Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year Astoria!

Last year we ended off '06 with a summary of Astoria's biggest ups and downs , it worked out so well we decided to bring you the key hits and misses of our Astorian Adventures, the 2007 edition: (in no particular order...)
So there you have it, some good- some not so good, but all ours! We hope you have had a wonderful year here in our lovely nabe and that you continue to take advantage of all Astoria has to offer in 2008. Have a happy and a healthy wherever you may be and see you around hopefully!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Astorian Weekend Edition 27.12.07

OK kids, here we go. We here at JIA have gotten a little comprehensive list of all the go-to events in the neighborhood together for you. There should be something here to fit everyone's taste and budget... Get your clean duds out cause there are things to do and people to see this long weekend! (Yeah, ok, so these are all on Monday night, but you can hit these places up anytime you want! Give any of them a try any night.)

Bistro 33 (19-33 Ditmars Blvd.) is having a pre-fix dinner with two different seatings is what I am told. There isn't info on the website since it is still under construction, but because I have fallen in love with this place- I would say, just give them a call for the 411 and get in on it whatever it may be! If you're looking to eat magnificently on the last day of the year, look no further!
Brick Cafe (30-95 33rd St.) is doing a dinner and/or bar party. For the bar part of it, there is a $25 cover at the door starting at 9:30pm which covers your first drink as well. The restaurant opens at 6 for the first and less expensive of its two seatings. The second seating at 9pm also covers your entry to the bar party- so there you go, two birds with one $80 stone.
Cavo (42-18 31st Ave.) also has a bash to offer at $150 per person for 4-course dinner (3 seating times- 7, 8 & 9pm) If you don't want to eat, there is also just the party option which will set you back $50- but it's a cash bar, so not much of a deal. They've got their menu up for perusal too.
Central Lounge (20-30 Steinway) A cool $50 will get you entry and an hour of open bar. They have food and drink packages too if you are looking to splurge. The place is so cool looking that this could be the perfect reason to head all the way up there.
Hell Gate Social (12-21 Astoria Blvd) Our always dependable good time go-to, doesn't disapoint with a no cover night full of music and entertainment. You don't even have to rush out there, the party goes from 10pm straight til 10am. There may even be a White Castle run for the munchies :)
Locale (33-02 34th Ave.) looks to have a low key and delectable eating event with two 5 course seatings, (6pm $90 pp and 10pm $100pp). Just last week I was told that I need to go there for some delish Italian, this would be a great opportunity to see what gives.
Riccardo's (21–01 24th Ave.) fills you up for $100 per adult and $60 per child. This may be a good all around party option for those of you toting some smaller folks :) They've posted the menu too if you want to make sure it fits your taste. If you want to get out of dodge before all the hubbub- they've also got a "matinee" option that doesn't sound too shabby.
Waltz Astoria (23-14 Ditmars Blvd.) asks everyone to come decked in silver and gold. Dance and be merry from 9pm on.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Holiday Fun at Kristees

This week, I got a mailing from Kristees and thought I'd pass on the info to you:

  • KrisTees Gift Certificates are available at the store.
  • For the Christmas holiday we are marking down our fun novelty tees starting at $25 up to $32.
  • Select items are on sale up to 40% off.
  • Extended holiday shopping hours this weekend - 12noon to 9:30PM.
  • Also, do not forget to stop in the store and pick up the Astoria Shopping Guide Map, which lists other great boutiques in Astoria, as well as new restaurants and bars! [I've seen this guide and it's very nice! -ed]

Have a wonderful Christmas and Happy Holidays!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Astorian Weekend Edition 20.12.07

Well, this is your last weekend to shop before the big day! A number of local Astoria places are having sales, too. Candy Plum (30-98 36th St) has a special on earrings - with every purchase of $50, receive a free pair of selected earrings! They also have gift certificates. The Museum of the Moving Image (36-01 35th Ave) is holding a store-wide sale with discounts of 10% (and 25% for Museum members) - they've got collectibles, books and DVDs (that Bladerunner DVD looks particularly good!). And Vine Wine (12-09 Jackson Avenue) in LIC is offering a 15% discount on cases (their Wednesday night tastings are pretty great, too).

For wellness related gifts, head over to the SPAce website (29-09 Ditmars) and order a gift card online! I hear very good things about the massages there, and their haircuts are extremely reasonable and well done. The Yoga Room (32-32 Steinway) is offering a number of discounts through December 31, too, for you and a friend.

For good eats, stop by Mundo (31-18 Broadway), which also has a new art exhibit up. They've got some new menu items, and the same wonderful ambiance. And gift cards! Il Bambino (34-08 31st Ave) just celebrated their one year anniversary in town - I was there last night and the food was delicious, as usual. They've been making soup lately, and the butternut squash soup I had was phenomenal. I've heard lots of good things about their other soups as well (I believe they change daily). Finally on the eating front: fantastic meatballs. The newly opened Philoxenia (32-07 34th Ave) makes excellent, almost tubular shaped meatballs (in a Greek style) which are very good, and Cassino in LIC (47-18 Vernon Blvd) makes some of the best Italian meatballs I think I've ever had. Really nice people run it, too.

This weekend also marks the Winter Solstice. This marks the shortest day and longest night of the year, and that just means more sunshine will come our way each day, bit by bit. Happy Eid, too!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Carnitas Taco

Carnitas Taco
Originally uploaded by The Flooz
We interrupt the regularly scheduled weekend blog to give you the heads up on some good tacos :)

Meg was kind enough to swing by my place this weekend with some Al Pastor tacos in hand from the relatively new La Flor de Puebla. Well- they were so darned good (and spicy!) that i thought i'd go in myself and investigate the goods.
Went in yesterday and was pleasantly greeted by 5 year old Stephanie- the owners daughter and after i put in my order for 3 carnitas tacos and 3 cheese & chicken taquitos, we sat and chit-chatted about Bratz and Christmas balls for about 10 minutes while they cooked up my meal fresh!
Got some queso crema and green sauce on the side and $8.50 later, was home chowing down on some damn fine food. I'd put these tacos on par with the taco truck maybe even, hahaha!
The taquitos were a bit dry for my taste, but the cheese ones were pretty tastey.
Go check em out on the weekends and they have tamales- i'm planning on it this Saturday.

La Flor de Puebla
Astoria Blvd bet Steinway and 38th St

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Astorian Weekend Edition 13.12.07

It's jammin at the Beer Garden (29-19 24th Ave.) on Thursday. Astorian band, CatGut does their holiday jam session thing at 7 p.m. Any excuse to have some dumplings is a good one- and there's no cover :)

Crafts and jewelry everywhere! At Waltz (23-14 Ditmars) there will be more goodies from the Astoria Craft Collective... in case you missed them 2 weeks ago. Stop in from 11am-5pm. Too far to walk to in the cold? Maybe the Jewelry exhibit & sale by Glykomaraki at Grand Cafe (37-01 30th Ave.) is closer! From 12:30 to 3:30pm enjoy over 85% off retail prices... and the burgers there are delish...

