Friday, June 29, 2007

Exciting LIC Food News

From Eric at Long Island City:
So the Manducatis family is back, this time they are about to open up a high end gourmet market right Vernon Blvd, its about 5000sqft and will have everything from cheeses, to olives, breads, wine and even gelato…

Not sure exactly where on Vernon, but I'm guessing its further into LIC. But the news is very exciting!

Astoria That Was..

Over on astorians, they're having an interesting conversation entitled Vanished Astoria, about Astoria that once was. It's been fun reading.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

More Around Town

Bistro 33 got their liquor license, huzzah! This is not an easy feat, as we saw in the case of Crescent and Wine's struggle. Anyway, Bistro 33 now offers a full selection of beer, wine, sake and cocktails. I hear the sushi is pretty fabulous, so it's great to be able to have sake with it. Also they will be accepting credit cards soon, within the week. I've heard rave reviews of the place, so I look forward eating there soon.

Kristees, a lovely boutique clothing shop on 23rd Avenue and 24th Street is hosting a wine & cheese party this Friday evening! This is in celebration of July 4 coming early to Astoria, with big band music and fireworks in Astoria Park on that same night, as flooz mentions below. So, on your way to the park, stop in KrisTees - they would love to see you!

I've also been reading some good reviews of Valverde, a new Italian restaurant at 36th Ave and Steinway. Looks like they were a catering company before, and now are branching out to a regular restaurant. I hope to stop by before too long.

More on Astoria Park Pool

While running down by Astoria Park today, I saw the pool all filled up! It was cool to see the change. I also saw a flyer/poster taped to one of the lamppost announcing swim lessons for kids at the pool! Lessons are for children 1.5-14 years of age. You can register for them at the pool. And, along with the early bird lap swimming from 7-8:30am, there's going to be "night owl" swimming from 7-8:30pm. Both sessions are M-F and go from July 5-August 31. More about lap swimming, here, and swim programs, here.

Astorian Weekend Edition 28.06.07

PitaPan (37-15 30th Ave) is back and I'm happy. Thursday don't bother cooking, but grab a yummy Power Meal for under $10 and walk away a happy camper. Word is they are building up the neighboring two spaces for a three-story foodie haven...with rooftop dining!
~That's the happy crew in the pic.

Thursdays and Fridays enjoy live jazz at Island Cafe Bar (35-15 36th St). Haven't tried them yet? Well, here's your chance to enjoy some music while you dine.

Friday night fly solo or take a certain someone with a sweet tooth maybe for a late dessert @ Oleput. Get your fill of pies and shakes and candy! Be glad you don't have to get up for work after that sugar rush.

The AstoriaPool opens on Friday with a bang (11 a.m.-3 p.m., 4 p.m.-7 p.m.). Swim and frolic all day then at 7:30 p.m. celebrate 25 years of Waterfront Concerts. There will be Big Band with The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra then a spectacular Grucci fireworks display out on the lawn between the Hellgate bridge and the pool.

Sunday is The Astoria Race at Belmont. It's pretty close and there's a bus or two you can hop on for the sake of a day at the races!

Oh and this just in from our friend Annie - street food prices going up! The "kabob dude" on 31st Ave and Steinway in front of the Gap has a sign declaring Street Souvlaki prices are going up... just like the rent!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Oh God, Power Outages

None here in Astoria/LIC, and hoping it will stay that way. Some subway lines are down, or with spotty service. Hope you all that are commuting home from the east side will have not too much of a horrid commute. And that the N/W will cooperate.

Chatter, here and here.

