Eating Astoria

My month in Astoria will be about food. That’s my impression after my first walks through my new neighborhood. The density of restaurants and other food related places is enormous.

Rachel took me on a tour through the neighborhood. I learned that the houses on our block and the neighboring ones were built by Steinway – the piano factory – for their workers.
We walked along 30th Avenue – full of restaurants, pubs, cafés, bakeries, produce markets and groceries. There is hardly anything else but food.
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The elevated train runs on 30th street. We followed it to Broadway. A brand-new bookstore just opened up there. Just in time for me.
On Broadway there is more food, but as well banks, phone shops and stuff.
Steinway Street is for shopping and beauty. A lot of mainly low level clothing and shoe stores are there and an incredible mass of nail and waxing places.
Back home Rachel put together a list of recommendations. With this one I went out on my own then.
I took Steinway Street up to Ditmars Boulevard to check out the Greek places there. Steinway is all Middle Eastern. It is lined by Hookah Lounges, cafés and restaurants until the BQE cuts in at Astoria Boulevard.
Ditmars Boulevard could be a street in Athens. Everything is Greek there. North
of Ditmars there is a partly steep hill, sloping down to the East River. This
area is mostly residential.
I found the three Greek restaurants on Ditmars Boulevard that Rachel had put on my list. A very busy one in the center of the Greek world, two smaller and cozier ones on either side.
I picked up a spinach pie in a bakery near Astoria Park where I came across a couple of awesome Halloween decorations.
From there I took a bus back down to 30th Avenue. A couple of blocks there are full of really artful murals.
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Another bus took me back to the busy part of 30th Avenue. There I walked into one of the fruit places to buy some vitamins and had a closer look at eating places for tonight’s dinner. Finally I bought a bottle of wine and some yogurts and went back home to make a decision about where to eat tonight.

I decided on Sugarfreak, a cute Southern place on 30th Avenue. The tables show hand written visitors’ reviews on little papers under a glass cover. Place mats show all American presidents. Booths are separated by flowery patchwork curtains in pastel colors. The walls are partly exposed brick, partly covered and painted, partly papered. Today’s specials are displayed on written signs with little drawings on a kind of clothesline. Some kitschy details like a chain of lights in red, blue and green behind the bar make the place adorable. I had buttermilk fried chicken with house salad and collard greens. White wine was out – so I had red. The chicken was very crispy outside and tender inside, like it should be. I topped it with hot sauce, which is available on every table.

Back home I opened my bottle of wine and started writing this post until I almost fell asleep at my computer. That’s why it is delayed today. Sorry!

What I learned today:
Astoria is food, food and more food. I’m afraid I will put on some weight here.

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