Friday, October 30, 2009

And the Winner is...

We promised you a random drawing, and random it was.

The winner of the Forking Fantastic cookbook is (drumroll...)

MissCQ who said this about her favorite dinner dish:

For an everyday, make-after-getting-home-from-work-at-8:30 dish, homemade burritos. It's so easy to add a different pepper to the sauce, switch out the meat of the cheese and experiment with different kinds of beans. Put it on a low-calorie tortilla, and it's pretty healthy too!

Congrats MissCQ! Please email us your mailing address and we'll send you the fabulous Forking Fantastic cookbook.

Finally Fridays - Pizza

Before you officially start your weekend, we wanted to leave you with one last thing to chew on--pizza!

In no particular order, here are five recos for that great pizza bite. Oh and expect other Finally Fridays in the coming weeks...

Vesta's Hangover Pizza - crispy thin dough with a fried egg on top, it's perfect for brunch
21-02 30th Avenue, Astoria. 718.545.5550

Testaccio's Stone Oven Prosciutto Pizza - salty and slightly smoky with well done edges
47-30 Vernon Blvd, LIC. 718.937.2900

Manducatis Rustica's Diavola Pizza - thin crust pizza with sausage and sweet black olives
46-35 Vernon Blvd, LIC. 718.937.1312

718's Tarte Flambee - sort of like pizza but thinner and flakier with crumbled bacon on top
35-01 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria. 718.204.5553

Da Franco's Pizza Alla Modena - brick oven pie with fresh muzz, arugula, prosciutto, etc.
23-92 21st Street, Astoria. 718267.0010

Take a bite out of that and enjoy!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Astorian Spooktacular Weekend Edition 29.10.09

Image by

Halloween is here! And that means plenty of fun, silliness and of course, dressing up. In addition to the many Halloween goings-on, check out these cultural and food happs in your neck of the woods.

Still can’t decide what you’re doing for Halloween? We have some fabulous options– ranging from a masquerade ball to the “biggest outdoor Halloween party in Queens.” If you’re still looking for more, check out some of my restaurant-focused recos.

Have you checked out the newest fooderies in LIC? Testaccio Ristorante, focused on contemporary Roman cuisine opened last weekend and El*Ay*Si is still in previews, holding tastings this week. I’ve tried both and think they’re worth checking out—especially the delicious stone oven pizza at Testaccio. Testaccio - 47-30 Vernon Blvd, LIC. 718.937.2900. El*Ay*Si – 47-38 Vernon Blvd, LIC. 718.389.8781

We just got news that a new bar opened in Astoria in a nabe that’s starting to buzz with activity (upper 30th Avenue). The place is called Radio Bar & Grill and they boast a “killer burger” and plenty of beers on tap. They’ll host a Halloween party on Saturday, which could be a good opportunity to check them out. 49-18 30th Avenue, Astoria. 718.204.6892

Want to do something cultural this weekend? Visit P.S.1 MOMA and explore their seven (yes seven!) new art exhibits. One that particularly caught my interest spotlights a tumultuous year, 1969 and is a collection of paintings, sculptures, photographs and prints. P.S.1 MOMA – 22-25 Jackson Avenue, LIC. 718.784.2084

One of my favorite vintage furniture shops both in Astoria and LIC is Nook n’ Crannie. If you haven’t been, I highly encourage it. They sell the most wonderful, gently used items such as furniture, accessories, paintings and nostalgic gifts. Proceeds benefit the Betel of America charity. Astoria - 29-18 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria. 718.204.8399. LIC - 47-42 Vernon Blvd, LIC. 718.706.6477

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Anna Fleshler at Mundo

One of the things I love about Mundo (and there are oh, so many) is their dedication to local art. In a neighborhood full of talent, it's great to see local business support artists in a tangible way. Their current show is by Anna Fleshler, whose work is full of feminine icons, pop art influence, and saturated in color. She has a great variety of her paintings available for purchase, most at really reasonable prices.

Also not to miss- Mundo's rendition of Gluhwein, a warmed spice wine, perfect for chilly Fall nights. Available seasonally only, and only $5 for a glass, or $20 for a pitcher.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Halloween in Astoria

Halloween is almost upon us! There are a number of events going on in the neighborhood, and here's what we know so far. All events start the evening of Halloween proper, October 31.  If you know of any additional partays, please post in the comments!

Halloween at Sweet Afton
after dark and into the night...
30-09 34th Street
Best Costume Grande Prize:  all you can eat & drink evening for two at Sweet Afton.

