Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Best of 2008, JIA Style!

Here it is, the last post of 2008.
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." Mr. Dickens new what he was talking about! But for this post, we'll concentrate on the good. Just cause that's how we roll.
So here are the top 5 Astorian bits from the 3 of us:

From Meg-
Opening of Vesta. This new trattoria in western Astoria blew me away with great food and atmosphere, and dedication by the owners and operators to make my stay truly enjoyable. Plus they are doing 80's night for their New Years feast!

Little Soap Shop. This independently-owned boutique sells soaps, lotions, and candles that are all natural and non toxic. Plus, they smell great!

A good latte at Chocolate Spoon. I was pleased to find a place that made a good latte - strong, but not bitter with creamy foamy milk on top. Nice people, too.

The Tap Project. "A campaign that recognizes clean and available tap water in our communities and helps UNICEF distribute clean water to children around the globe." A number of Astoria restaurants participated.

The proposed sale of 21.29 acres of Con Ed property to buyer/developer Steel Equities for a FedEx ground facility DEFEATED. I was pleased with this result.

From Foodista-
There are so many wonderful places that I enjoy visiting in Astoria. From delicious eateries to quaint boutiques and relaxing spas, I never have to travel far to get what I need.

1. Ovelia's Brunch - This is by far my favorite venue for brunch, especially in the summer when it's nice and open for you to enjoy the sunshine. The vibe is social and loud--they play dance music and the clientele is young and hip. Some of my favorite brunch dishes include Yia-Yia's omelette, eggs benedict and the tiropita toast. And the best part is that brunch will only set you back $10-$13, including coffee and a morning cocktail. 34-01 30th Avenue, Astoria. 718.721.7217.

2. Bistro 33 - An intimate eatery, it's won over my heart--and my stomach--over the past year. From amazing classic dishes such as braised lamb to inventive Asian cuisine such as crawfish tempura, Bistro has never disappointed and always over-delivered. It's a fabulous brunch option too and I recommend trying the blueberry silver dollar pancakes. Bistro has become quite the show-stopper this year, rated as a favorite by Sex and the City's Cynthia Nixon and also a taping location of ABC's Ugly Betty. 19-33 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria. 718.721.1933

3. Artopolis Bakery - Although hidden in Agora Plaza shopping center on 31st Street near 23rd Avenue, this treasure won't stay a secret for long. It boasts some of the most delicious bread that I've ever tasted--especially their herb flat bread. They specialize in Greek pastries and make some of the flakiest baklava in town. They've also been featured on Al Roker's "Roker on the Road." 23-18 31st Street, Astoria. 718.728.8484

4. Spa Hydra - My favorite place to unwind, I've gotten some of the best massages here. Their facilities are nicer than some of the top spas in Manhattan--and the prices are a bit gentler too. 35-11 36th Street, Astoria. 718.267.7991

5. Esculon Jewelry - I've been hooked on Alexandra Mihaescu's funky jewelry designs. She makes contemporary fashion jewelry at reasonable prices. My most recent purchase, the Golden Dotty Earrings have become a huge hit with all of my friends--so much so that I've purchased 3 more pairs for some of my closest buds. The compliments on these babies just keep pouring in!

From Flooz-
Cafe Soleil ... didn't start off great for me, but has really come into its own. I see it as a bit of an underdog, but think they have great potential to become a go to spot in the area.

• Comedy came to Astoria, laughs were had and good times aplenty!
(Mezzo Comedy Club and Comedyland at the Beer Garden)

• The return of Mano's Papaya! Oh how your cheap tubular treats and fruitie drink concoctions were missed.

• All the filming bringing celebrity watching to the hood.

• The first ever Astorian Beer-lympic's. I mean, come on- what isn't there to love about THAT???
Have a safe happy and prosperous new year friends, and see you back here in 2009

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Vesta Trattoria



Today I had the opportunity to have brunch at Vesta Trattoria, a relative newcomer to the neighborhood. I think it's one of the best brunches I've had in NYC. This is based on two things: interesting dishes that were incredibly flavorful and delicious.

Here's part of their story, according to their website:

With their combined passion for Italian food and the Astoria neighborhood, Leo Sacco and Giuseppe Falco decided to open Vesta Trattoria and Winebar - a neighborhood restaurant offering simple and Italian-inspired favorites guided by the local greenmarket.

They are committed to the Astoria neighborhood; the childhood friends grew up in the area and continue to call it home. Now an extension of their own homes, Vesta Trattoria and Winebar, is dedicated to serving the local community.

We started with coffee. When I asked about how strong it was, Giuseppe said it was strong, and that I'd love it. He was right - it was really good! Nice and rich, bitter and smooth at the same time, with chocolate notes within. I'd like to try a latte or cappucino next time.

T and I ordered three things: for him, the minestrone soup and hangover pizza (though he did not have a hangover), and I, "A Warm Bankie". All three were delicious and I'd be happy ordering them again.

Minestrone Soup: This was an amazing bowl of soup. It had greens and white beans in it, with large croutons and a poached egg. Fantastic flavors - complex and beautiful.

A Warm Bankie: Fried eggs with creamy polenta, asparagus, crimini mushrooms, truffle oil. It was amazing - the polenta was really smooth and lucious, the veggies perfectly cooked for my taste, the eggs delicious (I understand they are organic), and the truffle oil complemented everything.

Hangover Pizza: What a great invention! Potato, pancetta, caramelized onions, fried eggs, spicy tomato sauce. I loved the spice level - hot but comfortably so. The eggs again were great. The crust was excellent - thin and flaky, which went well with what was on top. It was quite light. We have half of it in the fridge waiting for us to nom nom nom.

A brief note about their wines: they have a nice selection of well-priced wines that you can get by the shot, glass, or bottle. We had a wine that went well with the pizza, the Aglianico "Contado" 05.

We also had a slice of the La Torta del Picolo Bambino Gesu Cristo, aka Baby Jesus Cake. It appears to be a kind of spice cake that has a toffee-like crust on top, covered in a kind of caramel sauce. Whipped cream comes on the side. I do not have a picture because I ate it too quickly!

I absolutely loved the food and expect to return often. Definitely head on over and check it out. The staff is so friendly, and really make an effort to make you feel comfortable and at home (thank you Giuseppe!) in their space (which is lovely). The food is delicious, interesting, and excellently prepared. Highly recommended!

Vesta Trattoria
21-02 30th Ave.
Astoria, NY 11102
718-545-5550
http://vestavino.com

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Astorian Weekend Edition 25.12.08



Merry Christmas to all of you that celebrate the holiday! I expect a lot of your time will be spent with family and/or friends, and eating delicious food. According to my sources, Thursday will be one of the nicest days we've had recently, with partial sun and no deep freeze temperatures. A walk in Astoria Park might be nice way to spend time outside and with your loved ones.

