Thursday, March 25, 2010


Antonio's Mozzarella Factory, Wine Library, and Gian Marco

(coming soon)

NYC spots

There's a Cosi around the corner from my school, so I stopped in here one day for a quick bite. This place reminded me of a Panera, which I'm down with. I'm not in love with Panera or Cosi for that matter, but its not a bad spot to grab a quick lunch.

The ambiance in the Cosi was relaxing and laid back as some guests were eating lunch while typing away on their laptop. I really liked the art on the wall and the spacious seating. I ordered a grilled chicken Caesar salad, which was good. It tasted fresh and it wasn't overwhelmed with dressing. I liked the fact that your salad came with a little piece of foccacio bread. The bread was good on my first bite, but seemed to get hard as the meal went on. I think I probably could have found an equally good salad for a cheaper price somewhere else.

I probably won't go back there only because the city is full of options.

Blue Smoke
It didn't seem like we were in a recession/depression when I visited Blue Smoke a few weeks ago. This place was packed as Stef, Greg, and I waited a good 20 minutes or so for a table. Blue Smoke is Danny Myer's famous BBQ restaurant that stands above Jazz Standard.

While I waited I got Blue Smoke's Original Lager that helped pass the time. The ale was very good--it was light and had some nice fruit flavors. Waiting for a table allowed us to peek at other peoples tables and see what looked good.

As we were seated, our server greeted us; but he didn't seem too enthusiatic about being there. Finding a good server isn't an easy task at all, but Danny Myer is always talking about his 51% percent--that basically means that servers need good personalities and learning to become a good server will come naturally. Basically attitude is more important than skills. If you part of this 51% then good service will come easy to you. I don't know how this guy skipped through the screening process because he wasn't the least bit friendly. OK, enough about service and on to the food--the reason we're here!

For appetizers we got BBQ chips, Tuna Tacos, and the Chipotle Wings. The BBQ Chips were good, but I like potato chips for dessert, not an appetizer. I thought the tuna tacos were pretty good, but Greg and Stef weren't impressed. The Chipotle Wings were definitely the best appetizer as they were tender, smokey, and had some kick to em'.

We then moved onto our next course as Greg and I got combo platters and Stef got a salad. I got the rib sampler which came with Texas, Kansas City, and Memphis style ribs. I lost my notes, so I don't recall which one I liked the best; but they were all very good. I think my favorite was the Texas rib, which was dry rubbed for a nice smokey flavor. The Memphis style ribs were prepared with Blue Smoke's magic dust and their original BBQ sauce while the Kansas City ribs were slathered with Blue Smoke's sweet and spicy KC sauce. All three ribs were really good, but the combination platter for one fell short as I didn't order any sides.

Greg got the Rhapsody in 'Cue which was a combo platter of KC ribs, pulled pork, sausage, and smoked chicken. Everything on his platter was good especially the pulled pork.

Blue Smoke is an awesome restaurant! They serve good food and have a really great ambiance. I really enjoyed the food, but it seemed a little too much for BBQ food. I'm use to BBQ joints being less polished and rugged...and cheaper at that. I think Danny Myer is genius for converting casual BBQ into a restaurant experience, but why not go to a smaller hole-in-the-wall place for the same BBQ at halff the price. I would go back, but probably after checking out some other local joints first.

Shake Shack (Madison Square Park)
Who would have though a burger and shake joint in Madison Square park would rake in over $3 million dollars a year? I guess Danny Myer did! Danny Myer has many restaurants in this area, but Shake Shack is arguably the most famous. The Shake Shack crave started on the Upper West Side, but has moved downtown to Madison Square Park. Rumors have it that Shake Shack is in the process of taking over more locations around the city. The line for Shake Shack gets so ridiculous that they "roadside" burger joint has a camera to monitor the line for those of us who can't wait 45 minutes for a burger and fries.

The bar was definitely set high as many claim Shake Shack is home to the best burger in New York. Don't get me wrong, their burgers are definitely good--but not the best burgers in the city! You appetite for the burger might trick you into thinking its the best burger, but that's because you just waited in line for half of your lunch bread. Lunch in Madison Park is lovely, especially when the weathers right. Even when its not so nice, the heat lamps warm you right up. The only setback to outdoor dining in the park has to be the animals as pigeons and squirrels eye up your meal.

