I’m sure everyone remembers the big storm Nemo that happened back in February. Luckily for us, Astoria somehow seems to miss these disasters. I mean yes, there was a lot of snow as you can see from the scene right outside our front door, but this is really no more snow than we were used to receiving regularly up in Saratoga. Even Hurricane Sandy, for us, was no more than some aggressive wind.
As soon as it stopped snowing, Kiyo and I were anxious to get out of the apartment and enjoy our Saturday afternoon. We walked around, just exploring, and went to see if the Socrates Sculpture Garden was open but due to the storm, it was not. I suggested we walk east to Il Bambino, a restaurant I’d read great things about.
Not only do they supposedly have a great beet salad (which I did not try, but I would like to go back for) and a large cheese selection (they work with Murray’s Cheese Shop and offer new flavors each week), they also have a massive selection of paninis and crostini.
Especially on a cold snowy day, I knew I had to order their Nutella hot chocolate. I think the name really explains the whole idea but let me assure you, it was amazing. Kiyo and I were technically sharing but I definitely drank most of it.
The paninis were incredible. We wisely chose to each order one and then swap half. We ordered the Chorizo panini (with pickled jalapeno, avocado, Russian dressing, farmhouse blue cheese) and a special, which I sadly cannot remember the specifics of but it did include sweet pulled-pork and goat cheese. These paninis were definitely the best I’ve ever had. The bread was soft, the cheese was melty and the fillings were delicious. The fillings were also all chopped up which was brilliant, because paninis with huge cuts of meat and veggies can quickly become messy and difficult to handle. I was stuffed and saved some panini for later; and by later, I mean that about an hour later I caved and just finished it off. Seriously, so good.
I haven’t been back to Il Bambino since this cold afternoon but I’ve tried to think of a time / reason to get back there and explore more of the menu. I think the next time around I’ll have to try their brunch paninis; which by the way, all have hilarious names such as the My Boyfriend is a Pig (scrambled eggs, artichoke, olive spread, fried shallots, taleggio), The Italian Nut Job (prosciutto, membrillo, ameretti cookies, gorgonzola dolce), Sir Oink-a-Lot (sweet sausage, scrambled eggs, caramelized onions, basil pesto, fontina) and The Big Booty (mortadella, scrambled eggs, sweet pepper hash, provolone, spicy mayo).
Location: 3408 31st Ave, Astoria, NY 11106 Phone: (718) 626-0087