Monday, April 25, 2011

Green for Queens Earth Day Fair

2nd Annual Green for Queens Community Earth Day Fair
FREE Environmental Festival for everyone!
Sunday, May 15 – 1-4 p.m.
At the Central Queens YM & YWHA
67-09 108 Street, Forest Hills, NY

For a pdf of the event's flyer: please click here!

Earth Friendly Fun For Kids:
  • Wildlife Children’s Theater of the Central Park Zoo
  • Big Apple “Circus to Go”
  • Music and cooking for kids!
  • Create an edible eco-system & eco-crafts.
  • Learn about worm composting!
  • Snakes & Worms & Other Wild Animals!
Green Vendors, Exhibits, and Talks for Adults:
  • Sustainable Food: local & organic cheese & coffee tastings, vegetarian cooking demonstrations, and more!
  • Bestselling Author Anna Lappe speaking on Diet for a Hot Planet at 3:00 p.m.
  • (Babysitting available during Anna Lappe’s talk.)
  • Learn how you can save energy, save $ & fight global warming!
  • Recycle: cell phones, rechargeable batteries, clothes & shoes.
  • Sign up for a FREE energy audit or for clean wind energy. (Bring one year of your gas & electric bills along)
  • Learn about neighborhood organic food coops, community gardens, white roofs, bike paths, and green walls.
  • Free reusable water bottles, shopping bags, and CFL light bulbs!
And for all: Delicious, healthy snacks!

Presented by Queens Green Alliance & the Central Queens YM & YWHA, with: Ahmadiyya Muslim Center, Bamboomoves, Beyond Oil NYC, Cub Pack 96 & Venture Crew 96, Church in the Gardens, Forest Hills CSA, Forest Hills Jewish Center, Glendale CSA, Green City Challenge, Hillcrest Jewish Center, Israel Center of Conservative Judaism, Marathon JCC, Queens Community for Cultural Judaism, Queens Harvest Food Coop, Queens Holistic Moms, Queens Jewish Center, Queens Jewish Community Council, Queens Mamas, Reform Temple of Forest Hills, Rego Park Green Alliance, Solomon Schechter School of Queens, Sustainable Forest Hills, Transportation Alternatives, Tuv Ha’Aretz CSA

More information: www.centralqueensy.org/EarthDay
Get involved! 718-268-5011, ext. 151, or pkurtz@cqyjcc.org

Hot Time!

Who said it could be summer in April anyway? I guess this fits though with the recent pattern - it seems like all the seasons now start about a month earlier than they used to. So I guess like last summer we can expect August (maybe even July the rate this summer is going) to be pretty mild and most of the heat in May and June. We shall see.

Oh, and a pleasant development that would make Jerry Seinfeld quite happy! The smell of mothballs in my building's hallways which almost had me moving last summer has suddenly today been replaced by the sweet smell of Russian Babka! Delighful!


For lunch today, it was a delectable salad from Energy Green again. The best one I've had so far! A little grilled chicken and very tasty ranch dressing made this one another winner!


By the way, out during lunch this afternoon I walked past the site of the soon-to-be Old Vienna Cafe and noticed several workmen inside remaking the space from its former La Terrazza incarnation. At the pace they were working, and the number of workmen there today, this place should be opening sooner rather than later.

Restaurant Revisits

I've returned to two of our neighborhood's new restaurants in the past several days to see how they are faring a few weeks after they opened:

- Agora Taverna: I ate here over the weekend, actually for the third time. This time I ordered the Greek Salad, the Branzini (grilled, whole fish) with a side order of lemon potatoes and a Greek coffee for dessert. This is the second time I have had the Greek Salad and the Branzini and really liked them once again. So I can report Agora is consistent when it comes to quality - both times these were excellent. The small Greek salad I ordered was actually large enough to have for a main course if I had ordered a little something else to go with it. All the ingredients are very fresh and there is a great blend of different flavors. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that I absolutely loved the lemon potatoes as a side dish. The other sides I have had at Agora - the rice and the Greek fries - were ok, but nothing to write home about. I really didn't think I had the appetite to eat the lemon potatoes but they were so good I ended up cleaning the plate. The Greek coffee, like the last time, was very good as well. The only issue I saw at Agora is that they have a tendency to rush the food a little bit. I ordered the Filet Mignon kabob last time and I had to return it to the kitchen to get it a little more well done. When it came back it was really good. My friend last night ordered the grilled salmon and when it first came out, the middle was pretty rare! When it came back again, he really enjoyed it. But come on guys, even I can cook a salmon! Agora, if you are reading this: I know you just opened and judging by the crowds, you have a lot of people waiting to try you out, but take things a little more slowly and make sure the dishes are cooked to order.
Revisit Grade: A

