Fanescas in Queens may be more diverse than finches in the Galapagos. My story on Ecuador's beloved Easter-season soup, and a list of restaurants, cafes, and food trucks where you can try it, appears on Culinary Backstreets.
Founded in 1897, the empire of Bronx-born Jahn's (rhymes with Chan's) once numbered more than two dozen ice cream shops, most of them in the greater New York area. Odd-sounding sundaes were a specialty. But the 2007 closure of the Richmond Hill location (shown in the first photo below) left only a single Jahn's, in Jackson Heights (second photo).
To help make ends meet, the owners filled out the diner-style menu with a typically broad bill of fare, but there's still room at the counter, or in a booth, if you just want to grab a cold one. There's no hurrying a vanilla malted, however, when you order it extra-thick ($6.25), like this.
Jahn's 81-04 37th Ave (81st-82nd Sts.), Jackson Heights, Queens 718-651-0700
A first look offered little clue: No name, no menu, and for the moment no one in sight. Only a roll of paper towels, and the bagged outline of stacked disposable cups, suggested that this cycle belonged to a street vendor and not, say, to an urban forager.
I imagine, in retrospect, that at this midafternoon hour the vendor must have been spending a few moments in conversation inside the neighboring Carniceria Hispanoamericana. It's the busiest meat market in the immediate area, according to another nearby merchant. Early some mornings, he added, restaurant vans pull up out front while Jewish and Greek well as Hispanic retail customers line up on the sidewalk.
Another clientele might be attended by a coffee cart; here the pick-me-up of choice is the oatmeal drink called avena (ah-Vay-nah, small, $2). Especially when served from a dipper, avena often includes little bits of oats at the bottom of the cup. This fellow's avena, dispensed from a spigot — attached to a sizable thermal container that I never have seen uncovered — is hot, pale, milky-smooth, cinnamon-sweet, and flake-free.
Vendor's cycle under wraps 37th Ave. near the southwest corner with 89th St., Jackson Heights, Queens Most days, morning and afternoon
(This venue is closed.) The chive box at Qing Ling brought to mind a meal from some weeks earlier. Let no one say that Cholsum's chive momos (also shown below in their pristine form, eight for $6) skimp on the filling.
Like the Kathina celebration of Thailand, the Kahtein celebration of Myanmar is an occasion for lay Buddhists to pay respects to the monks of the local temple. The congregants offer robes, food, and other items to the monks, and share food and fellowship themselves. Since this congregation's temple is small, their rather intimate celebration was held in a public school cafeteria. The sole main dish on offer, mon di (shown) could be enjoyed in many permutations; my post from a previous celebration explains further.
Kahtein celebration of the Buddhist Missionary Society P.S. 69, 77-02 37th Ave. (77th-78th Sts.), Jackson Heights, Queens 718-821-2580 www.BMSNY.org/activities (The 2016 celebration was held on November 6)
Pupusas aren't knife-and-fork food. These stuffed Salvadoran tortillas, even when dressed with hot sauce and the piquant purple slaw called curtido (evidently a homemade batch in a repurposed tub), are easily managed with fingers only. Slicing my just-griddled pupusa ($2.50), however, helped cool the still-bubbling cheese, offered a peek at the companion filling of imported fresh chipilín, and made room for negotiation. Trade you a slice of mine for a slice of your calabaza!
H/T Jeff Orlick (private communication)
Pupusa stand outside Iglesia La Luz del Mundo 37-36 92nd St. (Elmhurst-Roosevelt Aves.), Jackson Heights, Queens 646-643-0027 www.Facebook.com/LLDMqueensNY Friday, 4:00-10:00; Saturday, 10:00-11:00
Beer lovers, as well as beer, are the subjects of this cleverly crafted advertisement. Victoria's well-established tagline embraces both: "orgullosamente Mexicana" ("proudly Mexican") applies not only to the lager but also, by association, to the people who enjoy it, whether in their home country or abroad.
The headline, however, speaks specifically to Mexican expats in the United States. "Perdón," it asks, we know that your next beer run won't be to "tu tienda de la esquina" — you're savvy to the language of the "convenience store."
Victoria Beer billboard 72-46 Roosevelt Ave. (72nd-73rd Sts.), Jackson Heights, Queens