Sunday, March 25, 2012
My 15 Minutes of Fame at Koliba
As mentioned to you earlier in the week, this past Friday was a big day for my beloved Koliba Slovak & Czech restaurant. Reason being is that they were being taped for a segment of a new Food Network pilot, hosted by no other than Aarti Sequeira of the Next Food Network Star and her show, Aarti Party. My mom was the first one to recognize Aarti, and quickly struck up a conversation with her (as did I). Long story short, just a few minutes later, we found Aarti sitting at our table, chatting with us and interviewing all three of us, Mami, Oci and me.
Naturally, we were pretty excited, as we let all our enthusiasm and love for Koliba and the Slovak culture pour out of us, answering all of Aarti's questions with a lot of elaboration and gusto. She was loving it, I can tell, as toward the end of the interview she remarked at just how proud we are to be Slovak. It's true - no secret there, now let's let it spread to other eager foodies too! I hope we make the show.
Besides chatting with Aarti and enjoying all the hooplah of the taping, we also sat down to a delicious dinner of homemade Slovak cuisine that we simply never tire of. While I'm notorious for always getting spaetzle with sheep's milk cheese and bacon, this time I opted for something ligther...
Chicken in Natural Gravy with Mushrooms - Even though this dish sounded really simple, I knew it would be flavorful and interesting - and quite frankly, anything with mushrooms is always an easy sell for me. When it arrived, I was happy, as it was a beautifully browned piece of meat, topped with chunky mushrooms and plenty of gravy. Gravy that I knew would be awesome for dipping the knedlik or bread dumplings that we ordered on the side. As you can see here, the portion was quite large, and I took half of it home for Dan to devour.
Vepro Knedlo Zelo (Pork with Cabbage and Dumplings) - This is my dad's favorite meal in any Slovak or Czech restaurant, so naturally he ordered it again. A few new things that were thrown into the mix was a combination of red and white cabbage - usually you can only get one variety, but they've now mixed the two which is innovative (it's still served separately but you now get the best of both worlds). The other new thing is that you can also get a side of smoked ham as your second protein, so again, another combination platter option, which we all enjoyed. I had a bite of the ham, and it was slightly sweet but with a smoky aftertaste. YUM!
Palacinky with Nutella and Bananas - As we were waiting and waiting for the Food Network peeps to arrive, we had to get dessert to keep the meal going and went for the palacinky (or crepes). Traditionally stuffed with jam, we chose the Nutella banana variety this time, which was indulgent and delicious. The palacinka differs from a traditional French crepe in that the batter is a bit thicker and fluffier, giving it that distinct Slovakness.
Service and Cost:
We couldn't sing our praises louder for the outstanding service that night, even more so given that the restaurant was completely packed and we were being taped. Our waitress was sweet and very attentive - after we told her that we were interested in staying to check out the Food Network activities, she was happy to let us linger as long as we wanted. The gesture didn't go unnoticed and we tried to tip generously to show our gratitude.
For the above mentioned meal, including a round of beer and coffee, the bill came out to $90 including tax and tip.
Oh and one more lovely thing I must mention - I ran into one of my readers and her boyfriend as we were leaving. It was such a pleasant surprise, and I was happy to chat with her about our mutual Astorian food experience. Thank you for introducing yourself!
3 Bready and Delicious Mmmms
Koliba - 31-11 23rd Avenue, Astoria, NY 11105
N/Q Train to Ditmars