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It's a New York City cliché to live in Manhattan, fantasize about all the amazing food in Queens, and rarely make it there—even though it's faster to get from midtown to Queens than to most Manhattan neighborhoods.
But my month, happily, is filling up with Queens expeditions. It kicked off on Sunday night, when I got home from the beach in time to catch a perfect week-ending doubleheader on the cable station NYCTV: First up, New York Noise, an hour's worth of music videos (that's right, videos! as if this were 1982) from great new bands like Fujiya & Miyagi; and then Eat Out NY, a behind-the-scenes-at-local-restaurants show that devoted its entire Sunday-night episode to Queens. After watching cooks at the German restaurant Zum Stammtisch make an incredibly juicy-looking, beet-juice-and-juniper-marinated sauerbraten (a German braised beef dish) and a beautiful pickled-herring salad, I'm heading to Glendale for some of that asap.
Then, two nights ago, I ate at my favorite NYC Thai restaurant, the widely idolized and not-overrated Sripraphai in Woodside, Queens. Thanks to flawless menu navigation by food blogger Ganda Suthivarakom—whose family is from Thailand—our table of six had outrageously delicious pickled pork spareribs; an unforgettable fried-watercress salad; crispy pork belly with chili and basil; fried soft shell crab with green mango salad; and some of the best papaya salad I've ever eaten, which Ganda requested Thai style, studded with pickled crab and not too sweet.
Next on my Queens list: A little more chili and a little more crab...at the Singapore Chili Crab festival in Long Island City on Sunday, August 19.