-Marianella's Taqueria: As I reported last week, this place was actually worse the second time I tried it. Not only did I notice at the counter crusty, old guacamole that apparently hadn't been touched or refreshed in hours, but the lettuce was also still looking old and brown, just like last time. They've had a few weeks to get the freshness issues right, but no progress on that front unfortunately. (By the way, why do they cover your plate with lettuce when you order tacos there? Sometimes restaurants do strange things. This is one of them. Did the manager instruct the workers: 'Oh, and when you give them their tacos, make sure you cover the plate in lettuce!' Uhhh, why?? Give me a salad, sure I might eat it. But a plate filled of dry, bland lettuce? Am I a cow? Am I supposed to graze on this?) The grilled chicken burrito I had this time actually had little if any flavor, and I even found a small bone in it to boot. Unfortunately, It seems I have set my last foot in Marianella's Taqueria. This is one of the bigger disappointments here in Forest Hills in a looong time. Because ever since Green Cactus closed up shop a few years ago on Restaurant Row (70th Road), I have really missed good Mexican takeout food here in Forest Hills!
Revisit Grade: D

Saturday, April 23, 2011

St. Louis Airport Footage

Remarkable video from inside the terminal just before the tornado that devastated parts of the St. Louis area struck last night... They are predicting the coming week to be one of the worst in the Midwest for tornadoes in a long time.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

How Desperate Am I For A Burrito?

A prayer in four verses written by Drake after his second visit to Marianella's Taqueria, this afternoon, for lunch, for a grilled chicken burrito.

Oh, burrito Gods up in heaven, please hear my cry!
How desperate art I for a burrito, oh God??

Desperate enough to eat old, brown lettuce? Yes!
Desperate enough to observe crusted old guacamole at the counter while I wait an inordinately long time for a burrito made with old, brown lettuce? Yes!! YES!
Desperate enough to feel bizarrely out of place as I watch the crowd around the bar (Bar? In a takeout restaurant?) sipping margaritas in the middle of the work day as I wait for the old, brown lettuce containing burrito?? YES!

Oh Burrito Gods up above - why, why hast thou forsaken me and delivered unto me Marianella's Taqueria in my land of Forest Hills instead of the chosen one, blessed be he: Chipotle!!!

Yea! Yes, the grilled chicken burrito I had this day at Marianella's Taqueria was not terrible oh lord! Yes, it only had a small bone in it - not terribly unusual, oh lord. Yes, it barely had any taste come to think of it, oh lord! But, why, why couldn't you bless my village with a normal New York City Mexican take-out place? Are we here in Forest Hills oh so very different from the rest of New Yorkers? I think not Lord!

Crime Rate Flip-Flops Between NYC and Rest of State

The latest stats show the City is now safer than the rest of New York State, at least when it comes to crime:

"In 2010, reports of crime in the counties of outside New York City accounted for 58 percent of all the state’s crime — in the seven major categories of crime, known as index crimes. And the rest of it, or 42 percent, took place within New York City."

While the article says that back in 1990, crime within New York City accounted for 63 percent of all the crime within the state, with the remainder occurring everywhere else in the state outside the boundaries of New York’s five boroughs.

A complete reversal in 20 years!

N.Y. / REGION
City Room: Declines in Crime, the ‘Crash Tax’ and Kelly’s Plans
By AL BAKER
Published: April 21, 2011
One Police Plaza: A report shows that fewer than half of all crimes in New York State are now committed in New York City; the Bloomberg administration drops a revenue plan, and the police commissioner is asked about his future.

