Sipping it up in Chelsea!
Yummy but EXPENSIVE nibbles!
You just HAVE to get the Passion Fruit Snack Cake!
Last Chance Beer Blast!
Last week was Senior Week and it was SO much fun! Our final event was Last Chance Beer Blast at the Dream Downtown (http://www.dreamhotels.com/hotels/new-york/new-york/dream-downtown/hotel-overview).
We worked with a company, Host Committee (http://www.hostcommittee.com/), to set up the event. Out of the graduating class, we had several hosts responsible for promoting the party to our community. For $25, each attendee got access to a 1-hour open bar and then could stay afterwards. I decided to be a host and it was a great idea!
As a host, I had a designated seating area for people that RSVPed under me. I also got a handwritten note from Host Committee, some small desserts, "props" and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label (not cheap "sparkling wine")! As a host, I had to get 10 people to sign-up for the "Perks" of the table - it was a great way to incentivize me to promote the party and then split the bottle with my guests!
I didn't snap any pictures of it, but as you can imagine, people jumped in the pool! Instead of diving in, I dove into this paper popsicle!
Christine and I headed out after a couple hours to dinner. Stay tuned for my post! When we were walking to the restaurant, I saw this cute PUG poster. I cannot get enough and wanted to share it with you.
If you're organizing a party, Dream was an awesome spot - especially if the weather is good - and Host Committee worked out really well! They even take professional photos of the event and share them with you!
Bottino for Delicious Italian
One of my block 3 mates, Lilian, thought of organizing a lunch for some of us during Senior Week. She had the great idea and I contributed by thinking of a place to eat on the West Side (we were going to the Frying Pan after). I ended up on Bottino (http://www.bottinonyc.com/). Check out the open-but-enclosed seating area. We had a lovely corner table.
I was intrigued by a cocktail on the menu, so I absolutely had to order it! The Grey Gardens Martini is made with Organic Black Tea and Grey Goose, St. Germain, Preserved Lemon Syrup and Honey.
This was a fantastic cocktail! If you come, you MUST get it!
There were so many options on the menu, I struggled with what to order. Luckily, Jillian and I were interested in the same two entrees, so we split them. Problem solved!
Each dish was very different and I'm glad we split them. Initially, I was a bit scared of the boar sausage but it was delicious! The lasagna was also so great - much heavier than the pasta but very tasty. Lilian also got the Orecchiette. Kate got the Sautéed Shrimp with Lentils and Garlic, White Wine and Herbs.
After we finished our meal, we ordered a coffee and got dessert. Jillian and I got the Warm Tuscan Bread Pudding, Kate got the Pecan Tart and Lilian got something with Biscotti...I believe Affogato.
Usually I LOVE bread pudding, but this one was a bit too custardy. The custard was very eggy and almost looked scrambled, so it was a bit of a bummer. I'd recommend getting a different dessert if you go!
The inside of the location is warm and inviting - this may be because it is full of doughnuts! The doughnut pillows on the wall add a certain touch.
If you think the wall art is beautiful, check out the real thing!
Given that it was Valentine's Day and the description sounded delicious, I ordered the Everything's Coming Up Roses, heart shaped rose doughnut.
This yeast doughnut was delicious! The rose petals were beautiful to look at and delicious to eat! This is not your average grocery store doughnut - this place is on another level.
To complement the doughnut, I ordered a cappuccino. The place has wonderful hot chocolate but I thought it may be too much sweetness together.
I cannot wait to go back here to try some more doughnuts! If you're in Chelsea or the Lower East Side, please check it out!
A Chelsea Spot with an Incredible Lunch Special
Napa was cancelled. Only creepy people have reached out to me this Valentine's Day on OKCupid. Where is the silver lining in this sh!tstorm? The silver lining, my friends, is Rocking Horse Café (http://www.rockinghorsecafe.com/). I walked from the subway to meet Melissa for lunch. I also managed to walk through a 2 foot deep puddle of questionable sludge on the sidewalk that I THOUGHT was frozen or at least only an inch deep. This is one of the few situations in which I've been disappointed that something has been bigger than I thought!
