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On A Spicy Food Mission In NYC

Finally made it to Mission Chinese in NYC and it was everything I expected, mouth numbing, spicy, delicious food with surprisingly complex flavors. Don’t be afraid of the spices, the dishes aren’t overwhelmingly hot but the ones I tried did make my nose run a little and  that’s not a bad thing.

First up was the spicy chicken wings. Perfectly cooked and coated with a dry spice that sneaks up on you after a few bites. Just push aside those hot chile peppers on top, which seem to be more of a garnish or be daring and munch on a couple but I’d skip that and dive right into the wings. Besides, you’ll have plenty of other flavors to get through and your taste buds should be present for that!

mission-spicy-wings

The tingly smoked chicken below is like nothing I’ve ever had before. The flavors are so bizarre to me but I couldn’t stop eating it! Served cold and probably for good reason, this dish is smoky, woodsy, a little sweet, spicy hot, and laced with enough Sichuan peppers to make your lips feel, well tingly and numb.

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I also tried the spicy Sichuan pickles which are great to snack on between meals, like some cooling palette cleanser. The nuts provide a good amount of crunch too. The broccoli beef brisket is a great dish but my absolute favorite was the cod fried rice. You must get this rice! Great balance of flavors and so tasty you  gobble it up before remembering that almost all other fried rice you’ve had had to be covered in soy sauce. Not this one, it won’t even cross your mind. Probably the best fried rice I’ve ever had, fresh, savory and unlike any pork fried rice you’ll get at your Chinese take out.

mission-chinese

When you go, expect to wait at least 40 min to an hour or more depending on what time you get there. I’ve heard some people have waited 2 hours which I think is insane but when you do plan to go, grab a snack just in case. What I love about this place is that they’ll take your mobile number and call you when your table is ready so you can shop in the area to kill time. Oh and if you really want to stick around and wait for your table they at times will have complimentary beer for you while you wait. Now that’s my kind of service!

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Tacos 24 Hours a Day

I’m on a mission to get back to Florida. They’ve been having great weather since I left! Hate that! A few days before I got there the temps were in the 80s but it was downhill from there. So another trip is in order to get a little sun, some beach time and some kick-ass tacos! Nothing fancy here at Tacos Al Carbon in West Palm Beach Florida but what you will get is authentic Mexican food. That simple and that good.

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Tacos for $2? I’ll take it!

takeout-menu

Tacos Al Carbon is also open 24 hours so when you’re starving at 3AM after a night of hanging out there are several locations to check out.

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This one is on Lake Worth Ave and has a huge outdoor seating area.

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Love the smell of roasted corn! Sprinkle a little chile pepper, crema cheese and you’ll never have plain corn on the cob again.

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The tortilla chips are homemade and they’re pretty thick so watch your teeth!

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The steak, chicken and al pastor tacos were well seasoned and so good that I forgot to take photos of them all! The guacamole is creamy and well-balanced flavors so you have to try that as well. Check them out if you’re in the area, you’ll thank me later.

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A Smorgasbord of Mexican Foods in a Southern Florida Flea

I was in the West Palm Beach area a couple of weeks ago and found a little gem of a place off of Forest Hills Blvd. If you’re in the area make sure you stop by the Sunshine Flea Market for great authentic Mexican foods like tacos, tostadas, tamales, pozole, menudo, you name it, they have it. It’s a typical flea market of steeply discounted clothes, jewelry, Mexican sweets, and other services but I came for the Michelada. I was told Juanita’s had one of the best in the area and they weren’t kidding! A Michelada is made with beer, spices, tabasco sauce and served in a salt rimmed glass. If you haven’t had one yet put that one on your list.

michelada

I picked up a bowl of spicy roasted corn with a squeeze of lime, crema, cheese, ground chiles and drizzled with hot sauce, the perfect street food.

roasted_corn

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Even though there was great looking food around, I was on a hunt for spicy candy and found plenty of it! Mexican candy is spicy, sweet, tart and addictive! Here are a few you can find here at the flea.

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The sales lady laughed when I asked if this was a chicken flavored lollipop! I don’t get why this wrapper has an image of a roasting chicken but this was my favorite. The right blend of sweet, sour and spicy…and no chicken!!

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These spicy mango lollipops were a little too sour for me but you might like them. They’re coated with chile powder too!

mango_lollipops

The flea market is in a nondescript strip mall area which cannot be seen from the street but it is next to El Bodegon supermarket. If you go during the weekend be prepared to deal with the crowds and kids running everywhere. People go there to shop but also go there to hang out with their families, surely for the food, candy and snacks! So if you go on a Sunday looking for pozole, get there early, if not I’m sure you’ll find some other delicious treat!

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Taqueria Downtown: Spicy Food to Warm the Soul

It’s been a little damp here the past couple of days and unseasonably warm for December. Just really odd weather, cold and chilly one night and then it shoots up 20 degrees the next day. Now the weather folks are saying snow tomorrow! Huh?! Is this a sign of a frigid winter to come?

Well, if that’s the case, I’m ready. Gloves? Check. Shovel? Check. Dog friendly ice melter? Check. Easy access to one of the best Mexican food spots in the area in case I don’t feel like cooking? Check! Now I love to cook and will share many of my recipes but sometimes I just want to go somewhere and enjoy amazing food. So on chilly, cold, or wet day like today, I love to go to one of my favorite places for authentic Mexican food,  Taqueria Downtown in Jersey City, NJ

This place is no-nonsense though. You order at the counter, you grab a seat, the food is brought to you, eat and split. That’s it, nothing fancy, awesome food and it’s BYOB. Oh and they have their public list of 10 rules or commandments about not serving up “guacamole side shows” or fajitas, and foregoing the bright Mexican decorations which many have come to expect at Mexican establishments but not here which is fine by me. All I want is great food and pleasant service. Let’s start with the soup. The Pozole is a must and one of my favorites but unfortunately it’s only offered on weekends.

The Pozole is a red broth soup made with pork, cabbage, hominy and served with sides of diced onions, cilantro and lime for extra toppings. This soup is spicy hot and will definitely get your sinuses cleared! It’s on my list of dishes I need to learn to make. The Tortilla Soup is pretty awesome too, it’s a little creamy which is different than what I’m use to making but the flavor is so good and comes topped with crema, avocados and smokey, roasted peppers. I can’t wait to go back for more.

I don’t think I’ve ever had anything there that wasn’t delicious. The tacos are so good and are made using basic ingredients…meat, onions, cilantro and a homemade spicy salsa. That’s it and that’s all you need.

Good food on a cold, chilly, snowy, rainy, sunny or any day? Check. OK, now I need to go get some!

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