Discover New Orleans Charm at Cheeky Sandwiches

cheeky sandwiches

By Debra Liu

It’s Fat Tuesday and there’s really nothing else you should be thinking about except for po’boys and beignets. If you’re wondering where to find the real deal in NYC – fully “dressed” po’boys and freshly, fried melt-in-your-mouth beignets – then you’re already on the right path: Cheeky Sandwiches.

Inside Cheeky Sandwiches
Inside Cheeky Sandwiches

The moment I walked into Cheeky, a small sandwich shop hidden in the Lower East Side at the edge of Chinatown, I realized, even before stepping in (a white picket fence lines the front of the restaurant), that I was about to be embraced by the closest piece of New Orleans I’ll ever find in NYC. Immediately, the ambience was warm, with a spunky and friendly charm – white brick walls surround the interior, one painted with a slogan in deep red, “A toast to the ducks that live in the swamp…” and another covered with faces of the owners’ friends. (Mental note: potential date spot.)

Ricardo Rivera (left) & Din Yates
Ricardo Rivera (left) & Din Yates

Ricardo Rivera and Din Yates are the co-owners of Cheeky, which opened about 4 years ago and according to Din, who grew up in New Orleans, he actually did not originally intend for it to be a New Orleans-inspired restaurant. “You’d be surprised because when I was opening, I didn’t think it was going to be a New Orleans restaurant at all. It was supposed to be just sandwiches and that’s all I wanted. I wanted to do sandwiches I liked and I like po’boys,” Din told me as he simultaneously fried oysters for the po’boy I was going to devour shortly. And at that time, according to Din, there wasn’t anyone out there doing real po’boys. “There are places that call sandwiches po’boys but they aren’t really po’boys,” said Din.

Cheeky Beignets
Cheeky Beignets

In addition to shrimp and oyster po’boys, Cheeky offers 5 other sandwiches, including fried chicken on a buttermilk biscuit and a veggie muffalata on an olive roll. The bread for the sandwiches is sourced straight from New Orleans (now that’s authentic!). They also have sides such as bread pudding and of course, beignets (ben-yay’s) and Zapp’s Chips from Louisiana.

The chicken sandwich and the buttermilk biscuits are the most popular items on the menu. Ricardo’s favorite item on the menu is the beef sandwich which is a braised short rib with horseradish sauce and arugula on cherry tomatoes challah bread. Ricardo also really enjoys the veggie muffalata. According to Ricardo, “Nobody used to order the veggie, but then I started telling people how good it was and people started to order it.”

Oyster Po'boy
Oyster Po’boy

What makes Cheeky stand out? Din says, “I think the ambience may be it.” It’s a friendly, down-to-earth place with good food. No pretenses.

As for his favorite foods in general, Din loves his mom’s cooking and also, vanilla ice cream: “Ice cream is my favorite food. It rushes to my body and I can feel it tingling in my skin. I try to eat it daily.”

Ricardo and Din are seriously two of the most fun people to talk to. Little known fact about Ricardo, he used to be a comedian! “I played a character called peanut butter baby and wore a diaper with a peanut butter jar on my neck,” Ricardo told me. When asked why he doesn’t wear this costume at the restaurant, Ricardo replied, “there could possibly be some food safety issues.”

If I lived or worked near Cheeky, I would literally go there every day to hang out with them, and of course to eat. So if you have a chance today, or tomorrow, stop by Cheeky for a bite of New Orleans flavor and say hi to Ricardo and Din. You’ll be glad you did. And if you’re ever craving a Cheeky sandwich at any point, you can order delivery too: Order Now

(As part of FoodtoEat’s Munch Madness, we’ll be giving away beignets catered by Cheeky Sandwiches to one lucky winner – just place any food order on 3/4 on FoodtoEat to be entered to win. Don’t miss out!)

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

 

Better Than Fried Rice: Celebrating Lunar New Year 2014 the FoodtoEat Way

By Debra Liu

It’s the Year of the Horse! What’s the best (read: ONLY) way to celebrate Lunar New Year? With FOOD. We’ve created a list of some of the most delicious Chinese restaurants to help you eat your way through the Lunar New Year. If you’re planning a party – we totally support that – and would like some of these dishes catered, just contact us at info@foodtoeat.com – we can make that happen!

Cafe China’s Pork Dumplings in Chili Oil A hidden gem with a Michelin star in Midtown East, Cafe China is currently my favorite Sichuan restaurant in NYC (sorry Han Dynasty – I still like you too). The Pork Dumplings in Chili Oil are a must-have, perfectly sweet, spicy and savory – one bowl is just not enough. Also get the Kung Pao Chicken! And their cocktails are quite yummy too (although, you can’t get that delivered but if you’re in the area – stop by for a drink, the bartender is friendly!). Order Cafe China Now

Pork dumplings in Chili Oil from Cafe China | Photograph: Debra Liu
Pork Dumplings in Chili Oil from Cafe China | Photograph: Debra Liu

Red Egg’s Peking Duck Sliders Located in Chinatown, Red Egg is known for a its mix of traditional and modern Dim Sum. If, I mean, when you order, be sure to get their Pork Buns and Peking Duck Sliders because you’ll immediately wished you had gotten more. What better way to celebrate Chinese New Year than with some Peking duck, practically the official food of Beijing? Red Egg is also offering some Chinese New Year Specials including $498 10-course meal for a table of 10 which includes dishes such as Abalone with Mushrooms and Greens and Lobster with Ginger and Scallion. For delivery, click here when you’re ready to eat: Order Red Egg