Before ordering, I was told that the burgers were on the small size so it was in my best interest to order a double. I ordered a double cheeseburger with a black/white shake which cost me $12--no wonder they are making so much money. The burger had good flavor and was incredibly juicy. I also enjoyed the potato bun, which compliments the burger big time. The shake was incredible! They seemed to have the perfect mix of vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup. The shake was even blended to the perfect consistency as many places make the shakes too thick to even suck out the straw. I was also able to taste the fries, which a friend had ordered. She LOVES the fries and I thought they were good; but nothing too special!

I would definitely go back to Shake Shack, especially because its right down the street from my school. The staff is friendly, the burgers are good, the shakes are even better, and the eating outside component is hard to beat. I will definitely be back!

Atomic Wings
Atomic Wings has a few different locations around the city. We went to the one on 1st Ave between 11th and 12th street. My friend Jackie and I were looking to grab a quick bite, we wanted something fast and cheap. Both of us are suckers for wings so as we passed Atomic Wings, we did a double-take and went back to check it out.

Luckily for us, the place was empty--but i imagine it could get pretty crowded in there. The space is small, but I'm sure they do more pickup and deliveries than sit downs. We ordered a plate of hot wings and waffle fries. The wings and fries were both good, but nothing that's going to drag me back there. The wings had good flavor and left the mouth with a nice spicy ting, but you could get the same quality wings at a local bar so save the money on your metrocard and stay local. If you're in the area and craving wings--go for it.

Open Door Gastropub
This was my second trip to the Open Door Gastropub on John Street. The first time I had the Wall Street Burger than proved to be one of the better burgers in the neighborhood, but this time I opted to go with the Pulled Pork Sandwich. The Pulled Pork Sandwich was really good, but its hard to tell you anything else as I had the burger after a bunch of cocktails and some beers as well. I do remember the flavoring being on point and the pork itself was very tender. I thought the bun was too big or the serving of pulled pork was too small. When making a sandwich, you want the right meat/bun ratio and Open Door failed me on this one. Their burger is a good example of a good ratio, but the pulled pork sandwich fell a little bit short.

The service was good, especially because one of my friends was a little intoxicated which could have been seen as rude. The server even comped me a beer as we pretended it was my birthday for some reason. The gastropub is a nice addition to the Financial District and I'll probably be back there again considering its right around the corner.

Nelson Blue
Amanda and I decided to grab a quick bite to eat after walking around the neighborhood on a georgeous Friday afternoon. After a walk along the water in Battery Park, we decided to walk over to Front Street down by the Seaport. Front Street has a bunch of nice, little restaurants that serve good food and drinks. We picked Nelson Blue, a restaurant serving New Zealand styled cuisine. We sat outside as the weather was beautiful. We decided to get some wine and appetizers instead of a heavy meal. It was also a Friday during Lent, so us Christians couldn't eat meat.

We shared Corn & Zuchini Fritters and Crab Cake Sliders for an appetizer. The Corn & Zuchini Fritters were awesome. The fritters were lightly breaded and came with a white creamy sauce that kicked them up a notch. The Crab Cake Sliders were also good. Both appetizers were really good. They were also light, which was perfect!

Although I usually don't order white wine, I ordered a New Zealand Riesling; which was GREAT. I felt that it went with the appetizers and the weather very well. Couldn't have asked for anything more! Appetizers and wine outside by the water with a good friend--awesome. Would definitely go back!

