Tag Archives: new york

Gild Hall by Thompson Hotels: Financial District

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Noodle Pudding: The Hidden Gem Located in Downtown Brooklyn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Bored in Brooklyn

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Del Posto: Best Meal of the Year?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PUBLIC: One of the Best Places in Nolita

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Friday 7/24/15: Last Minute Reservations and Recomendations

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

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

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

Joe & Misses Doe: Awesomeness in the East Village

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Draught 55: Beer After a Long Day in the Office

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mile End Deli: The Best Jewish Delicatessen

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

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

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

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

Peasant: Authentic Farm to Table, But Italian Style

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

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

Drinks:

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

Appetizers:

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

Main Courses:

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

Dessert:

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

 

Luke’s Lobster + Coney Island Brewery + Boat

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

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

You can buy the tickets through Gilt City here.

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Queens Food Festival: May 12th

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

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

Date: Tuesday, May 12, 2015

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

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

Charles Tyrwhitt

Momofuku: Wedding Cake Tasting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

lemon cheesecake, pickled strawberry jam, milk crumbs.

What to Buy: GHOST Bikes

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Maritime Hotel: Cruise Ship in The Meatpacking District

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Booking.com

Oyster Fest in Brooklyn This Weekend

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

Grab ticket on there site now.

www.BrooklynCrab.com
24 Reed Street
Brooklyn, NY

Eat Your Way Through Yankee Stadium

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Johnny Rockets: Skip…

New York International Autoshow: Preview of New Supercars

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

Aston Martin will be debuting their Vulcan this year, which is a track-only supercar. This vehicle has a 7.0 liter V-12 which is pumping out over 800+ Horsepower. With a price tag of over USD 2m, easy to say I won’t be picking up one of these limited-release models available in 2016.
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Next up, one of my childhood favorites – The Acura NSX. The last time Acura showed this, it was strictly a concept that left every 90s kid with blue balls. Luckily, this is now hitting the production line. When I was younger I would see one of these, and go nuts. Back then the NSX kind of looked like a Ferrari F50, Ferrari Testarossa, and Corvette had a lovechild. Honda/Acura even used Pininfarina to design the car, hence it’s Ferrari look. The greatest thing about these First Generation models were the price, they were actually attainable for less than half the price of Ferraris, and with half the cylinders since it was powered with VTEC V6 engines.

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

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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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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.

Booking.com

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…

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.

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

Barraca: Tapas That Was Okay…

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

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

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

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

Below is some of the items we ordered:

The Good

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

The Okay

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

The Disappointing

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

Parm: Meat + Cheese + Sauce

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

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

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

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

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

Alidoro: Best Sandwich Shop in NYC

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

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

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

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

 

Toro NYC: Tapas, Octopus, Paella, and Churros

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prince Street Pizza: Home of the Original Soho Square

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stuffed Prosciutto Balls ricotta & mozzarella cheeses and prosciutto.

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

Neapolitan Rice Balls mozzarella & romano cheeses and rice.

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

Charlie Bird: Even Better The Second Time Around

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charlie Bird
5 King Street
New York, NY 10012
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Kuma Inn: Filipino Food in the Lower East Side (BYOB)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuna Tartare: Yellow fin served raw over rice noodles

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

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

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

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

Kuma Inn
113 Ludlow Street
New York, NY 10012

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

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

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

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

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Forty Four @ The Royalton Hotel: Best Old Fashion Ever

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

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

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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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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 …