Harlan's Profile

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Thai Pavilion in Astoria (Eagle Electric plant, 21st st.)?

Yes, that's about right. I live two blocks from Thai Pavilion, it is indeed a spinoff of the place on 30th Ave, which is one of the better Thai places in Astoria. Not worth a trip from far away, but reasonably good. (FWIW, Wave Thai used to be better, but has gotten blander with time. And Arnharn definitely used to be the best in Astoria, but I agree with Queenseats, that something has gone terribly wrong, at least some of the time.)

Oct 19, 2009
Harlan in Outer Boroughs

Where can I buy a rooster?

There's one that's definitely open, on 20th Ave, just East of the ConEd plant I think. Never been inside...

Sep 25, 2009
Harlan in Outer Boroughs

Affordable GREAT eats (under $20, below 28th, above Houston)

A few other places not yet listed. Paprika has simple, standard Italian done very well. I really like Chiyono for home-style Japanese -- get the miso cod. Num Pang has great, locavore, non-traditional banh mi.

Sep 12, 2009
Harlan in Manhattan

Scarpetta or Market Table?

I've been to Market Table twice, and have been moderately disappointed both times. Pleasant enough location, great space, but there's something just slightly off in the food... Given this thread, I'm now looking forward to trying Scarpetta!

Sep 12, 2009
Harlan in Manhattan

Can You Cook with the Water Used to Soak Beans?

No, that water's pretty dirty, and as mentioned, it contains the chemicals that cause gas. It's a much better idea to soak the beans, drain the water and rinse the soaked beans, then to cook the beans in plenty of fresh water. *That* broth, from cooking the beans, is terrific as a base for soups or as broth for rice!

Sep 04, 2009
Harlan in Features

Astoria Greek Style Food

The Greeks don't do much new in August. Vacation time, you know.

I can report that the stores on each side of Kyklades are now vacant. (One, a very good greengrocer, closed due to a large increase in rent. The other, a barber, moved one storefront East.) There's some speculation that Kyklades may expand.

Other than that, I can't think of anything new in Greek food in Astoria recently...

Aug 31, 2009
Harlan in Outer Boroughs

place to taste olive oil before buying?

To clarify, the place is now called "Provisions on Beekman", and among other things, they distribute Stonehouse Olive Oil (the owners of the grocery and the oil maker are friends, I understand). And they do have their oil available for tasting, and they do give discounts (now $4 off!) if you bring your own bottles for refilling. I quite like their "Estate" olive oil!

The store hosts a CSA, which gives them additional cred...

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Provisions on Beekman
150 Beekman St, New York, NY 10038

Aug 31, 2009
Harlan in Manhattan

the absolute hands-down best Thai food I have found in Manhattan or the boroughs since 2006

Thanks for the report, queenseats! I haven't been there in quite a while, and it's good to know that it's gone (way) downhill.

Aug 28, 2009
Harlan in Outer Boroughs

the absolute hands-down best Thai food I have found in Manhattan or the boroughs since 2006

Eh? I like Bangkok Tasty just fine. They've certainly improved since they expanded and remodeled. We order takeout from them or eat lunch there fairly often. But they're not as good as Thai Pavilion or Arnharn Thai (on a good day) in Astoria, and nowhere near as good as Sripraphai. I don't think of them as a destination restaurant at all.

Aug 17, 2009
Harlan in Outer Boroughs

Summer of rotten tomatoes?

Reportedly, small varieties (cherries, etc.) are being hit less by the blight. You could try some of them. In any case, even without this horrible disease, tomatoes prefer warmer, drier weather, which is exactly the opposite of what we've been getting. Cool wet weather makes them mealy and flavorless, like winter tomatoes from California. My recommendation is to enjoy the cucurbits and the peaches, which are excellent this year, and forget about tomatoes until 2010.

Aug 12, 2009
Harlan in Manhattan

JJ's Fusion now fusing sugar, bad Chinese, and badder sushi

I'd be interesting in hearing about any other bad experiences recently. We went a few weeks ago with a couple of friends and it was pretty good. I definitely would never order the "tropical rolls". Those are almost always ultra sweet, at any restaurant. I agree the mackerel shouldn't have duck sauce. I'm sure that I got a mackerel a couple weeks ago, and there was definitely no duck sauce!

Jul 26, 2009
Harlan in Outer Boroughs

Organic/ Grass Fed Meat in FH Queens

Some CSAs have agreements with distributors of local pastured meat (and dairy, etc) to coordinate deliveries with their vegetable pickups. I know that Lewis Waite Farms does this with some CSAs in Astoria, and that they also work with the Forest Hills CSA. What I don't know is whether or not you need to be a member of the Forest Hills CSA to order meat through them. You might email them to find out...

http://foresthillscsa.com/
http://www.csapasturedmeatandpoultry....

Jul 22, 2009
Harlan in Outer Boroughs

Astoria Bakery Choice

I agree that it's a bit thin in Astoria. I'm not a big fan of most of Artopolis' bread, although they have about the best baguettes in the area (only fair by any other standard), and some of their desserts are great, as is their espresso. I don't like Rose and Joes' cookies, except the Black and Whites, and most of their bread is boring, except the "club rolls" which are great but they often sell out of them early. Haven't tried their pizza. Big fan of La Guli's carrot cake, but not much else stands out to me.

Anybody out of a job and want to start an artisinal bakery in Astoria? Lots of empty storefronts right now...!

Jul 21, 2009
Harlan in Outer Boroughs

GOOD iTALIAN IN ASTORIA

Vesta, 30th Ave and 21st St. Search this board or Yelp for glowing reviews. Note that they're not quite as consistently brilliant as when they first started. I think that their seasonality shows that their chef's strengths are in fall/winter foods... But they source really excellent product, and have exemplary service.

