Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Trot on Over to Casa di Isacco Trattoria

Walking down 9th ave between 40th & 41st you will likely notice a sudden patch of lush greenness with some appetizing lobsters, pork shank, and cheeses dangling in the window. In one of those funny hiding in plain sight ways, you still might not notice that it's a restaurant or ever think to go in. But if you do choose to step through the greenery and over the threshold where a water fountain and more plants greet you, you will quickly leave the hustle bustle of the city behind you.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Blue Fin: An Ocean in a Food Desert

I love going to the theatre, but I hate picking pre-theatre restaurants. There are such slim pickings around Times Square that I often say that I feel like it's a food dessert. Which is exactly what I was saying to my friend as we sat on the red steps of the TKTS booth, but then I looked past her and spotted Blue Fin. As if reading my mind she said "You know, there's actually a pretty good sushi place around here..."

Friday, August 8, 2014

Casing Stickys Finger Joint

Sticky's Finger Joint

We were having a pretty killer night that included drinks from Angel's Share followed by another round at Wise Men and needed something substantial in our bellies before we headed home. Although our night started out with lobster rolls from Luke's and an arepa from Caracas Arepa Bar To Go, that was many long hours ago. We always jump at the chance to take a stroll through Washington Square Park, so Sticky's Finger Joint was the perfect place to make our pit stop.

Wise Men is a Smart Bet

Wise Men: Blood and Sand & Kentucky Buck
We were having a pretty killer night that started out with lobster rolls from Luke's, an arepa from Caracas Arepa Bar To Go, and drinks from Angel's Share. But we weren't quite ready to call it a night, so we walked down to Wise Men. Despite what the name would lead you to believe, this low profile little spot is actually owned by three women.

A Heavenly Evening at Angels Share

Angel's Share
Angel's Share has been on my list of must try speakeasies since moving to the city more than 4 years ago. Tonight, I made that wish come true. When The Mr. announced that he was craving a lobster roll from Luke's, we jumped in a cab and I requested that we be dropped of at St Mark's & 3rd instead of 1st Ave. I identified Village Yokocho and confidently walked up the stairs. When I reached the top I spied an inconspicuous door to my left, so without pause I made a beeline there. Opening it I found a jam packed foyer to the bar. I squeezed through to the hostess and put my name on the 2 hour wait list.

Go To Caracas Arepa Bar To Go

Caracas Arepas Bar To Go: Inside
After grabbing a bite at Luke's Lobster, I was still a bit peckish because for some reason I only ordered half a lobster roll like a fool. So when we started walking down the street and The Mr. paused at the red door of Caracas Arepa Bar To Go, no words needed to be exchanged. In we went.

Hooked on Luke's Lobster

Luke's Lobster: Half Lobster Roll, Pickle, Chips, & Maine Root Sodas

We were lucky to discover Luke's Lobster pretty early on in our NYC adventures and we immediately declared them to be our favorite lobster rolls (see our original post on Luke's). Since then we've repeatedly traveled throughout New England and have yet to taste a lobster roll that even comes close to comparing. Yes, even in Maine itself. This is one of our absolute favorite places to grab a quick bite, especially when friends visit from out of town. Time after time you take your first bite (either ever or just of the night) and have to pause to breathlessly say "Woooow." Yes, it's that good. If you've never tried it and are wondering if it lives up to the hype/price tag, stop wondering and just go do it.

Luke's Lobster on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 30, 2014

Schmackarys is Lip Schmackin Good

I was walking home through Hell's Kitchen this evening and wanted a snack when I spotted Schackarys which I've always walked by when it was either already closed for the evening or I was too full to even think about dessert.  It's a cute little shop and the smell of the coffee and the fact that they called it "Broadway Blend" prompted me to buy a bag alongside with my treats.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Make The Time for El Vez