The 26th brings us another day of rest (and Boxing Day!). It'll be cloudy and grey, so why not hang out in one of the local cafes for a few hours? The other day I was at Cafe Soleil (37-14 Astoria Blvd) on Astoria Blvd and had a delicious cup of tea and a fantastic chicken and green apple salad sandwich. Omonia (32-20 Broadway) is always a good bet, and further south is funky Cafe Bar (32-90 34th Avenue).

Another option this weekend is to take the family to the Museum of the Moving Image (36-01 35th Ave) for their Animation Workshop. From December 26-31 (and January 2-4), workshops are daily at noon and 2:00 p.m. and 60 minutes each. "Children learn the history and technique of stop-motion animation, and then make their own short films, which will be shared online. Recommended for ages 8 and up. Materials fee: $5 per child. Space is limited. Call 718.777.6820 to reserve." They're also showing the delightful short film The Red Balloon in Tut's Fever Movie Palace, daily at 1, 2, and 3 p.m., and 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday night, Astoria Music & Arts presents their first Holiday Surprise, a 3-venue "Rock n' Crawl" down 30th Ave, with live, original music by Astoria musicians. Boite Cafe (40-17 30th Ave), The Quays (45-02 30th Ave), and Shillelagh (47-22 30th Ave) are the venues, and a variety of bands will perform. Crawl starts at 6 p.m. at Boite and is expected to go til 2 a.m.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Cookbook Giveaway - We have 2 Winners!

Last week, we announced a cookbook giveaway, compliments of the Queens Museum of Art. The cookbook called, "A Healthy Taste of Corona" features 150 pages of healthy recipes, written by local neighborhood officials, community leaders and restaurateurs.

Many of you wrote in to tell us about your favorite healthy dish and why you love it. There were some fabulous responses and we thank you for those.

So...without further ado, we'll announce not one but two winners!

Jen Rock, a fan of lentils - It's amazing how diverse one staple food can be, especially when you examine an array of cultures and their techniques for cooking them. This month I'm hooked on preparing [lentils] Ethiopian style. Last month, it was lentil soup with smoked ham hocks. Next month, who knows!

and

Helen, who loves soups - You can throw in your favorite meats and veggies and still have a healthy meal.

Congratulations to our winners! Please email us your home addresses and we'll send the cookbooks your way. Contact - joeys.in.astoria@gmail.com

Thanks to everyone for submitting your entries. And even if you haven't won, contact the Queens Museum of Art for more details on how to purchase this book.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Astorian Weekend Edition 18.12.08

Here we are: it's crunch time for holiday shopping! Get your last full weekend of gift prep done locally.

If you're on a budget but still want something original, try locally grown Firelight Jewelry for that sweet lady in your life.

Clash Culture (34-03 34th St) is a pretty new fresh shop on 34th St. Find some slick original tees or some cool kicks for the little bit funky friend or
relative.

Don't forget your furry friends either! The welcoming folks over at The Jumping Bulldog (28-10 23rd Avenue) are more then happy to outfit Fido in some new gear.

For that hard to shop for style maven, try Site (35-11 34th Ave) for eclectic home goods. They are definitely good to keep in mind for random knick knacks too, my weakness!

Something a little different, you can find it at The Little Soap Shop (2207 36th St). Help that certain someone smell delicious and pamper them while your at it!

Still looking? Don't forget about some old standbys: Candy Plum , Kristees, and Loveday 31

There's a big one on Sunday! At Waltz (23-14 Ditmars) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., enjoy the Second Annual Holiday Flea Market. One of a kinds and local arts galore! And there is, of course, food and drink :)

End it all off at one of two holiday parties! Both L.I.C.Bar (45-58 Vernon Blvd) and Rapture (34-27 28th Ave) are holding an evening of merriment on Sunday. L.I.C. Bar is hoppin' from 8 to 11 p.m. with free grub. The Rapture fete also starts at 8 p.m. and with a new unwrapped children's toy, you get a free holiday cocktail and an entry for the big midnight raffle.

Now go out there and help this durn economy!

A free and fun activity for you- go now and vote for the Best and the Worst of Queens. Be heard!



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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Laugh a little on a dreary day!

Tonight get your last comedy fix from the kids over at Comedyland before the holidays. Got this from their Myspace page:

Colin and Stacia are leaving on jet planes to visit the fams for the holidays. We'll be back on January 6th with a line up designed to blow your mind.
Enjoy your holidays! But before you light the yule log and/or Menorah, celebrate Comedyland one last 2008 time!

Here's what we have in store:
Stacia & Colin (Your holiday hosts)
Sharon "Mama" Spell (She sings, she dances, she's a holiday wonderland!)DJ Hazard (This comedy legend is bound to have a few hilarious holiday stories)
Cory Jarvis (speaking of holidays, he's travelled to Japan.
Will we get stories?)
Dan Curry (2008 was the year of Dan: he got married and got on the TV)
Peter Moses(In 2008, he became like family to Comedyland)

COMEDYLAND'S 2008 FISCAL YEAR END SHOW
Tuesday, December 16th @ 9pm
Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden in the Beer Cellar Restaurant
29-19 24th Avenue
Astoria, NY
www. bohemianhall. com

The most magical part: IT'S FREE!! Totally FREE!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's a Cookbook Giveaway!

Image by www.queensmuseum.org

The Queens Museum of Art is hosting an exciting event this Sunday in honor of its newly launched cookbook, "A Healthy Taste of Corona." The book was a collaborative effort, featuring content from Queens Borough President, Helen Marshall, The Mets General Manager, Omar Minaya, neighborhood officials, community leaders and let's not forget all the fantastic local restaurateurs.

The bi-lingual cookbook promises 150 pages of recipes, designed to promote a healthy lifestyle. Sound good?

Here's something even better...would you like your own copy?

Comment on this post between now and Sunday, December 14th by 12:00 am, and share with us your favorite healthy food and why you love it.

One lucky winner will be selected at random to win their very own copy of this book--and we'll also announce them online!

So if you're in the neighborhood this Sunday, please try to stop by the Queens Museum of Art for the launch event of this fantastic book.

Sunday, December 14th, 2008 from 3pm - 6pm
Queens Museum of Art
NYC Building
Flushing Meadows, Corona Park

Astorian Weekend Edition 11.12.08

Holiday time is here and that means it's acceptable to eat non-stop and just enjoy oneself. Here are a couple of fun things to keep you occupied this weekend.

