Monday, June 30, 2008

Gluten-Free Dining Event at Mundo

Please note: you cannot make your reservations for this event through Mundo. You must sign up for the event through the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup Group!

Thanks to a post on, I learned that Mundo is doing a gluten-free prix fixe meal on Monday, July 9 at 7 p.m. Mundo is one of my favorite restaurants in town, so I'm very happy to learn they are trying this out. No, I'm not gluten-intolerant, I just think it's cool. Here's the info, from the Celiac meetup group:

Join us for a pre-fixe dinner at Mundo Cafe & Restaurant in Astoria, Queens. Mundo Cafe & Restaurant has a vegetarian friendly menu and they are now reaching out to support the gluten-free community. Please join us on July 9th for a quaint dinner at Mundo. Space is limited, so please reserve your seat today. Please only respond YES if you know you can make it to this event.

Pre-Fixe Menu
$35/person excludes tax & tip
Additional wine, champagne & beverages are available.
(if you are attending the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup, you must purchase the pre-fixe dinner)

Gazpacho - Spanish Chilled Vegetable Soup
Appetizer Platter
(dips served w/corn chips)
Carrot Dip
Eggplant Dip
Wheat-free Red Sonja
Zucchini stuffed w/ Caramelized Onions

Main Course (pick one)
Grilled Portabella Mushroom & Baby Arugula w/flaky parmesan & balsamic vinaigrette
- OR -
Shrimp Casserole in tomato, green pepper and garlic sauce topped with jack & cheddar
cheese w/ a side of white rice & greens
- OR -
Vegetarian Chili w/gluten-free textured soy protein and a side of white rice & greens
- OR -
Egyptian Artichokes & fava beans Artichoke bottoms filled with carrots, peas & shallots
w/side of favabeans

Mundo's heavenly flourless Chocolate Souffle topped w/ vanilla ice cream

$35/person excludes tax & tip
Additional wine, champagne & beverages are available.
31-18 E Broadway (at 32nd St)
Astoria, Queens

Directions to Mundo:
Subway: Take the N or W train to Broadway station (Astoria). Walk one block up to 32nd Street and make a right.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Fireworks! Fireworks!

Although Independence Day is this coming Friday, with a great fireworks display by the city, Astoria still holds their own. Head to Astoria Park on Monday June 30 to see the show. Bring a blanket, some snacks, and your friends! The Glen Miller Orchestra will play classic favorites to accompany the Grucci Fireworks Display. The show starts at 7:30 p.m., best view is from the Astoria Park Lawn (Shore Blvd between Hellgate Bridge and the pool). I went last year and had a great time. It's fun for everyone!

Astoria Park Alliance Meeting This Tuesday

Looking Toward 19th StreetAre you interested in helping maintain the health of Astoria Park? Do you spend time there? Do you love this gem of Astoria?

On Tuesday, come check out the meeting of the Astoria Park Alliance! This is a group, which meets on the first Tuesday of each month, is dedicated to helping out the park for all Astorians. Here are the details:

When: Tuesday, July 1, 2008, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Steinway Reformed Church, corner of Ditmars Blvd and 41st Street.
Who: Everyone is welcome!

Photo credit: Meg Cotner

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Jumping Bulldog is Coming

I noticed a very unusual and interesting poster in a storefront on 23rd Avenue. The sign said "The Jumping Bulldog, Coming Soon", which will be trendy boutique, catering to our four legged friends--something that Astoria does not yet have. I'm excited for this shop to come to town but don't yet have an idea of when exactly it's coming. They do have a website url displayed on the poster, but like the poster, it doesn't reveal much information. We'll report back when we know more but thought we'd send out this alert to keep ya'll on the lookout as well.

The Jumping Bulldog - 28-10 23rd Avenue, Astoria, NY 11105
N/W Train to Ditmars Blvd (last stop)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Astorian Weekend Edition 26.06.08

Tonight at Waltz (23-14 Ditmars), enjoy A Night With The Whiskey Dregs. 8 to 11 p.m. come enjoy the free event, full of music, poetry, and storytelling. There will also be some limited open mic time, so if that's your deal, get there early to sign up!

Don't forget the community meeting tonight about the Con Ed/Fed Ex sale. It will effect everyone.

If you haven't been by the Freeze Peach (22-09 29th St) lately, pay them a little visit on Friday and check out the new set-up. Some things moved around, some things changed, but same great drinks. There will also be carry over performances by the people from The Whiskey Dregs from last night. Looks like they are testing out a monthly gig.

