Showing posts with label Queens. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Queens. Show all posts


Your City By Drone

I came across this phenomenal drone-filmed video that captures all of NYC's 5 boroughs and just had to share. Not that I often forget, but it's great to be reminded of how awesome of a city we live in.

Note to self: I need to check out the graveyard of half-sunken ships in Staten Island featured around 2:40!


Drinking in the Holiday Spirit

A couple weeks ago (on the 80th anniversary of the repeal of prohibition to be exact) I attended the Village Voice Holiday Spirits Tasting Event at Studio Square in Queens. I was really excited about this event because it was close by my apartment and my blogger friend Laura was also going with her boyfriend.

Entrance at Studio Square

I've learned the hard way that you have to pace yourself at drinking events, hence my strategy was really just taking sips of drinks from various stations and not downing entire cocktails. Favorites included:
  • Rough Rider Old Fashioned served with a cherry and rock candy (Who am I kidding? I was just obsessed with the rock candy!)
Rough Rider Old Fashioned

  • Dutch's Spirits' 'Fat Apple' with mulled cider with moonshine and melted cinnamon brown sugar (I'm not going to post the picture because it actually looks somewhat disgusting)
  • Barefoot Bubbly in citrus fusion
Barefoot Bubbly
  • Barrow's Intense Ginger Liqueur Eggnog
Barrow's Eggnog

  • Brotherhood Winery's Holiday Spiced Wine which they served warm (side note: my boyfriend and I recently visited this winery, supposedly America's oldest, and fell in love with their Cabernet Sauvignon. You can take tours there too.)

The Go To (who doesn't love a Laura photobomb?)

  • Ole' Smokey Moonshine's "Southern Hooch," which was recommended to me by Laura and was really delicious. I may have imbibed the entire drink this time -- apple pie moonshine and sweet tea!

The venue was great and the live music was a nice addition. The food, however, was lacking. I got a short peek at the sliders that were coming out of the kitchen, but hoards of eventgoers seemed to maul the waiters before they even had the chance to leave the kitchen. Hence, I was very glad that I ate before the event. Whole Foods was smart though in that they were serving a root liqueur poached pear sundae, yum!

Whole Foods' Root Liqueur Poached Pear Sundae

Overall, we had a great time and thankfully only had to stumble home a few blocks before tucking in for the night. Gotta love a good Village Voice event!



The First Brewery In Queens Since Prohibition--Opening Soon!

New York is a beer town. Despite all of the buzz you've heard about wine, whiskey, tequila, rum, vodka, cachaca, etcetera, if you lived in this town about a hundred years ago, you couldn't walk 10 blocks without coming across at least one brewery (you would know this especially if you came across the NY Historical Society's Beer Here exhibition this past summer).

In the last decade or so, brewing has made a comeback here, especially in Brooklyn with Brooklyn Brewery and Greenpoint, among others. However, the creation of beer has been lacking in pretty much every other borough. So you can imagine why there's so much anticipation for the opening of SingleCut Brewery in Astoria, the first to open in Queens in more than a generation.

Advertising exec turned home-brewer turned professional brewer Rich Buceta named the brewery for a body-style of electric guitar he's played for much of his life. He decided to open the brewery in Queens to fill a gap in the community. All beer will be 100% brewed on-site and they will also self-distribute, ensuring freshness.

Now for the beers. SingleCut's focus will be on lagers (or as they like to call them, "Lagrrrs!"). They even have 2 specialized lager tanks that are only really found in Germany. Their launch beers will be:
  • 19-33 Lagrrr!: a pilsner-style but given a "SingleCut injection of awesome," according to Rich. The name "19-33" comes from their address, the year Prohibition ended, and the fact that SingleCut is only operating brewery in Queens since Prohibition. 
  • Bob Sunburst Finish Lagrrr!: a hoppy, malty, smooth lager
  • Dean Pacific NW Mahogany Ale: a red-hued hoppy ale influenced by beers Rich tasted in Oregon
  • Billy Half-Stack IPA: SingleCut's flagship IPA

The brewery will also feature a Tap Room where you can sample two beers gratis and purchase and refill growlers (prices and hours are still TBD). Because of local laws, they will not be operating as a bar or eatery, but will be hosting community events 4-5 times a year. The brewery features a stage (along with Rich, most other employees of SingleCut seem to play an instrument) for live music. Rich said they hope to partner with local business in creating these events.

Lastly, in furthering the community connection even more, SingleCut will be available at Queens restaurants like Queens Kickshaw, Sweet Afton, Sunswick, Crescent and Vine, AleWife, and MexiBBQ, as well as many craft beer bars throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan.

The day I went for a visit, the brewery was very much still under construction, but Rich gave me a tour and I can't wait to go back and see the final product. Brewing should be going on right now with the first batch ready for business sometime after the second week in November.

Rich Buceta and a Lager Tank
The future Tap Room - love that wood!
Tap Room into the brewery

Before I left, Rich gave me a bottle of Sunburst Lagrr! to take home and man was it good. Stay tuned in the coming months for another post after I return to the finished brewery!

SingleCut is located about a 15 minute walk from the Ditmars stop on the N/Q train (19-33 37th Street, Astoria).


Run, Awesome! Run!

So you'll note the blog's been a tad sparse in the past few months, and I do apologize to my loyal readers for this. However, I think you'll forgive me when I tell you exactly what I've been preoccupied with.