Tonight I met a friend downtown for dinner and she recommended we walk over to El Vez. While I'm naturally skeptical of all Mexican food in NYC, I trusted her judgment and couldn't turn down the opportunity to eat outside on such a perfect evening. Apparently, many other people had the same idea because we were looking at a 30 minute wait. The time passed very quickly as we enjoyed some extremely refreshing Cucumber Mint Margaritas.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Coney Island Mermaid Parade

Mermaid Parade: Dick Zigun

Today I made my first visit to Coney Island for the annual Mermaid Parade, a whimsical art parade that celebrates the Coney Island community and seaside spirit. To kick off the parade was no other than Dick Zigun himself aka "the Mayor of Coney Island" and original founder of the parade. Unfortunately, I didn't get too many good shots because my battery died halfway through. But here are a few:

Friday, June 20, 2014

Bar Hopping: Dear Irving, Amor y Amargo, Crif Dogs

Dear Irving: Samoa & True Patriot

After a pre-theatre jaunt to St. Andrews and watching The Realistic Joneses we weren't quite ready for our night to end. We walked almost all the way down to Penn Station before I was struck with a brilliant idea. Didn't the folks behind fabulous speakeasy Raines Law Room just open up a new cocktail establishment with 3 rooms that capture 3 eras? We were in a cab heading over to Gramercy within 2 minutes.

St. Andrews a Nice Catch

St. Andrews
After picking up some last minute tickets for The Realistic Joneses at the TKTS booth we needed a nearby spot to grab dinner. A quick search of the nearby vicinity pulled up St. Andrews Scottish Restaurant & Bar. Since we've recently returned from a trip to Scotland, we've been scouting out all the Scottish culture (& Scotch) that we can get our hands on in NYC.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Rolling with Thelewala

Thelewala: Spices on Wall
After some drinks and appetizers at both Employees Only and Highlands we stopped in to Big Gay Ice Cream for a Salty Pimp, but were still feeling a bit peckish. One of our favorite treats when around the Village is a kati roll. While we normally frequent Kati Roll, our friends at The Restaurant Fairy recently recommended we check out Thelewala across the street.

High Times in Highlands

Highlands: Scotch Egg
After some delightful cocktails and snacks from Employees Only, we were not quite ready to call it a night so headed East a few blocks to Highlands. We've attempted to come to this bar many times because we hear they have a great Scotch Egg, but we tend to swing by on Friday & Saturday nights and this place is hopping. Walking in on a Monday night, they were still doing good business, but it was calm & relaxed and totally unrecognizeable from the scene we were used to.

Everything's Working for Employees Only

Employees Only: Mata Hari
As a big lover of high quality speakeasies Employees Only has been on my 'must visit' list for quite some time now. On a whim, we decided to have a little Monday night adventure to kick off the week. We found the neon Psychic sign in the West Village window and walked by the actual psychic who sits in the foyer into another world.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Williamsburg Fun at TNE, Roberta's, & Huckleberry Bar

The Noble Experiment: Owney's
Today we did a tour of The Noble Experiment, New York City's only exclusively rum distillery. It's a small operation and the founder Bridget gave the tour herself and poured us samples of her final product Owney's Rum. As a bonus, we also got to sample some leftover holiday editions infused with Rosemary, Mint, and Vanilla Bean. Oh the cocktails one could make with these gems!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

I Can Cook! Blue Apron

Blue Apron: Korean Style Scallion Pancakes
with Cucumber Salad
It's been a long time since I've even had the 30 minutes that it takes to prepare a Blue Apron meal, but things have calmed down a bit so I was excited to get a delivery this week. Here is what was on the menu so you can compare against how mine turned out:

Friday, June 6, 2014

Smashburger: A Smashing Good Time

Smashburger was one of our favorite burger joints when we lived in Boulder, CO and we miss it dearly. That's why we are excited that this chain is expanding into NYC in a major way. Their first location is in Fort Greene, Brooklyn and now they have one in Midtown West with many more to come. Tonight we were in Fort Greene for the special RadioLoveFest taping of Ask Me Another at BAM and stopped in for a couple of burgers before the show.

