Sunday, September 20, 2009

Breakfast in Woodside, Part UNO

Two of our favorite breakfast joints. In Woodside. Grab and go, or sit down and enjoy. Meet Mango's and Rico Pan.

The fare: delicious Colombian pastries.

The coffee deal: totally partial to the black coffee at Rico Pan.

The goodies: an assortment of breakfast pastries, a lot of them stuffed with cheese - but they are all good. For those interested in the lingo: pan con queso (bread stuffed with cheese), pan de queso (or rosquita - a ring shaped savory bread), almojábana montañera (savory, sweet, buttery and crumbly goodness, all at once), empanadas, arepas de choclo (sweet corn arepas), deditos de queso (cheese fingers) and that's just the begining.

El Oso's favorite part from either place: costumer service. Both joints are staffed by sweet, endearment term calling, Colombian ladies. And well, as I've learned over the years, he just melts when a woman offers him pastries and coffee.

Rico Pan
5813 Woodside Ave, Woodside, NY 11377
3961 61st St, Woodside, NY 11377

Friday, September 11, 2009

Literally, relaxing in Queens

I discovered The Yoga Room in Astoria almost five years ago. I stumbled into it. Or maybe, it stumbled into me. It came at a perfect time in my life. I had been thinking about trying one of those “Bikram” yoga classes for a while. But the Northeast blackout of 2003 got in the way while I tried to get to a bikram studio in the city. Few months later, while hanging out at Café Bar, in Astoria I found a flyer laying around. It advertised “Hot Yoga Classes” and some sort of introductory deal. All in Astoria, Queens. After all, I was destined to give it a try.

I was a fast convert. My first class was hard. But the release that came with it was exhilarating and addictive right away. Now, let me warn you: I don’t look like a yogi, and I definitely don’t always behave like a yogi (although I try very hard to honor some of my loving, patient teachers, those extra mojitos and those angry thoughts at inconsiderate people riding NYC’s subway do get on the way of my ahimsa - so long brahmacharya and pratyahara too!). I’m not even consistent like a yogi. But I try, and no matter how many times I fall off the wagon, I try again. I find that yoga reflects everything we go through in life. During those ninety minutes you are in the room, you go through every emotion that you might experience in life. Those times when I feel particularly scared of life circumstances are the days when the teacher seems to call out some of the asanas I fear the most; I hear the words “handstand” and I feel my entire body shake and shrivel at the thought of even trying. But, you know what, I try anyway. I try to gently (and sometimes not so gently) set aside my fear in the hopes that I will be able to push aside the fear that can hold me back in life.

The Yoga Room has been a wonderful space for me to experience yoga. I enjoy the variety of their offerings – they have branched out and now the classes include much more than just hot yoga. I like the physical space in the studios and most of all, I feel lucky to have met some wonderful, nurturing teachers there. Some are still teaching there, others have gone on to their next venture, but each one of them has left a little bit of an imprint in my (irregular) practice. I will always be thankful and indebted to all of them.

Now, on to business: if you are looking to experience all the benefits of yoga, or perhaps only some of them, I would most certainly recommend The Yoga Room. They have two locations: one in Astoria and one in Long Island City. Go ahead. Give it a try. It only seems fitting to put a bit of relaxation into it.


For the 411 on The Yoga Room - in Queens (!!!), check out their website: