A fratty spot near Penn Station satisfies hunger pangs
SoHo Park for Burgers and Booze
I went to Chile for Spring Break and met several new friends, including Sophia and Frank. Sophia is getting married in a couple of months and Frank is leading the charge on planning. I was honored when they asked me to help them in picking a venue for a bridal brunch - I guess all of this blogging has given me a bit of a reputation.
We met up for dinner to review some potential locations. Frank suggested SoHo Park (no website, http://www.yelp.com/biz/soho-park-new-york). When I saw that there was a Capirinha, I ordered it! It was light, crisp and refreshing.
Frank takes planning seriously - LOVE him!
I ordered the Classic Park Cheese (cheese burger) with fries and garlic aioli (garlic mayo!). The burger was $6.75 and wasn't much better than a burger I'd get at Shake Shack for $4.75. The garlic aioli was amazing, but that is hard to mess up, right? Garlic + Mayo = Magic
This place was ok - there are far better places for burgers and fries in the city. The SoHo location just made it more expensive.
They Excel at Pastrami and basically everything else
Of course we had to return to Sarges (http://www.sargesdeli.com/) during my parent's visit to NYC! We came for a late breakfast / early lunch.
My dad ordered a Swiss Cheese and Bacon Omelette, while my brother got the Cheddar, Bacon and Spinach Omelette and my mom got Eggs over easy with Grits. I got the pastrami with macaroni salad - duh! I didn't snap a pic though :(
My mom can't help herself either - she loves taking food pics!
Just come here ok? You're welcome.
A New York Deli Hits the Spot!
My parents are in town for my graduation from Stern (yay happy times!). They love a classic New York deli that is near my brother's apartment: Sarge's (http://www.sargesdeli.com/). Unfortunately, it was closed due to a fire in 2012. It recently reopened! I was pleased because I had never tried it while it was open and now was my chance!
Before my parents visited, I had ordered Sarge's through Seamless. I got a turkey sandwich and the pasta salad - both were incredible! There is something about eating in the physical restaurant that is much better than Seamless, so I was excited to try it on site!
My dad wasn't the biggest fan of the fries before, so he was curious to try them out. Based on his reaction, I am 100% sure they are much better! Before they were the thick steak-cut fries - these are a much better size ratio. The onion rings were awesome! I hate when you bite into one and the onion separates from the batter; this one stayed in tact! The waffle-cut sweet potato fries were great, but I would have preferred the normal shape.
I should also mention, you get a bowl of coleslaw and a bowl of pickles for the table. The serving size of coleslaw seemed appropriate for our group size (4) but the pickles were far too plentiful!
I ordered the turkey sandwich (as did my dad and brother) and my mom got the pastrami. It is KEY to order it lean. You can get it normal (which is somewhat fatty), lean (still tasty and delicious but not as gristly) or super lean (a bit drier but much less fat).
The turkey is REAL turkey, unlike deli meats you may get at a grocery store. The meat is carved from an actual turkey vs. some monstrous reformed blob of meat. It is divine. You must try it.
The pastrami? Where to start??? It is the best pastrami I've ever had. Katz's does not impress me - it is WAY too thick. Also, Carnegie is great but just cannot compare. The waitress gave me a funny look when I asked for mayo and said she "wouldn't tell anyone" - I realize it is a cardinal sin to not have mustard, but, deal with it. I appreciated that she didn't rat me out to the culinary police.
Also, the macaroni salad is AMAZING. It is the perfect combo of tangy with a hint of sweetness. Some are overly sweet or have too much mayo - this was awesome! Normally different shaped pastas in the same dish freak me out, but I actually liked the elbows and larger shells. WIN.
You may have noticed that these sandwiches are MASSIVE. I recommend requesting several additional slices of bread (I always get rye), so you can make a couple more sandwiches with the left-overs you will likely take home! You can get 2-3 sandwiches, at least, depending on your preferred meat-to-bread ratio.
Finally Visited this Burger Mecca!
Last Monday, after Melissa finished up Brand Strategy, we met up for a late night dinner. We had been meaning to check out Unami Burger (http://www.umami.com/umami-burger/eats/umami-greenwich-village/) and this was the perfect occasion!
