Tag Archives: Queens

Uncle Peter’s – Jackson Heights, Queens

Uncle Peter’s – Jackson Heights, Queens – October 10, 2015

Happy birthday, Tony! To celebrate our friend Tony’s birthday, we had dinner at Uncle Peter’s. Uncle Peter’s…

“is a restaurant located in Jackson Heights, Queens offering an eclectic menu with influences from Italy, Spain & France.  Our philosophy is to serve quality food using fresh ingredients. We take pride in providing impeccable service in a warm and comfortable atmosphere.” (http://www.unclepetersrestaurant.com/, 2015)

To start, we shared three appetizers. I ordered the goat cheese fritters. My husband ordered the grilled calamari, and Tony chose the stuffed smoked salmon. The goat cheese fritters were breaded balls of goat cheese. They came with sliced mango and honey to dip them in. They were creamy, but they were missing something. Even with the honey, the flavors did not mesh well for me. My husband’s grilled calamari came with grilled zucchini in a balsamic sauce. The calamari was well prepared. The zucchini was still slightly crisp, which was a nice contrast to the calamari’s texture. The sauce was mellow in flavor and it did not overpower the other flavors. Finally, Tony’s appetizer consisted of smoked salmon (a surefire way to this Jewish man’s heart) wrapped around avocado, shrimp, baby arugula, and capers. The were a lot of flavors and textures happening in this dish: smoky, salty, peppery, creamy, and crisp. It was a fresh new way for me to have smoked salmon beyond bagels and lox.

Appetizers from Left to Right: Goat Cheese Fritters, Grilled Calamari, and Stuffed Smoked Salmon

Appetizers from Left to Right: Goat Cheese Fritters, Grilled Calamari, and Stuffed Smoked Salmon

For my entrée, I had the Pollo alla Francesa with a mixed garden salad on the side. The dish was two breaded thin chicken breasts sautéed in a buttery white wine and lemon sauce. The chicken was moist, and the sauce had a great balance of butter, wine, and lemon flavors. I sopped a lot of it up with bread after I finished the chicken. While I am not a huge fan of extra salt, the side salad’s vibrant greens were well dressed in oil and vinegar and lightly salted. The crunch of the salt added texture as well as a touch of flavor.

Main Photo: Pollo alla Francesa Inset Photo: Mixed Garden Salad

Main Photo: Pollo alla Francesa      Inset Photo: Mixed Garden Salad

To cap it all off, my husband and I shared a slice of tres leches cake (pronounced trehs lay-chehs). This cake, which means three milks cake, is made with evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy cream. The cake itself was light, fluffy, and not too sweet. That was fine because the sauce made with the milks was perfectly sweet. The strawberries added a nice, slightly acidic touch to balance it all out.

Tres Leches Cake

Tres Leches Cake

The meal came to roughly $40.00 a person. It is one of the pricier restaurants in Jackson Heights, but it is good for a special occasion.

Accessibility Rating for Uncle Peter’s

I used my wheelchair to visit Uncle Peter’s.

  • Entryway – 1: There are two wide doors at the entrance: an exterior door separated from the interior door by a vestibule. I was able to get through the door itself without a problem. There is an extremely tall step at the entrance.  They do have a portable ramp at the restaurant, though it is in no way Americans with Disabilities Act complaint. It is very short, so it makes an extremely steep angle when set down on the step. After three attempts, we were finally able to get me inside, but this was only after removing my anti-tip wheels from my wheelchair. My husband had to pull me up the ramp backwards, and had I not had my seatbelt fastened, I would have fallen out of my wheelchair due to the ramp’s extremely steep angle. It was unsettling to say the least. Exiting was just as harrowing because my chair flew down the ramp, even with my husband holding onto it, and then, my footrests crashed directly into the sidewalk.

    Entrance with very tall step

    Entrance

  • Bathroom – 3: The women’s bathroom is the accessible bathroom. The men’s room is up one step just past the women’s room. I used the women’s room. There are two grab bars around the toilet. I could not get close to the sink due to a tall, wide vanity underneath it. The faucet has one short handle. The space is brightly lit. I was able to make a 180º turn within the space while in my wheelchair.
  • Walkways/Space – 3: The space is small, even moreso when the restaurant is crowded. This was the case when we were there. The area just after the interior entrance door is tight, and I had to make two consecutive 90º turns to get past the bar to get to our table. People had to stop dining and get up out of their seats so I could get to our table. They had to do the same when I used the bathroom and when we left. I was able to fit comfortably underneath the table while seated in my wheelchair with the footrests lifted up. Each table is brightly lit by recessed lighting above. The pathways are not as well lit. The restaurant was moderately loud due to it being crowded and background music being played while we were there.

    Left: Interior View Looking Toward Rear of the Restaurant Right: Interior View Looking Toward Front of the Restaurant Very crowded in both shots, and every seat at every table is occupied

    Left: Interior View Looking Toward Rear of the Restaurant      Right: Interior View Looking Toward Front of the Restaurant

  • Staff – 2: Were it not for one staff member who helped get people out of my way when I used the bathroom and exited the restaurant, this score would have been lower. He took it upon himself to clear the path for me each time. A chair was moved away from our table so I could sit at the table in my wheelchair. Beyond that, the management clearly did not have a true understanding of accessibility, as evidenced by the horrible portable ramp. The management is responsible for purchasing an appropriate, ADA compliant ramp. Furthermore, the staff kept rushing us to finish, but they did not do this to other parties who had been dining there much longer than we had. Additionally, I was never asked how the staff could best meet my needs as a person with a disability. This was particularly disappointing, as I made the reservation for our dinner in advance where I alerted them to the fact that I would be using my wheelchair to dine there.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.



Uncle Peter's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Aroma Brazil – Jackson Heights, Queens

Aroma Brazil – Jackson Heights, Queens – September 3, 2015

Aroma Brazil is a welcome addition to the Jackson Heights food scene. Brazilian food is a new cuisine to an area dominated by restaurants serving either South Asian food or food from Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.

