Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Weekend In Queens

I was invited to be the date of my college roommate at a Long Island City wedding last night and, being the type of person who never passes up free food or booze, I was obliged to attend. No one should ever expect anything good from wedding food, even if the event comes billed as "fancy." Wedding food routinely fails to impress. I should know. This was my twelfth wedding since 2005.

Actually, the central conflict of a wedding I attended over the summer revolved around an overcooked steak that I politely passed on. I was accused of being a bad guest and I don't take criticism well. These days, I push the food around to conceal my distrust of banquet food.

Given the fact that I entered last night's soiree with diminished expectations, things could really only look up. So I was pleasantly surprised when a moist red velvet wedding cake (the ultimate Magnolia Bakery cliche, I know) made an appearance at my place setting. I can unequivocally say that the cake--threaded with layers of cream cheese frosting--was the best wedding cake I've ever had. That, and the somewhat majestic view of the city, unencumbered by any familial or other obligations, made the night very worthwhile.

Today's Queens adventure would have been the perfect remedy for a hangover had I overimbibed last night, which, incidentally, I didn't. A drive to Flushing yielded brilliant dim sum at Gala Manor (right off Main Street, for the intrepid). Baby clams came swimming in a thick and salty brown sauce. Stuffed shisito peppers and soy sauce were fresh and bright. Several varieties of dumplings (shrimp, mushroom and shrimp, vegetable and shrimp, pork and... shrimp?) and a weird mochi stuffed and fried with something unidentifiable were the makings of the perfect brunch.

Twenty-five dollars poorer--perhaps the steal of the century, FYI--we ventured to the Flushing Mall, where my friend begged me not to cruise the stalls of the food court. But I had to. And left vindicated, honey dew bubble tea in hand. My friend had never tried a bubble tea herself but I won her over.

My conclusion, weekend's festivities done, is that one can spend a perfectly awesome weekend in the boroughs without even touching foot to island. I'm no anti-Manhattaner, but maybe the perfect respite for winter city blues lies on the other side of the river.

Gala Manor
3702 Main Street
Flushing, NY 11354

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