Before I had kids, I was an unabashed gastrotourist. In Italy, I was more interested in visiting Cibreo or Enoteca Pinchiorri than in ogling Michelangelo’s David. In Japan, I didn’t want to do any shopping; I was there to hunt down some good shojin-ryori. Forget seeing the sights – I preferred getting lost in the Tsukiji Fish Market (and eating my way out). Even after having kids, I planned our vacations around the restaurants I wanted to visit.

So it probably comes as no surprise that we came back to New York to eat.

This is the first time we’ve brought the kids to the Big Apple, but we’re not here to climb the Statue of Liberty or gawk at the sidewalk performers in Times Square. Instead, we arrived with a list of restaurant recommendations from my readers, and we’re going to do our best to hit as many Paleo-friendly eateries as we can.

First up: Fette Sau.

As soon as we arrived, we dropped off our luggage at the hotel, met up with my cousin Jennifer and her husband JC, and boarded a subway train for Brooklyn. Emerging from the Bedford stop, we hoofed it to the restaurant in the muggy late afternoon heat.

Located in the heart of Williamsburg – the hipster capital of the East Coast – Fette Sau is a casual barbecue spot that specializes in smoked meats. (It’s famous for its enormous smoker, which can accommodate a quarter-ton of meat at a time.)

When I learned that “Fette Sau” means “fat pig” in German, my face lit up for two reasons: (1) Yum! and (2) when I was little, my mom’s affectionate nickname for me was “fat little piggy.” I know that sounds terrible to those of you who watched after-school specials about mean moms who pressured their daughters into developing eating disorders, but I swear it sounds super-cute in Cantonese. (And yes, Cantonese is truly the most mellifluous-sounding language in the known galaxy – next to Klingon.)

The place wasn’t easy to find, but then we spied the neon sign above what looked like an auto repair shop and a long line snaking out the open roll-up doors. It was only a little after 6 p.m. – super-early for New York diners – but Fette Sau was already packed.

A few of Jennifer’s friends were already in line, so we put ourselves in charge of hovering over the crowded picnic tables until one opened up – and then pounced like a feral cat.

It took forever for our party to get to the front of the line, so we had plenty of time to wait for a table to become available. We nabbed a couple of picnic tables outside, though I wish we could’ve eaten inside the slightly-cooler cement structure. I wanted to spend more time gazing at the meat murals.

The boys kept each other entertained…

…while the rest of us waited, and waited, and waited for our food.

An hour after we arrived, two humungous platters arrived. We’d ordered close to eight pounds of meat, meat, and more meat.

We had hand-pulled pork shoulder…

…beef ribs, spicy Berkshire sausages…


…pork chops…

…beef cheeks…

…and Cora’s broccoli salad, pickles, and sauerkraut.

Don’t worry – there was a dozen of us digging in.

Still, I managed to eat more than my fair share.

And so did the boys.

It was nice to stretch our legs after the meal and I spied many more places to put of my restaurant bucket list.

About Michelle Tam

Hello! My name is Michelle Tam, and I love to eat. I think about food all the time. It borders on obsession. I’ve always loved the sights and smells of the kitchen. My mother was (and is) an excellent cook, and as a kid, I was her little shadow as she prepared supper each night. From her, I gained a deep, abiding love for magically transforming pantry items into mouth-watering family meals.

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