The food is served buffet style. In addition to the buffet table, there is a window where patrons can order from a list of barbecued meats. If you only take food from the buffet table, it costs $5.99 a pound. Barbecued meats are $6.99 a pound. There are also options available for dessert, including a passion fruit mousse for $4.00. I did not try it this time, but I may have to go back for it in the future. You can dine in or take food to go. We picked up food to bring home, but I still did a full review as if we dined in.

I only took food from the buffet table: shredded greens, roasted vegetables, quinoa, roast chicken, breaded fish, sausage, and black beans. It came to just over $8.00 for all of that food. Overall, the food was quite tasty. The greens were bright green, and had a pleasant garlic flavor. They were a bit tough to chew. The roasted vegetables were cooked just right. The quinoa had the surprising addition of raisins, which I thought I would not like, but I did. The beans were a hearty and savory complement to the sweet quinoa. The chicken was a bit dry, probably from sitting in the warmers on the buffet. What I liked very much was that the food was not too salty, as food from a buffet can sometimes be.

Background: Window with Aroma Brazil Logo Top Left Inset: My Meal Bottom Right Inset: Buffet

Background: Window with Aroma Brazil Logo      Top Left Inset: My Meal      Bottom Right Inset: Buffet

Accessibility Rating for Aroma Brazil

I used my wheelchair to visit Aroma Brazil.

  • Entryway – 5: There are two wide doors. There are no stairs at the entrance.  The transition from outside to inside is smooth.

    Entrance

    Entrance

  • Bathroom 3: The bathroom was difficult to enter and exit at the time we were at Aroma Brazil. The reason for this was that there was a table and chairs for four placed directly in front of the door. While the door was quite wide, the table and chairs had to be moved quite a bit to allow me to enter and exit. There are two grab bars around the toilet. I could not fit underneath the sink while in my wheelchair. The sink has short faucet handles. I was able to make a full 360º turn in the bathroom in my wheelchair. The bathroom was brightly lit.
  • Walkways/Space – 3: The interior space has some tight spaces where I had to be very careful not to bump into objects. I almost burned my elbow on the buffet counter because it was quite hot and at the height of my elbow while in my wheelchair. I got too close to it, and I immediately felt the heat and quickly pulled my elbow away. This is something the owner(s)/manager(s) need to consider to prevent injuries. Additionally, had my husband not been with me, it would have posed an additional challenge in terms of serving myself from the buffet. The space is brightly lit, and while there was some background music, it was relatively quiet at the time we were there. I was unable to fit underneath the tables, even with my footrests lifted up.

    Left: Looking Toward Rear of the Restaurant Right: Looking Outside From Dining Room

    Left: Looking Toward Rear of the Restaurant      Right: Looking Outside From Dining Room

  • Staff – 2: There were no offers of help from any identified staff members. I hoped that the staff would have offered to help me get food from the buffet table, but this did not happen. The gentleman who helped my husband move tables and chairs so I could access the bathroom appeared to be either a manager or owner, but we were not sure. That is why I gave a rating of a 2 instead of a 1.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


Click to add a blog post for Aroma Brazil Restaurant on Zomato

100th Post – Burnside Biscuits – Astoria, Queens

100th Post – Burnside Biscuits – Astoria, Queens – August 28, 2015Yellow and orange starburst against dark blue background with text stating "The Disabled Foodie's 100th Post" and The Disabled Foodie logo of cartoon man in wheelchair holding a sandwich

Thank you for helping me reach my 100th post! Without you, I would not have gotten this far.

There has been quite a bit of talk about Burnside Biscuits, the fried chicken and biscuits restaurant recently opened by the creators of Bareburger. This includes a mention on Eater in the article, “The Hottest Restaurants in Queens Right Now, August 2015. ” There is always intense competition in the NYC food scene to see who makes the best fried chicken, and now Burnside Biscuits is entering theirs into the arena. According to their website:

“While the excitement and diligence continues for Bareburger with global expansion, they have decided to roll up their sleeves and dip their hands into the world of southern comfort… [Burnside Biscuits] focuses on giving back to the community that raised its founders while celebrating local, organic sourcing. Burnside offers a new twist on the classic comfort foods. Fried chicken, biscuit sandwiches and wood-fired vegetables, all from a scratch-kitchen…” (http://www.burnsidebiscuit.com/about-momentum/, 2015)

Fried chicken and biscuits! What a great way to kick off a weekend! Especially since we had three friends join us to try this restaurant. We dined outside, which was nice, but was also due to accessibility issues that you will read about below. The food turned out to be quite good, but the accessibility left quite a bit to be desired.

Upon being seated, appetizers immediately and unexpectedly started to arrive at the table (You will learn why in the Accessibility Rating below). The staff brought us Sticky Black Jack Carrots, cornbread, and a pickle plate. The carrots were roasted to the point of being charred and glazed, and came with a carrot sauce, fresh pickled Persian cucumber, and fennel. I have never had carrots cooked this way, and they were excellent! The carrots were smoky and sweet. The pickled cucumber and fennel cut through the charred flavors with their bright tastes. The cornbread is made with local cornmeal, and it came with maple cultured butter and chives. I am a big fan of cornbread, and this was a good one. It was lightly sweet from the corn, and while it was not too dense it  retained the typical grainy texture that a good cornbread has. The pickle plate had cucumbers, fennel, okra, and beets. The vegetables were lightly sour and crisp.

My husband and I ordered drinks. The drinks came in tiny champagne bowls, and for $12.00 each, that was quite expensive for the small size of the drinks. I got a Tea Thyme: house-made sweet tea with vodka, lemon, and thyme. It was a “high-octane” tea, and the flavors of the black tea and the thyme came to the forefront. He ordered a Crusta: brandy with maraschino, lemon, and a sugar rim. I did not like his drink, but I am not a fan of brandy.

