By Mandy Kessler
Thrice-Cooked Bacon. That was probably the crowd favorite when a group of Food Bank staff enjoyed a communal dinner last week at Mission Chinese Food, the hip new LES outpost, recently imported from San Francisco, where SF foodies haven't been able to stop raving about it since it opened in 2010.
But in truth, it's pretty hard to choose. Everything we had from Kung Pao Pastrami, to Salt Cod Fried Rice, to Stir Fried Sweet Peas, was absolutely delicious. And the Chongqing Chicken Wings — what a tasty, albeit spicy, surprise! Ignoring the chili peppers heaped on top of them, they looked like typical chicken wings, but they sure didn't taste like it. Not at all greasy, just perfectly crispy on the outside, they were tender and flavor-packed inside.
As we had been forewarned by the hundreds of amazing reviews which have piled up since the restaurant opened in May, the food was hot. But for those of us who went in a little afraid of what that meant for our sometimes-weak palettes, we were pleasantly surprised. The spice didn't overwhelm the other flavors, and with plenty of components to balance the heat — like the amazing rice cakes that come with the Thrice-Cooked Bacon and, of course, delicious cold beer — the heat didn't last too long.
But the very best part of our meal? As we enjoyed delicious food and excellent company we knew that, simply by dining at Mission Chinese Food, we were helping provide nutritious meals to New Yorkers in need. Why? Because for every tasty entrée purchased at Mission Chinese Food's NYC location, the restaurant donates $0.75 to the Food Bank For New York City. Thanks to the amazing generosity of the restaurant leadership, including rising star Chef Danny Bowien, and to the efficient work of the Food Bank, where $1 donated helps provide 5 meals for New Yorkers in need, our meal helped provide over 22 meals for our struggling neighbors. It took the guilt right out of ordering a second helping of Thrice-Cooked Bacon, to take home