Halloween Masquerade at Domaine Bar A Vins
5:30 p.m. to 4:30 a.m.
50-04 Vernon Boulevard
Long Island City
You are spookily invited to Domaine Wine Bar Masquerade Bash on Saturday, November 31st....come drink, dance, haunt and bite with us...

Hell Gate Social Halloween Bash
7:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.
12-21 Astoria Boulevard
The fun starts off w/ DJ Belladonna spinning the scariest grooves this side of the Mississippi. She will then hand off the reigns to the Two Bloody Tampons who will continue the mayhem. And let's not forget the Costume Contest.... and all the fun games we have planned (scary movie clip contest, mummy wrap contest, and Mad Libs).

Why Leave Astoria?! Halloween Party at Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden
8:00 p.m.
29-19 24th Avenue
WLA?! is putting together the biggest outdoor Halloween party in Queens as we again invade Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden. There will be live bands, drink specials, prizes for best costumes, Halloween games, a DJ, and most importantly, a beer garden!

Halloween Extravaganza at The Creek LIC
8:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.
10-93 Jackson Avenue
Long Island City
Come support Promethean Theatre Company as we celebrate Halloween with drink specials, tarot cards, live music, beer pong and lots more! Don't forget to come dressed in your favorite costume (contest!) to compete for cool prizes. $10.00 donation ($15.00 if you don't have a costume).

Halloween Party at Rèst Âü Ránt
9:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.
30-01 35th Avenue
Join us for our 2nd annual Halloween Party! We will have party favors, food, and drink specials, and best costume prizes!

The Zombie Stomp Social at Shillelagh Tavern
9:00 p.m.
47-22 30th Avenue
Don’t miss this ferociously ghoulish party at Shillelagh in Astoria. AM&A presents games and a costume contest with a cash prize!! $10 cover.

Halloween Masquerade Ball at Ovelia Psistaria Bar
11:00 p.m. to 4:20 a.m.
34-01 30th Avenue
Enjoy Halloween festivities in an intimate venue with good friends, music, drinks and costumes!

Welcome 2 New LIC Eateries

The already tough question of "where to eat in LIC" got even tougher with the entrance of two new promising restaurants, Testaccio and El*Ay*Si. Both places are located on Vernon Blvd--actually just steps away from each other. The competition will be fierce but hopefully both places will get a piece of the proverbial pie. Here's more information about both eateries:

Testaccio Ristorante: 47-30 Vernon Blvd, LIC. 718.937.2900

Cuisine: Contemporary Roman such as thin crust stone oven pizzas, charcuterie such as prosciutto, cheeses, and fresh pastries such as mascarpone filled purses with fresh raspberries. Click here for menu.
Chef: Ivan Beacco, former Chef de Cuisine at Pepolino Restaurant and former Executive Chef at Borgo Antico
Decor: Modern, warm and non-pretentious. Atmosphere can be both romantic and social.
Opening: This Saturday, October 24th
Special Features: Stone oven pizza, fun kids menu
Price Range: Appetizers: $6-$15, Pasta: $10-$17, Pizza: $10-$14, Entrees: $16-$30, Kids Menu: $6-$10

El*Ay*Si: 47-38 Vernon Blvd, LIC. 718.389.8781

Cuisine: Comfort food such as spicy fried chicken, dijon-crusted flank steak, caramelized apples, roasted corn on the cob, etc. Final menu not yet available.
Chef: Christopher Frakes former chef at E.U. and Butcher Bay
Decor: Modern, semi-rustic (exposed brick walls, vintage mirrors)
Opening: TBD
Special Features: Chef's tastings next week - see more details on their Facebook page

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Astorian Weekend Edition 22.10.09

What a wonderful week! Such great weather to explore Astoria and more this weekend. Start this Thursday with local artist Juan Pablo Bohorquez’s art at Modern Spaces Reality. Check out some great paintings, support local art, and have a bite from the not-yet-opened El Ay Si restaurant, which’ll be catering the event. Modern Spaces Reality 47-34 Vernon Blvd. Long Island City NY 11101 6:30 - 9:30 PM

In the mood for even more art? Flux Factory, a fantastic art space and artist incubator, will be talking about the experimental Punk/New Wave Scene in Germany in the 80’s. Artist Marin Buesser will be talking about the influential punk movement, the artists involved in inspiring it, and playing music from the era. Flux Factory, 3921 29th street. Suggestion donation of $10. 7:30pm.