Clover Club is still Acing It

Clover Club: Improved Whisky Cocktail

Tonight we attended the special RadioLoveFest taping of one of my favorite podcasts, Ask Me Another. While The Mr doesn't listen to podcasts, I've taken him to both of Radiolab's live events and knew he would enjoy special Very Important Puzzlers Robert Krulwich & Jad Abumrad. I also suspected he would be excited by special musical guest They Might be Giants. And I was right. It was a delightful event and afterward we wanted to keep the party going and explore more of what Brooklyn has to offer. Before the show, we had grabbed a couple of burgers at Smashburger, but we were ready for some cocktails and another nosh.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Giving Joseph Leonard a Go

Joseph Leonard: Bloody Caesar & Michelada
Joseph Leonard has been on my to try brunch list for ages now, so when the opportunity arose on a beautiful spring afternoon we headed off to the West Village to give it a shot. We usually don't order drinks at brunch, but their Bloody Marys looked like a serious opportunity not to be missed. I ordered the Bloody Caesar with vodka, clamato, and sriracha garnished with a deep-fried bacon-wrapped brussels sprout and an oyster. Heck yah.

Friday, May 30, 2014

TMS keepin it Amazeballs in Chelsea

The Meatball Shop: Sliders, Kitchen Sink Salad, Risotto,
White Beans, & Chelsea Pie
We loved the original location of The Meatball Shop on the LES, but it was quite the trek so we didn't make it down that way very often. Imagine how excited we are to have a Chelsea location now. OK, yes, it's actually old news and for some reason I thought I already posted about it, but to my surprise I haven't done a post yet so I needed to correct this wrong.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Le Bon Temps a Le Grainne Cafe

Le Grainne Cafe: Escargot en Demi-Douzaine
Now that the weather has finally become pleasant enough, we've crawled out of hibernation to revisit some of our favorite Chelsea spots. Le Grainne Cafe has been one of our favorites since we discovered it a couple of years ago

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Houston: Coltivare

Coltivare: Exterior
We were on a little trip to Houston and wanted to check out the The Heights neighborhood. We drove and strolled around a bit and found it every bit as lovely as we heard. Finally, we were hungry and wanted a place to eat. There were a lot of choices, but I was drawn to the rather nondescript from the outside Coltivare by the promise of fresh ingredients straight from the garden in the back.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Press Dinner: Da Marcella

Da Marcella: Wine & Menu
I was invited to partake in a lovely meal at Da Marcella, a humble and cozy neighborhood taverna in the Village. The owner, Manual Moreno opened this restaurant in tribute to his mother who would cook large meals to feed their neighbors and continues the tradition of keeping the costs low with the motto "nobody should get rich feeding thy neighbor". Likewise, the restaurant continues to use his family's recipes and this passion and tradition shines through in the food. Speaking of the food, let's take a peak at what we got to sample...

Saturday, April 19, 2014

A perfect night: Apotheke, The Boil, & Pouring Ribbons

Apotheke: Interior

Tonight we headed down to the Lower East Side to have a crawfish boil at one of our favorite spots, The Boil. Since it's obviously a lot of other people's favorite places too we were looking at a bit of a wait. It seemed the perfect opportunity to meander on in to an unassuming pharmacy in Chinatown.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

24 Hours in Washington DC

Lincoln Memorial

Friday: We started to lose it again with the construction noise at our apartment so we decided to have another mini escape this time to Washington, DC. It happened to be peak Cherry Blossom time so this made it really perfect. We got in a Zip Car and drove straight to the hotel (College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Hyatsville, MD). We arrived close to 2am so we headed straight to our comfy bed and crashed.