This cute Mexican spot has a kick-ass lunch special. For $8 you can get a soup or salad WITH enchilada! I also love that you're greeted with free homemade chips and salsa when you sit down. Many of the uber-fancy Mexican spots don't offer this for free, so I appreciate that.
The chips are delicious, just the perfect amount of salty and not greasy at all. The salsa was smoky and had a hint of spice to it without being overwhelming.
The three soup specials for the day all sounded lovely. Melissa and I both ended up with the butternut squash. A gentleman that was dining next to us gave it rave reviews and Melissa had it before. Two positive reviews was enough to encourage me!
The soup had a wonderful depth of taste to it. I loved every spoonful! The enchilada was the one featured on the menu: Enchilada de Pollo, made with pomegranate charred chicken, pomegranate-guajilo salsa, refried beans and pickled cabbage.
The addition of pomegranate to the enchilada was delicious! It added an unexpected surprise to a typically traditional Mexican dish.
I look forward to coming back here for brunch or dinner! If you're looking for Mexican with an updated twist, this is your jam!
A Lovely Dinner at Chelsea's Pepe Giallo
After grabbing drinks at Hudson Malone, I met up with Melissa for dinner in her neighborhood. She has a favorite spot near her apartment that serves up affordable Italian dishes and makes fresh pasta! Pepe Giallo (http://pepegiallo.com/) has a great vibe - very quaint and warm.
We decided to order the house red (Montepulciano). The 1/2 carafe is $14 and the carafe is $23 (save $5 for double the wine). Which do you think we ordered?
As we nibbled on the warm bread, served with olives and olive oil, we looked over the menu and sipped our wine. Melissa has been here many times, so she was full of super helpful tips and recommendations. We decided to split the Apple, Goat Cheese and Tomato Salad, served over Organic Greens ($8).
This salad was super yummy and a decent portion size to split. I was torn between a couple of the pasta dishes. I wanted to get the Rigatoni with Salmon and Mushrooms in Cream Sauce ($13) but I wanted to try the homemade pasta. For an upcharge of $2, I changed the pasta to the homemade fettuccini. AWESOME CHOICE! The salmon was delicious (not fishy) and super tender. The sauce was creamy without being too heavy. I loved it.
Melissa ordered the Fettuccini with Chicken and Mushrooms in Alfredo Sauce ($13). I tried a piece of chicken - delicious! I did prefer my dish more though.
I will comment that the portion sizes are great, especially considering the reasonable prices, and the amount of protein in each dish was awesome as well! Great spot! I cannot wait to return!
An Awesome Setting for an Incredible Feast
After our fun day, Courtney and I met up with my brother for dinner at Tao Downtown (http://taorestaurant.com/downtown/). As I guessed, even though we had 8:15pm reservations, we were given a buzzer and told we would be notified when our table was ready. We walked through the main dining hall to the bar.
After looking at the cocktail menu, we all ordered a drink. I chose the Ruby Red Dragon, made with Finlandia Grapefruit Vodka, Yuzu Citrus and a Hint of Pomegranate.
The backdrop of the bar is beautiful. I think I will come back here just for drinks sometime - a new date location!
We ordered a bunch of plates to share among us. My favorite was one of the small plates, Satay of Chilean Sea Bass with a Miso Glaze. I loved it SO MUCH that I found a recipe online and recreated it (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/miso-and-soy-chilean-sea-bass/) - it is spot on! Anyway, back to Tao!
Our next course that came out was another small plate, Rock Shrimp Lettuce Cups with spicy mayo and jalapeno lime. I was SO DISAPPOINTED with this choice! Normally I love dishes like this but it really lacked flavor - which is shocking given the spicy mayo! Thumbs down. Boo.
