Yes, there's hot chocolate. Sure: tea. Maybe an Irish coffee. But when it gets all white and nasty outside, when everyone you know either is coughing or on an antibiotic, or when you've just had it, it's time to heat things up with a jolt.
That means spice, and for me that means three cuisines: Korean, Thai, Indian. They're where the thermostat rises fast.
At Imperial Seoul, the big Korean eatery in New Hyde Park, ignite yourself with some incendiary kimchi, the fiery condiment that accompanies almost every meal. Kimchi is made with fermented vegetables, typically cabbage. Imperial Seoul's casseroles will do the rest. The sliced pork with vegetables and rice cake arrives in a red-pepper shaded sauce. Codfish broth immediately will raise the BTUs, too.
Imperial Seoul, 3365 Hillside Ave., New Hyde Park; 516-741-2340.
Tom yung koong, a clear shrimp soup, fires up your appetite at Sarin in Greenvale. The soup includes chile peppers, lemongrass, lime juice, fish sauce and other sparkling ingredients. Follow the soup with yum nure, or barbecued beef with more peppers, cucumber and onion. And then go to a green curry, with either chicken, pork or beef. You'll glow.
Sarin is at 43 Glen Cove Rd., Greenvale; 516-484-5873.
The Curry Club in East Setauket is, of course, devoted to curries of all kinds. The curry for you is vindaloo, spurred by hot peppers, available with chicken, lamb, goat, beef, shrimp, finfish -- you get the idea. It's very likely you'll be enjoying a vindaloo with large amounts of rice and some of the Club's breads.
The Curry Club is at 10 Woods Corner Rd., on Route 25A, East Setauket; 631-751-4945.
Heating up at Imperial Seoul.