Tis the season all weekend at Loveday 31 (33-06 31st. Ave)! In the spirit of the holidays, all red and green items such as 60s coats, 80s boots, and many more will be 20% off this Saturday and Sunday!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Astorian Weekend Edition 06.12.07

Dang it's cold! But I have to admit, the snow has been very pretty and I enjoyed the manageability of the first snowfall this winter. However, it will warm up a little this weekend, for which I'm grateful. There's a lot going on this weekend!

Thursday brings us lots to do. At 7 p.m., Hellgate Social (12-21 Astoria Blvd) is hosting an artist reception for the exhibit 2 Live & Paint in Astoria. This new exhibit features the work of Ralph Almeida & William C. Lindsay. Bar 36 (36-05 30th Ave) is again hosting their Martini Thursdays - $2 off every martini on their menu (or create your own). Can't beat the free snacks, too! I just wish their website was more useful. Island Cafe Bar (35-15 36th St) has Jazz every Thursday evening from 7 p.m. to midnight.

If you're not into the bar/cafe scene on Thursday, head over to Laguardia Community College (31-10 Thomson Ave.) in LIC for the opening celebration/reception for the exhibit Edge of the City, the Waterfront Paintings of Gregory William. From 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. meet the artist and enjoy the art.

Starting on Friday, stop by the Brickhouse Ceramic Art Center (10-34 44th Drive) for some holiday shopping. They are holding their annual holiday sale and open house Friday through Sunday. They offer one-of-a-kind handmade crafts from jewelry to ceramic. Their hours are Friday 4-8 p.m., Saturday 2-8 p.m., and Sunday 12-6 p.m.

Saturday night Hellgate Social presents a night of Japanese punk rock! Expect live music by The Yuharis, Uzuhi, and B.C.P. Conversely, Waltz (23-14 Ditmars) presents a twist on karaoke - jazz! Come and sing in front of a live jazz band. Set list will be provided, sign-up is at 9 p.m. and the show starts at 9:30.

Find some calm on Sunday at Grace Lutheran (31-20 21st Ave) for a weekly Buddhist meditation with Luis Villalon. The subject for this weekend is The Healing Power of Love. Beginners are welcome.

A friend of mine told me all about Rest-au-Rant, a new wine bar on 35th Ave and 30th Street. He told me, Essentially it's a wine bar, with about 30 wines, so far, though they're aiming to increase that number to 50. They also have tasty beer on tap, from Germany, New Zealand, Hawaii, Belgium, France, Weissbier and a slew of others. They also offer hummus, cheese and fruit platters and paninis. Definitely worth a try. And best food I've had out this week was at Sparrow (24-01 29th St) - their burger, which is excellent, was particularly good, as were the fries and olive plate. Don't forget to try the hot chocolate - warm, chocolately, and creamy, perfect on a cold evening.

Photo credit: Harris Graber on Flickr via a Creative Commons License

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Astorian Weekend Edition 29.11.07

Here we are, heading into the last month of 2007! And to think- there is still new stuff to do and places to discover :)

I have gone ahead and flavor tested the new Luna de Juarez (25-98 Steinway) restaurant for you all and am pleased with the results! Wrote about it yesterday! They have a little room for improvement, but are definitely worth a visit on your way home tonight.

When the sun goes down on Fridays, you should go up! Upstairs that is... and I quote "housey vibes, the chillest friends, some comfy couches, a fireplace, breakdancin', happy hour, sugar sweets!, city sunsets, food food, 'i can feeeeel it !' music ...served fresh ^.)" If that piqued your interest, then go find out what they are talking about at AeroTropic :World Series (31-29 Ditmars Blvd.)

The Seeds of Love fundraisers are back for a holiday helping! They had an outdoor event but now with the cold and all, they've gone indoors -- Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Steinway Reformed Church (41st St. at Ditmars Blvd), find a ton of clothes, shoes and bags for you to snap up. Get a little more into the holiday spirit by bringing an item or two from their wishlist and help make some child's wish come true

Sunday - over at Waltz (23-14 Ditnars Blvd.) you can find all types of goodies from the Astoria Craft Collective. IIn my opinion, this is the best way to shop for the holidays this year -- no crowds and super original (local) stuff. Meg got a sneak preview this week to share with you all. Take a gander at some of the originals before running out there!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Handmade Holiday - Astoria Craft Collective

This weekend the Astoria Craft Collective presents Handmade Holiday. This ten person collective will have their wares for sale at Waltz-Astoria (23-14 Ditmars) on Sunday, December 2 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. And last night, I had the pleasure of meeting with some of them for a preview of some of the things that will be for sale this Sunday. These five crafters present - Jenn McKinney, Bonnie Sharpe, Lorina Pellach, Alison Shanik, and Marianne Hodge - do great work. Everything was beautiful, from the jewelry to the hand screening to the crochet work. Here are a few pictures (more can be seen here) of what you can expect at their sale at Waltz-Astoria this weekend:

Earrings by Jenn McKinney

Beadscarves by Lorina Pellach

Cards by Alison Shanik

Hand screened bag by Bonnie Sharpe Skiver

Crochet work by Marianne Hodge

So, support your local artists and crafters! Their work is gorgeous and you'll get a one of a kind gift for your loved-ones. These artisans are deeply devoted to their work, very talented, and some have recieved international acclaim. Enjoy the show!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Keep an eye on the Luna

Last night I felt the need for Mexican. It could be because of all the talk on here and in the neighborhood in general, that Luna de Juarez is open and looking to please.
This Mexican (slightly fusion) restaurant has been open about a week now in the old Santorini spot on the corner of 28th Ave & Steinway St. The actual decor and ambiance of the place is quite nice, very comfortable and warm. They even have a chiminea at the entrance with candles burning it. The front of the place has a few bar tables mixed in with regular seating to create a very chill area. It definitely lends itself to a casual hang- maybe for the free wi-fi and/or a slice of cake and some coffee.
The most stand out thing to me from the get go and throughout the evening was the people. Everyone was so sweet and welcoming, the service was impeccable. I felt like royalty! If there was a lack for anything- they were on it right away. Our server for the night was Roosevelt- gotta love the name, and the guy was even better! He was so nice and patient and super informative and open to all my questions. The basic round up is- the cuisine is all authentic Mexican from Mexico City and most everything is made fresh in house.

