John Wozniak

I am serious food lover and cook

  • Website
  • Location: Ditmas Park, Brooklyn
  • Last bite on earth: Hmm...

Latest Comments

Ya Lyublyu Chayhana Salom! Uzbek Food in Sheepshead Bay

@Max yum! There are at least a few Uzbeki places (sort of tiny Uzbekitown) that look just like this place on Coney Island Ave heading North off of Kings Highway. Folks have been raving about one in particular but the name escapes me at the moment.

Reality Check: We Try Wendy's New Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger

The fries are pretty bad, they really are. I really like Wendy's but the fries are not improved; they are limp, have an odd taste from the fat used to fry them, are waaaauy undersalted and strangely mostly not long enough. My girl brought home the smaller pretzel cheeseburger and the dense pretzel bun definitely overwhelmed it. I much prefer the junior cheeseburger deluxe. It has the right proportions and ratio for a fast food burger. If you are hungry get another 1 or 2. The bun is light and does not detract. Ask for light something or remove or add and item so you are ensured a just made cheeseburger.

I still love the baked potato with a little butter, sour cream and those "chives". It's filling, pretty wholesome and a great value.

I really think that if SE tried the junior cheeseburger deluxe, off of the value menu, they would be a lot more impressed with Wendy's burgers. The proportions, buns and ratios for most bigger fast food burgers are all out of whack. They are all mostly pretty gross. Their (Fast Food Co's) attempts at "artisan" breads and buns are weak at best. It's "Angus"? Well it still taste like chemicals.

Wendy's ice cream-type-stuff is pretty bad. Be awesome if you could take Wendy's burgers and chicken, McDonald's fries and desserts (especially their soft serve), Popeye's fried chicken and coleslaw and some real onion rings under one roof. One can dream.

But getting back to the pretzel bun — it was much too dense even if it was with a double — it was just bad bread. It had the right look, but not the air in it that it should, nor the taste.

El Gauchito Butcher and Steakhouse: Get Yourself to the Argentinian

@Max: really interested in hitting this place up some day soon.

Have you tried the Ottomanelli's "Cowboy Ribeye" (Otto’s 1325 5th Ave - )? It's a solid steak made that much better by its pretty ridiculous $17 price tag. So far, it's the best steak for the money I've come across in my 10 years in NYC. Service is spotty (by being super nice I def got more server attention) but forgivable once the steak arrives.

Ask the Critic: 'Real' Chinese Food in NYC

@Max always looking for an excuse to go on a little adventure. It would be my pleasure to join you if I can. You are more than welcome to shoot me an email (via my website -- my first name & last if you are headed to CIA or Ave U. Sunset Park is a little out of the way for me.

Ask the Critic: 'Real' Chinese Food in NYC

When I abbreviated CIL I meant CIA (Coney Island Ave). Sorry, very tired.

Ask the Critic: 'Real' Chinese Food in NYC

@Max I really think SE is great (a valuable resource) and I want to make sure you guys (Carey et al) know that. I've been digging the Bronx coverage and Sheepshead etc. Here's the thing, you'll have to forgive me for thinking that an article on this here fine blog about NY food , and this article being about "Chinese food", is a little bereft for not having something from one of the two "big enough" Chinatowns in Brooklyn. Is the train ride really that prohibitive?

As a very poor professional cook I generally have not had the time or energy to go out much. :( Cooks eat way more McDonald's than we should. ;) I don't get paid to eat food (or paid to travel to eat food), but rather paid to make it. Cooks often don't get to eat much.

What I do know is that there is a very large and varied (but I believe currently primarily Pakistani) community ( ) and restaurants that are serving that community on Coney Island Avenue off around Newkirk in both directions. There are the sweets shops and the "fancy" places for events, steam table places and that sort of thing. I've had some really delicious things and some not so. The sweets are kinda one dimensional but I am sure if I explored it further I would find more variation. It can be a little "intimidating" at some of these places as they are very authentic and language can be a barrier. That is less and less so the case all the time though. If you go on Google Maps streetview you will see all the restos on CIL. Take the train to Newkirk (B Express) and walk a few blocks and walk around and if you see something that looks good, try it. IIRC, there is a fair bit of interesting flatbread at some of these places too. Lotta tiny taco places in bodegas with tiny griddles making super delicious food (on CIL and Cortelyou).

There is also a substantial Tibetan community centered around Newkirk and Cortelyou and they seem to be the fastest growing minority in the area by quite some margin. There is currently one quite good Tibetan place on Cortelyou. They have momos. ;) I have a feeling we'll see another Tibetan focused restaurant or two in the near future in the area.

If else fails the Farm on Adderley always kills it, if you were disappointed with what you had prior. :)

Fisherman's Cove on Newkirk has occasionally amazing and always good jerk chicken. There is a very large West Indian population as well — IIRC they are demographically the largest. They cleaver up jerk chicken all day like it is going out of style. Their oxtail is amongst my favorite anywhere.

There is a place on Ave U a few blocks from the train that has roast meats that are every bit the equal of anything I have ever had in Manhattan's Chinatown. Seriously ridiculous roast pork.

Since I don't really fetishize food very much the names of these places hasn't been important to me, so forgive for not remembering more specifics.

More than any other reason I can think of to check these places out is how incredibly nice Ditmas Park is (the houses are ridiculous and it is major shooting site for a variety of TV shows including Boardwalk Empire — a block from my apartment and how nice the people here are. They deserve some spotlight for all they are doing food wise.

