Articles by

Elaheh Nozari

Elaheh is a writer and editor who lives in...the East Village, but swears she'll move to Brooklyn as soon as her lease ends for the wide open spaces. She spends a lot of time in Brooklyn in search of the next best restaurant, and has written about food (among other things) for Zagat and BlackBook. She grew up in New Jersey and is a true tri-state native. Follow her on Twitter: @ellie2635

04/11/16 12:00pm
What's inside is so much better than a rainbow bagel. Photo: Annaliese Griffin

What’s inside is so much better than a rainbow bagel. Photo: Annaliese Griffin

If there’s one kind of food that New York City truly does better than anywhere else, it’s bagels and lox, or more broadly, Jewish deli staples including cured fish and fish salad, bagels of course, as well as pickles, chopped liver and maybe even some brisket.

A good bagel sandwich relies on multiple elements—the bagel must be plump but not bloated, the salmon salty but not excessively so, and the cream cheese and other accouterments shouldn’t be overpowering. As much as they’re a hallmark of the city’s culinary make-up, really good bagels and cured fish can only be found at a handful of places, most of which are clustered on the Upper West Side and Lower East Side, not in North Brooklyn. That was, until a few weeks ago, when Frankel’s opened in Greenpoint. (more…)

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04/04/16 10:40am
Tagine is king at Chez Omar. Photo: Spencer Starnes

Tagine is king at Bar Omar. Photo: Spencer Starnes

As far as New York restaurant buzz goes, Bar Omar received relatively little attention when it opened in Williamsburg in February. There were a few brief write-ups, but not much else, a curious fact given the French-Algerian restaurant’s rich history. Owner Yasmina Guerda opened the restaurant as a sort of homage to Chez Omar, a popular restaurant in Paris that her father, Omar Guerda, started in the 1970s. Chez Omar was one of the first North African restaurants in Paris, and to this day, it’s packed with both local Parisians and tourists. (more…)

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02/29/16 11:33am
Photo: Riverdel Cheese

While many of the best vegan cheese come from West Coast producers, the East Coast is quickly catching up. Photo: Riverdel Cheese

It’s a great time to be a vegan or vegetarian in Brooklyn. We’ve got Mexican joints that dole out jackfruit tacos, meat-free Middle Eastern cuisine that is tasty enough to satisfy the most dedicated of carnivores, and excellent vegan chocolate in spades. And now, in a borough with a particular love for a tightly-focused retailer, we have Riverdel Cheese, a dairy-free specialty shop, which opened in December, (a few blocks away from the condiment specialist Empire Mayonnaise) in Prospect Heights.

The owner, Michaela Grob, gradually became a vegan five years ago, following a history of vegetarianism. “I’m an ethical vegan,” she explains. “I’ve always loved animals, but it took me a long time to make the emotional connection between the cute animals and the meat on my plate.”

I’m no vegan, but I do appreciate vegan food for the creativity required to make it satisfying and tasty, so I visited Riverdel last week to explore the world of dairy-free cheese. (more…)

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02/15/16 7:30am
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At the last Lucky Number pop-up inside Sunview Luncheonette in Greenpoint. Photo: Elaheh Nozari

It’s often in the corners of Brooklyn where under-the-radar food events take place, or so I felt a few Sundays ago—the weekend of the blizzard, to be exact—eating Burmese food at a retro diner in Greenpoint with a couple dozen strangers. The event in question was Lucky Number 6, an almost monthly pop-up dinner organized by two Brooklynites on a mission to bring the underrepresented Southeast Asian cuisine to New York. (more…)

01/11/16 10:42am

IMG_6620In the mood for a home-cooked meal, but don’t have the time or skills to make it yourself? There’s an app for that. Meet Homemade, the latest food delivery service in New York to disrupt the business of take out.

Developed by Nick Devane and Mike Dee, Homemade is a marketplace for cooks to produce and sell food directly from their homes. Devane came up with the idea three years ago while wondering how he could share his grandmother’s chocolate-frosted yellow cake with more people. With Homemade, he’s tapping into the city’s network of entrepreneurial chefs who dream of feeding their handcrafted specialities to fellow New Yorkers—all while making a profit. “There’s no reason as a hobbyist cook, you shouldn’t be able to share your zucchini lasagna,” Devane said. (more…)

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12/17/15 9:03am

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In an age where much of what we think of as social activism happens on Facebook, and simply changing your profile picture has the power to make you feel as though you’ve gotten involved in a cause, it seems almost retro for a grassroots campaign to flourish outside the confines of social media. Yet when they do go viral, offline campaigns really stand out. Such is the case with Refugees Welcome, a storefront sticker project created in response to the conversation surrounding the Syrian refugee crisis.

