Be sure to ask about the brick oven pizza specials at Via Trenta (Italian for 30th Ave), like this fantastic rustic flatbread with garlic, truffle spread, mushrooms, fresh mozzarella, and basil. And remember at lunch, even if you don’t order one of the weekday $10 pasta/panini/pizza specials (the margherita pizza is always one of the options), you still get soup or salad with your entree. Via Trenta | 36-19 30th Ave, Astoria | (718) 545-2090 | viatrenta.com
Ate at this very cart today, at the 2nd Jackson Heights Momo Crawl. More Himalayan dumplings than you can shake a stick at in such a tiny area! The guy at this cart told us momos are better with yak meat, up in the mountains of Tibet…but what can you do?
Have you seen Blood Brothers at the Astoria Performing Arts Center yet? The musical had a record run on the West End and took the Olivier for best musical. This production features creative new direction and staging of the dark musical about twins separated at birth, setting them on different life paths that would ultimately cross again. Hilarious, poignant, and gripping, it tells the story of their life, love, and ultimately perilous fate.
Performances of Blood Brothers run May 2 – 18 at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church (30-44 Crescent Street, Astoria). Visit www.apacny.org to purchase $18 tickets or to contribute to the center, or call (888) 596-1027.
The Knockdown Center in Maspeth, Queens, is like DIA:Beacon + Roberta’s + The Foundry + post-apocalyptic landscape. Gallery here on papermag.com. It’s a 3-acre complex that used to serve as a glass factory but now hosts events and happenings and projects.
For Cinco de Mayo, Queens Comfort is running some insanely delicious specials this weekend, like these pork tacos—filled with a blend of tangy, tender stewed and smoked pork shoulder, then drizzled with creamy ranchero and salsa verde with a crunchy, cool nest of slaw. Queens Comfort * 40-09 30th Ave, Astoria * (718) 728-2350 * queenscomfort.blogspot.com
The Queens Kickshaw introduces its new dinner menu tomorrow! Above are the kimchi dumplings, stuffed with shitake mushrooms and vermicelli, in a kimchi consommé. There’s also a kimchi lasagna, arancini (deep fried fritters of cider risotto and fontina), homemade beet pasta alfredo, bibimbap with quail eggs and rice cooked in whey, and tortilla manicotti stuffed with ricotta and poblanos. This menu is out of this world! The Queens Kickshaw, 40-17 Broadway, Astoria, (718) 777-0913, www.thequeenskickshaw.com
“Growing up in Austin, Texas smoked BBQ is in our blood. Every Saturday night my parents would get mesquite and hickory burning in our 8 foot backyard smoker (that my dad had welded together) and tend to its fire overnight. On Sunday afternoon, right after church, we had us a good ol’ time. We wanted to offer a “Meatopia” of our favorite meats and the Butcher’s Platter was born—a sampler of burnt end brisket, pork belly, and ribs topped with mac and cheese and bacon-string beans. Just like Momma’s Sunday BBQ!” Orlando Sanchez, Executive Chef, Butcher Bar, 37-08 30th Ave, Astoria, (718) 606-8140, butcherbar.com
At Biang, the trendier and more formal version of Xi’an Famous Foods, you can have quail two ways. The quail eggs on sausage & toasted Mantou slices are sweet and creamy with a little spice. The spicy quail with tiger vegetables is sure to tingle your tastebuds with cumin and then cool them down with celery and cilantro. Get it spicy in Flushing.
The dumplings at JJ’s Asian Fusion are insanely addictive. Their ‘dim sum’ (bottom-left) are homemade crab and chicken meatballs bundled in dumpling wrappers and crowned with shrimp, served with ginger dipping sauce. I also love their playful twist on shumai (bottom-right), where the meatballs are rolled in shredded dumpling skin and then steamed in bamboo leaves to-order. They also serve their famous edamame dumplings in wasabi cream sauce (top) with a drizzle of basil oil, along with traditional gyoza, and even steamed king crab gyoza. All dumplings and sauces are made in-house daily. JJ’s Asian Fusion * 37-05 31st Ave, Astoria * (718) 626-8888 * www.jjsfusion.com