post-it notes from the prodigal son

Posted in Gossip, Music, Uncategorized by devinkk on August 5, 2008

performance art odd rap and joke punk at 152 ludlow

performance art odd rap and joke punk at 152 ludlow

Brains, Crystallized Peppers, Egyptian Coffee

Posted in Food & Wine by gastroplague on March 6, 2008

Astoria Queens has been an ethnic food mecca for decades now. In the midst of Steinway street, the Egyptian quarter, lays the gem that is Ali Kebab house. Upon approaching the nondescript facade, I noticed a small gathering surrounding a portly oracle. There are no menus at Ali Kebab… only the oracle’s recitation of his evil plans for the evening. This particular evening, his plans included calf brains, fresh artichoke and fennel salad, duck stuffed with chicken, tripe (cow intestine) soup, lamb cheeks and tongue, and an amazing broiled bronzino with carmelized vegetables served family style… among other offerings.

My comrades and I eventually filed into the tiny living room and crammed onto pillow covered wood slabs. A delightful mute brought us bottles of wine while Ali, the only waiter and chef for the place, prepared delectables five feet away from us whilst rambling about the wonders of the various ingredients he had purchased that very afternoon. We put our trust in Ali to “wow” us and refused to order any specific items that would taint his vision of the evenings proceedings.

First came the artichoke and fennel salad. Ali even seasoned the plate with sumac and middle eastern spices for aroma. The vegetables were incredibly fresh and well prepared. A good sign of things to come. Next were the brains. I can only describe them as gamey scrambled eggs. It was as if Ali went to Cairo and wanted to create a brunch offering with only a cow head, a machete and a cast iron skillet. Rad. Another hit was the broiled whole bronzino served in the cooking vessel atop carmelized peppers, onions, and carrots. The vegetable medly almost overshadowed the fish with complexity and richness.

For dessert Ali announced he would be bringing us “mountain oysters.” We were pumped until the goat testicles were set in front of us aside a coconut sponge cake and steaming hibicus tea. Seriously Ali? MOUNTAIN OYSTER! he exclaimed. I took one bit of the sphere and almost hurled. Luckily it only made the dessert taste better.

After the incredible dinner, Ali took us across the street to an Egyptian coffee house and hooka bar. We all got really amped on the intense tar-like coffee and played poker with him using a bag of beans. Ali enlightened us on the terrain of Egypt and the origin of ingredients he enjoys with the same fervor he used preparing the meal we ate an hour earlier. As the hookah smoke clouded around his large head, I appreciated this oracle for more than his food, but for his passion and deity-like demeanor. Amazing man. You should party with him.

Ali Cooking