Thursday, October 30, 2008

Astorian "Spooktacular" Weekend Edition 30.10.08

Image by

Halloween is here so check out the many fun "tricks" and "treats" that Astoria has in store.

Visit the
Jumping Bulldog (28-10 23rd Ave, 917-576-7380) this Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. for its Pre-Halloween Bash. Bring your furry friends and make sure they arrive in costume. There will be a raffle, as well as free doggie portraits, smoked organic doggie sausages, and doggie Halloween cookies.

Watch the
Whiskey Dregs disappear on Thursday, the night before Halloween. Performances will include music, short stories, poetry, and even magic! Whiskey Dregs, The Great Disappearing Act, pre-party starts at 8 p.m. at Waltz Astoria (23-14 Ditmars Blvd).

Halloween Specials:

Many restaurants are hosting costume balls. Cavo's (42-18 31st Ave, 718-721-1001) annual glam party offers some glitzy prizes, like a trip to Vegas, and Indigo's (28-50 31st St, 718-728-0050) more chilled-out party offers $250 in cash for the grand prize winner.

You can also check out my
listings of more Halloween restaurant specials, including Meg's mention of Mojave's (22-36 31st St, 718-545-4100) "Day of the Dead" party.

Check out LIC Bar (45-58 Vernon Blvd, Long Island City, 917-254-8923) at 9 p.m. for a special Halloween live music show featuring Tool Tribute Band Schism.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Shauna Eats... Astoria

Local blogger Shauna normally writes about her food adventures in the neighboring town of Sunnyside, but from time to time she comes up to Astoria and blogs about her food adventures in our fair nabe. She posted today about her most recent eating tour - check it out!

Short and Sweet: Further Adventures in Astoria

Saturday, October 25, 2008

New Restaurant in Place of Anna's Corner

The southeast corner of 23rd Ave and 31st Street has a new tenant; this is the old Anna's Corner, though it was something else after that, the name of which I can't remember. Anyway, the new place (apparently Greek) is called Psitopolio Ta Vlahika. From what I can tell, they will sell souvlaki, and have free delivery. More to come...

Mojave Halloween Celebration

Apologies for the crappy cellphone photo, but I wanted to post about Mojave's Halloween celebration, "Day of the Dead". Now, Day of the Dead is traditionally celebrated on November 1-2, but Mojave is not a traditional kind of place. I do enjoy their margaritas, and I'm sure there will be drinks galore along with the food - if you can't read the poster, it says Dinner; Dancing; Open Bar; Reservations Required. Festivities start at 10 p.m. on the 31st.

22-36 31st St
Astoria, NY 11105
(718) 545-4100

Friday, October 24, 2008

Treat Yourself at KrisTees

Just got a mailing from KrisTees and would like to share it with you:

Now that we all got through watching the presidential debates, take a time out and treat yourself to some new Fall Fashion at KrisTees....stop in and check out our newest collections with LOTS of color to wear for work and right into the evening! **Please note, this Sunday we will be closed unfortunately for the day, but if we miss you, we look forward to seeing you next week!

Our new collections include:

Anna Economides Garcia (Astoria's own!) - Originally from Cyprus, Anna works with the natural elements of stone and integrates them with swaroski crystal and fluid wire resulting in beautiful one of a kind pieces of art to wear on your hands! Not only are her rings fabulous, but her lariat necklaces make the perfect accent for the upcoming holidays!

Clara Collins - originally from Hong Kong and now based in France, this designer brings the simplicity of French elegance into every day tailored looks. From a merino wool cardigan with attached voile scarf, to candy stripe red blouses and shirt/tunics, Clara focuses on using innovative materials in all of her designs.

BGN - Another delivery from French brand BGN includes an AZUL ocean teal silk military top... edgy and tailored all in one!

Quail - From LA, Michelle Nguyen brings to our store a "French Twist" to a California Fall groove. Check out our strapless tweed dress as well as her high waist electric purple skirt... very girly with a touch of sophisticated fun!

Left on Houston - Our first sweater knit collection of the season featuring an AMAZING cream cable vest which will end up being my favorite layering piece of the season! Also, some great mesh knit tops with pockets in purple & black. The quality of this line is beautiful with blends of cotton, angora and cashmere... very yummy and soft!

Touch Luxe - From France, this line features hand crafted details into every piece... including a denim jumper dress with ruffle straps to wear up or down to their bohemian sweater jacket. This line is a lot of fun to wear!

