Tuesday, August 17, 2010

In 2008, Emmanuel Verstraeten expanded his Brussels concept,Rouge Tomate, to New York.
The philosophy of Rouge Tomate surrounds the concept of S.P.E., an acronym for “Sanitas Per Escam” (Health Through Food). This idea rests on three key principles: sourcing, selecting ingredients seasonally and locally; preparation, using cooking techniques that preserve the food’s integrity and nutrition; and enhancement, optimizing nutritional value via product combination and menu diversity.

Chef Jeremy Bearman’s does a wonderful job following the S.P.E. concept while also preparing delicious food. I was told by an employee that you could enjoy a three-course meal for under 1000 calories. It's quite impressive to deliver a delicious appetizer, entree, and dessert for under 1000 calories when most restaurants could use those 1000 calories just in the first course.

The decor by "Bentel & Bentel (the firm behind most of Danny Meyer’s New York restaurants) also reflects the feel-good premise without conjuring a yoga retreat." Rougue reflects beautiful elegance while making guest feel comfortable.

Rouge Tomate is not only known for their food, but also known for their juice bar. Since the concept behind Rouge embodies health, the cocktail menu offers a variety of options from non-alcohlic blends to seasonal favorites. Rouge Tomate's in-house juice bar squeezes fresh fruit and vegetable juices daily for all of their specialty cocktails and signature combinations. The juice bar utilizes the freshest seasonal produce to ensure they have not only the highest nutritional value but exceptional taste.

Whether you get the Jasmine (jasmine infused gin, apple juice, and fresh green jalapeno) or the Rose sangria (berry infused Rose, Watermelon, Orange, Seltzer) you will be pleasantly surprised. The white wine we got with dinner was also refreshingly good, while also demonstrating the same practices of balance and nutrition. The sommelier came over to our table to talk about the wine and how she picks wine not only for its taste, but the wineries sustainable, organic, and biodynamic practices of viticulture.

Rougue just added crostinis to their menu. The addition of the crostini option wasn't to replace ordering an appetizer, but to get guest to order a little something extra. The crostini option is perfect for those waiting at the bar for their table. All the crostinis are quite good including the crab, serrano ham/eggplant, jersey tomato, and ratatoulle. The crab crostini seemed to be the table favorite. The only service flaw that I recognized came during this part of the meal when the runner brought the food out without describing each crostini. Although we figured it out for ourselves, some people might like a description. Other than that, the service was on point all night.

The server than brought out an amuse bouche served in a mini shot glass. The amuse bouche was a cold, creamy corn soup that really got me excited for my meal. For my entree, I ordered the chicken which is very unlike me. Not only do I eat chicken every day at home, but many restaurants don't impress me with their chicken dishes. I decided to get the chicken based on the server's recommendation and I'm glad I did. It was a local Amish chicken served with fingerling potatoes, fennel, arugula, and a heirloom tomato jus. The chicken was cooked sous-vide style, which is pretty new way of cooking. Sous-vide comes from the French for "Under Vaccuum" and involves cooking items packaged in airtight plastic for long periods of time in hot water (around 60 degrees C or 140 degrees F)

The chicken had a beautiful, crispy skin that really impressed me. I couldn't believe this dish was healthy, because it had so much flavor. I also tried the trout and salmon dishes that were also good. Both dishes were cooked "a la plancha", which comes from the Spanish for an iron or aluminum plate usually incorporated into the oven. The whole brook was served with quinoa, almond, fava bean, apricot, spiced yogurt, and chermoula. I was also got to taste the Columbia River Salmon which was served with summer squash, eggplant, miso, and a tomato-ginger dashi. Both fish dishes were really well cooked, but the chicken really stood out here.

The server than brought us out a cantaloupe sorbet to cleanse our palate for dessert. Now that I think of it, the server didn't tell us about the sorbet and he just placed it in front of us.

