During this uncertain time, we’re spending a lot more time at home. We would normally be posting about all the cool places we’re going to, but since we can’t go out much, we’re starting a new segment called BOAST from Home. (Thank you Julia for the idea.) We will be doing some posts from our home, but we would also like to know what you’re up to. Are you cooking delicious food? Are you playing musical instruments or singing? Are you doing dramatic readings? Are you painting, drawing, or doing other arts and crafts? Are you doing projects on the computer, like making videos or animations? Either send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, send us a message through social, or tag us, and we may feature you on our website or social media channels. Please include your name, what it is you’re sharing, the photo(s) or video(s), and any other information about your submission. We wish you the best, and hope you are staying safe and healthy. —The BOAST Team
Welcome to BOAST: Best of Astoria, the essential guide to the best things to eat, drink, do and see in Astoria, Queens.
At this point we hope everyone is taking this situation seriously. If you are not, just look at Italy (more than 53,000 cases and 4,800 deaths) and Spain (more than 25,000 cases and 1,300 deaths). The U.S. is on the rise. Here are some things to keep in mind.
– Stay home, unless you absolutely have to go out.
– If you do go out, including for walks, runs, and bike rides, try to keep a six-foot distance.
– When you come back inside, wash your hands with antibacterial soap for 20 seconds.
– Once a day, clean the high-touch areas in your home, including door knobs, light switches, refrigerator doors, faucets, and your phone. Use wipes or spray that say Kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria.
– Here are the CDC Guidelines for prevention:
– Many places are still open for takeout and delivery, and here is a list of those places in Astoria. However, we do not recommend ordering takeout or delivery since that puts employees and delivery people in danger. Instead, we suggest looking to buy gift cards from those places.
– If you or someone you know has been negatively affected economically, here is A Hub for Help During the Coronavirus Crisis:
– Please only buy what you need. We might be in this for a while, and everyone needs things.
– Do not flush wipes or paper towels down the toilet.
– When buying from Amazon, go to smile.amazon.com, and select a charity to support.
– Here are some links of places to donate to:
Compilation of organizations from the Washington Post
Give Directly, putting cash in the hands of people directly affected by the virus
Bartender Emergency Assistance Program
Entertainment Industry Foundation
The Actors Fund
Center for Disaster Philanthropy
Meals on Wheels
Directory of Homeless Shelters
– Finally, a huge thank you to those people who are working and can’t work from home, including scientists, doctors, nurses, paramedics, first responders, supermarket workers, post office staff, truck drivers, delivery people, therapists, and social workers.
Stay safe, stay healthy,
This is a very tough and challenging time for a number of reasons, and one thing we suggest doing is ordering gift cards (or e-gift cards) from businesses that are partially or fully closed. This is a great and safe way to show your support and care for the people who are being negatively affected.
I was fortunate to be selected for a viewing of Music: Not Impossible. I had no idea what to expect, but I left feeling very moved. Interpreters were faced with the task of translating sounds and music into sign language, which was fascinating to observe. As my friend and I arrived, we were suited with wrist and ankle devices as well as one that went over the chest. These devices vibrated to the sound of the music, which was incredible. I have full hearing, but the added effects were invigorating to experience. The goal was for everyone to experience music in the same way.
The music ranged from a full orchestra to a light show with sound effects. The final segment of the event was a video of a woman dressed in an ethereal outfit and crown, in Times Square, approaching people without sound. As expected, those she interacted with had no clue what was going on and were largely dismissive. Watching that made me a little sad, although I understood that people can be nervous around concepts they don’t understand and being approached by strangers. This segment did also include music, as the woman wandered into an abandoned boat and explored the surroundings. I wondered how much we don’t give people a chance because they are different. The whole show was about an hour, in a small auditorium for around 150 people. The creator of the event, a deaf man, signed how grateful he was for the opportunity. It seemed like an experiment—one I hope they will continue. The event was free to those selected for the two showings. I only went to the first showing and I don’t know if they were the same or not, but I suspect that they were. Congratulations to all those involved for this innovative concert and to MOMI for hosting such a wonderful community event.
Text by Briyah
Photos by Briyah and Dov
Anassa Taverna Astoria is a lovely new addition to the Greek restaurant landscape in Astoria. They take the customer experience seriously. As I walked in someone offered to check my coat. They definitely have a swanky feel. Beautiful sweeping twinkling lights adorn the ceiling of this restaurant on Astoria Boulevard and 28th Street.
