Today, my Queens Supper Club friends and I went to the Little Egypt part of Astoria to enjoy iftar, or the meal known to break the fast of Ramadan. While we all have different beliefs, we're interested in learning more about these traditions and were honored to take part in them. For our dinner, we went to Duzan for some exceptional falafel, shawarma, hummus and more, but we also managed to stop for a casual dessert at Al-Sham Sweets & Pastries just a few doors down.
The vibe at Al-Sham is very friendly and hospitable, and seems like a great place to just pop into casually. I can see a family coming in with kids, each one of them picking something delightful to snack on, as the overall aura is very inclusive and communal. Even though there's no place to sit, people linger around and eat their treats inside, or also casually stand outside the storefront and enjoy their goodies.
We got a few things, one of them these chocolate cigars as I call them, but unfortunately I don't know their proper name. They were delightful, and a perfectly sized little treat to pop in your mouth after a really satisfying Middle Eastern meal. Half of the pastry was coated in dark chocolate and the inside was filled with walnuts as well as coconut flavoring. It was complex, interesting and really the perfect bite.
The other treat we ordered was really special, which was called Atayif, and it's traditional during Ramadan. Looking like a little empanada with lightly golden edges, they're traditionally stuffed with cheese or nuts. The ones that Meg and Jo got had soft cheese inside and they were just delectable and surprisingly light. I tasted a bit of rose water in there too and maybe some honey as well. The crust was a little crispy, which gave off a good crunch and the inside was soft and plump.
Service and Cost:
It was nice to see the folks that work here are welcoming and happily chat with you about what they're selling. We didn't feel odd ordering anything or asking for an explanation, which we received with a smile and enthusiasm.
Costs are really competitive, and for 3 pastries, 2 of which were kind of big, only set us back $4 total. Thanks Jo!
Al-Sham Sweets & Pastries - 24-39 Steinway Street, Astoria NY 11103
N/Q Train to Astoria Blvd