For this Nashville–born, Phoenix–raised and New York–based self–described food encyclopedia, it’s always been about eating (early childhood memories include gnawing on dried beef called biltong at a South African beach). After posting around 600 Yelp reviews as a teen, Rachel Rummel decided she would write about food until someone paid her for it. That happened when she landed a contract to work with Gastro Obscura — media and travel company Atlas Obscura’s food division — writing for their New York Times bestselling culinary adventures guide. She moved to New York, eventually fell for Queens, and put down roots there after walking the entire length of Line 7, with strategic snacking built in from Long Island City to Flushing: “The 7 may seem to travel across Queens, but it has a knack for transporting passengers to Asia, Europe and Latin America, too.”
Gastro Obscura’s Rachel Rummel takes us on the 7 train and shows us where to eat.
Rachel’s 5 Spots in Queens
Santa Chiara, Long Island City —This café across from the ferry landing on the East River waterfront has delicious pastries and the best gelato I’ve had in New York. I love the hazelnut and pistachio. You expect these flavours in Europe and never find them here because it’s too expensive to make.
Bolivian Llama Party, Sunnyside —People get takeout from their window outpost or eat at the covered picnic tables out front. Order brisket chola sandwiches and the peanut soup, and you can add extra brisket, too. You might think, “I don’t need to if I’m getting a brisket sandwich,” but I think you do.
Dawa’s, Woodside —The father–daughter team does authentic Himalayan food really well, like their Bhutanese pork chili. But flip over the menu and it’s kale with fresh ricotta or a Russian–dressing–topped burger. You can have all of it at once, everything comes with different breads and they’re all homemade. Maybe add a tamarind, gin and Tajín–spiced cocktail, too.
Birria–Landia, Jackson Heights —We are far out there. You’re going to this year–round food truck for birria — meat that’s marinated in vinegar, dried chilies, garlic and herbs, and then braised. This is Tijuana style, which means it’s beef instead of the traditional goat. Pick a format for the tangy, spicy stuff, like a tostada or tacos, and dip it in little bowls of consommé the meat is stewed in — it’s the platonic ideal of the dish.
JUQI, Flushing —You’re in the middle of Flushing, at the end of the 7 where three trains converge, it’s wild. Then you get to this Beijing–based restaurant in a mall where it’s incredibly serene. Malls are retro now, you wear your low–rise jeans and get Peking duck with glass–like skin, melty fat and tender meat. Also, the rabbit–shaped mashed potatoes will make your anime dreams come true.