Now for the food of course.
Since we are trying to behave with the overindulgence's while dining out- we decided to share everything. This is also a good way to go when you want to try several things. Right away I was intrigued by the table side guacamole making option on the menu, but since we were already noshing on chips and interesting salsa (its a much more mashed avocado with tomatillos and other peppers) we decided to go with the very interesting Stuffed Avocado (Aguacate Luna de Juarez $9.95). This is apparently a very traditional dish from the region and it did not disappoint. Be sure to have more chips on hand for all the avocado goodness! The massive appetizer is stuffed with shrimp, cheese, squid & corn and sits on a creamy wine sauce.
Next on our list was the Signature House Salad (Ensalada Luna de Juarez $7.95) tortilla strips & goat cheese on a bed of mixed lettuce with a guajillo pepper vinaigrette. It was fresh and tasty and I could have eaten alot more of it all by myself..
I love the smell of steak on the grill so I had to go for the Steak Fajitas ($16.95). They come with all the regular fix-ins, but the guacamole and the tomato salsa was really really spot on. The meat could have been a bit more seasoned in my opinion- luckily though, when you put everything together and wrap it up in the tortilla it all comes together in a delicious smorgasbord of flavors! We wanted a bit more kick so I asked Roosevelt if they had any hot sauce. He brought us what looked like the same green salsa that came with the chips but he told us it was just the hot part of it without the avocado. I'd call it mild tomatillo salsa, it added great flavor with minimal punch- it worked fine for me.
This alone filled my dinner partner and I up more then I would have imagined! Roosevelt would not accept that, he really wanted us to try the tres leches cake. He sent us home with a complimentary slice... that I am sitting here eating while i type this :)

Go eat.
This place has to iron out a few "taste" kinks but I have high hopes for these guys.
Authentic Mexican close to home sounds good to me!

Luna de Juarez
25-98 Steinway
Astoria, NY 11103

Monday, November 26, 2007

New Bike Parking

Multimedia message
Originally uploaded by mcotner
I was walking down 31st Street near Ditmars and saw this new rack for bike parking in front of Soho! Or, perhaps it's been there and I just noticed it... anyway, nice to see that bikes are being considered.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sophia Loren

Sophia Loren
Originally uploaded by mcotner
This pizza was by far the best I've had in Astoria. It's from Michael Angelo's II on 23rd Ave near 29th Street. This is the "Sophia Loren" pie, which is fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and a little sauce. Absolutely fantastic!! I'll be ordering it again.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Organic Beef in Astoria

Organic Beef
Originally uploaded by mcotner
As I was getting off the train today at Ditmars Blvd, I noticed that the butcher on the east side of 31st Street is now selling USDA certified organic beef. They have been selling organic chickens for some time, but this is a nice new development. I haven't tried any of the beef (I don't eat much beef, honestly), but if anyone does, we'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Astorian Weekend Edition 22.11.07

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Joey in Astoria! We hope you're having a great day with family, friends, and loved ones. If you're still looking for a place to have dinner, you can try Neptune (31-05 Astoria Blvd) and Bel Aire (31-91 21st St) as far as diners go, or Brick (30-95 33rd St) for something more upscale. Also Zenon Taverna (34-10 31st Ave) is having Thanksgiving dinner, with a few Greek items thrown in.

Friday after Thanksgiving is often referred to as Black Friday, the start of the Christmas shopping season. The term was coined in the 70s, indicating the period where retailers are in the black. Not interested in partaking in the shopping storm? Read JIA friend John Roleke's take on avoiding Black Friday in town. And Friday night at sunset, check out dj onda Skillet at AeroTropic: World Series upstairs at Mezzo Mezzo (31-29 Ditmars Blvd). That place has all sorts of things going on, it seems.

This weekend is a fantastic one for classic films at the MOMI (35 Avenue at 36 Street) Saturday they're showing Meet Me In St. Louis (2pm), The Wizard of OZ (4:30), and Singin' in the Rain (7:00). Sunday is the magnificent Gone With the Wind (2pm) and Brokeback Mountain (6:30). Every single one of these is worth seeing! Note that the Museum is closed on Thanksgiving.

For something a little different, movie-wise, head to Hellgate Social (12-21 Astoria Blvd) on Sunday at 8:30pm to see Jingle All the Way, starring California's own Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger as a frazzled dad. I was there for movie night last Sunday and it was awesome. Loved the relaxed vibe and the Polish beer I had was excellent. Stop by Saturday night for DJ Lo-Fi, who will undoubtedly be spinning great tunes.

Great recent eats include Guacamole (38-07 Broadway), Rizzo's Pizza (30-13 Steinway St), and I hafta say - check out the coffee at Cafe Expresso (not a typo) on Steinway (25-51 Steinway St). I had a cappucino there recently and it was really good! Oh, and by the way - Rose and Joe's Bakery (22-40 31st Street) is making little baby cream puffs that are extremely tasty.

Enjoy your holiday weekend!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

LIC Bar Back on the Web

For a while now, I've been trying to find the LIC Bar's website but always got a 404 or some such thing when clicking on their old site at Good news is that they are back with a new domain, LIC Bar is a great watering hole with good beer, scotch, and mixed drinks. They offer sandwiches, and I recently heard a rumor that they serve burgers now - I'm always on the lookout for a good burger in the area.

In the summer they offer live music on Sundays, and throughout the year they do trivia on Thursday nights. Their backyard garden space is really nice, too. According to the website, they have a separate party room for large groups.

Glad to see LIC Bar's site back up! LIC Bar is at 45-58 Vernon Blvd in Long Island City.

Photo credit: maura on Flickr via a Creative Commons license.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Mexican in the 'Hood

There are a few new Mexican places open or opening soon in Astoria. This weekend I went to Guacamole, a nice little place on Broadway (between Steinway and 38th Street) that replaced a fast-food Mex place (that's what the waitress told me). The space is calming with the green walls, and the food is definitely tasty. I had a chicken and vegetable quesadilla and my dining companion had a beef wrap; we shared a chicken tostada. The best thing about the meal was the salsa chile de arbol, a red-yellow spicy pureed sauce served on the side. The guacamole was very good, too. I had a glass of horchata, which was particularly creamy and not overly sweet. I wonder if they put dairy in it...

Walking home from Guacamole, we passed by Luna de Juarez a soon-to-be-open restaurant on the corner of Steinway and 28th Ave, the location of the old Santorini Cafe. I read about this place originally on astorians, and from what I can gather from her message the grand opening is this Friday:
they have a great chef who just loves to cook and supposedly the Guacamole will be done table side, the Fajitas nothing like your use to, and they will make their own mole, hopefully with this great Colombian Chocolate Cordillero.
There's also been chatter about a new place opening up where the old All-Star Burger was on 31st Street near Ditmars under the subway. The lease is held by the same person who owns Agave Restaurant in Manhattan, so it's expected that this will be the Astoria outpost of this well-received Southwest restaurant. I've peeked in the space while walking by and it's looking really nice inside. And yeah, while it's not really a Mexican place, it's definitely worth mentioning. Astoria has nothing like this, so it's very exciting to see a new cuisine come to town.

