Food Crawl Highlights Queens Eateries

To celebrate the integration of food and technology, Verizon Wireless organized an event that put local Queens eateries on the map through a food crawl on Nov. 23.

The new flagship Verizon Wireless store, located at Steinway Street in Astoria, was the starting point of a five-hour foodie-adventure, as a select group of reporters, bloggers and foodies received smartphones to use throughout the day.

Bianca Ogando, directing manager of Verizon Wireless at the Queens/Bronx retail locations, said their mission is to put their customers’ mobile lifestyles front and center, whether it be fitness, music or food.

Leisure.indd“Verizon provides mobile solutions to meet your lifestyle,” she said.

“With the Verizon Wireless Food Crawl, we wanted to demonstrate how technology is intrinsically involved in the way consumers engage with food,” Ogando added. “As the epicenter of ethnically diverse cuisine, Queens offers a perfect setting to explore the food scene through technology.”

We traveled to the chosen restaurants via UberX taxis and along the way to each eatery, our stomachs were nearly full, but we savored the rich flavor while anticipating the new ones.

Before eating, we took to our smartphones to capture the delicacies via Twitter, by taking photos and commenting on the various dishes.

To highlight the growing food scene in Queens, the food crawl consisted of four ethnically diverse restaurants, starting with Greek sweets at Artopolis Bakery in Astoria.

We started on sweet tooth at the bakery that offers an array of traditional baked goods, from Greek Village bread and honey cookies, to baklava, Koulourakia, Kourambiethes and passion fruit mousse.

The baklava, a filo pastry with chopped nuts and honey, was my favorite of them all – not too sweet, so I gobbled up seconds.

The next stop on the route was a refuge to those searching for authentic Thai food. In the shadow of a Thai Buddhist Temple in Elmhurst, Ayada offers traditional family recipes with a pork heavy menu.

After indulging in a papaya salad with crab, a crispy Chinese watercress salad, crab rolls and pad see ew with chicken, we opted to walk to Uncle Zhou’s in Elmhurst.

Uncle Zhou’s is based on a foundation of hand-made wheat noodles with staples such as pork, ginger, garlic, chili and Sichuan peppercorn.

“Uncle Zhou’s spicy crispy rabbit is one of my favorite things to eat in Elmhurst’s Chinatown,” Joe DiStefano, a Queens-based food writer and the founder of Chopsticksandmarrow.com, said.

It was my first time trying spicy rabbit, but my favorite dish at Uncle Zhou’s was the eggplant with spicy garlic sauce and lots of nuts.

Lastly, we indulged in a blend of Quebeco and American cuisine at a cafeteria-style restaurant, M. Wells Dinette, which is housed within MoMA PS1 in Long Island City.

Jonathan Forgash, founder of Starstruck Catering, said M. Wells was an epiphany.

“The oatmeal with seared foie gras, dry fruits, nuts and maple syrup was the most original dish I’ve had in a long, long time,” he said.

The poussin chicken was so rich and tasteful, but the black forest charlotte dessert was the best way to end the day.
UberX is offering free rides and exclusive deals all weekend, starting at midnight on Black Friday. In addition, with an UberX receipt, participating businesses are offering discounted food, drinks, tickets, and experiences all throughout the borough of Queens.

- Trisha Sakhuja