Wednesday, April 30, 2014


 SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2014 FROM 1PM – 3PM

Fairway Market in Douglaston will hold a Funny Food Art Workshop event on Sunday, May 4, 2014 from 1 pm to 3 pm. Fairway invites friends and families to come and have fun with their food as Bill Wurtzel, author of “Funny Food 365 Fun, Healthy, Silly, Creative Breakfast” teaches families how to create funny food art. Fairway will supply all healthy ingredients, including waffles, strawberries, raisins, pita, bananas and much more. as well as fun and entertainment , including a special funny food song from the author. Signed copies of the book will be available for purchase. Register at customer service or online at

                        242-02 61st AVENUE                                                                                                                                  DOUGLASTON, QUEENS, NY 11362



I just attended an event in Queens called "Taste of Queens" where they set up vendors from different areas of Queens County.  It was so a-maze-ing that I just couldn't sit it. 

The setup of the event was more of a maze.  Vendors around the perimeters of a ballroom located at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Flushing.  Then there were rows of vendors within.  Barely room to walk around. 

The entire event reminded me of a circus with the consumers (who paid $100 per person or $175 for two people), having to juggle their food and drink.  Why?  There were no tables and chairs except for two dressy tables in the front of the stage.  My friend and I got there early so we were able to get two seats. 

Burgers and sliders were big and so were desserts and booze.  Yes, it was an all you can stuff and drink for three hours.  Food came out as "bites"....I guess it had to so that you can wolf down a bite and proceed to the next vendor.  Many of the vendors were actual restaurants.  But then there were catering facilities and vendors who sold their food at street fairs, flea markets....that kind of stuff.  That didn't leave me much follow up for those. 

Last year, it was held at Citifield and so much easier to get to each foodie place.....and there were tables and chairs, too.

The Sheraton didn't participate (or rather, compete) last year but took advantage and showcased a bit of their catering as well as the hotel's restaurant. 

I say, "compete" as there were five judges deciding who wins for appetizer, entree and dessert.  Appetizer winner was Murphy's Bar for their oysters.  Oysters?  They were Bluepoint oysters on the half shell and were gone by the time I got there.  Entree (I think there were less than a dozen places that actually served what would be considered as an entree) was won by Zenon Taverna for their bite of octopus.   Dessert was won by a company that makes gelato but has not particular location.    None of these would have been my pick but perhaps it is a way of getting them back for next year....I noticed the winners from last year were there.

Then there seemed to be a non-food area of sponsors....I think...or whatever... just located outside the door.  No sign that would direct anybody to it.  I guess people did wander out if just to get some space from the crowd.  The tables were occupied by these sponsors and no room for the payees to place their food finds. 

I was quite disappointed with Fairway Market's offerings.  Last year, there was plenty of choices.  Tonight there were luke warm to cold beef sliders and tomato and mozzarella sliders.  Lot's of signage, though.  If I were a first time customer it wouldn't have given me the incentive to shop there.  If anything they should have at least had a display of their own products. 

Some cultural group from Turkey was there offerings Turkish coffee and some type of cookie, which looked more like an Italian cookie.  I asked the woman if there was milk for the coffee.  I just couldn't resist!

Shiro of Japan brought in sushi.  Two guys were running it, one of which had no problem eating it.  No little plates, forks or napkins were provided.  So, why bother providing soy sauce and pickled ginger?   They did have chop sticks.  Great for double dipping as you picked up a piece of sushi or slice from a maki roll with the chop sticks and then went for another with the same. 

Now we get to the point of the announcements and introductions of which politicians showed up.  "It's not over until the Boro President sings".  Melinda Katz sang "God Bless America" to a crowd of people who were too busy talking and eating to pay attention to whoever was up on the stage.  She should have sang, "Mr. Cellophane."  I guess people were wondering why she sang the song.  It's not as if it were sung before everyone ate and she had to mention that her father was the founder of the Queens Symphony Orchestra.  

People did not care who won the taste contest or who got money from the Queens Economic Development Corporation for their either new or small business. Voices didn't even die down when they did drawings for cakes from one vendor.  Having not either bought a raffle ticket nor put my business care in a jar, we left....two hours had gone by and that was certainly enough time.

One interesting person was there....the woman from Belgium who introduced us to the Belgium Waffle at the 1964 World's Fair.  She brought her daughter who she most likely passes down the recipe to. 

I didn't have any liquor.  Not just because I get drunk on Scotch tape...but it would sit on my stomach until the next morning.  Last year there was a company called Local that featured their milk.   They weren't here this year....I miss them.   Hey, I would have been able to put some of it in my Turkish coffee.  

Sunday, April 27, 2014


When you think of Japanese cuisine, raw fish seems to dominate the mind.   The truth is that cooked fish as well as non-seafood offerings can be enjoyed at such a restaurant as River Japanese Cuisine located at 61-44 Springfield Blvd in Oakland Gardens.  