St. Patty's Day

Hairy Monk/Perfect Pint/Bull McCabes/more

(Coming soon)

Double Crown Demo/Streets International Benefit

(Coming soon)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Jay-Z at MSG (Blueprint 3 Tour)

(Coming Soon)

Hogs and Heffers & Fat Cat

(Coming Soon)

Around the neighborhood

Andrews Coffee Shop
A chain of diner-like coffee shops all over Manahattan landed in my neighborhood, right around the corner. I've ate at Andrews three times since I've moved into New York and I don't know why I keep going back because my meals are never good. Maybe its because my neighborhood is dead on the weekends when I'm hungover and craving fried food. Two out of the three times I went to Andrews I ordered a bacon, egg, and cheese. Both times the sandwich was pretty shabby. They are very skimpy on the bacon, the eggs lack flavor, and the roll was stale and unappettizing. On a different occassion a friend brought me a bacon cheeseburger from there which was overcooked and definitely not worth the $10 bucks I gave him. I would have rather gone to the gastropub for a $12 Wall Street Burger that I know will be good.

I brought everyone to Andrews after my birthday and not one person liked their meal. Ed was served a strawberry milkshake which was so bad that he couldn't even look at it. It was then passed around the table where it recieved similar reviews.

Probably not going back there...i'll just order my hangover food from seamless web.

Bon Chon Chicken
Bon Chon is a new addition to the neighborhood. Bon Chon is Korean bbq which I've heard rave reviews about. I never had Korean bbq so I was pretty anxious to try it. I consulted the internet and many reviewers said to order the Soy Garlic Chicken or Spicy Soy Garlic Chicken. I did just as recommended and got half regular soy garlic and half spicy. The chicken was absolutely delicious! Crunchy fried chicken with a uniquely great flavor made Bon Chon a local neighborhood favorite. AND THEY"RE OPEN ON THE WEEKENDS!

Peter Lugers

Peter Lugers (Brooklyn, NY)
My dad used to go to Peter Lugers every once and awhile with his finance buddies. He use to tell me how delicious the steak was and constantly torment me by bringing me the bone with maybe a little piece of meat left on it. After begging him, he finally took me out with him while entertaining clients one day. I don't remember too much about the experience other than the fact that it was the best steak I ever had at that point. Years went by and I wanted to go back, but never got the chance. I think the reason I never went back was because it wasn't in an accessible area. If the restaurant had been in Manhattan, I'd probably go there once a year.

My sister came to New York to take me out for my birthday. She told me to pick a place that I always wanted to go, but never went. I had a few places that fit the bill, but then I thought of Peter Lugers, a place I've been to once but been dying to go back. We almost reconsidered going after the reservationist gave me a serious attitude problem when calling for a reservation. Kim made me realize that I shouldn't let the reservationist ruin my much anticipated steak dinner. I agreed and we hopped in a cab to Brooklyn.

Being on the lower-end of Manhattan, I thought our trip to Brooklyn would have been a lot shorter, but it took us a good 25 minutes to get there. The restaurant wasn't crowded when we got there, but slowly got there. Everything in this steakhouse is extremely plain-- from the decor, menu items, and servers. A tall German server took our order, but didn't seem to happy to be there...or happy to serve us (a younger demographic that expected at the steakhouse).

We ordered the porterhouse for two and a side of onion rings. We didn't get drinks because it was a rough weekend for me and nothing seemed to interesting. I feel like the restaurant hasn't changed anything....EVER. But I guess they go from the old saying, "if its not broke, don't fix it." Peter Lugers has phenominal steaks and they know it. They don't get people there because they have new crazy food items or exciting cocktails. People come for the steaks and will continue to come for the steaks.

We knew our steak for two was coming as we heard a sizzling plate and smelt the aromas of pure goodness. The server put the pre-cut porterhouse on the table then served us each a few slices. The porterhouse rested in a warm pool of butter and blood to which the server spooned on top of our slices. The steak was as good as remembered. I love Peter Lugers steak sauce, but didn't even use it. The aged beef in the delicious butter was all I needed.

The onion rings were also really good, a perfect side dish! The onion rings had great flavor as they weren't tradionally battered onion rings I was expecting. These were some of the best onion rings I've ever had.

Not a crumb was left on either plate and we got our check and headed back to Manhattan. I want to check our Ben and Jacks which I hear serves a similiar steak and isn't such a hike. They got big shoes to fill as Peter Lugers still keeps the title, best steak I've ever had.

