Black Label Burger does not get a Gold Star
Visiting the Lion's Den
A Fashionable Happy Hour
My Fashion Law class concluded a couple of weeks ago and I suggested to our professors that we host an end of semester Happy Hour. This was the first semester that the class was offered to both law students and business students at the same time. Also, there are already countless graduation celebrations - so what is one more?
In researching a place, I wanted to pick somewhere that would be well-lit, not too loud and offer a variety of beverages and nibbles. I also wanted to look for somewhere near campus, as that is a central meeting place for all of us. I ultimately decided to go with Corkbuzz Wine Studio (http://www.corkbuzz.com/), located near Union Square.
I ordered the $15 Blind Tasting of White Wine (also offered in Red Wine too). This deal features three 2oz pours of wine but you don't know what varietal of wine it is - hence the Blind Tasting aspect of it. I'm not sure when it is offered - we went on a Monday and I was told it is offered until 6pm. I couldn't tell from the website if it daily or only on certain days - make sure to ask when you go! When you check in on your first visit here (I don't remember if it was Yelp! or Foursquare) you receive a complimentary flute of sparkling wine. Do it!
We ordered some nibbles to share. We got the Crispy Fingerling Potatoes with cilantro, red chile and black garlic aioli. Although the aioli looks like disgusting brownish goo, it is DELICIOUS. Do not be scared of it, embrace it!
We also ordered the chef's selection of cheeses. I believe it included a semi-soft cheese, blue cheese and ricotta. It would have been nice if there was a jam or fruit paste served with it to offer a contrast.
This location has a great vibe to it and the perfect ambiance for a date, dinner with friends or family gathering. Maybe don't come here to watch the game, but other than that, this is a great location. I'd like to come back here sometime for brunch or dinner.
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!
La Lanterna di Vittorio Offers Excellent Italian in Greenwich Village
I love spending time with Aish - we met in a class we had together last semester with our mutual friend Michelle.
We all caught up briefly at beer blast (the weekly happy hour Stern hosts in the building basement) and then Aish & I headed to dinner. I am currently reading a great book (Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan) and two of the main characters are professors at NYU! In the book, they were set up by a mutual friend and had their first date at La Lanterna di Vittorio (http://lalanternacaffe.com/), an Italian restaurant with an enclosed garden right near campus.
I am a huge fan of reading (especially guilty pleasure books such as this one) and even a bigger fan of exploring new restaurants - I knew I had to check this spot out! We each ordered a glass of red wine: the Carmenere Cab. It was delicious and under $10.
We decided to split two items: pizza and lasagna. Since Aish is a vegetarian, we stuck to items both of us could enjoy and ethically enjoy :)
For our pizza, we ordered the Pizza con Cipolla e Caprino (topped with goat cheese, caramelized onions, walnuts and extra virgin olive oil).
Do not be deceived - those slices that LOOK like sausage are caramelized onion! The pizza was super delicious EVEN without meat! It was thin-crust and made to order. I'm glad we split it so we could try two different items.
The other entrée we split was the Lasagna Quattro Formaggi with Black Truffle Paste! NOM! It was like a cheese explosion accented with truffle yumminess
The lasagna was delicious! I took a bite and burned my mouth off - so be cautioned food is served HOT here. Also, I didn't realize this had no tomato in it so when compared to the pizza dish, there wasn't much contrast (cheese vs. more cheese). Next time, I would order the pesto one or meat sauce (damn vegetarians! hehe).
The garden were we sat is beautiful - the rest of the dining space seems a bit dark/cramped, so the outside area is wonderful.
I highly recommend this spot: the prices are right (most pizzas are $12-$14 depending on toppings) and the ambiance is awesome.
A Tasty Meal in the West Village
I got to catch up with one of my favorites, Aish, last week! We've both been bogged down by school and we haven't been able to catch up. What better way to spend time together than over glasses of red wine and yummy Italian food? Otto Enoteca Pizzeria (http://www.ottopizzeria.com/restaurant.cfm) is right near campus, so it was the perfect place to go to!
We split the Baby Spinach, Ricotta Salata and Truffle Honey salad. It was delicious! If anything, it may have been a bit overdressed, but it was very tasty.
