LIC Flea & Food: Long Island City, Queens

Yet another perk of the summer in New York City is the outdoor markets that pop-up throughout the boroughs. These markets offer all the city's latest and greatest food vendors in one convenient place. One of my favorite markets is LIC Flea & Food. While other flea and food markets become a madhouse on weekends, such as Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg, LIC Flea & Food draws a way more manageable crowd without sacrificing any quality.

LIC Flea is held in a small lot near the water in Long Island City. It's set back a bit from the main roads, but is still perfectly accessible by a number of subway stops. Upon entering the lot, you'll encounter a number of vendors, from refurbished furniture to jewelry and clothing to food and beverages. It's a great idea to do a lap around the whole market first to scope out all the options available before deciding where to start.

It was a warm day when I visited this past weekend, so I was a bit thirsty from my walk from the subway. I decided to stop at the Lizzmonade stand to grab a refreshing, fresh squeezed lemonade. They have so many varieties of lemonade and mix-ins that I
stood there hemming and hawing for a few minutes before finally deciding on the strawberry lemonade. On the cashier's suggestion, I also added basil, which was definitely a great choice. The drinks are made on the spot with fresh ingredients and served with a large smoothie-type straw so that you can easily enjoy all the fresh fruit.

We walked around for a bit to check out all the awesome stuff for sale before grabbing a table in the back by the beer garden. Once I finished my Lizzmonade, I decided to get a beer. One of the best parts about LIC Flea & Food is the small beer garden in the back where you can enjoy a local brew while taking in some sun and listening to great music from the DJ. Plenty of people bring their babies and dogs, so it's got a nice family atmosphere.

After a beer (or two...) we were finally getting hungry and did a couple laps around the market to weigh our options. We decided on the chicken, bacon, ranch quesadilla from What's the 'Dillaz. It was prepared on the grill right in front of us and had the perfect balance of chicken, cheese and bacon inside and a delicious drizzle of ranch on top. I love a good quesadilla and this one was definitely up there as one of the best I've had in a long time. We split the quesadilla so that we'd still be hungry enough to try out another vendor. We opted for empanadas from Empanada Papa. To play it safe, we got a beef empanada, but decided to be slightly more adventurous in our second choice and went for the buffalo chicken empanada. Both were delicious, though I think I enjoyed the classic beef empanada a bit more. Something about the empanada dough and buffalo chicken filling didn't quite go together for me.

Overall, LIC Flea & Food is a great way to spend a spring or summer day. There's great music, food and shopping all in one place. Rockaway Brewery is right across the street so if you need to escape the sun for a little bit, you can take refuge there. Getting a table in the beer garden can be a bit competitive, but people are really friendly and I often see strangers sharing a table and making conversation. LIC has a lot to offer, so even if LIC Flea & Food is just a quick stop on your journey around the neighborhood, it's definitely a worthwhile one.




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