Courtney ordered the small plate, Crispy Rice Tuna served with spicy mayo and kabayaki sauce (whatever that is) - SHE LOVED IT! I didn't try it since I was too busy with my Sea Bass.
She also got the Pork Potstickers served with gochujang and sesame. She enjoyed it and I tried one. They were good. It is sort of hard to mess up potstickers!
Since I figured many of the small plates would be SMALL, I ordered a Chicken Pad Thai for the table. It was really yummy and a big serving, even for a fancy spot like this! It was served with a pair of wooden tongs - cute touch!
My brother decided to order several pieces of sashimi. It is served in a beautiful bowl on a bed of ice. Great Presentation!
After I finished my first cocktail, I ordered the drink Courtney first ordered: The Thai Basil Smash, made with Stoli Citrus, Thai Basil and (fresh!) Mandarin Orange. It was fantastic! The fruit was fresh (not canned) and the cocktail was very refreshing.
This is definitely a happening spot. I would recommend visiting for the cocktails and the ambiance. The food is fairly expensive for what it is, you're paying to eat at a trendy spot not necessarily to have a food-gasm.
A Mexican Brunch Immediately Following a Mexican Dinner
One of my closest friends, Courtney, came down from Boston to visit me for the holiday weekend. Since I have been on break from school for about 6 weeks, each day sort of blends into the next, so the holiday weekend didn't seem that different than any other day this break. It was a pleasure to catch up with my friend though!
I looked into some new spots for unlimited brunch. I heard about Crema (http://www.cremarestaurante.com/) and wanted to check it out. The deal is for a $21.95 Unlimited Mimosa Brunch. The price includes an entrée from a list with many good choices, coffee or tea and unlimited mimosas. The mimosas were constantly refreshed, which was nice! I hate when you go to an unlimited spot and you have to hunt down the server for refills. The quality was what you'd expect for the unlimited factor - likely made with a cheaper sparkling wine and some sort of OJ. It got the job done though! The coffee was also nice. While we waited for our entrees, of course we ordered the guacamole.
Honestly, for $12 I thought it would be bigger. There is clearly a "That's What She Said" joke tucked in there. The chips weren't that great either. I love when they are hot and salted - these were cold and just seemed out of a bag. Not impressed.
For my entrée, I chose the Burrito de Mole Poblano, made with shredded chicken, Chihuahua cheese, beans, chipotle potatoes, corn and mole sauce. It was presented in an interesting way.
I don't know about you, but I've NEVER seen a burrito presented this way. It still tasted delicious, I just thought due to the presentation it may have raw fish in it or be for a small child.
My friend ordered the Salad, it looked nice and HEALTHY.
If you go here, skip the guac!
Happy Hour For The Win
Melissa and I were walking in Chelsea after our nail appointment the other day and we were in desperate need of an adult beverage. As we were walking, we caught a sign for a Happy Hour at a cute little Italian Spot: Pastai (http://www.pastainyc.com/). I'm always down for an affordable glass of wine.
I've been dabbling more in red wines. I'm going to Napa again with a school group and I want to start developing a taste/appreciate for red wines. We each ordered a glass of a lovely Montepulciano. The wine is very jammy and easier to drink than many red wines I've had before.
The spot has its own personalized wine glasses - really classy. I want to come back for food - the kitchen was opening up when we were there and the fresh pastas looked delicious.
Ladies Who Lunch
This past Friday was a lovely "Girls' Day" with Melissa - a wonderful partner in crime! We went to Spice (http://www.spicethainyc.com/spice/home/index.html) on 199 8th Avenue. The weather was AWFUL and I was not prepared with what I had worn. General nastiness - cold and rain.
Once I got into the restaurant, I ordered a hot pot of tea. There were several selections and I went with the Lychee option - so tasty! I also loved the tea pot - so cute and dainty!
