This past weekend, I walked around Long Island City for the first time. The reason for my visit was Gantry Plaza State Park, but I ended up having one of the best Italian dinners of my life.
Like usual, my day started by driving to the Newport Centre Mall, parking my car and catching the PATH train into Manhattan. Like I typically do, I got out at Christopher Street to take an obligatory stroll along Bleecker Street. Since I had not been there in more than one month, Royce Chocolate and Bisous Ciao were obligatory visits. At Royce, I bought my usual Champagne and Au Lait. At Bisous Ciao, they had the best selection I had ever seen in my dozens of visits since 2014. I bought a box of 12.
From there, I walked to Jacques Torres Chocolates (SoHo location), where I bought a box of 12 chocolates. Although I’d walked past the NoHo location before, I never bought anything because it was around 90 degrees outside and I had a full day of walking ahead of me.
I typically don’t eat Thai food in NYC because there are so many good places in Pennsylvania, but my friend that was traveling with insisted that we try a Thai place (with a five star rating on Yelp). Since our plan was to catch the F train from W 4 St-Wash Sq station, we found a place off of West 3rd Street with a four star rating on Yelp. Khao Thai Kitchen opened recently near NYU. They offer 1 free Thai Iced Tea or Ice Coffee if you check in on Yelp. My friend and I shared a mango salad with shrimp as well as a seafood paradise. It was just enough to hold us over until dinner time since we didn’t have lunch until after 2:00.
As we walked towards the W 4 St station we came across Kulu Desserts on West 3rd Street. It looked somewhat interesting to me, and my friend insisted we stop. I got the mango Pomelo and my friend got the Mixed Fruit with Glass Jelly. I’d recommend trying Kulu. They also have a location in Flushing as well as one between Sunset Park and Bay Ridge in Brooklyn, just steps away from the 8 St N train stop.
We finally boarded the F train to 42 St and then took the 7 to Vernon Blvd-Jackson Av. I read about Gantry Plaza State Park on Time Out New York’s web site and had been interested ever since. I wanted to go last month, but ended up visiting Brooklyn instead.
We walked west on 50th Ave., which leads right into the park. It was a challenge to put my camera down. Amazing shots of Roosevelt Island, Midtown Manhattan, as well as the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge were at every turn. We walked north to the 11th Street Basin and then took 46th Street east back to Vernon Blvd. I’d been hearing about the Long Island City Flea & Food for a while. Unfortunately, it was closing by the time we walked past it. Another example of going to see one thing, but stumbling upon another. Since I love going to Corona and Flushing, I will definitely check out the LIC Flea & Food next time I go in that direction.
Since my friend chose our lunch spot, I was in charge of our dinner plans. My understanding of Long Island City is that it’s an up and coming area, but I never associated it with a specific ethnic food or group. However, as we walked along Vernon Blvd, the Italian places kept looking better. After passing a couple, I decided we should forget about my idea to take the F train to 23rd St and eat at the nearby Grimaldi’s and instead try a place in LIC. I chose Testaccio between 47th Road and 48th Ave. Our server was from Italy, which is always a good sign. We shared a Carpaccio Di Manzo, Gnocchi alla Sorrentina as well as a mushroom risotto with truffle oil, which was one of their specials. This place was as good as any Italian restaurant I can remember (not including places I only visit for pizza). It reminded me of a place I ate at two nights in a row in Florence back in 2006. Between this restaurant and the LIC Flea & Food, I definitely have a reason to come back to this neighborhood.
After dinner, we took the 7 to the F to 23rd St to get the PATH back to Jersey City. Well, before we could do that, I had to stop at La Maison du Macaron. Like Bisous Ciao, they had the best selection I’d ever seen there. I love anything with pumpkin and macaron shopping is always great in the fall because most macaron shops offer chestnut and pumpkin inspired flavors.