Here's Where the Most Popular Kids in Queens Eat
If you’re into taking photos of your food before you eat, chances are you follow @foodbabyny on Instagram. Three-year-old Matthew (the OG food baby) and his little sister Samantha (freshly 15 months) are well-known for appearing in the background of some of the most delicious and trendy dishes in NYC, but you may be surprised to learn that these little epicureans sleep off their food comas in Forest Hills.
Mike Chau, foodspotter and father of the food babies, was born and raised in Queens, where he met his wife Alexandra (who occasionally makes a cameo) in Flushing. They now live near Lillian Pizzeria, where Chau has been going for slices ever since he was a “foodbaby” himself. With over 5,000 Instagram posts and 1,300 “elite” reviews on Yelp, we figured he could give us some solid recommendations for two of his favorite food neighborhoods: Astoria and Long Island City.
Editor’s Note: We solved the mystery of what-does-this-guy-do-for-a-living and how-can-he-afford-to-eat-out-so-much. Though Chau loves exploring Queens and the rest of NYC for @foodbabyny adventures with his family, he actually does have a full-time job as a software developer. Foodbaby finally launched its own website, so we’re staying tuned for photos and reviews outside of social media.
Photo courtesy of Mike Chau. Animation by Alexandria Misch.
The food here is worth the travel and there's a reason waits for Sunday brunch are the longest: that's the day Donut Diva makes her destination-worthy cake donuts. If you are lucky, you might arrive on one of the special days when she makes her cookies, which also belong on any respectable “Best of NY” list. Save room for all of that for dessert, but don't miss the Atomic Fireballs, mac ‘n’ cheese and chicken & waffles.
From Donnie D'Alessio and the crew behind Queens Comfort, this spot opened last year about a mile away on Ditmars Boulevard. The focus here is on burgers, with a bunch of different options on an always changing menu. Much like QC, the whole experience here is fun, including frequent appearances by live DJs and arcade cabinets in the front and back.
A staple for Greek food in NYC, this is the original location that still draws crowds though there is now a newer location in the East Village. The Grilled Octopus is the absolute must here.
Confusing name aside (its three locations are in Manhattan and Queens), the two Astoria locations often draw long lines on the weekends for their excellent bagels. Look out for their weekly specials if you want something different, like Oreo or Pizza Cream Cheese.
Home of "The Bomb", an Italian Combo the size of a small baby, this no-frills deli is a must try.
LONG ISLAND CITY
Go Ramen Go Life (Ramen Shack)
People seem to either love or hate the Ramen Burger, but the acclaim for creator Keizo Shimamoto's bowls of ramen here is universal. Located conveniently off the F train (pretty much in Queensbridge Projects next to the impressive Nas mural), the small ramen bar is a destination definitely worth traveling for. The Ramen Burger can be enjoyed in a number of different varieties (like the Fuji Pineapple Burger) along with rotating specials and must try off-menu bowls.
READ MORE: Learn about Keizo Shimamoto and Go Ramen Go Life in our winter issue.
A great pick for BBQ, especially the burnt ends and rib tips. Get one of the impressive sandwiches, too, like the Philippe Deluxe, piled high with pulled pork, cheese and french fries.
The often crowded Michelin-starred Mexican restaurant is a must try. Everything from the tacos to the mole de piaxtla is worth calling ahead to make a reservation for.
Another destination-worthy ramen spot, Mu has been deservedly drawing crowds and long waits ever since they started as a popup out of a nearby bagel shop. Get there early when they open for a chance to try Josh Smookler's amazing ramen (especially his rich Tonkotsu 2.0) or specials like the Foie Gramen, which consists of a foie gras infused broth and a dense matzo ball as good as any Jewish deli. The often-changing small plates menu is just as worthy of a visit, including the must try signature U&I Bowl.
Some of the best gelato in NYC can be found in a coffee shop on a quiet street in LIC. Owner Peter Zaharatos makes a long list of flavors himself, ranging from perfect versions of classics like Dark Chocolate and Nocciola to more out there but equally tempting flavors like "The Cat's Meow", a maple syrup, whiskey and walnut gelato with crushed pecans.