Crawfish Night

I’ve eaten crawfish only a handful of times in my life, usually as an ingredient in a dish like gumbo, never by itself. I’ve always enjoyed it, but in NYC you have to go out of your way to find crawfish. As a result, I don’t eat it much.

So you can imagine my delight when my sister told me that my family here in Houston have been cooking up large batches of it every Friday this crawfish season.

It helps that the price of live crawfish has been as low as $.99 per pound at H.E.B. , because last night they bought thirty-nine pounds of it.

That’s my uncle skillfully cooking the crawfish. The meal was accompanied by equally yummy garlic corn-on-the-cob and Seafood Alfredo. He says he learned how to make all of this from watching Top Chef.

The best part about eating food that requires disassembly is that it forces you to eat slow and chillax with your dining partners. Here, my sister and stepmom fill me on family gossip news since my last visit to Houston.

Here’s what the pile looked like after we finished. I stayed at the table to continue shelling the crawfish, which my uncle will cook into other dishes like Crawfish Fried Rice.

My uncle ate last after cooking the entire batch of crawfish. Dessert was Häagen-Daz ice cream bars.

Needless to say, this was my favorite meal of the trip so far.

Arlington Diner

Just across the street from Stewart’s, the mighty Arlington Diner has dominated its corner for as long as I can remember.

I haven’t been here since I was a kid so I can’t vouch for the food these days. But the exterior is delicious.

Stewart’s Drive-In

Growing up in Nutley, this retro Stewart’s in nearby Kearny was a familiar sight but one that I can’t recall ever stepping foot in.

That changed today when my family and I stopped in for lunch. Naturally, we each had a root beer to go with our various fried-meat-between-bread entrees. We were all very pleasantly surprised at how tasty the food was.

It was a beautiful day, so we opted out of car-dining and instead sat at one of the outdoor tables. What you can’t tell from the photo is that someone in our party actually brought tea eggs to compliment the meal. I can only wonder what the waitress thought when she saw that.

My Coffee Habits

I’m been a coffee addict since my teen years, but it wasn’t until about four years ago that I finally optimized the process for flavor, cost, and time. Until I find something better, here’s what I’m currently doing:

Coffee at home: Organic Fair Trade Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans from Coffee Bean Direct. I grind the beans in an inexpensive Braun blade grinder and make the coffee in a Chemex eight-cup coffeemaker. This coffee will last in the fridge for a few days and can be reheated or served iced.

I might try a fancier burr grinder if I ever get the spare cash. Every now and then I’ll try different beans to mix things up, but I always come back to Yirgacheffe.

Coffee at the office: I keep a stash of ground beans from home in the fridge at my office. I make the coffee in the pour-over style, with a gold filter and a plastic holder and drink it iced.

Coffee out: Despite what you’ve just read, I’m not a snob about coffee so there’s lot of places I can enjoy a good cup. I just try to have it in places where I know the coffee won’t be too weak or too bitter.

But if Roasting Plants were everywhere, I’d probably be going there exclusively when I’m not at home. I love the coffee selection there and the vibe is like an amusement park for java addicts.

Mohamed of Lenox Avenue

Just wanted to give a shout-out to the man who, in an average week for me, cooks almost ten percent of my meals.

Mohamed of the Palomino halal truck at 116 St & Lenox, thank you for feeding me so well. And yes, I really do want extra extra red sauce.

What I Drink When I Drink

You may know I don’t drink alcohol. But until now you didn’t know the real reason why: once you drink Trump Ice, no other beverage will satisfy.

(Everlasting gratitude to my brother JJ Chan for this gift of gifts.)

Sodastream Anxiety

As far as I can tell, there’s no way to know if you’re near the end of a Sodastream tank. Is there a name for the anxiety that comes with this uncertainty?

NO points for answering “first world problem.” None whatsoever.

Cafe Flotilla

We interrupt this blog to bring you an imp– HEY EVERYBODY, COFFEE FLOAT!

I don’t know how I got hooked on these things — and definitely don’t know how to unhook myself.

(Bklyn Blggng HQ)

Old School Dining

You gotta love a place where the salad bar has green jello right next to kim chee. This place is old school in all the best ways, down to normal-sized plates and cups that were common before the era of super-sized everything. I hope this place is here forever.

(Wailana Coffee House, Honolulu, HI)

Mysterious CCC

The first rule of Chinatown Cake Club is you do not talk about Chinatown Cake Club.

I forget exactly what the other rules are, but fortunately there’s none about photography.

(CCC, Manhattan)

Festive Fountain

It may be a gathering before the Chocolate Fondue Fountain comes out, but it’s definitely a party after.

(Weehawken, NJ)