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Pok Pok – Authentic Thai in Red Hook

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Pok Pok by Jealous Foodies 4When I heard Pok Pok started taking reservations, I made one immediately. No way I’m hauling my ass to Red Hook just to wait on a long line of unwashed hipsters – even if Chef and owner Andy Ricker opened a whiskey lounge across the street to keep us occupied until a table was ready.

I’d seen the documentary on Ricker and prepared myself for authentic Thai in a purposefully less than fine-dining interior. White table clothes? Nope. Smart move, as many well intentioned restaurants find themselves unexpectedly in the linen business, coordinating laundry, hole repair, folding and counting- which all a takes focus away from the food.

At Pok Pok, the food, not the ambiance, is center stage.

I have to admit I was excited, and there was no way Pok Pok could live up to what I was expecting, or so I thought.

“We obviously have to get the wings,” Kim says.

Listed on the menu as Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings, they’ve been called the best chicken wings in the country by Epicurious. Marinated in garlic, sugar, and fish sauce, deep-fried and covered with spicy roasted chile paste and  caramelized garlic. The result is a chicken wing like no other, and one Ricker owes his empire to – though it ain’t Thai. Like almost everything on the menu, these chicken wings taste like you need another drink.

“That also explains the super spicy nuts they put out on the table,” I say, gulping down my second delicious Tamarind Whiskey Sour.

Kim went for the Mango Alexander, and it knocked our socks off. Mango, vodka, coconut cream and lime. Yes, please.

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The corn on the cob is nicely grilled and slathered with salty coconut cream. Squeeze a little lime and these were gone before you could say “how much did that cost?”

The Lap Pet Issan  is a chopped duck salad with duck liver and skin, although it was kinda hard to tell what was what. Sometimes you got something on your fork that threatened to burn your tonsils out, if you didn’t already have them removed.

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My favorite dish of the night was the Keng Hang Leh, some pork belly and pork shoulder with palm sugar, ginger, tamarind, tumeric, curry powder, and pickled garlic. It had a hunk of fat on it that was, perhaps, as good as slow cooked fat can be. I tried a little with rice, a little with the pork… it made everything better.

The couple next to us was eyeing our choices, making cutesy faces to each other about how many plates we had on the table. So we ate them too. I think they were Chinese, or at least they tasted Chinese.

While I had a great time, and I would go back in a second, I did have a complaint or two. Well, not so much a complaint, but an observation. Seems like this type of cuisine is very forgiving. Ostensibly, the chicken wings were fried pretty hard, so the chicken isn’t really juicy. That dish is more about chicken skin and spices. The duck was also well done, which may be authentic, but my local palate digs softer, more medium consistencies – which I think would improve mouthfeel tremendously.

That being said, I’ll be glad to go back to try their mango salad, pork riblets, boar collar, flank steak salad, and even their whole fried fish. And maybe sample some of their other strong cocktails.

With no room for dessert (next time!), we rolled out of there with our doggy bag and fell asleep standing up on the train back home.

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Jealous Foodies; We love food so you don't have to. Or something like that.

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Writing Your First Book / Should I Self Publish?

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I had the distinct pleasure of  participating in a panel discussion on writing your first book, presented by the Harlem chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.  Alongside Jim St. Germain, Author – A Stone of Hope: A Memoir and Dr. Keneshia Nicole Grant, Author – The Great Migration and the Democratic Party: Black Voters and the Realignment of American Politics in the 20th Century.  We opined on pain points, benefits and strategies regarding our inaugural voyages into authorship. Feel free to watch for your self and I hope this provides some insight to all those looking to make the same voyage. Enjoy!

Alfred Obiesie is a writer with over 12 years of online content contribution (Onetrackmine.com, Cartermag.com, Essence.com) and author (You Made It a Hot Line; The most influential lines in hip hop.) The book chronicles hip hop lines from the genre’s most notable artists spanning almost 40 years. It is illustrated by Grammy award winning Illustrator Shah Wonders and has garnered praise from multiple media outlets (Sirius XM, Vibe, Brooklyn Public Library, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library, etc...)

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What the NFT is a BEEPLE?

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On March 11 this year, the digital artist Beeple sold a collage of digital images from his “Everydays” series for nearly 70 million dollars as an NFT, or non-fungible token. And if that sentence confuses you, you’re not alone.

A non-fungible token is a unit of data on a digital ledger called a blockchain, where each NFT can represent a unique digital item, and thus they are not interchangeable. NFTs can represent digital files such as art, audio, video, and other forms of creative work. While the digital files themselves are infinitely reproducible, the NFTs representing them are tracked on their underlying blockchains and provide buyers with proof of ownership.” – Wikipedia

Still confused? Let the artist himself explain it, and learn how he went from NFT newbie to making the third most expensive artwork by a living artist in three months. Not to suggest Beeple is an overnight success. The “Everydays” series alone involved creating a piece of art every day since May 1, 2007 – and he hasn’t missed a day.

Check out some of Beeple’s amazing and controversial work below.

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Comic Fans: Geek out with Cartoonist KAYFABE

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Cartoonist Kayfabe is a YouTube channel hosted by comic-book makers Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg.

Comics have come a long way since they were just for kids – and anyway, those kids have grown up and rightfully embrace it as  an artform. Cartoonish Kayfabe expertly walk you through the finer points of comic creation and appreciation, referencing some high quality images along the way.  If you’re a comic geek, you will dig it – especially if you’re into 90’s era and independent comics.

Recording as Electronic Device, Brooklyn artist and writer Eric Curran releases his debut record "Two Dull Boys" in 2021.

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