Hi friends. Lauren E. here. How many of you are actually reading this after my very long hiatus? I’m gonna guess 3. Hello mom, dad, and… okay, maybe 2.
In any case, I’m back! I made myself a manageable schedule to keep on posting amidst the busy day job schedule I’ve recently inherited. I love my new job but suddenly this blog felt like a chore. “Ugh, I guess I’ll post tonight…” But then I was eating at all these amazing places and missing great recipes in my life and I thought, “Okay, time to get back in it.” A good friend told me if it’s my passion, I can’t just give it up.
So I’m not. I’m not giving it up! And to welcome you back, I bring you a week of Astoria (it’ll be Wednesday to Wednesday… so sue me). Have you been to this neighborhood? It’s the one I live in. It’s the one I love. It’s affordable, it’s safe, and the restaurant scene here is blowing up. Visit us, why don’t cha?
Pachanga Patterson 33-17 31st Ave, Astoria, Queens. The idea behind this restaurant is simple and brilliant. I usually try to reserve my opinion for the “Verdict” section of my restaurant reviews but I just can’t contain myself. I LOVE THIS RESTAURANT and I love the idea that inspired it. In the restaurant world, “family meal” is the meal that the kitchen staff eats after all the patrons have gone home. The meal, built on the remnants of the night at the restaurant and enhanced by the cooks’ expertise, comes out without agenda. Pachanga Patterson’s owners claim that because the restaurants they’ve worked in have had mostly Mexican staff members, no matter the cuisine of the restaurant, all the “family meals” come out with a decidedly Mexican influence. It is these menu items that make up the menu of Pachanga Patterson. Each dish has a Mexican flair, and is made with local ingredients and by expert hands. Small plates, even smaller prices, a cozy tucked-away atmosphere, and a warm staff that takes care of you like you’re part of the family, too.
Braised pork shoulder tacos with crispy pork skin and pickled red onion
On the menu:
Guacamole and house fried tortillas
Chipotle braised short rib tacos with roasted tomatoes and scallions
Berkshire pork shoulder tacos with crispy pork skins and pickled red onion
Panna cotta with pumpkin seed brittle
Verdict: Duh. I love this place. Not only is it literally downstairs from the BF’s apartment, but it is some of the most delicious, well-thought-out, comforting food I’ve had in Astoria. Hands down. The pork shoulder was so tender and perfectly complimented by the crispy bits of skin and juicy, fat slices of pickled onion. The guacamole was DIVINE and the chips fresh. The panna cotta pushed the whole meal over the top, and had me running for the kitchen to make my own pumpkin seed brittle. The restaurant is slowly adding more meals to its hours (recently lunch, soon-to-come weekend brunch… thank God!) and come summer, they have a lovely patio out back, perfect for drinking pitcher after pitcher of sangria and pretending like you’re in Mexico. Ah bliss.