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Chris E. Crowley

Chris E. Crowley

Columnist

Former Serious Eats intern. I like chilies and West African ginger juice and write (mostly) about food in the Bronx.

  • Location: NY, NY
  • Favorite foods: Including, but not limited to: the pig cured and/or fried, bharta, SJB, fried rice, tacos, almond croissants, mussels, Mexican chorizo, clementines, spinach, stretchy noodles, and apples. Mom's homemade fudge and the post-meal coffee.
  • Last bite on earth: A glass of ice water, with a lime wedge.

What's it Like to Open a Gentrifying Restaurant?

In conversations about gentrification, small business owners that ring in the changes—the fancy coffee shops and hip art galleries, for instance—are characterized as drivers of social change. But for a certain class of food entrepreneurs, opening a business in a gentrifying neighborhood has less to do with the change you want to make and more to do with where it's possible for you to thrive. More

Arthur Avenue's Calandra Cheese Sells Burrata's More Flavorful Cousin

Calandra's Cheese, the stoic Italian cheese shop, is an Arthur Avenue O.G., one of a few holdouts of a once solely Italian neighborhood that's diversifying every day. It's especially vital for its owner's insistence on quality; unlike other Arthur Avenue bakeries and restaurants, it doesn't rest on its ancestral laurels. The must-buy? Burrino, aged mozzarella stuffed with butter. More

Carnitas El Atoradero Serves the Mexican Home Cooking We've Been Waiting For

Until recently, the only way to enjoy owner Denisse "Lina" Chavez's cooking was to eat your picadata while leaning against the narrow store's shelves. Now she has opened up a full restaurant in the former pint-sized Mexicocina space next door. At first glance, the restaurant reads like an basic taqueria, with a menu that mostly lists antojitos and seating for about ten. But take a second look and you'll see that Carnitas El Atoradero is where you go to order the food you never get at your local taqueria. This is the home-style cooking, way beyond the taco, that New York needs. More

Our Favorite Bronx Eats of 2013

We covered a ton of ground again this year in Bronx Eats, eating everything from lemon chicken soup in Riverdale to birria in Hunts Point. We started digging for the north Bronx's best Jamaican food, and picked up an ongoing quest to find the perfect mangu. If this second year of Bronx Eats proved anything for me, its that there's so much more good stuff left to eat and share with you. More

Craving Peanut Soup? Head to Saloum in Williamsbridge

When Concourse Village Senegalese restaurant Maryway shuttered some months back, I lost my favorite mafe—a peanut stew— in the Bronx. Rich and savory without being overwhelmingly peanut buttery, Maryway's was one of my favorites in the five boroughs, and, come to think of it, the only one in the Bronx worth seeking out. I've been hunting for a worthy heir ever since, and after months of vain pursuit, I've found one at Williamsbridge's Saloum. More

Eric Demby on Smorgasburg's Expansion and What it Means for Vendors

In just three years, Smorgasburg has far outgrown its modest origins in the East River State Park. After planting roots in Dumbo, co-founders Eric Demby and Jonathan Butler secured a partnership with Whole Foods, launched Smorasburg in the South Street Seaport, expanded to Washington D.C. and Philadelphia (where they opened a satellite of sister market Brooklyn Flea), and inked a deal to become part of the new Essex Crossing development. What's next for the market? Organizer Eric Demby tells us. More

What's it Like to Open a Gentrifying Restaurant?

@Beavis, can you explain how that quote seems to contradict yourself?

In your first comment, you wrote, "Seems to me it's a regular restaurant that exists to make a profit as any other businesses do. It's just being marketed as 'helping the community.'" Where in this article does Dan say Fritzl's exists to help the community? He never does. I never do. You willfully misread what I wrote.

"The purpose" of the restaurant is its reason for existence. Therefore, according to Dan, Fritzl's exists to "make money and give his kids a future."

The Best Food to Eat Around Yankee Stadium in the Bronx

Charles deserves all the praise it gets. Thanks for mention it. We do limit the list to Bronx restaurants in order to highlight the borough's food.

What's it Like to Open a Gentrifying Restaurant?

@DCDreams there are restaurants that operate like that (see, Rockaway's Shore Soup), but at the end of the day businesses are for profit enterprises. I think people who run restaurants and say that it isn't about making money and doing what they love tend to be disingenuous. (Unless they run a not-for-profit like Shore Soup.) No one here is saying it's not gentrification. As far as I'm concerned, by the very act of living in New York, we're all complicit in the process.

