By now, we had been crawling for 8 hours or so...Eric peeled off, to go have DINNER with his sister (ha!)
I really wasn't up for dessert, by HLing promised it would be the peak Taiwanese shaved ice experience, so how could I refuse? She led us nearby to Fortune Gourmet, a shabu-shabu restaurant, and commanded we order.. I obeyed with a combination of sweet corn, peanuts and sweetened condensed milk....DO I NEED TO HAVE MY HEAD EXAMINED???? I kept saying I was full, but I kept eating...I guess this WOULD be a light dessert if you left out the milk; altho with it, it would be the perfect hot-weather meal...It was also a wonderful sweet crunchy, cold, unique indulgence...They had a whole list of things you could top your sweetened ice with; I scammed a few chunks of taro from WrayB, altho they were a little firm for my taste..(Luckily for him!)
We next strolled over to the Flushing Mall, as opposed to the Flushing Food Court...In a sugar-induced coma, we watched a "Dance,Dance revolution" prodigy, then strolled downstairs to their Food Court..The most intriguing thing there was a cafeteria-style shabu-shabu place, where you bought your ingredients standing in line, then took them to your table to cook. Anyone been?
WE MEET THE OCTOPUS MAN!!!!!!
HLing finally revealed the "Jewel in the Crown" of Flushing chow, the reason for street food in Flushing, the entre to the compartment that has room when you've been eating all night; she brought us to the Octopus Man!!!! In all honesty, she might not have been aware of the treasure she was revealing, she called him the Corn Man...She casually cruised up to a food stand in front of People People, right near Prince and Thirty-Ninth Ave...
Altho the man was grilling tasty looking corn-cobs on a stick, with BBQ sauce on them, I politely declined..I know my limits...WrayB pointed out that the same man had skewers of baby octopus; he knows my weakness for cephalopods...I politely declined..I know my limits...WrayB politely ignored me and purchased a "skewer-o-octopus", with chili powder, please.....He said it was for him...HA!!!!! After agreeing to a nibble of a leg, I scarfed down a whole octopus...About 6 inches long, they were barely cooked, but incredibly juicy and easy to bite thru; they had been pounded tenderness, so a quick run over the coals was all that was needed..
If we had been served these morsels at any high-end place in Manhattan, we would have been gloating over our discovery at any price. As it was, this delicacy is available on the streets of Flushing for $2.50 a stick!! Are you kidding me? This is definitely up among the Top Five Octopii I have ever eaten, and as my friends will tell you, I'm a slut for squid, I worship at the many tentacled-shrine whenever possible, and a day without octopus is a day without sunshine..The only place you're gonnah find better than these babies is the antipasti bar at Lupa (another story, sorry...) These were so impeccably prepared, so carefully grilled, so enjoyable as the juices dripped down one's chin...Make sure you get them spicy!
As a disclaimer, HLing says they don't always have octopus, but there are usually lots of kinds of fish and meat, as well as the corn on the cob, which wasn't too shabby either..Corn grilled with Taiwanese BBQ sauce? Bring it on; but if you're there after dark , when he sets up, don't pass up the chance to try the most amazing grilled baby octopus you've ever eaten...
We had one more skewer, (there IS a seperate stomach compartment for street food!), then hopped the subway to get to Jackson Heights, and the Arepa Lady, Blessed Be Her Sainted Name, but you already know all about her...Just remember, food always tastes better purchased and consumed on the street..Prime street food season is coming, becasue eating it in an icey wind with tears running down your cheeks makes it taste even better...Visit the Octopus man, and scarf a few down for me.
(Did I mention that the Queens tag team went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure I had no conceivable millimeter of belly-room left when they were done? Did I mention that we had an hysterical time, and packed at least three days worth of fun into that day? Just checking!)