Important Astoria Community Meeting

Over on the there have been a number of conversations regarding "quality of life" issues in the greater Astoria community. Forum member Debbie Riga decided to do something about it, and has put together a meeting, which will be held on Wednesday, November 28 at 6:30pm. Here's the press release I received regarding the meeting. I hope all of you who are concerned about the issues that affect are community will consider attending. And fellow Astoria bloggers, please feel free to post this on your own blog.
Over the past few years, a number of internet forums where residents of Astoria discuss various issues which pertain to the area have been created. While most of the participants are relatively new (5 years or less) to the area, many have resided here for years. The meeting is expected to bring together a mixed audience and will be representative of a diverse group of people.

The purpose of this meeting is to give everyone an opportunity to meet each other, and to give our Representatives the opportunity to respond to the most pertinent questions that center around our community. Most of those questions will be focusing on quality of life issues which include overcrowding, overbuilding, transit issues, trash, Astoria Park, noise pollution, local crime etc. The questions will be formulated prior to the event by a smaller group of people in an effort to focus on the issues.

While there are many Associations in Astoria, this is the first opportunity which will bring together old and new residents, and people who use the Internet as their main source of information regarding the area.

Date – Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

Time – 6:30 p.m.

PlaceQuinn Memorial Building / 35-20 Broadway / Gallery – Lecture Hall

For further information, please contact:
Debbie Riga

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Astorian Weekend Edition 15.11.07

As much as I walk by Bar 36 (36-05-30th Ave) all the time, I still haven't gotten the urge to step in. Maybe now that I know about Martini Thursdays, I'll bite! The deal is $2 off regular price martinis and they've got snacks... what they are I don't quite know! Maybe they are the chocolate chip cookies I saw them giving out today? This is a quote from them I came across online:
Come and hang out with your friends with us in our ultra slick and trendy atmosphere.... we see you all looking in our doors everyday anyway..... so come on in and see why sex and the city the movie chose us for a few scenes....
How hilarious!?!?! OK, now I gotta see what its all about.

Friday night on your way home, introduce yourself to some Venezuelan cheap eats! We've got a new place on the map, and I've tried it - Yum! The Arepas Cafe (33-07 36th Ave) Give the menu a gander or just go-go-go. There is something for everyone pretty much and it's something just a wee bit different.

Saturday afternoon at the Greater Astoria Historical Society (35-20 Broadway, 4th fl) catch a screening of "New York, the Way It Was: Queens." Its a walk down memory lane for some and an interesting peek for others. Movie time is at 1 p.m., so grab an arepa and get going.

Sunday brings you live jazz, brunch, mimosas, bloody marys and a good time at Time Cafe (44-18 45th street)

Doyle's Corner (42-02 Broadway, 718-278-9402) has a plan for Sunday night. It's got something to do with drinking and a ride out to a boat and an open bar...they've even chartered a 150-foot yacht!

Everything gets going at Doyle's Corner with an open bar and nibbles at 6 p.m. Then promptly at 8 p.m., the bus arrives to take all the party people into Manhattan where the festivities really get in gear. After the four-hour cruise around Manhattan, you get to drip-dry in the bus ride back to Doyle's. All of this can be yours for $50! See Barry or Brendan at Doyle's Corner for tickets - not many left!

And of course, if I missed anything- you can find it here!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Astorian Weekend Edition 08.11.07

Well, life got overly crazed this week, and JIA friend John Roleke gave us some weekend fun to start our Astorian Weekend Edition off:

There's only one event I can give my full love to -- a walking tour of Old Astoria. Join Kevin Walsh of Forgotten NY and Richard Melnick of the Greater Astoria Historical Society lead an exploration of Old Astoria Village. See it before disappears, replaced by six-story boxes. Sunday at 1pm. Call 718–278–0700 for exact meeting place and additional information. Tour will last about 2 hours.

Thursday through Sunday, the 5th Queens International Film Festival is going on at various Astoria locations, including the Museum of the Moving Image, Cup and Cavo, among others. There will be plenty of special screenings and parties going on, all celebrating independent films. It looks like a great lineup, so check it out.

Friday night brings us a performance of the Lost Dog Ensemble, Astoria's own new music ensemble. They'll be performing at the intimate space that is Waltz-Astoria (23-14 Ditmars Blvd), with works by Michael Hersch, Paul Yeon Lee, Gordon Beeferman, and Per Norgard. No cover and 2 drink minimum.

At the Beer Garden this Saturday from 8pm-midnight, join Chickenhead live in concert. $10 gets you in for music and dancing. Plus all that great bohemian grub. And speaking of Czech food, consider stopping at Koliba one of these days, just a short ways away from the Beer Garden (31-11 23rd Ave). I hear they have the most amazing lentil soup.

And the Hunters Point/LIC Greenmarket is still up and running. It's located at 48th Avenue between Vernon Blvd and 5th Street in Long Island City and runs from 8am-3pm on Saturdays.

Photo (c) Joy Victory

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Astorian Weekend Edition 01.11.07

Purge your system of all that Halloween candy by enjoying some tea and company at Thursday night's crafting Freeze Peach (22-00 29th St). All crafting is welcome, even if you don't know how to do it. There should be someone there happy to share tips, tricks, and pointers. Show up around 8 p.m. and just look for the knitters! They now have a blog to show the fruits of their labor.

Friday nights are made for eating out. Of course there are tons of options in Astoria. Meg recently turned us onto Mexican and Greek and reminded us of the goodies at Sparrow. Pick one and go for it.

Saturday, the fittingly named Steinways will perform at the Shillelagh Tavern (47-22 30th Ave) I have never heard of the band or the bar, so this sounds like a new adventure! It's only five bucks and starts at 9 p.m.

If you're not out too late on Saturday, you can prolly make it to Sundays TAWQ Rockaway Bike Ride. The roughly 45 mile jaunt will be starting at 9 a.m. in Astoria (Brooklyn Bagel on Broadway between 35th and 36th Sts), ending up in the Rockaways. It's suppose to be a relaxed pace, but with miles and miles before you sleep, it is recommended for experienced cyclists. (Sponsored by: Transportation Alternatives Western Queens Committee, join the ride by emailing

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Pain Perdu and The Sparrow = Crazy Delicious

This weekend I had a late lunch/early dinner at The Sparrow, one of my favorite bars. They have pretty good food (great grilled cheese) and drinks and the location can't be beat, at least for me. For dessert they offered pain perdu, which means "lost bread" in French but usually means french toast.

