Author Discovers Queens Through Food
By STEVEN J. FERRARI
|“Food Lovers’ Guide To Queens” is available now.
With such a diverse selection of food within the Borough’s borders, finding the perfect plate to placate your palate can require a guide.
Thankfully, Meg Cotner has provided one.
Cotner, an editor at QueensNYC.com and a blogger at “We Heart Astoria,” traveled throughout Queens this year to compile information for “Food Lovers’ Guide To Queens” (2012, Global Pequot Press). The book provides a neighborhood-by-neighborhood guide of restaurants, street food, festivals and culinary events from Astoria to Glen Oaks.
The Queens guide is the second “Food Lovers’ Guide” done by the publisher. The first, a guide to Brooklyn, is about to get a second printing. The success of the Brooklyn edition led to a desire for one about Queens.
“I really hope it inspires people from outside the borough to come here and get to know Queens, or give people in Queens the chance to discover something new,” Cotner said.
In addition to finding information online, the research for the book involved a lot of restaurant visits. Cotner said she actively avoided reading other books on the topic and shied away from reading reviews online.
“I wanted to have my own opinion,” she said. “Everything I wrote was based on my own experiences.”
Each location featured in the book, Cotner said, was easily accessible by public transportation. Every listing provides directions of how to use the subway or buses to get to the featured spot.
Cotner, who moved to Astoria in 2005, has three degrees in music. She said, however, that she has always loved talking to people about food. She gained a reputation as a foodie in college, when people began asking her to cook for receptions and other gatherings.
“Food has always been a part of my life,” she said. “Doing this book was a really fun experience.”
The author admits to having a natural love for the food available in Astoria and Long Island City, so she was excited to get the opportunity to travel around the Borough to taste what the other neighborhoods have to offer.
Jackson Heights and Elmhurst, she said, were pleasant surprises. Cotner said she did not know about the Columbian population that moved into Jackson Heights, along with Himalayan and Nepalese immigrants, and with them restaurants highlighting the cultures.
“It was a really fun discovery,” she said. “That area is really easy to digest. No pun intended.”
Cotner said she did research for the book between March and June, which entailed going out to eat in Queens restaurants three times a day, seven days a week. She said once she got done researching the book, it was nice to finally stay in and have a home cooked meal.
“It got a little intense,” she said. “But it wasn’t long after I stopped that I wanted to go out and eat again.”
“Food Lovers’ Guide To Queens,” released on Dec. 4, was Cotner’s first published book. She said she’s already considered a follow-up – a cook book or a history of food in Queens has crossed her mind - but has no concrete plans for a second book.
“I want to keep the future open to the possibilities,” she said.
“Food Lovers’ Guide To Queens” is available now at local retailers and on amazon.com.
Reach Managing Editor Steven J. Ferrari at (718) 357-7400 Ext. 122 or firstname.lastname@example.org.