Rouge's dessert menu is based on fruit as they stick to their concept of balance and nutrition. All three desserts were great as I tried the Blueberry, Plum, and Bittersweet Mi-Cuit. The blueberry dessert was a warm clafouti topped with red currants and buttermilk-lemon ice cream. The Plum came with sticky rice balls with crystalized ginger and a plum-shiso sorbet. The Bittersweet Mi-Cuit was definitely the most artistic of the three. This dessert came with a molten chocolate cake, banana, and coffee ice cream.

Rougue Tomate served me with an awesome experience from the cocktails to the food. I thought the restaurant did a good job embodying the concept of the S.P.E. without being too preachy. I will definitely be back at Rouge whether its for a well-crafted drink or a delicious, nutritious meal.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Harry's Italian

Quite often this summer I look in my refrigerator to find nothing but the Brita water filter and the occasional beer. I do my best to get out of the city in the summer not only because I love the beach, but it just gets too damn hot. Because I'm often going to Jersey, I don't really stock up on food; especially because I usually eat at work.

So on days like today when I have nothing to eat--I roam around my neighborhood and look for a nice lunch spot. Today I found an awesome Italian place on Gold Street called Harry's Italian. Although I thought of ordering off delivery.com or seamlessweb, I didn't! i decided to get out of the apartment and go for a stroll.

Harry's Italian was really busy with take out orders as I saw three delivery guys running around with packages, but the inside was pretty empty. I thought Harry's was well designed as I felt an Italian theme, but it wasn't overdone. Longer bar tables with white marble tabletops make up the bar area to the right of the restaurant as you walk in. The dining section to left is finished with beautiful dark wood. I was really digging the decor of this pizza bar.

The service was pretty good and the food came out pretty fast. Although I found myself debating between the chicken parm and the grilled chicken with peppers/mozzerella, I went with the chicken parm. I don't know how the grilled chicken sandwich would have been, but the chicken parm was one of the best I've ever had. The chicken cutlet was cut thin and seasoned beautifully. The sauce was delicious and the cheese was just right. The best part of the sandwich was the bread as it was light and crispy on the edges. I believe everything on the sandwich was perfectly balanaced from the thin chicken cutlets to the lightly toasted bread. It was a great sandwich that could even compete with Mamma O'Briens. I will definitely come back here if I'm ever craving italian. This would be a nice spot to sit outside or even hang out at the bar for a glass of vino. Well done Harry!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Walking Around

Although the Financial District lacks a lot of late night choices, it offers some great outside dining spots from the seaport to battery park. Whether you're dining at PJ Clarkes in the World Financial Center Marina or you're in the more touristy seaport-- the financial district has some scenic dining spots.

When I first moved into my apartment, I got sucked into the restaurants at the seaport but as I walked around I found some really great spots tucked away from the tourist trap. Beekman street has some really great restaurants whether you're looking for a small snack or a nice dinner. Some of the restaurants that I have visited thus far are Aqua, Nelson Blue, Salud!, and this little italian trattoria whose name excapes me. Most of these places have awesome outdoor dining, which is perfect for a quick lunch or romantic dinner.

My friend Amanda and I decided to take advantage of the weather and grab some lunch. We walked along the cobblestone streets and landed upon Fresh Salt, which is right next to Salud!. We sat outside as the waitress brought us some water in a glass bottle. I kind of like when restaurants do this because I drink a lot of water and its nice having water at my disposal. A negative of having the bottled water was the keeping the water cold. The water wasn't cold to begin with, but it only got warmer as it was pretty hot outside.

The menu was rather small, but had some nice choices from fresh salads to artisanal sandwiches. Amanda got a nice size salad while I ordered the "The Works"-- a pita melt with three cheeses, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, baby artichokes, and onion. The pita melt reminded me of a personal pan pizza, only the ingredients were fresh and delicious. Although the pita melt didn't fill me up, it hit the spot. Maybe next time I'll try a sandwich.