Like most Thai spots in the city, there is a Lunch Special from 11:30 AM to 3:30PM. Depending on the protein, you can get an appetizer and entrée for $8-$9. I decided to get the Duck Wrap (a bit like the P.F. Chang lettuce wraps but saltier) to start.
For my entrée, I ordered the Pad Thai with chicken. It was tasty but a bit too sweet. Pad Thai is such a standard dish to order yet there is so much variance from place to place. I will continue my search for the ultimate Pad Thai.
If you're in the Chelsea area for lunch, check it out. These places are best to visit during lunch for the best deal!
The Meatball Shop is the #1 place for Balls
Last weekend, Meredith and I shared our last meal together at The Meatball Shop in Chelsea (http://www.themeatballshop.com/). I chose this location (there are multiple in the city) because it features the downstairs bar adorably called Underballs. I was heartbroken to see that the bar isn't open on Sundays!
I chose to order the Spicy Pork meatballs with the Parmesan Cream Sauce. You get 4 meatballs with an order. I got a side of broccoli so I could dip it in the sauce instead of the foccacia bread that comes with it. Sad panda.
I love love love this place. The cocktails are great too but I chose not to imbibe.
Dinner and Drinks
Tonight, I had dinner at Colicchio & Sons Tap Room (http://www.craftrestaurantsinc.com/colicchio-and-sons/). It was fantastic. The bread looked amazing but I didn't have any - I'm still doing a special diet and cannot have any of that, wah! I ordered a Ketel One and Soda. It was great, as usual.
For my entree, I ordered the Skate. It was DELICIOUS! It is such a light and yummy fish. If you haven't had it, definitely try it if you see it on a menu.
One of my friends ordered dessert. He got the beignets (little balls of fried dough goodness). Again, couldn't partake but I lived vicariously through him and it looked/smelled lovely.
Instead of giving patrons a mint or something else when the check comes, the server gave each of us a freshly baked pumpkin spice muffin to go! What a great idea! I gave mine to my friend.
The Fun Continues in Chelsea!
After we left the Tippler on Friday, Christine and I headed several blocks uptown to Salinas (http://salinasnyc.com/). We wanted something a little more to eat beyond what was offered on the first venue's menu. We started with the Trio of Charcutero - it was delicious. It came with some toasted slices of bread and a fig spread; Christine said it was tasty.
Meat on Meat on Meat
To complement with carnivore dream, we ordered some cheese. We got the daily selection of "Quesos Artesanales" - naturally, this is translated to "the expensive cheese" - not really, but basically.
More Cheese Please - MASSIVE GRAPES!
The spot definitely had mood lighting. I didn't want to use my flash so all my photos have a red hue...how mysterious. I ordered my go to drink for now - try to guess!
Bulleit Rye Perfect Manhattan
I had a date scheduled later that evening after my date with Christine - I am such a double booker! So, I ordered a cappuccino to keep going.
You think you're fancy? Yes, of course!
Salinas is a lovely spot. There are a lot of tapas places in the city that I want to explore, so not sure if I would go back.
Visiting the Tippler
My good friend Christine was finally free this past Friday! It was a joyous occasion that demanded celebratory drinks. She wanted to go to the Tippler (http://thetippler.com/) and I had been there once before and loved it, so our location was set!
If you haven't been to this spot before, it can be tricky to find it. If you go, look out for the lit "Open" sign to guide you! I've been on a Manhattan kick lately, so why stop it? I ordered the Flight of Manhattans. It included (from left to right), a classic Manhattan, a Greenpoint (with Green Chartreuse) and a Little Italy (with Cynar). I liked them in descending order! The classic was clearly the winner. The Greenpoint was interesting. Green Chartresuse is a green liqueur made with over 100 herbs and plants. It had a nice flavor. The Little Italy was not that pleasant. I had not yet had Cynar...it is odd. It is an Italian bitter liqueur made with herbs and plants, the predominant taste profile from the artichoke....ehhh. It doesn't taste like artichokes it just doesn't taste great.
