WeCould8 is a new series in which I will occasionally post lists of 8 eats that share some common attribute or feature. This may be proximity, cuisine, or some random thought that occurs to me. I am presenting tastes, not extended reviews, to stir the WeCouldEat pot of gravy. I encourage ideas from anyone. 

If you are a loyal WeCouldEat reader, you know Spud and I are in love with Astoria eats. There is so much diversity, quality, and the prices are grub-tastic. Here are some off the beaten path places we have discovered:
Arepas Cafe – Venezualan (33-07 36 Ave): Quality arepas, corn pockets filled with everything from spicy pork to shark to peanut butter + bananas. They are cheap, filling, and a departure from the ordinary. Favorite: Arepas   Bonus: C,reamy, cinnamony, Chicha shake

Cafetal – Mexican  (30-19 Astoria Blvd): A real hole in the wall under the N/W subway where you might have to break out your Spanglish, but the food is no frills and delicious. Favorite: Huge torta filled with meat, beans and the works  Bonus: Mexican Breakfast of sloppy eggs and chorizo, a neighborhood fave. (Now on Seamlessweb!)

Gianpiero Bakery – Italian Bakery (44-17 30th Ave): Even in a mini-Italian neighborhood this old time bakery is a standout. It is all about tradition here. Favorite: The incredible cream that fills cannolis and lobster claws, hell I could eat it with a spoon! Bonus: The old men sitting outside with espresso arguing in Italian.

La Papa – Baked Potato (30th and Crescent): From the Mundo owners, this place is obviously Spud’s dream come true. It’s a shrine to the tuber with amazing baked potatoes and unlimited toppings. Favorite: All American with cheddar, bacon, broccoli and pickles. Bonus: Red lentil soup 

New York Pao de Queijo – Brazilian (31-90 30th Ave): This joint has the craziest combos on their burgers and is a real South American experience, but is tiny so get it delivered. Favorite: X Egg, we love it so much, we’ve dubbed the whole joint “X Egg”. It is a burger topped with egg, bacon, mozzarella, corn, potato sticks, mayo… Bonus: Chocolate shake 

Lorusso’s – Pizza (18-01 26th Road): It’s a nondescript pizza place hidden on a side street, but the focaccia is delicious. $6  gets you a personal size focaccia with an array of toppings. Favorite: Potato. Hands-down this is delicious foccacia with creamy whipped potato topping. The owner keeps the recipe top secret. Bonus: The spinach-ricotta (when the potato sells out).

Zorba’s Souvlaki – Greek (29-05 23rd Ave): You can’t have an Astoria list that doesn’t include Greek. This place is not at all hidden, but can be overlooked on a block packed with eateries. Sit outside and get simply prepared dishes. Favorite: Grilled chicken souvlaki with rice  Bonus: Greek Pizza is huge and tasty.

Istria Sports Club – Istrian (28-09 Astoria Blvd): Intimidating on the outside, friendly on the inside. Feel like a tourist tasting traditional Istrian dishes. Favorite:  Fuzi (Istrian Noodles) Bonus: No sports watching required