Despite our overwhelming passion for unbelievable dining experiences, 2+2 also loves the plethora of unique cultural activities that NYC has to offer. With so many things on the agenda, especially outdoor activities in the summertime, it’s hard to get us into a Museum on a beautiful summer day… except on just the right rainy Saturday afternoon.
We had heard great things about the Museum of the Moving Image… that it is one of its kind, and offers the most interactive experiences for attendees (a very important detail since the boys, notably L, love touching EVERYTHING in museums). So, with this rainy Saturday, our Astoria Afternoon was born.
We arrived at the Museum of the Moving Image in the afternoon after having an extremely sluggish morning. We explored the unique multi-level venue filled with the art, history, and technology of the moving image. We saw everything from old peepshow boxes and old record players to wax figures used in current movies. We even got some time in the voice over studio for a hands-on experience of what it’s like to dub films. How cool!
After a jam-packed history lesson and lots of optical amusement, we decided we had had our fill…and of course, we’d be back another day for new exhibitions and films. M is especially excited to get back for Jim Henson’s Fantastic World Exhibition, running until January 2012.
So, where to next? Well, just a hop, skip, and a jump away is one of our new favorite restaurants: Pachanga Patterson, sister restaurant of our other Astoria fave, Vesta. Both restaurants boast local and organic produce, which means their menus change with the seasons to include the latest harvest; however, they do manage to keep some staples and favorites year-round. While Vesta offers Italian dishes like the 3-meat ragu Lasagna, Pachanga Patterson offers a unique spin on some classic Mexican dishes, like the Vietnamese Marinated Pork Shoulder Tacos. Yum! The atmosphere and staff will keep you there for hours… oh, and the cocktails might, as well. Order up a Tequila Mockingbird (K’s fave–for the flavor and the play on words!)!
After our delicious meal, we decided to end our somewhat lazy Saturday with a movie! So, we piled into the car and headed to a local theater for a relaxing end to the day.
K+M adore Pachanga Patterson’s sister restaurant, Vesta, which we couldn’t help but add to this post! We love Astoria!
Astoria, NY 11106
www.movingimage.us Tuesday–Thursdays: 10:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Fridays: 10:30 a.m.–8:00 p.m. (Free admission: 4:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.)
Saturdays and Sundays: 10:30 a.m.–7 p.m.
Ever wonder how cinema and TV began? The bare bones of a film? The history of a video game? Well, we sure did, which is what drew us to the Museum of the Moving Image. One of the only museum of its kind, the Museum of the Moving Image is one of the most interactive and unique in New York City. Get your hands dirty by dubbing your own film clips, creating a short stop animation film, inserting your own soundtrack and effects to a scene, and making your own flip book (which you can then buy as a souvenir!) are some of the many hands-on experiences you can have here.
Walking into the Museum of the Moving Image will make you feel like you’ve just entered into a Stanley Kubrick film… Clockwork Orange meets 2001: A Space Odyssey. Walking from the entrance to second floor will play tricks on your mind; you won’t know which way is up, and which way is down! This will begin your optical journey…showing you that what you see might be different from what really lies before you.
The museum also houses artifacts from the beginning of television and film… the first microphones, recording devices, lighting systems, cameras and projectors. It will give you an amazing picture of how far the technology has come in a relatively short amount of time. You will even have a chance to play on old school video game consoles. Just when you thought you’d never see the original Nintendo ever again! And guess what?! You can play a few rounds without having to blow into the system!
There is so much history to take in and experience at the Museum of the Moving Image; this is certainly one of a kind and with so much to see, we will undoubtedly return. We spent so much of our time with the hands-on collections. We couldn’t get enough! We hope to make it back soon to check out Jim Henson’s Fantastic World, which will be running through January 2012.
The museum also offers live demonstrations and workshops; so, if you’ve ever wanted to learn about picture or sound editing, this is your place! And, they also have a film series! Check the museum’s website for dates & times. Whether you’re going for a film, exhibition, or to tour the museum, make a plan to get there immediately; you won’t be disappointed! This is certainly the kind of museum for those who like to get involved! Certainly no “Do not touch!” signs here! Enjoy it!
A: This was such a fun museum! I had a great time playing with all of the exhibits! It was so interactive and really gave you an idea of what it’s like to make movies, TV and video games.
K: Such a cool place! It really is a one of a kind museum…I loved creating our own voice overs and stop motion animation. I also loved the microphones they have on display…like the one used in WWII to announce the surrender of the Japanese. Too cool!
L: Interactive and fun. Two things I don’t usually associate with a museum. The museum brings you through video history and keeps your attention the entire time.
M: At one point in my life I went to school for film and loved everything about it and this place just makes me love it even more. It’s like a playground for me and I never want to leave. They let you do everything at this place. If it wasn’t for the people waiting to use the sound dubbing room, we would have stayed there until close.
