Eat Drink Local Profile #44: Edible Queens

Like us, but about Queens!

The Magazine:

Edible Queens. Our year-old sister publication that covers the borough of diverse deliciousness — and 2.2 million resident diners in tight-knit communities from Astoria to Flushing — to our north.

What They Do:

They celebrate the food culture of New York’s most diverse borough in one beautiful quarterly magazine, naturally! Better yet, during Eat Drink Local week they’ve been doing their own series of Eat Drink Local profiles on the food-makers and sellers in their borough. Some we’ve run in entirety here (like #36, on the Sweet Afton Burger and #27, on Queens farmer Kennon Kay) but you should be sure to read them all on Edible Queens Eat Drink Local page. We’ve also got some excerpts from those they’ve already posted to get you hungry for more.

#1. Editor Jesse Hirsch, on Queens County Farm Museum farmer Kennon Kay: “Kennon Kay is the much-beloved director of agriculture at the Queens County Farm Museum, presiding over two acres of vegetables and a large stable of livestock in the city’s oldest continuously working farm. Centuries before the crew behind Brooklyn Grange hit paydirt in Long Island City, this farm had carved out a 47-acre niche in the far eastern reaches of Queens. Under Kay’s careful eye, the farm produces a full range of organic produce, including eggplants, basil, potatoes, summer squash, melons, beets, chard, celery, fennel, peas, kale, mustard greens and okra (much of which is sold locally, to city restaurants and greenmarkets). She also oversees a large menagerie of well-tended farm animals, including fleece-producing Cotswold sheep, heritage breed pigs, Rhode Island Red laying hens, dairy cows and goats. All the animals are given space to roam and the produce is grown sustainably and chemical-free.”

#2. Contributor Stacy Lazar, on the Astoria tavern Sweet Afton: “The lyrically named Sweet Afton oozes both tradition and progress, much like the neighborhood of Astoria where this gastropub and its part-owner, Ruairi Curtin, dwell. In the year since it opened, Sweet Afton has quickly materialized into an unpretentious bar and restaurant dedicated to the quintessential locavore. The Dirty Pickle Martini is their signature cocktail and also their number one seller, its unique flavor derived from McClure’s Pickles, a family-run production based out of a Brooklyn basement. Each batch of pickles comes with its own unique spicing, the result of which is a deliciously inconsistent drink. If pickle brine sounds less than palatable, try the Red Lemonade, made from citrus vodka, simple syrup, lemon and cranberry. The subsequent sugar kick, Curtin insists, “will wire you to the moon.”

#3. Contributor Alia Akkam, on the Long Island City store/restaurant LIC Market: “Alex Schindler, a Kew Gardens resident raised in Bayside, presides over the kitchen at newcomer general store-cum-café, LIC Market, where he makes blueberry Danish and zucchini and bacon frittatas for breakfast, or caramelized onion-dressed roasted chicken sandwiches and slow-cooked pork with basmati and black beans for lunch. After dining, guests linger in the front of the marketplace, perusing homemade pickles and cashew butter. “The Court Square area of Long Island City was always lacking in food,” says Schindler. “Even to get groceries it’s either C-Town or walking all the way to Food Cellar.”

#4. Contributor Stacy Lazar on the  Long Island City grocer Natural Frontier Market: “For fifteen years, Sonam and Nima Lama have provided the health-conscious consumers of Manhattan and Brooklyn with aisle upon aisle of all-natural groceries and environmentally friendly household products. Natural Frontier Market’s newest location, which opened on May 21 in Long Island City, isn’t unlike the rest, down to its ever-popular juice and smoothie bar. But whereas their best-selling juice blends, like the carrot-apple or the “green” juice (a salad in pulverized form), have come to be expected of Natural Frontier Market, it’s the addition of a charming café that sets the Queens branch apart. Enclosed by a picturesque grass-lined picket fence, the café seats 20-25 and offers a crowd pleasing menu of vegan-friendly lasagna, vegetarian burritos, sushi, salads, wraps, and an entire showcase of locally baked brownies, croissants, muffins and mixed berry breakfast bars.”

#5. Contributor Alia Akkam on Long Island City wine shop Table Wine: “Just shy of a year old, Table Wine in Jackson Heights reels in locals eager to explore a new bottle, say a lesser-known Côtes de Castillon white. “Opening a wine shop is something my wife and I wanted to do for a long time; the idea had been germinating for many years,” says owner Ernesto Vega.”

#6. Editor Jesse Hirsch on the Sunnyside Restaurant Quaint: “Since opening in 2006, Sunnyside’s Quaint has been serving up New American fare featuring a seasonal menu with local ingredients. After cooking in Manhattan for many years, owner Tim Chen opened this casual bistro with fine dining aspirations to fill a void he saw in Sunnyside cuisine. “I tried to create a space that was comfortable for locals to drop in regularly, but with a good enough menu to attract people from farther away,” says Chen. Living only two blocks away, he had a pretty good idea what the neighborhood needed.”

Read the complete profiles here.

Why We Love Them:

They say it themselves best, so we’ll just quote them: Edible Queens is the first quarterly magazine to celebrate the food cultures of our communities. Our passion is to explore the tavernas of Astoria, the food stalls of Flushing, and the pubs of Woodside. To savor the traditional flavors of Thailand, Korea, Cyprus, Colombia, Ecuador, and more. To relive a foreign adventure right in our own backyard. To travel the world, for the price of a roundtrip metrocard.” Exactly!

Where to Find Them:

Like Edible Brooklyn, Edible Manhattan and Edible East End, Edible Queens is distributed freely throughout the restaurants, bookshops and markets of its borough (they’ve got an online list here). They’ve also got much of their content up online here. And you should also be sure to check out their two blogs on the borough, called The Q Nosh, by Alia Akkam, and World’s Fare Blog, by Joe DiStefano.

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