Friday, March 30, 2007
Recently I've discovered the availibilty of delicious fresh juices in the neighborhood. I can vouch for the tasty carrot-apple juice at Igloo, and the carrot-apple-ginger (detoxlicious!) at Cafe Bar. Trusted sources tell me that
Bianca's Bakery also serves up some great fresh juice as well. I sometimes find fresh juices to be more invigorating that coffee. However, if you are looking for a great coffee, definitely check out the cappucino at Sparrow. They do a great job of brewing strong, yet smooth espresso, and their steamed milk is excellent. I had one a few weeks ago and was really impressed. Maybe get yourself a bastard while you're there?
On Friday, Waltz presents singer-songwriter Wendy Colonna at 9pm. She's from Austin and is described as a "bluesy Joan Osbourne". $10 Cover, $7 drink minimum. They are also having their monthly wine event on Saturday at 9pm. Great wine, cheese, bread, etc, plus Song and Bethany Rose on piano, all for $25. On Friday and Saturday at 8pm Genesis Repertory will present Romeo & Juliet: Jerusalem at the Greek Cultural Center (27-18 Hoyt Ave. South). Also, this is the last weekend to catch Richard Garrison's Perimeters at the Chocolate Factory.
More fun, here.
Monday, March 26, 2007
Friday, March 23, 2007
Saturday go window shopping or actual shopping at the coolest random item store around! It's Marco Polo Gift House (44-10 30th Ave) to the rescue for those hard to shop for friends and loved ones.
Hungry from shopping, catch an early dinner at Aces (32-07 36th Ave). I had the skate there and LOVED it. After dinner let your ears be entertained by our pal DJ Lo-Fi, he'll be spinning over at the always hip and happening Hellgate Social. Fun with the tunes and always no cover- just like we like it. Ladies, count on RightRides when your ready to go home. No more long and lonely (and sometimes scary) walks to the train/bus/cab
Sunday head north. Not too far north, but up towards the park. The Ultimate Frisbee season is officially here! Hooray for Spring :) Need a break after tossing the disk around, find your way over to Freeze Peach where a bunch of folks are having a book swap around 2pm. Bring a book or two and find yourself something new to read.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Wednesday March 28th, 6:30pm
Kosher Wines, for Kosher Times
I know, you think you are scared. Don't be. There are some fantastic kosher wines available now, and we will be tasting a few of them from around the world. So that you too can walk around secure in your knowledge of kosher wines and how delicious they can be.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
I am happy to announce that here at Joey In Astoria we are welcoming a new occasional guest restaurant reviewer, Dr. No.
Dr. No fled Phoenix for the steamy underworld of late night restaurants and temperamental chefs in Gotham. She came to town a yes girl, but has been transformed through the fire of fine service into Dr. No, the waitress who is not afraid to give you what you really want, whether you know it or not.
Please welcome her in proper Astorian fashion. (Whatever the hell that is.)
36th ave between 32nd and 33rd Street
You know, I am one of those eaters who likes a sweet pea flan as much as a Jack in the Box taco in the right circumstances. I appreciate food from both sides of the tracks, if you will, as long as someone has loved it just a little before it has been dropped on the plate that I eat it from. But I tell you this-- if someone has loved the food a lot, even if it has other flaws.... well then, I am forever in their thrall.
This is the case with the new Aces. Three sets of my friends had directed me here by the time I finally made it in. A bitterly cold Saturday night found me sitting at the bar, alone, and waiting a bit too long to be greeted and offered a drink. (who does a girl have to fuck around here to get a drink?!??!!) But the waitress in me could see that it was just a case of too many customers and one too few waiter types. Truthfully, it was all I could do not to just get up and help them with the room, but I refrained and was glad I did, because it now means that I get to go back and be "the nice lady who tips well" instead of "the impatient lady who had to jump in and waitress because she could not wait for that cocktail."
So, indeed my bartender did arrive, and graciously offered me a drink. I chose a glass of wine, something I realize now was not a mistake, but not my strongest decision. I should have had one of his cocktails. His meaning the bartender/owner, Miguel. The reason being is that he is a damn good bartender, and in a city this big we fall into a false sense of complacency thinking that surely most bartenders are good, but let me tell you straight-- they are NOT. A truly good bartender is almost too good to be true, and you should shower your money and affections on the few who come along. Subsequent visits have brought many Mojitos, and although I have strong feelings about making a bartender use so much fresh mint in the dead of winter, (out of season!!!!) I can get over them for this mojito. He loves that sucker like nobody's business, and you the lucky drinker are thus rewarded. Not only that, but his old fashioneds are damn good too. A drinker's paradise.
