Saturday, February 28, 2009

Psychic Burger Experience

Sparrow BurgerThis afternoon my guy and I had an early dinner at Sparrow, which has always provided great food and cozy atmosphere. We've written about them here many times, as we're all big fans, especially of their burger.

Today the burger exceeded any and all of my expectations. It was as if the cook had read my mind and provided me with exactly what my burger-heart desired - perfectly cooked meat, gruyere melting excellently, with the exact right amount of onion on top. The bun, baked by Pain D'Avingon, rounded it all out. Fries were delicious, too. It was a burger experience par excellence. I maintain the Sparrow makes the best burger in Astoria.

For dessert, we tried a new (to us) dessert, something called a "Chocolate Marquise", which was a lovely, rich chocolate item. Light thin slices of chocolate cake in between thicker slices or chocolate mousse, with fresh whipped cream and a balsamic maple reduction on the side. Certainly enough for two people, and perhaps even four if you just want a little bit of sweet to round out the evening.

I also tried the Old Brown Dog Ale from Smuttynose brewery (they are located in New Hampshire). Wonderful, slightly sweeter than Newcastle Brown Ale. I'd drink it again in a heartbeat. Highly recommended. Actually, everything I ate is highly recommended.

Photo credit: (cc) Meg Cotner

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Astorian Weekend Edition 26.02.09

This weekend offers several cultural goings-on in Astoria and LIC so get out there and enrich your minds.

PS1 MOMA opened a new exhibition by Florian Slotawa who uses furniture in unexpected ways—and he’s nearly emptied his Berlin apartment to furnish the show. Go and see for yourself! $5 suggested donation. 22-25 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City. 718.784.02084

Do you love candy and especially nostalgic sweets? Visit the Artisan Baking Center this weekend to see a vintage photo exhibit on 100 years of the Joyva halvah and candy company. 36-46 37th Street, Long Island City. 718.392.0025

This Friday at 8pm, the Greek Cultural Center will be putting on a production of Prime Numbers, an adaptation of Gianni Skaragas’ novel by the same name. The cultural center will also be celebrating their 35th anniversary so it’s bound to be a party. 27-18 Hoyt Avenue, South, Astoria. 718.726.7329

Want to treat yourself to a nice dinner without spending the big bucks? Don’t forget about Seva Indian restaurant near 30th Avenue. They offer a three-course dinner prix-fixe for $12 and it’s BYOB. I promise that you won’t walk out hungry. 30-07 34th Street, Astoria. 718.626.4440

One of my favorite bakeries in Astoria is Artopolis. Every weekend, I go in to pick up one of their beautiful artisanal breads. I use them to entertain on weekends, and the flat rosemary bread (pictured above) is always a hit. For only $3 you could serve your guests something really special. 23-18 31st Street, Astoria. 718.728.8484

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

30th Ave Taco Truck To Have Additional Digs

El Rey del Taco
Just read on astorians about the new restaurant opening soon by the same people that run the fabulous El Rey del Taco truck on 30th Ave. The exchange:

Question: While walking to the Steinway R/V station I saw a new awning across the street (A few storefronts down from that "El Mundo Discount" store, just north of the Thai take-out.). It read "Azteca Pride/El Rey del Taco." Can anyone confirm or deny that that's the taco truck people? (I mean the one in front of Rite Aid.)

Answer: Went to taco truck tonight and asked about this, they are going to have the restaurant and still have the truck.

Hot dog, this is great news! The taco truck is well loved in Astoria and they do make some of the best Mexican food in town. Here's hoping the restaurant will put out food of equal quality. Yum potential is high.

Photo credit: (cc) Meg Cotner

Upcoming Green Shores Meeting

Saw this today and wanted to pass it on:

Spring and Summer are just around the corner. Please join Green Shores NYC at our monthly meeting to help plan events in our waterfront parks. All are welcome!

WHEN: Thursday, Feb 26th, 6:15 to 8:00 PM
WHERE: Meetings take place at the Greater Astoria Historical Society on the 4th floor of the Quinn Bldg. 35-20 Broadway (between 35th and 36th Streets) Take the N to Broadway or the R to Steinway.
WHAT: Green Shores NYC works to enliven the Astoria-Long Island City waterfront parks and shoreline. You can learn more about us at

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Spring Swap and Book Drive

Thanks to the magic of my RSS reader, I came across this event upcoming in March. The Astoria Book Club will be holding a Book Drive, and Triple R Events will be holding their Spring Clothing Swap, both at ARROW Community Center at the same time. The books will be donated to Queens Library and any leftover clothes will be donated to Hour Children Thrift Shop.

