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Roosevelt Ave. Eating Tour

I'm planning an eating tour in Queens for April/May and came up with this preliminary itinerary:

Start in Flushing, meet in Flushing Library in the AM

1) Corner 28 - Peking Duck Sliders

2) Roosevelt Mall - Gua Bao

Take train to Jackson Heights

3) Buenos Aires Bakery - Dulce de Leche Donuts & Empanadas

4) Espresso 77 - Coffee!!

5) La Portena - Blood Sausage & this weird tongue appetizer I had one time

6) Maharaja Sweets - Dosa and Samosa Chat

7) UFC - Soy Garlic Fried Chicken Wings

8) Sripraphai - Roast Duck Green Curry, Crispy Watercress Salad, Chicken Curry Puffs, & Thai Iced Tea

9) V&V Bakery - Black & White Cookies

10) La Flor - Sliders and Shoestring Potatoes

11) Mangal - Hummus, Baba Ghanoush, and Turkish Bread

12) Natural Bean Curd - Soondubu

Take train to LIC

13) Hunters Point Wines

Take wine and Mangal takeout to the riverwalk for mini-picnic

I would like to work in Spicy Mina, Himalayan Yak, Tacos Coatzingo, De Mole, and Ihawan or that other Filipino restaurant (Evangeline's?) in the 50s somewhere, but not sure how... so would welcome ideas about that.

Sliders at La Flor seems out of place, delicious as they are - should I substitute an Irish pub, like burgers or shepherd's pie at Donovan's?

Also, I've never done this before, so I also have questions about logistics for those who have - when you go in with a group of 4 or 5 and order one or two small dishes at a sit down place like La Portena, does that get really awkward? I guess you just deal with it. But that's probably why Spicy Mina and the Yak are not on my list now.

And most importantly, can we eat this much food??????

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  1. That IS a lot of food, girl!! You could do like I do,and bring plastic containers (w/good lids) and lots of those crappy plastic drugstore bags (easy to knot for leak prevention) - That's the way I went to the Red Hook ballfields by myself - How could I pass up all that good food when I couldn't get down from Boston that summer, again?!

    Flushing - The cumin lamb sticks on 41st (Ave? - do a search) are heavenly! And if the gua bao are from Temple Snacks, they may be moving...

    Oh - and when we chow down in a large group with one dish - We either do takeout, or just are friendly and explain what we're doing - lots of food at lots of places - and of course we don't take a table that would otherwise be busy with five eaters/main dishes...

    Have fun!

    1 Reply
    1. re: fredid

      The Gua Bao is giant, are you planning on splitting it with other people? What about the Corner 28 duck buns? You'll be starting your journey with a lot of carbs due to the buns... Also note that Flushing spots move around (as fredid mentioned) and/or close, re-open, etc. a lot so if you come in May you might find your itinerary altered.

      When I go with a group of friend to Queens, we'll go to dim sum and then hit up 4-5 places nearby, and feel absolutely stuffed by 3pm. I think there is no way you guys will be able to eat that much food.

    2. If you were to work in a Filipino restaurant, you'd be better off doing barbecue sticks at Ihawan or empanadas and ensaimada at Krystal's or you might explode!

      1. You must add tacos to your tour. I HIGHLY recommend the truck parked outside of the 52nd st. stop on the 7 line.


        1. My 2 cents: I've been basically doing this for years and cant make it more than 5 blocks on Roosevelt Ave without being too full to continue! And I can eat a lot. My advice is to either concentrate on one small stretch of Roosevelt at a time and sample or to pick 3-4 main places you want to hit and be very rigid about it.

          Once you get to the Sri area, there are food trucks and small places to sample tacos, fruits, and various ethnic foods that you shouldn't miss and your itinerary as it stands will frustrate you. As I said, just sayin'.

          1. Sounds fun,although I am not sure about eating savory,dessert, savory, dessert..

            More important: Can you give me more info on "Natural Bean Curd?" Where is this place exactly?

            4 Replies
            1. re: erica

              she probably meant Natural Tofu.

              1. re: RedVelvet

                But I looked that up and it is on Queens Blvd in Sunnyside. Is that on the walking route?

                1. re: erica

                  Yes it is. Mangal is in Sunnyside as well. They're planning on starting in Flushing, taking to the train to Jackson Heights, walking to Sunnyside, and then taking the train to LIC.

                  To the OP, you may also want to consider Nixtamal in Corona for Mexican where they make their own masa from SCRATCH!

                  1. re: Miss Needle

                    Thanks! I had not read of NAtural Tofu before; now it is on my list!

            2. I hope you have at least 10 people with you. Otherwise, I don't think you're going to make it out of Flushing. In Flushing, I would add Xian stall's (located at Golden Mall) lamb burgers. If you're going to have samosa chat, I would recommend Spicy Mina over Maharaja Sweets. The best samosa chat I've had so far. And I would seriously consider walking the entire trip to work off all that you're about to eat. Have fun!

