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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

NYC Blog Post - 7.2.2014

The remainder of restaurants and bars I've been to recently!


Bowery Electric
Man I've heard about this place for ages and I'm not sure why it wasn't closer to the top of my list.  I just randomly ended up here and had a GREAT time.  What a dance party!  As I write this I realize I want to go back!  Definitely fun for a birthday group looking for fun.  Warning of a fairly young crowd though.

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I went here the other night and I've officially found my new favorite pizza in New York City.  There were three of us and we had a large El Greco with artichoke hearts/Parma pizza, a bottle of wine and the goat cheese and caramelized onion crostini appetizer.  And then ordered another small Giardino pizza because this pizza is like crack.  Not only is it delicious it's CHEAP - the bill came to $100 total!  And it's conveniently located down the street from me.  Looks like I have a new best friend.  Please try it out.  If they go out of business I'll cry.



Bleecker Kitchen and Co (and Sweetwater Social Club)
I met up with a friend at Bleecker Kitchen for a long awaited dinner.  The place is very cute and the food was great.  I had the seared salmon with crispy skin, green beans and cipollini onion.  The sauce was light but tangy, the fish was nicely cooked and the green beans were crisp!  I would highly recommend this place.  And for those looking for after dinner entertainment just head downstairs to SSC for some shuffleboard and fancy drinks.  I wasn't a huge fan of the cocktails (too much sugar and fruit in them) but the beer selection isn't bad.  It can get a little hot down there but I'd still recommend for a more laid-back night out with friends.

Photo Credit: Bleecker Website

Photo Credit: Sweetwater Facebook


Henry at the Hudson Hotel 
I rarely go to hotel bars because I think they are kind of snooty but my friend had a round of free drinks there so I came along.  The Hudson Hotel is gorgeous with a beautiful outdoor patio area and the Henry bar inside is also lovely.  The clientele were snooty just like expected and the drinks were crazy expensive although very good.  Can't say I'd go back but if you are looking for a nice place to take clients for drinks in Midtown I'd definitely recommend.

Photo Credit: Henry Website


Very cool little speakeasy in the LES that I happened upon one night was a girlfriend.  Sort of your standard issue speakeasy with a mixologist who takes your liquor of choice and thinks up a drink that costs you about $12-18.  Very low key and they keep it from getting crowded.  Kind of like a hipster Death n Co.  I'd come back if I was in the area...but don't bring too many people or you won't get in.

Photo Credit: Joshua V. on

Hill and Dale
I forget why I ended up at this bar because it's in a random area but I may have just been on the lookout for a new cocktail place.  I LOVE this bar.  I find myself returning here whenever I'm in the area.  I love the drinks and the music and there is never a line at the door it just depends on the clientele since it's different every time I come here.  But highly recommend and easy to get guys or large groups in which is always nice for birthdays or when people are in town.

Photo Credit: Hill and Dale Website

Last time I was here I was wearing a dirndl for absolutely no reason other then this place serves German food.  It was a huge splash except that everyone thought I worked there!  Their outdoor patio is SO nice although it can get a little hot!  Great for brunch because you can pack a lot of people onto a picnic table but be prepared for heavy German food and beer... you'll need someone to roll you out of here.

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People's Lounge
A random bar where I met up with friends on a random Saturday night.  Definitely a good time especially the bar upstairs.  Nothing particularly special but I enjoyed myself.  A good option if you are in the area and have a large crew.  Again a relatively young crowd.

Photo Credit: People's Website

Pig and Khao
One of my favorite brunch partners suggested that we hit up this LES gem the other weekend.  It can now be considered my new favorite brunch location next to Cafe Cortadito.  In addition to unbelievable food (tasty and inventive) you can also do $15 bottomless, serve-yourself PBR keg or bottomless mimosas (orange, mango, watermelon, lychee).  In case you read that too fast YOU CAN SERVE YOURSELF FROM THE KEG AS MUCH AS YOU WANT.

There were four of us and we ordered family style (only way to do it because the plates are sizable).  We got the sizzling corned beef hash and grilled pork jowl which I thought were the two best.  We also got the shan noodles and khao soi which were also delicious I think I just wasn't in the mood for hot noodles on a hot day.

Now if only they would open for lunch!!!! 

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One of my coworker's favorite dance parties, I finally made it to 675 a month or two ago and had a great time.  Open late and poppin' until the wee hours we started quite the dance party.  I have been back since to a more laidback experience so I think it can be hit or miss.  But when it's hitting it's a DAMN good time.  It's in a basement that is decorated almost like an underground hunting lodge.  Hard to describe...  you'll have to see it for yourself.

