Florence: Guide to One of Italy’s Best Cities

This year we took the most amazing trip I have ever been on to experience Italy. No, we did not take the Staten Island Ferry to experience some red sauce among the locals, instead we spent a week in Florence and Tuscany. Since we left I think about quitting my job in finance, and becoming a wine taster or the guy who drives a tractor in the vineyards, but then again the buy-side is an amazing place to be.

We started our Honeymoon in the Italian Riviera (review coming soon), and now were in one of my favorite European cities. I went once years ago, and have been wanting to bring Nicole with me for years so we figured it would be a great place to spend some time during our honeymoon.

Below you will find a complete guide to the city of Florence, which I highly suggest you follow my exact itinerary in order to have the best trip of your life.

Where to Stay: Grand Hotel Minerva

The hotel is a four-star hotel which is located in the Piazza Santa Maria Novella, a few hundred feet from the main Florence Train Station. We were greeted by the nicest concierge who seemed a bit nervous to tell us that our hotel room was not ready, however this came with a bit of good news. The hotel upgraded us to their ‘favorite room in the entire hotel’, and they wanted to ensure everything was up to their standards. The hotel is currently revamping their property, and the hard work of their team is really showing. They expect the work to be completed by March 2016, however while we were there you would never guess they were doing any work. Never were we interrupted by the sound of construction, or the look of a work zone. While we waited for our room, we went up to the roof of the hotel to find their rooftop bar and pool (the first part of their re-model.) This was an amazing feature, the pool overlooks the city of Florence with The Duomo sitting front and center. Pretty awesome view while eating pizza and drinking a Peroni. The view was so unreal, we decided to take advantage of the poolside lounge chairs and relax.


Once our room was ready we were escorted by Andrea, their Director of Marketing and Sales. He was extremely nice and was able to provide all sorts of recommendations for attractions, restaurants, and the area. Both he and is staff were a pleasure to work with. They informed us our room was called the ‘The Romantic Room’ (room 402), which was beautiful and massive. The windows and shutters opened up to the square with views of Santa Maria Novella, The Duomo, and the terra-cotta roofs you could see for miles. The room featured a four posted bed, walk in closet, gigantic bathroom which was as large as many hotel rooms throughout Italy. The bathroom was fully mirrored with a chromotheraphic glass shower, stand alone tub, and his and her sinks.



This hotel was truly a perfect place to stay, not only due to the beautiful room and hotel, but also the location. Piazza Santa Maria Novella is removed from the hustle and bustle of the Duomo area, however we were only a five to ten minute walk to all of Florence. We highly recommend this hotel, and believe this is the best place to stay while visiting one of my favorite cities. We cannot wait to go back once the renovations are complete.

What to Do: Sightseeing and Tours

Prior to our trip, we were in contact with Walkabout Florence and working with them made it clear why they are the number one sightseeing guide in the city. We booked two trips with them, but when we go back I look forward to doing more with them. The two trips we did were some of our favorite experiences of the trip, and highly recommend them to everyone.

Florence Food Tour and Cooking Class (Walkabout Florence)

We decided to take a cooking class while we were in Florence through Walkabout Florence. We had to meet at their offices which was a little difficult to find, but once we got there we were greeted by Molly and Gloria. We were a group of 24, but separated into 2 groups of 12 to tour the city and pick up our ingredients. For the first 2 hours of the tour we walked around Florence learning about its history, stopping places to get fresh ingredients to cook with, and of course a coffee break (an Italian must!) We picked up fresh tomatoes, pork, Tuscan bread, ground beef, and cheeses. Once we picked up all of these ingredients we hopped on a private bus to head a villa in Tuscany to cook our meal.

It was about a 20 minute drive and a little bit of a hike to get there, but when you finally get there it is unbelievable. The villa overlooks all of Florence and has the most spectacular state-of-the art but still with a Tuscan charm kitchen. There were 3 islands to prep on, and another island with an oven with openings on both sides of the island, stove on top, and a bread toasting station.

We were warned by Molly and Gloria (the most amazing tour guides) that the chef did not speak any English, but they would translate for us. And also, her favorite thing to do is sing while cooking. Chef Carmella was the coolest, most passionate chef that it didn’t even matter that no English was spoken.

Carmella, Molly, Gloria, and all of the extra hands on deck made this one of the most unforgettable experiences in Italy. They truly make you feel as if you are at home (that is if you live in a gorgeous Tuscan Villa.) You couldn’t ask for anything more, best service, best view, so much fun, amazing food, and the best part no cleaning. After dinner we hopped right on the bus and headed back to Florence. Once we left they gave us the recipes to the fresh pasta, bruschetta, pizza, roast pork, and tiramisu so we can make them once we got back home. This tour was probably my favorite experience in Italy.

Chianti Wine and Food Safari (Walkabout Florence)

The second trip we booked through Walkabout Florence was the Chianti Wine and Food Safari (Walkabout Florence) which departed at 9:00 in the morning, and didn’t return until around 7:00 that night. This full-day tour took us into the Chianti Classico region where we visited multiple wineries, stopped in the two of Greve and ate lunch at a remote restaurant in the hills of Tuscany. The restaurant, La Cantinetta di Rignana, (one of George Clooney’s favorites) had panoramic views of vineyards and villas and delicious food coming out of their large brick oven. This definitely a place everyone should pop into when they are in the region. Another highlight was stoping at Fattoria di Cinciano. We had a wine tasting here, and were able to explore the property. Before we left we purchased two of their bottles to bring back to NY, both of which were great: Cinciano Chianti Classico and Cinciano Pietra Forte. Great way to see Tuscany, and this tour should be booked by everyone who visits Florence. If you have a chance request Alex as a tour guide, definitely made the day a lot more funny and interesting.

Food and Nude Tour (Florence for Foodies)

The last tour we booked was through Florence for Foodies, which was another amazing group. The tour we chose was their ‘Food & Nude’ tour, which was a great way to spend the day. Never thought I would enjoy seeing The Statue of David as much as I did. Our guide, Mimi was so passionate about teaching us the history of the museum. She wasn’t just spitting out information she was teaching us the history and how to read the paintings and sculptures. We happened to be the only 2 to attend this part of the tour so we had a personal experience.

After the museum we went to meet the rest of the group to start the food tour (the part we were most excited for.) We first went to a little coffee and pastry shop where we had coffee and rice pastries. Mimi was explaining how the Italians drink their coffee, what they order, and times to drink it. While sitting there Mimi thought it would be fun to give us all Italian names. After this she would randomly call us by our Italian names throughout the day.

From here we went to the central market. Downstairs were stands with fresh fish, cheese, meat, produce, and pasta. Upstairs was more of a Smorgasburg feel with all food vendors where you can order a meal. We went to Nerbone which is one of the oldest stands at the market and famous for their bolito. This is a boiled beef sandwich served with salsa verde and salsa piccanted (a spicy cayenne sauce.) It was so good I would have been satisfied and felt I got my moneys worth if the tour ended here. Plus we had it with a glass of their house red wine.

After eating so much so early we took a break by walking around the market and learning about all the different stands, best cuts of meat and what they are used for. We definitely needed time to digest.

We then went to Conti Stefano which is an awesome store with tons of different olive oils, balsamic vinegars, sauces, jellies, and home décor (the wifes favorite part.) We were greeted by Yvonne, the owner Stefanos wife. She took us downstairs to a tasting room where we tried dozens of olive oils, vinegars, and appetizers. She was so knowledgeable and passionate about every product, knowing exactly where it came from, its best features, and what to pair it with.

We then went to a local wine shop where just the locals go and learn about the Tuscan wines and their origins. We started with champagne and followed with several wines. After we were all pretty toasted the owner took out the grappa, but told us we needed the full experience. He sprayed it all over our hands, face, around our heads than into our mouths. As gross as it tasted, we were all hysterical and pretty much felt like family by this point.

It was already late at this point and we surely thought the tour had to be over, but Mimi insisted not without dessert. We visited Florence’s oldest and best gelato shops, where we had gelato, sorbetto and semi-freddi. All three huge samples were delicious and we were stuffed. The tour was finally over, but no one wanted to leave we all had such a great time together. Definitely worth booking a tour.

For where to eat in Florence, check out our article Where to Eat in Florence (coming soon.)

Freemans: Still One of My Favorite Places in NYC

Last week we decided to to take my buddy and his fiancé out for dinner to celebrate their engagement. After booking and canceling a couple dozen reservations, we ended up booking a reservation at Freemans (Thanks Lina). This was my fourth time going there, three times for dinner and one for brunch, and still I had no remorse choosing Freemans over somewhere else. Sure we could have tried something new like Seamore’s or Rebelle, but I was really in the mood for eating and drinking while staring at some taxidermy. Also, since their menu is seasonal and changes often, it’s like eating somewhere new everytime.

We hung out by the bar as we waited for Mike (first timer) to find the restaurant. If you have never been, do not use Google Maps – as it will tell you the wrong location. To find it, walk to the middle of Rivington between Christie and Bowery – walk down the alley covered with hipsters and ‘artsy types’ until you reach the teal wooden doors. I had no intention of drinking that much, or eating that much, as I had my tuxedo fitting for my wedding the following night. After buying a two-thousand dollar tuxedo and getting it altered, last thing I wanted to do was not fit into it. Especially since I was out the night prior at Peter Luggers, and have been eating like a beast lately. But as we waited for our lost friend, I drank a few Köstritzers – nothing better than a dark black lagger when trying to take it easy… For a 472 year old brewery, it’s no wonder why they are still in business, this is one of my favorite beers and I drink their black gold every time I see it.

It was interesting watching Mikes reaction when he walked in. Half of it relief that he found the place, the other half confused as he walked into what looks like a West-Virginian hunting lodge in the middle of the Lower East Side. As we made our way to the table the girls drink their rosé and we ordered up two Bulleit Old Fashions. As we were all catching up listening to the story of their engagement – two more old fashions made it to the table. Then following our appetizer order, another two old fashions made its way over.


We ordered three apps, and on my way to order a third my fiancé gave me a nice elbow to the ribs reminding me that I have the tuxedo fitting the next night. First up, the Pork Belly Sliders with coleslaw and mustard barbecue sauce. These were delicious, and convinced me I may need to start going to Freemans and just eat these while sitting at the bar. They come two in an order, which I probably should have ordered another round, but no big deal. Next, Ipswich Clam Fritters. Similar to the fried oysters at Bacaro, I figured these would be lightly breaded and fried up – but once again I was wrong. These were in a doughy ball, kind of biscuity and fried. Think they came in an order of five, because I had three and heard everyone else bitch because they didn’t have one, I didn’t feel too bad about it. Lastly, the Steamed PEI Muscles, which was another crowd favorite. This was served with potatoes, corn, scallions, old bay butter, and grilled sourdough bread. We destroyed this dish, not even an ounce of the broth was left over – even contemplated eating the shells since the dish was so good. Then two more old fashions…

Before my main course came I ordered another Köstritzer, as I figured this would go better with my meat, and because I was starting to think the moose head on the wall was moving. I chose the Seared Filet Mignon, with sweet and sour onions, mashed potatoes and horseradish sauce. Steak was cooked perfectly, medium-rare with a nice reddish pink hue in the middle. I was scooping up mashed potatoes and stuffing them down my throat. The filet was tender and juicy, and complemented nicely by the onions. Nicole had the Daily Market Fish, which was Cod served with a side of Eggplant Caponata – which also was amazing. She didn’t really share much – but I got her back… The next morning as she was leaving the apartment I accidentally head-butted her in a unbelievably hungover failed attempt to kiss her.

Gild Hall by Thompson Hotels: Financial District

What can I say about Gild Hall by Thompson Hotel that hasn’t been said about Kate Upton’s breast? Beautiful, perfect, large, comfortable, cozy and I spent a night with them… One of those is not true, but seriously this might be one of my favorite hotels in New York City.

Last week my fiancé and I had our engagement shoot, which we were doing in Dumbo and ending the shoot over by the Brooklyn Bridge. The location was perfect, as this hotel sits in the Financial District, over on Gold ST and Platt ST. If you are looking to explore downtown, i.e. The Seaport, Wall Street, Brooklyn Bridge, World Trade Center, One World Observatory …etc, you cannot beat this location. Additionally, if you are looking to explore outside the Financial District you have many subway lines within a few blocks. Even though I live a few neighborhoods north, staying in this area gave us both such a different perspective of the city.

The day prior to checking in, I called to ask them if they could assist me with some requests. Since we were doing our engagement shoot (also looking for a great photographer, check out ours here at Denise Wine Studio) we wanted to have a chance to wear multiple outfits without having to go up to Nolita and get changed. I spoke with Justine, and she was able to provide us with early check-in. Along with that, she was extremely helpful and friendly and was able to meet our requests. When we arrived, we received the same great customer service from the staff. They were quick to help us grab our luggage, and help us to our room.

The hotel itself is absolutely beautiful, from the minute you arrive to the second you check out, you will be extremely pleased. Once you make your way through the front door, you see their double-level library filled with books and artwork, hardwood floors, plush couches and really cool chandeliers. Exposed Brick surrounds the check in desk, along with distressed wood and leather couches.



Across from the lobby you will find the restaurant, Felice, which is a New York City based Italian restaurant which specializes in Tuscan cuisine with four locations throughout Manhattan. They have forty seats, along with their upstairs wine lounge La Soffitta. The food from Felice can be ordered via room service, which we tried later on, and was unbelievable. Felice, a lot like the hotel, also features really cool chandeliers, these however are built using the jugs that are from their wine production. Along with having a bottle or two downstairs, our suite also featured a few bottles of their offerings including Felice Bianco, Felice Rosso, and Felice Rose.



Now to our suite, The Thompson Suite, which was ridiculously beautiful. When you walk in, there was one bathroom and a hallway that lead to the bar, living room, and to the right the bedroom. The first bathroom, which was a smaller version of the master bathroom, just as nice but just smaller. The bar came fully stocked with pretty much anything you need for a good time. For liquor they had Ciroc, Buffalo Trace, Knob Creek, 10 Cane Rum. In the fridge they had a few different types of Brooklyn lager, mineral water, and some sodas. A full selection from Candy to Condoms were also behind the bar, along with some bottles of Fred Water to help chase away that hangover in the morning. The bar overlooks the luxurious living room area, which feature comfortable leather couches, a large Samsung TV, animal hides, and all the makings to host a fun party.



Off the living room you have the bedroom, which features the same twelve-foot ceilings that run throughout the room. However the main focal point is the bed. The king size bed is wrapped in 400 thread count sheets, and finished with a fancy leather headboard. The bed itself was so comfortable, but the view of the suites decor was one of my favorite parts of my stay here.
The bedroom also featured a nice desk in the corner, along with an iHome Dock (iPhone 5 Compatible), some leather-bound books, and beautiful lighting from the lamps to the chandelier hanging over the bed.


The master bathroom was massive! It was partially tiled with glass tiles, with chrome accessories, and marble running throughout the bathroom. When you first walk in theres a double sink and private bathroom stall. Just when you think thats it, you walk around the corner to find a large walk in rain shower, along with a stand alone clawfoot tub. They provide C.O. Bigelow products in the bathroom, and also provide a cool shaving kit from Dollar Shave Club for a small fee. I really think the bathroom was larger than my apartment, and definitely a lot nicer.



All in all, if you’re looking for a hotel in New York thats close to everything and not the size of a shoe box, definitely consider Gild Hall. Definitely impresses the lady and set a great tone for the rest of the night.

Bluegrass Barrels: Awesome Gift Idea

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So I am not sure how many women out there read this website, but I figured I would give you women a great valentines day gift idea. Granted, there is absolutely no chance of it shipping in time for Saturday – but really cool to give even if it’s a few weeks late.

A while back my fiancé got me a Barrel from Bluegrass Barrels. I actually mentioned/featured the barrel in my article on Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey, back a few months ago.  This is a great way to keep and age spirits, such as whiskey, bourbon, scotch, tequila…etc. The barrels are handmade in Kentucky, with American White Oak with a medium char on the inside. They have three sizes to choose from between 1 – 3 liters, with a choice between the metal used for the hops that hold the barrel together.

To personalize the barrel, you can put up to two lines of text with a maximum of 10 letters per line. Additionally, these barrels can feature your favorite NCAA logos.

Goto  their site, and order one.

Abita Brewing Company: One of My Favorite Breweries In ‘Merica


As you can probably tell by now, I am pretty obsessed with Abita Amber. It is definitely one of my favorite beers, and I was convinced the best Abita product – until a shipment from Abita arrived at my apartment.Came home from dinner @ Kuma Inn (Followed by Drinks at Los Feliz and Spitzers), walked into the mail area and saw a huge box addressed to yours truly, Hedge Fun NY. In a semi-drunken state I ran into the apartment and opened up the box like a kid discovering the awesomeness of Christmas. Cutting through the tape, and throwing packaging peanuts everywhere, I got down to the bottom and found 6 six-packs of three different types of Abita Brews (36 Beers for all you non-mathletes) and a beer koozie. They sent Abita Bock, Abita Restoration Pale Ale, and Abita Wrought Iron IPA. In a burst of excitement I threw them in the fridge, and there they sat getting cold until the right night to give them a try.

A week later, I decided to have my buddy Nick come over and give me his opinion on these Abita beers. Since he works at Brinkley’s, thought it would be a good idea to involve him since he knows beer. Also, similar to my article on Anchor Brewing Company, I had Nicole drink some of the beer to see her comments. The night prior we ordered Mile End Deli, so we figured this was a perfectly good time to order it again and start the drinking process.

In their package to me, and on their website, they have a great display of color/bitterness – ‘Color and Bitterness Comparison Chart’. I put this below so you can check it out as well.

Abita Restoration Pale Ale
Type: American Pale Ale (APA)
Availability: All Year-Round
ABV: 5.2%
Chart: Color 9 / IBU 25

Side Note: Abita’s brewery is located in Abita Springs, LA about 30 miles north of New Orleans. Through their sales of Restoration they have raised over $550,000 for hurricane relief efforts. Round of applause gentlemen, now back to the beer…

The Restoration Pale Ale is brewed with pale, caramel and carapils malts. It is liberally hopped and dry hopped with Cascade hops. Fresh out of the bottle and into a pint glass, the beer pours a cloudy gold color. Nicole mentioned it was more orange, which she may have been right considering I stare at Bloomberg and Excel sheets all day. Picked up some of the floral aromas from the Cascade Hops, and I was ready to drink.

From the initial appearance and reading the ingredients, I was expecting it to be similar to the Anchor Brewing Company Liberty Ale. After tasting I realized they were similar but definitely not the same. Similar to the aroma we all picked up a citrus, piney, hoppy taste on the backend that  left the bitterness of the grapefruit/lemon zest taste in your mouth. Definitely a characteristic of most IPA, but where as some ales overdue it I find the Restoration Pale Ale to be mildly bitter, which left us all with the same conclusion: We can drink 1 or 2, definitely not something we can drink all night. Abita suggests pairing with fish, and different types of cheeses. We had it while eating a ‘Smoked Meat Sandwich‘ on rye bread from Mile End Deli – think the two went well.

Abita Wrought Iron IPA
Type: Indian Pale Ale (IPA)
Availability: All Year-Round
ABV: 6.9%
Chart: Color 9 / IBU 80

Remember back before the weather was below freezing, and their wasn’t snow blanketing the side walks? While walking through Central Park, you would see something called grass. This beer smells like freshly cut grass, so much so I am using it as an air freshener in my apartment because I miss warm weather.

This IPA is forged with the intensity of Apollo, Equinox and Mosaic Hops. Brewed with pale ale malt, the beer pours a golden/copper color, not much different than the Restoration Ale. The name Wrought Iron comes from the color of iron when it’s being forged – thinking outside the box with that one.

One sip in Nicole’s face looks like a little kid eating a Shock Tart for the first time. She hates bitter IPA’s, and with an IBU of 80 safe to say we should have known she was going to  dislike it. But still fun to see her reaction.

Nick seemed not to mind the beer. Being around a multitude of different beers, he has definitely tried his fair share of IPA, i.e. having Ithaca Flower Power  IPA on tap.

For me, this was a one every once in a while type of beer. Abita suggest pairing the Wrought Iron IPA with meats, luckily my diet consist of 98% Red Meat, 2% Bread/Potatoes. As mentioned earlier, we were eating smoked meat from Mile End, and the two definitely went well. The overpowering of the malts by the hops gave the bitterness and piney resin feeling, so biting into smoked brisket and mustard was an awesome mix with it.

Abita Mardi Gras Bock
Type: Bock
Availability: Seasonal (Jan – March)
ABV: 6.5%
Chart: Color 13 / IBU 25

Let me start off by saying, this is one of my new favorite beers – and a contender for my favorite Abita product over Abita Amber. I never thought those words would leave my mouth, but I love this Bock Beer. I also think I might like this as much as Shiner Bock, which is another thing I thought I would never say. When we finished drinking the beers, we all said Abita Mardi Gras Bock was the best of the three.

Once poured into a pint glass we were able to see the amber/auburn color, and with a color of 13 it is just a few shades away from Abita Amber. Abita Bock is brewed with pale, pilsner and caramel malts and German Perle hops. This combination is great, and the beer goes down smooth. I didn’t even realize the size of my gulps until I would be done with a bottle after a minute or two.

From the first taste you pick up the malty sweetness and caramel, a bit of a bread taste – which I thought may have been left over from the rye bread on my sandwich. But once the sandwich was long gone I realized it was part of the beer.

I am a little confused as to why Abita lists this as having an IBU of 25, which is the same as Abita Restoration Pale Ale. I tasted no hoppy bitterness as all, and for Nicole (who hates IPAs) and Nick (knows all things beer) not to notice it further confuses me. From drinking so many IPAs lately, and having my mouth punched with that piney resin everyone loves so much, this was exactly what I needed. Considering my love for Amber, Bock, Brown, and Dark Beers – I think this is the reason I enjoyed this so much.

The only true complaint I have about this beer is that it is not produced all year-round. I wish they would send me over a 6 month supply along with some of the Abita Turbodog that I have been wanting to try that the waitress at Balthazar steered me away from … But that’s a whole different story all together.

Noodle Pudding: The Hidden Gem Located in Downtown Brooklyn

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They say even in the worst relationships, you can find one positive thing – for me that positive was learning about Noodle Pudding in Downtown Brooklyn. A few years back I began going to Noodle Pudding, and I try to make it there once every few months. So like most people, you are probably wondering, why is this place that serves some of the BEST ITALIAN food in all of the borough called Noodle Pudding. Rumor has it, the last name of the owner Antonio Migliaccio, translates to Noodle Pudding but I can neither confirm or deny this.

The restaurant is located on Henry Street, and has no sign on the outside. The only reason I know where to go all the time, is by looking at the large gathering outside of the door. They do not do reservations (however, I have called up a few times for large tables and they were cool with it) and are cash only. The places is the epitome of old school Italian – with a ton of rotating specials every time you visit – which makes it hard to write this review, especially since you cannot find an accurate menu anywhere. I am going to go off memory for some of these dishes, so bare with me, keep in mind I have been there more than a dozen times.

  • Gnocchi: Homemade and pretty much melt in your mouth, no need for using any of your teeth. You have two options for the sauce, on a regular red sauce or the butter sage sauce. Both are great, but you can always get red sauce – go with the butter sage sauce. You taste all the components, including the nuttiness of browned butter and earthiness of the sage.
  • Tagliatelle Bolognese: another dish you can taste the freshness of the pasta. Great basic dish, with some hearty chunks of meat. Last time we went, , last Tuesday, my fiancé’s father had it – and wiped the dish clean.
  • Straccetti: Thinly pounded beef, finished with truffle oil and shaved parmigiano. The beef has always been tender, and cooked beautifully with a charred outside and pinkish red on the inside (the way I ordered it).
  • Tagliata: I think the better out of the two beef dishes, and I have ordered this/recommended this multiple times. To often the steaks flavor is concealed behind the seasoning of the chef. Not the case when it comes to this prime rib, which is just done perfectly – seasoned with rock salt and rosemary. The crystals of salt and flakes of rosemary just truly compliment the meat, rather than mask the taste of this juicy cut. The only time I had anything similar was, once in Florence and once at Aurora Soho.
  • Rabbit: Which is one of the main reasons I goto Noodle Pudding. The style changes often, one of which includes a four-course dinner all of rabbit, which I have been dying to try. Last time I went, last week, I had the Rabbit Ragu, which was out of this world. Highly recommend ordering the rabbit, give it shot – I can practically guarantee no matter the style, you will love it.
  • Salmon: I generally do not like salmon, unless its sashimi – but the other night my fiancé’s mom order this, so I figured I would give it a try. The salmon is pounded thin, cooked medium, with a side of escarole and beans. I actually enjoyed it, and my future mother-in-law, said it was some of the best salmon she has ever had.
  • Lasagna: had it for the first time last week, stole some off the person to my left, and it was a perfect pieced of lasagna. Homemade pasta sheets, meat, and delicious sauce – perfection.
  • OCTOPUS BRUSCHETTA: Leaving one of my favorite dishes for last. Noodle Pudding has definitely mastered the art of pulpo cooking – and they served the eight-legged creature in a tomato sauce, with some slices of toasted Italian bread. The braised outside, with tender meat, makes this one of the best octopus dishes I have come across. As you can tell from my Charlie Bird, Peasant, Piacere, Rubirosa …etc, I know my pulpo, and you should take my word when I say ORDER THIS.

I should be heading back over soon, but above is just a start of all the items I have ate over the years. Also, one of the best things – which isn’t even on the menu – the bread they come out with once you sit-down. The bread seems fresh out of the oven, and is accompanied by olive oil with fresh herbs and pepper. I would have been content making a meal out of that.

In a few years when I retire, approximately 40 years, I want to goto the island of Ischia and see if the food is anything close to the amazing food created by Anthony Migliaccio and his team.

Additionally there is a great interview with the owner, click this link, from Nona Brooklyn. I think you should give it a read to better understand this amazing establishment.

