February 6, 2014
THE HUNGER JAMES OFFICIAL RATING:
Astoria, Queens is quickly becoming my favorite place to grab a bite to eat. Located just minutes away from the city, this quaint borough of New York City is populated with some of the city’s coolest people, greatest bars, and trendiest restaurants.
If you would have asked me a year ago to grab dinner in Astoria, I would have laughed in your face, got on my bus back to New Jersey and stopped at Taco Bell on the way home. But now, the train to Astoria from my work is only 4 short subway stops away (and they have a Taco Bell).
So when my stomach started growling at 4pm yesterday, I did what all normal people do: think about my next meal. “I have a box of Lean Pockets in my freezer,” I said to myself. “I could just go home, save some money, and be in bed by 10.”
While that sounds like “the dream”, I decided instead to travel to Astoria and meet my two friends for dinner. I told Laura, my friend who currently lives in Astoria, to find some cool (cheap) places near her house and send me the menu’s for them all and I would decide where we eat, since I am what the New York Times refers to as “an unimportant nobody who eats copious amounts of cheese…”
I came back from the vending machine with 2 bags of Doritos and my inbox inundated with all different restaurant options: pizza, Thai, Mexican, and not surprisingly, Greek. While all sounded great, the menu I was most excited for was this place called Sanfords – a chic American bistro located steps from the N train. I was sold.
I walked into the restaurant and told them I needed a table for three. Being the first one there, they were very hesitant to seat me in the empty dining room, but I flashed them a smile of my pearly whites and I was sitting at a booth in no time. (The 20$ to the hostess might have helped).
While waiting for my guests to arrive, I perused the four menus they gave me. One for beer and wine, another for specialty cocktails, the actual food menu, and the daily specials. After seeing two digits next to every alcoholic drink on the menu, I kindly told the waiter that water was fine, and dove right in to the main menu.
This place had everything. And I mean it. Everything: Burgers, pasta, fish, sandwiches, steak, salads, quesadillas, etc. I was like a kid in a candy store. Or, well, a 27 year old in a candy store. I wanted it all.
When Laura and Chase finalllllllly arrived three minutes after our scheduled meeting time (but if you ask them, they arrived one minute early) I walked them through the countless menus on our table, told them the numbers next to the wine was the price, not the year, and asked which one wanted to split the macaroni and cheese appetizer with me.
While I was looking at any item on the menu that started with the words “fried” or “melted”, Laura and Chase were leaning more towards the healthier side of the menu. A side these blue eyes have rarely seen.
After thirty minutes of trying to decide and asking the waiter “What do YOU like?” the three of us were finally set to place our order and dive into the complimentary bread basket.
Laura and Chase decided to split two different items; the grilled Calamari and the Yellowfin Tuna, while I went in a completely different direction and after much consideration, chose the Crunchy Ranch Quesadilla.
The quesadilla was filled with panko-breaded chicken, lettuce, tomato, guacamole, bacon, peperjack cheese and drizzled with ranch dressing.
When our meals arrived and the bread basket was nothing but crumbs and empty butter packets, I looked at my huge plate with a watering mouth, while Laura and Chase were slowly regretting their decision. “Is it too late to order the burger?” Laura asked.
Not being a fish-eater, I scowled at them as they ate rare tuna and not-fried calamari and they watched every bite of my delicious quesadilla go into my mouth, leaning across the table, asking “How was that bite?”
I told them that I would be writing about this in my blog that the New York Post has referred to as “Blander than the food he eats” and they each told me their thoughts on their meal. It’s cute how they think their Cheez-It rating would make my post. It’s The Hunger JAMES not The Hunger James Featuring Opinions from People Who Don’t Matter! The nerve.
Once the meal was over, we piled on our three coats and went back out into the cold and headed back home. It was much nicer than going home and eating Lean Pockets alone, and the best part – I was still in bed by 10!