Take a "mystery tour" this Saturday at 2pm at P.S.1 MOMA. Led by Betsey Geffen, the tour highlights the works of Italian artist, Gino De Dominicis in his first major U.S. exhibition. Be prepared to see something new and different. 22-25 Jackson Avenue, LIC. 718.784.2084

Visit the Noguchi Museum this Sunday at 3pm for a group discussion on Reviving Classic Designs. You'll get the inside scoop about Noguchi's furniture pieces and you can also enjoy a 20% discount on Akari items. 32-37 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City. 718.204.7088

In the mood for a filling snack that won't empty your wallet? Check out the simple yet charming Arepas Café on 36th Avenue. I've recently tried their mini empanadas and the chicken/cheddar arepa (pictured above)—just scrumptious! 33-07 36th Avenue, Astoria. 718.937.3835

Astoria's beloved Bistro 33 has reopened after a 2 week hiatus. They're offering a new winter menu, wine specials and 2 for $10 drink and food specials (those are on Tuesdays and Wednesdays only). 19-33 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria. 718.721.1933

Looking for a place to watch Sunday Night Football? I visited the much talked about Lucky Mojo's in LIC and it definitely lives up to expectations. The mashed potatoes are as smooth as butter and the ribs are finger-lickin' good. 5-14 51st Avenue, Long Island City. 718.786.7427

And last but not least…check out our new banner, where you can finally put a face to our names!

Thanks, Frank!

JIA gets listed in an article in the New York Times! Wooohoooo! Read here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Vikingo's, what are you?


Vikingo's, what are you?
Originally uploaded by The Flooz
Saw this interesting looking place last week on my walk along 36th Ave to the Xmas Shopping event at Cup. Please tell me someone out there has some info on this place!?!?!? It's crazy! I think it was off the avenue on 34th St. It looked like a private type club of sorts but i'm really not sure. Would love some info before venturing over there.

Don't Touch That Dial!

You've got the right place! Joey has a new look.

Goodbye, old banner! You've been good to us!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Should JIA Twitter?

Weigh in if you do or don't want tweets from the Joeys. (See sidebar)

Monday, December 08, 2008

Free Dinner at LIC Bar - All In Honor of Lennon

There's an interesting event going on tonight at LIC Bar and it's all in honor of John Lennon and the 28th Anniversary of his passing. The evening will present some colorful, live performances with unique spins on Lennon's classics.

Here's what you can expect:

Live performances by: Little Embers, Andy Stack, Joel Moore, Tom Curtain, Daniel Shay, Jeneen Terrana, Chrissi Poland and many more!

And the other attraction of the night?

A full--and FREE--catered dinner for everyone!

Enjoy yourselves Astoria and LIC--this just might be worth getting out of the house for.

Monday, December 8th
8pm - 11pm

LIC Bar

45-58 Vernon Blvd

Long Island City, NY 11101

www.longislandcitybar.com

Bistro33 is Open Again

This morning I received this in my inbox from Bistro33:


The weather outside may be frightening, but we have some news to warm you up this season...

New Menu!
Our winter menu is now available

New Nightly Specials!

Welcome to Wine Wednesdays
Join us for dinner and every second glass of wine is on us! A great way to try the new wines on our list

Tuesdays are still 2-for-$10 nights with many of our small plates, sushi, wine and beer in any combination just 2 for $10

See you soon!

Bistro33
1933 Ditmars Boulevard
Astoria
718-721-1933

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Be a fan of Astoria!

Are you still bored after all these sumptuous Astorian activities? Well, facebook's a great way to waste time. Be our fan and get updates and info from us!

Astorian Weekend Edition 04.12.08

This weekend you can buy local! Stop by the Steinway Reformed Church Holiday Sale this Saturday from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. A delicious lunch will be served and there will also be a raffle table. The Astoria Park Alliance, Seeds of Love, and local artisan Karen Overton (she makes beautiful jewelry from bicycle parts) will all have tables with wares and info. The church is at 21-65 41st Street.

On Sunday, Waltz (23-14 Ditmars) presents the Second Annual Holiday Flea Market. From 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. you can shop for jewelry, clothing, accessories, gifts and other unique pieces by local Astoria designers. Vintage and gently used items will also be available.

Both events are free!

This Friday marks the 75th Anniversary of the repeal of alcohol prohibition. Two suggestions: Go to Il Bambino (34-08 31st Ave), where they finally got their liquor license! They serve a great selection of wine (organic and conventional) and beer. The food is awesome, of course.

Or, join the Wine meetup on Saturday from 2-5 p.m. at Winegasm (31-86 37th St) for their winter Drink & Learn Wine event. This is a laid back and easy Astoria approach to helping you understand wine with a great group of people. You'll also explore the basic terminology and focus on different regions. The class is taught by Winegasm's house sommelier, Dean. Please note that reservations are required for the Wine meetup, and you must be a member of the group to participate. Please call ahead of time to reserve. The fee is $35 for sampling 7 whites and 7 reds. If you have any additional questions please call Winegasm at 718.932.3331.

Finally, head on over to Hell Gate Social (12-21 Astoria Boulevard) on Saturday night for their BORN TO ROCK OUT!! evening. This is DJ Scandal & DJ Belladonna's Birthday Blowout. The event goes from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. and there is no cover. Come hear some great spinning, dance a bit, and have one of their tasty sandwiches, not to mention some delicious mixed drinks. So, come chow down, drink up and rock out!


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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Shop locally tonight!

Here's a great way to start your holiday shopping!

Starry Night… Astoria Bright Holiday Shopping Event

Tuesday, Dec 2nd

Cup Diner & Bar

(35-01 36th Street)
6-11PM

It’s Astoria’s first “Starry Night, Astoria Bright” holiday shopping event featuring local boutiques as well as local designers.

Inside the event you will be greeted by 28 tables of creative gift giving items for all!

Not only will there be creative designer items, but there will also be complimentary hors d’oeuvres served throughout the night, our special raffle where you can win all sorts of prizes from neighborhood sponsors including dinner, spa packages, dance lessons, and tons more!

Also, come check out our roller derby girls that will be handing out holiday treats throughout the night grooving to DJ Martin’s back to the 80’s & 90’s sounds…

And did I mention “Admission is Free!”

We look forward to seeing you and being a part of Astoria’s first Starry Night Holiday event.

Don’t miss it and come check it out!!!


*Please note, most designers are smaller designers and will only accept cash. There will be an ATM on premises if needed.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Astorian Weekend Edition 27.11.08 ::GOBBLE::

Happy Turkey Day all! You know this edition is of course going to be food filled... we can't help it: it's Astoria! Whatever your taste, you'll be able to find a place to break bread this weekend. Staying local? Fear not.

Astoria's newest Italian joint welcomes all for traditional Thanksgiving fare. Vesta (21-02 30th Ave) has a varied menu going on this Thursday to fit all tastes.


Brick (30 - 95 33rd St), a well-established spot, is offering up a top notch seasonal menu. Make sure to call for reservations; they are known to fill up.


A little goes a long way with the folks over at Cronin & Phelan's (38-14 Broadway). For $16 you get soup or salad and roast turkey breast with homemade stuffing and cranberry sauce. When you can't get to mom's, they've got it for ya!