“A big draw to this eatery,” said General Manager Kenny Mei,“is the All You Can Eat menu.”  Or shall I call it, “menus”, as for those choosing this option you are given one paper to check off items from the Sushi Bar and another for the Kitchen.  I will go into that later as I first want to focus on the regular menu which allowed me to taste their newest cuisine that Executive Chef OD having added sauces gives some fusion to the flavors.  

Just to clarify on those who have not delighted in Japanese Cuisine, here is the 101 on “sushi”.   Sashimi is simply slices of raw fish.  Sushi is a piece of anything that is placed on a lump of rice.  It can be raw fish, cooked fish, or even sweet egg.  It would be rare to find a piece of chicken or beef, for instance.   Two types of rolls are the Maki and Hand roll.   Maki rolls tend to be anything at all (including the rice) that is rolled up in or around a “paper seaweed” (nori) or sometimes cucumber, and cut into thick slices, whereas a hand roll has the items placed in a cone shaped nori.  

Maki rolls may be quite creative.  They may contain as little as one or two item such as salmon, shrimp tempura, spicy yellowtail or tuna avocado and the common California roll consisting of Kani (imitation crab meat), avocado and added cucumber with the nori inside. 

A second category is “Special Rolls”.   Here are some examples.  Snow Mountain: inside with Shrimp Tempura, Seaweed Salad, Snow Crab on Top. New Year Roll: Salmon, Mango inside, topped with fresh tuna.  Mango, btw is thinly sliced.  Dancing Queen: Spicy Salmon, Avocado inside, topped with Pepper Tuna and scallions. 

The Chef’s Special rolls are phenomenal and must be sampled.   Here are just the ones that I savored.  Black Angel:  Cajun Tuna, Asparagus Tempura inside; topped with tuna, salmon, eel (with an eel sauce), a honey wasabi sauce, and various colored tobiko (flying fish roe). 

King Lobster:  deep fried lobster and asparagus inside; topped with lobster salad, tobiko, an eel and mango sauce and flakes of gold leaf.  

Spicy Tuna Sandwich:  spicy tuna, avocado and eel inside; Soy Bean paper used as the “bread”; masago (different type of roe), with eel and spicy tuna on the top.  

Since Godzilla is back on the screen I might as well try their Godzilla Roll: Deep fried white fish, avocado and kani with crunchy stuff (I think it's tempura flakes) and masago on the top.

I want to point out other specialties due to the taste and creativity.   Avocado soup, for instance.  The base is a shitake mushroom soup with an avocado puree and slices of avocado, place in a heart shaped bowl. 

I continued with some Sushi Bar Appetizers such as the Seafood Ceviche, a mixed salad of various raw and cooked fish (shrimp is always cooked unless one orders “sweet shrimp”) in a spicy lemon sauce that uses jalapenos from Mexico.  

Then there was a Sushi Pizza fusion of a pancake topped with tuna, salmon and white fish, sesame seeds, a wasabi sauce, avocado and tobiko.   

Let’s not forget the Volcano Salad. Kani salad is wrapped with baked salmon, topped with caviar and scallion that makes it appear that it is erupting.  It is surrounded by a spicy sauce.   One point to make with this type of cuisine is that you don’t need to add the usual combo of soy sauce and wasabi or the pickled ginger as the flavors erupt by themselves. 

River is known for some of their specialties including one particular entrĂ©e called Miso Black Cod.  The black cod has a miso sauce with mixed Japanese seasonal vegetables.   I just had a sample of it that was more like a two bite amuse bouche. 

I want to get back to the AYCE by first having people understand that this is not a buffet and that everything is made to order.  In other words, don’t expect an express menu if you truly want to enjoy.  Pace yourself and remember that you and your party are not the only patrons in the restaurant taking part in this indulgence.  

The Sushi Bar menu offers: sashimi, sushi, maki or hand rolls, and special rolls.  It’s best to go with other people so that when you order something such as an eight piece special roll it can be shared. Food is not just thrown on a dish as the chefs take time to plate it…for looks. 

It is called a Kitchen menu because the items are cooked and takes time.   You will find soups and salads as well as kitchen specials such as miso eggplant, River style wings (quite tasty) and Pork Gyoza.   There are BBQ skewers, one of which are quail eggs wrapped with bacon…ya gotta try that one.   Tempura, teriyaki, katsu, noodle and rice dishes as well as desserts. 

It is not that expensive enough to think that you will never come back so eat what you order as they have the right to charge for your leftovers of which you cannot do the doggy bag thing.  

What are you expected to pay for the AYCE?  The price varies by lunch, dinner, weekday and weekend with the least being lunch during the week at $21.95 and dinner on the weekend being $25.95.   The price for children are based upon the height and not the age.   There is an added charge of tax and service.

I calculated a non-AYCE to find that if you ordered soup, salad, special rolls, a kitchen special and dessert, the price would at least be equal to the price.  Lunch specials are offered such as a maki roll combo of 3 regular rolls with soup or salad for $10 or a bento box served with California rolls, shumai, miso soup or salad and rice.  A 5-piece sushi box costs $10. 

For further information call 718-747-7390 or