It is a short distance from campus, so we just walked there. Since it was past the dinner rush (9:30pm), we were seated right away. This place understands how scrumptious truffles are and there is an entire section ("Truffle'd") devoted to three burgers featuring this precious ingredient. I wasn't sure what to order - so much pressure to get the right thing! - but I ended up with the Truffle Burger. It is a beef burger with roasted garlic aioli, truffle cheese and truffle glaze. Melissa got the same thing - great minds!
We ordered the sweet potato fries and thin fries. We decided to "Unamify the fries" by "Truffle 'em" with truffle cheese and truffle salt.
You may be able to see that the sweet potato fries have what looks like brown sugar on them. I completely missed on the menu that they have a "sweet salt" on them. I love sweet potato fries but I don't like sweet toppings on them. Our server was kind enough to bring us a replacement without the topping, even though it was my fault. Great service! Unami gives four dipping sauces.
If you know of my love of mayo and garlic, the Garlic Aioli was naturally my favorite. After we consumed all the truffles we could handle for the evening, we were DONE - no more food - nada! I am always curious to see the dessert menu, so our server brought it over.
The sea salt caramel shake sounded delish, but I had to pass. Maybe next time! Also, I think in the future I will just order one item with truffle, it was a bit too rich, which is saying something coming from me, ha!
This is a solid burger spot! It also features special burgers regularly from famous chefs, so make sure to visit the website to see that the special is!
Late Night Eats
After drinks at Whitehall, some of us continued the celebrating and headed to The Meatball Shop (http://themeatballshop.com/locations/#64-greenwich) for dinner. I LOVE THIS PLACE! Especially for late night dining.
My favorite "balls" are the spicy pork! I ordered them as the "Naked Balls" with the spicy meat sauce and a side of Parmesan cream sauce. I feel that the combo of the meat and cream sauce is the ultimate! I chose to get them served over rigatoni.
This is an awesome spot with great priced food, awesome drinks and incredible special features each day. There are multiple locations in the city, so there is likely a place close to you regardless of location!
Delicious Burgers FAST
Christine was too hungry to wait for our Chinese food (it would likely take 20 minutes which is an ETERNITY if you're hungry) so she wanted to get something to eat while we waited for more food. This is why we're friends, because she is smart like that.
Christine kept saying she wanted Blue Collar. I don't speak Williamsburg fluently, so I wasn't sure what this meant. When we entered a small burger joint, I quickly figured it out. The quality of burgers and fries reminds me of In-N-Out, or at least as close as you're going to get to it on the East Coast.
The food is affordable, quick and tasty. Burgers range from $4.00 to $6.25 depending on if its a single or double or has cheese. Fries are $2.25 (small) or $3.25 (large) - obviously you need to go with the large! Christine got a burger and fries. The food was consumed too quickly for me to get a photo - apologies!
There are also boozy shakes for $7.50 that sounded AMAZING - White Russian, Pumpkin Pie, or Mudslide, among others! This is the perfect food for after you've gone to the bar. Perfectly greasy, fast and delicious!
Delicious Burgers and Incredible Sweet Potato Fries!
During a painful intensive class I needed to take to graduate, we took a lunch break at nearby Bareburger (http://www.bareburger.com/restaurant/535-laguardia-place/). I've been to this place multiple times and I decided to finally write it up.
My group split an order of Harvest Sweet Potato Fries. The order is HUGE and certainly way too much for one person, let alone 4. It is served with two sauces: smoked paprika mayo and curry ketchup. The ketchup was nasty but one of my friends, Michelle, loved it, so I let her go to town on it.
For my entrée, I ordered the Country Bacon, made with sharp cheddar, country bacon, green leaf lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, and mayo. I ordered it with beef and medium well.
This is a great lunch spot near NYU. The burgers aren't cheap, but you can likely manage the price if you don't get a fancy one with all the bells and whistles that I did.
The Counter - Just Like in Charlotte, but Cooler!
After the musical ended, Courtney and I wanted a bit of a nibble. It was that awkward time in the evening (say 5pm) and we didn't have dinner reservations until later (8:15pm). Also, since it was at a super-hip restaurant, I knew we wouldn't actually eat until closer to 9pm. Like any rational person, we decided to have a mini-meal, a lunch-dinner or rather a linner.
