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What is the ultimate nighttime Queens walking food adventure?

Hi, it's been my dream for a few months to take a subway to Queens one night around 8-9PM, and get off somewhere that would allow me to hit a bunch of fantastic places over 1-3 hours. I saw an article about a guy running these Queens late night food tours in the newspaper, but I can't seem to find it and I bet I could get some recommendations here to just do it myself. I figure I only need maybe 5 good places located within a mile of each other. Hopefully the recommendation would include the one dish to have at each place, as more than that and we will get too full!

My preference would be an area where I could hit as much country variety as possible in a small distance. I would also prefer to avoid Chinese (unless it's extraordinary and right on the route), as I don't really have a problem navigating Chinese food.

Thanks so much for your help, and let me know if you want to come! If I get some research done today I'd like to take my first trip this Saturday night!

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  1. I'd contact the following licensed NYC Tour Guide below, Myra Alperson:

    http://noshwalks.com/

    Edit; you could also construct your own tour from this recent thread:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/826623

    2 Replies
    1. re: scoopG

      Thanks for the tip, I'd prefer to avoid Flushing, though. I lived in China for years and while all of these places are great, it's not special for me. I'd really like to figure out where to go in Astoria, Rego Park, Corona, etc.

      1. re: jkramer

        Astoria, start at Artopolis, pick up some pastries/cookies (coconut baklava, melomakarona) to increase strength and stamina, walk over to Stamatis for excellent mixed meze and calamari and wind up at Trattoria L'Incontro for anything with short ribs in it (short ribs with seppia and polenta).

        -----
        Trattoria L'Incontro
        21-76 31st St, Queens, NY 11105

        Artopolis
        23-18 31st St, Queens, NY 11105

        Stamatis
        29-09 23rd Ave, Queens, NY 11105

    2. Not sure if the Sainted Arepa Lady is still plying her delicious arepa de choclo on Roosevelt Ave in Jackson Heights, but even if she's not, a stroll from 74th St to about 103rd Street on Roosevelt at night can be a real treat if you like Mexican/Columbian/Ecudaorian street food.

      -----
      The Arepa Lady
      Roosevelt Ave and 79th St, Queens, NY 11372

      3 Replies
        1. re: diprey11

          i'd suggest taking the 7 train out to 96th street and then walking west on roosevelt until you hit queens blvd in sunnyside. this will take you through jackson heights/elmhurst, and woodside. continue west on queens blvd and walk through sunnyside until you get to about 42nd street and then jump back on the 7 or keep on walking across the queensboro bridge.

          1. re: diprey11

            Thanks, I think this is actually the guy I read about in the newspaper! It looks good and it does seem like he is the only one running these types of tours at night and on a regular basis at that. It sounds like a viable option, although it looks like I have enough info here to piece together a good walk on my own. I will write back if I go out with this guy and let you know how it went. Definitely like the niche he is pursuing.

