Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Who said it first?

With all the buzz swirling about Caroline Kennedy and her growing likelihood of being appointed to replace Hillary Clinton in the U.S. Senate, we have to give ourselves a small pat on the back and remind whoever may be interested that we predicted it first. Our Not 4 Publication column of Dec. 4 (written Nov. 29) may have been the first place where Kennedy's name was thrown into the fray.

"However, we like the dark-horse pick of his first cousin, Carolyn Kennedy. An early Obama supporter and member of the Obama Veep selection panel, she had been mentioned for UN Ambassador. She is a New Yorker, a woman and extremely electable. She likely would bring to Paterson more positive publicity than any other on the list. The daughter of JFK emerged as a national figure during the Obama campaign and is the likely person to carry on the family’s Senate legacy with the illness to Uncle Teddy."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

SNL Mocks Governor

Saturday Night Live this weekend, in an attempt to poke some humor at the decision before Gov. David Paterson regarding the soon-to-be-vacated Senate seat held by Hillary Clinton, featured the Governor, played by Fred Armisen, in a sketch on Weekend Update. The critics are mixed. See for yourself and let us know what you think.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Velasquez Is Out

Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez today spoke with Governor David Paterson and informed him that she is not interested in being appointed to fill the vacancy in the U.S. Senate caused by Senator Hillary Clinton becoming the Secretary of State. Rep. Velázquez indicated that she has confidence that he will make his choice based on what will be best for New York State. For his part, the Governor asked her to join the committee that is advising him in the selection process.

“My friend Hillary Clinton has done an outstanding job for New York in the Senate, and will go on to be an exceptional Secretary of State. Our state is fortunate to have many capable, experienced individuals who would serve our state well as her replacement. While I have been proud and humbled to be considered, I have decided to stay as a senior member of the House of Representatives, Chair of the Small Business Committee, and Chair of the Hispanic Caucus.

Going forward, I will keep advocating for more Hispanics in statewide office. With Latinos making up over 16 percent of New York’s population, and that number expected to grow – increased representation, at all levels, is paramount to reflect the changing face of our state. Governor Paterson has my full backing as he makes his decision, and I will give my support and counsel to help our next Senator achieve success for New York.”

Mr. Smith Goes To Albany

This week's Not For Publication column details the rise, fall and ongoing negotiations being done by Sen. Malcolm Smith while a Page 3 story details the way the deal came together and fell apart. We keep expecting the story to change, so be sure to stay tuned.

Forget Plaxico -- Corona Has Poblanos

Food tastings, cool Corona, the chance to snag one of Helen Marshall's favorite recipes -- and all for a great cause (The Heart of Corona Initiative).

What's not to love about The Healthy Taste of Corona Cookbook Launch Event?

Bonus: The event doubles as a good excuse to escape the hellish Sunday tradition that is American football (**Note: I realize this is a wildly unpopular opinion..and, yes, this makes me sad).

Event: The Healthy Taste of Corona Cookbook Launch Event
Date: Sunday, Dec. 14
Time: 3-6 p.m.
Place: New York City Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Tel: (718) 592-9700

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Senator Drescher!

According to CNN and the Daily News (and basically anyone else with a sense of humor), Fran Drescher has injected herself into the running for New York's soon-to-be vacant Senate seat.

To be fair, Drescher has had anything but a posh life, first being raped at gunpoint in front of her husband, who was tied up and helplessly watched. She most recently survived uterine cancer and has become a champion of health care for women. The woman has brass.

But what would life be like on Capitol Hill with Senator Drescher?


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Great Queens Soup Search: Kane's Diner

Kane's Diner
4415 College Point Blvd.
(718) 463-5787
Soup: Chicken Noodle

The Good News: Long threads of spaghetti replace soggy noodles. Celery, carrots, gloriously big chunks of chicken and -- ooh -- just enough of a garlicky punch to leave an interesting taste on the tongue.

The Extra-Special Good News: A Christmas tree! Poinsettias! Signed photographs of Brian Williams galore! Love the homey decor at Kane's -- the vintage maple syrup dispensers at each table and the menus -- oh the menus -- reminiscent of a teenage girl's scrapbook.

The Sort-of Bad News: The menus are a bit difficult to decipher. The impatient diner will have trouble locating a list of soups obscured within cut-out glossy photos of food items and headshots of Billy Joel, Shirley Temple and Princess Diana.

The Verdict: I love Kane's Diner and would return any time for a garlic kick and the chance to break bread with Brian Williams.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Great Queens Soup Search: Death by Lentil Soup Part III

The Blue Bay Diner
58-50 Francis Lewis Blvd.
Oakland Gardens
(718) 225-6333
Soup: Lentil Soup

If you've ever eaten a meal or a snack and realized, only after the table has cleared, that you've eaten anything at all, you will understand the uninspired experience of eating most lentil soups (I would throw rice cakes, celery and Subway sandwich bread into the same consuming pit of fire, if given a chance).