When the waitress told me they had pain perdu with butterscotch sauce, I decided to try it (I love butterscotch sauce). I expected it to be just regular old french toast, but it was way more than that. It was basically a grilled chocolate croissant with homemade butterscotch syrup on it, with a dollop of real whipped cream on the side. It was excellent! It totally hit the spot. My dining companion and I both loved it. Definitely worth a try.

Note: The Sparrow has updated their website and they also have a site for Oleput (their other venture).

Thursday, October 25, 2007

All Not Bird?

All Not Bird
Originally uploaded by mcotner
Maybe someone can tell me what "All Not Bird" means? This phrase was on a few subway posters at the Court Square 7 stop. So bizarre!

Astorian Weekend Edition 25.10.07

Happy Halloween... early! Since Halloween falls on a weekday close to the weekend prior, lots of Halloween activities fall on this weekend. And there's something for everyone, pretty much!

Friday night at 11pm, head over to 718 (35-01 Ditmars Blvd) for their Halloween Party. Check out their Scary Martini - Captain Morgan Tattoo Rum, fresh lime juice, splash pineapple, and grenadine.

Saturday afternoon at 4pm, grab your kids and go to PS1 for the debut of Café Cinema's Matinee Movies: Mystery, Magic, and Marigolds. This Halloween-themed film program is curated by twelve- and ten-year-old Maya and Noa Street-Sachs, daughters of avant-garde filmmakers. They've chosen seven spooky and surprising short films from the Film-makers' Cooperative. Children are encouraged to come in costume! Treats will be provided.

Saturday night Freeze Peach is having a costume party at 8pm. BYOB, and BYO Techno. At 10pm that night, Central Lounge (20-30 Steinway) is holding their own Halloween Party, complete with live flame throwers, stilt walkers, belly dancing, and a tarot reader. They're giving out prizes for costumes - first prize is $2,000, second prize is $500, and third prize is a bottle of Ketel One. At 8pm Last Resort Art Space (8-63 Astoria Blvd) is having a Halloween Party/Concert, featuring M.D.i., Dared the Knot, Kentucky Vampire Clan, Astrpohel and Stella & more. $7, $5 with costume. The Creek and the Cave (10-93 Jackson Ave in LIC) is showing a video premiere as part of their Halloween party. It's the debut of Wish You Were Mine - performing with The Proceeders (Steve O’Donnell of Pop Mafia).

Apart from the spooky weekend events are a couple of peace and justice events. Thursday night at 8pm, Waltz (23-14 Ditmars Blvd.) presents a Music and Poetry Cafe, a fundraising event for Astorians for Peace and Justice. Performing artists include Eli Yamin (Jazz Pianist), Stephan Said (Singer-songwriter), Christine Hamm (Poet), Betty Smith (Activist), and Russell (Bassist) & Eliot Katz (Poet). Admission is $10 and it's going to a great cause. On Saturday, you can join members of AFPJ for the peace march in Manhattan; this is an international event. They are planning to meet at Queensboro Plaza at 12:00 pm to join other Queens groups.

Saturday night at 10pm, McLoughlan's (31-06 Broadway) presents Phil Coad, who plays classic rock with a southern flair. No cover and cheap drinks.

And on Sunday, ladies, Fatty's (25-01 Ditmars Blvd) is offering you half price on all drinks from 10pm-midnight. Enjoy!

More fun, here.

Photo credit: Meg Cotner

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

El Athens Grill

Two TacosAfter the Art Home Gallery opening last week, my friends and I were suddenly hungry. M mentioned that she'd seen a little Mexican place around the corner. I racked my brain trying to figure out what it was and then it dawned on me - "that little taco place", AKA El Athens Grill. The reason I actually knew the name is due to the Roving Gastronome's post from last month. So, we stepped in and ordered tacos.

They were pretty good! I mean, not life-changing, but definitely tasty. My al pastor wasn't too spicy, but it had good flavors and I liked how the pork was a little crispy. M's sausage taco was probably my favorite, which had many layers of flavors, ending in one that was kind of floral. The green sauce they gave us was really good, too. Sadly, they didn't have horchata - I guess they had run out or something.

Most everyone speaks Spanish only, so you gotta order en Español.

I hear the tortas are great, too! I liked the altar they had, as well:


El Athens Grill
30-11 30th Ave

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

This Week's Vine-Wine Tasting

From LIC's Vine Wine, where they do great wine tastings on Wednesday evenings:

Rich, wonderful and Spanish - a taste of Priorat and Rioja

Let us revisit some old favorites, and maybe find a new, with this trek down memory lane via Spain. The first wine I ever purchased from T Edward Wines was the Rottlan Torra Priorat and I am willing to bet that it is still as good as the first time I tried it.

Wines of Spain
  • Garciarevalo Casamaro Blanco Rueda
  • Avinyo Cava Rose
  • Rotllan Torra Priorat
  • Luberri Seis Rioja
  • Rotllan Torra Moscatel

Wednesday October 24th
5:30 - 8:30pm
12-09 Jackson Avenue, LIC

Great Chocolate Find

I was just in Fresh Start Market (23rd Ave east of 29th Street), and discovered they have a new Green & Black's chocolate bar! It's dark chocolate with sour cherries, OH so good. Everything is organic, too. I definitely recommend you pick up a bar if you like this flavor combination.

They also have Dagoba chocolate there, and I recommend the "Seeds" bar. It's sweet, nutty, and salty at the same time. Dark chocolate with all sorts of interesting seeds. Yum.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Athens Tavern (was Anna's Corner)

Well, this place has gotten a bunch of press lately! No longer Anna's Corner, it's become a fancy-schmancy place, with what sounds like amazing haute Greek cuisine. My friend Debbie went to Athens Tavern for a tasting and here's what she said:

This is definitely not the norm. It is quite high end, with a Chef brought in from Athens. We tasted a number of items; they were all eclectic and delectable. It is not cheap, but for a special occasion, I would recommend this. Some of the items on their menu include:
  • Stuffed onion pearls with octopus in mavrodafni reduction
  • Grilled grouper fillet with basil sauce, served with black eye bean salad
  • Roasted beef marinated with herbs & orange, served with mushroom mashed potatoes
  • Rabbit with bergamot and mashed sweet potatoes
  • Grilled dry aged black Angus steak with orzo pasta and mushrooms
It is wonderful for a special occasion. I believe that dinner for two, with a drink would run you between $75 to $95, depending on what you have.

The only other high end restaurants that would compare are Christos and Piccola Venezia. I don't know of any others of that caliber in Astoria.

Sounds good to me! The other night I walked by and the place was really hopping, filled with people wearing nice suits and fancy dresses, enjoying all sorts of interesting looking dishes.