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One of the many heralded boozy brunches of the famous Meatpacking District, I came to Bagatelle for my coworker's birthday.  It was a huge pain to get a reservation and your entire must be there or they give away the table.  I managed to be 14 minutes late thus avoiding ruining the birthday by ONE minute.  That's so silly.  It then turned out that a 1pm brunch is way too early as the really party starts closer to 3pm.  So we were finishing up and getting kicked out right around the time it got good.  At least my braised beef short rib croissant was tasty and surprisingly filling and the DJ was awesome (I'm now following him on Soundcloud).  The mimosas were yummy too.  I also was not terribly impressed with the clientele who looked like they were all 45+ WASPs.  As six twentysomething girls we felt oddly out of place.  We "bounced" to Bounce and had a far better time.  I don't think I need to come back. 

Photo Credit:  Bagatelle Website


La Esquina
Of all the restaurants and bars in NYC, La Esquina is the one that I've been waiting the longest to get to.  I have no idea why it's taken me so long but I finally made it there on Friday night.  The place is SO cool.  I could spend hours inside.  I provided a photo of the outside since we walked past it a couple times unsure that this was it since there isn't really a sign.  You'll need a reservation if you want a sit down dinner but if there are just 2-3 of  you I recommend just asking to sit at the downstairs bar.  You can eat and drink there just as easily and not wait.  Otherwise you will be SOOL.

We shared the Ceviche Blanco which was Red Snapper, Avocado, Orange and Lime Juice with Serrano Pepper, the Queso Fundido with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, Chile de Arbol and Plantain Chips and the Costillas de Puerco (Charred Chipotle Guava Glazed Pork Rib).  The ceviche was a generous portion and very fresh which impressed me, the queso had a little pepper spice to it and I love plantain chips and the pork ribs literally fell off the bone.  I thought they were all great dishes although maybe a little light on flavor.  I had the spicy margarita which also felt a little short on flavor (kind of watery).  So overall I love the place just not sure it has the best food and drink.  I'd eat at Los Feliz over this place.

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This place was recommended to me by a top notch chef (his friend works there) and most of my coworkers confirmed that this place was awesome so I had to try it.  You definitely want to make a reservation since it's still relatively new and very popular.  The head chef was so cool and came and chatted with us for a bit and gave us free shots.  I had some food jealousy because I ordered the salmon, which was delicious, but the duck waffle is definitely the dish to order.  I got a little taste and was pissed I didn't order it!  The wings are also amazing as are the cocktails.  It just has a really friendly atmosphere and would be perfect for anything from a date to a family dinner to a birthday.  I'll be back.

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Photo Credit: Distilled Website

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Dig Inn Seasonal Market
I'm always on the lookout for flavorful, delicious, HEALTHY options for lunch and my friend introduced me to Dig Inn as the perfect option.  You basically can choose from a bunch of delicious veggies, meats, etc that they put in a bowl for you.  It was A LOT of food so I was even able to take some home with me for an extra meal!  I definitely want to come back next time I'm near Union Square for lunch.

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Again I find it hard to find really good food in Union Square especially for lunch, so I was pleased to be introduced to Republic as another great option.  It's all about noodles!  There are tons of options, it's not too expensive, and they have great non-alcoholic or alcoholic drinks.  You do share tables so not sure this is the right place for a client lunch or a date but a great place to meet up with friends for lunch.

Photo Credit: Republic Website


Aria Wine Bar
Another place that I'm not sure how I found or came across but I loved it!  I had a couple appetizers that were very good and the wine is lovely as well.  Maybe slightly on the expensive side for the portion size but it has a lovely ambiance.  It's perfect for a second date or a catch up with a friend.  Probably a little more difficult for a larger group since I'm not sure they take reservations and it's a small place but I would definitely like to try it out again.

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Monday, June 30, 2014

NYC Blog Post 6.30.2014

Alright folks, now that Yacht Week BVI and busy season at work are out of the way I have a TON of New York bars and restaurants to catch you up on.  Since there are so many I'm going to breakdown into areas and give the short version.  Today is Brooklyn through Flatiron and then hopefully the rest of the alphabet tomorrow.


At my roommate's suggestion we went here for my birthday dinner.  I got the "Hake Cake" which looked exactly like it sounds... a multiple layered cake of fish.  Sounds weird but tasted delicious.  My whole goal was to try something random and new and it turned out great.  This restaurant is very cute - perfect for an intimate dinner with friends or a significant other.  The menu is always based on fresh ingredients and is everchanging.  I recommend it however even with a reservation they made us wait awhile which was a little annoying.