Crazies on CB1

As some of you know, I write for, a website that focuses on Queens real estate. Today I wrote an OpEd called "Idiots in the News", regarding the proposal by those on CB1 to build a municipal parking structure over the Grand Central Parkway between 35th and 37th Streets and Astoria Blvds North and South. This supposedly would accommodate all those suburban drivers that would invade Astoria/LIC if congestion pricing came to be. I can't remember hearing a dumber idea, at least not in a long time. Ugh.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Hellgate CSA

The Hellgate CSA had its fourth week of distribution today, which included the first week of the fruit share. We've had some great stuff come through, and today's share didn't disappoint: cherries, apples, savory, sorrel, chives, red mustard, lettuce, tarragon, snap peas, and beets. Here are some pretty pictures of today's haul:


Savory, sorrel, chives



Red mustard

Around Town

Boy is it a hot day! It's been steamy all morning, and I've been outside, so it's nice to be home in the a/c before I have to head out in a bit. One way I've found to beat the heat is to drink lots of liquids, preferably cold ones. I've got the water on to heat up for tea, which I prepare in a very large mason jar. Three tea bags seems to be enough, I let it steep then put it in the fridge. Keeps me hydrated with some variety, as drinking just plain water gets a little boring for me all the time. I'm going to brew some "Thai Delight", an herbal tea I discovered via my housemate. It tastes a bit like thai iced tea when you put milk/soy in it.

While walking home, I discovered that Alba's Pizza (37th Street and Ditmars) serves pizza with a whole wheat crust by request. The other place in town that does that is Pizza Palace (31st and Ditmars), but there's been chatter that their pizza has really gone downhill. Plus they are truly annoying with that whole "freedom fries" crap. WTF???

Oleput (Ditmars and 32nd) is a fantastic new sweet shop in town. It's the brainchild of the guys behind Sparrow, my favorite bar in town. They sell Mary's Dairy ice cream, and make it into wonderful shakes ($4.50). They have the most magical pies in NY, Briermere pies, as well as baked goods from Tomcat bakery. They also have some homemade stuff. More delicious offerings of the savory sort are coming as well. Sooz and I checked it out last week and we both said thumbs up! Stay tuned for more talk about it, plus more pictures!

Stamatis has been working on their new building across the street from their current one (23rd Ave between 31st and 29th streets) for many months, and it's finally looking like an actual restaurant! I've peeked in while walking by and it looks really nice. Am looking forward to checking it out when it opens.

More to come!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Beer Special at Sunswick

Was at Sunswick today to get a bite and catch some of the Yankee game (first few innings were painful to watch), and saw that they are having a beer-centric event - Lagunitas Night. On Monday they'll be serving various Lagunitas beer, including their IPA and PILS. $4 pints all night - worth checking out. Their food is pretty tasty, too; I'm partial to their chicken quesadilla. Oh, and they've got Young's Chocolate Stout on tap right now, too!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Yum Yum

Was just in the Trade Fair on Ditmars and they are selling "honey pecans" by the deli (where the olives and feta are). Can I just say, YUMMMM??? Man, they are good - by themselves, in a salad. I don't know if the other Trade Fairs are carrying them, but it's really worth checking out because are tasty!

Weekend Edition Update!

Just a heads up to all your teachers and school administrators - the Beer Garden is having a Teacher Appreciation Party TODAY. They open at 3pm, it's free admission, and the BBQ will be open (I don't think that's free, though). Everyone is welcome, though, but if you have a teacher friend, consider bringing them over and buying them a drink.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Astorian Weekend Edition 21.06.07

This is the week of the Summer Solstice, and what better way to celebrate the longest day of the year but at Socrates Sculpture Park! Their Summer Solstice Celebration happens on Thursday (the day of the actual Solstice), June 21, 5pm to sunset (around 9pm). There will be lots of activities - artmaking workshops, live music to listen to (salsa and Andean), face painting, and great food provided by local restaurants. Be assured, there will be something for everyone. I'll be there enjoying the time with friends. I'm especially looking forward to seeing the fabulous sunset over Manhattan. What a great way to welcome in summer!