Also heard that my new little gem Seva (30-07 34th St) is doing a prix fixe Thanksgiving menu. There will be turkey tikka masala, cranberry saffron rice, and cashew pumpkin halwa for dessert. Talk about fusion cuisine!


Blackstone's (38-04 Broadway) is taking reservations for dinner. $18 for a full-on 3-course meal and a glass of wine.


Personally, I'd give Stove (45-17 28th Ave) a try. If I weren't going to be in NJ with family I would go there. The menu looks awesome and I've heard alot of good stuff about the place.


If you want a low key night, Mike's Diner (22-37 31st St) is advertising a Thanksgiving Dinner with all the trimmings. There are different prices for different meal options, so bring an appetite or just nibble. You don't even have to brave the cold much; it's right under the train station!


OK, so it's not all about food. At Waltz (23-14 Ditmars Blvd) on Friday, after you've had your fill of turkey, check out the talent expo. From 8 to 10:30 p.m. enjoy 3 new performances at the weekly event.


Continue the long weekend on Saturday at Hell Gate Social (12-21 Astoria Blvd). Starting at 8 p.m., Astoria Music & Arts Presents: A Cornucopia of Conscienceness. Billed as "A night of very distinct local music and general revelry."



Whatever your plans this weekend, enjoy yourselves and be safe out there!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Bistro 33 On Vacation, but Promises New Menu Items in December


Just got a mailer from Bistro 33 about their vacation closing, but there is some good news, still:

Bistro 33 will be closed for Vacation from Monday Nov. 24 through Monday Dec. 8

... And we will have many new wines and menu items when we return.

See you all on Tues. Dec. 9th

Happy Thanksgiving!

-Everyone at Bistro33

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It's Beaujolais Nouveau Time

From Vine Wine:

This Saturday we will be pouring some truly gorgeous Crus from Beaujolais. You will see how complex and varied these wines can be and probably never go back to to the undistinguished Beaujolais Nouveau ever again. They pair well with a wide variety of foods, making ideal Thanksgiving wine.
  • Domaine Chignard, Fleurie
  • Chateau Thivin, Cote de Brouilly
  • Marcel Lapierre, Morgon
November 22
3:00 - 6:00pm

Vine Wine
12-09 Jackson Ave
Long Island City, NY

SITE Holiday Preview Party

This is tonight! From their mailer:

DON'T MISS THE SITE ...
Holiday preview party!!
Thursday, November 20th
7-10pm

Great holiday gift items, decorations, ornaments, greetings cards + all your regular SITE favorites on sale for one night only!

Take 15% off all purchases under $100. Spend $100 or more and take 20% off!!

Plus all the SITE party treats...cupcakes + those tasty wine boxes + fab music + good company.

Astorian Weekend Edition 20.11.08

We're in for another cold one this weekend and what better way to spend it than to eat some yummy food. A lot of restaurants are staying conscious of prices, offering enticing specials...

Try Astoria's lovely little paninoteca, Il Bambino. They serve fantastic soups and paninis--and they now have their liquor license too so you could enjoy a nice glass of vino. I recently tried their baked potato soup and it was dee-licious! - 34-08 31st Avenue, Astoria, NY 11106. 718.626.0087

On another Italian note, take a short train ride to Long Island City and try a quaint little café called Manducatis Rustica. You'll feel at home with comfy couches, a cozy fireplace and the freshest pizza in town. I also recommend the "bacio" gelato (gelato sampling pictured above)—you'll be in for a sweet surprise. 46-35 Vernon Blvd, Long Island City, NY 11101. 718.937.1312

Mezzo Mezzo has a full weekend schedule with Comedy Night on Thursday at 8 p.m., Happy Hour on Friday from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. (including a free buffet) and Belly dancing on Saturday, starting at 9 p.m. - 31-29 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria NY 11105. 718.278.0444

Support local artists and especially talented jewelry makers. I recently discovered a local jewelry site called Esculon and I can't wait to receive my first purchase! Founded by two entrepreneurial spirits, Alexandra and Londy, the site features funky jewelry at affordable prices. Orders can be placed online.


And don't forget to visit Seva, Sooz's top pick for Indian food in
Astoria! I must admit that I'm hungry to try it (pun intended). They offer a $12 dinner special, which consists of three hefty courses. Don't miss this incredible recession deal. - 30-07 34th St (corner of 30th Ave), Astoria NY 11103. 718.626.4440

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Astoria Holiday Shopping Bazaar

From Kristie Foster of KrisTees:

Astoria's first Holiday Shopping Bazaar is coming!

The location of our "Starry Night" shopping event is at Cup Diner & Bar, 35-01 36th Street (across from Kaufman Astoria Studios), on Tuesday, December 2 from 6-11 p.m. There, you can view some of the lovely things offered by Astoria's boutiques - KrisTees, Candy Plum, Loveday31, Inside Astoria, Site, The Jumping Bulldog, Clash Culture, and many others.

For the evening, there will be plenty to keep you entertained while shopping for holiday goodies, including:

-free shopping totes to help you put all your fabulous items in
-complimentary hors d'oeuvres
-dj spinning all night
-roller derby girls handing out holiday treats
-a raffle including prizes from other local businesses

So mark your calendars for a very special Astoria shopping night and RSVP to receive a tote at the event to astoriafashion@gmail.com or call 718-721-2299.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Seva, my new bud off the avenue

I decided to take myself out for dinner last night.
I was flying solo so I thought it a good opportunity to try something that I know my other half doesn't like at all- Indian. Been hearing all kinds of good stuff about Seva Indian Restaurant (30-07 34th St) and since it's on my way home, it won out. I had no idea how affordable it would be!
Walking up to the place I saw the sandwich board outside letting me know that there is a prix fixe dinner if I was so inclined. You'll never believe it, but it was only $12! Granted no drink included but it's BYOB! This just kept getting better.

There was only one other couple in the place when I got there so service was super fast and attentive (but they were so sweet, I have to believe they are always like that) but it was early- 6:30ish maybe? That changed by the time I left, it was almost full. The menu was the perfect size. Not too overwhelming and not too crazy, especially for someone with very little Indian cuisine knowledge. Seeing as how what wanted was also on the meal deal menu, I went for it...you knew I would ;)
One veggie samosa, chicken saag and basmati rice, gulab jamun and I had to throw in a rosemary naan with a refreshing glass of limeade. So what that this put me over my $12 quoted price- I WANTED IT ALL!!!!

The kind sir went to put in my order and then "gifted" me with papadum and 2 sauces. I think he said one was mint and the other tamarind? Whatever really, I loved it. Proceeded to devour it.





