Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Bareburger, Be Still My {Healthy} Heart

Taste-tested and approved by Rebecca Banchik

Bareburger has just released a new updated menu of lunch and dinner options that are not to be missed. The restaurant continues to offer organic and locally sourced food at a great price and even better taste. While I would only be fooling myself to claim that milkshakes, burgers, and fries are health foods, at least while eating anything from Bareburger I feel good about knowing I’m eating whole foods and nothing processed.

There are some old favorites that are still on the menu, like the buffalo chicken sandwich. Bareburger makes a mean buffalo sauce {the sauce itself is Whole30 approved if anyone cares} and smothers it over a perfectly crispy fried chicken thigh. Using dark meat for their fried chicken not only ensures that the meat is juicy, but it guarantees to provide a richer and more robust flavor. If it’s a lighter choice you’re after, the Guapo Chop salad has always been a go-to for me. I can’t say no to guacamole. Ever.

I love cheese almost as much as I love my husband, so I would never personally choose to go vegan. But I’m absolutely pro-delicious foods and treats that are vegan without any sacrifice to flavor or enjoyment. Bareburger’s new vegan “milkshakes” are a real treat, and you don’t even realize you’re not having actual dairy milk or ice cream. The Velvis is a fantastic take on The King of Rock n’ Roll’s favorite combo – peanut butter and bananas, with a rich chocolate goodness. The creamy base is coconut ice cream and hemp milk. Mmm. The other new shake is a mint chocolate cookie concoction made with Newman’s Own chocolate cookies. YUM. If you can’t decide between the two, just bring a date and order both. You only live once, right?

Have you tried the Impossible Burger yet? What about the Beyond Burger? These names make them sound like supernatural burgers and well, they kind of are…meaty goodness but completely vegan. What?! The Beyond Burger is even gluten, soy, and GMO free! Truly you can find something for everyone here regardless of diet, allergy, or preference. 

We tasted the Beyond Burger – a semi-firm patty made with beet juice for color, potato, and coconut among other ingredients. Compared to the Impossible Burger, the texture was more along the lines of a seiten. The Impossible Burger has the texture of ground beef. If you are trying to fool your carnivorous friend, give them the Impossible Burger. If you don’t need it to taste like beef or are ok with a different texture, try the Beyond Burger. Both are really quite satisfying and more distinct than I expected!

A new fried chicken sandwich features a pear compote and a sticky sweet sauce. This sandwich had a lot of sweetness, but was mellowed by a surprise guest of mustard. I was pleased that the chicken maintained its crispy exterior despite the sauce and toppings.

Let’s talk about fries, aka fried happiness. Bareburger’s new take on your diner fries are Queso Fundido fries which are fries covered in a melty cheese sauce, chopped black forest bacon (what?!), and coated with a stellar hot sauce called wham bam sauce. These were truly enjoyable ~ the spice from the hot sauce complemented the creamy cheese nicely, and the fries were crisp and salty. It took a lot of willpower not to finish every…last…one.

You won’t find anything else quite like Bareburger here in Forest Hills. It’s great to support this local restaurant, whose roots are in Queens {the original is in Astoria} and has become a mainstay on Austin Street. When you’re there, take a few minutes to admire the “artwork” and quirky design elements that make the restaurant a fun spot for date night, dinner with the kiddies, or a leisurely weekend hang.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Spy C Chinese Restaurant Opens on Austin

The hostess says this new place, down near Ascan, is Asian Fusion cuisine. It opened on Tuesday. They do not have takeout menus yet. I took a glance at their menu and they had some traditional favorites, like Kung Pao, for example. Here's a look at the interior. I was surprised at how much table space there was inside. Anyway, I haven't tried any of the food yet. Soon. Add comments below if you have already.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

A Slice of Naples Right Here in Forest Hills at the Newly Opened Numero 28

By Rebecca Banchik

Our beloved neighborhood has been waiting for some exciting new foodie arrivals and this weekend Numero 28 {in the old The Grill space on Restaurant Row} opened and I dare say, should be called “Numero 1” because it was excellent.

