In Search of Queens' Best Street Food With the New York Mets' Resident Foodies | GQ

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It takes a particularly chill and unpretentious set of multimillionaires to join a tour of a working-class hood’s greasy street food, and to do so hours before a ballgame.

But, after I put the crawl together, I couldn’t help but wonder: which Mets were missing? Maybe it was Eduardo Escobar, the Venezuelan third baseman who might get the most out of Jackson Heights’ atlas-worthy assortment of South American flavors—and even have a few suggestions of his own. Or what about Taijuan Walker? In September, Walker opened Tai’s Tacos, a taco truck pop-up to raise money for a local foster care organization.

So, before we washed down our meals at 969 Cafe, a Japanese spot close enough to Roosevelt that you can feel the 7 train to Citi Field rumble overhead, I posed the question: besides you guys, who’s the biggest foodie on the team?

Canha and May gave their answer in unison: Pete Alonso.

“Pete’s a pretty big foodie,” said May. Motioning a chef’s kiss, he adds: “Big on quality.” Canha said he hits the slugging first baseman for Manhattan recs.

(Grinning from ear to ear, Alonso was anything but bashful when I told him what his teammates said. “Absolutely. It’s absolutely true. I mean, I love eating a good meal,” he said, no surprise from a man nicknamed the Polar Bear. “I mean, that’s one of the beautiful and simple things in life. I love eating good food. It’s just simple as that.”)

Over iced lattes—a mocha for May; almond matchas for Canha and me—the role players were effusive about their squad. May played for a 100-win Twins team that set the all-time home run record, but he said he’s convinced this Mets team “is special in a way that I’ve never been part of before.”

“We’re definitely more well-rounded [and] built for the playoffs,” he said. “The way our starting pitching is, we got two dudes”—Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer, icons who don’t need to be named to be known—“who are just gonna take over a playoff game.”

Added Canha, “I think have to happen for you to win a World Series you have to get lucky in a lot of ways. But if our offense can find a way to get even a little bit of rhythm in the playoffs, I like our chances.”

That night, Canha had two huge hits—stuffing the box score with a go-ahead double in the fifth, then tying it up again with another double in the eighth. Canha’s play served up Alonso’s joyous walk-off in the bottom of the ninth. That meant Alonso got the water cooler ice bath and postgame accolades, too. That was fine by Canha, who knows better than most that a great meal needs all the ingredients to bring out the subtler notes.


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