First of the Month: April

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Happy April! At the first of each month, I’ll be sharing what’s on my to-do list for the four weeks ahead, whether it be in the kitchen or Astoria. April highlights include a local favorite reopening and Queens Beer Week. What are you excited for this month!?

1. Fatty’s reopens! Yesterday, the Village Voice’s Fork in the Road reported that Fatty’s Cafe (!) is opening on 28th Avenue in mid-April. Their sweet little polenta cakes stacked with provolone are so simple and delicious. I’ve tried recreating them at home and it’s just never the same.

2. Astoria Performing Arts Center Raffle. We Heart Astoria spread some community love and support about APAC’s new fundraiser. Ticket buyers could win an iPad, a “Taste of Astoria” prize and gift certificates to several local restaurants and shops.

3. LIC Flea. The food and flea market opens this Saturday at 10am. For more info, check out their website.

4. A weekend getaway to D.C. with Baalok. This has nothing to do with Queens or cooking. However, the anticipation of this weekend just makes me warm and giddy with excitement.

5. Spring cocktails. Let’s celebrate spring with one of these light and refreshing cocktails from The Kitchn.

6. Queens Beer Week. According to DNAInfo, Queens Beer Week kicks off April 19th. 9 glorious days will showcase Queens’ burgeoning beer scene and local breweries.

 

 

snowdonia

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Last Saturday night, Baalok and I ventured to Snowdonia, a cozy, trappist-style gastropub. Tucked away at the corner of 35th Avenue and 32nd Street, the neighborhood spot serves local craft beer and quality pub fare. Many of the signature dishes feature the beer selections on tap as ingredients

The atmosphere is immediately warm and inviting. Dining benches line the tables and soft industrial pendants add a nice glow. For an appetizer, we shared the Ploughman’s Plate – a plate of ricotta cheese, house-made olive tapenade, pickled onions and pork spread. I’m not sure my palette is refined enough to have appreciated the pork. However, the fresh ricotta, juicy olive spread and perfectly pickled fat slices of onions were so good. I mean seriously good. Served on lightly buttered, grilled bread, the ingredients blended into a simple delight.

Baalok ordered another delight – the last steak-frites left for the night. Like many men, he has very high standards for steak. I’ve never heard him say a steak is good. He only mutters a doubtful, “It was okay,” or grumbles about an overpriced dinner. BUT for the first time in our 3-year relationship, he said, “Wow. That steak is really, really good.” (!!!) Really, really good means he loved that 16oz rib eye. Apparently, it was absolutely cooked to perfection – juicy and tender with just the right amount of seasoning. I don’t even eat beef, but that meal looked downright mouthwatering.

On the other side of the table, I enjoyed a generous portion of mussels soaked in a beer broth. The P.E.I. mussels were equally satisfying – plump and tasty. We topped the night off with glasses of Peak Organic Fresh Cut Pilsner while “Superbad” played on the TVs above the bar (a nice change from the typical sportscast). We both left in a happy daze patting our swollen food bellies. The relaxed environment, great service and delicious food were right on point. We can’t wait to go back.

Follow the Trappist Times for Snowdonia’s food and drink specials and upcoming events. Another plus, they also serve brunch.

birthday barhop

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Last night, I celebrated my birthday with a few close (absolutely wonderful) friends and the ever-growing row of bars on 30th Avenue. We started off the night at Front Towards Enemy, a new spot quickly gaining notoriety for its expertly crafted cocktails.  The girls enjoyed the Bow & Arrow, a tangy mix of mezcal, bourbon, lime and pineapple juice. The guys preferred to keep it simple with a Spiked Whiskey or Doc’s Brandy.  I chose the Monkey Fist, a delicious snowcone-like concoction of rum, pisco, lime, orange and grapefruit topped off with a kick of cayenne. We didn’t order food, but the drinks and dark, cozy atmosphere definitely warrant future visits.

Next stop was longtime fixture MexiBBQ for its 45 beer selections on tap. Later we finished the night off at Bourbon & Vine, a playful meets industrial designed gastropub relatively new to 30th Avenue. My friends risked the Voodoo Astoria, a strong mix of Bacardi 51, orange liquor and hot sauce. Meanwhile, I nursed a shot of Goldschläger and a glass of water… Needless to say, all bars were great and hospitable, and we laughed the whole way home in a stupor.

P.S. If you love 90s music, visit Bourbon & Vine!