Getting Italian food in New York City is easy … almost a little too easy. Everyone, whether they are Italian or not, has their take on Italian and Italian-American classics ranging from pizzas to chicken parmigiana, to pastas of every shape and sauce. Because Italian red sauce joints are so ubiquitous, standing out and being really good is a challenge. Numero 28 stepped up to this challenge. That they were coming to Forest Hills as an already established restaurant with locations throughout Manhattan and in Brooklyn {as well as in Miami, Austin, and London} had me tentatively optimistic. When it’s not your first rodeo, you know how to run a tight ship. But that can also mean sterile or uninspired. Not so at this new outpost; there was something authentic and honest about the food and ambience. The staff were also so very welcoming as if I was an old friend and we were there to break bread together for the first time in many years.

While pizza is very clearly the feature of their menu, definitely give their appetizers and pasta dishes a try. The Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe was one of the most delicious pastas I have had in a very long time. The sauce is deceptively simple, which makes it a tricky one to perfect. I’ve had cacio e pepe many times, and if it’s not done right, it risks tasting bland or dry. The chef here is from Rome, and I was told he makes this dish the Roman way … which, for the record, is apparently the most delicious way. I was enjoying it so much I spooned every last bit of sauce off the pan long after the spaghetti was gone. The sauce, made of pecorino cheese and reserved pasta water, spiced with flecks of black pepper and tossed to coat perfectly al dente spaghetti was everything I wanted it to be and more.

I tried their namesake pizza {buffalo mozzarella, speck, truffle cream, & mushrooms} and whoa. The truffle cream is the standout here – literally a cream of truffley goodness that melted all over the salty speck and chewy crust. The crust was ever slightly charred and the edges had a crisp but pliable bite. The thinness of the speck made it almost melt in your mouth. The pizzas come in three sizes; I recommend the individual size if you plan to sample other dishes.

For an appetizer, our gracious waiter Marco recommended the Sicilian Rice Balls which were atop a classic marinara sauce. The arancini were nicely crisp on the outside and stuffed with a scrumptious blend of cheese, ground beef, and rice. The tang from the tomato sauce complemented the salty and creamy center of these little pockets of yumminess.

Since I hadn’t eaten any carbs yet {cue the sarcasm}, it seemed only necessary to try one of their homemade desserts. I sampled a chocolate cake with a Nutella mascarpone cream. While I may have had to roll myself home, it was worth every bite and a perfect ending {along with a frothy cappuccino} to a wonderful meal.

Welcome to the block, new friends at Numero 28. I look forward to many more meals with you, next time with some vino. Saluti, and best of luck making Forest Hills your home.

Numero 28 is located at 107-12 70th Road in Forest Hills. Email: foresthills@numero28.com

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Looking Forward To...

Just a couple of the places that I'm looking forward to opening...

Numero 28 - Italian and pizza coming to Restaurant Row. Their cool sign went up yesterday, I believe. This place has locations in such hip locales as Park Slope and Miami Beach, and the East and West Village in Manhatttan. Nice to know FoHi is on their list!

And Tamashii Red, opening soon on Austin Street. The owners of this ramen restaurant have locations in Astoria and Long Island City, both of which are highly regarded...

Thursday, February 1, 2018

ROGER DALTREY of THE WHO Joins The New York Pops at Forest Hills Stadium on June 17

The New York Pops and Music Director Steven Reineke unite with Roger Daltrey on Sunday, June 17 at 8:00 p.m. (doors at 6:30 p.m.at Forest Hills Stadium for a special, one-night-only performance of The Who’s ‘TOMMY’. The orchestra and Daltrey are joined by a band of seasoned Who players, including guitarist/backup singer Simon Townshend, guitarist Frank Simes, keyboardist Loren Gold, bassist Jon Button, and drummer Scott Devours.

The concert marks The New York Pops’ return for its fourth season at Forest Hills Stadium, presented by Q104.3 and Madison House Presents.

Considered one of the seminal albums of the rock canon, The Who’s ‘TOMMY’ includes classics such as "Pinball Wizard,” “See Me, Feel Me,” and more, and was last played by The Who for the first time in 28 years at the Royal Albert Hall in London as part of a benefit concert for the Teenage Cancer Trust. The performance also marks Roger Daltrey’s return to the Forest Hills stage, after his summer 1971 appearance when The Who performed as part of a sold-out, two-night stand.
The New York Pops’ appearance is generously supported by Morgan StanleyBlue Marble CocktailsAmerican Airlines, and Wigdor LLP, with additional support from the City of New York and the New York City Council.
On February 8, visit foresthillsstadium.com and use discount code QUEENSPOPS to purchase your tickets!