To be fair, Queens residents don't frequent Blue Bay for its soups. If you're a teenager, you go for their cheese fries. If you are an adult, you go for their three-egg omelettes and hot open sandwiches. With that in mind...

The Good News: Well-cooked lentils.

The Really Good News: This. Any diner willing to devote an entire web page to their soup schedule is alright by me.

The Bad News: Broth is on the watery side. Lacked salt, pepper and cumin. Miniscule splinters of onion, carrot and celery say a lot about the sous chef's ability to wield a Santoko knife but add little to the soup's flavor.

Verdict: Consider me a slave to Blue Bay's soup schedule. I shall return to taste Greek Egg Lemon soup.

Queens Loves The Library

It might come as no surprise that the most used library system in the country is also beloved by its patrons. Then again, it is surprising because it's THE MOST USED LIBRARY SYSTEM IN THE COUNTRY.

Have you been to the library recently? It's packed with people reading books in English, Chinese and Arabic, surfing the Web, taking literacy classes and it's all free. Serving the most diverse county in the country is not the easiest job but according to a citywide survey, the Queens Library is No. 3 on a list of the best city-funded services in the borough.
93% of the responses by borough rate Queens Library as "excellent", "good", or "fair." The fire department and emergency medical services were No. 1 and 2.

"By any measure, Queens Library provides vital education and life skills resources to the community,"
Queens Library Director Thomas W. Galante said. "In a tight economy, the benefit is magnified. Whether we are helping people upgrade their computer skills, helping them find jobs, tutor the children after school or providing wireless internet, it's always free."

Queens Library invites everyone to sign up for a free library card by coming to any of its 62 locations or online at

Monday, December 8, 2008

Great Queens Soup Search: Death by Lentil Soup Part II

Brothers Pizzeria & Restaurant
185-04 Horace Harding Expwy.
Fresh Meadows
(718) 445-7888
Soup: Lentil Soup

The Good News: I was cold, craving soup and not expecting anything glorious. So, of course, what do I find at this old-fashioned pizzeria? An utterly delightful, thick brown brew of lentil goodness, chockful of adorably-stubby mini Rigatoni pasta. I couldn't get over the volume of this soup -- tasty -- and incredibly affordable ($3.50 for a hearty bowl).

The Bad News: What can I pick at..what can I pick at..well, they didn't serve the soup with crackers, which I guess would be a problem if you prefer crackers to perfectly-cooked Rigatoni pasta.

The Verdict: A great, inexpensive find. You won't find a lot of variety here, but the soup is outstanding.

Great Queens Soup Search: Death by Lentil Soup

Here's a little trivia: in 2007, the world produced 3.9 million tonnes of lentils. I wouldn't be shocked to discover that Queens absorbed the bulk of this bounty, because it seems lentil soup is on the menu EVERYWHERE I go.

Here's my rundown on the first of not one, not two -- but three lentil soups in three days.

Quantum Leap Restaurant
6564 Fresh Meadow Lane
Fresh Meadows
(718) 461-1307
Soup: Tomato Lentil

The Good News: I'm not a big fan of vegetarian restaurants, though I admit my reasons have more to do with the existence of words like "un-turkey" and "un-beef" than my dislike of tofu products. Quantum Leap is slightly shabby, yes. But it's comfortable, warm and attached to a health food store that goes by the same name -- so it was worth a shot.

I'll give the soup a thumbs-up for its massive zucchini, carrots, celery, onions, broccoli and turnip chunks. The veggie medley was fresh and tasty. Very nice.

The Bad News: Though the vegetables were lovely, the main attraction -- the lentils -- were overcooked. And why was my soup dripping down the side of the cup before it reached the table?

Verdict: The potential for a really great, interesting vegetarian soup is there. But, come on. Soup is a first course -- not an afterthought. Get those lentils out of the pot a few minutes earlier and I'll happily deal with the messy presentation.

Ya...It’s Good

An assortment of specials courtesy of Sushi Ya in New Hyde Park.

Hirami Mono | Spicy tuna wrapped in fresh fluke and laid over a grid of the chef's special sauce.

Grand Mariner Shrimp | Lightly battered fried shrimp served in a Grand Mariner sauce.

Sushi Ya Special Grilled Short Rib | Tender beef rib marinated in a tangy Japanese pear sauce and grilled to perfection.

Iron Tuna | Spicy tuna wrapped in a thin cut of seared tuna and served over an oily red sauce.

Photos by Michael Lanza