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Queens Central :: Rego Park, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Briarwood
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The Trade winds have blown

Posted by Mickie T on October 28th, 2009

The old, gruff-but-lovable Trade Fair on Queens Boulevard has been turned over to Associated.

Honestly, despite its flaws, lack of style and over-crowding, we loved Trade Fair. We usually preferred shopping at Trade Fair over Key Food and The Natural. We found Trade Fair to have better prices and better selection.


The Last Trade Fair Show

Sure, you could find obscure ingredients like “Newman’s Own authentic Turkish roasted pine nuts - or whatever - at The Natural, but why spend the extra money when you could find actual pine nuts from Turkey, complete with actual Turkish labelling and odball graphics, at Trade Fair for 30% less?

When you got home at <cough, cough> A.M. from a fun night out, and you realize you need milk, did you really want to pay an extortionist’s rate for milk at Duane Reade? No, of course not. What you could do is walk over to Trade Fair, open 24-7.

When you were planning that extra-special dinner, and wanted to try being Mario Batali or Wylie Dufresne, could you just waltz into Key Food to get a goat’s head, or pig’s ears? No. You went to Trade Fair.

Well, not anymore.

Associated's grand opening

Associated's grand opening

Associated seems to be in the middle of its make-over, and the first thing you’ll notice is the shortened hours! What is this “closes at 10 pm” business? Hopefully that will change.

Associated's schedule
Associated’s schedule


Otherwise, it’s too early to tell how things will shake out. The butcher counter has not re-opened, and many of the aisles have been rearranged. The deli counter guys are still there, but the cashiers and other staff are all different.

Let me know your experiences. I hope we have good associations with the new place.

Tags: Food and Drink, Forest Hills, Queens Boulevard, Retail | 21 Comments

Queens Restaurant Week(days)!

Posted by Mickie T on October 10th, 2009

This year, there are 2 Kew Gardens, 7 Forest Hills and 4 Rego Park restaurants are participating in the October 5-15, 2009 Queens Restaurant Week!

If you don’t know the drill, participating restaurants are offering a prix-fixe dinner menu of soup/salad, entree and dessert for $25 per person, or lunch menu at $25 for 2 people. (beverage, tax and tip not included.)

Unlike most other neighborhoods, many of the FoHi places are offering the $25 menus over the weekend! In case you’re free tonight and want to stay local, Irish Cottage, La Vigna,  Buenos Aires Tango, Garcia’s and the Family Restaurant are offering it tonight — as well as Simply Fondue in Atlas Park, in case you’re feeling charitable.

Truthfully, we like to broaden our horizons during Restaurant Week and go somewhere out of the nabe. The spouse and I just spent about an hour perusing the menus and calling nearly every place on the list of this October’s Queens Restaurant Week, only to discover that about 90% of them are only offering the specials Mondays thru Thursdays.

I used Google to find the list, which states in the introductory paragraph,  “From October 5 – 15 enjoy Greek in Astoria, French in LIC, Italian in Bayside and Asian in Flushing with restaurants participating from all over the borough.”

When I went to the Discover Queen homepage, I see this text:

“From October 5th – 15th (Monday through Thursday) enjoy Greek in Astoria, French in LIC, Italian in Bayside and Asian in Flushing with restaurants participating from all over the borough.”

In any case, we’re probably going somewhere in Astoria or Bayside tonight. We’ll let you know where we go.

So, dear readers, what are your strategies and hints for going to a Restaurant Week venue? Have you found any great deals? Or is it just a “salad-rubber-chicken-cheesecake” disappointment?

Tags: Food and Drink, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Rego Park | 12 Comments

Passed its prime

Posted by Mickie T on September 17th, 2009

Here’s another catch-up restaurant review: We went to aged in late June this year, and we were not impressed.  The bottom line is, if you’re going to spend $70 on a porterhouse steak,  don’t bother going here.  If you want to have good steak in Forest Hills, go to Buenos Aires Tango near the firehouse (which we reviewed last year), or, even easier, simply walk next door to Cabana and get the bistec with chimichurri sauce.

Ginormous wine glass

As you know from reading this blog,  we are steak people. Vegetarians we are not. As mentioned, we’ve reviewed Buenos Aires Tango and P.J.’s Steakhouse (before it morphed into a “grill”) on this blog. We cook a lot of different types of steak at home, but during the boom years of the early 2000’s, my spouse and her colleagues set up a “round robin” of sorts, taking each other out to various steakhouses around NYC.

I was lucky enough to tag along,  and we got to sink our teeth into some of NYC ’s best (and not so best) steaks: Peter Luger’s, Uncle Jack’s, Wolfgang’s, Ben and Jack’s, craftsteak, Landmarc - Time Warner, and our current favorite, BLT STeak.

We know the drill, we know our steak.  We believe there should be a “wasted meat” fine imposed on people who order steak “well.”

Our meat

We were  cautiously optimitstic about aged. Unfortunately, it’s not a very good value for steak. The service was bland, the bread was bland, and probably the biggest culinary crime at aged was that the steak was bland. I needed to salt my steak. How is that allowed?

