Top 10: Brunch

We love brunch, and Astoria does not disappoint with the quantity of places or the quality of food and drink. Here’s our Top 10 favorite places to get brunch in Astoria:

10. Oliver’s Astoria
9. Sugar Freak
8. Gastroteca Astoria
7. The Thirsty Koala
6. Sanfords Restaurant
5. The Shady Lady
4. The Bonnie
3. Sek’end Sun
2. The Royal Underground
1. Beans & Lager


Omelet and side salad at Beans & Lager

“Message in a Bottle” interview


Michelle Drozdick in “Message in a Bottle.” Photo by Melissa Parker Caron

It’s not easy breaking free of a toxic relationship—whether it’s a bad boyfriend or a googly-eyed bottle of vodka named Tito.

Comedian Michelle Drozdick confronts this challenge in her solo show, “Message in a Bottle.” Coming off well-received appearances at SOLOCOM 2018, The Pit, HACPAC and Smush Gallery, Drozdick will present her show at QED August 18-20.

Drozdick describes the show as a “surreal but true love story between a woman and a bottle of vodka, from the early days of awkward first love to the ultimate betrayal, and the realization that life going forward isn’t just doable, it can be beautiful.”

BOAST writer Lisa Huberman sat down with Drozdick to discuss the evolution of the show, and what she is looking forward to about bringing it to QED.

Lisa Huberman: What was the initial inspiration for the show? Did you always conceive of it as a solo piece?
Michelle Drozdick: I wanted to put together a show that was equal parts comedy and drama, without sacrificing one for the other, as well as a way to tell my own story quitting drinking in an engaging, unique way… so I wrote a play about a woman dating a bottle of vodka named Tito. It’s always been a solo piece, yes—I did briefly consider how it would work if other people were added, but at heart it’s a show about that relationship, and I think it works best when it’s just the two of them.

How has the show evolved since you first began performing it in 2018? How have you evolved as a performer?
Every time I do this show, something new happens that I end up incorporating! Often it’s a spur of the moment thing that gets a big reaction, like a throwaway line or facial expression during an otherwise serious moment. I’m definitely more confident than I was since I started doing this show—the first performances were absolutely nerve-wracking, and although I’m still incredibly nervous before hitting the stage each and every time I have much more belief in my abilities than when I started.

You come from an improv background. Is the process of performing your solo show different from improv?
It really is. With improv there’s no pressure—it’s comedy, and you’re making it all up on the spot. With this show, it’s a heavy, dark dramatic comedy based on real life, and it was written and planned well in advance. There’s a lot more preparation that goes into it, but every script revision and time spent agonizing over exactly the right line structure or delivery is so worth it.

There are some similarities to improv, though! Although this show is scripted, I do allow for variations. Each show is different, and a lot of these changes end up making their way into the script. It’s a really unique and fun experience to get to use that improv background in a new, rewarding way.

What is the scariest part about performing a show this personal? What’s the most exhilarating part?
It’s absolutely terrifying to go over some of the darker moments of my life, especially when people I know are watching! The concept of the show is surreal, but the events that unfold are very true to life. Doing this show with my mother and stepfather in the audience was probably the scariest thing I’ve ever done—and I’m so glad I did it.

So many things about it are exhilarating. Getting to take something incredibly painful and slap googly eyes, plastic forks for arms, and a necktie on it then laugh at it has been so amazingly empowering. Getting to talk to audience members afterwards and have so many people confide in me their own stories, past and present, is something I never imagined would happen, and I’m so grateful to be trusted in that way. Although it’s a personal show, I’ve found that more than anything it’s reminded me (and hopefully others!) that no one is truly alone, and more people may understand what you’re going through than you’d realize. (more…)

Message in a Bottle at QED

Message-In-A-Bottle-692Message in a Bottle, written and performed by Michelle Drozdick, will be showing at QED on Sunday Aug. 18, Monday Aug. 19, and Tuesday Aug. 20, 7–8:30pm.

From the artist: “It’s a surreal but true-to-life love story between a woman and a bottle of vodka, from the early days of awkward first love to the ultimate betrayal, and the realization that life going forward isn’t just doable, it can be beautiful.”

You can get tickets at this link, and you can find out more information on the Happening page.


