Books and Coffee. And Doughnuts.

Books and coffee go together like—well, books and coffee. And you can get the best of both without ever leaving Astoria. Astoria Bookshop and Gossip Coffee are two local staples that should definitely be a part of any Astorian’s day.

Astoria Bookshop
Start your day—be it a lazy Sunday, a fun Saturday, or even a Ferris Bueller-style day off—at Astoria Bookshop, a three-year-old independent bookstore that’s close to the Broadway stop on the N/Q line, so visiting from Manhattan is quick and easy.

Astoria Bookshop has a great selection of contemporary books, classics, and everything in between. They sell fiction, nonfiction, graphic novels, YA, and middle grade/children’s literature, as well as quirky greeting cards, notebooks, book-themed candles, book-themed tea, book-themed baby clothes, and many other book-themed novelties.

Posted among the shelves are handwritten reading recommendations from the staff, so you’ll never be at a loss for ideas when browsing. The staff also runs a number of book clubs, author readings, and other literary events. Check out their event calendar at (*Note to aspiring writers: Every other week, the bookshop hosts a creative writing workshop.)

Once you’ve bought a book and helped support this local independent bookstore, it’s time to go cozy up and read over at Gossip Coffee.

Gossip Coffee
Just two avenues and a few blocks down from Astoria Bookshop is Gossip Coffee, which opened last year and has been attracting a steady stream of Astorians ever since. The space is clean and relaxing, with a retro-modern feel and warm wooden hues throughout, and is often packed with people hanging out or working on their laptops. There are comfy chairs, lots of leather-lined barstool seating, a community table, free wi-fi, and outlets to charge your electronic devices. There’s even a beautiful outdoor patio for when the weather is nice.

The most important thing, though, is the coffee. Gossip’s signature espresso blend can only be described as medium-bodied heaven with a milk chocolate aftertaste. If espresso’s not your thing, they also brew regular coffee, though decaf drinkers take note they only offer decaf espresso, not decaf coffee. They also offer a selection of hot teas, and have at least five unique flavors of iced tea on tap. That’s right. ICED TEA ON TAP.

And don’t miss the doughnuts, which are artisan creations made fresh each morning by Chef Scottish Francis (a “fan favorite” contestant from season five of Masterchef). Flavors change frequently, but include Proscuitto Guinness, Key Lime Pie, Orange Creamsicle, Banana Coconut, Chocolate Stout, and more. (He’s even created a star-shaped “Ziggy Stardust” doughnut in memory of David Bowie, and a white “Holy Donut” for when the Pope was in town.) Another popular dessert is Gossip’s rice pudding; choose from Oreo, French Toast, Cheesecake, Rocky Road, Tiramisu, and more.

So go ahead and geek out with a day full of good books and good coffee, and experience for yourself what an amazing combination they can be.

Astoria Bookshop, 31-29 31st Street, (718) 278-2665
Gossip Coffee, 37-04 30th Avenue, (718) 440-8792

Stephanie M. Grossman

BOAST’s Winter 2016 Party

The other day we had our Winter 2016 party at The Ditty, winner for Best New Bar. There were lots of food and drinks, and a good time was had all around. See below for some pictures.

Some stats from the winter 2015-16 results

New BOAST winners were published the other day, and this time there were 100 different winners! This is by far the most we’ve had for BOAST results. Congratulations to all. Places with the most wins in multiple categories include Mar’s (4), The Strand Smokehouse (4), Sek’end Sun (3), Sweet Afton (3), The Queens Kickshaw (3), and Martha’s Country Bakery (3). Other numbers of note: There were 18 categories in the EAT section, and 12 in each DRINK and DO & SEE. By location, Astoria-Ditmars (N/Q) had by far the most winners with 33, then it was 30th Ave (N/Q) with 22, Steinway (R) with 16, Broadway (N/Q) with 15, 31st Ave with 5, 36th Ave (N/Q) and LIC with 4 each, and Astoria Blvd (N/Q) with 3. (If you’re doing the math, that’s 102 total winners, but Bareburger and New York City Bagel & Coffeehouse both have two locations in Astoria.)

We also have new photos in the slideshows, and new Featured BOAST Locations throughout the site. If you know of businesses that should be featured on the site, contact us by filling out the form on the CONTACT page, or emailing

New winners posted on the site!

