Archive for February, 2010

Cafe Ole is Spanish for “Good Food”

Posted on February 26, 2010. Filed under: Astoria, LIC, Spanish | Tags: , , , |

My dear friend Adam spends most of his time saving the lives of fellow Queens residents. As a food lover, he will occasionally find time in his busy schedule to write a review of a great neighborhood spot. Here is his take on a new Spanish restaurant in Astoria/ Long Island City:

Cafe Ole is a Spanish restaurant in Queens, the way I like it…intimate, romantic and just down right good.  I can’t decide which was better…the fantastic service, the succulent paella, the decadent tapas or the sangria that went down like water.  Upon arrival we were warmly greeted by two talented musicians strumming guitar. Next, my dining partner and I were led to our table past the bar for what turned out to be one of the best dinner experiences I’ve had in months.  The crab and cheese stuffed mushrooms were a flavor explosion, as was the sangria that may or may not have warped my perceptions of the paella that was served next.  Sangria or no sangria, the seafood lobster paella was delicious and so fresh.  I haven’t experienced such service in years like I did here. In a city where customer appreciation has fallen by the wayside, Cafe Ole never misses a beat. They were always there with new utensils and pouring drinks, as necessary.  Cafe Ole definitely left a positive impression on me, and I am not going to wait until next Valentine’s Day to return.

Cafe Ole 38-09 36 ave LIC 718-349-7777

-Adam Naill (guest reviewer and Astoria busybody)

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February Send Off with sales, book signing, art and music

Posted on February 25, 2010. Filed under: Art, Astoria, Fashion, LIC, Movies, Music & Dance, Theater, Woodside/Sunnyside | Tags: , , , , , |

KrisTEEs will be kicking off the week with a final Winter sale. Be sure to stop by for designer duds that will take you through the end of the season. KrisTEES 24-01 23rd ave, Astoria,  718.204.5031

PS1- 22-25 Jackson Ave Long Island City (718) 784-2084 Book signing at 3pm with Marina Abramović : The Artist is Present. She will sign copies of the exhibition monograph and latest publications. Also, get ready for another Saturday Session at PS1! On the agenda February 27th starting at 4pm, Brooklyn is Burning. Here is what they say about it:

“Organized by Andres Bedoya and Sarvia Jasso since 2008, Brooklyn is Burning (BiB) is a video and performance event that has been produced at various locations in New York, along with ancillary presentations in Los Angeles and La Paz, Bolivia. Borrowing its name from the cult film documentary Paris is Burning, BiB is invested in stimulating a community of creative individuals who share an interest in the various meanings and experiences of sexuality and identity.”

Flux Factory RESCHEDULED! Friday, March 12th at 8pm February 26th will host a Friday night of short film screenings with the works of Marie Losier. “Slap the Gondola!” (15min) –Musical with music, musicians, muses, and fishes!  Cet Air La” –Magical music video with April March and Julien Gasc. And Papal Broken-Dance –2008, super 8 & Video, Color, 6 min
Music video Papal Breakdance by PTV3-Genesis P-Orridge Flux Factory 39-31 29th St Long Island City, NY
(718) 707-3362

Waltz Astoria Thursday night is for poetry at Waltz. Half Sky Poetry and music with an open mic- sign-up begins at 8pm. February 26th features another talent expo withlocal musicians at 8pm.

Thalia Spanish Theater in Sunnyside is hosting a special event with dinner and entertainment Saturday February 27th 8pm– “After the performance, join Latin Grammy winner Maestro Jaurena and the cast for wine and hors d’oeuvres. TICKETS $50; $20 of each ticket is tax-deductible. A World Premiere Musical Borges & Piazzolla TANGO Music Arranged & Directed by Latin Grammy winner Raul Jaurena”

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The Completo Will Complete You

Posted on February 24, 2010. Filed under: Astoria, Bakery, Cheap Dining, Mexican/South American | Tags: , , , , |

