La Flor

The food stop I did was at La Flor Bakery and Cafe, a relatively popular Mexican fusion restaurant in Woodside, Queens. It is located right in the heart of Woodside. Its exact address 53-02 Roosevelt Avenue Woodside, NY. There is easy subway access to La Flor. The number 7 train stops about a block away from the restaurant at 52nd Street. It is underneath the elevated subway.

In the early stages of our research on Woodside I came across La Flor several times. It seemed as if the restaurant had a significant role in the neighborhood, so this inspired me to do my food stop there. The restaurant was founded ten years ago, and is still going strong. According to the waiter, the chef and founder is Viko Ortega, a Mexican immigrant and member of the community. In addition, the waiter told me that although he founded the restaurant, he cooks the food himself. The name of the restaurant includes ‘bakery and café’, but customers can get pastries as well as entrees, appetizers, sandwiches, salads, and even breakfast.  Prices are reasonable for such a well-known and popular restaurant. La Flor is a small restaurant, and gives off a homely, charming, and quaint feel.

The food served is mostly Mexican, but La Flor manages to fuse Mexican, French, and Italian foods together. While there is not much of a French presence in Woodside, La Flor fuses together two ethnic groups that are relatively well represented in Woodside-the Mexicans and Italians. Customers can order a wide variety of items off of the menu, which includes (but is not limited to) Pizza, French Toast, eggs, steak, Quesadillas, and tacos. Many of these items are fusions of the three different cultures. These include the Grilled Mexican Pizza, the Spaghetti, and the Braised Lamb Shank.

When I went to La Flor for lunch, I had the Vegetable Pizza, with virgin olive oil, garlic, and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese (They only take cash, and I didn’t have enough on me at the time for an entrée.) Although its clearly not fused with any Mexican or French ingredients, the Pizza still tasted different from one I would eat at any regular Pizza shop. There was a faint, but distinctly different taste to this vegetable pizza compared to any other vegetable pizza I had eaten from other places. Its almost as if it had a Mexican flavor to it, even though the Pizza had all traditionally Italian ingredients (Parmesan, Olive oil, etc)

The restaurant seems a bit out of place for Woodside. Mostly because it is a restaurant with a café-like feel. Most of the other places surrounding it in Woodside are much larger restaurants. Its café-like feel makes one think it belongs in a Manhattan environment. La Flor provides the local residents with diverse, quality foods. It fills its own unique niche in the community. It plays a significant role in the community because there’s no other restaurant in Woodside quite like it. It hasn’t been around long, but La Flor brings a few of the neighborhood’s cultures together for a delightful food fusion, and that is one of its biggest values.

Ismail Yasin