Rodebjer - Our favorite Swedish line now brings wool coats to KrisTees! From a tailored double breasted melton in navy to a black downtown military influenced coat, there is simplicity and edge to both these looks.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

24-01 23rd Avenue @ 24th Street
Astoria, NY 11105
phone 718.204.5031

Store Hours:
Wed thru Sat 12-8pm
Sun 12-6pm (*note, this Sunday we are temporarily closed)
Mon & Tues - closed

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Astorian Weekend Edition 23.10.08

On Thursday at 6:30 p.m. the Queens Public Library Steinway Branch (21-45 31st St.) presents Friend or Frenemy? A Guide to the Friends You Need and the Ones You Don't."It's time to give friends their due—and bid frenemies adieu—say Andrea Lavinthal and Jessica Rozler, bestselling authors of The Hook-Up Handbook. Join them for cupcakes as Jessica and Andrea share their tips on how to treat your BFF right, find the real friends on your social network, and drop-kick those losers and abusers who only pretend to have your best interests at heart."

On Saturday Trinity Lutheran Church (31-18 37th St.) holds their annual Halloween Party. The event lasts from 12-4 p.m. Wear your costume and enjoy games, dancing, and there will be snacks for sale. "Lots of candy" has also been advertised.

Saturday is also It's My Park Day! Head over to Two Coves Garden for a day of fun-filled activities for all to enjoy. There will be live music, a potluck, an instrument-making workshop for children, a worm bin demonstration for indoor composting, a soil workshop, recipe sharing, a children's costume parade and you'll get to plant daffodil bulbs. The event lasts from noon to 4 p.m., and is located at the triangle between Astoria Blvd, 8th Street and Main.

Later that night, Queens Green Drinks hosts their monthly event at Build It Green! NYC (3-17 26th Ave.) - the best place in the City to buy or donate low cost salvage surplus building materials. Green Drinks is an informal socializing and networking for environmentally minded folks. The soiree lasts from 4-6 p.m. For more info, contact

Sunday night Hellgate Social (12-21 Astoria Blvd.) continues their Sunday Night Cinema. This week: Made, Jon Favreau's directorial debut (he directed Iron Man). It stars Favreau, Vince Vaugh, and Peter Falk... and some gangsters. And although it's not on the weekend, it's important to note that Hellgate Social presents Recession Mondays - $3 select bottled beers, or $7 select bottled beer and sandwich all night.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Vine Wine Tastings

Vine Wine Interior
Originally uploaded by mcotner
Just wanted to mention these great little wine tastings at Vine Wine in LIC that take place each Wednesday. From 5:30-8:30 you can come in and try wines that have a theme to them - today, for instance, there will be a selection of wines by their friend Spencer Harrington:

Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc/Viognier, California
Neyers Zinfandel, California
High Note Malbec, Argentina
Wolffer Estate Merlot, Long Island

All are billed as wines that are great accompaniments to fall foods.

Definitely check it out! I went once and loved one of the wines so much that I bought the bottle right then and there. Vine Wine is a nice shop, aesthetically pleasing with a good selection.

Vine Wine
12-09 Jackson Ave
Long Island City, NY

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Chocolate Spoon Latte

Chocolate Spoon Latte
Originally uploaded by mcotner
After my NY Cares Day registrar service was through, I needed some coffee. Chocolate Spoon, a little cafe nearby, makes a very tasty latte. Pleasantly strong and not bitter, it was just what I wanted on a cool, crisp fall morning. Plus, they use the superior lids, the "Solo Traveler", which makes for a far better sipping experience while you're walking down the street.

Chocolate spoon has a bunch of other good looking sweets. I tried a sample of a confection that is basically a roll cake with guava in it. It was light and delicious. The empanadas looked good, too. I definitely want to go back and try some other things.

Chocolate Spoon
37-03 31st Ave
Astoria, NY

Friday, October 17, 2008

Event: Media Intersection: Where Sculpture and Painting Collide

This just came through my inbox, from Socrates Sculpture Park:

Media Intersection: Where Sculpture and Painting Collide

Tuesday, October 21
6:30 -8:30 p.m.
Club 21
30-09 21st Street
Astoria, NY

free admission / open to all ages
cash bar / live music to follow

Join us for an informal conversation between two of New York Foundation of the Arts' 2008 Fellows in Painting, Shaun El C. Leonardo and Omar Chacon, and Socrates Sculpture Park's 2008 Emerging Artist Fellow Chelsea Beck. The work of EAF08 artist Rajkamal Kahlon will also be presented. These artists integrate sculpture and painting into their works, with varying emphasis. The discussion will position Shaun and Omar as painters who incorporate sculptural elements, alongside Chelsea and Raj as sculptors who employ painterly strategies in their works.