Try the vast wine selection at Rést-âü-Ránt (corner of 35th Ave & 30th St.) and relax the Saturday away while nibbling on cheese and meats platters, too. I stopped in there a few weeks back and it was really quite charming. They open up the one wall (foto above) to let in the air and light, almost makes you feel like you're outside. Another plus, great music selection and not too loud either!

Sunday should be a blast- literally. Hit the park for the Great Astoria Water Balloon Fight! Bring your own artillery, or join the Meetup group and pay $5 and they will supply you with some flying water bombs. There will also be a picnic of sorts going on as part of the Meetup group so if you are interested, inquire with them. Meet at noon between 23rd Rd and Hoyt Ave.

UPDATE: The Great Astoria Water Balloon Fight! is being moved to next weekend 07.05.08. Stay tuned to their site.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Important Community Meeting!

I just received this in my mailbox - please attend if you can!

Get an update on the proposed sale of 21.29 acres of Con Ed property at 18-01 20th Avenue (M 3-1 Zoning District); buyer/developer Steel Equities for FedEx ground facility.
Guest speakers:

*Senator George Onorato
*Assemblyman Micahel Gianaris
*Councilmember Peter Vallone, Jr.
*Joseph Lostritto- President, Steel Equities
*Chris Shea - Fed Ex
*Hiram Rothkrug - Director Environmental Project Data Co.

When: Thursday, June 26th, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Augustana Lutheran Church, 69-05 Ditmars Boulevard, Astoria Heights
Sponsored by: United Community Civic Association

Monday, June 23, 2008

Everyone Loves Cookies

This, is reaching, for sure. But I've always felt that Astorians have a special connection to Sesame Street. (It's filmed right down the street in Kaufman Astoria Studios.) This is an awesome clip from the Colbert Report last week to brighten up everyone's Monday.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Astorian Weekend Edition 19.06.08

Happy Solstice Weekend! According to my sources, the Summer Solstice officially occurs on Friday, June 20, 2008 at 7:59 p.m. EDT. One of the best solstice events I've been to is at Socrates Sculpture Park, which means it's local... and free! It's a great event for the entire family. This year's event is on Saturday, and there will be music, art, face painting, and more! Festivities start at 5 p.m.

As reported earlier this week, a great summer meal can be had at Mundo (31-18 Broadway #E). I loved the cherry soup, and my other two fave items are the carrot dip and Red Sonja. The warm semolina helva is phenomenal - I've not had anything like it.

One of the things I like to drink in the summer is fresh juice. Both Igloo (22-11 31st St) and Soho (22-26 31st St) have impressed me with their fresh juices. I'm partial to the carrot-apple-orange at Soho and the carrot-apple at Igloo. Igloo also has smoothies with Tasti-D-Lite. The juice and smoothies are particularly good after a nice workout, too.

There's stuff going on at PS1 (22-25 Jackson Ave, LIC), too! That Was Then...This Is Now starts on Sunday, inspired by artistic and socio-political climate of the late 1960s. The installation "PF1 (Public Farm One)" should be ready for harvesting this Sunday as well.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mundo in the Summer

Mentioning Mundo's Summer Menu last week, Meg and I went over there to try it first-hand. We loved what we had and are excited for a summer of delicious Mundo nights.

Below you'll find a sampling of some of the dishes we tried. If you'd like to view our entire 9 course tasting menu, click here. Enjoy!

Hungarian Cherry Soup: This was our first dish of the night and it was even better than the first time I had it. There were plenty of sour cherries in it and the chilled taste was fabulously refreshing, especially on a hot day. The last time I had it, its coloring was a little light (and not the most appetizing-looking) but this time it was perfect and very cherry-like. Meg seemed impressed and we both guzzled our soups down with gusto.

Red Sonjas: Mundo's signature dish couldn't be ignored and while Meg was looking forward to it, I was feeling lukewarm about it, based on my previous experience. But what arrived on our plates was so much more than my first mediocre tasting. These red lentil patties were absolutely delectable--soft and flavored perfectly with parsley, scallions and a hint of garlic. The best part was wrapping them in the fresh lettuce leaves like bundles of precious cargo. I could've eaten at least three--and they were filling too.

