Desserts »Little Oven

12-07 Jackson Avenue, Queens

Oh, the macaroons at Little Oven are good. Really good. So good I almost forgot about that time I trekked up there with a 20 lb baby on me only to find it closed during their listed hours.

The flavors are creative – the Earl Grey and seasonal Spiced Pear were especially notable. The cookie is great but it’s the inside that counts and there’s is rich and wonderful.

Their pastries and cakes look equally yummy.

See more: Desserts

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on October 7, 2011

Spend a Couple Hours »Queens County Fair

Queens County Farm Museum, 73-50 Little Neck Parkway

Pigs, chickens, alpacas and beer! Here, here!

The Queens County Fair may not be the biggest in the country (we plan on going to that one some day) but we had a great time.

Nice to show Van actual animals that he’s read about in books and nice for Jim and I to enjoy one last outdoor Oktoberfest ale in a plastic cup.

We just missed a pig race and were too early for the arm wrestling but will probably be more into the scheduled activities next year when Van’s a little older.

Have always loved the Queens County Farm Museum and their various special events (see Thunderbird American Indian Mid-Summer Pow Wow).

A nice piece of rural living only a short drive away.

See more: Spend a Couple Hours

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on September 19, 2011

Restaurants »Bahari Estiatorio

31-14 Broadway, Astoria

The first thing you need to know about Bahari Estiatorio is that it used to be called Stamatis (and is listed as such on line) but it’s the same well reviewed restaurant, so no need to panic if you make the trip out there and find it missing.

It’s really hard to go wrong with Greek food in queens but fortunately that doesn’t mean that they’re all cookie cutter replicas of each other. Each place we’ve been seems to offer something unique and in Bahari’s case it’s a flavorful dried sausage appetizer unlike any that I’ve had. At it’s worst Greek sausage can be oily and a tad bland but this was anything but.

Among our other shared appetizers (a great way to sample lots of good stuff) were more stand out dishes: a fresh feta tomato salad, a baked feta and pepper casserole, a tender grilled octopus (more mildly flavored than I prefer), and a huge pita and spread plate with the usual suspects: my favorite taramasalata, tzatziki, and babaganoush as well as less familiar potato and garlic and cheese spreads.

The staff is friendly, even picking Van up for a hug, though the atmosphere is a bit forgettable.
The meal was quite memorable though and a perfect stop before heading over to the Museum of Moving Image. Plus, a parking lot is right next door which is great in the hard to park area.

See more: Restaurants

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on September 12, 2011

Restaurants »Hunan Kitchen of Grand Sichuan

42-47 Main Street, Flushing, Queens

Behold Hunan Kitchen of Grand Sichuan – a Chinese restaurant that even the most squeamish of eaters (our friend Shaun) can call absolutely delicious. And when I say squeamish, I mean our he was getting nervous even before we walked in the door panicking over the idea that there would be a bathroom in the restaurant (?!). The boy is no fan of Chinese food, with belly aches past to blame, but by the end of our feast, he had declared that he did, indeed really like this place.

Most Flushing gems we’ve frequented (Spicy and Tasty, Little Pepper, Imperial Palace: all brilliant in their ways) offer up at least one dish in our random selection that makes us all stop and say with politeness.. well that was a little weird. Mind you, (to give you an idea of our comfort level) we’re not all the way stuck with Western palettes, we don’t mind “strange” combinations and don’t hold back on the spiciness, but at the same time we never order a bowl of pigs feet either.

At the recently opened HKoGS, every single dish was a hit, we only had favorites among all the yumminess starting with a jalapeno and pickled bean fried rice that is, without a doubt, the best friend rice I have ever encountered.

Dan Dan Noodles arrived next surprising us by being hot (we had had cold before) and kicking our butts with chili oil heat. Continuing on our epic order of appetizers, we chowed down a perfectly toothsome scallion pancake, some fried savory sweet pumpkin cakes (not the favorite of the bunch, but still really good), and pork soup dumplings that were smaller and, dare I say it, better flavored than Joe’s Shanghai.

That is where my meal took a turn – not food wise, but my own body failed me when a filling popped half way out (not on anything I ate, it had felt weird for days and finally broke). I couldn’t really chew properly anymore, but as the meal continued to be so delicious I carried on as best I could (and took lots of left overs home, which I am LOVING as I write this).

OK, so personal woes aside, lets get on with the main dishes. Again all were excellent but perhaps the favorite was the Sauteed Pork Farmer Style, a slightly black beanish, saucy dish that had a lot of kick and was the biggest gamble of the night (most other dishes we read about either in the Times review or on yelp).

Sour Green Beans and Ground Pork was unusual but in a great way (in fact I am devouring a huge bowl of it now) the pickled beans from the fried rice accompany chopped spicy peppers and you know I am a sucker for ground pork.

