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The DOE Called This Queens School Newspaper “Fake News.” The Students Responded With Journalism

Last week, the staff of the Classic, the student newspaper at Flushing’s Townsend Harris High School, gathered in a third-floor hallway to discuss a plan of attack for reporting on a decision that could change their school forever. Following allegations that interim principal Rosemarie Jahoda had berated individual teachers, ignored students with disabilities at her previous high school, and bungled the handling of an Islamophobic incident at Townsend Harris, the New York City Department of Education was bringing in candidates who might replace her. The staff of the Classic, which had reported for months on the controversy, had decided to take it upon themselves to meet the contenders.

Classic editors Mehrose Ahmad and Sumaita Hasan explained that reporters would be stationed at every entrance of the school, while the two editors would host a Facebook livestream from a student sit-in happening outside the office where candidate interviews were being held. Photos of the candidates had been distributed to the student reporters so they could identify them on sight. Suddenly, the hallway fell silent: A candidate had arrived, and Classic news editor Aly Tantawy was already grilling him.

“How are you going to help the students of this school move past the controversy of the past few months?” Tantawy asked. The candidate, who had come from the Bronx, answered confidently — perhaps he’d been warned of an ambush from this fastidious team of student journalists, whose dogged reporting on their own school’s alleged dysfunction had hurried the process of which this candidate was now a part.

For years, the Classic had focused on the regular beats of a high school newspaper — teacher retirements, curriculum changes, bell schedule. It was not an investigative outlet. But with Jahoda’s appointment, the very nature of the school appeared to be imperiled, and the paper’s staff decided it was time to step in. “The seriousness of the allegations [against Ms. Jahoda] kept on building up,” Ahmad told me. “We needed some answers from Ms. Jahoda, and she kept not responding to our requests. So we needed to pursue and continue to investigate so we could write stories that evoke a response not only from Ms. Jahoda, but from the community as well.”

Jahoda had arrived at Townsend Harris at the beginning of the school year, after the previous principal abruptly left to run a nearby high school. The DOE took the opportunity to install Jahoda as the interim principal after her rocky nine-year tenure as an assistant principal at Bronx Science, another elite public high school, which had culminated in an official complaint in which twenty teachers referred to Jahoda as a “dictator.”

Immediately, she made her presence known at Townsend Harris with a crackdown on lax regulatory enforcement. The school consistently earns high national rankings, reflecting heavy student workloads and nearly nonexistent misbehavior. So administrators and teachers did not follow procedures as strictly as their counterparts at other schools — essentially a perk for the high-performing, constantly stressed student body. Jahoda disagreed, abruptly canceling an after-school field trip over missing paperwork and aggressively clashing with faculty about the minutiae of other regulations. Frustrations reached a head in December, when students staged a sit-in in a hallway outside of classrooms while a deputy superintendent, Leticia Pineiro, toured the school following the complaints against Jahoda. When Pineiro got into an argument with protesting students, the Classic was there to livestream the encounter. From there, the story took off.

“It wasn’t my idea to do the livestream, or anything really,” said Classic faculty adviser Brian Sweeney, an English teacher. “The student journalists were the ones who kept pushing this story along, kept asking questions, and stayed in school late to keep reporting.”

An interim principal who wants the job usually gets it. But in the weeks following the December sit-in, the Classic reported that Jahoda had ignored discrimination against Muslim students at Townsend Harris; the paper also published an exclusive interview with the mother of a visually impaired Bronx Science student who said Jahoda had refused to provide her child necessary services. The Daily News and the Post picked up Ahmad and Hasan’s reporting. Local politicians and alumni grew alarmed that Jahoda was poised to lead a school known for its diverse student body. In response, the DOE put the process “under investigation,” then announced a complete restart after a pointed demand from the PTA, promising to “continue to listen to feedback from this school community.”

But it did not react kindly to the Classic‘s coverage. According to a letter written by State Assembly Members David Weprin and Nily Rozic, at a recent District Leadership meeting a DOE representative called the Classic “fake news” while defending Jahoda. The paper’s editors were astonished to hear a representative from the city’s supposedly inclusive school system parroting Donald Trump. “We both felt very disparaged,” Hasan told me. “While we’re still students, I think what we’re doing is real reporting, and it shouldn’t be belittled in any way.”

“Being called ‘fake news’ just motivates us,” Ahmad added. “We now have even more questions than we began with, and we want to prove ourselves even more.”