We also thought it was weird that they served their wines in GINORMOUS glasses and that they used floor tiles as wall tiles. And, they have NO WEBSITE. How can you operate a restaurant in NYC in the 21st Century, on the “restaurant rows” of an upscale, “famous” neighborhood and not have a website?

The bar

Given the mediocre food, and touch of nervous insecurity you feel from the staff, it just seemed like the place is guilty of committing a common mis-step of FoHi restaurants: trying too hard with nothing to back it up. If you come here for the outdoor seating, wannabe-glamorous atmosphere, or happy hour wine deals, I hope you enjoy. If you come here for steak, stick a fork in it, it’s done.

Tags: Food and Drink, Forest Hills | 5 Comments

Jay Dee Bakery owner says, So long, y’all!

Posted by Mickie T on September 2nd, 2009

Another NYC 1950’s landmark is being scooped up by Southern architectural preservationists.

The Daily News reports today that Jay Dee owner Amnir Yelizarov has not only closed the historic Jay Dee bakery, but is selling off the architecturally-significant components to preservationist entrepeneurs Pat Miller and Joel Owens.

Rego-Forest Preservation Council’s leader, Micheal Perlman, met with Mr. Yelizarov, but could not convice him to save any of the features intact.

<NO1>Jay Dee<NO>Bakery owner Amnir Yelizarov (l.) chats with preservationist Michael Perlman who has examined the parts of the historic shop, such its neon sign, mosaic columns and ’50s door handle.

Miller and Owens bought the venerable Cheyenne Diner and will add Jay Dee to their dream of recreating a back-in-time town in the south.

Whatever your opinion about Jay Dee’s products or the closure, I’ll miss the plaster cakes, colors faded by the sun, and the tiny plastic ballerinas that I always coveted as a child.

(Photo from Etsy)

Tags: Development, Food and Drink, Forest Hills, Real Estate, Rego Park | 5 Comments

You’ve got to pick a pocket or two…

Posted by Mickie T on April 15th, 2009

Apologies to Lionel Bart, but I received this flier from Police Officers and higher-ranked brass outside the 71st Street-Continental subway station a few days ago.

Makes sense: over the past few months, we’ve heard more and more stories about petty crimes happening in the area. Have you?


Here’s an instructional video to inform you about pickpocketing.икони

Tags: Crime, Forest Hills, Transit | No comments

Raise The Red Table

Posted by Mickie T on January 26th, 2009

On the occasion of a particularly nice accomplishment at work last month, my spouse took me out to celebrate and we decided to try MoCA.

Not the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, the Museum of Computer Art,  the Museum of the Chinese in the Americas, nor the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Not even the Moca Bar and Lounge in Harlem.

Yep, on a slow and frigid Tuesday night, we dined at the pimped up, tricked out, feng shui’d, pan-Asian addition on FoHi’s “Restaurant Road.” I know some say it’s not “all that,” and we still think that Jade is better, but we had a very pleasant experience. The prices were high, but the food was tasty, the service was lovely, the decor was bizarre, and the tables were red.

Bravo to Moca for their stroke of genius: red-lit tables. Everyone looks good in soft, red lighting. You, your date, even your 80-year-old grandma will look rosy-cheeked and healthier.

First we started with soups to take the chill off of the night’s cutting wind. Both the Tom Yum Gang (Thai spicy shrimp soup) and the chicken soup with wontons were great! Sure, we’ve had these soups before many times at many venues, but these were definitely superior. The shrimps were large (and de-veined!!), the ingredients were fresh, the wontons delicate, and the noodles were tied in a cute little twine bundle.

The main courses were heavy-handed, but maybe that’s just us. I had a taro basket of seafood, and I thought the sauce was too sweet. But, again, the seafood was fresh and the taro basket was good. Next time we go, I think we’ll stick to appetizers and sushi.

“MoCA shines like a 1000-watt bulb in a darkened room, eye-catching in the already bustling shopping center.” - Citysearch review of Hewlett MoCa

“It’s hard to miss MoCA Asian Bistro, which looks bright enough to play understudy in Vegas. ” - Newsday review of Hewlett MoCa

Sure, we were among the eye-rollers who scoffed at yet ANOTHER pan-Asian restaurant in FoHi, not to mention one that’s, <shudder> from the suburbs. Hewlett, no less! There’s no denying that the decor is - how shall I put this? - unique. The rotating palm tree in the center of the dining room and the glass towers filled with water are not items you see everyday.

Stick to the appetizers and fun cocktails, and watch your budget. You’ll enjoy MoCa if you start out small.

Tags: Entertainment, Food and Drink, Forest Hills | 4 Comments

What happens at the Union Tpke station…

Posted by Mickie T on January 25th, 2009

…gets broadcast on YouTube.

Warning: this is NOT the most FAMILY-FRIENDLY.

I usually don’t post items like this, but the fact that Kew Gardens and the E train is the backdrop cracks me up.