To Pay, or Not To Pay

For those of you who care about how The NY Times' new digital subscription policy is faring - as I do, because I really do love The Times and want them to find a profitable way forward to the inevitable: their transition to becoming a purely digital newspaper - there is finally some information about that in their latest quarterly report, just out:

"For the first time, the Times Company provided information on how digital subscriptions were faring. The company said that since it started limiting the number of articles readers could read on NYTimes.com for free, it has signed up more than 100,000 subscribers. While it said the program was still too young to judge a success, “early indicators are encouraging.” Subscriptions start at $15 every four weeks, but many subscribers have so far paid discounted introductory rates."

By the way, in case you haven't noticed, I tend to post a lot of links to Times stories and videos. I do this for the simple reason that no one can beat them in terms of interesting articles and multimedia you just won't find anywhere else. As part of their new digital policy, if you click through from blogs like this one to read a Times story that article will ALWAYS be free for you to read, however, it will count as one of your 20 free articles each month. The good thing is even if you surpass your 20-free-articles-a-month limit, you will still not be charged for any articles you read at NYTimes.com through blogs like Edge of the City.

Ok, so now I've totally confused you. This Frequently Asked Questions excerpt from The Times website explains it better:
Can I still access NYTimes.com articles through Facebook, Twitter, search engines or my blog?
Yes. We encourage links from Facebook, Twitter, search engines, blogs and social media. When you visit NYTimes.com through a link from one of these channels, that article (or video, slide show, etc.) will count toward your monthly limit of 20 free articles, but you will still be able to view it even if you've already read your 20 free articles.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What Enterotype Are You?

Just another thing to ask you doctor, and I guess the millions of bacteria living in your gut:

Science
Gut Bacteria Divide People Into 3 Types, Scientists Say
By CARL ZIMMER
Published: April 20, 2011
Scientists report that the three “enterotypes,” which are unrelated to ethnicity, sex, weight or age, may have discrete effects on people’s health.

Roadie - A New Movie Set in Forest Hills





Here's some information about this movie that debuts at this year's Tribeca Film Festival. The movie stars Ron Eldard, Bobby Cannavale, Jill Hennessy, and Lois Smith:


http://www.tribecafilm.com/festival/features/Michael_Cuesta_Roadie.html


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tribeca Film Festival Kicks Off This Week

Here's a brief look at some interesting films at this year's festival, which runs from April 20 through May 1st.



Visit the Festival's website at: http://www.tribecafilm.com/festival/

Recipes for Passover

A Slide Show with recipes from The NY Times:
DINING & WINE
Recipes for the Passover Table
Published: April 13, 2011
Matzo ball soup, haroseth, cake and other recipes to help you cook for the holiday.

NYC's Next Taxi Cab?

Frank Gehry's Latest Creation

If you haven't seen Gehry's cool new tower in lower Manhattan, here's some pics I took on Saturday...





Friday, April 15, 2011

Old Vienna Cafe to Replace La Terrazza

More big restaurant news tonight. One of our readers says a sign is up on the old La Terrazza restaurant site, next to Midway Theater, for what is to come next: Old Vienna Cafe. Sounds enticingly exotic, doesn't it? This could be interesting...


La Boulangerie Under Construction

My top-notch reporter was allowed to take some photos inside the new French Bakery, La Boulangerie, currently under construction near the corner of Austin St. and 72nd Road. My reporter tells me this is their first bakery and they are not affiliated with anyone else.  It is going to be set up so that you can see into the kitchen through large windows and watch the bread being made. The owner also says they are going to focus on bread and food stuff as opposed to sweets as they see too many other places around where people can buy cookies and cupcakes. They look to be creating a high end kind of place, and hope to be open in another two months.



For those who don't know where this will be, this is a view of the corner:


Movie Suggestions For This Weekend

Just a couple of thoughts on some of the movies out this weekend. They expect it to be a little rainy, especially later Saturday, so this may be a good weekend to take in one of these:

I saw Hanna last weekend and really really liked it. If you're into the fast-paced Bourne type of movies, but with a bit of a creative spin, I think you'd love this movie, It also has a great cast:



If you're into something a little slower and more cerebral, you might want to give The Conspirator a shot, about the trial after the assassination of President Lincoln. It also has a great cast, and was directed by Robert Redford. However, the reviews out today haven't been too great. But I'll be seeing this one anyway, just because I'm really into history and there are far too few movies made about history so I have slim pickins, as they say:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

