Friday, November 25, 2011

Neighbors and Friends at The Queens Kickshaw

Jen and Ben holding down the fort.
The Queens Kickshaw is a neighborhood coffee shop in Astoria, Queens. It's a small business that I have been following over the past year and one that has quickly become one of my favorites to support. The owners Ben and Jen are adorable, sweet, kind, and friendly. Every time my friends and I stop by for a drink and bite, they come over for some conversation. It is this kind of hospitality that keeps customers coming back. They're genuine and the relaxing atmosphere designed by Ecosystems Brand is just as inviting.

One pitfall of small businesses is growing too fast too soon. It's dangerous to grow a business you can't support with the manpower you have or the limited resources available. The Queens Kickshaw is taking it slow and easy. In the beginning they had a simple coffee menu, grilled cheeses, and limited hours.

The owners keep their full time jobs and pitch in hours when they can. When you own your own business, you breathe life into it even if it means being on your feet all day, using extra brain power, pouring in your life savings, and working 80 hours plus every week. You do what you can to keep it alive.

The Queens Kickshaw is now open in the evenings until 1 AM. They take pride in the craft beers and wine they now serve and are experimenting with adding new vegetarian friendly items to the menu. I tried the three cheese macaroni and cheese last night. It was a dreamy concoction of pasta with smoked mozzarella, gruyere, and cheddar. Also on the menu is chestnut stuffing. I'm really excited about that. It's the same variation my grandma used to cook during Thanksgiving. Most of all, I like that The Queens Kickshaw added in the element of live music on Friday nights. The acts are locals showcasing their own style of folk, acoustic guitar, klezmer, blues, and all sorts. Last night I grooved while dj Ab*Soul* played some soulful R&B. It was a nice way to relax and end our Thanksgiving festivities. Yes, The Queens Kickshaw was open during Thanksgiving. For that, I thank them. In a city where so many are transplants and family is so far away, New Yorkers are rich with alternatives to the traditional.  Dinner in Flushing Chinatown followed by late night snacks, dessert, drink, and music at The Queens Kickshaw. Yup, sounds just like the New York life I never imagined I'd be living. And perfect at the same time.

Tomorrow, Saturday, November 26 is the second annual Small Business Saturday. It was a day created by American Express to support small businesses. Stop by The Queens Kickshaw. It's like a home away from home. They serve killer coffee to get you going, amazing grilled cheeses, and Balthazar sticky buns. Save yourself the trip to SoHo and stick to Queens.

Owner Jen Lim and Barista Alisha
Gouda w/black bean hummus, guava jam, pickled jalapenos
Inside shot of Gouda sandwich
Green Salad w/pickled golden raisins
Balthazar Sticky Bun
Cold Brewed Iced Coffee
My favorite way to enjoy The Queens Kickshaw:
1. Go with 3 other friends
2. Order 4 grilled cheeses
3. Make a Franken-cheese sandwich!
Pictured: (clockwise from top) Gouda, Fontina Val d'Aosta, Gruyere, Manchego & Ricotta

The Queens Kickshaw
40-17 Broadway
Astoria, NY 11103    

Small Business Saturday

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween- Happy NYC Anniversary

When I decided to move back to New York, my goal was to be in NYC by Halloween. I wanted to feel alive in the streets with all the energy of the people. I always thought Halloween was festive and believed it was the perfect time to celebrate the big change in my life. I booked a one way red-eye ticket on October 30th and landed in NYC on October 31st, Halloween.

Instead of going out and wreaking havoc with ghouls and goblins, I decided to stay in. I was tired from my plane ride and the realist in me began to take over. I couldn't party when I had a job to look for!

Four years later, I finally celebrated properly by going to Coney Island's Nights of Horror to get spooked out and walking the streets of Greenwich Village to check out all the costumes. If you are ever in New York for Halloween, I highly recommend checking out the Village. It's free entertainment all the way.


Thor and Captain America

Dr. Who



Shake it Peep Show!


Day of the Dead 

Pan Am 

Happy 4 Years New York! Thanks for the memories.