Finally, I disagree with the premise that value is determined by raw price alone. That's like saying a basketball player's worth is based on his scoring and rebounding alone. (The sabremetrics of food, anybody?)

Saying something is a good value because it is cheap ignores the human and environmental costs that are a consequence of the cheapness that we, the consumer, benefit from. What's really happening here is that the cost is being displaced from the consumer to the environment, the animal, and the laborers who produce it. Of course I'm talking about foods like hamburgers and steak that should never be cheap to begin with. Raising a cow is expensive and impactful on the environment. That era of cheap meat that we romanticize was unsustainable and destructive.

Is Fritzl's $10 burger, made by a well trained, knowledgeable chef who is getting meat from farmer's who raise their animals more humanely, a better value than the $6.95 chimichurri, made from industrially processed meat, down the street? In my eyes, absolutely.

@BeavisPeters did you read the article? Because Dan never says Fritzl's is anything but a business. That's fantastically clear here: "Hopefully a BYPRODUCT of what I do means giving neighborhood residents jobs and raising their standards of living. That's NOT the purpose of running a restaurant—I want to make some money and give my kid a future."

Dan very clearly conveyed that the restaurant is not a community enterprise.

The Best Food to Eat Around Yankee Stadium in the Bronx

That's a McDonalds, dude. And they have fantastic milkshakes.

Arthur Avenue's Calandra Cheese Sells Burrata's More Flavorful Cousin

Thanks for that tip, BXGirl! Nice to hear from you again.

@foodandscience burrata always comes in a "pouch" made of mozzarella scraps. I'm using the word rind liberally here.

@Lyco not to my knowledge, no.

Arthur Avenue's Calandra Cheese Sells Burrata's More Flavorful Cousin

@lilac6 it's not listed on the board, but they do have it! Just ask for the burrino, it's one of the two hard cheeses hanging above the counter.

Arthur Avenue's Calandra Cheese Sells Burrata's More Flavorful Cousin

@lilac6 it's not listed on the board, but they do have it! Just ask for the burrino, it's one of the two hard cheeses hanging above the counter.

Brunch at Estela is Delicious But Pricey

@BeavisPeters not to say that piece of cod isn't pricey, but you do know that the American cod fishery has totally collapsed, right? That restaurants on Martha's Vineyard import their cold from Iceland and elsewhere? Consider the fact that you're complaining about the price of an animal that we've nearly fished to extinction.

Find the Bronx's Best Fried Pork Snack Near Yankee Stadium

Sorry about that. They're $9.50.

Brighter, Fresher West African in the Bronx at Patina African Restaurant

I was absolutely infatuated with the mafe at the dearly departed Maryway; to my taste, it was the best in the city. For Bronxites, Saloum is the best substitution I've found.

In Harlem, I really enjoy Keur Coumba.

Dave Cook has extensively documented Manhattan's (and elsewhere's) Senegalese scene.

Brighter, Fresher West African in the Bronx at Patina African Restaurant

Dave, I'm pretty sure they're Ghanaian or Nigerian. I say this for three reasons:

A) Banga soup is strongly associated with Nigeria, to my knowledge.

B) Conversely, on the menu, puff puffs were also listed as "Ghanaian donuts." Although, apparently, puff puff is the Nigerian word for this food.

B) Their accents were relatively transparent. You will not overhear the staff speaking with those lovely Francophone accents you do at Senegalese, Guinean, and Malian restaurants.

I do plan on revisiting soon and writing a more complete piece, so I'll ask them.

The Secrets of Immigrant Cuisines Revealed at League of Kitchens Cooking Classes

These classes are focused on cuisines and not skills. You'd use a wok in a Sichuanese class, of course, but you might want to see if Brooklyn Kitchen offers something like that. Kenji has some great stuff on wok cooking right here on SE, too.

The Secrets of Immigrant Cuisines Revealed at League of Kitchens Cooking Classes

That would be the spinach pie!

The Best Oxtail in The Bronx Is Served at The Good Dine

Not for the people who live there, though!

Does Mission Cantina Make the Best Burritos in NYC?

For the record, my roommate is Mexican-American (second generation, from southern California) and frequently says, "you are a better Mexican than me." Does that make me a real Mexican?

Does Mission Cantina Make the Best Burritos in NYC?

