Ah, summer in New York: hot-dog contests, fireworks, the beach, and, don't forget, a stolid steamy blanket of humidity that greets all who dare to step outside their freon fortresses. But summer in the city needn't be all about sweating through the wet-dog daze.
As soon the mercury rises many turn to salads for solace, but let's face it, mixed greens are neither filling nor cooling enough when its hot and humid. To Gothamist sweltering summer days spell opportunities to discover eats that both satisfy the appetite while lowering our core temperature.
One of our favorite hot-weather dishes is naeng-myun, a cold Korean noodle soup. This is no gazpacho, folks. Imagine a cold version of pho, as beefy as it is refreshing. We slurped down the season's first bowl of this liquid air conditioning at Ga Si Ri, a newish spot off a stretch of Northern Boulevard that's come to be a roost for Korean fried chicken joints. We knew from experience to accept the waitress's offer to scissor the tangle of ultrathin buckwheat noodles into more manageable strands. Shaved brisket, crunchy translucent slices of Asian pear, daikon and cucumber spears kept half a hard-boiled egg company in the brass bowl. After a dash of vinegar, some hot mustard and a little red pepper paste, we dug in. Within minutes, we were cold chillin'. Like many Korean spots, Ga Si Ri offers a short rib and naeng-myun combo. We must confess that we thoroughly enjoyed eating a plate of the sweet marinated meat with our hands before the soup arrived.
Not in the mood to cool off with cold beef broth? No worries, head to Flushing Mall. Wind your way through a maze of shops hawking Hello Kitty merchandise, DVDs and overpriced Mets t-shirts. Soon you'll reach the promised land: the food court. Since it's so mind-meltingly hot and humid, you'll easily resist the temptations of the shabu shabu and hand-pulled noodle stations and find yourself standing in front of the shaved ice counter. The first thing we noticed was freshly blended arctic white shards of ice being dumped into plastic bowls that could easily hold a half-dozen Snow Cones. For a moment we felt cool. Then reality crashed down as we faced the pressure of choosing from at least a dozen ingredients ranging from such candied fruits as mango and passion fruits in day-glo colored syrup to red bean, tapioca pearls, green bean and grass jelly. Since we were overwhelmed by the very concept of picking six of these ingredients, we settled for a mere four.
Gothamist decided on pineapple, passion fruit, green mango and grass jelly. Next time we find ourselves at a shaved ice counter we'll probably opt for some of the bean-type ingredients. In addition to being the brighest frozen desert ever, our shaved ice was way too sweet. Nevertheless, the combo of the industrial strength sugar high and consuming all that ice left us feeling quite refreshed.
Ga Si Ri, 40-29 162 St., Flushing, 718-888-9400
Flushing Mall, 133-31 39th Avenue, Flushing, 718-888-1234