Jahoda herself has proven an elusive subject. Earlier this year, students waited outside her office for several hours after repeated requests for an interview had been denied. Their principal said she was busy and briskly avoided interviewers while exiting the building. Finally, two weeks ago, they got an interview, but still, access remained limited. Jahoda had banned media from covering Wednesday’s sit-in (this reporter was allowed entry by virtue of being an alumnus) and wouldn’t discuss several topics during the interview with the Classic.

Sweeney, the adviser, wonders if the paper will be able to keep reporting so independently if Jahoda is installed as the permanent principal. While the Classic‘s charter promises that Townsend’s administration won’t interfere with coverage, students would most likely self-censor criticism of the person responsible for running the school and releasing transcripts to colleges.

Back outside the candidate interview office, where students were still protesting, Ahmad summoned Hasan excitedly from across the hall. Their first FOIA, which requested that the DOE disclose who applied for the principal position, had just been denied — a frustration to which professional journalists across the city are accustomed. Despite the rejection, the two students together held Ahmad’s phone as if it contained precious cargo, beaming at having gotten a response.

“Maybe we’ll file an appeal,” Hasan said. “Who knows? The answers are out there.”

 

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Best Weekend Food Events: Rutabaga Curling, SantaCon, and Cheese Festival

31 Bottles of December
GENUINE Liquorette (191 Grand Street, lower level)
Friday through December 31

For the entire month of December, GENUINE Liquorette will have 31 mystery bottles on the shelves for guests who participate in the Rough Justice program. Guests can pick one of the mystery bottles off the shelves for the bartender to create drinks will receive a final bill without charges regardless of how much is consumed.

SantaCon
Multiple Locations
Saturday, 11 a.m. until late

SantaCon returns to New York this Saturday, with participating venues including Ainsworth Park, Bar 13, and Webster Hall. Guests can make a $10 donation to participate in the bar crawl here.

Las Posadas Holiday Cooking Class
Dos Caminos Park Avenue (373 Park Avenue South)
Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Executive chef Ivy Stark will lead a demonstration on preparing Mexican holiday dishes — including bacalao, pomegranate honey-glazed ham, and flan. For $75, guests receive lunch, cocktails, recipes, and a copy of Dos Caminos Tacos. Guests can make a reservation by contacting the restaurant.

The Great Northeast Cheese and Dairy Fest
Flushing Town Hall (137-35 Northern Boulevard, Queens)
Saturday, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Taste over 75 different cheeses along with wines and spirits at this walk-around tasting. The event includes demonstrations and workshops dedicated to the craft of cheese mongering. Local chefs scheduled to create unique cheese dishes include Will Horowitz (Harry & Ida’s) and Hugue Dufour (M.Wells). Tickets ($60 for general admission) can be reserved here.

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Best Weekend Food Events: Flushing Night Market, Aquaponics 101, and Mezcal BBQ

Flushing Night Out
Flushing High School (35-01 Union Street, Queens)
Friday, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Downtown Flushing is hosting a night market which will encompass the neighborhood’s diverse selection of ethnic eats and feature live entertainment. Participating restaurants include Snowdays, Karl’s Balls, and Dosa Hutt among others. A selection of live music and performances will take place throughout the evening, and admission is free.

Oko Farms’ Aquaponics 101
Moore Street Farm (104 Moore St, Brooklyn)
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m

Learn the basics of aquaponics from the founders of Oko Farms, the city’s largest outdoor aquaponics farm. The class will cover design, harvesting, and sourcing elements for those interested in creating their own home aquaponics farm. After class, students will harvest vegetables and fish for a meal prepared on the farm. Participants must wear closed-toed shoes and are advised to have cash on hand for snacks during the seminar. Tickets are $135 per person and include produce to take home; reserve a spot here.

Mezcal BBQ
Esme (999 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn)
Saturday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Esme is hosting a mezcal-themed barbecue featuring treats from neighborhood favorites like Oddfellows and Duke’s Liquor Box. Representatives from Bruxo Mezcal will be on hand to lead guests in a mezcal tasting, with mezcal popsicles and lamb barbacoa among the items available on the menu. The event is free to attend and all food and drink options range from $3 to $10.

Beer: The Ultimate Muse Creative Writing Class
Q.E.D. (27-16 23rd Avenue, Queens)
Saturday, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

During this creative writing class for grownups, attendees will receive a flight of four beers, which they’ll then use as inspiration for developing four unique characters. Both novices and experienced writers are encouraged to attend. Tickets are $35 and include the cost of beer; snag them here.

