan on the Long Island Railroad, this is a land of $900 one-bedroom apartments and brilliant $4 bowls of noodles. You know you've stepped foot in the right place when the signs are covered in symbols and the pavement jostles with immigrants. But with so many menus only in Chinese, and so many wonderful shop owners lacking a command of English, the food scene can be difficult to navigate. Here's our comprehensive guide to Flushing food courts, Part I: translated menus, clickable maps, and more! More

The Food Lab: The Best Way to Make Carnitas (Without a Bucket of Lard!)

Carnitas. The undisputed king of the taco cart. The Mexican answer to American pulled pork, at their best they should be moist, juicy, and ultra-porky with the rich, tender texture of a French confit, and riddled with plenty of well-browned crisp edges. Our version is easier than the traditional bucket-of-lard method, and produces results that are juicier and more flavorful. More

Dinner Tonight: Tlacoyo Masa Pockets

Tlacoyos are Mexican cornmeal dough pockets similar to Salvadorian pupusas. (Doesn't every culture in the world have some kind of edible pocket stuffed with filling? Calzones? Pork buns?) Working with masa is quick, and so is the filling: a can of beans mashed up with sauteed onion and garlic, and Oaxaca cheese, which is basically a Mexican version of string cheese. More

Best Indian in New York

After hearing nothing but praise for Spicy Mina in Woodside, I went there Saturday night to find the place closed up, and I'm afraid things don't look good out there. So I'm looking for a new, authentic, Indian place in... More

Homemade ICE CREAM FLAVORS

Hello all! I am experimenting with lots of homemade ice cream flavors this summer and looking for some more suggestions! I have made these so far: Strawberry Freezer Jam, Chai spIce, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Irish Cream, B52, Chocolate Irish Cream and... More

How To Make Tortillas

I'm not going to lie. Making fresh corn tortillas is more time-consuming and difficult than using storebought. And if you live in the right area, the storebought kind can actually be pretty good. That said, they don't come close to the intense corn flavor and pillowy, steamy softness of a fresh, handmade tortilla fresh off the comal (or the nonstick griddle, as the case may be), and they really aren't that hard to make. More

The Food Lab: Baking Powder vs. Baking Soda

Baking powder and baking soda. Both of them are used so frequently in quick baking projects that unless you are a recipe developer, rarely do you consider what each of them actually does for your finished product. How come my scones call for baking powder, but my buttermilk biscuits call for a mixture of powder and soda? Is there an easy way to substitute one for the other if I don't have both on hand? And why do I have to bake my muffins right after mixing the batter? This edition of the Food Lab is a quick and dirty guide to how they work, and how they affect the outcome of your recipe. More

Cook the Book: Frankies' Meatballs

When eating at Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo's Frankies Spuntino, not ordering the meatballs is really a crime. They are by far the best meatballs I've ever had in a restaurant, and possibly my life. Perfectly textured, not at all dense but not falling-apart crumbly, with just the right amount of egg, bread crumbs, garlic, and cheese throughout. But what really makes these meatballs special is the addition of raisins and pine nuts. More

Best Indian in NY?

Despite the fact that I was raised in NY, when my friend asked me for a good Indian restaurant rec, I drew up blank. That's embarrassing, and must be remedied. do any of you have recommendations for good Indian restaurants... More

Spice Hunting: Asafoetida (Hing)

Some spices are statement flavors that speak for themselves. They're the big-name headliners that sell recipes the way A-list actors sell movie tickets. They may be subtle and unassuming like basil and sage or bold and brash like cumin and pimentón. They play well with all sorts of flavors and ingredients, crossing culinary boundaries while always remaining the star. Asafoetida is not that kind of spice. More

Mixed Review: How to Make Cake Balls

Somehow, the cake ball phenomenon managed to escape me. Until now. For this week's Mixed Review I decided to give you a detailed account of just what it takes to whip up a batch of the impressive looking yet deceptively simple bite-sized treats. Cupcakes, meet your match. More