Hungry Home, an Enchancment on the Ghost Kitchen

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My kingdom for a torta, a mode of Mexican sandwich I’ve lengthy believed deserves broader adulation—puffy roll, quesillo (Oaxacan string cheese), avocado, recent chili, onion, refried beans, and a main-event ingredient, akin to milanesa de pollo (fried hen cutlet), carnitas, and even chilaquiles with a fried egg, for a breakfast of champions. There are many tortas to be present in New York Metropolis, however they’re not often afforded the highlight. Is it attainable that their second is nigh, due to Tony Ortiz, the Brooklyn-based chef behind Chile Con Miel, a self-described “on-line platform and model that explores ancestral Mexican meals practices by means of a queer lens”?Final month, two of Ortiz’s Tremendous Tortas had been added to the roster at Hungry Home, a platform that explores the chances of takeout and supply. The opposite day, I ordered them each, a pair of beauties that nod to cemitas, as tortas are identified in Puebla, named for his or her barely candy sesame-seeded rolls. Ortiz’s cemitas—Orwashers hamburger buns, technically—had been toasted and piled with guacamole, lemon aioli, pickled purple onion, quesillo, a smoky tomatillo-and-morita salsa, leaves of the powerfully herbaceous cilantro-adjacent Mexican plant papalo, and arugula. Every featured milanesa: pleasingly oily breaded hen thigh on one, and craggy, comparatively mild fried maitake—from the Brooklyn natural mushroom farm Smallhold—on the opposite, no much less excellent.Hungry Home was based final 12 months by Kristen Barnett, the previous C.O.O. of an organization that managed so-called ghost kitchens, which put together meals solely for supply apps. “I grew to become annoyed with what I used to be seeing when it comes to model creation in ghost kitchens,” she instructed me. “I felt prefer it was turning into this sort of commoditized, low-quality, chicken-wing universe. The potential was a lot higher for cooks, and for storytelling.” She had change into pleasant with Rawlston Williams, the chef-owner of the Meals Sermon, a Caribbean-inspired counter-service restaurant that moved from Crown Heights to the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 2020 (and is now on hiatus). Williams invited her to make use of his kitchen; she facilitated the preparation and supply of his meals, and sought out different gifted cooks and entrepreneurs in want of back-end assist. For Season 1, she signed on Woldy Reyes, the Filipino American chef behind the boutique catering enterprise Woldy Kusina; the Indiana-based power-restaurateur Martha Hoover and her pandemic challenge Apocalypse Burger; and Rachel Krupa, of the Items Mart, a “socially acutely aware neighborhood comfort retailer,” in decrease Manhattan, specializing in packaged merchandise akin to vegetable-pulp chips.Barnett and her crew work with every resident to plan a small set of choices for pickup or supply in Brooklyn (she plans to increase to Manhattan quickly), by way of Hungry Home’s Site, plus apps together with Seamless. (There’s additionally a customer-facing counter within the Navy Yard.) For Season 2, she added Chile Con Miel; Caffè Panna, Hallie Meyer’s superlative Gramercy ice-cream store; and Pierce Abernathy, an enthralling recipe developer with a big social-media following.It’s extremely satisfying to look at Abernathy make a chopped salad on TikTok, in an A.S.M.R.-heavy video, and much more satisfying to have one delivered to your door—endive and radicchio tossed with crispy chickpeas, feta, Castelvetrano olives, pickled onions, apple, celery, and cucumber, in a shiny mustard French dressing. Reyes’s “chicharon,” constituted of Smallhold oyster mushrooms and impressed by Filipino chicharon bulaklak (deep-fried pig ruffle fats), is really spectacular: salty and candy, crisp and juicy, dipped in coconut milk and dredged in rice flour and potato starch, then fried, and served with a wealthy but zippy Fresno chili-coconut scorching sauce. For his sisig, the standard pig elements are changed with chewy cubes of fried tofu, coated in a “starter” from Omsom, a sauce-and-seasoning firm based by the Vietnamese American sisters Vanessa and Kim Pham: cane vinegar, garlic, calamansi purée, porcini powder, chili flakes—a murderers’ row of potential, fulfilled. (Dishes $6-$14.) ♦

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