Tag Archives: queens

birthday adventure in astoria. pt I.

in times of
gluttonous aging (part 1) 

I tend to write a lot so feel free to jump down to the end of the page if you want to skip the fluff & want the bare bones itinerary.

My fiance, Mike, turned 26 this year, and because 26 is such an exciting age, I decided to do something super fun!  OK… maybe 26 isn’t that exciting and I just wanted to do something super fun to begin with because I love fun and planning, but let’s say it is anyways.

So here’s how it began (the brainstorming that is).  I just finished my best friend’s bachelorette party, which had a different theme for each day or even half day, so I was in a theme frenzy.  For Mike’s birthday, I also wanted a theme so I thought of “(his) Favorite Foods Weekend”!

Basically, after a whole healthy week of eating gluten free & meat free, I knew I was in for a terrible hangover on Monday and even possibly Tuesday from the amount of dairy and carbs I was going to eat.  Oh, what I’ll do for love…and food.

In addition to wanting to please his bottomless tummy for yummy foods, I wanted to satisfy my own want of exploring parts of NYC I haven’t really hung out in before. Living in the Upper East Side has been extremely unsatisfactory to me.  It just doesn’t compare to my old neighborhoods, Chelsea & SohoWestGreenwichVillage (I used to live at Houston and 6th, which literally is the border of all those neighborhoods so I used to just mash them together when people asked where I lived).  I miss downtown but can’t be ungrateful for this beautiful apartment I live in now.  Anyways, since Upper East Side has been a BIG two thumbs down for me, and Astoria is practically right next door, I thought I could combine “Favorite Foods Weekend” with “Discover Astoria Weekend”, and woah, what a great combo.

Here’s what we did.

Day 1:

Saturday morning… or call it early afternoon… we headed to our first stop, Cafe Triskell, to have French Onion Soup, which I found on nydailynew’s the Best of NY’s French Onion Soup List.  The owner of this restaurant is also the one and only chef of the restaurant and has been for 8 years since it’s opened.  As the only man behind the stove, you can truly taste the love of cooking in the food.  Between the main course and dessert, it occurred to me that this might be one of my favorite restaurants in NYC.  By the time I was halfway through dessert, I knew, yes, this is one of my favorite restaurants in NYC. We’ll be back again… and again… and again.  Hmm… why haven’t we gone back yet? Read about my Cafe Triskell experience here.

[Favorite food: French Onion Soup]

Cafe Triskell's french onion soup

Cafe Triskell’s french onion soup

After Cafe Triskell, we took the subway up one stop and walked over to the Socrates Sculpture Park.  This park is “an outdoor museum and public park where artists can create and exhibit sculptures and multi-media installations” (Google).  It’s on the East River, which you can peer over and see Roosevelt Island & Manhattan.  Read more about the park here.

After the park, we strolled down to the Roosevelt Island Bridge and walked into to Roosevelt Island.  We walked south all the way until we hit the tram then took the tram home, which dropped us off a couple of blocks from our home.  The tram was so cool and definitely worth riding on at least once.   It only costs a subway swipe ($2.50) and you get a mobile vantage point of NYC you normally never see.  You fly over the East River, the Queensboro Bridge, then rooftops of buildings just like the symbolic pigeon of NYC (obviously everyone’s “If you could be a bird, what bird would you be?” answer).


moving view from the tram

We then relaxed at home, and before we knew it, it was time to hit up Astoria again.  This time, we headed to Queens Comfort, a new age twist on Southern comfort food, for mac & cheese, which was featured on VillageVoice’s & nydailynews’ best mac & cheeses in the city list.  Even more of a plus, this place is BYOB with no corking fee or anything so we brought two large beers I got at Whole Foods: Ale Smith IPA and Eviltwin Brewing Chocopologie Stout.  We loved the vibe here and the food.  It was just so Queens (hehe Manhattan noobs over here obviously).  We’ll be back again with a big group of friends.

[Favorite food: Mac & Cheese]

After dinner, we hit up two bars in the area: Front Toward Enemy, which just opened up recently, and New York Dog House.  Both were cool in its own way, and of course, I’d go back to both.  When I’m not too lazy, I plan on writing a review on both of these places.

On the way home, we found this amazing convenience store that had the best selection of beers I’ve ever seen a store carry… seriously, EVER!  We asked the cashier, “What’s up with the amazing selection of beer?”  He said, “Oh well, the customers want a good beer. They write it down and then I get it.”  Simplistic customer service at its finest.  So impressed!  I wish I lived closer to this place.  If I did, my beer belly would get so big, people would ask me how many months I am (tip: never assume a woman is pregnant unless it’s beyond obvious).  Anyways, the convenience store is Smart Choice Convenience at 3412 30th Ave
Astoria, NY 11103.

 Ta-da. There’s Day 1 of Favorite Food/Explore Astoria weekend, which included french onion soup, mac & cheese, a park, the tram and a couple of bars.  Want to check any of those places out? I will definitely join you! 

Click here for Day 2’s blog post (coming soon). 

Day 1:

  • Cafe Triskell
  • Socrates Sculpture Park
  • Walk to Roosevelt Island Bridge to Roosevelt Island to the Roosevelt Island Tram
  • Queens Comfort
  • Front Against Enemy
  • New York Doghouse
  • Smart Choice Convenience

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Filed under Itinerary, Restaurants, Traveling

brunch at cafe triskell.

in times of
savory soups and sweet surprises

(c) Chrysantha C. from Yelp

Hey everyone! Here’s my Yelp review on Cafe Triskell.

“Cafe Triskell became one of my favorite restaurants in NYC in just one meal.  It won me over by the main entree but by dessert, it was hands down one of my favorite places.

I loved the decor of the place as soon as I walked in.  It was cozy, warm and inviting.  The pace of the meal was excellent.  It felt like I was eating at home.

My fiance and I each ordered a french onion soup and split the corned beef hash brunch.  The french onion soup was delicious.  The broth was brimming with flavor, there was the right amount of onions and the blend of cheeses was perfect.  I loved the pieces of the cheese that was burnt.

While we were waiting for our soups, I saw two soups just sitting on the counter and I was wondering why they weren’t serving them to us immediately.  Good thing they didn’t! They were the perfect temperature to enjoy it without burning my mouth, which I’ve done at other places before.  I liked that the cheese in the broth was easy to break through and didn’t turn into one giant clump like at other places.

I am a huge fan of corned beef hash. I sometimes like the canned version better than the real version and I don’t eat anything from cans…’cept for corned beef hash, tuna and chickpeas.  However, this was the best corned beef hash I ever had.  It was a sort of deconstructed version- actual corned beef over hash with a poached egg with a runny yoke and some salad with a hint of mustard in its dressing.  I was very very impressed.

By this time, because the service was so great (our server was so sweet and smiley), the restaurant was so cute and the food was out of this world perfectly delicious, I thought, “I think this is one of my favorite restaurants”.  I was surprised at myself that this stamp of favorite resturant approval could happen so quickly.

I originally didn’t want to order dessert but because the soup and the meal was so great I had to.  This place is known for their crepes.  I got a simple butter sugar crepe and woah, I’ve never had a crepe like this (I’ve made them at home, had them in France, had them at creperies…).  This crepe was crispy, thin and tasty.

OK. Hands down one of my favorite restaurants.  I’ll be back again and again and again and again…  I live in Manhattan but this just made me LOVE Astoria.

A note: two french onion soups, corned beef hash brunch plate that came with coffee, tea or a juice, a tea, and a butter/sugar plate with 20% tip came out to $45.  Cash only!”

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Filed under food, Restaurants