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A dessert-and-cocktails spot is coming to Crown Heights, although Butter & Scotch will serve savory snacks too when it opens Saturday at 818 Franklin Avenue. Co-owners (and former Smorgasburg vendors) Allison Kave of First Prize Pies and Keavy Blueher of Kumquat Cupcakery have assembled a menu with cakes, pies, housemade sodas, and other dishes, including caramel corn in “cocktail” flavors and pie shakes. The duo will open their doors from 5 pm to midnight this Saturday and Sunday, with more extended hours coming next week, according to their website. DNAinfo wrote about the new venture in March. GMAP

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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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New Major League Soccer stadium renderings may or may not be the real deal

The subject of the artist’s renderings of the new MLS stadium is surrounded by controversy – are the images on the internet real or not? Well, there is some convincing evidence that they are legit, but at the same time officials from MLS totally deny that they are for real. MLS says, among other things, “Any assertion that these drawings represent what a stadium will look like in Queens is wrong.” But a principal from SHoP, the architectural firm designing the stadium, said recently, “The project I’m not supposed to show (you) so I am not going to tell you where it is or what it is but it’s a new stadium that should be announced in the next couple of months.” Who is right? Check out some of the links we’ve provided and you be the judge as to who and what is truth.

Preliminary cocktail menu at Windmill Tap & Grill

We are excited to see progress on the Windmill Tap & Grill, opening later this spring in the Dutch Kills area of LIC. They posted a preliminary cocktail menu on their Facebook page – some of the drinks include a Manhattan, Dark & Stormy, and Flying Dutchman. More here:

Image source: Windmill Tap & Grill

Twitter speaks out on the LIC vs. Long Island City debate

Last week we wrote about a new debate that has arisen – is it better to call the neighborhood Long Island City (viewed by some as confusing and misleading) or LIC (viewed by some as more hip)? Our twitter followers spoke out and it ranged from I like them both & use both!” (duluozcats) to Ridiculous! Don’t mess w/history. Leave ‘ Long Island City’ alone.” (JCarubia). Then there was this comment, “if they officially change it to #LIC, all the cool people will have to start saying #longislandcity just to be difficult.” (35thAndKaufman). We could totally see that happening.

Have you heard of the Knockdown Center in Maspeth?

The Knockdown Center is a new art venue and performance space in Maspeth, just over the border from Ridgewood and not far from the Brooklyn border (Bushwick). It is housed in an old glass factory (52-19 Flushing Ave – GMAP), is three acres in size and can hold 5,000 people. They’ve hosted a lot of big parties, including Rubulad, an underground party that usually happens in BK. They have plans for the space… lots of plans, which include more art and music performances, as well as installing a bar. Nearby spots include the massive Western Beef and Bunker, a new Vietnamese restaurant. It’s great to see interesting things sprouting up in Ridgewood/Maspeth!

Skaters at the Astoria skatepark

This is a very cool short video taken last summer at the Astoria Park skatepark that lives under the Triboro/RFK Bridge. Love the use of slo-mo about mid-way. Great shots and it reminds us that warmer days are coming.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/46243222]

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Coffee and cocktails are coming to LIC

We love Sweetleaf and are happy to know they are expanding to a second location in LIC, in one of the East Coast buildings (46-15 Center Boulevard – GMAP). This location will feature a twist… in your cocktail! Yes, Sweetleaf and Dutch Kills Bar are teaming up – Rich (Nieto) and Richard (Boccato) to bring you coffee in the daytime an cocktails at night, all in the same space. As for the alcohol, they’ll be offering wine, beer, spirits, and cocktails. One of the cocktails is called the Long Island City Special – blackstrap rum, house coffee liqueur, fresh lemon juice, agave syrup, and seltzer. Yum. Look for the new Sweetleaf in March.

Purim is this weekend, if you can believe it – try a sambusak instead of a hamentaschen

This weekend is Purim – it starts Saturday night at sundown. The most well known food during Purim is the hamentaschen, but our friends at City Spoonful suggest trying a sambusak, which is also in a triangle shape. It is an Iraqi Jewish savory treat – here’s more:

sambusak is a savory pastry filled with spiced chickpeas that is enjoyed by Iraqi Jews on Purim. Sambusaks maintain the triangular shape that is associated with Purim, thereby continuing the tradition of making a mockery of Haman, the detested villain of the Purim story with the three-cornered hat.

They look delicious!

Best known places in Queens, via the twitterverse

We asked the question, “what are the best known places in Queens?” and we got a great response. You can probably guess what some of them are – the Unisphere, the airports, Citi Field. Check out what our twitter friends have to say, right here. Maybe even consider it a super condensed tourist guide to the borough.

A recent trip to Jamaica Bay 

Love the natural images in this very short video.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/59862237]

New commuter composting pilot program starting in Astoria

Have you wanted to compost, but found it hard to do – either inconvenient (travel all the way to Union Square takes time), no place to compost outside, or squeamish of vermicomposting (composting inside with worms)? Well, Build It Green!NYC is starting a pilot program, making composting easy – just drop it off before you get on the subway! Since it’s a pilot program, it’s only taking place near the Broadway N/Q station, but it’s a start. Here are more details:

The new Commuter Composting Pilot is located just outside the entrance of the Broadway N/Q subway station on 31st Street, across from Rite Aid.  This site is open on Tuesdays from 8am-10am. For a list of what you can compost, please visit: www.bignyc.org/compost.

Nice! If you participate, we’d love to know your thoughts on us, so shoot us an email or even tweet us at @queensnycity.