Out came my little samosa puff on a little pool of the 2 sauces mentioned above. I am kidding when i call it little. My big healthy sized samosa was enough to split- lucky for me there was noone to split it with ;)



Glory be, that naan was huge hot and tasty. The little pots that held the chicken and the rice were adorable. At first glance I was like, wow I can see why it's affordable. But after digging in and getting fuller and fuller by the minute I started wondering who the hell could eat a full dinner portion?!?!?! I fought the good fight and only ended up leaving half my rice and 1 scoop of chicken and sauce. Sad I know, but I needed to finish the glorious naan and my dessert still to come!


I am very unfamiliar with any and all Indian desserts. But seeing as the description for the other one likened it to rice pudding (which I detest) I had to order the gulab jamun. They describe it as Honeyed dumplings, cashew stuffing, rosewater, cardamo. Craptastic! I'm glad it wasn't really plural, there was one huge zeppole type cake in a dish swimming in a pretty aromatic sauce with some shredded stuff on top. This was maybe my favorite thing of the night. I could do some damage to a platter of these. Serious.

The place is a must for everyone. Not kidding. Couples, groups or solo like me. They've got something for everyone and super affordable. My whole dinner after tax was $18.50. If I were not the glutton that I just described on here, there would have been enough for lunch the next day. Alas, I 'll just have to go back.

Seriously.
Loved it.
Yup, it's good.

Seva Indian Restaurant
30-07 34th St (corner of 30th Ave)
718 626 4440

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Top Chef Hits Astoria

Image by bravotv.com

Last night's premiere of Bravo's reality food show, Top Chef featured our very own neighborhood. It was exciting to see contestants of the show's 5th season get off at the Astoria Blvd subway stop and head to our very own Greek supermarket, Titan. Their mission was to prepare an ethnic meal themed to a neighborhood that was chosen for them. Both New York natives, Jamie and Richard competed head-to-head in making a typical Greek meal. Watch the action here!

Also, it looks as if the contestants are living in an upscale high-rise building in LIC. I'm not certain about that but it looked that way from the view out their window. I'm glad to see that people are finally catching on--Queens is cool!

Astorian Weekend Edition 13.11.08

Saturday looks like it's going to be a rainy Saturday, so why not check out one of Astoria an LIC's own museums? The Noguchi Museum (9-01 33rd Rd), the SculptureCenter (44-19 Purves), and P.S.1 (22-25 Jackson Ave) all have exhibitions running currently.

Make sure you take the opportunity to stop by Freeze Peach (22-00 29th Street), too - they've lost their space so their existence is limited (their going away party is 11/22). Hopefully they will find a new space, though - it would be a shame for them to completely disappear.

For a while now, I've been hearing about great affordable massage found in the Ditmars neighborhood. Chinese GongFu Tui-Na is the name and $50 gets you a full body massage. They also do foot rub/reflexology.

And if I haven't mentioned it before, Soho (22-11 31st St) has amazing turkey bacon. I recommend it, along with the whole wheat pancakes.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The JIA Crew Goes to Koliba

Last week my colleagues Meg, Sooz and I went to my favorite restaurant in Astoria--Koliba. I'm slightly biased in my preference for it because it reminds me of my home country of Slovakia. For those of you who may not know, Koliba specializes in Slovak and Czech homestyle dishes. That means lots of dumplings, sauces, meat and of course beer!

We had a great experience here and I was delighted that the girls loved it as much as I did. Although Koliba is nothing fancy, the food is among the most comforting, filling and flavorful in Astoria--and it's sort of a hidden treasure, as not many people think to check it out.

Here is some of the amazingness that we sampled:


Potato Spaetzle with Cheese and Bacon ($14.50) - I usually splurge and get this dish almost every time. The cheese is a creamy sheep's cheese that just melts in your mouth upon contact. The spaetzle or potato-based dumplings are a step above gnocchi and the bacon is super thick, crispy and chewy! My favorite part of the bacon is that it feels substantial instead of the thin strips that I'm used to eating at other restaurants. The portion (pictured above) is way too large for one person but it's nice to split it in half with your dining companions or to take some home for tomorrow's lunch.

Potato Spaetzle with Sauerkraut and Bacon ($11.75) - This was Meg's dish and it was also very tasty. The spaetzle were the same as mine and the sauerkraut was seasoned well with lots of pepper. Bacon was also used but it was a lot different than the one on my dish--Meg's was more chewy than crispy and it was pinker, looking like thick-sliced Canadian bacon. Meg took almost half of her portion home too and at the price that you see above, this was once again a great deal.

Pork Schnitzel in Potato Pancake Batter ($14.75) - Sooz just couldn't resist this delicious-sounding dish. I've never had it before myself and when I saw that it came served with plenty of sweet red cabbage, I knew that I'd have to get it next time. The pork schnitzel was enormous and the portion actually included two pieces--one of which is nestled under this big one that you see above. The batter was fantastic, crispy, thick and a little sweet too. The meat that lied underneath was light and not too thick, making it was easy to cut into and eat. Meg and I both took forkfuls of the delightful sweet cabbage, which happens to be my favorite Slovak side-dish. This plate was definitely a home run, judging by Sooz' happy face.

Service:
Everytime that I go to Koliba it's never crowded and last week was no exception. We were the only people that dined at a table, as everyone else sat at the bar chatting. Needless to say, our waitress wasn't very busy. She was friendly and brought everything to us relatively quickly. We had to signal to her to get the check but once we did, it came in minutes--nothing to complain about.

So...go ahead and try Koliba! If you like good food and aren't afraid of a couple of calories here and there, you'll love it.

Koliba - 31-11 23rd Avenue, Astoria, NY 11105
718.626.0430
N/W Train to Ditmars Blvd (last stop)
www.kolibarestaurant.com

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Astorian Weekend Edition 06.11.08

I'm just going to start this off by telling you to go eat! It's been a little while since I've really tried new places in the nabe. Well this week, I knocked two places off of my ever-growing list! Sakura (35-15 Ditmars) and Lava Cafe (27-03 23rd Ave) are good enough to put on my "regular restaurant roster" and even bring friends. In the photos are three random, yet delish and fresh rolls of sushi from Sakura and my Lava Frittata from brunch. Both places are wonderfully affordable and remarkably fast and tasty!

Rèst Âü Ránt (30-01 35th Ave) is celebrating a year in the hood on Friday at 9 p.m. They'll have a live band, drink specials and tastings, and passed appetizers.

There's more music and flashy burlesque at Hell Gate Social (12-21 Astoria Blvd.) on Friday at 10 p.m. There should be fun things happening as it's also George's Birthday... and I quote "you need not know George for this to be an important point! If you do know George then you know that you must be present." There's no cover, why not?

Freeze Peach (22-09 29th St.) not only got a cool neon sign in the window, but now they are serving fresh crepes on Saturdays and Sundays!

