Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Rockefeller Christmas

Rockefeller Plaza has put up the Christmas tree, a pretty and humongous business from New Jersey. SNL made a funny joke about the Rockefeller tree and the tiny Rockefeller menorah that fell between the fridge and counter in the kitchen...

I love Christmas spirit and lights and ice skating and prettiness, but seriously, why can't people always be nice and giving? And why does religion have to be the excuse? We're all people, people. We should be each others' saviors every day.



Lighting to come on November 28th.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Big Plate, Small Appetite?

You know how dieticians tell you to use smaller plates to curb how much you eat? That studies show, the smaller your plate is, the less you'll inadvertently eat, no matter how hungry you are? Yeah, I think my plate missed that memo...

And in other news: make yourself a bagel breakfast sandwich!
-Fry an egg or two, toast your bagel, add whatever toppings you want (lettuce, cucumber, and tomato in this case), add a little honey mustard, and voila! Deliciousness!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Brunch Review: Queen's Comfort

Delicious location, although tiny so be prepared to wait. Staff is nice, if a little spacey. I had the french toast and nearly passed out from trying to inhale the plate, which was far too much but too delicious to leave uneaten.

Our mistake was not realizing that the place is BYOB, so you can bring your own orange juice and champagne for mimosas, or bust out the bloody mary mix after a long night of partying. Note to self for next time.

Score: 9/10
My favorite brunch place on 30th Ave so far, but still not as awe-inspiring as Northern Spy Food Co.
4009 30th Avenue
718 728 2350

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Brunch Review: William Hallett

At this point you may have noticed the 30th Ave commonality in my last reviews. I've befriended a group of foodies who are set on exploring Astoria, and we've been working our way around 30th Ave. We'll move onto the Broadway area, once the options on 30th have been exhausted...

William Hallett

Nice joint with great staff, although completely booked on the weekends. They don't take reservations, so take a smaller group and make sure you're prepared to wait.

Their vegetarian options are limited, so I got a goat cheese omelet that was uninteresting, but then again, aren't most omelets that way? Some of my friends got the Crab Cake Benedict, which they said was amazing. William Hallett adds a fried layer of bread crumbs around their poached eggs, adding that extra zing and setting themselves apart. Definitely going to try to get myself some of that crispy poached egg action next time...

Score: 8/10
Minus points for lack of delicious vegetarian options and charging extra for every little thing, plus points for awesome staff, creative menu items and delicious meat options.
36-10 30thAve
Astoria, NY 11105
718 269 3443

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Catch-Up: Elections

Spoiler Alert: Obama wins.

Rockefeller Plaza

The CNN Electoral College Tally on the Empire State Building. Yes, that's right. The blue and red lines on the bar indicated how many votes each candidate has (obviously this was early in the evening).

Review: Sugar Freak

Southern-inspired menu makes your mouth water, and the decorative style gives it a homey, southern town feel. However, the general emptiness of this restaurant at nearly all hours of the day hints at the possibility that the joint might not be living up to the image it's trying to project.

We ordered some house cocktails, along with hush puppies and draft beers. The cocktails were both good, as were the beers, but the hush puppies were extremely disappointing. Over-fried, the outer layer was hard and powdery and what little of the middle existed was flavorless. Complete waste of a dish.

Score: I don't want to judge the restaurant based on one appetizer, so I will be back again to try something more substantial off their menu, but I was not impressed.
36-18 30th Avenue
Astoria, NY
(718) 726 5850

Monday, November 12, 2012

Catch-up: Halloween

Check it: Halloween New York Style. I.e. Lots of bars and fancy roof-top parties. Sorry my pictures were not more awesome, I was distracted by the revelry.

He's a California Padre. Get it?! Get it?!

Views from the Roof-Top Party in Manhattan:

Brunch Review: Jane

Jane is one of those New York City Institutions everyone has heard of and everyone is dying to go to.

Don't bother.

Despite having reservations for 12pm, we weren't seated until almost 1pm, and had to deal with a staff that was rude. Understandable considering the unbelievable brunch rush they were facing, but still unpleasant. Our drinks and a plate of donuts were comped as a result that and a mistake they made on our orders, but ultimately the food wasn't worth the wait. I had a dull Eggs Florentine, and my friends had uninteresting omelets.

I could have made food that tasted exactly the same at home, minus the stress of waiting an hour and being jostled around by rushing servers, other restaurant patrons, and irritable hosts.

Rating: Don't bother.

But if you enjoy that sort of thing:
100 West Houston Street
NY, NY 10012
212 254 7000

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Catch-Up: Coney Island

Having never been to Coney Island, I decided to take Columbus Day and head on over there before they closed for the winter.

