Since my son Josh opened the LIC Flea and International Food Bazaar six weeks ago, I have been there every weekend finding continuous joy. First of all, I have pride in how he has organized the newest, hottest, coolest place to shop and dine and secondly, what is more fun than exploring the booths of the creative people (80 booths every Saturday and Sunday) he and my daughter Elizabeth have assembled?
After our Sunday visit late in the afternoon, we decided to take four-year-old Jonah and two-year-old Addison to one of our vendor’s restaurants. Many LIC restaurants have taken booths to bring their wonderful food to people who may not have discovered them in brick-and-mortar locations. So off we went to Mia Famiglia located in the Wyndham Garden Hotel on 9th Street, just a few blocks from the LIC Flea. We love their food at the market, but we yearned for an air-conditioned place for dinner.
Their motto is, “We are all family at Mia Famiglia restaurant,” and we were! With two energetic, curious children, hosts Lawrence and Laura, a sister and brother team, were as welcoming as their mission statement suggested. They really “get it” about being family-friendly.
Within minutes of our arrival, Jonah was curious to see the kitchen. They accommodated him and then quickly brought crunchy bread and drinks to the table. Being with the kids, ordering quickly is easy because my grandkids love meatballs and if you want the lightest, tastiest meatballs, this is your place. Elizabeth had her favorite, linguini and clams, and gave the dish an “A” rating. I had veal Marsala steeped in mushrooms with a light wine sauce. It was a perfect balance of flavors.
Our grand finale was a chocolate and vanilla tartuffo covered with a dark chocolate crust — mouth-watering and delicious. It was a wonderful, relaxing meal in a lovely environment thanks to the warm family atmosphere.
Earlier in the week, my “WOW” friends and I had our monthly get together at the newly opened Vivaldi, at the site that once housed the popular Cafe On The Green in Bayside. It sits handsomely at the foot of Throngs Neck Bridge and nestled in the Clearview Golf Course.
Vivaldi has new owners and, newly renovated, is better looking than ever. A brick oven will be offering pizza and the continental menu has a new chef.
Ironically, I had been at dinner at Limani in Manhasset and now I find out that one of their chefs, Anthony, has joined the Vivaldi staff.
Since I had grilled octopus at Limani, I decided to order it at Vivaldi. I can tell you the octopus served on a bed of Mediterranean chickpeas with a yogurt and olive purée was superb. Tender and tasty.
Since we were a group of 10, we decided to order a variety of appetizers. I can tell you we finished every plate, they were so good. Besides the octopus we had fried calamari with an unusual zing from roasted red peppers in a tomato sauce. I also found the large baked clams topped with Parmigiano cheese with sundried tomatoes in a pancetta, lemon zest sauce delicious. There are oysters, Little Neck clams, crab croquets and mussels for the fish lovers.
There are also several salads on the menu and many choices in the pasta, fish or meat categories. Each entree was attractively presented and delicious. Since each dish is so good, adding to the “flavor” is the attentive and professional staff. We were welcomed by manager Billy Papas, who had worked at Terrace on the Park in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. It was good to see him again and I will return to spread the word on this “winner!”