Sunday from noon to 5p.m., update your wardrobe and have fun with friends galore at another Seeds of Love Proceeds will help families at Hour Children with basic necessities and grant winter wishes for New York City kids in need. As if we need any reason to go to the Beer Garden (29-19 24th Ave.)? Get your pilsner, kielbasa, AND a large selection of new, trendy, name brand clothes and accessories! Tis almost the season after all.

The Queens International Film Festival is here again. The actual event itself is being held a little off the beaten path, but the closing party is right here at Cavo Cafe Lounge (42-18 31 Ave)
on Sunday at 9p.m.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Astorian "Spooktacular" Weekend Edition 30.10.08

Image by www.scholastic.com

Halloween is here so check out the many fun "tricks" and "treats" that Astoria has in store.

Visit the
Jumping Bulldog (28-10 23rd Ave, 917-576-7380) this Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. for its Pre-Halloween Bash. Bring your furry friends and make sure they arrive in costume. There will be a raffle, as well as free doggie portraits, smoked organic doggie sausages, and doggie Halloween cookies.

Watch the
Whiskey Dregs disappear on Thursday, the night before Halloween. Performances will include music, short stories, poetry, and even magic! Whiskey Dregs, The Great Disappearing Act, pre-party starts at 8 p.m. at Waltz Astoria (23-14 Ditmars Blvd).

Halloween Specials:

Many restaurants are hosting costume balls. Cavo's (42-18 31st Ave, 718-721-1001) annual glam party offers some glitzy prizes, like a trip to Vegas, and Indigo's (28-50 31st St, 718-728-0050) more chilled-out party offers $250 in cash for the grand prize winner.

You can also check out my
listings of more Halloween restaurant specials, including Meg's mention of Mojave's (22-36 31st St, 718-545-4100) "Day of the Dead" party.

Check out LIC Bar (45-58 Vernon Blvd, Long Island City, 917-254-8923) at 9 p.m. for a special Halloween live music show featuring Tool Tribute Band Schism.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Shauna Eats... Astoria

Local blogger Shauna normally writes about her food adventures in the neighboring town of Sunnyside, but from time to time she comes up to Astoria and blogs about her food adventures in our fair nabe. She posted today about her most recent eating tour - check it out!

Short and Sweet: Further Adventures in Astoria

Saturday, October 25, 2008

New Restaurant in Place of Anna's Corner

The southeast corner of 23rd Ave and 31st Street has a new tenant; this is the old Anna's Corner, though it was something else after that, the name of which I can't remember. Anyway, the new place (apparently Greek) is called Psitopolio Ta Vlahika. From what I can tell, they will sell souvlaki, and have free delivery. More to come...

Mojave Halloween Celebration

Apologies for the crappy cellphone photo, but I wanted to post about Mojave's Halloween celebration, "Day of the Dead". Now, Day of the Dead is traditionally celebrated on November 1-2, but Mojave is not a traditional kind of place. I do enjoy their margaritas, and I'm sure there will be drinks galore along with the food - if you can't read the poster, it says Dinner; Dancing; Open Bar; Reservations Required. Festivities start at 10 p.m. on the 31st.

Mojave
22-36 31st St
Astoria, NY 11105
(718) 545-4100

Friday, October 24, 2008

Treat Yourself at KrisTees

Just got a mailing from KrisTees and would like to share it with you:


Now that we all got through watching the presidential debates, take a time out and treat yourself to some new Fall Fashion at KrisTees....stop in and check out our newest collections with LOTS of color to wear for work and right into the evening! **Please note, this Sunday we will be closed unfortunately for the day, but if we miss you, we look forward to seeing you next week!

Our new collections include:

Anna Economides Garcia (Astoria's own!) - Originally from Cyprus, Anna works with the natural elements of stone and integrates them with swaroski crystal and fluid wire resulting in beautiful one of a kind pieces of art to wear on your hands! Not only are her rings fabulous, but her lariat necklaces make the perfect accent for the upcoming holidays!

Clara Collins - originally from Hong Kong and now based in France, this designer brings the simplicity of French elegance into every day tailored looks. From a merino wool cardigan with attached voile scarf, to candy stripe red blouses and shirt/tunics, Clara focuses on using innovative materials in all of her designs.

BGN - Another delivery from French brand BGN includes an AZUL ocean teal silk military top... edgy and tailored all in one!

Quail - From LA, Michelle Nguyen brings to our store a "French Twist" to a California Fall groove. Check out our strapless tweed dress as well as her high waist electric purple skirt... very girly with a touch of sophisticated fun!

Left on Houston - Our first sweater knit collection of the season featuring an AMAZING cream cable vest which will end up being my favorite layering piece of the season! Also, some great mesh knit tops with pockets in purple & black. The quality of this line is beautiful with blends of cotton, angora and cashmere... very yummy and soft!

Touch Luxe - From France, this line features hand crafted details into every piece... including a denim jumper dress with ruffle straps to wear up or down to their bohemian sweater jacket. This line is a lot of fun to wear!

Rodebjer - Our favorite Swedish line now brings wool coats to KrisTees! From a tailored double breasted melton in navy to a black downtown military influenced coat, there is simplicity and edge to both these looks.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

KrisTees
24-01 23rd Avenue @ 24th Street
Astoria, NY 11105
phone 718.204.5031
www.kristeesny.com

Store Hours:
Wed thru Sat 12-8pm
Sun 12-6pm (*note, this Sunday we are temporarily closed)
Mon & Tues - closed

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Astorian Weekend Edition 23.10.08

On Thursday at 6:30 p.m. the Queens Public Library Steinway Branch (21-45 31st St.) presents Friend or Frenemy? A Guide to the Friends You Need and the Ones You Don't."It's time to give friends their due—and bid frenemies adieu—say Andrea Lavinthal and Jessica Rozler, bestselling authors of The Hook-Up Handbook. Join them for cupcakes as Jessica and Andrea share their tips on how to treat your BFF right, find the real friends on your social network, and drop-kick those losers and abusers who only pretend to have your best interests at heart."

On Saturday Trinity Lutheran Church (31-18 37th St.) holds their annual Halloween Party. The event lasts from 12-4 p.m. Wear your costume and enjoy games, dancing, and there will be snacks for sale. "Lots of candy" has also been advertised.

Saturday is also It's My Park Day! Head over to Two Coves Garden for a day of fun-filled activities for all to enjoy. There will be live music, a potluck, an instrument-making workshop for children, a worm bin demonstration for indoor composting, a soil workshop, recipe sharing, a children's costume parade and you'll get to plant daffodil bulbs. The event lasts from noon to 4 p.m., and is located at the triangle between Astoria Blvd, 8th Street and Main.

Later that night, Queens Green Drinks hosts their monthly event at Build It Green! NYC (3-17 26th Ave.) - the best place in the City to buy or donate low cost salvage surplus building materials. Green Drinks is an informal socializing and networking for environmentally minded folks. The soiree lasts from 4-6 p.m. For more info, contact queensisgreen@gmail.com.

