You’ve just absolutely got to see the handiwork of balloon enthusiast Eizabeth Kaslow and LIZ BALLOONS, whose talented creations just might be the perfect way to go towards putting together something special for your little one. And if you like what you see, guess what, kids – Liz offers balloon making classes, too. Now, that’s some serious fun! And over at the SHOPS AT ATLAS PARK, one of our favorites, FRANKIE’S PLAYCE, has oodles and oodles of creative toys and trinkets for your youngster’s Easter basket, and not only that, but she’s even begun offering home-made chocolate here, and we couldn’t think of a better atmosphere for doing so. LIZ BALLOONS, 75-22 Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village (718) 849-8379. FRANKIE’S PLAYCE, 8000 Cooper Avenue in Glendale at The Shops At Atlas Park (718)326-2023.
FLOWERS BY GIORGIE
If you’ve been invited out for Easter dinner, it’s probably a good idea for you to bring a little gift or something, no? How about letting the folks at GRAND FLORIST in Maspeth help you come up with something personal and meaningful. Their years of expertise in this area have made them a reliable destination for all kinds of floral needs, regardless of the occasion. Over in Woodside/Sunnyside/Long Island City, we’re pretty impressed with the expansiveness of FLOWERS BY GIORGIE and the fact that their selection is as extensive as their spacious storefront. (Of course, they deliver and take phone orders, the whole deal, but you’ll probably be equally impressed if you stop by in person!) GRAND FLORIST, 65-37 Grand Avenue in Maspeth (718) 326-1090. FLOWERS BY GIORGIE, 45-26 Greenpoint Avenue in Woodside/Sunnyside (718) 784-2584.
KRAUSE’S CANDY KITCHEN
FUN STUFF on Metropolitan Avenue is one of the best places we’ve found to fill up your Easter basket, whether that be via chocolate Easter Bunnies, gourmet Jelly Beans or special chocolate-covered Strawberries, Oreos, and Pretzels. But what we really find ourselves in awe of here are the assortment of chocolate molds on display, because yes, folks, this is a one-of-a-kind make-your-own chocolate shop that has to be seen to be believed! Meanwhile, over in Forest Hills, we’ve definitely flipped all over again for one of the staples of our youth, KRAUSE’S CANDY KITCHEN (aka AIGNER CHOCOLATES), where you can get the kind of taste treats perfect for your Easter basket, like fruit slices (Watermelon and Orange were our favorites) and one of the best selections of chocolate you’re ever going to find. Then, of course, it’s hard not to smile when your glance falls upon their nostalgia-inducing Easter Peeps, those little yellow chickadee-type confections. You’ve absolutely got to visit here before Easter, and you know what – they even sell Easter baskets here, too! FUN STUFF, 75-22 Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village (718) 326-1345. KRAUSE’S CANDY KITCHEN, 103-02 Metropolitan Avenue in Forest Hills (718) 544-1850.
Cakes & Pastries
MONIQUE’S UNIQUE CAKES
BAUER’S BAKE SHOP
FORTUNATO BROS. PASTICCERIA
CATANIA BAKERY & PASTRY
LA GULI PASTRY SHOP
You may not find a more creamy cupcake frosting than that made by one of our more recent discoveries, Monique Martin and MONIQUE’S UNIQE CAKES. Looking for any kind of specialty cake, cupcake, or similar sweets, you need to contact Monique directly and place an order, and trust us on this – you won’t be sorry. Meanwhile, over at BAUER’S BAKE SHOP, we’re pretty darn pleased these days with their brand new Red Velvet Cupcake, something we’re confident would be a welcome addition to any youngster’s Easter basket. Not only that, but there’s a whole host of Easter cookies you’re going to want to check out as well (maybe even sample yourself!) In Williamsburg, FORTUNATO BROS. PASTICCERIA is once again having their annual Easter Egg raffle, which includes a grand prize of a trip for two to Florida. Moreso, though, this is where you go if you’re looking for the traditional Italian Colomba, as well as some of the best Marzipan around. CATANIA BAKERY & PASTRY SHOP in Ridgewood also showcases the Italian Colomba, but has such a vast array of cookies showcased here, we just absolutely did not know where to start. (And by the way, their Granola Bars are exceptionally good, too!) Then of course, there’s one of our favorite destinations in Astoria, LA GULI PASTRY SHOP, which takes the idea even further with a cookie selection so numerous that they have to, well, number them! We really like the Easter Eggs here, too, but take a look at the penny candy-style Whirly Pops and see if those don’t make it into your youngster’s Easter basket. MONIQUE’S UNIQUE CAKES, www.MoniquesUniqueCakes.com (718) 789-1712. BAUER’S BAKE SHOP, 64-59 Dry Harbor Road in Middle Village (718) 326-1579. FORTUNATO BROS. PASTICCERIA, 289 Manhattan Avenue in Williamsburg (718) 387-2281. CATANIA BAKERY & PASTRY, 64-10 Fresh Pond Road in Ridgewood (718) 417-5700. LA GULI PASTRY SHOP, 29-15 Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria (718) 728-8225.)
