Monthly Archives: November 2012
Wifey note: I’m passing the baton to my “husband” (!!!!) here as he actually volunteered to write a blog. Because his love of Sanfords is overflowing & he felt compelled to put pen to paper. Or finger to keyboard, actually.
Less than 10 minutes after I asked Rachel to marry me, the first thing we did was celebrate over dinner and glass of champagne. When it came to picking the spot, we didn’t even think about it. We hopped in the car and drove straight to our favorite place: Sanfords.
Let me give you a little history on the one restaurant that Rachel and I consistently go to for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and late night munchies. In 1922 Sanfords opened as a 24 hours a day / 7 days a week coffee shop in Astoria, Queens.
Jump ahead to 1975 when John Karalekas purchased it and operated it successfully for over 15 years until his 2 sons Gus and Chris took over and ran it as a local diner and an area late night favorite. A few years ago Sanfords was renovated and reborn as a neighborhood hot spot that continued the tradition of serving amazing upscale food at affordable prices.
One of the most noticeable and fantastic changes was the addition of a killer wine / beer list that can satisfy the even the biggest snob.
Now that I have given you a brief history on the business itself, let me tell you why Rachel and I have a massive love affair with Sanfords and why when it came to picking our caterer for the wedding, it was a no brainer for us. After a first few casual dates, I wanted to take Rachel to dinner at a place I frequented often and knew would be impressive. We had an amazing meal followed by the dessert that I had been talking to her about all night long… the XANGOS!!! A banana, caramel cheesecake-esque dessert that will make everyone who tries it involuntarily re-create the famous When Harry Met Sally restaurant scene. Needless to say, Rachel was impressed.
The night was perfect & I knew Rachel and I had found “our place” for dinner. For those of you who don’t know, Rachel prefers to eat at the more “sceney” types of places (whereas I prefer eating at a greasy truck stop) and she easily puts Sanfords up there with the best spots NYC has to offer. Let me run down the list of some of the amazing (and I mean A-M-A-Z-I-N-G) things on the menu at Sanfords:
First and foremost in my opinion are the pancakes. You have not had pancakes until you have tried these! Light, fluffy, with a secret ingredient that I can’t still figure out after all these years (and hundreds of pancakes) later. Recently they added a peanut butter banana pancake to the menu and although I am a purist at heart, I have to say that these are killer!!!! Try them with sausage. I know you are thinking “what’s the big deal? It’s friggin’ sausage”…but trust me when I say it’s the best you will ever have.
Rachel’s favorite dish and her first pick for the wedding menu was the Butternut Squash Ravioli. If there was a hall of fame for food then this would be up there. Whenever we bring someone new with us to dinner, the ravioli is the one thing we beg them to try – and every time they come back (with or without us) we hear that they ordered it again.
Next we need to discuss the award-winning and oh so kick ass pulled pork sandwich. It’s consistently a tri-state award-winning dish. Many people I know consider it one of the best they’ve ever had. In fact, it’s so good that a family member of mine was in the hospital for over a month and the first thing she asked for after being discharged was “that pulled pork sandwich from Sanfords”.
As far as other menu items go, let me plant these thoughts in your head… hangar steak with asparagus and mashed sweet potato.
Did that make your mouth water? Then how about a peasant salad with the perfect amount of feta & a light greek dressing. Or the duck burger stuffed with gouda. And of course you have to end your fantastic meal with some xangos or Sanfords take on every kid’s favorite meal… cookies and milk. This time the cookie is an oversized warm, thick chocolate chip served with a tall, cold glass of milk.
When our circle of friends want to go out for a nice dinner, this is almost always the spot we pick for a guaranteed great night.