Though not technically in our part of the borough, my inner foodie can’t over look the Edibile Queens sponsored Jackson Heights Food & Film Festival this Saturday. Sample appetizers from Jackson Diner, Novo Restaurant and Lounge, Uncle Peter's Bar and Grill, Rajbhog, Espresso 77 and Lety's Pastry and Cafe. Tickets and more info here.

Also Saturday, don’t miss the American Songbook show at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts.

The beginning of fall and winter means giving your body a little extra dry weather TLC. Why not stock up on amazing, locally made treatments, balms and soaps at Little Soap Shop? Their products are environmentally friendly, animal cruelty free, and often organic. 2207 36th Street (at Ditmars).

This Sunday, the 25th, Hell Gate Social and Bistro 33 team up to present a unique Martinis and Maki party! Chef Gary is preparing some special sushi behind the bar from 8-11pm. Sounds like a fun event, and if you’ve never been to HGS, you’re in for a treat. Hell Gate Social 12-21 Astoria Blvd, (btwn 12th & 14th St).

*Photo above by Local Artist Cristine Cluff. For more of her Astoria photography, click here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Win the NEW Forking Fantastic Cookbook!

Forking Fantastic! Yes, it certainly is...

Not only is Forking Fantastic, the name of a cleverly titled cookbook, it also happens to be written by two Astoria cooks, foodies, enthusiasts and simply great women--Zora O'Neill and Tamara Reynolds, hosts and founders of the Sunday Night Dinner supper club.

If you know anything about this duo and their supper club, you won't be surprised to find Forking Fantastic full of Zora and Tamaraisms--irreverent, endearing commentary brought forth in a colorful, funny and informative book about food, dining and being a superb host.

We're extremely proud of our Astorian chicas and the critics haven't been too harsh either. Just check out these fabulous reviews from some pretty high-profile folks.

"I love these girls and their tasty, delicious, no-nonsense cooking."- Jamie Oliver

"This eccentrically enjoyable book by two strange and wonderful women may well be the cookbook America needs right now. Fun, deliberately unintimidating and filled with interesting-even ingenious-recipes, it inspires the non-professional to raise their game-and have a good time while doing so. Both book and authors are clearly good for the world."-Anthony Bourdain

"In Forking Fantastic, Tamara and Zora share their gift of creating easy and delicious meals with wonderful stories, tips, and recipes--reminding us all that good food is about sitting around a table and eating, drinking, talking, and laughing." -Ana Sortun, chef/owner of Oleana Restaurant and author of Spice

Here's your chance to score a FREE copy. Comment on this post and tell us about your favorite dinner dish. We'll be choosing a lucky winner at random on Friday, October 30th. Good luck!

And if you don't win, you can always buy their book on Amazon.

Reactions to the Recent Debate

As mentioned last week, there was a debate on Monday evening among the candidates for City Council: Peter Vallone Jr., Lynne Serpe, and Gerald Kahn. The Daily News published this yesterday:
Underdog Green party raise big cash in push for upset of Peter Vallone Jr.
By Nicholas Hirshon
Wednesday, October 21st 2009, 1:55 AM

Aspiring to topple Queens' most enduring political dynasty, an upstart City Council candidate in Astoria will have more than double the campaign cash of Democratic incumbent Peter Vallone Jr. in the race's final stretch.

The camp of Green Party contender Lynne Serpe plans to use her $100,000 war chest - about $80,000 from public matching funds - to inundate voters with mailings and TV commercials ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

Vallone, meanwhile, said on Tuesday that he has just $40,000 left after forgoing matching funds - arguing their use by an incumbent wastes taxpayer dollars.
More here.

Eco-Friendly Event at Rejuvenate Spa

There's a very cool event from Rejuvenate Spa coming our way this Thursday! Details below:

Please join us for an Eco-Friendly product event on Thursday, October 22nd from 7 - 10 p.m!

Meet like-minded individuals, exchange ideas with others passionate about change, sustainability and health.

We will be featuring all natural, botanical and organic skin care products, luxurious hand and body creams / scrubs, elegant candles, aromatic room diffusers and so much more.... All GREEN of course!

Enjoy refreshments and an assortment of healthy organic snacks compliments of Fresh Start Organic Market.

Receive a chic, reusable, tote bag from Rejuvenate Face and Body and take 10% off all products you can fit in your tote bag!

*RSVP to receive a complimentary tote bag and discounts at:

Enter a raffle to win the following from Rejuvenate Face and Body:

~A salicylic peel
~30 min. Swedish massage
~Bikini wax

An added bonus for Pet Owners. Enter a raffle to win (1) one free 30 minute walk for your dog! Also any dog owner will enjoy the complimentary roll of 100% biodegradable doggy bags courtesy of My Dog Needs A Walk.