Now, I've talked about ice cream before, but there are some new contenders in the Ditmars area. Martha's Bakery, on the corner of 37th Street and Ditmars, until recently sold a scoop of gelato for a little over $3.00. However, the new nut shop just next door to them, is now offering Hershey's ice cream for $2.50 a scoop. So, Martha's has lowered their prices to $1.75 a scoop. Fabulous! Also, there's been talk about ice cream being offered at the new sweet shop - called Oleput (that's Tupelo backwards) opening up (Ditmars and 32nd Street). Plus, La Guli (Ditmars between 31st and 29th Streets) makes darn good gelato for just $2.00 a scoop. So, get your ice cream on this weekend!

This weekend also brings us the Opening Day Celebration at PS1. From noon-6pm on Sunday there will be a wide variety of exhibitions by an inter-generational selection of artists. Warm-Up is coming soon, too!

Looking for love? There's a singles meetup at the Museum of the Moving Image this Friday! Admission is free on Fridays from 4-8pm; the meetup starts at 6:45pm. The AMMI is showing more horror films this weekend, too, including The Hills Have Eyes and The Host. And on the subject of movies, the Water Taxi Beach presents the second part of their Food Film Festival. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, they are showing a selection of shorts on the subject of food. There will be hot dogs, sausages, and chicken, plus a hot dog eating contest on Thursday night. The films are free; they recommend you buy some of the food in advance, though..

And while it's not Astoria-based, I want to mention the Mermaid Parade happening this Saturday. Since Astroland got sold, people are anticipating this parade, on its 25th anniversary, to be the last one. Check it out if you can!

More fun, here.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Did i miss this?

Walking along Ditmars last week i saw this place looking shuttered.
Is it new or is it on its way out? I don't walk the block much but i could have sworn this wasn't there very long ago.

Any info my well informed friends? I love me some sushi and other then JJ's over on 31st ave and Watawa on Ditmars, we are still alittle lacking in "good" japanese.

~p.s. for takeout i am in love with the fun rolls at Kumo

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Astorian Weekend Edition 14.06.07

Get involved with local issues at the Friends of Gantry Neighborhood Parks in Hunters Point. You don't have to be a member, just the desire to pitch in. Meet at Citylights (4-74 48th Ave and 5th St) in the 3rd Floor Activity Room at 7pm.- ppssst, thats kind LIC over there but eh, same hood.

Jazz away your Friday night at Go Wasabi (29-11 Ditmars Blvd) with some live piano action. 7:30pm-10pm enjoy some sushi with your tunes.

Local mainstay McCann's (36-15 Ditmars Boulevard) s having the first of its summer trips to Atlantic City on Saturday. Fun and friends await you, and for a mere $55 you get the full trip, some breakfast chow, movies on the bus, and refreshments on the way. If you still want to get your party on after getting back in, enjoy the one hour open bar back at McCann's. $20 and a phone call (718-278-2621) reserves your seat.

Astoria Waterfront folks bring health awareness to Astoria Park at 10 a.m. on Saturday with workshops, classes, walks, and clinics for all. There will be reps from the Transportation Alternatives of Western Queens Committee there, too. This event is hosted by the Astoria Park Alliance. Enjoy the great outdoors!

Spend Sunday with dad for Father's Day and grab a Gyro Mania (28-53 36st St.) quick meal that will only put you back $10 for a platter of fries, salad and choice of protein, before heading over to the Museum of the Moving Image (35th Ave @ 36th St) to partake in their summer of gory movies with The Devil's Rejects @ 6:30 p.m. This super awesome scarefest will be preceded by Bambi Meets Godzilla for a chuckle.

pic of chicken souvlaki platter from my dinner on monday.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Astorian Weekend Edition 07.06.07

Lots going on this weekend! First, Water Taxi Beach is having a Vegan Dinner event Saturday evening. Food will be locally grown and wines organic, with a cooking demonstration and lecture (the lecture is free). Be sure to buy your tickets ahead of time, here. It looks fabulous and I'm sure it will be an occasion to remember.