Sunday night Hellgate Social (12-21 Astoria Blvd.) continues their Sunday Night Cinema. This week: Made, Jon Favreau's directorial debut (he directed Iron Man). It stars Favreau, Vince Vaugh, and Peter Falk... and some gangsters. And although it's not on the weekend, it's important to note that Hellgate Social presents Recession Mondays - $3 select bottled beers, or $7 select bottled beer and sandwich all night.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Vine Wine Tastings


Vine Wine Interior
Originally uploaded by mcotner
Just wanted to mention these great little wine tastings at Vine Wine in LIC that take place each Wednesday. From 5:30-8:30 you can come in and try wines that have a theme to them - today, for instance, there will be a selection of wines by their friend Spencer Harrington:


Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc/Viognier, California
Neyers Zinfandel, California
High Note Malbec, Argentina
Wolffer Estate Merlot, Long Island

All are billed as wines that are great accompaniments to fall foods.

Definitely check it out! I went once and loved one of the wines so much that I bought the bottle right then and there. Vine Wine is a nice shop, aesthetically pleasing with a good selection.

Vine Wine
12-09 Jackson Ave
Long Island City, NY
718-433-2611

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Chocolate Spoon Latte


Chocolate Spoon Latte
Originally uploaded by mcotner
After my NY Cares Day registrar service was through, I needed some coffee. Chocolate Spoon, a little cafe nearby, makes a very tasty latte. Pleasantly strong and not bitter, it was just what I wanted on a cool, crisp fall morning. Plus, they use the superior lids, the "Solo Traveler", which makes for a far better sipping experience while you're walking down the street.

Chocolate spoon has a bunch of other good looking sweets. I tried a sample of a confection that is basically a roll cake with guava in it. It was light and delicious. The empanadas looked good, too. I definitely want to go back and try some other things.

Chocolate Spoon
37-03 31st Ave
Astoria, NY

Friday, October 17, 2008

Event: Media Intersection: Where Sculpture and Painting Collide

This just came through my inbox, from Socrates Sculpture Park:


Media Intersection: Where Sculpture and Painting Collide

Tuesday, October 21
6:30 -8:30 p.m.
Club 21
30-09 21st Street
Astoria, NY

free admission / open to all ages
cash bar / live music to follow

Join us for an informal conversation between two of New York Foundation of the Arts' 2008 Fellows in Painting, Shaun El C. Leonardo and Omar Chacon, and Socrates Sculpture Park's 2008 Emerging Artist Fellow Chelsea Beck. The work of EAF08 artist Rajkamal Kahlon will also be presented. These artists integrate sculpture and painting into their works, with varying emphasis. The discussion will position Shaun and Omar as painters who incorporate sculptural elements, alongside Chelsea and Raj as sculptors who employ painterly strategies in their works.

The evening will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a 10 minute presentation by each of the artists, moderated by Socrates Sculpture Park Studio Manager Lars Fisk, followed by an open conversation with the audience.

Shaun El C. Leonardo and Omar Chacon are 2008 Artist Fellowship recipients of the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). This presentation is co-sponsored by Artists & Audiences Exchange,a public program of NYFA.

Image: Omar Chacon, Entronización del Sancocho, 2007; Acrylic on canvas; 42" x 54" x 1/4"

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Astorian Weekend Edition 16.10.08

They call it a church bazaar; I call it yet another street fair! Just when you thought there were no more chances for mozzarepas and sausage and peppers you get four days to eat to your delight. St. Joseph's Church (30th Ave. between 43rd & 44th St) will host tons of food and games and rides from tonight on through to Sunday.

Have a drink or two or three! It's all for a good cause. Our friends over at Why Leave Astoria?! have set up Cosmo's for the Cure with the proceeds going to Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. Thurs night at Dillinger's Pub, Rapture, Balu & Winegasm you can pick up a Cosmo and feel good about it.

On Thursdays at Bungalo (32-03 Broadway), enjoy an extended happy hour where you get 2 for 1. Plus, if that weren't enough, ladies, if you bring along your closest five girlfriends, you get a free bottle of champagne. This week the music is by DJ Jon Bawls and DJ Alan Morehouse for NYC Soul Sessions. It looks like a sweet place and these are some nice incentives to get over there and check it out.

I'm glad to see that Foodista agrees with me on Bai Sushi (37-03 Broadway). It's not a glamorous choice, but it hits the spot when you crave some fresh tasty sushi. The prices are great and I think it's underrated! So, if the mood strikes and sushi is what you decide on for lunch this weekend, there you have it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Holiday


All Dolled Up
Originally uploaded by mcotner
I took this picture on Saturday - you can see the barricades on the sidewalk in preparation for the impending festivities today. It's Columbus Day, or where I come from, "Indigenous People's Day". Did anyone go to the event at Columbus Square today?

Best Cappucino?


Best Cappucino?
Originally uploaded by mcotner
I had heard that Terrizi Bakery had excellent espresso/cappucino in the neighborhood, some claiming it was the best. So I headed to the bakery today to check it out.

I will say, it is not the best I've had in town. It was ok, but a little bitter for my taste. I did like that it wasn't a mondo size, overwhelming with calories.

One of the best cappucinos I've had is at Cafe Expresso [sic], over on Steinway in the Arab section. Really tasty. I also recently tasted a decent latte from Chocolate Spoon.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fall Colors


Fall Colors
Originally uploaded by mcotner
Just wanted to show off this maple tree I came across the other day. It's near the Amtrak train trestle in the Ditmars neighborhood, just off of 23rd Ave. The reds and oranges are simply gorgeous, and really made my walk home more enjoyable. Though I'm not the biggest fan of autumn I'm a spring and summer gal, myself), I do love these colors. I hope you enjoy them too.

More here, here, and here.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Grand Cafe Brunch


Grand Cafe Brunch
Originally uploaded by mcotner
Today I had brunch at Grand Cafe, the 30th Ave cafe that is closest to my home. I had read about their brunch from fellow Joey Judith, aka The Foodista and really wanted to check it out.

What a gorgeous day! Unfortunately, there weren't any seats outside, so we ate in the dining room. Not as nice as outside on a day like this, but it was fine. The music was pretty good, not the techno I feared, but they played fun tunes by REO Speedwagon (yes, I'm showing my age), Guns N Roses, Estelle, and Alanis Morrisette, among others.

For $11.50 brunch consisted of tasty coffee, a great mimosa, and an omelette, toast, and field greens. I had the avocado and tomato omelette and it was delicious and simple. I loved the balsamic vinaigrette that came with the greens, too. My dining companion had the Grand Omelette (bacon, cheese, and peppers) and french fries. The fries were great! Omelette was apparently tasty, too, but I didn't taste it. The whole wheat toast was also above average and I enjoyed it very much.

