Our Authors

Estela Chef Ignacio Mattos Talks Plating, Flavor, and Presentation

"How does it look?" asked Chef Ignacio Mattos as I packed up my camera. We'd just spent a few minutes photographing a dish of his that he sparsely describes as pork, borani, and potatoes. Frankly, I was surprised that for an article on plating, Mattos decided to showcase a dish with a decidedly austere presentation.

My honest reply: "It looks like a bowl of potato chips."


Al Safa's Counter Serves Up Solid Lebanese

Sitting at the window in one of the booths at Al Safa offers a framed view of the ever-evolving population of Bay Ridge. Once an enclave for Irish and Italian immigrant families, it's now home to Brooklyn's largest middle eastern community. Looking into the restaurant, you'll find Zein Safa, the amiable chef/owner of Al Safa preparing an abundance of middle eastern dishes, heavily influenced by his Lebanese roots. More

Stan's Cafecito is South Williamsburg's Neighborhood Burrito Spot

During the dog days of summer, Stan's Cafecito hides behind a bamboo roller shade that provides cover for the few lucky guests who have snagged a stool at the window while they wait for their iced coffee or breakfast burritos. The tiny, table-less space in south Williamsburg houses a sparing kitchen with little more than an electric skillet and griddle; it would be easy to miss all together, if not for the line out the door. More

Karczma: Polish Comfort Food with a Side of Shtick

Stepping into Karczma is like entering an Epcot Center version of a Polish farmhouse. Wagon wheel chandeliers and gas lamp fixtures light up a dining room that centers around a prop water well. The waitresses, costumed in billowy peasant dresses, push the vibe dangerously close to theme restaurant territory. Thankfully though, that's where the tacky facade ends—the kitchen is genuinely Polish, putting out food that rivals any other restauracja in Greenpoint. More

Feast: Tasting Menus for Group Dining in the East Village

Group dining can be a hassle in New York City—just try scouring Opentable for a 'table for six in a few hours from now.' If you don't have a reservation, and don't want to go to Chinatown for a big table, you could find yourself with something of a hassle. Feast, with its communal tables, is designed for just such an outing, with service we found swift and attentive. More

Sakamai, Japanese-Inspired Small Plates and Sake on the Lower East Side

Lobster, caviar, foie gras, black truffles, sea urchin: The ingredients featured on the menu at Sakamai are what I imagine would be served at an upscale wedding banquet with champagne fountains, not in a sake bar in the Lower East Side. But Chef Takanori Akiyama is using such provisions to make intensely flavored and smartly constructed Japanese small plates. More

The Food Lab's Guide to Crispy Sous-Vide Chicken Thighs

Hey kenji, I often do sous vide chicken thighs and add a bunch of duck fat... A chicken thigh confit. this post makes me think I might not even need to add additional fat to get similar results. Have you experimented with that at all?

Confessions of a Maple Syrup Smuggler

love this.... side question: is it wrong to smuggle homemade popcorn into a movie theatre??

Think Inside the Bun: How to Make Your Own Taco Bell Cemita

I live around the corner from a combo taco bell KFC so obviously I'm going to add some chicken tender milanesa to my torta. maybe use biscuits instead of a bun?

Easy Pressure Cooker Green Chile With Chicken

did this tonight and no, you do not need to add any liquid.
Not sure what type of pressure release kenji does, but I did a natural release and everything turned out great.

How to Make the Best Baked Jalapeño Poppers

what's the pretty green sauce? guasacaca?

Estela Chef Ignacio Mattos Talks Plating, Flavor, and Presentation

@foodlabfollower I had a few bites of this dish, but generally needed to hurry along and pack up so the restaurant could open for service.
I did once eat a whole plate of sea urchin, razor clams, caviar, spot prawns, and chianina beef at zz's clam bar after I photographed it.

The Science of the Best Fresh Pasta

I find it helpful to make a 'loop' with the pasta dough when I'm rolling it out so you don't have to keep feeding it through the machine. Like so: http://imgur.com/hVQJImI

The 10 Most Popular Posts of 2014

I like the dog pics.

Breakfast of Champions: Why New Jersey is Crazy for Pork Roll

Fresh Direct has Taylor Pork Roll... definitely the easiest way to get your hands on it in NYC. You can't get a whole unsliced hunk though, you have to choose between thick and thin slices. I want a pork roll egg and cheese with banana peppers right now.

How to Eat Flushing: A One-Day Food Tour of NYC's Greatest Chinatown

I'd pick up a quail skewer from the bbq cart near spicy and tasty too!

This is a great read. I've been seriously missing your reviews and criticism, Max!

Use the Pressure Cooker for a Butternut Squash Risotto Packed With Layers of Flavor

'starches are broken down into more simple sugars that do taste sweet, but the process only happens at lower temperatures, between 130 and 170°F'

Great info to know! is this true for all winter squashes? hubbards, delicata, etc.?