        2. If I were going to do a nighttime tour of Queens, I'd definitely stick to Roosevelt Ave. Make sure it's either a Friday or Saturday night for the best eating. I'd probably start around near 74th St, and get a kabab roll at Kababish ($3; 73rd/Broadway) or a quickie chaat at many of the options around there (I've always like the papri chaat at Maharaja Sweets and Snacks; $4; 37th Ave/74th St). Then I'd turn up Roosevelt, but I'll likely be distracted by the clack of the cleaver chopping up the carne asada at the El Gallo Giro taco cart in front of Roosevelt station, or the good generous portion of lengua in their tacos ($2 each). But then a block later, in front of the Chase Bank at 75th, I'll be drawn to the huitlacoche quesadilla at the Sabrosa Tacos y Quesadillas cart, and if I find some room, I'll also get a carnitas taco and spread some of that habanero laced onion slaw condiment ($4 quesadilla, $2 taco). I'll be tempted to stop in at Taqueria Coatzingo, but I'll resist since I'm on foot and want to eat on the run, and knowing full well that I can come back if I'm not full when I loop back, and rest my feet. If it's still before 10pm, then I'll know the Arepa Lady is probably just getting set up and I'll save some space later when I loop back. But maybe I'll get a batido and a chuzo at the corner chuzo stand at 78th(79th?) just to tide myself over for until my next snack. I might also stop in at Cositas Ricas and get a baked item, like an almojabana or buñelo, but I'll resist because I know at 82nd St, I can drop in to Superavena Pan de Bono and get a hot almojabana right out of the oven ($2), and maybe a sweetened coffee if it's a cold night. Or I might grab a tamale from one of the several ladies selling around there if they're still around, but it might be too late in the evening since it's mostly a morning snack. If I'm feeling really naughty, I might duck into the Korean-run seafood fry shop and get a small plate of fried fish and a soup to warm me up. I might then head further east and grab a little something from the new incarnation of the Tacos Guichos cart on 84th(ish). But I'll first glance up Roosevelt to see if the quesadilla cart is out in front of the closed supermarket and see if they have those potato and chorizo quesadillas that were like comfort food. Then I'll see if the guys at Tacos Mexico around 87th/88th have set up their al pastor stand in front of the restaurant, or if they're serving up esquites. If I don't find them, I won't be flustered and head toward the 90th St/Elmhurst Ave station and get something sweet or a coffee at Buenos Aires bakery. Not my favorite place, but sometimes they hit the spot. But by the time I get to around 90th St, I'll be really excited to be near the Tia Julia truck where I can get one of their huge, messy cemitas de res. Then I'll make my way towards Warren St and do an eeny-meeny-miney-moe and choose one of the Ecuadorian trucks and maybe get something light, like a soup or ceviche, rather than one of their enormous meat plates. When i get to Junction Blvd, I'll see if Rincón Criollo is still open for a cubano or medianoche and a cafe con leche. I'll then check the time and see that it's way past 10 pm, which means I must head back towards the Arepa lady. I'll be able to work off some of the calories by speed walking toward 79th. I'll have to order both an arepa con queso and an arepa de chocolo because I can't figure out which I like better. I'll make my way back to 74th St and make that pit stop at Taquería Coatzingo after all for that great al pastor and birria de res tacos. I think I'll call it a night after that, but maybe I'll make one more stop at Kabab King Cafe and get something to take home from their always fully stocked steam table. Maybe I'll do that, or maybe I'll check out Astoria...

          -----
          Taqueria Coatzingo
          76-05 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372

          Kabab King Diner
          73-01 37th Rd, Queens, NY 11372

          Rincon Criollo
          40-09 Junction Blvd, Queens, NY 11368

          The Arepa Lady
          Roosevelt Ave and 79th St, Queens, NY 11372

          Cositas Ricas
          79-19 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372

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

          Buenos Aires Bakery
          90-09 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372

          Kababish
          7064 Broadway, Queens, NY 11372

          Maharaja Sweets and Snacks
          7310 37th Ave, Queens, NY 11372

          Tacos Guicho
          Roosevelt Ave and 84th St, Queens, NY 11373

          Pan de Bono Almojabana
          40-23 82nd St, Queens, NY 11373

          El Gallo Giro
          Roosevelt Ave 74th St, Queens, NY 11373

          6 Replies
          1. re: E Eto

            This looks awesome, E Eto! Thanks for this feast-on-the-go!

            1. re: E Eto

              Fantastic E Eto! Now that's a walking food tour. Looks like I'd be stuffed by the time I left Taco Guichos! How long do you think this would take with 3-4 people?

              1. re: E Eto

                As usual, Eric, great stuff. But what closed supermarket are you talking about? The Bravo, or whatever it was, between 85th & 86th has been converted into a much-more-inviting Mi Tierra with a great selection of Latin American produce and even a fish counter.

                -----
                Mi Tierra Supermarket
                85-15 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372

                1. re: JH Jill

                  Thanks for the update, JHJill. To answer ScoopG's question, it could take anywhere from 2 to 5 hours or even longer, depending on your pace and consumption. And since I haven't been living in NYC for almost a year now, I was simply reminiscing.

                2. re: E Eto

                  Great suggestions by E Eto. I would only add stopping at Coatzingo Bakery and getting a few pieces of some of the most outstanding Mexican bread in town. Try their conchas, gusanos, acordiones or hojaldre with a cup of steaming champurrado.

                  -----
                  Coatzingo Bakery
                  76-11 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372

                  1. re: chilerosa

                    And some flan to take home as well. There are a few other good panaderias along Roosevelt, but they probably aren't open at night.