              1. This seems like an OK itinerary, but I think it misses a lot of the more delicious items to be found on Roosevelt and environs. But it's a good starting point, and I would suggest playing a lot of it by ear and get items that appeal to you rather than try to stay on course. If you are making this trek on a weekend, you'll find a lot of vendors out and about. And possibly even more choices if you do this on a weekend evening. Like some others have suggested, I would walk from Flushing to Corona to work off some of the Flushing eats. And I would suggest walking through Flushing Meadows Park to make it more pleasant than walking through the industrial stretch of Roosevelt by the Citifield. I'm not sure how to get into and through the park, (except perhaps through the botanical gardens (which you'll find if you walk straight down Main street in Flushing) but I would recommend walking through the heart of Corona as your detour to get back to Roosevelt. Something like this: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&s...

                When you get out on the other side of the park, you'll be two blocks from the Lemon Ice King where Corona Ave meets 108th. From there, I would walk down to Timmy O's for frozen custard, and then a stop at Nixtamal for some tacos, and then maybe a stop at Leo's Latticini for a sandwich to split with your group, or maybe some Italian pastries at their pastry shop a few doors down (and forget V&V in Woodside). Then continue your route toward the Argentine corner of Corona/Junction Blvd for Argentine goodies (instead of Buenos Aires bakery on Roosevelt). You can get some great empanadas at the corner pizza shop (La Esquina, I think that's what it's called now), and then get your pastries at Rio de la Plata bakery across Junction. Then wind your way back towards Roosevelt. I can't be in that area without stopping at my current favorite spot for Mexican antojitos at Tia Julia on Benham St/Roosevelt. From there, you can continue on your Roosevelt quest.

                I'm not sure how large your group is going to be, but I would probably avoid the real sit-down restaurants, and just stick with places with counter service or street stands, so I would nix places like La Portena, Sripraphai, La Flor, Natural Tofu, maybe even Maharaja for something else.

                I would also go to Pan de Bono Almojabana on 82nd St for their namesake item. Instead of La Portena, maybe get chuzos or chorizos as a street snack or at the Chuzos and juice stand on 79th-ish. Instead of Sripraphai, go to the Thai cafe on the next block of 39th st from Sripraphai. Instead of Maharaja or Spicy Mina, go to Kababish for some kabab rolls (like kati rolls, but made with their freshly baked nan). Instead of Natural Tofu, get some of the takeout items at Han Au Reum at 60th St. A stop at Donovan's for a pint and a snack might be a good option, but if you don't want to sit and eat, you can also go to the Butcher Block in Sunnyside and get something there for takeout. And finally, instead of getting wine in Hunter's Point, go to Lowery's near 40th St, then get on the subway to get to your picnic destination. But I think if you try to fit in everything on your itinerary, by the time you're ready to picnic, it might already be dark.

                9 Replies
                  1. re: E Eto

                    thanks for the info, I agree, buenos aires bakery, not the best choice for argentine goodies!

                    1. re: choclitarian

                      do any of the argentine or uruguyan bakeries sell churros made with corn?
                      I think the Buenos Aires bakery used to have very good churros but not on my last try.

                      1. re: choclitarian

                        Not made with corn, but it's getting warm so be on the look out for the fresh churro carts. They're awesome!

                        1. re: JFores

                          Its been a long time since Ive had a good churro - those on the carts I see in the subways always seem to be stale and cold. Is there a good street location for fresh ones.

                          1. re: jen kalb

                            YES! jackson hts, 98th and roosevelt, across the street from the junction blvd #7 stop. opens after 11am pretty regularly. on the left side if facing east.

                            old fashoned crank unit drops them in hot oil, very nice 3/$1


                            1. re: jen kalb

                              Just passed another fresh churro cart that I've enjoyed in the past. It's on Roosevelt at 86th Street.

                        2. re: E Eto

                          Good suggestions... I might try this and just do Flushing/Corona/JH...

                          I live in Woodside, so the idea is to try to introduce some of my non-Queens friends to the places I go, but honestly I'm a little maxed out on my neighborhood places. And have never been to Corona other than to see a Mets game.

                        3. Don't forget the pan be bono bakery on 82nd St the fact that there is a taco cart on nearly every block, the incredible Uighur Stall in the Roosevelt Avenue Food court as well, Little Pepper, the fact that you HAVE TO deviate in Flushing so that you can eat at Chengdu Heaven (which apparently has all sorts of westerner friendly pictures and menus now :( ), etc. Otherwise the list is pretty good for one street.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: JFores

                            The Uighur stall has been closed for some weeks now, unfortunately. The food court itself, more recently, has been shuttered.

                          2. I'll have to quote a line from "Apocalypse Now" and say that, if you can actually carry out this itinerary, "you'll never have to prove your bravery in any other way."

