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Thursday, September 27, 2012

(Sort of) Weekly NYC Blog Post 9.27.2012

With all the "specialty" blog posts recently it's been awhile since I've talked about food/drinks in NYC so here's your update.  I've been trying to delve into new areas of interest (cigar bars) and new neighborhoods (Little Italy).


Caracas Arepas
Okay I don't mean to sound like a jerk but I don't really get what all the hoopla is about this place.  It seemed crazy crowded when we got there at 7pm but we were seated almost immediately.

Photo Credit: Reina G from

I started with the Tostones Mochimeros which are fried green plantains topped with mojito mayo, a squeeze of lemon and white cheese.  I also added the table "sauce" for some added spice.  I felt like the plaintains were sort of crunchy like a cracker rather than a fried fruit and the toppings were kind of bland before I added the table sauce.  Good but not great.

Then I ordered the Los Muchachos arepa with grilled chorizo, spicy white cheese, jalapenos and sauted peppers.  Obviously it was meant to be hot but outside of the hotness there wasn't any other flavor.  I couldn't even tell what was in the dish without re-reading the menu.

Last up was the La de Pernil arepa with roasted pork shoulder, tomato slices and spicy mango sauce.  I thought this was much more balanced in terms of flavors but needed more than just meat and tomato to really round it out.  Oh and did I mention it took FOREVER to get our food?  I don't know.  Maybe my expectations were too high.  Not a bad meal but I don't need to go back.

I wandered into this bar to meet up with friends to watch the football game around 2pm on a Sunday.  There was a fair amount of people around and a huge projector screen set up but still plenty of room to sit which I liked.  They had a good menu of craft beers including Hitachino White which is a favorite however my friends said the mussels and fries was sub-par so hard to say whether you should eat here or not.  We only hung out there for awhile but I like the look of the place, the waitress was super sweet and attentive and the general atmosphere was friendly and unpretentious.  I would definitely go back.

  Photo Credit: Coopers Website

The Immigrant
So this place was a little stressful at first because it fits very few people and my friend that I was with felt that there were a lot of open spaces which didn't sync with the fact they told us we had to wait for a spot.  Finally after some terrible communication skills on the bartender's part we ended up at the front table by the window (the best seat in the house).  After that squabble ended we had a lovely time and the service was great.  We didn't eat here; we just shared a great bottle of white wine and chatted.  I would come back here maybe at a time/day when it's less likely to be crowded although you could probably find a slightly less pretentious, equally delightful, tucked-away bar elsewhere in the East Village.

Photo Credit: Immigrant Website
Northern Spy Food
So this restaurant is suuuper interesting.  The first time I went I walked in on a special dinner they were doing; the theme was "Tomato."  You are supposed to reserve a table for this (4 courses for $50 a person) but they had an extra spot so we decided to stay and try it out!  I'm sort of bummed because I'm positive I took pictures of each course but they seem to have disappeared from my phone.  I at least snagged the menu so you can see the types of dishes they offered.  All four courses were tasted fresh, unique and delicious.  I was extra impressed how they could create four dishes all incorporating tomatoes that could all taste so different!
  • Gazpacho with cucumber, red pepper and tomato sorbet
  • Fried green tomatoes with peekytoe crab, corn and purslane (they held the crab for me)
  • Heirloom tomato lasagna with fresh pasta, cottage cheese and spinach
  • Tomato linzer torte with raspberries and lemon balm ice cream
I have since been back to Northern Spy Food for brunch over the past weekend and had another great experience.  This time I will also add that the service and the playlist are both GREAT.

Photo Credit: Northern Spy Food Website

I ordered the lemonade seltzer drink which is one of the best drinks I've had EVER (non-alcoholic), the biscuits, the bacon, and the pickled eggs.  The biscuits were a little oily and strangely hot in some parts and cold in others but overall they were good especially with the delicious jam that goes with it.  The bacon was a little "floppy" for me but I still ate around the fatty parts.  Lastly the pickled eggs came and they were PINK!  So crazy looking and very strange tasting (still not sure if I liked it or not) but it was fun to try something that looked and tasted so ridiculous.  If you want a culinary adventure I would order them.  I will definitely be back to this restaurant.

I came to Royale on a Sunday for a birthday party.  The birthday girl had reserved a table on the back outdoor patio which had access to one large flat screen showing football.  I really like the laidback atmosphere of the place - we ended up taking up a lot of space to play Apples to Apples and other boardgames (it was a princess themed party).  I also ordered the chicken fingers which come with BBQ sauce and honey mustard.  They were strange looking (were the size of actual fingers instead of the large flat pieces you usually see) but very tasty.  The breading was very light and the chicken tasted fresh.  Their onion rings were also amazing as they were mostly onion rather than breading and HUGE.  Oh and the Royale Burger is also sloppy, juicy deliciousness.