Washington, DC Edition: The Common

The Commons: Roasted Mushroom Flatbread

This was actually our second meal at The Commons, the restaurant at The College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center. We also had a light breakfast here yesterday, but opted for some of the a la carte options instead of their rather impressive breakfast buffet. We stayed in our room in Hyatsville today since we had some work to do, since we enjoyed our breakfast we decided The Commons would do for a quick dinner before hitting the road back to NY.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Washington, DC Edition: Founding Farmers

Founding Farmers: Cucumber Delight, Craft Beer, Lemon-Lime Scratch Soda

After a day full of traipsing around the National Mall we were more than ready to sit down and have a cold drink and a belly full of food. Since this was an impromptu trip I had no idea where to head. Then the data network was clogged with other tourists using their phones which sent me into a mini low-blood sugar panic. Finally I was able to get enough connectivity to find Founding Farmers and I let my instinct be my guide. We hopped in a cab and arrived to a long wait which was unexpected since it was that awkward in-between lunch and dinner time. We almost bailed, but decided the wait was a good sign and to stick it out.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Let Penelope Be Your Constant Brunch Option

Penelope: Delicious Cinnamon Bun
Penelope has been on my "to try" list for Brunch for years now. Unfortunately for me, it's located on the Eastern side of this lovely island and I am a West side girl. Then, the couple of times that we've been over there before, we simply did not have an hour and a half to wait. This morning, we woke up early (for us) so thought we'd grab a cab and try our luck at 10:30am. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Are You Achin' for Some BarBacon?

BarBacon: Old Fashioned & The Drunken Preacher
For some reason there is a bar devoted to serving Craft Beer, Bourbon, and Bacon-centric food 2 blocks from my office and I've never heard of it. That is, until I received an invite to a Happy Hour located there next month. However, I couldn't wait a month to check it out, so tonight The Mr. and I decided it would be a great pre-theatre spot before our show at the nearby Neil Simon Theatre.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

No Defects at the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory

The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
Today is The Mr's Birthday so I took him out to dinner at one of our favorite spots The Boil. And by "I took him out to dinner" I mean, we went there and I forgot it was Cash Only so The Mr wound up paying for his own Birthday dinner. Major Wife Fail.Afterwards we walked down to Chinatown because he knew of a great place to stop for dessert: The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Travel Edition: 24 Hours in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Capitol


We had stayed outside Philly to save a bit of money on a hotel and to leave the last 30 minutes of driving since it was getting late on Friday, so we started our day by heading into the city proper where are first stop was at The Mutter Museum of medical oddities. Not a stop for everyone to be sure, but we found it pretty fascinating and definitely a unique thing to do. 

The next item on our agenda was to find a place to stay for the evening. Due to modern technology there are a plethora of apps available to find last minute hotel deals which I used to locate Club Quarters. It seemed pretty fancy and very central so we went ahead and booked it. The second we were shown to our room we immediately checked the refund policy. Our room was tiny and located one story above the back alley where trash was noisely getting thrown out. Considering we had just left NYC in order to get a mini-escape, this was not fitting the bill. We made it clear that this room was totally unacceptable discounted rate or no and they graciously moved us to another room. This room was much better, but I will say I was still pretty disappointed in the quality overall considering the price and what I was led to expect from the hotel website.

Next order of business was not surprisingly FOOD. We headed over to Barclay Prime which had a super fancy Cheesesteak that we saw featured on Food Network, but they didn't open until 5pm so we went a few doors down for a drink & oysters at Devon Seafood Restaurant. Then we went back to the hotel for a bit to relax before hitting the town. We tried to go to the 3 story Time bar recommended by Judge John Hodgman, but it was nuts and we were in the mood for something a bit more low key. So we walked around and came across Tria Wine Bar. Weren't expecting more than a glass of wine, but they wound up having some amazing food! I then realized we were down the block from one of the whiskey bars featured in this Thrillist 20 Best Whisky Bars in the Country so of course we had to go there. Whiskey Village was totally awesome, we got to chat with the bartenders who showed us this super cool copper ice ball making device, told us about their homemade bitters, and made us specialty cocktails based on our preferences for our second round. We were super sad that we had missed their kitchen closing since their food looked awesome and sad when it closed and we had to leave.

