Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ali El Sayed - 5 Questions


At the end of every month, we are going to be spotlighting a different Astorian. We will be asking the same 5 questions, with I'm sure- greatly varying answers! This should be a fun and interesting addition to our regular posts and I for one, am looking forward to meeting all the interesting people. For our first installment, I thought who better to kick this off then one of my personal favorite local character's, Ali El Sayed. Here we go:

WHO: Ali El Sayed
Chef/Owner, Kabab Cafe (25-12 Steinway St. at 25th Ave)

Question #1 Were you born here? How has it changed? If not, where were you born and what brought you to Astoria?
Well, I was born in Alexandria, Egypt. I came here in 1978 and have been in Astoria almost 20 years and 18 years in this location.

Question #2
What is your favorite thing about living in Astoria?
(He looked at me with a look of wide eyed wonder, like DUH what a stupid question!)
Astoria itself, my favorite part is that the people make Astoria. Very interesting, don't you think?

Question #3
What is your number one go-to restaurant in Astoria? (other then his own)
Malagueta! The Brazilian guy, I love it. But the new Crepe guy is great too, you know- the French guy (he means Cafe Triskell)

Question #4 Best kept local secret that you don't mind sharing?
He answered with a chuckle- Mombar! (favoritism? maybe maybe not. I 100% agree on his brother's place being a gem) He's a great guy- he does good stuff and it's still a secret! But if you are hungry at 3 in the morning- and only at 3 in the morning then you have to go to Roti Boti.

Question #5 What would you like to see happen in/for Astoria in 2008?
What I really wish is that the restaurants in Astoria would not be segregated. This would help the community more. On one block you would have French, Brazilian, Egyptian all together. In 10 years? Oh yeah, it's gonna happen. I want Astoria to be the food capital of New York. What makes Astoria is flavor- you, me- no big fancy restaurants.

There you have it, our first 5 questions answered. Do you know a special Astorian who you think would be a good fit would want to sit for some questions? An interesting shop owner, a wise landlord, a great boss, an up and coming entrepreneur? Send over a quick note and maybe they can be one of the next 11!

Astorian Weekend Edition 31.01.08

Are you ready for some Football?! Well, I guess if you're from here or not, as long as you are living here, it will probably be a very entertaining weekend out and about with everything Giants.

I'd say if you're going for the typical grub, get out to McCann's- EARLY! I do love their wings.

Sunswick is having an Abitas beer promo & drink specials. They have awesome nachos, if you are looking for a winner. They didn't yet have the details for game day last night, but I'm sure there is some food thing they'll be offering. Can't go wrong with their zillion beers anyway!

  • Check out the new face lift at Il Bambino.
  • Sit around and grab a grilled cheese at Oleput.
  • Or if the weather is cruddy: Enjoy Astoria on Flickr!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Update on Oleput :)

OK, so maybe they have their liquor license maybe not. Apparently it's still going through some red tape or something. I don't mind really as long as they are staying open so I can catch up on snack time!
Stopped over last night to check out the new diggs and found it quite cozy and warm (specially on such a blustery night) AND with the new menu. So now we can enjoy some freshly grilled cheese sammies along with the soup of the day (yesterday was mushroom bisque yum) and/or light salads. wow wow wow, let me know what ya'll think!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Astorian Weekend Edition 24.01.08

Oleput (31-13 Ditmars) reopened! I heard a rumor that the liquor license is in... let's check it out tonight!

Saturday stop in at Waltz at 8pm for some goodies and a "I'm New to Astoria: Meet and Greet Party". Go and represent the neighborhood and show some love to the newbs.

Seeds of Love are at it again with raising more cashola for a special family in need. This time the awesome crew at Curves (36-10 Ditmars) are setting up shop in North Astoria Saturday afternoon. They'll have tons of brand spanking new gear for you all to purchase and they still need donations as well, so check their website for the deets on how to help!

