When I read that Josh Ozersky died Monday while in Chicago for the James Beard Awards, I was shocked not only by the sudden loss of a true dynamo, but also by the news that he had recently, “quietly” moved to Portland, Oregon. The self-described “Walter Winchell of the restaurant world” didn’t really do anything quietly (when chasing scoops for Grub Street left him with no time to get to therapy, he occasionally took sessions over the phone, in the tiny office we shared), but I wouldn’t be surprised if leaving New York was the one thing he was discrete about.

Starting with his guide book, Meat Me in Manhattan, it was clear “Mr. Cutlets” loved the city deeply, even if he didn’t have much time for Brooklyn. And as the self-professed “King of Avenue C,” he especially loved the East Village. “Getting out of Brooklyn and out of exile and back here,” he said in an Ozersky.tv video after moving to the neighborhood from Ditmas Park, “It doesn’t matter what happens, a meteor could hit Meatopia, I could end up not able to write, it could be like The Diving Bell and the Butterfly — as long as they could wheel me around in the East Village and I could talk to people and eat little sandwiches or whatever, I’d be a happy man.”

That giddiness was on display in the “Munchies” episode he filmed in the neighborhood. “The thing you really judge a restaurant city by is not the temples of gastronomy, the special-occasion restaurants,” Josh told Vice. “It’s like the neighborhood restaurants — the Hearth, the Commerce, the Barbone.”

Josh’s passion for food was utterly infectious as he deployed his particular spice rub of humor, hyperbole, candor, self-aggrandizement, self-mockery, and a deep knowledge gleaned from being comfortable around chefs (almost “a little too comfortable,” Marco Canora of Hearth notes in the “Munchies” video). Knowing this, I once asked him to treat my food-writing class to a tour of the East Village. I expected him to show them the neighborhood’s culinary jewels, but he spent the first 20 minutes of the leisurely stroll down Avenue C in front of his corner bodega, critiquing everything from the roast of its coffee to the ripeness of its fruit (actually, I’m probably remembering that wrong — fruit definitely doesn’t sound like Josh.)

Finally he moved on to Cafecito, introducing us to the owner and telling them why such heartfelt mom-and-pop operations made the East Village “the preeminent gastronomic destination in New York City, certainly in Manhattan,” as he put it in an Ozersky.tv video.

Today, Josh is being remembered as a champion of such places and of the occasional “tweezer food” repository as well, even by chefs who were sometimes at odds with his brash, freewheeling style. David Chang, who famously banned him from Momofuku’s restaurants, tweeted, “Ozersky was many things and so many of our differences seem so childish now, but he could pen some amazing stuff.”

Here, with links to their sources, is what Josh penned, and said, about some of his favorite places around the neighborhood. As I post this, I’m eating a Veselka burger in his honor (he was such a fan of it he got a shoutout in the diner’s cookbook), and I hope he’s up there “tying the feedbag on,” as he would say, at one of his dearly departed late-night spots — maybe having the butter-fried burger at Seymour Burton.

Mile End 
“Known best for its Montreal version of pastrami, ‘smoked meat,’ I like Mile End even better for its fabulous charcuterie board and an even better hot dog. Just make sure to get it without all the gunk on it.”

“A museum-quality specimen of la vera pizza Napolitana — you have a very light, very minimal tomato sauce. This is not low-moisture mozzarella, this is mozzarella de Buffalo — it’s very fresh, very soft, it’s made from Buffalo milk and it’s beautifully tangy, has this incredible flavor… I mean look at this [crust], it’s softer than any pita.”

“One of my favorite pizzas in NY. One of the things that sets this pie apart is, this has what’s called the grande mozzarella which is the highest quality of all the low-moisture mozzarellas, it’s made in Wisconsin. Look at these pepperonis, they’re as thick as steaks and the sausage was made for Michael [White] by Pat Lafrieda, the city’s greatest butcher, with this super intense fennel recipe.”

“This is a definitive example of the classic New York slice. This is my favorite place in the neighborhood, forget it. The thing that I love so much about this pizza, this old-time New York slice is, this is simple red sauce and low-moisture mozzarella and the two things merge together inextricably to give this trademark orange color, the even consistency, the homogenous taste.”

“The ultimate, extreme, final platonic version of the Sicilian slice… Look at the opulence of all that mozzarella, the glistening oil, this happens to be a real tart sauce but here’s the star of the show, look at that: crunchy, brown, black, oily [crust].”

Il Buco Alimentari 
“It’s rare that a sequel surpasses the original, but Alimentari is the Road Warrior of restaurants, an expanded and improved tribute to rustic italian food that is bigger, better, and more ambitious than its original. The salumi by itself is worth coming for, but stay for the porchetta and short ribs.”

Gem Spa
“One of the secret pleasures of living in the East Village consists of knowing that an otherwise unremarkable newsstand run by unremarkable Indian men has, hidden away behind the counter, makings of an egg cream. Back in the day, candy stores sold papers and egg creams (a classic NYC drink made of chocolate milk and seltzer) and the Gem Spa is the last survivor of this ancient race.”