The evening will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a 10 minute presentation by each of the artists, moderated by Socrates Sculpture Park Studio Manager Lars Fisk, followed by an open conversation with the audience.

Shaun El C. Leonardo and Omar Chacon are 2008 Artist Fellowship recipients of the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). This presentation is co-sponsored by Artists & Audiences Exchange,a public program of NYFA.

Image: Omar Chacon, Entronización del Sancocho, 2007; Acrylic on canvas; 42" x 54" x 1/4"

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Astorian Weekend Edition 16.10.08

They call it a church bazaar; I call it yet another street fair! Just when you thought there were no more chances for mozzarepas and sausage and peppers you get four days to eat to your delight. St. Joseph's Church (30th Ave. between 43rd & 44th St) will host tons of food and games and rides from tonight on through to Sunday.

Have a drink or two or three! It's all for a good cause. Our friends over at Why Leave Astoria?! have set up Cosmo's for the Cure with the proceeds going to Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. Thurs night at Dillinger's Pub, Rapture, Balu & Winegasm you can pick up a Cosmo and feel good about it.

On Thursdays at Bungalo (32-03 Broadway), enjoy an extended happy hour where you get 2 for 1. Plus, if that weren't enough, ladies, if you bring along your closest five girlfriends, you get a free bottle of champagne. This week the music is by DJ Jon Bawls and DJ Alan Morehouse for NYC Soul Sessions. It looks like a sweet place and these are some nice incentives to get over there and check it out.

I'm glad to see that Foodista agrees with me on Bai Sushi (37-03 Broadway). It's not a glamorous choice, but it hits the spot when you crave some fresh tasty sushi. The prices are great and I think it's underrated! So, if the mood strikes and sushi is what you decide on for lunch this weekend, there you have it.

Monday, October 13, 2008


All Dolled Up
Originally uploaded by mcotner
I took this picture on Saturday - you can see the barricades on the sidewalk in preparation for the impending festivities today. It's Columbus Day, or where I come from, "Indigenous People's Day". Did anyone go to the event at Columbus Square today?

Best Cappucino?

Best Cappucino?
Originally uploaded by mcotner
I had heard that Terrizi Bakery had excellent espresso/cappucino in the neighborhood, some claiming it was the best. So I headed to the bakery today to check it out.

I will say, it is not the best I've had in town. It was ok, but a little bitter for my taste. I did like that it wasn't a mondo size, overwhelming with calories.

One of the best cappucinos I've had is at Cafe Expresso [sic], over on Steinway in the Arab section. Really tasty. I also recently tasted a decent latte from Chocolate Spoon.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fall Colors

Fall Colors
Originally uploaded by mcotner
Just wanted to show off this maple tree I came across the other day. It's near the Amtrak train trestle in the Ditmars neighborhood, just off of 23rd Ave. The reds and oranges are simply gorgeous, and really made my walk home more enjoyable. Though I'm not the biggest fan of autumn I'm a spring and summer gal, myself), I do love these colors. I hope you enjoy them too.

More here, here, and here.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Grand Cafe Brunch

Grand Cafe Brunch
Originally uploaded by mcotner
Today I had brunch at Grand Cafe, the 30th Ave cafe that is closest to my home. I had read about their brunch from fellow Joey Judith, aka The Foodista and really wanted to check it out.

What a gorgeous day! Unfortunately, there weren't any seats outside, so we ate in the dining room. Not as nice as outside on a day like this, but it was fine. The music was pretty good, not the techno I feared, but they played fun tunes by REO Speedwagon (yes, I'm showing my age), Guns N Roses, Estelle, and Alanis Morrisette, among others.

For $11.50 brunch consisted of tasty coffee, a great mimosa, and an omelette, toast, and field greens. I had the avocado and tomato omelette and it was delicious and simple. I loved the balsamic vinaigrette that came with the greens, too. My dining companion had the Grand Omelette (bacon, cheese, and peppers) and french fries. The fries were great! Omelette was apparently tasty, too, but I didn't taste it. The whole wheat toast was also above average and I enjoyed it very much.

We did not receive any mini muffins, sad to say.

However, I'd definitely go back! I thought the food was good for the price. And it's nice that it's so close, too.

Grand Cafe
3701 30th Ave
Astoria, NY
(718) 777-7321

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sparrow Burger

Sparrow Burger
Originally uploaded by mcotner
This burger was very good. The fries - herb fries - are also delicious. I think they've gotten better at cooking them, too. There were also spicy fries at the table, which were actually "spicy spiced", meaning they had cumin and another flavor I couldn't put my finger on, along with the spicy. They were very good. Loved the gruyere on this burger. It's still my favorite in town.

