It’s in Queens
#MonthlyPicks | February 2018 by Lakshmee Singh
Local residents chime in on their favorite places to eat, learn, walk, and have fun. This month’s picks are by Lakshmee Singh.
Let’s do Pa-Nash first. Located in Rosedale, they serve Mediterranean, Caribbean, Soul fusion. In addition to mouthwatering, flavorful food, the atmosphere is like a secret hideaway, and the ambience is sexy and sophisticated. You will love everything. I got the crab cake and shrimp appetizer. My main course was the coconut crusted salmon that came on a bed of cranberry and spinach with mixed vegetables. It reminded me of the Guyanese chow mein. The rum cake was the best I’ve ever had, and the drinks were perfect. I had the coconut martini and the house rum punch. The staff was professional and fashionable, dressed in all black. The co-owner, Titus Runcie, was beyond friendly and also gave us a tour of the party hall downstairs. I also like Nan King, a Chinese, Thai, Indian restaurant on Rockaway Boulevard in South Ozone Park, and Cabana Caribbean on Jamaica Avenue in Richmond Hill.
Queens is the true Melting Pot of New York City. When you walk down Liberty Avenue in Richmond Hill, it’s incredible to look at all the stores selling tropical fruits and vegetables and all of your home and kitchen needs. When people visit from Guyana, they ask me what I need, but I don’t need anything. I have everything right here.
Maybe I’m biased, but the world’s most beautiful site is the Diwali Motorcade through Richmond Hill every fall. The spectacular Hindu Festival of Lights brings gorgeously decorated floats, aglow with myriads of lights and colors that glance on a sea of beaming faces. Exquisitely attired young beauties grace the floats with their presence as the Goddess Lakshmi and mesmerize the crowd with their angelic dispositions. Be ready to dance to festive music and enjoy edible delights throughout the route. People give out food and love to strangers.
The Shri Lakshmi Narayan Mandir in Richmond Hill is the first Indo-Caribbean Hindu temple in the Queens. My parents actually helped build it, brick by brick. Gold-plated murtis (statues) represent different Hindu gods, and they are gorgeously dressed from head to toe, including crowns. The smell of incense fills the air. As does chanting. Spending time inside is heavenly. It will put anybody in a great, spiritual mood.
My ancestors were Indians who moved to Guyana, South America. So I would also like to mention the Hindu temple on Bowne Street in Flushing. Its proper name is Sri Maha Vallabha Ganapati Devasthanam, but people call it the “Ganesh Temple” and even the “Bowne Temple.” Built in 1970, it is the first traditional Hindu temple ever built in the United States and in true Queens style, it sits on land that the Hindu Temple Society of North America bought from the Russian Orthodox Church.
The architecture beautiful, it’s actually a South Indian style, and it features gods and goddesses that were carved from granite. The basement is a canteen (basically a large kitchen) that serves tremendous food. The South Indian dosas are absolutely fantastic.
For roughly eight years, Lakshmee Singh has produced and starred in Let’s Talk With Lakshmee, a weekly, 30-minute talk show that puts the spotlight on Indo-Caribbean life in the Diaspora via interviews with entertainers, entrepreneurs, business leaders, politicians and general movers-and- shakers. Recently, she increased the show’s focus to include information of interest to Queens residents of all ethnicities and expanded into two additional countries. She also organizes the annual Diwali Parade in Richmond Hill.