38 Henry Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
***Cash Only***

Photo Credit: Bored in Brooklyn

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Littleneck: Clam Shack + Burgers in Gowanus

Last Saturday we headed over to Gowanus for some food at Littleneck on 3rd Avenue. We had a party over at The Royal Palms a few blocks away and figured this would be a great place for the six of us to grab some food prior to exhausting ourselves playing shuffleboard. The place is pretty cool, and really has a Brooklyn Clam Shack vibe, also a great playlist consisting over Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and The Beatles.

Also, they only take reservations via RESY (which are free) so download the app.


I started with a New Amsterdam New York Amber, which I stuck with all night. They also carried Ithaca Flower Power IPA, Captain Lawrence, Allagash White and some other beers on tap. They also had a full line of Narragansett bottles.

To start we ordered a dozen Kumamoto oysters which were extremely fresh, even the non-oyster matters gave them a try and liked them. They were plump and meaty, perfectly sized and served with the usual suspects of cocktail sauce, horseradish, and vinegar migonette. We also ordered Steamer Clams, Cast Iron Littleneck Clams, and New England Clam Chowder. I didn’t try the chowder as it is not something you can really share, but it got some really good reviews from the table. Some of these aristocrats just got back from Martha’s Vineyard and were comparing the chowder to The Black Dog Tavern. The steamers were okay, served with some clarified butter – nothing to special. The Cast Iron Littleneck Clams were great, and came with a piece of toast smothered in ricotta which made me ordering this a necessity. Highly recommend this dish, clams retained a lot of flavor from the broth. Just happy they were not ‘locally sourced’ from the nearby Gowanus Canal.

Me and the wife decided we would split a Connecticut Lobster Roll (no mayo, just clarified butter) and their Hamburger with cheddar and bacon jam. The lobster roll was good, happy I was able to get this without mayo and have some butter-soaked lobster meat on toasted bread. The burger was actually unreal, I would have never expected a burger from a clam shack to be good – but this was excellent. We ordered this medium-rare, and I put some ketchup and the smoky bacon jam on top of the patty. I haven’t tried many burgers in Brooklyn with the exception of the overly-hyped DuMont Burger (maybe just a bad experience) and Ramen Burger at Smorgasburg, and a few others – but this was the best I have had from the borough. I would travel back to Gowanus just for this burger. For my wife, who doesn’t really eat burgers to love it you know it was good.

Saxon + Parole: Burgers and Bone Marrow

Since before the wedding, I have been promising my buddy Nick we would go grab a burger at Minetta. That didn’t happened, so I rescheduled for after the wedding, and that also didn’t happen. Instead last night we went to Saxon + Parole to try their burger. Being that we were looking to do some damage, I brought my brother-in-law Eddie as he is my consigliere to all things fat.

The night started off with some ball breaking, catching up, followed by the ritual of abuse for me wearing a Patagonia vest, and telling stories that should never be repeated in front of the wives or girlfriends. Sometime during all of this, we ate and drank.

I have always wanted to goto S+P but every time I had a reservation, something came up. My obsession with PUBLIC and The Daily only made that feeling of urgency to go even stronger. Also, there was the time that we chose Balthazar over  S+P, which I still have not let myself live down. For last night’s purposes, it worked out to be a great night as we were all looking for a good burger, and some bone marrow.

To drink I ordered a Boont Amber by California based Anderson Valley Brewing Company. This beer had so much flavor it made the Pacifico I drank earlier that day seem like a Coors Light. This was a great coopery colored ale, with well balances sweetness and bit of a hoppy bitterness. Excellent beer, try it out if you see it on a beer menu.

To start we had a Seafood Tower, and one order of Bone Marrow – which quickly turned into two orders of Bone Marrow. Tower came with clams, mussels, shrimp and their razor-clam egg salad, for $45.00 this is a great way to start the meal. The Bone Marrow on the other hand was my favorite, possibly as great as Minetta Tavern and Toro. So good, that the fat bastard Eddie was using his fingers to scrape up whatever was left in the bone like a fiend with some powder. I could have easily ordered a few more of these, however I was overruled – probably a good thing since my gut was popping out of my Charles Tyrwhitt slim-fit shirt. Not even the Patagonia Vest could hold it back.

Now, to the main event. The whole reason we went out was to go for burgers, and although they had a ribeye special that sounded awesome, we had to go with their dry aged burger. The burger is not only perfectly dry aged, but served with Havarti cheese from Pennsylvania, maple bacon, and a fried egg. This burger is held in high regard in the Burger Community, always falls in the ‘Top Burger’ lists from all the various outlets. I have to say, this was the perfect burger. We ordered this medium-rare, as anything else would be a mortal sin. It was cooked to perfection, with a sunny side up egg sitting on top. I put some of the spicy ketchup on bun, placed it all together and made sure not to squeeze to tight to loose the yolk. First bite, the best burger I have had in a long, long time. The cheese was great, but the bacon was a whole different experience. It was pretty much candy, if they sold this as a stand alone product they would have a line out the door. This very well could have been the best piece of bacon I have had in the 28 years of living on this planet. All together getting the meat, bun, cheese, bacon, and ketchup was life changing. The below picture is not mine (Thanks Village Voice), I happened to have finished my burger to quick to even attempt a picture of the burger. If you are looking for a great burger, believe the hype and head over to Bowery and Bleecker.


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Marc Forgione: A True TriBeCa Neighborhood Spot

Last week I headed over to TriBeCa after work to eat at the neighborhood favorite Marc Forgione. The Iron Chef winner, and more importantly New York native, opened up this farm-to-table restaurant in 2008 and has been packing the dinner crowd in since inception.

It’s hard to believe I have not been here before, but then again it could be due to my habit of never leaving a few block radius. The place is really nice, dimly lit, exposed brick, with a rustic decor. If you sit to the back right-side of the restaurant you might have a direct view into the kitchen. They had a nice selection of craft beer, I chose a River Horse and it didn’t disappoint.


We started with their appetizer special which was pork belly with figs and tomatillos. This was excellent, and if it was a mainstay on their menu they might see me walking over to Reade Street more often. Great dish, lots of flavor.

Next up for my entree I had their steak. It was an 8oz 30 day dry aged strip steak with Chanterelles Pommes Fondant and Black Butter Bearnaise. I was actually not too hungry, so for once in my life I was happy the steak was only eight ounces. Prior to eating this steak I have been eating some amazing steaks out in Italy. This was the first steak I ate that wasn’t a Bistecca Florentina – served a bright bloody red inside with nice char on the outside. I asked for the steak to be medium-rare, however it came out medium to medium-well. The steak was still good, but would have preferred it more pink on the inside. Once again, it could have been my perception was off due to my recent trip.

Next time I go back, I think I will try the chicken (another set of words I don’t think have ever left my mouth). I am not the hugest fan of poultry, with exceptions of Charlie Bird and a few other choice places, but I have heard great things about the chicken here. They do the chicken in a large shareable portion, but rumor has it you could get it for one. It is a Bell & Evans Chicken Under a Brick served with potatoes, broccoli rabe and the natural juices.

Del Posto: Best Meal of the Year?


As you could tell from previous posts, our trip to Del Posto was something that both Nicole and I were really looking forward to. Exactly thirty days prior to our anniversary I called at 10:00 on the dot, along with a couple dozen calls between 9:58-9:59, only to hear the pre-recorded message about the hotline being closed. When the call went through to the receptionist, I literally jumped out of my desk in excitement. The phone call was really enjoyable, we discussed that it was our three-year anniversary, and that we recently got engaged and wanted to celebrate at Del Posto. By the end of the call I setup a 7:30 reservation, on a Saturday. From that day forward, we both eagerly awaited what would become one of our favorite meals ever.

I cannot begin to describe to you how many times the both of us checked out the menu on their website. My browser history had more Del Posto links than my teenager-selfs porn history. I would sit at work, spreadsheet on one screen, Bloomberg on another, and Del Posto’s menu on the the third – drooling while thinking of the endless possibilities of what I would eat.

Since it was our anniversary, I decided to change things up and we booked a hotel room at The Maritime Hotel down the block. Even though I live in Nolita, thought it would be nice to have a perfect evening and really treat ourselves. When we woke up that morning, we had a light breakfast followed by lunch at Hu Kitchen in the afternoon. Looking back I would have skipped the lunch, as I wanted to be completely hungry by the time dinner rolled around. We even turned down meeting some coworkers at ZZ’s Clam Bar, they were stoping in before trying Carbone for the first time based off my recommendations (review here). I didn’t want any non-Batali substances in my body prior to tasting the food at Del Posto. Kind of like not eating before taking communion.

When it was time, we walked over to the restaurant. Excitement building between the two of us, both waiting to try what we have been dying to try. With each step the back of my mind was spinning with different antipasti, primi, secondi, and dolci variations. As the door man opened the doors, we were greeted by the maître d and hostesses.

Host: “Hello Mr. Hedge Fun NY, happy third anniversary and congratulations on your engagement! Welcome to Del Posto.”

Nice touch. Who would have expected a phone call thirty days prior which contained casual conversation with the receptionist would be remembered.

We made our way to the table, and our waitress came over to engage in some conversation. She explained the menu, along with wishing us a happy anniversary as well. She was extremely friendly, and we enjoyed her presence.

Next the sommelier came over, at first I thought it was Joe Bastianich due to the similar haircut, however it was not him (was missing the bright green sneakers.) He provided us with a few suggestions, and then left the iPad with us to take a look. The software was amazing on the iPad and made narrowing down our options extremely easy. We would up choosing the Castell’ In Villa Chianti Classico Riserva 2008, which was one of his recommendations to us. After the initial taste I realized how great the bottle was, and was happy we went with his suggestion.

We said cheers, and then something amazing happened. The bread mades it’s way to the table. There were three types, which included an olive-loaf, all of which were made fresh. Accompanying the bread was their butter and lardo. The lardo was mind blowing, and also a duel-edged sword. All I wanted to do was to keep smearing it across the warm bread, but I also didn’t want to fill up too quickly. I had five courses ahead of me, I did not want to sacrifice any room in my stomach.

We started our first course with the Minted Octopus and Lobster all a Cesare, which is a fancy way of saying Cesare Salad. I will start with the salad, since I was a little hesitant to try due to the fact I never eat Cesare Salad since it looks like mayo. Not the case here, the salad was great with huge chunks of lobster. The dressing wasn’t overly creamy and was well balanced with the grilled romaine and onions. The octopus was for lack of a better word, dope. Being Pulpo-Aficionados we pride ourselves on distinguishing the good from the bad, the rubbery from the perfectly cooked. This was one of the best octopus dishes I have had in a long time. I would say, neck-and-neck with Charlie Bird, and better than Toro, Carbone, and Peasant. The tentacles are served over Nduja, Giant Beans & Hearts of Palm. The njuda spread was on the bottom and gave a nice flavor to the pieces of octopus I smeared into it’s red-pasty spread. Despite the amazing flavor and tenderness of the tentacles, the best part of the dish was the size. Firstly the tentacles were not those wimpy skinny tentacles, they had some girth. Also, they must have had at least four pieces on the dish. We enjoyed each bite, how could you not? The outside was charred, the inside was juicy and cooked to perfection. Really a perfect dish.

Next up, our primi course. Going into this course we were extremely excited, especially since we have not had pasta for close to thirty-days. We had been on a diet since we are getting married in a few months, and we figured if we were going to cheat it might as well be with some of the best pasta you can find. This was also a very difficult choice for us to decide on. I have at one point or another said in my head over the past thirty days that I am getting the 100 Layer Lasagna, or Lidia’s Jota, or Orecchiette with Lamb Neck. When we decided to order, we went with neither of the above. We chose The Spaghetti with Dungeness Crab, and the Gnocchi. Once again, two perfect dishes. The Spaghetti and Crab was probably one of my favorite pasta dishes I have ever eaten. The spaghetti was nice and al dente, and mixed into the bowl were jalapeños, scallions, and the sweet meat of the crustacean. The jalapeño definitely provided some heat, in fact I actually had to ask the busgirl for a tissue at one point, but the spice was not overbearing. The crab flavors definitely keep this bowl of pasta well balanced. This is one of their most famous dishes, as I learned after, with many pages discussing the perfect execution of this dish. There is actually a video Del Posto put on YouTube a few years back that shows the process of making this dish, CLICK HERE, and if you don’t have a seizure from the music – you might gain an appreciation for this dish. Definitely do not skip this dish. Next up, gnocchi. One of my favorite types of pastas, and favorite form of potato. As if the idea of gnocchi could get any better, especially to two people on diets who have been pasta deprived. The recipe was handed down by Batali’s Grandmother. The gnocchi was light and fluffy, unlike that heavy junk you get at majority of these so-called ‘Italian’ restaurants. Also, unlike most places who drench the pasta in sauce to compensate for the pastas lack of flavor, also not the situation here. The sauce was light, and tasted like fresh tomato. Nice and basic, and the flavoring from the Thai basil gives the dish the simplicity and freshness one would expect while eating in non-touristy areas of Italy.

Right around this point of the evening, I began to really regret getting lunch at Hu Kitchen earlier. I was beginning to get full, and the constant stuffing of my face with bread and lardo didn’t help. But we had our secondi course coming, and the excitement kept me going.

Once the food came to the table, we acted as if those past courses didn’t happen and kept consuming our entrees. I ordered the Burnt Beef, medium rare of course, which came with seared green onions, parmigiano zeppole, and tomato raisins. Everything about this dish was perfect – so much so my fiance, who is not a meat person found herself voluntarily picking pieces off my plate. I have to say, for a girl who hasn’t had meat in eight-years I have started her on some awesome places – Black Label Burger from Minetta, Steak from Del Posto… Highly recommend this dish, worth the extra money – TRUST ME. Nicole ordered the Baked Halibut, which came with mashed sun chokes, chicory salad, and smoked truffles. Once again, perfect entree. We still talk about this dish and how it was the best piece of halibut, possibly the best pieces of fish we have ever had.

To finish the meal we had some dessert, but really was hard to enjoy since we were so full – but we somehow managed to finish it. We had the Grilled Semolina Cake and Fette Biscottate, also they brought out some additional items for our anniversary – which we finished as well…

PUBLIC: One of the Best Places in Nolita

The other day we were driving around the neighborhood looking for a spot, which is pretty easy in Nolita. While driving up Elizabeth Street we past some of our staple restaurants – Peasant, The Egg Shop, Fonda Nolita (Tacombi), Musket Room… the list goes on. As we passed PUBLIC, we both looked at each other and said how much we missed PUBLIC.

We went to PUBLIC about two years ago when I first moved into the neighborhood – and it is still one of my favorite places to go in New York.

It all started one night when we stopped in to see if there were any open tables last minute, which there weren’t as it was a beautiful spring day and it was busy as per usual. So we went in, asked the host – to which she directed us to The Daily. The Daily was really cool, and I was happy we were able to get a seat and hangout on one of their tufted leather couches, order some small plates and some drinks. This was our first time at The Daily, but definitely not the last.

While hanging out inside the girls couldn’t stop talking about how beautiful it was inside PUBLIC – and they were right. Don’t get me wrong, The Daily is really cool in it’s own way, but PUBLIC is a sight to be seen. Exposed brick, subway tiles, industrial lights, vintage mailboxes, cool candles, and a glass garage door that overlooks Elizabeth Street Gardens. If you took a woman here and didn’t get laid after, you are doing it wrong. I mean, the owners/designers received a James Beard Foundation award for  Best Restaurant Design @ PUBLIC. Those things don’t come easy…

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So we all decided we would come back to PUBLIC for dinner. Not feeling like waiting on other people schedules, both Nicole and myself decided screw it – we are going by ourselves.

On that night we walked up the block, and with every step I got more and more excited for this SEVEN-times Michelin Stared dinner. To win anything seven years in a row is impressive, but to win the coveted Michelin Star definitely speaks for the amazing place they manage.

We ordered two specials which included a watermelon salad with feta, and a squid ink pasta dish that was unreal. We also split the octopus, because as you can see by now we are pulpo-addicts. The eight legged creature was served with piquillo pepper purée, warm potato salad, pickled chiles and three herb pistou.

For dinner I was stuck between venison, lamb, and duck. We had recently returned from Spain, and while there I had some excellent venison while dining at El Xalet de Montjuïc, which really put me on a venison kick. Lamb, I had the week before at Il Buco, which was also delicious. Which leaves me to Duck, which the waitress assured me was one of their best dishes. She was right, this was one of the best pieces of duck I have had in a long time. I would even go as far as saying it is up there with Gramercy Tavern, which is a legendary dish to me. I have contemplated on many occasions walking up the block, sitting at the bar and ordering this dish again.


Now about 2 years later, we actually were thinking about doing our wedding at PUBLIC. Yea, we are that obsessed. The space as I mentioned above is absolutely stunning, and the food amazing. We were both so much in love with the place that I considered cutting out some friends and family from the invite list so we can have the wedding there, but unfortunately I was over-ruled.

Since we are not having the wedding here I may have to convince her that we should join the PUBLIC Wine Mailbox Program. As I discussed earlier, there are some vintage mailboxes through out the space. Along with those, some pretty cool keys that unlock them. For $50/per month their Wine Mailbox Program brings you a bottle of wine every month in your very own PUBLIC bronze mailbox. Each artisanal wine from Australia, New Zealand, and around the globe, is hand-selected by Chef Brad Farmerie. But that is not all, you also receive tasting notes, pairings, and sometimes imported food items, and PUBLIC kitchen creations. And, if you thought this deal couldn’t get better – there is more: you will receive invitations to PUBLIC special events and private tastings. Rumor has it, you also receive some special access to their reservation line…


RESY Hits The Hamptons

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This year, and just in time for the summer season, no more worrying about not getting a reservation at the best Hamtons restaurants because our friends at Resy are going live with their services Out East.

If you are willing to pay a small fee, you will now be lucky enough to secure a table at some of the below locations. If you do not already have the app, make sure you download it ASAP! Also, go to www.resy.com. for more details

What you have to understand about Sunset Beach is that its famous proprietor, André Balazs, really understands leisure-time. The man produces his own rosé and it isn’t even half-bad. Everything about this place is designed to put you in a happy place, where the sun is setting and you look great and life is beautiful. Go with it.

After years of flux, the team now installed at this well-known Wainscott joint are in it for the long haul. And unless you know that these guys are also behind Charlie Bird and Shuko (Highway was the location of the 2014 Shuko Beach pop-up), among others, the sophistication and nuance of this food might not make sense. It’s fresh and seasonal and, perhaps in a nod to its former diner days, slants comfort. Dig the ricotta toast next to the chicken pot pie. The chef is Justin Finney, who has worked at Nick & Toni’s and Meetinghouse.

Baron’s Cove, the historic motel on the water in Sag Harbor, reopens in 2015 after a massive two-year renovation. An emphasis has been put on subtle, chic touches, like a fireside dining. The restaurant will be an American Grill helmed by Matt Boudreau, formerly the chef at excellent Shelter Island mainstay Vine Street Cafe. Hamptons installation and professional drinker Jay McInerney contributed to the wine list, another sign of great things to come here.

If you’re a grownup, Topping Rose House is the Hamptons restaurant of your wildest dreams. And—with its modern, seasonal, gorgeous menu—it’s easily one of the best restaurants for miles in any direction. Connected to a very proper inn of the same name, if Bridgehampton had a designated executive dining room, this would be it. Lots of regulars appreciate that it’s a short, 15-minute ride from good ol’ HTO.

c/o Maidstone isn’t like other East End restaurants. “Whenever we can,” the proprietors say, “we prioritize the use of organic, locally sourced and seasonally appropriate ingredients. But as dedicated Swedes, there are some things that we simply can’t do without – a Västerbotten pie just wouldn’t taste the same using cheddar. No need to worry though, the Swedish products we import adhere to our good, clean & fair mantra.” Herbs are grown out back. too. Scandanvian Cozy is how they describe the vibe. It’s basically a Volvo, but way sexier.

Scarpetta Beach debuts for the 2015 season at Gurney’s, instantly becoming a heavy hitter restaurant on the East End. The math here is pretty straightforward: it’s a world class restaurant on the beach in Montauk—where, in addition to fresh local seafood, they happen to serve the best spaghetti with tomato sauce in the world.

If Montauk had a summer camp for adults, it would be Ruschmeyer’s, where It’s All Good, Bro (in surfer, not bro, parlance). This season, Eli and Max Sussman, critical darlings in NYC, join the team to run the kitchen. Their menu will be beachy, to be sure, with a Middle Eastern influence on dishes like harissa wontons with charred scallion yogurt. The place is run by Matt Kliegman and Carlos Quirarte of Black Seed and The Smile, two of the hippest, chillest places around. Summertime in Montauk calls for a more high-energy setting, which, the guys deliver in spades.
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Friday 7/24/15: Last Minute Reservations and Recomendations

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Here is a list of some last minute available reservations for tonight, Friday 07/24.

Open Table
Mercer Kitchen 7:45 8:00 8:39
Lure 7:30
Peasant 7:00 8:30
Batard 8:30
Gato 8:30
The Musket Room 7:45 8:00 8:15
PUBLIC 7:45 8:00 8:45
The Standard Grill 7:30
The Gander 7:45 8:00 8:15
Aquavit 8:00

Sant Ambroeus Soho 9:00 FREE
Maison Premiere 7:30 $5x
Bowery Meat Company 9:30 $6x
Navy 7:30 $9x
Empellon Tacueria 8:00 $10x
Frankie 570 7:30 $7x
Toro 8:00 $10x
Hunt & Fish Club 8:30 $7.50x
Bar Bouloud 8:00 FREE

Joe & Misses Doe: Awesomeness in the East Village

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A few months ago I woke up hungover, and didn’t really feel like posting an article. However, it was the morning after the James Beard Awards, so I figured it would be totally irresponsible for a food blogger to not write an article. After I posted it, and put up a tweet, my phone lit up with a tweet from a local chef:

“@JOEDOEchef: So. Where are the new winners?? So sick of the circle jerk those awards are. #politicsoverfood”

After laughing out loud in my cubicle, I realized I totally agree with his view. There are so many small places, or low-key places, or neighborhood spots that do not get the acclaim they deserve by JBA. Thats when I decided I would reach out to Chef Joe Dobias at Joe & MissesDoe and learn more about their place. I use the term ‘their’ because it is actually owned and operated by both Chef Joe and his wife, Jill Dobias, aka Misses Doe.

After bullshitting on Twitter, they invited us in for dinner one night to test out their new summer menu. How can I turn that offer down, especially when they mentioned one of the items on the menu had three of my favorite things – ravioli, ricotta, and marrow butter.

We walked over a few blocks east, over to 1st and 1st, and found their little neighborhood joint. Realizing I was a couple hundred feet away from Dirty French, I told Nicole if we were still hungry after we could stop over there for some of their charbroiled oysters – that was definitely not the case. When we walked in we were greeted by the famous, Misses Doe. Along with her awesome presence, we were greeted with a bar full of small plates. We started with some of their ‘quirky cocktails’ while Misses Doe gave us some background on the place. I had their Spring Old Fashion – bourbon, honey, and grilled lemon (excellent touch). The old fashion was great, and the honey mixed with the bourbon gave it a nice sweetness while the grilled lemon, which was pretty much blacken, gave some acidity. Nicole started with The Livins Easy, which is like a pina colada but without the horribleness of sugary pre-made store-bought mixtures. It was made from rum, coconut cream, caramelized pineapple. She liked it a lot, but definitely felt it was one of those drinks you can start the evening with rather than go all night with.

As we sat with Jill, we learned more about the restaurant and their relationship. The whole time I kept thinking this hot-head chef was going to walk over and question why I liked James Beard winners and highly-publicized spots such as Charlie Bird, PUBLIC, Carbone, Mercer Kitchen … But then he came over to us. The only way I can describe him is a gentle-giant, as Jill is more of the sparkplug I saw via Joes Twitter (in the best way possible – she is awesome). Between the two of them, and their outside the box concept on culinary cuisine they can definitely expect to see me sitting at their bar more often. Now onto the food …

To start we snacked on their assortment of finger-foods. Nicole grabbed a piece of matzah, which I kind of scoffed at. Out of all the food she chose a piece of unleavened bread, but hey she seemed happy as she spread the ‘beer cheese’ over it. Once she bit into it, I felt compelled to try it, and I was shocked how much I enjoyed it. It was matzah, but with a twist kind of like a Wheat Thin flavoring but a sweetness kind of like the bottom of the cereal bag of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. This matzah was so good I contemplated converting. The beer cheese had bleu, pecorino, cream cheese, cheddar and was dope. Next up, a deviled egg. Something I would never try due to the fact the yolk is whipped with mayonnaise, aka my worst enemy. However, Nicole assured me it was good and I gave it a shot. Pretty delicious, and if I didn’t know it had mayo – I would eat it again.

Next up, the real food. We had the Green Gazpacho with cucumber, almonds, and grapes. This combination of flavors was surprisingly enjoyable and very refreshing. Then we had their Beets & Watermelon Radish, which was one of Nicole’s favorite dishes. I ate around the beets and radish concentrating on the ricotta. Nicole devoured the beets and seemed pretty happy that I left my portion for her. I am going to skip over the next course, Sausage Bread, and leave it for last, since this was one of my favorite things. We then tried their take on Potatoes Bravas, but with a better name ‘Brave Potatoes’. This was no ordinary potato, it was more of a mini latke that was perfectly fried and crispy. This was served over an anchovy dressing and fried herbs. This was great, and do not be afraid of anchovies they are delicious. The first main course was the salmon, which was served with roasted garbanzo beans and a yogurt sauce. Normally I wouldn’t gloat about salmon, but this salmon was cooked to absolute perfection on the restaurants electric stove. The roasted garbanzo beans were crunchy, but soft at the same time. The yogurt sauce was also awesome, even dipped some of the potatoes in it. All together a perfect combination and if I happen to ever crave salmon, I would definitely come back for more.