I'd definitely recommend this place if your looking for a nice lunch spot. Sitting outside is so awesome if the weather is right. Its a great spot to grab a bite than take a scenic walk afterwards.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Another Weekend in Jersey

Muscle Maker Grill (Colonia, NJ)
I started my weekend in Jersey with my favorite QSR in the area, Muscle Maker Grill. Don't get me wrong, the name is awful, but the food is awesome and supposedly good for you. They don't tell you how many calories are in each item, but the whole concept is driven behind delicious yet healthy food.

I actually looked into becoming a franchisee of a MMG, but I didn't end up going through with it. I probably would have made a lot of money as Muscle Makers are popping up all over the place including Jersey City, Hoboken, and even New York City. I was surprised to see there is a muscle maker in Tribeca--not too far from my apartment.

The original Muscle Maker was opened in Colonia, NJ by Rod Silva. The quick-serve restaurant started as a smoothie store, but Rod began to add food to the menu as he felt there were no restaurants in the area offering healthy food. The concept grew and evolved into what it is today--a multiple unit QSR franchise with locations from NJ to Miami.

I'm a big fan of most of the menu; however, I usually get the Yee-Ha Chicken Wrap. This wrap comes with grilled chicken, western potatoes, turkey bacon, and southwest sauce. I would definitely recommend this casual, quickserve to anyone looking for "great food with your health in mind".

D'Jais (Belmar, NJ) A First Pumper's Paradise
A bunch of friends from home decided to spend the Saturday down the shore. Our friend Justine and Kelly have a house in Belmar, right on Ocean Ave. This is conveinently located one block away from the infamous D'Jais. Normally my friends and I wouldn't step foot into D'Jais as the crowd is usually a little too guido for our liking. The people that go here are usually right out off the cast of the Jersey Shore. But it was happy hour, so we were hoping the guidos were still in their Gym, Tan, Laundry routine.

After being ID'ed twice, you walked into a dark room with loud music and glaring lights. A horn sounded and everyone went wild. I was kind of surprised my friends didn't run for the door as soon as they got there, but maybe it was the cheap drink prices that kept them there. I can't give you exact prices, but everything was under 4 bucks. I think draft beers were $2 and bottles were $3. Red Bull Vodkas were $2.50 if you get down with that. At one point, they had a "shot special" were everything behind the bar except Patron was $2. We took full advantage of that by ordering a round of Jameson for whoever was close by.

D'Jais happy hour actually turned out to be a lot of fun. Granted, you have to be willing to get hammered and dance like an idiot; but its all in good fun. I would recommend D'Jais happy hour for sure. Bring your dancing and drinking shoes.

PK Shamrock's (Lake Como, NJ
After going to D'Jais and back to Justine's apartment, I convinced a group of ten people or so to follow me to PK shamrocks which was down the street from their house. I was looking into buying PK's a few years ago and my interest was regenerated a few months ago after graduating from culinary management school. I haven't been there in awhile, so I thought it'd be cool to go grab a beer with some of my friends on our way to Bar A. PK's was empty as I double the crowd when we showed up. We sat down and grabbed a bud light while scoping out the crowd. Not only was i disappointed in the amount of people there, but the price at what they served beer. A domestic draft was $2.5o on a saturday night. I was happy as a customer, but not as a potential owner. I thought that was too cheap for a saturday night. I was surprised they didn't have a better crowd with drink prices like that. We only stayed for a beer, so I don't have much else to report on.

PK's does do this Thursday night "Price is Wrong" game which is pretty cool. They do it during happy hour to get people to come in. Its like the old gameshow the Price is Right. They usually have two cute girls run the show and they actually give out pretty cool prizes. My friend Hennessy and I dominated last time we were in there.

The place has great potential to be an awesome bar. They just need a owner who cares and gets it going.