Rejuvenate Face & Body
26-17 23 Avenue
Astoria, NY 11105

Monday, October 19, 2009

P.S.1 Fall Exhibitions Opening

Although Warm Up is over, PS 1 is ready for plenty of activity this fall. Sunday, October 25 hails the Fall Exhibitions Opening. Come by between noon and 6 p.m to view 1969, 100 Years (version #2, ps1, nov 2009), Between Spaces, and Robert Bergman: Selected Portraits.

Check out the Afterparty by MOS, winners of the 2009 Young Architects Program in the courtyard. It will be on view through October 26.

[Image from]

Saturday, October 17, 2009

American Songbook at Frank Sinatra

Some of the amazingly talented kids from the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts stopped in other day to tell me about their upcoming show, American Songbook. The variety show is open to the public and features classic American standards and pop hits performed by the students. Ticket price includes the show and light food. Check out some super local talent and an amazing building- I’ve had the good fortune to be able to check it out and it really is a stunning addition to the area!

There are three shows, Oct 23rd at 7pm, Oct. 24th at 7pm, and Oct. 25th at 6pm.

Frank Sinatra School of the Arts
35-12 35TH AVENUE

I Vant To Take Your Blood!

No, this isn't about vampires. It is about an upcoming blood drive! On Saturday, October 24 come on down to Club Fitness (31-11 Broadway) and give blood, an act which could potentially save the lives of others. Free, confidential HIV testing will also be available. No appointment necessary!

As a thank you, Club Fitness will offer $100 dollars off an annual membership and a free personal training membership to all those guests that donate blood! 

This important event is brought to you by Elmhurst Hospital, HAFNYC, Club Fitness NY, and the Lynne Serpe for City Council Campaign.

So, the details:
Blood Drive and HIV testing
Club Fitness NY
31-11 Broadway (map)
Astoria, NY
RSVP on Facebook!

Who can give blood?

Free, no cost confidential HIV testing. No appointment needed.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Two Upcoming Halloween Events

Halloween is coming up, of course! Notice of a couple of Astoria/LIC-based Halloween parties have crossed my desk, so here are the details for October 31st fun in the hood:

Join wine bar Rèst Âü Ránt for their Night of Mayhem.  Party favors, food and drink specials will be available, as well as prizes for best costumes.  They'll go from 9:00pm to 4:00am.  They are located 30-01 35th Avenue.  RSVP on Facebook, here.

Why Leave Astoria?! is invading Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden!  Festivities start at 8:00 p.m.: "WLA is putting together the biggest outdoor Halloween party in Queens as we again invade Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden. There will be live bands, drink specials, prizes for best costumes, Halloween games, a DJ, and most importantly, a beer garden!"  The (original!) Beer Garden is located at 29-19 24th Ave.  RSVP, here.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

NEW LOCATION for the Gathering at the Gantries

I just got an email from the organizers behind Gather at the Gantries. Thanks to the coming crap weather this weekend, they are going move everything inside. I am not pleased with mother nature this weekend.

AM&A is sorry to report that the weather is reported to be inclement and quite chilly on Saturday so the festival has been moved to Shillelagh Tavern in Astoria. Artwork will still be displayed. The schedule of bands to perform is subject to change but the line-up is generally the same except for one or two acts and we will start an hour later.

1:00 pm Rebel Rose MAY bring the kids to Shillelagh
1:30 (tent.) Sean Wiggins
2:00 Os Clavelitos
3:00 Plasma
4:00 Stone Robot
5:00 The Jamies

We would have loved to bring the music to Gantry Plaza State Park and to share the day with the other groups that were participating. And thank you for continuing to support local talent!!

Astorian Weekend Edition 15.10.09

Red Leaves

Well, it's mid-October already, and it's hard to believe the holidays are just around the corner!  Halloween is almost here, changing our clocks is coming up, and it keeps feeling like fall around here.  Enjoy these cool, crisp days around neighborhood, perhaps enjoying a bowl of warm soup at Il Bambino (34-08 31st Ave), a hot potato at La Papa (25-13 30th Ave), or a pot of tea at Himalyan Teahouse (33-17 31st Ave).

Thursday night brings a fashion event to Astoria via KrisTees and Candy Plum.  Their second annual Fashion: Astoria Style show should be a lot of fun, taking place at Central Lounge (which has sushi!). Doors open at 6 p.m., show begins at 8 p.m., and entrance comes with your RSVP ( or call 718.721.2299).  Central Lounge is at 20-30 Steinway.

