Monday, March 31, 2014

Cleaning Out the Inbox

A couple of observations from readers over the weekend:

- Apparently a dollar store has popped up on Yellowstone between Ingram & Juno, causing one reader to "almost crash my car" when he saw it. I don't blame him...

- Another reader is concerned that ABCO Locksmith, a long-time business on Austin, seems to have disappeared, with the space taken over by The Gold Standard next door. Does anyone know where ABCO disappeared to?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Forest Hills Get Some -- Dated? -- Attention

My email box and Twitter feed has lit up today with readers telling me about the shout out Forest Hills got from the Serious Eats Blog. Well, I read it and while it's always nice for our 'hood to get some attention, I have to say I found the post there quite a bit dated. At least the blogger admits it's the place where they grew up and I assume don't currently live, because the places listed are kinda old and the post barely mentions any of the newer excellent places that have opened in the past couple of years. I mean, like, no Tuscan Hills? E-gads! No Station House or Banter or Flying Pig? Whaaa? At least Jack & Nellie's, La Boulangerie and Wafa's made the list!  Oh, and that headline -- "Sleeper Food Neighborhood" -- um, really? I mean I like to sleep a lot, but I like to eat almost as much and am kept quite busy keeping up with all the new restaurants and bars opening here... The Local's Guide to Eating Well in Forest Hills, Queens's Sleeper Food Neighborhood

Weekend Restaurant Recommendation

It being Friday and all—thank the Gods, 'cause I have just about had it! — here's my weekend restaurant recommendation. For all you local kebab lovers I'd recommend The Grill. I've eaten there a couple of times since they opened a few months ago on Restaurant Row (70th Road) and have tried an assortment of kebabs that have been either terrific (Chicken, and the Lula Kebab, which has ground lamb and beef marinated with cumin, diced onion, sea salt and pepper; or very good: Shrimp.) Below is their generous portion of Baked Clams, also really good. The Grill is a moderately priced new restaurant here in Forest Hills —not the cheapest place to eat, but the food has been really good.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sunset Over Forest Hills Last Night

Thanks to @FranksPete for the great photo! (The pic is a little washed out when transferring to the blog for some reason. See the original by clicking his Twitter link or on the Edge of the City Facebook Page.)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

New Restaurant: Reef

Opening soon across from the Irish Cottage on 72nd Ave. (Love the sign!)
Thanks to @michaelhsamuels for the pic!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

By the Way...

I just realized that between Banter, The Flying Pig, Station House, Jack & Nellie's, Tuscan Hills, Bareburger and Bonfire Grill, and the bunch of other new places about to open (I hear the new seafood place across from Irish Cottage will be called Reef, and am totally looking forward to the new Mexican place El Coyote on Austin, and Tuscan Hills' new offshoot in the former Just Like Mother's location I've been having dreams about)... our nabe has just about achieved what I was hoping for: There are now more than enough excellent casual eatery options smack dab in the center of Forest Hills. We no longer have to make do with just our -- quite good -- Asian fusion or Middle Eastern fare. We are, in other words, a normal New York City neighborhood when it comes to the restaurant department... finally. No more having to hop on the subway to Astoria or Manhattan! Hooray!

Of course, we can always use even more good places to eat. Case in point, just this past Friday night, we couldn't believe the waits at Banter (which we have come to expect, but the wall of humanity that greeted us when we popped open that door was still kinda surprising!), and then even the newly expanded Bareburger (even twice as big, the wait was about 15 minutes), and so we kept going until we decided to give The Flying Pig another shot, just before it really filled up. And as you can see from my post below, we were really glad we did.

Now all we have to do as a neighborhood is focus our efforts on getting some great supermarkets :)

Oh, and accepting candidates in Comments section below for those places you all think should either: 1) Expand, or 2) Open up a sequel somewhere else here in FoHi a la what Tuscan Hills is doing.