Sparrow Bar, 24-01 29th St., Astoria NY.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Astorian Weekend Edition 09.10.08

While we've got cooler weather these days, it means that the Beer Garden is less crowded. My favorite time to be there is a Sunday afternoon, when it's pretty mellow. According to their website, the grill is still operating, so head on over, grab a glass of Pilsner Urquell and a kielbasa, and chill out on a fall afternoon.

The Noguchi Museum (9-01 33rd Road) continues it's Second Sundays program this weekend. Sunday's presentation will be a panel discussion called (re)Generation: Three Artists, Three Cities. The museum lost its Ailanthus tree recently, and are planning to repurpose and reuse it, a practice that is consistent with Noguchi's futurist thinking regarding the natural world. Independent curator and critic Lilly Wei will moderate the discussion. Panelists include Mitch Cope and Ingo Vetter of the Tree of Heaven Woodshop, which milled the Ailanthus, alongside Paul Villinski and Annie Murdock, artists from Waste Not, Want Not, an exhibition at Socrates Sculpture Park focused on the re-purposing of cast off resources.

This Saturday from 12-5 Candy Plum (30-98 36th Street) is having a trunk sale. New dresses, accessories will be available, along with brownies! Help support our local garment industry.

I've noticed that the leaves on the trees are changing - yellows are peeking out, and more are on the ground. One of the best places in town to watch the changing leaves is Astoria Park. If you've got some time, head on over and chill out in our lovely gem of a park.

Last weekend I checked out the new Manducatis Rustica (46-31 Vernon Blvd) in Long Island City. What a great addition to the neighborhood! Probably my favorite thing was an amazing tomato, mozz, and basil sandwich. Everything was incredibly fresh. Pizza was good, too, as well as the gelato. The coconut was particularly good, as was the vanilla. They make it all in store, and it's wonderful. Definitely check it out.

Lastly, warm congratulations to our newest Joey, Judith! She's getting married this weekend and we wish her lots of happiness!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Freeze Peach Value Card

Buddha with Value Card
Originally uploaded by mcotner
Freeze Peach (22-00 29th Street) now has a value card! Get your card stamped each time you get a tea or coffee there, and after 10 stamps, the 11th cup is free. Very nice. I like the buddha on the spring, too.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Currently at Sunswick

Upcoming at Sunswick
Originally uploaded by mcotner
Though I've been put off by the attitude of some behind the bar with regard to showing the games on TV, they do have a great selection of beers on tap - 24 total, plus there are some in bottles. Their food is ok, too - I remember really liking the grilled veggie sandwich.

They're having Oktoberfest specials until the 18th, which is cool. Pumpkin ale sounds delicious, and I wonder what the "awesome" German food is - sausages? red cabbage? schnitzel? I think it's worth investigating.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Astorian Weekend Edition 02.10.08

Pictured above - Bacon wrapped shrimp from SHI

Since last weekend wasn't conducive to being outside, the Beer Garden is taking another stab at Octoberfest. This Saturday from 3p and all day Sunday, enjoy great music, hearty food and imported lager. Admission is FREE. 29-19 24th Avenue, Astoria. 718.274.4925

Try some new restaurants this weekend:

SHI, the stylish, new Asian fusion eatery in LIC has amazing city views at a fraction of the price of its neighbors, such as Water's Edge. The must-eat dishes in my book are the popcorn beef and bacon wrapped shrimp--just wonderful! 47- 20 Center Blvd, Long Island City NY 11101. 347-242-2450

I had the pleasure to try the new and improved Bangkok Tasty. Wow! The interior is modern with a hint of Zen--I enjoyed my dinner because I got the chance to unwind. While their curry puffs look non-traditional, they're tasty. My friend and I loved our entrees and the wallet friendly prices. 29-06 23rd Avenue, Astoria NY 11105 718.545.8203

And don't forget...Queens Restaurant Week is still going on until this Thursday. Check out these Astoria and LIC locations that are still offering Restaurant Week specials.

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Laziza Update

I just read a post on that has relaxed my concerns:

I stopped by Laziza yesterday, and was reassured that it is NOT closing - whether or not the building is for sale. The guy I spoke with seemed like either an owner or manager (I didn't actually ask). He mentioned that 90% of the news is lies I shouldn't believe as well as the information online about Laziza closing. He also pointed out the many upgrades they've been doing on the place as proof they intend to be there a long while.

I will stop in soon and ask, too. The idea of Laziza closing is very sad to me, so this news makes me feel better.