That night I ate an app of Risotto-- with Huitlacoche!!!! In Astoria. Dude, huitlacoche is a fungus that grows on corn in Mexico and is deeeelicious. It is also curiously not present at most restaurants save high end fussy in Manhattan. What a treat to have it here. Creamy risotto-- not too wet, not too dry, with mushrooms and that black funk. Oh yeah. I finished, happily, and slid off my barstool into the night.
In other visits, I have had the clams, cooked in a white wine, butter and chorizo broth that we loved so much we upended the bowl and drank it, (good thing we have no shame) and this fun take on the french frisee et lardons salad, this one with long leaves of Romaine lettuce, poached egg, lardons and a crema fresca dressing. Springy and bright, that salad, plus the added bonus is that after you have broken the egg and it has oozed all over the lettuce, you can use the leaves as a shovel and scoop up the bits of everything else with your hands. It seems uncouth, but truly it is genius. A late night dinner brought the butternut squash soup, a tad salty but good, a gorgeously marbled Ribeye with a rosemary scented jus and some potato puree, and a crusted skate wing with a little too much balsamic redux on the plate but plenty of love nonetheless. And, I would like to mention, I believe that the skate was only $15 and the ribeye $20. That is a steal no matter how you look at it.
So, go see these guys. Take a night off from dining in the glossy halls of manhattan and do a little business in your neighborhood. The drinks are well mixed, the food is simple and well prepared and there is love going on your plate and in your glass. You can get the best, most expensive ingredients in the world and the hottest customers and the best press, but at the end of the day, it is only the guys who truly care about feeding you that make the difference. Go go go to Aces!
Aces: 36th ave between 32nd and 33rd Street
Open 7 days a week for dinner only
Cash only for now.
Pros: food is excellent and off the beaten path. Fresh, well thought out menu with stuff you want to eat. Reasonable prices, large portions, GREAT bartender, owned and operated by people who truly care.
Cons; service can be a bit slow-- kitchen could tighten time between courses. This should improve over time.
Monday, March 19, 2007
• Netteria- saw it still with the paper over the windows back in January. Stopped in to the brand spankin new joint and grabbed a menu this afternoon. I can't say it looks all that promising since the lady behind the counter informed me that the prices are going to be going down a bit. Not the best location for a poor little cafe that could! It didn't look all that bad either. I'll be scanning the menu in tomorrow and will post a link here for the hungry masses.
*edited to add the menu for Netteria
• Megaro- i'm updating just for the sake of updating since the place hasn't looked open to me yet! I'm not sure if it has weird hours, or if they opened then closed in a blink of an eye or what- but the place definitley has not looked like its been up and in business since i saw it in January.
• T&H Mini Market- back in August i told you they had some cool random Asian snacks in the little market, well today i walked by and it was shuttered. 6:30pm on a monday night? Weird. Will keep an eye on it and see if it was just a fluke or if the poor folks are outtie.
• Wassi- well what can i tell you about this joint? We first told you about it way back in July. Then in January we saw that they closed. Then oh joy, last month- they were to open up as World News Cafe... I don't think that ever happened! So now as of last weeks weekend edition- we have Tell Astorya- a NEWer cafe in the spot. I passed it today and it is in fact open!
My mind is a blank for some of the other spots i should be revisiting. do you have any you can think of that were left up in the air? let me know and i'll set to investigating!
•4322 Ditmars Blvd • 2524 Broadway • 3114 Ditmars Blvd • 3043 STEINWAY ST • 3117 30TH AVE • 4307 Astoria Blvd • 31st. St. • 3401 Broadway
Friday, March 16, 2007
If you're not busy whooping it up with the Irish on Saturday, consider heading over to Athens Square (30th Avenue & 30th Street) from 5-7pm. There will be a vigil in conjunction with UFPJ's call for local actions around the fourth Anniversary of the Iraq war.
On Sunday, you can sober up at newly opened Tell Astoria Cafe (37-05 28th Ave), or have brunch at Dillinger's (30th Ave at 47th Street). That night at 7:30, Quiz Night is back at the Irish Rover! It's tons of fun, and you get a nice chunk of change if you win (I know - I was on the winning team a couple weeks ago!). Then at 9pm that night Hellgate Social will be screening blaxploitation masterpiece Three the Hard Way. Have a Hellgate Lemonade (my favorite house speciality cocktail) while you're watching.
More fun, here.
