It was going to take something exceptional to shake my food-loving Canadian friend Carolynn and me out of our gluttonous stupor after 4 days of pigging out in New York City. We found it at Mile End.
If you're wondering why the Empire State building is lit up in blue and white tonight, it's in honor of the Argentine bicentennial. I didn't plan it this way, but it seems only fitting to break down the latest quest for a great Argentine empanada in New York on the country's 200th birthday.
50-something restaurants, four boroughs, a sell-out crowd of very hungry New Yorkers, food bloggers and those who love them converged at Monday's Choice Eats extravaganza on Lexington Ave. I went with a very specific mission: to find the very best cabbie-friendly dishes on the Bacchanalian buffet.
Cue burning lips, watering eyes, and flaming skin. Five spoonfuls in, I noticed I was the only one in the restaurant wiping her nose. Once I got past the combusting chilies, there was garlic, cilantro, and ginger upon ginger. If an exclamation mark had a flavor, it might taste something like Manchow soup.
The first thing I noticed when I opened the menu at Tangra Masala – the Indian-Chinese restaurant recommended by Mizanur, the star of last week’s taxi adventure – was the sea of chili pepper symbols. 108 chili pepper symbols. 108 hot and spicy dishes out of 159. (Yes, I counted them. I’m nerdy like