“The Revolutionary Chilean Hotdog- The Completo- You Must Try It!” The sign was all I needed to draw me into this seemingly sleepy Chilean bakery in Astoria. I just had to try this hotdog, to see if it lived up to its revolutionary claim of course. Three bites later I was convinced. The Completo is grilled to achieve  a warm and crispy outer shell then topped with an overflowing array of minced avocado, tomatoes, onions, and cilantro all contained in a toasted bun. It is brought to you in its own personal hotdog holder and with a side of red sauce. Antacid sold separately. For dessert, the San Antonio Bakery also supplies a unique selection of chilean pastries and baked goods. Unusual cookies layered with crackers and caramel with a crispy meringue shell, and cakes with layers of real fruit in the middle. If you don’t feel like trying the Completo, they have a wide variety of beef, pork, chicken and fish sandwiches similar to tortas. Don’t let this gem of a bakery go unnoticed. Although the decor is plain, the place is clean and the spacious interior is comfortable for sit-in eating. The assortment of baked goods is interesting and tasty.

San Antonio Bakery 26-20 Astoria blvd 718-777-8733 & 174 Rockaway Ave Valley Stream NY 516-568-0075

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Music Benefit in Astoria

Posted on February 24, 2010. Filed under: Astoria, Brunch, Entertainment, Music & Dance | Tags: , , |

Grab brunch this Sunday and then head over to Cronin & Phelan’s bar and restaurant for a great cause! Astoria’s Goliard Concerts is hosting a benefit cocktail party this Sunday- here are the details:

“Astoria’s Goliard Concerts is planning on holding a series of outdoor concerts in Queens parks this coming spring and summer. To raise funds for this new concert series, Goliard is hosting a cocktail reception on Sunday, February 28th at Cronin & Phelan’s Bar and Restaurant, at 38-14 Broadway

Sunday, February 28th, 3-5pm Cronin & Phelan’s Bar and Restaurant, 38-14 Broadway (Astoria) RSVP: 718-728-8927

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Gettin’ Baked in Astoria

Posted on February 24, 2010. Filed under: American/Nouveau, Astoria, Cheap Dining | Tags: , , |

Kelly Choi likes La Papa, so naturally, I had to try it. Influenced by our neighbors from across the pond, jacket-potato eateries are finally starting to catch-on in New York. Appropriately situated across the street from Mount Sinai Hospital in Astoria, this little baked potato shop offers a world of fast and healthy eating. For about $6 you can decorate your spud with as many delicious toppings as your heart desires. From roasted peppers, olives, kosher franks, cheese, olive oil, mushrooms, broccoli, chili, corn… and the list is endless. You can beef it up with kosher franks for a protein fix- ok maybe not so healthy but it still beats fast food. You can also opt for the vegetarian choices if you are watching your diet. The potatoes are baked to a soft perfection and smeared with olive oil or butter, your choice. The root vegetables are quite large. Topped with a generous heaping of veggies, one serving is big enough to share. This little place also has the delicious Turkish lemonade, Uludag, and a decadent dark chocolate souffle pudding dessert. The service is nice and personable and free delivery. If you feel like eating more than a potato, check out the owners’ other restaurant, Mundo (but not on Wednesday).

La Papa Astoria 718-777-7879 25-13 30th Ave

fast food made healthy

sweet Turkish limonata

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Szechuan Gourmet in Flushing

Posted on February 22, 2010. Filed under: Chinese, Fine Dining, Flushing/Corona | Tags: , |

Roaming around Flushing on a quest for some good Chinese food isn’t a difficult task. After checking out a couple of places, my dining partner and I decided on the Szechuan Gourmet. Although the name suggests an unimaginative standard in the category of Szechuan cuisine, the reality was anything but.  We made our way into the casual dining room, decorated with paper lanterns and linen clad tables. As we settled into our seats our wandering eyes peered through an endless menu of enticing and intriguing items. We opted to start with the chilled, but spicy, diced rabbit and peanut with chili-garlic black bean jam. An amalgam of tastes rushed together leaving the mouth with a slight tingly sensation. At first bite this dish seems spicy, but then the cooling garlic and ginger take over while the peanuts dull the intensity of the chili. It was a feast for the eyes as well, with colorful bursts of reds, oranges and greens. The second appetizer was a refreshing mixture of cucumber slices doused in chili pepper sauce. For the main course we devoured the shrimp and yellow leek entree. Unlike the previous dishes, this meal was a delicate combination of stir fried shrimp and leek with a slightly smokey essence. The Szechuan Gourmet is a great place to eat an afternoon lunch or weekend dinner. Service is friendly, prices are moderate for quantity and quality of the food and they offer week day lunch specials.