Island Café & Lounge
Top Chef contestant Josie Smith-Malave, the spiky-coiffed ex–football player, heads the kitchen at this eclectic restaurant and café. The bi-level Mediterranean spot, with bamboo and river-stone walls, is home to the only four-head Cimbali espresso machine in the U.S. 35-15 36th St between 35th and 36th Aves, Long Island City, Queens (718-433-0690).
(so they call it LIC, i still consider it Astoria!)
Get all the details on their site. Volunteer to drive around for the night or tag along with another driver. You never know, you might just need these peeps in your corner one night. I'm probably going to look into volunteering myself a few nights, i'm just a social freak so getting new people to talk to randomly on a Saturday night sounds like fun! And its a good thing :)
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Give them a go- if for nothing else, for the sheer novelty of shop. Fun!
44-10 30th Ave.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
All is good in the world again. I just discovered a kitty rescue right around the corner! The folks at Francis's Friends Inc. are doing their darndest to find homes for these little ones. If you can't take one in, they've got other stuff that your big heart can help with including volunteering and making tax-deductible donations of money, food, and litter.Here we have sweet little Miss Benicia del Rio Blanco Gato. She's being fostered right now but has to go since her landlord didn't want her around! She's on their petfinder link if you're inclined...
Looking for a bottomless bloody mary or two? Dillingers Pub & Grill (46-19 30th Ave.) is here to oblige. Sundays from 11:30am to 3pm, munch on brunch. There are three choices for three different set prices, $9.95 food/no alcohol, $15.95 food & alcohol (there's your mimosa or bloody mary!), $18.95 food & alcohol & STEAK! A little something for everyone. I'm giving it a try this Sunday and will be reporting back...with pictures!
Candy Plum (30-98 36th St.) offers a freebie this weekend. Go see the ladies, mention "myspace," and walk out a proud winner of a lovely pair of earrings! Offer good only till Sunday, so do yourself a favor and check them out, especially if you still haven't after all of these months of us telling you about them!
Monday, March 05, 2007
Tuesday, March 13th, 6:30pm
Steinway Reformed Church
41-01 Ditmars Blvd at 41st Street
All are welcome!
Come join us for our continuing discussion regarding Astoria Park and the formation of an Astoria Park Friends group. Our last meeting brought together some nearby residents from throughout Astoria who are interested in working together to ensure the overall health of the park. But we need you, too!
We, a collective group of Astoria Park users, are interested in clean ups and gardening days, advocating for physical park improvements, partnering with other programs and events that take place in the park, environmental education, and creating literature/brochures. Please come join us to further refine these thoughts and add your own ideas at our second meeting.
If you have questions, please call Helen Ho at 718-520-5913 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, March 02, 2007
Set aside some time this weekend for sky watching. On Saturday night, March 3rd, there's going to be a total eclipse of the Moon. This means the Moon will glide through the heart of Earth's shadow and turn a beautiful shade of sunset red. Totality can be seen from parts of all seven continents including all of Europe and Africa and the eastern half of North America.
Visit spaceweather.com for observing tips, maps and links to live webcasts, and check out the Lunar Eclipse Gallery for photos from a similar eclipse in 2004.
Now, it has come to my attention that fun clothes live in Astoria. Stop by Candy Plum and take advantage of their new pieces - five new designers have arrived with new jewelry and clothing collections. Mimi's Closet also has a lot of beautiful clothes on sale, plus new spring lines are arriving. Same with KrisTees - her winter collection is on sale, and the beginning of her spring collection is on the racks as well. I stopped in to these places this week and saw all the lovely things available and they are definitely worth checking out.
Sparrow is now serving brunch on Sundays from 12-5pm. Mmmm...french toast. Sunday night, head over to Fatty's for their Sunday Night Social. And Lounge 47 in LIC is still holding their "10 at 10" special - on Saturday nights from 10-11pm they've got an open bar costing you just $10 for the hour. I've also enjoyed my times at Rapture Lounge, which serves good drinks and tasty food. Sunday night is Service Industry night, so bartenders you are particularly welcome!
Finally, the Astoria Symphony is playing in town this weekend (Sunday)! I hear the piano soloist, Orlando Alonso, is amazing.
More fun, here.
Thursday, March 01, 2007
If you haven't tried them yet, there's still time! Go out today and sample some fine food for the greater good of Astoria. 3, that's right 3 of the 5 are places right here in our little neck of the woods. Here are the contenders:
Best new Queens restaurant
Still need convincing? here are pictures from all three places and a few others from my flickr account. Can you tell i like food, just a little?