2017-07-05 / Restaurant of the Week

Sweet Scene

Sweet Scene is a sweet escape from impersonal, large chain coffee shops and cafes. Sweet Scene is a lovely, mother-daughter operation run by Vera and Eleni, with the help of a sweet friend, Katie, who put their love, baking skills, and friend-making skills into everything they do here. Sweet Scene opened last August on 34th Avenue, and this petite café is decorated warmly with salvaged slabs of trees that have been artfully made into tables and coffee bars. Fresh flowers grace the counter and the ladies are always smiling, and often giggling, as they tell you about their favorite items.

It all starts with delicious coffee, early in the morning when they open at 7am. This is no ordinary cup of joe, as Sweet Scene uses a real, Italian Marzocco espresso machine and Lavazza coffee, perhaps the finest in Italy, to make all its espresso-based coffee drinks, hot and cold. A frothy cappuccino starts your morning off right, served in a real cup if you like, or to go, along with one of their delectable breakfast sandwiches or pastries. Caffe latte, macchiato, Cuban style cortado, or the sassy café bom bom with a special kick all taste great and will pick you up any time of day. Cold espresso freddo, freddo cappuccino, or a classic Greek Frappe are great iced coffee drinks for the summer heat. For the summer only, you must try a semi-frozen Lavazza crèmespresso shot, served in a demitasse cup. This frozen treat cools you down and picks you up with just the right amount of coffee and sweetness. American style coffee and cold brewed coffees are also available, hot or cold, and you’ll get a stamp on your coffee card for each purchase, and the 11th coffee of your choice is free!

Breakfast and lunch sandwiches make the perfect accompaniment to the brews, or the fruit juices, natural sodas, piña colada green tea, and sparkling waters available in the sparkling fridge. Start your day with a scrambled egg sandwich with feta cheese, sliced avocado, and tomato on a house-baked mini-baguette, or croissant. Mini slider sandwiches are wrapped in plastic and ready to throw in your backpack to head to work for just $2.50 or $3.50, including tax. Try the “French,” with thinly sliced, lean ham and brie, the “Greek” with mortadella, Kasseri cheese, and tomato, the “Spaniard” with oven roasted turkey and manchego cheese, or the “Italian” with soppressata, provolone, and cucumber. The avocado toast is a popular item, topped with sliced avocado, tomato, and good olive oil. These sandwiches are great on their own, or paired up with a freshly tossed salad.

The summery flavors of the arugula and watermelon salad were a delight, combining the sweet watermelon, bitter arugula, and salted feta cheese for a great taste sensation. The Greek salad was made by Vera with chunks of juicy tomato, Persian cucumbers, feta cheese, juicy olives, and onion if you wish, with dressing on the side, to stay or to go. The Italian Burrata salad is tossed with buttery mozzarella balls, basil, tomato, and extra virgin olive oil.

Sweet Scene makes many of its own desserts and sweets, thanks to Eleni, a self-taught baker. Some of the most popular items include her own recipe banana bread with crunchy walnuts, chewy brownies, and cookies. See what’s fresh in the window case and enjoy with a coffee drink or a cup of gelato. Eleni also makes cool, creamy, crème caramel, bread pudding scented with a touch of cognac, and creamy rice pudding. Delicate, flaky croissants come from a local bakery but are baked on-site and some are filled with chocolate, or topped with toasted almonds. Individual Greek spinach or cheese pies also make a great lunch with a salad. Greek yogurt is the creamiest ever, procured from a New York dairy, and drizzled with honey and walnuts for breakfast, dessert, or a snack anytime. It is ambrosia for the gods.

It’s important to note that where possible, Sweet Scene uses organic and natural ingredients, and nothing is from a can or processed, so it’s all fresh and wholesome. If you haven’t overdosed on sweets, try their varieties of gelato, in a cup or on a cone, or drowned in espresso for an Italian treat called “affogato,” which literally means “drowned.” I can’t wait to visit again, as 34th Avenue is a bike route and Sweet Scene makes the perfect rest stop. Sweet Scene is down the block from the Museum of the Moving Image, the Movie Multiplex, and Kaufmann Astoria Studios. They’re open from 7 am to 7 pm so they have your day covered. Sit outside on the patio chairs and enjoy your coffee and gelato in the sun. Sweet Scene is your escape from ordinary coffee shops. Visit soon!

35-13 34th Avenue Astoria  917.832.7443


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