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Aug 11, 2010 01:28 PM

Woodside redux

Moving back to the area after some time away (this time closer to the Sunnyside side), and figured I would fire up a general Woodside post since the previous one is getting quite old ( Any major developments over the last year or so worth noting? Downhill or uphill alerts, new joints, major closures, etc? I offer a few of my own observations interspersed with a few questions.

-The brilliant tamale vendor (Antojitos Mexicanos) seems to be gone. In fact I saw the actual cart with a for sale sign on a sidestreet. Is this the usual summertime tamale break, or a real closure?
-Kathmandu Spice is excellent, but the hours of this Nepali (really Tibetan)-Brazilian joint are totally unpredictable. Seems to be closed as often as open.
-Tia Julia, the folks behind the top-ranking JH/Corona Cemita truck, has a storefront in Woodside and apparently delivers. Is the quality up to the level of the truck?
-Basmati Table in Sunnyside, a fairly new gringo Indian joint (not a dining desi in sight), is actually pretty good and not too overpriced for a sit-down place. Certainly not a patch on the standbys in Jax Hts in terms of price or food quality, but solid food and decent atmosphere, plus BYOB.
-Has a consensus emerged on the best 61st St Mexican truck? Have heard good things about the 65th St one, is this still worth trying?

-Any decent fishmonger in the area yet? Used to go to the sushi/fishmarket place on Roos/low 60s in a pinch, but now that place is closed. Still the closest reliable market I know of is Seatide on Roos/90s. Anything closer?
-Is there a place around to buy bulk grains reasonably (brown rices, quinoa, millets, etc)? Jin's on Roos/~60th has a few things, but spotty selection and fairly high prices.
-Where do people buy alcohol? I usually stick with 5 Star near Roos/Woodside crossing for wine and booze. Halfway decent selection of wines, though they need to work on liquor (rum and tequila, for example, are dead zones). Have yet to find a place around with anything like a good beer selection.
-Cheese: had a look at Sapori d'Ischia, but stuff seemed to be sitting around for a while and prices were unclear. What are people's standbys for good hard cheeses (romano, parm, etc) and cheeseplate fare beyond the massmarket grocery stuff?

Excited to hear replies to the above and any other thoughts people might have to offer.

dacoit fka elbev

Antojitos Mexicanos
61-17 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11377

Tia Julia
91st St and Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372

95-31 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372

Tia Julia
68-06 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11377

Basmati Table
46-11 Skillman Ave, Queens, NY 11104

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  1. yeah, the ~65th street truck - cuatro vientos - is awesome. I think my fav mexican place, el paso, closed down. and Liltle Manila is getting very interesting with fiesta grill, fritzies, payag and maybe others to come.

    1. Even though technically sunnyside, not woodside, have you been to Superior Market on queens blvd and 40th st? Great beer selection. Also, there is a little market on the corner of skillman and 46th that has a pretty solid selection.

      1. Agree with Jeff, the Cuatro Vientos truck is outstanding -- definitely worth a visit.

        I also like the 5 Star wine store. Never had a problem finding rum there; Mt Gay, Goslings, and Myers are my usuals, and I'm pretty sure I've seen Appleton's there as well. More exotic than that you might not find, but that's a decent selection. Additionally, I've always found the staff there very helpful. If there's something in particular that you're looking for, they'd probably be willing to order it.

        The fish shop on 63rd/Roos has been gone for several months. The plywood around the old storefront is relatively new, which to me implies construction going on inside. Recently we've been getting fish from the Grand Fish Market in Elmhurst. For sushi, I go to Tomo in Jackson Heights (37th Ave near 86th St) about once a week.

        86-12 37th Ave, Queens, NY 11372

        1. Not much to add from the previous thread, but the noteworthy Mexican places are still Tia Julia, Cuatro Vientos and the Tacos y Quesadillas Mexico cart under the tracks at 61st St/Roosevelt. However, Cuatro Vientos is open from 9pm into the wee hours. The Woodside Tia Julia is as good as the truck. During the afternoons, the other two spots are worthy of a stop. I'll add Izalco for Salvadoran to that list. It's often overlooked, but they do serve pretty solid fare.

          For most of my shopping I head over to Jackson Heights. For fish/seafood, I usually trek over to Jackson Heights to Chonghap Korean market, and sometimes to Pacific market if I can't find what I need at the Korean market. While 5 Stars is decent for the neighborhood wine shop, if you want something more interesting, check out Table Wine on 37th Ave (near 79th St) for a more boutique experience. They seem to handpick a limited number of quality wines at reasonable prices. They also carry a good line of hard liquors. For most other things that I need for the pantry and staple items, I get on the Q53 bus from Woodside to the Forest Hills Trader Joe's at Metropolitan/Woodhaven Blvd.

          64-05 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11377

          Table Wine
          79-14 37th Ave, Queens, NY 11372

          1 Reply
          1. re: E Eto

            Have eaten and enjoyed the cemitas at Tia Julia many times. Has anyone tried any of the weekend specials there?

          2. I agree that Izalco is great, and will have to try out the 65th St truck. Had a taco at the 52nd St one last night, and it was good but not great. Excited to check out the new Philipino places - have heard great things about Payag (though its well west of Little Manila as I understand it).

            E Eto, are the JH and Elmhurst fish places you mention better than Seatide? If not, might as well go the extra 10-20 blocks (not a big deal on cycle or subway).

            Thanks also for the wine and beer suggestions. Was not trying to cast aspersions at 5 Star - I like the staff a lot and go there regularly. Jiangmaster, those are exactly the rums I have seen there, and for me having only one rum worthy of sippin' on the rocks (Appleton's, which is only sometimes there) is weak.

            64-05 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11377

            95-31 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372

            51-34 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11377

            2 Replies
            1. re: dacoit

              What other rums do you prefer? I'm always looking to broaden my horizons. And, of course, if I see them in the area I'll happily report back.

              Fish: apparently a lot of markets are closed on Sundays, so I checked out Seatide after seeing your mention above. It was, um, less than great: tuna was nearly brown, salmon looked a bit hacked up. I don't think I'll be going back there.

              95-31 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372

              1. re: jaingmaster

                Thanks for the report, jiangmaster, the scene you witnessed at Seatide sounds grim. I have gotten decent whitefish (snapper, basa) and shellfish there before, but stayed away from the tuna, which looked as you describe. In any event, it is a sad situation if they are one of the better options in the fairly large swathe of Queens from Sunnyside to Corona. Need to try the places EEto mentions.

                As for rum: Definitely worth broadening horizons. There are a lot of excellent añejos from most of the Caribbean littoral (the cane-producing areas at least) which many regard as on par with fine whiskeys and need nothing more than a rock or two, and maybe a squirt of lime. Some of my favorites are Barbancourt (Haiti), Ron de Barralito (Puerto Rico), Diplomático (Venezuela) and Appleton (Jamaica). Most of these brands also make cheaper white rums for mixing, but the premium and aged ones stand on their own. The US market for high-end vodka, whiskies and, to a lesser degree, gin and tequila has boomed in the last decade or so. This has not happened as much for rum, which makes for better values on many of the premium varieties you do get here. In any case, the selections I tend to see in Woodside are slim by most standards. Not entirely sure why this is, but it might be the lack of significant market demand (not many folks from the Caribbean or Central America in these parts). Let us know if you do see anything interesting.

                95-31 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372