Now we will discuss my three favorite dishes, and the reason I left with a huge smile on my face (or could have been their waitresses bringing me old fashions on an every-twenty-minute schedule). First up, the Summer Ravioli, as I mentioned above, was with ricotta, marrow butter and summer vegetables. It came out as one large stacked ravioli that was cooked perfectly al dente, with the creamy richness of the marrow butter drizzled over it. I wish they would give me a weekly supply of the raviolis that I can make from the comfort of my own apartment, hungover. This was crack, and once again do not fear the fact that it is made with marrow, because marrow is delicious (see my obsession with the it here). Back to the above mentioned Sausage Bread, which I figured would be bread baked with sausage in it, kind of like a typical focaccia bread. NOPE. This was freshly made amazing soft bread which came with a side (more like mountain) of crumbled up sausage with oils and a tomato vinaigrette. This was truly perfection, and since having this I could not get it out of my mind. Kind of like getting to second-base for the first time, you will never forget it. I cannot stress enough how much I loved this, and writing this is making me want to go back tomorrow (or now). Nicole who rarely eats meat scoffed this and begs me to go back for it daily. Last up, Joe’s famous dish – Hot Dipped Chicken. The way I kind of described this was like getting round-house kicked in the mouth by non other than Chuck Noris (yeah, bold statement). This thing had so much flavor, but with a nice crispy exterior and perfect white juicy interior. Joe takes regular fried chicken, and once again puts his spin and vision into it to make it more than just a boring piece of poultry. All of my friends who say they are in the mood for fried chicken I now send there – and they all tell me a variation of ‘that was one of the best things I have ever eaten.’ I never tried crack before, but I am going to say this is as addicting as crack.

Overall the food was great, environment was great, and best of all – its family owned and you see their love for the place while spending time with them. This place is truly their baby, despite Jill’s dog she treats like a human (check her Instagram), and their pride in their establishment is what makes it even better.

Kellari Taverna: Greek Food in Midtown

The Greek Economy is a disaster, we are waiting for a Grexit – and all I wanted last night was Greek food. It was kind of like both CNBC and Bloomberg TV had subliminal messaging to my brain. Every time I heard Alexis Tsipras, Varoufakis, or default I would just think of hummus, lamb, and more lamb.

After work a few of us headed over to Kellari Taverna on 44th between 5th and 6th. The place is known as a popular spot for business lunches, and I came here once before which I vaguely remember due to Greek wines I could barely attempt to pronounce. I did remember the food being good, so was happy to go back there yesterday.

Below are some items we ordered which were really good and I highly suggest:

Spanakopita: Phylo pies with spinach, leeks and feta. Traditional Greek dish, Kellari Taverna makes probably one of the best I have ever tried.

Kellari Veggie Chips: Crispy eggplant and zucchini chips with tzatziki spread. I personally am not a huge Tzatziki person (nothing personal Greek people) so I dipped my chips on their hummus – which was unreal. There is something about frying vegetables that makes them so much better …

Authentic Saganaki: Graviera cheese flamed with brandy. Once the flame was extinguished with the freshly squeezed lemon, and I fought back every urge of screaming “opa”, I devoured this fried sheep cheese. Not sure if it was the presentation, or the fact that the cheese was really good, but I really liked this appetizer.

Octopodi: Sushi grade charcoal grilled octopus from the Mediterranean. Great pulpo, and a large serving. The whole table enjoyed this.

Black Sea Bass: Wild bass, mild flavor and flaky. Not over-seasoned or drenched in oil, the dish was pretty much as authentic Mediterranean as you could get. It was served as a whole fish, and reminded me of being in Croatia.

Paidakia: Grilled lamb chops with olive oil and oregano roasted potatoes. I always thought Greek people’s obsession of lamb was a stereotype – until I started eating copious amounts of Greek food. This may have been the best lamb I have had in a long time.

Brew Mile NYC: Running + Beer + After Party

Today I am sitting at my desk, and I received one of the best emails ever. This year The Brew Mile is coming to NYC for the first time, and it seems awesome. Basically, you run 1 mile, drink four beers (every quarter-mile), once done you party. In case you needed a graph to demonstrate, please see below.


I personally do not like to run, or do any form of exercise, but the idea of getting beer while doing it might help me get through this. Also, you can feel like a good person after as a portion of the proceeds goto local charities. One of the main points of this event is to focus on local craft breweries, local food, local music and building organizations for your community.

The event is open to all people over 21, and there is no winner or losers. It is strongly encouraged to bring friends, and form teams (discount for teams over 5 people). After the run there is an after party which includes two more beers, music, games and food trucks. An important party of the event is the fact that they want people to get dressed up in costumes, there are prizes for best individual and best team costumes (checkout their Instagram account).

For more details checkout their website at www.brewmile.com.

Draught 55: Beer After a Long Day in the Office

Majority of the week, around 4:00PM you are itching to get out of the office and get a drink. Sometimes, you don’t want to go anywhere crazy/bougie, and just want a beer – thats when I goto Draught 55. Located on 55th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenue, this is a perfect location for majority of finance workers in Midtown. This place has become a bit of a local watering hole for the guys in our office, and with 42 Craft Beers on Draught + an additional few dozen in Bottles/Can – you now know why. Also, they generally rotate the selection and bring in new beers on a regular basis – so the options are pretty endless.

When you eventually get hungry – they also have a pretty awesome food menu. I have drunkenly consumed the Apricot Beer Glazed Soft Pretzel, Slow Roasted Pork Belly, Rogues Chipotle Ale Chili Nachos, Flash Fried Calamari, Wings, Beer Battered Mozzarella Sticks, and some other items – and all have been really delicious on a buzzed stomach.

If you are looking for low-key, beer, talking with co-workers, and eating some bar food – you will definitely like Draught 55.

Here are a few beers I have tried over the past few months:

  • Stone Brewing Company: Arrogant Bastard Ale (7.2% ABV): First time having it on draught, last time at Minetta Tavern I had it out of the bottle. This beer puts the ‘strong’ in American Strong Ale, and definitely has one of the hoppiest bites you will taste. The beer has a nice red/amber color to it with citrus (grapefruit) bitterness. Kind of similar to their Levitation Ale – but more hoppy. Can drink one every once in a while, not an everyday/all night beer.
  • Founders Brewing Co: Founders Black Rye (7.5%): Dark with a tan head, tastes of coffee, rye, chocolate, and some pine hops.  Well balanced and medium body, would drink again – and on draught @ $7.00, that is no brainer.
  • Goose Island Beer Co: Matilda (7.0%): Poured this out of the bottled and into a glass, and was surprised about the color – orange/amber color, which I did not see coming. This is a Belgian Ale, with some complex flavors which I can say are definitely unique. Little to much of that fruit taste – one time was good enough for me.
  • Smuttynose Brewing Company: Imperial Stout (9.8%): chocolate, coffee, roasted taste – with a little sambuca/black licorice taste to it. Good Russian Imperial Stout, and at $8.00, pretty good bang for your buck.
  • Innis & Gun: Oak Aged Beer (6.6%): This UK Export picks up the oak flavor from the aging process with some caramel, vanilla, and toffee. Definitely strange, one time was good for me.
  • River Horse Brewing Co: Tripel Horse (10.0%): Happy to support these guys out of Ewing New Jersey, and to drink local. Not much of a Belgian Style Ale person, but this beer is intriguing – vanilla, clove, citrus, and hops with a little bitterness on the back-end.

Stop in, have a beer, and let me know what you think – as I mentioned they constantly rotate in beers.

Spring Time: Oxford & Chinos

Signup May
It’s about that time when you will start day drinking, rooftop partying, and country-club living. We got you covered withsome items from our friends at Frank and Oak.

Jasper Oxford in Light Blue
Features include a slim button-down collar, chest pocket, heritage Frank & Oak labels and buttons, and rounded cuffs. 100% cotton.

Newport Chinos in Shark
Made with high quality, mid-weight cotton, their soft-washed chinos offer a slim casual fit. Features a flat front, two slash pockets, two back pockets, button fasting and zip closure, and belt loops. Available in our Modern Straight fit.

Signup May

Lower EAT Side: Sunday June 14th

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Don’t feel like going to Midtown for The Big Apple BBQ, no need. Stay in the Lower East Side this Sunday for ‘Lower EAT Side’. This is happening on Orchard Street between East Houston and Delancey, and will have food, music, games… Below are some of the best vendors that will be there definitely check it out:

Melt Bakery
Some of the best ice cream sandwiches ever created – and they are made from scratch daily. Check out the THE LUMBERJACK which is an oatmeal bacon cookie with maple ice cream.

Souvlaki GR
I recently put up a post about this place, I love their food. Definitely get some hummus and SGR Souvlaki Pita.

Goodfellas Brick Oven Pizza
The best, possibly only, good thing to come out of Staten Island.

Pies N Thighs
Some of the best comfort food in the city, and Williamsburg. Grab some of their award winning donuts, biscuits, apple pie, and fried chicken.

The Meatball Shop
Get the Kitchen Sink with 3 balls, served over the chefs selection of greens and vegetables – choose your sauce wisely.

For more info on the event check out www.lowereastside.org

Big Apple Barbecue Block Party: June13-14

While hundreds of finance employees will be out in Queens competing in the Wall Street Decathalon – I will not be attending. I will not be doing the 400m run, nor the pull-ups, also won’t be taking part in the dips, rows, bench press, or vertical jump. It’s not that I don’t want to take part in the fundraiser, I just rather eat at The Big Apple Barbecue Block Party.

This year, I am sticking with the New York natives but might have to stop by Tim Love’s stand along with Scott Roberts’ The Salt Lick Bar-B-Que. Below is the full menu, and with those prices I look forward to getting rushed over to close by NYU Langone due to food coma.

Head over to Madison Square Park, grab a few plates and don’t forget to donate to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center since you are choosing BBQ over the Decathlon.

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Mile End Deli: The Best Jewish Delicatessen


You hear Jewish Deli, and you immediately think about Katz Deli or Carnegie Deli. There is nothing wrong with that, they are both famous and old school – however, you should introduce yourself to the New School with Mile End Deli. They have two locations, one in Brooklyn (Boerum Hill) and the other in Manhattan (Noho), and depending on where you live, they deliver via Seamless. Another fun fact, Black Seed was created by the people of Mile End – so you know its good.

My first time there we started with the Matzo Ball Soup and their special of the night, Pastrami Soup. Both were really good, I definitely never had anything like the Pastrami Soup – have been calling them up on a weekly basis to see if they have it as a special. If you ever see this on the menu, definitely order this.

Onto the most important part of the night, The Smoked Meat Burger. Prior to ordering this, I was stuck between the Smoked Meat Burger and the Smoked Meat Sandwich. I mean, my head was spinning, and the only difference really was the word ‘burger’ in the name. The waitress, who was great, knew I was torn between the two options and advised I should go with the burger – and I always can come back for the sandwich. Apparently these two are two of the most popular choices, and being that the place is only a few blocks away – I felt comfortable with my decision. The burger is made out 30% smoked meat, red onion, pickle, fried egg, american cheese,  on an onion roll. The burger also comes with mustard-mayo, but since I despise the two I steered clear of this and stuck with Ketchup. Every time I am hungover, I debate stumbling up to Bond Street to eat one of these. My first impression when I saw this was pure shock, it was a thing of beauty. First off, anything that is served on a true onion roll – is pure genius. Second, the smell of smoked meat that comes off this burger should be bottled and sold as air freshener. Lastly, the size of the burger. It was massive, I almost had to cut it in half – but didn’t want to ruin the gooeyness of the fried egg. When I left my jaw hurt from taking bites of it, the struggle is real. Now to the taste, FUCKING DELICIOUS. It was so good, that within three-minutes (has to be some type of record) I had the whole thing down. If you have never had this burger before, I can assure you once you have it – there is no burger in the world that taste remotely similar. As I am writing this I am actually pissed off that I did not order this tonight (fucking blizzard). This may have been one of the top 5 burgers I have ever eaten, definitely the best burger with an egg on it. Another positive, they served Shiner Bock – which as you can tell from my other posts, is one of my favorite beers. This beer is a perfect pairing for the burger.

ONE REGRET: I did not order the poutine, but at least this gives me another reason to back.

Anchor Brewing: America’s First Craft Brewery?


In 1849 German brewer Gottlieb Brekle (hence Brekle’s Brown Ale) settled in California. Purchasing a saloon a few years later in San Francisco, this later on became the brewery known know as Anchor Brewing – which officially was born in 1896. Over the next couple dozen decades, the brewery witnessed two of it’s founders die in freak accidents, The Great San Fransisco Earthquake, Prohibition, the brink of bankruptcy – and being shipped in a box delivered to the lobby of my apartment. My life is pretty awesome.

I open the fancy box, which was shipped from my friends at Dog and a Duck, and threw the beers right into the fridge. The other night while my fiancé was over, I figured this might be a good time to taste the beers. She isn’t a beer drinker, but on occasions she will order one. Additionally, I will usually make her try my beers sometimes if they are good to see what she thinks. She has been getting pretty good at picking out details of each beer, so I felt like this was a good idea since the Anchor Brews would be something she would probably like.

Anchor Steam Beer
Type: California Common / Steam Beer
First Brew: 1896
Availability: All Year-Round
ABV: 4.9%

This is the flagship beer, and as you can see was first brewed the year Anchor Brewing  was founded. The beer gained early popularity prior to the years of Prohibition, and in fact was the reason the company was saved from the brink of bankruptcy by one of its fans, an Stanford Graduate named Fritz Maytag. By the 1970s, the brewery began pumping out bottles of this recipe out of its newer locations.

The beer pours a golden, almost burnt auburn color with a thick white head. The Anchor Steam Beer has a blend of pale and caramel malts, which provides a bit of malty sweetness with a hint of biscuits. There is also a slight taste of minty, fruity taste (citrus/apricot) however not as much as I tasted in the Liberty Ale. The hops, which are Northern Brewer, which gives mild bitterness but far from overwhelming. Nicole mentioned she tasted something familiar, the only thing she could relate it to was Blue Moon. The smell of the beer is nice, mix of floral and fruit smell, which makes sense due to the taste mentioned above. The beer is finishes extremely crisp, and very refreshing. The carbonation level is almost perfect, and I think this would be a great beer to drink on a hot day. Highly recommend this beer, and after drinking it is no wonder why the company has been around for so long built of the back of this beer.

Liberty Ale
Type: American IPA
First Brew: 1975
Availability: All Year-Round
ABV: 5.9%

Although considered an IPA, this beer is extremely well balanced. The ale is brewed with pale malted barley, cascade hops, and a special top-fermented yeast. Liberty Ale is also goes through the process of dry-hopping which is the practice of adding fresh hops to the brew during aging. During this time period, Anchor Brewing also produced some of their other beers including Anchor Porter, Old Foghorn Barley Wine Ale, and it’s first annual Christmas Ale. For reasons such as this, they believe they are America’s first craft brewery/micro brewery – and to be honest, they are putting up a pretty good argument.

Once we put the glasses up to our mouth, we smelt the citrus, earthy, and pine smells from the cascade hops. The taste, was exactly like the smell – but with less bitterness then I expected considering there was a prevalent aroma of grapefruit and pine. The carbonation, which the company describes as ‘champagne-like bubbles’, makes the beer very drinkable. I recommend this as well, this was Nicole’s favorite due to the lemon-zest and resinous taste. If you girlfriend drinks beer, or is willing to try beer, this is a good beer to have her try.

Anchor IPA
Type: India Pale Ale
First Brew: 2014
Availability: All Year-Round
ABV: 6.5%

This is one of Anchor Brewing’s newest beers, and they included the press release in their package. From reading over the details, you can see the company went out to establish an IPA that stands out from the overcrowded space. According to their Brewmaster, Mark Carpenter,

“Right now a lot of Pas are so hop forward that your palate can only enjoy one because of the high bitterness . Our IPA will have a strong hop flavor so you know you’re drinking an IPA. But, the combination of malts we’re using are strong enough to hold up to the bitterness, allowing you to enjoy more than one.”

Once I poured the beer, I was able to tell there was a huge difference in the color from the other two beers. The first two, poured a golden/auburn color, this more of a bronze caramel color. I think the best way to describe the Anchor IPA is calling it the ‘Liberty Ale on Steroids’. Some of the same characteristics, but more intense – for example the piney hops taste. This is due to Anchor using Cascade hops, like the Liberty Ale, but with some additional hops as well. Also, they use five hops during the dry hopping process. The hops give a bitter bite to the beer, and the strong metallic after taste. Way to much of an IPA for Nicole, however if you are big into IPA’s, this is definitely the beer for you.

Where to Find?

On their website, they have a great Beer Finder App, which shows you where you can finder their products. After searching a 1 mile radius from Soho, I can see this a long list of places where I can find their beers. This includes both restaurants, bars, and stores.

Peasant: Authentic Farm to Table, But Italian Style


As you can see from my posts on Bacaro and Apizz, I love all places which spawned from the genius of Frank DeCarlo. Peasant, is possibly my favorite of them all. From the minute I moved into Nolita, I would constantly walk by and try to peep my head into the dinning room – with Exposed Brick and Rustic Fixtures, all surrounding the open kitchen. The place might be the most romantic place in NYC, which I would highly suggest for a first date – if if doesn’t happen, you can only blame yourself.

Peasant, like Bianca, is true Italian cooking – but rather than being just from one region, it is multi-regional menu of traditional Italian Dishes.  While using locally sourced items, along with imported products from Italy, you get the best of both worlds – without compromising quality. Also, with Chef Frank DeCarlo working in the kitchen every night of service, you can expect the food to have his passion every time you go here. Below is the breakdown of our order, all of which was unbelievable – and makes me believe this is one of the best restaurants in New York City.


  • Wine: Want to start off saying their wine list is extremely reasonable – a bunch of wines in all price ranges. We tend to like Montepulciano, so we ordered the Castorani Amorino Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2007. This bottle paired extremely well with all the food we ordered, and for $50/bottle – you cannot go wrong.


  • Prosciutto e Frutta: which happened to be figs. Great dish, prosciutto was perfect and the ripeness of the figs made dish.
  • Bocconcini: Mozzarella with speck, which is two appetizers containing this amazing cured meat. As you know from other reviews, i.e. Piacere, I am a sucker for all things speck. The balls of mozzarella, wrapped in the crispy speck, drizzled in oil and basil is a no brainer.
  • Cannolicchi: Razor Clams with white wine and breadcrumb. Such a great dish, brought me back to being in Europe. The simpleness and freshness of the dish is exactly what I tasted while eating razor clams in Italy, Spain, and Croatia. As you can see from my articles on Bacaro and Charlie Bird, these mollusk are one of my favorite types, and would go on record saying that these were equally good as Charlie Bird.
  • Polpi in Purgatorio: baby octopus with chili peppers. The octopus was perfectly cooked, and a bit spicy – hence the name. Dish was excellently executed by the kitchen.

Main Courses:

  • Porchetta Arrosto: Suckling Pig with fingerling potatoes. This is the dish I have been dying to try for a while. In my head I was debating if there was anyway this could be better than Jean-Georges’ ABC Kitchen. Then the day came. I asked the waitress how it was prepared – “nine week old baby pig” she replied, and instantly I was excited. At the same time I saw the look on my fiancé’s face as she realized what I heartless bastard I truly am. Once it came out, I was like a little kid waiting to eat the crispy piece of skin laying onto of the dish. The minute you bit into the crackling, salty, crispy skin – you know you made the right decision. Now, only issue with it was the sauce. It was good, however due to my fear of mayo – and all things that look like mayo – it at first kind of freaked me out. However, pork pulled apart, mixed with potatoes in this cream sauce was delicious. The meat is tender, the potatoes are buttery – great dish, and satisfied the craving I have been looking forward to.
  • Razza con Caperi: As you have read from my Apizz review, my fiancé is obsessed with skate – more importantly obsessed with the skate cooked by Frank DeCarlo’s brainchild restaurants.  The dish came with the fish perfectly cooked, finished with lemon, white wine and capers. Great choice if you like flounder, fluke, sole …etc.


  • BREAD PUDDING: Make sure you finish the meal strong, and ORDER THIS DESSERT. Large portion, with white chocolate – this was delicious.


Lunch in Midtown: Charlie Palmer Steak

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The other day I was meeting with one of our banks for lunch, and decided to stay close and try Charlie Palmer Steak over on 54th Street. This used to be the old Rothman’s, and is definitely a great choice for lunch if you work in the area.

To start I got the clams casino, which were probably some of the best I have ever had. They were not over done with the toppings, that made you forget that there was a clam underneath it all. It was served with a small sliver of applewood smoked bacon, and some seasoning. They were delicious and I highly recommend this dish, below is a picture I had to grab from their website as I didn’t want to take pictures during lunch.


For my main, I went with their Dry Aged Red Tag Burger. This was served with bacon, aged cheddar, red onion, and crispy fries. The burger was good, nothing too outrageous. Could definitely see myself making this a weekly snack. Also, the fries were dope – so they may also bring me back.

Next time I am going to come after work and check out their dinner menu, along with their 400+ wine labels. Review coming soon…

NYC Craft Beer Festival Summer Seasonal: 75 Breweries over Three Days in May

Signup May
By the time this month is over, we will have passed the milestone of Memorial Day, which means it’s time for summer. Break out the Sperry Top-Siders, Cannonball Train Service to the Hamptons, and binge-drinking problems.

For all of those who are not leaving the island of Manhattan, you should check out the NYC Craft Beer Festival Summer Seasonal which is being held at Watermark Cafe on Pier 15. The event is being held over three days, starting Thursday May 28th.

Who will be there? Just some of our favorite breweries like Sixpoint, Ommegang, Great South Bay, Lagunitas, Greenport Harbor, Third Rail Beer, Dogfish Head, Smuttynose… The list goes on and on, with 75 different breweries.

There are different time slots per day, along with different events so make sure you check the website prior to purchasing tickets below is a brief break down. Check out the full website here at: www.handcraftedtasting.com

Thursday May 28th
Brewmaster’s Connoisseur Experience
Time: 7:00 PM – 10:30 PM

Experience stylistic pairings hand-selected from our favorite breweries (for a total of 24 selections). These phenomenal selections will be paired with four small bite size samples of culinary art produced by The Executive Chef Marco Arnold of Industry kitchen These samples will reveal the depths of flavour that can be discovered in creatively executed Stylistic Pairings.

Friday May 29th
Session 1: 3:00PM – 6:30PM
Session 2: 7:00PM – 10:30PM

75 Breweries with 150 Selections

Saturday May 30th
Session 1: 12:00PM – 2:30PM
Session 2: 3:00PM – 6:30PM
Session 3: 7:00PM – 10:30PM

75 Breweries with 150 Selections

Signup May

Most Important Chart of The Day: Hangover Cure

It’s Friday, and let’s face it you are hung over. Thursday nights in this city, and in our industry, tend to get out of hand a lot of times. Rooftops, Steakhouses, Gentleman Clubs… it is all a possibility, which generally turns into a pretty miserable Friday morning, as you watch the hours slowly go by until you leave the office.

Luckily, due to the below chart from Business Insider, we now know that Advil and Aleve are the best at curing those horrible hangovers. It’s going to be a long weekend, make sure you take the below into consideration.

Thanks Business Insider!



Old Bay & Summer Ale: Flying Dog Brewery

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Last night I was in the mood for some seafood, so I went over to a local clam bar and ordered some Clams, Crab, Muscles, Octopus, Scungilli, Calamari, and some Lobster. Great way to spend a Thursday.

To drink, I tried something new. The waiter suggested a limited release beer from Flying Dog, which is made to be paired with these types of foods. I have had Flying Dog IPA in the past and liked it, and like their Hunter S. Thompson / Fear and Loathing labels, so screw it – let’s try this limited release. The catch, the beer had Old Bay seasoning in it.

I love beer, and I love Old Bay seasoning, so the two of them together should be pretty awesome – or if done incorrectly, horrible. The Verdict: Pretty Awesome. Granted it’s not a beer I would drink all night, but if having seafood or a BBQ I would definitely drink this again.

The Flying Dog Dead Rise Old Bay Summer Ale boasts a 5.6% ABV, golden color, and the smell of Old Bay seasoning. From first sip I was shocked, I figured this would taste exactly how it smelt – but it didn’t. The Old Bay taste was minimal, and not over-done which was pretty perfect. The seasoning doesn’t overshadow the toasted malt, wheat and hops. The aftertaste has a little bit of hoppy finish, but nowhere near traditional IPA. The beer was well balanced and great for summer with a light/crisp taste.
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Luke’s Lobster + Coney Island Brewery + Boat


Looking for a fun idea, call the girl and ask her if she wants to do something a little different. There are currently three days left, so act fast before they are sold out May 19th, June 2, and June 16

Basically the guys @ Luke’s Lobster have teamed up with Coney Island Brewery, and the people of Clipper City for a Lobster & Beer Fest. For $150, you and whomever you decide is worthy enough, get to take part in Maine-Style lobster rolls (2 per person), chips, pickles, coleslaw, and potato salad. Thirsty, they are being supplied by one of my favorite NY Breweries. Also, you will be on a boat, which will be cruising around the waterways of New York City.

You can buy the tickets through Gilt City here.



Queens Food Festival: May 12th

Tomorrow night I am going to Queens. Not something I normally say, and despite a Mets game last week – it has been a while. However, on May 12th they are hosting a food event, so I will have to make the trip over.

The event, Queens Taste 2015, will have over 50 different food/drink vendors giving out some samples of their offerings. Tickets are going for $125, which is a small price to pay for eating some small dishes with Mr.Met…

Date: Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Time: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (ET)

New York Hall of Science
47-01 111th St.
Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Charles Tyrwhitt

2015 James Beard Foundation Award Winners

Here is the full list of the 2015 James Beard Foundation Award (Provided by Tejal Rao @ Bloomberg).

Best New Restaurant
Bâtard, New York

Outstanding Baker
Jim Lahey
Sullivan Street Bakery, New York

Outstanding Bar Program
The Violet Hour, Chicago

Outstanding Chef
Michael Anthony
Gramercy Tavern, New York

Outstanding Pastry Chef
Christina Tosi
Momofuku Milk Bar, New York

Outstanding Restaurant
Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, NY

Outstanding Restaurateur
Donnie Madia
One Off Hospitality Group (Blackbird, Avec, The Publican, and others), Chicago

Outstanding Service
The Barn at Blackberry Farm, Walland, Tenn.

