by Nick D'Arienzo
Feb 12, 2009 | 38361 views | 0 0 comments | 3243 3243 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Forgive us if our selections this week are a tad one-sided, but come on, guys, you know the drill. It’s Valentine’s Day, one of the few days of the year (along with Christmas and her birthday) where you make a little bit more of an effort than usual to show your sweetie just how much you care. And this year, V-Day falls on a Saturday, so it looks like the pressure’s really on. Fear not, though, we’ve got a couple of places in mind that are always willing to help and shouldn’t be too hard on your over-worked wallet, either. Hey, it’s the least we could do in the name of love, right?


Our community’s considerable trust in GRAND FLORIST has stood the test of time now for generations – always reliable, always accommodating, always memorable. Whether it’s roses, a custom bouquet, or their oh-so-cuddly stuffed animals, this Maspeth institution is where you ought to head first, especially if you’re looking to make a bold statement with someone special. Over in Forest Hills, the folks at STUDIO ARTS FLORIST do a fantastic business from their cozy location just under the LIRR tracks – the reason being their tremendous attention to detail, and the fact that they will always take the extra step to make sure their customers are satisfied. Why not stop in this week and have them put together something special for you. The sooner you do, the better off you’ll be! And in Middle Village, the new management at FORGET ME NOT FLORIST sure are working hard to make a name for themselves quickly. Drop in and check out their attractive selection of arrangements, bouquets, and roses of many different colors, and let them assemble something for you with an extra personal touch. (GRAND FLORIST, 65-37 Grand Avenue in Maspeth (718) 326-1090; STUDIO ARTS FLORIST, 106-14 71st Avenue (Continental Avenue) in Forest Hills (718) 897-4566; FORGET ME NOT FLORIST, 64-74 Dry Harbor Road in Middle Village.)

A Nice Gift

We really dig this new Williamsburg boutique called BROOKLYNSKI (which means “of Brooklyn” in Polish), one of the quaintest, most eclectic shops of its kind to grace the ever-burgeoning thoroughfare that is Graham Avenue. Jewelry, candles, totes, wallets, children’s books – there’s a whole host of things from which to choose here. Or better yet, maybe just get a gift certificate, and let her decide! Either way, this is one of the more fun shops to browse through, as there’s a terrific sense of wit to everything. Looking to really splurge on her? How about a gift certificate to one of the crème-de-la-crème spa experiences, the oasis in the middle of THE SHOPS AT ATLAS PARK called FLORIS SPA & NAIL. Maybe a Revitalizing Facial would impress your sweetheart. Or their exemplary Healing Stone Massage (by the hour or by the ½ hour). FLORIS has gift certificates for whatever level of generosity you’re comfortable with – but know this, this is one of the most exquisite, unforgettable spa experiences she’s ever likely to have, so let’s not shortchange her, know what I’m saying. Lastly, we’re also big fans of the MICCICHE SALON in Forest Hills (oy, what a scene!). Stylists here are true artists and their high-energy theatrics make your top-notch color work, blowout, or even their extra-special thermal relaxer as memorable and enjoyable as it gets! (BROOKLYNSKI, 351 Graham Avenue in Williamsburg (718) 389-0901; FLORIS SPA & NAILS, 8000 Cooper Avenue in Glendale, The Shops At Atlas Park (718) 326-2656; MICCICHE SALON, 73-01 Austin Street in Forest Hills (718) 544-1246.)

Some Wine

There’s a whole new burst of energy over at ROSETTA WINES, thanks to its new ownership spearheaded by Shermon Peters. Just around the corner from the Amish Market at THE SHOPS AT ATLAS PARK, you may not find a more eye-catching browsing-friendly display of wine anywhere. The staff here are experts, and if you’re looking for something special for you and your honey, they’ll be able to offer some helpful suggestions and keep your budget in mind at the same time. (And then, make sure you both come back for their weekend tastings!) Similarly, we really like THE WINE ROOM, a worth-the-trip shop somewhat off the beaten path on 69th Avenue, down the block from the venerable Lillian Pizzeria. THE WINE ROOM boasts a great selection, and even greater service, two things that go a long way toward making your girl think you’re some kind of connoisseur or something. Over on Woodhaven Boulevard, JUNIPER WINES & LIQUORS is just about the biggest such establishment we’ve ever seen in these parts. You can get lost meandering from aisle to aisle in here – checking out the wines from Chile, from Australia, from South Africa, from France, Italy, Spain. But you know what – ask for help. Because if they don’t have it here, it’s probably not worth getting. (ROSETTA WINES, 8000 Cooper Avenue in Glendale, The Shops At Atlas Park (718) 326-7700; THE WINE ROOM, 96-09 69th Avenue in Forest Hills (718) 520-1777; JUNIPER WINES & LIQUORS, 63-14 Woodhaven Boulevard in Rego Park (718) 205-2061.)

