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11/26/14 1:03pm
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Rosanna Scotto and I about descend into the Golden Shopping Mall Food court.

I have a lot to be thankful for this year, first and foremost the gifts of home, health and family. Heck I even got to partake of a turducken. Certainly I am grateful for continuing to eat my way through the most delicious and diverse destination on the entire planet. And the opportunity to turn others on to the wonders of Queens via food tours.

A few weeks ago Rosanna Scotto’s people looked me up and asked if I’d take her on a tour for “Wining and Dining With Rosanna.” So I did, it’s not every day that I get to share air time with folks like Bobby Flay. We hit Flushing and Jackson Heights hard from lamb spine to tawa katakat.  You can watch the episode here. Scotto’s no Andrew Zimmern  when it comes to adventurousness, but then again who is? Hoping you have a delicious Thanksgiving.

P.S. if you’re looking for something to do on Black Friday, I highly recommend the black goat feast at Bang Ga Ne. As for me I’ll be leading a tour of America’s best Chinatown.

11/24/14 11:39am
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A large pie—half bacon, half bacon and clam—from Frank Pepe.

The running joke among certain food writers is that I’ve forsaken my Italian-American heritage to sup on various and sundry heavily spiced offal platters at basement hawker centers in Queens. To some extent that’s true, but I always welcome the chance to explore my roots, which is why I was particularly psyched to go on a New Haven pizza expedition with three fellow food writers—Jeff Orlick, Dave Cook, and Rich Sanders—last month.

My last journey to the cradle of New England pizza was 10 years ago with Adam Kuban, founder of the pizza blog Slice now turned pizzaiolo in his own right. It was high time for a revisit. We rendezvoused at 9:15 a.m. in Long Island City and piled into Jeff’s car to make the trip. There had been talk of visiting Louis Lunch and even Connecticut lobster rolls, but we all decided that at least in this case, discretion was the better of gluttony. The day’s mission was to be solely devoted to pizza. (more…)

11/21/14 11:25am
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A selection of Guyanese sodas in Richmond Hill, Queens.

“Are you a soda geek?” my pal Rich Sanders of Ethnojunkie asked me a few weeks ago when he saw me scoring some Sanbitter, an Italian aperetif soda,with evident glee. “I dunno Rich, I like Vimto, Chinotto, and Moxie’s pretty good,” I replied.

The point here is that whether I admit or not I am indeed a fan of carbonated beverages that go well beyond the Sprite, Coke, and Pepsi. I blame it all on that first Fresca I tasted as a kid. So here’s what I’d like to know what’s your favorite oddball soda? Do you like oldschool medicinal ones like Moxie, or a Thai Fanta fan,or perhaps something else entirely Tell me in the comments or hit me on the Twitter, @JoeDiStefano.

11/19/14 10:04am
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La Esquina Criolla’s sweetbread sandwich.

The draw at the half dozen or so Argentine parilladas scattered throughout Queens is meat, specifically beef in the form of steak, or mixed grills consisting of short ribs, sausage, blood sausage, and other goodies. Many of these casual steakhouses/butchers also offer sandwiches. I love La Fusta’s skirt steak sandwich. When I’m in the mood for something a little more adventurous though, I head over to La Esquina Criolla for a sandwich de molleja, or sweetbread sandwich ($7.50). (more…)

11/17/14 12:03pm
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Ban Ga Ne’s got your large format goat feast needs covered.

The real K-town in New York City is in Queens, stretching for about five miles from Northern Boulevard and Union Street in Flushing all the way out to Manhasset. This vast K-tropolis is lined with dozens of BBQ restaurants, kimbap joints, large Korean supermarkets, fried chicken spots, a store that sells Korean stone beds, and even a Korean-run Third Wave espresso bar. There are so many places it would take an entire lifetime to document them all. Today C+M’s K-tropolis takes a look at Ban Ga Ne, a black goat meat specialist.

In New York City goat is as rare on Korean menus in New York City, as kimchi is on Indian ones. And according to Joe McPherson of ZenKimchi, who has forgotten more about Korean cuisine than I shall ever hope to know, the ruminant’s flesh is pretty uncommon in Korea too. So when a Westchester-based dining group told me their next Queens meal would be a large-format Korean goat feast I immediately RSVP’d. After all, I am as much a fan of Korean cuisine as I am of goat. (more…)

11/14/14 12:23am

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Let’s face it as much I profess to  hate the F-word, I am the King of the Queens Foodies. There’s just no way around it. Here’s the thing though, Queens Foodies are different than  typical foodies, who I like to think as merely trendy eaters. We don’tcare about such food faddery as Cronuts or ramen burgers. When your borough includes everything from the Kathmandu cafes and Latin American street food vendors of Jackson Heights to the regional Chinese wonderland of Flushing’s food courts to the West Indian enclave of Richmond Hill where for lunch today some pals and I ate ourselves silly on Guyanese food and Jamaican I-tal cuisine you tend to become a tad obsessive. (more…)

11/12/14 9:38am
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A Peruvian breakfast sandwich in a Rego Park diner.

An old school diner is the last place one would expect to find such Peruvian specialties as papa la Huancaina, sliced potatoes in a cheese sauce spiked with aji amarillo, and cau cau, a tripe stew. In Queens though, such cultural cross pollination is becoming more and more common. Take the Rego Park Café, where a separate menu called La Mistura Peruana went into effect over the summer.

I’ve been meaning to try out the diner’s 12-item “Peruvian mixture” for months. I had my hungry heart set on the chicharron con camote sandwich ($6.95), a typical Peruvian breakfast of pork and sweet potatoes. They were out of it the day I stopped in, so instead I slurped augadito de pollo ($4.50) a verdant chicken and rice soup that gets its color from handfuls of cilantro. (more…)

11/11/14 10:12am
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Andy Yang’s crispy fish with chili will set you back $1.25.

Ever since Zhu Da Jie—Flushing’s Queen of Sichuan cookery—set up a cart in Elmhurst on the corner of Broadway and Whitney last spring I’ve been begging her to make dan dan mian. After all the savory, spicy noodles have their roots in the street food of Chengdu. That hasn’t happened yet, but I was pleased to see that one of her classic dishes, spicy fried fish, has been revived after a fashion. And by a cart that had the nerve to open up right next door to her lump charcoal fueled operation.    (more…)

11/10/14 12:06pm
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Slow cooked lamb with sage, shallots, and touch of pepper and prune.

I first met Vinny Accardi, the chef at the newish Room 55 in Glendale at the kickoff to Queens Restaurant Week. He had run out of food but was quick to tell me that his first restaurant “overdelivers on the food,” and suggested I come in for a tasting.

So I took him up on the offer a few weeks later. The restaurant, named for the month and day of his graduation from the Culinary Institute of America in 2000, is tucked away on an otherwise nondescript block. Everything I tasted, from the autumn harvest salad ($9) of mixed greens, beets, and candied walnuts with warm goat cheese to his casino style Little Neck clams ($11) was excellent, but my favorite dish was the one of the menu’s two pasta offerings. (more…)

11/06/14 7:11am
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Dunkin’s brand new croissant donut.

“Do you have the new croissant donut?” I asked the gent at my local Dunkin’ Donuts this past Saturday. “New doughnut,” he said gesturing to a few orange frosted Halloween numbers. I left with just a coffee. I have yet to have one of Dominique Ansel’s wildly popular Cronuts, though I have had the Paris Baguette knockoff, which was quite nice. So I was eager to try to Dunkin’s croissant doughnut, particularly since it did not entail waking at an ungodly hour to wait in line with hordes of food faddists. (more…)