Beecher’s Handmade Cheese

Mac and Cheese fans in New York City have another reason to rejoice as a location for Beecher’s Handmade Cheese has opened in the Flatiron district.  Not just a cheese shop, you can walk in to the cafe and get your very own freshly made “World Famous Mac and Cheese” to devour.  The only other store location is still the original in Seattle, WA, so New Yorkers are very lucky. I can say from my personal experience that if you try a sample of this savory pasta dish, you will want to order a whole serving for yourself.   The cafe also offers a variety of sandwiches, soups and other goodies.

While you are enjoying your meal on the main level, you can sit and watch the cheese being made right in the store.  The picture above is a view from the upper dining area.  There is also a more upscale restaurant and wine bar located downstairs.  I have heard that there are happy hour specials offered in the restaurant from 5-7pm and that they will serve you a grilled cheese martini if you know to ask for one.  I cannot wait to check it out!

Here is a close up of all the cheesy goodness that is a serving of Beecher’s World Famous Mac and Cheese.  Yummy!

Bareburger

With a second location soon opening in Astoria, two Manhattan locations and a new Park Slope spot in the works, Bareburger continues to grow.  Since I do not eat meat, it took me a while to check the place out.  However, I have now had a couple visits to Bareburger and am happy to say that they have delicious offerings for everyone, including some for those who eat gluten free and for those who don’t eat meat.

Since I go into the category of those who do not eat meat, I was excited to try their veggie burger.  Bareburger‘s menu is such that you pick your desired burger first and then you decide which bun and toppings you would like to go with it.  I opted for the Avocado California Burger, whole grain bun, veggie burger combination.  This included fresh avocado, raw milk cheddar, tomato, lettuce, onion, and cilantro lime dressing.  We also ordered a combined french fry and onion ring basket for the table.  The fries come with a variety of dipping sauces which are sure to please everyone and they are irresistible as our basket was completely empty by the end of the meal.  The veggie burger was delicious and very filling.  This was not just a small patty on a bun.  It was hearty and went perfectly with the California Avocado option (which is their recommended match).  I might not eat meat, but I do know many Bareburger fans who rave about their Ostrich burgers and Lamb burgers.  Their original Astoria location is also completely packed most of the times I walk by so they must be doing a lot of things right.  If you have enough room after your burger, then their milk shakes are also quite good.  With real peanut butter and chocolate mixed in if you choose those flavors and with interesting options such as pistachio flavor, you cannot go wrong.

Bareburger uses organic and all natural ingredients.  Their free range meats are from animals that are pasture raised and grass fed.  They also use mainly sustainable and reclaimed material when building their restaurants.  It is great to know that when you eat there you are also supporting the environment at the same time.  The location on 31st Avenue in Astoria also has a lovely outdoor seating area that is perfect for some al fresco dining this summer.

Sac’s Place in Astoria

 

We are lucky to live in an area where there are so many places where you can get a delicious slice of pizza.  I finally had a chance to stop in at Sac’s Place located at 25-41 Broadway in Astoria and am happy to report that they serve an excellent slice.  The slice pictured on the right is from their regular cheese pie, although if you compare it with most other place’s cheese slices you can see the difference upon first sight.  Sac’s uses homemade mozzarella on their slices and applies the sauce (made with San Marzano tomatoes from Italy) in circular swirls so that the proportion between the sauce and cheese is just right.  Pictured on the left is the Sicilian slice where the quality of the cheese is also distinctive.  I enjoyed both immensely.  If you like beer with your pizza, you will be happy to know that imported beer bottles such as Birra Moretti are an affordable $4.

These are two of the carry out slices offered at Sac’s so you can only imagine a piping hot pizza pie coming out of their coal oven and then being brought straight to your table while dining in the restaurant.  After going on Scott’s Pizza Tour, I really love trying different pizza places and am so happy to have found Sac’s Place.  I’ve already visited them twice this week and expect there will be quite a few more visits in the future.

 

 

Learn How to Make Your Own Sushi

I love sushi so I was really excited to have an opportunity to learn how to make it.    On Tuesday nights, Satsko Restaurant (the location on 245 Eldridge St.) offers to teach you how to make your own sushi and you get to eat what you make!  This is a great deal for $25.