                            As to whether sliders are "out of place", I wouldn't worry about that. You're pretty much getting in a vast myriad cuisines anyway - so why not some good old American to boot.

                            Consider some carry-along pallette cleansers, to transition perhaps between spicy and non-spicy, and perhaps stopover at a Duane Reade for a value pack of antacid tablets.

                            It's a worthy quest; good luck.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: Polecat

                              I must say, this is the most defeatist I've ever seen CHers be about eating! Maybe it is the economy.

                              I live at the halfway point, so doggie bags are definitely an option, as is taking out a lot and eating takeout in my apartment.

                              I think I'll cut Natural Tofu and Maharaja completely and downgrade La Flor to a see-how-we-feel, and reroute the tour through Corona.

                              I live two blocks from Sripraphai so I can be weirdly blase about it and treat it not unlike a corner takeout Chinese place sometimes. That being said, the point of a tour is to get the full variety and to do that you must have some Thai, and if you have Thai you must have Sripraphai, no?

                              1. re: thinthukgirl

                                thinthukgirl, do you like Thailand Center Point?

                                1. re: bigjeff

                                  I think their noodle dishes..drunken noodles, pad see ew, are quite good unlike Srip, they deliver. Keep them open!

                              2. re: Polecat

                                Polecat, I do not think YOU were being defeatist, I love the quote.

                              3. I'll also add that Sri, with its' vast menu, is an example of a place that would be a trip in and of itself. Hitting a full-on restaurant, especially near the end of a varied food walk such as you are suggesting, would, in my opinion, be overkill.

                                1. Going to Mangal you can't miss the lamuchan, Gyro or Falafel which are fried to order. Though based on your list you'll be stuffed by then, so just get a lamuchan.

                                  They also have very good baklava

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. The Tour finally happened last Saturday, June 27. We lucked out and got a really beautiful day.

                                    Here's what we did (and our ratings - system was a simple 5 star):

                                    Churros cart,, Junction Blvd & Roosevelt Ave., Churros (5 stars)
                                    Buenos Aires Bakery, 90th St. & Roosevelt Ave., Argentinian-style empanadas (4 stars)
                                    Los Chuzos Y Algo Mas, 79-01 Roosevelt Ave., Strawberries & milk drink, carrot juice, arepas with cheese (3 stars)
                                    Maharaja Sweets, 73rd St. and 37th Ave., , Samosa chat, masala dosa (4 stars)
                                    Unidentified Flying Chickens, 72nd St. and Roosevelt Ave., Soy garlic Korean fried chicken, garden salad (5 stars)
                                    Jollibee, 63rd St. and Roosevelt Ave., Halo-halo (4 stars)
                                    V&V Italian Bakery, 62nd St. and Roosevelt Ave., Black & white cookie (4 stars)
                                    Tamales lady, 62nd St. and Roosevelt Ave., Mole chicken tamale (5 stars)
                                    Donovan's Pub, 58th St. and Roosevelt Ave., Cheeseburger, medium-well (5 stars)
                                    Mangal, 46-20 Queens Blvd, Sunnyside, Lahmacun (5 stars)

                                    We were going to take out from Sripraphai and Thakali Kitchen also, but a member of our party got sick. Was very full after and ate minimum amounts of food the rest of the day, but we did it!!

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: thinthukgirl

                                      I should clarify - my friend got sick the night before and didn't come to the tour, that's why we trimmed the itinerary.

                                      He did not get sick eating Queens food!!!

                                      1. re: thinthukgirl

                                        Did the Buenos Aires bakery also carry any other Argentinean goods? I have been craving some Argentinean sausages and now thank to your comprehensive tour, many other goods as well!

                                        1. re: JungMann

                                          La Esquina Criolla has sausages. Next door, Rio de La Plata Bakery has empanada's, sandwiches and other Argie food staples.

                                          1. re: stuartlafonda

                                            Is La Esquina Criolla a storefront or a restaurant? I was hoping to be able to go into an Argentine shop, pick up some morcillas and go back home, but the only Esquina Criolla I'm finding appears to be a restaurant in Flushing.

                                            1. re: JungMann

                                              La Esquina Criolla is an Argentine restaurant. However, unless something has changed, El Gauchito (on the other side of Corona Ave.) sells raw sausages to go. They have chorizo — not sure about morcilla. Don Francisco's butcher shop is another good place for Argentine chorizo; check for morcilla. It's on 37th Avenue between 84th and 86th Streets.

                                              1. re: JH Jill

                                                Yes - Don Francisco has morcilla and chorizo and they're both fantastic.

                                        2. re: thinthukgirl

                                          Thanks for validating my suggestion with the Lahmucan. Srsly, I needed the ego boost. You've GOT to do taco coatzingo, I had mangal for lunch yesterday and think I'm about to drive to coatzingo now. I'm a fat.