As a table, we ordered two more appetizers. The first was the baked and crispy potatoes. These were very crispy on the outside, but still soft on the inside. They came topped with parmesan, smoked salt, and a side of green goddess dressing. The dressing had a pronounced licorice flavor from what tasted like anise seed. I did not find it necessary to add the dressing to the potatoes, as they were great on their own. The second appetizer we shared was the pimento crack mac & cheese. It had sharp cheddar, gouda, pimento, cornbread crumbs, and a pile of scallions. The pimento flavor was really present in this dish, and I really enjoyed the peppery punch alongside the taste of the cheeses.

Appetizers Clockwise from Top Left: Sticky Black Jack Carrots, Pickle Plate, Baked & Crispy Potatoes, & Pimento Crack Mac & Cheese Center: Neon Sign for Burnside Biscuits

Appetizers Clockwise from Top Left: Sticky Black Jack Carrots, Pickle Plate, Baked & Crispy Potatoes, & Pimento Crack Mac & Cheese      Center: Neon Sign for Burnside Biscuits

Finally, we got to the fried chicken and biscuits. The chicken was juicy and moist on the inside, and the outside had absolutely no grease and was crunchy and crispy. That being said, I found that the batter lacked any pronounced flavor, so while it was good, it was not my favorite fried chicken in NYC. The biscuits, on the other, hand were delicious. They are made with duck fat (YES!). Each biscuit was about four inches in diameter. They were flaky, luscious from the duck fat, and just the slightest bit salty.

Background: Fried Chicken and Biscuits Lower Left Inset: Tea Thyme Upper Right Inset: Crusta

Background: Fried Chicken and Biscuits      Lower Left Inset: Tea Thyme      Upper Right Inset: Crusta

Accessibility Rating for Burnside Biscuits

I used my wheelchair to visit Burnside Biscuits. I need to preface this rating with the fact that I called the restaurant ahead of time twice to ask specifically if the restaurant and the bathroom are fully wheelchair accessible. Both times I was told that they are. It seems that due to the loose language in parts of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), they are able to say the restaurant is fully accessible because a person using a mobility-assisitve device could enter the main entrance and eat at one of the tables right there.

  • Entryway – 1: There is a somewhat narrow door at the main entrance. There is a slight ramp leading from the sidewalk up to the main door. There are no stairs at this entrance.  The transition from outside to inside is smooth. As our table was going to be in the main dining room, we were asked to exit via the main entrance and reenter through a side entrance. The reason for this was that there is a step down to the dining room from the bar area. Upon arriving at the side entrance, we found that there is a step, and they did not have a ramp. They termed it a “small step.” In the photo below, the side entrance has a step that is approximately six inches high, which is not small. I explained to them that according to ADA 1) any newly renovated business must be made 100% accessible and 2) any step greater than one-half inch requires some form of ramp to allow for passage of all types of mobility devices. Naturally, I, and many other users of mobility-assistive devices, prefer a permanent ramp, but portable ones are easy to find and purchase (click here to see many options). One of the managers offered to create a makeshift ramp out of shelving, but I declined due to safety concerns. This was also when they stated that the restaurant is technically accessible due to what I mentioned earlier about being able to access the small front area near the main entrance.

    Left: Main Entrance Right: Side Entrance (Caption on photo stating "Large Step without Ramp"

    Left: Main Entrance      Right: Side Entrance

  • Bathroom 0: The bathroom is off of the main dining room. Since I was unable to access this area, I have no choice but to give it a low rating. Twice during the evening, I had to use an accessible bathroom at a restaurant two blocks away.
  • Walkways/Space – 2: From the little that I was able to experience when we arrived and entered the main entrance, the waiting/bar area was tight and difficult to negotiate. Immediately upon entering, there is a host(ess) station within feet of the door. I bumped into this trying to get around it, and then my wheelchair took up almost the entire waiting area. As described earlier, the main dining area is inaccessible to many users of mobility-assistive devices due to the step down from the bar/waiting area and the step up from the outside. Again, this made the bathrooms inaccessible. From what I was able to ascertain from looking inside through the windows, the lighting in the main dining area appeared to be somewhat dim, and I was not able to assess the noise level in the dining area. I was barely able to fit underneath the table while sitting in my wheelchair.

    View of Bar/Waiting Area from Entrance with caption stating "Step down to dining room"

    View of Bar/Waiting Area from Entrance

  • Staff – 3: Two managers assisted us with our concerns about the restaurant’s lack of full accessibility. They did appear to be quite embarrassed by this. Particularly because I brought it to their attention that I called twice to ask about accessibility, and I was told that it is fully accessible both times. While they tried to be helpful, yet again, there seems to be a lack of education as to what full accessibility is and what it looks like. In my opinion, if you cannot access the bathroom in a restaurant, then it is not fully accessible. Upon being seated at our table outside, the managers did give us several unsolicited, free appetizers to compensate for the situation. While that was very nice, the restaurant needs to provide a ramp immediately to remedy this problem.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


Click to add a blog post for Burnside Biscuits on Zomato

The Disabled Foodie’s First Anniversary Celebration at the Queens Night Market

The Disabled Foodie’s First Anniversary Celebration at the Queens Night Market – August 15, 2015

The Disabled Foodie is one year old! Thank you for a great first year and your unflagging support. To celebrate, I went with my husband and our friend, Matthew, to the Queens Night Market (QNM). The market is New York’s first Asian-style night market featuring vendors selling food from around the world, art, and merchandise.

I have to thank John, the founder of the QNM, for working with me to make this a successful celebration. He was kind enough to allow us to skip the line to enter the event earlier than the rest of the crowd. I also need to thank Karl and Tammy, from Karl’s Balls, for their hospitality, and taking some of their valuable preparation time to speak to me about their food.

