Like the Kathina celebration of Thailand, the Kahtein celebration of Myanmar is an occasion for lay Buddhists to pay respects to the monks of the local temple. The congregants offer robes, food, and other items to the monks, and share food and fellowship themselves. Since this congregation's temple is small, their rather intimate celebration was held in a public school cafeteria. The sole main dish on offer, mon di (shown) could be enjoyed in many permutations; my post from a previous celebration explains further.
Kahtein celebration of the Buddhist Missionary Society P.S. 69, 77-02 37th Ave. (77th-78th Sts.), Jackson Heights, Queens 718-821-2580 www.BMSNY.org/activities (The 2016 celebration was held on November 6)
Pupusas aren't knife-and-fork food. These stuffed Salvadoran tortillas, even when dressed with hot sauce and the piquant purple slaw called curtido (evidently a homemade batch in a repurposed tub), are easily managed with fingers only. Slicing my just-griddled pupusa ($2.50), however, helped cool the still-bubbling cheese, offered a peek at the companion filling of imported fresh chipilín, and made room for negotiation. Trade you a slice of mine for a slice of your calabaza!
H/T Jeff Orlick (private communication)
Pupusa stand outside Iglesia La Luz del Mundo 37-36 92nd St. (Elmhurst-Roosevelt Aves.), Jackson Heights, Queens 646-643-0027 www.Facebook.com/LLDMqueensNY Friday, 4:00-10:00; Saturday, 10:00-11:00
Beer lovers, as well as beer, are the subjects of this cleverly crafted advertisement. Victoria's well-established tagline embraces both: "orgullosamente Mexicana" ("proudly Mexican") applies not only to the lager but also, by association, to the people who enjoy it, whether in their home country or abroad.
The headline, however, speaks specifically to Mexican expats in the United States. "Perdón," it asks, we know that your next beer run won't be to "tu tienda de la esquina" — you're savvy to the language of the "convenience store."
Victoria Beer billboard 72-46 Roosevelt Ave. (72nd-73rd Sts.), Jackson Heights, Queens
For many Manhattan restaurants, a photo gallery of famous customers is a point of pride. At this Jackson Heights pizzeria, you'll find a few hand-drawn portraits, but the "wall of fame" doesn't focus on celebrity headshots and publicity stills — the center of attention is the pizza. The artists, as you've gathered, are also customers; they come from all over the neighborhood, particularly after school lets out across the way.
During my few minutes at Mario's, I noted that green — a color well-represented in my slice of spinach-and-mozzarella ($3.50) — doesn't figure strongly in the artworks currently on view. Next time, perhaps, I'll ask for a cup of crayons on the side.
Mario's Pizza & Restaurant 77-09 37th Ave. (77th-78th Sts.), Jackson Heights, Queens 718-446-8879
Here's a roundabout way to get your vegetables: inside matambre ($10 per pound; my two slices were comped by the proprietor). The name of this Argentinean dish conflates the words "mata hambre," loosely, "kill hunger." Lots of carrot, and a little red and green pepper, can of course do only so much to quiet your appetite; it's the rolled flank steak and hardboiled egg that finish the job.
Though the owners of this grocery hail from Mexico — have a look at the refrigerated shelves, which feature a dozen brightly gleaming salsas and other condiments — the meat counter is run by a fellow from Argentina. Given the local demographics, over the years he's trained himself to prepare Mexican charcuterie, too, notably a ruddy, chunky blood sausage that you'd never mistake for morcilla.
El Molino 94-15 Roosevelt Ave. (94th-95th Sts.), Jackson Heights, Queens 347-455-3462 (Argentinean butcher counter) 347-612-4677 (Mexican grocery)
"It's good for you," the counterwoman said, surprising no one. Atop a display case bright with pastel-colored, cardamom-dusted, and foil-flecked Indian confections, a deep tray of panjeeri ($6, at $12 per pound) was the drabbest thing in sight. However, unlike many oddball foods that claim to supply men with a certain vigor, this Punjabi dish is regarded as a nutritional supplement for new mothers. Whole-wheat flour, sometimes with semolina, is fried in sugar and ghee; so too are various nuts, on occasion dried fruits, and a variety of seeds and seasonings. Ginger, for one, jumped out at me.
After sampling my stash, two other guys from our lunchtime group — who already had boxes of brightly caparisoned sweets in hand — stepped back in Maharaja for some panjeeri of their own. One fellow later emailed to tell me that he loved it over yogurt in the morning; my panjeeri didn't last even that long.
Previously: The countertop presented several variations on the Indian sweets called ladoo (Lah-doo, lately $7 to $8 per pound), each the size and roughly the shape of a golf ball, but with more heft. Boondi ladoo, made from chickpeas, were golden, nubbly, and a little greasy; I preferred the firmer, finer-grained besan ladoo (shown below), made from gram, or unhulled pulses — a rubric that comprises various beans and peas, as well as lentils and even lupins. Stand and deliver!
Maharaja Sweets 73-10 37th Ave. (73rd-74th Sts.), Jackson Heights, Queens 718-505-2680 www.MaharajaSweet.com