Bar A (Lake Como, NJ)
I did a commentary of Bar A last weekend, so just read that. All I got to say is that you better bring two forms of picture ID if you want to go here because the bouncers could be dicks on letting you in. Don't cause too much fuss either as they have cops hanging out looking for drunk idiots to arrest.
Boathouse (Belmar, NJ)
Huge shots...BEWARE.

Cheesecake Factory (Edison, NJ)
I went to the Cheesecake factory with my family to celebrate my sisters first day on her new job. I don't know if thats the reason we went out, but it sure sounded good. The cheesecake factory is a good place to go with my family because their menu appeals to everyone. My mom and John are not too adventurous when it comes to eating, so the menu gives them options while also appealing to a foodie like my sister, Jen. Jen actually didn't make it, but I feel like we ate enough for her.

The waitress was very nice, she seemed a little nervous but she was very attentive and timely. I did have to wait a few minutes for a refill of water, but I drink fast! For appetizers, I got the Crispy Crab Wontons that were awesome. it was crabmeat blended with cream cheese, green onion, water chestnuts, and sweet chili sauce inside of a crispy wonton wrapper. I normally go for the Buffalo Blasts or the Sliders, but this was a good change for sure.

For my meal, I was boring and got a Chicken Ceasar Salad. The salad was HUGE was I couldn't even finish it. I question why the chunks of chicken in the salad were so big, but thats just me being critical. The chicken itself had good flavor--it was just too big to fit in your mouth without cutting. The crutons were also hard to find, which made me a little disappointed. I probably had 6 crutons in this gigantic salad. The salad was good though, so I will stop complaining about the little things.

I also took a bite of Kim's chicken madiera, which was alright. I took a piece of the peanut butter cheesecake Kim ordered and that was pretty damn good.

Overall, the Cheesecake Factory is a good place to go if your with a group that has a lot of different food opinions. The menu is so big that it gives everyone something that they like. We had a very nice dining experience and I'm sure I'll eventually go back as my neighborhood back home lacks quality restaurants.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Yankee Stadium

Yankee Stadium
Although most of my entries are on restaurants and bars, I've decided to make a short entry on my experience at the yankee game. After all, I was drinking and eating there so it definitely qualifies for a short recap.

My friend Christa and I sat in section 225 which is right down 3rd base line. These were great seats especially for some1 like me with such poor eyesight. Since this isn't a sports blog, I'm not going to go into detail about the game, but I will tell you about the concessions. We had a few beers which isn't much to blog about, but what I was impressed by was the cheesesteak. Not only were the cheesesteaks really good, but the lady behind the counter was so nice as she offered us wet towels to cool down with. It was a hot day and all, but I was kind of confused at first when she handed the wet towels to me. She then told me to throw it on the back of my neck and I kindly obliged. It was a great game to go to. Beautiful weather, good food/booze, and good company. I definitely recommend checking out Yankee Stadium even if your not a yankee fan.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Shake Shack

I walked into work the other day and family meal didn't seem all that appetizing so I walked over to shake shack to settle my burger craving. Part of me wanted to walk around and experience a new place, but the other part of me wanted a double shack.

As I've mentioned in earlier post, I work at Tabla on 25th and Madison so the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park is way to convenient. The line wasn't too long, despite the awful humidity sweeping the city. I might have only been waiting 15 minutes, but it seemed longer because of the heat.

Shake Shack has a pretty consistent product as the burger is always delicious. The cook their burgers medium well which is usually overcooked in my book, but the burger keeps its juiciness so I think its OK. My order was a bit messed up as they put tomatoes on it, but I'm not going to make a big deal out of that. I ordered the double shack, which I washed down with an ice cold Coca-Cola. I wanted to get a milkshake, but I didn't want to slip into a food coma right before work. I usually get the black & white shake, but I've also heard the butterscotch shake is legit.

There's really no need for an extensive review on Shake Shack--its a roadside burger concept spreading throughout the city and other parts of the country. Danny Meyer has really hit the nail on the head with this one. I believe Shake Shack has good value as the food is delicious and the price isn't too bad. A doubleshack (two cheeseburgers with special shack sauce) filled me up pretty good and only set me back $7.25--pretty good for the city.