I ordered my favorite pasta from Otto, the Carbonara. It was tasty but not as much as I remembered.
Aish ordered the pizza and she was pleased with it. This is a really fun, casual Italian spot. It is low key and the quality far exceeds the price points.
Boyd Thai has a Nom-Worthy Dinner Special!
I have been missing out on an incredible Thai spot near campus! Luckily, I have smart friends that are in the know (like Melissa) to make sure I stay on top of the best meal deals in town!
Most Thai restaurants in NYC have a reputation for having awesome lunch specials, so it is a nice change to see a restaurant also offering a dinner special. Boyd Thai's (boydthainyc.com) "early bird" special is from 4pm - 7pm. For $12, you get an appetizer plate with a summer roll, house salad and dumplings! The dressing on the salad is so tasty. The peanut sauce for the summer roll is out of this world. I didn't use all of it but I still ended up eating it with a spoon. Sometimes, you do what you need to do. No judgment here.
For my entrée, I got the pineapple curry with chicken. The curry is very similar to a red curry but with pineapples. I ordered it mild since I was warned this place can make food very spicy! It was delicious. I had to get it to go because I was running late for class. Trust that it was delicious and I enjoyed every bite!
If you're in between classes at NYU and looking for a tasty lunch ($8 special!) or dinner, give this Thai joint a try! It has semi-open air seating, so it is great to enjoy as the weather improves.
When I can't order an Omelette, I order Cake.
Instead of sipping a fine Cab in Napa on President's Day, I attempted to not get hit by a cab in New York as I sloshed through the yucky, mucky snow with Aish. We originally wanted to go to this crazy diner called Shopsins but it is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. At least I checked online before we walked over so it wasn't a complete bust.
I suggested going to Max Brenner (http://maxbrenner.com/locations/usa/restaurant-nyc/) since we wouldn't have to wait. I made a reservation on OpenTable...just in case! We were ready to feast on Omelettes. As a side note, I already talked up this dish A LOT so we were both excited to order them!
When we arrived, it was clear a reservation wasn't necessary. If we had arrived 30 minutes later (say around noon), it would have been a different story. Better safe than sorry! We gave the server our order and were promptly SHUT DOWN. No breakfast after 11am! Even on a holiday! Instead of sulking, we made the adult decision of ordering a dessert instead.
I knew I didn't have to look at the menu! I was in the mood for the Melting Heart Truffle Heart Cake & Shake. It consists of a milk & white chocolate heart cake served with creamy vanilla ice cream, red berries and an iced milk chocolate shot.
You may be wondering: what is in the martini shaker? Melted milk chocolate of course! I drizzled it all over everything and, at one point, directly into my mouth. Whatever, it happened.
Aish went with the Banana Split Waffles, made with caramelized bananas, vanilla ice cream, sugar krispies, milk chocolate ganache and Choco-pops (little balls of chocolate).
Her dish was very tasty! The waffles were not warm in temperature - likely pre-prepared. If they were a bit warm, they would melt the ice cream, which would have been better.
Overall, I do like this place but not as much as I used to. It may be because I've gone to so many other places in NYC that are better that the novelty has worn off. I think I'm also bitter about being able to order the Omelette I really wanted - ha!
Spicy Mayo on a Burger? Why Doesn't This Happen More?
After an evening class on a cold(ass) Winter's night, I had a late-night bite with Christine and Duygu. I wasn't sure what I wanted for dinner, I just knew I did not want to be outside any longer. With this information, The Madelyn NYC (http://themadelynnyc.com/) was promising. I had gone here before for some cocktails when it was a different concept...a wine bar, I believe?
The inside is warm and inviting - check out that fireplace! The colored lights are a bit tacky but I think the idea is to create an ambiance. The random stagecoach above the fireplace adds just that a hint of randomness.
When I saw the menu, I knew I had to get the burger. Inside this lounge-like location, I didn't know what to expect from a burger. I was tentatively hopeful but prepared for it to be as random as the stagecoach.
