BEST PLACES TO HEAD FOR THE HOLIDAYS - PART THREE
by Nick D'Arienzo
Dec 17, 2008 | 8474 views | 1 1 comments | 81 81 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Longtime residents of this Williamsburg neighborhood really don’t need to be reminded of what a wonderful holiday destination the METROPOLITAN FISH MARKET is. (But every little bit certainly helps!)
Times are tough for all of us, that’s definitely a given this year. But for the most part, we’re kind of getting through it, wouldn’t you say – or at least putting on a brave face. Anyway, despite that, don’t we always somehow figure out a way to shower some affection upon the ones we love most this time of year – friends and family? Having said that, we figured we’d help the cause by showcasing for you a number of favorite places of ours here, where you can rest assured that you’re going to get value for your hard-earned American dollars. And from all of us here, to you and yours, peace and good will this holiday season.

Maspeth

RADIO SHACK

70-01 Grand Avenue

(718) 899-0410

You know what – we kind of have to admit it, but the Christmas music blaring out the sounds of the season onto Grand Avenue are starting to work their magic on us a little. So, if you’re like us, maybe it’s time to take the plunge and get yourself inside and browsing. Look, despite the current economic chaos, nothing warms the hearts of our Christmas gift-ees than good old-fashioned American – er, rather foreign made – electronics. Anyway, this RADIO SHACK always seems to have some very affordable options, and a pretty decent selection usually, as well. Maybe it’s an LG phone you’re looking for, or an Olympus digital camera? Wait, what about an ACER notebook computer for only $99.99?! Well, guess what, you probably ought to hurry – you know how quickly some of our better options can disappear!

Forest Hills

ROYAL COLLECTIBLES

96-01 Metropolitan Avenue

(718) 793-0542

Kids of all ages just love meandering through the aisles of ROYAL COLLECTIBLES – but especially at this time of year. Maybe it’s a comic book that proves to be the apple of their eye, or that rare Seaver or Ryan baseball card they’ve long been coveting. Or one of those nobody-does-‘em-better McFarlane figurines. The point is, whatever it is, ROYAL COLLECTIBLES either has it, or can tell you exactly how to get it. But you should not get the impression that this is just some “Boys Only” club here. Co-owners Chuck and Mike will gladly point you towards any number of WebKinz, too – or even better, the new Kookeys line! – as well as a host of film and TV-related merchandise and memorabilia. Just get to ROYAL COLLECTIBLES as soon as you can – and make sure you leave ample time for browsing!

Williamsburg

METROPOLITAN FISH MARKET

635 Metropolitan Avenue

(718) 387-6835

There’s an Italian Christmas Eve tradition you probably know about, wherein families gather for an all-night abbondanza of seven different kinds of seafood – things like baccala (cod), anchovies, calamari, shrimp, mussels, clams, lobster, etc. and various combinations therein. It’s why this is probably the absolute busiest time of the year for a Brooklyn institution like the METROPOLITAN FISH MARKET. You see, the Zollo Family have been serving the neighborhood for generations now – some of the finest, and most affordably priced, seafood you’re going to find in these parts. Longtime residents of the nabe (or even returning customers who’ve long since moved away) know that what they’re buying is fresh and well-prepared, both of which help to create some incredible consumer loyalty. But you certainly don’t have to be Italian to develop that same sort of appreciation for the place. In fact, probably an even better recommendation for METROPOLITAN FISH MARKET is the way newcomers to the community have been spreading some seriously positive word-of-mouth about the place to their friends!

Elmhurst

COMMUNITY BEVERAGE

80-04 Grand Avenue

(718) 458-5254

Throwing a big party? You’d best consult with the folks at COMMUNITY BEVERAGE before-hand. What can we say, but this is definitely one of the best places around – friendly service, good value, and a large selection. And that’s all we can really ask when it comes to our adult beverages, no? If it’s COORS, BUDWEISER, CORONA, HEINEKEN, etc. you’re looking for, well definitely you’re in the right place. But what about a number of BROOKLYN BREWERY offerings? Or some of Belgium’s best like DUVEL or CHIMAY? And of course, REBEL and ZYWIEC, for sure. But also MAGIC HAT and BLUE POINT and SOUTHAMPTON and DOGFISH HEAD. You see, the point is this, people – maybe you head in here not knowing exactly what you want, but take the time to enjoy figuring it out while you’re on site. (And by the way, they have a flat-screen TV for you to peruse while you’re hopping about!)

