The countdown for Labor Day is on and we’ve got three weeks to wear white pants and flip flops and cut out of the office early on Friday afternoons. While New Yorkers everywhere mourn the disappearance of Water Taxi Beach at Hunter’s Point, we’ve still got the Rockaways for sand and surf. Anywhere around the borough you happen to be, you can find plenty of casual summer fare, perfect for hot days and nights, to keep that feeling of summer going right up to the end.
Image source: karlnorling on Flickr
There’s been a lot of happy buzz about Motorboat & the Big Banana, located at the Rockaway Beach Club at the Boardwalk. A venture of Brooklyn’s Vinegar Hill House’s Jean Adamson and Lindsay Robinson, who came from Diner (also in Brooklyn), it’s a low-brow fry shack that serves up very high quality grub (and check out this video of their food). The menu is simple: Motorboat offers ‘po boys,’ fried shrimp and fried fish sandwiches and french fries with honey mustard or curry ketchup. If that’s not enough, they’ve got frozen bananas dipped in chocolate and sprayed with peanuts and sea salt. Bluth family, eat your heart out.
If you’re in Glendale, grab a cone or a scoop at Artisanal Creamery, at 66-40 Myrtle Avenue, where owner Vita Longo churns gelato, ice cream (any which of the flavors can be made into milkshakes) and sorbets on site. All the usual flavors are there – mint chip, coffee and chocolate fudge brownie, but also specialties like strawberry cheesecake and hazelnut. At any given time you’ll see fresh fruit being prepared for a recipe – she sells mango sorbet in half mango skins and coconut sorbet in coconut shells to go. While it may be proper to put this treat on a dish and eat it with a spoon, you can also just hold it and go.
People swoon over the expertly-made iced coffees at the Queens Kickshaw at 40-17 Broadway in Astoria, and not just because of the heat. The strong, chocolatey stuff is cold brewed for 24 hours from sustainably grown beans such as Guatemala Huehuetenango Huixoc or Colombia Tierradentro, roasted by Coffee Labs in Tarrytown, NY. Plus, you can get your cold brew to go in a growler – $11 for the first time and $8 for all following fill-ups, thus insuring that you’ll never be without. Or stay put and enjoy one of their signature grilled cheese sandwiches, which are some of the best in Queens.
Angelina D’Angelo has been making delicious hot dogs for 51 years, so it makes sense that her rolling restaurant, Dominick’s Hot Dog Truck, is consistently rated among New York City’s best. Dominick’s steams its caseless Sabrett dogs and its sauerkraut, sautées its onions and puts all of that together in a toasted bun. The truck is always parked on Woodhaven Boulevard at 67th Street in Rego Park, along the leafy St John’s Cemetery, and there’s usually a chair or two for customers who want to eat on the sidewalk. Incidentally, Angelina’s husband runs an italian sausage truck that’s just a few blocks away.
Bareburger is a bustling, happy burger joint with Queens locations in Astoria, Forest Hills and Bayside (the original location is actually in Astoria on 31st Avenue). The tone is casual but the selection is serious – you can choose patties of beef, bison, ostrich, wild boar, lamb, elk, turkey or chicken, and vegetarian options, as well as sides such as fried bread and butter pickle chips set up with an impressive array of dipping sauces. Everything is organic and humane, and the staff is friendly and happy to answer questions.
It’s impossible not to include Benferamo, “The Lemon Ice King of Corona” on a summer eating list for Queens. Benferamo is at 52-02 108th Street, conveniently close to Citi Field Stadium and Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Whether you’re there for a Mets game or to see a match at the U.S. Open, it’s worth the walk. The flavors are numerous – cantaloupe, rum raisin, watermelon, peanut butter – with a smaller sugar-free section. Grab a cup or take home a gallon.