The first game of the ALCS and NLCS (Baseball Championship Series) starts Friday, and the Yankees are in it to win it. Newcomer YOLO is a nice place to catch the game (by the way, they have a $22 happy hour special that includes a pitcher of beer and a large plain pizza), and I'm sure neighborhood favorites like the Irish Rover and McCanns will be busting with excitement to see the home team triumph. The ALCS games (Yanks vs Angels) take place on Friday and Saturday, with a game time of 7:57 p.m. for both.

Head over to Socrates on Saturday for their Halloween Harvest Festival. Fun for all for sure. That night the Astoria Symphony kicks off their season with a concert of Mendelssohn, Beethoven and Schnittke at the new Frank Sinatra School for the Arts (35-12 35th Ave).

Finally, Sunday hails the start of Rioja Restaurant Week.  Both 718 (35-01 Ditmars) and Sweet Afton (30-09 34th St) will be participating.

It's My Park Day at Queensbridge Park.

Tower Square

Have you ever been to Queensbridge Park? I have a few times, and it's a pretty nice space. Great river and city views, places to relax, family-friendly... and you can help it stay beautiful!

Queensbridge is participating in It's My Park Day, Saturday, October 24th. Join in the citywide celebration of making our favorite parks ready for the winter. Press release follows:

ASTORIA/LONG ISLAND CITY, N.Y. – Winter is right around the corner! Join with Green Shores NYC and the Friends of Queensbridge Park Committee for It’s My Park Day (IMPD) on Saturday October 24th, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. IMPD will take place rain or shine.

The event will give residents of Long Island City and Astoria a chance to spruce up Queensbridge Park after an event-filled summer. Within a few hours, volunteers will take part in several projects, including painting, planting and general park cleanup. Arts and crafts activities for all ages will round out the day.

Queensbridge Park is on the waterfront and provides breathtaking views of the Queensboro Bridge (also known as the 59th Street Bridge), East River and Manhattan skyline. It’s heavily used by children, families, cyclists, runners, and amateur sports teams. Built in 1939, the park features baseball fields, a multi-use field for soccer and football, volleyball and handball courts, a marked bike path, a playground and barbeque areas. Over the past few months, Queensbridge Park has been the site of a festival celebrating the Queensboro Bridge’s Centennial, a concert by the Metropolitan Opera, puppet shows, and innovative dance and theater performances.

Everyone is welcome, but children must be supervised by an adult. This is a great opportunity for community organizations, businesses and schools to volunteer as a group in their community. Volunteers are advised to wear old clothes and shoes and to be ready to roll up their sleeves and have fun! Refreshments will be provided for all volunteers.

All volunteers are asked to enter the park at the 41st Avenue/Vernon Blvd entrance and report to the registration table on OCTOBER 24TH at 10 AM near the field house. By train, take the F to 21st Street/Queensbridge and walk west on 41st Avenue to Vernon Boulevard.

Event Details:
It’s My Park Day! in Queensbridge Park
Saturday, October 24th, 2009, 10 AM to 2:00 PM
Queensbridge Park (Vernon Boulevard and 41st Avenue)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

District 22 City Council Debate 10/19

As you may know, one of the positions you'll be voting on in November is the City Council seat for Queens District 22 - that's Astoria! Peter Vallone Jr. (Democrat-Conservative) has occupied that seat for some time, but he has some competition in the form of Lynne Serpe (Green Party) and Gerald Kann (Populist Party).

If you really want the dealio on their positions, be sure to attend the debate on October 19. Sponsored by the Western Queens Gazette, it's gonna be big. Gazette publisher Tony Barsamian will moderate. It will be held at Riccardo’s By The Bridge, at 21st Street and 24th Avenue, Astoria, at 8 p.m.

Astoria Symphony: Opening Night Celebration This Weekend!

The Astoria Symphony launches their 2009/10 season this weekend! Come out to hear some great music at a brand new space - the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, down on 35th Ave. Details below:

Astoria Symphony: Opening Night Celebration
Saturday, October 17, 2009, 8:00 pm (7:30 lecture*)
Frank Sinatra School of the Arts
35-12 35th Avenue, Astoria, NY 11106 [map]

Mendelssohn: Midsummer Night's Dream Excerpts
Schnittke: Quasi Una Sonata - Miranda Cuckson, violin
Beethoven: Symphony No. 1
Silas Nathaniel Huff, conductor

The Astoria Symphony launches its seventh season by celebrating Mendelssohn's 200th birthday, Alfred Schnittke's 75th birthday, and Beethoven's first symphony. This concert will feature a special guest appearance by the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts Orchestra, Ken Lieberson, director.

