So, I’ve officially been a Sunnysider for nearly seven days now, commuted to and from work successfully for three out of those seven, and am generally settling into the neighborhood. Naturally, for me, that means checking out the food. Unfortunately, Menupages.Com only covers Manhattan and Brooklyn, so I’ve had to resort to Yelp.Com to familiarize myself with the local cuisine. It’s one thing to walk past a storefront and take note of the name, it’s another thing entirely to know if the kitchen is worthwhile. The Yelp reviews, while limited, do help a bit. Several new places have sprung up since I last lived in the area, and, of course, there are several old places that I’m not familiar with because I was such a basketcase when I moved here initially that I didn’t venture beyond a three block radius.
This time around, I’m determined to be more adventurous.
I have actually made the effort and gotten takeout twice this week (I know, I know, not cost effective. Sue me.). First, from Dee Thai at 46-17 Queens Blvd., because I was craving Thai food liek woah. I have a basic Thai restaurant test: The pad thai test. If you screw up something as basic as pad thai noodles, odds are your restaurant isn’t worth a damn. And I think I’ve mentioned before that I have bizarre standards, thanks to being spoiled rotten by Phan Shin, the local go-to in my hometown. So, the last time I had pad thai, from Red Curry in the city, it scarred me for life. It was pathetic. Luckily, the same cannot be said for Dee Thai’s version. It was delicious. The portion lasted me two nights. The chicken was perfectly cooked and in small pieces in so as to mix with the noodles and the sprouts, not sit there like chunks on top. I also got fried tofu, which you’d have to pretty dumb to screw up. It came with a delicious peanut chili sauce that might have to go on my Condiment Lick list. Further testing must occur. ;)
Then, tonight, I broke down and made the trek down to De Mole, on the corner of 48th Avenue and 45th St. It has tons of reviews on Yelp and is apparently considered THE best Mexican restaurant in the area. Now, with a reputation like that, how could I not try it out? I actually have to give myself credit because I’ve been looking at restaurant write ups for the last four days and it took me that entire stretch of time to break down and hightail it to De Mole. I tried to resist, I really did. I paced. I angsted. I told myself I could eat a variety of Lean Cuisines I had in my freezer. But, alas, the lure was too great. So a brisk five minute walk took me to the tiny but really cute and neat restaurant. It’s not a hole in the wall at ALL. I kept my order basic (at some point I clearly have to try their mole sauce, see if it’s lickable, etc.), and just got tacos pastor, which were pork and pineapple tacos, and guac and chips. Is the guac as good as El Rio Grande’s? No. In fact, it could benefit from some more salt and chilis, but it was still good. And the homemade chips had the salt that the guacamole didn’t. (Cautionary note: If you have paper cuts or you clipped your nails too closely, the chips will sting.) The tacos, meanwhile, were great. The marinated chunks of pork had a distinctly pineapple-y flavor, there were bits of actual pineapple, too, along with chopped onion and cilantro, and there were two soft tortillas on each taco instead of just one, which definitely helped the structural integrity. Verdict? Muy bueno! Definitely worth the hype. It’s good, it’s cheap, and it’s filling. I’ll be going back to try other dishes, like their enchilada con mole poblano, their coconut flan, etc.
But not that soon. Freezer. Lean Cuisine. Etc. I must try to be strong and space my fits of gluttony out.