I'm sure I'll be back at Shake Shack aslong as the lines aren't outrageous.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


After working here for two months, I decided that I wanted to check out the food. I always rave about the food and suggest different items to customers, but can you really suggest something if you never tried it? I guess you could see what people like by asking them how they enjoyed certain items, but I wanted to see what Tabla was really about by indulging in some of the restaurants popular dishes.

Tabla is one of the restaurants in the Union Square Hospitality Group along with Blue Smoke, Maialino, Shake Shack, and some others started by restauranteur Danny Meyer. In the New York Times last review of Tabla, executive chef Floyd Cardoz received a 3-star rating which is quite impressive for a restaurant that boosts over 200 seats. A pinoneer to New Indian cuisine, Chef Cardoz uses Western technique to reimagine the flavors of his native land. Tabla is known for using only the finest local ingredients mixed with Indian spices to create an unforgetable experience.

The restaurant was pretty empty as my friend Kristen and I arrived for dinner around 8:30. We opted to sit at the bar as it was more of a casual dinner, plus I knew my fellow bartenders would take care of us.

Kristen, arriving earlier than I, ordered the Tablatini for herself while ordering me the Kachumber Kooler. The tablatina is Sky Citrus, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, and a lemongrass infused pineapple juice made by our pastry department. The tablatina is pretty delicious and will probably always be on the menu. The tablatina is garnished with a scure of lemongrass poked through a piece of pineapple. The kachumber kooler is another popular drink that is ordered way more than any bartender could hope for. This signature cocktail is made with Plymouth Gin, fresh lime, simple syrup, green chilies, cucumber, and a handful of cilantro. I don't know what fascinates people about the drink--the neon green color or the use of the cilantro, green chilies, and cucumbers in a drink. Although I'm not a big fan of the drink, people love it. I don't think its a bad drink, but there's too much vegetation for my liking. We also got a watermelon mojito which is a frozen drink that everyone seems to love. The mojito is made with fresh watermelon, mint, cruzan rum, simple syrup, and lime juice. The mixture is put in the frozen drink machine where water is added for the frozen texture. This is a perfect drink for the summer, especially if enjoying Tabla's patio.

One of Tabla's most unique characteristics is the bread bar, which shares the same space as the regular bar. The allows customers to not only smell the wonderful aromas of bread, but to also see the process. The bread bar creates these delicious breads whether flatbreads served with a variety of chutneys or stuffed bread. We went with the chili-cheddar cheese stuffed bread which came with a spicy tomato chutney. The stuffed bread is delicious whether the chili-cheddar cheese, bacon, mushroom, etc.

What we ordered:
Crab Cake --The crab cake (seen below) is a pan-fried peekytoe crab from Maine served in a papadum chip atop a pile of Chef Cardoz's guacamole. The crab cake is bound with a fish mousse and crusted with Panko. The crab cake excites the palate as you get flavors such as garlic, ginger,coriander seed, cumin, cayenne, and lime zest to name a few. One of Tabla's more popular dishes and now I know why.
Black Pepper Prawns --Although extremely excited for prawns, I was rather disappointed with Tabla's prawns. They had decent flavor, but I was hoping for more flavor--more kick! I found the only taste I really got from the prawns was limey flavor. I was also disappointed with Tabla's decision to serve the prawns with the head and shell on. This gave the prawns a rustic look, which was cool but it made them a pain in the ass to eat. Lastly, It also upset me that the prawns were farmed raised, but thats a different story for a different time.
Soft Shell Crab --The tapioca crusted soft shell crab was definitely one of the highlights of the meal. The dish comes with two crabs halved with a side of diakon salad. The soft shells crabs are pan-seared and prepared beautifully. No wonder we run out of this dish so often.
Lamb Loin and Short Rib --Another highlight of the meal was this dish as it came with a duo of meat and a ratatoulle of green market veggies. Although the lamb and short rib were the star, the ratatoulle was a good supporting cast. The ratatoulle was made with tandoor roasted eggplant, shallots, and roasted peppers. The braised short rib was delicious and melted in my mouth. The lamb loin was also really good and cooked to a perfect rare. I would definitely order this dish again.
Onion Rings--The onion rings are a great side dish especially if sharing. The breading on the onion rings are a wonderful mixture of chickpea flour, wondra flour, onion, Aleppo pepper, cornmeal, corn flour, semonline, chaat masala, and cumin. I can definitely see coming back for some bread, onion rings, and beer if not trying to break the back on entrees.

