Thursday, November 30, 2006

Astoria Holiday Shopping

Inspired by a post over on, I got to thinking about how Astoria has a lot of great shopping options for the holidays. No need to go to Manhattan for everything! Or the mall (ugh). There's plenty right here in western Queens, some I've mentioned before, and some that are new (at least to me).

First, check out a terrific slideshow from the NY Times, written by Astoria's own Amanda Trimble. Love the pictures and descriptions, and it's a great overview of some of the wonderful and unique boutiques in Astoria/LIC. KrisTees is new to the neighborhood, and is a lovely upscale kind of place (more about them from flooz, later). I've checked out The Blooming Company on 31st Street (by the Ditmars station). They have cute clothes and jewelry, as well as other items like wallets, shoes and bags.

Apart from clothes, Blue Eye Boutique has a lot to offer for the evil eye fans on your list. Inside Astoria on Ditmars sells home items, gifts for pets, and more. Olympia Chemists on 31st Street sells wonderful L'Occitaine products and a variety of other great smelling things, including environmentally sound and cruelty-free products.

Astoria's own Socrates Sculpture Park has a new book out on their 20 years in existence, and The Noguchi Museum has a wonderful gift shop with books and other intersting objects. The Art-O-Mat in Hunter's Point is a "store/gallery featuring artisan made items", so check them out for locally made art. The Museum of the Moving Image also has a gift shop, for the film buff on your list.

Heliopolis, as I've mentioned before, has great chocolate (including Scharffen Berger) and an amazing selection of beer, perfect to bring to a holiday party. Vine Wine in LIC is doing a series of tastings throughout December, so stop on in and educate yourself about wine so you can get your favorite oneophile something they'll love. And budding Astoria pastry artist Michelle McDonald is selling handmade chocolate truffles for the holidays! Both flooz and I have had these truffles, and they are absolutely delicious. Highly recommended!

While not based in Astoria, online options I like include Threadless, which sells wonderful tshirt designs for women, men, and children. Right now they're having a $10 sale! What a deal. I'm also a big fan of Mighty Goods, an awesome shopping blog by Maggie Mason in SF. I've also shopped at The Hunger Site's online store. Each purchase you make feeds someone. What a wonderful way to shop and do some good while you're at it. And for Astoria-based online shopping, our own flooz has a terrific cafepress site, selling things with an Astoria theme. Click, click, click and check it out! Lastly, December 1 (that's tomorrow) starts the NY Cares Coat Drive. See where you can donate your used winter coat so someone else can stay warm.

Oh, and don't forget all those 99cent stores for wrapping, bows, and cheap decorations!

Where do you like to do your holiday shopping in Astoria?

Welcome December!

Here it is, decorating season. I have a feeling there will be some big lawn to-do's!

(over on 23rd Ave near 26th st... i think?)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Astoria Weekend Edition 24.11.06

Well, I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving — mine was nice and chill here in Astoria, just the way I wanted it. Kind of a gross day, but I was happy that the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade happened despite the wind and rain. We're in for a nice sunny weekend, which will be great for you shoppers out there on Black Friday. For some local shopping, head on over to Candy Plum boutique, Blue Eye Boutique, or the Blooming Company. Besides shopping (or not shopping), you can do some wine tasting, savor some Rivette at the AMMI, check out the 2006 Emerging Artist Fellowship Exhibition at Socrates (and consider a copy of their new book while you're at it), or head on over to the Art-O-Mat. You can also hang out in the Ditmars area and watch the filming of The Accidental Husband, with Uma Thurman. I hear they'll be filming in our fair city until January.

If you get hungry, hop on over to the San Antonio Bakery #2, where I've been eating lately. I'd forgotten just how good their hot dogs completas are. I recently stopped into the Heliopolis Deli (32-16 Broadway) and was so glad that I did. Wonderful selection of beer, and they sell an addictive product that they make in-house: a mixture of feta cheese, sun dried tomatoes, hot peppers, and olive oil. Amazing! I could eat it every day. They've also got tasty baba ghanoush and wonderful dolmas. If you haven't already, you need to check this place out. I've also heard great things about Marjana, a new Morroccan restaurant on Steinway. Apparently the most expensive thing on the menu is $11.

More fun, here.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Over the years, I've learned that Thanksgiving is somewhat of a quirky holiday. I used to think everyone went home to see their families then. Not so. Some of my coupled friends make this holiday their own, eschewing the long drive or flight across the country or to the next state to see extended family. Some gather their friends together for a day of laze and gluttony. Some people go to church, some don't. But, we do eat! Whether or not it's home-cooked.

Going out for Thanksgiving is a foreign concept to me, but it's a wonderful option for a lot of people. John over at has some great info on T-day dinner out in Queens. There's also been discussion over on astorians about where to go in the nabe for Thanksgiving dinner. I noticed the other day walking past Koliba that they ar doing a Thanksgiving dinner. I wonder if it will be Czech-influenced? Also, Fresh Direct is an option. Just heat and serve.