When the Pig Flies

Just thought I'd put in a few words for another really good place here in Forest Hills, The Flying Pig. It's another place I tried early on, wasn't blown away by because I thought its menu was too limited, and then just went back and absolutely loved. Between the enormously expanded menu, the really good food - everything we had we really liked - and the upbeat Friday night vibe when we went, The Flying Pig just rocketed its way to become one of my favorite places in FoHi.

The soup and reuben sandwich are off of the special St. Patrick's Day menu The Flying Pig had this weekend. Both were excellent. The roast chicken is from their regular menu.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Forest Hills High School Students Need Your Help

Please consider donating to a group of local Forest Hills High School students who recently won a statewide competition and now have the chance to go to Washington in April to compete nationally. The only problem is, the school doesn't have the $40,000 it needs to send them to the national competition so it has asked for all of our help. I was recently contacted by Forest Hills High School's assistant principal asking if I could help spread the word about this. Here are all the details:

The Forest Hills High School “We the People” team has won the New York State Championship for a second year in a row!!

This hardworking group of students, guided by a dedicated teacher, delves into the origins, structures and current workings of our government and become experts on the Constitution. The units of study include the philosophical and historical foundations of United States government, how the Constitution was created and how it has been amended to meet the needs of a changing nation, how the values and principles in the Constitution have shaped American institutions and practices, the rights protected by the Bill of Rights and the challenges facing American Constitutional democracy in the 21st century. The students deliver one of three different four minute speeches focusing on the specific topics ranging from the Constitutional Convention to the inner workings of government structures to the impact that everyday citizens can make in our democracy. They then face a series of questions from esteemed judges for another six minutes. This is exactly the kind of in-depth program we want our students in- one that challenges them to be their best.

Thirty three students now have the chance to compete at the National “We the People” competition in Washington DC. This is something a New York City School has done only seven times since 1988. This is an honor that our students have worked hard to achieve and they deserve to be there. If you could sit with them and listen to and speak with them, you would be so impressed! As a New Yorker, I am proud they will be representing us in the championship. The students, along with the top team from each of the fifty states and US territories will spend five days in the nation’s capital debating a new set of questions. They will compete throughout these five days, but will also go to meetings and on tours with their peers from around the nation, an experience we know will expose them to new ideas from different people and which will allow them the chance to interact with the elected officials they study every day in school.

We are now faced with the task of raising the funds to send these hard working, intelligent young men and women to DC. The trip is invaluable, but it does have a cost- $40,000. The program was funded by the United States Congress for the past 25 years, until last year, when it was zeroed out of the budget because it was deemed an unnecessary earmark. One of the questions this year focused on the concept of active citizenship, which our students saw as a remedy for cynicism; their speech talked about instances where individuals or groups seek to do what is best for the common good, in order to exude the civic virtue our founders felt so necessary in a republican government. That is why we are seeking funds from a variety of public and private sources. We believe in the ability for our community to come together and support our students. It is a critical responsibility of citizenship and vital for our future.

It is often said that those between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four are apathetic towards government and civics in general. We have a chance to help a group of students shatter that stigma, to send them to our nation’s capital and represent Forest Hills, New York City and New York State. We invite you now to become a part of that team, stand with your community and support the students.

If you like to make a donation, please make checks payable to Forest Hills High School. If you need more information about how to make a corporate or other donation, or would like more information, please contact Carrie Sanchez, Assistant Principal Social Studies at 718-268-3137, ext. 3810 or Thank you for any support you can give!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Stumptown Coffee and Silk Cakes Pairing Event

Silk Cakes is partnering with Stumptown Coffee to host a coffee/cake pairing event.

Stumptown will showcase their brewing method and Silk Cakes will have FREE samples of the different coffee and cake pairings.

Date: This Saturday, March 15th
Time: 1-3pm
Location: 98-14 Metropolitan Ave; Forest Hills, NY

By the way, I finally had a chance to try Silk Cakes and I must say, their stuff is heavenly.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Latest Look at The Aston

Haven't posted pics of the neighborhood's newest condo in a while, so here you go. They've made a lot of progress since last time and I really like what I'm seeing.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Restaurant Review: Jack & Nellie's

Readers of the blog will recall a few weeks ago I posted about a nice email I received from the owner of Jack & Nellie's restaurant, on Ascan Ave., informing me of recent changes to his menu.