We've Been Published

....unfortunately, for all the wrong reasons :(     The Family Drama Of 'Iphigenia' In A New York Court


From NPR:
"In modern day Forest Hills, N.Y., another violent family story unfolded in the courtrooms. Mazoltuv Borukhova stood accused of having her husband murdered after a custody fight got nasty. He was shot, in broad daylight, while taking his 4-year-old daughter Michelle for a walk in the park. New Yorker journalist Janet Malcolm sat in the courtroom as the story of the murder of a middle-aged Jewish orthodontist played out, and the result is the courtroom drama Iphigenia in Forest Hills: Anatomy of a Murder Trial."

Two Spaces Under Development

... and two mysteries. I have no idea yet what is coming into them. If you know, please do share...

The first is next to the Midway Theater, the old corner La Terrazza restaurant space. It has sat mostly empty since the restaurant closed I guess over a year or so ago. I think it's only use since was for a "pop-up" synagogue over Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. (Hmmm, I wonder if that is the first time the term 'Pop-Up Synagogue' has ever been used?)



And the second space I just found out about this weekend. It's that Cards N' Such stationery store space on Austin St. that closed a while ago (on the Rite Aid side). I saw a worker inside today as I walked by.

Well, Beam Me Up

NYC is getting its very own space shuttle!

N.Y. / REGION
City Room: Space Shuttle to Land in Manhattan
Published: April 12, 2011
The Enterprise is a consolation prize for the Interpid Sea, Air & Space Museum, which had wanted one of the three shuttles that have carried astronauts into orbit.

For You History Buffs

150 years ago today, the first battle of The Civil War began, when the southerners opened fire on Fort Sumter, the Union fort in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina.


Disunion: The Defenders
By Adam Goodheart
Published: April 11, 2011
Officers, gentlemen and “scum” witness the first shot of the Civil War. 

When all else fails, I guess just cry

I was listening to talk radio the other day and a commercial came on where this young woman starts talking about the latest diet and how losing all this weight has changed her life. And then she starts to hysterically cry.

Look, maybe in this age of "reality TV" some people might be swayed by a crying pitchman for a product. But come on! Is this really how gullible we have become as a society? Have we completely lost track of what is real and what is not?

The recent crying trend didn't start with radio commercials. Our Speaker of the House is the most famous new crier amongst us:



I wonder what Tom Hanks would think:

Monday, April 11, 2011

Subway Elevator Ordeal

This is so disgusting. It's bad enough we have to be trapped on the subways because of delays almost every day, but being trapped in a packed subway elevator for an hour with barely any air?! This happened late Friday at the No. 1 train platform at 181st Street and Saint Nicholas Avenue:

Some Tree Planting Coverage

I'll link to them as I find the stories about Saturday's event.

Here's a good one: Reforesting Forest Hills, New York

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Friday, April 8, 2011

I seem to recall a glowing, bright orangish-yellowish orb in the sky.

Why?


Tree Planting Tomorrow

Just a reminder about the big tree planting event tomorrow morning. 


Make New York City a little greener

JetBlue and New York Restoration Project (NYRP) are teaming up once again to do One Thing That's Green! Join us on April 9, 2011 as we plant hundreds of trees in Forest Hills, Queens!

In September, tornadoes ripped through Queens leaving once lush areas looking vacant. Trees are a vital part of the environment, especially in New York City, and by recommendation of the City of New York, JetBlue and NYRP will partner to revitalize MacDonald Park and surrounding areas.

Bring your friends and family for an exciting day of outdoor activities that encourage active living! Breakfast and lunch will be provided, and all volunteers will receive a One Thing That's Green branded t-shirt. There will be activities for the entire family throughout the day.

Register now and check back for updates in the coming weeks. All volunteers must register and complete a waiver. Young adults ages 14 to 17 must have a signed waiver from a parent or guardian to participate. Kids younger than 14 are welcome with an adult and they'll be plenty of activities for everyone.

Do your One Thing That's Green! Together with our partners NYRP, 106.7 Lite FM, 103.5 KTU and Power 105.1, JetBlue will make a lasting difference on the community and continue to evolve our commitment to greening the Big Apple.