I will definitely be back to Tabla to experience more of the menu. I think its an awesome place whether you're looking for a big meal or just a few appetizers. I would definitely recommend this place for a nice romantic dinner or for a beer and bread with coworkers after a long day. Come stop by!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Clinton Street Baking Company

This was my third time to Clinton Street and I'm sad to say I didn't try anything new on this trip. I stuck with the bacon,egg, and cheese on a biscuit. The bacon was a bit overdone, but no big deal. I washed the delicious sandwich down with a black & white milkshake. A delicious breakfast although a bit pricey for BREAKFAST. Oh and the wait was pretty ridiculous. I think i might try some new restaurants instead of making a 4th trip here.

City Crab

Spending my weekdays working and my weekends down the shore, I didn't really get to indulge in New York City's Summer Restaurant week like I do winter's. I did however get to have a great lunch with my friend Jackie. After discussing menus and locations, we came up with City Crab, located on Park Ave between 19th and 20th Street. This was a good location for both of us considering we work in the area. We also thought seafood was a good lunch idea, especially since it was a hot summer day.

Arriving a little late, Jackie was sitting at the bar enjoying a beer. The host brought us upstairs where we seemed to have our own little dining section. I remember the host asking Jackie if he could carry her beer, which definitely gives him point for customer service. Unfortunately, the customer service ended there as the waitress didn't seem too happy to be there. She didn't have much to say and she would disappear for long periods of time.

The food made up for the poor service. For appetizers Jackie ordered the Gazpacho which I wasn't too impressed by, but my Prince Edward Mussels were delicious. The gazpacho tasted like a salsa dip, but the mussels were fantastic. Although I picked the winning appetizer, Jackie picked the winning entree as she ordered the seafood bake. The seafood bake came with a whole lobster, two clams, corn on the cob, and of course the classic seafood bib. The lobster was not only a good size, but so flavorful. The clams were also good, but lets be serious--the lobster was the main event. I ordered the crab and lobster cake sliders which were good, but I feel like I was ripped off when I saw Jackie's plate. My plate did come with sweet potato fries though, so that made me happy. The crab cake was better than the lobster cake, but both were pretty legit. The crab cake was fried and drizzled with a white sauce whole the lobster cake was shredded lobster meat mixed with a healthy amount of citrus. The portion seemed small compared to Jackie's, but it was actually a pretty good lunch portion as I left full.

We both ordered the chocolate gelato for dessert. I thought they had a pretty aesthetic presentation of the gelato with the glass and the whipcream, but I feel like it wasn't what I expected. Chocolate gelato makes my mouth water, but I didn't even finish my dessert.

The decor reminded me a typical seafood spot as a huge crab hung from the ceiling. Definitely not a romantic spot, but a good place to kick it with some friends and enjoy some great seafood. I would probably go back to City Crab for their Crabby Hour--half price appetizers and drinks.