Tags: Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Be green and get 2-4-1 drinks, Jan 28 @ Tierra Sanna

Posted by Mickie T on January 19th, 2009

Check out this fun, social and yummy event coming to our neighborhood! Green Drinks is coming to Queens. And Queens Green Drinkers get amazing 2-for-1 specials on the full array of organic wines and beers at Tierra Sana!

6:00pm - 9:00pm
at Tierra Sana in Forest Hills
100-17 Queens Blvd at 67th Road

In case you don’t know, Green Drinks is a pro-environment drinking club. Or maybe it’s a pro-drinking environmental club? Either way, it’s an informal networking group for folks that are environmentally minded.

From their Facebook page: “Come and we’ll introduce you to some of the other like minded folks in and around Queens. If we’re lucky (which is likely) we’ll cross pollinate make new friends, catch up with old ones, and maybe even sprout an idea or three. Since this is a new little experiment for our borough, please help get the word out and tell your friends about it! Heck, why don’t you bring them?”

Here’s their Facebook Page. You can send them an email here to get their newsletter.

Queens Green Drinks has planned four more get-togethers so far in 2009. This edition of Queens Green Drinks is sponsored by Green Phoenix Permaculture.

Green Phoenix Permaculture is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of and application of regenerative ecological design into our every day lives and the world around us. We’ve been rocking the Hudson River Valley with classes, workshops, and a full demonstration site featuring two forest gardens and a naturally built timber frame strawbale farm house since 2005. We work with a garden in Brooklyn and host a sustainable living action-learning group and meetups in Manhattan. Now we’re riding the green wave into Queens! Now forming local groups to learn and practice living well with each other and the earth, even in the big city.

Tags: Development, Food and Drink, Forest Hills, Queens Boulevard, Rego Park | 2 Comments

Tennis, anyone?

Posted by Mickie T on December 22nd, 2008

Need a little escapism? Appropos of nothing, I want to mention to this dusty jewel I found at a Cape Cod used bookstore this summer.

 While I was laid up with the fractured foot, I finally got a chance to read it.

What a lousy piece of schlock, and it doesn’t even mention FoHi much!

It’s the tale of a loud-mouthed, egotistical, bratty American tennis star named “James McLaren” (gee, who could that be?) who quit in his prime and has become a drunk living in the south of France. He gets embroiled in drugs, murder and international espionage when the daughter of a suddenly-deceased tennis legend plucks McLaren out of near oblivion to be the spokesmodel for her father’s failing tennis clothing empire.

There are some mediocre passages about Flushing Meadows and NYC in the “bad old days,” but nothing really great about our neighborhood. But it does have great cover art!

Tags: Crime, Entertainment, Forest Hills, Tennis | No comments

More phall photo phun!

Posted by Mickie T on November 14th, 2008

Autumn on Austin Street is coming to a close, and my foot is not completely healed yet! Argh, 12 weeks and counting. Nevertheless, I did manage to take a little stroll around Austin Street to check out the scenery on an unseasonably warm day.

Speaking of fall, Rouge has officially fallen off Restaurant “Road.” Anyone know what’s going in that space?

 “La vie sans rose…”

Great colors in the falling leaves of the Bradford-Callery Pear trees.

But don’ t blink! Since the Feds are bailing out the turkeys this year, we’re jumping from Halloween to the Winter Holiday Shopping Season. Do not stop at Thanksgiving, go directly to Christmas!

The snowflakes have been strung across Austin Street…


…and the winter blossoming of temporary closeout stores is starting already.

Fox’s? U-bet!

The only thing that’s not turning white and wintery is the nursing home on 110th Street and 71st Road. Hooray! One less horrid white-brick building! Great face-lift.


Tags: Food and Drink, Forest Hills, Real Estate, Retail, Weather | 1 Comment

QueensCentral Fun Fall Photos

Posted by Mickie T on October 26th, 2008

Hmmm, would that make this a “phlog?”

Not much color - foliage or otherwise - to photograph this week. Most pics here are simply confirmations of the new stores popping up around the area, plus some intriguing bits of scenery around the nabe.

Halloween fun in front of Renegade salon. I hope your haircut doesn’t come out scary!

Pink Tree in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The Tap Room (the old “Cafe Moda”) - open for business, just in time for football!

Overheard: “That’s cool, but I can live without one more sports bar in my life.”

Site of new Fro-Yo competitor, OKO (where ColdStone Creamery used to be.)

Dollar Chic on chic Austin Street. Gimme LotLess anytime…

“This has nothing to do with the bailout! Really.” - TD Waterhouse buys Commerce Bank

New and improved Broadway Bakery on 71 Road! Still great coffee and cleaner equipment!

коли под наемThe new GameStop location on QB and 63rd Road, next to gas station, north side.

Menorah on top of T-Bone diner. Was this ALWAYS there, and I just never noticed it?

Tags: Development, Food and Drink, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Media, Queens Boulevard, Real Estate, Rego Park, Retail, Transit | 3 Comments