When: Saturday, April 9, 2011
Where: MacDonald Park, Forest Hills, Queens
Time: 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
What: One Thing That's Green tree planting and activities!

Here is a link to more information about this event:

http://regoforestpreservation.blogspot.com/2011/04/april-9th-tree-planting-event-in-forest.html

I Want To Go To This

Disney broke ground Friday on its newest resort, in Shanghai, China.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Restaurant Recap

Given all the restaurant news over the past couple of weeks, I thought this would be a good time to recap where we stand:

New Places I will Frequent:

Agora Taverna - I've already been to this great new Greek restaurant on Austin twice. The first time I had the whole fish Branzini, which was excellent. And the second time, the Filet Mignon kabob, which was so tender and delicious I can't wait to have it again. Not to mention just the overall look of this new restaurant. The atmosphere is so airy and inviting, I feel good just walking into the place.



Q Bistro - This restaurant has been reborn on Ascan with modern American cuisine (it used to be a very popular Thai restaurant). I have been there once since it reopened and found the food pretty good - I wouldn't say excellent, but quite good. The place is also very relaxing and inviting - like a nice Manhattan restaurant. Some of the prices are a bit high, but there are also some very reasonable selections as well. And they have a nice selection of wine. I am very impressed with the creative menu, though. There were quite a few dishes I want to go back and try. Also, where it is, off Austin on Ascan, also adds to the overall kick-back-and-unwind feel of this very promising new restaurant.





Energy Green - This new make-your-own salad place is tucked away on the lower level of the Austin St. mall. I've both gone to the place and also had it delivered. The salad was quite good. Everything was fresh and tasty. I also had the lentil soup and a tuna fish wrap another time. The soup was fine, not great. Their tuna, eh... I would stick with Gotta Getta Bagel on 71st Continental if I want a tuna sandwich.





New Places I will occasionally go to:

Exo Cafe - My thoughts about this place is it is where I might take friends for a few drinks and a light bite who come to Forest Hills for a visit. The food was not good enough, however, that I would frequent it. But for drinks -- they have a nice selection of craft beer on tap -- and maybe a few appetizers, it fits the bill!









New Places I Found Disappointing - So Far:

Marianella's Taqueria - The old, brown lettuce they served me with my tacos yesterday, and the sight of crusty old toppings (hummus?) at the counter,  really put a damper on what was a pretty damn good grilled chicken burrito!






New Places I Am Really Looking Forward To:

La Boulangerie: From what we know, this will be a French restaurant/cafe/bakery with lite fare like croissants and freshly made breads. Just what we could use here in the Hills. Located just off Austin on 72nd. Road, it would be great if they throw a few tables outside in front. That would truly be magnifique! (And that is just about the extent of my French, thank you very much.)

Emily's Sugar Rush: We suspect that this will be a cute new candy store, at the corner of Austin St. and 72nd Ave. But that is not confirmed as of this time. But how cool would that be? (Yes, I know, it's not technically a restaurant.) UPDATE: My trusted roving reporter confirmed with a worker inside the store late Thursday that this indeed will be a candy store! 

If you know of another restaurant or store coming into the Hills (oh, Shake Shack, maybe, etc..), well,what are you waiting for? Let me and EOTC's readers know!




Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Edge of the City Early Review: Marianella's Taqueria

I just devoured two tacos and a burrito from the new Marianella's Taqueria, which opened today on 71st Continental. It was a decidedly mixed culinary experience.


I ordered the Taco Twosome for $5.95. This was two hard-shelled tacos, one ground beef and one chicken. They were ok, not great. But I have to say that I brought them home and by the time I got them home they were a little cool. So I would reserve judgement on them. One thing I have to point out for certain though is they serve the tacos with a lot of lettuce. And the lettuce seemed a bit old. It was brown in some spots. A Big NO NO!


I also ordered the Grilled Chicken Burrito for $7.95. This was much better. It actually was pretty damn good. I had it with refried beans, some type of smoked salsa, cheese, and yellow rice. Quite tasty indeed! There were times I would have sworn it was a burrito from Chipotle or another higher-end fast food joint.

I washed it all down with a medium Pepsi for $1.85. It was slightly flat. Another big NO NO!!!

