Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

RAY'S FAMOUS BBQ, 41st Avenue and Baxter Avenue, Elmhurst, QueensI miss Queens so much. Since moving away from Astoria over a year ago, my culinary adventures have not been nearly as diverse, authentic, or adventurous. While I try to visit the borough regularly, I miss out on a lot of the pleasures my Queens friends eat and breathe on a daily basis.

All that excitement and delicious food was on full display at the second annual Viva la Comida. The neighborhood festival celebrated the diverse culture of Elmhurst with lively music, art presentations, and lots of food carts. The latter was curated by my pal Jeff Orlick, who searched far and wide around the city to highlight the best and most eclectic international food from around the five boroughs.

Once again, I got to fully participate since I helped lead mini-tours of all the food carts with Turnstile Tours. It was a special version of our weekly food cart tours in Manhattan, but with stops that we don’t usually hit due to geographical obstacles.

I love having the entire city at my fingertips. For one night, I didn’t have to travel to the Bronx for The Chipper Truck’s Irish gutbombs or to the Red Hook ballfields for El Olomega’s heveanly pupusas or venture on the 7 train late one weekend night for the Arepa Lady’s crowdpleasing grilled corn patties.┬áIt was all here!

The most local of these food carts is a brand new one and it was discovered just a few weeks ago by Queens food expert Joe DiStefano. Ray’s Famous BBQ sets up a few blocks away from where the festival took place on 82nd Street.

Pork BBQ at RAY'S FAMOUS BBQ

Not only is it the city’s first Filipino cart, it’s one of the city’s first tastes of Filipino barbecue. We have lots of sizzling sisig and chicken adobo, but very little grilled meat sticks. These skewers of meat stand apart from the usual kebabs due to their marinade and thick cubes of pork. Each bite is crisp and caramelized with a sweet porky flavor. While there’s plenty of fat for flavor, the meat is not soft, but juicy and plump.

It was the most exciting discovery for me at Viva la Comida. I already knew I missed Queens and this was just one more painful (but tasty) reminder.

RAY’S FAMOUS BBQ
Corner of 41st Avenue and Baxter Avenue,
Elmhurst, Queens

(917) 838-9099
facebook.com/RaysFamousBBQ
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About the Author

Brian Hoffman is a classically trained actor who is now a full-time tour guide, blogger, and food obsessive. He leads food and drink tours around New York City, which not only introduce tour-goers to delicious food, but gives them a historical context. He also writes food articles for Gothamist and Midtown Lunch in addition to overseeing this blog and a few food video series, including Eat This, Locals Know, and Around the World in One City.

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