* Join Maestro Huff in the concert hall 30 minutes before the concert begins for an insightful glimpse into the evening's performance. These "Meet the Maestro" talks delve into the lives of the composers, the meaning of the music, and the techniques musicians use to bring music to life.

Purchase Tickets here.

Transportation Alternatives Membership Party: Queens!

A little bird told me there is going to be fabulous party at The Creek in LIC for Transportation Alternatives on Tuesday October 20.  Here are the details:
Join Transportation Alternatives for a night of fun at the Creek Bar across the street from the Pulaski Bridge.

Cost: $10 for T.A. members, $30 for non-members (join T.A. at the door and you get in for free!)

Admission gets you free food, $2 off all drinks, and 2 for 1 margaritas. Fun raffle with great prizes, including a limited edition messenger bag designed by David Byrne!

Also, Limited edition "I Bike Queens" t-shirts will be for sale, while supplies last.

Love the Creek!  I am sure there will be great company there, too.   You can RSVP on Facebook.  Location info:

The Creek Bar
10-93 Jackson Avenue
Long Island City (map)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Rioja Restaurant Week in Astoria

Via a recent Tasting Table mailer, I learned of the upcoming Rioja Restaurant Week.  What is Rioja Restaurant Week?  Well, from October 18-25, restaurants around the city will highlight Rioja wines, complete with wine and food specials (prix fixe menus, or other food and wine deals).  According to their website, two Astoria restaurants will participate:  Sweet Afton and 718.  Could be a good deal - keep an eye on their website for more info and developments.

I will say that on the website, it is a bit dated to separate things by a handful of neighborhoods in Manhattan and then simply "outer boroughs".  These days, these boroughs have made great culinary steps forward, that lumping them all together is a real shame, and short-sighted.  Or, was it simply a rush job on the part of the person/group programming together the drop-down menus?  Who knows, but it looks bad.  Here's hoping they get some feedback on this so they can avoid this in the future.

Photo courtesy of Magnus_Manske via a Creative Commons license.

Dutch Kills Revisited

Though technically not in our lovely neck of the woods, Dutch Kills is worth the trip, and worth mentioning again. Located in the not-so-lovely part of Long Island City that is Jackson Ave, this amazing speakeasy is a fantastic addition to the area. I recently had the good fortune to have drinks with some friends and was blown away.

The sophistication is what completely bowled me over. From the minute a man in vest and bow tie greats you, you’re whisked away to an era that sadly doesn’t exist much these days. The low lights, soft music, warm wood paneled wall, and vintage light fixtures help transform the space into the moody speakeasy. Cocktails are prepared with such dedication and attention to detail- ice is hand formed and specially selected depending on the type of drink prepared, nutmeg freshly grated over special cocktails, and even certain liquors are made in house. Not knowing exactly what we wanted (after all, there are no vodka sodas or Coronas here) a friend of mine wasn’t keen on her uniquely flavored preparation. Within minutes the bartender noticed her glass wasn’t being drained with the same speed as ours, and instantly prepared her another drink more to her liking. That’s service!

Drinks are a very reasonable $10 each (drinks at similar places in the city are often $12-$14), the daily changed drinks menu is easy to navigate, and the staff is warm and attentive. Dutch Kills adds the perfect level of class to Queens and is a great date place or after work spot for those looking for something a little bit different.

Dutch Kills
27-24 Jackson Avenue
Long Island City, NY 11101
Tel. 718.383.2724

[Photos from jaschang's photostream on Flickr]

October Queens Green Drinks

This month, Queens Green Drinks, an informal social gathering/networking event for folks that are environmentally minded, is hosted this month by Why Leave Astoria?! You can enjoy 2-for-1 drink specials, compliments of Why Leave Astoria?! and Bizaare Ave Cafe (as well as 2-for-1 drinks at Bizaare Ave. Cafe anytime with a WLA discount card).

Be green by staying local!

October Queens Green Drinks
Wednesday, October 21
7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Bizarre Ave Cafe
35-01 36th St.
Long Island City

To receive regular updates (about 1-2 times a month) from Queens Green Drinks, please e-mail

Queens Green Drinks is also on Facebook!

