Let’s take a walk, shall we?
On any given Sunday, I take a walk up to Austin St. in Forest Hills for a few reasons. Partially to get some exercise and fresh air, partially to check out what’s new in the area, and partially just for the heck of it. It’s a nice brisk walk and there’s always something to buy!
First stop is always Sakura-ya, especially if I haven’t eaten lunch yet. I like to wander around inside and browse the Japanese market for all sorts of goodies, most great for bento. They have a small section of bento supplies, though I find their stuff a bit expensive (and honestly, I think I really do not need more bento stuff!), but they also have Japanese curry bricks (of which I’m a huge fan), frozen udon, frozen gyoza, frozen Japanese treats (such as curry udon), frozen croquettes for frying up for bento or just for lunch… they also have sashimi grade fish (which admittedly does not look as fresh as my markets in Manhattan, so I haven’t bought any of this yet), various kinds of tofu, seaweed salad, even burdock root! While a lot of their prices are a bit high, I consider it the little premium I pay for being able to purchase this stuff so close to home. And though I can’t speak to their authenticity, the clientele there tends to be Japanese people – I often hear the store owners speaking Japanese with their regulars.
What I’ve found myself going back for each weekend, though, is by the register… on the counter. They sell onigiri, which you know I love, and is a quick, inexpensive, filling lunch or snack.
Spicy tuna, tuna with mayo, salmon, seaweed, and on one recent visit, a shrimp tempura one. $1.49 except the shrimp tempura one, which was $1.79. The prices aren’t bad, about comparable with the ones in Manhattan, and the taste is about the same. Not bad at all, and close to home 🙂
On another recent visit, I saw this sitting on the counter as well. I can’t read Japanese, and had never seen anything like it before, so I shyly asked what it was. Curry pan!!! (Bread with curry insides.) I was so excited I almost dropped everything I was holding to grab one.
The inside. It was pretty tasty, though it reminds me of “curry gok” (a Chinese bakery item)… the spicing is similar, anyway, though this was much bigger and the outside chewier. I would definitely get this again, although I haven’t seen this since then, sadface.
I’ve also seen freshly made croquettes and “pork pancakes” on the counter, it just varies all the time what they have. I’ve liked the croquette much more than the pork pancake, which wasn’t quite flavorful enough for me, sadly.
Next, after I scarf down my quick and cheap lunch, I make my way across the street diagonally to Natural Market.
Half of which is an organic, slightly upscale grocery, the other half of which is pretty normal. Their prices seem pretty normal for this style of store, but I always go straight back to the left, where the “butcher” stand is – I put it in quotes because it doesn’t seem like they will cut all meat to your specifications, I’m not sure. From the first time I went, I was asking “Do you have duck breast?” and I was told to check back in a few days. I checked back every week for about 5 weeks – half a duck; whole duck; smoked duck breast; finally:
A bit pricy, but I had the duck I wanted, anyway! They have a decent cheese selection as well though let’s be honest… Cheese of the World is much better since it isn’t pre-cut and packaged up, just waiting for you.
In good weather, I might stop by Uncle Louie G’s as I walked back for an Italian ice – I like FDNY cherry the best, with its little bits of maraschino cherries.
I’m forever eyeing this place, wishing it would open already so I could have a fish market. I’m desperate for a fresh fish market, and a butcher in this area, so if any realtors or businesspeople are listening… please open a damn butcher already. Thank you.
If I’m looking for cheese, or if I’m with the BF, I might stop by Cheese of the World here, just to grab some stuff for dinner ….. or a living room picnic while watching a DVD 😉 … and if we’re doing that, definitely a quick stop by Martha’s to pick up some tarts or cookies!
Ahhh… this is one of only two locations for this chain of Chinese bakeries that are located in non-Asian neighborhoods. Cheap baked goods and delicious bao is my kind of place. If you’re familiar with the area, I’m obviously making my way back home at this point… I pick up a week’s worth of breakfast here usually for about $5 – steamed bao from the case next to the register. I freeze them and just microwave one in the morning for my breakfast, and at 95c a piece, you can’t beat that.
Last but not least, because the grocery store closest to me (a block from me, literally) sucks big butt, I usually stop by
if I have anything that I know I need, some bread, ground pork, small things. I don’t like to carry too much back, and I don’t want to push my grannycart all the time 😉
After all that, it’s time to go home, unload my goodies and start cooking up a storm, whatever moves me!
In the summertime, I would bring my boyfriend with me and drop him off at the comic book store that is above Corfu Grill, where he’d happily wait until I was done running my errands. Occasionally, we’d grab a bite to eat at Nick’s – or Corfu Grill – or Mardi Gras – or Cheeburger Cheeburger – or wherever struck our fancy. And yes, we catch movies over at the Midway all the time.
I’ve told all of my friends this, and I’ll say it again: I love Forest Hills, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to buy a place – young couples or singles. It’s a great investment and I can’t emphasize how wonderful the area is, with lots of things to do and eat. I have great expectations for how much more will come in the future, as the bad places are weeded out…
73-05 Austin Street
72-56 Austin Street
Uncle Louie G’s
72-23 Austin Street
Cheese of the World
71-48 Austin Street
70-30 Austin Street
Fay Da Bakery
107-50 Queens Boulevard
105-02 Queens Boulevard