Outstanding Wine Program
A16, San Francisco

Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional
Rajat Parr
Mina Group, San Francisco

Rising Star Chef of the Year
Jessica Largey
Manresa, Los Gatos, Calif.

Best Chef: Great Lakes (Ill., Ind., Mich., Ohio)
Jonathon Sawyer
Greenhouse Tavern, Cleveland

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic (D.C., Del., Md., N.J., Pa., Va.)
Spike Gjerde
Woodberry Kitchen, Baltimore

Best Chef: Midwest (Iowa, Kans., Minn., Mo., N.D., Neb., S.D., Wisc.)
Gerard Craft
Niche, Clayton, Mo.

Best Chef: New York (Five Boroughs)
Mark Ladner
Del Posto

Best Chef: Northeast (Conn., Mass., Maine, N.H., N.Y., R.I., Vt.)
Barry Maiden
Hungry Mother, Cambridge, Mass.

Best Chef: Northwest (Alaska, Idaho, Mont., Ore., Wash., Wyo.)
Blaine Wetzel
The Willows Inn on Lummi Island, Lummi Island, Wash.

Best Chef: South (Ala., Ark., Fla, La., Miss., Puerto Rico)
Alon Shaya
Domenica, New Orleans

Best Chef: Southeast (Ga., Ky., N.C., S.C., Tenn., W.V.)
Jason Stanhope
FIG, Charleston, S.C.

Best Chef: Southwest (Ariz., Colo., N.M., Okla., Tex., Utah)
Aaron Franklin
Franklin Barbecue, Austin, Tex.

Best Chef: West (Calif., Hawaii, Nev.)
Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski
State Bird Provisions, San Francisco

2015 James Beard Foundation America’s Classics

Archie’s Waeside, Le Mars, Iowa
Owner: Robert Rand

Beaumont Inn, Harrodsburg, Ky.
Owners: Elizabeth and Dixon Dedman, Helen and Chuck Dedman

Guelaguetza, Los Angeles
Owners: The Lopez Family

Sally Bell’s Kitchen, Richmond, Va.
Owners: Martha Crowe Jones and Scott Jones

Sevilla Restaurant, New York
Owners: Jose Lloves and Bienvenido Alvarez

2015 James Beard Foundation Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America

Allan Benton, Pork Producer and Purveyor, Madisonville, Tenn.

Dale DeGroff, Mixologist, New York, N.Y.

Wylie Dufresne, Chef and Restaurateur, New York, N.Y.

Nathalie Dupree, Cookbook Author and Television Personality, Charleston, S.C.

Maricel Presilla, Chef, Restaurateur, and Cookbook Author, Hoboken, N.J.

2015 James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year

Michel Nischan, CEO, President and Co-Founder of Wholesome Wave, Westport, Conn.

2015 James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award

Richard Melman, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Chicago

2015 James Beard Foundation Outstanding Restaurant Design Awards

75 Seats and Under (For the best restaurant design or renovation in North America since Jan. 1, 2012)
Design Firm: Bureau of Architecture and Design
Designers: Tom Nahabedian and James Gorski
Project: Brindille, Chicago

76 Seats and Over (For the best restaurant design or renovation in North America since Jan. 1, 2012)
Design Firm: SOMA
Designers: Michel Abboud

Charles Tyrwhitt

Momofuku: Wedding Cake Tasting

Last night we decided we would try out the Momofuku Wedding Cake sample kit so we can finally order the cake for our wedding, which is around the corner. Over the past two years we have pretty much made it a ritual of bringing their cakes to every birthday party we attend, something about the cakes makes even the most boring parties seem tolerable. We have had everything from Birthday Cake, Chocolate Malt Cake, German Chocolate Cake, Apple Pie (which is one of the best things I have ever had)… We also bought my two little cousins classes at Milkbar to teach them, and my fiancé, hienz make their cakes and truffles (Read My Article, it was the best idea ever).

So we bought three of their sampler packs ($25/each) and we invited over some family to help make the decision. The package comes with 12 flavors, which included: apple pie cake, banana cake, birthday cake, chocolate malt cake, chocolate chip cake, german chocolate jimbo cake, dulce de leche cake, mint cookies n’ cream cake, pineapple upside down cake, pistachio cake, pretzel cake, strawberry-lemon cake. Below are some of our favorites, which I think you should try either for a wedding cake – or their 6″ and 10″ cakes.

pretzel cake: malted pretzel crumbs, stout ganache, burnt honey frosting.

pistachio cake: lemon curd, pistachio frosting, milk crumbs.

pineapple upside down: coconut cake, pineapple upside down frosting, yellow cake crumbs, cherry-buttermilk soak.

banana cake: banana cream, hazelnut crunch, gianduja fudge.

apple pie cake: cheesecake filling, apple compote, pie crumbs.

lemon cheesecake, pickled strawberry jam, milk crumbs.

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What to Buy: GHOST Bikes

Let’s face it, you are too old for that Huffy your left in your parents garage. Also, everyone looks like an idiot on a CITI Bike. That’s why I bought a GHOST Panamao X3.

With the weather getting nicer, and needing to shred the beer-gut prior to the wedding, I figured doing a couple miles a day would be great exercise. I went to REI in Paramus, since the Soho location didn’t have the bike in stock, and I test-drove the bike for about 20 minutes. After feeling great while riding, and speaking to their knowledgeable staff – I made the decision and purchased the bike.



Prior to doing some research on the company, I never heard of GHOST before. They are a German company, that has been making some pretty high-end bikes for the past twenty-years, and are sold exclusively in the US by REI.

I have been riding the bike for the past few weeks, and this thing is awesome. The model I purchased is considered a Hybrid, which is good for city riding but can also go off road with no problem. The suspension system is adjustable and can go from locked for pavement riding, to unlocked to handle any rough surfaces. This is a nice feature if you decide to leave the city and hit some trails.

I have also downloaded MapMyRide which tracks all of our riding. This app is pretty cool because it will show you details like distance, average speed, elevation, calories burned… Pretty cool.

With Manhattan having tons of bike paths, you should definitely pick up a bike. You can pretty much bike around the whole island of Manhattan with ease. We have been doing the paths on East Side, and going down and around to the West Side. Now if only my apartment was big enough to easily store this…

Work Clothes: Working at a Hedge Fund

Back when I was younger, people who worked in finance looked different. They all wore suits, tie, cufflinks with their facial hair clean shaven. Now a days it’s a little different. You don’t wear a suit unless you work at a bank, and if you are at a hedge fund – business casual can be pretty open to interpretation.

Here is exactly what you will need to survive your first spring/summer working on the buy-side:


Picture (Clock-wise)
American Crew Fiber: Probably the best stuff you can put in your hair. They have a few different types but Fiber is definitely the best.

Charles Tyrwhitt Shirts: One of my favorite brands, and they have great quality items for really cheap prices. You can generally get 4 Shirts for $200, and they will last forever.

Hugo Boss Metost: My goto dress shoe. Not overly done, kind of simple, and looks good. Read my review here. $225.00

Bonobos Weekday Warriors: The best pair of pants you can buy. They are comfortable and come in three different fits (Tailored, Slim, Straight) and a bunch of different colors. Checkout their physical locations to get fitted (my review here) and start ordering. $98.00

Patagonia Vest: Also known as the douche-vest, or finance-vest. This thing pretty much just says “I work in finance, and am presumably smarter than you.”

Charles Tyrwhitt
NORDSTROM - Shop Men's Jeans

The Maritime Hotel: Cruise Ship in The Meatpacking District


imageI would like to start off by saying, if Steve Zissou from Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic was a real person – he would only stay in the Maritime Hotel. The nautical theme runs throughout the hotel from the lobby, to the cruise shaped windows.

We decided to get a hotel room to celebrate our anniversary, and goto Del Posto (REVIEW COMING SOON). I know it sounds crazy considering I live in Nolita, but it was a nice idea to celebrate the fact that she has put up with me for three years and we are a few months away from the wedding. As we walked over to The Maritime, I noticed the outdoors section was closed – which I was a little upset about. It was a beautiful day, sixty-five degrees and sunny so I figured it would be nice to sit outside and have a few drinks. Turns out the restaurant that used to occupy the second floor, above Tao, is now closed and they are renovating the space. The beautiful outdoor patio of La Bottega, with lanterns and trees was now replaced with scaffolding and construction equipment. I wish this was open or at least informed of the closure. However, there is a silver-lining as a source of mine has filled me in that there is a possibility of a Batali & Bastianich invading the space. Definitely wouldn’t mind checking that out…

The Lobby was extremely quiet that day, I guess the absence of long-legged models coming into the lobby from the outdoor patio makes the place seem less lively. Although quiet, it was really nice – in a nautical way. Lined with bookshelves, alcoves with couches and tables, wooden ships, once again very Wes Anderson-esque. The picture below is from their website:


We met with the front desk, who informed us of some of the hotels details. Nice perk, although the La Bottega patio may have been closed – they still had their cabana area open. The North Cabana area was beautiful, but once again really quiet. Hardwood floors, blue and white subway tiles, and rope netting, very nautical. The inside portion had a bar – along with free coffee all day. The outdoor/atrium area was just as gorgeous, with tables set up and lights strung from the rafters. This was one of my favorite features of the hotel, and kind of what I was looking forward to downstairs. Along with the gratis coffee, after 5:00PM they served cheese and wine free for all guest. This was a great way to enjoy the weather, especially since it was one of the nicest days since this horrible winter.




Ahead of our stay, I spoke with Rachael at the front desk, and she was extremely helpful. To surprise Nicole I decided to get a bottle of champagne sent up to the room. She did inform me that I would have to goto an outside company, and provided me with the details of the wine store located across the street. She said once the bottle was delivered she would send it up to the room with an ice bucket and glasses. She also informed me that room service would be available via Tao downstairs, but I had a feeling we wouldn’t be to hungry after our five-course dinner at Del Posto.

We took the elevator up to the ninth floor, and made our way to the room. A few moments after our arrival we received a bottle of wine, along with a nice handwritten note from the front desk. I thought this was such a nice gesture, and a great way to start off the night. After walking around the neighborhood, we got back to the room with the bottle of champagne sitting on ice in the bucket. I was once again extremely happy with the service as they were able to help me with this request.

The room was small, but in New York terms, a nice size. The room had an iPod dock, which was only for phones prior to the iPhone 5, however they also had an additional speaker in the room which had an AUX jack that would fit any phone – which was a nice touch. The minibar area was stocked nicely, full-size bottle of Kettle One, half-sized bottle of Perrier-Jouet champagne and Sancerre, along with small bottles of Makers Mark, Tito’s, Jack Daniel’s… In terms of snacks they had some Dean & Deluca products, pretzels, chips, cookies…etc. The bathroom was tiled with mosaics, white/gray marble, and a nice sized walk-in shower with a waterfall rain shower head. They provide a nice assortment of C.O. Bigelow products, along with Marvis toothpaste.


The room itself was okay. We stayed in one of the standard rooms, which the hotel has 121 cabin inspired rooms. Each room has a five-foot porthole which open, extremely rare amenity in New York City. It is a little bit outdated, but that is also part of the theme they are going for. There was a lot of the same teak wood as found in the lobby, with a beige wool carpet. The headboard was made with blue fabric.



All though a little dated, I think The Maritime is a good place to stay. We booked the room via JetSetter (Gilt Groupe) and got a pretty good deal. In comparison to the other hotels in the neighborhood, you will definitely find these rooms are larger. Also, the location is amazing. You are 20 steps from No.8, PHD Rooftop, Chelsea Market, Tao, Del Posto, Toro …etc. If you are from out of town, you could checkout the Highline, which is a block away. The location truly is perfect. Also, once the Batali place opens (granted I was informed correctly) this will definitely bring back that atmosphere that The Maritime is now missing with the absence of La Bottega.


Oyster Fest in Brooklyn This Weekend

Tomorrow is going to be 79 Degrees and Sunny, so you should probably check this out. The good people at Brooklyn Crab in Red Hook are doing a Spring Oyster Fest, and for $55/per person you could get unlimited beer and unlimited oysters.

Grab ticket on there site now.

24 Reed Street
Brooklyn, NY

Hu Kitchen: Awesome Healthy Food

Last week I went over to Hu Kitchen on 5th and 13th. For weeks people have been telling me how great this place is, and I figured I would give it a shot since I am in my final half of my diet.

When we got there I was really surprised, the place was like a dark trendy Korean Deli. There was a coffee section, juice bar, cold food section, hot food section, prepackaged items…etc. Luckily I went with some people who have been there before, because there was a lot to choose from and they were smart enough to grab seats upstairs before we grabbed our food. People were holding down tables like it was there job. I was just waiting for a fight to breakout between these paleo-addicts.

I decided to start with The Wild Meatloaf, with a two sides. The meatloaf was 100% grass-fed org ground beef, wild elk, Berkshire pork, org egg, onion, garlic, parsley, cumin, housemade BBQ sauce, cayenne pepper. This was one of the best pieces of meatloaf I have ever ate. Nice consistency with a little kick from the cayenne pepper. This will definitely be my goto main dish at Hu. The side dishes I got the Roasted Butternut Squash and Rotisserie Pineapple. Both great sides, highly recommend both. When I went back on Saturday afternoon I actually ordered the same sides again.

Along with the meatloaf, which is a nice portion, I decided in the sake of research to try the bison burger also. The Iron Mike Bison Burger is only a special I believe, and I didn’t see it the next time I went back. If you see this on the menu, grab it. The meat was pretty juicy for bison, and had some great flavors.

This Saturday we went back I grab a healthy lunch before our massive upcoming meal at Del Posto later that night. I went with the Diesel Parker which is the Grandmaster Veg with 100% grass fed HuJoe Beef. The Grandmaster Veg is a grain/dairy free lasagna, made with eggplant, carrot, green cabbage, cashew, house made marinara, garlic and chili flake. This is massive and pretty good, definitely check it out as well.

Hu Kitchen
78 5th Avenue (btwn 13 & 14th)

Apple Watch: Buying Guide

I personally do not know if I will be buying an Apple Watch. I just don’t know if it really is a necessity and something I would even enjoy wearing. Despite the Milanese Loop band (kind of like the Breitling Bands) I really think the product is only okay-looking. Additionally I don’t think I would enjoy the feeling of a pulsating tap every time I get a notification.

However, time will tell (no pun intended) and I have included an awesome Buyers Guide from my friends at Business Insider. This is an extremely helpful guide to understanding the different models, accessories, and price points. image

Eat Your Way Through Yankee Stadium

Opening day has gone and passed, and the Yanks are now 1-1. I personally have not attended a game as I prefer to get inebriated while watching the game in 60 degree and above weather. The most important thing you should read before going to the stadium, my guide of where to eat.

First and most important place to stop is Lobel’s. With two locations, I really find it important to goto the Section 134 location if it’s your first time. While waiting on a pretty large line, you can watch their butchers slice through various cuts of meat. Watching the butcher work his way through the Lobel’s dry-aged meat behind a glass window is the best display in the Bronx – fuck the Sea Lions Feeding at the Bronx Zoo.

Since their opening in 2012, I have officially ruined over 13 Yankee Jerseys. The sandwiches are extremely messy, and well worth ruining the replica jersey you purchased at Modell’s prior to the game. The meat is piled onto buns, and is pure deliciousness. Juicy, thinly sliced, and dripping in juices – expect to make a mess. I can personally eat three of these, but than again I have a bit of an eating problem. There is also another stand in Section 321 you can checkout, but I am sure the lines will be pretty large regardless.

Next up, one of my personal favorites, Parm. As you can tell from my post, I have a thing for all restaurants related to Major Food Group, aka all places that come from Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone. This includes, Dirty French, Torrisi, Carbone, Parm…etc. I live down the block, and have made myself a regular via takeout or delivery. So when they opened up in Yankee Stadium – life got even better. Located in the Great Hall, this should definitely be on your stopping list.

Garlic Fries is one of the main reasons I decide to trek up to The Bronx, rather then watch a game in HDTV on my couch. They are the best thing ever created (made out of a potato) and if you feel like being a fatass ask them to put some nacho cheese on top.

If a bank takes you out, try to get them to swing the NYY Steak or Legend Suite Lounge…

Now here are some that are okay, but you should skip to pursue the above mentioned.

Carl’s Steaks: Philly Cheesesteaks that are okay, but nothing special. I am not saying this because all things from Philadelphia suck, and that the city is subpar in comparison to NYC, I am saying it because the sandwich is just okay. Really nothing special.

Nathan’s: You can get a Nathan’s hotdog pretty much anywhere. Even airports and The Staten Island Mall sells them, so why bother wasting room in your stomach. Goto Coney Island and get a real one…

Brother Jimmy’s: I hate Brother Jimmy’s, and even worse people who call it Bro Jay’s. If you show poor enough judgement to goto the one in Murray Hill (and think it’s cool) than I rather you not look at this site. Just kidding, kind of… It’s not a bad idea to stop in the location at Yankee Stadium, but once again it’s not my first choice.

Johnny Rockets: Skip…

Best Golf Pants Ever: Uniqlo Dry Pants

This weekend I figured I would sneak a quick round of golf in prior to Easter Dinner with the family. The Saturday before I realized I needed to purchase some new golf pants so I went to GolfSmith, Dicks, etc… I couldn’t find a semi-decent pair under $85, and that’s when I realized I need to goto Uniqlo.

While passing the Uniqlo by my apartment, Broadway and Broome, I remember seeing they had these pants advertised. They are called ‘Dry Function Pants’ which are made from a quick-dry material (100% Polyester) that keeps you feeling cool, and has a little bit of a stretch to it. This stretch fit is so comfortable, and makes me feel like there is no shot of ripping my pants when going to put my tee into the ground. The pants are also extremely lightweight/breathable, which ensured I did not sweat my balls off by the time the sun came out. Also, these look like regular dress pants – so I am definitely going to start wearing these around the office once summer comes.

The pants are $40, and are really awesome. I picked up three pairs, Grey (Wool Like), Black, and Navy. The pants come in their standard 34″ length, but with their free-tailoring (sometimes same day), you can’t go wrong with these pants.

Most Important Chart of the Day: Beer Taxonomy Chart

Today in honor of ‘National Beer Day’ our friends at Business Insider/RateBeer.com put up their Beer Taxinomy Chart to show the different types of beers. I personally hate any type of ‘National (Insert Stupid Object) Day’ posts from any website – but this one is actually pretty awesome. Enjoy image

New York International Autoshow: Preview of New Supercars

Tomorrow The New York International Auto Show kicks off over on the West Side at the Jacob Javits Center. I like to go every year and check out what’s new, and have pipe dreams of driving out in a Ferrari. This year I am extremely excited to see the newest offerings from Aston Martin, and the revival of an old favorite, the Acura NSX.

Aston Martin will be debuting their Vulcan this year, which is a track-only supercar. This vehicle has a 7.0 liter V-12 which is pumping out over 800+ Horsepower. With a price tag of over USD 2m, easy to say I won’t be picking up one of these limited-release models available in 2016.


Next up, one of my childhood favorites – The Acura NSX. The last time Acura showed this, it was strictly a concept that left every 90s kid with blue balls. Luckily, this is now hitting the production line. When I was younger I would see one of these, and go nuts. Back then the NSX kind of looked like a Ferrari F50, Ferrari Testarossa, and Corvette had a lovechild. Honda/Acura even used Pininfarina to design the car, hence it’s Ferrari look. The greatest thing about these First Generation models were the price, they were actually attainable for less than half the price of Ferraris, and with half the cylinders since it was powered with VTEC V6 engines.

Acura’s decision to unveil the one labeled ‘poor man’s Ferrari’ is one of the main reason I am look forward to going. The car will house a V6 engine, pumping out 500+ HP, and will be starting around 150-160K, not bad considering the Italian Alternatives.



Dig Inn: First Time Going In Person

So I am on this Whole30 Diet, so as you can see from my post – hasn’t been too much about going out and eating/drinking. But I assure you, there will be a bunch coming soon.

Last night before the ALT-J Concert at MSG, the four of us decided to avoid any restaurants that would make it hard to eat healthy, so we went to Dig Inn. As you know from my previous post, I love this place. However, I have never been there in person until last night. I am so used to eating it while hovering over my keyboard, and reading news articles.

We went to the location by my office on 52nd, and when we sat down it kind of reminded me of a mix of Chipotle and Bianca on Bleecker Street. Country style decor, but with a fast moving front counter.

I got my usual Mom’s Braised Beef and it was just as great as the last thousand times I ordered it. Meat cooked perfectly, with a ton of flavor. This was also the first time I tried the Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Spicy Sunflower Seeds, which is easily a new favorite. I pride myself on being a carnivore, but I literally ate every single piece of the sprouts before I even touched my meat (that doesn’t sound right).

I really cannot stress how much I love Dig Inn, and how much I now look forward to stepping away from my Bloomberg Terminal to actually take a lunch break.

ALT-J: Live at Madison Square Garden

A little more than two years ago I was moving into my apartment in Nolita. I remember walking around and seeing signs posted on the side of Sohotel, where now Bacchanal calls home. There were posters for back then little known bands, only reason I knew them was due to a serious addiction to Alt Nation on Sirius Radio. For example, Bastille, GroupLove, SmallPools all playing Terminal Five, before there more well known songs.

Out of all these posters the one that stood out the most was The Bowery Presents ALT-J @ Terminal Five. The poster was everywhere. The construction on Crosby Street, the walls of the shitty grey parking building across from Toby’s Public House… The concert was March 24, 2013 – and I would have never guessed almost exactly two years later I would be seeing them live in front of a sold out crowd at Madison Square Garden.

Last nights show was great, and if you weren’t there you could have listen to the live stream last night on Alt Nation. I am sure this will be again, as they have a tendency to play the same things over again, so definitely keep your eyes out for it.

If you like ALT-J definitely make the attempt to see them live, they put on an awesome performance. Also, if you are into this type of music, than you should make sure you are subscribed to The Bowery Presents.

Lollapalooza 2015: Lineup Announced This Morning

This morning the lineup for Lollapolooza in Chicago was announced, and it is pretty f***ing awesome. With Metallica, Alt-J, Brand New, and some guy named Paul McCartney, I am pretty excited. Check out the full line up below, and we will see you in Chicago.

Souvlaki GR: Great Greek Food in LES

Over the past few years I have walked past Souvlaki GR a couple dozen times and never thought much about it. The other night before heading to a concert at Mercury Lounge we decided to book a table and eat some Greek.

When we walked into the restaurant I was really surprised by the decor. The place looks like you are sitting in an alley way of an Aegean Island. Really cool idea, and I guarantee I could have fool some people if I took a picture from the right angle of us eating at our table.

We started off with two bottles of wine, one Rose and one white. I decided to go with a beer and ordered a Red Donkey, which is Red Ale produced by Santorini Brewing Company. This is a great beer, which was well balanced, and had a bit of bitterness on the backend. Order two more before the meal was done.

There were eight of us, so we decided to order a bunch of appetizers for the table – and every single one of them was amazing. We started with the Mezedes – and ordered three spreads: Hummus, Melitzanosalata (Eggplant), and Tzatziki. This came with a bunch of pita, and all the spreads were great, definitely recommend all three. We then moved to Spanakopita (Spinach Pie) and Tyropita (Cheese Pie). Classic Greek dishes, which were executed perfectly. We also ordered a few salads, Horiatiki (Traditional Greek Salad) and Revidosalata (Chickpea Salad). I personally did not try the salads as I didn’t want to waste any room in my stomach on non-meat items. Apparently the salads were great, and the three girls ordered them as entrees as well and added shrimp and/or chicken. We also order a large order of Lamb Chops for the table. This was my first time ordering anything legal by the kilo, just kidding, and the 2.2 pounds of meat came with about 18 pieces of lamb on the bone. This was charcoal grilled & marinated with greek salt & extra virgin olive oil. After racking up a dish of bones in front of me, I realized this was the best lamb I have had in a long time. The dish was simple and authentic, tasting just like it did while in Croatia. The use of charcoal, salt, and evoo disproves the need for any god damn green mint jelly. For my main I got the Pork Souvlaki Pita, which were delicious. I only ordered one, which although small, was the perfect size considering how much we ordered prior. For $6, which is a great price, you get a choice of chicken or pork with tomato, red onions, fries & tzatziki. Also, we ordered a few platters of Greek Fries that were unreal. They were hand cut fries sprinkled with feta. They were crispy, they were salty, they were awesome.

As mentioned above, everything was awesome. But the items I suggest the most were the Souvlaki Pita, Fries, Lamb, Hummus, and Eggplant Dip. Next time your girlfriend says she wants to goto Greece, take her here…

Buttermilk Falls Inn: Leave Your Office, Grab Your Woman, and Go

Last year for our anniversary I decided to take my fiancé (then girlfriend) away for the night to Buttermilk Falls Inn, up in Milton, NY. Prior to going she had been looking into it for a while, that’s when I had the amazing idea to surprise her with a trip.

We went up early Sunday, spent the day, and came back to dreary NYC the following afternoon. The drive up there was great, it was about 90 minutes north of the city, but once you got up there you felt like you were nowhere near Manhattan. Luckily for us the weather was great, so we got to enjoy the full experience of the property.

When we arrived our room was not yet ready, which I figured since it was so early in the morning, so the people at the front desk gave us the history of the property, along with some suggestions on what to do. Since we were hungry, we decided to go to their restaurant Henry’s on the Farm, which I was excited for considering it was farm to table. Our experience at Henry’s really made us both fall in love with the resort, and we went there for dinner that night. Since we were there early we had their Brunch Menu, which was exactly what we needed. The three dishes (as you know by now we order a lot of food) that stood out the most were the Chef’s Daily Flatbread, Lobster Mac and Cheese, and Pulled Pork sandwich. The daily flatbread was one of the most interesting things I have ever seen, and I admit I didn’t think I would like it all that much. It was a flatbread with Vermont Cheddar, apples, and bacon. I still think this was one of my favorite dishes. Below you will see the picture, this getaway was the first opportunity I had to use my Canon SL1 and it got a lot of use. The Lobster Mac and Cheese was delicious, also pictures below, and had large hearty chunks of lobster. As you could guess, we scraped the skillet clean.