Karl, from Karl's Balls, with David, The Disabled Foodie     Photo Taken by Tammy from Karl's Balls

Karl, from Karl’s Balls, with David, The Disabled Foodie      Photo Taken by Tammy from Karl’s Balls

Additionally, I want to thank my friend Matthew for joining my husband and I at this incredible event. Finally, thank you to my husband for his never ending support on this amazing journey through food and disability.

I must begin by stating that QNM quickly became one of my favorite food venues because it is highly accessible, and the variety of food from around the world is a foodie’s dream come true. John, the founder of QNM, has curated an incredible selection of foods from around the world to rival the selection found at Smorgasburg. John told us that he hopes the QNM serves as a place where the community comes together, and it showed last night through the hundreds of people, including entire families, who came out. John and his team provide activities at the QNM for all ages: music and dance performances for adults, and games and temporary tattoo artists for children. Furthermore, there is no entrance fee, and most food items that we tried cost between $2.00 and $5.00 each. We shared almost everything we ate.

Karl’s Balls makes takoyaki.

Takoyaki is a ball-shaped Japanese snack made of a wheat flour-based batter and cooked in a special takoyaki pan. It is typically filled with minced or diced octopus (tako), tempura scraps (tenkasu), pickled ginger, and green onion. Takoyaki are brushed with takoyaki sauce (similar to Worcestershire sauce) and mayonnaise, and then sprinkled with green laver (aonori) and shavings of dried bonito (katsuobushi). (Wikipedia, 2015)

Karl prepares all of the octopi himself to be “sashimi-ready”. He and his team prepare all of the ingredients by hand, and the takoyaki are served in Karl’s “Man Mayo” and his “Ball Sauce,” which is smoky, fruity, spicy, and sweet. Forget any thoughts of rubbery octopus. Karl’s octopi are tender. The takoyaki were vibrant in flavor, wonderfully gooey on the inside, and were a fun way to start a great evening.

Takoyaki from Karl's Balls

Takoyaki from Karl’s Balls

Our next stop was the Burmese Bites booth where we tried the Burmese shaved ice dessert. This was another completely new experience for me! The shaved ice was combined with grass jelly, palm seeds, agar agar (gelatin made from seaweed), crushed peanuts, sweet syrup, and condensed milk. My friend, Matthew, said it best when he described the dessert as tasting, “like a frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwich.” Not only did it taste delicious, but it was visually impressive.

Burmese Shaved Ice Dessert

Burmese Shaved Ice Dessert

The eating just kept going, as there were so many great things to try. At the Pancake Rolls booth, we tried both braised beef and honey pork pancake rolls. Both came on a freshly made scallion pancake with scallions, cucumber, cilantro (I asked for that to be left out of the honey pork roll), hoisin mayo, and pickled carrots. The pancake was perfectly flaky and had a great toothsome bite! There is a video on my Instagram account of the pancakes being prepared. (Click here to view that video.) I preferred the beef roll to the pork. While the sweetness of the pork was nice, the beef’s savory notes against the vegetables provided a satisfying contrast.

Inset: Pancake Roll with Beef Background: Pancake Roll Booth

Inset: Pancake Roll with Beef      Background: Pancake Roll Booth

At the Chiflez (pronounced Chee-flayz) booth, we had roasted, grilled corn with Peruvian sauce and seasonings. The corn was sweet and smoky from being charred on the grilled, The sauce was piquant and just slightly spicy. Finally, it was sprinkled with cheese and salt to add savory and salty notes. It was the best corn I have had so far this summer.

Inset: Chiflez Booth Background: Peruvian Corn from Chiflez

Inset: Chiflez Booth      Background: Peruvian Corn from Chiflez

And it just kept coming. At the Flauteria (pronounced Flau-teh-ree-ah) booth, they prepare Mexican food and drink. I had a cup of tart, sweet hibiscus tea, and we shared flautas (pronounced flau-tahs) filled with chicken. Flautas are similar to tacos, but they are formed into  cigar-like rolls. The chicken was so tasty and moist!

Top Inset: Jar of Hisbiscus Tea at Flauteria Bottom Inset: Chicken Flautas at Flauteria Background: Flauteria Booth

Top Inset: Jar of Hisbiscus Tea      Bottom Inset: Chicken Flautas      Background: Flauteria Booth

I am a huge fan of duck, and CBao did not disappoint with their mind-blowing Peking Duck Bao.

A baozi or simply known as bao, bau, humbow, nunu, bakpao (Hokkien), bausak, pow, pau or pao (Hakka) is a type of steamed, filled, bun or bread-like (i.e. made with yeast) item in various Chinese cuisines, as there is much variation as to the fillings and the preparations. In its bun-like aspect it is very similar to the traditional Chinese mantou. It can be filled with meat and/or vegetarian fillings. (Wikipedia, 2015)

The bao was fluffy and light. This worked beautifully with the tender, gamy duck that was carved at CBao’s booth right in front of me. The scallions and cucumbers added crunch, and the house sauce added a touch of umami flavor.

Inset: Peking Duck Bao Background: Cook at CBao Carving Duck

Inset: Peking Duck Bao      Background: Cook at CBao Carving Duck

The savory duck bao was followed up with a delectable Portuguese treat, Pastel de Nata (pronounced pah-stehl day nah-tah) from the MoNata booth. This small egg custard filled puff pastry tart packed luscious, creamy, sweet flavor into a bite-sized dessert. My friend, Matthew, who has been to Portugal twice, told us that he was able to find these all over his travels there.

Inset: Pastel de Nata Background: Sign at MoNata Booth

Inset: Pastel de Nata      Background: Sign at MoNata Booth

Finally, we tried a mango and raspberry crêpe from T-Swirl Crêpe. These rice flour crêpes are served with fruit and pastry creme. The fruit was fresh and juicy, and they did not overload the crêpe with the creme. (Click here to watch a short video of crêpes being made.)