Rockaway Beach Dinner

Off Season Backyard (92-12 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Queens)
Saturday, 7 p.m. to Sunday, 12 a.m.

Celebrate a day at the beach and the food of the Rockaways.  La Cevicheria, Brothers, Goody’s, Whit’s End,  and beer from Rockaway Brewing Co. will all be served at this backyard dinner party. Tickets are $75, and a portion of the cost will be donated to Rockaway Rising; reserve them here.

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Queens Elementary School to Start a ‘Young Jedi Academy’ for Kids

When Andy Yung first asked his boss for permission to purchase more than a dozen lightsabers, the request was met with more than a little skepticism. A pre-K teacher at The Active Learning Elementary School in Flushing, Queens — and an avid Star Wars fan — Yung was proposing his idea to start a “Young Jedi Academy” for his students. TALES was founded seven years ago with the mission of promoting health, wellness, and creativity among its students, and has been no stranger to out-of-the-box learning programs in the past. But school-sponsored lightsaber fights were a tad much, even for it.

“I was hesitant, no doubt about it,” Robert Groff, the school’s principal, tells the Voice. “[But] when Andy fully described the idea and how there would be a lot of stretching, running, and agility work, and then a portion of time spent with lightsaber choreography, it became more of a well-rounded program.”

Last month, with the school’s blessing, Yung set out to make his Star Wars “enrichment class” a reality, turning to the nonprofit organization DonorsChoose in hopes of raising enough money for the materials. He billed the project as an after-school, Star Wars–themed fitness program, and quickly met his goal of close to $500.

Though the draw for many of the students — or padawans, as Yung calls them — will undoubtedly be the “controlled lightsaber sparring” at the end of each session, he also hopes the Jedi philosophy of discipline, honor, and justice will rub off on his pupils. The school is holding a trial run with roughly fifteen students throughout the spring, and if all goes well the program will start in earnest next fall.

“It’s kind of created a buzz,” Yung says. “I’ve been carrying around my lightsaber in school and the kids will rush up to me and be like, ‘Oh! That’s from Star Wars! Do you like Darth Vader? Do you like Luke Skywalker?’ ”

Andy Yung and his students
Andy Yung and his students

TALES is located in a high-poverty section of Queens where roughly 67 percent of children qualify for free meals each day. Many of the students come from immigrant families, with parents who work long hours and are often unable to meet their children when the school day ends. Still, TALES tries to make the most of the resources it has. In 2013, Groff and his colleagues made headlines after TALES became one of the first public schools in the country to adopt an all-vegetarian menu in its cafeteria. The goal has always been to foster healthy lifestyles and provide unique programs and opportunities for students to expand their horizons.

“I think it’s about giving them an opportunity to do something they wouldn’t otherwise be able to,” Groff says. “We find that a lot of our kids don’t have chances to go out of the neighborhood, and we need to bring experiences to them.”

For Yung, his new program is simply a continuation of that manifesto, a way of fitting an entire galaxy inside the confines of a small classroom.

Star Wars has captured the imagination of many of our students,” Yung explains. “This program will be a way to nurture it.”

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With This Beer, We Raise a Toast to Queens

Move over, Brooklyn. After years of threats and broken promises, we may finally be entering the era of Queens. You want proof? There’s the Mets, of course, who are riding an eleven-game win streak to the best record in baseball. Although it’s still April, the team’s most electrifying start since the championship season of 1986 is enough to snag the entire city’s attention. But that’s sure to fade faster than the hop profile of a great I.P.A.

More importantly, a great borough needs a great beer — dozens of them — and Queens seems to get a new, noteworthy brew with each passing month. In fact, the craft-beer scene there is now so broad and distinguished as to merit a dedicated celebration: Queens Beer Week. Launched in 2014, May 8 marks its triumphant return with an opening event at Crescent and Vine in Astoria. And there’s plenty to sip on in the meantime. Start with Starchild, from Glendale’s own Finback Brewery. Representing rebirth, and packing a whole lotta funk, it’s an entirely appropriate beer for 2015 Queens.

Tart and tangy, Finback’s April release is a 4.6 percent sour brewed with grapefruit peels and wild yeast strains. This particular style of beer typically takes some getting used to; the pungent flavors of a sour ale can evoke unfavorable comparisons to everything from vinegar to wet barn. But yes, some people actively seek out these elements in their beer. Belgian lambic drinkers, for one, have been enjoying them for centuries. Starchild improves its accessibility, however, by offering the ripened zest provided by citrus. You don’t have to be a sour-beer lover so much as a grapefruit enthusiast to get down with this brew. And after you get down, it’s unlikely you’ll turn around. Once you go sour, as they say…

With an orange-hued body reminiscent of our Citi Field baseball team, Starchild has a light, acidic fizz that might linger on the tongue longer than the Mets’ reign at the top of the standings.

