I try to avoid the suburbs. I would rather find myself lost among the trees and rolling hills of the vast countryside or racing for a cab (or the N train) between two concrete and steel slabs before I set foot in the Anytown USA that is the American suburbs. Kew Gardens however, is an exception to the rule. The neighborhood’s million dollar tudor-style homes with their pristinely manicured lawns make for a luxurious break from the Queens norm. Forget the luxury condos that are sprouting up all over the borough. If you want quiet decadence, take a stroll amid the streets of Kew Gardens just as I did last weekend. You will either be pleasantly surprised, or bored to death. Upon visiting this unchartered territory for a few hours, I was the former.
My friend had just gotten some new wheels and we decided try them out, taking a ride to the other side of our borough. Walking among the neighborhood we stumbled upon Tu Casa, a peruvian restaurant on Metropolitan Avenue. It appears to be a sleepy casual joint during the weekday lunch hours. Though sitting among the bustling main strip, it offers a more animated experience for evening diners. The Spanish and Peruvian choices on the menu revealed their stamp of authenticity at first bite. The Carne Guisado (beef stew with rice and beans) was a hearty explosion of juicy meat and its accompaniments. The tender cuts of beef seemed to melt in our mouths as they slid effortlessly off the bone. And the good part is, we got this meal for under $7 from the lunch menu. Next stop was the pricier ceviche. Our server bestowed our table with a large plate of healthy chunks of seafood marinated in lime juice served with corn nuts and sweet potato. The delicate tastes of cod, octopus and tender calamari balanced the citrus infused nectars as they swam freely throughout the dish. Sweet potato and corn nuts seem like an unusual side with this entree, but combine the flavors of sweet and sour on your palate and you will forget everything you thought you knew about taste and texture. The soft sweet mush of the potato and the crispy salt of the nuts mixed together with the ceviche is an unique mouthful all skeptics must experience. We stuffed our hungry faces and as a result saved no room for dessert, but a return visit is in order. Check Tu Casa’s website for information on when they set-up shop in Astoria on Steinway Street!
Tu Casa 119-05 Metropolitan Ave. | Kew Gardens, NY | 718.441.6363
This summer, Play Me, I’m Yours is touring the New York City streets. The public art project is an artwork installation by British artist Luke Jerram and presented by Sing for Hope. From 9am-10pm 60 pianos will be dispersed around the city parks from June 21-July 5. Take a walk through your neighborhood and show off your talent in these Queens parks:
- Athens Square Park (map)
- Gantry Plaza State Park (map)
- Hoffman Park (map)
- Jackson Heights Post Office (map)
- Rufus King Park (map)
The sad little boy on the sidewalk looked up at me as he held his clipboard. He asked me if I wanted to help save the library by signing his petition. Indeed I do, and I did. The Queens Library is not just a place to check-out a book; it’s a place where your neighbors go to learn English. It’s a place school kids whose families can’t afford computers go to conduct research. It’s a place children and adults learn to read. It’s a place where immigrants can go to access employment opportunities. I used to spend countless afternoons at the library using the internet, writing my blog, searching for jobs, and reading. There is a proposed budget cut that would dramatically affect these necessities by shortening the hours of business and increasing lay-offs among library staff. You can help by signing a petition and making a donation on the Queens Library website.
I recently got word that one of my close friends is moving to Rego Park (also known to locals as Regostan). In an effort to help her feel at home in her new country, I decided to take a trip to explore the region. Two train rides and one hour later, I was pleased to find myself in a curious amalgam of Asian and Jewish cultures.
First stop- Tandoori Bukharan Bakery and Grill (Rego Park 99-04 63rd Rd 718-897-1071)
It’s hard to believe that this unassuming tiny restaurant, set off the main drag of Queens Boulevard, is home to such a vast assortment of delightful dishes. There isn’t much to talk about in terms of decor, but what you won’t be missing out on here is personality and great food. There are several different shish kabab dishes to choose from, like lamb chops, lola (ground meat), chicken, liver, salmon, the list goes on. Soups include borsch, shurpa and the popular lagman, a Chinese inspired soup with hand pulled noodles, meat and vegetables. I opted for the Pelmeni, a fine soup with handmade beef dumplings swimming in a warm broth of vegetables topped with bits of coriander. One part pho two parts pierogi married to create an intoxicating culinary collision of East Asian and Polish cuisine. Ordered alongside the main dish was a gigantic warm piece of lepeshka. Traditionally baked inside a tandoori oven, this circular loaf of chewy bread is a delicious example of how Russia met India, fell in love and produced a wonderful creation.
As I ferociously devoured my meal, the chef stops at my table and says in his thick accent- “Do you speak Russian? Do you speak English? Our food is Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan… and Jewish.”
That quite sums it up. I couldn’t have written it better myself. But hey, I tried.
Next Stop- Cheburechnaya (Rego Park 92-09 63rd Drive 718-897-9080)
I don’t hesitate to say that Cheburechnaya isn’t known for its ambiance or great service. The You Tube music videos playing on the overhead televisions and the abrupt attitude from the waitress weren’t exactly what you call characteristics of a five star eatery. Despite the lack of atmosphere, I grabbed a seat and proceeded to peruse the unlimited menu, made complete with enticing photographs of the dishes. With plates offering sizable portions of dumplings, meat kebabs, stuffed grape leaves, pilaf, beef brains, I once again found myself caught between cultures where east meets west. A full stomach called for a light snack, so a pumpkin chebureki was ordered with a splash of tarragon soda to wash it down. Much like a savory turnover, this crispy fried dough concoction stuffed with mashed pumpkin and herbs is a great compliment to any dish here. If you have a smaller appetite, you can lightly drizzle the spicy sauce over your chebureki and you practically have yourself a meal.
The temperature drops, and so do the leaves.
Holidays approach sporting pumpkins and wreaths.
Carving the turkey you notice one thing is missing,
A significant other for hugging and kissing…
Here is a fun event in Forest Hills for Queens singles… the opportunity to meet and date a New York Hero. Sparks create fires, get a fireman to douse those flames… or find a paramedic to revive your boring winter blues… reservations required.
DATE A HERO SPEED DATING EVENT
“When- Saturday October 24, 2009 at 7:15pm
Where- Casa Postinos 107-02 Queens Blvd Forest Hills, New York 11375
Who- 7:15pm Group B- Men 36- 46 / Women 34-44, 9:30pm Group A –Women 23- 34 / Men 25-35
With proper ID proof of employment NYC Firemen/women, Policemen/women and Paramedics will enter the event free of charge.
Non-Uniformed Ladies and Gentlemen pay $38 includes SPEED DATING PARTY, 1 Free Drink + Appetizers & RAFFLE prize to win Dinner
Call 631 592-9804 or sign up on web site- http://7-in-heaven.com/schedule.html“Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )