Queens: Flushing, Sunnyside, Rego Park, Bayside, Jamaica. Hard work, family, struggle.
And on any given street, a plethora of cuisines.
I remember going to a hole-in-the-wall in Flushing as a kid. I can never remember the name of the place. It was cramped and dark, elbows and knees were everywhere. But the yang chow fried rice and the dumplings were hot, delicious, and cheap.
For the past few weeks, our friends had been telling us about a porkchop-an (Filipino for a place they make pork chops). And knowing our friends, I expected it to be a no-frills joint. I did not, however, expect it to be so outrageously good. Mind. Blown.
The taste was clean, with clear intentions. Breaded, fried, salted pork chop, with fried garlic bits and slices of chili. The pork chop was soft, the breading was crunchy, and the rice was the perfect texture. All at a hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant that also serves your standard lo mein's and general tso's.
They say the best chefs can convey their thoughts or emotions through their cooking. Ever watched Sarah Michelle Gellar in Simply Irresistible? I felt the energy of simple, hard work transfigured into the pork chops, I kid you not. I love Queens.
For dessert, a story behind the story of the darker side of Queens, if you will. When we walked onto the scene, the cops had just come by, and all the gambling rings on second floors and in basements were nervous. It brought the men out to smoke their anxieties away. Then there was something about some sort of jig with shady guys posing as tow truck drivers looking to steal cars. Apparently the cops were just there to make everyone straighten up a little, because no one was actually arrested. Nerves. Excitement.
Perfect pork-chops back-lit by drama, triad-style. Jackie Chan waiting for his enemies to start a chop stick and kick routine.
We had a plate of pork chops on rice and a can of soda each, totaling $40. Worth it for a dinner with movie drama.