Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Outer Boroughs >
Apr 2, 2008 06:19 PM

High School Students Chow Exploration

I am a teacher at a public high school in the Bronx. One of the things that we do in my school is take a group of our students out of school to explore the city one day every season. I have taken the students to Chinatown for dim sum and they thought it was remarkable, since the only Chinese food that they ever had was from a Chinese Buffet.
I thought that it would be amazing to take them on a quick food tour around the 5 boroughs on the next trip day. We have use of the subways (not buses), and the trip should be from around 9 AM to 3:30 PM. I think that it would be great if we could grab some food in Queens and Brooklyn and eat some on the ferry to Staten Island. (Is there anything good on the Staten Island side, near the ferry?)
Does anyone have any ideas regarding the logistics of travel or places to stop?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. That seems overly ambitious, but maybe you guys are able to get around alot faster than I am. Does that mean you would go from the high school in the Bronx, leave at 9am, go to Queens, then Brooklyn, then Staten Island, then Manhattan and then back to the Bronx - all by 3:30, eating in every location? To me it sounds either totally impossible or incredibly rushed. What about choosing ONE borough, like Queens, where you could get food from several different countries. You could even visit several different neighborhoods in Queens such as Rego Park, Jackson Heights and Astoria. If you felt you must go to another borough, you could also hit up Greenpoint for some Polish food.

    9 Replies
    1. re: seneca

      You might be right. Do you have any suggestions in Queens?

      1. re: akefam

        I agree with Seneca. My husband and I have been exploring the Outer Boroughs, and the first thing that I realized is that, even within a borough, there are so many wonderful neighborhoods to explore. There are two threads of mine that might be helpful:

        Also - have you taken them to Arthur Avenue? That might be a fun, more accessible excursion.

        We also had a fun time in Jackson Heights, going to Patel Brothers, and then the Jackson Heights Diner for lunch, after checking out some Scandinavian stores in Bayside.

        1. re: MMRuth

          I think there are some threads about great chow stops along the 7 train - I'll try to find that for you.

          1. re: MMRuth

            I agree with Seneca and MMRuth, a specific neighborhood would be more do-able. I am partial to Jackson Heights, which is reachable by subway. Within the neighborhood it could be an exploration of different Latino cultures. This would help your students experience a number of countries that may share a common language, but have so many different styles to offer in terms of cuisine.

            Among my suggestions are: Mexican - Taqueria Coatzingo (76th St & Roosevelt); Colombian - Tierras Colombianas (82nd St. & Roosevelt); Uruguyan - Chivito D'Oro (84th St & 37th Ave); Peruvian - Inti Raymi (86th & 37th); Cuban - Rincon Criollo (Junction & Roosevelt). These restaurants are relatively close to each other (from 76th St to Junction Blvd is a little more than 1 mile).

            1. re: mepm231

              Jackson Heights sounds like a great idea. I'm going to try to do it. Does anyone have any ideas of representative foods from these countries that would be allow my students to distinguish the foods from each country, without being overly ambitious.
              Thank you everyone for all of your help.

              1. re: akefam

                there's a lot of potential fun to be had in jackson heights. right by the train station, there are a couple of places to get vegetarian south indian chats -- one right on 37th road near the movie theater marquee. ingredients? think chickpeas, potatoes, dry spicy cereal-ish stuff, yogurt.

                if thats too ambitious, there are a couple of kebab places at hand, chicken, beef, etc

                going up roosevelt, more mexican/central amercan.........excellent tacos, roast pig and so on. can try to get more specific if you need nothing too bad anywhere on this path@

              1. re: Xiao Yang

                Thanks - that's a more recent one too.

        2. re: seneca

          Yes, I would definitely make separate trips as opposed to conquering three boroughs in one day. It would be logistically impossible.

          OP -- I wish I had teachers like you in school. Your kids are very lucky! I think MMRuth's suggestion of Jackson Heights is excellent. So many things to see -- Bollywood video stores, bhangra music stores, sari shops, Patel Brothers, freakin' gorgeous 22 K gold jewelry, mendhi tattoo joints (they're temporary). And while not the biggest fan of buffets in that area, I think they're a good intro to Indian food as there are so many different things to try. I think Jackson Diner could probably accommodate a group of your size. Further East lies a Latino community (Mexican, Columbian, Argentina, Ecuadorian, Peruvian, Uruguayan) which is also interesting as well (not sure where in the Bronx you're from). If you got a few blocks west of Jackson Heights, you've got a small Filipino hood.

        3. You could read "Moving for the Food" about Jackson Heights to get some ideas
 about what the neighborhood consists of, though it's possible the article covers mainly Columbian & Mexican food - it's been awhile since I read it.

          1. I did this constantly throughout high school (which was only last year.) In Queens, go to anything recced in Flushing ESPECIALLY Chengdu Heaven and the food malls. Also, anything in Jackson Heights particularly street food, pandebonos, Mexican from Taqueria Coatzingo, etc. Also, Bengali in Jamaica or at Deshi Biryani (more Indian than Bengali.) If you want specific restaurants and addresses tell me. For Brooklyn, go to Di Fara pizzeria. Also, Mexican and Vietnamese in/around Sunset, Polish in Greenpoint, etc. Staten Island has good pizza, but Di Fara is better IMO. Brooklyn has a lot more to offer than that btw. I only know a Vietnamese place in the Bronx, but it's a VERY good one. Shame Garifuna Star closed. :(


            1. Actually to be honest, I think this calls for a 7 train tour. Korean food at the tofu restaurant in Sunnyside, Hispanic street food from Woodside to JH, Thai in Elmhurst at Chao Thai or at Srip in Woodside, more street carts, and then a grand finale in Flushing where you'll do food malls such as the one that Chengdu Heaven is located in.