As for the atmosphere of our newest Mexican restaurant, all I can say is it is just plain odd. First of all, when you get up to order the menu sign is overhead and behind you so you have to remember what you want from a rather unique and even a bit complicated Mexican menu. So I found myself constantly straining my head and stepping back from the counter to remember what I wanted to order!

Also, the fact that there is a regular bar in the restaurant makes it a bit schizophrenic of an experience. What is it doing there? It is like two places in one - A mid-market Mexican take-out restaurant and a bar.

And one other observation. As I was picking out all the different toppings, I noticed some crusty
old looking offerings - I think it may have been hummus or something like it. Not appetizing! Please keep your food fresh!

Now, for my grades:

Taco Twosome: B (I am giving it the benefit of the doubt because as I said it was a bit of a while before I ate them at home. Hopefully they are better fresher. But the brown-looking salad is plain inexcusable!!)

Grilled Chicken Burrito: A

Beverage (Pepsi): C

Food Quality: C (Big No No's: Brown lettuce, and crusty old looking toppings at the counter. I am not giving them a lower grade because it is opening day and I am chalking it up to opening day growing pains. I will have to go back in a week or so and see how things are going.)

Atmosphere: B (Nothing really special. It's not really upscale though. I greatly preferred the look and feel of Green Cactus which used to be on Restaurant Row here in Forest Hills a few years ago.)

Overall Grade: B- (I am giving them the benefit of the doubt. I do hope indeed the next time I go I do not see wilted brown lettuce and crusty old toppings!!) I would place them above the Fresco Tortillas Chinese/Mexican combo restaurants that are all over the city (and that we have two of right here in FoHi), but below Chipotle in terms of overall upscale atmosphere and quality.

Non-Story They're Trying to Make Into A Big Story

Donald Trump running for President. He has even less of a chance than Newt Gingrich in defeating President Obama. For me, I don't even have to know his positions on anything. It all comes down to his hair. If someone cannot manage his hair situation, he is not fit to be President.

We're All Fu*@ed, Again

Wow, Mother Earth sure has been resilient. First, she had to contend with tons of oil being spilled for months and months, and now her next challenge? Tons of radiation. I am sorry, but something we are doing is just not working. Time to reevaluate. There's only so much abuse a living thing can take.

Company Says Radioactive Water Leak at Japan Plant Is Plugged
Published: April 5, 2011
The company that runs Japan’s crippled nuclear power plant said that it had plugged a crack in a maintenance pit that had been gushing highly radioactive water into the ocean.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

More on Windsor 2 Project

The Daily News has an article today with lots of juicy details about Cord Meyer's plans to build the CVS, an underground parking garage, and eventually a high-rise building (the on-again, off-again "Windsor 2"), all on the north side of Queens Blvd. next to the Key Food.

Good news for the one Key Food lover who lives here in Forest Hills: It will remain open through the entire construction of the building, which is scheduled to be finished by the Fall of 2012. Oh, and all the stores were supposed to be out of there by last Thursday.

Sad price of progress as businesses cast aside by Forest Hills developer

Poll Results, and This Week's Poll

It occurred to me I never released the results of the poll from all the way back on February 21. Boy, how time flies. It feels like I just started that poll. Anyway, here are the results:

A total of 22 people voted.

The economy is:

Improving - 10 votes (45.45%)
Worsening - 6 votes (27.27%)
Hasn't really changed since the Recession began: 5 votes (22.73%)
Other answer - 1 (4.55%) - "Worsening in actuality, but fake numbers are showing improvement"


Now, on to the new poll:


A Revitalized Austin St.

I guess this is what makes New York City so special. A year ago, heck, maybe just several months ago, our main shopping district, Austin St., seemed in the doldrums with empty storefronts popping up from one end to the other. What a difference just a few months makes! Consider the following new businesses that have either opened in the past month on or just off Austin, or are about to in the next few:


  1.  Agora Taverna (fantastic new Greek restaurant)
  2. The newly reopened Q Bistro (a new modern American format for what used to be a Thai restaurant)
  3. Exo Cafe (a new relaxed venue for some drinks and lite fare)
  4. Marianella's Taqueria (a new casual Mexican eat-in/takeout restaurant)
  5. Emily's Sugar Rush (a new candy store?)
  6. La Boulangerie (a new French restaurant/bakery?)
  7. Energy Green (a delicious new make-your-own salad place)



Sunday, April 3, 2011

Inside Marianella's Taqueria

Here's a look inside the new Mexican restaurant, Marianella's Taqueria, on 71st Continental, which opens this Wednesday. Note the bar way up front, near the counter, to the left. Click on the pics for a better view, especially the second one.

