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Friday, May 4, 2012

NYC Weekly Blog Post - 4.18.2012

Hey Kids,

Man life gets away from you in NYC!  I've been buying too many bridesmaids dresses for summer weddings and it has eaten away my foodie budget so you are getting multiple weeks worth together this time but I have added in some of my new favorite lunch spots in Midtown for those of you who eat up there!  This post will run the gamut from ice cream shops to Middle Eastern food.


Artichoke Pizza
Yup this finally happened late night.  All I have to say is PASS.  It's a trendy NYC thing so I had to at least post about it but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth that I'm even dirtying my blog talking about it.  

So I can't even remember who this got on the list.  My roommate and I went to Sleep No More and needed a place near the hotel.  This place was incredible.  It was small, intimate and buzzing with people.  I highly recommend getting a reservation in advance!

Photo Credit:

We ordered a bunch of appetizers but I will definitely be back because the pastas surrounding us looked amazing.  Here's what we had.

The caramelized brussel sprouts with toasted almonds were perfectly cooked in maple sauce that made it just sweet enough without being overkill.  Some of the best brussel sprouts in Manhattan and I eat them everywhere.

The next dish were artichoke hearts with some type of cheese.  Regardless this was my least favorite thing we ordered so who cares honestly.  The artichokes were too raw and the cheese didn't have any flavor.  Lastly the yellow aioli sauce didn't taste like much.

The next dish was a platter of prosciutto, soppressata, parmigiano, provolone and caponata.  The prosciutto was great, the cheeses were fine and the soppressata wasn't very flavorful for some reason which was weird?

The burrata with diced tomato was delicious.  I feel like it is such a simple dish and yet so easy to mess up.  This was delicious and I definitely combined it with some of the prosciutto to take it to another level!

Lastly we had an fennel/endive salad with blood orange and olives with a spicy citrus vinaigrette dressing that was light, tasty and had a little kick to it.  I really enjoyed it and I hate salad.

Located underneath Chelsea Market this is one hidden gem of a bar.  They make crazy cocktails that taste delicious and have an awesome beer and wine selection.  And to top it all off they have a couple menu items to snack on including salted soft pretzels with an assortment of artisanal mustards which is delicious (not too salty and very soft) and these "crostini" that are toasted and spread with mashed up deviled eggs and crispy prosciutto.  The "crostini" was SO good although I wish it came with more prosciutto!

An advanced warning on this place; it gets pretty crowded late night so if you want to snag seats for you and your friends you best get there early for happy hour!


Pret a Manger
I promised I'd let you know which places I've been hitting up for lunch in Midtown.  Pret a Manger (there are a bunch of them) carry sandwiches, salads, soups and more but I went with the Pret Cobb and Greens Salad with grilled chicken, blue cheese, cranberries, walnuts, apples, cherry tomatoes and mesclun greens with balsamic vinaigrette.  It was absolutely delicious for being a "packaged" salad.  They also had fizzy lemonade in a bottle which is a favorite of mine!

The Smith
You have to go here because my friend works here and the food is really good.  The atmosphere is bright, cheery and in nice weather they open up the side of the restaurant so you can sit in the sun and people-watch.  A great lazy Sunday option.  Lastly, make sure you look in the peephole in the women's bathroom - there is old school porn playing.  Hilarious and super random.
We had the burrata with roasted tomato, basil, and sourdough panzanella which was incredible.  The tomatoes were perfectly ripe!

The artichoke flatbread with ricotta, olive and roasted sweet onion was also good although not the
most amazing I've ever had.

The mac n cheese also was good although not the best ever.  Very cheesy.

The steak salad with arugula, endive, red onion, goat cheese, tomato, and balsamic dressing was delicious.  It tasted very fresh, it came with a lot of steak which was appreciated since this place is pricey and the dressing didn't overwhelm the salad as is often the case.  It was also a huge portion so I took it home and it was still delicious the next day (another rarity for a salad).
Last but not least, the Smith specializes in an array of ice cream sundaes.  I went with the rocket ice cream sundae with espresso ice cream, ground espresso beans, espresso syrup, and chocolate sauce which was very good but the surprise winner was the sundae my friend ordered which was blueberry sorbet ice cream sundae with lemon custard, and fresh blueberries.  That one was a refreshing homerun!

This is another Midtown lunch time favorite.  I've had both the free range roasted chicken with braised kale, pickled vegetables and spicy aioli on ciabatta and the slow-roasted Berkshire pork with Dijon mustard and bread and butter pickles on ciabatta.  I'd say the pork sandwich is my favorite as all the flavors are well-balanced.  The chicken one comes with a little too much mustard which is overpowering but it's still a great sandwich.  And the bread is super fresh!

Photo Credit: WichCraft Website (Pork sandwich)

Chicken Sandwich


This new hotspot was one my friends were dying to try to we went late night for a ladies date.  It's dark and woody.  My only issue is the seating is all by reservation so there isn't a lot of room to stand if you are a big group unless you can snag the standing-room table near the front of the bar.  The beer list was epic though - I highly recommend the Six Point toasted lager.  I'd probably hit this place up for a first date or a catch-up with one friend since there isn't a lot of room.


I can't remember if I've already blogged on this one yet or not.  To put it simply it is one of my favorite places to end up at the end of the night when all you want to do is sit outside on the patio and drink tequilas.