The Charcoal Grilled Burger was the perfect amount of random, by way of the Spicy Mayo. I got it with lettuce, tomato, onion, cheddar cheese and ketchup. The burger was AWESOME - very juicy and flavorful. I asked for it medium and it was cooked to temp! Love when that happens. The fries were very tasty and a portion that prevented me from overeating. Would I have eaten more? Um, of course.
I'll have to come back during the weekend sometime. A Tuesday was especially dead and hard to establish the vibe.
Experience Mario Batali on a Budget!
If you have seen a trend in my last couple of posts, I attempted to find joy during lunch breaks to survive the intensive class I had last week. Two of my close girl friends (Christine and Kate) and I went to Otto Enoteca Pizzeria (http://www.ottopizzeria.com/restaurant.cfm) for a relaxing lunch.
We wanted to split a salad, pasta and pizza. After looking at the menu, we picked three crowd pleasers. I forgot the snap a photo of the salad. We chose the Otto Chopped Salad. It is super yummy and not too heavy. The dressing is light and tasty and the salad is chock-full of goodness (meat, cheese and veggies).
For our pasta, we split the Spaghetti Alla Carbonara, made with pancetta, scallions, black pepper and egg. Very creamy and full of flavor!
For our pizza, we chose the Margherita D.O.P made with tomato, bufala mozzarella and basil. This is a yummy pizza that isn't too heavy. It was a great choice to complement the pasta which was heavy (and delicious!).
I was really happy with the mix of food that we got. I didn't want an entire pizza or salad or pasta. This was a wonderful way to sample a lot of different things.
Check this spot out!
Nothing Warms You Up Like Hot Noodles
During a break last week during my intensive class, I stopped by Ramen Takumi (http://www.ramentakumi.com/Web/) with two of my classmates, Tavi and Jessica. We were both in the need of something to distract us from an unending day of back to back sessions.
Jessica suggested this spot and I trust her advice! It was pretty easy to decide what to order: MISO RAMEN! From 11:30am to 3:30PM there is a lunch special and most dishes are a $1 off. My huge bowl of ramen was $10.95 instead of $11.95. You can add extra pork for $2.
This is a great quick lunch that warms you up and fills you up!
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.
I Made A Grammar Joke!
Prior to our late night (12:15am) show at The Comedy Cellar, we headed to Analogue (http://analoguenyc.com/) for a pre-show cocktail. I heard great things about this spot but couldn't go previously because it opens at 5pm and I was always in the neighborhood around 4pm. Oh well, solved that problem!
The setting is an ultra-relaxed lounge with jazz music. It certainly ups the posh factor for cocktail spots on 8th Street (near NYU). Since we didn't have much time before our show, I looked over the menu and asked our server for recommendations. She recommended the Peche Bourbon (I already had my eye on it!). I couldn't find the list of ingredients on the website (still under construction), but the base of the drink is house-made Peach Bourbon. YUM!
The drink was really lovely! I loved the shape of the glass. The peach enhanced the existing profile of the bourbon. I also snapped a photo of the back bar. Last year, I worked on a consulting project for Brenne (http://drinkbrenne.com/) and I was proud to see it on the back bar!
If you find yourself in the neighborhood, give this spot a whirl. Great vibe, attentive servers and skilled bartenders!
Discounts Make Food Taste Better
Last week, I met Melissa for a break from her recruiting schedule. I have this entire month off from school, so naturally, this gave me a break from doing nothing. Near campus, there is a great Indian spot that offers a lunch special. Previously, it used to be 50% off entrees and now it is 30% off everything if you eat at the location. If you take lunch to go, it is still 50% off. I don't agree with this confusing pricing scheme, but whatever.
Melissa loves the same things that I do, so we split two different chicken dishes: Tikka Masala and Korma. We also got a side of Peas Pulao and Garlic Naan.
The chicken dishes were delicious, but somewhat stingy on the pieces of chicken. A bit disappointing. If you get a discount, it is only worth it if the portions are still the same size. Worth a try for the carry-out.
