Authentic Mexican food doesn’t get much better than this rather hidden gem… Athens Grill. Don’t be fooled by the name and walk past like so many erroneously do. The owners may be Greek, but it’s definitely a Mexican run and patronized restaurant that serves killer tortas & cemitas (try the al pastor), huaraches, tamales ($1.50) and even tops their tacos with grilled nopales (cactus). Wash it back with a MexiCoke, Jaritos, or tequila. They even deliver, open daily ‘til the wee hours of the night (usually 4AM). Athens Grill * 30-11 30th Ave, Astoria * 718-777-5366
Stove remains one of Astoria’s best-kept secrets. If you haven’t been in awhile, check out their new menu, featuring mesquite pork loin with frizzled onions and BBQ butter, honey five-spiced ribs with ginger slaw, and Chef Declan’s baked treats, like warm apple pie with creme anglaise. Be sure to try their Sunday brunch, with Irish classics like corned beef hash. Stove | 45-17 28th Ave, Astoria | http://www.stoveastoria.com
The Queens Kickshaw introduces its brand new “egg-centric” brunch starting today! Be sure to check out the outrageously inventive and delicious dishes, like these cold-poached eggs… an umami benedict with miso butter and pickled mustard seed “caviar” on cranberry walnut toast. Brunch will be served Saturdays and Sundays from 9 to 4… The Queens Kickshaw | 40-17 Broadway, Astoria | http://www.thequeenskickshaw.com/
Qatayef is a traditional dessert served in several Middle Eastern countries during Ramadan. The dough is fluffy like a pancake and folded in half, shaped like an empanada. It is filled either with cheese or nuts and is covered in a light, sweet syrup.
(Taken with Instagram at Al-sham Sweets and Pastries)
Yesterday was the Asian Food Expo at the Sheraton LaGuardia East, celebrating the Asian culinary scene in Flushing—which is home of the second largest Chinatown outside of Asia, as well as home to numerous other Asian cultures. One of the most unique dishes yesterday was this little shot of herbed jelly in coconut soup from Mulan Restaurant (mulan-restaurant.com), a pretty delicious reminder of the benefits of exploring Flushing.
This delicious appetizer combines fresh figs, thinly sliced pineapple & prosciutto. I never would’ve guessed to combine these flavors. I layered them on a thinly sliced piece of bread and sprinkled them with olive oil. Lovely.
This gorgeous thing is Sate Ayam, an extremely tasty version of chicken satay found at Mie Jakarta, an Indonesian restaurant in Elmhurst. The tender chicken tastes pleasantly of the grill, and the peanut sauce is rich, sweet, and savory all at once. When I first tasted it, I was in love! I can see myself ordering this again and again. And again. Mie Jakarta, 86-20 Whitney Ave., Elmhurst, NY 11373; (718) 606-8025
My name is Meg Cotner and I am based in Astoria, Queens. I’m a food writer and blogger, one of the founders of We Heart Astoria, and I have been writing about the food and culture of Astoria and Queens for about six years now. Right now I am in the middle of writing a guidebook to food in Queens, which will be published in December 2012 by Globe Pequot Press. A lot of my posts here will be about Astoria and LIC, but I love traveling around the borough and exploring its food, architecture, and public art. I’m thrilled to be able to post here along with so many inspiring Queens-based writers, and to share my love of Queens on Queens Love.
Astoria is already home to two renowned beer gardens, but now add to that Max Bratwurst Und Bier which opened last Friday… bringing authentic German into Astoria’s mix. Sure, they have homemade pretzels with traditional obazda cheese spread, schnitzel of all sorts, a line of house made sausages, and German beer galore. But for the adventurous, why not try a bratwurst made of rattlesnake, rabbit, or alligator? Max Bratwurst Und Bier, 47-02 30th Ave, Astoria, NY 11103; http://maxbratwurst.com
Yesterday, Butcher Bar celebrated Greek Orthodox Easter by opening its backyard patio and grill. Family, friends, and patrons gathered to enjoy two whole lambs slow roasted on a spit, as well as Butcher Bar favorites (like these decadently sticky, sweet, and tender burnt ends), bowls of traditional magiritsa (a fragrant dill avgolemono made with the offal of the lamb), and several rounds of tsougrisma, where friends attempt to crack one another’s red eggs… the final uncracked egg a promise for luck in the new year. Butcher Bar, 37-08 30th Ave, Astoria; (718) 606-8140; http://www.butcherbar.com/
Enjoyed this rather vibrant, refreshingly light new pasta creation for lunch today at Ornella Trattoria — trofie all’orto — ”Garden Pasta” with garlic, olive oil, arugula, and speck; Ornella Trattoria, 29-17 23rd Ave, Astoria; (718) 777-9477; http://www.ornellatrattoria.com/
The edamame potstickers at JJ’s Asian Fusion are some of the best in the city—little dumplings filled with pureed edamame beans, draped in a wasabi cream sauce with a drizzle of basil-infused olive oil. For some crazy flavor fireworks, the bonito tataki is ridiculously delicious—seared tuna with a garlic pomegranate soy reduction, lime zest, and paprika. Or for fusion at its finest, try the ahi-apple napoleon—a terrine of crisp apple chips, guacamole, wasabi aioli, tomato-yuzu puree, ahi tuna, and chopped spicy tuna with Peruvian aji amarillo. JJ’s Asian Fusion, 37-05 31st Ave., Astoria, NY 11103; (718) 626-8888; http://www.jjsfusion.com/