Halloween Harvest Festival at Socrates

On Saturday, October 17, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Socrates Sculpture Park will hold their annual Halloween Harvest Festival.  It's a free event, held rain or shine.  Hopefully it will shine that day!  Following the Festival, stick around for a special outdoor performance of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, produced by the Red Door Theater Company. More from Socrates:

The 2009 Festival theme is glam rock! See a live concert by New York's own, Audra Rox and become the rock star of your dreams with the help of Socrates Sculpture Park artistsMartin Basher, Pilar Conde, Lars Fisk, McKendree Key, Zak Kitnick, Samara Kupferberg, and Athena Preston (all costume making materials will be provided and will be free of charge); join a Giant Instrument Jam with Freestyle Arts Association; get glamorous with Transformation! Facepainting by Agostino Arts; try harvest foods from Sage General Store; picnic in the Park; or just watch the fun! and become the rock star of your dreams with the help of Socrates Sculpture Park artists

Back by popular demand, Socrates will also host its 6th annual Canine Costume Contest at 1pm (registration at front gate). Visitors can enter their dogs and win fabulous prizes for being the cutest, scariest, best dressed or most rocked-out pooch. Dr. Jules Adams from City Vet will also judge the contest. along with BARC Shelter, who will also offer information about adopting a pet.

At 2pm, The Red Door Theatre Company will present a special outdoor performance of the The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Chrysten Peddie has adapted this classic Halloween tale by Washington Irving for the Company's 3rd year with Socrates' Halloween Harvest Festival. Come see Ichabod Crane, Katrina Van Tassel, and Brom Van Brunt, as they tell the story of the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow. A blanket or lawn chair is recommended. The performance is free of charge.

Upcoming Shows from Astoria Music and Arts

Those crazy cats over at Astoria Music and Arts have a bunch of events planned in October, the next couple being this Saturday, October 17.  First, Gather at the Gantries takes place at - where else? - Gantry Plaza State Park. The music gets going at 11:30 a.m. and lasts til 4 p.m.. Musical guests include Rebel Rose, Os Clavelitos with Anthony Lanni, Plasma, The Jamies and Little Creatures! It's a free event for for kids of all ages.  Apart from the music, get acquainted with Edible Queens (and accompanying tasties), historical tours by the Queens Historical Society, a trunk show by boutiques Etheral and Little Closets.  Waffles and Dinges and Hallo Berlin will be there with some fab food, too.

The $5 after party, Gather After the Gantries, will be at Shillelagh (30th Ave at 48th Street), starting at 8:30 p.m. There you can hear more music, including Adam Gould Band, AwShockKiss and The Concentrics. Make sure you print out the image above for 2-for-1 draft beer special! 21 and over, please. And have a great time!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Astoria’s Second Annual "Fashion: Astoria Style"

More fashion fun! From Kristie Foster of KrisTees:

On Thursday, October 15th, KrisTees and Candy Plum boutiques have joined forces again to choreograph Astoria’s Second Annual Fashion: Astoria Style fashion show. This year the venue is at Central Lounge, located over here on the Ditmars side of Astoria. It is going to be an awesome night (and the venue is going to be amazing), including many inspiring fall/holiday fashion looks, fashion fine art by local artist Mieko Anekawa, and artistic dance performances! Should we say more?

RSVP for an event tote and enjoy a complimentary drink from Central.

Fashion Astoria Style #2
Central Lounge and Restaurant
Thursday, October 15th
Doors open at 6 p.m., show begins at 8 p.m.
RSVP for complimentary event tote to: or call 718.721.2299

Sunday, October 11, 2009

T.A. Queens Volunteer Committee Meeting 10/12

Transportation Alternatives Queens Volunteer Committee welcomes you tomorrow at their next meeting:
Hello Queens Committee!

This is a reminder that we will be having our next T.A. Queens Volunteer Committee meeting on Monday, October 12th (we can celebrate Columbus Day together!), at 6:30pm. Please join us as we celebrate the beginning of our Queens-based T.A. Membership Drive (speaking of, don't miss the ride this weekend: As usual, we will be forging ahead on our 2009 goals, planning for outreach, and having fun!

Meeting details:

WHAT: T.A. Queens Volunteer Committee Monthly Meeting
WHEN: Monday, October 12th, 6:30pm - 8:00pm
WHERE: Greater Astoria Historical Society, 35-20 Broadway (at 36th Street), 4th Floor, Astoria, NY

White Winter Truffle Extravaganza at Winegasm, 10/14

Winegasm is celebrating fall with truffles!  A deliciosu looking menu is planned, one dish following the next in a tasting menu arrangement.  The event is this Wednesday, October 14, at 8 p.m., so please RSVP as soon as you can.
Winegasm Presents: White Winter Truffle Extravaganza

Six course tasting menu. Each dish is prepared with fresh White Winter Truffles and paired with well chosen wine by our in-house Sommelier. Rare opportunity to taste this exceptional and much sought after delicacy.