Peking Duck Sliders from Red Egg | Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt via Serious Eats
Peking Duck Sliders from Red Egg | Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt via Serious Eats

Shanghai Pavilion’s Soup Dumplings  If you’re in the Upper East Side and looking for some good Chinese, Shanghai Pavilion is where you want to be. Soupy dumplings (in Chinese: Xiao Long Bao) are absolutely the perfect food for a cold Winter’s night. They do have other things on the menu, such as Sesame Chicken and General Tso’s but really I would stick with the Soup Dumplings. Is your tummy ready to celebrate the New Year? Click Me to Order Soupy Dumplings

Soup Dumplings | Photo: cityfoodsters.com
Soup Dumplings | Photo: cityfoodsters.com

Shaved Snow from Wooly’s Ice Don’t worry! We haven’t forgotten about dessert. Shaved Snow, known as Xue Hua Bing in Taiwan, is different from shaved ice – the texture is smooth and will literally melt-in-your-mouth. In honor of Lunar New Year, Wooly’s Ice is offering a catering special on its Shaved Snow: they will waive all staffing fees (worth $100/hour) for your Lunar New Year party. Wooly’s will customize their Shaved Snow to cater any occasion! They currently offer their original flavor Shaved Snow and can build a toppings menu with all your favorite toppings. Be sure to try the Green Tea Wooly.  Click ME to get some Shaved Snow!

Shaved Snow from Wooly's Ice
Shaved Snow from Wooly’s Ice

To celebrate the Year of the Horse, we’re giving 10% off all orders on Lunar New Year (January 31, 2014). Simply use Promo Code: LNY2014 when you check-out. *valid on Credit Card orders of $15 or more, expires 11:59pm on 1/31/2014

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

 

Threatened Shark Species Found in Soup

As viewers gather round their television screens for Shark Week, people are increasingly paying attention to shark conservation efforts, and the greatest threats out there to these ocean predators. One of these looming threats to shark populations is the increasingly popular shark fin soup, traditionally served in Asia but making rounds in the United States as well.

Shark fin soup is considered a delicacy, and bowls of soup can cost upwards of $40, with individual fins ranging from $278 to $848 per pound. However shark fin soup is not integral to any community in the United States, and even the vendors in various metropolitan Chinatown’s have been fully supportive of banning the product. The greatest issues with shark fin soup are international, with advanced fishing procedures drastically cutting shark populations.

Illinois has recently become the first the first inland state to ban the sale, trade and distribution of shark fins. Four other states have followed suit, right in the wake of research demonstrating that the fins that go into the popular soup are often from threatened species of sharks. The study was compiled by the Field Museum, and was conducted by having survivors of shark attacks who now support conservation collecting soup samples across the country. The research determined that in 14 major cities at-risk species of sharks were found.

More than 73 million sharks are killed annually, and most to support the global shark fin industry. In particular hammerhead shark populations are down 70%; the scalloped hammerhead shark was among those found in samples of soup. This testing confirms that a huge number of sharks are being killed for their fins, and the United States’ consumption of shark fin soup is heavily contributing to this.

However signs of progress are happening abroad as well, the Pew Environmental Group began an international shark campaign that has already worked with Palau, the Maldives, Honduras, the Bahamas, Tokelau and the Marshall Islands in creating national shark sanctuaries. China also recently announced that it would stop serving shark fin soup at official banquets.

While many view sharks as the primary predator of the oceans, the truth is that humans have taken that role long ago. Sharks continue to have an image problem and their importance to underwater ecosystems in paramount. Ultimately, we eat more sharks now more than ever before, and a species that has survived for longer than the dinosaur may soon be endangered.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

 

Chinatown Announces Restaurant Week

New York’s Chinatown just announced that it will be hosting its own upcoming Restaurant Week. The promotional week will take place from March 9th to March 18th, and participating restaurants will offer a 10-day prix fixe multi course dinner for $18.88 per person excluding tax and tip.

The week is being presented by public relations firm, the Kaimen Company, emphasizing that the theme of this Restaurant Week is ‘coming home’ to Chinatown.

“Our Chinatown community, Founding Participants, and Founding Community Supporters are thrilled to invite everyone home with us for Chinatown Restaurant Week. We believe the Restaurant Week dining and shopping deals are so exceptional that people will want to come to Chinatown as often as a possible during Restaurant Week and visit Chinatown again in the future,” said Kaimen Company President and Chinatown Restaurant Week Executive Producer Julie Huang.

According to Chinatown Restaurant Creative Director Bob Barnett, the one thing about Chinese culture everyone can agree on is the food. Barnett hopes first-timers and weekly regulars will dine at restaurants in Chinatown that week in March, for a unique cultural experience.

On February 13th, the Asian American Restaurant Association and representatives from the New York State Restaurant Association are hosting an information briefing at Lin Sing Association on Mott Street, to answer questions about the Restaurant Week and assist with registration. For those requesting more information you can dial (775) 996-3560, enter room number 669137 and press # to begin listening for information. Chinatown Restaurant Week is a community-based celebration of Chinese food, culture and the local Chinatown community.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com