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posts tagged ‘astoria’

Highlights & Best Bites from Choice Eats 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 12:03 PM - Posted by Megan - (1) comment

On Tuesday, the Village Voice’s sixth annual Choice Eats tasting event took over the 69th Armory on Lexington Avenue. The highly anticipated affair featured Voice food critic Robert Sietsema’s culinary favorites from more than 50 handpicked restaurants spanning the five boroughs, along with beverage pairings from craft beer, wine and spirits producers.

  1. Vibrant red wine marinated egg with trout roe, mustard seeds & mache from Thirty Acres
  2. Cakes, cookies, cannolis, confections & cutie pies from Carlo\'s Bakery
  3. The Village Voice\'s sixth annual Choice Eats tasting event took over the 69th Armory
  4. Chefs Joel Javier and Bill Telepan served up housemade liverwurst with pickle mustard on cheddar gougères
  5. Luke\'s Lobster drew some of the night\'s longest lines for their fresh seasoned shrimp rolls
  6. A perfect bite: Anella\'s creamy handmade burrata with robust tomato jam and basil salt garnish
  7. Prairie handcrafted organic vodka sweetened things up with their smooth, spiked lemonade cocktail
  8. Brooklyn bakery fave, The Good Batch, elevated the flavors of s\'mores in their darling bonfire minis
  9. Chinese cuisine meets Indian flavors: Pan-seared spiced Tibetan momo dumplings from Chinese Mirch
  10. Brooklyn\'s Pete Zaaz crew had a blast while churning out their cheesy, zesty pepperoni rolls
  11. Cheers to craft beers! A sampling of Little Sumpin\' and IPA ales from Lagunitas
  12. The Lower East Side\'s Kuma Inn went whole hog and put their entire roasted pig on display
  13. Always tasty mac \'n\' cheese-covered Ditch Dogs and taffy-topped table from Ditch Plains
  14. Butter and Scotch\'s boozy butterscotch cupcakes with whiskey caramel, vanilla frosting & toffee crunch
During the sold out soirée, three solid hours of all-you-can eat and drink gluttony ensued as hungry guests bounced from table to table, sampling a smorgasbord of plates from esteemed area establishments and lesser-known local gems alike. The diversity of vendors at Choice Eats is exceptional—from downtown vegan and uptown farm-to-table, to pizza joints in Brooklyn and Astoria’s best Greek. And what seemed like everything in between.

As if all this wasn’t enough, VIP guests were invited inside a full hour before general admission for a live culinary demo from City Grit’s Sarah McSimmons and offerings from a dozen local restos including Pig and Khao, Qi Thai Grill and Exchange Alley. VIPs also indulged in the exclusive “Choice Sweets” dessert lounge featuring confections from Butter Lane, Grandaisy Bakery, Ovenly, and more.

A few of the night’s many standouts included Anella’s velvety handmade burrata with tomato jam and basil salt, fresh seasoned shrimp rolls from both Luke’s Lobster and Red Hook Lobster Pound, tangy buffalo chicken balls from The Meatball Shop, Porchetta’s savory crackling-topped pork crostini, John Brown Smokehouse’s succulent pastrami sliders with sweet ‘n’ tangy slaw, moist red velvet squares from Carlo’s Bakery, and perfectly indulgent fudge brownies from Robicelli’s. A selection of suds from Blue Point Brewing Company, Lagunitas and Stella Artois, along with creative cocktails mixed with Sidney Frank spirits and Prairie Organic Vodka, helped wash it all down.

Whether you prefer savory, sweet, spicy, ethnic, Americana, inventive, classic, vegetarian or carnivorous, Choice Eats aims to please any palate. And with a surprisingly reasonable ticket price point, the bang-for-your-buck appeal is just another reason to attend the eating extravaganza next year.

Fan of Village Voice events? Don’t miss out on the 2nd annual Choice Streets on May 7th to taste the best fare on four wheels from NYC’s most beloved food trucks. Get your tickets here!

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Experience old New York at The Astor Room

Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 10:02 AM - Posted by Megan - (2) comments

Before a few years ago, I admittedly didn’t know too much about Astoria. Sure, I had ventured outside Manhattan a few times to guzzle down steins at the Bohemian Hall Beer Garden and sought out authentic Greek cuisine on 30th Avenue once, but that was the extent of my experience in the Queens neighborhood.

Oh, how the times have changed, and my horizons—both cultural and geographical—have expanded tenfold over the past several years. Astoria is easily one of my five borough favorites now. Just a stone’s throw East of Manhattan, this accessible culture-rich community is known for its lively restaurant scene and decades of deep historical roots.

Photo courtesy of Time Out Magazine

The recent buzz surrounding last week’s much anticipated opening of The Astor Room gave New Yorkers a true taste of Astoria’s abundant history. Located beneath legendary Kaufman Astoria Studios (previously Paramount Studios, known in the early 1920’s as the epi-center of the glamorous motion picture industry), this speakeasy-style supper club was formerly a commissary for silver screen actors. Famous faces of film, such as the Marx Brothers, Rudolph Valentino, the Gish sisters and W.C. Fields, dined in the very same spot decades ago.


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Martha’s Country Bakery

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 04:05 PM - Posted by Megan - (0) comments

As a serious cupcake fanatic, I’ve been on the hunt to find a good bakery that makes a mean red velvet (often my flavor of choice) in my new Astoria neighborhood. While Magnolia and Buttercup are certainly worth a MetroCard swipe and traveling a few subway stops to get to, I hoped to find a place closer to home to satisfy my oh-too-often cupcake cravings.

To my delight, I stumbled upon Martha’s Country Bakery. In 1972, the original Martha’s opened in Hell’s Kitchen (ironically, not too far from my old apartment) and has since relocated to the Ditmars area of Astoria, with two additional locations in Forest Hills and Bayside. What I thought would be a typical bakery was so much more—at 10pm on a weeknight, this bustling bakeshop was packed with people enjoying sweet treats and cappuccinos in a host-serviced outdoor seating area. The adorable interior had a warm, inviting atmosphere and an open kitchen, gelato case, full-service coffee bar and enormous display of freshly made cakes, cupcakes, cookies, pastries, pies, tarts, breads and more.

Martha’s extensive display case of baked goods

Martha’s offers eight varieties of their famous pound cakes

Martha’s delicious peanut butter & red velvet cupcakes

I was tentative to try Martha’s at first, since I’ve had my fair share of serious cupcake disappointments—luckily for me, the baked goods and cupcakes that I’ve polished off from Martha’s have all been scrumptious and I love the atmosphere too. I finally found my new favorite bakery in Astoria!

Martha’s Country Bakery is at 36-21 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria, NY 11105


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