After leaving Henry’s we went back across the road and checked into our room. We were staying in the ‘Sweet Basil’ room, which has a queen-size bed, marble-topped dresser, exposed original stone chimney, private bath with whirlpool tub, and built-in fireplace. Also this room features a semi-private entrance which goes out into one of their gardens. The ‘Sweet Basil’ room is located in the main house, which was built around 1764.

After getting settled, we decided to walk around the property and explore the grounds. We walked through the gardens, and past the lake/waterfalls, to checkout the working garden, Buttermilk’s own Millstone Farm. This is where the property gets their honey, eggs, herbs, fruits, berries and produce. Near the garden we went over to the animal area, which is home to honey bees, heritage chickens, angora goats, llamas, alpacas, donkeys and peacocks. Safe to say this place really means it when they say Farm to Table.

We also checked out The Barn, which is next to the gardens. This building was beautiful, and can be rented out for private events – from weddings, to family reunions.

We decided to head back to The Main House to change into shorts when we came across Afternoon Tea. This was an awesome surprise and we decided to hangout and enjoy the outdoor seating. This is served daily and includes homemade baked goods such as coffee cake, cookies, cheese danish, babka, scones and a house favoite, carrot cake.

Once we left Afternoon Tea we purchased a bottle of Sancerre from the front desk and hung out on the Adirondack chairs on the Reception Patio. This area overlooks the Hudson River, and is a great spot to just hang out and relax. If you walk around the area you will see some of the other guesthouses, along with a trail that will lead to the other waterfalls.


For dinner we ended up back at Henry’s which as I mentioned earlier, we are pretty obsessed with. Dinner was phenomenal and service was once again on point.

In the morning, we had breakfast which was held in the same room and outdoor patio as Afternoon Tea. The country breakfast includes farm fresh eggs, local cheeses and produce accompanied by a buffet of fresh fruit and homemade artisinal baked goods. Favorites include buttermilk pancakes topped with fresh Millstone peaches, or the “power plate”, consisting of quinoa, avacado and farm fresh vegetables, topped with a Millstone egg. To drink they serve juices, local herbal teas and coffee. All of the items we had were delicious, and was a great way to start the day.

During the trip and even today, my only regret was not scheduling a spa appointment prior to my arrival. I figured since we would be there on a Sunday-Monday, we would have no issue getting appointments. I was wrong, and still am upset about it. The Spa area is beautiful and includes their glass enclosed indoor Endless Pool. From the pool area there are great views of the Hudson River and Buttermilk’s meadows and gardens. The pool is also equipped with Endless Pool Fastlane technology, allowing you to swim against a current. Also in the pool area they feature a Dry Cedar Sauna and Steam Room, which is a great way to relax. Next time I go back I will ensure we setup spa appointments prior to our stay, and get to enjoy a nice massage with all the other great aspects of Buttermilk Falls Inn.


Club A Steakhouse: Fantasy Football Dinner

The other week we held our annual office fantasy football dinner, where the bottom half of the pool picks up the tab. We have a weekly pick em league, with over 30 guys, so it’s safe to say you want to be on the top of the table. The bill per loser can really rack up, especially when some people go for the jugular, i.e. Porterhouse for 2 for 1, or bottles of Opus One. For me, win or lose, I do it for the networking and face time.

The past few years the dinner has been held at Smith & Wollensky, but this year my boss decided to change it up. He has his assistant look into private rooms at Del Frisco’s, Quality Meats, Maloney & Porcelli, Keens… I think even at one point the idea of STK Midtown was thrown around. However, due to the dinner being scheduled around some pretty important people and the size of the group, none of the above were able to accommodate us. That’s when we came across Club A Steakhouse, which was close to the office and has a private dinning room on the second floor that we would be able to fit the group.

Earlier that morning, in true sore winner fashion, my boss sent out an email to all the winners/losers advising on how to maximize tonight’s eating potential by not filling up for breakfast and/or lunch. I definitely took note, and ordered a light lunch from Certe around 11:00, so I would be starving.

We all walked down 58th Street and saw the trees outside Club A wrapped in lights, which made me realize I passed this place the other day going back to my apartment from Home Depot. We walked in, and quickly realized this place loves the color red. There was red ceilings, red walls, red seat cushions… Also, they had a ton of velvet. They had enough velvet to make velour suits for the whole borough of Staten Island. With the decor of red, gold, and velvet, I felt like I was in Tony “Scarface” Montana’s Miami Mansion – I was waiting to see a globe with the words ‘The World is Mine’ on it. So we walked up the stairs into the ‘Living Room’ section – which could seat up to 45 people. As you could have guessed, more red and velvet, and a fireplace which was nice.

The feast was about to begin and I was starving. I ordered a Chimay as we waiting to order. Haven’t had a good Trappist beer in a while, and wanted to see what the good old Belgian monks have been brewing. As soon as the waiter took our order we saw the first rush of appetizers come to the table, thick cut bacon and seafood towers. The bacon was unbelievable, cut about 1/4 of an inch thick, and was getting some great reviews from the table. It was tender, juicy, and had a nice charred outside. From every angle I was able to see people cutting the bacon and stuffing it into their mouths. The steak sauce they provided went well with the smokiness of the meat. Since going to to Club A, I have been contemplating stoping their for lunch just to get some swine – and at $5/slice it’s extremely tempting. Onto the seafood towers, which were massive. I honestly do not remember how many of these we ordered but all that remained was crushed ice and the discarded inedible carcasses of the shellfish. The platters included U7 Shrimp (which means 7 shrimp per pound so they were huge), Lobster, King Crab Meat, and Colossal Crab Meat. Seafood was all extremely fresh and before I knew it I was ducking out of the way of pieces of shells flying from fellow employees cracking open massive lobster claws.

Once the shared appetizers were cleared from the table, we received our personal appetizers. I went with the Tuna Tartare since the waiter talked it up so much, and it didn’t disappoint. The portion was massive, which was worrying me as I had a huge steak coming soon. Then I realized I am a bottomless pit, and ate the heaping mountain of raw tuna. We had a nice pause so we can all digest, and continue drinking before the main courses came. I drank another Chimay, followed by some Red Wine since the waiters kept refilling my glass – I mean, why not, I did come in the top 15 of the pool, and I was not chipping in for the bill.

Prior to the main courses, a slew of waiters came into the private room like something out of a movie. They were dropping down on the table the family style sides, which included 5 Cheese Truffle Mac, Onion Rings, Creamed Spinach, Jumbo Asparagus, Mash Potatoes, Garlic Herb Fries, and Hash Browns. Then came out the meat, I ordered Prime Dry Aged Porterhouse Steak for 3, to split with someone. The steak was good, however was a little over cooked – more towards medium, which was a little disappointing. This is something I could expect at a regular restaurant – but not somewhere with ‘Steakhouse’ in the name. I didn’t let this ruin the experience as the steak was still pretty good. I would say I ate my fair share of the Porterhouse, would even go as far to say I ate around 65% of it. The sides were all great, the best were definitely the hash browns and onion rings – definitely recommend ordering them.

After dinner we finished with some dessert and a Lagavulin 16, was going to order the Laphroaig 10, but as mentioned earlier I wasn’t paying…

JCrew: Abingdon Weekender Bag

If you like me, you have reached the aged of no longer being able to pack clothes for the weekend in a gym bag. Apparently at some point we all need to grow up, and look like an adult, so that’s when I picked up a JCrew Abingdon Weekender Bag. I now use this thing constantly, and a lot of people throw some pretty nice compliments.

The Abingdon Weekender Bag is a great size, which makes it perfect for packing clothes to get away for a few days. It has a an outside pocket, which I usually put all my shaving products, cologne, and stuff. The exterior of the bag is made out of a waxed cotton canvas, which is extremely tough. I literally bump this bag into subway turnstiles, fire hydrants, cars – and no visible damage at all. I chose the Deep Olive color, but the bag also comes in Khaki and Navy.
If you getting ready for the Spring/Summer, aka getting ready for taking the LIRR out to the Hamptons, pick up one of these.

Books: The Frackers by Greorgy Zuckerman

I am currently reading ‘The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters’ by Gregory Zuckerman. A few years back he wrote one of my favorite books, about John Paulson’s rise to Hedge Fund stardom titled ‘The Greatest Trade Ever: The Behind-the-Scenes Story of How John Paulson Defied Wall Street and Made Financial History’. If you have not read his Paulson book, trust me go buy it – it is a must read for anyone working in finance.

As I am only one-hundred pages deep into The Frackers, I cannot give a full review, but so far it is a great book. Below is an excerpt from Zuckerman’s site which gives an overview of the book.

In five years, the United States has seen a historic burst of oil and natural gas production, easing our insatiable hunger for energy. A new drilling process called fracking has made us the world’s fastest growing energy power, on track to pass Saudi Arabia by 2020. But despite headlines and controversy, no previous book has shown how the revolution really happened.

The Frackers tells the dramatic tale of how a group of ambitious and headstrong wildcatters ignored the ridicule of experts and derision of colleagues to pursue massive, long-overlooked deposits. Against all odds, they changed the world—and made astonishing fortunes in the process.

Zuckerman’s exclusive access enabled him to get close to men like George Mitchell, who developed a new way to drill for gas in shale rock; Harold Hamm, who discovered so much oil he’s now worth more than the estate of Steve Jobs; and Aubrey McClendon, who lost more than $2 billion on a misguided gambit. Zuckerman shows how the frackers are now using their wealth to shake up Hollywood, education, politics, sports, and other fields, much like the Rockefellers and Gettys before them.

He also explores the debate over the environmental risks of fracking, and whether those risks are worth it for the United States to achieve energy independence and for the rest of the world to follow.

Website: www.gregoryzuckerman.com

Brinkley’s: Chicken Pot Pie Awesomeness

I have been going to Brinkley’s for close to 5 years now. I even moved as close as possible to it, on the same block and a mere 0.1 miles from it. Not only do I love their beer selections, but they have great food as well.

I have had everything from their duck fat fries, to black garlic humus, to the lobster club. I even would say they have one of the best burgers in the neighborhood, along with Randolph’s. Over the thousands of hours drinking local beers, slurring words, and dropping beer on their black and white checkered floor – I never noticed they have a Chicken Pot Pie on the menu.

The Chicken Pot Pie is a special, and only served on Monday – which may cause issues with my current drinking schedule being that Monday is my off day/recovery day.

The CPP is done with Puff Pastry, Poached Chicken & Seasonal Veggies in Béchamel. When it gets to the table, it is still in the hot cast iron skillet and the size of my head. About 10 inches in diameter, I could have used this thing to play Kan Jam. Instead, I poked my fork through the puff pastry into the gooey filling and burnt the fuck out of my mouth. I have been alive for twenty-eight years, and I still have not learned to let things cool down before eating. Although I singed off a good portion of my taste buds, I was able to tell this CPP had some awesome flavors. The mix of the peas and carrots with the butteriness of the roux blended together perfectly. The pie also had generous chunks of chicken, you can tell it was chopped off the breasts of the Kate Upton of chickens. With the meal I decided to drink some Empire Amber Ale, which made a great pairing. The biscuity and caramel sweetness, mixed with the piney/hoppy bitterness on the backend.

Get over your case of the Mondays (next Monday), take the 6 Train down to Spring Street, and get some Chicken Pot Pie. Also, wash it down with an Empire Amber Ale.

Switzerland: Ski in St. Moritz

Every time it snows I get excited for the possibility of getting away and hitting the slopes. Then reality checks in and I realize with my schedule over the past few months – that I will be spending the snowy days walking up and down the Manhattan streets.

This was not the case for my friends over at Bella Vita Style. They were able to make it out to Europe to ski the Swiss Alps, and I sent them over a package from ‘Send Your Enemies Glitter‘.  Hope they enjoy cleaning up that mess.

Below are some excepts from their guides to where to stay, and where to go while in St. Moritz.

Where To Stay:

Kulm Hotel: During the trip, we spent two nights at Kulm Hotel, which is widely considered to be one of the nicest hotels in the area. This year it won the TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice award naming it the best hotel in Switzerland, and having stayed there, we can see why.

Kulm really cherishes its rich history. The hotel started as a small, 12-room hotel run by Johannes Badrutt in 1856, who is basically godfather to the region and the reason why St. Moritz became such a destination for the world’s elite. While people visited the region in the summer to spend time at the lake and the mountains, Badrutt convinced British visitors to come back in the winter, with a bet that they could ski and get a tan, given the strong sun and high elevations. The Brits were skeptical, but took him up on his offer. From there, word spread, and the rest is history.

Hotel Grand Kempinski Des Bains: Nestled next to Corviglia ski mountain is Hotel Grand Kempinski Des Bains, a five-star luxury resort in St. Moritz that seamlessly combines glitz and comfort.

This 184-room hotel is part of the Kempinski chain, with locations in Dubai, Istanbul and Bangkok. The hotel has a distinctly buzzy feel, and attracts a young, hip clientele who are looking to indulge in world-class skiing, après ski and restaurants.

We recently spent three nights at Kempinski and wanted to share our thoughts for those of you contemplating a trip to St. Moritz. Our room was beautifully-appointed, with a balcony overlooking the Alps and a chilled bottle of Veuve Cliquot champagne waiting for us along with some olives and cheese.

For skiing, there is a chairlift just across the road from the hotel, which is super convenient. The hotel also has ski rentals on the premises, another added convenience, and the shop had all of the newest gear and even had our ski boots ready and waiting for us in the morning after heating them up for us.

Where to Eat and Apres:

Bamyan Ski Club:This popup bar is run by the Afghan ski club and has a distinctly Middle Eastern feel to it. Sit on poof chairs and sip cocktails like the Afghan mule, a take on the Moscow mule while picking on Middle Eastern fare.

Hauser: This was one of the funnest and affordable places we had post-ski drinks. The family-owned restaurant has an outside area called Roo Bar lit up by heating lamps where toasts and locals alike can sip on some Gluhwein.

Post Haus: We loved how Post Haus mixed Alpine chic decor with high-quality cocktails. The mojito was the best I had on the trip.

L’Indochine: After drinks at Post Haus, head to L’Indochine for Asian fusion food and great cocktails. Get the pork and shrimp spring rolls to start and then get one of their brochettes as your main.

Les Saisons: This was the best meal of our trip. Inside the Hotel Grand Kempinski des Bains is a wonderful steakhouse and grill that is not to be missed. The menu has such variety of cuts, from local meat to USDA to Kobe and Wagyu. The steak I ate is pictured above.

The Pizzeria: If you’re looking for Italian food and lighter fare, the Kulm Hotel’s Pizzeria restaurant has a really diverse menu with everything from pizza, to fish and pasta.

Sra Bua: If you’re a sushi fan, beeline it to Sra Bua, a new restaurant at the Hotel Grand Kempinski des Bains. The sushi is beautifully arranged and even tastier, and don’t forget to ask for the fresh wasabi.

The Grey Dog: Bring Back the Chicken Florentine

Let me start this by saying, I am in love with the food from Grey Dog – which is probably why I order it at least once a week. But, it has been a while since they have had one of their best dishes.

imageSince the weather began getting cold, which feels like decades ago, I would call on a nightly basis to see what their soup selection is – to which I would generally get in response “Texas Chili, Root Vegetable, and Carrot Ginger.” These are not bad choices, and from time to time they would have the Chicken Meatball which is delicious. However, the Chicken Florentine has been gone for some time.

This tomato based soup of chicken, spinach, and cheese was one of the best soups I have ever tried. When Grey Dog would have it, I would be like a squirrel getting ready for winter and stock up. But, my arsenal of soup has been depleted and I am now left with nothing. Yes I still order my usuals – either a Turkey Burger, Roast Beef Press, Grilled Chicken Press, and/or Philadelphia Cheese Steak – but something has been missing, and it is the Chicken Florentine Soup.

Similar to the time I requested Rubirosa to bring the Clam Pie back via Twitter, and they did, I am hopping for the same outcome here. Grey Dog, make it happen. Also, please send me some of your homemade potato chips ASAP.

Bartending Tips: Oak Barrel Aged Manhattan


We can’t all make a fancy old fashion like the one in my article on FortyFour at The Royalton Hotel. But, if you want to impress some of your friends look into the below.

A few month’s back I got my buddy a Whiskey Barrel from Bluegrass Barrels for Christmas. He is a bartender at one of my favorite bars, Brinkley’s in Soho, and he sent me over the other the concoction he is making in his 2 litter barrel. He is letting it age for 4-6 weeks, and then bottling them up. Order a barrel, give it a shot and let me know what you think.

619 ml Bulleit Whiskey

619 ml Hennesy

619 ml Dolin Sweet Vermouth

139.75 ml Benedictine

25 Dashes of Peychaud Bitters

25 Dashes of Angostura Bitters

Barraca: Tapas That Was Okay…


The other night we went to dinner with my fiancé’s friends – and were supposed to goto Rubirosa, but they couldn’t accommodate us. We choose to get some tapas, and coming down from my high of Saturday Nights Toro Trip, I was excited to crush some small plates. They chose Barraca, which is owned by the Quimeria Group – also own Macondo and Rayuela. So I did what any normal food obsessed person would do, and checked around a few websites to see how the food. Saw a bunch of 4s out of 5, and a 21 on Zagat.  So I was looking forward to giving it a shot, and embarrass Nicole while I eat like a beast in front of her friends.

Once we got on to Greenwich, I knew exactly what place it was. Feel like I passed a couple hundred times, usually going to and from the Meatpacking District. Place has some nice curb appeal, decorated nicely with some plants in the windows. Once you walk in, you see the bar area which was pretty busy – large glass containers filled with their multiple types of sangria concoctions. While in the bar area we were smelling the dishes as they were coming out of the kitchen – in my head I took mental note of what items I should order.

Once we sat, the waiter gave us both their regular menu and Restaurant Week menu. Knowing we would like to do multiple dishes, we decided to go with the regular menu. The girls ordered a pitcher of sangria, and the guys ordered Mahou because Barraca ran out of Estrella. This was actually a nice change, I haven’t had Mahou since my Madrid trip two years ago and always choose Estrella when I see it.

We then began the ordering, and I tried to mask my excitement when everyone ask me to order a few things. We held onto the menus to order again after the first round of items came. The excitement started to drift away once I tasted the food, it wasn’t bad – but it wasn’t great. It was, ‘okay’ at best. Thinking it was just me, I asked Nicole and she described it as ‘just okay’ as well. The best part I would say was the Idiazabal cheese – which says a lot considering I am not a big cheese person.

Below is some of the items we ordered:

The Good

  • Charcuterie Board: We chose Jamon Serrano, Manchego, and Idiazabal. Everything was good, with the smokiness of the Idiazabal making it really standout as my favorite.
  • Suquet: grilled monkfish, clams, mussels, artichokes, shrimp, almond ‘picada’. This was good, went pretty fast since there was five of us. The fish was good, and enjoyed the broth.

The Okay

  • Patatas Bravas: Crispy home fries spicy tomato sauce, and aioli. Pretty good, definitely not as great as the Patatas Bravas at Toro.
  • Croquetas De Jamon: Croquettes with Seranno ham. Its pretty much impossible to mess up a croquette, its potato and fried. Was good, definitely nothing special.
  • Datiles con Bacon: dates wrapped in bacon with blue cheese.
  • Carne a La Brasa: Skirt Steak, salsa verde, fingerling potatoes, roasted shallot, and crispy kale. Was cooked nice and red on the inside, wish I would have ordered this solely for myself.

The Disappointing

  • Calamar a la Plancha: Grilled squid, and possibly one of the worst octopus dishes I have ever had. The presentation looked great, long tentacles with peppers. One bite into it, kind of wish I didn’t. Coming from the Octopus Plancha the other night at Toro, Barraca’s version was extremely disappointing. The seasoning was totally off, some pieces with Mediterranean spices but kind of just tasted like someone threw Frank’s Red Hot Sauce on it.
  • Canelon de Pato: tube pasta filled with duck, duck liver, orange, and manchego cheese. This was pretty bad as well, kind of felt like these were pre-stuffed and sat in a fridge for a while until some unlucky prick ordered it. I would stay away if you end up going to Barraca.

Parm: Meat + Cheese + Sauce


Although I have a long history of my obsession with Parm, this weekend was the first time I ever actually sat down and ate a full meal inside. Over the years I have persuaded my bosses to pay for catering orders on a semi-annual basis, ordered from Seamless, and picked up food for takeout. On the times we did attempt to eat there, I was turned off by their one-hour wait. So this weekend, with the snow and all, was the weekend to make it happen.

While sitting in the apartment, we noticed the whole apartment had a mini power surge. Thinking nothing of it considering Nicole was doing her hair, I had my projector and speakers on, we left the apartment. We trekked outside in the snow to head up the block to consume some meats covered in red sauce and cheese, excellent way to spend any Saturday. When we go there, I ordered a round of drinks from the waitress – to which she replied “tonight we are cash only since a power surge knocked out the servers  on our computers.” When I went to pay for the round, she paused, and then told the whole bar due to the issue the drinks were on the house and everyone would need to pay cash for their food. The bar let out a huge celebratory cheer, and we hung out until our table was ready. I have to say, you know you have a great business when it’s snowing outside, you have to last minute make the place cash only, and there is still a 45 minute wait for a table.

I started off with a Bronx Pale Ale, last mug before the keg kicked, and then moved on to an Ommegang Witte. While hanging around out the bar I noticed two of the best words possible under the Specials for Saturday ‘VEAL PARM’. Up until that night, that was the only Parm I have never tried. I was literally drooling in the corner of the bar, when Tommy, the host, came to grab us for our table. As we sat at out table for four, I felt like I was at my grandmother’s house awaiting Sunday Dinner.

The girls began the ordering and decided to start with a few appetizers: Charred Broccoli, B&G Chickpeas, Brussels Sprouts, Spicy Rabe, and Beets Aranciata. Initially I was a little pissed they only ordered vegetables, since none them were smothered in mozzarella or gravy (Italian American for Red Sauce). It was the equivalent of going to Peter Lugers and just ordering a salad. Once the food came, I was no longer angry – the broccoli was charred and delicious, the spicy rabe out of this world, and causing me to grab some water due to the spice level. I cannot leave out the chickpeas, since I was eating them up like a waspy-human version of Hungry Hungry Hippos. Once the empty dishes, where greenery once sat, were cleared – the items I ordered were brought to the table. First up, the Ricotta Toast which has been a staple in my Seamless and Pickup orders. Toasted prosciutto Italian bread with a generous helping of ricotta, olive oil, and a little bit of basil. As always, a phenomenal appetizer and great way to start the meal. Best part was trying the bread, as it was meant to be, fresh out of the oven and crispy and smeared in the cold ricotta. Next, the baked clams. One of the corner stone dishes out of any red-sauce joint, and these were great. My only regret was not saving some bread to dip my bread in to the remaining sauce. Lastly, the fried calamari – which was unbelievable. Apparently the non-marinara sauce, which was an aioli, was mind blowing. Since I do not eat mayo, aioli included, I cannot advise on that aspect of the dish – however the other people I was with, said it was great. The squid was perfectly fried, not rubbery, not just rings but tentacles as well – great dish.

Now, as I have previously mentioned I was extremely excited to try the veal. However, from my past dozen experiences, I did not want to miss out on the meat ball and the chicken. I also wanted some eggplant, but that was the least of my worries – and I knew there was an easy chance of having some from one of the girls.So here I am, decided between three different meats, being told by everyone I can only choose one. However, I had a good feeling I would be able to accomplish both. The girls decided upon splitting a hero of the Eggplant Parm. This was easy for me, knowing that they would not be able to finish even more than half of their dish.Next up, my cousin’s boyfriend ordered platter of veal – which I negotiated with him, to split half of my pending order, for half of his. So I ordered the Chicken Parm roll. While everyone was receiving a refill of wine, at this point our second bottle, I spoke to the waitress and discreetly ordered a Meatball Parm roll as well. Mission Accomplished, technically I won and got to have everything. The veal, was possibly the best veal I have ever ate. While at Carbone, I originally had a little bit of buyers remorse for choosing the Ribeye over the coveted Carbone Veal. At the time I couldn’t pick Veal Parm over a Ribeye, especially when the Veal was $13 more and the ribeye was smothered in rosemary (so amazing). But here I am, a little bit over a year since my trip to Carbone, and I am eating some Major Food Group Veal Parm – it was a great night. The veal was a little thicker than I was accustom to, but was fucking delicious. I literally might march up to my grandmother this week, and let her know she was feeding me subpar veal parm for the past 28 years of my life.

Alidoro: Best Sandwich Shop in NYC

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The other day before going to Toro, we decided to stop for lunch at Alidoro. I have been living in Nolita for over two years, and I am pissed at myself for not knowing about this place sooner. Located on Sullivan Street, this is their original location which opened up in 1986 – with their Midtown location opening a few months back. With forty sandwiches on their menu, and the opportunity to customize the sandwiches, I guarantee anyone would love this place.

Back in 1995, Seinfeld released their Soup Nazi episode – which may really be based off this Italian Sandwich shop. When you get to the counter, know exactly what you want. In the words of the owner, Walter Momente, he is trying to keep the place “as Italian as possible”, so to the left of the menu you will see a long list of things not to ask for. Some of these items include: mayo, ketchup, turkey, roast beef, free cup of water, avocado, mustard ..etc. Additionally, there is some more signs such as “Do Not Ask Me What My Favorite Sandwich Is” and “If You Don’t See It We Don’t Have It”. That being said, know what you want before its your turn to order.

We ordered two sandwiches, not realized they are massive. The first item we order was the Alyssa on their Italian Bread, which was about 15 inches long. This sandwich comes with smoked chicken breast, fresh mozzarella, arugula, and dressing. The second item we ordered was the Dino, which we decided to do on the focaccia. The Dino has prosciutto, smoked mozzarella, sun dried tomato, and arugula. Once we sat down, we were lucky it was a slow day and none of the tables were occupied, we went to work on these sandwiches. In one of my recent articles I mentioned how great the sandwiches are at Alleva, once I had Alidoro – I immediately forgot Alleva existed. Alidoro prides itself on using the best Italian ingredients, and with each bite you taste it. They should get used to seeing this face every weekend, because we are now obsessed.

I have not yet ordered from the Midtown Location, which is on 39 Street, but I look forward to heading over there soon.


Lunch in Midtown: Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen

On my off days from either Certe or Dig Inn (strange using gym terms since I haven’t seen the inside of one in months) I usually go with Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen. They currently have three locations in Manhattan:

8th Avenue & 41st
23rd Street & Madison
570 Lexington & 51st

With the Lexington Location being their newest, and the one I order from. Not only is the food great, but it comes delivered from Seamless pretty quickly. I generally order the Turkey Burger, with an extra patty, avocado, on a whole wheat bun. The burger already comes with arugula and tomato, and their special sauce – however I do not get the sauce. For a turkey burger, I have to say it is really juicy. Each bite you see the juices leak out, kind of looks like worcestershire sauce, unlike the hundreds of dried out turkey pattys across this great city. Whenever our food runners drop the order off on my desk, I see everyone stop and stare as they smell the burger – kind of an oniony, garlic, arugula smell – it is great. Although I cannot speak for the rest of their menu, I can say you should definitely order this if you are looking for a healthy and great tasting lunch order.

Toro NYC: Tapas, Octopus, Paella, and Churros


I knew from the beginning, it would be extremely hard to beat last years Valentines Day dinner at Carbone. But, I had a good feeling Toro might be able to do it – or at least get close. Toro definitely impressed me, and I already want to go back.

Last summer we went to Boston for a music festival called Boston Calling. This was held on Memorial Day weekend and included bands such as Bastille, The Neighbourhood, Modest Mouse, Death Cab for Cutie, Jack Johnson and Brand New. Before going I spoke to some friends for recommendations – everyone came back mentioning Toro. While eating brunch the next morning at The Beehive (Great Place to check out) the bartender also said “Do not leave Boston until you goto Toro.” So we decided to call up, book a reservation and were told that is not possible. So we decided, let’s go for brunch. While there, we ordered up a storm. We started with the olives, foie gras, patatas bravas, escalivada catalana, and finished the apps up with an order of jamon serrano. We then moved to some egg dishes (since it was around 11:00) and moved to the creme de la creme, duck prosciutto and an order of Asada de Huesos aka Bone Marrow with Oxtail. As you can see from my reviews on Minetta Tavern and Charlie Bird, I hold the marrow from Toro in high regard.

When we got back to Manhattan we all said we need to make it a point to goto Toro over in Chelsea. With everyone’s busy schedules, it seemed difficult to get everyone together to book a reservation. So, I said fuck it – Nicole and I are going for Valentine’s Day. Since the day I made the reservation, I kept thinking about the absurd amount of dishes I would be ordering. Removing the romantic aspects of the day and replacing them with a gluttonous sloppy feast. As we were running around doing errands in the neighborhood, I made us stop at Alidoro to get a sandwich early – and avoid ruining my appetite.

We arrived for our reservation, and once we walked in through the maze of wind-blocking tunnels, I was amazed by the size and decor of the restaurant. There we definitely a nice amount of aspects from their Boston location, such as exposed brick, distressed wood, and open ceilings showing the HVAC system. But, they definitely threw a New York/Meat Packing vibe into the mix, which was beautiful. We spoke with the hostess, which didn’t catch her name, but she was extremely nice and she walked us over to our table. Once we sat down, and looking around, I heard the great soundtrack – some songs of Nas’ Illmatic, some Tribe Called Quest – once again, similar to Charlie Bird, it was awesome to hear some hip-hop with amazing food.

The waiter came over, and we ordered our drinks. Nicole mentioned she was looking for something similar to a Pinot Noir, and he recommended two different ones. Initially she ordered the Bodegas Ponce ‘Pino’ Bobal, which she really enjoyed. After she wet with the Cvne Real, which was a little more Old World and earthy – another winner. I went with the Estrella (couple of Estrella) followed by a Smuttynose ‘Brown Dog Ale’ with dessert.

After the first round of drinks came, we placed our order. I gave the waiter a disclaimer to stop me if ordered to much – but then disregarded it and decided to surpass his ‘rule of thumb’ of 6 plates per two people. Here is our order:

  • Pan Con Tomate: Toasted bread with tomato, garlic, Spanish olive oil and sea salt. This dish was so basic, but the pureness of it brought me back to Barcelona. I highly recommend this as a great way to start, and won’t fill you up to much for the other items on the menu.
  • Tuna Tartare: The most amazing thing about this is the way it is listed on the menu “tuna tartare with stuff that we really like“. I mean, come on – how can you not order that? The tuna is served in a anchovies tin – and was delicious. I wanted to order the Tuna Belly initially, and might go with that next time, but the tartare was good.
  • Jamon de Pato: which is aged duck prosciutto, which was great. Nice mix of fat/meat, and was really nice. Tasted even better when I threw it on my Pan con Tomate ***Make that happen***.
  • ColesBrussels sprouts with olive oil and maldon salt. Probably some of the best brussels I had in a long time.
  • Costilla de Carne: Braised beef rib with pigeon peas, farro, and persimmons. This was one of those dishes you will be scraping the dish with your fork, picking up every last molecule of the items. The ribs were nicely cooked, and went extremely well with the farro and peas. I would suggest this if you want some red-meat, but don’t want to fill up on ordering the Chuleta de Buey – which is the 40 Day Dry Aged Rib-eye. **Order this dish**
  • PulpoGalician octopus with potatoes and charred onions. This was one of the best pieces of octopus I have ever tasted. Additionally, I would like to see the size of the octopus this tentacle was cut off – as I immediately yelled in my head, in Liam Neeson’s voice, “Unleash the Kraken!” If I were to take the time to straighten out the tentacle and measure it, I would say it would be 12 inches, thats what she said. Instead, we began to cut this into chunks and devour the Galician Greatness. At first taste I got a bit of a sweet tangy taste, but once I bit threw the charred outside and into the tender inside, I picked up a smokey taste – possible paprika. The potatoes were delicious, kind of looked like mini caramelized scallops and went nicely with the onions and tentacle. Hard to compare with the pulpo from Charlie Bird Noodle Pudding, Rubirosa, or Peasant – since those are more Italian style. This octopus is extremely unique, and I would definitely say this is some premium pulpo,  I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS DISH ****
  • Paella Langostino: Lobster and black summer truffle paella. This was the final item of our order, and since we ordered a lot, and I had full intentions of ordering dessert, I decided to go with the half order. This was a great choice, the pan that comes out is a great size for two people who just ate a ton of tapas. The paella was moist, and full of flavor. I highly recommend ordering the half size, which at $45 isn’t too bad considering it is a large portion with lobster and black truffle.
  • Dessert: The semifreddo was good, however the CHURROS WERE AMAZING. These were by far the best churros I have ever had – better than Barcelona, Madrid, and anywhere in Manhattan. They had the perfect blend of cinnamon-sugar, kind of like taking the bottom of the cereal bag of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. It came with a chocolate dipping sauce, which is not even needed. Trust me, Order these Churros.

Prince Street Pizza: Home of the Original Soho Square

The wedding is booked, the dress is bought – we deserve to eat like fat asses. This past Friday we decided to hang out in the apartment, due to the mild 9 Degree weather. While watching Better Call Saul we were determined to order pizza – just didn’t know from where. We were between Toby’s, Rubirosa (would of had to pick up), Piacere, Prince Street, or L’asso. The Struggle is Real. After debating the choices, and personifying the issue of First World Problems, we mutually agreed we watched a Sicilian Pie (Square to all you non New Yorkers).

When getting a square pie in Manhattan, I really think there is no better place to get it than Prince Street Pizza. I came across this gem when one of my traders who used to live in Noho said to me in disgust “You have never been to Prince Street?” I have now reformed my ways, and have been there/ordered about 10 times. The truth is, once you crave a square pie – there is no chance of not getting one. Additionally, everyone is looking to make the perfect round pie – that everyone over looks the square. That is not the case at Prince Street. They even refer to themselves as the home of ‘The Original Soho Square Pie.’

The last time we went there it was 11:00 on a Saturday night, drunk from a friends’ all you can eat sushi / all you can drink sake parties. After going out, we Irish exited to make it to Prince Street in time. I definitely over ordered for the two of us, but once we got back to the apartment we were in pizza heaven. This Friday, I some how over ordered again (surprise) and we wound up ordering 2 Prince Street Perfection slices, 2 Mercer Margherita slices, and 3 Spicy Spring slices. Also, felt the need to order two orders of Prosciutto Rice Balls, with two dipping sauces of pesto and vodka. I did try to order the Broadway Breadcrumb but they were sold out, which is the second time this happened, starting to feel like it’s not meant to be. When it was all said and done, the only thing that was left over was two slices and an overwhelming feeling that I should really start this wedding diet. The next morning when I left my room to goto the bathroom, Nicole found me sitting on my kitchen cabinet stuffing the remains of the Mercer Margherita down my gullet – it was not my finest moment.

Below are a few of the items I highly suggest. You will notice it is pretty much the whole menu, with the exception of the round pie – which one day I will try.

Prince Perfection Pie signature square. fresh mozzarella cheese and our secret sauce.

Mercer Margherita Pie thin crust. fresh mozzarella cheese, basil and marinara sauce.

Spicy Spring Pie fra diavalo sauce, spicy soppressata and fresh mozzarella cheese.

Stuffed Prosciutto Balls ricotta & mozzarella cheeses and prosciutto.

Sicilian Rice Balls With Beef & Peas beef, rice, peas and marinara sauce.

Neapolitan Rice Balls mozzarella & romano cheeses and rice.

Prince Street Pizza
27 Prince St (btwn Mott and Elizabeth)
New York, NY 10012

Wine Wednesday: Louis Jadot


Want to impress your girlfriend’s family with a good looking bottle of wine without spending your bonus check? Walk to your liquor store, and pick up pretty much any bottle of Louis Jadot. Not only does it look vintage, fancy, and more-expensive than it really is, the wine is really good. I personally have been drinking this vineries’ wines for years. When I am drinking red, which I usually am, I go for either the Beaujolais  (Around $13/per bottle) or the Pinot Noir (Around $20/per bottle). On the rare occasion I have white wine, Pouilly-Fuisse is a great bottle.

So next time you are forced into going to one of those dinner parties, or family parties, drop one of these bottles in the hands of the host – and look like a boss.


Charlie Bird: Even Better The Second Time Around


This past Friday night, I had an 8:30 reservation at Charlie Bird. As you know from my previous article on The Bird – than you know I am a little obsessed with the place. I chose to go here for a small family dinner, both my sister, her boyfriend, and my cousin never ate here – and they were all probably sick of me asking them “Have you gone to Charlie Bird yet?” So I reached out to the team, and they booked me the reservation – and since that day I have been salivating, patiently waiting to eat their delicious food.

Friday morning came around, while at work I ordered lunch at 11:00 and ate a turkey burger on a whole wheat wrap from Certe. I wanted my stomach to be empty for the reservation, nine-and-a-half hours later. I literally sat at my desk punching keyboard keys, with a jovial smile of a kid on Christmas Morning. Now is it normal to get so excited for a restaurant you have been to twice, to most people probably NO, but for me 100%.

We got to the restaurant at 8:20, with my party already at the bar, and the host escorted us to our table. From the minute I walked in I re-remembered one of best  non-food features of Charlie Bird – the soundtrack. Where else can you enjoy fine-dining while listening to Black Street’s No Diggity. Another great feature, the staff. Everyone who works there seems to be extremely happy, and love their job. This definitely carries over to how they handle their guests. From the hosts, to the waiters, to the coat check – excellent service.

Now to the food. To start the meal, and to give these Charlie Bird virgins the true experience – I ordered the Octopus Saltimbocca, Farro Salad, and Razor Clams. We also ordered the Burrata Toast, Lamb Belly, and Bone Marrow. The Octopus was possibly even better than the two previous times I had it. The pieces of tentacles were large, cooked perfectly with a nice char on the outside skin. The prosciutto crispy, and sprinkled along the dish in flakes. Once the octopus was all gone I literally scraped the plate and go every last ceci bean and ounce of sauce like a teenager having the munchies for the first time. The Farro Salad, was great since it had some of the aspects I had while at Charlie Bird over the summer – but with a nice fall/winter twist, roasted pumpkin. To think I went 28 years of my life without eating farro, to eating it for the first time at Charlie Bird – and then craving it ever since – crazy. The razor clams, also were a bit different due to the season. They had fennel and pickeled chili, and were delicious. On to the rest of the appetizers, which were my first time trying. The bone marrow was delicious, and equally as good as Minetta Tavern and Toro, maybe better. The bone marrow was done with anchovies and lemon, but the true highlight was the rich butteriness of the marrow. I think, and still am pretty sure, that I was the only one who ate it – and I devoured every last bit of fatty goodness out of the cavity of the bone. Should also note, the bread they give to spread onto was amazing as well. Next up, the Burrata Toast. I personally am sick and tired of Burrata. Every restaurant has it listed on their specials board every week – and act like they are doing something different from every other place. It’s generally, all the same. However, this Burrata was out if this world. From the first bite it took me back to eating it at one of the stands in the Plaza de San Miguel in Madrid. The cheese was fresh and creamy, with some earthiness from the chanterelles mixed perfectly. Last, my certainly not least, the Lamb Belly, which was done with parsnips and salsa verde. The meat had a nice balance of fat/flavor, if it was a little larger, I would order this as a main course. I have to say, in all the places I have been over the past few months – this might have been the best ordering I have done in a long time. Every dish was amazing, the only issue I was left with was trying to figure out my favorite.

On to the main courses. Out of the five of us two people got the pork shoulder, one bass, one chicken, and I went with the rib eye. We will start with the pork, which got rave reviews from the table, which was done with salsa verde and heirloom beans. My sisters boyfriend, who just spent a few hours on a plane, finished the entire plate with in 3 minutes. Unfortunately I did not get a chance to try this, but I will take his word for it that it was a great dish. The black bass, with broccoli raab, spiced carrots, and citrus au jus was great. The fish was cooked great, with a buttery light taste. The chicken, as you have probably read on every website, is amazing. I could definitely say, with complete confidence, this is the best chicken in all of Manhattan and the five boroughs. I always say it’s a sin to order chicken at a restaurant considering most of them taste the same, or are dried out. Believe the hype, the chicken at Charlie Bird is absolutely amazing. Additionally I would also say the portion was definitely bigger than the fish and pork, so if hungry and between the three – go with the chicken.

For my main course, I was torn between the pork and steak. Going last in the ordering rotation, and seeing that two of the five ordered the pork, I felt the rib eye was definitely the better decision. I could always try their pork (or so I thought) and the server Kalen told me the steak is absolutely delicious, so the Ribeye was the winner. Once the dish came out, I couldn’t believe I ever thought about not getting it. The ribeye, which of course I ordered medium-rare, came out with a chunk of anchovy-butter on top and duck fat potatoes on the bottom. I will say if you are like me, and are not big on anchovies, do not shy away from this dish. Additionally, if you wanted I am sure you could probably get it on the side – but it was so good. The heat from the steak melted he butter, and the saltiness of the anchovy coated the steak. The nicely charred exterior and pinkish-red inside, was so delicious it made steaks I have had recently seem subpar. I really, and truly, am holding this as my new standard for how all steak should be. You could goto Sparks, Ruth Chris, Del Frisco’s, Delmonico’s … and they are all cooked the same, delicious, but the same. Try something different, get with the new age of culinary greatness, and save the old fashion steakhouse for when you fifties – referring to a night out in Manhattan as ‘Date Night’…

Charlie Bird
5 King Street
New York, NY 10012
photo 2

Kuma Inn: Filipino Food in the Lower East Side (BYOB)


Almost exactly two years ago, my cousin told us to meet her on the LES for dinner. She told us before we came to pick up wine and beer, as we were going for BYOB Filipino Food. It was Friday and the streets were filled with the usual hipsters and frat boys, and we made our way through the crowds to a little red door next to Los Feliz. Once we trekked up the stairs, we pretty much found ourselves in an Asian Families living room. We sat in the waiting area, with our four bottles of wine – for four people, and I looked at all the press/reviews framed on the wall.  It has a Zagat rating of 25 for Food, which is pretty impressive  (12 for decor lol), and pretty good reviews from NY Times, Timeout New York, and Gothamist.

I do not remember much of that night, probably due to the one bottle of wine per person, but that was the night I agreed to move into Manhattan. Now, my two year lease is up – funny how things came full circle.

Last night as we walked over, and walking up the stairs – kind of felt like that scene in Beer Fest when they find the Underground Beer Olympics. This time, we were under prepared with only 3 bottles of wine for the six of us, we began looking over the menu. Like floor brokers on the NYSE in the 80s, we began yelling out our orders. At one point the waitress, was a little overwhelmed an walked away, and then came back.

Here was the order, and keep in kind that the dishes are tapas style.

Lechon: deep–fried pork belly lechon kawali with atchara. Probably one of my favorite dishes of the night. The pork belly was tender underneath the crispy skin. We ordered two dishes, the portions are a nice size for the lechon, and it disappeared pretty quickly.

Sausage: sautéed chinese sausage with thai chili-lime sauce. Definitely my second favorite dish. The sausage was crispy on the outside (Kind of like the pepperoni at Prince Street Pizza) and the sauce was great. I generally stay away from spicy things that have the word ‘chili’ in them – but the sauce was well balanced with a kick.

Seared Ahi Tuna: seared perfectly with nice rare inside. Good dish, tuna picks up some heat from the Thai chili and some nice flavors from the miso vinaigrette.

Tuna Tartare: Yellow fin served raw over rice noodles

Rice Crepes: steamed and pan-fried topped with kuma pork bolognese.

Pork Bun: Pretty good, comes two in an order. Definitely not the best I have ever had, but I scarfed it down.

Octopus: grilled baby octopus with pickled bamboo shoots. Wasn’t cooked right, a little rubbery.

Wings: chicken wing adobo, rice vinegar, garlic and soy. Didn’t get to try them, they flew off the table too quickly. From the looks on everyone’s faces, they seemed great.

Kuma Inn
113 Ludlow Street
New York, NY 10012

Momofuku Classes: Best Gift You Can Get Your Significant Other (Trust Me)

So for Christmas I bought my fiancé, and my two little cousins, classes to goto Momofuku Milk Bar. Unless you have been living under a rock, I will assume you know what Momofuku is – if not, I guess I can try to explain. Momofuku was created by David Chang, and their Milk Bar is probably one of the best creations known to man. They take classic desert items, and put their own crazy twist to it, and the end product is fucking amazing. So wouldn’t it be nice to have these snacks whenever you like – thats where my idea formed. BUY THIS CLASS for your girlfriend, wife, mistress, someone else’s wife … JUST DO IT. At the end of the day, you will be the one reaping all the benefits.

The classes will cost you $95/per person and I definitely suggest grabbing the Milk Bar Cookbook, so she can make these items whenever she (you) would like. Just in time for Valentines Day, I just gave you one of the best options ever. Also, even if she wants you to go with here – its not that bad, and they serve Brooklyn Lager during the class. The minute we got done with the class, both my fiancé and cousins were going on about how they can’t wait to make crack pie, cakes, truffles …etc.

Go to their link, Classes @ Momofuku Milk Bar, and look at their schedule and I can guarantee she will be extremely happy, but more importantly you are the true winner. The classes are in their Williamsburg Location, and last about 2 hours.


Forty Four @ The Royalton Hotel: Best Old Fashion Ever


Back around the holiday’s we were invited by LARGE BANK to goto their Client Appreciation Night at Forty Four in The Royalton Hotel. The Morgan Hotel Group definitely did not skimp on the decor of this hotel lobby, with their 20 Foot Fireplace and sunken lounge areas, this is definitely a nice place to grab a drink after work. This is the second year in a row the LARGE BANK decided to host this event there, and although I found this to lack an originality – I found the hidden gem of Midtown West.

Their Hickory Old Fashion 2.0 keeps me coming back to this venue. This made with Bulleit Bourbon, Black Dirt Applejack, Crown Royal Maple, honey water served over a large block of ice and garnished with the smoke of a cherry wood chip. Before they serve the drink, they light a piece of cherry wood and capture the smoke in a glass – covering the drink, which traps the smoke. After a few moments, they release the top cup, and serve the drink (Video Here). From the second you put that cup to your nose, you get the smell of that sweet cherry wood smoke. The taste, is fucking superb! I have had Old Fashions all over New York City, including Brooklyn Bars that specialize in the art form – i.e. Rye in Williamsburg, and Forty Four definitely has THE BEST OLD FASHION in all of New York. If you feel you have something better, please let me know. Until then, I will be getting some second-hand smoke from my Bulleit Bourbon.


Blunt Umbrellas: Best Umbrella Ever

All this snow and rain is starting to get extremely depressing…A few months ago I made one of the best purchases of the year, a well constructed umbrella. This is no regular umbrella, I constantly tell people it is the umbrella Bruce Wayne would have, if he were real.

The model I bought, Blunt_XS Metro, is compact and durable. Like all Blunt Umbrellas, it features their Radical Tensioning System (RTS). The RTS redirects, transfers and distributes the effort used in opening the umbrella throughout its entire canopy surface. Once opened, you can see how taut the fabric becomes around the ribbing, which helps combat the wind. These umbrellas are aerodynamic, and tested in Wind Tunnels to ensure they can withstand even the toughest of storms. Additionally, this umbrella is so easy to walk around Manhattan with. The XS Metro, is 37″ in diameter – and has rounded tips, which help avoid injuring people next to you.

You can buy this directly on their website, Blunt Umbrellas, or you can sometimes see them on Urban Daddy for cheaper. The XS Metro on the site is $49.00 while UD has it listed for $39.00 – so utilize the 20% Off.

Patagonia Sale: 30% Off Online

Paycheck gets direct deposited, already spending it all on www.Patagonia.com. Lets face it, you do not work at a Hedge Fund unless you own at least one Patagonia Vest – so do yourself a favor and stock up on some of there items. I picked up two new ski jackets (Black/Green Dimensions Jacket & Green Super Cell), along with the below items. Now if only I had time to get over to Killington for the weekend…

What I ordered: 

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 7.35.34 PM Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 7.35.57 PM Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 7.36.22 PM        Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 7.36.44 PM


Balthazar: Most Disappointing Dinner in Months


For the past few years I would walk by Balthazar on almost a daily basis. When I didn’t walk by it, I could see the red awnings on the corner of Crosby and Spring as I was running to/from the 6 Train. The place is always bustling, usually with people hanging outside by the entrance waiting for tables. Even when you are not in Soho, it is have to avoid the Balthazar, with their trucks driving around NYC. So last night I made two reservations, one at Saxon + Parole and one at Balthazar. Both have been places I wanted to try for a while, and after eating I regretted my decision.

The Good:

I will start with the waitress’s (Pepper) knowledge of the drink menu. For my first beer, she suggested their Balthazar Ale, which was pretty good. She mentioned it was similar to a Bass – and she was dead on. Always like to try restaurant/bar’s proprietary beers. Not really into the Pale Ale style, but I enjoyed it – however $11.00 for their own beer is a little on the high side. In terms of local Soho Restaurant Beers think Toby’s Public House’s Toby’s Cheap Ale is the better move, and half the price. For the wine, my fiancé asked for something similar to Cab Sav, and the waitress suggested Haut-Medoc, which she really enjoyed.

The fries were really good – which makes sense since this is owned by the same group that owns Minetta Tavern.

The Okay:

For one of our appetizers we chose the Kabocha Squash Risotto, which was served with duck ham, heirloom apples, mascarpone cheese, and pumpkin seed gremolata. This has nice chunks of duck, and all the ingredients went together nicely. The second appetizer we ordered was Chestnut and Ricotta Agnolotti with caramelized fennel, country ham, candied orange zest, and brown butter. This dish was okay, kind of like thinner rectangular raviolis but the orange zest was a little too stronger and overpowered the rest of the flavors. One thing I found strange was that the dishes came out almost within minutes of ordering – which leads me to believe these are pre-made and then just heated up, which if so WHY THE HELL ARE YOU CHARGING $21.00/20.00 per APPETIZER?

One of the mains we ordered the Skate, which was pretty large. My fiancé enjoyed it, came with raisins and pine nuts, which can make anything good.

The Disappointing: 

The Duck Confit! I read so many great things about this online, the waitress said it was great … and I  was really disappointed. The meat, which came over potatoes and mushrooms, was extremely dried out. The skin has no real crisp to it, the only flavor I got from it was burnt dry meat. What made it even worse was I was – I was really looking forward to eating good duck. Over the past few months I have had duck at Dirty French, Gramercy Tavern, PUBLIC, Tao Downtown, Hakkasan – all of which were delicious. After reading all the great things people had to say online, and then trying it – I can only guess maybe it was an off day?

The Bread! One of the other things I was really looking forward to was the famous Balthazar Bread. Their bread is highly regarded as some of the best in the city, so why not get excited. The bread came, my eyes light up, and the taste fell flat. It was nothing special at all. In comparison to somewhere like Il Buco, Peasant …etc Balthazar’s bread was subpar.

The Bill

So for the two glasses of wine, two beers, two appetizers, side of fries, two main courses, and one of their deserts – we are talking $201.00 before tip. I would have much rather spent this elsewhere, and I do not recommend Balthazar to anyone. Don’t buy into the hype, there are dozens of better restaurants in the neighborhood – skip Balthazar.

BareBurger: One of My Weekly Goto Seamless Orders

Over the past year, I have been ordering Bareburger on a weekly basis – but lately, its been more of a twice per week obsession. If I look at my order history on Seamless, its pretty much a shrine to the organic burger chain. It turns out I am not the only one in love with this place, but Zagat voted it in their 10 Best Burgers in NYC list for 2011-2014, and they have been Michelin Recommended for those years as well. Since their first location in Astoria, they now have 18 locations – and luckily for me, their La Guardia Place location delivers to me.

