Monthly Archives: January 2015

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: 

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Balthazar: Most Disappointing Dinner in Months

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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Minetta Tavern: Best Burger in the World

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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.

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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.

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Bianca: Northern Italy, Without Passing Bleecker St

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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…

Appetizers:

  •  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

Mains:

  • 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

Bianca
5 Bleecker Street (Between Elizabeth and Bowery)
http://biancanyc.com/home.html

 

 

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:

Pizza:

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)

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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.

Appetizers:

  • 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

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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.

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

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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
www.themercerkitchen.com

Charlie Bird: The Obsession Continues

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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 ****

Sides

  • 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 …

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Best Beer of the Month: Fat Tire Amber Ale

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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

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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.

BEST PIZZA
33 Havemeyer Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Website: Best Pizza

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

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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 * * * * *

Sides

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

Dessert

  • 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