Filing date
January 20, 2011
Premises name
Marianella's Taqueria LLC
License number
1251199
License status
Active
License type
On-premises liquor
License allowing on-premises consumption of liquor, wine and beer and sale of beer for off-premises consumption. Food, such as soups and sandwiches, must be served.
Effective date
February 28, 2011
Expiration date
January 31, 2013




Saturday, April 2, 2011

New French Restaurant/Bakery Coming to Austin?

Drat! Possibly more bad news for my waist line.... again.

Yes indeed... more information coming in today about a new French restaurant / bakery called La Boulangerie coming to Austin St. and 72nd Road. A reader posted a comment about it yesterday, and now one of my roving reporters confirms that a sign has gone up, along with decorative black awnings.

I did a Google search and found a French cafe type restaurant of that name in several cities across the US, including Chicago. Also, there is a restaurant called La Boulangerie located on the Upper East Side, serving up baked goods and sandwiches. But I can find little more information, aside from a few assorted reviews. Here is an excerpt from one of them:

The place is small, charming and inviting. As soon as you walk in, you see the various freshly baked bread and French delicatessens. I wanted to eat everything but we all decided to order crepes. We ordered the peasant one (brie cheese, fig jam and walnuts), ratatouille (goat cheese, red peppers and something else that was delicious I can't recall) and another crepe that had mushroom and chicken. They were all savory and divine. 



I have no idea if this is the same place, but here is the Yelp! link for the one in Chicago:
La Boulangerie - Logan Square

God, I'm getting hungry....



Friday, April 1, 2011

Edge of the City Introduces Digital Subscriptions

Due to the incredible popularity of my blog, yes, the long-time rumors are true, I have been forced to implement a new digital subscription plan. Here are the choices you have in order to gain access. The Edge of the City Board felt these were quite reasonable:

1. Clean my apartment building of all mothballs for me.
2. Build me a series of Whole Foods stores where the Key Foods currently are located.
3. Move the Forest Hills Trader Joe's to somewhere on Austin, so I can actually shop at it.
4. Convert the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium into a year-round Farmer's Market/Eataly East gourmet, organic food complex.
5. Build me a Shake Shack where the Blockbuster is closing.
6. Close Queens Blvd. permanently to all traffic.


Thanks,
Drake






Thursday, March 31, 2011

Energy Green Photos

As promised, here are my photos of the new make-your-own-salad place, Energy Green, which just opened on the lower level of the Austin Street Mall:








Eww!

This post was almost too much for me to bear, but I got through it!!

Though I love Springtime more than any other season, especially here in New York City, there is one, enormously upsetting downside for me: the reemergence of those very very creepy multi-legged long bugs. I have no idea what they are called, but about this time every year, the first weeks of April, lo and behold I inevitably find one of them arrogantly perched somewhere high on my apartment wall, just sitting there staring at me like it owns the place.

I readily admit to being squeamish about a bunch of things in this world (see my post about those annoying anti-smoking commercials!), but I have to say these bugs really take the cake.

I guess they kind of look like this... God help me. I can't even bring myself to make this photo as big as it can be on my blog because it creeps me out so much... Bed Bugs? I am sorry, but this is what I worry about:


What's the Rush?

I'm just back from a quick jaunt out West and it looks like there's been quite a bit of buzz building over this new shop coming in, "Emily's Sugar Rush,"at Austin and 72nd Ave. Some are speculating it will be an upscale candy store like Dylan's in Manhattan.

