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Monday, January 28, 2013

NYC Weekly Blog Post - 1.28.2013

So I know it's been forever again but that's because I've been so focused on Australia that I haven't had a chance to write about all the great restaurants and bars I've been to in the New Year.  Check em' out!


One of the famous clubs of New York City, Marquee had been recently closed for renovation.  I'd never been to the old version but the new version was EPIC.  I was there for a private company anniversary party so it's hard for me to differientiate what was on behalf of the club and what was part of the anniversary party but regardless it was amazing.  It felt just like a Vegas club, jungle themed, with dancers in one piece animal print spandex, a woman playing an electric violin and an array of party favors from leopard print hats to feline ear headbands to men in loinclothes painting whiskers on faces.  The DJ set was excellent and the drinks were strong.  I also love that I could order a vodka soda with a splash of lime and the bartender knew that meant lime juice NOT a lime squeezed into the drink.  LOVED IT.

Spice Market
This is one of the first NYC restaurants I ever set foot in but only for drinks.  I was excited to head back there again for a work lunch conveniently scheduled during Restaurant Week.  I was really impressed with the RW menu they offered.  The restaurant was beautiful and the staff was very attentive and polite.

Photo Credit: Google Images (original website unknown)

The first plate was Soy Cured Salmon with Cilantro, Crème Fraîche, and Asian Pear - it was light, fresh and had the perfect balance of toppings to fish.  Often I feel like there is too much of one and not enough of the other. 

Next up was Pork Belly Bahn Mi with Pickled Carrots and Mint which was basically sort of an Asian version of a pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw.  I love when I order a sandwich and it comes on good bread - it really makes the sandwich.  I love how all the tastes came together and it wasn't TOO filling so I had room for the Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sandwich with Salted Caramel.  


I wasn't hugely excited by any of the dessert options so this was sort of a lesser of evils choice.  I was surprised that the ice cream wasn't to peanut-y (I'm not a huge peanut butter for dessert fan).  The caramel hardly tasted salted and the "sandwich" portion of the meal was dry and tasteless. A sad ending to an otherwise delicious meal and lovely lunch experience.



Blind Barber
A favorite bar of some of my guy friends, we ended up here LATE night and I can't believe I've never been here!  You walk into a fully functioning barber shop where yes, shock, you can get your haircut.  Wander deeper and enter a cool backroom bar.  I didn't get a chance to spend too much time here (it was time to go home) but I am intrigued and will definitely be back.

 Photo Credit: Blind Barber Website

This is a brunch favorite of a couple of my friends who I think have flirted with every waitress that has ever worked there.  So I was excited to try it.  The restaurant itself has a very chill, "eastside" vibe to it.  The food I thought was pretty "bleh" although it was cheap.  Not bad but probably don't need to go back...

Horse Box
Well now I know where they keep all the hot bartenders in New York! Went here this last Friday for a birthday party and spent the entire night splitting my time between staring at the bartender and forcing picklebacks down my friend's throat because he picked the losing hockey team.  Sucker - never pick the American team over a Canadian team unless you KNOW hockey.  Amateur.  On average, this place is average except maybe now I have more of a reason to drink there....

Photo Credit: Horse Box Website

I can't remember if I've written about Kazuza before since I keep holding off until I get a picture of the place which I never seem capable of doing...sigh.  Anyways, this is my all-time favorite hookah bar in the city.  They serve Russian beer which is delicious, the music is random reggaeton, and the hookah is pretty decent.  I just like the overall ambiance - dark lighting and comfy sofas.  I've been here a million times and the owner is SUCH a nice guy.  I highly recommend.

Photo Credit: Kazuza Website

I went here for drinks with a friend when her parents were in town and loved it so I went back for dinner a few weeks ago.  I struggled a little with what to get on the menu because their plates are very simple and I generally try to order things that have random ingredients.  I settled on the ragu bolognese.  It was simple yet delicious, although maybe a little heavy.  It was the wine that really got me.  So good!  Would definitely recommend this as a date place.  We actually ate in the wine bar next to the restaurant (neither take reservations) which I prefer because it's more intimate and has the same menu... and usually there isn't a wait.  Highly recommended!

Shake Shack
Yes it FINALLY happened.  My first Shake Shack experience.  What is there to say?  It was over-priced and not particularly exciting.  I would call it the In-and-Out of the East.  Yes, that's a negative or in other words... I don't get what the big deal is.  I think I prefer McDonalds.  Moving on.

 Photo Credit:


Red Egg
My roommate wanted to try this place out and we were headed to a concert venue down the street so it was a perfect opportunity to test it out. I ordered the vegetable spring rolls, beef skewers, bok choy, vegetable dumplings, and the roast pork steam buns.  Everything was pretty lame except the pork buns which were a little on the bready side but soooo good.  The bun was warm and squishy and one good bite and my mouth filled with hot, porky, spicy goodness.  Yes, I said it.  I'd stop here just for another order of those.  As far as the customer service they were nice but really unobservant.  I tried to get their attention to get the check for 20 minutes!!


Our dinner here was purely accidental.  We were at a concert for the opening band and were too tired and hungry to stay for the headliner so we started walking back towards home and I saw this place and was immediately draw to the warm, friendly yellow lights and the cheery looking people.  It was a like a happy mirage in the midst of a cold, dark, New York night.