Lox, Whitefish, and Beyond: An Introduction to Appetizing

The ACME factory in greenpoint sells to the public at wholesale prices for a few hours every Friday morning. It's the best way for an appetizing addict like myself to get a fix on a budget.

The Best Korean Food in LA's Koreatown

Kang Hodong Baekjeong is coming to NYC K town soon! And ya, the slow cooking egg moat is a unique part of the experience.

Cast Iron Cooking: The Easy Pull-Apart Pepperoni Garlic Knots That Will Forever Change How You Entertain

Did you move plastic wrap across the country? Looks like a well worn box of stretch tite. also, these look amazing.

Manner Matters: A Spicy Food Lover's Conundrum

I have a related question Molly, my head sweats uncontrollably when I eat spicy foods. My bald head perspires enough that actual beads of sweat will occasionally run down my cheeks or into my eyes.

Is it more considerate to continue to wiping my head and face through the course of a meal or just wait until the end when I can do one large head/face dry. Love the column!

From the Archives: Spicy Chinese-Style Cumin Lamb Skewers

I think asafoetida is the BO-iest spice i've ever smelled.

Popeyes-Style Chicken Tenders and Biscuits From 'Fried & True'

I'd bet the MSG from the onion soup mix does wonders for approximating the Popeye's taste!

How I Built a Barbecue Restaurant in Brooklyn: On Writing a Menu

you should confit chicken in your smoked pork fat, and then deep fry. just a suggestion! It's what I would do if I had a ton of delicious pork fat.

Requiem for an Egg Cream: In Search of a New York Classic

i love yoohoo. I think it's the only beverage available in a carton, can, box, and bottle. I would argue it's best from a carton.

Ideas in Food vs. Strawberry Shortcake: Reinventing the Biscuit

YES! so happy to have ideas in food here.

The Wok Mon Converts Your Home Burner Into a Wok Range. For Real.

very excited for this! also, there's a freudian slip typo 'burger' instead of 'burner'. ;D

The Best Chinese Bakery Sweets in Manhattan's Chinatown

@aqnyus, I think those are called honeycomb cakes. They usually come in white or yellow and they dry out VERY quickly. I have fond childhood memories of hanging out in a cemetery, eating a yellow spongy thing, and burning hell notes. I've never had a good one in NYC's Chinatown.

Also, I've always had thing for those pristine sponge cakes layered with canned fruit and barely sweetened cream. That seems to be a minority opinion though.

Knife Skills: The 4 Knife Cuts Every Cook Should Know

JacktheBeanStalk, a granton edge knife supposedly helps prevent food from sticking. That would be a knife with the shallow dimples along the length. The downside of a granton is that eventually, after years of sharpening, the knife will grind down to the dimples and the edge won't be straight.

The New Anova Precision Cooker Promises to Be the Best, Most Cost-Effective Sous-Vide Solution on the Market

hey guy, I reference cooking issues pretty often for sous vide time/temps: http://www.cookingissues.com/primers/sous-vide/purdy-pictures-the-charts/

at the bottom it says, "there is no right and wrong, just what you like." which is an important principle to follow with sous vide cooking.

The New Anova Precision Cooker Promises to Be the Best, Most Cost-Effective Sous-Vide Solution on the Market

lapbyplayr, kickstarter says it'll do 4-5 gallons. In my experience, smoking and then finishing sous vide doesn't speed up the total cooking time, it just (obviously) reduces the amount of time tending to a smoker.
I usually cook pork at 155 for 24 hours to get it to a tender but not totally falling apart, rendered fat state. You could increase the water temp, but my guess is it would still take longer than doing the whole process in the smoker.
I'm no expert though, so anyone should feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

Mighty Quinn's: Has NYC Barbecue Come of Age?

Until Mighty Quinn's opened its doors, here are the words I would use to describe the better barbecue joints in town: sincere, well-meaning, tasty, digitally derived from copious sampling across the country, deferential, and stylistically derivative. Most people would come out any one of a half-dozen cue joints in town and say, "Hey, that was good barbecue, for New York." It'd be the culinary equivalent of damning with faint praise.

But the the arrival of pitmaster Hugh Mangum's East Village restaurant creates a new standard for barbecue in New York City. Smoked meat that is good—not just for New York—but for barbecue fans everywhere.


The Food Lab: How To Make The Ultimate Turducken

Ever since I was a wee little cook ripping up my first chives, burning my first steaks, and toughening up my first squid, I'd dreamt of poultry-stuffed-poultry-stuffed-poultry. The idea of a Turducken—a chicken stuffed into a duck stuffed into a turkey—is just so damn appealing. How could three such glorious birds not taste all the more glorious together? My goal for the last few years has been to try and perfect the ultimate Thanksgiving roast. This year, I finally succeeded, producing what is perhaps the finest roast to ever emerge from my oven. Turkey meat gave its juice away freely to anyone who asked. Perfectly rendered duck fat, tender to the teeth. And flavors that blended as harmoniously robotic lions joining forces to save the universe. Here's how it's done. More