DiWine is Delightful

I had the pleasure of trying brunch at DiWine in Astoria this past weekend.  They recently began serving brunch on both Saturdays and Sundays starting at 11am.  The price fix brunch includes your choice of entree, a coffee and a cocktail for $13.  For an additional $6 you can get unlimited cocktails with your brunch.  There is a variety of entrees to choose from including eggs, paninis, salads and their fabulous brick oven pizzas.

My friend and I decided to split the Breakfast Pizza (eggs, tomatoes, mozzarella and house cured salmon) and the Capricossa Pizza (Pepperocini, mushrooms, eggs, and mozzarella).  Both were quite delicious and it was very enjoyable to go from one flavor to the other. We had also chosen the unlimited cocktails option and while I ordered my usual mimosa, my friend tried the Bellini.  I am tempted to get that cocktail the next time I go because you could see that these Bellinis were made with real peach puree. The wait staff did a great job of filling our drinks throughout our leisurely meal and we left feeling quite content since the portions were so filling – we even had some pizza to take home.  I look forward to going back for more visits to DiWine for their scrumptious brunch in the future.

DiWine also has an excellent dinner menu.  In addition to their brick oven pizzas, the focaccia bread appetizer is absolutely delicious and I am a big fan of their berry martini.  DiWine has an elegant, cozy setting with outside seating available during the nice weather.  It is definitely worth a visit whether is it for brunch or dinner.

DiWine is located at 41-15 31st Avenue, between 41st and 42nd Street in Astoria.

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Summer Refreshment at Its Best

fattys2

Watermelon Margarita

Fatty’s Cafe in Astoria has created the ultimate summer beverage.  They already serve a wide variety of mixed drinks, have an impressive selection of beer and are known to serve one of the best mojitos around.  This weekend during one of my regular visits, they brought forth the perfect way to cool off on a hot summer day.  Mixed with real watermelon puree, I tried the new watermelon margarita and it is mouth-watering delicious!  I am not even the biggest watermelon fan, but once I tasted a sip I was instantly converted.  This beverage was only introduced this weekend and word about it is quickly spreading. 

In addition to the watermelon margarita, Fatty’s Cafe also started to offer a watermelon mimosa option during their weekend brunch hours and there is a watermelon daiquiri that can be made if that is your preference.  All I know is that you want to order this drink while you can because you certainly don’t want to be the only one who missed out!   And once you try one, you will find it hard to resist ordering another.  While cooling off at Fatty’s, be sure to indulge in their fabulous food offerings too as they serve dinner daily and weekend brunch from 11am-4pm.

When You Can’t Travel – Dine Instead!

Escargot

Escargot

Salmon Tartare

Salmon Tartare

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enter the cozy setting at Bistro Les Minots, located at 47-17 30th Avenue in Astoria and it is easy to forget that you are in NY.  The eager to please owners at this French Bistro are very welcoming and work hard to ensure that your dining experience is an enjoyable one.  I went with a larger group so we were in the back area of the restaurant.  Even, with a large group, our waiter was very accommodating with any questions we had and offered helpful suggestions for our orders. 

Eager to try French cuisine for the first time, I sampled three dishes during this meal.  My first and most adventurous dish was an appetizer portion of Les Escargots de Bourgogne which is described on the menu as sautéed snails served in a puff pastry with garlic, parsley, shallots and red wine.  Since they were not served in their shells but in a pastry, I thought it would be the best way to try escargot.  Even though I was nervous that these were in fact snails that I was eating, the dish itself was quite delicious and beautifully plated.  I also ordered the appetizer portion of Le Tartare de Saumon.  It was fantastic!  The small cuts of fresh salmon, cucumber and mango covered in a cilantro vinaigrette all blended together perfectly in each bite. 

For my entrée, I had the Les Moules Provençales – steamed mussels with Provencal herbs & spices in a tomato sauce.  It was a plentiful serving of mussels that came with an order of french fries since it was the entrée portion.  At this point I did my best to finish the mussels since I had already sampled two appetizers.  As usual, I was too full to try a dessert, but those around me enjoyed some delicious looking crepes and crème brule.

Bistro Les Minots offers an all you can eat mussels and fries special on Monday evenings and there is a prix fix dinner offered from 5-7pm.  Brunch is also served on weekends.

If you would like to have an authentic French dining experience, I would highly recommend Bistro Les Minots.  I left feeling as relaxed and happy as if I had been on vacation in France, even if it was just a couple of hours spent having dinner.

A Divine Addition to Astoria

This past Saturday evening, a friend and I had the pleasure of going to try a new Astoria restaurant – Vesta Trattoria and Wine Bar. We were both completely won over!!! Located on the corner of 30th Avenue and 21st Street, Vesta is a cozy and inviting atmosphere. Word of mouth is spreading fast about how delicious this place is so we ended up arriving just in time before the crowds. Since there were so many people coming in, they asked if we could sit at a table for two instead of the table for four we had initially selected for ourselves. We were happy to oblige as they offered us a free round of drinks to make up for the table move.

