|Louis Armstrong / "Satchmo"|
Flushing Meadows - Corona Park right near the Unisphere and the Queens Museum (111 St. & the Van Wyck Expressway).
While you might have missed this all-day (one day!) music event, offering jazz from all over the world - including the Cuban-American singer, Albita, and the trumpeter, Jon Faddis, and his Quartet - you can still catch a tribute exhibition entitled Ambassador Satchmo at the World’s Fair, an installation in the Museum Café (June 29th through September 21st) ... presented by The Louis Armstrong House Museum in partnership with, and mounted at, the Queens Museum. You might not be aware that Louis Armstrong lived in Corona, Queens for nearly half a century and that he was honored at the 1964 World's Fair declaring June 30, 1964 to be “Louis Armstrong Day.”
|The Louis Armstrong House / Museum|
|Unisphere - Flushing Meadows|
|Custom kitchen - L. Armstrong House|
Indeed, when you've finished up your short tour of the "Satchmo" installaton at the Queens Museum café, meander over (not far at all as the proverbial crow flies) to The Louis Armstrong House Museum (located at 34-56 107th Street, Corona, Queens/NY) where you can see (& hear) close up & personal all about Armstrong and his daily & historical life - his trumpets, stereo system, tape recordings, studio, prize possessions, his living quarters, and so forth: a truly grand, small-scale museum dedicated to the life of Mr. Armstrong & his long-time wife, Lucille, while, at the same time, giving their visitors the impression "that Louis & Lucille just stepped out for a minute."
It should be noted, too, that the museum conducts guided "house" tours of the family living (& working) quarters and provides new exhibits and hosts all kinds of musical events each season.
|Living room - L. Armstrong House|
When you've tired of Queens-based museums, guided tours & background "hot five & hot seven" trumpet-led music, you will, surely, be up for a culinary experience equal to what you've witnessed. And I was introduced to just the restaurant you'd want to patronize for such an occasion: Joe (Giuseppe) Palma's My Kitchen (106-17 Metropolitan Ave., Forest Hills, NY; tel. 718/544-5644).
|The Palma's - My Kitchen|
|Maryland-style crab cake(s)|
|Seafood & chorizo paella|
All appetizers (including salads) & entrée selections (e.g., the "special" whole Cornish hen) are generously plated and desserts (the bread pudding, served warm with a "scoop" of ice cream!) are all particularly flavorful & expectedly, if not flagrantly, sweet capstones to a more than satisfying dining experience at My Kitchen. When in or near Forest Hills (Queens), do visit this friendly, informal, brightly decorated & comfortable resto ... and see if I'm not correct!
|From: "Necessity, Again"|
The night we attended, there were three individual dance pieces, the most engaging of which happened to be the last in the evening's sequence: “Necessity, Again,” a comic work of balletic "physical theater" created by the well-established Norwegian choreographer, Jo Strømgren.
The costumes worn by the dancers in this fairly lengthy piece evoke a 1950s work place - office and/or manufacturing - of some sort ... displaying up-dos, tea length skirts, and de rigueur skinny ties. In terms of sound & "music," the atmosphere of the work oscillates between what appear to be archival recordings of Jacques Derrida making his way, haltingly - in heavily accented & abstract English speech - through a mesmerizingly dull philosophy lecture and segments of schmaltzy songs from the romantic French crooner, Charles Aznavour.
|Cedar Lake dancers - in H. Shecter's "Violet Kid"|
|Olea - view of the "house"|
The establishment bills itself as a Mediterranean Taverna ... and it has that look & feel, possibly of somewhere in southern Italy (Sicilia, perhaps?) or a Greek Isle. And the food that they prepare is, for the most part, light, naturally colorful, seemingly healthy, and, well, of varied Mediterranean provenance.
|Olea - External (dusk) view on Lafayette Avenue|
For example, if you dined post-Happy-Hour you might want to try the roasted whole Mediterranean branzino ("whole bone in fish"), plated with green vegetables sautéed in pimentón-garlic butter (@ $26); or you might select a paella - paella de mariscos, say - with Spanish "bomba" rice cooked with squid ink & vegetable-saffron stock, shrimp, calamari, mussels ... all carefully mixed thru with red pepper sofrito, green peas, preserved lemon aioli & parsley leaves (@ $28).
|Lamb kefteddes, tomato sauce, feta & mint|
Equally appealing to us and sounding genuinely distinctive was the Spanish "pitza," comprising pita with quince paste, Manchego cheese, toasted garlic, crushed red pepper ... a truly memorable combination of artfully complementary tastes & textures (@ $4; see photo, above). Also deserving special mention are two additional outstanding ("tapas") plates that justified our interest and, ultimately, tickled our taste buds: the celery-apple salad, with gorgonzola-blue cheese, sherry vinaigrette, toasted walnuts & coriander seeds ($4.50); and the singularly satisfying (particularly scrumptious!) mini fried oyster sandwiches (two, with a spicy Brussels sprouts "slaw," at $4.50).
|Warm almond tart|
We concluded our Happy-Hour visit to Olea with the wait-staff recommended Warm Almond Tart ($8), replete with pomegranate sorbet, whipped cream & toasted almonds - genuinely luscious, and, at the same time, guzzled multiple cups of dark (black) coffee necessary to complement & enhance a dessert that was, as they say, to die for!
|Map - Fort Greene, Brooklyn|
Fortunately we had ample time to walk off the meal and still arrive at our Cedar Lake curtain with minutes to spare. A 2nd "outer borough" dining success (we're still battin' 1000). We thoroughly enjoyed the place - the affability of the wait staff, the cozy-comfy bustling Mediterranean ambiance ... as well as the food, the wine, our coffee & that fabulous dessert. I'm sure - should you venture to the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn, perhaps for a BAM event - you will enjoy Olea, too, sans doute!
Or, as one contented Olea eater trumpeted ... just "Check out ... [this] Fort Greene secret! (Whoops!)