Restaurant Review: Astoriana Diosa del Taco

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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!

—Briyah

Astoriana Diosa del Taco
22-35 31st St
(929) 522-0202
diosadeltaco.com

 


BOAST: Best of Astoria Winter Party 2020 is a Wrap!

BOAST: Best of Astoria Winter Party 2020 at Rivercrest

Guest arrive and mingle at the BOAST: Best of Astoria Winter Party 2020 at Rivercrest. Photo by Dov

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


Theater review: Jump

Kelechi Ezie (left) and Alex J. Gould. Photo by Michael R. Dekker

Kelechi Ezie (left) and Alex J. Gould. Photo by Michael R. Dekker

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.

—Briyah


BOAST: Best of Astoria Winter Party 2020

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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 hello@boast.nyc. You can see all the current winners on boast.nyc, on the EATDRINK, and DO & SEE pages.

We look forward to seeing you at the party!

—The BOAST Team


Extras from the BOAST 2019 Survey

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!”


BOAST: Best of Astoria 2019 Winners Announced!

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The BOAST: Best of Astoria 2019 winners have been posted to this website and you can see them on the EAT, DRINK, and DO & SEE pages. You can also find them on a map organized by location on the LOCATION page. Thank you to those who filled out the survey, and you may see your write-ups throughout the site. We also have new images on those pages, as well as with the Featured BOAST Locations on the sidebars. If you want to see all the winners in one list, we put them on a post here. There were a lot of winners this year, with one of the reasons being that we had a Best of the Decade category in each section. You can see the winners By the Numbers in this post here. It’s clear that Astoria has TONS of great places to eat, and in 2019 the hottest spots were 30th Ave (N/W) and Ditmars Blvd (N/W), with Broadway (N/W) not far behind.

Save the Date for the BOAST: Best of Astoria Winter Party 2020, where we’ll celebrate the 2019 winners. It’ll happen on Sunday, Feb. 23, in the late afternoon, with more details to come soon. But we can tell you that there will be a raffle for prizes from places including Tufino Pizzeria, The Ditty, Astoria Bier & Cheese, Rivercrest, The Wolfhound, Queen’s Room, Katch Astoria, Astoria Performing Arts Center, Redken Saloon Salon, The Bonnie, Sweet Afton, and Museum of the Moving Image.

Email hello@boast.nyc with any comments or questions, and be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Hope your new year is off to a great start.

– BOAST

 


BOAST: Best of Astoria 2019 Winners – By the Numbers

Here are the numbers for the BOAST: Best of Astoria 2019 Winners

Number of Categories
EAT: 22
DRINK: 11
DO & SEE: 13
Total: 46

Number of Winners
EAT: 84
DRINK: 40
DO & SEE: 42
Total: 166

Winners by Location
36th Ave (N/W): 7
Broadway (N/W): 28
31st Ave: 10
30th Ave (N/W): 33
Astoria Blvd (N/W): 4
Astoria-Ditmars Blvd (N/W): 33
Steinway St (M/R): 17
Long Island City: 6

Businesses with the most wins in different categories
3 – Gossip Coffee (1st: 3)
3 – Sek’end Sun (1st: 2, 3rd: 1)
3 – Museum of the Moving Image (1st: 1, 2nd: 2)
3 – New York City Bagel & Coffee House (2nd: 2, 3rd: 1)
2 – Jujube Tree (1st: 2)
2 – Q.E.D. (1st: 2)
2 – Sal, Kris and Charlie’s Del (1st: 2)
2 – Sanfords Restaurant (1st: 2)
2 – Astoria Park (1st: 1, 3rd: 1)
2 – The Shillelagh Tavern (1st: 1, 3rd: 1)
2 – Omonia Café (2nd: 2)
2 – The Bonnie (2nd: 1, 3rd: 1)
2 – Diamond Dogs (2nd: 1, 3rd: 1)
2 – Queens Comfort (2nd: 1, 3rd: 1)


BOAST: Best of Astoria 2019 Winners – Full List

Here are all the BOAST: Best of Astoria 2019 Winners, in a full list.

EAT
Best American
Sanfords Restaurant
Queens Comfort
Sugar Freak

Best Bagels
Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company
New York City Bagel & Coffee House
Lots O Bagels

Best Bakery
Martha’s Country Bakery
Parisi Bakery
Artopolis Bakery

Best Brazilian
Pao De Queijo
Kilo Astoria
Rio Market

Best Brunch
Sanfords Restaurant
The Bonnie
Queens Comfort
The Trestle

Best Budget Dining
Mama’s Empanadas
Create
Arepas Cafe

Best Burger
Bareburger
Burger Club
Petey’s Burger (more…)


BOAST: Best of Astoria 2019 Survey and NYE in Astoria

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Last chance to vote for your favorites in the BOAST: Best of Astoria 2019 Survey

We have extended the BOAST: Best of Astoria 2019 Survey to Sunday, December 29. If you know Astoria, and haven’t filled it out yet, please do! At the end of the survey, if you enter your name and email, you will have a chance to win a prize. The link to the survey is boast.nyc/survey.

Here are some things going on for New Year’s Eve in Astoria:

Katch Astoria is hosting a big party. You can find more information about it and sign up with this link.

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Sek’end Sun has a $5 Open Bar from 8–9pm. To make a free reservation, call them at (917) 832-6414 or email info@sekendsun.com.

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There’s a dance party at Mom’s Kitchen & Bar.

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Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden has a big party with Live DJ.

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Open Bar at Oliver’s Astoria Roaring 2020s party.

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Vote for your favorites in the BOAST: Best of Astoria 2019 Survey!

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Can you believe it’s already the end of 2019? The end of the decade?? So at the end of this year and decade, we have a special BOAST: Best of Astoria 2019 Survey for you to fill out. We have removed some categories (bye-bye Best Movie Theater [but know that you can see movies at Regal UA Kaufman Astoria & RPX and Museum of the Moving Image]) and added some others (hello Best Deli, Best Street Cart and Best Pet-Friendly Establishment). Additionally, there is a Best of the Decade category in each of the EAT, DRINK, and DO & SEE sections. There have been so many amazing things in Astoria in the past decade, and we would like to give them a shout-out! You also have a chance to add write-in categories towards the end of each section if you’d like to contribute something that was not covered. We always appreciate short write-ups about your favorite places (you might see them on the site!), but keep in mind that there are 60 total categories this time, so answer as many as you’d like. At the end of the survey, if you enter your name and email, you will have a chance to win a prize. The survey will be open until December 27, 2019. The link to the survey is boast.nyc/survey, and please share with anyone who knows and loves Astoria.