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Astoria: New York City’s Latest Culinary Hotspot

   Ginger Organic in Astoria, which just opened a few months ago, offers a large variety of organic cold press cocktails, juices, smoothies as well as healthy and delicious snacks, like organic quinoa, spinach and kale salads. With their Belgian banquettes, rustic wood floors vintage metal chairs painted bright colors and cool 1970’s speakers on the wall, Ginger is as beautiful and relaxing a place to hang out as it is invigorating: their juices are specifically and carefully formulated to make you feel your absolute best. Some of their juice mixtures include: Red Storm (which is made of apple, orange, grapefruit, ginger, beet and pineapple juices) and Super Greens: a mixture of cucumber, celery, parsley, romaine lettuce, spinach, kale, apple, lemon and ginger. Ginger Organic offers one and three day juice cleanses (which you can have delivered to your home) as well as organic boosters that can be added to your juice drinks: these include bee pollen, hemp, flax and chia seeds, as well as spirulina.

   Ginger is a one-of-a-kind juice bar dedicated to its customershealth and well-being. They have their finger on the future of the new way of healthy eating: organic cold press juicing. Check out Ginger before it becomes so crowded you can’t get a table or a stool at the bar, and pretty soon there will be a whole slew of knockoff juice joints attempting to do that same thing, but delivering a product that’s neither as good nor as affordable. You heard it here first.

   Grand Café is connected to Ginger Organic and has the same owners. Grand has been a staple in Astoria for seven years. With their full bar, coffee and espresso counter, outdoor seating area and full dining room, and, for many, the best Sunday brunch in the city, Grand is the go-to place for fantastic casual dining, any time of day, with family and friends, as a romantic date, or a business meeting. The atmosphere is relaxed and casual, but refined; it’s very Euro-centric, but has the cool factor that you can only get in New York City. With lush potted palms and Mediterranean flora, wicker furniture, a marble bar counter and stone floors, Grand Caféis as lovely as it is delectable: their meat platter, with succulent steak, chicken, and spicy sausage, is absolutely delicious and satisfying, and the frappes at their coffee bar will give you the pep you need to conquer the day. Their menu has something for everyone, including Thai coconut salmon and their specially seasoned lamb burger. At Grand, you’re going to get a top-notch meal and excellent service, guaranteed.

   Republic is brand spanking new; it’s hip without being trendy or silly, it’s glamorous, incredibly comfortable, and their pizza is some of the best in the city. And believe me, New Yorkers know good pizza. Conveniently located on Astoria Boulevard North, it is blocks from the subway. The outside wall is painted with a gorgeous mural of a young Native American woman wearing an elaborate feathered headdress, and inside there are art films projected onto the back wall: you can watch Picasso painting his masterpieces as your dine. Their Margherita pizza is perfection, and their Cherry Jackson! (complete with fresh mozzarella, dried cherries, gorgonzola cheese, pecorino romano and prosciutto is heaven in a pie. Seriously, it’s one of the most scrumptious pizzas I’ve ever tasted. Their cocktails are just as unique: the Passion 75 is my favorite: it is a delicate mixture of Prosecco, passion fruit and cinnamon. Refreshing and as smooth as silk going down. The chefs at Republic are the real deal. Republic would be the perfect place to have an intimate dinner with friends, or a birthday party or celebration. The DJ plays old-school hip-hop, the lighting is dim and relaxed, the stone pizza oven is always fired up and ready to go, and the bathroom walls are black chalk boards, awaiting your doodles, bits and bobs of poetry, and lovers’ initials. Republic is the place to be.

By Angela Sloan