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Berry Park
I can't remember if I've written this place up before... probably back when I first came and hadn't had the opportunity to test out the rooftop.  The rooftop is golden!  One of my favorite places in Brooklyn although the line to get in can get a little crazy.  If you go during summer don't be concerned by the utter lack of people inside... we are all on the roof.  They have great drinks, a good beer selection, great DJs (most of the time), lots of seating and DELICIOUS fries.  YOU MUST GET THE FRIES.  Go there.

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Cafe Mogador
I've been to the one in East Village before but this was my first time at the Williamsburg location.  I think they've got really good food and great wine.  Nice for a second date because it's intimate but not too quiet.  You do sit awfully close to other people though so helps to know the person you are with.  Super easy to walk in and get a table on a weeknight.

 Photo Credit: Mogador Website

Colonia Verde
My new favorite pasttime in good weather has been walking the East River, over the Brooklyn Bridge, into Brooklyn and wandering my way back up to the Bedford L Stop.  This time I cut in a little more than usual and found myself in Fort Greene which is an adorable town that doesn't feel like New York at all.  We decided to stop for some food at this restaurant literally just by picking a place off the street.  We sat at the bar with the very friendly bartender who made us some awesome cocktails.  There was a mess up with the kitchen so we ended up waiting an hour for our food but when it came it was very good.  I had the steak which was perfectly cooked and a very large portion.  Scrumptious.  And they took a round of drinks off for the annoyance of waiting which was a smart move.  I would definitely eat here again when and if I end up in Fort Greene again.  It's the type of place I'd take some friends to hang out or dinner with the parents.

Photo Credit: Colonia Verde Website


Ganso Ramen
I ordered the shishito peppers, short rib buns, crispy gyoza and ramen and all of them were SO good.  One of the best ramen places I've been to in New York.  Definitely gives Ippudo a run for the money although it's a bitch to get to from Manhattan.  Highly recommend if you randomly find yourself in downtown Brooklyn.

 Photo Credit: Gansa Website

Harefield Road
I hate to admit that "cash only" restaurants automatically lose points with me but they do.  Especially when you are trying to go for brunch and have to skimp on what you want to order so that you can ensure you have enough skrilla to cover the bill.  Not ideal!  That aside Harefield has a nice brunch and a great atmosphere.  Not sure I need to return but it was an enjoyable meal.

Photo Credit: Harefield Website

94 Wythe
For those of you who love Kinfolk Studios OR amazing design, you HAVE to check out this brand new spot by the same people as KS.  It's called 94 Wythe (aren't you smart that IS the address!) and then inside architecture is like something out of a design magazine.  It's breathtaking.  There's a few couches and a dance floor in addition to the main bar area.  The only downside are the cocktails... they weren't that good.  Always a bummer for me.  Such a cool place to impress a first date or to have a birthday party.  I will definitely be back.

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Nita Nita
I have mixed feelings on this place.  Their slogan is "stiff drinks, great eats,"  I agree the drinks are stiff... and also terrible.  I took one speak of mine (and I love cocktails) and ordered a beer.  And then they charged me for the cocktail.  That pissed me off.  So I'll skip to the better part of the evening... the food.  The pulled pork with cornbread was not only a different take on something that seems very traditional but it was VERY tasty.  Like one of the better dishes I've had recently.  The flavors all just merged together into something new and different.  If you somehow end up here... at least order that.  Otherwise bypass this place for some of the better options in the area.

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Ah, the infamous Roberta's Pizza.  The tales about this place are unlimited so I had to see for myself.  I finally made it out there and was delighted to find that the stories are accurate.  This place is f-ing cool.  It feels like some post-apocalyptic outpost in the outskirts of Brooklyn.  You walk through a random, dilapidated door stuck in the middle of a deserted street and enter into a warm, eclectic dining area.  Walk in a little farther and there's another room and another, all haphazardly joined together like an afterthought.  But it works!  And then there's the pizza.  It's SO good.  I can't say enough good things about this place (and they have boozy hot cider in the winter) and definitely need to get back there for the summer version.

Photo Credit: Roberta's Website
Shelter Pizza
It's weird that this place is called "Shelter Pizza" because I don't really think of pizza when I think of it.  A friend of mine works here as a bartender so I sat at the bar when I went in.  They've got nice wine and the pizza is pretty good.  I actually think of the empanadas when I think of this place though.  They are really good and they have lots of choices.  The bar has a cool, lodge-like feel to it with sheepskin rugs, low lighting and wooden walls.  Feels very cozy in the winter.  A cool place overall but I probably wouldn't return if my friend didn't work there since there are other similar places I like better.

