In time for 2013, I thought I would recap some of my favorite new places in Astoria, honor a few old favorites, and offer a couple of suggestions for reading more about food in our neighborhood and borough. Happy New Year, Astoria, and happy eating all!
Ring in the new
I spend a lot of time haunting Astoria’s many bakeries and Leli’s Bakery, new to 30th Avenue but with deep roots in New York City’s food scene, is an exceptional addition.
New to Astoria’s thriving Greek Cafe culture, Cafe Boulis, which opened along a quiet strip of 31st Avenue, offers friendly service and the freshest, best Loukoumades I have ever tasted.
For that all important coffee fix, COFFEED, which opened about two months ago on Northern Boulevard at the border of Astoria and Long Island City, combines high quality coffee drinks with smart civic engagement.
Our envy of Elmhurst and Flushing abated this year when Astoria got its first dedicated Boba (Bubble) Milk Tea Shop, Tapioca Story on 30th Avenue. I really like the cozy, family run vibe of this place as well as the Black Sesame Milk Tea with tapioca.
This was a truly special year for beer in Astoria with the opening of the Singlecut Brewery, now making amazing craft beers right on our doorstep. We also gained a wonderful new beer list with the opening of The Strand Smokehouse on my beloved block, Broadway.
Last but not at all least, The Thirsty Koala opened on December 24th on Ditmars Boulevard, introducing Astoria to an Australian-inflected menu using fresh, locally sourced ingredients, and providing warm, genuine hospitality.
Honoring a few old favorites
Most of my favorite places in Astoria are the ones I fell in love with when I first moved to the neighborhood about three years ago. Chief among these is Gregory’s 26 Corner Taverna, my favorite Greek restaurant in a town famous for this cuisine. Many thanks to We Heart Astoria for publishing the post.
I also profiled my go-to takeout places in Astoria (although both have seating too), Pão de Queijo, a small but mighty Brazilian restaurant, and Duzan, an often overlooked Palestinian restaurant in Little Egypt’s vibrant food scene.
This past Spring I was honored to contribute a guest blog to We Heart Astoria about My Italian Astoria, the everyday ways Italian food, the comfort food of my childhood, is a part of my daily life and routine around our neighborhood.
Last but not least, I wrote about Arepas Cafe, an affordable, excellent Venezuelan restaurant on 36th Avenue with epic portions of solidly delicious, decidedly unpretentious food.
Writing about food in Astoria is uniquely rewarding both for the food itself and for the great people who are daily singing our neighborhood’s praises. Below are a few of my favorite posts from Astoria writers that I read this year. Enjoy!
Don’t think Astoria is known for its Mexican food? Consider the Unsung Tacos of Astoria: Western Queens’ Overlooked Mexican Mecca brought to you by awesome Astorians Anne Noyes Saini and Tina Corrado.
Bradley Hawks is frequently first on the scene of Astoria food happenings, and I especially appreciated his profile of my favorite burger place in all of New York City, Astoria’s own Petey’s Burger which added a Long Island City location this year.
Meg Cotner of We Heart Astoria and Queens NYC wrote the Food Lover’s Guide to Queens, an epic trip around our borough featuring neighborhood favorites and hidden gems. A post by Meg Cotner for Queens NYC profiling commercial factories thriving in Queens also tops my list.
Finally, I’ll end with my favorite sentiment of the year, voiced by Astoria Haiku on We Heart Astoria, about the centrality of tradition in our neighborhood, and the importance of supporting our local businesses.
Happy New Year, Astoria!