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It’s time to plan for brunch again. Although the food choice is important, sometimes the drinks need to take center stage. The Mimosa is a classic. The Bellini is refreshing. The Bloody Mary is an excellent pick-me-up after a long night. This weekend, try picking your location based on a new cocktail like one of the ones from a couple of Astoria’s most popular brunch locales.

Sweet Afton

It’s happy hour during Sweet Afton’s brunch, so it’s the perfect time to try out one of their refreshing cocktails. Their list of brunch cocktails includes the Witte Screwdriver, which starts with Ommegang Witte and adds Citron Vodka, OJ, lemon, and ginger syrup.

Queens Kickshaw

Queens Kickshaw, Astoria’s go-to place for grilled cheese, also offers a delicious brunch, with a variety of slight variations on traditional brunch cocktails. The restaurant prides itself on its beer, mead, and cider list, so try its Mimosa substitute: Agua de Astoria, a sparkling cider with fresh squeezed OJ.

 

What is your favorite brunch cocktail? Do you prefer a classic drink or do you prefer one with a modern twist?

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Image source: Tufino Pizzeria Napoletana – french toast sticks

We’ve written about Tufino Pizzeria Napoletana before, with regard to their beautiful pizzas. Well, they have expanded their menu beyond pizzas and fried things to create a brunch menu that sounds pretty tasty.  Dishes include Vegetarian Omelet (served with a freshly baked buttermilk biscuit); Pancetta, Egg, and Cheese Pizza; and French Toast Sticks (pictured above).

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Here’s a roundup of our top posts in February 2013. Again, food is a big interest among our readers, with baked goods, brunch, Vientamese food, and dumplings catching the collective eye. And Steinway pianos got some love this past month as well – we are proud that these incredible instruments are made right here in Astoria.

5. Breton invasion – two extraordinary French bakeries in Jackson Heights and Forest Hills

The fact that the great borough of Queens would be home to two fantastic classic French bakeries is not terribly surprising. But that both chefs should prevail from the same region of France – Brittany – is. La Boulangerie, an artisan bakery and café located at 109-01 72nd Road just off Austin Street in Forest Hills (GMAP), and Cannelle, a pâtisserie and café at 75-59 31st Avenue in Jackson Heights, situated in the Walbaum’s mall (GMAP), are both the creation of Brittany natives. Both strive to bring high-quality, authentic French baked goods to sophisticated New York City palates and, tellingly, both businesses are thriving.

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Happy New Year’s eve, everyone!

We hope you all have a wonderful time tonight ringing in the new year, even if it means getting a good night’s sleep. If you’re looking for some ideas for NYE, we’ve got ’em – consider comedy with a Saturday Night Live star followed by a burlesque show at The Laughing Devil in LIC: a meat festival at the new Strand Smokehouse in Astoria; or a cruise around Manhattan on the Skyline Princess.

Here’s to a great 2013!

Mouthwatering top meals in Ridgewood via Ridgefood

We loved this post about top meals of 2012 in Ridgewood by the Ridgefood folks – beautiful photos, too! The top dishes include Santa Fe Pecan Sausage from the Ridgewood Pork Store, Grandma Pizza from Rosa’s and Homemade Snickerdoodles, Pljekavica, Cevapi, and Marinated Red Peppers from Bosna Express, everything at Johnny’s Cafe, stews from Parrot Coffee, homemade gravlax with fixins (they made it themselves!), and Potato Pancakes and Chicken Cutlet from Hetman. Um, yeah, we’ll be spending more time in Ridgewood, for sure – between this and the awesome Gottscheer Hall, Ridgewood is calling our name.

The Tops of 2012 from QNYC

We put together a few lists of the top posts you read here on QNYC in 2012, including the top 10 posts, top 5 food posts, and top 5 real estate posts. Seems like everyone wanted to read about Hurricane Sandy, expensive homes, new developments and taste treats like dumplings and brunch. And if there is anything you’d like to see on the site in 2013, drop us a line. Thanks so much for reading, friends!

The Queens Writers Fellowship is open again

Local Astoria writer Zora O’Neill runs the Queens Writers Fellowship – it’s basically a desk in her home where one could get some focused writing done. Are you looking for a place to write and really GTD (get things done)? Apply for her writers fellowship! “The extra desk could be yours, along with coffee, possibly a hot lunch and general camaraderie. Tell me what your schedule is like, and what you’re working on.” Queens residency preferred but not required.

La Chifa in Jackson Heights – Peruvian fried rice, you will be ours

We were excited to read about La Chifa, a new Peruvian-Chinese spot on Northern Blvd in Jackson Heights. The food is essentially Chinese food for Peruvian tastes. We love lomo saltado – fries, gravy, and meat – as well as chaufa, which is Peruvian Chinese fried rice, yum. The Tallarin Taypa is made with noodles topped with beef, chicken, pork, quail eggs, green bell peppers, onions, carrots, mushrooms, and broccoli. Their ceviche also sounds delicious.