The Daily News and the NY Times have also written up this place. I think it will definitely be worth a visit.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

7-11 Has Arrived

Yes, it's arrived. The 7-11 has opened up on 30th Ave and 30th Street, where the old Park Kafe (and before that, Baru!) was. A lot of people in town are excited about this 7-11, fantasizing about slurpees and such. However, I understand that the slurpee machine has already broken down - possibly by over use by all the slurpee fanatics? Anyway, I looked inside and it looks very clean. They have wood floors, too, wow. But will the hot dogs be for "display purposes only?" Time will tell...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Opening at Art Home Gallery

Gallery Opening
Originally uploaded by mcotner
I attended a reception at the Art Home Gallery in Astoria (Newtown near 29th Street) this past week. Pieces by artists Clara Fialho, Graciela Cassel, and Priscilla Stadler were being shown and I really liked all the art. I especially liked these plaster heads by Priscilla Stadler. The place was pretty crowded but everyone was having a good time and I was able to see all the art. I'll look forward to the next event there - Robson and Adriano put on nice gatherings, so thank you guys!

Bistro 33 and me...perfect together

OK, I already knew I was lucky to live in Astoria - one of New York's great food Meccas - but I didn't realize how lucky until last Monday, October 8th. I was one of thirty or so lucky foodies invited to preview the Fall menu at Bistro 33 (19-33 Ditmars Blvd.)

My good friend and fellow foodie, Chef Jonathan Forgash from Astoria's own Start Struck Catering, set up the Chef's tasting menu. He and his friend, Bistro 33 Chef, Gary Anza, recently spoke about how to get some locals introduced to the grub the chef's been cranking out for all these years. Sometimes you just need a little nudge to go for something new you know? I've never been about French cuisine Per Se, but the fusion part got my attention - and also the sushi (one of my weaknesses). So prior to the Fall menu preview, Jonathan took me there for dinner as somewhat of a tease I think! He was already working the idea of the tasting out with Chef Gary and was looking for my opinion. It was so, so, so, good, I knew this tasting was going to really wow everyone lucky enough to be in on it

I could sit here and tell you about the great new space they've got up on Ditmars, or how local artists painted the original artwork adorning the walls, or even the fact that they have an awesome selection of sake (peach infused sake anyone?) and Japanese beer- but why would I do that when you know I'm all about the FOOD!!!!

Let me get my food porn out of the way- I'll walk you through it :)

Included in our incredible price was one drink of the alcoholic variety- wine or beer- I ordered the Pinot Grigio (Alverdi, Italy) since i saw that there was going to be alot of seafood- i liked it. Then came course after course of incredible dishes...

We wet our whistles on plates of Edamame with the perfect amount of salt (you'd be amazed how many times I've had to ask for salt!) And what a heaping portion- everyone at the table thought we'd be sharing a plate when in fact we each received our own. I can't really go into Edamame now can I? Umm... reheat and serve? No complaints.

I guess this would be considered the first course- Salmon Truffle Tartare on an egg noodle crisp topped with Ikura (Salmon Roe). You could have knocked me over with a feather! I was asking for more from everyone around me- silly me was hoping someone wouldn't be into salmon or something and I would be able to help them out so as to not insult the Chef...wrong. Everyone loved this. It was so delicate and no crazy over salty explosions of roe in your mouth. Really, it was wonderful.

The opening was followed by Grilled Shrimp with a lime aioli dipping sauce followed. I was intrigued from the get-go when I saw this plate. Not a lemon, but a grilled orange was used to hold the aioli. We were then instructed by our gracious servers to squeeze the oranges with the sauce directly over the shrimp and eat that way. The lime and orange citrus burst combination was incredible, such a refreshing flavor. I could kill a heaping plate of this.

Roasted Sweet Pork with sauteed baby shitake mushrooms & grilled scallions was perhaps Annie's favorite. As hard as it was to pick one that night, the pork was so tender and flavorful- I can understand her choice. I'll just add that the mushrooms and scallions were cooked perfectly and played in nicely as a bed to absorb all the yummy juices from the pork!

Sautéed Scottish Salmon atop thyme roasted potatoes with a black summer truffle beure blanc. Maybe the shrimp were my favorite- or maybe it was this to die for salmon! ding ding ding... we've got a winner. A perfectly cooked piece of moist salmon was heavenly. The accompaniment was nothing to scoff at either. Tiny little toasted taters floated in a indulgent beure blanc. This dish... wow. Please don't be afraid of the perfect crispy skin on there either, you're taste buds will thank you!

5th in line for our ready-to-burst bellies, Spicy White Tuna Asparagus Sushi Roll topped with white tuna & avocado. I have to confess- the Chef had sent us out this dish the previous time I was there as a surprise "hey look what i'm working on" kind of thing. The sushi at this place is really spot-on, and the combinations they come up with are all incredible.

Rounding out the night of decadence- Chocolate Espresso Stout Ice Cream on a fudge brownie. I don't normally make it to dessert because I tend to overdue on the savory - but this time, how could i say no? Lucky for me, my companion took off early and I was stuck with his desert... not a lick went to waste. Something about the stout kick in the melty ice cream and the warm gooey brownie to soak it all up- it's the best sweet I've had in quite some time.

I suggest a nice long walk home after a meal like this!

The long and short of it? Get a party of 33 friends together who are up for the Chef's tasting menu and give Gary a call and see what he can do. Or just get your butt over there now, I mean come on- they are open every night..with brunch on the weekends, too. Take your pick from the menu- you won't be disappointed!

Pictures galore on Flickr

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Astorian Weekend Edition 18.10.07

On Thursday from 7-9:30pm, join a new division at Break (32-04 Broadway) and earn yourself a free cuestick! The APA meets up regularly on thursdays there anyway- but get there today and score a stick :)

So there is more then corporate coffee making going on at the Starbucks on Steinway! Who knew? Coffee Tub Productions is presenting the 4th edition of their monthly musical showcase series. It's going on from 7 to 10pm on Friday. The event's organizer Sean Tubridy says "The Showcase has become a hot spot for local talent to hone their chops before moving up to the Manhattan and Brooklyn open mic scene". Personally I think its funny that alot of the artists are current/former employees of the joint! Are we looking at a retro beatnik coffeehouse jam? Not sure, but at least its something.

I went to the NY Cares back in the spring and found it very "neighborhood-ingly" fulfilling. If you missed out on the fun- you've got another chance this Saturday. Check the site and look for a local group and location and jump right in!

Just an FYI, Il Bambino (34-08 31st Ave) is ripe for the eating :) The menu has changed up a bit since I last visited, so maybe you'll want to stop over and pick out new favorite or two!