Tonight, head over to Hell Gate Social for Astoria's own Nuerotics. They're doing 2 sets, one at 9:30pm and one at 10:30pm, and it's totally free. Be sure to check out HGS's tasty Hellgate Lemonade, my favorite cocktail in the place. Another well-loved Astoria musician, Richard McGraw, is also performing this weekend. He'll be at Domaine's Hoek (48-17 Vernon Blvd) on Saturday at 8pm.

Saturday evening at Astoria Park the Astoria Symphony presents a free outdoor concert, featuring a lot of great popular classics. The concert starts at 6pm, and at 7pm a free jazz concert featuring the Jacob Varmus Quartet will follow at the Beer Garden (no cover, no charge)! On the other end of the musical spectrum, Sunday at 3pm the Noguchi Museum presents the Kioku Group, which performs traditional Asian folk music combined with western improvisation and sensibilities. You'll hear Japanese taiko, Korean gongs and Filipino kulintang along with saxophone and live electronics.

Sunday also brings us a variety of outdoor, community based activities. At 10:30 that morning, stop in at Gantry Park for its Ninth Anniversary Celebration (complete free breakfast!). Festivities will be out on the pier. It should be a beautiful day for it, too! Later that day you can take a waterfront bike tour from Gantry, which runs from 5-8pm (call 718.706.8044 for registration). It will also be a nice day for spending time at Socrates, which has tai chi from 11am-12pm. LIC Boathouse also sponsors free canoe and kayak paddles at Hallets Cove, every Sunday this summer from 1-5pm.

Finally, I recommend you get yourself over to the San Antonio Bakery #2 for one of their fantastic Chilean hot dogs. We've talked about them before, and not that it's summer, it's time for hot dogs! Was just over there this past weekend they are as good as ever. They have fun, new display cases, which make the baked goods look better than ever. Also, as I came back from my run on Saturday, looking passed the jacknifed big-rig on the corner of 24th Ave and 29th Street, I spied outdoor seating at Sparrow! They have great beer, great, food, and eating it outside is a fantastic addition. I also had a slice of pizza at nearby La Vita Mia, and it was pretty darn tasty. They play the Yankee games on their TV, which is a definite plus.

More fun, here.

Photo credit (Water Taxi Beach): Streetsblog
Photo credit (Gantry):

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Backyard at Fresh Start

The other day I stopped in at Fresh Start to buy cat food, and took a gander at their backyard space. It's a nice space, though I can do without the color scheme; I'm willing to look past it, though. Here are a couple of shots I took:

Personally, I love the wicker. And I hope to spend some time in it soon. Their food is pretty good, as are their juices. It's awesome to have them in the neighborhood!

Water Taxi Goes Vegan

If you've got a soft spot for chickens and cows, then you are all too aware that - while Astoria's menu is pretty diverse - it's a bit light on vegan fare. Well, no news here about that. But for one time only, Water Taxi Beach in LIC will be having a special vegan extravaganza with self-described "underground chef Matteo" This Saturday. (I never understood that. Cooking underground sounds a little gross to me, and I mean, are you a chef or not, dude?)

But regardless, the menu sounds quite tasty and if you can stand the oddly kitty-litter-esque sand, you can sit outside and enjoy the view of all the overpriced apartments in Manhattan that you could be living in, but aren't. (Unless you live in City Lights. Then you're out of luck. But the food will probably still taste good.) All while savoring Thyme-Scented Cashew Cheese Ravioli with Micro Greens. Of course.

Deets at the Water Taxi Beach Blog.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Muppets on the Subway

Maybe I saw an "R" whizzing by in the background of this most excellent clip first posted by fellow Astorian blogger and sometimes JIA guest-writer Annie Yanger. In fact, Sesame Street is filmed in our very own Kaufman-Astoria Studios.

Muppets Ride the Subway

What better way to start off the week, right? Thanks, Annie!