Albany John has talked about this one place since we started dating. “The Czech beer hall in Astoria with these really good sausages, and…” has been mentioned a few times, and he finally decided to head on down and check it out this weekend.
We drove down later on Friday night, totally skipping shitty traffic and managed to find parking in Woodside. My family’s got a place we can crash at in Woodside, and I really appreciate that we’re allowed there whenever we’re in the area.
But any way, mushiness aside, a trip to Woodside means I can’t miss a stop at Tacos del Ray, the taco cart that hunkers just under the elevtated 7 train on 54th Street. $11 for 5 tacos, and Albany John and I are happy people. He got spicy pork (enchilada), lengua, and another filling that I can’t quite remember. And they gave us lots of sauce to share.
I got lengua and pastor. Man, I like a nice tongue taco (that’s what she said). I love how generous they are with the onion and cilantro toppings, plus lime wedges on the side. All for $2 or $2.50 per taco. They also have tortas and quesadillas, and a few drinks.
The tounge was definitely tongue! Definitely on the “This is an offal” flavor scope. Deep mineral flavor. Really tasty with some lime juice, and the green and red sauces. What is the green sauce?! It’s so addictive I want to put it on everything! I think there might be avocado in it, because it’s pretty creamy tasting, too.
They’re so nice, too. All of the tacos are made when you order them, and I probably would have eaten three more, but hey, we had beer to drink. Okay, and some cocktails to pre-game with, and boy don’t those lime wedges come in handy for impromptu guava cosmos. But that’s neither here nor there.
We hopped on the 7 line, switched to the Q and made our way allllmost to the end of the line where we got off on Astoria (Hoyt Ave). I WEAR INAPPROPRIATE FOOTWEAR!
Actually, while you get some looks for being in heels in casual places in Albany, most places in the 5 boroughs don’t really give a crap if you’re overdressed, which is one of my favorite things about going there.
Yeah, it’s blurry, but this is what you’re looking for. If you’ve never been, hey, it’s something to give you a marker, right?
Maybe. I don’t know. But either way, Bohemia Hall and Beer Garden was super fun. Albany John used to come here back in the day with his friend from the Czech republic, and they serve lots of Czech beers on tap for $5 per half liter glass, or $15 per pitcher.
Bouncers were really nice, and we got there just a few minutes before it started filling up, and even snagged seats at the bar!
Woo hoo, bar seats! The interior is larger than it looks, with an outdoor beer garden that I can see getting packed in nicer weather. The immediate inside has some tall wooden booths, and some TVs on the walls. They were playing Johnny Cash. Like a CD or something. Albany John and I were wondering if the Cash man is popular in the Czech Republic, or if he’s just got some good music to drink to.
We started off with a pitcher of… dark beer? Yeah, I let Albany John do the ordering. I have no idea what it was. But I drank it, and it was tasty. It was like coffee, and wasn’t really heavy even though it was dark. The bartender was nice – he checked glasses when he filled them to make sure they were clean, and would put ones he didn’t like away. I don’t know, I like that – wanting to give your customers the best/cleanest glasses you have.
I couldn’t tell if it was how they pour beers there or what, but whenever someone would get a beer, there’d be a lot of head, which the bartenders would then pour off while pouring in more beer. It was a different way of pouring beer than I’m used to, and it seemed like it might have been a little more waste than just pouring from the tap and holding the cup at more of an angle, but who knows if that changes the flavor? It’s one of those things that makes me wish I were Zane Lamprey, so I could go behind the scenes and ask them about their styles and how things work.
The next morning Albany John went to hang with one of our friends. He wanted to make this a more friends oriented trip, and I really wanted to go see him since I haven’t seen this friend in forever (he’s from our old CDFI days), but I also couldn’t pass up yum cha with my Yeh-Yeh.
Yeh-Yeh won out. Yeh-Yeh always wins out. We went to Mellie’s, his favorite restaurant, in Flushing. I love hanging out with my Yeh-Yeh. Har cheung, har gow, the usual, ya know?
Beef tendon in some red kind of sauce. Really soft. My uncle’s surprised I like it. Then again, I used to love McDonald’s cheeseburgers as a kid, so, yeah. Beef tendon is kind of the beef polar opposite of that, although they’re probably an ingredient in the burgers.
Fried shrimp ball. Covered in Almonds. Pretty heavy on the white pepper, but fried well. We were there early, so some of the stuff wasn’t as super-fresh as it would have been during the rush. I’d like to try some different places when I go to Flushing, but I can’t say no to my Yeh-Yeh. If it’s Mellie’s he wants, then Mellie’s he gets!
He also wrestled the bill out of my hand when I tried to pay. I mean physically wrestled the bill from my hand. Grab wrist with one hand, twist bill out of palm with other hand. He might be 80 years old, but good lord, he does not miss a beat when bill paying time comes. I think next time I’m going to have to come armed with cash in a pocket and thrust it at the server as soon as the check lands. Either that, or work on my defensive bill paying guard.
So after dim sum, we hung for a bit more, but I had to go off to Manhattan to go wedding dress shopping with Manhattan Maka and her mom. But before that I did something horrible. Something unspeakable. It was so cold, and I was wearing a dress and…
LEGGINGS. I BOUGHT LEGGINGS. Socks wouldn’t have covered it, and I didn’t have time to stop over in Woodside to change before meeting up in Manhattan. Also, they were $2, so I figured it would be fine for the day. But man, guess who really hates neon pink clubby looking leggings with cheap plastic ‘jewels’ hot glued on the side? Wedding dress boutiques, haha! It’s okay, I hated myself too.
Manhattan Maka found her wedding dress, and then I went over to her place, where Albany John had made his way to hang with his brother, CVS. They moved to Queens too, so it was nice to see the new apartment. Way bigger than what they had in Manhattan, and almost half the price, too. Oh real estate, your floors and ceilings are so economical (HAHAH! Ok, I’m a dork. I know.)
One of Albany John’s friends and his wife were heading out for drinks at Rockefeller plaza, which would have been nice, but I told him I thought I was a bit underdressed with the lame leggings and all, and he goes “Well, you’re the one the decided to dress up like Rainbow Brite,”. I was about to say thank you, but then I realized it probably wasn’t a compliment. But as someone who grew up watcing Rainbow Brite and wanting to BE rainbow brite, hello, how is that supposed to sound bad? That’s like saying “I know, we shouldn’t go out. BECAUSE YOU LOOK TOO AWESOME”
Instead we got sucked into a marathon of Jersey Shore at Manahattan Maka and CVS’ new place, and by the time we got back to Woodside, we ordered some delivery from Tomo sushi. I think they’re in Jackon Heights? I don’t know. But we got an eel and avocado roll, and a ton of nigiri because they were all $1 each! Yay!
8 delicious salmons for our bellies. And white tuna. So much to nom. So good. So, so good.
And toro and tobiko, and yellowtail, and salmon roe. And HAPPINESS. I don’t usually like salmon roe, but for some reason I felt like ordering it, and this time I liked it. Cool.
We headed out the next morning. I got us out most of the way, but only screwed up going the wrong way on the FDR. I have driven this SO many times. I don’t know how I messed that one up, but I did. So I
called my dad checked with my personal GPS Navigation system and eventually realized I was only a block off and made it back upstate for apple picking with my dad and Sistah.
SUSHI! FAMILY! MMAAAHHH!!