King Crimson
Three of a Perfect Pair

Nobody ever told me that Three of a Perfect Pair rules. Like it's kinda like Discipline, and I've always liked Discipline but it's never been my favorite or anything. This one came later and I always thought it was, like, King Crimson's ReLoad. Well, Beat was ReLoad so this is more like ReReLoad.

But nope. Spanks.

King Crimson

Like a fat kid who ate too many, I don't know, buttercups? Do kids still eat buttercups? Anyway, like one of those kids, I went on a bit of a CD buying spree the last two days, and now I'm filled with regret. Regret and buttercups. Because for the most part, everything I bought was a big bust. Heiruspecs (see below), Agalloch (see below, but maybe don't read it because it's long and pompous), Mirah (which I'll get to later), all of it let me down in some form or another. The closest I've been to satisfied is with Mingus' Blues and Roots, and this, King Crimson's Islands, which I've been trying to get my hands on for almost a year now. Have you tried buying any King Crimson records lately? They're annoyingly difficult to procure. They don't sell them on iTunes or Amazon MP3, all the new CDs are crazy expensive special edition remasters form the early 2000s, and the vinyl is rare enough that when you do find something other than Beat or Lizard, it's either prohibitively expensive, or too worn out to care. But I finally stumbled on a used CD copy of Islands, and I'm happy enough with it. It's sort of a more chambery cross between Lark's Tongue and Wake of Poseidon. It has a good sound, but there are no real standout songs on it. I'm happy to have it as part of the family though. More so than that dreadful Heiruspecs album, at least.

King Crimson
In the Wake of Poseidon

I had given up on my King Crimson binge last summer, after both Larks Tongue in Aspic and Discipline proved to be fairly underwhelming. But I just picked up In the Wake of Poseidon, and I've gotta say, it's pretty sweet. A great continuation of In the Court of the Crimson King's sound and style. Still, this is about as far as I'm going to go.

Leo's LatticiniQueens
Italian hoagie

If I posted about Leo's Latticini before, I was wrong. Last time around, whatever sandwich I had struck me as very average. This time I was totally wowed. Truly one of the best sandwiches around.

Two Wheels Manhattan
Pho, chicken wings

Totally decent pho. Some of the best wings I've had in New York.

Joe JuniorManhattan

Joe Junior, aside from having one of the charmingest signs in all of Manhattan, is a constant presence on "Best burger in New York" lists. The place itself is very much just a diner—a somewhat charming one yes, but not quite up to that sign outside. And on my visit, it was swarming with unmasked NYU students out for brunch who were annoyed at not getting served quickly enough. I know that's not the restaurant's fault, but yikes. Although Joe Junior's, shall we say, hands off approach to service definitely didn't help the situation. These guys have clearly been living the diner life for way too long and were did not g a f about it keeping the customer happy. I dunno, good for them really.

The burger: good! Not amazing, certainly not the best in New York. But it was very edible. Which I mean as a compliment. It reminded me of the Jackson Hole Diner burger (another VIP on your average Best Burger list), where it was almost meatloaf in its consistency—soft and even light in a way, almost like it was baked rather than grilled. I'd actually put Joe Junior's ahead of Jackson Hole's, simply because it was a much more reasonable size to actually eat, compared to Jackson's basketball-sized offering.

The other odd thing: Never before has iceberg lettuce worked so perfectly on a burger. Usually the lettuce gets immediately sloppy and wilted, and doesn't make a bit of difference to any burger. But the big ol pile of iceberg on this thing actually kinda bumped it from "good" to "pretty darn good". With that extra fragile texture to the burger, having a nice crunchy cool counterpart on top made the whole thing work.

Hinomaru RamenQueens

If this website wasn't hopelessly broken, I'd use its search function to see if I've written about Hinomaru before. I think I have. But good luck.

I just wanted to check in one more time on this place, because we stopped in last week and I had their tonkotsu ramen with spare ribs. Spare ribs! I don't think I've ever had ribs within Japanese milieu. But dang, it was good. Sweet and balanced and tender as shit.

Hinomaru is pretty great, it's got a Michelin Bib Gourmand and everything. Seems to be probably the best ramen in Astoria. Maybe in Queens as a whole? Mu was pretty great, but RIP RIP as of the pandemic. Either way, if there's a better spot, I'd certainly like to know.