Chef, writer, glutton, Queens resident. I, Sara Markel-Gonzalez, am, or aspire to be (ok I never aspired to be a glutton, it just happened), all of these things, and usually at different times. But as 2009 ended, I began to wonder if there was a way to combine what I am and what I love to do, along with my need to have a project of some sort. I already blog about what I cook and eat at Fork in The Road. But this is different. I needed not just a project, but a challenge, and it came to me late one night just before New Year's Eve. Aha! An eating challenge! Here it is:
I intend to dine out at as many restaurants and street vendors that are located under the 7 train in the borough of Queens in the city of New York as I can (and can afford while jobless). This is to take place in the year 2010 and I will write about each experience. The parameters are strict: I must travel from west to east, beginning at Sunnyside, where the train is still over Queens Blvd, and continuing on Roosevelt Avenue, as the street numbers rise through Woodside, Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, and Corona, to the final destination of Flushing, where it meets Main Street. There may be an occasional foray into Long Island City territory, but with the exception of Sunnyside, I am sticking with Roosevelt Avenue, the longest stretch of the 7 train. Luckily for me, I live right in the middle, in good old Elmhurst. The minimum number of meals to be eaten is 60 (this is just the minimum, but I am paying for this myself, so if this sounds too tame to you, I kindly remind you that I am currently unemployed).
My goal here is not to be a food critic. Having been on the other side, I understand all too well what it is like to have a bad day in the kitchen. What I aim to do is expand my own knowledge of food, and write about what I learn.
I am fully aware that there are many great restaurants all over Queens and in every neighborhood, and I may be extremely limiting myself by not going a block or two off of the avenue, but I need to have some sort of structure otherwise I will never be able to accomplish anything. I am sure that I will break my own rules here and there. There are no rules about cuisine, however. In fact the object is to try as many different styles and types of food as possible.
I welcome suggestions, criticism, comments, recommendations. I can't do it alone, so all of you experts out there on what to order at, say, The Himalayan Yak restaurant in Jackson Heights or Hornado Ecuatoriano in Elmhurst, or perhaps Quisqueya Dominican Restaurant in Corona, please speak up! Thanks and Happy New Year.