One of the best parts of this place is the video game section; the lines of old arcade games are almost overwhelming (Bring a bunch of quarters, you will be here for a while). And who would have thought at one point in my life I would see a Nintendo in a glass case (which is playable and has the original Mario Brothers game in it). It really does work , no need to take the game out blow into it three times, slam it in back in, then hit the reset button 5 times, hold and let go to get it to work. I can’t wait to go back! May have to buy a membership.
Our Rating Scales…
- Scene- An interactive, modern museum displaying the history of the moving image.
- Coordinates- 3: Centrally located- 10 min. to fun!
- Return Rate- We’ll be back for new exhibitions and films for sure!
Pachanga Patterson33–17 31st Avenue, Astoria
La pura vida! Pachanga screams fun and authenticity. Just walking into this place, you will feel instantly happy and ready for a margarita! Though, the dishes have creative spins on Mexican favorites, the overall experience here is the real deal. Sit and the bar and get to know your bartender… it is the best part! Not to mention, the bar at Pachanga is beautiful…bursting with color, art, and unique bottles of old favorites. Start with La Pachanga Margarita or a Tequila Mockingbird, and of course, an order of Guacamole and the House-Fried Corn Tortillas. Yum! If you are a larger group, also tack on the trio of salsa.
Take your time with the menu…there are so many delicious options! Carefully read each selection and notice the creative twists on typical Mexican dishes… like the Roasted Pork Belly Enchilada withchocolate, fig & peanut sauce, cumin crema. Our favorite! Or the Moo Shu Duck Tacos with sriracha hoisin, cucumber, radish. How interesting! (A caveat: both of the aforementioned dishes are seasonal selections…menus change every 2 weeks). You must also order up a serving of the Toasted Garlic Rice; the flavor is incredible and pairs perfectly with any dish. We would probably think twice about ordering the mussels next time… it’s hard to do mussels right. They’re so easy and quick to cook, but take so long to prepare….sometimes a few bad ones make their way into the batch, and it can ruin the experience of the whole pot.
We highly recommend sampling one of the infused Tequilas or Mezcals, such as the Tanteo Jalapeño Infused Tequila. Or treat your bartender well, and maybe s/he will even treat you with one! Pachanga also offers a small, but well-chosen selection of wines (mostly from Italy), as well as a handful of Beers (mostly from Mexico). The Sangria is delicious as well (K+M sampled a pitcher of it on a previous visit!).
And of course, you can’t complete the experience without dessert! And boy, did 2+2 take this one to the next level! First, we ordered El Diablito…the baby devil cake. A spiced, chocolate cake, topped with chili powder! Delish! Then, for our dessert beverage, K+M insisted we all get the Horchata, a drink native to Valencia, but now variations exist all over Latin America, including Mexico. Pachanga’s Horchata is made similarly to the Mexican Horchata, with rice milk, cinnamon, and vanilla….we ordered the “adult” version with a shot of Rum! Of course, moments later, L receives his espresso shot and proceeds to pour the espresso in the Horchata…the next level! This begins the domino effect, and before we know it, our bartender serves up another round, this time, shaken with espresso! It was to die for! So just know, if the Horchata + Espresso ends up on Pachanga’s menu, you can thank 2+2!
What we ate…
- La Pachanga Margarita (A+K)
- Tequila Mockingbird (2+2)
- Horchata, with a shot of Rum and a shot of Espresso (2+2)
- Guacamole & House-fried Corn Tortillas (2+2)
- Salsa Trio [Roasted Corn & Tomato; Tomatillo & Avocado; Charred Tomato & Serrano Chili] (2+2)
- Steamed Mussels with jalapeño, corn, and chorizo (2+2)
- Roasted Pork Belly Enchilada with chocolate, fig & peanut sauce, cumin crema [Seasonal] (2+2)
- Moo Shu Duck Tacos with sriracha hoisin, cucumber, radish [Seasonal] (2+2)
- Vietnamese Marinated Pork Shoulder Tacos with pickled long beans (K+M)
- Toasted Garlic Rice (K+M)
- El Diablito [The little devil cake] (2+2)
A: Yum! Yum! This place was super fun! I loved the Pork Belly Enchilada and that Tequila Mockingbird. Both were absolutely dangerous.
K: Yum! I love Astoria restaurants…especially Pachanga and Vesta. The staff is unbelievably kind, the food is always super fresh and flavorful, and the cocktails are unique and delicious. The overall vibe will make you never want to leave!
M: I have always said that I am not a Tequila fan, but somehow at this place I become a Tequila lover. Every bartenter that we have had the plessure of having serve us has made amazing drinks and I can never say no to any of them. We have yet to make it to a table for dinner. It’s way too much fun hanging out at the bar. And of course El Diablito, is a must-have and a must-finish with every visit.