One of the reasons why Bareburger is amazing, their menu can make even the most picky eaters happy. Generally, when I order “My Usual” (details below) – my fiancé has choice between their multiple salads, sandwiches, turkey burgers, or veggie burger. This is clutch considering she does not like red-meat, and only had her first burger in ten years a few months back while at Minetta. This really makes Bareburger and easy option for us.

The second reason, you have the opportunity to eat healthy – without compromising taste. Their food is rarely ever greasy, and which different options on the menu you can make you own choices including protein, bread, cheese, sauce, veggies, etc. Also, when I am eating one of their healthy options, i.e Turkey Burger, I do not feel guilty ordering the FRY & ONION RING COMBO. If you have never had their onion rings and fries, you are an idiot. I have often realized, no matter how great a fried food is, it never transports well – by the time it comes, its soggy and losses the texture you want. Not the case with Bareburger, their fries and onion rings come *almost* as crispy as they would be if you ate them in their locations. For dipping sauces, this is a big decision I cannot solve for you – I prefer the Red Pepper Pesto, and good old fashion Ketchup.

With the upcoming nuptials, and the sad realization that I need to eat more healthy – I have been creating my own burger. I also strongly believe Bareburger should name this burger after me, maybe The HedgeFun NY Burger, but it consists of: Turkey Patty, Bison Patty, Avocado, and Caramelized Onions on a Whole Wheat Wrap. This is such an awesome combination I literally find myself looking forward to going home and ordering this – I am a sick loser, but it is awesome.

If you have never had BareBurger, definitely give it a try. If you have had it before, you know exactly what I am talking about. Great quality ingredients leads to great food.

Piacere: Real Pizza, How its Made in Italy


About a two years ago, a new Italian place opened up right next door to Randolph’s Broome – which made me feel compelled to test out. So I decided to try it, multiple times, and then sometimes order it via Seamless – all in the name of research. The conclusion, the pizza is made and taste exactly how the pizza in Italy tastes. It comes fresh out the brick oven, with a thin, bubbly, crispy crust with fresh ingredients on top of it. The pies are individually sized, and the crust is so light – you do not feel overly full from eating a pie, so you can definitely eat one more.

Starting with their Appetizers, the best is definitely Polpo & Patate: Octopus w/ Potatoes, olive oil and parsley. The octopus is always perfectly cooked, not rubbery and the seasoning is not overdone or overpowering. This is definitely one of my favorite octopus dishes in NYC, just below Charlie Bird’s Octopus. If you go, ORDER THIS DISH. Another good choice, is their Burrata, which I hate to admit because I am sick of every waiter in NYC Waiter describing what the fuck burrata is. Their burrata comes with speck and arugula, which are two of my favorite things. The speck has a nice smoked flavor that makes this a great dish.

For the pastas, you cannot go wrong with the Linguine and Clams – but my favorite is the Cannelloni. The Cannelloni is pretty similar to manicotti, stuffed with ricotta and mozzarella w/ tomato basil sauce. If you had to choose one pasta, you could always get Linguine w/ clamsGET THE CANNELLONI.

Now to the Pizza. As I mentioned early, this is some of the most authentic pizza there is. My favorite, which is also one of my favorite pizzas in the world – The Affumicata. This pie not only has the smoked speck, but also smoked mozzarella w/ spinach. You have the double smokiness from the meat/cheese, and then the excellent flavor the pie picks up from the brick oven makes eat bite amazing. So when waiter comes over, you better make sure you remember this and ORDER THIS PIZZA. If you don’t like this pie, and think I steered you wrong – I will fight you.

Here are a few honorable mentions, I think 99% of the population would like:

  • Robiola Piacere : robiola cheese, arugula, prosciutto, and white truffle oil.
  • San Daniele: fresh tomato, mozzarella cheese, arugula, shaved parmesan cheese & prosciutto.
  • Bufalina: fresh tomato, basil & bufalo mozzarella cheese.
  • Calabrese: tomato, mozzarella cheese, roast peppers, onions & spicy sausage.


Claw Daddy’s: Cajun/Creole Crabs and Crawfish

As you can tell by now, I hate going to the same place multiple times – unless they have exceptional and original food. This Friday was my 4th time going to Claw Daddy‘s, so it is safe to say they fall into this category. Even though it was my fourth time, I was equally excited as the other 3 times going. With the exception of The Boil, which is down the block there is really not many places that specialize in crab legs. Yes, you can go up to Hooter’s on 57th but chances are you will get better crabs from the waitress.

We went over to Claw Daddy’s early to meet some friends, and we made it there for Happy Hour (5:30-7:30). They have $1 Blue Point Oysters and Buffalo Wings, $4 Draft Beers (great list), $5 Wine, and $6 Cocktails – pretty awesome way to start off a Friday. So we started off with dozen Blue Points and a Dozen Wings. Wings were great, crispy and spicy – had them last time I went and decided these were a necessity. The Blue Points were okay, not a big Blue Point fan – so my judgement could be off. Than again, $1 per Oyster – which is the size of my Little League baseball cup, is cool. We than ordered one of their Specials, Squid Ink Fired Rice – which was dope. Few slices of calamari mixed in white the rice and squid ink, which is given to you in pretty much a frozen yogurt to go cup. We than decided to order a dozen Kumamoto (my favorite type of Oyster) and Fried Oysters. The Fried Oysters were so good, we ordered another order – and then contemplated ordering a third order. They were crispy with the right amount of salt, brought me back to New Orleans. Then to end the appetizer session, which was a bit aggressive – we order the Oysters Rockefeller. As if we didn’t have enough oysters or enough food, this was not necessary. But then again, oysters with practically creamed spinach is never a bad thing. When they came out I had a flash back to Dirty French or Acme Oysters. But sadly they fall short of both, not because they were bad – but because the two previous mentioned happened to be some of the best things I have ever eaten.

To the mains, which by this time we already almost full – but that didn’t stop us. We ordered the Garlic Noodles, which I ordered the first time I came – and every other time I came. Picture Lo Mein, with grated cheese, garlic, and oil. If Ramen tasted like this, I would probably actually goto more Ramen places (not into the hype). For their Louisiana Boils, this time we chose Shrimp/Snow Crab Combo and the Dungeness Crab/Craw Fish combo. VERY IMPORTANT: Be very careful to check the Market Price before ordering – one time we ordered the same thing it was $75, this time is was $50. In terms of sauce selection, I always go with the Claw Daddy Special, which is a mix of their sauces, and I go Mild. The pots come out, in a bag which seals in the flavors – along with the seafood they have the potatoes and corn basking in this Cajun Greatness. So we put on the gloves and bib (yes, this is mandatory) and went to work. Cracking the shells, tearing the caucus of the crawfish, and peeling the shrimp. At one point, caught a splash to eye from the sauce – luckily it was mild. As we were eating the bucket of shells piled up like the Bridge and Tunnel crowd at Bounce. By the time we were done, I don’t think there was one piece of seafood left. Even the piece of crawfish is dropped on my Bonobos chinos was gone since I used my fork to scoop it up and eat it.

For the drinks, as I previously mentioned they have an awesome beer’s with 10 on Draft. I usually go with the Shiner Bock, Blue Point Toasted Lager, or Fire Island Lighthouse Ale. The girls order cocktails, which since they don’t have a full bar are pretty much made with Saki. After a few of them, there were definitely feeling it.

Now to the BIG QUESTION. Is it better than The Boil over on Christie Street. My answer Yes – but here is why. Both places have great food, so on a food standpoint I would say the quality of the food is equal. Menu size is definitely larger at Claw Daddy’s. In regards to the bar aspect, The Boil has a full bar and carries the wide range of Abita – Including my Favorite Abita Amber, where Claw Daddy’s carries Abita Purple Haze. But the thing that makes me Love Claw Daddy’s, is they take reservations! The Boil is absurd, and the last time I tried to go there, which was a Wednesday, the wait was an hour. Since Claw Daddy’s opened I have refused to even attempt The Boil, why be cramped and wait ridiculous times when you could have a bigger menu, great food, and nicer waitstaff? That being said, if you were to ask me which one to goto Claw Daddy’s – hands down.

Below are a few appetizers/sides I have had, and that I think you should try. In terms of the Boil Pots, you cant go wrong any which way you choose. Its all about the seafood preference, but they are all amazing.

  • Garlic Noodles: Read Above, Definitely Get These.
  • Deep Fried Oysters: Read Above, Definitely Order Also.
  • Brussel Sprouts: Never Thought I would say this, but really good and filled with garlic.
  • Cajun Fries: Sweat Potato Fries with Cajun Seasoning, you can’t go wrong DEFINITELY ORDER.

Parm: Super Bowl Catering

What is the best way to throw a Super Bowl Party, ordering Parm to your party. They have recently put out their catering menu, and I have already sent in my order to party@parmnyc.com. Check out their menu below, but since they come with ten rolls per tray I ordered 1 Tray of Meatball, Chicken, and Eggplant Parm. Don’t be a bad host, place your order and pick up some good beers to wash down the mozzarella and red-sauce.


Roberta’s: This is Probably Going to Be Controversial

Roberta's Restaurant Bushwick

So a few months back, I went over to Bushwick and decided to see what all the Roberta’s hype was about. My cousin, happens to work there, so we figured we would go while she was working and we had her boyfriend meet us there (who now works there also). First of all one of the best things about this place, the Action Bronson playlist. Second, it is extremely hard to tell who works there and who doesn’t. Everyone kind of just floats on by – occasionally asking if you would like something – other times you feel like an idiot because you are trying to get someone’s attention who doesn’t really work there … So after walking in, we sifted through the bar to find the right guy with a beard, mustache, and flannel shirt – and we all sat down to order a bunch of stuff.

First we ordered a bunch of appetizers:

  • Meat/Cheese Board: Good, until someone referred to one of the cheeses as tasting like a ‘foot model’s foot’  – stayed away from that one.
  • Carrots w/ Grilled Mussel and Lime: I have never seen seafood come second to a vegetable, and this truly was some of the best fucking carrots I have ever consumed. I think I was actually against ordering this at the time, considering it was a vegetable, but felt like a dick when I realized how great it was.
  • Duck Prosciutto: I mean, two of my favorite things in one, so you know I had to order it. Great shavings and perfect mix of meat/fat drizzled with some oil and served with warm bread.  Highly suggest this to anyone heading over to Roberta’s. Also, if you are with someone who refuses to try duck – make up some story ‘that it is not really duck, they just call it that because …’.
  • Orecchiette: Pig tail ragu with ‘njuda (spicey pork sausage) with ear shaped pasta. Great to order as an appetizer, before the pizza.

There were a few other dishes that my cousin brought out, all of which were outstanding. Now with this, you are probably thinking the next course, Pizza, would top all of the below. But it didn’t, for me the pizza did not come close to Rubirosa, also would have preferred the white-pie from BEST Pizza. For starters, the crust was okay – not crispy enough and more towards the undercooked soggy feel. Could have been just that night, and next time I would request the pie more well done. Second, some of the toppings are a little out there. I get it, its Brooklyn, and everything that is cool – is also artsy, and a bit avant-grade. But sometimes, you just want something simple – thats what Pizza is, simple food. It is fine to dress it up, but to an extent – adding parsnips, brussel sprouts, kale, carrots … is overkill.

Below is the Pizza we ordered, which were definitely better than average, but to me the appetizers/pasta were definitely the best part of the meal. Some of the pies below are not currently available due to them being seasonal – but they seem to be pretty popular with the Roberta’s Cult. Also, the pies are small – so feel free to order a few so you can try multiple, and see if maybe I am wrong.

  • Margherita: their most basic pie, which was my favorite of the pies.
  • Nightman: Interesting, topped with Vermont cheese, eggplant and tomato.
  • Maiz Maiz: Pizza topped with maize, definitely more towards the out-there end of the spectrum.

I am definitely going to go back to Roberta’s soon and try more of their pies – and I will keep everyone updated.

Siggy’s Good Food: Sometimes You Need to Eat Healthy

You can’t always eat Mac n’ Cheese from Mercer Kitchen, Pizza from Rubirosa, Bagel from Black Seed, and pretty much everything else I eat on a weekly basis. Yes I would love to shove a bite-size sandwich from PARM into my face or a burger from Minetta, but I will inevitably end up fat, broke, and single. Lets face it, unless you are the Fat Jewish or Zach Galifianakis – no body likes a fat person.

So I found the perfect compromise to eating healthy, and stuff that taste great. Up the block on Elizabeth Street, between Houston and Bleecker, is Siggy’s Good Food. For my Brooklyn people, don’t feel left out – there is one in Brooklyn Heights as well. They use organic and locally sourced ingredients to pump out some great food. I generally order the Herbs Beef Stew (description below) or their Beef Ragu Pasta Bowl (also below). They also have burgers, which are presumably healthy – however I feel they use a little too much of the herbs. Despite the seasoning on their burgers, my only complaint would be that they do not have online ordering, which leads to the ancient practice of calling up and ordering.

Below are a few of their items which I have had, and I highly recommend. Check them out, and let me know what you think.

  • Herbs Beef Stew: NY Farm Beef, Lean, Tender & Juicy. Slow Cooked in Mediterranean Herbs & Seasonings in Red Wine Sauce Served with Spinach & Quinoa Grain (Gluten Free)
  • Beef Ragu Pasta Bowl: Tender braised beef in herbs wine & tomato sauce with choice of pasta
  • Organic, Grass Fed Flank Steak Sandwich: with sauteed mushrooms, caramelized onions, green herbs vegan mayo on ciabatta hero.
  • Parsley Hummus Plate: hummus with parsley & garlic topped with paprika & extra virgin olive oil. served with crunchy ciabatta bread.

Joe’s Shanghai: Drunken Soup Dumplings

As mentioned in the previous post, Saturday went from Chinese Takeout from 69 Bayard on the couch, to drinks @ Randolph’s, to Joe’s Shanghai. Rather than go back to my apartment, opening the fridge and eating the massive amount of leftovers – we decided to attend our second Chinese Food Restaurant in one night. As you can guess, this was my first time. After downing my glass of Thirsty Dog Brewery,  we decided to head over to Joe’s Shanghai at 10:50 – they closed at 11:00. One of my buddies ran ahead to grab a table, and once we got there we were happy he did. Once we sat down a table came in after – and was turned away. So we ordered a couple dozen soup dumplings, and I patiently waited to find out what the big deal was all about. The waiter brought over the little basket, opened the top and sitting inside were these little pouches of rat pork. Trying not to make an idiot out of myself by burning my esophagus I watched the others eat first – then figured best way to eat them: put the dumpling in the spoon, poke hole so some of the soup drains out, let it sit briefly and pop the whole thing down. Instantly got angry that I never had these before – and have been missing out. The soup inside the dumpling is similar to won ton soup, but better. The mystery meat inside, delicious – next time want to order the seafood dumplings as well. But for a drunken dumpling experience, it was definitely a fun one – and ridiculously cheap. For $6.00 you get 8 Pork Soup Dumplings.

Joe’s Shanghai
9 Pell Street
New York, NY 10013

Randolph’s Beer: A Few Dark Beers …

On Saturday, after eating some takeout from 69 Bayard and feeling full, we decided to go meet some friends out for some drinks. Not looking to leave my usual 5 block radius, decided to have them meet us @ Randolph’s Beer across the street. It was nice and early, and we grabbed a table in the back before it go to crowded – and I began to start ordering some beers. Before you go and order these, want a little bit of a disclaimer – I LOVE DARK BEERS.

  • Nitro Milk Stout by Left Hand Brewery: Not my first time having this, and possibly one of my favorite milk stouts. Dark jet black color, with some chocolate and coffee taste to it – a little smoked taste to it. With 6.0% ABV, great way to start the night.
  • Java Head Stout by Troegs: Similar to the Nitro Milk Stout, smooth medium body – with some tastes of coffee, toasted malts, and a little bit of vanilla. Beer has 7.5% ABV, and would definitely drink again.
  • Kelso Nut Brown Ale: One of my usual go-to beers at Brinkley’s down the block. Definitely lighter than the Java Head, and being more similar to a traditional brown ale. Brewed in NYC with 5.75% ABV, you get some tastes of the malt, nuts (no jokes please), and hops – without the bitter after taste of Indian Brown Ale.
  • DBA by Firestone Walker: Close to an Octoberfest, definitely more carbonated than there others with a nice oak/wood flavor. Was a little thrown off when the bartender handed it over due to its color – kind of a burnt orange. Good beer to drink if you are feeling full from the darker stouts, and at 5.0% – very drinkable.
  • Maduro Brown by Cigar City: This was my favorite of brown ale of the night. Light feel to it, and nice carbonation with tastes of porter mixed with a brown ale. Coffee, molasses/toffee (but not to sweet), with some nutty-maltiness. With 5.5% ABV, I could definitely drink a few of these.
  • Peace Loving Decoy by Gigantic: Don’t really remember much of this one, but it has 6.0% and was towards the end of the night.

By this point, I had all of the above – and in some cases multiple of them. When I went up to the bar to get one more, the Bartender recommend one of there newest beers – Wulver by Thirsty Dog. At a whopping 12.0% ABV, this beer had a kick to it. The beer came in a wine glass, which is not cool, but has a dark color to it – which could have passed as a Malbec. From the first smell, and taste, you pick up the bourbon from the aging process. Behind the bourbon you have some caramel, toffee and malts. Drinking a few of these will definitely knock you on your ass – but for 12.0% its very drinkable.

Just when you thought the night was over, we ended up going to Joe’s Shanghai …

69 Bayard: First Time Eating Chinese Food in Chinatown


Saturday was the night I finally ate some Chinese Food in Chinatown. Which was the equivalent of going out on a Thursday, and not shnapping (the art of pretending to be going to the bathroom at work in a stall while really sleeping) on a Friday. I can’t believe it took me this long, and was happy I finally sacked-up and walked over to 69 Bayard. If you have never been, the place is the epitome of Chinatown Chinese Food Restaurant. A little dirty looking, rundown, the people working only speak a few words in English – enough to order a meal. Also, 69 Bayard takes the ‘good luck’ signed dollar bills to a whole new level. The place is covered in currency – the walls, the ceiling, the doors – wall papered in bills from patrons who risked a food borne illness here. Being the first time I was here, figured might as well over order as usual – here is my order. Also, keep in mind – was taking this order out to eat on my couch – so it could have lost some of its greatness.

  • Egg Roll: Can never go wrong with this, great proportion of egg roll wrapper and stuffing.
  • Steam Dumplings: There dumplings are definitely different looking, more long shaped with a log of excess dough – really good.
  • Fried Dumplings: just like the steamed, but BETTER!
  • Chicken Chow Fun: Great, possibly best chow fun I have ever ate – was even better the next morning. The greasiness definitely coated the stomach nicely for a night of drinking.
  • Duck Lo Mein: sometimes eating the huge noodles of chow fun isn’t enough, so you need to go for the lo mein as well. Duck chunks were good, a little scarce – and the noodles were a little dry. Just needed to add a packet or two of soy sauce to bring it back to its rightful deliciousness.
  • Wor Shu Duck: First time having this, was really in a duck mood. It was good, could tell it came out straight from the kitchen once it was done it would be better. Got a little soggy and lacked the crispiness – also, this was probably due to taking it out.
  • Honey Crispy Chicken: little nuggets, about the size of your average General Tsao, and comes with a honey dipping sauce. Pretty good, once again think it could have been better if we ate it there.

Thinking it was going to be a relaxing night, we ate this on the couch while watching Ray Donovan. We were shot from the night before, and the day’s activities, and didn’t want to move before we ate – you can imagine how we felt after. Then we got some calls from our friends, who were in the neighborhood, and the night took a turn – and we ended up at Randolph’s and a few other places …

Bonobos: First Time Going to Their Location, Great Experience

photo 3 This morning I had some free time so I booked an appointment at Bonobos down the block from my apartment. I have been procrastinating on buying more work pants for the past few weeks, which has become an necessity due to the increasing bulge of my gut. So I woke up, a little hung over and walked over to Crosby Street. I read some reviews on Yelp about this location, about the people being snooty and pretentious – and I was kind of expecting the same. I walked in browsed around a bit, and then was greeted by some of the staff – and contrary to the people of Yelp’s comments – everyone was really nice. Also, I picture the atmosphere being kind of one of those hard-sells where they pressure you into buying way more than you came in for, and it was not. It truly was a great experience overall.

I met with Makenzie, and after a few minutes we decided on the cut and size I should be wearing in their products. We determined their Slim Straight fit looked best, and their team began to put together some things to try on in this style. I wound up buying two pairs of their WEEKDAY WARRIORS in Friday Grey and Light Friday Grey. Since I was a new customer, they gave me the 20% of Discount – which ended up saving me $40.00 and spent a total of $155 – for two pairs, which is great. Before I left Makenzie sent me my measurements for their Weekday Warrior, Workday Wools, Dress Shirts, and Shorts – which I can then use in the future to order more products online.

When I got back to my apartment, I realized I had a 30% off discount code from a flyer they sent to me the other day. So, went online and was able to order two pairs of their HERITAGE WASHED CHINOS which were finale sale – which I didn’t mind since I had all the details of my fit from today’s appointment. The chinos were marked down from $128 to $68 a pair, and then with the Discount Code: WINTERSALE30 I got the 30% for a total of $95.00.

So in total, four pairs of great fitting well made pants for $250.00 – so it was definitely worth waking up this morning and walking over there. I definitely recommend checking out their website, but I also think it is a great idea to goto one of their locations to get the fit that suits you best. They have 11 Bononos Guideshops, two of which are located in NYC – one in Flatiron, the other in SOHO. Also, they have 1-2 day shipping, which is free, so you can’t beat that either.


Alleva: Great Place to Grab an Italian Hero


Alleva claims to be the oldest Italian cheese store in America, which I can neither confirm or deny, but I can say they make a great sandwich. Established in 1892, and located on Mulberry Street and Grand Street, this place sits in the heart of Little Italy. I strongly feel this is one of the few places on Mulberry Street I can recommend (below Broome Street) due to the over-commericalization of the neighborhood. The food generally stinks in Little Italy, where tourist are lured in by employees pretending to be Italian and trying to shove their shitty pasta down your throat.

Back to Alleva, they carry a huge assortment of Italian Foods – cheese, meats, pasta, olives … etc. The main reason I come here, other than getting that nostalgic feeling of being in a real Italian Salumeria, is for their sandwiches. Off the bat, under any circumstances – do not ask them if they have domestic or imported prosciutto, you will offend them and you will look like an idiot . I usually order a hero with Turkey, Prosciutto, Fresh Mozzarella, with some balsamic on a semolina loft of bread. Amazingly, the hero is about twelve inches – and cost around $10.00.

Next time you are in neighborhood, walk down Mulberry – pasted tourist – and walk into this store and get some real Italian Food.

Alleva of Little Italy
188 Grand Street (Mulberry St)
New York NY

photo 2 photo 3

Minetta Tavern: Best Burger in the World


So for years I have heard of the infamous Black Label Burger @ Minetta Tavern, usually in the top-five of any Best Burger list. So looking to try not only their coveted, but some other items without paying the hefty price tag – I did what anyone on the Buy Side employee  should do, mention it to one of their brokers, and they will take you. So we scheduled a lunch, invited my boss to gain some brownie points, and the two of us – and the big whigs from [BIG BANK] and headed down to Greenwich Village from our perches on Park Avenue. It was a 2:00 Reservation, and once we sat down I waited for my bosses drink order before I placed mine (always a good idea). The bank asked what we would like to start with, and with complete carte blanche we ordered up a storm. My favorite of the appetizers, Roasted Bone Marrow – until this day, the only time I have had marrow that came close to comparing was TORO Boston. Roasted to a golden perfection, with a butter texture that smeared across the toasted bread they provided. I personally would like to thank the cow that donated it’s shin bones so we could scrape the gelatinous goodness out of. Between the four of us, along with the other appetizers we ordered, we devoured 4 orders of the Roasted Bone Marrow. Now to the main event, The Black Label Burger, which as everyone knows is absolutely amazing. My first bite, I was at a loss for words. Lets start with the meat – comes from one of the finest poureyor of meats, Mr. Pat La Frieda. Prime grade meat, blend of Short Rib, Skirt, Brisket and Dry-Aged Ribeye – which is dry aged and then finished with clarified butter. The only way to show this meat the respect it deserves is to order it up Medium-Rare, anything more would be a mortal sin. The second proponent which should not be overlooked is the caramelized onions. Some say this is done in truffle oil, others the tears of orphans, whatever is in them is nothing short of culinary genius. So take the meat, then add a healthy helping of these onions – which is then place on one of the best buns I have ever consumed. One thing I do not think gets enough praise – the fries. I am a sucker for skinny fries thats are perfectly salted – especially when they are given in massive quantities.

You would think after all that I would have a sense of accomplishment to which I could then move on. Wrong, a few weeks later I took my fiancé to Minetta. We had a 6:00 Sunday Reservation, and she was a little hesitant – which probably could have been due to the fact that she hasn’t had red meat in close to a decade. We happened to be out one day, and she mentioned how much she used to love burgers and loves the smell, so if I was going to reintroduce her – I had to do it the right way.

So she ordered their Pinot Noir, which was from Oregon, and great. I ordered an Arrogant Bastard, and we began the food ordering. We went with two of their specials, and although I would have loved to have her try the marrow – I was happy enough she was ordering the Black Label Burger and trying meat. The Verdict: She liked it a lot, she ate a half – which left me eating 1 1/2  Black Label Burgers, which quickly became one of the best eating days of my life.



TaylorMade RocketBallz Stage 2 Rescue Club

Let’s face it, we are a few months away from Golf Season – but it feels a lot longer. Soon we will be on the course, abusing your buddy’s country club memberships, escaping the kids, and drunk driving a fucking golf cart. But until then, you can at least buy some new gear online.

At the end of last season, I bought a TaylorMade RocketBallz Stage 2 Hybrid. Only got to use it a few times, but the results were awesome.