Once we settled into our seats, it was time to decide what to order. I am not the best at selecting a good wine (I prefer a dry red) so I went with their suggestion – the Aglianico. It was a perfect match for me and I stuck with this selection for the rest of my evening. As for our dinner choices, I wanted to try the Margherita thin crust pizza to start while my friend chose the Antipasto Plate, containing manchego cheese, hot sopressata and fig spread. Both were delicious and were devoured promptly. The pizza was much larger than I had anticipated but because the crust was so thin and crisp, I was able to enjoy half of it, share some with my friend and have room to try an entree. We both quite enjoyed these appetizers.

After much internal debate, my friend helped encourage me to try the Baked Gnocchi with chanterele mushroom and cream for my entree. It was definitely the right choice! The gnocchi melted in my mouth and everything in the dish perfectly complimented each other. I made sure to savor each bite and finished the entire serving, even though it meant no room for dessert for me. I was too happy to care! My friend enjoyed the Asparagus & three sisters Serena cheese which had a hint of lemon to it. Although I didn’t have room for dessert, my friend got to try the Tiramisu. Everything we sampled during our visit was excellent! When it was time to leave, I can definitely say that we left quite content.

There are plenty of items on the menu that I am still eager to try, so I plan to go back as soon as I can. Vesta also serves lunch weekdays and offers a brunch menu on the weekends. For those looking for a place to go for the holiday, they will be open on Thanksgiving serving a special holiday menu. For all of their details, visit them on the web at www.vestavino.com.

A Night of Acoustic Music at Crescent & Vine in Astoria

This Sunday, October 5th, there will be a live music showcase at Crescent & Vine from 7-9pm! Shannon, My Divided Unity, AM Preacher and Two Seconds To Midnight are all scheduled to perform and trust me when I say that it is a great line up.

Crescent & Vine held another acoustic show a few months ago and it was simply divine to hear great music while sampling the fabulous wine and beer offerings at one of my favorite wine bars. They also have cheese/meat platters you can order to accompany your wine samplings as well as delicious sandwiches, appetizers and desserts. I cannot go there without getting the Tartufo panini and the bruschetta. It is so yummy! This is a cozy venue so get there early to get a seat so you can really enjoy the dark yet candlelit atmosphere while hearing this local music showcase.

After the bands have all played, everyone will head over to another favorite place of mine – Fatty’s Cafe. This is another amazing Astoria restaurant that has one of the best brunches in the area and an amazing dinner menu as well. Fatty’s is the place to go for late night drinks in an artistic yet still laid back atmosphere. Local artists take turns having their works on the walls so there is always something new to see and the bar is illuminated with a blue light which sets the tone for the space. When the weather is nice the outdoor patio is open to accommodate more people. There is always a great mix of music playing while you are there enjoying your dinner/brunch/drinks too. I love this place!

So plan to make your Sunday a night of wine, beer, food and music by coming to Crescent & Vine for the showcase and then mingling at Fatty’s Cafe afterwards. It is sure to be a lot of fun!

Fatty’s Cafe is located at 25-01 Ditmars Blvd (corner of Crescent St.) and Crescent & Vine is right next to it.

Dining Out At Mojave

Mojave is a wonderful new addition to the Ditmars Blvd. and 31st Street area in Astoria. Their cuisine is described as Southwestern. Last week I went there with a large group which allowed me to sample a bit more appetizers than I normally would have. I enjoyed a sampling of the Hand Hacked Hass Avocado Guacamole and also the Corn Crusted Calamari Cracklins – both were great. Each table got their own plate of chips with 2 different salsas. Each salsa had a distinct flavor and was quite good. I only wish I could have had more as the serving size of the salsa was a little small.

Mojave has a varied specialty drink menu with many options to choose from. Some brave friends of mine sampled a spicy margarita which had jalapenos in it. Too spicy for my taste but they enjoyed them. For my entree, I had the Tejas Blue Crab,Chilis and Cheese Quesedilla. It was delicious and also quite filling. There were so many items I wanted to try on the menu, I will have to go back another time again soon.

The dining area at Mojave is decorated quite nicely with dim lighting brightened by many candles. It is a very enjoyable and welcoming atmosphere. There is also outdoor garden seating for when the weather is nice.

Mojave offers a weekend brunch menu and has a prefixe lunch available. Head there on a Thursday and you get a complimentary margarita with dinner. There are also tequila tastings and live music on Thursdays. Happy Hour at the bar is from 4-7pm with $5 House Cocktails, Wine and Sangria along with $3 Draft beer.

Mojave
22-36 31st Street

http://www.mojaveny.com/

Football Fun at Phebe’s

This Saturday I went to help cheer on a friend’s college football team at Phebe’s Tavern & Grill (359 Bowery at East 4th Street) . The game started at 1pm so we got there in time for the brunch special. I ordered the breakfast burrito and it really hit the spot! After my brunch mimosa, I was able to enjoy $3 Miller Lite Drafts for the duration of the game.

The space was arranged nicely. The alumni group was set up in a sectioned off area with a perfect view of the TV and lots of seating for everyone. Meanwhile, there was plenty of room at the main bar and surrounding front tables for everyone else who was there to enjoy the other sports events being played, order brunch, etc..

In general, Phebe’s is great place to watch your favorite sporting events. They have the expected bar food options, lots of TVs in different spots so you can always keep your eye on the game, and plenty of drink offerings. If you still follow your college team it is likely you can find their games on one of the big screens here.

Check out their website at http://www.phebesnyc.com/ for all the details on their happy hour in addition to the daily drink and food specials.