Mango and Raspberry T-Swirl Crepe

Mango and Raspberry T-Swirl Crepe

Accessibility Rating for Queens Night Market

I used my wheelchair to visit QNM. This was the QNM’s last night at this location near the New York Hall of Science in Corona, Queens. QNM will be moving to Jamaica, Queens starting on September 5 for the remainder of this season.

  • Entryway – 5: The QNM is held in a parking lot. Since this is the case, the entry is smooth, and there are no stairs. It is the most accessible entrance a person with a disability could desire.

    Inset: QNM Welcome Banner Background: Aisle with Booths at QNM

    Inset: QNM Welcome Banner      Background: Aisle with Booths at QNM

  • Bathroom 4: There are wheelchair accessible port-a-potties in two locations at the QNM. There is a grab bar that wraps around the toilet. QNM provides stand-alone sinks with faucets that operate by using a foot pump. The foot pump is difficult for those who have limited or no use of their feet, but the fact that there are sinks at an outdoor venue is great! I was fortunate enough to have my husband help me with the sink.
  • Walkways/Space – 5: The aisles are wide and spacious. Even with hundreds of people all around, I had plenty of room to move around. During the daylight hours, the QNM was well lit, and due to humongous flood lamps, the same could be said for the night hours. The closer we were to the musicians and performers, the louder it was. But, overall, the noise level was not loud considering the size of the event and the number of attendees. (For a short video of the QNM click here.)

    Views of Booths and Aisles at QNM

    Views of Booths and Aisles at QNM

  • Staff – 5: The staff was welcoming and I encountered no issues. John was kind enough to allow us to enter the QNM a few minutes early to explore and meet with Karl and Tammy. Staff and security were available throughout the event to help people with any questions or concerns they might have.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


Bachue – Jackson Heights, Queens

Bachue – Jackson Heights, Queens – July 18, 2015

I approached the newest restaurant in Jackson Heights with enthusiasm. Bachue (pronounced bah-chew-ay) is a new addition to the restaurant scene in this dynamic neighborhood. I was immediately taken aback upon viewing the menu. It was much more expensive than I had anticipated. Entrees ranged in price from $15 to the high $20s.

My husband and I dined at Bachue with our friend, Tony, this past weekend. For my entree, I ordered the Typical Antioqueña Platter (pronounced ahn-tee-oh-ken-yah, referring to a region in Colombia). It came with a choice of grilled chicken or steak (I chose the chicken), a quarter of an avocado, white rice with an egg prepared sunny side up, a sausage, red beans in a miniature Dutch oven, sweet plantains, and chicarron (pronounced chee-char-ron, deep fried pork skin and meat). While it was a great deal of food, overall it was mediocre. The highlights were the juicy, tender, and flavorful chicken, the sausage, which tasted as if it had what I thought might be cumin (one of my favorite spices), and the creamy, rich avocado.  Chicharron is often fried to the point where it feels like you might break your teeth on it, so I did not enjoy that. The rice was dry and crunchy, even after breaking the egg yolk over it. The beans were unremarkable, though unlike how they are prepared in other restaurants, they were not salty.

I tried some of my husband’s dish. He ordered roast pork with vegetable rice and sweet plantains. It came wrapped in a banana leaf. While the pork was tender, it was bland. The rice was excessively oily.

For the prices they charge, I had hoped for higher quality food. This was disappointing since they scored relatively well in terms of accessibility.

Left to Right: Typical Antioquena Platter and Roast Pork with Vegetable Rice and Sweet Plantains

Left to Right: Typical Antioquena Platter and Roast Pork with Vegetable Rice and Sweet Plantains

Accessibility Rating for Bachue

I used my wheelchair to visit Bachue.

    • Entryway – 5: The entrance has one set of wide doors with a ramp up to them. There are no stairs.

      Entrance

      Entrance

    • Bathroom 4: The designated accessible bathroom is spacious and brightly lit. There are two grab bars around the toilet. I could not get close to the sink due to it having a floor-length panel in front of it. Additionally, the handles on the faucet are tiny and difficult to reach.
    • Walkways/Space – 3: The restaurant is spacious, and there is plenty of room to move around in no matter what kind of mobility assistive device one uses. The furniture is easily moved to accommodate different patrons’ requirements. I fit comfortably underneath the table while seated in my wheelchair. If crowded, the space could possibly become difficult to navigate. The dining area is dimly lit, and it was very noisy while we were there due to loud music being played. This was odd since the restaurant was almost empty.

      Left: Dining area     Right: Bar

      Left: Dining area      Right: Bar

    • Staff – 4: The staff moved chairs out of the way so that I could access the table. A staff member also helped me open the designated accessible bathroom’s door.
    • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


Click to add a blog post for Bachue on Zomato

Article in amNY about The Disabled Foodie

Today was a very exciting day for me and for The Disabled Foodie. An article was published both online and in print in amNY newspaper. Click here to read the article online. Thanks to everyone for your continued support!

Article from amNY

Article from amNY


UFC (Unidentified Flying Chickens) – Jackson Heights, NY

 UFC (Unidentified Flying Chickens) – Jackson Heights, NY – May 22, 2015

UFC (Unidentified Flying Chickens) has brought new and exciting flavor to Jackson Heights. In a neighborhood dominated by South American and South Asian cuisines, UFC has brought the savory, crispy goodness of Korean fried chicken. Sadly, in terms of accessibility, they did not score well, as you will read.

My husband and I met our friend Tony at UFC at 7:30 PM (on a Friday night). We had to wait outside for between 15 and 20 minutes for a table. There was no room inside for us to wait, especially for me in my wheelchair.

When we were seated, we perused their extensive beer and cider selection. Since the bathroom was downstairs and inaccessible to me (See Accessibility Rating below), I consumed almost no liquid. This was disappointing because there were many things that piqued my curiosity. Both my husband and Tony ordered a Kopparberg Pear Cider. I had a tiny sip of my husband’s. This Swedish made cider was sweet, but not too sweet. It was like biting into a perfectly ripe, fresh pear. When it was poured into a glass its clear color and bubbles made it resemble champagne or seltzer. I definitely would have enjoyed being able to drink a bottle of my own.

