Forest Hills, Queens

I’ve lived in the Rego Park, Forest Hills area since 2000.  OR 16 years.  I needed to return to get my mail, and renew my auto registration before heading back out to the good old US of A.

Taco King!  In my old neighborhood, Taco King has been there since 2000. It ain’t traditional Tex-Mex, but the flour tortillas for the steak fajitas ($4) are made daily. Sometimes, freshly, just in time for your order.  The sweet onions and green peppers combined with the juicy, sliced, skirt steak is what I thought the sausage and pepper sandwiches at the baseball ballpark were supposed to taste like.  It is located in the middle of a Bukharan Jewish neighborhood, and run by Asians.  So it’s definitely not traditional Tex-Mex.  After all, they use meat chili for the meat in their tacos.  But that same chili, topped off on their nachos with  grilled chicken, guac, melted cheese, black beans and chopped tomatoes, is awesome. Their quesadillas are lively too, on the same flour tortillas still slightly crispy charred from the grill, w fresh grilled chicken or steak, and fresh (one of great things about food in area) coarse chopped vegetables. It’s a tiny but bright and pleasant hole in the wall on 108th St, a few blocks from 108th St exit on LIE. Plenty of metered street parking, and free if you’re willing to go further than a block off 108th st. Forget taking the subway, it’s at least a 15min non-scenic walk by rows of apt buildings from 3 different subway stops.

(the light for photo is terrible, but the onions and peppers are sweet, the flour tortilla fresh, and steak marinated and grilled)

(It’s not much bigger than this photograph shows, but it’s a friendly atmosphere)

(Super-nachos is what they call it.  Fresh chopped tomatoes, grilled chicken, chilli,guacamole and salsa)

(Quesadilla, my favorite is the steak and chicken, with lightly grilled tortillas)

On the other side of the LIE on 108th St, is the Lemon King Ice. It’s on multiple to do lists on internet for visiting NYC.  In it’s vincinity, there should be multiple Hispanic bakeries with empanadas (savory pastries) or flan (custard) desserts, nearby. I’ve actually never tried the Ice King of Corona. My favorite Italian Ice was the guy rolling a cooler on on a cart, ringing his bicycle bell, on a hot day in a park.  He usually only had pina colada or cherry Italian ice flavors, that was kept cool with a block of dry ice, but that 2 or 3 scoops tasted really good after a few basketball games. I haven’t seen one of those guys in decades.

(If you can’t make it to Lemon Ice King of Corona, remember an Italian Ice is a New York City experience. Get it during the summer where you see it, where it’s expanded to food trucks)

If your from the Miami area, Miller Ale house has a branch in Queens in Rego Park area, off Junction Blvd exit on LIE. No parking except the paid lot inside Costco building. Also near 108th St or Qns blvd exit on LIE. Or 63rd Ave stop on local subway (is it the V and R, or have they changed letters again?). Prime rib special on Thu for $16 below.

(Somehow, all their specials are the same everywhere, even in Rego Park)

Midway theater is located just outside the 71st & Continental subway stop in Qns.  That is the end of the line, for several subway lines, such as R and V.  It’s a favorite neighborhood theater in Forest Hills, but it seems to be struggling to stay relevant in the theater business.  It just upgraded to reclining seats within last few years.  As a business comparison, Sagitos in San Antonio has started serving alcohol and made the concession area lounge-like. But thru it all, the iconic “Midway” sign is still there, fighting thru these changing tastes.

($15 to see a movie nowadays)

In same area, is a restaurant called Cabana, marketed as Pan Latino. It is upscaled Latin American food. It’s the nice restaurant you goto, when you want your date to think you know nice places to eat at. The churassco is a good steak, bigger than at Kane’s but also skirt cut. But what I like there there, they call a Chuletas de Cerdo. 2 perfectly cooked, still tender pork chops in a Mojo garlic sauce, tasting something like Italian dressing, on a searing hot pan. It’s really good if you like garlic and pork chops.

(I don’t know what Pan Latin is, but those pork chops are topped with a savory garlicky vinaigrette, and ending with the flan custard is a delightful realization of what happen if Cuban coffee decided to be a jello)

Nearby, is another Forest Hills favorite, if you like brick oven pizza, Nick’s pizza. It’s not as famous as Grimaldi’s in Brooklyn. But they makes a fine pizza.  I forgot the price point, but they don’t sell slices.  Just whole pies, but as small as a individual serving level.  Oh!  And they make a awesome tiramisu. Definitely get the tiramisu.

(Spinach and pepperoni is my favorite combination)


(This is the best tiramisu)

There is a Starbucks on Austin st. If it’s packed wo no open seats, further down is Red Pipe w plenty of seats, a great cafe o lait, and a barista that sounds like he’s being deadpan sarcastic all the time. Across is Pink Cafe, which is a coffee shop with Asian influence.

If you like bars, there are plenty of bars on Austin St, though not really particularly busy places on a weekend.  Just a quiet atmosphere to get some drinks in.  Maybe watch a game.

To get some shopping in, Qns Center mall is perfectly serviceable with a good food court in basement. Plenty of retail and restaurants around it, along Qns Blvd to pace around the hectic NYC pace. It’s not as big as Roosevelt Fields out in Long Island, but you don’t have to drive out there either. Save a trip to the 3rd or 4th (I forget) biggest mall (Roosevelt Fields) in America for another day.

(Food Court in Queens Center Mall)

(After 7pm the conveyer belt sushi plates are all $2.25. But the good rolls disappear fast)

Need a munchie at midnight? Kane’s is open 24/7. So is Georgia Diner, but while I was away, it uprooted itself, and moved to 51st St.


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