Here's what he had written:
"While we still have many of our crowd favorite small plates (i.e: Mac & cheese with chorizo, lamb meatballs, garlic & artichoke dip, sliders...) we have extended it to entrĂ©e size platters such as Grilled Hanger Steak (served with chimichurri sauce and potato wedges), Grilled Salmon (over succotash), Jack & Nellie's Burger (served with fries), Kale Cesar Salad (served with or without grilled chicken), Vegetable Risotto, to name a few. Our chef has also been coming up with tasty specials each night (usually 2 or 3) and our brunch (every Sat & Sun) not only has a dedicated following, but we also offer live jazz to enhance the experience. Even though we are not taking reservations for brunch, we are thrilled to see returning customers each weekend, and look forward to seeing new ones as well. I am happy to report that the feedback from our customers (from far and away) has been positive and we hope to continue being a pillar of the Forest Hills community."

I had eaten at Jack & Nellie's after it first opened a couple of years ago and while I really liked what I had, at the time it was all small plates. As I've said before, perhaps that's fine for other New York City neighborhoods where there are a zillion dining choices, but here in Forest Hills we're still restaurant-challenged. No doubt, some awesome places have opened in the past few years, but I think we could use another five or so great places to get a tasty meal before FoHi will have begun to join other NYC neighborhoods in the standard level of dining options. Our pickings have been especially slim when it comes to your traditional American cuisine - just a casual neighborhood place to grab a quality sandwich, steak or burger, without it having to cost you an arm or a leg. Again, something many NYC nabes take for granted.

So, I am very happy to write that Jack & Nellie's—with its newly expanded menu—joins other recently-opened places like Banter and Bonfire Grill in filling this much-needed gap Forest Hills has had in its restaurant options. I recently tried their grilled chicken sandwich ($12)—excellent—and Seared Salmon Over Succotash ($17)—also excellent. To start, I had the lamb meatballs as an appetizer ($9), which were just exceptional.  Dessert included slices of Apple Caramel and Chocolate Fudge cakes. Both really good for $7 each. I also loved the way they served their coffee at the end of the meal, French Press style, delicious and a good price at only $4.

I also really liked the atmosphere. I went during an off-hour though, early Sunday evening, when it was probably a lot more quiet than you're likely to find on a Friday or Saturday night. The laid back feel of the place at that time was just great—I felt like I was in the perfect local neighborhood eatery New York City is known for. At the time, they were also having a Happy Hour, so I was able to have a really nice craft beer with my dinner for just $4. Can't beat that.

So Jack & Nellie's is the whole package—delicious food, nice ambience, reasonable prices. What's not to like? Give it a try if you haven't already. It's also in a refreshingly quiet part of town, just off of Austin St. on Ascan Ave.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Current Austin Medical Clinic Construction Count

While the rest of the country gets its ballots out for tonight's Academy Awards, we here at Edge of the City are keeping count on the number of new medical clinics opening on our main shopping strip of Austin St.      Joy.

Here's the updated Medical Clinic Construction list for those of you keeping count:

1) Former combined site of Pasta Del Giorno/Second Time Around
2) Brandon Cinemas theater, soon to be shut down and converted
3) Building under construction between 71st Road and 72nd Ave., next to Bareburger restaurant

We must all patronize our new clinics by coming down with dismaying illnesses. Happy Day.

New Mexican Restaurant Opening Soon

The signs have gone up for the new El Coyote Mexican restaurant where the former Garcia's used to be on the upper level of the Austin St. mall. This small chain has three other locations, two in Connecticut and one in nearby Jackson Heights. Really looking forward to trying them out. Thanks to @sgreen3 for tweeting me the photo.