I picked up the 4 Hybrid, figured it would be the best fit for me. I hit my Cobra Amp Driver around 285 consistently and was looking for something to replace my 4 iron – but give me an added few yards. In the GolfSmith on 54th and Lex – while on my lunch break (doesn’t really exist but happened to be slow) – I went into the simulation bay and whacked the shit out of this club. Originally was going to get the 3H, but it was giving me a little to much distance. My main objective was 200-210, and this club was working great on the simulator. Now, walking around Manhattan and taking the 6 Train feeling like a real douche – in my apartment the club sat for a week or two until I played. Didn’t have time to hit the range before we teed off – and on the third whole, I decided to give this club a shot. Was about 250 out and I knew I couldn’t hit the green from there with this club so – in my head I told myself to take a nice easy swing and make good contact for a 210 yard shot. What really happened was a lot different, swung to hard – flubbed the shot. Later on, same thing. Around the 6th time, I slowed my swing down, and was hitting this club great. On the second to last hole which was a Par 5, hit a good driver shot – leaving me 200 out. Pulled out the 4H took a nice swing, landed on the back of the green. I proceeded to four-putt for a bogey…

This is a great club, feel like it could work for anyone – if they follow the main rule of golf – and do not try to crush it. The club will do the work, but you have to let it.

The club itself is fairly cheap, can find for around $100 now, and is definitely a great value. Look to add some extra yardage to your traditional 4 iron shots – and hopefully I will see you on the course.

Hugo Boss: Best Everyday Dress Shoe

Prior to my first pair of Hugo Boss shoes, I would only buy Salvatore Ferragamo. I would pay between $400.00 – 625.00 for a pair of shoes that would last maybe 6 Months with everyday use. Also, these shoes were not made for New York Winters. I now only have two pair of Ferragamo’s, both of which I wear maybe once or twice a month – so they are in good shape.

Last year I purchased my first pair of Hugo Boss Metost Lace-Ups. They are awesome and look great, even better they cost around $225.00 per pair – and last more than double the average life of my more expensive pairs. I bought two pairs during Bloomingdales Friends and Family for around $330.00.

I pretty much wear these shoes almost everyday, with the exception of when I need a brown shoe – which I also picked up John Varvatos. The Hugo Boss shoes are comfortable, not heavy, and durable. Despite the occasional shoe shine when they guy comes to the office, or before big meeting, I really never take care of these shoes.

The shoe itself isn’t overdone like a lot of other brands. There is a toe cap, and some brogue work – that’s it. The picture below, makes he show look a little shiny, however it is more close to matte.

50229848-001_1 713471038

Bianca: Northern Italy, Without Passing Bleecker St


When I first moved into Nolita, people told me about a small place named Bianca. Being young and arrogant, I refused to go due to their no reservation policy. Well I was an idiot, because since I went the first time – I went two more times.

This is the food that people think about when they say they want to try Italian Food in Italy – not the shit they actually eat when they visit Rome. I have long said, cuisine that hails from Emilia-Romagna is the best. I mean this section of Italy is blessed with Parma (Yes, where prosciutto comes from) and Modena (Balsamic Vinegar), just to name a few. There is actually an episode of No Reservations where Anthony Bourdain and Michael White drive around in Ferraris (also from this region) and eat at small places – find it on Netflix.

So back on track, Bianca. When you get to Bianca you will put your name down with the person at the door, and they will most likely tell you to goto the bar next door – which I think has no name on it, and is only in business due to Bianca’s popularity. The bar has an ATM, which you may need since Bianca is cash only. Have a drink, and wait for the person from next door to grab you for your table. When you walk into Bianca, you will notice it kind of feels like you are sitting in your grandmother’s kitchen – don’t worry, she is not there waiting to hit you with a wooden spoon.

Above I mentioned the place is cash only, but I didn’t mention how reasonably priced the menu is. The last time we went, the four of us were supposed to goto Rubirosa but they were packed, and I suggested Bianca. For $200.00 total, we had 5 Appetizers, 4 Main Courses, 3 Desserts, and oh yea 2 Bottles of Nero d’Avola.

Below are some of the highlight dishes I remember from trips there – it’s actually a surprise I remember much due to the amount of wine consumed – but the food is that awesome. It is authentic Italian, which sometimes is rare to come by…


  •  Gnocco Fritto: Fried piggy dough Rectangles with Imported Cold Cuts or Stracchino Cheese
  • Saute di Cone: Mussels Sauteed with White Wine and Garlic
  • Carciofi Fritti: Fried Baby Artichokes with Crispy Parsley ***DEFINITELY ORDER


  • Ravioli di Ricotta con Burro e Salvia: Butter and Sage
  • Lasagna: Bechamel and Meat Sauce
  • Brodetto di Pesce: Adriatic Fish and Shellfish Stew
  • Starccetti di Manzo: Pan-Seared Thin Slice of Filet Mignon with Rosemary ***DEFINITELY ORDER

5 Bleecker Street (Between Elizabeth and Bowery)



Toby’s Public House: Most Underrated Pizza in NYC

This Sunday I got back to my apartment from a snowboarding trip around 8:00 PM. While sitting there watching Season 2 of Ray Donovan we got hungry and I decided to order one of my favorite pies in Manhattan, possibly even all of NYC. So we went to Seamless, put in the order and within 20 minutes – buzzer rang. This was my first time ordering from Toby’s Public House, which I was worried this pie would be ruined due to it being freezing outside – but it was not, box was steaming from the heat of the brick oven. I opened the box, starred down at the work of art I ordered and breathed in the white truffle oil. So I have had a few different pies at Toby’s, including their Eggs Benedict Pizza served during Brunch – and they are all great. However my favorite, The Spinach Pie. The pizza had pecorino and mozzarella baked onto the dough, the finished with clumps of ricotta, spinach, and white truffle oil.  The crust and bottom were a nice brown, thin but not floppy (impressive since the ricotta is a heavy cheese) charred perfectly from the wood fired brick oven.

So if the Spinach Pie was enough to make you want to goto Toby’s – you need to see their beer menu. They carry over 20 Beers on Tap, including their own Toby’s Cheap Ale. Also, if you join their beer club – you receive your own mug, which the keep hung over the bar, and you get invited to their monthly private parties. When you go, ask the bartender – members come and go, and you could secure an opening – and the beer gut that will ensue.

Here are some things I have order over the past few times, definitely give them a shot:


PROSCIUTTO DI PARMA arugula, parmigiano reggiano, olive oil
QUATTRO STAGIONI parma cotto ham, crimini mushroom, artichoke hearts, olives
QUATTRO FORMAGGI mozzarella, gorgonzola dolce, parmigiano reggiano, pecorino toscano

Small Plates:

ARTICHOKE SPINACH DIP parmigiano, pecorino toscano, mozzarella
BEER BATTERED PEARL ONIONS cayenne ranch sauce
POLENTA FRIES sharp cheddar cheese-bacon (or no bacon) fondue

Toby’s Public House
86 Kenmare (Corner of Mulberry)


Apizz: Great Italian Food in the Lower East Side

As mentioned in my article on Mercer Kitchen, I hate going to the same places and I hate ordering the same thing twice. But like I have always said, Apizz is definitely an exception to those feelings. Apizz (pronounced ah-beets) is located over on Eldridge, and one of the places I always recommend when people are looking for good Italian food around the Lower East Side. Everyone assumes they will goto dinner, and then go out after – but trust me , you will be stuffed.

The first time I went to Apizz, it was a few weekends after my fiancé and her cousins went for the first time. They all came back raving about it and telling me how much I would love it. So, I decided to book a reservation. Let me start by saying, any restaurant that brings out ricotta and sauce with their bread (Peasant and Bacaro, as well) automatically gains a spot in my favorite restaurants. So we started with a few appetizers, Apizz Rocket Pizza and Insalata di Polpo. The pizza which is about maybe 12″ long and 6″ wide, came topped with arugula, prosciutto, parmigiano, and fresh mozzarella. All the ingredients complimented each other nicely, with them definitely not skimping on the beautiful meat from Parma. The polpo was good, not my favorite surprisingly – could have just been an off day though.  Then for the mains my fiancé was torn between the Lobster Risotto and the Skate, which I could tell up until the entrees came she still was debating which was the better choice. She chose the Skate, which she had a few weeks prior when she went with the girls and couldn’t stop talking about it. The skate was filleted, with white wine, breadcrumbs, and potatoes. The fish really soaked up the lemon flavor along with the other seasonings, with the capers being a nice added touch. I have to admit, she was completely correct about how delicious this fish was – and I am not a flounder, fluke, sole ..etc kind of person. Now the waiter, who could tell she was between both dishes has the kitchen whip up a small order of the Lobster Risotto so we could try it. When I say small, it was not small – it was enough in size to be featured at another restaurant with a $40.00 price tag. The dish was amazing, creamy and possibly the best risotto I have had in ages. I still cannot believe the waiter did that for us, I really made the experience even better then it already was.

Now, my main course – which was the best gnocchi dish of 2014, the Short Rib Gnocchi. The plate of pasta is massive, so much pasta and meat it could fill up Chris Christie prior to his Lap-Band operation (also, check out the video of him celebrating Dallas’ win the other night). The sauce is so different, it only compares to sauce I had in Croatia – which they refer to as ‘dirty sauce’ due to its spreads of beef and cinnamon. The ragu is filled with the ribs, and boasts a dark red almost brown color. Each bit you taste the hints of honey used while they braise their short ribs. To describe how much I love this, and to put it into terms you would understand, I have been to Apizz three times – I ordered this as my main course ALL THREE TIMES. I can guarantee you, other than Spaghetteria Toni in Dubrovnik, you will not taste a sauce like this.

Now, as I mentioned above – I have been there three times before, below is a few dishes I think you should checkout and order.


  • Pera con Prosciutto: Pears, Prosciutto, Walnuts, Shaved Parmigiano-Romano, and Balsamic Glaze.
  • Gambero: Lemon/Garlic Shrimp with chorizo and breadcrumbs
  • Quatro Formaggi: White Pie, amazing blend of the four cheeses.
  • L.E.S Special: Flatbread pizza with chorizo, onions, and fresh mozzarella – GET THIS FLATBREAD.

Main Courses:

  • Razza: Skate, mentioned above
  • Short Rib Gnocchi: Also mentioned above, don’t be an idiot – ORDER THIS.
  • Ravioli Con Zucca: Open faced ravioli, ricotta, mascarpone, caramelized butternut squash, with browned butter and sage – DELICIOUS.

Also, Apizz was created by Frank Decarlo – one of the partners of Peasant and Bacaro. So with the above, and the amazingness of the other two restaurants, you should feel 100% comfortable with the fact that you will have a great dinner leaving completely satisfied and stuffed.

Laphroaig 10: The Smoky Single Malt


It is currently  19 Degrees in New York City, and dropping down to 10 degrees around 10:00PM. Cold weather means no happy hour, straight back to apartment for binge watching Netflix and binge drinking Single Malts. Over the past few years I have been drinking some peaty scotches/whiskeys. The best, and most reasonably priced, is by far Laphroaig 10.  The minute a glass is poured you can see most people’s reaction to the strong smoky scent – kind of like huffing a camp fire. Definitely keeps you warm and makes you feel that smoke – with some tastes of seaweed. I either drink neat, or with one or two cubes which helps open up the flavor.

It is definitely an acquired taste, and you will either hate it or love it – so keep that in mind before buying a bottle.

In regards to a similar bottle, you could pick up a little older of a bottle and get Lagavulin 16 – but it will run you an extra $30, for a very similar taste. Both are made in Islay, and are made next door to each other – so save the money and go with Laphroaig 10.

Lunch in Midtown: Dig Inn Seasonal Market

Definitely good to switch it up here and there when ordering food to your desk, working through lunch, and watch the time slowly go by. So on Seamless I order a few different things from Dig Inn, which according to their site are ‘locally sourced, and reasonably price’. Here is what you should order from them, which is possible via Seamless.

  • BRAISED BEEF: Comes with two sides, and pretty much shreds apart like pulled pork. The dish is pretty healthy, and I usually order it with SICILIAN ROASTED CAULIFLOWER W/ CHICKPEAS and BROCCOLI W/ ROASTED GARLIC & ALMONDS.
  • SPICY MEATBALLS: Lucky for me, its not that spicy so I am able to order this regularly – also comes with sides, try it with FALL COUSCOUS W/ LOCAL BUTTERNUT SQUASH

With ten locations throughout NYC, including both Midtown and Downtown, you should be within their delivery range – so check them out on Seamless and place your  order.

Bachelor Party Guide: New Orleans

Went to New Orleans for an awesome bachelor party a few months back, should have been two but had to back out of one due to no more vacation days. Here is a guide to ensure you have an awesome time out there – we got you covered.

Getting There:
Flight is only 3 hours direct from New York, and fairly cheap around $330 for a round trip leaving on a Thursday and coming home on a Sunday. Flew JetBlue, which had some flights leaving after work which was an awesome option.

Where to Stay:
The Royal Sonesta is located on Bourbon Street and Conti Street, smack in the middle of where you want to be. Definitely look into the suites, we had the two corner suites that ran along Bourbon and the side street – great place to watch/throw beads and pregame before going out. There is also a pool in the courtyard, decent size and can get pretty wild depending on the crowd. We packed coolers of beers and hung out there during the day, there is also a bar there which serves food – could get a couple dozen crawfish for dirt cheap.

Where to Go:
Bourbon Street is filled with bars, which are next to strip clubs, which are next to souvenir stores, which are in turn next to bars, and then to strip clubs ..etc. There are tons of places you could stumble into, and you are sure to have fun. You can drink in the streets, so go for their best beers from Abita Brewing Company and stay far away from those grenade drinks.

Penthouse Club is definitely the best of the strip clubs out there, with a couple of dozen women walking around and on stage (Quality and Quantity) – it is where you want to be. They have a VIP Area in the back, which you could order bottles and cigars – also they have packages for groups  which you can check out prior to getting there on the Bachelor Party Link. This is also a 0.1 mile walk from The Royal Sonesta – so even if you walk out @ closing time of 4:00am – there is a good chance you can make it back to your hotel without getting lost.

Harrahs Casino for  gambling, if you want to throw the dice or play some cards they have a casino which gets a little shady a night.

Where to Eat:
Acme Oyster is the best place to eat some seafood, do not miss going there. They serve a couple thousand oysters a night, there specialty the Charbroiled Oysters. They come out hot w/ melted cheese, creole seasoning, and some other ingredients – definitely the best oysters I have ever tried – Dirty French, was a very close second. Also order some Boo Fries, which come with roast beef gravy and melted cheese.The line is usually pretty huge, and depending on how late you go, only gets worse.

Mother’s Restaurant is pretty close to Harrah’s Casino, about a three minute walk. When hungover, order The Famous Ferdi Special which is ham, roast beef, ‘DEBRIS’ and au jus. If you don’t know what debris is, doesn’t matter – just order it. It will soak up all the poison you ingested a few hours earlier.

Sale at Charles Tyrwhitt – Shirts for $29.95

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Lets face it, we just passed the holiday party season – and you probably ruined some dress shirts. Scotch stain on the right chest pocket, burn hole due to a cigar ember, miscellaneous stains from one of the many Gentleman’s Clubs visited …

Charles Tyrwhitt is doing one of their sales again, rather than their everyday 4 shirt for $200.00, they are doing shirts for as little as $29.95 – which is a great deal. Thinking about picking up a few myself, check out the website and order some replacements. Also, sale on suits brings them down to as low as $324, might want to invest in some of those as well.

Stone Brewing Company: Levitation Ale

Had this for the first time yesterday while at Mercer Kitchen, second time having something out of Stone Brewing Company – the first was an Arrogant Bastard while at Minetta Tavern. This is definitely more subtle than Arrogant Bastard, being close to 3.0% lower in ABV, definitely cannot consider it an American Strong Ale. The Levitation Ale seems to be considered a Amber Ale or a Red Ale, however definitely has more characteristics of a Red IPA. You pick up the hops from the beginning of the sip, with a little bit of a citrus tasted to it with tones of caramel and toasted malt. On the end, you pick up some of that bitter aftertaste you would expect from an IPA. Definitely would consider this more of a session beer rather than something you can drink all night, but would suggest it if you like both Amber Ales and IPAs.



Mercer Kitchen: Second Time Around, Same Delicious Food w/ Subpar Service


Going to start off by saying I hate going to the same restaraunt  (with the exception of Grey Dog, Rubirosa, Parm… Etc) and I especially hate people who order the same thing twice (with the exception of  the Short Rib Gnocchi at Apizz). That being said, I returned to Mercer Kitchen for the second time, ordered The Mercer Burger again, and added more blockage to my arteries by stuffing my face with their fries and Mac and Cheese – again. With a combination of that, plus a Stone Brewing Company Levitation Ale, it was a pretty nice way to start off my Sunday.

To move away from the feeling of Groundhog Day, we decided to go with the Peekytoe Crab Fritters and the Warm Salad of Squash. The crab was an awesome way to change it up, perfectly fried up and full of taste. The crab balls come with a side of aioli which just looked like a bowl of mayo – and due to a childhood phobia or mayo – I did not fuck with it. The fritters were good enough as is, would order again. The Squash Salad came with a few clumps of squash (kind of more like mashed-potato style) with Pecorino Romano shavings and some strips of prosciutto, then finished with balsamic vinegar. At first wasn’t crazy about the idea or ordering this because it had the word ‘salad’ in the name – but that feeling went away once I started scooping it up like ice cream.

So sounds like an awesome meal so far, different/out of the normal appetizers, juicy burger… But it wasn’t, the meal was kind of ruined by the staff – whom only were attentive when I received the bill and was about to leave a tip… Frustrating.

To begin, we arrived one time for our 2:00 pm reservation – and the host said the table will be ready shortly. After hanging out at the bar, they tried to seat us at the communal tables – which bothers me. Communal tables should only be for walk-ins, sitting with 3 inches of space on each side of your elbows isn’t the best way to eat trying to enjoy while some girl with a Nassau County accent who just moved into Murray Hill speaks about how she is ‘over kale‘. Than we were seated – and the waiter didn’t come over for approximately 20 minutes – which I could understand due to the place being busy. Once we ordered the drinks, we didn’t see him or our drinks for another 20 minutes. When we finally ordered, we ate our appetizers and finished up our drinks. Waiter never came back to the table to ask if we would like another round of drinks (didn’t see him until the check came). You would think with alcohol having such a high profit margin, which would in turn increase the bill, and in so facto his tip, he would ask – but that didn’t happen. We asked the runners for a drink menu, which never came. Then the Mac and Cheese, one of my favorite items on the menu comes out – Ice Cold. Add in waiting another 20 for the check to come, it definitely put a few negative thoughts in my head.

Would I go back again, probably not – not because of the service but because I have been there twice already. Would I recommend, definitely. The food is delicious, it has a great atmosphere, and it is in Soho – win/win scenario. My experience with the service may have been an one-off, and I would like to say the last time I went for dinner, it was perfect. So go, check it out for yourself and let me know what you think.


Mercer Kitchen
99 Prince Street (Corner of Mercer)
New York, NY 10013

Charlie Bird: The Obsession Continues

Charlie Bird

Back about a year ago, the Whythe Hotel hosted one of the best days of my life – Prosciutto di Parma Palooza. At this amazing event, different chefs from all over NY had to make a dish that evolves around everyone’s favorite pork product. To name a few, Danny Bowien w/ Mission Chinese (at the time), Sara Jenkins  of Porchetta/Porsena, and the people of Charlie Bird. Although all dishes were great (second favorite, was Porchetta) my vote for Charlie Bird helped them grab the trophy for the best dish. What did they make? Octopus Saltimbocca w/ Prosciutto  and Ceci Beans.

Now, for months after I have been meaning to go and eat in their actual restaurant. However, that became increasingly difficult. In November 2013, EATER named Charlie Bird the presitigious Restaurant of the Year – beating out Carbone, Estela, The Elm, and Betony. Chances of getting a reservation at a decent time was like trying to get into NYU with a GMAT score of 400 – unless you know someone. So, I went for lunch – and I ordered up a storm:

To Start

  • Farro Salad w/ Mint and Pastaschio  *****
  • Razor Clams w/ Fennel *****
  • Octopus Saltimbocca ***** (you probably saw that coming)

Main Course

  • Veal Pastrami Salad ***** (I had no idea you could do that with Veal – DOPE)
  • Grilled Long Island Squid ****


  • Carmelized Cauliflower *****
  • French Fries w/ Rosemary *****

So that was the food, which was one of the best meals I ate all year. Now, the music – best soundtrack I have heard in a long time. There is a nice mix between Nas, The Beastie Boys, and Run DMC. The staff is completely down to earth, especially considering they are one of the best restaraunts in NYC. I think everyone should check out Charlie Bird, and if you don’t like it – you don’t know food.

If only I had a connection to get reservations whenever I wanted …


Best Beer of the Month: Fat Tire Amber Ale


For years my buddy has been telling me that Fat Tire Amber Ale is the best beer around. He went to school in Colorado, which is where New Belgium Brewing Company is based, and he was able to pound cases of that while I was drinking kegs of Natty Ice. While we were out in Vegas, we had breakfast at Aria Cafe – which so happened to be carrying Fat Tire Amble Ale. So ordered a Steak and Eggs, and began the consumption of amber/copper colored liquid deliciousness. First thoughts, kind of similar to one of my other favorite beers, Abita Amber, but strangely better and with 0.7% more alcohol. It has a crisp, toasted malt, medium-bodied sweetness to it which makes it extremely easy to drink.

Went through two bottles prior to my food coming, and then a few more after. Since having this, I have been trying to find it everywhere I go. Coincidently, across the street @ Randolph’s they have a sign on top of the bar for it – but do not carry it. Its not there fault, for some reason I will never understand – the company does not ship to New York, or New Jersey, or Connecticut … According to their website, which has a BeerFinder application, the closest location I could find a Fat Tire would be Wilmington, Delaware – awesome.

So, if you are lucky enough to come across this – do yourself a favorite and drink one. Than, please send me an email/call and I will provide my shipping address in return for a reservation at where ever you would like (this is a serious request/proposal).

NY WHISKEY: Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey


Hudson Whiskey, made by Tuthilltown Spirits, is the first distillery to produce whiskey in New York (legally) since Prohibition Ended. Furthermore, their Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey was the first bourbon to be made in New York. So, being a native New Yorker (who lives no where near Gardiner, NY) I felt it was my responsibility to try their products – Drink Local. Over the past few years, I have been seeing their bottles at pretty much every bar in Manhattan – kind of looks like an shorty stumpy Absolute Bottle (but with better stuff filling it).

Each bottle comes with the Year, Batch and Bottle written down on the back – Mine Year 12 Batch 15 Bottle 2500. Another fun fact on the back of the bottle, instead of being made with the bare minimum of 51% corn (to be considered bourbon by definition) they use 100%. Also, due to their usage of 3 Gallon Barrels – it really gives the bourbon a nice oak taste/smell. Along with that oak scent, you pick up some vanilla as well  – but no overbearing. Drank it so far on the rocks, and it goes down smooth with sweet upfront taste – and for the price, I would pick up another bottle.

**In the picture you will notice my Bluegrass Barrel my fiancé ordered me a few months ago. Possibly one of the best gifts ever, check them out and get one for your self.

***Also, you may note in the picture a vinyl of Reasonable Doubt by Jay-Z — if you do not own that album, you should feel like less of a man.


Best White Pie: Best Pizza in Williamsburg

A few weeks back I was over in Williamsburg checking out my cousin’s new apartment – and playing Catan for the first time (still have no idea how to play or what I was doing). Once we got hungry I asked where the best place to order a slice from would be, and they suggest BEST Pizza. I normally stay away from anywhere that puts the word ‘best’ in their windows – so when I found out the place was named ‘BEST Pizza’ I was skeptical. We ordered a Regular Pie, and a White Pie. I remember the regular being good, but the white pie was unreal.

The white pie has ricotta, mozzarella, and caramelized onions. The onions were perfectly sautéed, brown and full of flavor – on top of piles of ricotta, melted mozzarella, and shavings of pecorino romano (nice touch). Now to the crust … I always said there is a ring in hell devoted to people who waste good crust. This was probably the most interesting aspect of the pizza. Rather than leaving the crust naked, they put toasted sesame  seeds.

It is extremely rare that I say any pizza is as good, or possibly better than Rubirosa, so take this review very seriously. Goto BEST Pizza, get white slice, thank me later.

33 Havemeyer Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Website: Best Pizza


From the Good People at Major Food Groups, Dirty French (Spoiler: F***ing Awesome)


With the exception of ZZ’s Clam Bar, Dirty French was the only Major Food Groups establishment I did not stuff my face at. That all changed a few weeks back when my girlfriend turned another year older. Going into it, read some negative reviews on Eater and other foodie websites – which bothered me, but we didn’t let that jade our opinions. We had a Friday night reservation at 8:30 (Thanks Katie) which was the 2014 equivalent of Patrick Bateman getting a table @ Dorsia, so I owe my friends at Parm big time. Thought it would be hard for us to top our Valentines Day date @ Carbone – this is equally great, possibly better. Do yourself a favor – call up their reservations hotline and make a reservation.

Below is the play-by-play of what we ordered – and I highly recommend getting it all (with the exception of broccoli gratin – was okay but nothing special). You will see the asterisks next to each item, they are my shitty rating system due to not being computer literate – 5 Stars (* * * * *) is the highest mark something can get. Keep in mind there was two of us, and she is tiny …

To Start

  • Half Dozen Grilled Island Creek Oysters * * * * *  (Probably one of the best things I have ever ate)
  • Jamon Special w/ bread and Jam * * * *
  • Tuna Tartare w/ Birdseye Chili and Crepe * * * * *

Main Course

  • En Papillote: Black Basss w/ Clams and Pistou * * * * *
  • Duck al Orange * * * * *


  • Bacon (Thick Cut) * * * *
  • Pommes Frites * * * *
  • Brocoli Gratin  * *


  • Beignets * * * *
  • Gateau * * *

Dirty French
180 Ludlow Street (Ludlow Hotel)
New York, NY


Website: www.dirtyfrench.com
Yelp: Yelp Dirty French
Zagat: Zagat Dirty French
OpenTable: Make Reservation