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The current Sweetleaf location in LIC – the future one will be near Gantry Park

Grub Street via NYT Diners Journal told us this week that Sweetleaf is expanding in two ways – a new location and the addition of cocktails, partnering up with Richard Boccato from Dutch Kills. This will be the second location in LIC (there is also another location in Williamsburg) and will be at 46-15 Center Boulevard (GMAP), one of the East Coast buildings. They’ll serve coffee during the day and liquor (cocktails, spirits, wine, beer) at night.

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Snowmageddon/Snowpocalypse/Fighting Nemo – funny names for crazy snow

Indeed we are in for a crazy blizzard tonight – it’s raining as we write this, but that will change to snow later tonight (perhaps even while you’re reading this). Stay safe, get warm, and we hope you don’t have to travel much today. Here’s more info from the NOAA that might also be of help. The NY Times has a prediction chart, too, from around the Northeast and New England.

To counter that snow, how about a cocktail?

Our friend Fooditka introduced us to the new cocktail offerings at LIC’s Casa Enrique – and they totally make us want to be on a beach in Cancun. Micheladas, margaritas, mojitos, oh my! We almost can’t stand it.

Fond momo memories from the hot days of summer

We love momos (perhaps even more than Chinese dumplings, but don’t tell anyone), and love this article by CitySpoonful on a momo tour that took participants to 16 different joints last summer in Jackson Heights. None other than the talented food tour leader himself, Jeff Orlick, led the momo romp through Jackson Heights on a hot hot hot June evening. They visited some of our favorite spots – Woodside Cafe, Potola Fast Food, and Lhasa Fast Food (in the back of a cell phone store). It’s comforting to think the summer will be back, but momos are also terrific during winter, and Lunar New Year this weekend is one of the best times to eat momos, since they are a celebratory food for the new year.

Triumph of Civic Virtue left for BK in the dark of morning, and will be restored at Green-Wood

The saga of Triumph of Civic Virtue, the statue of that dude standing atop two female mythical creatures, crushing them under his foot (some feel this is misogynistic), continues. Kew Gardens resident Jon Torodash believes the whole decision to move it was done in secret – “There are a lot of issues going on with this statue. Residents were annoyed enough that we were losing such a great work of art but then there was this whole secrecy and these strange channels through the Design Commission.” The other side says, no no no – it was announced in the City Record in November. Good news for the statue itself – the president of Green-Wood (the statue’s new home) says conservation will be done on it come spring. It will get new landscaping, too!

Head to Surfside Bagels on Monday for free food and drink

Free bagels and coffee at Surfside Bagels in the Rockaways on Monday – all day! They are celebrating their grand re-opening after Hurricane Sandy. They make a cheese bagel that is good enough to get its own interview. So head on out there – should be a ton of fun!

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Image source: Casa Enrique

We are big fans of regional Mexican restaurant Casa Enrique here at QueensNYC – everything we’ve had there has been very tasty (and it is the home of our favorite horchata in the borough – so delicious). So imagine our delight when we read on Fooditka about their new cocktails at the restaurant, and here they are:

Margarita – classic, mango, strawberry or tamarind
Aguachile – tequila, Cointreau, orange juice, agave, jalapeño, cucumber, lime juice
Chimbombo Margarita – a classic margarita with a kick of spicy sauce
Sangria – red wine, brandy, cachaça, orange juice, lime juice
Mojito – Bacardi light rum, fresh mint, lime juice, sugar
Michelada – Modelo Especial, Valentina sauce

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Image source: Village Voice

We’ve been keeping an eye on the continuing story of (to some) controversial The Strand Smokehouse, a new barbecue and liquor spot on Broadway in Astoria. We haven’t gotten to try much the food, as we’ve heard mixed reviews about it, but are looking forward to checking it out once they iron out the natural kinks that are present in so many new spots these days.

Reports on the meats range from glowing (“tender and juicy” regarding the roast beef, and “some of the most delicious in the city” regarding the biscuits as part of brunch) to more critical (“coagulated fat and tough skin” and “pulled pork and ribs — both were dry and not much flavor,” two reviews on Yelp).

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Spiked ciders, hot toddies and mulled wines can help soothe the soul on long winter nights and during the hectic holiday hustle. Here are six tasty picks for thirsty tipplers on the hunt for delicious festive cocktails and other warming spirits in Astoria and Long Island City that pack a serious palatal punch this season.

Image source: DiWine – their cozy interior with the semi private booths on the right

Nothing screams the holidays quite like boozy eggnog! Astoria date-night fave DiWine is classing up this seasonal staple by once again adding a creamy, nutmeg-infused Eggnog Martini to its specialty cocktail menu this month. The velvety smooth drink that’s made with spiced rum, bourbon, cinnamon and fresh eggnog is served in, you guessed it, a martini glass. It’s a yummy treat perfect for cozying up in one of their (semi) private booths. If rich ‘nog isn’t your thing, try the Bourbon Cherry Old Fashioned.

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Image source: S-Prime

We had the chance to spend some time at S Prime, a new steakhouse in Astoria on 36th Street near 35th Ave. It’s just next door to 5 Napkin and up the street from Studio Square, an extremely popular beer garden and event space in the area. S Prime is in the location that used to be Island Lounge.

S Prime has redesigned the interior and for those that knew this space as Island may find it hard to believe that this is the same place, it looks so different. Here are a couple of shots of the interior of S Prime, which is classic and beautiful. First, the bar area, which you see when you enter the restaurant.

Image source: S-Prime