Elmhurst

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Bread and cheese – it’s a classic combination in many cultures. Ben and Jen Sandler at The Queens Kickshaw certainly know this, evident in their amazing and popular grilled cheese sandwiches. Chef Darren Loveless certainly knows the power of bread and cheese as he crafts delicious panini and crostini at Il Bambino (the guys over at Forking Tasty like them, too – check out their video) And then there’s the amazing queso taco made by the friendly staff at La Cabana that is essentially bread and cheese. We could go on and on (and nom and nom).

Yet another twist on the bread and cheese combo is to bake the cheese into the dough, form it into a little rounds and bake them into buns. Two excellent examples of this approach are the Brazilian pao de queijo (which translates into “cheese bread”) and the Colombian pandebono (which translates into “good bread”).

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Astoria is lucky to have the Wafels & Dinges truck – the sole representative from the new generation of gourmet food trucks – in the neighborhood. It is parked on the west side of 31st Street near the Ditmars N/Q stop on Sunday mornings (sadly, the LIC Food Truck Lot, home to a number of gourmet food trucks, is having to scale back). Bert Meyfroots, operator of the truck and resident waffle master, chose this spot about four months ago, and Belgian waffle loving Astorians couldn’t be happier!

Waffles come in two styles – the Brussels, which is light and crispy, and the Liege, which is soft and chewy.

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We knew there was a reason people seemed inexplicably drawn to live in those large unattractive buildings named LeFrak City, and we had a feeling it wasn’t a Battlestar Galactica reference (because that would make everyone huge dorks). The secret is: LeFrak is relatively inexpensive, decently close to the subway at Woodhaven Boulevard, near two malls and it has a secret outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts and is really close to Flushing Meadows Corona Park. This one bedroom apartment is $1350, it has airconditioning, a variety of parking options and guest parking (for when we come to visit). It is located at 5917 Junction Blvd. in Elmhurst and there is no broker fee. See the original post here. Pool party at your house!

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Yes, it’s getting warmer. Yes, a bowl of hot Vietnamese soup is still nice.

We paid a visit to Pho Bang at 8290 Broadway in Elmhurst. We got the number 22, which is sliced rare beef round in a broth with rice noodles, bean sprouts, basil and lemon on the side. Of course, what makes this recipe sing is the scallions, onions and cilantro. The combination of hot soup and fresh vegetables is a uniquely Vietnamese magic. $5.75 gets you an enormous bowl.

The beef comes out raw. You sink it into the hot broth and it cooks right in the bowl. Since broth is always boiling at Pho Bang, table service is pretty fast, especially if you gain status as a regular. Adding Sriracha  gives it that extra special spicy kick, but if you aren’t one for nose blowing at the table, you might want to just leave it out. If you go alone, no worries, you will be dining next to others (who will be generally blowing their noses too) — a very intimate experience.

If you go with friends, try adding a small order of cha gio to the mix. The $4.50 fried spring rolls come with a dipping sauce and lettuce to wrap them in. The beef salad is worth a go, as is the lemongrass chicken and the summer rolls. Still, this place is called Pho Bang for a reason — hint, it’s the pho.

As if there needed to be another reason to try this place, it has a parking lot.

If you want something sweet after, head over to Quickly at 8306 Broadway and get an iced taro or milk tea with black tapioca pearls.

Pho-to Source: Wikipedia