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Jun 15, 2013 05:21 PM

LIC Food and Flea

Took a little trip to Long Island City to check out this new weekend thing - a parking lot in LIC, full of food vendors and craft stalls. Today was the kickoff and apparently it will be going on every weekend this summer. Some interesting stalls and a good showing from restaurants/vendors in Queens (Astoria and LIC mostly). However, many vendors didn't seem to have the hang of catering to a crowd - some were cooking to order, which made for incredibly long waits. Also, there was a marked lack of beverages available - the line at the one lemonade stand must have been 50 people deep at one point. Worth checking out if you're nearby - the 7 train to Courthouse Square is probably the closest stop.

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  1. LIC Flea was a lot of fun. I feel like there were some misses though. There was no covered seating and when the sun is directly overhead and beating down on you, it is unbearably hot. Many people took cover in the shadows of walls. Not exactly the most comfortable way to eat.

    The pricing is a little out of whack, things were generally too expensive for a food stall in a parking lot. $15 for lobster rolls at Maine Lobster, $7 for two ribs at the Asian BBQ stand, $9 for two slices of brisket at Butcher Bar. The only thing I felt was worth the money I paid was a slice of blueberry pie at Daly Pie. I would have been better off going to John Brown Smokehouse and getting a decent amount of meat and a table to eat it at. The ribs at Hakkasan cost less for the amount of meat you get. That's just crazy. The lobster roll had cartilage was smaller than Pearl Oyster Bar's and didn't taste nearly as good. It was roughly seasoned and didn't have enough brightness. I did like the bun and that it had little mayo but the overall quality was just ok. The Taiwanese wrap at Outerborough was probably the best tasting thing I had there other than the pie, but it was pricey at $7 when Nan Xiang's Niu Rou Jia Bing is bigger, meatier and less expensive.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Pookipichu

      I don't think you get it. eating al dente is the cusp of what's cool right now. and in order to be cool, you have to spend dollars$$$

      1. re: Jeffsayyes

        The crowd at LIC Flea was pretty down to earth, seemed much less "trying to be cool" than Brooklyn Flea, where some of the people are just trying too hard. The vibe was very friendly, neighborly. But the food is a lot better at Brooklyn Flea. I think there's potential tho, LIC justs need to iron out some kinks and bring down the prices a notch so that it's less expensive than eating at a comfortable restaurant. If I dish out $15 at a food stall, I expect a platter of delicious food and not 4 oz of meh.

        1. re: Pookipichu

          I agree, I felt the prices were far too high for what was served. A friend of mine got an okonomiyaki that was maybe 3" in diameter, meatless and cost her $6. Seems a bit of a rip for 10 cents worth of cabbage.

          I also agree that the vibe was somewhat less hipster than what I would expect in Williamsburg, although it was definitely heading in that direction. I may go again later in the summer, on an overcast day, to see if they've worked out the kinks.

          1. re: biondanonima

            Pretty much agree. Was nice to walk around but the only thing I splurged on were pickles - though that didn't feel much like a splurge! They packed them in tight! Great horseradish pickles if you like horseradish from the guys in the back. I was going to get something at the Butcher Bar stand to see how it compared to the restaurant but I decided not to when I saw the prices.

            I don't think it was overly hipster nor did it seem to be heading in that direction! LIC hipsters in general seem far friendlier and more "real" than the Williamsburg Flea bunch. Then again, as a bearded man who goes to flea markets in LIC, maybe I count as one? (no, not at all, I swear! I'm a total nerd and I'm nowhere near funky enough to be called hipster!)

            Maybe because Queens > Brooklyn...? *ehem*

            1. re: Wildman496

              You're lucky you passed on the Butcher Bar stall.... NOT a good value, I was shocked. Two slices of brisket, cut in half so you have four 1/2 pieces. $9. Not to mention, John Brown brisket tastes better. The brisket at Butcher Bar is overseasoned like they are trying to cover the flavor of the meat instead of enhance it.

              The mark up at all the stalls is just whack-a-doo, unless LIC Flea is charging an arm & leg for the stalls, I don't understand why the food is so expensive. Even if it was perfect 2 slices of brisket is not worth $9.