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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

NYC Weekly Blog - 3.20.2013

Sorry it's been so long (AGAIN) - Work has been crazy.  But I've got lots of goodies and this time they aren't all just food!


I showed up at Intermezzo for their infamous Saturday brunch.  I had no idea what that meant.  What it meant was walking into a restaurant where a transvestite in drag was yelling at all the birthday guests to do a dance off.  Ok, not what I was expecting, but... HELL YEAH!  And you would never know from how nice the restaurant looks in pictures online!

Photo Credit: Intermezzo Website

The rest of the brunch was absolutely nuts with people dancing on tables, cheering and singing.  And to top it all off it wasn't that expensive considering the copious amounts of alcohol we downed.  Oh, and I should mention that the pancakes with strawberries and bacon were some of the best I've ever had.  I probably don't need to go back here since there are tons of places I need to see first but if someone wanted a birthday party suggestion I highly recommend!


Bob White Counter
This place is Southern in its soul and the fried chicken platter reflects it.  Just enough bread, just enough chicken.  The mac n' cheese was perfectly burnt on top and the fried okra, which I'd never had before, was incredible.  Everything was just so juicy!  The only thing that needed a little help were the biscuits which were a little too dry.  I would totally eat here again!  It's a great East Village brunch option.

 Photo Credit:

Another place that I found while running around the East Village and I liked the looks of it from the outside.  It only has a handful of tables which makes it feel intimate although maybe slightly crunched for a date which is why I was there.  It was also REALLY hot inside because they wouldn't leave the door open (apparently it is a health hazard).

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We shared a bunch of small plates (it's like Japanese/Italian fusion which was really interesting) but the only one that really sticks out in my mind were the berkshire pork buns.  They were juicy and filled with pork.  I think I ate the whole thing in one bite (I know so classy on a first date).  Everything else was good but not necessarily memorable so I didn't really bother to write them up.  I don't need to go back but I would still recommend it as a great place to catch up with maybe one friend (due to size of the place). 

Russian Turkish Baths
So a quick misdirection from food...but I've been trying to do new things in NYC outside of stuffing my face and running the street (and/or stumbling down them) so my friend and I decided to try out the Russian Turkish bath in the East Village on 10th St.  I'm VERY open to new experiences like letting fish eat my feet, chowing down on guinea pig and jumping off very tall bridges, but I have to say when you first walk into this place it's a little disconcerting.

But once you start to wander from room to room you start to kind of get into it (everyone is in bathsuits ps).  You realize that the people all kind of know each other like you've walked into this secret club of hot yogis (HOT yogis).  My favorite room was the "Game of Thrones" room (the Russian Sauna on the website).  It's filled with over 20,000 lbs. of rock which are cooked overnight. When it gets unbearable there is a little "sink" filled with ice cold water that you can pail on top of yourself.  SO COLD yet AMAZING.  I also recommend dousing the towel they give you and wrapping it around your head and body wet.  It will dry in seconds.

Photo Credit: Russian Bath Website

I had a little trouble with the heat but after visiting the baths I went for a 3 mile run that it was nothing.  I felt more energized than I have in forever.  I want a monthly membership.

In Vino
Okay so I love WineBar on 2nd Ave and 4th Street so I hate to admit that I cheated on them but I was just really jonesing for something new that wasn't as expensive as Terroir.  A friend of mine used to work at In Vino and said it was exactly what I was looking for.  I walked by In Vino saying to my friend "THAT looks like a cute place" only to have her say, "Isn't that the place we are going?!"  Whoops!  Must be a winner!  We sat at the bar and had a great time chatting with the bartender while eating cheese and meats and drinking wine.  He even gave me a little taste of some Amarone stashed in the back (mmm my favorite).  It was affordable, adorable and exactly the perfect place to a romantic date or a catch up with a close friend.  I will definitely be back.

 Photo Credit: In Vino Website


Holy hell, I stopped in at this place while realistically waiting for the line at Houston Hall next door to die down and please believe this place made a name for itself.  The Sunset Park sliders with slow-roasted Berkshire pork shoulder, smoked ham, gruyere, Pickle Guys half-sour pickles and spicy mayo are top three sliders I've ever had.  And the place was chill, dark and a great places to hang with the boys... or girls.  I'll be back.

 Photo Credit: Brooklyneer Website

Houston Hall
Uh oh... I see myself getting into a lot of trouble here.  The bouncer and multiple waitresses already recognize me and it's only been open a few months!!  This place is an old autobody shop turned beerhall that is dead Mon-Wed and CRAZY on the weekends especially for the day drinking hours.  The trick with the line is if there is one, go next door to the Brooklyneer and check back because it is very arbitrary and can go from 30 people in line to none in a matter of seconds.  Trust.  Don't give up.  It. is. worth it.


On one random occasion I actually ordered food here (horror?) and it was sooo good.  The fig jam, goat cheese and cured ham bruschetta was crisp, salty AND sweet.  I don't remember which grilled cheese we had but it too was delicious.  I can't believe this place is so much fun to party at AND has good food.  WINNING.


Hudson Clearwater
This place was recently added to my list only because I'd heard rave reviews.  Honestly, from the pictures I'd seen I wasn't THAT impressed but my friend wanted to meet there for drinks so I showed up.  The bar is tricky to find which I guess adds appeal.  It's on the corner of Hudson and Morton if you go by the address but it's a fake entrance.  Instead you need to walk along the north side of Morton to a little green garden door that leads into a patio and then into the restaurant.  Okay I started to be intrigued by the adorable patio and was fairly impressed by the comfy yet romantic interior.

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I sat at the bar where the handsome bartender made me a deliciously refreshing, Upstate Rose, made with Applejack, Rye, Apple Cider, Lime, House-made and Pomegranate Grenadine.  After that I tried the Hudson Mule which was equally as good but tarter and lighter (bison-grass vodka, ginger beer, lime, and candied ginger).

The cocktails made me fairly hungry so I was forced to order the pan roasted quail with fennel, fernet cherries and pickled mustard seeds which is one of the best meals I have ever had.  Small but flavorful.  Those cherries were BOMB.

"Dinner" ended with the honeycrisp apple tarte tatin with sea salt caramel and chantilly cream which was good but a little bland even if it did smell amazing coming out of the kitchen.

I think my review says it all when upon leaving I told the bartender I'd be booking my birthday dinner here.

Coincidentally I went back for my birthday and it was JUST as good.  I had the herb-roasted beets, crème fraîche, toasted pumpkin seeds, and micro basil to start and the grilled hanger steak with thyme, potato-cauliflower gratin, kale and chimichurri.  Both were very good although the quail still reins supreme.


 I will be back.

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