Independence Hall


We started our day with Brunch at Creperie Beau Monde as recommended by Alton Brown. We then headed over to Independence Hall & The Liberty Bell. Independence Hall tickets were sold out for the day so we just did the Liberty Bell. I wanted to hit up the Reading Terminal Market next, but the day was pretty gloomy and we needed to get some work done so 24 hours after arriving in Philadelphia we were back on the road back to NYC.

The Liberty Bell

Philadelphia Edition: Creperie Beau Monde

Creperie Beau Monde: Pears, Chestnut Cream & Chocolate Crepe
We found ourselves on an impromptu trip to Philadelphia this weekend and needed a good place for Sunday brunch. I searched around on the internet until I found a crepe place recommended by Sir Alton Brown. OK, so he hasn't been officially knighted anywhere except for in our hearts. But his word is practically gospel to us, so off we headed to Creperie Beau Monde.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Philadelphia Edition: Village Whiskey

Village Whiskey: Round 1
We were enjoying some wine and snacks at lovely Tria when I noticed that I had something bookmarked 1 block away. When I realized that it was Village Whiskey which I read on my friend Lee's write up of the 21 Best Whisky Bars in America, there was no question that we needed to extend our evening a little longer so that we could check it out.

Philadelphia Edition: Tria

Tria Wine Bar
We had a lovely, yet very early dinner at Barclay Prime and several hours later found ourselves ready to explore Philadelphia's night life. We headed over to Time since it was recommended by the Honorable Judge Jon Hodgeman, but found a long line outside and were in the mood for something much more relaxed. We wandered all around and were about to give up and retire back to our hotel room when we walked by the window of a quaint little wine bar.

Philadelphia Edition: Barclay Prime

Barclay Prime: Cocktails
We took an impromptu trip to Philadelphia this weekend and The Mr had us make a b-line for Barclay Prime. I had completely forgotten about it, but he saw their Philly Cheesesteak featured on a TV Show at some point and it had seared itself into his memory. We had a late-ish breakfast and therefore skipped lunch so we arrived 30 minutes before they opened for the evening. We headed down the block to have some cocktails and oysters at Devon Seafood Grille while we patiently waited for 5 o'clock to hit. Finally, it was time and we eagerly headed back to Barclay Prime.

Philadelphia Edition: Devon Seafood Grille

Devon Seafood Grille: Oysters
We found ourselves having an impromptu getaway to Philadelphia and were hungry at that odd post-lunch / pre-dinner hour. We knew we wanted to have dinner at Barclay Prime, but they didn't open until 5pm so we bided our time with some drinks and oysters at Devon Seafood Grille. Great ambience and a fantastic server, but a couple of things kept this place from being a solid 5 stars:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Press Dinner: Angus Club Steakhouse

Angus Club: Meats & Sides
Tonight I was invited to try newcomer Angus Club Steakhouse a venture from 4 collaborators who have worked together at another popular steakhouse, but want to have their new project earn a reputation of it's own. True to it's name, all the beef served is USDA Prime Black Angus and what sets them apart is that all of their steaks are aged on premises for 30-35 days.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

No Shades of Grey at Sel et Poivre

Sel et Poivre: Crab Cakes with Ginger Sauce
Sel et Poivre was our first Press Dinner 3 years ago when we were a Newbie It remained one of my all time favorites throughout the years. I rarely visit the Upper East Side, but when I do I make sure to stop by and check in. When I was contacted about doing another dinner I was thrilled to have a reason to force me over there and have yet another lovely meal.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Salute a Sergimmo Salumeria

Sergimmo: Meat Arancini
Our holiday weekend trip to do the Bourbon Trail was cancelled due to the general suckiness of the weather we've been having in NYC this year, so today we found ourselves milling around our apartment when the subject of lunch came up. Our instinct was to order sandwiches from our local fave Bottino Take-Out, but we decided some fresh air would do us good. I've had Sergimmo Salumeria bookmarked for a while due to the raves of other bloggers such as NYC Food Guy.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Press Dinner: El Maguey y La Tuna

