06/11/13 10:23am
For some reason Souvlaki King has a siren on top.

For some reason Souvlaki King has a siren on top.

With the exception of Chinese skewers and anticuchos the last time I had meat on a stick was more than a decade ago. The details are hazy, but I’m certain the meat in question was of the souvlaki variety, essentially a kebab with a hunk of bread impaled on the end. Lately I’ve been passing by Souvlaki King an Astorian purveyor of sandwiches—and you guessed it—meat on a stick. Yesterday I finally succumbed to the siren call of smoke and meat at the stand on the corner of 31st Ave. and 31st St. A red siren sits atop the stand, silently flashing. As it spins it conjures up images of brothers George and Kostas Tsampas as souvlaki EMTs, or better still super heroes. (more…)

05/15/13 10:23am
Behold the baklava sandwich.

Behold the baklava sandwich.

PLEASE NOTE THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED

For as long as I’ve been living in Queens Laziza of New York has been one of my favorite spots for Middle Eastern sweets. For almost as long they’ve been under new management and have been trying to get a sandwich counter going in the back of the space. The other night I stopped by to see if there were any kebabs to be had. Sadly there were no kebabs or falafel. There was, however, a sandwich, the baklava sandwich! That’s right I said baklava sandwich.

A seemingly infinite variety of baklava is on display in the case that runs the length of the shop. So why shouldn’t Laziza’s permutations of walnuts, phyllo, and honey include a sandwich. The $3 baklava sandwich isn’t so much a sandwich as it is a baklava on steroids. The sticky baton-shaped megabaklava is about four times as big as the typical specimen. It’s also partially wrapped in paper, much the same way a pita sandwich from nearby Cedars Meat House would be. That paper will not keep your hands from getting sticky though. It’s everything you’d expect in a baklava sandwich, flaky, crunchy, nutty, and sticky sweet. Add a cup of espresso and it’ll blow your head clean off, in a good way of course.

When I was leaving I asked the gent at the counter how to say the name of the sweet treat in Arabic. “Baklava,” he replied, “baklava sandwich.” Until I hear otherwise that’s what I’m calling it, too.

Laziza of New York, 2578 Steinway St., Astoria, 718-777-7676