By Victoria Merlino
The line curled around the block Tuesday night as hungry foodies waited to enter the Taste of Sunnyside, a food festival featuring a wide array of eateries, cultures and backgrounds that give life to the neighborhood. Read on to savor every last bite.
Sunnyside Shines On
“The goal is two-pronged. The first is to help promote the neighborhood businesses in and around Sunnyside … The second is to create a community event to bring people together in and around the neighborhood,” Jaime Cho, program manager at Sunnyside Shines, the business improvement district that organizes the Taste of Sunnyside, told the Eagle on Monday.
A Fire Department That Sets Fires
Skillman Avenue bar Jack’s Fire Department brought the heat with its popular ghost pepper grilled cheese sandwich. The ghost pepper is one of the hottest chili peppers in the world, giving the sandwich a little kick. If you want something even hotter, you can try Jack’s special challenge: take a shot of a virgin bloody mary and then try to eat the ghost pepper grilled cheese with an additional wallop of five-alarm hot sauce, with each bite growing spicier and spicier. “A few have won it, a few have cried it,” Courtney Coyne, who has worked at Jack’s for 14 years, said about the challenge. Cool off with a glass of milk afterwards, and for those who can stomach the last bites, a new Jack’s t-shirt.
French restaurant Bliss 46 Bistro brought Paris to Queens Boulevard with roasted salmon with capers and white wine. Melissa Monge, daughter of the restaurant's owner, said that her father started in the restaurant business as a dishwasher. He learned from the chefs around him and rose through the ranks, coming to own Bliss 46 Bistro and the fine French food he prepares.
A Cooking Community
“This is big for me. This is where I live,” said Adriana Craig, chef and owner of Edibly Speaking, which caters, conducts cooking classes and offers a personal chef service. Tasty things Craig had at the festival were quinoa cakes, tuna tostada and cookies with fig, pecans and citrus. “I love to be part of the community, I have many friends here, and the catering companies I’ve worked for are in this area as well. So I learned a lot here too,” she said of Sunnyside.
“I hope everyone eats and drinks to their hearts’ content,” said Councilmemember Jimmy Van Bramer at the event. “We love Sunnyside. We love Sunnyside Shines. We love the Taste of Sunnyside.”