Sunday, November 29, 2009

Astoria Characters

Have you all seen this charming series of Astorian profiles over at The Huffington Post?

Each of these amazing little profiles is the work of local writer, Nancy Ruhling, and paints a unique picture of the little neighborhood we all love so much. From 80 year old residents to eccentric antique frame collectors to dedicated yoga enthusiasts, there are lots of interesting stories to be inspired by here.

Photo via The Huffington Post

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Astorian Weekend Edition 25.11.09

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Thus starts the official holiday season. Thanksgiving is a time for gathering with friends and family, expressing gratitude, and of course, eating! Judith has a great rundown on places to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner in town, so if you are not preparing the meal yourself, here's some excellent options where you can get some local deliciousness in your belly.

Friday hails Black Friday, and boy do retailers need your business. One local Astoria business that I particularly love is The Little Soap Shop. Vivian is holding a sale, natch, so you'll find 20% off everything in her store that day, from 10 a.m to 3 p.m. One thing she makes that I especially love is a citrus lavender reed diffuser, which users wooden reeds sipped in scented oil to spread a wonderful fresh aroma throughout the room.  And how about SITE's cupcake ornaments! How cute are they?!? They look good enough to eat!

On Sunday, stop by Immaculate Conception School (21-63 29th Street) for their Annual Flea Market. The event lasts from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Vine Wine in LIC (12-09 Jackson Ave) will be open tonight until 11:00 p.m. - score! if you're still in need of happy libations. And on Thanksgiving Day, they are open from 10:00 am to 4:00pm! Tonight's wine tasting (5:30-8:30 p.m.) will involve three of their six Thanksgiving-themed wines. They've even boxed up these wines in a cute carrying case for your convenience. There is a $50 box and a $75 box, both saving you approximately $15 each.

Mix (40-17 30th Ave) is a new cafe/lounge in Astoria, and they hold a stich n' bitch each Saturday starting at noon. If you knit, crochet or partake in any other fiber craft, come on by to enjoy fellow needle nerds, and perhaps you'll even come away with something new for your stash. What a nice way to spend an afternoon.

Since the kids are home (including kids at heart) this weekend, The Museum of the Moving Image (35th Avenue at 37th Street) will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during Thanksgiving weekend with hourly screenings of short animated films from Pixar. Screenings will take place in Tut's Fever Movie Palace, and will include Luxo, Jr. (1986, 2 mins); For the Birds (2000, 3 mins); Jack-Jack Attack (2005, 5 mins); and Presto (2008, 5 mins).

Friday, November 20, 2009

Finally Fridays - Dessert

Want to indulge in something sweet after a long, arduous week?  In this Finally Fridays, we pay homage to the sweet tooth, as we reveal our top 5 picks for Astorian desserts. 

Cara Bella - Profiteroles with chocolate sauce, chocolate gelato and fresh raspberries
47-02 30th Avenue, Astoria.  718.956.1101

Vesta - Baby Jesus Cake.  Crispy, warm cake with butterscotch sauce and fresh whipped cream
21-02 30th Avenue, Astoria.  718.545.5550

Martha's Bakery - Vanilla butter cream cupcake with M&Ms
36-21 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria.  718.545.9737

Djerdan - Keks torta, layered custard cake, a bit like Tiramisu
34-04A 31st Avenue, Astoria.  718.721.2694

Laziza - Assortment of cookies and cakes - coconut-almond cake, baklava, pistachio and date cookies
25-78 Steinway Street, Astoria.  718.777.7676

Hope these satisfy your sweet tooth - please chime in with your personal favorites.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Astoria's Famous Bulldogs

Image by

Reading this sweet story in the New York Times, passed along to me by the Jumping Bulldog's owner, Tanja Firrigno warmed my heart.  Featured in last weekend's NY Times, this cheery and touching feature explores a community of French Bulldogs that are the latest trend in Astoria.  The story goes into some detail about the unique nuances of this breed and even sheds light on specific doggies and their families.  This line especially made me smile: Jack (the bulldog) looked up at her and smiled like a clown. On command, he gave Mr. Herman a high-five with his petite paw, and they continued down the street.

Enjoy the article and please pass on to others with pets.

Astorian Weekend Edition 19.11.09

The weekend before Thanksgiving is a good time to chill before all the big holiday get-togethers. Check out a fun, casual eatery, watch football or enjoy a party at the Beer Garden.

Have you been to Stamatis yet? It’s an old Greek food staple in the heart of Astoria and their food is legit. Recommendations include the tzatziki dip and the chicken souvlaki platter. 29-09 23rd Avenue, Astoria. 718.721.4507

This Friday, check out Mezzo Mezzo for their 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. happy hour. They’ll feature a signature free buffet, $4 draft beers, house wines and $12 hookah. 31-29 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria. 718.278.0444

Toast to freedom this Saturday (5 p.m.) at the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, when they’ll celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. Admission is free and they’ll have $2 wine, vodka shots, Czech liquor and $10 pitchers of Czech beer. Nazdravie! 29-19 24th Avenue, Astoria. 718.274.4925

Are you ready for some football? There are plenty of great places where you could catch the game but two in particular include Gleason’s, where on Sunday they serve 25 cent wings, and also the newly-opened Yolo, which has a $10.95 weekend brunch special. Gleason’s – 33-08 Broadway, Astoria. 718.626.5393. Yolo - 22-55 31st Street, Astoria. 718.777.1177

If you’re in the mood for something low-key, visit 24 Wine Bar (pictured above) this weekend. New things happening here include press coffee, vegan brownies, muffins and free wifi. Brunch may be in the works soon so check back to find out more. 25-19 24th Avenue, Astoria. 347.777.6164

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Weekend Edition 11.11.09

Can you believe it is November already? All this warm weather we’ve been having makes me want to head to one of our amazing local parks and enjoy the last bits of Fall.