While we were walking through hell (Times Square), we passed by The Counter (http://www.thecounterburger.com/), a burger chain that also had locations in my old city: Charlotte. I loved it when I was there and they had sliders, the perfect appetizer, so we went inside. I was pleased to see when I checked-in on Foursquare that there was an offer for a free small fries (regular or sweet potato) with your first check-in! BOOM! The value of social media. We went with sweet potato. They are served with a yummy horseradish aioli - soo good!
I'm not a big beer drinker, but for some reason I was in the mood. Maybe it was the fried food and the promise of burgers. I ordered a draft Blue Moon. Yum.
We split an order of the sliders. It was the perfect amount of food to deal with our hunger!
This is great spot if you find yourself in the terror that is Times Square and need a quick bite! They also have really yummy Spiked Milkshakes!
Where the People are Terrible and the Food is Great
After getting some drinks at Pierre Loti, we walked down the street to The Smith (http://www.thesmithnyc.com/) for our dinner reservation. I chose this place because I had heard good things about it from multiple people. Given the location, however, I was a bit worried that the place may be chockfull of the crowd that the area (Midtown) tends to attract (read: terrible people). Anyway, I was deadset on going here, so I was just going to have to block out the awful conversations held by the people sitting next to us. Topics ranged from unreturned Snapchats to Juice Cleanses.
As I mentioned in my prior post, dinner with a romantic interest is a rare event for me. This whole "online dating" situation I've found myself in doesn't tend to led itself to second dates or breaking bread with people. To say I was excited would be an understatement.
After looking at the menu, I decided to order a unique cocktail I had not seen before, the Dirty Jane. It was a reinterpretation of a dirty martini but instead of olives, it was made with pickled tomato. I tend to prefer a dirty martini made with pickle juice over olive juice, so I was looking forward to trying this - I'm glad I ordered it. It was practically an alcoholic salad.
For my main course, I got the salmon. It was served with mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, leeks, parsnips and bordelaise (a red wine sauce). It was quite yummy. The salmon was served as two smaller pieces instead of a larger piece. Which I think made it a little dry, even though I ordered it medium.
Of course we ordered dessert. Their menu is pretty tempting and when I read "S'mores Bread Pudding" I was done. It was made with a chocolate brioche bread pudding, graham cracker crumb bottom and homemade marshmallow topping with a honey anglaise. It was one of the best desserts I've had out in a restaurant. I would be happy to go here and just get drinks and dessert in the future. Cut out the crap with ordering entrees. Who really needs actual food? Desserts for life.
Anyway, this is a nice place, especially for cocktails and dessert . Be forewarned, it attracts a certain type of Midtown / Murray Hill-ish crowd.
Carnegie Deli FTW
Last week, after our dinner at Indochine and cigars at Lexington Bar & Books, Scott and I were naturally hungry for a second meal. Hours had passed and drinks had been drunk - it was time for a late night deli. But where? Not surprisingly, not many diners are open past midnight on the Upper East Side. We thought about going to Katz's (as I, sadly, have never been) but it was closed at that point. We went to old reliable: Carnegie Deli (http://www.carnegiedeli.com/home.php).
Naturally, I ordered my favorite. A hot pastrami sandwich, with LEAN pastrami. Even ordered this way, it has a healthy serving of fat on it. Otherwise, I just can't bring myself to eat it - the texture is too...chewy? I get it with mayo; fat in a form I can handle. I find it annoying that you have to ask them to bring extra rye bread. Does anyone seriously eat the sandwich below as is? I mean, can YOU break your jaw like a python to eat that thing?
Scott ordered some ridiculous sandwich from a part of the menu called "In the Heat of the Sandwich" - it was open faced and called the Lil' Abner -hot brisket of beef with gravy and steak fries.
The meal was amazing and the left-overs the next day were also great. While we were there enjoying our food, the late night staff was cleaning out the dessert display. Can you even handle the glory that was laid out in front of us? I hoped they wouldn't noticed if one of the cheesecakes went missing, but they were on top of their game!
Who knows what this dessert is but it is epic. Gotta love it.
