A day in Astoria and more

My Dad came into town for the day and an activity was definitely needed.  My sister and I discussed that perhaps a food walk would be fun.  I zeroed in on Astoria.  Although Astoria is full of new spots it is the old Greek places that really interested me.  And so we took a car out there and made our way around the neighborhood.

olive oilWe started at Titan Foods, a large gourmet Greek foods speciality shop.  The store is super organized and incredibly clean.  You know you are in a Greek store when you walk in and the first thing you see is loads of Greek olive oils lined up.  We grabbed a cart and put a few things in.

fetaThen we headed around the corner and were thrilled to see a feta counter.  I have never seen anything like this in NYC.  A variety of fetas some creamier, some dryer and some sharper.  We tasted a few and finally purchased a pound of the one we deemed the best.

meatsOur next stop was Euro Market that is filled with products from all across Europe.  What we really loved was the meat counter.  The guy behind the counter was a delight and of course spoke fluent Greek.  He let us taste a bunch of different sausages.

olivesAcross from that area was the olive bar filled with bowls for you to taste and get rid of the pit.

beerOne thing that they have at the Euro Market is beers from across the globe.  The meat guy came over and talked to us about the beers.  We picked up a handful of beers to bring home and taste.

meathouseWe went to one more market before settling in on the eating part of the day.  Muncan Food Corporation is a serious butcher definitely specializing in smoked meats.  The aromas of sausages and other smoked meats hit you the minute you walk in the door.  The guy who waited on us was great and wanted us to literally try as much as possible.  The best part was listening to the locals shop and chat.

kingIt was time for something to eat.  We went to the food truck, King of Falafel and Shawarma.   One falafel with the works was  all we needed to split between the three of us.  Absolutely delicious.

porkOur next stop was BZ Grill.  A hole in the wall Greek grill.  If you check out their website there appears that they are interested in franchising their idea.  The food is simple, fresh and really good.  We split a pork gyro with the works.  We also had the fries which were really delicious.  I should have ordered the Greek fries which are doused with feta and oregano.  My bad.  Gives me a reason to return.

sweetsWe discussed eating more savory food but instead we went to the bakery.  Artopolis Bakery is located in a small strip mall.  We picked up a bunch of sweets for later.

houseThe last part of our day was not food related.  I figured we would need something cultural to do because more food was just not necessary.  We went to the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona.   The house was purchased in 1943 for $8500 and at the time Armstrong was making $500k a year.  They really drove this home that he could have lived anywhere but settled in Corona.  His fourth wife,  Lucille, bought the home and decorated it.  It was his last wife and they lived there for the rest of their lives.  She left the house, completely intact, including thousands of hours of recordings to his estate.

visit_over2The house is pretty awesome.  Great bones.  The decor is classic stuff from that time.  You aren’t allowed to take photos but I pulled this one off the web of the kitchen.  The whole tour takes about 40 minutes.  It was really great.  Armstrong was born in New Orleans but his wife Lucille was from NY who he met at the Cotton Club where she was a dancer.

I just love doing this kind of thing.  To see all the different neighborhoods around NYC gives you a totally different perspective on the great city that I live in.