This weekend is the Queens Film Festival, which showcases the diversity of our borough and features a wide variety of films being screened in multiple locations around our neighborhood. Check here for the venues, dates, and times. The opening party is Thursday at the Hotel Ravel.

Have you all heard about The Secret Theater? No? Now is a great time to check them out. This Thursday they are debuting their latest play, Cyrano De Bergerac, The classic story of how the disfigured genius, poet and dashing swordsman, Cyrano, falls in love with Roxanne. Runs through Dec. 5th. The Secret Theatre, 44-02 23rd St.Long Island City.

This Sunday try something a new! Holistic health counselor Kristy Bredin will be teaching a class on traditionally fermented miso. Learn the health benefits and make a batch from scratch. More info (including registration details) here.

Enjoy a relaxing brunch at Bistro Les Minots, and get a great deal with their new $13.95 prix-fixe brunch menu which includes 2 drinks with your meal. On Sundays, listen to singer Andrew Gottlieb and enjoy the newly installed show by Painter Gabriele Perici while you eat. Bistro LesMinots 47-16 30th Avenue.

{Photo from Harris Graber's Flickr photo set!}

Friday, November 06, 2009

Finally Fridays - Burgers

Friday is here and we couldn't be happier. This week's Finally Fridays focuses on a comfort food that's hard to beat--burgers. Here are our top 5 picks for traditional and not-so-ordinary boighahs.

Sparrow Burger - Grass fed burger with thick-cut bacon and herbed fries
24-01 29th Street, Astoria. 718.606.2260

Sweet Afton Burger - Organic beef, Gruyere cheese, caramelized onions, sweet brioche bun
30-09 34th Street, Astoria. 718.777.2570

BareBurger Lamburger - Lamb patty, yogurt sauce, caramelized onions, 7 grain bun
33-21 31st Avenue, Astoria. 718777.7011

Indigo Turkey Burger - Turkey, toasted sesame seed bun, hand cut fries, cranberry mayo
28-50 31st Street, Astoria. 718.728.0050

Fatty's Turkey Burger - Turkey, jalapeno mayo, peppers, onions and a side of house salad
25-01 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria. 718.267.7071

Enjoy these fun varieties and let us know your personal burger faves.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Astorian Weekend Edition, 05.11.09

I Just Can't Get Enough

This weekend brings us Leaf Fest, right here at Astoria Park. The Astoria Park Alliance, working with the Queens Botanical Garden/Queens Compost Project, is collecting your fall leaves for composting (volunteers will turn the pile and gardeners will be able to partake in the compost come spring). Bring them with you to the Astoria Park parking lot on Sunday the 8th, between 11 a.m and 1 p.m., and volunteers will be happy to collect what you have. You'll be able to learn more about composting, too. If you can, please bring any non-perishable food items to donate to local food pantries. Leaf Fest continues on Sunday the 15th and 22nd, too.

Craving pork by chance? Head over to Sac's on Broadway for their annual pig roast. Around 8 p.m. on Thursday night the pig (actually two of them) will be cooked to the point of juicy deliciousness, having roasted on a spit all day. Call 718-204-5002 for reservations on Thursday, November 5 and Thursday, November 12. Sac's is at 25-41 Broadway.

Rèst Âü Ránt, home of the diacriticals, is turning two this weekend! Saturday hails their anniversary party, complete with live music, specials, passed hors d'ouvres and more! Party starts at 9, yum. The fun lives at 30-01 35th Avenue.

Remember the crap weather on October 24th? It totally harshed the plans for It's My Park Day at Queensbridge Park, so much so that they had to postpone it! Good news: this Saturday's the day! The event starts at 10 a.m. and goes til 2 p.m. Consider registering if you're part of a group (contact to register or if you have questions). Snacks and supplies will be provided for all volunteers.

Finally, Waltz Astoria (23-14 Ditmars Boulevard) presents The Ultimate Singer-Songwriter Contest. Details for contestants are here, and it looks like it could be a really good time. The festivities start at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and the Sunday finale starts at 8 p.m. Come see and support great local talent. Also try the pumpkin pie - it's totally NOM-able.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Rèst Âü Ránt's 2nd Anniversary Party

Rèst Âü Ránt is two years old this November! They are going to celebrate by inviting you to enjoy good times with them. Details:

Let us thank you once again for helping us through to our second birthday! Join us at our anniversary party on Saturday, November 7th at 9 p.m. Enjoy live music, specials, passed hors d'ouvres and more!

Saturday, November 7, 2009 at 9:00 p.m.
Sunday, November 8, 2009 at 4:00 a.m.
30-01 35th Avenue