Weekend in Jersey

Bar Anticipation (Lake Como, NJ)
Located in South Belmar(Lake Como) Bar Anticipation (Bar A) is definitely one of NJ's greatest bars. Editors Nighclubs and Bars have picked Bar A as one of the top 100 clubs/bars in the Northeast. Bar A lives up to all of its hype as it gives guest various options--boasting a huge property full of bars. Bar A has atleast seven huge bars all offering a different experience. One might prefer the inside portion of Bar A as a live band rocks out. Others might want to spend the evening enjoying the weather outside at one of the many bars pumping out drinks. For those on a mission to get drunk, a shotwheel bar exists outside in the left corner.

Bar A has redesigned the property a little from the last time I was there. What use to be the volleyball court is now private cabanas. Although its kinda cool to have cabanas and bottle service--its a beach bar (cmon). I think the cabanas attrack a different kind of crowd that I think should go back to DJais and Headliner, but I'm sure its making the bar lots of money so good for them.

This bar is like an adult amusement bar. I give the owners credit, especially on the name as many guest anticipate coming to the bar all winter just waiting for summer to come. I always have a good time here and will definitely be back. I recommend Bar A on a tuesday night for "beat the clock" or anytime on the weekends whether during the day or night. This is a good place to grab some food, chill-out, and listen to the live raggae band or come and "bro-out" with your boys on a Saturday night. Tons of beautiful girls here ready to show you their tan lines!

Monmouth Park (Haskell)
The Haskell is considered the next important race after the races involved in the Triple Crown. Many of the horses that race in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont also race in the Haskell. The Haskell takes place at Monmouth Park and although it doesn't bring crowds like the above mentioned races--New Jersey definitely represents. My buddy Morven and I took the train from Belmar right to the racetrack. We got there a little late because we were a little banged up from the night before at Bar A and it was raining so we figured the crowds would be smaller. We got to the track around 11 and it was pretty packed. We couldn't even get a table, so we took over a bench.

A bunch of my friends from home showed up with coolers and full wallets to bet on the ponies. Although the weather was shitty, we had a great day and the sun eventually came out. Although a lot of money was lost--one can't complain considering you could bring your own coolers. How awesome is that? You could bring all your own food and booze, so the only expenses you will endure at the track is a program guide ($3) and whatever you bet. Its a pretty sweet deal if you ask me. Next year, we will make a plan to get there early and reserve a picnic table. Though not as crazy as the Kentucky Derby, I definitely recommend this event to anyone looking to have fun and do a little gambling.

Boathouse (Belmar, NJ)
The Boathouse is not new to my list of bars/restaurants but I feel obligated to give a review as I had a very memorable experience. We usually go to the boathouse for drinks, but this time we had dinner and a solid dinner it was. After drinking all day, it was nice to kick it at a neighborhood joint and enjoy some live music and some good ol' bar food.

We ordered "Ooey Gooey" and "Bourbon BBQ" wings as an appetizer, although it came out with our entree--but no big deal. Our server was very friendly, so we won't write about her smarts. The "Ooey Gooey" wings were described on the menu as "Bee Hive honey mustard" which I don't know what that means, but they were awesome. The Bourbon BBQ wings were also really good, so I'll have to give our waitress props for suggesting them.

I got the Jetter Burger for my main course, which is a regular cheeseburger topped with taylor ham (pork roll). I used the leftover sauce from the wings to top my burger which added some serious flavor. The burger was cooked nicely and was definitely a good size. The burger came with chips that were pretty delicious. Homemade chips are always a good addition to a burger.

Morven got some kind of chicken sandwich that was huge. He took off a piece of chicken breast and still didn't finish the sandwich. I think our eyes were bigger than our stomachs. We sat there for a few hours after dinner and listened to the band that was set up in the corner. They were really good as they played a variety of music including Billy Joel, Zac Brown Band, and Dave Matthews. A few pints of Sam Summer and some shots of Jack Daniels ended the night as Morven and I walked back to his house. The shots at Boathouse are given in these large plastic bathroom cups and will definitely make you laugh in the morning when you're reading all the text you shouldn't have sent. Overall a great experience as always. I definitely recommend coming her on Sunday nights for the band, but almost every night for the ambiance.