El Maguey y La Tuna: Taquitos al Guacamole
El Maguey y La Tuna started as a favorite local Mexican spot in Williamsburg from 1992-2001. Then in 2003 they made the big move to Manhattan in 2003. At this point Leonides Cortez and his daughter re-opened as a co-owned venture and brought their rustic, homestyle Mexican joint to the people of the Lower East Side. Tonight, they invited me to get a taste of what they are all about.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Some lovely minutes at Minetta Tavern

Minetta Tavern: Roasted Bone Barrow
The Mr came home from being out of town all week, so a celebratory dinner was in order. He was in the mood for a burger, so we decided to head out to Minetta Tavern, home of the Black Label Burger. This is one of the few remaining burgers that shows up time and time again on "Best Burgers of New York City" that he has left to try. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Golden Ticket to Minca Ramen Factory

Minca: Pork Gyoza
We recently had dinner with a friend and not surprisingly, the subject of Ramen came up (we're a little obsessed). He mentioned that his brother lived in Japan for a time, so is a ramen snob and chose Minca Ramen Factory as the destination the last time he visited NYC. We quickly bookmarked Minca and headed there at our next available opportunity.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Finding the pot of gold at Veselka

Veselka: Borscht
Veselka has been on my "to try" list since we originally moved to NYC almost 4 years ago. While I've been wanting to try the pierogi, I also had their burger bookmarked for The Mr since it frequently shows up on "Best Burgers of NYC" lists. On a frosty night we finally made our way out to see what this little "coffee shop" has to offer.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Debonair Bites at db Bistro Moderne

db Bistro Moderne: "I really can't stay..."
Tonight we had tickets to see "No Man's Land" over at the Cort Theatre so I hunted for nearby restaurants and was excited to find that it is close to db Bistro Moderne which has been on my radar for a long time. Not only is their burger often seen on "Best Burgers in NYC" lists, but I've been eager to try any/all of Daniel Boulud's restaurants. The Mr. got stuck in some traffic, so I ordered the "I Really Can't Stay..." cocktail while I waited. Although I really dislike "Baby It's Cold Outside", I really like Rum, Lime, Walnut Infused Sherry, Maple and Egg mixed together and served in my favorite cocktail glass!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tot-totally Digging Yakitori Totto

Yakitori Totto: Sake
We finished a Knife Skills class at Sur La Table and were absolutely starving. I pulled up my "To Try" list and found we were a mere few blocks away from Yakitori Totto, which would officially round out the "Totto" trio of restaurants (or quartet if you count the new Totto Ramen).

Friday, January 10, 2014

By Jean-Georges, I think we've got it! (Nougatine)

Nougatine: Gently Roasted Fennel and Goat Cheese Salad
with Black Olives
Tonight we were going to see Macbeth in Lincoln Center which afforded us the rare opportunity to eat at one of the many fine dining establishments in the Lincoln Center area. It was a tough choice, but it came down to Jean-George Vongerichten vs Daniel Boulud. From there, it was just a matter of finding an open reservation. Nougatine won out and that is where we found ourselves for tonight's pre-theatre meal.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Adventures in Ramen Making

Ramen Prep
Miso Ramen
The Newbie Foodies are embracing Ramen making with a fury. The Mr. made a dashi and a pork belly based broth. We got a pasta machine for Christmas so celebrated the end of 2013 by making our own noodles for the first time. We started with not just 1, but 3 different variations so that we could contrast and compare. The first was this basic ramen noodle recipe from We then modified that recipe a bit by using Whole Wheat flour. The final batch was from the Ivan Ramen Cookbook. As an intro, Chef Ivan says something to the effect of you will curse him and/or love him when you try this recipe and that turned out to be very true. This dough was by far the most complicated AND the most difficult to work with- but in the end it blew the competition away with its superior mouthfeel and ability to grasp the miso broth.

When we finally assembled our bowls of ramen and sat down to eat I heard a loud cheer from outside and realized that it was officially 2014. A fantastic foodie way to ring in the New Year!