On Sunday, if the "Fall" weather stays friendly- go check out the uber cool installation at Socrates (Broadway @ Vernon). The Emerging Artist Fellowship Exhibition has some of the most interesting pieces I have seen at the park. Like this huge metal crow- i'm totally fascinated!

foto credit Newell the Jewell
- The scarecrow is part of Groundswell by Rachel Owens at Socrates Sculpture Park

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

KrisTees One Year Anniversary Party

I received this from Kristie at KrisTees - it looks like a lot of fun! Definitely check it out.

This Thursday night starting at 6:30PM we will be celebrating KrisTees One Year Anniversary !!! :)

As part of the festivities, we will have at the store:
  • Astoria's own Duo of Anthony Lanni & Dave Kendall playing Brazilian Jazz
  • Plenty of refreshments, all compliments of our very own favorite neighborhood hangouts of Fatty's Cafe and Crescent & Vine

So on your way home from work, pick up some friends and stop in at the store for some good food, great music... and maybe something new to take home!
Sounds like a Fantastic Combo to Me!

Looking forward to seeing you!

*Also, for those looking to continue the evening on a Samba note, Anthony and Dave will be playing around the corner at the Waltz-Astoria with the rest of their band at 10:00PM :) Definitely worth a trip over!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Astorian Weekend Edition 11.10.07

LIC Daisies Head over to LIC at 9pm on Saturday to hear local musician Richard McGraw play at Dominies Hoek (48-17 Vernon Blvd.). He'll be playing with some great musicians, and you can enjoy the music with one of their self-proclaimed "best chicken sandwich[es] in the neighborhood", along with a nice cold one. Anyway, I'm a big fan of Rich's, so I hope you'll all go and support one of Astoria's great singer songwriters.

Waltz Astoria also has a weekend full of music. Saturday gives us a double bill of acoustic musicians Tim Miller and JustinBadger ($3 cover,$7 drink minimum), and on Sunday is the New Talent Showcase, Music Edition ($5 cover, $7 drink minimum).

This weekend come by the Beer Garden for a family puppet show! Sunday at 11:30am is A Bohemian Rhapsody, presented by Sean Keohane. The Beer Garden says, "His expressive and richly costumed puppets were hand carved by traditional artists in the Czech Republic. Each of his Czech-centric shows will be in English with some Czech."

This Saturday, Housing Works Thrift Shop in Long Island City is having their monthly warehouse sale. Come on out to Housing Works warehouse to pick through the clothes that do not make it into their stores. Fill a bag for $20. 10-4pm, 48-49 35th Street.

Tell Astorya Cafe (37-05 28th Avenue), has a lot going on throughout the week. Fridays are Independent Film nights, and every Sat starting at 2pm they've got a jazz trio playing. Coffee and desserts are available. Stop by and say hi and relax with a hot cup of joe.

Recently I was over at the Museum of the Moving Image - there's more than just the movies there. The museum itself is pretty awesome and super informative about filmmaking history. Every hour or so there are talks given by museum staff with opportunities to ask questions. I saw a demonstration about sound editing and it was fascinating. One of the coolest things in the whole museum is Gregory Barsamian's "Feral Fount". Here's a good description:
"Feral Fount" is a rapidly rotating armature affixed with 97 small sculptures, each differing slightly from the preceding one; the armature's dizzying spin, combined with the effect of a strobe lamp, make a convincing case that the viewer is seeing a drop of water transform itself into a bomb shape and eventually into a paper airplane that shatters a dish at the bottom of the sculpture.
Also fun is watching the serial The Adventures of Red Ryder, shown in Tut's Fever, the little screening room they have there. While the acting is a bit cornball, they really knew how to craft a great cliffhanger. Red Ryder shows at 1pm and 3pm and is free with admission.

The best thing I can recommend this week for eats is the sushi at Kumo (Ditmars and 37th Street). I've ordered it a couple times in the last few weeks and it's always been fresh and tasty Good prices, too. Total yum and an affordable way to satisfy the sushi craving.

More fun, here.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Breast Cancer Screenings at Little or No Cost

This came through my inbox this week, and though some of you would find it helpful:

Mobile Mammography Unit
Queens Library HealthLink, a federally funded collaboration among Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the American Cancer Society’s Queens office, Queens Library, and the Queens Cancer Center of Queens Hospital, was developed to place libraries at the center of an innovative new effort to help medically underserved communities in Queens access free cancer information, early detection screenings, cancer treatment resources, and other life-saving services.

A mobile mammography van will be making convenient stops at several Queens Libraries to enable women ages 18 and older to get an overview of breast cancer and early detection with screening services on the van. Call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-ACS-2345 to schedule a mammogram. All are invited to visit the mobile unit to receive educational information and referral for services, and to stop inside the following libraries for cancer-related information while the unit is parked outside. Cancer information workshops will be presented in languages appropriate to Queens Library customers served in these neighborhoods. Plans are being made to add pap smears to the services offered in the mobile unit in coming months.

Upcoming HealthLink mammogram van visits:

October 24
starting @ 10 a.m., Queens Library at Astoria,
14-01 Astoria Boulevard

October 27 starting @ 11 a.m., Queens Library at Long Island City
37-44 21 Street

If you have health insurance that will pay for this service, it will be billed. If the insurance requires a co-payment, you will be responsible for this co-payment. If you don't have health insurance, there is no cost to you.

Friday, October 05, 2007

From the Upper West, to LIC...

Jacques-Imo's looks to be on its way to the nabe!
I have heard great things about the restaurant in its previous incarnation but never got to trek up there for a visit. I'm keeping my eyes peeled for the opening :)

Upper West Side: New Orleans transplant Jacques-Imo's is playing the blues: "it's official," emails a tipster, "the attached (above) says 'lost lease' but this place has looked dead for some weeks." Something of some sort will live on in the Mecca that is Long Island City, however, so there's that.
Eater filled me in here

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Astorian Weekend Edition 04.10.07

I finally made it to Lil Bistro 33 (19-33 Ditmars) and am kicking myself for not having gone there sooner! Find your way over there tonight and try the crawfish tempura slathered in a spicy mayo for $9. I'm thinking that and some rice and right there is a slammin' dinner! It was hands down the best thing to touch my lips all night. My main course of sushi was nothing to shrug at either. All this freshness for $19, hubba hubba!

Help out Greek Aid on Friday at Central Bar and Lounge (20-30 Steinway St.) You may recall a post earlier for a fundraiser; here's another chance to get in on the giving. The fires in Greece had a huge impact and help is definitely still needed!

Saturday morning 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., take a 5 mile ride of the waterfront with Richard Melnick from the Greater Astoria Historical Society. Learn all kinds of stuff about the place you call home :) The jaunt will be meeting at Gantry Plaza State Park (48th Avenue & East River) and ending at Ralph de Marco Park. Please register with Karen at (718) 706-8044 or

Saturday afternoon, the Astoria Music Society presents The East Side Five woodwind quintet at 3 p.m. at the Quinn Building (35-20 Broadway at 36th St, 4th floor.) Tickets are $12.

