Restaurant Review: Cha Kee in Manhattan’s Chinatown

All good New Yorkers know that Lower Manhattan would lose a piece of its identity if Chinese businesses disappeared from Chinatown. In Little Italy, when the Italian Americans moved away, real estate brokers scrubbed one part of the area of its ethnic identity by renaming it NoLIta. If this tactic is successful a few blocks south, we could see apartment listings on Doyers and Pell Streets advertising their prime location in the heart of SoChiTo.

Walk around the neighborhood on any given day, and this scenario won’t seem as far-fetched as it should be. Chinatown started to empty out almost two years ago, when Covid-19 was still a rumor in New York City but a poisonous anti-Asian mood was rising, and it is still not packed the way it used to be. The tourists the area depends on still haven’t returned in force. And for the past few years,

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Review: New Chattanooga restaurant Agave & Rye offers a tasty mix of food cultures

The corner of Chestnut Street at the Chattanooga Green on downtown’s waterfront is teeming with life again since Agave & Rye opened in the old Blue Plate Diner location.

The restaurant, the 10th for the Kentucky-based chain, is big, loud, colorful and bold. It’s a place packed with Millennials, with a few Boomers here and there for good measure, this one included.

 

THE MENU

The base for most dishes is Mexican, but from there the menu puts a spin on several cultures, primarily Chinese. It’s a little offbeat, very interesting, even epic. “Epic,”you will discover, is the motto of everything at Agave & Rye, from the food to the atmosphere to the service.

In combining the foodways of different cultures, the menu might be described as fusion, the buzzword of the culinary world in the 1990s. Fusion, though, has given way to mashup, a term for the marriage of not

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Review: Carlsbad’s Del Lusso pizzeria serves authentic Italian food, by way of Canada

Del Lusso Napoletana Pizzeria in Carlsbad takes its pizza very seriously. All of its pizza flour, tomatoes, olive oil, cured meats and cheeses are imported from Italy, and its pizza recipes were developed on-site by Naples-born consulting chef Gianni Gallucci of Chicago, who won first place in the Neapolitan division at the 2017 Caputo Cup Championship, one of the largest pizza competitions in the U.S.

So why is one of the most popular items on the 20-month-old restaurant’s menu a poutine appetizer?

That’s the creation of Walter Wong, the restaurant’s Canadian-born owner and convivial host. A child of Chinese immigrants, Wong is a self-trained chef who grew up in an ethnically mixed neighborhood of Montreal around Italians, Greeks, French and Arabs. From a young age he developed a passion for Mediterranean cuisine, and after a long career in the software and retail industries, the Carlsbad resident achieved his lifelong dream

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‘The Lettuce Diaries’ Review: Salad Days in Old Shanghai

A Westerner visiting China in the 1990s could expect dinner hosts to offer their guest “salad” alongside regional foods like Sichuan mapo tofu or Hunan red-braised pork. The then out-of-place dish was both a sign of respect for the visitor and a way of showing that China was opening up to “outside” ideas, even about cuisine. Yet, a Chinese offering of “sè-lā,” as the dish is pronounced in Mandarin, would often remain untouched. What passed for salad—diced potatoes tossed with Russian dressing, or a half-head of doubtful-looking iceberg drenched in an indeterminate glop—wasn’t very appealing alongside traditional Chinese fare.

Credit Frenchman Xavier Naville for better orienting salad in China. In “The Lettuce Diaries,” Mr. Naville recounts his unlikely story of creating a market there for the kind of salad greens familiar to Westerners.

When he arrived in Shanghai in the summer of 1997, the 27-year-old Mr. Naville was the impeccably

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