Look for it on tap at many of the borough’s standout beer bars. For a guaranteed taste, not to mention a fun weekend excursion, head over to the Finback taproom, open Thursday through Sunday. There you can enjoy four-ounce pours and growler fills of the new sour, along with ten other house brews on draft. In the heart of the borough, it’s a great taste of Queens. Be forewarned: There isn’t a subway stop within a mile. Plan accordingly. From the Middle Village stop at the end of the M line, you can either walk about 30 minutes or take the Q54 bus to get to the brewery.

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The 10 Best Restaurants in Flushing

It’s no secret that the outer boroughs are home to some of the meltiest parts of New York’s vast cultural and culinary crockpot. Like socarrat — the crunchy bits of rice at the bottom of the paella pan — the tastiest morsels are on the edges, hidden beneath layers of bomba rice, or in Flushing’s case, the 7 train. The Queens neighborhood boasts an impressive array of cuisines, with a notable East and Southeast Asian presence, many of which are among our favorite restaurants of their kind in the city. In fact, as one of the eating-est neighborhoods in town, it was next to impossible to whittle the list down to just 10 — so here are our “10” best restaurants in Flushing, a list you’ll note contains a number of ties.

Xi'an Famous Foods founder David Shi
Xi’an Famous Foods founder David Shi

10. Golden Shopping Mall/Flushing Mall/New World Mall, 41-28 Main Street/133-31 39th Avenue/40-21 Main Street, Queens

Of all of Flushing’s gastronomic assets, its varied food courts may be the most charming. Whether sussing out Happy Kenji Noodle’s Taiwanese beef noodle soup at the flashy New World Mall food court or perching on a colorful picnic bench eating shaved ice in the run-down-but-still-standing Flushing Mall, it’s easy to see their appeal. Our favorite of the bunch is the two-story Golden Shopping Mall, a mishmash of shops and stalls tucked inside an otherwise plain street-level and basement space. It’s from this location that David Shi started Xi’an Famous Foods, arguably Flushing’s most famous export. Other standouts include superlative lamb with squash and pork, shrimp, and chive dumplings at Tianjin Dumpling House, and noodles chilled or in steamy broth from Lanzhou Handmade Noodles.

9. Pop’s Diner, 44-29 Kissena Boulevard, Queens; 718-463-7719

With half a century spent slinging blue plate specials under its belt, Pop’s is a neighborhood gem. Breakfast is particularly satisfying, with sausage links as bulbous as British bangers and top notch egg cookery. Sandwiches and platters get a special boost from three proprietary hot sauces made with yellow, green and red Brazilian peppers, giving the unassuming diner a spicy edge — we like them best on Friday’s stuffed peppers.

8. Siruyeon, 150-36 Northern Boulevard, Queens; 718-461-6677

Nestled along Northern Boulevard in Murray Hill, this modest Korean cafe specializes in rice cake waffles topped with ice cream and fresh fruit. The only thing these confections have in common with traditional waffles is the shape, and the gummy, mochi-like texture is a fun alternative to sating those more sinful brunch cravings. The shop also knows its way around the savory side of rice cakes, including an above-average version of chili-spiked tteokbokki, soft rice cakes swimming in sweet, tangy chili sauce.

7. Nan Xiang Xia Long Bao, 38-12 Prince Street, Queens; 718-321-3838

Great soup dumplings are undoubtedly one of history’s proudest culinary achievements, with their bloated teardrop-shaped skins that jiggle with liquid innards and thick, spiraled tops perfect for grabbing with chopsticks. Nan Xiang’s are exemplary, the broth heady from pork or pork and crab fillings (we prefer to surf with our turf). While you could make an entire meal out of the steamy jewels, do pay close attention to the springy, slippery Shanghai udon.

6. White Bear, 135-02 Roosevelt Avenue, Queens; 718-961-2322

Long famous for its wontons in hot oil, tiny White Bear cooks some truly special pork dumplings. With sheer, springy skins and supple filling, the dough pockets are sold plain and adorned with plenty of fresh herbs and ruddy, fragrant chili oil or bobbing in mild soup with seaweed. Even steamed at home from a frozen bag, they’re some of the finest dumplings we’ve ever tasted.