L: Ask the bartender for the Horchatiata. One of the bartenders will know what you are talking about. I just cant tell you which one.
Our Rating Scales…
- Scene- Vibrant, relaxed, south of the border vibe… think Frida Kahlo’s courtyard.
- Food/Drinks- 4: Stellar! Wouldn’t change a thing.
- Tip Worthy- 5: The New Yorker – 25-30%.
- Coordinates- 5: Block – Fun is right next door!
- Restaurant Return Rate- Verde! Can’t wait to get back here!
Vesta21-02 30th Avenue, Astoria
http://vestavino.com Italian, Wine, Queens
For some reason, we just love going to Vesta during the chilly and gray fall and winter months. Vesta is one of the coziest little spots we’ve ever found, and it just warms our hearts! We are huge fans of their local support of farmers and artisans, and therefore, the menus change quite often, depending on the harvest. Let’s paint a picture: warm, intimate lighting; exposed brick donning local artwork; the most incredibly welcoming staff; hearty red wines, and the freshest dishes around. Not to mention, Vesta offers freshly baked bread daily, made at a local bakery. Sigh, Vesta just screams Tuscany! And boy, do we love Tuscany!
For your first dining experience at Vesta, have the Lasagna with 3-meat ragu. It is a staple on the menu, and perhaps the only dish that remains on the menu year-round. Thank goodness! Because we LOVE it! But, of course, any of their selections are just divine and surely won’t disappoint. If you’re uncertain about which wine to select, ask your server for suggestions and s/he will be sure to let you sample a few. Order a bottle! You will want to be here for a while…so get comfortable. Let the scents wafting through the air envelope you… cozy up to your dinner partner … and savor your time here. Vesta deserves it!
The experience couldn’t possibly be complete without La Torta del Piccolo Bambino Gesu Cristo…that’s right: the little Baby Jesus Cake. It can hardly be described in words… but to us, it was a slice of nostalgia; a little slice of the holidays from our youth. It will arrive looking hauntingly large, but it is light, fresh, and extremely flavorful. You WILL finish the entire thing. It’s just too good. It may just possibly be one of our favorite desserts in NYC (gasp! yes, that is a big statement!). Then, it’s up to you to decide… which is better? The Baby Jesus Cake at Vesta or Pachanga’s rival: El Diablito? Though a tough choice, Baby Jesus has won our hearts.
Vesta now offers a weekend Brunch menu, and we just had to get in there to experience it. They have everything from your favorite egg dishes to the “Hangover Pizza.” Completely curious about this, K + M had to order it! A typical Margarita pizza topped with fried eggs, home fries, bacon, and pancetta… yum! It has it all! And we were not disappointed. We ordered up some complementary brunch cocktails like the super fresh Bloody Mary and the Spicy German, as well as a side of fries. We cleared the plate in no time and were pleasantly satisfied. We are already planning our next visit back!
What we ate…
- Ask your server for a tasting of their latest wines, then select your bottle!
- Brunch Cocktails: Bloody Mary (K); Spicy German (M)
- Hangover Pizza [Pizza topped with with tomato sauce, cheese, 2 fried eggs, home fries, sausage, and pancetta] (K+M)
- 3-meat ragu Lasagna (M)
- Spaghetti in a cream sauce with pancetta [Special of the Day] (K)
- La Torta del Piccolo Bambino Gesu Cristo [The little baby Jesus cake] (K+M)
K: I absolutely adore this place… it is delicious, rustic Italian and takes me back to being in a little trattoria in the backstreets of Siena. I love the local selections of both food and wine…and the staff is always super friendly and accommodating. Oh! And between the little baby Jesus cake from Vesta and the little devil cake from Pachanga…I vote for the piccolo bambino Gesu Cristo!
M: The staff here is amazing and they make you feel right at home. I loved this place from the moment I walked in til the moment I finished the amazing piccolo bambino Gesu Cristo ( Baby Jesus Cake). Wow, I mean, when I heard of the Baby Jesus Cake from a friend I didn’t think I was going to like it as much as I do. The only way I can describe it is when eating it I’m reminded of being with family and eating at Thanksgiving. It’s great how one dish can do so many things and bring up so many great memories. So as for the Baby Jesus and the Little Devil, I would have to give my vote to the Baby Jesus. But it’s a very close race.
Our Rating Scales…
- Scene- Rustic, cozy trattoria…straight from Tuscany.
- Food/Drinks- 4: Stellar! Wouldn’t change a thing.
- Tip Worthy- 5: The New Yorker: 25-30%.
- Coordinates- 3: Centrally located- 10 min. ride to fun!
- Restaurant Return Rate- Greeeeeeeen!