Atlantic City

The Continental

The Continetal is one of many places to grab a bit in the Pier Shops at Ceasars. I recently learned that The Continental is one of Steven Starr's restaurants. Steven Starr is a restauranteur based in Philadelphia. Although many of his restaurants started in Philadephia, they have landed in such cities as Atlantic City, New York, and Ft. Lauderdale. Starr's most famous restaurants include Buddakan and Morimoto.

The idea behind The Continental is a global tapas. Small plates in a variety of different cuisines which allow a great deal of flexibility when ordering. I don't know about you, but my family always had a hard time deciding where to eat because we all wanted something different. My sister wanted Italian, my dad wanted Chinese, I wanted BBQ, etc. The idea between this restaurant would fill all appetites.

The restaurant was well constructed and designed. We sat in the section right outside the restaurant on the "boardwalk" part of the pier. We sat right next to the fire pit which was pretty cool. The waitress wore a pretty casual uniform, so I immediately thought that she wasn't going to be any help when deciding on what to eat. I usually ask the server what's good so I could try to avoid disaster dishes. Well shame on me for assuming because the server was pretty knowledgeable on the menu and had some good suggestions.

There were four of us so we ordered a bunch of plates. We ordered buffalo chicken meatballs, tuna tartar potato skins, bbq chicken quesadillas, mahi mahi tacos, kobe sliders, shoestring fries, and a salad (don't remember what kind--they brought out the wrong one anyway!)

The continental had a bunch of things that sounded good, but they were all strange recreations of normal dishes that we all love. The buffalo chicken meatballs were pretty good, although extremely small. Most of the plates only have you 2-4 serving of each item so that one buffalo chicken meatball was definitely not enough! The bbq chicken quesadilla was good, but that was a safe bet. The tuna tartar potato skins seemed very unusual to me, but it turned out to be pretty decent. I'm not the biggest fan of raw fish, but how could you go wrong with a cheesey potato. The mahi mahi tacos were another interested dish that was knew to me. I know the idea behind the tacos isn't that crazy, but fish just doesn't excite me as much as steak, chicken, and pork. The tacos were good, definitely different to me palate though. The kobe beef sliders were another safe bet that hit a homerun, but again--portion sized KILLED ME. I'm not even going to talk about the salad because not only do I not remember what it was, but I didn't taste it. The shoestring fries were awesome.

The cocktails we had were pretty good. Stef had a shirley temple with cherry vodka and I had the "Big Daddy". The "Big Daddy" was made with Makers Mark, Ameretto, Chambord, and gingerale. This drink was quite delicious. Claire got a mojito which was OK, but i'm not a huge fan of mojitos--probably because I hate making them!

Overall, The Continental was a pretty cool place to check out: from the edgey design to the unique tapas. The food was pretty good along with the service, but I left hungry! For what dinner cost, I should have been content at the very least- but I was still hungry. O well...easier to get drunk, plus I'll have a good reason for a late night snack!

Best Damn Sports Bar (Tropicana)

Our next stop ater some gambling was to the Best Damn Sports Bar in the Tropicana Quarter. This is one of my favorite bars I've ever been to...thats a bold statement. I was a little disappointed at my last trip there because it was empty and they banned beer pong! The bar was empty because we went on a Monday, which is understandable I guess; but NO BEER PONG! C'mon! The bartender said the casino made them stop for some reason--total bummer. But we still had fun playing pool, rock band, and drinking our 40 ouncers.

Ater drinking and gambling, we ended up at Hooters! Say what you want about Hooters, but I LOVE IT! I think their wings are AWESOME. Poeple always call me out for liking Hooters. They say I only like it because of the girls, but truth of the matter is: I always get a "not-so attractice waitress". Don't get me wrong, having beautiful girls in tight clothes would draw me in BUT I never get the good looking girls whether in Atlantic City, Paramus, Union, etc. The wings are so good though. They have such great flavor, even the medium ones.

One thing to note about Hooters. DO NOT SAY "Nice Ass" or anything relating to a girls physical appearrance. My table learned that the hard way as my buddy Max "complimented" a girl on her rear. That wasn't a pleasant experience for anyone involved, but it was his birthday so I guess we'll give him a pass? For you to decide! Thanks for leaving the rest of the table to pay for your meal and undrank scotch though!

AC = always an adventure.