Review: Addy’s Barbeque


Ribeye steak

[This review is based on the writer’s experience at a Yelp elite event. She also keeps a gluten-free diet, so this is not reflective of the average experience. That said, her expectations were high being that the restaurant opened its doors to a group of hungry, avid Yelp reviewers.]

I sampled several freshly-made iced Lassi type drinks (Vanilla, Piña Colada, and Strawberry) that were light and refreshing.

It appears that the staff is not familiar with food allergies, but will gladly ask the chef what is safe for your dietary needs. They appear eager to please and modify dishes where they can. The chef came out to find me when he heard I was not able to eat any of the many mouth watering looking dishes. He went out if his way to make me a custom dish (ribeye, mashed potatoes, mushrooms & onions with a tall mug of Mango Lassi) so that I would not leave hungry.

He said that if you contact the restaurant in advance he would purchase gluten-free flour and pasta and could easily modify the chicken wings. Be aware that they obviously do not have a dedicated gf fryer.

He truly puts his heart and soul into his business. I would like to see this business succeed, though I would advise to fix the sign on the front door with the posted hours since a few of the letters/numbers were missing. I will be back for sure!


Addy’s Barbeque
30-94 Steinway St, Astoria, NY 11103
(718) 433-9568

An Interview with Comedian Ted Alexandro


Photo by Eric Korenman

I recently had the opportunity to interview Astoria resident, Ted Alexandro. Ted has been active in the comedy scene for 15 years. He started out as a music teacher in Boston and has used that experience throughout his career. He talks about teaching, his family and many other anecdotes in his new podcast, A Little Bit Me. Currently, he is on tour opening for Jim Gaffigan. I corresponded with him through e-mail to learn more about this talented Astorian and his new podcast.

Congratulations on 15 years in the comedy scene! I enjoyed listening to your podcast. Why is now the time to launch A Little Bit Me?

I realized what the world needed was another podcast from a comedian. I’d done every other comedian’s podcast and enjoyed doing them. It occurred to me if I started my own, I won’t have to leave the house.

Who should give this a listen?

If you like comedy and/or the life of comedians, you’ll like it. If you don’t, you will still like it.

How did you decide what to focus on in your podcast?

It’s called A Little Bit Me so I knew it would have to be that but I wanted it to be a mix of me talking about life; segments like Cooking with Ted where I talk about my latest attempts in the kitchen, What Are You Watching and Grading My Marriage, as well as segments like The Catch Up where I cold call a comedian friend and catch up. They’re not expecting the call so it’s always interesting to launch into it. But it always winds up being a great conversation because these are people I’ve known and worked with for years.

Which comedians do you have lined up for future segments of The Catch Up?

Whoever is in my phone. It’s basically all spur of the moment, like “Let’s give Jim Gaffigan a try.” I’ve been a comedian for twenty-five years so I know a lot of comedians. I’ve had Jim Gaffigan, Marc Maron, Marina Franklin on the podcast. It really is an opportunity to catch up with friends and broadcast it to the public.

If you could call anyone (not just the fantastic people you already know) for The Catch Up segment of your podcast, who would you pick and why?

Jesus, MLK and Martha Stewart. I think what makes The Catch Up unique is I’m catching up with people I know. But eventually I may branch out beyond comedians.

You’ve toured all over the world with some amazing talent. What is it about Queens that keeps you coming back?

Both NY airports are in Queens, so when I land, I’m home. Most of my family is here or close by and it’s a quick ride to every comedy club in Manhattan so it’s good for work, too. Queens has a diverse, chaotic, dreamlike quality that is very specific. I like it.

Has there ever been any place you’ve visited that you could ever see yourself living? Where and why?

Sometimes I do a gig in a city like Cedar Rapids, Iowa or Tulsa, Oklahoma and I’m like “This place is great. I could probably live here.” Then I get on a plane and fly back to New York.

What are your favorite places to eat or hang out in Astoria?

OK Cafe is a great little coffee shop in Astoria. Ornella is a great little family-owned Italian restaurant with an array of amazing dishes. And Astoria Park is a great little park with an Olympic-size swimming pool. I like little things.

In one episode of your podcast, you called yourself the Comptroller of Astoria and Jon Fisch calls you the president. Would you ever consider running for any office? Local or national. Why?

I just like the word Comptroller. Also Ombudsman. I can’t think of a less appealing job than holding public office. I would much rather tell jokes and do a podcast.

