A Taste of Italy at Da Franco

Located right off of Astoria Park at 23-92 21st Street, you will find Da Franco RestaurantDa Franco offers a few outside tables to enjoy a good weather day and also has a wide selection of gelato to cool you off from the summer heat.  Their menu is extensive but that just means there is more to try and enjoy.

To start, they brought a plate of freshly baked crostini drizzled in olive oil. It was right out of the oven and still warm so it was devoured rather quickly.  All of the pastas at Da Franco are home-made on the premises.  Being a pasta and seafood lover, I tried the Spaghetti Ai Frutti Di Mare.  It met all of my expectations.  The fresh spaghetti pasta sautéed with extra virgin olive oil and garlic in a light tomato sauce was surrounded by a plentiful portion of seafood which included mussels, calamari, clams and shrimp.  It was absolutely delicious and I will definitely order it again.

It wouldn’t be a visit to Da Franco without getting one of their brick oven pizzas.  Da Franco uses home-made mozzarella directly from his own factory in Ridgewood, NY and you can taste that freshness.  I really enjoyed the margherita pizza.  The crust was thin and was a nice balance between doughy and crispy – I thought it was just right.

The mission at Da Franco is to make everyone feel at home at their family restaurant.  I can say that I enjoyed my visits there immensely.  The friendly service and the food will keep me coming back.

Learn to Surf!

One of the best ways to cool off in the hot summer months is to go to the beach.  As I discovered with my first attempts last summer,  it is even better if I can grab a surf board and get in the water to catch some waves.  I had a really successful surf lesson on Long Beach, Long Island this past Saturday and wanted to share the company info with those who might be interested.

Skudin Surf, Inc. has local surfing lessons at Long Beach and the Rockaways. The instructors were really helpful and I improved a lot during my 90 minute session. Here is a link to their website where you can sign yourself up for surf lessons and camps www.skudinsurf.com .  Even if you have never surfed before, they will help you get up on the board in no time!  I look forward to putting the skills I learned to good use on future surfing outings.

Get Your Fill at Five Napkin Burger

The new addition of Five Napkin Burger in Astoria (35-01 36th Street) has been talked about quite a bit, so I was excited when my dining out group made an appointment to go this month. The space looks great and has transitioned well from its prior inhabitants (Bizarre Avenue Café and Cup).  Busy on a Wednesday night and located near the Kaufman Astoria movie theater and Studio Square, this place will hopefully stick around for a long time.

The drink menu is the same size as the food menu and there are so many options that it was hard to pick – the beer list in particular is quite extensive.  For my entrée, I opted to try the Ahi Tuna Burger. While our dishes each came with french fries, my table agreed to sample a side of tater tots as well.  Once positioned in front of me, my Tuna burger was very impressive.  Placed on an open bun was a huge tuna steak covered in wasabi mayo topped with 2 onion rings.  It was delicious!  The tater tots were also quite delectable. Not to be confused with the store brand variety, these tots were creamy and slightly seasoned mashed potato pillows enclosed in a delicate fried crust.  With the combination of my sandwich and these tater tots, I was in heaven! I did not even think about dessert because I was way too full.  Definitely go to Five Napkin Burger with a hungry stomach!

In addition to this new Astoria location, Five Napkin Burger has two city locations – one in Hell’s Kitchen and one on the Upper West Side. You can get all the location details and drool over photos of their burgers at www.fivenapkinburger.com.

King Tut Reigns in NYC

King Tut has returned to NYC!  The must-see exhibit is located at the Discovery TSX where you will get an intimate look at the marvels discovered in King Tutankhamun’s tomb.  In the 10 galleries, you journey through a marvelous display of artifacts from the time of King Tut.  Artifacts representing the royal family, historical footage of the discovery of the tomb, followed by some of the actual treasures found in the tomb are all exquisitely displayed.  I found the lighting and presentation really allowed you to closely examine each piece so that you can truly see it in all its glory.  In the final gallery, King Tut himself is on display, while the latest scientific findings about King Tut’s life and death are said to be presented for the first time.

This is a limited exhibit so be sure to see it for yourself before it ends.  Tickets appear to be on sale through January 2nd on the website.  Discovery TSX is located on West 44th Street between 7th and 8thAvenues.