Archive for the ‘new york*: astoria’ Category

A while ago, I spent a rainy morning in Queens at Omonia Cafe sipping a luxurious coffee mixed with mysterious spirits. The cafe is being renovated, so while there are numerous chairs outside, there is no indoor seating, and the waitress comes out from the depths of construction to take orders. I ordered the house coffee- the Cafe Omonia- and shortly after, a fierce rain fell out of the sky.


For forty-five minutes, I watched drenched people running for safety, while I sat outside, dry under the cover of Omonia’s roof, warmed by the mysterious concoction in my hands.

Omonia Cafe also serves cake, which I didn’t really like, but it looks pretty good (the Napoleon is pictured above). It is at 32-20 Broadway, Astoria, NY.


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I’ve been to Aliada twice now. Both times, I had a couple dishes I really enjoyed, and a couple I really didn’t. The Greek salad that comes with any entree is always delicious: big, salty chunks of feta, sharp red onions, fresh lettuce, and oil and vinegar. My first time there, I got the Manitaria Krasata (mushrooms cooked in wine) and the Kopanisti (Roasted Red Pepper and Feta dip). The mushrooms were not memorable- I couldn’t taste any wine, or any particular flavor. The dip was a warm orangy-red color but the ingredients were disproportional- it tasted much more of the salty feta than the sweet red pepper. But my friend’s grilled meat platter came with a side of lemon potatoes, which were so tasty. Don’t be deceived by the way they look- which is like shiny boiled potatoes. They are lemony, smooth, and buttery. I also got Charcoaled Halloumi Cheese, which also was not too impressive- tasted like a saltier version of grilled paneer. Eh.

But my second time there, I ordered Charcoaled Zucchini and Eggplant, which came with a side of lemon mashed potatoes. The veggies were great- they were soft and warm inside, and flaky outside, with the burnt taste of the grill. Very pleasing texture. And the mashed potatoes, which I’m usually not a fan of, were again, delicious.


The thing with Aliada is that it has few vegetarian entrees, though a variety of vegetarian appetizers. So for my main course, I had the option of falafel, a grilled veggie sandwich, or Spinach Kanellonia, which are spinach and cheese crepes. To try something new, I ordered the crepes. I was expecting crispy, dosa like crepes (though smaller, obviously, than a dosa), filled with the spinach, dosa, and maybe a sauce, and folded up into a neat triangle. The reason I was expecting this is because of my time working at Sofi’s Crepes, in Baltimore. That’s how I made the crepes there. But the Kanellonia I got at my table resembled lasagna more than a dosa: they had layered two or three crepes on top of each other, covered the dish with an unremarkable tomato sauce and chunks of feta (and by this point, I was getting tired of feta) and baked it. The dish was sad and simply reminded me of why I don’t like lasagna: mushy, mild flavors remind me of baby food.


So, that was Aliada. A hit or miss experience, with a few key dishes. Maybe that’s what eating Greek food is like for vegetarians? I’m not too sure. My parents really enjoy a Greek restaurant in the most abysmal city for restaurants in the world, Framingham. So I thought trying Greek food in a Greek capital, Astoria, would be a guaranteed good choice. But only some of the dishes were enjoyable. However, the ambiance is nice, especially in the summer time: you can sit outside, enjoy piney Greek wine or refreshing Greek beer, and people watch in the warm air.


Aliada is on 29th and Broadway, Astoria, NY.

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We went to Brick Cafe for brunch this morning. It was a struggle to get out of bed… I was so sleepy (and I slept till 11:30!). But fortunately, Brick isn’t far…just a few blocks down from me at 33rd st and 31st avenue. I’ve passed it a few times and been tempted to check it out… the exterior is a lovely yellow and it looks really…hip? cute? rustic? So I googled it and found that it was known for its brunches. Then I looked up the brunch menu and saw that it was relatively inexpensive (french toast is $5.95; omelettes are between$5-7). I feel like my perception of what is expensive/inexpensive is skewed now that I live here. Anyway, it’s small inside, and cramped and really busy, but the staff was really nice and the ceilings were some carved tin, charming material, and we were seated right away. While waiting, the waitress brought some crusty french bread with this reddish-brown olive spread to the table. The spread was salty and nutty and easily spreadable. Then they brought us coffee and cream- also good.
I ordered the French Toast:

….which looked like that, messy, but it was great! The toast was NOT drenched in syrup like most french toast I’ve had- instead it was crispy and slightly sweetened on the outside, soft and warm inside, also slightly sweet, and the strawberries and cream on top were perfect- the strawberries a little tangy, a little sweet, and the cream just a luxury. It also came with a side of potatoes:

These were fantastic potatoes. Nicely spiced, they tasted like they had a little lemon on them, unlike the usual half boiled/over fried homefries, and they were the perfect salty complement to a not-too-sweet dish. And all this for $5.95!

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