“Talk about finds…It’s like somehow the Seattle craft brewery scene has come to Queens.”
As far as I know Robert Remler is the only person blogging about the bar scene in Queens. Sure, there are other blogs with cocktail content, but Robert’s beat is bars—and sometimes restaurants—hence the title, “Where to Drink in Queens.” Herein a post on his serendipitous discovery of the LIC Beer Project.
Sometimes a wrong turn leads to a good ale.
Wasn’t paying attention, Kiddo. Right turn off Queens Plaza North. A block screaming Quentin Tarantino. A bevvy of auto body shops. Cars jacked on sidewalks. ‘Flat Fix Here’ signs everywhere. Roar of cordless drills tightening wheel nuts.
And then? Quick glance to the left.
Garage door half opened. People sitting at wooden tables on steel stools.
So, as the Ramones used to shout, “Hey, ho! Let’s go.”
Sheet metal ducts run the high ceiling. Wooden casks along the brick walls. Silver silos at far end of room. An immaculate stainless steel basin in a room behind a glass window. Exotic bottles of beer on the window ledge. Not far away people toss bean bags at wooden boards. (more…)
As far as I know Robert Remler is the only person blogging about the bar scene in Queens. Sure, there are other blogs with cocktail content, but Robert’s beat is bars—and sometimes restaurants—hence the title, “Where to Drink in Queens.” He was kind enough to pen this lovely piece on The Alcove in Sunnyside, which sounds like a lovely place to ring in 2016.
Knock wood for a good 2016.
Not any wood, dude.
Knock your knuckles on the bar at The Alcove in Sunnyside. If you knock enough maybe prosperity finds you in Oh-Sweet Sixteen.
How The Alcove’s wooden bar top made it to Sunnyside is a story you can discuss New Year’s Eve. First, however, you need to discover The Alcove and hear the story told to you by the bar’s owner and operator.
As a kid I grew up sipping egg nog at Christmastime, the stuff from the container, not the homemade kind. With a dusting of nutmeg, the rich brew was kind of tasty, even better with a splash of rum. To tell the truth, I always thought that my brother, John, liked it better than I did. Sometimes I wish I grew up Puerto Rican, then I’d know how to dance, and, instead of store bought egg nog, I’d have had coquito. For those who haven’t heard of it, think of this festive libation as the love child of the piña colada and egg nog, that is if the pineapple gene was recessive.
Third generation barman Giuseppe González—the mastermind behind the Lower East Side’s Suffolk Arms—has spent more time behind the stick than I have at the bar and he was kind enough to share his thoughts on his home country’s national holiday drink. With the tropical weather we’ve been having coquito seems more appropriate than eggnog anyhow. Best of all you can make several bottles and lay in a supply for the upcoming New Year’s Eve festivities. Take it away Giuseppe!
Coquito. It’s basically three ingredients: Puerto Rican rum, evaporated milk and cream of coconut. Spice it how you want (cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, etc). Simple. Work your way up and incorporate what you want. All variations should have something that resembles those three. (more…)
“Mooncakes!!??, a Chinese friend said to me over breakfast recently. “Nobody likes them, they’re like fruitcake for Asians.” The dense cakes stamped with Chinese characters are traditionally eaten (sometimes begrudgingly) and gifted—much like fruitcake—for the Moon Festival, which falls on Sunday, September 27 this year. All sorts of mooncakes, including novelty ones for pandas and those made from Taiwanese hornet hives are prepared for the fall harvest festival, which is held on the night of the full moon between early September and early October. (more…)
From Chennai with Love: Pavakkai (bitter gourd) chips dusted with hing and pepper
At home, I keep Indian salty snacks at the ready when sipping a refreshing brew. But when I go out, I’m stuck with the usual over-salted nuts and bland, fried bar snacks. Even Indians—who enjoy their salty snacks with milky, sugary chai—seem unaware of this potentially brilliant pairing.
Would it be weird to smuggle in some chana jor garam the next time I head out for a pint? Not if everyone’s doing it. Beer-swilling spice lovers, unite…and let the Indian bar food smuggling begin! (more…)
Fang Gourmet Tea lies at the back of a mall on Roosevelt Avenue.
For as long as I can remember tea has always been an accompaniment to Chinese food. First at various suburban restaurants it was bags of Swee-Touch-Nee orange pekoe. Later as I began to enjoy yum-cha at dim sum houses in Queens and elsewhere, the tea was decidedly better. I never gave all that much thought to the nuances of tea though until I went to a tea tasting at Yumcha Yoga with tea expert Theresa Wong from Fang Gourmet Tea.
That day Wong poured pu-er tea. The most striking thing about my first tea ceremony was the method in which Wong prepared the tea. First she warmed the teapot discarding the first batch of leaves. Then she brewed the tea. Everything was done in a measured almost meditative manner. I honestly don’t remember exactly what the brew tasted like, but I know I liked it and recall it was a relaxing experience that left me wanting to learn more about tea. (more…)
Coffee and cocktails combine at the new Sweetleaf.
I’ve been eagerly awaiting the opening of the third location of third wave coffee bar Sweetleaf for months. When I heard that it would be serving cocktails from Richie Boccatto of nearby Dutch Kills I became even more intrigued. So the other day I stopped by, partly to get a jolt to ward off an M.Wells-induced food coma and partly to check out the joint. Coffee maven and Sweetleaf co-owner Rich Nieto fixed me a macchiato while I soaked up the atmosphere. The wooden bar is equally suited to downing an espresso or sipping a fine libation. Ditto the comfy chairs in the front. There’s even a design element that pays homage to the gantries which are just down the road. (more…)
When I was a kid I loved ice cream sodas. As an adult I discovered the affogato, a very grown-up Italian treat that takes its name from the word for “drowned.” It’s a scoop of ice cream with a shot of espresso poured on top. One day I was in Eddie’s Sweet Shop, the quintessential Queens ice cream parlor and I noticed they had had an espresso machine.
“Do you make affogatos?” I asked. The kid behind the counter had never heard of one, but proceeded to tell me about the Donovan, an off-menu creation of one of his co-workers. “I don’t know how to make one though,” he said. About a week later, I returned when Donovan was working and ordered his specialty. It’s vanilla chip ice cream drowned in espresso and topped with a crumbled sugar cone and hot fudge. Think of the $7 treat as an affogato as invented by Willy Wonka or a bearded soda jerk with too much time on his hands.
Borjomi mineral water is a staple beverage at C+M headquarters.
One of things I like about living in Rego Park apart from its proximity to Flushing and wonderful old school spots like Knish Nosh is the preponderance of Uzbek culinary culture. There are at least 10 kosher kebab houses which fetishize the fatty flesh of lamb to varying degrees. Even the pizzerias here sell the meat pies known as samsa along with plov, a Central Asian spin on pilaf. At the delis find plenty of smoked fish, Eastern European charcuterie, salads, and Borjomi Mineral water. There are many other mineral waters on offer but over the past few years, I have grown fond of the fizzy water in the bluish bottle.