Veda Partalo, a Brooklyn-based advertising strategist, activist and Bosnian refugee, collaborated with Mike Davis and and Wes Winship, owners of Burlesque of North America, a Minneapolis creative studio, to create Refugees Welcome. The premise is simple–they designed a sticker intended for display in storefront windows and doors that makes it clear that refugees are welcome at that place of business. It’s a direct message of welcome, and a conversation starter.  (more…)

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12/14/15 10:23am
Liquid nitrogen is the newest ice cream trend to hit Brooklyn, Photo: Elaheh Nozari

Liquid nitrogen is the newest ice cream trend to hit Brooklyn, Photo: Elaheh Nozari

I’ve had liquid nitrogen ice cream three times in my life. The first was in my high school chemistry class. The second was from a Dippin’ Dots at a mall food court. And the third was last week at -321 Ice Cream Shop in Williamsburg, the latest frosty treat purveyor in New York City with a nascent trend for us to try: chemically frozen ice cream.

Liquid nitrogen ice cream isn’t as high-tech as it sounds—it simply refers to the way the cream base is frozen. While traditional ice cream makers churn cream in a super-cooled, insulated vessel of some sort, then put the product in the freezer to let it firm up, liquid nitrogen ice cream makers forgo the freezer and use liquid nitrogen instead. That’s how those little pellets at Dippin’ Dots get their shape. At 321, they pour liquid nitrogen into the cream while it’s being churned. “It’s like flash freezing,” explained Allen Ruan, one of the shop’s founders. (more…)

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11/23/15 8:19am
Jackfruit tacos are the new vegetarian thing. Photo: Regina Mogilevskaya

Jackfruit tacos are the new vegetarian thing. Photo: Regina Mogilevskaya

Before last week, I had never considered jackfruit tacos because I never knew such a thing existed. To be honest, I didn’t really know what jackfruit was. Turns out, it’s a tree fruit (the largest in the world!) native to South and Southeast Asia that has been quietly making a name for itself in vegetarian and vegan circles as a useful and potentially delicious ingredient. And jackfruit tacos do exist—at Toro Ironworks Kitchen & Bar in Greenpoint.

Chances are that if you’ve ever searched, “tacos near me” while standing on a corner in Greenpoint (you know who you are), you’ve come across Toro. Such is the case with me, as I’ve found myself in many a New York neighborhood not my own in pursuit of a quick and easy taco fix. The last time I was at Toro was a few summers back for chips, guacamole and a margarita, and I was surprised to walk in last week to see that the Tex-Mex menu was different than what I remembered. That’s because the restaurant’s ownership has since changed: a new owner took over the spot at the end of August and subtly changed the name from El Toro Taqueria to Toro Ironworks. The menu still revolves around traditional burrito-quesadilla-taco offerings, and there are some Mediterranean hints like a black bean hummus dip, but owner Sebouh Yegparian is also unveiling eccentric vegan options to appeal to a growing demand for meat-free options. (more…)

11/09/15 9:00am
What a room of one's own looks like at Common. Photo: Common

What a room of one’s own looks like at Common. Photo: Common

Five years ago, co-working was a burgeoning concept and the trailblazing start-ups synonymous with it were just taking hold in New York. Fast forward to now, and the co-working model shows no signs of slowing down as the sharing economy makes it easier for more of us to embrace the freelance lifestyle. It makes sense then that the shared space market is expanding into the business of communes, or technically speaking, co-living.

Brad Hargreaves, founder of the tech education start-up and one of the original shared office spaces, General Assembly, has branched into real estate with his new co-living venture Common. Hargreaves has seen firsthand the need for shared housing. “One of the many challenges General Assembly students face when they come to New York is where to live,” he explained. “Many students are recent New York transplants looking for a place to live and a community to plug themselves into.” That’s where Common comes in, a dorm-like house that’s eerily similar to MTV’s The Real World (minus the TV cameras and the confessional and more than twice as many roommates). (more…)

11/09/15 8:00am
Soup dumplings Photo: Elaheh Nozari

The soup dumplings are Yaso Tangbao arrive in a bamboo steamer. Photo: Elaheh Nozari

For every trendy, boundary-pushing, farm-to-table hotspot, there’s a casual, cheap eatery to match here in New York, many of them serving street food from faraway lands. Yaso Tangbao, a fast-casual dumpling restaurant that opened earlier this month in Downtown Brooklyn, is very much an example of the latter.

Located on a relatively quiet but very commercial block between Fulton and Willoughby Streets, Yaso Tangbao is a counter-serve restaurant that markets itself to street-vendor obsessed New Yorkers as Shanghai street food. The main attraction is its soup dumplings, or xiao long bao. We included the spot in our fall restaurant preview and were excited to see if the dumplings lived up to the hype. (more…)

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