A Cold Day in Astoria, Queens

It's been CHILLY in New York, but we have an itinerary!  We are visiting our old neighborhood of Astoria, Queens.  To prepare, I'm pulling on my thickest Falke tights under my pants and sucking it up, literally.  Julius looks pretty beat, doesn't he?

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Still, we are dropping him off at Doggy Daycare, so he won't have to be in his bag all day. At the suggestion of Abe's cousin Lucy, we're using The Puppy Loft.

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$20 for 5 hours is a good deal! We drop him off and walk 10 blocks down to Union Square, where I am always tempted by the Farmer's Market.

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Next up, coffee with a friend! Or tea, rather, for me. Peppermint, to be exact.

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Even though I love everything at Le Pain Quotidien, we have a very specific lunch in mind. Hopping on the N train to our old neighborhood, Astoria, Queens!   This is where we lived for seven years.

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And this is our subway stop - the Broadway one!

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Of course, the neighborhood's changing a lot, in the last four years since we moved.  But we are so glad to see that our favorite restaurant, Aliada, is exactly the same.

There's the warm, open kitchen upon entering...

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...the flavorful, light and airy Spinach Pie...

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...the overflowing basket of pita.

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And my old standard, the Pantzarosalata.  This is a salad consisting of boiled beets, eggs, and potatoes over a pile of greens/herbs/olives, dressed simply with olive oil and lemon juice.

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Also, I am glad to see that they're getting some props from The Village Voice, voted "Most Satisfying Salad" in 2005.

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Ah, memories.

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I'm splitting the spinach pie and salad with Abe, and eating only half a piece of pita (which was kinda dry - not soft and warm like I've had before). The salad itself is delicious, but I have to say, since moving to the land of salads, it pales in comparison. Sorry, Aliada!  This was more of a nostalgia meal - I felt warm and fuzzy while we were there and was very glad we made the trek out to Queens for it.

Next, a walk down to our old apartment building; we want to see if our beloved Supers Tony and Manny will be there, and sure enough they were - hanging out in the lobby as usual!

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Now the temperature is rapidly dropping so I want to get back to the Chelsea apartment immediately, though it would have been fun to explore our old stomping grounds longer. Abe even went to pick up Julius so I could get back quicker.

Over at The Puppy Loft, they're giving us a little Report Card, complete with pictures of what Julius had been up to all day!  They informed us that he had a new girlfriend named Sophia. I want to know more about this bitch.

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For the rest of the evening we're staying in, catching up with Lucy and our friend Rachel, then watching a rough cut of Lucy's documentary, Kings Park.  Abe's worked on this movie almost a decade ago. So it's amazing to see how far its come; hopefully the whole world will get to see this powerful and important film soon.