@pipokun most Mexicans in New York are from Puebla. Burritos come from the north of Mexico. Burritos are no more a part of Pueblan cuisine than the New York slice is of Charleston's cuisine. Who are these "real Mexicans" you speak of?

More Tacos Arabes, and Spicy Chicken Soup, at Queen of Tacos

Lapsang! So clutch. I will relentlessly inquire, until they submit and "hay."

It would appear that I am assembling an army of taco arabes informers. Keep 'em coming.

More Tacos Arabes, and Spicy Chicken Soup, at Queen of Tacos

Quesdadillas arabes! Now that sounds like a dream come true. Now I can think of nothing else but arabes dishes: picaditas arabes, cemitas arabes, nachos arabes, chilaquiles arabes...

Find the Bronx's Best Gorditas and Only Tacos Arabes at Taqueria Tlaxcalli

Thanks so much, Margot! I actually saw them on the window display "menu" at Actalan near the Zoo, but to no avail. Alas! Looking forward to hearing about any other findings.

A Tour of the East Village's Borscht Belt Restaurants and Lunch Counters

White fish salad is definitely a vegetable though.

More Advice for Eating at Nano Billiards, NYC's Best Dominican Restaurant

Yeah, that tendency towards "cooking the hell out of meat" is pretty evident in Dominican restaurants across the borough. What bugs you about this website's recipes? Just wondering! I've never cooked with their recipes, but I've read through a lot of the English language version of the website.

More Advice for Eating at Nano Billiards, NYC's Best Dominican Restaurant

Also Saria locrio de arenque sounds amazing! Do you know where I could find a recipe? Aunt Clara's Kitchen maybe?

More Advice for Eating at Nano Billiards, NYC's Best Dominican Restaurant

You're right about "con con" and I'll amend the article. But the cook and manager here both responded to "pegao. No one is going to misunderstand you.

Arrogant Swine's Whole Hog Barbecue Opening in Brooklyn This Summer

For both Tyson and his soon to be patrons, the benefits of the huge amount of space and the isolation of the East Williamsburg Industrial Park is well worth the tradeoff of having to walk 5 minutes, at a slow pace, from the Morgan L. Beer and pork!

Where to Get the Best Nachos in NYC

@tonycalzone, according to Gustavo Arellano, the foremost expert on Mexican food in the U.S.A., in Taco USA, "they were originally a Texas phenomenom, *most likely* [emphasis mine] created in Piedras, Negras in the 1940s by a chef named Ignacio Ayala, who whipped some up for Texas military wives ... It wasn't until 1959 that they migrated to California [by Carmen Rocha, from San Antonio]... but nachos didn't become nationally accepted until another San Antonian, Frank Liberto JR., and his Ricos Products set up a nacho stand in 1977 outside Arlington Stadium before a Texas Rangers game. Liberto was a concession stand supplier for the Rangers who sat down at the end of the 1976 season with the city of Arlington ... They wanted a new snack; they wanted nachos ... To expedite nachos making, Liberto developed a cheese sauce, not unlike Texas queso, easy for concessions to heat in seconds, then pour over nachos. Crucially, Liberto also made sure to include jalapeños in the nachos..."

We're arguing about the "authenticity" of a kitchen sink dish concocted by a Mexican cook for Americans who, let's be honest, weren't interested in any "authentic" Mexican flavors that weren't Tex-Mex. The original nachos were made with what was available.

Beyond that, the dish only spread across the country with the introduction of jalapeños (which increased ballpark sales of popcorn and soda to cull the heat) and that gooey cheese sauce. This is the first style of nacho most Americans ever encountered. Food evolves and often becomes better in the process. The one who has the moment of inspiration and genius to pioneer is seldom the one who perfects the form.

Homeward Bound: Chef Floyd Cardoz Returns to India

What if you were given the chance to revisit the place that shaped your entire perception of food? North End Grill chef and Top Chef Masters winner Floyd Cardoz did just that, returning to Goa, India, where he visited his great-grandmother every summer before emigrating to the United States 25 years ago. Here, he shares both his snapshots and his impressions of India's rapidly evolving food culture today. More

Carnitas El Atoradero Serves the Mexican Home Cooking We've Been Waiting For

Until recently, the only way to enjoy owner Denisse "Lina" Chavez's cooking was to eat your picadata while leaning against the narrow store's shelves. Now she has opened up a full restaurant in the former pint-sized Mexicocina space next door. At first glance, the restaurant reads like an basic taqueria, with a menu that mostly lists antojitos and seating for about ten. But take a second look and you'll see that Carnitas El Atoradero is where you go to order the food you never get at your local taqueria. This is the home-style cooking, way beyond the taco, that New York needs. More

