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South Bronx Comfort

21 May


When you read menus or recipes that claim to be classic American comfort food, meatloaf, hot dogs, hamburgers, fried chicken, turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes and corn on the cob are the usual suspects. I’m not here to debate what constitutes American comfort food. I am here to report that one of those items usually on the American comfort food list; macaroni and cheese, I recently sampled at a small take-out joint in the South Bronx called Landin Macaroni and Cheese and Pizza. And I can decisively state that what I sampled at Landin, prepared by Mexican chefs, was possibly the most comforting macaroni and cheese I’ve ever had.

Nine options and three sizes.

The Mac and Cheese menu.

At Landin there are nine different macaroni and cheese options that come in three sizes: mini, small, and large. The mini, at $1.50 is the perfect portion if you want to try multiple macaroni and cheeses. And with nine to choose from, you will most certainly want to try more than one. I thought it was my duty to experience the Classic American to see how it might compare to other classic macaroni and cheeses. And it compared superbly. The elbow macaroni was rich with creamy cheddar and American cheese, the top, toasted to a golden brown.

The "Classic American"

The “Classic American”

Since Landin was run by the skilled hands of Mexican Americans, that more than justified my choice of the “Mexican” option.  The combination of pepper jack and muenster cheese along with a few tiny bits of shredded chicken and chopped spicy jalapeno peppers was a revelation.

The devouring of the "Mexican."

The devouring of the “Mexican.”

Eating two portions of macaroni and cheese, even if they were mini seemed decadent enough for me, but I couldn’t resist taking home the “small,” which was big enough to share with a family of four, of the “bacon,” option, mozzarella and muenster with pieces of chopped salty bacon. Again, Landin did not disappoint.

The "small" bacon to go.

The “small” bacon to go.

Oh, and I can’t forget the pastelillos. There they were; glistening under glass; beef, chicken, cheese and spinach. How could I resist? I had a beef and spinach tossed into my bag as well.



The damage was totaled on the cash register. All that creamy, delicious starch came to under $10. You really can’t get more comfortable than that.

The Cheese Cake Mimi Sheraton Likes

6 Mar

S&S Cheese Cake


It hides behind a nondescript brick building. Just a simple sign: “S&S Cheese Cake, Inc.” The door was barred. There was another sign near the door that said, “Ring bell.” I rang the bell. The door opened for me.

S&S Cheese Cake

The front room was dark, dingy but as I walked through, I saw a few cheese cakes in a refrigerator. A man in a coat and watch cap emerged. “Can I help you?” He asked as he tentatively moved toward me.

I asked about the cheese cakes.

“A small is $14. With fruit it’s $17.”

I didn’t need fruit or any other topping. I wanted the cheese cake in its purest form.

Cheese Cake with fruit.

Cheese Cake with fruit.

He put a small plain cheese cake in a box.

We chatted a bit. The man said his name was Ben.

“Are you the owner?” I asked.

A sly smile formed at the corner of his mouth. He nodded slowly. “I’m one of them.”

Cheese Cake

He went on to tell me that he was soon going to open a steakhouse next door to the cheese cake factory on 238th Street.

“Any particular type of steakhouse?” I inquired.

“Like Peter Luger’s,” he said with a confident smile.

“Oh, that sounds very good,” I said. “When do you plan to open?”

He gave me that sly mysterious smile again. “I’m not really sure…maybe in a few months.”

He asked what I did. I told him about this website of mine. He showed no recognition, not that I expected any.

“Mimi Sheraton likes us,” he remarked.

“I’ve heard your cheese cake is the best,” I said. “But not from Mimi Sheraton.”

He nodded and flashed the confident smile.

We walked out onto 238th Street together. I told him I would return soon…when the steakhouse opened. He shook my hand and just smiled.

I took the cheese cake home and opened the box. I cut a small slice and took a bite.

S&S Cheese Cake

I was going to Google Mimi Sheraton, the former New York Times restaurant critic, to see what she had to say about the S&S cheese cake, but really didn’t need to. There was a word that best described how it tasted. I took another bite, savoring it’s creamy, unadulterated essence.  At first I couldn’t think what it was and then I looked at the box in which it came in. And the word was right there in front of me.



S&S Cheese Cake Inc.
222 W. 238th Street







And the Answer is…

18 Feb

Most times you need to…

namethat (3)


To be able to buy delicious Italian delicacies such as these…

Prosciutto de Parma

Prosciutto di Parma

and these…

namethat (9)

in this place.

DiPalo'sLocated on Mott and Grand Street for 87 years.

Di Palo'sAnd for the bonus question. The cheese below sold at DiPalo is,,,Caciocavallo cheese



200 Grand Street
Little Italy


Name That Place

15 Feb

namethat (3)

Instead of a bunch of price gouged roses or a mediocre prix fixe Valentine’s dinner, I want express my faith in your New York food knowledge along with my appreciation for all your support to Fried Neck Bones…and Some Home Fries.with this post-Valentine gift of the February edition of Name That Place.

The photo above is an easy starter.

namethat (6)You’ll need to “take a number,” to have any shot at some of that good looking prosciutto Parma behind the counter.

namethat (5)

Bonus points if you can also name that cheese.


Enjoy this February 15th Valentine and leave your answers in the comment section below. The name of the place will be revealed here on Monday.

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