On the flipside the bloody marys here are TERRIBLE.  I ordered one and could barely take more than a sip and then ordered a second one assuming it was a fluke.  That one was equally as bad.  I recommend going with Bud Light - it never fails me.  I would definitely come back to take advantage of the patio again (the waitress was really nice too) to watch football.

Photo Credit:

Three of Cups
I met up with one of my friends on a lovely NYC day where the raining was pouring in buckets onto the streets.  My friend had to wring her socks out on arrival...twice!  So we were definitely in the mood to cozy up in the bar and chow down on red wine and piping hot pizza.  We were not disappointed.  We split the Sopressata pizza with Italian dried sausage with mozzarella and asiago cheese, onion and cherry peppers.  It was slightly spicy, super cheesy and crispy!  SOO GOOD.  I will definitely be back here.

Photo Credit: Three of Cups Website

Yuca Bar
I feel like Yuca Bar is my new "Cafeteria," that place I should've gone to the moment I moved to the East Village yet had never managed to get to.  Well boy have I been there now and I ate my face off.  I don't know what it is about college football and Bud Lights but boy do they make me crave Mexican food.  The place also has a super fun, lively atmosphere without being too hectic.

Photo Credit: Yuca Bar Website

I started off with the taquitos de carne which was skirt steak in soft tortilla topped with pico de gallo and cilantro cream. BUENO.

Then I moved on to the "albondigas" also known as Spanish meat balls in chipotle-tomato sauce topped with melted cheese.  BUENO.

And I finished with the arepa con carne which was a corn cake topped with shredded beef fricassee and drizzled with sour cream. MUY BUENO.

I will definitely be back here over and over and over again.


Hudson Terrace
Last December we had our holiday at the Hudson Terrace bar which was nice (for a work event) but I had never been to the actual terrace.  I had the "pleasure" of checking it out last Friday and I think I lasted maybe two seconds.  You either need to be 18 years old in a super slutty dress or 40 years old and looking to mack on 18 year old hookers.  I sadly no longer fit that description and felt immediately overwhelmed by the youthful shrieking going on around me.  However I did manage to try out the grapefruit mixed drink which was delightful.  Feel free to try this place out if you fit in the over/under age range or go DRUNK.  I will probably pass on this place moving forward.  Good luck!


Okay I don't even know where to start with this one.  My friend suggested we go there because HE had a friend in town for her birthday and she loves musicals.  So somehow we end up going to Puglia for dinner because there is a man named Jorge who gets behind the keyboard and plays his own original song called, The Napkin Song.  When this plays you jump up on your chair and wave your napkin in the air.  It is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever seen - reminiscent of the shenanigans that occur at the dueling piano bar in historic San Diego.  We gorged on Italian food and wine with occasional interludes from Jorge.  It makes for an awesome birthday although the food isn't anything super special.  Also a great introduction to Little Italy.



After so often the managers from my work get together for a dinner and for this dinner the restaurant of choice was Tenpenny.  We had to order from a prix fixe menu which I was actually excited about because there was an appetizer, entree and dessert that sounded like they were right up my alley.  The first course was crispy artichokes with lemon aioli and hickory-smoked trout roe.  Deliciously crispy.

The next course was "fried chicken" with polenta, kalamata olives, spinach and tomato buerre blanc but the resulting presentation was REALLY weird.  The chicken was in chunks wrapped in fried dough that was fairly burnt.  The polenta came in squares with a weird jelly filling and the spinach was just lopped on the side by itself.  It was just not what I was expecting and not very good at that.  Pass on this course.

The final course was chocolate caramel mousse with espresso anglais and toasted hazelnuts which was creamy, chocolately heavenly.  The chocolate stick was an extra awesome touch.  Positive points on this one.

Overall the service was decent (it was a large group so I expected less personal attention) and the pretzel bread they serve is really yummy.  The one thing I highly recommend staying away from are the mixed drinks.  I ordered "The Ocelot" which is herradura blanco, jalapeno-lime cordial, aperol with a splash of soda.  It was TERRIBLE.  Like I almost spit it back up.  GROSS.  AVOID AVOID AVOID.  Worst drink I've ever had.  So overall gotta say that I don't need to come back although I do think there are good things on the menu so you should try it!

Photo Credit: Tenpenny Website


Bar and Books
This place makes me feel like I'm in an episode of Mad Men.  The entire place is made of what appears to be "rich mahogany" and red leather.  The smokey smell of cigars permeate the air mixing with the sweet aroma of port.  I could and have spent hours here and will go back again even after waking up smelling like an ashtray.  Get classy New York.  Hit up Bar and Books.  You will probably see me there...

Photo Credit: Bar and Books Website

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