I don’t understand how everyone is not constantly raving about Homemade Taqueria just off Northern Blvd in Astoria/LIC. Fantastic, cheap, authentic Mexican cuisine. They make their own tortillas every day… by hand, not machine. Same with the empanadas (spinach and queso pictured above) and huaraches (try it with the smoked pork chop). The fresh juices are delicious (I added a few ice cubes floating with the seeds… so refreshing!) And the best part… they have a ‘fixins’ station at the counter where you can apply your own pico de gallo, cilantro, salsas, shaved radishes, beans, and nopales (cactus). Homemade Taqueria * 45-09 34th Ave, Astoria * (718) 255-1349 * www.homemadetaqueria.com
My grandfather was a bit of a hoarder, but it never got too out of hand as he managed to keep most of his stuff down in the basement. Considering I lived with them, I have strong memories of a bunch of cast iron thingamajigs down there, so I’m sure he would’ve loved the Underpenny Plane and Cast Iron Museum in Queens, New York. Antique collector Sung Park spent over fifteen years searching New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Ohio for these mid-19th century American artifacts. He always dreamt of sharing the cast-iron pieces by opening up a museum-shop. And he did just that. Tucked right beneath a tenement house, one side of the tiny space for viewing only with hundreds of items lining the wall behind the counter, like ornate penny banks, cast iron trivets, bells, bookends, wood planes, and horse-and-carriage toys. And even though these trinkets are off-limits from your greedy hands, at least the other side of the room is for sale. So good news, shoppers. Commerce wins again!
Recently really impressed with a terrific banh mi (Vietnamese ham, roasted ground pork, paté, pickled daikon, carrots, cilantro, cucumber, sriracha, & soy sauce) at Cyclo, the new Vietnamese restaurant in Long Island City. They also serve a tasty beef pho in oxtail broth, as well as several other Vietnamese dishes… great lunch specials, too (banh mi with veggie soup for $6.50)… Cyclo * 5-51 47th Ave, Long Island City * http://www.cyclolic.com