Friday, June 17, 2011

Queens Kickshaw introduces shrubs: delicious vinegar cordials

The Queens Kickshaw (40-17 Broadway, Astoria)

While The Queens Kickshaw has gathered quite a buzz for their grown-up grilled cheese sandwiches (gouda with guava jam, black bean hummus, & pickled jalapenos--just one of my favorites) this gorgeous, eco-friendly sandwich and gourmet coffee shop has now extended to summer hours and acquired a beer & wine license.

Now open daily until 1 a.m. (from 7:30 a.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. weekends--sandwiches start at 11 a.m. daily with Egg & Cheese at 9 a.m. weekends), TQK is offering an impressive and diverse selection of international beer & cider, along with a carefully edited wine selection and cheese plates.

But perhaps the most exciting addition to the menu (offered beginning today) are the vinegar cordials, a traditional non-alcoholic fizz that dates back as far as Roman times, known as the "shrub".  The idea came to Ben Sandler (co-owner with wife Jennifer Lim), when he realized he was discarding an unused treasure in the juices left after pickling the blueberries and golden raisins for some of the sandwich accompaniments.  "We already had P&H Sodas, so I fugured I would try mixing the fruit & spices with the seltzer."  When he asked the guys from P&H what they thought, they informed him it is a traditional drink known as a "shrub", directing him to a 2008 article from the New York Times, which reads, "if chugging vinegar sounds curious to you as well, be apprised that this centuries-old practice has only recently been abandoned."

The two shrubs currently offered feature a base of organic cane sugar and apple cider vinegar infused with blueberry-ginger-lemon or golden raisin-star anise-cinnamon.  These mature sodas are insanely refreshing, smart, sweet, and gently tart... and all-around delicious.  Less adventurous drinkers can still enjoy the delicious homemade P&H Sodas, available in lime, cream, hibiscus, & ginger.

Sandler has even toyed with a jalapeno version of the shrub, admittedly a more acquired taste.  While he hopes the shrubs are embraced by the customers, he laughs to himself, "I thought this would be a great way to avoid wasting something delicious we were discarding, but now we might sell more shrubs than the pickles we produce to make them!"

Thursday, June 16, 2011

First Glimpse of William Hallet: An American Bistro & Bar

William Hallet (36-10 30th Ave, Astoria, NY 11105)
(718) 269-3443

It would appear as if God recently grabbed some epicurean wildflower wand and liberally sprinkled it over Astoria.  From Queens Comfort to Pachanga Patterson, newly expanded Bare Burger to Eco Table and Queens Kickshaw, recent months have seen an explosion of new restaurants in the ever-expanding food scene that has become Astoria.

The next newcomer opening its doors at the end of June is William Hallet: An American Bistro & Bar.  While dropping by Brooklyn Bagel today to satiate my newfound addiction to Wasabi Lox cream cheese on sesame bagel, my friends and I were offered a peek inside the new restaurant, where finishing touches are being added before the soft opening in a few weeks.

Named in honor of the settler of Astoria, the new restaurant combines the creative forces of the executive chefs of both Bistro 33 and Hell Gate Social, resulting in what promises to be an exciting menu.  The manager explained the menu as "offering unique American dishes you can't find anywhere else in the neighborhood offered at a price point that is affordable and extremely comparable to other restaurants in the neighborhood."  While I stole a sneak peek at the menu, I was told that nothing is official yet, as they continue to test dishes over the course of the next week.  Eye-catchers included a duck sausage, a version of the classic Canadian cheese curd poutine, lobster rolls, and foie gras sliders with mission fig jam (again, none of these are confirmed--listed here only to represent the eclectic and promising forthcoming menu).

The owners, chefs, and staff who were present were genuinely excited to talk about their vision.  The waitstaff comes from extremely qualified serving backgrounds, many from successful restaurants in Manhattan.  From my initial impression, it seems that William Hallet is going to be a wonderful new addition to the neighborhood, open late nights to cater to the industry crowds returning to Astoria after their shifts.  Please take advantage of the comments section to offer any other buzz you have heard as we eagerly await their opening!  Welcome to the neighborhood, William Hallet!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tamara Reynolds Raises the Roof

Image by Cyrus Dowlatshahi

You probably know her as the co-host of Unique Eats on the Cooking Channel.  Or perhaps you've read her cookbook, Forking Fantastic!  Maybe you've even been lucky enough to partake in one of her famous backyard dinner parties as a part of the Sunday Night Dinner supper club.

Regardless if you have met our neighborhood celebrity chef and hostess while gathering seasonal goodies at Astoria markets, this summer is the perfect time to enjoy a farm-to-table meal prepared by Tamara Reynolds herself.  As she is presently shopping a pilot of a new t.v. show featuring her and her adorable husband, this might be the last summer to dine with her before she becomes a household name... though I have a feeling she'll always keep Astoria close.

Image by Zandy Mangold from this week's NY Post article

Thursday, June 23rd at 7PM will kick off the Thursday Farm Dinner Series, teaming Tamara Reynolds with Ben Flanner and the Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm.  Your ticket gets you a seat at a table on the roof of our very own neighborhood rooftop farm, with a meal prepared using vegetables harvested just hours before they hit your plate (wine & tea included).  Be sure to look for my article about The Sunday Night Dinner series coming in the next issue of BORO.  For tickets and more information about the rooftop dinner, click here.  Check out the menu below:

Kuku Szabzi (Farm Egg Frittata with Herbs and Rose Petals)
Farmer Ben’s Baby Lettuces with Barely Pickled Shallots & Minted Buttermilk Dressing
Wilted Kale and Mustard Greens with Garlic, Anchovy & Aleppo Pepper
Turnips & Their Tops with Miso Sherry Butter
Grilled Leg of Lamb with Pomegranate Molasses & Salsa Verde
Cardamom Cinnamon Rice
Garlic Lemon Greek Yogurt
Spicy Ginger Pickled Cherry Tomatoes
Farm-tastic Dessert

Upcoming dates also include July 28 & September 8 (menus TBA closer to the date)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Zuzies Returns as Pop-Up at Alias

(Southern Burger with fresh corn salsa, melted boursin cheese, & fried onion strings)

Zuzies Pop-Up 
(at Alias on 76 Clinton Street at Rivington)
Monday, June 6th at 7PM
(212) 505-5011 for limited reservations

While Zuzies was a short-lived culinary dream in its momentary home at Mix Cafe & Lounge in Astoria, the gourmet comfort kitchen gathered a loyal following of foodie fanatics.  Though Executive Chef and Founder Susan Burdian has been seeking a new home to launch a reincarnation in Manhattan, fans will be happy to learn that Zuzies is teaming up with Alias restaurant for their Monday Night Pop-Up Dinner Party Series.

The one-night-only prix fixe menu includes 4 courses, starting with a wild mushroom ravioli in truffled cream sauce and Zuzies signature lasagna salad (fresh garden vegetables layered with pistachio pesto, sundried tomato tapenade, and whipped pine nut "fauxcotta").  The starter courses are followed by a choice of entree with sides for the table, including the panko-crusted pesto mac & cheese (pictured above), and finished with a banana bread pudding with peanut brittle and chocolate drizzle.

For the full menu, click below to enlarge the flyer.  Doors open at 7PM, with dinner beginning at 7:30.  Drinks, tax, & gratuity are separate.  Reservations are going quickly.

® All Rights Reserved by Bradley Hawks
© Copyright 2011 Bradley Hawks
All images & articles are the sole property of Bradley Hawks unless otherwise specified. Please email for permission to use.


Related Posts with Thumbnails