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Monthly Archives: November 2009

Featured Cabbie: Riichiro Nakajima

I would argue that all taxi drivers lead double lives to some extent, but some cabbies are especially creative when it comes to how they spend their time away from the wheel. In Tokyo, Riichiro Nakajima works as a Charlie Chaplin impersonator when he's not speeding through the city in his taxi.

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To Little Egypt with the Hungry Cabbie: Part 2

Not only did Ali El Sayed grow up surrounded by great cooks…the chef from Alexandria is also cognizant of the history, the geography, and the suffering at the root of his dishes. Ali's gift goes beyond understanding the synergies of spices. His food wields ancestral force.

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To Little Egypt with the Hungry Cabbie: Part 1

While I’ve devoted the last three years to asking taxi drivers to deliver me to their favorite places to eat, Dave Freedenberg (alias Famous Fat Dave) has spent the past seven doing restaurant reconnaissance from the front seat of a New York cab. “Every time I drop off a fare, ...

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Into the Driver’s Seat: Taxi School & Street Meat

Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world. – Arthur Schopenhauer (quoted on the N train to Queens) First, the good news: the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) accepted my yellow cab application today and gave me a ...

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Kebob and Sour Cherries at Ravagh Persian Grill

Ravagh Persian Grill in Murray Hill – one of two Persian restaurants that Eli Parviz recommended after we got lost during our quest for his favorite Colombian food – is more elegant than most of the places where I wind up on the taxi adventures. When I walked into the ...

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A Colombian Illusion and Two Persian Leads

If there’s anything I’ve learned over the course of these food quests, it’s that in the moment I climb into a taxi, I have no clue what the back story of the person in the front seat might be. The idea that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover ...

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Into the Driver’s Seat: What a Difference an “E” Makes

Warning: The following is a rant, but the profanity is only implied. Five years ago, a teenage Gypsy caught me with my guard down and lifted my wallet – and every identifying document I owned – in the Madrid subway. Eventually, I replaced all that was missing, but my name ...

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Istanbul: Eduard’s Second Home Run

I could feel the heat from the döner kebab the moment I opened the door to Istanbul, the second Rego Park restaurant* that taxi driver Eduard Zavlanov recommended during our ride through Midtown Manhattan. When he’s craving Turkish food, the musician from Uzbekistan told me that this is his favorite ...

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Glorious Dumplings and Rocking Pilav, Off Bukharan Broadway

Two years ago, 30,000 food pilgrims and I invaded the town of Famaillá, in the Tucuman province of northwestern Argentina, for the National Empanada Festival. For three days, we feasted on some of the greatest empanadas in the hemisphere. Most of them were stuffed with grass-fed Argentine beef, and all ...

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