A Lovely Spot Near NYU
I am always in search of a Happy Hour spot and I read about 8th Street Wine Cellar (http://8thstwinecellar.com/) near Stern that has a solid offering. The spot offers half-off bottles everyday. Although the selection is small it is tasteful. Naturally, since I was with Melissa, we went with the Montepulciano that was featured on special. We love a good red - pure heaven in a glass.
As we drank our wine, we were enticed to order the cheese tray. I can't recall what the daily selections were but they were yummy. It was a bit disappointing that the slices of cheese were VERY TINY. We were given an ample supply of slices of bread, which was nice, but that isn't the high ticket item. The cheese is and we wanted more!
If you check out this spot, go for the Happy Hour (half priced bottles of wine until 7pm Mon - Fri) but hold off on the food. Just not a good value.
This is what it tastes like when doves...drink?
This past Thursday, the Luxury and Retail Club at Stern hosted a holiday get together at The Dove Parlour (http://thedoveparlour.com/), a great little cocktail lounge near campus. I've visited this lounge multiple times because of its incredible Happy Hour. Sunday through Thursday, most martinis and specialty cocktails are $7 (as compared to $11).
One of my favorite choices is the Spiced Peach Cobbler. It is made with peach vodka, honey, cinnamon and organic vanilla soy milk. It reminds me of a slice of peach pie with ice cream. It is delicious and dessert in a glass!
If you happen to visit the Dove, the French Lavender and Silk Road Margarita are also lovely. This is a great deal during Happy Hour and I encourage you to explore!
Hidden Gem for Fajitas Near NYU
Before a night class last week, I caught up with Christine. We wanted to meet somewhere close to campus and I've had good luck at Murphy & Gonzalez (http://www.murphy-gonzalez.com/).
My favorite thing to order is the chicken fajitas. They are DYNAMITE! I mean, look at that photo.
If you're hungry and feeling like Mexican near campus, this pub is a surprisingly good spot for fajitas.
Catching up with a Friend over Breakfast
I've heard countless positive reviews about the Grey Dog (http://www.thegreydog.com/) and had not managed to go yet...that is until last week! I was in the mood for great food and conversation. I don't have any more classes with Zach (a dear friend) this semester so catching up over breakfast sounded like a plan. We both had to be on campus at 8am, so we both needed a welcome distraction after.
I enjoyed this place. The omelette wasn't the best I've had; it could have had more cheese throughout, it was more just layered in the middle than mixed throughout the omelette. I loved the sausage patties - delish!
Apple Restaurant & Bombar
A good friend of mine, Scott F., suggested getting drinks at a local spot near Stern. I couldn't believe he would actually suggest this spot for a good martini. I've walked past it many many times but never thought of it as somewhere to actually go inside! I want to come from a "Place of Yes," so I agreed and went to Apple (http://applerestaurant.com/).
Ketel One Dirty Martini
I am SHOCKED to admit I was wrong. The bartenders make incredible martinis for a great price ($10)! This is the spot to go near school. The interior of the spot is completely random and super weird. The bar is shaped like a piano. If you can get beyond the decor, the drink selection and pricing is a bargain. Happy Hour is 4-7pm, half off the entire bar.
Good job Scott!
Friends and Fries!
I always heard really great things about Burger Joint, a secret burger spot located within Le Parker Meridien, but never quite made it there for one reason or another. I received an email from the new location (http://www.burgerjointny.com/8thstreet.php) right by NYU with an offer for a free dinner of burger and fries for up to 10 people. As any smart full-time MBA student (read: no current source of income), I jumped at this opportunity and gathered friends to scope out the new spot!
The Burger Joint!
While we waited for our food, we ordered drinks. I got a beer (it seemed appropriate given the food). I believe it was Ommegang. It was a nice and light option.
The glass reminds me of a grenade
It's showtime! The burgers have arrived, mine is personalized! I think it says Liz?
I *meant* to take a photo, but I was overwhelmed and had already started to inhale it. Oops.
The burgers are great! Just so you know, Burger Joint has an incredibly small menu. What it lacks in variety, it makes up for it in quality.
I love the sign in the restaurant. It makes you think. Does it say "Eat" or "Fat" or "Who cares?"
CHECK OUT BURGER JOINT! It is awesome. Support local businesses!