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Lisa Antinore | Jan 3, 199801:01 PM     5

Had a wonderful evening at Astoria's Telly's Taverna last night. I realize it's been on a couple of downhill lists as of late (even my own), but last night's marvelous meal restored it to it's prior status with me- THE BEST!!!!

After waiting 35 minutes in the miniscule corridor (wasn't bad at all- got acquainted with all the fresh fish in the showcase, watched the grillers masterfully go about their tasks, and observed the Greek customers' menu choices.....) we were seated. We promptly began with a small dandelion salad (large enough for three EASILY) a plate of fantastic skordalia doused with fragrant olive oil (even my fat-free obsessed dining companion couldn't resist dipping his bread into the traces of oil at the edge of the dish..) and a platter of BBQed octupus sprinkled with a delicate vinagrette (here my fat-free BoyToy reverted to his fat-shunning ways and proceeded to cut the gelatinous, fatty BBQed rim off each chunk which sent the owner and me into a giggling fit...)

Enter the main courses- grilled red mullet for him and the most BLISSFUL porgy for me- two whole fish charred to perfection, drizzled with olive oil and wild oregano, and a squeeze of juicy lemon- the flesh was snow white and incredibly moist and sweet.... MMMMMMM!!! We also had a plate of fried potato rounds (guess who partook?) and a bowl of butter beans in a flavorful tomato sauce.

My Sicilan roomate at NYU used to justify her need for something sweet at the end of ALL meals with her Raguzza-born nonna's advice:"Dobbiamo fare la bocca con un dolcetti" (the gist- We have to have something sweet touch our mouths...) I heeded her wise grandmama's suggestion and asked the waitress for a plate of honey coated balls of fried dough (kind of like zeppole, forgot the name, louganika- something..not louganiko, I know that's the sausage..HELP ME JIM!!!!...) We, mostlly I, (the sight of fried dough had sent him close to the edge by now...) enjoyed the sweets with a tiny cup of Greek coffee and a shot of OUZO... (The kind waitress observed how much I loved the honeyballs and sent me home with a little aluminum container of them- she even put some holes in the top of it so the steam would escape and they'd stay crisp..) AND we each got double kisses from her for "the New Year".... Who could ask for more?

After, we drove down to Shore Blvd. by Astoria Park (do this if you go to Telly's) and took in the gorgeous Gotham skyline looming across the dark, luminous river."God- you don't get this is Plainview..." my urban-deprived friend said. "Let's go Jogging..." NOT!!!!! Went home, slept well, and dreamed about PORGY and BLISS... Sheer perfection...

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