We'll post more details once we get them. Here is the basic info:

Spring Clothing Swap and Book Drive
Saturday, March 21
11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
ARROW Community Center
35-30 35th Street (between 35th and 36th Avenues)

Astorian Weekend Edition 19.02.09

If you're as sad as I am about El Jamon not reopening, tell me about it. Where else can you find some yummy Spanish grub? You can hit up the tapas at El Boqueron (31-01 34th Ave). I dined there for a little party and enjoyed all the diverse flavors. Yeah it's no huge steak and potatoes, but it's still good eatin.

I've got a gift certificate burning a hole in my pocket for Blackbird's (41-19 30th Ave) and this might be the weekend to try out the very well spoken of grilled cheese. On the late night menu you'll find a grilled cheese with bacon and avocado- heavenly! AND you get a free pint with your meal. No arguments here! Get there on Thursday and join in the beer tasting. For $45 get unlimited tastings of imported and domestic micro specialty beers and dinner.

Trivia is back home at the Rover (37-18 28th Ave) this Sunday. Be there or be square at 7:30pm and get your team signed and ready for battle!

At some point you just MUST get over to the Museum of the Moving Image (35th Ave at 37th St) and take in all the vintage glory of 14 classic arcade games!!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Caring for Street Trees Workshop

Tree Canopy

This looks like a great community opportunity! Plus you'll learn some good skills in the process.

Caring for Street Trees Workshop
In partnership with the New York Tree Trust

Street trees need our help. Learn how to care for them at this workshop!

When: Monday, February 23, 2009 – 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Greater Astoria Historical Society, The Quinn Building, Broadway between 35th & 36th Streets on the fourth floor, Astoria, Queens. (In partnership with Green Shores NYC.)

In this basic workshop, you'll learn to care for young street trees, receive free tools, and get a Parks Volunteer Permit, which will allow you to care for street trees and greenstreets.

Advance registration is required. To register, contact or (212) 676-1929 with your name and email and/or phone number. (Workshop does not cover pruning.)

Photo credit: (cc) Meg Cotner

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Queens Holistic Moms

I wanted to pass on this info from Megan Franzen about a new chapter of the Holistic Moms Network, right here in Queens!


I am excited to tell you about a new community that I am helping to start here in Queens -- the Holistic Moms Network Queens Chapter! Four friends and I have volunteered as the Chapter Leaders to get things started. I am really looking forward to being a part of this group because I am so excited to connect with other moms in the 'hood.

The Holistic Moms Network was founded by moms and for moms as a community building coalition and it has since grown into a rapidly expanding national non-profit organization for those interested in natural health and mindful parenting. At its core, the HMN helps moms to find their tribe, remember their spirit, and connect to new friends. Offering everything from playgroups to lending libraries, the HMN embraces healthy living for all people. We seek to empower women to make mindful choices that fit their families and their priorities. The Holistic Moms Network began in New Jersey and now have chapters across the country-- now we will have one right here in Queens!

We are holding our Kick-Off Meeting on Wednesday, March 11th from 6:30-8:00pm at Arrow Community Center in Long Island City, Queens (35th Street between 35th and 36th Aves). Will you join me for this special event? It will be a lot of fun, we'll meet other moms interested in a holistic lifestyle in our area, and there will also be a raffle and a goodie-bag with coupons and free holistic products. You can bring anyone you think would be interested in the group with you. The HMN welcomes all parents and is child-friendly, of course!

Our website is . Use it to learn more or to refer other moms that may be interested. We also have a Facebook group if you are on there.

Monday, February 16, 2009

New CSA in Astoria

CSAs are really popular in Astoria. So popular, that there is a waiting list every season. As a Core Group member of the Hellgate CSA, I've seen the demand rise for our CSA each year, and through chatting with the organizers of the Astoria CSA, I understand they are in the same situation.

And while we're excited that so many people are interested in CSAs, it's also a bummer to have to give people the news that they were not accepted by the CSA for any current season. We would love to accommodate everyone, but can't for a number of reasons.

That's why I'm really happy that another CSA is starting in Astoria! Their name is Harvest Astoria and can be found at Their location is in an area that is not served by current CSAs, so they fill a need, location-wise. From their front page:

Welcome to Harvest Astoria.

We are a new CSA forming in the Astoria/Long Island City Area.