According to Wikipedia (2015), what makes Korean fried chicken different is:

Korean fried chicken differs from typical American fried chicken by being fried twice. This results in the skin being crunchier and less greasy. Furthermore, Korean-style chicken is not characterized by the crags and crusty nubs associated with American fried chicken as described by Julia Moskin of The New York Times as a “thin, crackly and almost transparent”. The chickens are usually seasoned with spices, sugar, and salt, prior to and after being fried. Korean fried chicken restaurants commonly use small- or medium-sized chicken, in other words, younger chickens resulting in more tender meat.

We each ordered the same thing: one-half fried chicken with soy garlic sauce and a side salad. We shared a large order of sweet potato fries. The chicken is the reason to come to or order from UFC. We have ordered takeout from UFC a number of times, but the chicken was crispier and juicier in the restaurant. When it has been brought to our house, it cooled down and became slightly soggy, but it was still delicious. The soy garlic sauce has the deep, satisfying, umami flavor from the soy and the pungency of the garlic. It’s difficult to stop eating it because it’s addictive. The salad had greens, onions, and grape tomatoes in a French-type dressing. The vegetables were crisp and fresh. There was just enough dressing for the amount of salad in the bowl. Finally, the sweet potato fries were large. They were sweet and starchy. I would have enjoyed them a little more if they were crispier. They came with an overly sweet honey mustard sauce, and we also requested ketchup.

Food and Drink Top: Korean Fried Chicken with Soy Garlic Sauce Bottom (From Left to Right): Kopparberg Pear Cider, Side Salad, and Sweet Potato Fries Background: Wall Inside UFC with Cartoon Chalk-style Images

Food and Drink      Top: Korean Fried Chicken with Soy Garlic Sauce      Bottom (From Left to Right): Kopparberg Pear Cider, Side Salad, and Sweet Potato Fries      Background: Wall Inside UFC

Accessibility Rating for UFC

I used my wheelchair to visit UFC.

  • Entryway – 2: The entrance has two doors with a vestibule in between. At the first door, there is a high threshold. I needed help getting my chair over it to enter. Within the vestibule, there was an unexpected bump. The doors were wide enough to accommodate my wheelchair, but the vestibule was just wide enough to fit it.

    Entrance with arrow pointing to high threshold

    Entrance

  • Bathroom 1: The bathroom is downstairs, and there is no elevator. It is completely inaccessible to people using mobility assistive devices including wheelchairs, scooters, and walkers.
  • Walkways/Space – 3: The one and only aisle is wide and easy to navigate when the restaurant is not crowded. The furniture is easily moved and adjusted to accommodate people’s needs. It was a tight fit for me to sit at the table in my wheelchair. The tops of my legs were pressing into the bottom of the table. As night came, the front of the restaurant (near the window) became quite dark. This could pose a problem for people with visual impairments. There was music playing in the background. It was at what seemed to me to be medium volume, so it could be potentially difficult for people with hearing impairments.

    Interior

    Interior

  • Staff – 2: The staff was helpful in terms of moving chairs away from the table so I could be seated at the table. They reacted with indifference to my statement that the bathroom was inaccessible to me and other people with disabilities. Had they not helped with the chairs, they would have received the lowest score of 1.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.

 


Unidentified Flying Chickens on Urbanspoon

Pollos a la Brasa Mario – Jackson Heights, Queens

Pollos a la Brasa Mario – Jackson Heights, Queens – March 24, 2015

Yesterday, our friend Michael was visiting New York City from Boston, so we arranged to have a quick dinner with him at Pollos (pronounced poh-yohs) a la Brasa Mario in Jackson Heights, Queens. It is a Colombian restaurant known for their rotisserie chicken.

I ordered the Bandeja con Pollo al Carbon (pronounced bahn-day-ha con poh-yoh ahl car-bone), which is a rotisserie chicken platter. It comes with a piece of rotisserie chicken, white rice, french fries, salad, and chicken soup to start. I substituted red beans for the french fries. The chicken soup was filled with potatoes and various parts of the chicken, including necks, gizzards, and hearts. What was not to my liking was the cilantro in the broth, so I did not eat much of the soup. If you like cilantro, this is the soup for you. When the main platter came, the chicken was fall-off-the-bone tender and juicy. Though if I have a choice between the chicken here and the chicken at Pio Pio, I will choose Pio Pio’s. The salad consisted of iceberg lettuce, a lackluster slice of tomato, canned beets, and shredded carrots. Needless to say, the salad was underwhelming. The beans were plump and deliciously seasoned in a rich, savory broth that the rice soaked right up. To accompany all of this, I ordered a Jugo de Maracuya (pronounced hoo-goh day mah-rah-coo-jah), a Passion Fruit Shake. When you order the jugos you have a choice of having it blended with water or milk. I selected water. The shake was loaded with the tongue-tantalizing acidic sweetness of passion fruit, a favorite flavor of mine.

Left Inset: Jugo de Maracuya (Passion Fruit Shake) Right Inset: Chicken Soup Main Photo: Bandeja con Pollo al Carbon (Rotisserie Chicken Platter with white rice, red beans, and salad)

Left Inset: Jugo de Maracuya (Passion Fruit Shake)    Right Inset: Chicken Soup    Main Photo: Bandeja con Pollo al Carbon (Rotisserie Chicken Platter with white rice, red beans, and salad)

Accessibility Rating for Pollos a la Brasa Mario

I used my wheelchair to visit Pollos a la Brasa Mario.

  • Entryway – 5: The entrance is accessible,though there is a slight lip at the transition from the sidewalk to the entrance. There are two doors: an exterior door and an interior door. There are no stairs.