As I said before, there was no way that we weren’t going to have Sanfords cater our wedding. Hell, we picked the caterer BEFORE we even decided on the venue! That’s how much we love this place. Over the years nearly all of my co-workers have come to eat there with Rachel and I and now they come and bring their family and friends. Whenever Rachel’s family is in town, it’s a given that there will be at least one breakfast and one dinner at Sanfords. We even had a follower on Twitter write us and say they came to NY from Canada on vacation and had to try the food at Sanfords because we rave about it so much. They tweeted “Went to @SanfordsAstoria and it was the greatest quesadilla ever”.
Owners Gus and Chris Karalekas have made Sanfords into a “must visit” place for everyone in Astoria as well as throughout the Tri-state area. I know people who travel from NJ, CT and Long Island just to dine there. Trust me when I say this place has everything to please the palate. Award-winning food, award-winning selection of wines and a beer list that has bloggers and beer fanatics flocking to Queens.
Heck, if you STILL don’t believe me then check out the news reports!
Then go follow them on twitter: https://twitter.com/SanfordsAstoria
And like ’em on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SANFORDS.RESTAURANT
On that note, I am off to have some pancakes and try to figure out that recipe…
On twitter: @richiewilsonnyc
We had a caterer pretty much from the minute we got engaged. Because our home away from home (oven away from oven?) is http://www.sanfordsnyc.com/. There was no way they wouldn’t be feeding our friends & family the way they feed us pretty much every day. And while we locked down that dream team without hesitation, we were still going to need to find a staffing company up to the challenge.
Which sounds easy, I know. But it’s so not. To me, a make or break element to a great party is the staff. If I have to wander aimlessly for 20 minutes looking for a place to put down my empty glass & crumpled cocktail napkin, I’m going to be cranky. And especially since we were doing passed food only & no formal seated dinner, I wanted to make sure we had extra staff there to get food in & out of everyone’s hands as quickly & professionally as possible.
I met with a couple different companies, but ultimately, Rosanna Morlando at Enjoy Your Party (http://www.enjoyyourparty.com/ ) won my heart. This woman is awesome (as evidenced by this article: http://topfemaleexecutives.com/Rosanna-Morlando). First off, I just liked her right away. I felt confident & comfortable that her team was going to handle the staffing, soup to nuts (just not any of the actual soup or nut preparation).
The night of our wedding (and throughout all of the neurotic lead up to it), Rosanna was absolutely my rock. I had utter trust in her to just handle it. And handle it she did. Her team was well-dressed, professional, friendly & attentive. And here’s my favorite part- Rosanna put together a plate of food and made me actually eat something. Which I would not have, had it not been for that act of kindness. Honestly, I don’t know what else I could have asked for. I love these guys.
So go follow them on twitter ( https://twitter.com/enjoyyourparty1) & like em on facebook ( https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/enjoyyourparty ) and trust that when you need a staffing company, I’ve successfully pointed you to the absolute best in the biz.
So, now that the wedding insanity is over (hallelujah!) I finally have some free time to finish telling you about the details that made the big day the best day. I’ve gotten emails from many of you asking about weding planners & day of coordinators and, as always, I’m here to help.
As you know by now, I was pretty much the neurotic control freak I never thought I’d become during the wedding planning. And while I was more than capable of (killing myslef) doing every single detail, on the actual day of the wedding, I had a very clear plan of letting go & doing my best to just enjoy the fruits of my labor. Which I’m not entirely sure is possible, but I’m certain it’s NOT without the help of a professional.
Enter Wanda Nunez of Simply Wanda, aka Day of Coordinator Extraordinaire. Here’s where you go to start learning about her: http://about.me/simplywandainc
Let me tell you why having a Day of Coordinator (or “DOC” as we call them in the biz) is non-negotiable. So, we all plan a timeline of events. But what many people don’t know is that without a pro who is wearing a watch & can hold you to that precise plan, there’s no chance of it actually happening. It’s also fantastic to have another set of hands with an organized checklist to catch the stuff you’ve let fall through the cracks.
And Wanda’s just really nice, which helps. She had a way of calming me down with a stern look & words of assurance that actually made ME (neurtic, control freak bridezilla) calm the heck down.
Go forth & be coordinated,