Soon after I sat down a small bowl of hummus on a platter with warm bread drizzled with olive oil was delivered to my table. Since I am a vegetarian, I did not partake in the bountiful seafood and other meaty options upon their menu. I thought I would enjoy an appetizer and dessert. Was a little bummed they didn’t have a dessert menu but at the end of your meal they bring you a small piece of cake. It’s called revani. (The waitstaff each spelled it differently when I asked for the spelling for my Instagram post.) It’s a sweet yellow cake in a honey-like sauce.
Speaking of honey, I got an order of cheese saganaki for my meal. It was amazing. I wished I had saved more of my bread to pair with the cheese dish. Oh that bread. I will sing its praises endlessly. The appetizer I ordered was a Greek gruyere fried in honey and lemon. It’s served bubbling hot! It was a lot of cheese for one person so I will be back and bring friends. I enjoyed the cheese and bread with a glass of rosé called Agiorgitiko. Nice meal that’s super close to the Astoria Blvd subway stop. I could see this becoming a new habit!
Anassa Taverna Astoria
28-10 Astoria Blvd
Photos by Emily
Astoria has a new taco shop and it’s not like the others. “It’s as if a Mexican fell in Greece,” says executive chef, Sebastian Royo, of Astoriana Diosa del Taco. We were greeted warmly at the new space, which recently had its soft opening. We proceeded to try a great selection of tacos, including Roasted Lamb with tzatziki, Chicken, Shrimp Tempura, Carne Asada and their newest, Al Pastor (marinated pork with pineapple). The tacos came beautifully presented, with pickled orchids as a garnish. All the tacos were very tasty and served with a variety of salsas, ranging from mild to hot. The Carne Asada was served with seared cheese, a new take on the classic Mexican dish. I asked for no cilantro since I have an aversion to it, and Royo teased us in a playful way, but he did oblige. The establishment also serves Mahi Mahi and seared Ahi Tuna as part of their Tacos Marineros, served with Napa cabbage, tartar sauce and pickled leeks. We drank delicious, cooling Agua Frescas—creamy Horchata and tart Hibiscus Flower. For an appetizer, we were served Quecas, or corn empanadas, filled with mushrooms and also with short rib. They were a favorite. The flavors were so good, with the crunch of the corn exterior and the tangy sauce. The menu is fairly extensive and we look forward to trying the Shishi-Lotes—baby corn and shishito peppers, tossed with tangy aoli and cotija cheese—a unique take on classic Mexican street food, Elotes. The vibe is relaxed, with music playing in the background and there is a long communal table as well as a few for 2–3 people. The space used to be QNS Café and the owners haven’t changed it too much, except to spruce it up and add a mural representing their vision. You can order at the bar/counter and the food will be brought to your table. The prices are average for the area, with tacos costing between $3.25 for 4″ street tacos and $6.50–$7 for more filling 6″ tacos. Vegetarians can choose from appetizers like grain bowls as well as cauliflower and Hibiscus flower tacos. We wish Astoriana much success. Welcome to the neighborhood!
Astoriana Diosa del Taco
22-35 31st St
The BOAST: Best of Astoria Winter Party 2020 is a wrap! Congrats to people who won raffle prizes from Astoria Bier & Cheese, Break Bar & Billiards, Katch Astoria, Museum of the Moving Image, Queen’s Room, Redken Saloon Salon, Rivercrest, Sweet Afton, The Bonnie, The Ditty, The Last Word, The Wolfhound, and Tufino Pizzeria and thank you to those businesses as well. We would also like to thank everyone who came to the party, and to Rivercrest for hosting.
Photos by Dov
I was the first one to arrive to the theater with about twenty minutes to spare. A few others trickled in and Charly Evon Simpson’s Jump, began. The material could be triggering for some, as it’s about intense grief. I don’t want to give anything away, but the story centers around a mysterious bridge where the main characters often converse. The lights often flicker and something seems to have gone awry in Faye’s brain. Played by Kelechi Ezie, Faye is grappling with the recent loss of her mother due to cancer. Her father, played by Dathan B. Williams, isn’t doing much better. He’s an alcoholic and he can’t seem to connect with his daughters (the other played by Natasha Hakata). Faye meets Hopkins, a stranger on the bridge, played by Alex J. Gould. The two strike up an unlikely friendship and realize they have more in common than they thought.
