Archive for November, 2008

El Boqueron Spanish Tapas Bar and Restaurant Astoria

Posted on November 30, 2008. Filed under: Astoria, Fine Dining, Spanish |

100_0605El Boqueron Tapas Bar and Restaurant (Astoria 31-01 34th Ave at 31st St 718-956-0107) The service is outstanding in this little corner restaurant offering traditional Spanish plates- but the food is less impressive.This place draws the diner in with christmas lights adorning a colorful awning and the word “tapas” plastered on it. Well-made traditional Spanish food is a rarity in Queens. El Boqueron’s festive appeal and ambience just screams “eat me!” to passersby. Peering into the large windows at the jovial diners stuffing their faces and downing sangria entices patrons to join in the fun. The attractive oak bar marries the small ceramic tiled table-tops into Spanish inspired decor. Sporting pricey entrees and two full pages of hot and cold tapas (most of them running around $9) , one would think the splurge is has got to be worth the hefty dent it will make in your wallet. I thought otherwise. Not to be mistaken- the food is genuinely tasty and the atmosphere inviting- though a circumstance of unremarkable food and drink combined with a remarkable tab leaves a second visit in question. The Codorniz Asada y Salsa de Frutas is a dish served with about 4 quails drenched in a sweet sauce with raisins and thinly sliced potato crisps- perfect for swapping up the left over sauce. The collision of the sweet and salty landscape provides ample satisfaction for the palate- though it falls short of amazing. The Setas del Huerto Rellenas is a plate of mushrooms stuffed with vegetables and bacon- a hearty warm tapa full of flavor. The deep fried chicken croquettes are the least impressive hot tapa.  All choices that make the mouth water when perusing the menu- but when the dishes arrive- they are simply a little better than average. With a buffet style table in the back- some of the tapas are ready-to-eat and served at a moments notice. The Sangria seems watered down (although seek extra alcohol and ye shall receive with a polite request to the server) and overpriced. The Paella Valencia is however- worth ordering. The oversized iron skillet is filled with delicate pieces of seasoned shrimp, scallops, white fish, calamari and sausage all in a bed of rice and rich tomato based sauce. You can split this large entree or take the rest home with you.  Late hours, daily specials and attentive staff are pluses.

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MTA Plans to Cut Astoria’s W Train…

Posted on November 22, 2008. Filed under: Astoria |

OK- most people know about this already, but I can’t help but post it. The story here  explains how Astoria’s W train might be cut as a way to ease the MTA’s budget deficit. Gothamist talks about other service changes as well… This is disturbing. Although I can’t help but think the media attention is a ploy to make the public think they deserve to raise prices to $3 a ride. If they threaten to cut service they force us to pay higher prices. The more services that are cut the more they can validate the public’s need to put forth the extra money. Is anyone else upset about this?

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Bistro 33 in Astoria Closed for Vacation

Posted on November 22, 2008. Filed under: Astoria |

Astoria’s Bistro33 will be closed from November 24th- December 8th for holiday. This  Japanese-French fusion restaurant had me a bit skeptical at the beginning- raw fish and duck don’t seem like a tasty combination- nonetheless, they won me over with their fresh inventive menu. Seems they will revamp their selections upon their wintry return with new wines and food items. Can’t wait to see what they offer!

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What’s Goin’ On in the Hood… and in the Press

Posted on November 21, 2008. Filed under: Entertainment, Flushing/Corona, LIC |

LIQ City Blog cites a New York Times article regarding the burgeoning community of Long Island City’s Vernon Boulevard luxury condo dwellers. It seems this is the only part of Long Island City that anyone cares about these days… and what’s going to happen to our #7 train when those tower apartments fill up those nearly 29,000 vacancies? LIQ City also talks about a new hooka shop to set up in the neighborhood– but everyone knows Steinway Street in Astoria is the only great place to smoke that flavored tobacco. 

Thinking about doing Thanksgiving in Queens… and don’t feel like cooking? Here are some places to go according to Shauna Eats Sunnyside.

Eating in Translation guy has been eating in Queens… savoring Italian food at Leo’s in Corona and he’s also been milling about in LIC. Apparently making claims that the Silver Cup Studio was once a bakery… who knew!?