    Entrance

    Entrance

  • Bathroom – 2: I had difficulty entering the designated accessible bathroom because like other bathrooms, the restaurant uses the extra space in the accessible bathroom to store high chairs, etc. A restaurant staff member had to remove the high chair so I could get inside. Inside, there was one grab bar near the toilet. The faucet did not have long handles. There was no room to turn my wheelchair around once I was inside the bathroom.
  • Walkways/Space – 3: The interior is spacious when the restaurant is not crowded. The first table inside is designated for people with disabilities, and this is where we sat. It has two removable chairs on one side to accommodate a mobility assistive device. There are two floors in the restaurant, but there is no elevator. Most of the seating on the main floor consists of booths that are bolted to the floor. The space is brightly lit due to windows and adequate interior lighting. While we were there it was not that busy, so it was not too noisy. Though, I could see it becoming noisy on a weekend night.

    Interior

    Interior

  • Staff – 4: The staff was good. Upon entering, they removed the chairs at designated accessible table. As stated before, a staff member removed the high chair from the accessible bathroom so I could use it. While they did help, they did not ask how they could make my visit more comfortable. The staff is bilingual, speaking English and Spanish.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


Pollos a la Brasa Mario on Urbanspoon

Jackson Hole & Teaspoon Bake Shop – Bayside, Queens

Jackson Hole & Teaspoon Bake Shop – Bayside, Queens – February 7, 2015

Yesterday, I went on a trip by myself to Bell Boulevard in Bayside, Queens. The primary reason for my trip was to visit Teaspoon Bake Shop. I saw an episode of Unique Sweets on Cooking Channel that featured the bakery, and I needed to check it out. What I thought was going to be an added bonus was that Jackson Hole was only one block from the bakery, so, I turned the trip into an expedition to find a good burger and delicious baked goods.

Jackson Hole has eight locations across Manhattan, Queens, and New Jersey. I had good memories from childhood of eating enormous burgers at one of the Manhattan locations, so I was happy to return.

Sadly, my childhood memories were better than the food I received. I ordered the Akaboura Burger platter. It comes topped with fried onions, green peppers, mushrooms, and American cheese on a hard roll. The platter came with steak fries, lettuce, and tomato. The burger was as enormous as I remembered it. It was loaded with all of the sauteed vegetables, which were the best part of the dish. I ordered the burger to be cooked medium, but it came well done. It was way too much for me to eat. The tomatoes that came with it were mealy and barely had any flavor. I did not touch the iceberg lettuce that it came with. I also got pickles and cole slaw on the side. The cole slaw had too much mayonnaise for my taste, and the pickles were saltier than they should have been. The fries were OK. They were your standard diner-style steak fries.

Akaboura Burger (fried onions, green peppers, mushrooms, American cheese on a hard roll) with French fries on left (yes, there's a burger under there) and pickles and cole slaw on right

Left: Akaboura Burger (fried onions, green peppers, mushrooms, American cheese on a hard roll) with French fries (yes, there’s a burger under there) Right: pickles and cole slaw

Accessibility Rating for Jackson Hole

I used my wheelchair to visit Jackson Hole in Bayside.

  • Entryway – 5: The entrance door is wide. There is an exterior door, an inside vestibule, and then another interior door.The transition from the outside sidewalk is smooth. There are no stairs. There is an accessible parking spot available in the parking lot.

    Entrance to Jackson Hole

    Entrance to Jackson Hole

  • Bathroom – 1: The bathroom (Men’s) is not accessible. It is a tiny bathroom with no grab bars around the toilet. I was not able to get my wheelchair into the toilet stall. I could only wheel forward into the bathroom due to it being set up like a hallway. Upon exiting, I had to back out the entire length of the bathroom, and someone had to hold the door for me to get out.
  • Walkways/Space – 3: The inside is spacious, and has enough room for a wheelchair or other mobility assistive device to  get around most of the restaurant. It’s set up in a long diner-style format. The space right behind where people can sit at the counter is tight, and I was unable to get my wheelchair through there.Thelargewindowsonthreesidesprovide a great deal of light. There is a lot of background noise due to the open kitchen, so this may pose some difficulty for those with hearing difficulties.

    Interior of Jackson Hole

    Interior of Jackson Hole (Right: Tight space between counter seating and booths)

  • Staff – 5: The staff was very good. They rearranged an entire table area, removing chairs and shifting the table so I could sit comfortably. Additionally, a staff member held the bathroom door open for me so I could exit.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.

After my visit to Jackson Hole, I made my way to Teaspoon Bake Shop. As an aside, the curb cuts in this area were not well shoveled, and I got stuck in the snow and ice a few times. Fortunately, some nice passersby helped me each time.

Teaspoon Bake Shop is a traditional bake shop featuring cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and cake balls amongst many other baked goods. I ordered the Sweet French Puff to eat at the restaurant, and I brought home the Oatmeal Cake with Maple Glaze and Pull-Apart Croissant Muffin (both featured on Unique Sweets on Cooking Channel).

The Sweet French Puff is a sweet dough pastry coated with sugar. It was so simple, and yet so delicious. The fluffy, moist pastry melted in my mouth.

Sweet French Puff at Teaspoon Bake Shop

Sweet French Puff at Teaspoon Bake Shop

While I did not get photos of the Oatmeal Cake with Maple Glaze or the Pull-Apart Croissant Muffin, they were both delicious. The cake was dense, and its consistency was different than a traditional wheat flour cake. It had a nutty flavor and a crunch to it. It was just sweet enough from the maple glaze, which worked perfectly with the oatmeal. The muffin combined the light flaky texture of a croissant with the dense texture of a muffin. It was slightly sweet, and it pulled apart easily, as its name implies. I agree with Unique Sweets’ review that these pastries are worth the trip.

Accessibility Rating for Teaspoon Bake Shop

I used my wheelchair to visit Teaspoon Bake Shop.