In junior high, I was one of the kids who would get mini-panic attacks the period before gym on the days that we would have to run the mile (not just a mile, but THE mile). To me, this was one of the most arduous tasks you could ever ask me to complete. So imagine my surprise when I agreed to partake in the NYRR Queens Half Marathon on July 30. This was back in March when I was tired of being cooped up in the gym and I thought a little running around the city could be fun. Plus, some friends had committed to this crazy scheme as well. We established a training plan and more than 175 miles of training runs and several gallons of coconut water later, we were ready to take on Queens.

The night before, we all met up at one of my new go-to pizza/pasta places, Il Forno, in Gramercy. They have an all-you-can-eat pasta special for just $6.99. That's an unheard of deal for NYC, especially since it includes  five different sauces (I love the pesto!) and all different noodle shapes. Also, if you bring in your receipt from last time you visited, they give you an additional 10% off your entire bill. Love it.

There aren't many times in life when you truly deserve all-you-can-eat pasta.
The day of the race, the 7 subway wasn't running in Manhattan, of course, so I woke up extra early (4:30 am to be exact) just to make sure we would get to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in time for the 7 am start. It's not often you see a jam-packed subway so early in the morning, but when we made it on the 7 in Queens, not only was this car filled to the brim, but everyone was in running clothes and full of pre-race excitement.

My pre-race breakfast
8000 people waiting to go to the bathroom before the race
Having never been to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park before, with the exception of a few visits to the Queens Museum of Art, I was excited to check it out. The park was the site of the World's Fair in 1939-1940 and 1964-1965 and was originally home to the offices of the United Nations until 1951 when they moved to Manhattan. The famous Unisphere was built for the 1964-65 World's Fair as a symbol of the fair's theme of unity. The New York State Pavillion and Observation Towers, also built for the 1964-65 World's Fair, still stand in the park as well, although it doesn't seem like the structures are well-maintained anymore. Currently, the park is home to the aforementioned Queens Museum of Art, the New York Hall of Science, the USTA Billie Jean National Tennis Center (where the US Open is held) and it abuts Met's Stadium.

And we're off!
The Famous Unisphere - We ran around it a total of 3 times and the spray from the fountain was most welcome.
The Observation Towers at the New York State Pavillion
The New York State Pavillion
One thing I would not advocate thinking about, if you are in fact thinking about doing a half marathon, is doing a half marathon at the end of July or any time in August. Even with such an early start time, the temperature was higher than it was on any of our other long training runs and it really took a toll on me. Thankfully they had sprinklers and guys with fire hoses about every mile, and water and Gatorade aplenty, but at the end, I felt more beat up than ever. Even so, I finished in a steady 2:16 and I'm very proud of what I accomplished.

Finish Line!
Love my coconut water
One thing I loved about running so much was that it gave me a new way to appreciate the city. I started my short runs in Central Park, and by doing that, I really got a feel for Central Park. I think that New Yorkers who don't run or bike will often walk into that great abyss of a park and very easily get lost. Working my way up to the full 6-mile loop gave me not only endurance, but a glimpse into the only real nature in the city. I can't even tell you how many birds I heard chirping and the sheer abundance of wildflowers in the spring was awe-inspiring.

In addition, we made our way around the city for our longer runs. For the 8-miler, we started at my friend's place in Astoria and ran around the entire perimeter of Roosevelt Island. There's a lighthouse at the tip - who knew! Perhaps my favorite run of all was the 11-miler. I started at 23rd Street and FDR on the east side and was able to go south all the way around the tip of Manhattan and hug the perimeter up to 72nd Street on the west side. Let me just say that I'm in love with Battery Park and all of the waterfront recreation space they have.

Now that I'm done with a time-intensive training schedule, I'd still like to continue running, but I'm looking forward to introducing more variety into my fitness routine. However, when the weather gets a tad cooler again, you'll see me running along the West Side Highway or the Central Park Reservoir. And I'm definitely looking forward to dedicating more time to blogging!

IL Forno on Urbanspoon


Queens in a Banquet Hall

As a contributing writer for NYC Recession Diary, I sometimes get asked to cover different events around the city that scream awesome. Last week I had the pleasure of attending Dish du Jour Magazine's "The Cuisine of Queens" tasting event at the Astoria Manor with my friend Amanda. 

You may recognize this location as the scene of Dorota's wedding in Gossip Girl and Hilda's wedding in Ugly Betty. With wall-to-wall mirrors, larger than life chandeliers, sparkly pink paint in the girls bathroom,  gaudy statues and fake flowers galore - it's probably the most unique venue I've been to in New York, but I loved every minute of it. 

Scroll down to find the link to my full review on NYCRD, but I wanted to share some pictures with my awesome readers.

The banquet hall where all of the amazing food was served.
One of my favorites - garlic shrimp from Cafe Ole
Another favorite - Sweet Potato Gnocchi from Manetta's
The vat of caramelized onions at 5 Napkin Burger - delish!
Amanda with Dino from Dino's Restaurant - he made the sausage!
Delicious rum drink with OJ and nutmeg
One of the smoothest beers I've ever tried
Some of the wine selection
All I can say is AWESOME! (Lulu's Bakery's spread)
Cooking competition
Me with Andrea Beaman (Top Chef Season 1)
Amanda and I enjoyed a final glass of sake before heading home

To read my original announcement of the event on NYCRD, click here!

To read my review on NYCRD, click here!