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Shop Astoria’s Starry Night December 2nd

Posted on November 20, 2008. Filed under: Astoria, Entertainment, LIC |

Get ready for the holidays in the hood…
“ASTORIA’s first “Starry Night” holiday shopping event is right around the corner!  Located at Cup Diner & Bar on December 2nd (Tuesday evening) from 6-11PM, stop in anytime to see 28 fabulous tables filled with local boutique & local designer gift items including plenty of jewelry, tees, clutches, neckwear, home goods, and loads more!!!  In addition, our Starry Night “Roller Derby Girls” will be spreading the holiday cheer all night long handing out goodies and cruising to DJ Martin’s tunes till the doors close…  not to mention, there will be complimentary hors d’oeuvres and plenty of prizes to win during the night including dinner, brunch, and holiday gifts from many local boutique businesses sponsoring the event.
So don’t miss out and come support this neighborhood event!” by Astoria Fashion… via email
AND if you haven’t already… make sure to RSVP for a Starry Night Event shopping tote to receive at the door by emailing astoriafashion
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Neo Swing Band Cherry Poppin’ Daddies Atlas Mall Nov 15th

Posted on November 14, 2008. Filed under: Flushing/Corona, Free |

Not a mall goer myself, my friend told me about the Atlas Mall and how amazing it is. Malls are for the suburbs- but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a day getting away- traipsing around the city from store to store to shop for the holidays isn’t any fun. This weekend Atlas Mall is hosting a publicity event that includes shopping convenience and a live performance from the ’90s neo-swing band Cherry Poppin’ Daddies… you never know, it could be fun…


“a few hours at our beautiful outdoor shopping center. On November 15th 2008, The Shops at Atlas Park will be hosting its third annual “Pawfect Holiday Event”. There will be a wide variety of activities going on through-out the day. These include a performance by “Yesterday and Today”, a “Beatles” cover band, a holiday themed parade featuring Christ the King High School Marching Band and Francis Lewis High School’s Marching Band among many other cultural and children groups located through out the New York area, a performance from “The Cherry Poppin Daddies“, a fireworks display and our annual Atlas Park Lighting ceremony. “

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MTA $3 Rides Pay Workers to Shop

Posted on November 14, 2008. Filed under: Astoria, LIC |

As Queens commuters, a transit price increase will greatly affect the way we live. Many of us are bound by New York public transportation- we have no other choice. Now that the n/w trains aren’t running to Manhattan during the weekend until December 1st- it makes me wonder what we are paying for. Here’s the answer: This story by Channel 7 news about MTA workers working a 1 hour day and getting paid for 8 hours- shopping, eating, going to bars on the clock, is disturbing to say the least…


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King Yum Tiki Bar and Chinese Restaurant in Flushing

Posted on November 13, 2008. Filed under: Chinese, Flushing/Corona, Off the beaten path |


p1010022 King Yum 181-08 Union Turnpike Flushing, Queens 11366 718-380-1918 E train to Union Turnpike- then bus to 108th Street) You won’t find fire eaters or contortionists at this place, but you will find loads of fun, food and history. Nestled into a lackluster strip mall in the middle of suburban Queens is one of the oldest living tiki bars in New York. Established in 1953,  this bamboo and pineapple wonder ain’t going nowhere. Stuck in the era in which is was built, King Yum impresses all with its tacky decor and extensive “Chinese/Hawaiin” menu. The bamboo bar, hanging ceiling ornaments and carved wooden tiki statues greatly compliment the food you will receive when dining here. They both consist of lively lavish displays that aren’t meant to be taken too seriously. The pineapple and cherry chicken, one of the many King Yum special entrees consists of a fried, gooey plate of fried chicken with the sugary fruits toppling over the rim of your plate. Not for the health conscious. The honey garlic chicken is a tasty delight of the sweet and savory kind with tender fried pieces of chicken smothered in honey sauce. The shrimp with ginger and scallions is a healthier fare- with fresh seafood that isn’t put through the deep frier. Whatever you order- whether it’s from the hunan, szechuan, cantonese or hawaiian influences, the food ranges from mediocre to “amazing”- according to one of my dining companions. The dishes are hearty and full of taste, but don’t over impress with the preparation and ingredients. There are also a wide selection of affordable specialty cocktails like the King Yum Special made with rum and pineapple juice (pictured below)– that at a couple of sips will have every bite tasting that much better. The Lover’s Gold Cup and Aloha Delight are just a few of your choices on the tiki inspired drink menu. King Yum’s location may be out of the way for some but is definitely worth the trip. From the minute you walk into this place it is overflowing with charm and character- great to sit at the bar on a cold winter night and imagine you are somewhere on a far off island listening to the waves crash or bring some friends and grab seat in the classically styled dining room. Whatever the case- your life in Queens will improve drastically once you have been to King Yum.  


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