Jun 22, 2009
Harlan in Outer Boroughs

Inexpensive Greek in Astoria

Honestly, I'm not sure you'll be happy with much in that price range, at least if you want fish. "Good cheap fish" mostly doesn't exist anymore. If I were you, I'd focus on small fish (anchovies, sardines) and calamari, as someone else suggested. Then go to a good Greek place like Philoxenia and get mostly apps with one or two fish dishes to share.

Jun 13, 2009
Harlan in Outer Boroughs

Any Coffee Lovers Out There in Queens?

I dunno about amazing, but the best espresso I've had in Astoria is at Artopolis, on 31 st, between 24th and 23rd Aves. If you're willing to go anywhere in Queens, you might as well go to Manhattan, where there are some excellent coffee shops. FWIW, I'd say Artopolis makes a better espresso than Oren's, which is my usual Manhattan coffee supplier. And of course they have excellent Greek pastries, breads, cakes, etc.

May 28, 2009
Harlan in Outer Boroughs

Fresh Pasta

They close very early, yes. 5pm, I think. I seem to recall that they're open Saturdays until 5pm, but closed on Sundays.

Are you thinking of Rosario's under the Ditmars stop? (Your directions are wacky. 31st Street goes North-South, not East-West.) I've only ever gotten dry pasta there. What do they carry fresh? (They have really great dry Delverde-brand oriecchiette there with a great irregular shape and toothy texture!)

Apr 22, 2009
Harlan in Outer Boroughs

Dining Out in Astoria

Gonna need more constraints to get you a good recommendation. Type/ethnicity of food? Cost? Part of the neighborhood? Lots of places have outdoor seating. Heck, my local bodega on 24th Ave has outdoor seating! :)

Apr 17, 2009
Harlan in Outer Boroughs

Deshi Biryani -- second best Bengali in Jackson Heights

I completely agree. The biryani is not worth ordering, but a lot of other stuff on the menu is. A year ago they had a totally amazing non-traditional gulab jamun with ice cream on the dessert menu too, which is definitely worth ordering if it's still there!

Mar 25, 2009
Harlan in Outer Boroughs

Best Conoli, Eclair, French Napolean in Astoria

You mean "cannoli"? People say very good things about the cannoli at La Guli bakery on Ditmars, between 29th and 31st. Some have said they're the best in Queens. They're not my favorite pastry, so I can't add to that.

As for French pastries, there are a few French bakeries around, but I've never heard they're worth a trip.

Mar 08, 2009
Harlan in Outer Boroughs

Best Chinese Food in Astoria, Bayside, Whitestone ?

There's no actually good Chinese food in Astoria.

Feb 28, 2009
Harlan in Outer Boroughs

Mojave - New near Ditmars

When it opened, it was pretty good. It's been a long time since I've been there, and the last couple times, for brunch, it was less good. (Yes, their quesedillas are definitely in that category.) Given the huge space, and the rather high rents in that location, it wouldn't surprise me if they're skimping on staff. Certainly their prices are a little high.

Jan 28, 2009
Harlan in Outer Boroughs

Testing if oil is hot enough

Yeah, I love my infrared thermometer. Normal sauteeing at about 350, searing meat at more like 400 or 450, sweating onions at 300 or so. And you get to see how evenly (or, in my case, unevenly), your pan is heated. It's great.

Jan 23, 2009
Harlan in Home Cooking

Pizza in Astoria

Yes, Michael & Angelos (23rd Ave between 29th and 31st Sts) has excellent pizza! Great thin-crust, really fresh and tasty toppings. And classier than Frankies...

Jan 07, 2009
Harlan in Outer Boroughs

Saturday lunch in/around Astoria?

Where in Astoria? The hot new place is Vesta on 21st St and 30th Ave. They have a brunch, and I suspect they're open and happy to serve you booze through the afternoon. Apparently their hangover pizza, served at brunch, is good.

Jan 07, 2009
Harlan in Outer Boroughs

Question on Water Bath and Cheesecakes

Right, but having the oven at 250 or whatever might work just as well as 350+waterbath. And then if you humidify the oven, you'll reduce drying of the custard, which might be the important secondary effect of the waterbath.

This calls for a controlled experiment...!

Dec 09, 2008
Harlan in Home Cooking

Question on Water Bath and Cheesecakes

Interesting if it's just the moisture in the oven that makes the difference. If that's the case, the traditional techniques for humidity in bread baking would work just as well. (Pan with water on the oven floor, squirting the walls with water, etc.) Anyone else think this might be the case?

Dec 08, 2008
Harlan in Home Cooking

Egyptian?

Correct. You may have seen Kabab Cafe profiled by Anthony Bourdain: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBFDvy... .

Nov 09, 2008
Harlan in Outer Boroughs

Looking for a replacement for M&R Bar

If I may dredge up this thread from 2003, M&R Bar reopened on Bowery not long after that, but then closed again last Winter. And I really miss it!

Can anyone else offer up a suggestion for a bar, South of 14th St., with a similar eclectic not-too-crowded scene, all my favorite music on the sound system, and (most importantly!) actually good food? M&R had quite a good selection of sandwiches and small plates...

Oct 30, 2008
Harlan in Manhattan

Vesta - new Astoria Italian at 30th Av and 21st St

Just a quick note that there's a thread on Astorians.com about Vesta, including a couple of good reviews and a menu. http://www.astorians.com/community/in...

Oct 20, 2008
Harlan in Outer Boroughs