Astoria and A Lot of Peppers (New York, Day 3)

I had a non-food commitment most of my third day in New York, so during the evening we wanted to explore another area close to our base in Flushing. Somewhat randomly, we reached a verdict and headed to Corona for some old-fashioned southern Italian fare at Park Side restaurant. This is one of those places that feels like an institution, a stomping ground of sorts, and while we didn’t have a reservation on a Saturday night, we took up the offer for a table in the bar area. While this gave us some sociological insight into the customer base (men watching the baseball game, women with big hair, and mistaken talk about Obama being Muslim which almost spoiled the meal), I’m not sure it was the wisest of choices. A little crowded, a little noisy, and us a little forgotten and times.

Still, we tried to make the best of our meal, starting with a Caesar salad and then moving on to our respective dishes of linguini with clams and veal with a side of spaghetti. (Whenever I’m in a place like Park Side—which isn’t all that often—I get a comfort food-like craving for red sauce.) Not bad. Flavors were fine, portions were ample, etc. But, with all the other more interesting food in the area, maybe we should have passed on the idea of Italian?

The good news, though, is that it was only Park Side that brought us to Corona. Basically across the street, on the corner, you can find The Lemon Ice King of Corona. This is worth the trip! It’s quite a scene watching the crowds cozy up to the counter to buy the one product that’s produced: Italian-style ice. The Ice King’s been doing it since the 40′s, and I’m sure it was better than any tiramisu or other dessert we could have considered at Park Side.

The challenge was choosing from the big board of available flavors. My partner loves watermelon juice, so she soon settled upon watermelon ice. My decision was more difficult. I’d heard good things about the peanut butter, while something tangy like tangerine was also tempting. And what about the namesake lemon? It was licorice, though, that caught my eye. I love the spicy anise taste of licorice, and was thrilled with the taste. Our ices came in little white cups, and we took them back across the street to the neighborhood bocce court, where we slurped them down while watching the colorful characters heavy in competition. How fascinating to see kids, couples, grandparents, and everyone out late at night in the neighborhood!

A fine evening, but I must not forget to mention that we started the day back at Flushing’s Golden Mall—specifically, back at the Sichuan stall. We couldn’t resist another round of noodles and assorted offal, etc. in red chili sauce. Now that’s my type of food!

Stay tuned for the final full day in the New York City area, plus one going-away meal on day five…

Park Side Restaurant on Urbanspoon

The Lemon Ice King of Corona on Urbanspoon

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