Ottoman Dumplings: I was excited to have these for a second time and once again, they proved why this dish stays on Mundo's menu the entire year. The dumpling dough is exquisite and you can tell that it's handmade. As you're eating each once, you can imagine one of the Mundo chefs individually pinching the dough together to make a rustic triangle. The dumplings are stuffed with ground beef and topped with a fragrant garlic-yogurt sauce. It's fun to incorporate the sauce in all the dumplings and enjoy them in their full, creamy glory. This dish is more than a stand-out, it's a show-stopper.

Warm Semolina Helva: We couldn't believe that we had room for dessert. Well, we didn't but we ate it anyway because it was outstanding. The semolina exterior was warm and cinnamony while the interior was filled luxuriously with vanilla ice cream. A spoonful of this hot and cold combination put a satisfied smile on our faces. The crunchy pistachios were a great topping that enhanced the flavor of both the semolina and the rich ice cream. Meg and I were happy to split this, as I think it's a bit indulgent for one person.

The staff here is lovely and they pour their hearts and souls into the food. Once you start chatting with them, you won't want to stop. John, the Executive Chef is especially nice and a very genuine guy who loves what he does.

Mundo - 31-18 Broadway #E, Astoria, NY 11106
N/W Train to Broadway

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Astorian Weekend Edition 12.06.08

The heat wave is finally over and we're psyched to be up and about this weekend. Don't forget Father's Day this Sunday—Astoria has plenty of fun things to do with Dad.

Mundo, the intimate eclectic eatery will be offering their new summer menu so stop in and try it. We'd suggest calling now to make a reservation, as weekends get busy. Mundo31-18 Broadway, Store #E, Astoria. 718.777.2829

Want to volunteer at the famous P.S.1 Warm Ups this summer? You'll help run one of the most energetic and fun music events in this city. Warm Ups start in July and volunteer training starts in 2 weeks. P.S.1 MOMA - 22-25 Jackson Avenue, LIC. 718.784.2084.

Watch the 2008 Euro Cup with Dad at the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden. Toast to the winning team with a nice cold Czech beer in hand, and make sure you get there as early as humanly possible to beat the crowds. Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden 29-19 24th Avenue, Astoria. 718.274.4925.

You can also catch the Euro Cup at most 30th Avenue cafes such as Athens (32-07 30th Avenue, Astoria. 718.626.2164), Avenue (35-27 30th Avenue, Astoria. 718.278.6967) and Grand Café (37-01 30th Avenue, Astoria. 718.777.7321). But like we suggest above, get there early to grab a seat.

Want to get a festive Father's Day cake for Dad? Visit, Dolce Italia Bakery for some tasty creations—and while you're there, check out their new spins on sweet classics such as a
giant Black and White cookie and a Nutella filled Linzer Tart. Dolce Italia Bakery36-06 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria. 718.278.4188.

Treat Dad to one of the best steak dinners he'll ever have—take him to Christos Steakhouse. There's no special menu for Father's Day but then again, they don't need to have one (see picture above). Lunch service will start 3 hours earlier than usual on Sunday (Noon vs. 3p). Christos Steakhouse - 41-08 23rd Avenue, Astoria. 718.777.8400

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Mundo's Summer Menu

Starting at the end of next week, the eclectic Mundo Cafe will be offering a summer menu. Some of their staple dishes such as Red Sonja's, Ottoman Dumplings and Argentinian empanadas will remain but there will be other seasonal specialties too.

I happen to be a big fan of this place because of its intimate charm and interesting menu selection. The weekends get busy so give a call or check out their website for a reservation.

I'm going over there this week to sample the new menu and will report back with highlights. One of my favorite things from last year was the Hungarian Cherry Soup (pictured above)--it reminds me of the refreshing, chilled soup that my grandmother used to make for me back in Slovakia.

Check out Mundo this summer--it's really unlike anything you'll ever try in this 'hood.

Mundo Cafe & Restaurant
31-18 Broadway, Store #E
Astoria, NY 11106

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Astorian Weekend Edition 05.06.08

Start off the weekend this Thursday with a party at Bistro (19-33 Ditmars). Enjoy some free food and you'll find yourself coming back to try more of their goods.
If you didn't get full enough and want to continue the partying, it's Jueves Loco (Crazy Thursday) at Mojave (22-36 31st St.) You get a free margarita with dinner and a side of tequila tastings and live music!

There are baubles, shoes, and bags galore at the newly expanded Prima Donna (29-24 Ditmars). Great prices and very cute, girly stuff, I even picked up a pair of back-in-fashion roman sandals for under $25. Another shoe option is the new Payless under the Ditmars stop. It's oh-so-fresh-and-clean and easy access if you are running out and need some quick and cheap sandals.