Deli and Grocery
KARL EHMER MEATS
The Virtuoso Family at LORIMER MARKET have always treated their patrons like they’re welcoming them into their home. Now, they’re taking that idea one step further, by offering traditional Easter pies to patrons savvy enough to order in advance. Traditional pies like Easter meat pies, the Easter grain pie, etc. Not only that, but this is absolutely where you ought to be getting your Easter lamb, sausages, and other meats for grilling. And as far as Easter hams go, you may not find a better vendor than the top-notch KARL EHMER MEATS, located on Fresh Pond Road. It should be pointed out, as you’re assembling your Easter shopping, that there’s also a nice selection of German Bahlsen sweets here, as well. Just about a hundred reasons to get here before Easter, so definitely make sure that you do. LORIMER MARKET, 620 Lorimer Street in Williamsburg (718) 389-2691. KARL EHMER MEATS, 63-35 Fresh Pond Road in Ridgewood (1-800-ITS-KARL).
Richmond Hill’s VILLA RUSSO has one of the best Easter Dinner menus we’ve seen, with a ten item cocktail hour, a pasta appetizer, and entrée choices ranging from Veal Marsala to Pork Chops and Shrimp Scampi. Not only that, but there’s a magician and an Easter Bunny on hand to help entertain your kids, all for just $55 a person, children just $25. Meanwhile, over at KELLYS in Middle Village, for just $24.95, you get appetizers like Crab Cakes or Prince Edward Island Mussels and entrée choices like Horseradish Encrusted Salmon, Loin of Pork, or Filet Mignon all in a cozy and intimate family setting. Definitely worth checking out. In Maspeth, O’NEILL’S, too, has a lot to offer for Easter dinner this year, favorites like Clams Casino, or Lobster & Cheese Puffs, Roasted Leg of Lamb with Mint Jelly, Stuffed Turkey Breast, and of course, the famous O’NEILL’S Porterhouse. VILLA RUSSO, 101-12 Lefferts Boulevard in Richmond Hill (718) 849-0990. KELLYS, 82-11 Eliot Avenue in Middle Village (718) 476-8444. O’NEILL’S, 64-21 53rd Drive in Maspeth (718) 672-9696.
QUEENS COUNTY FARM
Folks, nothing like a good Easter Egg hunt to get in the spirit, and we wanted to let you know about a couple we always find pretty memorable. First, the QUEENS ZOO in Flushing is hosting their annual Spring Eggstravaganza, with an Easter Egg hunt, assorted other spring activities, and an opportunity to meet the Easter Bunny, all taking place this Saturday APRIL 11th. Then of course, also on APRIL 11th, there’s the QUEENS COUNTY FARM’s Barnyard Easter Egg Hunt, which takes place Saturday from Noon to 4:00 pm and will feature an egg toss, egg-rolling games, and “Whiskers” The Easter Bunny! Happy Easter, everyone! QUEENS ZOO, 53-51 111th Street in Flushing (718) 271-1500. QUEENS COUNTY FARM, 73-50 Little Neck Parkway in Floral Park (718) 347-3276.