Mission Cantina: Danny Bowien's Foray Into Mexican Falls Short

After a few meals at Cantina I can feel the dedication and energy going into the restaurant. But the crushing ordinariness of the food suggests it's not enough. Petite, overstuffed tacos, high on style, are wan in the punch-to-the-gut flavors that made Bowien's name. Housemade Oaxacan cheese, bland as grocery store mozzarella and plated with some useless greens, is head-scratching. The question to ask at this early stage isn't "is it good," but rather, "would we be talking about it if it were owned by someone besides Danny Bowien?" More

The Food Lab: The Science of the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've never been able to get a chocolate chip cookie exactly the way I like. I'm talking chocolate cookies that are barely crisp around the edges with a buttery, toffee-like crunch that transitions into a chewy, moist center that bends like caramel, rich with butter and big pockets of melted chocolate. I made it my goal to test each and every element from ingredients to cooking process, leaving no chocolate chip unturned in my quest for the best. 32 pounds of flour, over 100 individual tests, and 1,536 cookies later, I had my answers. More

Equipment: 9 Essential Pots and Pans

My personal "essentials" lists evolve slowly over time based on not only minor refinements in selection or new product availability, but also on my own cooking style. It's impossible for me to tell you that the pots and pans that I use the most will be the same as the pots and pans you'll use the most. But I can tell you this: I cook a lot, and I cook a wide variety of things, and with these pots and pans in my arsenal, I never find myself saying, "man, I wish I just had [insert pan X here]. Nearly every recipe on this site can be cooked in a kitchen equipped with these bad boys, so if you or a loved one has been extra nice this year, listen up! More

Paulie Gee on Belief, Baltimore, and Being Your Own Boss (Part 1)

Paulie Gee's done plenty of interviews about his rise and he's even answered questions directly from Slice'rs, but he's rarely as candid as he was when he opened up to us about his amazing journey from Corporate IT Guy to Brooklyn Pizza Legend. There's a lot of pizza talk to be sure. So much, in fact, that we'll be running our interview in segments. So keep an eye out for part two next week; in the meantime, here's Paulie on the joys of opening a restaurant, the importance of hiring locally, and why he thinks more people ought to open their own business. More

Serious Entertaining: A New England Seafood Dinner

I was born in Boston and was raised New York as a kid before going back to live in Boston for another 10 years during and after college. Whenever convenient, I like to consider myself a New Englander. That time is usually in the summer, when the rocky beaches are at their drizzliest and the coastal clam shacks fire up the boilers and fryers.

I still make it a point to make at least one or two New England road trips every summer so that I can get my seafood fix. But even when I can't get up to Yankee-land, I'll do my best to get my fix right at home. You can do it too with these recipes for clam chowder, lobster rolls, blueberry pie, and more.

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Street Food: The Red Hook Food Vendors Return this Weekend

On Saturdays and Sundays from April to late October, street food and Latin American food lovers of all stripes flock to Red Hook Park's ball fields to savor foods from the legendary Red Hook Food Vendors. Since 1974, vendors have operated on the edges of the park on Clinton and Bay Street. But this year is different. In the words of veteran vendor Marcos Lainez from El Olomega Pupusas, "This is the beginning and it could be the end." More

The Nasty Bits: Chopped Liver

The chopped liver at Russ and Daughter's is sweeter than most. It gets its sweetness from the onions. Of course all recipes for chopped liver call for sautéed onions to be mixed in with the liver purée, but what distinguishes the onions used at Russ and Daughters is just how very sweet they taste. These are onions that get cooked for a long time, I suspect. More

Food For Thought: Xiao Long Bao and Authenticity in Food

When considering foods eaten out of context—that is, foods eaten in a country or region that they do not originate from—the question of authenticity and what it means to be "authentic" is always a vexing one. Take, for example, Xiao Long Bao—the soup-filled dumplings hailing from Shanghai that have since been popularized throughout the world. Even referring to them as "dumplings" is enough to set off some food scholars who insist that they are distinct from what we traditionally classify as dumplings. The question is, what does it mean to be authentic and more precisely, is it even possible for authenticity to be preserved across the many barriers of language mapping, social custom, and regional tastes? More