Christine ordered the featured special - an alcoholic egg cream. The dusting of cinnamon on the top was a lovely touch!
Alcoholic Dessert :)
We got hungry and ordered appetizers. I got a shrimp cocktail and Christine got one of the featured toasts with white bean puree. Nomnomnom!!
White Bean Toast
For our last round, I got a Bulleit Rye Perfect Manhattan and Christine got some interesting drink that tasted like orange soda (but was alcoholic). I only snapped a pic of mine though, oops!
Bulleit Rye Perfect Manhattan
This is a fun spot right by Chelsea Market. There is a lot of bar seating and standing table room which is an awesome feature. If you get there before 9pm, you could probably find a spot to sit without much trouble.
Check it out if you're in the area!
Brewery Tour with Block 3!
This past Saturday, I organized a tour with some Sternies to the Chelsea Brewing Company. Since it is October, I wanted to find a spot that featured something special for Oktoberfest. After doing some research, I found that Chelsea Brewing Company (http://www.chelseabrewingco.com/) was having a Wet Hop Harvest Festival from October 18th to October 20th. The event featured 20 Beers on Tap from Chelsea Brewing Company and Brew Master select guest brews, traditional Oktoberfest food and live music.
Another reason why this venue was attractive is they offer a brewery tour each Saturday for Free! They are offered on the hour starting at 2pm. The tour includes a sample of beer as well.
Pat Greene, Director of Brewing Operations
The tour lasted for about 30 minutes and included the history of the brewery and interesting facts about beer production. During this tour, I found out that Pat is also an NYU alum (I was wearing an NYU shirt).
During the tour, we were all offered a sample of our choice. I chose the Pumpkin Pie Ale. Pat explained it is made with fresh roasted squash and a mix of spices (cinnamon, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, etc.). It was lovely! I'm not a huge beer fan, but I do love beer that has a fun flavor profile (typically sweet).
Inside of the Brewery Restaurant
The restaurant features all of the beers produced by the Brewery. The beers are very fresh - right from the tap!
Pier 59 at Chelsea Piers
While we were enjoying our afternoon, we sat on the patio. The view is incredible! The weather has been pretty warm this season, though yesterday I started to feel the chill of fall.
I ordered the bratwurst with chopped onions and dijon mustard. It was so yummy!
On my way home, I ran into a pug (my favorite dog breed ever!). This capped off a wonderful afternoon.
I would highly recommend visiting Chelsea Brewing Company. It was a great way to spend the day with some classmates, learn about the beer industry and support a local business. Consider it as a first date idea!
Gallow Green - AMAZING!
To celebrate the end of our incredible internships, my good friend Olivia and I went to an awesome spot: Gallow Green (http://mckittrickhotel.com/gallowgreen/) at the McKittrick Hotel. We had visited the hotel last year to see the interactive Macbeth performance of "Sleep No More" - this was certainly a different experience!
The venue is gorgeous. I highly recommend visiting it for drinks (the live music is fantastic) and/or dinner (the food is also lovely). I am a huge fan of large format cocktails, so we started with a bowl of boozy popsicle punch. It was made with Ketel One vodka and absolutely splendid! There were two fresh fruit popsicles inside - one pineapple and one watermelon - and a large square ice cube. The shape of the cube allowed it to melt slowly (chilling without too much diluting). As they continued to melt, they added to the taste and profile of the punch.
Once we finished the punch, we moved on to more cocktails! I ordered a glass of rose Champagne. It was served in a couple glass - how lovely!
I strongly believe that glassware can influence the taste of a cocktail. My Grandma always said this and it has stuck!
After we finished up at Gallow Green, we went to The Heath (one floor below the rooftop). It was AWESOME. Great live music and dancing. I ordered a twist on a vodka lemonade, it was tasty. The credit card machine wasn't working though, so it was a bit annoying with cash/ATM fees.
You must check out this spot! A real "wow" location in the city.