Some Sweets

There’s always something great going on at the GLENDALE BAKE SHOP on Grand Avenue, but count on Valentine’s Day’s inventory to be a little extra-special. Like their colored buttercream-frosted cupcakes, for example. Or their heart-molded jumbo cookies with Valentine greetings inscribed on them. Or their heart-shaped cakes with that luscious chocolatey glaze. (Mmm, tastes yummy even just saying it, right?) Meanwhile, over in Greenpoint, you’ve never tasted chocolate until you’ve tried it at STODYCE WEDEL, named in honor of the number one confectioner in Poland, E. WEDEL. It’s all about chocolate here, especially for Valentine’s, with gorgeous heart-shaped tins of the stuff everywhere you look. The Chocolate with Nuts & Raisins is terrific, but if you ask us, what they do best here are their fruit-filled chocolate treats: strawberry filling, raspberry filling, coconut filling, cherry filling, even toffee and hazelnut cream filling! I guess you get the picture, right? Now, if you’re looking for something rich and scrumptious in Forest Hills, something girly, something sweet – take a number and get on line at MARTHA’S COUNTY BAKERY. Because if your sweetheart has never had their Red Velvet cupcakes, and you’re the one who introduces her to ‘em – well, as another Martha once said (Martha Stewart, that is), that’s a good thing. (GLENDALE BAKE SHOP BAKERY, 69-25 Grand Avenue in Maspeth (718) 457-2006; STODYCE WEDEL, 772 Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint (718) 349-3933; MARTHA’S COUNTRY BAKERY, 70-30 Austin Street in Forest Hills (718) 544-0088.)

Ooh, Jewelry!

Head in here from the hustle and bustle of Graham Avenue, and it’s like an oasis of calm, of class, of elegance. (The kind of thing we’re used to experiencing only in Manhattan, actually.) But TIVOLI is all that and more, a classy top-of-the-line jewelry store showcasing some of the best diamond earrings and bracelets, topaz rings, Movado watches, and much, much more. Some of the pieces will literally take your breath away. And by the way, Frank Palmeri and his staff pride themselves on accessibility and affordability, so your purchases don’t necessarily have to break the bank. Similarly, residents of Maspeth have come to trust LAFYES JEWELRY for years for their nicely appointed selection of jewelry, and their highly professional service. They will really go the extra mile to help make sure your gift is personal and special. Hey, you’ve heard the expression, ”Diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” right? Well, what are you waiting for? Get to LAFYES! And over in Forest Hills, CHATEAU JEWELERS is just out and out one of the best looking buildings on Austin Street, and has been for years now. Inside, it’s even more glamorous, what with their exquisite collection of earrings, rings, necklaces, brooches, etc. You’re going to need some help in here, but rest assured, you’re in good hands. Don’t know if we can say the same thing about your girlfriend, but then, that’s really up to you, isn’t it? (TIVOLI JEWELERS, 327 Graham Avenue in Williamsburg (718) 384-1305; LAFYES JEWELRY, 65-43 Grand Avenue in Maspeth (718) 894-0360; CHATEAU JEWELERS, 71-35 Austin Street in Forest Hills (718) 544-8999.)

A Romantic Night Out

We love how UVARARA in Middle Village has turned Valentine’s Day into a three-day weekend in honor of friends, lovers, and family (coincidentally, a triptych that appeals to the three distinct “fan bases” that make up one of our favorite area establishments!) Flights of wine with friends on Friday, a prix-fixe romantic dinner on Saturday, and brunch for the family on Sunday. And in Astoria, the cozy and intimate S’AGAPO gets a leg up on the competition by virtue of the fact that its name means “I love you” in Greek! But it’d be a top-notch Valentine’s destination anyway, given how easily shared its assortment of appetizers, dips, and tapas-style dishes can be. The perfect date venue for Valentine’s, or any night, for that matter. And lovebirds of a certain age – music lovers especially – are advised to head on over to O’NEILL’S this Saturday for the Valentine’s Night version of their highly popular Golden Oldies Dinner Shows. This Saturday features The Fireflies with special guest Lenny Cocco of The Chimes. Tickets are $65, which covers dinner and the show (but keep in mind that your dinner choices include, among others, a 1¼ lb. Maine Lobster or O’NEILL’s out-of-this-world Porterhouse Steak for two!) (UVARARA, 79-28 Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village (718) 894-0052; S’AGAPO, 34-21 34th Avenue in Astoria (718) 626-0303; O’NEILL’S, 64-21 53rd Drive in Maspeth (718) 672-9696.)
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