The first time I ever savored the smoky sweet porcine marvel that is Filipino BBQ was at Ihawan in Woodside, in the shadow of the 7 train in the neighborhood known as Little Manila.
Last week I ventured out in the bitter cold to try some pinoy style grilling that’s as good as and perhaps even better than Ihawan’s. It was grilled on the street by Bad for Business Popups, brainchild of journeyman Chef Francis Maling. The street in question none other than Roosevelt Avenue hard by the 61st Woodside subway stop on the mighty International Express, aka the 7 train.
I’ve been meaning to try Francis’ BBQ for quite some time and I’m glad I finally made it. His pork BBQ is decidedly cheffed up, benefiting from a marinade in soy sauce, banana ketchup, and vinegar followed by a three-step process: an initial grilling, a quick steam in banana leaves, and a final kiss of the flames as he brushes on his homemade sauce. I didn’t try the chicken, but I’m sure it’s excellent. I did however grab a duo of ruddy hued hot dogs capped off with marshmallows, which Maling says is a nod to Filipino birthday parties for kids. The day’s special was his twist on Peruvian anticuchos, grilled beef heart in a bulgogi marinade.
Maling has been operating his fly by the seat of the pants popup since January of 2021. Much as I like to joke that his promotional strategy of announcing each popup a day or so beforehand via Instagram is the reason behind the name “Bad for Business Popups,” Maling said there is a deeper meaning coupled with a mission to build awareness for street vendors who can’t get licenses.“I came up with the name cos when it comes to business a lot of people look for profits before people [but] I’m trying to think about the community,” he said. “I’m trying to think about the safety of the workers, people’s livelihoods not just the money aspect of it.”
As I am writing this I received a notification on my phone that Maling’s little BBQ stand will be open today Feb. 1 from 1 p.m. until he runs out and Thursday from 1 p.m. This week’s special is a burger from Burger Machine, BBQ on Foccacia by @nextlevelpizza.
“It’s barbecue for the community,” Maling said. “This is essentially barbecue for Woodside, I grew up here.” Oh, and in case you are wondering Maling’s favorite Filipino BBQ is the O.G. Ihawan.
Since Yelp exists, there’s really no point in making an exhaustive list of coffee and tea shops. However, there’s still room for a curated list, so I’m going to present my favorite Flushing spots for coffee, food, working, and hanging out. Unlike some other parts of Queens, the eastern end is still limited in terms of Third Wave coffee shops, but this is changing gradually.
Although Flushing’s eastern border is officially Parsons Boulevard, for the purposes of this article I will use the moniker as it often is, as a shorthand for Greater Flushing, encompassing Murray Hill, Auburndale, and Bayside, and will append Douglaston/Little Neck, the New York City neighborhood that abuts Long Island.
However, I’m primarily interested in the somewhat insular, heavily Korean neighborhood that runs along Northern Boulevard from Main Street to the border of Long Island (and beyond), because this is where most of the cafes are situated. The only exception is a recent Chinese-owned entrant, Presso Coffee, located in the attractive new One Fulton Square development in downtown Flushing. (more…)
People who are familiar with festival-style Indonesian food in New York City have probably visited the outdoor food bazaar held in the rear parking lot of Astoria’s Masjid Al-Hikmah, which usually begins with the first warm weather in April and runs through October, or possibly one of the one-off events such as 2013’s Forest Hills Indonesian Food Bazaar. Longtime Masjid Al Hikmah attendees were dismayed last year when the mosque didn’t manage to put together an event until September 21st and then tacked on two more in quick succession, October 12th and October 26th. I attended them all, of course.
Event Organizer Fefe Anggono
The innaugural edition of the City Blessing Church Indonesian Food Bazaar, which is being planned as an (at minimum) monthly event, took place on the last Saturday in February, 2015 in Woodside, Queens. The organizer, Fefe Anggono, owned and managed a restaurant in Long Island for seven years and started this event as a way to not only bring attention to the church and its rental space, but also to provide an outlet for vendors left out in the cold by the mosque’s inconsistent event-holding policies. (more…)
Astorians gathered at The Strand, which was crowned best barbecue.
Last night hundreds of hungry revelers packed The Strand for a downhome gala to announce the Best of Astoria 2014 as chosen by the readers of local blog We Heart Astoria. Free flowing booze, plenty of ’cue, and entertainment from the Haus of Mimosa a dynamic duo of divas that put the drag in Queens made for a festive evening. Among the winners were Il Bambino for Best Restaurant, Pachanga Patterson for Favorite Mexican, Rizzo’s Pizza for Favorite Pizza, and Mar’s Oyster Bar for favorite New Arrival of 2013. For a full list of winners click here. (more…)
As 2013 draws to a close rather than offer up a list of resolutions—less chips more gym, save money, etc.—C+M offers a list of 20 of our favorite posts, a highlight reel of the year that was. Let the mostly Queens-focused cavalcade of offal, sandwiches, mashups, secret eats and deliciousness begin.
Crazy Crab’s Yunnan special sliced pork salad.
PLEASE NOTE THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED
1. Best use of Pig Face Crazy Crab’s Yunnanese pig face salad is a spicy sour, salty, and unabashedly funky showcase for swatches of cool, slightly chewy pig skin.
2. Best Fizzy Water for Gluttons
Apart from being the preferred beverage of Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin the selling point of Borjomi, a Georgian sparkling mineral water, is that it “Gets rid of unnecessaries,” or as expressed in more forthright language elsewhere on the company web site, “Borjomi also improves functioning of intestines and supports slag excretion.”
3. Flushing’s Cheapest Veggie Burger The $1.25 cài bĭng at Super Snack, a counter just outside Golden Shopping Mall is packed with crunchy piquant mustard greens and is as fine a snack as any.
Gaajar burfi, a carrot-based Indian sweet from Maharaja Sweets in Jackson Heights.
Sweets made with milk, nuts, lentils, and spices are an important part of religious festivals in India. Later this week, Hindus will observe Raksha Bandhan–or Rakhi, for short–a Hindu festival celebrating relationships between brothers and sisters.
The sweets (mittai, in Hindi) eaten at Rakhi represent the sweetness of the bond between siblings. On the morning of Rakhi (Aug. 21) a sister ties a decorative red thread on her brother’s wrist, signifying her hope for his well-being. In return, a brother gives his sister gifts of sweets and money, signifying his promise to always protect and care for her.
Laddoo, jalebi, gulab jamun, and rasgulla are especially popular, but I prefer less common Indian sweets like milk cake, gaajar burfi (made with carrot), and anjeer burfi (made with fig). You can find all of these at Maharajah Sweets on 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights, Queens—my go-to source for Indian sweets in New York City. (more…)
Back in February I had the pleasure of taking Andrew Zimmern on a whirlwind private tour of Queens’ culinary gems. Our day started in Himalayan (aka Jackson) Heights and wound up at Maima’s Liberian Bistro in Jamaica. I’m stoked to watch the Queens episode of Bizarre Foods America when it airs next month. What I’m even more excited about though is that the bizarre one went on record in Delta Sky Mag, to declare Queens “the king of the American food scene.” Not only that, Zimmern dubbed me the borough’s “de facto food critic.” (more…)