The play is heavy with a few laughs here and there. It makes you think about life and what makes it worth living. The small but mighty cast does a good job bringing their characters to life, especially in heart-breaking scenes.
Jump was a semi-finalist for the Playwrights Realm Writing Fellowship and the inaugural recipient of the David Goldman Fund for New Plays. Astoria Performing Arts Center (APAC)’s production marks Jump’s New York premiere.
Performances of Jump continue during weekends through February 23, 2020 at APAC’s pop-up theater, 28-21 Steinway St, Astoria. You can buy tickets here.
Come to Rivercrest on Sunday, February 23, from 3 – 6pm to celebrate the BOAST: Best of Astoria 2019 winners! (Rivercrest is a 2019 winner for Best New Bar.) Go to boast.nyc/party to reserve your tickets. We’ll provide some snacks, and there will be a cash bar.We will also have a raffle with prizes from Astoria Bier & Cheese, Katch Astoria, Museum of the Moving Image, Queen’s Room, Redken Saloon Salon, Rivercrest, Sweet Afton, The Bonnie, The Ditty, The Last Word, The Wolfhound, and Tufino Pizzeria. If you sign up by Monday, February 17, you will be automatically entered into the raffle. Additional raffle tickets will be available at the event as well. The cover is $15 (+ fee) in advance, and $20 on day of the event at the door. If you have any questions, email email@example.com. You can see all the current winners on boast.nyc, on the EAT, DRINK, and DO & SEE pages.
We look forward to seeing you at the party!
—The BOAST Team
Not everything from the BOAST: Best of Astoria 2019 survey made it onto the site. There were some great write-ups of places that were not winners, and some categories did not have clear winners so they were left off the site entirely. So here they are, the extras from the survey.
In both the Best Happy Hour and Best Date Spot categories, there were no clear winners. The notable places for Best Happy Hour were Katch Astoria, Daly’s Pub, Chanos, Victory Garden Cafe, Sek’end Sun, Blend, Tacuba and Sanfords. Some places written in for Best Date Spot included Blend, Judy & Punch, Vite, The Last Word, Q.E.D., Sanfords, Aliada, Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, Sweet Afton, DiWine, The Bonnie, and Sek’end Sun. The category for Best Pet-friendly Establishment didn’t have enough variance, but place with the most responses was Château le Woof.
And here are some write-ups for places that didn’t have enough votes to be BOAST winners.
For Best American Restaurant, Arcadia Bar & Kitchen: “Arcadia Bar & Kitchen is both restaurant and bar. With a lovely outdoor seating area and indoors bar, you will find American classics like grilled cheese sticks and mac and cheese melt in your mouth.”
Also for Best American Restaurant, The Pomeroy: “This New American eatery is relaxed and simply has incredible food. Add the homey vibe with great cocktails and you have a win!”
For Best Bagels, Bagel House: “Great bagels, with all the fixins’, and not a hipster in sight. Just regular old-school Astorians. ;-)”
For Best Brunch, The Thirsty Koala: “Experience a solid brunch with the classics — including friendly staff and Aussie ambience. Fried haloumi and honey ups the ante for sure!”
For Best Budget Dining, Ukus: “This Balkan (Montenegrin) spot makes a magnificent chopped salad with Bulgarian feta (the Ukus Salada), and spectacular bureks (savory pies). Meat eaters apparently love their cevapi, the gulas (goulash) and their Bosnian soup.”
For Best Burger, Halsey’s Tavern: “Their black bean burger (a vegetarian burger) is the best black bean burger I’ve ever had. The fries were good too.”
For Best Dessert, Jujube Tree: “The (vegan) pumpkin cheesecake is yum yum yum … and yum!”
For Best Pizza, Rose & Joe’s Italian Bakery: “Step to the far back counter of Rose and Joe’s old-school Italian bakery, and you find their pizza counter and oven, somehow producing unusually tasty slices. Long may they bake!”
For Best Coffee and Tea, Mighty Oak: “Worth spending a little more to buy my coffee beans here.”
For Best Activity, Movies in Hunters Point South: “Best lawn for an outdoor movie and the whole view of the east side of Manhattan.”
For Best Place for a Haircut, Nikos and Tasoula: “An affordable, nice mom-and-pop shop that gives a good haircut. With lots of bouzoukis and other musical instruments on the wall!”