We have now officially obtained our distribution site: The Church of the Redeemer at 30-14 Crescent Street near 30th Ave (map).

We are proud to announce that our food will be supplied by Norwich Meadows Farm. Zaid Kurdieh is the farmer.

Please do not contact the church or the farmer for information.

If you are interested in joining please click on the CONTACT link and let us know!

Thanks for all the interest expressed so far!!

We are very excited about the requests for more information on membership that have come in. Please be patient with us as we get ourselves organized. All requests for information will be responded to in the next few weeks - so keep sending them in and keep checking our website for more information!

Definitely check them out if you are looking for a CSA in Astoria.

There are a number of CSAs in Western Queens. They are:

Hellgate CSA - Ditmars area
Astoria CSA - at ARROW, 35th Street near 35th Ave
Harvest Astoria CSA - 30th Ave and Crescent
Long Island City CSA - in LIC
Sunnyside CSA - 39th Street in Sunnyside
Farmspot - 82nd Street in Jackson Heights

They are all worth looking into if you are interested. It's a good idea to get on the waiting list(s), and sometimes slots open up during the season, too. CSAs are an easy way of moving toward a more sustainable way of life.

Photo credit: (c) Meg Cotner

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dutch Kills Bar Opens Soon

Image by

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that, Dutch Kills Bar, an off-shoot of the high-profile Manhattan and London speakeasy, Milk & Honey would open soon. Well, I think it's actually happening (in the next week or so). A sneak peek at the interior is now available here and a ball-park price range of drinks has also leaked. Although far from being cheap, their price point ($6-$12) is a lot lower than at their Manhattan counterpart - we are talking about Queens after all.

Dutch Kills will be serving yummy nosh food from the organic-friendly Sage General Store. Check 'em out and shoot us a note to let us know your opinions.

Dutch Kills Bar - 27-24 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11101

E/V/G/R Train to Queens Plaza

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Astorian Weekend Edition 12.02.09

This weekend brings us two things - Valentine's Day and a three day weekend (thank you dead presidents!). Valentine's Day falls on Saturday, and there are lots of places in the 'hood for a great meal. There's a good summary here, including meals at Vesta, Locale, Mundo, Tournesol, Rest-au-Rant. Foodista has a number of other picks - an Astoria Valentine's Day has much promise!

Also in the Valentine's vein, Vine Wine in LIC (12-09 Jackson Ave) is having a tasting of sparkling wines from 3-6 p.m.

On Thursday, head to Bungalo (32-03 Broadway) for Eastern Nights: House, Balkan and Eastern European music. Mention "East" at the door, open bar from 10-11 p.m.

Friday the 13th brings us another meeting of Drinking Liberally at Bohemian Hall (29-19 24th Ave) at 7:30 p.m. Join the locals for some pints and political discussion.

Sunday night the Pub Quiz is back at the Irish Rover (37-18 28th Ave)! From 7:30-9 p.m. bring your team and $10 (per team) and try to win the pot with your brilliance.

I hope you get the holiday off, too!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Astorian Weekend Edition 05.02.09

While it's frosty now, the weekend is expected to be a lot warmer, so take advantage of these fun goings-on in Astoria and LIC.

Try the Sage General Store this weekend. It's a fabulous LIC food staple, serving the freshest, local dishes (see above picture) at affordable prices. They also sell Obama sugar cookies, which certainly piqued my interest. 24-20 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City. 718.361.0707

The famous musical, Ragtime is coming to Astoria. Directed by Astoria Performing Arts Center's Tom Wojtunik, this production is a three-week limited engagement so don't miss it. It premieres this Thursday at 8pm at The Good Shepherd United Methodist Church. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door. 30-44 Crescent Street, Astoria. 718.393.7505

If you enjoy wine, why not try the Off the Vine Wine & Spirits wine tasting this Friday from 6:30pm - 8:30pm. They'll focus on locally grown, New York State wines, which are generally good. They encourage everyone to come, so bring friends. 44-21 30th Avenue, Astoria. 718.728.4142

After three long months, Flo Cafe has re-opened its doors after a not-so-needed renovation. The place is open and bumpin', so check it out this weekend for brunch perhaps--they've changed their menu around a bit, so expect surprises. 37-20 30th Avenue, Astoria. 718.204.6096

In the mood for dessert after brunching at Flo Cafe? Walk into Terrizzi Pasticceria and enjoy a sweet confection. There's been a lot of talk about the new-old owners so give this place a try and weigh in with your opinion here. 35-14 30th Avenue, Astoria. 718.726.9698