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We thought we’d take a look at the top posts of 2012 here on QueensNYC. Not surprising, Hurricane Sandy was huge on the site, plus a little real estate, border lands, and brunch.

Here are the top 10 posts from this year.

10. Photo tour of the Rockaway Peninsula, post-Hurricane Sandy

Curbed, in their Camera Obscura column, had Nathan Kensigner head to the Rockaway Peninsula to take some photos of the area after Hurricane Sandy. His work is always excellent, and this report is no different. It’s a surreal landscape now, and in the words of one Edgemere resident, “It’s like a bad dream that I can’t wake up from.”

Image source: Curbed

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A brief Native American history of Queens

On Thanksgiving we published an article about the Native American history in Queens, which is just fascinating. A few tidbits: scholars believe that Queens was not densely populated, and that tribes lived along water sources – ponds, bays, and creeks – where they could find shellfish and catch fish, as well as farm and forage. Major groups that lived in the area are probably familiar names already – the Maspeth, the Canarsee, and the Rockaway. A main thoroughfare through Queens was known as the Old Rockaway Trail, “which follows what is now Jamaica Avenue through Woodhaven, Richmond Hill, Jamaica, Hollis, and Bellerose, then onto the current-day Jericho Turnpike into Nassau County.”

Is solar the answer in the Rockaways? For the Belle Harbor Yacht Club, it is

This video is pretty interesting – how solar helped the Belle Harbor Yacht Club power up after Hurricane Sandy. They, and a few other spots, are using a portable 10KW solar generator provided by companies like Solar One. The Yacht Club has been a center for distributing supplies and volunteers after the storm. They even served Thanksgiving dinner there last week.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaMPr2tsYGg]

Brunch at The Queens Kickshaw is delicious

On Friday, we tried a bunch of new brunch dishes at The Queens Kickshaw, and all were really impressive and very, very tasty. The french toast has a hard to attain custardy quality to it; the egg custard is nice and light; and the miso butter in the cold poached eggs dish is a real winner – we are still thinking about how deeply delicious it was. The brunch cocktails also look good –  nice to see a michelada (a spicy beer cocktail with origins in Mexico) on the brunch menu as well. They’ll be serving brunch on weekends and on holidays.

Interactive Hurricane Sandy flooding map

We found this interactive map from the NY Times highlighting the flooding that happened during Hurricane Sandy to be pretty interesting. The clickable boxes with more information about particularly hard hit neighborhoods is also cool. WNYC also has a flooding map, and it’s really easy to see there that the southern shores of Long Island and the entrance to NY Harbor really got thrashed.

We’ve got a list of Queens holiday markets for you

It was a lot of fun to compile this list of holiday markets in Queens for you. The first one is the Holiday Kids Bazaar on Saturday, December 1 and the last one is the Christmas Market at Bohemian Hall on the weekend just before Christmas. There is a whole range of options – markets geared toward parents and kids, food-oriented markets, and craft markets for everyone. This list should help make your holiday season even easier to navigate. And if you know of any other markets, please let us know and we will update the article.

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Image source: The Queens Kickshaw – Layered Potato Cake

This week we had the pleasure of trying out some of the new brunch items at The Queens Kickshaw, a much-beloved, newer Astoria restaurant known for its expertly-made grilled cheese sandwiches, delicious coffee, and extensive craft beer selection. Brunch starts today, Saturday November 24, and will be served on the weekends and holidays between 9am and 4pm. Their brunch items include plenty of eggs, as well as french toast, and a beet salad.

On to the food! First, is the french toast – it’s made with brioche bread, and topped with a hard cider pear compote and a spicy frico, which is a cheese crisp made with a few different cheeses and chili. The french toast has a wonderful custardy texture – something that is hard to find in NYC, to be honest.

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We are a city that loves to brunch, and brunch is alive and well in Queens…with a few twists. Here are some standout places to brunch it up in 3 neighborhoods. Don’t be surprised to see a burger with an egg on top, jumbo mimosas, or dim sum — these are some of the best places for weekend grub.

Vesta – Astoria – This popular Italian inspired locavore restaurant, serves one of the best brunches in Astoria, hands down. You can choose from both sides of the menu – breakfast from buttermilk pancakes to omelets, or lunch classics like burgers and pizza. The burger comes with an egg on top, as does the pizza – Vesta is famous for its cracker thin crust Hangover Pizza, which is topped with potato, pancetta, sausage, fried eggs, and spicy tomato sauce.

A Warm Bankie is made with creamy polenta, fried eggs, asparagus, and mushrooms, and a perfect addition of truffle oil. Their greens and vegetables are all grown at local rooftop farm Brooklyn Grange.

Vesta, 21-02 30th Ave., Astoria, NY 11102; (718) 545-5550  (GMAP)