Another store that I went into before I left and will post some pictures of this afternoon is this new make-your-own salad place on the lower level of the Austin St. mall on Austin, Energy Green. Not the best name perhaps - I can never remember it and I keep confusing it in my mind with those "Energy Kitchen" places in Manhattan. But anyway, the owner was very friendly and I promised him I will be back to try the salad. I do know from a quick look that the offerings looked very plentiful - there were a lot of different dressings and toppings. This type of place we have desperately needed here in FoHi. Finally, we have a make-your-own salad place like just about every other neighborhood in the City!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Agora Taverna - Mini Review

I'm out of town for a couple of days, so this will have to be a quick review. Before I left, I went to the new Greek restaurant, Agora Taverna, on Austin, for the first time. I think the food is excellent. I will give the place a strong A. Everything was fresh and delicious. I ordered the Branzini (whole fish) for the main course and found it absolutely delicious. Someone else had the chicken kabob and absolutely loved it. For an appetizer, I had the tzatziki. This I found could have been a bit more flavorful. For dessert, I had a Greek coffee, which was really good. I will definitely be going back soon. I haven't had such a great piece of fish in a while, and certainly not in Forest Hills. This is a great addition to our neighborhood.

My Branzini was absolutely delicious. 

The chicken kabob was also excellent.

They also said they will have outdoor seating when it gets a little warmer. That will really liven up this entire corner. I can't wait to see how that adds a touch of cosmopolitan flair worthy of a NYC neighborhood to our shopping district. Finally, good things are starting to happen on the core strip of Forest Hills!

Agora hired a world-class architect and it really shows. There are many little touches - flower pots overhead, white stones in the floor when you walk in - and some big touches as well - the ceiling and the overall color scheme are just fantastic - that make this an exceptional dining experience.

Little decorative touches make this a delightful dining experience.

The service was fine, but quite harried. While the waiter was pleasant and attentive, and the food came out in no time, I felt we never had the waiter's undivided attention. He was constantly off and running in a second. It is nice for a waiter to actually smile and focus on the people you are serving for more than just a few seconds, instead of darting off to the other tables you are also working. Maybe he just suffers from some ADD? :)

Service: B+
Atmosphere: A+
Food: A (Not an A+ because the appetizer was a little dull in flavor, and so was the rice pilaf that accompanied my fish.)
Overal grade for Agora: A

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Edge of the City Review: Q Bistro

With some in my party unwilling to wait for a table at the packed Agora Taverna last eve (they shall remain nameless :), we headed east down Austin... to the new Q Bistro, located at 108-25 Ascan. The good news is having removed its "Thai" so to speak, Q has reemerged as a very pleasant place to dine on some very tasty fare. We all enjoyed what we had and look forward to going back soon to try some other dishes. The food was good, though I wouldn't call it excellent. But good enough that we want to go back and try their other dishes. (Pardon these pics, it was dark and the camera didn't do its usual best.)

I like what they did with the interior of the restaurant. It is very stylishly furnished, with the bar when you walk in and an open kitchen area towards the back.



One of us sampled the chicken paillard ($17) and enjoyed it, however thought it was a tad salty and the portion could have been a bit bigger. I tried it and found it be perfectly cooked and seasoned with a very nice taste.

Another in my party had the cheese burger ($12), and really liked it. The only complaint was there could  have been a few more fries, though the one's included were pretty large steak fries.

I myself went for what they call their "grown up grilled cheese sandwich," which is prepared with a couple of different cheeses, lettuce, tomato, and pork. And as an extra, very nice added touch, it comes with a smoked tomato soup. I think it cost around $14 which was quite a reasonable price for what turned out to be a very filling (maybe a bit too filling - towards the end I thought the sandwich's ingredients may have been a bit too rich) sandwich and soup.

Some of the prices at Q were a little high I noticed. But there were some very reasonable offerings as well, like my sandwich.  I also enjoyed a glass of wine (shiraz), which was very smooth and excellent.

The service was pretty good (they were a little slow in bringing out the bread and then a bit too eager to take away our olive oil for our bread, which was a bit odd. Though I think that just might have something to do with one of the servers who seemed a little inexperienced. The waitress we had seemed more experienced.)

All in all, I like what they have done with Q. The menu seems creative and modern. This is just the type of place we need more of here in Forest Hills. My grades:

Atmosphere: A- (the minus because I noticed several of the tables for two VERY close to each other, one of my pet peeves when dining. Heck, I like my privacy!

Food: B+ (for now, I want to try many of the other offerings on their very interesting and intriguing menu.)

Service: A-

Overall grade for Q Bistro: B+