One Hit Wonders
I've been thinking it would be fun to do a food tour. I've considered doing it with a professional group but some of the ones I've looked into are rather cost prohibitive. Here's what I'm thinking- places that make one or two things that are absolutely outstanding. The requirements are...
1. Places that are within a 10 minute walk of a subway
2. Places that serve food that can be easily eaten as take out or, ideally, a small cafe/informal eating area where it would be kosher to just order one item and not feel guilty about taking up a table
3. Food must be available during the daytime (I add in this disclaimer because I realize many food carts would meet this criteria and that's great but I don't want to have to take this tour after seven at night and I realize many street vendors are only out at an hour I consider to be bedtime).
Bonus points to any suggestions for clusters of places that serve very different things (although it could be fun to try, for example, empanadas from three different places and compare).
I live and love Queens but would be open to any borough...
There are at least 3 places within a 1/2 block of the 63rd Drive subway station in Rego Park that would be perfect for this "tour": Tangra Wok (gobi manchurian), Ben's Best Deli (pastrami sandwich), and Istanbul (EVERYTHING we had there was awesome---all available for take out). The mini bagels at nearby Bagelette are also worth a stop. Don't forget to go to the Polish(?)/Russian(?) market next door to Bagelette. I had a small sampling (of their huge assortment) of salamis and all were delicious.
You may want to read my recent report on Tangra Wok, Ben's, Bagelette, and Istanbul: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/476374
You could try Brooklyn Chinatown for some options along 8th Avenue. I'd actually suggest using the 9th Avenue D stop to try: banh mi at Ba Xuyen(43rd), some great spicy soup at Yunnan snack(49th). Or use the 8th Ave stop on the N to try the hand pulled noodles at Lan Zhou on 60th and then there's Pacificana on 55th or Diamond on Eighth at 61st(great duim sum). Between those two stops, a smorgasbord of Vietnamese, Chinese, and Chinese bakeries exists. Two trips in one street really. Plus, good and cheap malaysian at Nyonya on 54th. I don't know enough of the places in Flushing(I've only eaten my way through Brooklyn thus far), but something along these lines could probably be done there.
For a completely different type of cuisine, but an easy walk from the 8th Ave "N" train stop, is the wonderful Spartan Cafe on 8th and 69th St. Delicious Spartan Chicken on a pita and don't forget the fun and daily changing food choices of Rocco's Italian Cafeteria.. Perfect for choosing one, or a bunch of different choices.
Within a few blocks of the number 7 train in Flushing (Main St.) there are plenty of street-side stands (try the one under the LIRR bridge, one block south of the subway) and small food shops (corner 28, and the one just south of the LIRR), plus the malls with food courts. The only drawback is that it's the last stop on the train, so you'd have to double back. Of course, you could eat some noodles and dumplings while you're on the train, and that might pass the time nicely. Beware that the 7 is closed on the weekends for the next few weeks for construction, so plan accordingly.
What a great idea! Love to join you. i do not eat seafood, so they may exempt me from many stops.
30th Street in Astoria would be a great choice dozens of ethnic restaurants to chose from.