Sunday I plan on trying out some southern cuisine at Miriam's (34-11 Crescent). There aren't many -- if any other -- options for these tasty vittles in the hood, so why not?! I just got turned onto the place, so sorry for no review yet. Go there yourself and let's swap yummy finds!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Candy Plum Trunk Sale Saturday

Just heard from Candy Plum yesterday - they're having their first Fall trunk sale. Here are the details:

This Saturday, September 29
12:00pm - 4:00pm


With Designers Denice Nora & Liz Shaw showcasing their entire Fall Collections.

First 10 customers receive a free pair of earrings.

Naturally, there will be complimentary drinks & treats!

Candy Plum
30-98 36th Street

Extra Weekend Event!

I just received the Museum of the Moving Image's weekly email and saw that they are showing several excellent noir films by the great Fritz Lang this weekend. Here's the lineup:

Saturday, September 29

4:30 p.m.
Fritz Lang, King of Noir
1953, 90 mins. 16mm. With Anne Baxter, Richard Conte, Ann Sothern. Unsure if she murdered a man the drunken night before, a telephone operator falls for the reporter covering the story. In Lang's penetrating and paranoid view of post-war American bachelor culture, the heroine has to fend off predatory men- including the reporter, who wants to convict her, and marry her.

6:30 p.m.
Fritz Lang, King of Noir
1953, 89 mins. 35mm. With Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Lee Marvin. Lang's 1950s masterpiece chronicles corruption through all levels of American society, as an honest cop takes the law into his own hands after his wife is killed and he is removed from the force.

Sunday, September 30

3:00 p.m.
Fritz Lang, King of Noir
1956, 100 mins. 35mm. With Dana Andrews, Rhonda Fleming. Lang surveys the entanglements of a team of reporters united professionally even as they backstab each other personally. Meanwhile, a serial killer stalks in the background. Lang's ensemble thriller/comedy/media satire/anti-romance was one of his favorites of his films.

5:00 p.m.
Fritz Lang, King of Noir
1956, 80 mins. Archival 35mm print from George Eastman House. A reporter (Dana Andrews) attempting to expose problems with the judicial system frames himself for murder, but the evidence to prove him innocent goes up in smoke. No other work so clearly displays Lang's passion for plot twists, as the audience and the protagonist find themselves trapped in a series of tales within tales.

Astorian Weekend Edition 27.09.07

Well, this is the last weekend of September - October is just around the corner and I expect the full reality of fall will hit me then. This warm/hot weather this past week has kept me in the mindset of summer. Can't put the summer clothes away just yet! And you can hang on to the last bit of summer with a trip to PS1 in LIC. Their summer line up of exhibitions is there for just a bit longer, just until October 8. Get there to see Peter Young, Jack Whitten, and many other before their works come down.

On the art-related front, this weekend the Women's Studio Center in LIC (21-24 44th Avenue) presents their annual Members Exhibition, Small Works, Big Ideas. They're having an opening reception on Friday from 5-8pm. Come by to see a variety of media, from painting, to sculpture, to bronze work, among others. I stopped by this week and saw a lot of wonderful pieces. My favorite is a little bronze horse - it's really lovely. It's definitely worth a trip.

And on Thursday, the Art-O-Mat holds a reception for 11101:The Space at Art-O-Mat, The Space's residency there. The Space "has been providing free studio, rehearsal, and performance space for the creative arts" in LIC since 1999. The reception is at 6pm with live banjo music by Johnny Coughlan and Friends. Art-O-Mat is located at 46-46 Vernon Blvd.

On Saturday, the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center (LPAC, 47th Avenue at Van Dam in LIC) presents the Pasha Dance Company, Korea’s elite dance troupe, in their US debut. They will perform its signature piece, Mok-Ryeon, Ascendable the Cloud Nine, which is inspired by Dante’s Paradise and Buddhist thought. They use contrasting colors and choreography to tell the story of the Buddhist disciple Maudgalyayana. They will also present Everlasting Mass Communication, winner of the Korean Ministry of Culture’s Best Dance Production in 2006. 8pm, General Admission: $20 / $10 Students.

On Friday, see the documentary City of Water at Socrates Sculpture Park from 7-9pm. The description: "With New York City's waterways finally coming back to life, this short documentary explores the aspirations of public officials, advocates, environmentalists, recreational boaters and regular New Yorkers for their waterfront as development along its shores proceeds at a gold-rush pace. The documentary features interviews with Majora Carter, Dan Doctoroff, Cathy Drew, Joy Garland, Philip Lopate, Nydia Velazquez and others."
It's probably a good idea to rsvp for this at

For eats, maybe stop by Cafe Soleil on Astoria Blvd or Patisserie la Brioche D'Or on Steinway Street, both new to the neighborhood. Water Taxi Beach is still going strong, with DJ Victor Franco spinning there Saturday night. Great dogs and burgers can be had there.

More fun, here.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Cafe Soleil Open!

A new coffee house has opened in Astoria! The Soleil Cafe, on Astoria Blvd South between 37th and 38th Streets, serves coffee (drip and espresso), tea, fresh juices, and baked goods so far. The space is really nice, with lots of comfy furniture, art on the wall, and the color scheme is a mixture of soothing earth tones. WiFi access is unknown at this time. The owner has been in the restaurant business for some time, and his brother is the manager over at Cavo, a well-loved spot in Astoria.

They plan to have music there in the future, too, which is I was happy to hear. The guys running the place are really nice, and very excited about this new venture. The coffee is tasty and the treats there look great (the brownie was yum!). I believe their hours will be between 6am and midnight. I'm looking forward to visiting again. Definitely check them out! And let us know what you think. Pictures below:

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Patisserie la Brioche D'Or

A new patisserie has opened up on Steinway, Patisserie la Brioche D'Or, right near the intersection of Steinway and 25th Avenue, next to the Morrocan place on the corner, east side of the street. I think they are still getting set up, but when I was by a couple night ago, they had some things available on the counter and in the case. I saw some basic French pastries - little tarts and eclairs - as well as arab pastries.

The nice man behind the counter gave me a crescent shaped cookie that consisted of a thin wheat pastry (kind of like very thin pie dough) that was filled with ground almonds flavored with sugar and rosewater, I think. It didn't taste like marzipan at all, hooray! Very tasty. There were some other sweet things on the counter that looked kind of like pretzels laced with honey and some baklava type items, among others. I think the people running the patisserie are from north Africa.

I think it will be a very nice addition to that part of Steinway Street. I love this part of Astoria, and plan to spend more time there. I'll definitely be back to Patisserie la Brioche D'Or to try more things!

Greek Aid

This is happening tonight! GreekAid.