You are presented with a large bowl of rice at the table, a bowl of water, your own maki rolling mat, a knife and each person gets their own plate of sushi ingredients.  Each roll you make can be filled with whatever combination you would like from what you are given.  For the first roll attempt, they suggest you try making a vegetable roll to start.  I recommend that you save eating this one for last because I quickly discovered that you get full very fast and I would have much rather eaten more of the rolls made with the seafood ingredients.  So arrive hungry and you will definitely leave full.

Throughout the session, you are taught how to make a regular roll, an inside out roll, and a hand roll.  I had an even greater appreciation for the sushi making experts after trying to make these myself.  But the good news is that even if your technique is not at expert levels just yet, everything that you make will still be delicious.  It was a great deal of fun to learn and it will be entertaining to try to make rolls at home once I find the proper ingredients.  For those who like sushi as much as I do, I highly recommend checking out Satsko on a Tuesday night for their sushi making session. 

MexiQ

MexiQ is now open and I was excited to try out one Astoria‘s latest hot spots.  Happy hour offers $3 Mexican beers and $5 classic margaritas from 4-7pm.  The bartender was extremely helpful and accommodating.  If you are not sure which of the many beers to try, they will help guide you to a good match for your taste buds.  

Dinner began with a small plate containing 2 large tortilla chips accompanied by a squirt bottle of salsa.  What a fun way to start your meal!  I ordered a Devil Corn Quesadilla to start and a Tuna Tartar burger as my entrée.  As you can see in the picture above, the presentation was lovely.  And I am happy to report that everything tasted as good as it looked.  All of the flavors blended together wonderfully and I did not need to heap on extra amounts of sauce or toppings on either the quesadilla or burger. 

If you are a dessert person, then you will be happy at MexiQ.  The desserts our table ordered were beautiful and well portioned.  There was enough fried ice cream that it was shared around the table.  We all left happy and full.  I look forward to trying other dishes soon.

MexiQ is located at 37-11 30th Avenue in Astoria.  The website is not currently up and running but here is a link that gives an overview of the menu:  http://newyork.grubstreet.com/2010/09/what_to_eat_at_mexiq_now_servi.html.  Based on their business cards, their website will be www.mexiqny.com and hopefully it will be working soon.

Margarita Mondays at The Creek

 

The Creek and the Cave already has a fantastic weekday happy hour special from 4pm-7pm which includes $4 margaritas (and $2 off of all other drinks).  When I stopped in yesterday, I was happy to discover that on Mondays they now have their fabulous margaritas on special for $4 all day long!   Add to that the delicious food menu and the choice to watch Monday night football or see a free improv show in their upstairs theater and you have a great way to start the week!  This was a bargain I just had to share.  Enjoy!

You can read my previous entry about The Creek and the Cave here.

Slider Happy Hour at Five Napkin Burger!

The Astoria location of Five Napkin Burger has a delicious happy hour deal! Every day from 4-7pm it is Slider Happy Hour (only at the bar and only in Astoria).   Fill up on $4 draft beers and $2 sliders!  Even vegetarians can enjoy this special as they offer the 5 Napkin Veggie Burger slider in addition to the original 5 Napkin Burger and the Italian Turkey Burger sliders.  Pork taquitos and chicken wings (the wings are served in groups of 4) are also available for the $2 bargain price during this special.

I went this past Friday and it was a great way to finish off the work week.  Of the draft options, I chose the Goose Island Summer Ale and pictured above is the veggie burger slider that was finished off rather quickly.  Having only tried (and loved!) the Ahi Tuna Steak burger, I wasn’t sure if a veggie burger would win me over.  I had nothing to be worried about though.  The veggie patty was flavorful and generously topped with Five Napkin sauce and pickles.  I can honestly say that this veggie burger was so good that I know I will be back for more ASAP. I was in slider heaven!

You can also read about the dinner experience I had at Five Napkin Burger here.  Apparently you just can’t go wrong at Five Napkin Burger!