08/15/17 12:44pm

Steamed veal pelmeni, spa food via Russia and Corona.

There are many, many Central Asian eateries in Forest Hills and Rego Park where one can procure a plate of pelmeni, the pleated Russian ravioli, but there’s none quite like Forest Hills Spa. That’s because the tiny restaurant lies within the only authentic Russkaya banya, or Russian spa, in Queens. Banya—an experience that combines a eucalyptus scented steam room, sauna, and a blistering Russian Room where the temperature hovers around 190F—is a Russian tradition. The banya is just one of many places featured in my new guidebook 111 Places in Queens That You Must Not Miss, which drops later this year.

The menu at the tiny restaurant illuminated by a skylight includes such spa-worthy items as fresh fruit juices, but on both visits I opted for the Russian ravioli. When in a Russian spa, why not eat Russian food? (more…)

05/06/16 3:43pm

Living in Queens, arguably the most diverse food destination in the world has made me conversant, if not expert, in global cuisines ranging from Thai and Indonesian to Mexican and Peruvian, to name a very few.

Even though I’m an intrepid explorer of Chinese hawker stands, Central American street food carts, and West Indian roti spots there’s one place that still baffles me, NetCost Market, or as I like to call it “Nyet Cost.” The gigantic Russian supermarket, which offers everything from caviar and charcuterie to fermented mare’s milk and kvass is around the corner from my house, yet I hardly ever shop there. (more…)

04/04/14 10:53am
PLOMBIR

“Best what we have,” from Mother Russia and Dadu via Rego Park.

When it comes to Russian luxury the first thing that comes to mind is caviar and Faberge eggs not ice cream. Nevertheless I could hardly resist this new brand of Russian ice cream I spotted yesterday at one of the many gourmet shops that line the Bukharian Broadway that is 108th Street in Rego Park. Russian ice cream is one of the reasons I love living in Rego Park, but honestly the packaging is usually more interesting than the ice cream itself. And so it proved to be with Dadu’s Luxury ice cream.

The package container a wafer cone packed with decent chocolate ice cream, hardly the equivalent of Magnum’s level of luxury. I’m just glad it didn’t cost more than $1.75. The real luxury was to be found in eating it as I walked down the street on the first real day of spring

To submit your delicious finds to Photo Friday simply tag your Instagram photos with #CMSHUNGRY. And while you’re at it, check me out on Instagram, joedistefanoqns.