I RANDOMLY ended up at this fine, Bushwick establishment late late night to meet up with some friends.  I was concerned in the cab ride over that I'd been given a faulty address since it was nowhere near anything I've ever heard of or been to.  Turns out it is pretty sweet.  It was packed in the upstairs bar and then downstairs in the basement was a huge dance party.  Beers were also pretty cheap and the crowd was laidback but fun.  Not sure I will ever randomly end up out here again but if I do I'll be pretty happy about it.  You should try it out!

Photo Credit: Tutu Website

This should've been added to my last blog post re: concert venues but I hadn't been yet.  It's a huge warehouse esk venue where I saw Chromeo.  I'll be the first to admit that you definitely need to trade in your ticket for another ticket at the door and I just walked right past that and in.  To be fair I did BUY a ticket.  There's a coat check just inside and then it opens into the bar and the large dance floor.  It was very fun although would be difficult to fill up I feel like. I'll be back but probably only for another show; not just for dancing.

Photo Credit: Verboten Website

The Woods
Last but not least of the Brooklyn posts... The Woods.  If you've ever been to Portland, OR, you will feel like you've been transported to the Pacific Northwest.  The wooden interior of the bar and the large picnic table ladened backyard are so PNW.  Hence why I love it so much.  And when I thought I couldn't love this PBR bar anymore than I already do... I discovered their pork-sicles.  Not sure if that's the actual name for them but it's my best description.  It's literally pork belly on a stick.  I think I ate five in a row last time I was there before I ran out of cash.  Otherwise they'd have run out of pork belly.  This post is making me hungry.  I need to go back.

  Photo Credit: Michael F on


Heath at the McKittrick Hotel
Went here for a registered party which was a terrible party but as with all the other aspects of the McKittrick Hotel the interior decoration of this place was magical.  The area in the photo below with the tables was open for dancing when I arrived so I'm sure it's a completely different experience usually.  I loved the little area in the second picture which was a replication of a train car.  I would like to come back and try it out for dinner or drinks again.  Maybe when the parents are in town.  They'd love this.

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Le Baron
Another long time favorite that I just haven't had a chance to write about.  I rarely make it down to Chinatown (need to remedy that!) but when I do I can't help but mingle with the fancy French at this nightclub.  A smallish club that features three intimate floors of dancing and drinking, you feel like you've been whisked away to a dirty dancing night in Paris.  The drinks are crazy expensive but the venue is worth it.  A great place to take that girl you've had your eye on.  She'll be impressed... and you'll be poor.  Just feels and looks like a hot bed of sin.

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Old Man Hustle
I can always expect to find random, weird little places with a certain friend of mine and this place was no exception.  Within 30 minutes I found myself playing Cards Against Humanity with the bartender and my three friends to the chagrin of the other patrons.  A small little bar that fits about 15 people on a random street in Chinatown.  I'll totally stop in again next time I'm in the area. 

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Whiskey Tavern
Imagine my surprise to learn that there is YET ANOTHER bar in the Whiskey family??  In addition to loving Whiskey Town in the EV and Whiskey Brooklyn in Williamsburg, I can now add Whiskey Tavern in Chinatown to my list of favorites.  Check. It. Out.

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If you are looking for "18 years olds" who love to karaoke this is your place! I walked in and immediately felt 31720457124514 years old.  But it was hopping and really fun.  Just know what you are in for!  I think it was a birthday party so this clientele might be different on a regular night; I just thought it was hilarious.  Definitely a dive bar good time.

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Empire Biscuit
Their slogan is "Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Drunk." and I've managed three of the four (I'll let you make your best guess).  I've been desperate to find a place on the East Coast that understands what a biscuit is... and FINALLY I've found it.  Not to mention they also have Blue Bonnet iced coffee making this the happiest place on Earth.  My future husband is gonna know whose to blame for the extra LBs I've packed on.  I'm salivating just thinking about this place and now will likely need to stop by on my way home.  Yum.

Photo Credit: Empire Biscuit Facebook

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Boozy brunch anyone?  I've been searching for a new place to try out (not that Cafe Cortadito isn't still my #1) and Fonda came up.  Their brunch options are slightly on the spicy side for me but I just asked for them to take it easy and they obliged as much as possible.  Thanks to plenty of Rosalitas (their hibiscus margaritas) I managed to make it through the spiciness.  The only hiccup was that this place is known for all-you-can-drink rowdy brunch yet some of the patrons were annoyed with us for being loud.  I tend to feel like you should know what you are getting into at a place like this and should avoid the typical Sunday brunch hour if that's not what you are looking for (not to sound like a jerk).  And we kept it contained to our table.  One person sitting at the bar got in my face about not tipping on the bill which was completely untrue per our waiter who said we had left a very generous tip and frankly none of her business in the first place.  Unfortunately, that really tempered my experience and was enough to make me not really want to come back.