Photo Credit: Sweet and Vicious Website


Wined Up
My first time being here and it's a nice option if you are near Broadway and 20th Street.  It's a good first date place since it is intimate but not too much so.  I would say it is pretty expensive considering it's a wine bar and the food is only okay.  I had the prosciutto di parma flatbread with arugula, red onion and olive oil.  I probably wouldn't go back unless I was in the area again.


13th Step
So I came here before I moved to New York with some friends and found myself in the midst of a heated beer pong battle which I of course won (with little help from my teammate I might add).  So for Sunday Funday we found ourselves in the East Village and felt like being fratty so we headed back.  It was FOUR DOLLAR pitchers???  Amazing!  We had a great time and yet again ended up in another beer pong battle which I again won.  Very fun.  Will definitely be back again.

 Photo Credit: 13th Step Website

Sunburnt Cow
In one of my previous blogs I mentioned that I'd been to Bondi Road which is owned by the same group as the Sunburnt Cow.  I went to Bondi for my Sunday birthday brunch because Sunburnt Cow was already booked but I've been DYING to go here.  Turns out it's like a bar made for me - hot Australian waiters, mimosas made with sake, and a crazy fun atmosphere for brunch.  Huge fan.  Only fail is that it is cash only.

Photo Credit: Google Images


Bar Chevere (formerly Peri Wine Bar)
Such is the state of New York that places come and go over night.  I had Peri Wine Bar on my list of good places to go and had every intention of going there this last Wednesday night for drinks.  I passed the address three times before I realized it'd been replaced by Bar Chevere.  I was meeting a friend so we decided hey let's try it out!  

We ordered the meatball casserole and an appetizer which was really the equivalent of cheesesticks.  The meatball casserole was really just meatballs in sauce so not sure where the "casserole" part comes in but they were pretty good.  I don't really like cheesesticks. All-in-all we had a great time and the owner is really nice and the atmosphere is great (small, brick walls, not pretentious) but I probably don't need to go back.


Gallery Bar
This is one of the wackiest bars I've been to in Manhattan.  I was a huge fan of the decor but not really the people.  It felt a little to snobby/trendy for me.  I call this the "bad hipster vibe" as opposed to like the Manhattan Inn in Brooklyn which has a "good hipster vibe."  Regardless the art here is awesome.  It was literally porn - cool.  Probably wouldn't go back unless I was with a large group of people I liked but it could be a great place for a hipster birthday.  The picture below is from a wedding site - not sure that I'd have my wedding here but to each his own.

 Photo Credit:
Masala Wala
Okay I will admit that all the food here looks identical so I posted pictures but couldn't begin to tell you what some of them are.  It wouldn't matter because the staff is very helpful and pretty much tells you what to order.  And they did a great job since all the things I had were delicious.  It was a nice departure from Italian food for once! I don't know that I need to go back but it was a nice experience nonetheless.

Below is the Mumbai Samosa stuffed with potatoes, peas and chicken.

Hello new favorite brunch place (sorry Alias).  I get VERY excited by dishes that involve biscuits and this place has a fried chicken biscuit with orange rosemary marmalade that made my head explode.  It was a huge portion and I COULD NOT stop eating it.  Literally one of the best things I have ever tasted.  Their Bloody Mary was also very spicy and delicious as was the applewood smoked bacon side.  On the other hand the service is TERRIBLE.  But to be honest the food is so good I didn't even care and would definitely go back.  Just a warning though to those of you who can't stand MIA waitresses.

 Photo Credit: Zoe F. on


Bell Book and Candle
This place came highly recommended by a friend so I went there for brunch this past weekend.  I had the BBC burrito with scrambled eggs with chorizo, drunken beans, jack cheese and salsa verde wrapped in a tortilla.  It was okay.  And then my stomach hurt really bad for the next few hours.  However, the atmosphere was AWESOME.  There was a little live band playing the banjo, the restaurant is very homey and it has a half open kitchen which makes for some entertainment.  I would probably give it another chance since I think I may have just ordered wrong?

 Photo Credit: BBC Website

Empellon Taqueria
Okay my parents are coming in two weeks and I've had WD-50 reservations on the books for that weekend for over two months.  So since I have to patiently wait to go there I decided to compromise with myself and go to Empellon which is owned by the same people.

The restaurant is very fun (again highly recommend reservations) and a great place to catch up with a friend. 

Photo Credit: Empellon Taqueria Website

You must order one of the queso fundido!  We went with the red and green chorizo with melted chihuahua cheese and warm tortillas.  It was so good.  I preferred the red side because I'm a huge fan of cinnamon but I'll let you make your own decision.

The meatballs with Tinga Poblana were also good but I didn't really think they needed to be nestled in the fried bread.  I just took them out and ate them plain.

The skirt steak tacos with Mojo de Ajo (toasted garlic, orange juice and cumin) was good but maybe a little too sweet for me.

The chicken tacos with black kale and salsa verde (tomatillo, cilantro and serrano) were AMAZING.  The flavors of all the stuff inside was delicious as was the salsa verde.  I was licking my fingers!! 

For dessert we went with the passion fruit tart with meringue, Mezcal and mint which I wasn't a huge fan of....

So I was told by a true Roman Italian that this was the best gelato in all of New York.  I felt that was a bold claim and needed to be tested.  So I went and ordered the two scoop dish - Bacio with Venezuelan "Ocumare" chocolate and Caramello al Sale with caramel and Himalayan pink salt.

First off, Italians definitely know their gelato because this stuff was spectacular.  It was so creamy you could've spread it on bread with a knife.  The Bacio was good but the Caramello was amazing.  I will definitely be back to this place.  BELLA!