Taste of Sunnyside was back and better than ever this year with a large presence in an outdoor tent under the 46th street 7 train stop. I was skeptical about how this would work out given the proximity to the train and being literally in the middle of Queens Boulevard, but it turned out just fine.
The crowds were strong this year, especially with everyone being there at the same time (in previous years it was split up between two timeslots). In addition to the food, there were a few different bands playing, of varying quality. Most of it was good, but the mariachi band around 6:30 didn’t really match up with the atmosphere, and the quality of the sound equipment was less than stellar. As always, many local luminaries were present at the event, including councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, and Sunnyside Post proprietor Christian Murray.
I was happily surprised to see a large selection of beers as well. Single Cut had an IPA and a lager on draft, and the Queens Brewery had an ample supply of one of their lagers. Additionally, Manhattan Beer Distributors were handing out samples from a variety of bottled beers. From the food, my favorite single item was the “Baby Jesus” cake from Venturo. It was a full-sized slice, and absolutely delicious. Venturo also offered a savory eggplant dish, but I didn’t actually even eat it as by the time we got to it I was stuffed; the portion sizes from most of the restaurants were generous, and I was impressed that it was only in the final hour that some started running out of supplies.
One qualm I had was that there literally was very little seating space; there were a handful of small tables set up in the middle of tent, but only a few had seats (and the crowded conditions made it possible for only a lucky few to actually sit).
At the exit, visitors were handed a “goodie bag”, which in practice was just a bag full of advertisements. The funniest was a coupon to White Castle that was already expired! The most useful was a business card to the new Japanese grocery store on 44th street, Talyo Foods, which was good for $1 off and a “small gift” (which turned out to be a can of iced green tea, as I learned the following day). Interestingly Talyo had an employee, dressed up as a Japanese maid, handing out these cards at the event itself.
I look forward to next year’s Taste of Sunnyside. It’s very much worth the $35 price (make sure to buy tickets ahead of time!) Enjoy a few photos from this year’s event below.
The line to get in got quite long, but fortunately moved quickly. There were still some tickets people could buy at the door (albeit at much higher prices than those bought early!)
Murphy’s restaurant had a great sample of their lobster mac and cheese, although whatever the other item they had (on the left in the photo) had a weird, squishy consistency and was not very appetizing.
Takesushi had a few Japanese offerings. The sushi was actually all just california rolls, so that was a bit disappointing, but I am guessing it would have been prohibitively expensive for them to give out so much fish for free. They did have a number of items beyond just sushi though.
Bar 43’s Atomic Wings franchise came with samples of 4 different sauces. A little messy to eat in this type of venue though.
These fancy pates were actually not a good as they looked.
Queens Brewery showed up with many cases of these beers, but they ended up running out about an hour before the end of the event nevertheless.
Claret offered some white wine, and aside from the beer distributors, there were also two kinds of sangria available from Arriba Arriba.
But the wine bar offered more than just wine – including these unique canapes.
Here is a slice of that amazing cake from Venturo.
The mariachi band was a bit underwhelming for me; I think this was not the best type of event to showcase their skills – a bit too loud and distracting.
Deviled eggs! YUM
The aftermath of the Sunnyside feeding frenzy – and this was only halfway through the event!