Local 92
My friend who is part Lebanese promised me Lebanese food one night only to find out that the place she was thinking of was closed.  So we ended up at Local out of a deep-seated need for hummus.  Lots of hummus.  Lots of good hummus.  We ended up getting a bottle of wine and a ton of different small plates and it was SUCH a pleasant dinner.  Our waiter was fabulous and the atmosphere felt like we were eating in the kitchen with the chef.  A great lady date!  I probably won't be back unless I desperately need hummus again since there are so many other places to try but definitely a place to check out.

Photo Credit: Local 92 Website

North River
This place is relatively new and looks adorable from the outside.  I finally got to try it and the food was exceptional and inventive.  I had a variety of small plates but the standouts were the pork belly doughnuts and the smoked devil eggs (I have a huge weak spot for deviled eggs).   And the cocktails were great too.  I had a Lemon Grab which was the perfect refreshing light gin drink to go with my heavier food.  This place is heavenly and perfect for a date or a catch up with a close friend.  We had no problem getting a table and the waitress gave us all the time in the world to order since we had so much catching up to do.  It was a very relaxing, friendly atmosphere.  I will definitely be back.

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Oaxaca Taqueria
Went here for a quick bite and wasn't especially impressed.  I've had better.

I was on the search for the spiciest Indian food I could find and somehow ended up at this restaurant.  Low and behold I was just going off Yelp rating only to take a seat and find out that they just got voted the spiciest Indian food in NYC.  Guess I came to the right place!  Note that I arrived with a Texan and a Brit in tow so I knew I was in for it.  Coming from Portland, OR, I am kind of a wimp when it comes to spice.  Even still I sat down and ate super spicy curry with the best of them!  Granted a side of yogurt certainly helped it go down.  I'm not a huge Indian food person but from what little experience I have I thought it was good.  Definitely worth a try!

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The Third Man
I'd hazard to say this is my favorite cocktail bar in Manhattan at the moment.  Reminds me of a Southeast Portland bar with a little bit of a hipster feel and GREAT cocktails.  My current favorite is the Velvet Revolver but I've tried most of the everchanging menu and haven't found one I don't like.  The bartenders are all very friendly and late night you get some great old school hiphop beats which are so ironic for this place that it somehow fits perfectly.  I'll probably be there when you stop by...

Photo Credit: Third Man Website

Tompkin Square Bagels 
Another favorite spot that I'm surprised I haven't covered before.  My favorite bagel place in Manhattan, TSB is cash only, always crowded and hates when you ask for your bagel "toasted" but the final result is 99% worth it.  In fact I had one on Sunday.  Great to pick up and eat in the park which a friend on a casual Saturday morning.  You can literally order any kind of bagel any kind of way.  It's the craziest menu perfect from someone with a crazy imagination.  Go wild!  Go often!

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Yerba Buena
I know I've mentioned this place in regards to its drinks but I've finally had the opportunity to eat here for brunch and dinner.  I have yet to try something that isn't fantastic.  Upon arrival, regardless of time of day, just go with whatever has "short ribs" in it.  That's been my gameplan and I have yet to be disappointed.  You literally feel like you are family here but without the "diner" feel.  I LOVE this place and constantly come back to what feels like a unique, perfect experience every time.  It's perfect for birthdays, dates, family night, friends, etc.

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Hill Country
I know I sound like a broken record when I say "I've been meaning to go to this place" but unfortunately it just ends up being true!  In a city like NYC, you just have to be patient and know the time will come.  And thank god it did because this may have just trumped Mighty Quinn as my favorite BBQ spot.  MQ's still holds the brisket record but all other meat awards go to Hill Country.  And they have live band karaoke... what's not to love?  As I write this I've been offlining with some friends to go tomorrow.  Clearly I love it.  So should you.

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How could you not love a place whose tagline is "Food and Bourbon?"  Yes, please times two!  I happened across this place simply because I Googled "bars near..." and this place popped up.  And boy do they know how to make their bourbon drinks.  I'm not much of a traditional cocktail person (Sazaracs, Manhattans, etc) but they've officially turned me.  I had a Sazerac that burned its merry way straight to my heart.  I'll be back for drinks.  Trust.  There's also something about the horse drawings that in a fancy place like this makes me laugh.

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