The Breukelen Life

The Breukelen Life

Food, Yoga and Travel in Brooklyn

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Mission Street Food at the Tribeca Grill

September 29, 2011


Last night I headed to Tribeca Grill for the McSweeney’s Mission Street Food appearance. It was a treat! I love McSweeney’s and even more so, their food coverage. The spreads in Panorama were incredible, full color, and wonderfully excessive in length. Never mind the recent publication of Lucky Peach, which is a treat to the food world.

Needless to say, I was looking forward to the Mission Street Food ‘cookbook’. I was planning on heading to the Greenlight Bookstore chat but when I figured I would probably buy the book ($30) it made more sense to head to one of the other appearances where I would get food, drinks AND the book for $30.

People, as a rule of thumb, always go to the event you pay. While sometimes you may lose, the times you win are well worth it. I will never forget the Amanda Hesser chat at the Roger Smith Hotel where I went in expecting a cheese plate and left with a 5-course meal in my tummy, book in hand. Last night – same deal. P and I were so stuffed by the time we left it was obscene. While the Tribeca Grill wasn’t really set up for a good book chat, it was set up for a constant rolling out of trays and trays of food.

We started out with the crab egg roll. Then came the Peking duck bun. Then the chorizo quesadilla. Then the Bah Mi shrimp sausage roll. Then the hamburger with bacon marmalade. Then the shrimp quesadilla. Then the smoked pork taco. And then about five more crab egg rolls. Those were the best.

And let’s not forget the generous, generous pours of white wine.

God we were happy campers…

Oh right, the book!

“Mission Street Food: Recipes and Ideas from an Improbable Restaurant” is an unconventional cookbook filled with stories, loads of pictures and some recipes. Mission Street Food started out of a rented taco truck as a hobby. The owners Anthony Myiny and Karen Leibowitz said they had little to lose (only investing $418) but their time. The truck lasted about a month before they had to move into a brick and mortar. Instead of buying a location, they convinced a conventional American Chinese restaurant to share their kitchen and they set up a profit sharing plan that the owners of the restaurant would receive. The rest of the profits? Well, they go to charity.

Overall the hippieness of the whole thing is very San Francisco. While the model they set is great, the free love of it all is almost too much to think about. The NYC mentality took over after a few minutes into the discussion and P and I sat in the back scoffing. All the while, wishing for more crab egg rolls and wondering just how a Chinese family would react HERE if a mixed couple would walk into their place asking to share the kitchen.

Currently, Mission Street food is number 2 on Bon Appétit best 10 restaurants in the country. The menu changes daily and you never know who will be cooking. The restaurant serves as a place of creativity for chefs around the city who come there on an off day to cook for fun. The guest chefs create a menu while Anthony and Karen respond with a menu of their own. I can’t wait to go next time I’m out there.

There will be one more Mission Street Food appearance at Greenlight Books on October 3rd at 7:30. Lucky Peach editor Peter Meehan will be there as well.

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