Category Archives: Cheese shops

Astoria Bier & Cheese

Astoria Bier & Cheese

I have to admit that I don’t get out of Manhattan a lot. There’s so much to see, do and eat in these 24 square miles that it doesn’t often occur to me to check out what the other boroughs have to offer.

But when I read about Astoria Bier & Cheese, I decided to enlist Dave for a trip to Queens. Frankly, it didn’t take much convincing.

Me: Do you want to go drink beer and eat cheese in Astoria? I’ll drive.

No response from Dave necessary as he’s already grabbing his coat.

What we found was a very cool shop/bar/cafe boasting an impressive selection of dozens of cheeses, hundreds of bottled beers and 10 craft beers on tap. What was intended as a pre-dinner snack quickly turned into us hanging out for three hours. (Randomly running into a college friend and his girlfriend was an added bonus.)

Here’s what we ate:

Astoria Bier & Cheese Cheese Curds

Vermont cheddar cheese curds with sourdough and black olive bread

Astoria Bier & Cheese Beer Cheese

Housemade beer cheese with hot pretzel and mustard

Although I was so enamored with the beer cheese (basically a creamy, boozy cheddar) that I could have eaten three servings, the real standout was the beer and cheese pairing plate:

Astoria Bier & Cheese pairings

For $18 we got four surprisingly unique and beautifully presented cheeses paired with generous tasting portions of craft beers. It’s perfect for sharing. Here’s what ABC was serving that night (from left to right):

Bra Tenero (Italian cow’s milk) and Firestone Walker Pivo Pils

El Romeral (Spanish sheep’s milk) and Ommegang Rare Vos Belgian Pale Ale

Tete de Moine (Swiss cow’s milk) and Stochasticity Project Grapefruit Slam IPA

Stilton (English cow’s milk) and Brooklyn Brewery Fire & Ice Porter

I was so impressed with the well-curated selections and the cheesemonger’s enthusiastic explanation of each pairing in front of us. (I also thought the beer flight boards were pretty cool. Dave, who dabbles in woodworking, claims he can make some for me. Stay tuned for pix of that project.)

With the pairings changing regularly and us too full to try the grilled cheese, we will definitely be back to ABC soon.

Astoria Bier & Cheese, 3414 Broadway, Astoria, 718-545-5588

A Reason To Visit Cincinnati

Cincinnati is probably a lovely city. I’ve just never had an overwhelming desire to visit it. That is, until I found out about an amusement park of a grocery store boasting a cheese section 1,400 cheeses deep. Jungle Jim’s International Market looks like Stew Leonard’s on steroids.

Check out this array of blue cheese alone. It’s dizzying:

Jungle Jim's Blue Cheese Selection

And rows upon rows of cheese organized by country and type. It would take me hours to pick anything:

Jungle Jim's

My wonderful in-laws, Stan and Karen, found Jungle Jim’s last weekend when they attended its Big Cheese Festival (and sent me these pix.) With 80 cheesemakers in attendance — including some of my favorites, like Cypress Grove and Beehive Cheese Co. — I’m already marking my calendar for next year.

Plus, I don’t want to miss seeing what has to be the world’s most gigantically phallic piece of cheese:

Jungle Jim's Big Cheese

I’ve always wanted to drive cross-country for roadside attractions like Carhenge and the Jimmy Carter Peanut Statue. This big cheese definitely makes that list.

Jungle Jim’s International Market, 4450 Eastgate South Drive, Cincinnati

A Cheese-Shaped Shop

On our drive from one lobster shack to another during our trip to Maine — I had nine that we absolutely had to hit — we stumbled across this kitschy cheese-shaped gem in the town of Wells.

Aptly named ‘Wine & Cheese Shop’, the store’s wheel-shaped entrance is attached to a big barn mostly filled with wine. Oh, and there’s a giant mouse perched on top.

The cheese and charcuterie selection was pretty basic but it would be a fine place to grab a few munchies before heading to the beach.

Wine and Cheese Shop, Wells

Have you ever tried to cut a salami on a paper plate balanced in the sand? Trust me, don’t do it. Buy pre-sliced.

Wine and Cheese Shop, Wells

I give the shop major props for originality — in a funky 1970s kind of way — mainly because I appreciate the mustache on the Francophile mouse logo.


259 Post Rd, Wells, ME 04090 

How clever is this?

Cheesemonger Ingenuity

I woke up today to this pic of a Chicago cheese shop’s cute chalkboard sign. Thanks to Stacey for sending it (and for getting Annie Lennox stuck in my head all day!)

Anyone remember the video? The Eurythmics duo in a conference room being circled by a giant cow? No? Well, that’s what YouTube is for.