Monthly Archives: March 2015

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.
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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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Club A Steakhouse: Fantasy Football Dinner

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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.
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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.
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If you getting ready for the Spring/Summer, aka getting ready for taking the LIRR out to the Hamptons, pick up one of these.
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Books: The Frackers by Greorgy Zuckerman

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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

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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

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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