                3. Great question and great answers; would love to hear back from the OP.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: chowbie

                    Thanks for reminding me! I have been out to Queens three times since this thread started and still have a lot of these recommendations to try out. Here were some of the highlights:

                    1) Astoria - got off at ditmars blvd, went to Stamatis (Greek, very good) and Trattoria L'Incontro. I was just blindly following the recommendation so was surprised to find it a high end Italian restaurant. They said they are the highest Zagat rated restaurant in Queens at 27 for food. It really was a special experience although $100 for a few tastes. The waiters have 50 different specials memorized, and next time I look forward to returning and saying "Just give us a meat, a seafood and a pasta." and letting them do the rest. This would be a great date spot, and the shortribs were incredible. Afterward the bakery Artopolis was closed so we walked down Steinway st past the BQE to Little Egypt and had some hookah and tea after dinner and picked up the 7 train again. It was a great walk and a really interesting neighborhood. RECOMMENDED.

                    2) Jackson Heights: I've been twice so far and am getting it down to a good process- this neighborhood has so much. Since I'm usually meeting friends coming from different parts of the city, our meeting point is Cafe 75 on Roosevelt between 75 and 76 for a few cocktails to warm up for the walk. It seems a quieter dive bar than the place right next door, and their booths in the back provide a good staging area for a table full of Chowhound printouts and smartphones.

                    We have been starting off with Indian food since it's so close to the subway. If you haven't been, a great walk is to head up 74th to 37th ave, make a left (possibly hit Haat Bazaar, below), then come back down 73rd which will lead you into Kebab territory.

                    If you want to make an additional stop, Haat Bazaar (not mentioned in this thread: 3711 73rd st) has unbelievable Bangladeshi food. The goat biryani was the most flavorful biryani I have ever had. On earth. We also had a fish and chicken dish that were also earth shattering. In any case, you will leave a different person. I can't remember the names of the dishes we had but you can see all the food they have and just point out a few items. For large groups it they'll open up the private dining room upstairs (we had 8 people).

                    For Kebabs, here is my recommendation: split up your group on the corner of 73rd and Broadway. Have one party go to Kebabish and order a Gola Kebab, and the other half go to Dera across the street (not mentioned in this thread: 7209 Broadway) and get the Bihari kebab and then plan to split those between 4 people. These two kebabs are amazing. If you end here, your trip will already be worth it. The Reshmi kebab at Dera is also very good.

                    Now head back down to Roosevelt Ave and start the latin part of the food tour: El Gallo Giro had fantastic lengua (tongue) tacos. We hit up the huitlacoche quesadilla at the Sabrosa Tacos y Quesadillas in front of the chase bank at 75th st (it was good.. but not mind blowing like the other items mentioned so far). At this point the pace of walking has to really speed up because it's a race against time before you get full! We didn't find many of the carts mentioned above, and the Arepa lady is on twitter and hasn't tweeted about coming out since October. Tracking her from last year shows that she appears to take off between November - April (to head to warmer climates?). We went to Tacos Mexicanos around 88th st, they did not have an outdoor cart so we sat inside for tacos - big mistake, it just takes too long and you begin to get full. They were so-so. By this time the Buenos Aires bakery was closed, but we did check out the ceviche on warren st, and Rincon Criollo for a cubano and cafe con leche while we waited. Note that this is also a sit down restaurant and while they did make our sandwiches they pointed out that it's really a lunch thing for them.

                    By this point you're at junction blvd, you've passed millions of places that you'd like to come back to, and hopefully you spent a few dollars on a selection of Indian sweets on 74th street to sample on the way home on the 7 train.

                    Other things we did in jackson heights were Sripraphai thai food (6413 39th ave) which was amazing, but it's a sit down restaurant. We also went to the himalayan yak restaurant - we were impressed that it was open until 2am, had a live himalayan band (who covered The Beatles pretty decently), and had a whole drink list of "Yaktails" - - but as we were ready to order the waiter noted, almost as an aside that "Oh, we don't have any yak today. It's not yak season." wtf?? The food we got wasn't great.