  • Entryway – 4: The entrance door is wide.The transition from the outside sidewalk is not smooth. There is a bit of a bump due to a raised threshold. I was able to enter with some effort. There are no stairs.

    Entrance to Teaspoon Bake Shop

    Entrance to Teaspoon Bake Shop

  • Bathroom – Not applicable. There is no bathroom available for customers.
  • Walkways/Space – 5: For a relatively small bakery, it is surprisingly spacious inside. There are only three tables inside with two chairs at each. Bakery cases, a garbage can, a coffee prep station, and another display table take up the rest of the space.

    Interior of Teaspoon Bake Shop

    Interior of Teaspoon Bake Shop

  • Staff – 3: The staff was average compared to other food venues I have reviewed. The staff member held the door for me to enter, but not to exit. She also did not help me bring my purchases to the table while I ate there.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


Jackson Hole on Urbanspoon

Teaspoon Bake Shop on Urbanspoon

Pio Pio – Jackson Heights, Queens

Pio Pio – Jackson Heights, Queens – January 24, 2015

Yesterday, I really thought I would not be able to get out to review a restaurant due to the snow that we had here in New York City. Fortunately, that was not the case. I was able to go out to dinner to Pio Pio with my husband and our good friend, Tony. Pio Pio is a Peruvian restaurant with several locations across New York City. We have dined in and gotten takeout from here many times because the food, particularly Juanita’s Chicken, is quite good.

We ordered drinks first. I ordered a Kiwicha. It is made with pisco, kiwi puree, passion fruit syrup, lemon juice, and  simple syrup. Pisco is a colorless or yellowish-to-amber colored brandy produced in wine making regions of Peru and Chile. It was served in a champagne bowl, and presented with a vibrant greenish-yellow color due to the kiwi and passion fruit combination. It was pleasantly tart from the fruits with the invigorating slight burn from the pisco. Be advised, the drinks are strong at Pio Pio.

Kiwicha (Pisco, kiwi puree, passion fruit syrup, lemon juice, & simple syrup)

Kiwicha (Pisco, kiwi puree, passion fruit syrup, lemon juice, & simple syrup)

Next, we shared a shrimp cebiche. For those who do not know, cebiche is:

A seafood dish popular in the coastal regions of the Americas, especially Central and South America. The dish is typically made from fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices, such as lemon or lime, and spiced with ají or chili peppers. Additional seasonings, such as chopped onions, salt, and cilantro, may also be added. (Wikipedia, 2015)

While I am not normally a fan of cilantro, this time the cebiche did not present with a strong cilantro flavor. At other times, the cilantro flavor has been stronger, so for those who do not like it, be aware. It was tart and fresh, as cebiche should always be. It is served with tons of red onion, a slice of sweet potato, a slice of potato, fresh hominy, and dried hominy. The red onion and dried hominy added crisp and crunchy texture to the dish. The shrimp adds briny ocean flavor to the dish.

Shrimp Cebiche

Shrimp Cebiche

We then shared Arroz Chaufa (Peruvian style Chinese fried rice, eggs, chicken, onions, soy sauce, and shrimp (which we chose to add)) and Juanita’s Chicken. The rice was great! The Chinese influence was discernible through the soy sauce’s contribution of the umami quality that fried rice is known for. It comes in a large bowl, so it is easily shared amongst a group.

Arroz Chaufa (Peruvian style Chinese fried rice, eggs, onions, soy sauce. Served with shrimp)

Arroz Chaufa (Peruvian style Chinese fried rice, eggs, onions, soy sauce, and chicken. We chose to add shrimp)

Juanita’s Chicken is what Pio Pio is known for, and it is why everyone keeps coming back. I do not know what they do to it, but it is excellent. The best part is that it is consistent every time: moist, flavorful, and tender. You get an entire chicken when you order, and it is savory and comforting. Pio Pio serves it with a green sauce that is quite spicy. The sauce often has a strong cilantro flavor, though last night that flavor was not strong, which was a good thing in my opinion.

Juanita's Chicken (This is why so many people come here!)

Juanita’s Chicken (This is why so many people come here!)

We also ordered fried yucca, saffron rice, and red beans. Frequently, fried yucca can be dry and too starchy, but this was not the case. It was still soft and slightly moist on the inside. It is served with a very strong, and delicious, garlic sauce. The rice and beans were good.

Fried Yucca (left) and Saffron Rice and Red Beans (right)

Fried Yucca (left) and Saffron Rice and Red Beans (right)

Accessibility Rating

I used my wheelchair to visit Pio Pio.

  • Entryway – 5: The entrance doors are wide. There is an exterior and an interior door.The transition from the outside sidewalk is smooth. There are no stairs.

    Entrance

    Entrance

  • Bathroom – 3: The bathroom (Unisex, upstairs) is accessible. It is a large bathroom with two grab bars around the toilet. I was able to move my wheelchair easily inside the bathroom. The faucet did not have long handles. Additionally, we had to have a staff member let us into this bathroom because the main customer bathrooms are downstairs.
  • Walkways/Space – 3: The inside is incredibly spacious, and has enough room for a wheelchair or other mobility assistive device to easily get around. At night, the restaurant is dimly lit, so this could pose some concerns for those with visual impairments. During the daytime, it is very bright inside. Also, it is often quite loud inside during busy evening and afternoon hours. It was not as loud as it usually is last night, probably due to the snow. The earlier you go during either afternoon or evening hours, the quieter it usually is.

    Interior of Pio Pio

    Interior of Pio Pio (This also shows how dark it is inside the restaurant at night)

  • Staff – 3: The staff was OK. They held the entrance door open upon our arrival and departure. As mentioned earlier, another staff member let us into the upstairs bathroom. Beyond that, they did not go out of their way for me or even bother to ask how they could help me. As I have more experiences in restaurants as a person with a disability, I am finding this to be the average experience.

 


Pio Pio on Urbanspoon