July 27, 2016
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Most people on a Friday night like to get home from a grueling week at work, pop open a can of their favorite light beer and pre-game before meeting up with friends and bar-hopping around the city. Me, on the other hand, like to come home, lie on the couch and watch episodes of The West Wing until I get so hungry I can’t even see straight and order Chinese food on Seamless.
I know – be jealous.
But this past Friday, I decided that I wasn’t in the mood to just lounge around and eat food out of a container. I wasn’t in the mood to shower and go out to a bar, either, but I wanted to get out of the house and be a member of society for a few hours. So, I got dressed and decided to visit three different restaurants in Astoria to eat one full meal.
Ever since moving in with my boyfriend, we have been forcing ourselves to try new restaurants in the area so we don’t keep ending up at the Red Lobster on Queens Boulevard. We even made a list of all the places in town that we would be interested in trying and cut up the names and put them in a hat so every time we sit on the couch having that same-old-couples-conversation of “Where do you want to eat tonight?” I grab my old Goofy hat (the one with the huge nose and two floppy ears, usually worn by a 8 year old at Magic Kingdom) and pick out a name. (In the coming weeks, I am going to incorporate this method of choosing restaurants and blogging about each one of them – but I won’t have the time until I finish The West Wing…)
I looked at the list I created before I cut it up and thought it would be fun to go to one place for an appetizer, one place for an entrée, and the other for dessert. Fun, right? Here is our story:
Stop # 1: Astoria Bier & Cheese
Astoria Bier & Cheese has two Astoria locations: one on Ditmars and the other on Broadway. We went to the closer of the two, a whopping 300 feet from our apartment. Since it was such a hot night, and I love (love) cheese, I figured we could pop in and have a beer and share a cheese plate.
The environment of this place is not what I was expecting. It’s half a bar, half a supermarket. There are 6 tables set aside in front, but you go to the register to order your food. Other than cheese plates, they have a pretty decent menu of sandwiches and grilled cheeses – something I made a note to myself to try another time.
I ordered a beer “closest to a Bud Light” and got the 5-cheese plate. The selection of cheeses varies each day, and I was too bombed from my one beer to remember to write down the names of the cheeses and I can't read what they wrote on the slate – but they were all great and very unique. After we scarfed down our five cheeses and chugged our beers, it was on to the next place for dinner!
In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have ordered such a heavy meal on one of the hottest nights of the year – especially with no AC. It wasn’t awful – but it wasn’t my favorite either. And it took so much effort for me to eat it. Note to self: Don’t order the Carbonara in the summer….or when you have a dairy allergy.
Stop # 2: Portalia
Portalia is located across the street from Bier & Cheese, making my tired and hungry body that much happier. I had been to Portalia once before, probably 6 months ago, and remember loving the atmosphere but being underwhelmed with the food, so I wanted to give it one more shot.
For starters, they sat us in the back and they did not have the air condition running, so as I perused the menu, I could feel the beer I just guzzled dripping down my face. (Is that how sweat works? I don’t know)
Portalia has a pretty good entrée selection, but they are known for their homemade pastas and they had one of my ultimate favorites on there: Pasta Carbonara. Give me cream sauce and bacon and I am a happy camper.
Stop # 3: Winegasm
Ok, before I even begin, the name of this place is awful. Like, I can’t even say it without rolling my eyes. But – they have chocolate fondu on the menu, so it was a give-and-take situation.
I had been to Winegasm many times before this for Happy Hour and they have this one drink called the “True Blood” that can no-doubt fuck me up. It is a martini with citrus vodka, orange liqueur and a red wine floater. And oh my God, you have two of these, you won’t remember your name.
So, I had two of them. #fridaynight
We also ordered the chocolate fondu, something I haven’t had since my Junior Prom at the Melting Pot. It was served with pound cake slices, strawberries, bananas and marshmallows. Again – fondu might not be the best dessert for when it is 89 degrees at 10pm…but ya live and ya learn.
Overall, it was a really great night and I am glad that in the course of three hours, we got to visit three different Astoria restaurants. It’s probably not something I’d want to do every Friday, but once in a while it’s nice to have a night out and to try new things and see new places.