They had this beet salad that was one of the freshest tasting fruit-based salads I've ever had.  I could've eaten a pound of it.  I was sad when it was gone and wanted to order another one.  The restaurant prides themselves on tweaking different menu items depending on what organic produce they can get at the market that day.  Unfortunately the pot de creme dessert was so salty I couldn't finish it but even that couldn't ruin the ambiance of this adorable restaurant and my amazing salad.  Great date spot or place to catch up with a close friend.  And the wait staff is SO nice and accommodating - I really wanted some protein on my salad and he had them pick out a charcuterie to put on top that took the salad to a whole new level.  Loved this place.

Maybe it's because I was sober but this place was loud, trashy and the food was TERRIBLE.  The bacon was sickly sweet from too much maple, the eggs were cold and hard and the fruit looked like it'd be left out for a couple days.  I've never had such an immediate bad reaction to a place.  To be avoided at all costs.

Photo Credit: Essex Website


Fatta Cuckoo
This place is another adorable like find in the LES.  And they have exciting drink options and an awesome brunch deal!  It's called "Drunch" and for $25 you get one large entree and three cocktails.  The cocktails are actually good, not watered down mimosas.  None of us were really in the drinking mood but we still did the Drunch because it was so cheap and that way I could just order three drinks and at least try them.  One of them, the Whiskey Shake, was such an interesting idea and delicious.  I only meant to try the different drinks and instead just slurped this one right down.  It's pretty simple - whiskey, vanilla milk and nutmeg but yum!

For actual food I ordered the Fatta Scrambler which is scrambled eggs with goat cheese topped with spicy chipotle salsa and guacamole with a seasonal side salad.  The salad was a little greasy and the salsa was DEFINITELY spicy but otherwise I thought it was pretty good.  You can scrap the salsa over to the side if it's overkill.  Overall I liked this place (the atmopshere and design is really fun) and would come back the next time I'm serious about a Drunch.  In terms of food there are better places on the same street.

Photo Credit:

OMG I am in love.  This is my kind of restaurant and the place I'll be making reservations at next time Mom comes to town.  This is one of those "everyone" restaurants.  It's the perfect date place, the perfect birthday place, the perfect meet-the-parents place.  The interior transported me straight to a small village cafe in Italy and the food was incredible.  I ordered the lasagne (that's literally why we'd come) and it basically melted into every corner of my mouth.

I usually eat like someone whose been half starved, finishing my plate before my friends have taken a bite.  I've never eaten something SO slowly because I wanted to savor every tiny morsel of melty cheese and soft, fresh pasta.  My mouth is watering writing this.  I think I need to go back this week.  AMAZING.  And our waitress was so cool and chatted with us and gave us free dessert (which was okay).  Oh, and lastly I should mention I've never seen so many good looking people... for any single girls looking to grab a glass of wine and people watch at the bar...

Photo Credit: Jason N. on



Blind Tiger
This place was packed on the random Friday night I went to meet up with some friends for a beer.  It's a pretty standard pub in the West Village style filled with after-work iBankers.  I ordered a pork slider for dinner to go with my creamy, chocolately porter.  My burger came on the cutest plate which I thought was a thoughtful touch!  It was pretty easy to snag a seat at one of the high top wooden tables.  Even though it was small and fairly full it wasn't too loud which was nice.  A very enjoyable place.  Probably wouldn't cross the city to go there unless people were already in attendance but definitely suggested for Westsiders.

Photo Credit: Blind Tiger Website

Dublin 6
I've been here once for drinks and remember it as kind of a dark, dreary Irish pub.  Turns out it's actually fairly nice and was full of families when my friend and I came here for brunch on Saturday.  I ordered the breakfast burrito which was sizable.  It had giant pieces of chorizo and lots of melty cheese.  Exactly the fat kid brunch dish I was looking for.  Highly recommended.  Great family friendly restaurant which seems so rare in NYC now that I think about it!

Photo Credit: Dublin 6 Website

Kin Shop
Last but not least, Kin Shop has also been on the list for awhile but as an Eastsider now I rarely make it to the West Village without a good reason (such a pain to get there!).  One of my close friends just moved down the street from Kin Shop and I had to see the new apartment so it was the perfect excuse.  Oh!  And it was Restaurant Week so easier on the pocket too!

Photo Credit: Kin Shop Website

The food was so unique!  I started with the red leaf salads with blood oranges, spiced brazil nuts and coconut vinaigrette which at first blush looked like it didn't have nearly enough toppings to match the amount of lettuce.  I then realized that they had layered the toppings which was such a good idea!  It was a delicious salad although smaller pieces of lettuce would've made it more manageable when eating. 

Next up were the braised beef tips with jasmine rice cakes, bok choy, bean sprouts and sour orange curry.  I wasn't really sure what to expect based on the description other than that I like all those things!  It essentially was like a curry but not quite as soupy as a standard curry.  The beef was so soft, the spice of the curry was just right and the slightly crisped jasmine cakes were a great added touch.  The waitress recommended adding a bowl of rice to our order which wasn't really necessary.  Delicious.

Dessert was a root beer float with galangal ice cream and ginger cookies.  I meant to take a photo of it but was so excited to actually eat it that I forgot.  The cookies were a little too soft for my liking but the float itself was THE BOMB.  It had a lot of ice cream in it which was nice.


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