Szechuan Gourmet Flushing Queens 135-15 37th Ave 718-888-9388

diced rabbit peanut and chili dish

shrimp with yellow leek

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February Fodder- Lunar New Year, Art, Theatre, Dance and Saving Money

Posted on February 19, 2010. Filed under: Art, Astoria, Entertainment, Flushing/Corona, Free, LIC, Music & Dance, Theater, Woodside/Sunnyside |

One of my favorite weeks of the entire year is the last week in February. Although it’s the shortest and coldest let’s make it last like one long leap.

Flux Factory LIC– Friday February 19th Art Gala Here’s what they have to say about House Broken (left-flyer from Flux Factory)- We’re handing our modest abode over to dozens of artists in celebration of our newest home, an 8000 square foot greeting card warehouse.

Eclectic performances and unparalleled reverie start at 8 pm 
Suggested donation: $15 (tax-deductible) 
Open bar courtesy of Campari, 21+ 
Please rsvp to

Housebroken will remain on view every Saturday and Sunday from 12 – 6 pm until March 21st.


Flushing New Year Parade

Flushing Lunar New Year Parade-The Lunar New Year was last weekend, but Queens is celebrating Saturday February 20th with a colorful parade on Main Street in Flushing. Join the fun in the cold to ring in the year of the Tiger. Festivities start around 11am with marching bands, dancing, dragons and martial arts demonstrations. Afterward you can take some time out to explore the neighborhood with tasty Korean food, warm ginger tea at Sago Tea Shop, baked goods at Yi Mei Fung bakery and sweets and cuttlefish from Candy Shop USA.


Queens Symphony OrchestraBach to Dreams of Flying Saturday February 20th 7:30pm “Queens Symphony Orchestra and Musica Reginae, led by Music Director and Conductor Constantine Kitsopoulos, continues its 57th season with Bach to Dreams of Flying – part two in the Masterworks Concert Series “Strings Attached”  at the Queensborough Performing Arts Center in Bayside.


Tide Seminar Feb. 24th 6:30 with journalist and TV personality Maria Antonieta Collins and the national organization “Las Comadres” teaches families how to save cash and economize on a low budget. Queens Flushing Library 41-17 Main Street Flushing, NY 11355 718-661-1200 FREE

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Around the World in One Borough

Posted on February 19, 2010. Filed under: Art, Astoria, Fashion, Jackson Heights, LIC, Off the beaten path, Shopping |

Why travel to around the world when you can pick-up some great souvenirs right here in the neighborhood? Here are three shops that caught my eyes with their displays of fabulously unique goods. Colorful lamps imported from Turkey, eclectic jewelry from Nepal, cute dolls and spectacular wall hangings from India.

CLOSED First stop: Turkey- Grand Bazaar 28-41 Steinway St Astoria 718-728-0818- This shop offers an array of splendid items from $10+. There are beaded jewelry, lamps, ceramics, rugs, scarves, silver, and more. Great for gifts and browsing.

Second Stop: India- Butala Emporium 37-46 74th St Jackson Heights 718-899-7889 If you are looking for dashborad buddhas this place has them. If you need to stock-up on spiritual books, incense, teapots, saffron, and other various trinkets and interesting goods- they are plentiful and affordable at Butala Emporium. Prices range from $2+

Third Stop: Nepal-Jewels of Buddha 31-90 37th Street  917-807-0649 AstoriaImported goods from Nepal make this shop unique. Find bags, hats, mittens, bracelets, beads to make your own creations, and spiritual music and books to get in touch with your inner buddha.

Ceramic bowls and tiles at Grand Bazaar

Hanging decor, books and more at Butala Emporium

Silver Bracelets at Jewels of Buddha

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