First up: Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs. They're famous for some reason, and also the site of the annual hot dog eating contest. As part of my cultural exception rule, I had one, plain with onions and slaw, and a lemonade. I give it two thumbs up, especially if you add the awesome mustard from the condiment table. Word to the wise: the "medium" drinks are the normal-person equivalent of an extra-large. For the love of God, order a small drink.

The Boardwalk. Strangely eerie in the first days of fall.

 Fishing off the pier. High potential of mercury-contamination, but when you gotta eat, you gotta eat.

The state of Coney Island trashcans.

The creepiest carnival doll ever. We abandoned it there, but I kid you not I have nightmares that it might come find me. I actually went through a mental process of assessing how I would best contain this monstrosity if it ever showed up at my apartment (answer: in a see-through, bullet-proof container with a combination padlock. It has to be see-through so I can reassure myself it's still in there without opening the box, and bullet-proof and locked because it's obviously dangerous and god knows what it's capable of.).
 Coney Island! We went on the Cyclone, the roller coaster to the right of the Ferris Wheel and that tower thingie. Awesomely fun, but somewhat back and neck ache inducing.

Brunch Review: Northern Spy Food Co.

Go. Just go. And suck up the long wait.

Everything on the menu is locally-sourced and delicious, and the menu varies based on the season. I got a delicious gin and cucumber cocktail, coffee, and a mushroom and egg Hollandaise concoction. My friend got the bacon rolls and oatmeal, which are apparently their most popular menu items, and also delicious.

This is hands down best brunch I've had thus far in New York, and at this point I've already been to six or seven places...
511 East 12th Street (between Ave. A and Ave B)
New York, NY 10009
212-228-5100 phone

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Catch-up: I really don't know

Yeah, I don't know what's up with this. It was parked on 30th, metal armor and all.

Review: Bouchon Bakery

I'd been avoiding Bouchon Bakery since it's so expensive, but ended up there with coworkers for coffee one day and gave into their lemon tart.

And became obsessed. I've since tried a bunch of macarons, a fruit tart, the sandwich of the day, a cappuchino, and the tomato soup and none of it is that awesome. My coworkers love getting lunch there, but I have to say, I found most of their food disappointing. I even added half-and-half to their tomato soup, because I found it a bit too sharp for my tastes.

But the lemon tart. I could wax poetic about that fluffy, tangy, creamy, not-too-sweet tart. I've probably had it five or six times since, and given their absurd prices, that's saying quite a bit.

So go ahead, get yourself a lemon tart. Experience the bliss.
They have two locations in New York City, and three others in California and Las Vegas.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Catching Up: Oktoberfest

Yes, it's late. So sue me.

In return for marching in the parade on behalf of the German World Magazine, I got free admission to Oktoberfest in Central Park. I also met the German Ambassador to the U.S., had some quality beer, and ate some delicioso Kartoffelpuffer!

Parade participants getting ready

German World Magazine

The Volkswagen Club of New York

German Rules, American Behavior

 WHAT a coincidence

Ahhhh, the age gap in the age of technology. So sad.

Review: Sweet Afton

Tucked away in the Astoria, this is a gem of a bar that reminds me of the locales in Istanbul and Berlin my friends and I liked to frequent. It has a cute (read: tiny) back garden area when the weather is nice, and a woodsy lodge feeling inside. It also happens to be a favorite date spot, so look out for groups of two trying to get to know each other.

Drinks: great beers on tap (although a little overpriced for Astoria). They also have a special house cocktail menu, but I have to say the drinks are watered down and bland, not really worth it when they have great beer alternatives.

Food: I had their Portabello mushroom burger, good but nothing to write home about, and their mac and cheese, which is absolutely outstanding. Seriously, delicious. I recommend it plain (which somehow includes scallions), but my friend swears by the optional bacon.

All their food is locally-sourced, which gives them bonus points in my book.

Score: 9/10
I took away 1 point for meh cocktails.
30-09 34th Street
Astoria, New York 11103

Thursday, November 8, 2012


We had Hurricane Sandy last week, and then this North Easterly yesterday, battering the city and making life incredibly difficult for so many people. As I've noted before, there are still people without power, without housing, and without the basic necessities like water and heat. If you can, please donate, reach out to friends who live in affected areas, or just start volunteering and training for disaster response through your local Red Cross chapter (after all, you never know when and where those skills might come in handy - climate change anyone? Anyone?).

That being said, I still can't help but be somewhat excited by my first snow in New York! Post-storm:

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Wrong demographic?

Netflix apparently thinks my love of 90s movies like "She's All That" means that I would also be interested in watching "Dora the Explorer" and "Blue's Clues." Interesting.