Try the Post Holiday Food Based Cleanse and Restoration at The Yoga Room (32-32 Steinway St) his Sunday! I did a full on cleanse a couple of weeks ago and I'm a fan. Maybe this one will be just as good? I'm willing to bet it is. From their mailer: "You will get to prepare, taste and take home recipes that will help you start the year with the clear, balanced energy needed for the cold winter months." It's 1 to 4 p.m. and $45.

There's a Sunday brunch being put together by the peeps over at Out Astoria at Locale (33-02 34th Ave). I know a couple of the members; a good time is pretty much guaranteed. Let them know you're coming in advance!

P.S. I finally made it to Mojave (22-36 31st St) and was quite satisfied. Hope to have them in the neighborhood for awhile so I can try more of the menu!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Astorian Weekend Edition 18.01.08

SymbolsWell, to be honest, there are not really any Astoria events happening this weekend - most calendars are empty! However, it is a 3-day weekend for a lot of us, the 21st being Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. MLK Day is very important, so here's a little history about it.

On your day off, maybe go out for lunch. Here are some of my favorite places in town to have lunch:

Il Bambino
Luna de Juarez
Wave Thai

I also noticed today that La Guli Bakery (29-15 Ditmars Blvd) is still serving gelato, which is very cool (no pun intended). So if you are craving ice cream in this chilly weather, La Guli is for you. And did anyone hear the Mr. Softee truck last week?

I also wanted to remind you about the free wifi at Time Cafe, and I learned that Tell Astorya Cafe also has free wifi. So, take your laptop out with you this weekend for some sippin' and surfin'.

The MOMI is also showing a couple episodes of the serial Captain Marvel. I love watching shows at Tut's Fever. Be sure to visit the Museum itself while you're there - it is so cool!

Perhaps the best thing to do this weekend is sleep in! Enjoy your long weekend.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Time Cafe

This morning I went to Time Cafe for brunch - and it was great! $12 gets you a drink (mimosa, bloody mary, or juice), coffee/tea, mini muffins, and a main. I thought it was a pretty good deal, as everything was delicious. Plus, great service! They are really nice people there.

I was very happy with my mushroom, pepper, and fontina fritatta and my dining companion was pleased with his burger. The coffee was fine, slightly better than average NYC coffee. I loved that they served fries with breakfast. Oh and the mimosa was terrific! So was the pineapple juice.

The space was lovely, with comfortable chairs, interesting colored walls, and plenty of books to read. They have free wifi, too. And there was a nice jazz trio playing in the corner.

I'd totally go back for brunch, and would like to check out their other offerings. Highly recommended. It's a definite must try!

I took a few shots, too!

Time Cafe


Toward the Back

Frittata and Fries

Fritatta Detail


Time Cafe
44-18 Broadway in Astoria

Friday, January 11, 2008

Oleput Reopens Tomorrow!

Just heard it thru the grapevine - Oleput is opening tomorrow, Saturday the 12th. Hooray! Dang, it took long enough. Word on the street is that they got their liquor license, and they'll be offering beer and wine, along with savories like cheese and sausages. Plus everything else they had before (sweets). It all equals one big YUM.

If I can, I'll mosey over there tomorrow, check it out and bring back a report.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Astorian Weekend Edition 10.01.08

On your way home tonight you should stop in at A Town Hall Meeting - To Address Community Concerns at The Museum of the Moving Image (36-01 35th Ave) from 7:00 to 10:00pm. Along with Michael Gianaris, you'll find over a dozen New York City agencies in attendance ready to "try" to answer your questions and concerns.

Shop your way into the weekend at SITE (35-11 34th Ave) before its sale ends on the 21st. They are trying to make room for spring things already by marking down all furniture and lighting 20%!

Saturday at 4pm, join the gang from Transportation Alternatives Queens Committee in celebrating their 1 Year Anniversary at Sunswick (35th & 35th). They've done a lot with their freshman appearance on the scene. Definitely check them out for some greener transportation options!