The 5th Avenue is a peanut butter and chocolate cream pie. It looked magical, but after our first dinner, drinks AND a sandwich, I needed to know when to say no.
I love this place! Go go go!
Smoking a Cigar is Sexy...until you cannot wash the smell out of your hair for days
After our dinner at Indochine, Scott and I went to Lexington Bar and Books (http://www.barandbooks.cz/lexington/) for a classy evening of brown liquor and cigars. As my first cocktail, I ordered a Hot Toddy made with Bushmills Irish Honey, orange liquor, lemon juice, honey and spices.
I love hot beverages on a cold night. It is so soothing. I hardly smoke cigars (I've smoke one like 10 years ago?) so I didn't want to have anything too aggressive. Our server recommend the Bar and Books Lexington. It is described as having flavors that are "tantalizing and complex, while mild in body, the smoke is smooth and easy." I really enjoyed it while I was smoking it. However, immediately after, I never wanted to smell it again. That is the thing about cigars: they don't know when to say goodbye. They are CLINGERS. When I got home I must have washed my hair about 5x. It didn't matter. Today, several days later, I am free of the smell. #toughlife
As my second cocktail, I got the Apple Cider made with Tuaca, lemon juice, fresh apple cider, and cinnamon - served hot of course!
made with Tuaca
This is a great spot for a classy cocktail. Be forewarned, if you do not want to smell like smoke, stay far away from here! Otherwise, enjoy! :)
Birthday Drinks in Brooklyn
This past Friday, there was a Stern birthday celebration at The Commodore (no website, http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-commodore-brooklyn). I've heard that the food there is legendary, so that alone was worth the trip. For a dive bar, the Commodore offered several interesting drink options. I wasn't sure which to order first...the Perfect Manhattan or Old Fashioned.
Where to Start?
I started with a Bulleit Rye Perfect Manhattan. I love love love Bulleit! It really makes wonderful cocktails. I've been dabbling in dark spirits more. I haven't gotten to just drinking bourbon neat, so a little cocktailing never hurt.
Perfect Manhattan - made with Sweet and Dry Vermouth
After I finished this delicious drink, I moved on to the Old Fashioned. I ordered it with Bulleit Rye as well. This cocktail was a bit too weird for me. For the size of the glass, the slice of orange was HUGE and the drink was way too red. It just seemed off - should have gotten another Manhattan since it was "Perfect" after all.
Once we were hydrated, we checked out the menu. I loved the monkey on it - really different!
The place is pretty famous for the fried chicken. Ingrid was smart and ordered that. I ordered a Kale Caesar salad. Complete rookie mistake. I'm trying to eat healthier...yet ordering a salad in a place famous for frying food is just a bad call.
What You Should Order - Fried Chicken
What You Shouldn't Order - Salad...
The birthday boy, Tim, kept ordering rounds of Bandera Shots aka Mexican Flag Shots. The shot is made out of three separate shots: tequila, lime juice and Bloody Mary Mix. Woof. I didn't partake. It looked interesting..
This is definitely a place to check out. It was cold outside and HOT inside. The bar is small and I got overheated pretty quickly. I would recommend wearing layers so you can prevent yourself from sweating your face off.
The Speakeasy to End all Speakeasies!
FINALLY! After researching this spot for a school project and hearing it swept the Tales of the Cocktail awards, I HAD to come! Boy, was this trip down to the Financial District worth it and then some! My friend Kate and I had an incredible evening and Jack McGarry (International Bartender of the Year) gave both of us HUGS. Love him! We planned to have dinner at The Dead Rabbit (http://www.deadrabbitnyc.com/), but wanted to eat and drink at the bar by Jack to see him in action - it is quite the show!
Do you see all of these beautiful bitters and tinctures? The teacups are awesome!
Look at that huge ice cube and teacup!!! I have no idea what the drinks are that I ordered. I just stared into Jack's eyes and he knew what I wanted. It was that simple!
Delicious, but no idea what was in this!
Again, fabulous but ?
I wouldn't want to be a bartender with Jack in town. Check out what he sent to a rival bar - WATCH OUT NYC!
It is absolutely worth the trek downtown to check out this fantastic location! It is truly amazing. Make sure to go and sit at the bar upstairs to watch Jack in action.