We did not receive any mini muffins, sad to say.

However, I'd definitely go back! I thought the food was good for the price. And it's nice that it's so close, too.

Grand Cafe
3701 30th Ave
Astoria, NY
(718) 777-7321

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sparrow Burger


Sparrow Burger
Originally uploaded by mcotner
This burger was very good. The fries - herb fries - are also delicious. I think they've gotten better at cooking them, too. There were also spicy fries at the table, which were actually "spicy spiced", meaning they had cumin and another flavor I couldn't put my finger on, along with the spicy. They were very good. Loved the gruyere on this burger. It's still my favorite in town.

Sparrow Bar, 24-01 29th St., Astoria NY.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Astorian Weekend Edition 09.10.08

While we've got cooler weather these days, it means that the Beer Garden is less crowded. My favorite time to be there is a Sunday afternoon, when it's pretty mellow. According to their website, the grill is still operating, so head on over, grab a glass of Pilsner Urquell and a kielbasa, and chill out on a fall afternoon.

The Noguchi Museum (9-01 33rd Road) continues it's Second Sundays program this weekend. Sunday's presentation will be a panel discussion called (re)Generation: Three Artists, Three Cities. The museum lost its Ailanthus tree recently, and are planning to repurpose and reuse it, a practice that is consistent with Noguchi's futurist thinking regarding the natural world. Independent curator and critic Lilly Wei will moderate the discussion. Panelists include Mitch Cope and Ingo Vetter of the Tree of Heaven Woodshop, which milled the Ailanthus, alongside Paul Villinski and Annie Murdock, artists from Waste Not, Want Not, an exhibition at Socrates Sculpture Park focused on the re-purposing of cast off resources.

This Saturday from 12-5 Candy Plum (30-98 36th Street) is having a trunk sale. New dresses, accessories will be available, along with brownies! Help support our local garment industry.

I've noticed that the leaves on the trees are changing - yellows are peeking out, and more are on the ground. One of the best places in town to watch the changing leaves is Astoria Park. If you've got some time, head on over and chill out in our lovely gem of a park.

Last weekend I checked out the new Manducatis Rustica (46-31 Vernon Blvd) in Long Island City. What a great addition to the neighborhood! Probably my favorite thing was an amazing tomato, mozz, and basil sandwich. Everything was incredibly fresh. Pizza was good, too, as well as the gelato. The coconut was particularly good, as was the vanilla. They make it all in store, and it's wonderful. Definitely check it out.

Lastly, warm congratulations to our newest Joey, Judith! She's getting married this weekend and we wish her lots of happiness!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Freeze Peach Value Card


Buddha with Value Card
Originally uploaded by mcotner
Freeze Peach (22-00 29th Street) now has a value card! Get your card stamped each time you get a tea or coffee there, and after 10 stamps, the 11th cup is free. Very nice. I like the buddha on the spring, too.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Currently at Sunswick


Upcoming at Sunswick
Originally uploaded by mcotner
Though I've been put off by the attitude of some behind the bar with regard to showing the games on TV, they do have a great selection of beers on tap - 24 total, plus there are some in bottles. Their food is ok, too - I remember really liking the grilled veggie sandwich.

They're having Oktoberfest specials until the 18th, which is cool. Pumpkin ale sounds delicious, and I wonder what the "awesome" German food is - sausages? red cabbage? schnitzel? I think it's worth investigating.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Astorian Weekend Edition 02.10.08

Pictured above - Bacon wrapped shrimp from SHI

Since last weekend wasn't conducive to being outside, the Beer Garden is taking another stab at Octoberfest. This Saturday from 3p and all day Sunday, enjoy great music, hearty food and imported lager. Admission is FREE. 29-19 24th Avenue, Astoria. 718.274.4925

Try some new restaurants this weekend:

SHI, the stylish, new Asian fusion eatery in LIC has amazing city views at a fraction of the price of its neighbors, such as Water's Edge. The must-eat dishes in my book are the popcorn beef and bacon wrapped shrimp--just wonderful! 47- 20 Center Blvd, Long Island City NY 11101. 347-242-2450

I had the pleasure to try the new and improved Bangkok Tasty. Wow! The interior is modern with a hint of Zen--I enjoyed my dinner because I got the chance to unwind. While their curry puffs look non-traditional, they're tasty. My friend and I loved our entrees and the wallet friendly prices. 29-06 23rd Avenue, Astoria NY 11105 718.545.8203

And don't forget...Queens Restaurant Week is still going on until this Thursday. Check out these Astoria and LIC locations that are still offering Restaurant Week specials.

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Laziza Update


I just read a post on astorians.com that has relaxed my concerns:

I stopped by Laziza yesterday, and was reassured that it is NOT closing - whether or not the building is for sale. The guy I spoke with seemed like either an owner or manager (I didn't actually ask). He mentioned that 90% of the news is lies I shouldn't believe as well as the information online about Laziza closing. He also pointed out the many upgrades they've been doing on the place as proof they intend to be there a long while.

I will stop in soon and ask, too. The idea of Laziza closing is very sad to me, so this news makes me feel better.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Astorian Weekend Edition 25.09.08

Fall is officially here and with it come fun fall activities like Octoberfest and lots of eating…

Head over to Waltz Astoria today for another fun Whiskey Dregs reading. The pre-party starts at 8p, readings start at 9p and you can stick around for a post-party at 10p. One of the readers is from the U.K. and rumor has it that he hosts readings in his native London too! 23-14 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria. 718.95.MUSIC

Don't forget that Queens Restaurant Week is still going on until today. If you haven't been there yet, I'd strongly suggest trying Zenon Taverna. I haven't seen a better deal in my many years of living in Astoria—a 16 course meze tasting for $17.50 per person. The food is phenomenal (sausage, pork and cheese platter pictured above) and the atmosphere is as cozy as can be. 34-10 31st Avenue, Astoria. 718.956.0133

You could also check out El Jamon and Opa! Souvlaki, which have a 2 for $25 lunch special and a 2 for $35 dinner special for Queens Restaurant Week. El Jamon - 25-51A Steinway, Astoria. 718.726.2661, Opa! Souvlaki - 28-44 31st Street, Astoria. 718.728.3638

The Beer Garden is hosting an Octoberfest weekend extravaganza. Doors open at 12p sharp. There will be plenty of things to indulge in—food, beer and even live music. The show will go on, rain or shine so be prepared to party all day—and all weekend if you're up for it. General admission is $10. 29-19 24th Avenue, Astoria, 718.274.4925

In the mood for live music? Visit LIC Bar this Sunday for their FREE outdoor music series. These will significantly drop off in the next couple of weeks due to weather so check it out while you still can. 45-58 Vernon Blvd Long Island City. 917.254.8923.