East Village Meat Market
“It’s such a delicious cured pork product… totally all homemade, no water injected, totally natural cure, real pigs from real farms — nobody talks about it, they never got the memo that that’s fashionable, they just do it anyway.”

“The quintessential New York slice joint… Vinny is in my opinion the consummate New York pizza man… if Gene Hackman would eat a pizza in The French Connection or something, it would be this pizza.”

“The best of all Roman pizzas.”

“Has a lot going for it: a big, interesting menu, an elaborate drink program….oh, who am I kidding? I go there for the Spam fries.”

“This is the model for reinvigoration for the East Village… It’s still got its juice, its ethnicity, its vigor, its identity, its soul, its spirit and its quintessence and yet it’s also modernized — it’s not become the colonial McSorleysburg either.

“Another remnant — and a glorious one it is — of the old East Village… You can still get the great black-and-white cookie which is in fact a cake, still get great hamentashen, still get a nice babka, marble ryes and so forth.”

“Get it straight: there isn’t a better, more straight-forward chef in New York than Marco Canora, whose restaurant is utterly committed to simple, perfectly prepared season food of the very highest order. Also, don’t miss out on pasta, which is the open secret of Hearth’s greatness.”

B&H Kosher Dairy
“Was a Kosher dairy restaurant which is now a vegetarian restaurant… after the Jewish left it became hippies. Hippies like eating vegetables and cheap soup and stuff so they would go there.”

Box Car Lounge
“Small and narrow, but with a ton of personality, this shabby-elegant hole in the wall is still a well-kept secret cherished by East Village locals.”

Luke’s Lobster
“Small, eclectic, super low-key izakaya with what might be the best Japanese-style chicken wings in NYC.”

“Anybody who thinks there is a better ramen out there, from soup to noodles, should have their head examined. The broth alone here would be worth a trip across town.”

Brindle Room 
“The best hamburger in America… Compact, flat, aggressively seasoned, seared in the flares and flames of an old cast-iron pan and composed entirely of dry-aged rib eye deckle, its simplicity and suppleness and beefy, crusty oomph put it in a class by itself.”

Momofuku Milk Bar
“The cakes, which change from month to month, are uniformly brilliant and the perfect gift to bring to a party, or just to bring home.”

Luke’s Lobster
“The combination of cost, freshness, warm buns, and most of all not being overloaded to the point of comedy helped make Luke’s the best [lobster roll].”

Crif Dogs
“Good deep-fried hot dogs and lots of them.”

“Prune was an original, and its whole aesthetic — the no frills decor, the funky, unvarnished food, the cool music — has been imitated endlessly. But there’s something special that adhere’s to the original, and the food has never declined (or gotten better). In its own way, Prune has become as much of a New York institution as Katz’s across the street.”

“Superb, ultra-fresh Italian food; one of the city’s best.”

“Addictive, understaffed Middle-Easter. A rare source for lamb ribs.”

“Unchanged and ancient, the last of the great working-class restaurants of the neighborhood. It consists entirely of stools and plywood, and you can have a dinner of roast pork, kasha, cucumber salad, and thick, buttered slices of homemade challah for $12.”

Tompkins Sq. Bagels
“These bagels are quite good, usually fresh, and come in a variety of forms, including some fine sandwiches.”

Grand Sichuan St. Mark’s
“My favorite [of the Grand Sichuans]. It has a huge menu of regional specialties, including my favorite tea-smoked duck in town.”

Mighty Quinn’s
“Great product from the best meat in a cool, modern setting… It’s the best bbq in NYC.”

Jimmy’s No. 43
“Under the radar both literally and figuratively, but the place has an impeccable, beautifully curated beer selection and constantly overachieves with its creative, meaty menu.”

Great Jones Cafe
“A southern tribute joint that did lardcore before lardcore was cool, Great Jones Cafe is still serving up cold beers and hot catfish with all the brio of old.”

“Awesomely fun and funky, with naked girls on the walls and a menu of unreconstructed Filipino bar food, Jeepney is one of a kind — a Manila bar by way of a cool and accomplished NYC restaurant.”

“Underpriced, ambitious East Village trattoria has some of the best pasta and wine values in town.”

“A must for true chowhound types, the city’s only (to my knowledge, anyway) Sri Lankan restaurant is very cheap, very good, and has the added bonus of being BYOB — bind your own burns. The food here is hot.”

Brick Lane Curry
“The place is one of the best south Indian restaurants in New York, and few of the dishes are unpleasantly spicy. The price is right too.”

“The titular sandwich is monstrously enjoyable.”

Il Buco
“Classically rustic, cozy and beautiful, the food is somewhat beside the point at this village classic — which isn’t to say that it’s anything less than impeccable.”

“Happens to serve the best cheesesteak in the world.”