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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Weekly NYC Blog Post - 5.16.2013

More restaurants and bars coming your way!  I had a stockpile to get through this week mostly featuring amazing cocktails... theme here?


ANOTHER awesome cocktail bar...and below is a picture of my favorite of the night... The Black Book.  It's jalapeno, bourbon, honey, lemon, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom.  It's like Christmas meets alchoholic milkshake.  NOM NOM.  I'll be back for you baby.  Great spot for after dinner drinks.  The bartender was super attentive and friendly as well.  And the spot is intimate yet light.  LOVE IT.

Photo Credit:


If you love tatter tots... and  you love nachos.... you will love Reunion.  It's an underground surfer bar that takes all the toppings you would put on nachos and puts them on tots instead.  Magical.  Oh, and their famous Mermaid drink  (pictured below) is a refreshing yet strong take on a mojito and has the perfect amount of crunchy ice and liquid.  Please note one mermaid per drink :-)

The owner, Topher, is way cool and gave me three hours of tutelage on how to craft high-end cocktails.  You can even taste the different bitters they make at the bar.  I'll be back for sure.  Sunday nights are key. 

Photo Credit: Reunion Website

Le Philosophe
Found this place on Immaculate Infatuation and realized I hadn't had French food in AWHILE.  So I thought I'd try it out.  And since I'm a supporter of the "go big or go home" philosophy I ordered cured foie gras terrine, frog legs and duck a l'orange.  The foie gras was really thick and too sweet and the bread they served with it was too thick as well.  The frog legs, which I've never had before, tasted....that's chicken.  I thought that the sunchokes, garlic and watercress added a lot of great flavor to the dish though.  I'd have those again.  Lastly the duck a l'orange was delicious.  It came with turnips and pommes mousseline and had just enough sauce to season the duck perfectly.

And of course you can't go to a French restaurant without ordering the profiteroles with caramel ice cream, hazelnuts, and drizzled chocolate sauce.  Cart me out of here people!

Overall a lovely evening although not somewhere I need to go back.  Definitely a nice spot for a second/third date or for the visiting parents.

Photo Credit: Le Philosophe Website



The Daily
Another Yelp Elite event - this place was really cool atmosphere wise but not sure I was that impressed with the drinks...  Enjoyed myself but probably don't need to go back.  Although hard to say since it was a private event so maybe it's different on a regular night.


I've  heard stories of this infamous club and finally made my way there as stop four on a ridiculous spring night.  If you go LATE like 2am then you can usually get in without a problem.  I think we had more guys than girls but then again my friend came who goes there all the time so maybe they recognized him?  This place is trashy cool.  There were two female rappers performing on the catwalk stage that runs down the middle of the club.  The scent of marijuana hung in the air and a man with a tray offered up little plastic spheres of pills.  It was like walking into another world.  Truly an experience.  Hit this one up.

The Vault at Pfaff's
Stopped here for a quick drink with some girl friends before a concert on Thursday.  It's fancy with rich wood and plush cushions.  That's about all I have to say that's good about it.  The service was pretty terrible considering we were three of the six people in the bar and I ordered the bruschetta from the menu only to get two completely different bruschettas.  No idea what was even on them.  They were good but sort of strange not to give me the right order.  I dunno.  It was fine.  Don't need to go back.

Photo Credit: Vault Website

The Market Table
To welcome our new coworker I was tasked with finding a fun, yet not too expensive, restaurant near work.  I'd heard about Market Place and thought that the fresh fare and large bay windows would make a perfect work lunch.  I was not disappointed.  We ordered the quinoa hushpuppies with capers and lemon which were fantastic (you dip them in a chili sauce that's unbelievable), the beet salad with goat cheese, horseradish creme, soft herbs and hazelnuts which was also flavorful and fresh and the black angus strip steak sandwich with fontina, ciabatta, spinach, salad, and horseradish.  The sandwich was fine... it was too much bread so I mostly just ate the steak off it.  I would totally come back here and highly recommend it.  I feel like this would be a great brunch spot too.

 Photo Credit: The Market Place Website


Greenwich Project
For those who have been to Mulberry Project meet the newest of the "projects."  It reminds me of a mixology bar that Audrey Hepburn would've "breakfasted" at with it's clean lines, white table tops, and dapper staff.  I recommend the bar for its GREAT cocktails and fun bartenders.  It's the type of place you just assume the food is good too.  We lounged here for an hour or so on a Saturday afternoon and it was just perfect.  I will definitely be back.  Ask for Kevin.

 Photo Credit: Greenwich Project Facebook


The Shanty
Another adventure out into Brooklyn landed me at a bar called The Shanty.  This place is the opposite of shanty... it's a smaller venue made of wood and iron that shrugs up against a distillery that keeps the gin and rye whiskey flowing.  They serve small snacks that were strangely delicious??  It was just crostini with honey goat cheese and spicy jerky but for some reason I gobbled both.  So good!  And the cocktails... where do I start?  I HATE gin and yet the resident mixologist was magic... everything I tasted was excellent.  If you are in need of a shanty to weather a storm or just want to get drunk in great company with great drinks and eats head here.  I'll be back.

Photo Credit: The Shanty Website

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Weekly NYC Blog Post - 5.15.2013

Hey Everyone - I've got a great list of restaurants and bars for you this week compiled from the last few weeks.  I even made my first venture into Bushwick!