Williamsburg

THE BROOKLYN KITCHEN

616 Lorimer Street

(718) 389-2982

THE BROOKLYN KITCHEN is always a rather festive place to visit, but definitely rises to the occasion quite exceptionally come holiday time. Whether you’re looking for kitchenware to host your own holiday party, or rather a gift for someone else, you’ll be instantly charmed by the variety of choices at this vibrant corner location in Williamsburg. For example, they’ve got the ultimate in cutlery here, from Cut Brooklyn, Kikuichi, Messermeister, LamsonSharp, and others. Or check out their selection of traditional brass-handled copper pots, made by Hammersmith Copper, a stone’s throw away in Brooklyn. In fact, just to whet your appetite a little bit, how ‘bout you visit their website when you can – www.TheBrooklynKitchen.com - and check out the Heirloom portion of their Web Store, where we’ve no question that colorful items like their rare DANSK Orecast dutch oven, or the Classic PYREX Primary Colors fridge dishes will get you immediately up and running to the car or the train or to the corner of Lorimer and Skillman… before somebody else beats you to it!

Glendale

ART WORLD

THE SHOPS AT ATLAS PARK

8000 Cooper Avenue

(718) 366-6337

If you were somehow under the impression that ART WORLD is simply a frame store, then you’d be gravely mistaken. In fact, what it truly is… is a world of wonder. Without question one of the classiest venues at ATLAS PARK, their recent arrival here gives owner Teri Basile and her staff ample room to showcase the talents they’ve been demonstrating to the area for years now, beginning with their former location on Austin Street in Forest Hills. And if you’re looking for some creative inspiration vis-à-vis your holiday gift-giving, we highly recommend you visit their web page at www.TheShopsAtAtlasPark.com and check out the NY 1 piece on ART WORLD. Because if ART WORLD can help you re-purpose your family collectibles, photos, mementoes and the like – well then those just might wind up truly being the most memorable (and personal) gifts you give this season – or get, come to think of it!

Middle Village

UVARARA

79-28 Metropolitan Avenue

(718) 894-0052

We’ve absolutely loved UVARARA here at “BEST OF THE BEST” ever since the day it first opened. It’s one of the most charming, romantic restaurants you’re going to find in this area – and given what an unforgettable experience it is to dine here, is also rather inexpensive by comparison. Some of their most impressive signature dishes can be found within the Piattini portion of their menu, self-described as “simple, rustic, and intensely flavored dishes” like Gnocchi alla Romana (with butter and Parmigiano), Tortina di Polenta (with mushrooms and Fontina cheese), and their exceptional Polpettine (meatballs!), most of which are priced under $10. Of course, if it’s wine you’ve come here for, definitely count on sommelier Richard Pirrera to point you in the right direction – towards a wonderful Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, maybe. Or perhaps a Chianti or an Aglianico is more to your liking. The fact of the matter is, you are going to find the variety of options here to be extensive and exceptional. (And by the way, make sure you check back here frequently, as the UVARARA wine tasting seminars make for a truly memorable gustatory experience, and one you won’t want to have “tasted” just once!)

Long Island City

BEST BUY

50-01 Northern Boulevard

(718) 626-7585

Look, the folks at Circuit City’ll probably be the first to tell you – nobody does it better than BEST BUY. And there are a couple of reasons for that, actually: one, the sheer expanse of the place makes you feel like, yes, you’ve come to a store that truly knows what it’s doing; two, their staff prove that to be so on a regular basis, and are invariably helpful and well-informed; three, whether you’re looking for a laptop, a camera, a cellphone, or just some DVD’s or CD’s, the number of selections here will probably astound you if you’re a first time visitor (and yet, are all organized in a very efficient, easy-to-find, clutter-free manner). But one of the ways we feel that BEST BUY really shines – their service plans for some of their higher-end items, and that unflinchingly reliable GEEK SQUAD, who somehow always manage to make our “technical difficulties” seem like nothing, nothing at all.

Rego Park

JUNIPER WINES & LIQUORS

63-14 Woodhaven Boulevard

(718) 205-2061

JUNIPER WINES & LIQUORS is such a visually appealing establishment that you feel far more comfortable taking the time to look for the absolute perfect gift for your hosts here than you might in other, more cramped places. There’s a tremendous selection of wines here – whites, reds, from France, Italy and California, of course, but also Chile, Australia, South Africa, Germany, Oregon. Or maybe you can’t decide which Tequila is going to make the perfect gift – Cuervo? Hornitos? Patron? Look, if you don’t happen to be a connoisseur yourself, you can count on getting some well-informed advice here. Trust us, they definitely know what they’re talking about here at JUNIPER WINES, and once you learn that yourself, you’ll probably be counting on them again and again and again…

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MidVille 9
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December 17, 2008
We love UVARARRA - bravissimma!