5. Little Pepper, 18-24 College Point Boulevard, Queens; 718-939-7788

This brightly lit, somewhat sterile College Point hotspot is beloved for its fiery Sichuan dishes including grand hot pot presentations of chili-spiked broths meant for cooking a wide variety of proteins and vegetables like thin, marbled slices of lamb, medallions of eggplant, or plump pig kidneys. Also not to miss: transcendent mapo tofu and surf clams tossed in wasabi dressing. Give your mouth a rest from all that heat with cool, zesty cucumbers covered in crushed garlic.

4. Corner 28’s peking duck sandwich stall, 40-28 Main Street, Queens; 718-886-6628

If you see a crowd gathered on Flushing’s main drag, chances are they’ll have fluffy white bao buns in their hands from this street-level stall attached to Cantonese restaurant Corner 28. Brimming with tender, hand-carved roast duck and slips of crisp skin, the accompaniments are familiar — crunchy scallions, cucumbers, and a liberal application of hoisin sauce — but at a dollar each, the sandwiches are nothing short of cheap eats royalty. Close to the subway, it’s hard not to begin and end our neighborhood visits with these beauties.

3. Ganesh Temple Canteen/Dosa Hutt, 45-57 Bowne Street/45-63 Bowne Street, Queens; 718-460-8484/718-961-5897

Double your Desi pleasure at these unrelated vegetarian spots known for their south Indian food, including massive lentil batter dosas, savory porridges and doughnuts, and uthappam, a thicker pancake/pizza hybrid. We prefer Dosa Hutt’s eponymous crepes to those from the temple, but the walk from the The Hindu Temple Society Of North America entrance to the canteen imbues the temple cafeteria with a deific importance — or maybe that’s just how hungry we are by the time we’ve walked the long corridor that leads to the canteen’s entrance. As they’re mere feet from each other, we suggest a visit to both.

2. Fu Run, 40-09 Prince Street, Queens; 718-321-1363

The deeply-spiced flavors of Northern Chinese cuisine are on full display at this modest canteen, which preaches its gospel with massive serving dishes of mung bean jelly noodles and fall-off-the-bone lamb ribs sporting a crusty coat of cumin, sesame seeds and chilies. Make sure to save room for dessert, which finds your choice of cooked starch (most tables go for taro root) covered in molten sugar, which hardens into caramel after a dip in an accompanying bowl of cold water, creating a thin candy shell.

1. Myung San/Tong Sam Gyup Goo Yi, 162-21 Depot Road/162-23 Depot Road, Queens; 718-888-1245/718-359-4583

The Cho family, led by mother/chef/owner Gap Soon Cho, have been running Myung San for over a decade, offering one of South Korea’s funkier dishes, cheonggukjang, also known as dead body soup. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience, but Cho’s more familiar dishes, like crisp pajeon pancakes and pork belly ssam bap, are also on point. Better still, Ms. Cho grows much of the produce used herself. Right next door, on the same block adjacent to the Broadway Long Island Railroad stop, is Tong Sam Gyup Goo Yi, a handsome Korean barbecue joint that eschews gas or charcoal grills for wide cast-iron domes. The literal ice to your rendered pork belly’s fire, the frosty and refreshing naengmyun — a chilled buckwheat noodle soup served in a bowl made of ice — might just elicit as many jaw drops as Game of Thrones.

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Mamak (a Different Mamak) Now Slinging Malaysian Food in Flushing

After getting a taste of Malaysian food at Mamak, I was eager to explore the cuisine further, especially because my knowledge of local Malaysian-inspired eateries was limited to Fatty ‘Cue. And while researching the Malaysaian street cart, I stumbled randomly upon a brand-new Malaysian restaurant in Flushing called … Mamak!

The restaurant, which is the first of its kind in Flushing, is the full-time home of Danny Lye and Nani Hughie Yusof, who’ve also operated a midtown street cart called Mami Penang. Mamak derives its name from a reference to a Malaysian term describing the Indian culture within the country, and it’s serving what it’s calling “Penang’s Indian Malay Mixed Halal” cuisine. Polaroids line the walls, and tables are outfitted with large circular grills, artifacts of the Korean barbecue joint that once held this address.

No grill needed for Mee Rebus Mamak, a spicy noodle dish
No grill needed for Mee Rebus Mamak, a spicy noodle dish

The menu does a good job of describing the unfamiliar dishes, and appetizer highlights include the roti canai, a doughy flat bread that comes with a side of chicken curry sauce. Another unique starter, murtabak, reminded me of the Greek pastry baklava in terms of shape and texture, though this delicacy is filled with minced beef and egg.

Main courses are divided into “meals,” and seafood, meat, and vegetables share the spotlight (though offerings are pork-free in keeping with Muslim law), and you’ll find items like fish head curry, fried chicken, and Sambal shrimp. Dishes are less spicy than I expected: Ayam Rendang, a house-recommended chicken curry, is not so much hot as balanced; it’s best ordered with a side of coconut rice to soak up sauces. Likewise, the Kambing Masala lamb dish, which incorporates cumin curry, won’t force you to immediately reach for a glass of ice water.

Mamak is also serving several unique options, including the pasembur salad, a mix of items like cucumber, jicama, potato, shrimp fritters, crab, and octopus, drenched with a sweet potato and nut sauce. Mee rebus Mamak starts with noodles and adds a hard boiled egg, onions, shallots, fried beancurd, and squid, among other ingredients. Doused with a thick potato-based dressing, it was my favorite dish of the night.

Mamak debuted last month, and it’s serving lunch and dinner.

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Delectable Masala Dosas From a Cart at Washington Square

Eat with your fingers for maximum enjoyment!

Carnivores: Vegetarian and even vegan food won’t bite you! And it’s often just as good or even better than meat-bearing fare. A case in point is the masala dosa available from the vendor called NY Dosas, usually parked at lunchtime near the intersection of LaGuardia and West 4th on the south side of Washington Square. For around $5, and available in several permutations, you get a giant crisp pancake made of fermented lentil and rice batter and stuffed with a potato mixture that sometimes contains nuts, a real South Indian treat. It comes with a spicy soup called sambar and coconut chutney for dipping the pancake. Eat it with your fingers for maximum authenticity.

The cart’s operator is Thiru Kumar, a Sri Lankan who was once the dosa master at Flushing’s sainted Dosa Hutt, and he makes several varieties, some with extra vegetables, others made hot as hell by painting a fiery spice mixture inside the pancake as it cooks. If you can work your way between him and the chain link fence, you can watch the fascinating process unfold – every dosa is cooked to order.

There are other treats available, and unusual Sri Lankan sodas, too, including wood apple. Now that the weather is improving, Kumar is there nearly every weekday plus Saturdays between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you want to call to make sure he’s there, try 917-710-2092.

Check out some other places around town to cop dosas.

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Tomorrow: Our 10 Best Chinese Restaurants in NYC, 2013 Edition

The braised pork shoulder at Shanghai newcomer Full House is perfectly executed, but will it be enough to catapult that Chinatown establishment into our top 10?

With wave upon wave of new immigrants arriving, the city’s collection of Chinese restaurants is in a perpetual state of flux. Ten years ago, Fujianese places caused excitement, to be replaced five years ago by Northern Chinese ones from places like Dongbei, Qingdao, and Xi’an.

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It’s been over two years since we last took stock of the city’s Chinese restaurants, and the game has really changed in the interim. What will be first this year? What styles of Chinese cooking will predominate?

So please tune in bright and early tomorrow morning, as we present Our 10 Best Chinese Restaurants. And rest assured restaurants in every borough were considered.

In the meantime, take a look at our 2010 list. The restaurants listed there are still worth visiting.

The modish interior of Full House, and note the seating on the balcony.

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Rural Restaurant: Further Adventures of the Organ Meat Society

Pig Ear in Aspic (a/k/a “Crystal Pig Skin Frozen” on the menu) was one of the more unusual dishes assayed by the Organ Meat Society that evening.

Lately, the Organ Meat Society has been often seen along Flushing’s Main Street, because that is where the city’s best collection of variety meats is found: in Northern Chinese restaurants. This week, Counter Culture sails into Rural Restaurant, a place that represents for the cuisine of Dongbei in far Northeastern China, on the border of Russia and North Korea. The week after I turned in the piece, the Organ Meat Society convened a meeting there. Here are some pictures of the incredible food we ate.

Read the entire review here.

 

Sliced Pork Kidney With Three Kinds of Pepper

Pork Tendon With Sea Cucumber

Left: Pig Blood With Sliced Intestine; Right: Sauteed Liver

Beef Tripe With Spicy Peppery

Odd man out: the salad called Coriander Herb

The guest of honor that evening was Ivan Shiskin, celebrated chef and founder of the Moscow chapter of the Organ Meat Society (blue shirt, dark hair, center)

Rural Restaurant
42-85 Main Street
Flushing, Queens
718-353-0086