CULINARY OCCASIONS
It's National Eat Italian Food Day!

With Valentine's Day coming up and NYFW coming to a close, it's easy to forget the really important things, like the fact that today is National Eat Italian Food Day. If you've got a craving for pizza or pasta, we've got you covered. Here's a list of some prime restaurants featuring the honored cuisine, a few special happenings, and as always, delicious bites.

Special Deals

For the culinary holiday, this atmospheric eatery will feature $4 veal and chicken meatball samplers at the bar. Additionally, restaurant partner and philanthropist Stewart Rahr will be donating $15 to St. Jude Children's Hospital for every ordered dish of Penne a la Rah Rah Tre Formaggi with Truffle Oil today and every other day until $1 million is raised.

DAILY BITES
The QUEENS Kickshaw

This little hidden treasure in Astoria, Queens is superb! The Queens Kickshaw is the bohemian-ish spot to go to. TQK began as a coffeeshop in 2010, and a year later, they added micro-brewed beer. Now they're also widely known for their gourmet grilled cheese sandwhiches (yumm!). "TQK is a labor of love for husband and wife team Ben Sandler and Jennifer Lim. They have been living in Astoria for over 6 years, and wanted to create a place and community that reflected their love for the neighborhood, and their passions for good food and drink."

DELICIOUS DEBUTS
Make Your Own Sushi at Pink Nori

Pink Nori is set to open next week in Astoria with a concept that makes sense: Make your own sushi. It's so simple we can't believe no one's done it before. If you've ever passed up on a delicious maki roll because you didn't like one of the ingredients or were always tempted to put guacamole on spicy tuna, then this restaurant may be the solution.

The eatery will employ the same formula as Pinkberry or Chipotle. Customers will be able to choose their favorite toppings and their personal sushi roll will be made to order. The place will include some standard choices with other, stranger options, like potato chips or jalapeños. The name "Pink Nori" refers to mamenori, a type of soybean paper that sometimes replaces traditional nori, which is made from seaweed.

DAILY BITES
Brunching at Antika Pizzeria

A couple friends came to visit this weekend, so naturally, we decided to go out to brunch. Originally the plan was Il Bambino, a local eatery with supposedly wonderful paninis that we'd been dying to try, but the wait was almost an hour. A bit disappointed and hungry, we wandered around 30th Avenue in Astoria for a place that could satisfy our craving for Italian.

The first thing that caught our eye at Antika Pizzeria was their outdoor sign: "$9 Unlimited Mimosa, Sangria, Bloody Mary." The restaurant was crowded, but not busy enough to deter us. So we opted in, and prepared ourselves for a delicious, if perhaps unconventional, brunch.

CHEAP EATS
Sunday Brunch at Locale

When it comes to brunch, we like to scout for cute, cozy little places with amazing menus and a lively crowd. That was how we discovered Locale.

Nestled in the cultural neighborhood of Astoria, Locale prides itself on serving quality Italian cuisine with an American influence. Brunch on a Sunday morning attracts a wide range of people — the Astorians from several blocks away who have made this their weekend brunch spot, the magazine editors in their chic pleather jackets and classy totes hanging from the side of their chairs, the best friends catching up over a Bloody Mary and coffee at the bar, the big family at the long table with three kids, the couple on their first date, and then you have the major foodies like ourselves.

GET THE PARTY STARTED
St. Paddy's Day Bar Crawls

St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner, meaning it's time to whip out all your green, stock up on beers, and snag some luck o' the Irish. Since St. Paddy's is the ultimate drinking holiday, we've rounded up some of the best bar crawls happening in the city -- even the non-Irish may participate!

St. Paddy's Kick-Off Party: For just five bucks, you can attend the St. Patrick's Day Kick-Off Party, taking place at Midtown favorite, Public House. The party will take place on March 15th from 5pm until 4am. All sorts of debauchery will ensue.You can purchase your tickets here.

RESTAURANT 101
A Hidden Gem: Christos Steakhouse

As you walk down the stairs from the N train platform that runs above 31st Street in Astoria, you feel far removed from the hustle and bustle of the busy Manhattan streets. Everywhere you turn there are people running errands, returning from work, or meeting friends for coffee sitting at an outdoor section of a Greek café to better enjoy the summer weather. Off the beaten path, on a mainly residential section of 23rd Avenue is Christos Steakhouse. Ideal for special occasions, or whenever your inner carnivore needs a fix, Christos is the perfect blend of high-end steak house with a Mediterranean Greek flare not found in other steakhouses on the opposite of the East River.

ASTORIA
Outdoor Dining of the Day

Il Bambino
34-08 31st Avenue
Astoria
Queens, NY 11106
(718) 626-0087
ilbambinonyc.com

A tiny casual Italian restaurant located at Astoria is definitely worthy for you to try. Well known for their variety of paninis, they offer tapas, crostinis, and soup all at very reasonable prices. Enjoy the restaurant by dining inside or out at the outdoor garden while being serviced by the wonderful staff. With great atmosphere, food, and service what more can you ask for? So, go try out Il Bambino today!

ASTORIA
Cheap Eats: Il Bambino in Astoria, Queens

Il Bambino
Cuisine: Soup and Sandwich
Price: Inexpensive

Astoria
34-08 31st Avenue
(Near 34th Street)
Queens, NY 11106
(718) 626-0087

For a super-sized cupcake on the side of your panini, stop by Il Bambino for lunch. Appearing at first as simply a bakery, one must look past the muffins, brownies, and bundt cakes to find a panini paradise. The soup and sandwich menu is extensive, so find what combo sounds most filling to you, and order something sweet on the side. Our favorite is the baked potato and leek soup, which is served with a plentiful piece of garlicky pesto bread, perfect for dipping and a steal at only $5 to fill-up. At night, Il Bambino changes into a BYOB, candlelit eatery- thus keeping the ambience high and the price low.

ASTORIA
Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden in Astoria, Queens

During the summer months, there is nothing like escaping the heat of the Manhattan streets. Enter the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden in Astoria Queens; the last original Beer Garden in all of NYC. Only a twenty-minute subway ride into Queens, it has the ability to make any New Yorker feel like they have travelled halfway across the globe and ended up in beer and brat heaven. A Czech and Slavic run joint; the Hall is overseen by the Bohemian Citizens Benevolent Society who bind together to preserve this historic venue. The old-fashioned feel of the hall and the diverse neighborhood of Astoria transplant you into old world Eastern Europe.