adios, Napoleon y Josefina...
Having been betrayed by the fickle nature of the Eighth Ave. restaurant scene (see Manhattan posting), I fled across the river to what I thought was the stable world of my own Astoria. I felt in need of the unspectacular but dependable pleasures of Napoleon y Josefina, a Mexican (Puebla) joint at 31st Ave. and 33rd St. named not for the Fun Couple of the Tuileries but for the proprietors, who had previously been associated with the much-lamented Cocina Poblana of 30th Ave., the memory of whose enchiladas suizas and mole poblano haunts me still. N&J did not live up to that high standard, but their rice and beans were still the best in my neck of the woods, and the food was honest and comforting.
Imagine my despair when I reached the intersection and discovered they too were gone! In their place is something called I believe Las Palomas (though the shock makes my memory uncertain), with a similar menu but (as they proudly proclaim) under new management. I was unwilling to simply rage against cruel fate -- and, after all, I was still hungry -- so I decided to give them a chance and order their enchiladas campesinas. They were pretty good, especially the nicely astringent mole covering them, but the rice and beans... the rice and beans... they were pedestrian, dammit. I didn't bother to finish them. If anyone knows where Nap y Jos went, please contact me and I'll buy you a Jarrito of any flavor you like.
Can't tell you where Nap y Jos went, but if you're
looking for good mexican in your nabe check out La
Espiga Bakery II on 31st Street about half a block
south of Broadway (across the street from McDonalds),
where the staff will grudgingly serve you some of the
best mexican food in Queens. Can't vouch for the rice
& beans, but huarches and tortas all never fail to
satisfy on the cheap.