You’ve done such great work for social justice issues. What/who inspires you to take on important issues? What are your current passion projects?

Thanks. I think my parents instilled certain values in me that cultivated a social conscience. I’m inclined to say something when I find something unjust, disturbing or infuriating. Smoothies are my current passion project, sometimes even with passion fruit. I honestly just jump in when I’m inclined to speak on something. It’s not premeditated. It’s best served organic, like passion fruit.

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about?

My first comedy special As Much As You Want was just reissued as a 15th Anniversary Edition with bonus material and remastered tracks. People can listen to that and all my comedy albums on all music/comedy streaming platforms.


To find out where you can catch Ted Alexandro next, check out his website:

His new podcast A Little Bit Me is available on iTunes, Stitcher and YouTube.

Top 10: Things To Do

Here is our list of Top 10 things to do in Astoria!

10. Museum of the Moving Image
9. Ride the ferry to or from the Astoria stop
8. Take in a show at Q.E.D.
7. Games and pool at Break Bar & Billiards
6. Storytelling show at Astoria Bookshop
5. The Noguchi Museum
4. Socrates Sculpture Park
3. Walk along Shore Blvd. by Astoria Park
2. An activity in Astoria Park (tennis, jogging, skateboarding, basketball)
1. Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden during the day in warm weather


Bohemian Beer Garden

Musical review: Caroline, or Change


Lauren Singerman (left) and LaDonna Burns in Caroline, or Change. Photo: Michael R. Dekker.

Caroline, or Change, which takes place in 1963 but was first performed 15 years ago, has arguably more social relevance today than ever before. Written by Tony Kushner, best known for the play Angels in America, he explores the issues of societal, class, race and religious inequalities that had boiled over in the 60’s and are still fully present today. The story takes place in Lake Charles, Louisiana on the day of JFK’s assassination, an event that captured the attention of an entire country. In the meantime, Caroline (LaDonna Burns), a black maid in the employ of a middle class Jewish family (modeled off Tony Kushner’s own upbringing), is coming to terms with her status as a single mother living off minimum wage while trying to provide the best life she can for her three children Emmie, Jackie and Joe. The show cleverly anthropomorphizes the objects of the laundry room where she spends most of her day: the washer and dryer provide commentary while the radio adds its own set of vocals. The director breaks up the set into two spaces that allow for seamless transition between scenes in the Gellman and Thibodeaux households. The central relationship is between that of Noah Gellman (Sabatino Cruz), who recently lost his mother and has yet to build a relationship with his stepmother Rose, and Caroline Thibodeaux, his no-nonsense maid who allows him to light her cigarette every day. The performers do an excellent job of revealing the depth of feeling between these two disparate characters while allowing the supporting cast members to come into their own during the course of the show. Along with the excellent vocals and performance of our lead actress, other standouts include her friend Dotty (Nattalyee Randall), daughter Emmie (Sharae Moultrie), Rose Stopnick Gellman (Lauren Singerman) and Rose’s father Mr. Stopnick (Gordon Stanley).

While Mr. Stopnick explains how the struggle for societal equality and freedom in America for Jews and Black people are alike, the audience can easily note the income disparity between the two families. In the meantime, Caroline’s daughter Emmie is ready to follow MLK’s example of non-violence to march in demand for change in the US. The actors and director do a beautiful job of portraying a country on the edge of major change and conflict. We can only wonder what these rich characters would have to say about the recent events sweeping this country. With so many salient issues and engrossing story, this show provides a distinctive look back at the last 60 years of change…or not?


Book and lyrics by Tony Kushner
Music by Jeanne Tesori
Directed by Dev Bondarin

May 2 – 25, 2019
Thursdays & Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 2pm & 8pm

Broccoli Theater
Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens
21-12 30th Rd @ 21st St, Entrance on 30th Rd.

Tickets and Info:

Top 10: Desserts

We’re introducing a new feature called Top 10. Here, we give our Top 10 places in Astoria to get dessert! Have feedback? Let us know in the comments.

10. Sanfords Restaurant
9. Victory Sweet Shop
8. Rose & Joe’s Italian Bakery
7. Parisi Bakery
6. Il Fornaio Bakery Cafe
5. Comfortland
4. Chip
3. Bonjour Crepes & Wine
2. Martha’s Country Bakery
1. Ample Hills Creamery

Enjoying Ample Hills ice cream.