A great free option for your summer Saturdays -- now through September -- is Capoeira in the Park at Socrates (Broadway at Vernon Blvd.) I must say I've been intrigued by this Brazilian-style martial art/dance for years and might have a go myself! Classes are taught by Professor Abará and designed for all experience levels.

Do good by hanging out all night long at the park: show your love and
appreciation in honoring cancer survivors and their care givers at the American Cancer Society's Astoria Park Relay For Life (Astoria Park Running Track, 19th Street and Shore Blvd.) The event supports cancer research, education, advocacy, and patient and family services. Get to the park at 5 p.m. on Saturday to register and get ready for a full evening.

It's time for another craft fair, Arts & Crafts Market #10 takes place on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. You'll find original paintings, jewelry, photos, soaps, crochet, and children's clothing, among many more unique, hand-crafted items. There are going to be several prizes throughout the day too, yay! Find it all at the Queensview Houses (Building #7 on 33rd Rd, Building #14 on 34th Ave. - Bet. 21st St. and Crescent)

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Happy Birthday Bistro 33

One of our favorite Astorian eateries, Bistro 33 is celebrating its 1st year in its new location near Astoria Park. Bistro is known for modern, eclectic Japanese and French fusion and seasonal specialties, which keep us coming back for more.

Join Bistro as they share some of their culinary deliciousness with the community at their...

Beer and Burger Birthday Bash
Thursday, June 5th
Open Beer and Burger bar--as in FREE food and Beer! Go get some...

You'll definitely find me over there stuffing my face and enjoying some cold ones.

Bistro 33
19-33 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria, NY 11105
N/W Train to Ditmars Blvd (last stop)

Astoria Fashion Show

I received this press release last week and wanted to pass it on:

Astoria, NY: On Wednesday, June 4 at 8:30pm, three of New York’s leading independent boutiques will showcase their summer styles in Fashion, Astoria Style at Cavo Café and Lounge (42-18 31st Avenue, Astoria). Fashion, Astoria Style seeks to promote the entrepreneurial spirit that has recently captured the attention of Astoria locals and fashion-conscious New Yorkers all over town.

Astoria’s newest additions of KrisTees, Candy Plum, and Lilyth, have assembled their latest gear for summer 08 and will present them in this one-of-a-kind FREE fashion event that is being supported by some of the neighborhood’s most prominent businesses who’ve contributed to the event and to the complimentary Fashion, Astoria Style gift bags. RSVP for the show to or call 718-721-2299.

"This is the summer of Astoria," said Kristie Foster, owner of KrisTees that opened on 23rd Avenue in Astoria 2006. "Astoria summers have long been about Mediterranean cafes, nightlife and riverfront parks - now we have the style to match."

KrisTees, a new contemporary women’s boutique recently featured in Lucky Magazine, specializes in bringing smaller designers to the fashion forefront with a unique approach to wearable fashion. From Richard Ruiz (NY), Eairth (Philippines), Irina Marinescu (Bucharest), Jordi Labanda (Spain), MelenStel (Belgium) as well as Karen Zambos (California), the personalized looks created by store owner and designer/stylist Kristie Foster are chic as well as unpretentious.

Candy Plum, a boutique by Queens’ native Cynthia Puhalovic, specializes in displaying emerging talent from local artists. Focusing on fun and playful pieces, her looks can be worn for all occasions. Candy Plum has been featured in the NYTimes and Time Out NY most recently as being mentioned one of Astoria’s upcoming boutiques. Most of the pieces are handmade adding to the allure of this shop. In addition, Cynthia hand selects keys items from designers such as Amrita Singh, Super Lucky Cat, Nicole Rae Styer , Yummi Glass and Ecoist.

Lilyth, specializing in Brazilian designed clothing and accessories, owner Carla Stravos has brought to Astoria a parade of sexy, confident looks that Brazilians make ever so easy. From bikinis and cover-ups, to novelty tops and dresses, her boutique gets you in the Carnivale spirit the moment you walk through the door.

This show is being supported and sponsored by local Astorian businesses including: Brick Café, Crescent & Vine, Fatty’s Café, Inside Astoria, Rest-au-Rant, Napoli Pizza & Pasta, New York Life, The Rock Health & Fitness Club, Sanford Diner, Bid Interior, Big Rock Construction, Clearview Home Center, Marino Ceramic Tile, and NYC Surgical Supplies.