The BOAST: Best of Astoria Winter 2015-16 winners have been posted! Check out the pages for EAT, DRINK, DO & SEE, and LOCATION. Thank you to everyone who filled out the survey, and to those who did write-ups. To celebrate, we’re having a party tonight (Sunday) at 7pm at The Ditty (Ditmars Blvd and 35th St), winner for Best New Bar. $15 includes champagne and hors d’oeuvres. You can register online or pay cash at the door.

BOAST’s Winter 2016 Party!

BOAST’s Winter Party is happening on January 31 at The Ditty!

The BOAST: Best of Astoria survey (winter 2015-16) is complete, and we are compiling the results right now. They will be published soon, and to celebrate another batch of BOAST: Best of Astoria winners, we will congregate and imbibe at the new Astoria watering hole The Ditty, at 35-03 Ditmars Blvd, on Sunday, Jan. 31, at 7pm.

Your sign-up includes platters of hors d’oeuvres and champagne. (You can purchase other drinks at the bar.) It’s $12 if you register by Wednesday, Jan. 27, and $15 after that. Click here to register.

We hope to see you then!

Happy Holidays and New BOAST Survey!

Happy Holidays, and Happy Winter Solstice!

Today is officially the first day of winter, but you wouldn’t know it from the weather. Today in NYC the high was 60, tomorrow’s is 63, and Thursday’s is 72! Even if it is unseasonably warm, it is still perfectly OK to enjoy the best cup of hot chocolate in Astoria. Speaking of which, the new BOAST: Best of Astoria Survey (winter 2015-16) is out now, so it would be great if you fill it out! We always appreciate if you add a short 1-2 sentence write-up. The last day to submit is Tuesday, January 12.

Again, here is the link.

We’d like to get as many responses as possible, so please share it with your Astoria friends and family.

Also, please let us know if you’re interested in doing writing, photography, or sales for BOAST. You can reply to this email, or send us a note to

Kurry Qulture Now Open on 30th Ave.

Kurry Qulture, an Indian restaurant, just opened a couple weeks ago, and it’s well worth checking out. It’s located on 30th Ave between 36th and 37th St, in the space where Bourbon and Vine used to be.

For dinner, there is a pre-fixe seasonal menu of $33, and it includes soup, two courses, and a trio of desserts. However, if you want something lighter, you can order any side dish or bar bite item at the bar. There is a large wine selection, and a number of excellent cocktails.

The restaurant has a relaxed but trendy ambiance, and that contributed positively to our dining experience. For drinks, we had a glass of the Pinot Noir from Argentina, which was incredibly smooth; the Astoria of My Life cocktail (knob creek bourbon, sweet vermouth, homemade thyme syrup and figs); the Diya cocktail (Knob Creek bourbon, ginger beer, fresh ginger); and the mocktail (sweet lassi, mango lassi, nimbu soda), which is a great non-alcoholic option.

The service was excellent from start to finish, with our waitress checking in on how we were doing often, but not too much. Our water glasses were always filled, and the staff was considerate when clearing plates and glasses.

In terms of food, there was a whole lot of it, and we left feeling very full and satisfied. Between the four of us, we had a number of the dishes. For the first course, the ones that stood out were the lamb-stuffed tandoori chicken, creamy black lentils, butter chicken, Manchurian cauliflower, garlic naan, and spinach/goat cheese kulcha. For the entrées, we especially enjoyed the lamb chops, rogan josh (lamb shank), and turkey keema. We also got the sweet and sour eggplant, which was an excellent vegetarian option. The chutneys, which came with some of the dishes, were all very tasty. The small trio of desserts was a sweet way to finish off the meal, and we all really liked the Chai tea at the end.

The menu changes seasonally, and there is creativity and originality in the dishes, which are not usually seen at other Indian restaurants. Go for dinner, or just hang out at the bar for a drink or side dish.

Kurry Qulture, 36-05 30th Ave, 718-674-1212.

BOAST’s Best of Astoria Day: A success!

BOAST’s Best of Astoria Day was on Sunday, and we had a blast spending the day in Astoria, going to a number of BOAST winners. We had a bottomless brunch at Gastroteca Astoria, saw how cats took over the internet at Museum of the Moving Image, celebrated Oktoberfest with Purple Haze, Czech beer and a polka band at Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, and ended the day with pizza, pasta, and salad at Tufino Pizzeria Napoletana. Check out a slideshow below for pics from the day.