CULINARY OCCASIONS
Prepare Your Tastebuds for Queens Taste

If you’ve looked outside recently, you already know that spring has sprung (fingers crossed, no jinxes), and with the blooms on the trees and the warming weather, a number of food festivals celebrating the best of NYC are also fast approaching.

One of the most exciting among them is Queens Taste, the Queens Economic Development Corporation/Queens Tourism Council’s annual foodie blowout. Queens, the largest of the five boroughs, is also one of the most diverse, and Queens Taste exists to highlight what that diversity lends to the Queens culinary scene. In honor of the event’s 11th anniversary and the globe-spanning nature of Queens’ many communities, this year’s theme is the World’s Fair. That means World Fair memorabilia, decorations, and guest veterans of the 1964 World Fair, which took place in Q-Town itself.

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.

CHEAP EATS
Nobody Serves Peruvian Chicken Like Pio Pio
CHEAP EATS
Brunch at Cranky's Cafe
DAILY BITES
Sri Pa Phai

Queens is one of the most diverse cities in the world, with every inch of the globe packed into one borough. Here in Woodside, you have Sri Pa Phai, crowned as New York’s spiciest Thai restaurant for years.

The menu features a wide selection of dishes, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself flipping through several pages of appetizers. The variety never ends! The one that really jumped out at us was the Crispy Chinese Watercress Salad — a colorful medley of shrimps, squid and chicken and crunchy watercress on a bed of fresh vegetables. The squid is cooked in a sour, slightly spicy sauce that complements the salad very well. It’s the perfect start to a hearty meal.

DAILY BITES
Seafood and Kimchi at Sik Gaek

Dinner is never a dull moment at Sik Gaek. The Korean restaurant in Woodside is pretty famous for the Sannakji — live octopus — and yes, you can see where this is going.

Even if you’re dead set against having slimy tentacles squirming on a sizzling black plate in front of you, your neighbors at the next table might not share the same disdain. In fact, they might want to order the huge seafood platter with lobsters, crabs and octopus — all alive, of course. Go big or go home, right?

As you can tell, Sik Gaek is not for the faint-hearted. If you can handle the Sannakji, kudos to you! The squishy tentacles are sliced up, so technically, they're not alive (but they're still moving, though). They are coated in sesame oil so the slippery texture helps the tentacles to slide down your throat quite easily. After all, we all try to avoid choking on tentacles. But once you get past the initial fear, the freshness of it is overwhelming.

THE HOT SPOT
Something Alluring Comes to Queens

If you're looking to get out of Manhattan one night or simply venture out to a new kind of club scene, there's a new posh spot that just hit Queens. Allure Club & Lounge is new to Queens and offers a highly sophisticated atmosphere and you can tell right away.

CULTURE CLUB
New Art Exhibit Honors Jazz Icon Louis Armstrong

Jazz pioneer Louis Armstrong would have celebrated his 111th birthday last week were he still alive. Luckily, his music lives on and Resorts World Casino decided to throw a bash in his honor. The casino recently unveiled an art exhibit in their Fifth Avenue Atrium comprised of iconic photos of the musician from all around the world.

The small opening event hosted the media along with the Louis Armstrong House Quartet, who serenaded event attendees with classic Armstrong tunes. The exhibit will be featured in the atrium permanently, with classic Louis tunes playing for a week. “Though Armstrong was born in New Orleans, it was Queens, he chose to call home,” said Michael Speller, Resorts World Casino president.

CHEAP EATS
La Nueva Bakery's Authentic South American Bites

Translating as “The New” from Spanish, La Nueva is a South American-style bakery located in Jackson Heights, Queens. Situated on 37th Avenue and 87th Street, La Nueva compliments its busy surroundings, not to mention the loud music playing at immeasurable volumes out of other establishments and cars passing by. Getting there by subway, one must take the 7 from Manhattan, and enjoy the elevated view this ride offers once the train emerges into Queens. By bike, one will likely become distracted by the intense jumble of interesting urban planning that surrounds this area.