We Try Shake Shack's New Fresh-Cut Fries

@Holly this was before or after beef tallow?

Why McDonald's Fries Taste So Good By Eric Schlosser:

We Try Shake Shack's New Fresh-Cut Fries

@Kenji at this point Shake Shack has quite a few locations and sells a lot of fries. I don't think the people they will buy potatoes from would consider their purchasing small when all the stores are doing it.

I was thinking central, regional curing facilities (they don't have any commissarys?) each serving quite a few locations — if moisture variation is a big enough deal to warrant it.

@Holly that's fascinating and reassuring. Those fries where still double-fried in tallow right? So friggen good.

We Try Shake Shack's New Fresh-Cut Fries

If the age of the potatoes is an issue that should by up a whole bunch and store/age them themselves to minimize variation.

I never hated on their old fries but they were far from transcendent. Looking forward to this superior version.

Ask the Critic: 'Real' Chinese Food in NYC

@ddawg Flushing is similar in many ways yet it gets plenty of blogging love so deliberate or not I see a lack of parity in coverage. It is what is. It's disconcerting. Your right, it takes people going and instagramming and tweeting to get other "followers" to go as well. It will happen eventually as they'll need a new frontier and a new things to discover (that are really only new to them -- having already been serving their local community for years). It would help to have a dish from somewhere on Ave U fetishized to the degree the cumin lamb "chop" has.

There are interesting Bukharan and Pakistani restos on Coney Island Ave and some Tibetan (momos/dumplings are having a moment) on Cortelyou as well, but it gets virtually no coverage while restaurants in Queens serving nearly identical menus get lots of love.

As far as recs, my better half is Cantonese and we get lots of food from my MIL so I don't eat "Chinese" out very often. What I do know is that Ave U is totally legit because my MIL shops there and she is legit -- just a bit more than hipster food bloggers.

For recs, this may help:

My advice is to go to Ave U and explore and if it looks good, eat it. :)

Ask the Critic: 'Real' Chinese Food in NYC

So apparently there is no "real" Chinese in South Brooklyn (around Ave U) that is worthwhile? ;) How can you be more authentic than a true working class Chinese hood?

The continuing omission of South Brooklyn, caused, I imagine, by the fact that no one that works for SE NY lives in mostly ungentrified, mostly non-hipster South Brooklyn (or so it would seem) is getting a little ridiculous (could your map be more barren in Brooklyn? No.).

I'm glad Queens is having a foodie moment -- it's deserved. In a few years when everyone is priced out of even Bushwick/Ridgewood, I bet I'll be seeing a lot more South Brooklyn coverage. :) I can almost guarantee it. And yes, there is more to South Brooklyn than Sheepshead Bay.

nyc b&w cookie EMERGENCY!!!

Believe it or not the ( ) Entenmanns Ultimate Black & White Cookies are considerably better than any I've ever had fresh from an Italian bakery. These are softer and fresher still. They are available at CTown and Rite-Aid in NYC.

BTW, I am not kidding -- these are THAT good!

Reality Check: We Try Wendy's New Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger

" Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger was good. Very, very good."

"Because it may be Wendy's best burger...but it's still a Wendy's burger."

Vrigggght. ;)

Dear Local Pizzeria: Ranch is NOT Tuscan.

Looks like a delicious slice. Taste is more important than "correctness" in my book.

The Pizza Lab: The Best French Bread Pizza

The Poles call this "zapiekanka". Pretty common in parts of Chicago, Greenpoint and Europe apparently.

Looks delicious @kenji.

We Chat With Gabe Thompson of L'Apicio, L'Artusi, dell'anima and Anfora

Great interview. This really resonated with me. Gonna have to try Gabe's food! :)

Staff Picks: Our Favorite Fast Food Burgers

The fact that none of you picked a standard Wendy's burger is _totally_ suspect. By _any reasonable measure_ Wendy's is the best of the common, National chains.

@Kenji you ever get to Paul's? ;)

Lombardi Pizza Co.: Truckin' Great Pizza in Edison, New Jersey

The pizza may be bangin' but a dude with a smartphone has no excuse when he doesn't update a public calendar for his business, especially if he will be closed for over 3 months. Eww.

The Pizza Lab: Foolproof Pan Pizza

The Pizza Hut of the 80's is not mythical — the pizza was truly all that and a bag of chips. Fried bottom, stretchy mootz, larded with toppings. Just totally effing delicious and the smell of it is burned in my brain for all time.

Anyone recently been to a "real" full service Pizza Hut and ordered a pan pizza in/to stay? I am willing to bet it (to this day) doesn't suck. I wouldn't assume it is bad. They have been kinda successful.

Great post and great looking pie @Kenji. This is the kind of pizza closest to my heart — soulful and satisfying. It's such a nice bonus the workflow is child's play and easily duplicatable.

Daily Slice: Pizza Rustica at Avellino's, East Hanover NJ

Sounds delish. Love quiche. Love pizza. Gonna have to make something similar. Bet they get rid of the "ends" of meat this way — cubing it and putting it in other dishes. Making antipasto or quasi-lardons are good ways to utilize the end/s as well.

Emeryville, CA: Playing Hot or Not with the Pizzas at Hot Italian

FWIW, this pizza looks spectacular to me — looks a lot like DiFara actually.

Chicago: Brave the Waldorf Astoria for Balsan

Klee Brasserie, Nice Pizza, Benoit, Marché du Sud and August @Paulie.