One of the coolest aspects about Thanksgiving in NYC is going to the city to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon Inflation. For several blocks you can watch the balloons for the parade get blown up to full size, Wednesday night. Sort of the "unofficial start" to the Thanksgiving holiday. I'll be there!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Astorian Weekend Edition 17.11.06

If you're still looking for decent sushi in Astoria, Friday after work march on over to Ginza (31-31 Steinway Street). Some call it a hibachi joint- which they do have, but i can tell you, it really is a full on sushi supplier! I was very very satisfied with the $16.99 all you can eat. Soda, soup, salad, apps and a pretty decent selection of sushi and rolls. 4 people=$80 -keep it coming!!!!

Celebrate Ethel Merman and other musical and classical works this Saturday when Genesis Repertory goes off-off Broadway to the Advance Island City Mispah Lodge (21-14 30th Ave) at 8 p.m. Entertainment and refreshments all yours for $20. (646-226-0370).

No cooking for you this weekend? Apparently there is competition for my sandwich guys, Sal Chris & Charlie! On the other side of town we've got Sorisso's (30th Ave. between 44th and 45th Sts.) They get my thumbs up just for the name (smiles in italian!)!There are claims they have the best fresh mozarella, best sandwiches, great sausages, & delish homemade sauce. Time to go pay them a visit and put the grub to the test.

Ok, its not the weekend, but on Monday at 4:30pm at the Intersection of Steinway & Broadway
go welcome Santa to Astoria with the Tree Lighting Ceremony!!!!! Kids visit Santa and receive a free book. This will also be the big green flag for you late night shoppers, most of the area stores start extending their hours through Christmas.

Now go home and start preparing for Thanks-for-giving-us-a-day-off!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Astoria Weekend Edition 10.11.06

First, remember us talking up 5 Boroughs Ice Cream? And the fact that it's not available in Astoria, despite their using Astoria-based ingredients. Well, that's changed! It's now available at the Best Yet Market (19-30 37th Street) and soon at the C-Town on 28th Avenue (40-12 28th Avenue). They'll be doing free tastings, at least at the Best Yet, during November. Keep an eye on their PR page for info on this. We'll do the same here.

There's so much going on this weekend! On Friday, there's a kosher pasta potluck at Astoria Center of Israel, and a poetry reading (and networking time) at 8pm at the Women's Studio Center. On Saturday there's fun acoustic 80s music at Waltz, compliments of Michael Burke & Jason Hare, a book and crafts sale at Trinity Lutheran, and ultimate frisbee at Astoria Park (newbies always welcome, bring a dark and light tee shirt). And Sunday, catch the last day of Sacred Spaces: Altars for Dia de los Muertos, and exhibit at the Art-O-Mat. Finally, check out Freeze Peach's new ongoing events calendar for what's going on there, from read-aloud nights, to crafting and knitting, to simply relaxing and listening to vinyl, complete with a hot cup of coffee, tea, or cider in hand.

This weekend also marks the closing of beloved Astoria restaurant Lil Bistro 33; they 11th is their last night (Saturday!). But they're only closing temporarily, as they'll be moving into a larger space in the Ditmars neighborhood (19-33 Ditmars Blvd), down by the park. Great news for northern Astorians, for sure! We'll let you know when they re-open.

More fun, here.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Astorian Weekend Edition 03.11.06

Want to liven up your home for the fall? On your way home on Friday, swing by the new to the hood, tucked back from the main drag Blue Eye Boutique (32-07 37th Street @ Broadway.) They are full of all kinds of stuff with the all seeing all knowing nazars (evil eye). You can get everything from cute earrings and rings to keychains, plaques and random household items starting at $5.

Its getting cold these days so why not go somewhere warm like Brazil? Can't afford it? Me either, luckily Astoria is full of Brazilian shops and restaurants to make you feel like a Carioca! My mom grew up in Rio so i sometimes get a craving for some fried yucca and black beans. I have found a new place nearby that can accommodate my food urges... Favela (33-18 28th Ave.) Yummy, affordable and cozy. I went all out with the meat and had the Picanha with rice and beans and my favorite-Farofa!!! can't beat it for $15.

Want to give Brazilian cuisine a go at home? Stop in to the cute mini market, Ipanema Girl (28-19 Steinway St). I was in there recently and got a kick out of the little things that i haven't seen since i was in Brazil last- about 7 years ago. You can find typical snacks and beverages there along with the green and yellow flag emblazoned on clothing and flip flops. If you feel like you really want more, they even have a mini travel agency there for your travel needs.

Sunday is good cause day! Join in on the PFLAG Annual Fund Raiser Awards Luncheon.
The Queens Chapter of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) will be honoring among others, one of our very own, Astorian Dirk McCall, President, Stonewall Democratic Club of NYC who will be awarded the “Morty Manford Award.” Tickets are $50 and it will be held at Riccardo's (21-01 24th Avenue.)
For more information see PFLAG or call (718) 271-6663.

All of this and oodles more here.