Later on Saturday, Flux Factory (38-38 43rd St) is having a Closing Party & Catalogue Launch.
The NY NY NY event is described as "new and old treasures from the heart of the most loopy city - New York City." Sounds like a good time to me!

Sunday at noon at The Chocolate Factory (5-49 49th Ave) check out Tere O'Connor Dance - Rammed Earth. Buy your tickets ASAP; apparently this is a hot one and seats are extremely limited. For $15 each, you get to observe dance derived from architecture?! Fitting for an area where new structures pop up seemingly overnight.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Angelo & Son's Bakery

Tonight I went to Hellgate Social to witness the Guitar Hero play time. They bar had set it all up - guitar, drums, and mic - for anyone to play Guitar Hero. My original intent was to just watch but I got roped in, and boy was it fun! I did ok, not great, but had lots of fun. I can see how the game was such a popular seller this past Christmas.

On the way over to HGS, I spied the brightness that is Angelo & Son's Bakery. They've done some renovations it seems, including the neon. Angelo & Son's provides the bread for Sal, Kris and Charlie (the Sandwich Kings), and it's pretty good. Looks like they are going to have a cafe element to the bakery, which will be nice. That part of town is a bit lackluster compared to other parts, so bright, cheery places like that are a nice addition to the area.

Angelo & Son's is located at 22-09 Astoria Blvd.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Agave is Mojave

This past weekend I pointed out the new restaurant under construction by the Ditmars stop on 31st Street. Well, they're open as of tonight! They've named themselves Mojave and apparently it's fantastic! There's a lot of chatter about it over on Astorians, so check it out. We'll be by soon and will bring you our own review as well.

Nice to see something really different and good come to town!

KrisTees Big Winter Sale

Passing on info from KrisTees to you:

Hello Friends,
This weekend begins the start of KrisTees BIG WINTER SALE.
All items are 30-50% off including clothing, hats and scarves as well as select jewelry.

In addition, starting this weekend and ending next weekend, ALL JEANS will be $95.00 as a special promotion. This is really a very special deal for our customers because all our jeans are made of Italian denim with uniquely designed stitch detailing. Our denim lines include Brown Label, Deener and Ranahan. Especially with this cold weather, it is a good time to take advantage of this promotion and get a new pair of jeans for yourself!

We'll see you this weekend!

Astorian Weekend Edition 03.01.08

Welcome to a new year! We hope you had a great New Year's Eve/Day and got a chance to rest before heading back to the grind. Here at Joey in Astoria we're excited about this new year full of many possibilities. We'll keep you updated on the comings and going of the neighborhood as best we can. Speaking of new in the neighborhood, I got a chance to try Luna de Juarez over the holiday weekend and was very happy with the food. Everything we had was delicious - I really recommend getting the guacamole, which is made table-side. It's so fresh and the molcajete they make it in (at least the one we had) is in the shape of a pig! Totally adorable. The chocolate tres leches cake is amazing, too. Definitely give it a try.

The new place on 31st Street near the Ditmars subway station is shaping up, too. I peeked in the other day and it looks fabulous. Conventional wisdom says it will be an Astoria location for Agave restaurant, a popular latin/southwestern place in the Village. We will keep you updated on this exciting restaurant development in town.

On Friday at 8pm, Waltz (23-14 Ditmars Boulevard) presents the early jazz, swing, and blues stylings of The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn. They perform songs from 1920's and 30's and original tunes. Come enjoy the unique sounds of guitar/vocals, upright bass, washboard percussion, and trumpet, paired with 4-part vocal harmony.

The beginning of the year also brings us MulchFest at Astoria Park! Stop by January 5 and 6th from 10-2 p.m., bring your holiday trees (real ones, minus the ornaments) to the Astoria Park parking lot, and get your trees chipped. It’s a great environmental reuse for the tree and you can even walk away with a bag of mulch from your very own tree if you like!

We expect to see more going on in as the year progresses, and we'll bring it to you! Enjoy the start of the new year.