Truffled Bresaola Salad
Frisee, chanterelle mushrooms, bresaola, and toasted hazelnuts
Paired with Arneis "Giribaldi", Piedmont 2007, Italy

Poached duck egg with steamed asparagus
Crispy duck prosciutto and shaved Parmigiano
Paired with Debroi Harslevelu "Badasconyi" 2007, Hungary

Wild mushroom risotto
Parmigiano, pie nuts
Paired with Pignolo "RossoRosso", Veneto 2004, Italy

Seared scallops with creamy polenta
Brown butter and parsley chimichurri
Paired with Amarone "Capitanio" Veneto '03, Italy

Petit Filet Mignon stuffed with wild mushrooms
Truffled mash potato, Bordelaise sauce
Paired with Barbaresco "Giribaldi", Piedmont 2004, Italy

Truffled Crème Brulee with Vanilla cream
Paired with Ice wine "Jorge Ordonez #1", Malaga 2006, Spain

This Tasting Menu is priced at $95, price for the Wine Pairing is an additional $35

We would like to invite all gourmet lovers who have had the opportunity to sample this wonderful treat and those who are yet to discover it's hidden charms...Please let us know as soon as possible since the seating for this intimate, candlelit dinner is limited. Winegasm is involved with direct import of these Truffles from it's source in Europe and as such we wanted to share this great opportunity to taste these rare dishes. We are very excited to feature this menu in our little establishment, we sincerely hope You will like it too and join us in this fine dining experience.


Sale at Steinway Reformed Church Tomorrow

If you've got the day off tomorrow, consider stopping by the vendor sale at Steinway Reformed Church.  Sponsored by the Astoria Park Alliance, the sale will go from 10 a.m to 2 p.m.  If you want to show off your craft or just declutter, stop by and donate your things.  Profits will benefit the group.

Steinway Reformed Church is on Ditmars near 41st Street.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Astorian Weekend Edition 08.10.09

Fall is here, which makes it a lovely time to stroll around the nabe, discover new places and appreciate the foliage. Here are some fun suggestions for this weekend:

Visit a cool art show and do some shopping this Thursday at Ethereal Boutique in LIC. Leann Marie Zafuto will showcase her fashion based art and the store is featuring an accessories trunk show. Enjoy wine and treats while perusing. Thursday, October 8th, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. 47-38 Vernon Blvd, LIC. 718.482.8884

Some more awesome shopping also happening on Thursday night is at SITE. Mackenzi will be hosting a Fall Preview Party, where you can take advantage of fabulous discounts on unique designs such as Lattimo glass, metal and acrylic jewelry. You can hop around from Ethereal to SITE or the other way around – this shin dig takes place between 7p.m. – 10p.m. 35-11 34th Avenue, Astoria. 718.626.6030

In the mood to express your artistic talent? Art House Astoria is kicking off their monthly Salon Series, where you could bring your best talent – whatever that may be – and perform in a casual and welcoming setting. Saturday, October 10th at 7p.m. For more information, contact 23-35 Broadway, Astoria. 347.738.4148

Don’t forget that all this week and next, you can take advantage of Queens Restaurant Week. While most restaurants aren’t featuring this special on weekends (except for Punta Dura), you could check it out on Thursday or Friday. There are more than 75 awesome restaurants participating. Personally, I’m checking out Christos Steakhouse, which for $25 per person will be a steal.

Are you into football? Do you like wings? There are at least two great places in Astoria that deliver both at incredible prices. Gleason's is one with 25 cent wings on Sundays and Mondays and the other is Indigo with delicious burgers and a good selection of brew. Gleason's 33-08 Broadway, Astoria. 718.626.5393. Indigo - 28-50 31st Street, Astoria. 718.728.0050.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Shoreline Cleanup a Success

In a recent Weekend Edition, I mentioned that the annual Shoreline Cleanup was happening. Well, it did (I was there!), and it was a great success! Green Shores, the organizers, sent out a message to participants, which I will share with you below:

Green Shores NYC thanks everyone who helped make our 5th ANNUAL SHORELINE CLEANUP in Astoria Park a success!

Our partner organizations—the Astoria Park Alliance, Partnership for Parks, and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation—helped the day run smoothly. Volunteers from Forest Hills High School, International High School and members of the Astoria-Long Island City community braved the rain to join us. We filled over 70 bags of trash in only a few hours!

You can watch coverage of the cleanup on NY 1 here.

Thanks to all who participated!