                    Here are some final tips for anyone who wants to get some friends together to do this. First, make sure everyone really understands what the plan is. For many people, it's just extremely unnatural for them to have a few bites of flavor at each place and they get more and more anxious to sit down to have a "real dinner" - we lost a few good people to these temptations. Second, really work hard to control how much you order. Ideally you would be doing this not in February but at a time when it would be comfortable to order 1 dish from each place as takeout so you don't have the awkwardness of going to sit down restaurants with 8 people ordering 1 dish... or the tragedy of caving in and ordering more than you should and getting full after 2 restaurants.

                    I am starting to favor the method of splitting the group up to go order things at different restaurants because sitting everyone down in one restaurant waiting for food really cuts into your momentum.

                    There appears to be some fantastic dive bar opportunities in this neighborhood as well.

                    Best of luck, and thanks so much to everyone who helped make this possible.

                    -----
                    Rincon Criollo
                    40-09 Junction Blvd, Queens, NY 11368

                    Trattoria L'Incontro
                    21-76 31st St, Queens, NY 11105

                    SriPraPhai
                    64-13 39th Ave, Queens, NY 11377

                    Stamatis
                    29-09 23rd Ave, Queens, NY 11105

                    Kababish
                    7064 Broadway, Queens, NY 11372

                    Dera
                    72-09 Broadway, Queens, NY 11372

                    Haat Bazaar
                    37-11 73rd St, Queens, NY 11372

                    Tacos Mexico
                    88-12 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372

                    Cafe 75
                    75-18 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372

                    El Gallo Giro
                    Roosevelt Ave 74th St, Queens, NY 11373

                    La Quesadilla Sabrosa
                    Roosevelt Ave 75th St, Queens, NY 11372

                    1. re: jkramer

                      Great! Thanks for reporting back. What time did you start and when did you finish? How much per person did you spend?

                      1. re: scoopG

                        Our meeting time at the bar has been 7:30PM and we head out at 8pm after a drink or two and allowing people to be inevitably late. Note that I was there on a Sunday night and Wednesday night - many people here advised to go on a Friday and Saturday, so the point is it's probably better on the weekends, but it is absolutely worth going on a weeknight in the middle of the winter! There seems to always be a lot of activity. We probably finish around 10:30pm or so, ridiculously full. While the bakeries close early, I didn't get the sense that we were cutting it close with the restaurants or food carts.

                        When we had 8 people every place we stopped seemed like $4-$8 a person, so it was a great deal. Tacos are usually about $3-$4, and if you're really disciplined you're splitting one taco per two people so that you can keep trying more! The Indian places were a little more expensive, and once you're in a sit down restaurant you're also tipping, paying tax, etc. So it does add up.

                        1. re: jkramer

                          I've been out to get arepas from the arepa lady during the winter months, so you'll likely find her, but she's only out on Fridays/Saturdays after 9pm (10pm to be safer). Sorry you made the mistake of going into the Tacos Mexico there. I wouldn't recommend it either. I only go to the stand in front if they have it set up since they have served some good al pastor when they're out there. Also, too bad you didn't care for the huitlacoche. I guess it's not for everyone. Did you try the bihari kababs at Kababish as well? I liked Dera just fine, but hard to go there when Kababish is just easier.

                          If you're closer to Woodside at night, I'll recommend the Cuatro Vientos taco truck on Roosevelt/67th after 9pm for some of the best carnitas, suadero and really good lengua tacos in the area. Also for Thai food after regular restaurant hours, both Zabb and the place a couple door down (I forget the name) is a Thai restaurant with a bar, both serve decent Thai food (Roosevelt/72nd). I don't remember what time they're open until, but you can also get your cubano fix at El Sitio (Roosevelt/69th).

                          -----
                          Zabb Elee
                          71-28 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372

                          El Sitio
                          6828 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11377

                          Kababish
                          7064 Broadway, Queens, NY 11372

                          Dera
                          72-09 Broadway, Queens, NY 11372

                          Los Cuatro Vientos
                          Roosevelt Ave and 65th St, Queens, NY 11377

                          Tacos Mexico
                          88-12 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372

                          Playground
                          71-30 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11377

                          1. re: E Eto

                            Playground next door is the one. They are best at their salads. They usually open late, like at 4 or 5pm. and stay open until after you go to bed. The karaoke bar underneath, Taitoon, definitely deserves some love. The American songs are few, but they are there, and when you sing one the whole audience willl know the song, so that's good.

                            FWIW, the owner of Playground was the original owner of Zabb.

                            -----
                            Playground
                            71-30 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11377