Tag: Flushing

Flushing foray

Friday, February 1st, 2008 | All Things, Eats

So engaged over dinner at Flushing’s Spicy & Tasty that I failed to snap even a single photo the entire evening. (The one below was taken at Main and Roosevelt the following morning.) If I had, though, there would be shots of the refrigerated case near the entrance, where it was all we could do to reign ourselves in from loading up on the appetizers alone. After perusing the array of options — rabbit tendons were tempting, but Arctic surf clams don’t seem like a natural choice for a restaurant whose cuisine is based in landlocked Sichuan province — we opted finally for the “Sliced Conch in Red Chili Sauce,” the “Cucumber in Sesame Oil Sauce” and the “Sesame Cold Noodle.”

Fortified with cooling bottles of Tsingtao, we moved on from there to the “Spicy Double Cooked Pork” – a classic regional dish in which marbled slices of pork belly, i.e., uncured bacon – yes?, are boiled then flash-fried in hot, chili-spiked oil, and served over a mound of leeks. Wikipedia traces the origins of the dish to the Qing Dynasty, when a group of Sichuan villagers repurposed their leftover pork in a desperate attempt to create a feast for the visiting Emperor. He enjoyed it so much that “Twice Cooked Pork” became a signature dish of the region.

We knew we had a hit when a quick perusal of the dining room showed the same dish on almost every other table.

And then, because we could not resist, another classic: the “Smoked Tea Duck,” literally in Chinese, “camphor tea duck.” This dish is prepared by smoking a marinated and dried duck over camphor tea leaves and twigs — a process which imparts a dark color to the crisp skin and a strongly, unique flavor to the meat. Another winner, though, by meal’s end, we could hardly manage more than a couple pieces each.

And yet, somehow, there’s always room for dessert at Sweet n’ Tart. And on the ride back into Manhattan, some carefully considered discussions over where to find the best fast food in country. (Hmm, Wendy’s — really?)

Oh, I do love food — both the high and the low.

Main Street New Year

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Dinner at Ocean Jewels

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007 | All Things, Eats, Family, Friends

M & LL were back in town after spending the holiday in Alexandria with the newlyweds, so the family gathered in Queens once again for a post-Christmas dinner with our visiting friends.

I never eat better in Chinese restaurants than when my parents or their Hong Kong compatriots take command of the ordering. I can’t even replicate the meals on my own if I try; half the time, those same dishes don’t seem to appear anywhere on the standard English menu to which I’m most often relegated.  This cold, wet evening we all met at Ocean Jewels Seafood Restaurant, located across 39th Avenue from the Flushing Mall. (One day I’ll have to devote an entire post to that kitsch and foodie paradise.)

The upscale Cantonese-style restaurant was previously known as Gum Tong Gung and before that, I think, East River… though it’s difficult to keep track among all the changes in downtown Flushing. I’ve seen it most often touted for its impeccably fresh seafood and beautiful assortment of dimsum, though the food is very good across the board; most peak meal times you’ll find Ocean Jewels jammed with a predominantly Chinese clientele, though of course, all are welcome.

Ocean Jewels

Tonight, we shared the restaurant with a wedding party in progress. The sounds of karaoke filtered in from the adjacent banquet room, adding to the overall festive atmosphere. (At least I’m pretty sure it was karaoke. Either karaoke, or a not-particularly-talented wedding singer.)

On to the food! Dried Scallops with Yellow Chives Soup:

Dried Scallops Yellow Chives Soup

I noticed that Ocean Jewels has a lotus-leaf-wrapped version of the sticky rice/Dungeness crab dish that I love of late, but tonight, our crustacean of choice was the Lobster with Ginger and Scallions:

Lobsters w. Ginger and Scallions

Sauteed Shrimps with Crystal Sauce:

Sauteed Shrimp

And because it seemed cruel to delay further everyone else’s meal with my obsessive photo-taking, here’s the rest of the spread, which included Crispy Fried Chicken (with Pringles, which nowadays seem to be the go-to stand-in for shrimp chips), House Special T-bone Steak and House Special Baked Sable Fish (or as it appears on Nobu’s menu: Black Cod.)

Ocean Jewels spread

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