Our third adventurous dish was white pepper beef, a nifty dish full of flavor but not as hot as it appeared on first look : tons of chili’s peeking out from the almost jerky like bits of beef.

Really, all three are highly recommended, though it seems from out experience that you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu here.

Add in a really friendly staff that makes you feel comfortable to linger (and who doted on Van) and you have yourself one spectacular eating experience, one that can even over shadow dental problems. This is bound to become a foodie destination if it’s not already.

We went as an early celebration to our Anniversary. We didn’t want to be away from Van and we didn’t want to spend a fortune so this was perfect. Our huge meal was less than $30 a person and it was laid back enough that Van could be comfortable there.

See more: Restaurants

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on August 22, 2011

Restaurants »Chao Thai

85-03 Whitney Avenue, Elmhurst, Queens

Any restaurant rumored to rival Woodside darling Sripraphai is enticing to me and Chao Thai in Elmhurst (just a block from the excellent Indonesian hole in the wall Minangasli) is often mentioned in the same discussions, often called Queens best Thai food. It’s a tiny spot, we lucked out with timing to grab a table, several people after us waiting outside for the eight or so tables to finish up.

The staff is friendly and local groups of teens seem to love the place. We started our meal on a very high note. An order of crispy scallion pancake/dumplings (there is surely an actual name for these but I can’t find it) was absolutely incredible. I’ve had the crisp outside – chewy inside appetizer before but never so delicious. It comes with a sticky sweet soy sauce and should be a must on your visit.

For my main dish I ordered one of my favorite foods, Larb. It’s listed as an appetizer but with a lovely hunk of sticky rice, it’s more than enough for a main dish. Nicely balanced between flavors it was a great rendition of the dish. Jim opted for one of his staple orders, Massaman Curry with Beef and was equally pleased.

Chao is BYOB and Sietsema is a fan.

Click here for the rest of Chao Thai

See more: Restaurants

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on September 26, 2010

Spend a Couple Hours »32nd Annual Thunderbird American Indian Mid-Summer Pow Wow

at the Queens County Farm Museum

The 32nd Annual Thunderbird American Indian Mid-Summer Pow Wow has been on my calendar for about a year since I first heard about it. The costumes and performances did not disappoint and I was especially psyched for the kids that were carrying on the tradition. All the costumes were hand made and really stunning and incredible: neon quilting, huge feathers, intricate beading (in one instance, a tweety bird), and bell covered dresses, oh my. The dance ground was surrounded with booths that sold everything from Horseradish Pickles to a great chest plate necklace I was very, very tempted to splurge on.

This was my first visit to the Queens County Farm Museum, a lovely little place that hosts several events throughout the year. We rushed out as the weather got wild leaving behind the horseradish pickles unpurchased and a snack that will be on my mind until next year (or if I can find them elsewhere).

Click here for the rest of 32nd Annual Thunderbird American Indian Mid-Summer Pow Wow

See more: Spend a Couple Hours

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on July 25, 2010

Places to Visit »Jacob Riis Beach

Rockaway Beach Blvd. at Channel Dr.

Jacob Riis was a fearless photographer who used muckraking tactics and his camera to enact major changes in the slums of New York City. The beach named for him is a lovely stretch of south shore sand in the Gateway National Recreation Area that is a quick drive out of the city. It’s popular with families, boom box toting kids, and an eclectic crowd of sunbathers.

One of the parks most popular attractions are the barbecue fields that were absolutely swarming with grilling sausages, bananas (what a great idea!), and burgers and large extended families making the best of the hot summer. Come early if you want to claim a spot.

See more: Places to Visit

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on July 25, 2010

Laughs »3D Portraits at the Mall

3d portraits mallAt Your Local Mall

The Queens Mall offered up this gem of a crazy thing. Little did I know that the latest trend in mall kiosk portraiture technology utilizes lasers to create creepy three dimensional freak shows. Surely what Einstein envisioned when he established the theoretic foundations of the laser.

Even better than the idea of these photos is the examples on display. Rapist brothers next to Michael Jackson, rotten kids trapped in gleeful fear, and (my favorite) an odd older man wishing someone “good luck in college”. I should have gotten more photos, but the guy working the booth was as creepy as the product he was selling and aggressive in that way that only mall kiosk salesmen can be, so I had to run away.

Click here for the rest of 3D Portraits at the Mall

See more: Laughs

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on November 22, 2009

Spend a Couple Hours »Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Flushing Meadows Corona Park This is the old site of the World's Fair and it is super weird – especially this time of year. There is an elivated hole with weeds in it called “The Fountain of the Planet of the Apes.” The towers from the fair rot and creak and totally creep you out. You can also go ice skating or go to a smelly zoo.
Maybe I am not selling this correctly – Okay – the panorama at the art museum is AWESOME and worth the trip alone.

See more: Spend a Couple Hours

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on December 12, 2005