              3 Replies
              1. re: JFores

                Here's another thought completely on a different food track

                come to rego park and forest hills, explore the russian delis - look at all the canned and bottled products, deli meats, cheese, desserts, fruits and veg and then have lunch at one of the kebab serving places (most kids like meat on a stick) there are many that are good both on 63rd Drive (quite accessible by subway) and 108th Street (a bit of a walk from the subway.

                I cann't think of the names of the restaurants but there is a big on on the south side of 63rd Drive starts with a Ch. - someone will chime in I am sure or I'll do a search later and find it. The kebabs, salads, fries with garlic & parsley & korean carrot salad are awesome and very reasonable. Of course you can snack your way through the delis as well. Pork products galore, salamis from every eastern european nation, candies, dried fruits, nuts, spices, bottled water from all the soviet block countries (real mineral taste - not my thing but a young belarussian exchange student we took there was so thrilled to find a taste of home and he loves it)

                1. re: tigerwoman


                  92-09 63rd Dr, Queens, NY 11374

                  1. re: Xiao Yang

                    that's the one
                    but the post office tends to list this part of queens as flushing
                    while the address should in this case read

                    92-09 63rd Drive
                    rego park, NY 11374

                    thank you for posting the name

                    check out the threads about Cheburechnaya
                    and you will see what to order
                    the other thing is that it's a big place so having a larger group should be no problem.

              2. I know you have tons of great recs, but my friends and I had a great Queens culinary excursion along and near Roosevelt Ave (Queens 7 train line ) that I'd like to suggest...

                Chinese from Little Pepper on mainstreet, though since you have a large group I'd like to recommend Joe's Shanghai (soup dumplings!)
                Heroes from Leo's Latticini in Corona
                Thai from Sripraphai in Woodside (the best in the city in my, and many others' opinions)
                Indian from Kebab King (not the best Indian though, so feel free to substitute it, but it was walking distance from Sripraphai, and our final stop...
                Taqueria Coatzingo (the most authentic Mexican in the city)

                Or, there's always the amazing LES food tour from the Manhattan board. Very necessary.

                4 Replies
                1. re: skooldya1

                  Do not go to kebab king. Go to Spicy Mina's or Deshi Biryani, though I prefer others.

                  1. re: skooldya1

                    Also, I think the food malls are a much more exotic and varied idea for a large group than one restaurant in Flushing.

                    1. re: skooldya1

                      This sounds great. Can you tell me the 7 stops for each of these places, and/or whether you can walk between them.
                      Thank you so much!

                      1. re: akefam

                        If you want to stop in Woodside first, you can get off the 7 train at the 69th Street stop and try something like the fried watercress salad, which is one of the most incredible dishes at Sripraphai (which is on the diagonal street that takes off from Roosevelt on the if you walk back toward 65th Street). You might also like to try something at Kristal's Philippino place at 69th, but I'm not an expert on that.

                        You can take the train or walk to Jackson Heights. You might want to stop for a bit of friend chicken at Unidentified Flying Chicken (UFC) on Roosevelt near 71st, I believe.

                        Around 73rd - 74th Street off the south side of Roosevelt, you can get Vietnamese Pho', beef noodle soup that can be a lot of fun, if that would appeal.

                        When you reach Broadway, you're entering Little India, which (you may wish to point out) is actually more full of Bangladeshis and Pakistanis than Indians. I like the chicken tikka with hot naan at Kabob King on 37th Road and Broadway (visible as you reach Bway), but samosas are a great street food that you can get anywhere. They ones down Broadway and accross the BQE at Spicy Mina's are quite good. (You might want to call ahead there to make sure they have enough for you). It 's also just great to walk down 74th Street and see all the jewelry, sari and shops, and the music shop (which you will hear). If you go to Spicy Mina's, you can go left on 37th Ave and back up 74th street toward Roosevelt again. You might want to stop at one of the sweets shops on 37th (such as Raj Bogh) or on 74th. The kids could try one thing (they're very sweet), but the colors and shapes are fascinating and are great as to-go food. Mango lassi is also a yogurt fruit drink that's refreshing.

                        Taqueria Coatzingo is a bit farther down Roosevelt (around 76th Street). There you can get a taco. If you continue on that same side of Roosevelt, you can stop in at Cositas Ricas for coffee or hot chocolate and a Colombian bread - a perfectly round buñuelo, almohabana or pan de bono. There are other places around to get them since you're entering Little Colombia.

                        For a taste of Peru, there is a Casa del Pollo Peruano on Roosevelt between 81st and 82nd where they might enjoy salchipapas, a traditional mix of french fries and pieces of hot dog.

                        If the kids can still eat more, they can go to La Nueva Bakery at 37th Ave between 86-87th. They have lots of Uruguayan/Argentine empanadas (turnovers), as well as all of the Colombian breads, and amazing tiny pastries (try something with dulce de leche, the caramel).

                        I am not an expert on Flushing at all, and I think that it is so full of delights that it should be a special trip, but this gives a feeling for Jackson Heights.