I love these tacos. Succulent pork on corn tortillas. Zaragoza is a hole in the wall bodega in the East Village serving up the most delicious tacos for miles.
Surrounded by bars on Ave. A, it's standard 4AM fare but don't count it out for a light lunch. For $2 each you can eat them around the clock!
An Nhau is an awesome Vietnamese restaurant right off the L Train in Williamsburg. I've been a few times and have never been disappointed. I don't go to Williamsburg often, but when I do An Nhau is always on my list of places to visit.
Usually, I just stop in for a quick nibble and if it's winter, a respite from the cold and a place to warm my hands. Their hot coffee is delicious and comes in this ingenious little contraption.
When it comes to a quick nibble, they have mastered the art. When you are shopping and want to stop in for a light snack, you can order their "Baby Pho." It's simply a mini order of pho and comes with two sauces on the side: a lemony hoisin and a spicy chili sauce.
If you feel like you need some extra sustenance, I can also suggest the imperial shrimp, the spring rolls and the grilled eggplant with scallions. All delicious!
Dont ever tell me you can't eat well on a dime and 10 minutes! This snack took no time and it was easy peasy. A handful of sliced mushrooms, 2 minced garlic cloves, a handful of spinach and a few crumbles of Roquefort.
In a pan, heat up a swirl of olive oil. Add your mushrooms and cook for just a few minutes. Next add your garlic and a couple of shakes of vinegar, balsamic is great but I only had white wine vinegar on hand. A pinch of salt and pepper and keep it cooking for another few minutes until the mushrooms are tender but not soft and mushy. Add your spinach and stir it up until it's wilted and then simply plate it, top with the cheese and squeeze of lemon if you like. Now, tuck in.
It's fitting for me to be making pulled pork sandwiches because when it comes to barbeque, I'm a little piggy. I discovered southern food in my early 20s when I waitressed at a BBQ restaurant for a year to save money for my move to New York City. Nightly, I devoured plates of ribs, pulled pork, succotash and corn bread with peach butter. I was fascinated by the exacting nature of the chef as the sauce was created, the meat rubbed with spices and or the peaches incorporated into the butter. The smell of the cornbread as it came out of the oven became a most comforting feeling. During downtime I would go hang out with the cooks on the line and they would sneak me ribs to snack on during my shift. I gained 10 lbs that year.
Most people will always go nuts for a rack of ribs or barbequed chicken but I can never resist a pulled pork sandwich. Some would say that a pulled pork sandwich is the forgotten step child of southern bbq but I beg to differ. Although cooking the pork is almost foolproof, one must spend time getting the seasoning just right and cooking must be done with care; a low and slow braise ensures that the meat is tender and shreds easily. Cook it too long at too high a temp and you get tough, dried out meat. The flavorful and moist seasoned meat should shine through and not be masked by the sauce.
My pork recipe is a combination of my own and this one by Tyler Florence. You most likely have everything needed for this dish in your kitchen already and the only thing you'll have to pick up is the actual pork. I used pork shoulder with the bone in which lends extra flavor during cooking and at $1.50 per pound you can afford to make a lot of it!
Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Cole Slaw
Slice the cabbage...I used a mandolin but be careful of your fingers and use the guard. Place it all in a tupperware. Pour a little vinegar over the cabbage, just enough to coat the veg so as not to have a terrible amount floating around the bottom of the container. Sprinkle on the salt and squeeze on the lime. Cover, shake it up and just pop it in the fridge.
In a bowl combine all the ingredients together except for the beer. Place your pork into a roasting pan and smother the roast in the smoky, tart mixture. Go ahead and massage the rub into this dense piece of swine, making sure that it gets into all the nooks and crannies. Cover with foil and place in the fridge for 2 hours minimum or up to overnight. The longer it marinates, the more intense the flavor will be.
When you are ready to cook, take the roast out of the fridge and pre-heat your oven to 450F for half an hour, uncover the pork and place in the oven fat cap side up. Let it cook for half an hour then pour the beer into the roasting pan. Loosely cover with foil and lower the temp to 300F. The pork will continue to cook on the low temp for 5 hours. After the 5th hour, lower the temp to 250F, uncover and continue to cook for another 2 hours, basting the meat often. If you notice your pan juices drying up at any point, add water to the pan. When the pork is done it will be tender and juicy and falling off the bone. The pan juices will be deep and caramelized from the dark brew.
Place your roast on a dish and let it rest for 10 minutes then while the meat is still warm, pull the pork. This is simply just using 2 forks to shred the meat apart. My experience is that it's easy to fork the meat but using your hands is really the best way to get all the meat off the bone, so this is how I do it. Now, proceed to making your sauce.
Purists will roll their eyes but when making this dish I use a bottled BBQ sauce. I know, I know, true barbeque is all in the sauce but the ones I've made never really have the flavor of the ones ingested in restaurants. I use Sweet Baby Ray's and then add to it.
I add the beer pan drippings, some Dijon mustard, and a dash of apple cider vinegar. Swirl it all together and simmer on a low heat for a few minutes until it's reduced a little. Make sure to taste and adjust your seasonings accordingly.
Now it's serving time...pile a heaping serving of the meat onto a hamburger bun, drizzle the sauce on your pork and top it with some crunchy purple cabbage slaw. Grab yourself and brew and a stack of napkins and dig in!
My son making our secret recipe dumplings. Coming soon...
We have a finite amount of time. Whether short or long, it doesn’t matter. Life is to be lived.
Mini speck, fennel and dill pitas at Willow Fall 2010