Heavy Woods
My first adventure into Bushwick proved very fruitful!  We landed at Heavy Woods to enjoy some post dinner drinks.  I was pleasantly surprised to find Session Black on the menu which is a DELICIOUS beer from my hometown of Portland, OR.  I find it to be a less thick, more flavorful version of Guinness.

For a Tuesday night it was just crowded enough to feel "happening" without being annoying.  As in we easily found a seat by the open window.  Unfortunately not much to look out at (Bushwick is pretty stark) but the inside of this place was cozy.  I would totally come back.  Great spot for a date.

Photo Credit: Mitch D. from

Dinner in Bushwick was somewhat hit or miss.  I tried about three different cocktails and thought all of them were pretty poor (the margarita, the whiskey sour, etc).  Luckily the food proved much better.  We shared the veal dumplings and salted cod fritters (amazing!) and then ordered the bass and the chicken.  The chicken dish is INCREDIBLE - it has this thick balsamic glaze that I smothered the chicken in.  Would definitely recommend.  The service was great too.  Our waitress could tell that we weren't particularly into the drinks and without us even saying a word removed one of the drinks from the bill because I guess she felt bad.  So unnecessary and yet so appreciated.  Another great date spot because you have some room to yourself at the table but also great for dinner with the parents.

Photo Credit: Ron C. on



Cook and Go
I attended a Yelp Elite event at this spot so I had pretty much no idea what goes on here at first but I learned that this is basically a "kitchen" where you learn how to cook different recipes and then you take the final product with you to eat "on the go."  You can sign up for a workshop by yourself or get a group together.  For example, they have a package called the High Line that is $39 per person and gets you an app, entree and dessert (small sizes) that you can then go eat on the High Line! 

The chefs are super friendly and attentive and the recipes were DELICIOUS.  We made tres leches with mascarpone, chili grilled corn with spicy salsa, horchata and tostadas.  The salsa on the grilled corn was so good that I was ending the rest of it with the left over corn chips.  Trying to track down the recipes.  Would highly recommend this for a birthday party, girls night, date night or a team-building workshop for coworkers.



I've walked past this place a few times and it always made me hungry for burgers so when we were in need of a quick yet tasty dinner option that was nearby this jumped out at me.

My overall assessment is everything is nice.  The staff is nice, the restaurant is nice and the burgers and spicy pickles are nice.  But nothing more than that.  Not standout.  For reference we had the Roadhouse and Mediterranean burgers.   Good but probably don't need to come back.  They do make milkshakes to go that are really thick and tasty though.

 Photo Credit: Bareburger Facebook


FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I have waited and waited and waited and called and pleaded and FINALLY I ate at Ippudo.  And it was everything I dreamed it would be.  The fact that I would go back and wait TWO HOURS to eat here AGAIN says it all folks.  I had the Shiromaru Hakata Classic ramen (because hello you have to get the classic on your first trip) and it was fantastic.  I also ordered it with Onsen Tamago (poached egg) and extra pork belly.  WORTH IT.  It is super filling and not too salty.  Literally I'm salivating writing this right now.

And that was just the final piece.  We started with the Hirata Buns and the Hirata Chicken wings which were both outstanding too.  Probably the best steamed pork buns I've ever had.  The bun was SO fresh and hot and the pork crumbled in my mouth.  The chicken wings were large and smothered in black pepper sauce.  YUMMMMMMM.

Whatever it takes you must eat here.  It is worth the wait.


Just a quick entry here... I'm sure you've noticed the current fresh juice craze that is taking over the nation.  I refuse to partake just because it's trendy but I do think that Liquiteria is standout in terms of their drinks.  I'm a fan of good ole Jamba Juice but found myself really enjoying my smoothie from here.  I would recommend as a great alternative to a heavy meal especially after a hot yoga session!

The Toucan and the Lion
I've been here before for brunch so some of you may have already read that post.  I'm here to say "screw brunch; come for dinner."  I say that even though I was there the other day for drinks but I did have the rum braised pork belly with sambal glaze, thai sticky rice, peanuts, pickled cucumber and beet sprouts.  The glaze was thick and sweet/spicy and finger lickin' good.  Mmm....

Oh and then there were the actual drinks which I argue are some of the best cocktails in the city.  My two favorites were "The Black Night" which is Gordon's gin, Aperol, and house rendered balsamic vermouth.  The balsamic vermouth made this drink taste unlike anything I have ever had.  It's only on the menu during spring/summer so get there and try it!  The "Thai Fighter" was also good (made with Ezra Brooks bourbon, fresh muddled Thai basil leaves, simple syrup, lime, and yuzu.

Highly recommend this place and I will definitely be back to try the ever changing menu.  Great place to catch up with a friend or for a first date.


Adrienne's Pizza Bar
Happened to be down in FiDi hanging with a friend who lives down there and I hadn't eaten all day so we ended up at Adrienne's.  I have to say I was STARVING and this place still didn't really do it for me.  The pizza, loaded with toppings as it were, still didn't have any taste to it.  I was sadly disappointed.  Skip!

Photo Credit: Diana L on


Snack Dragon 
Another place that I've been meaning to try but it's apparently best late night after you've been out all night.  I'm probably one of the few who have actually been here sober in the daylight so I can give you a fair assessment.  I tried almost every tacos on the menu and they are all good.  The only one that I would say is GREAT is the Quinoa Pilaf taco with cilantro, coriander, scallions and red pepper.  All the tacos could use a little extra kick in my opinion so don't be worried to utilize the nine million hot sauces hanging out on the back table.  Will definitely hit up again.