Enjoying a frozen drink in the dark
Boozy Cupcakes to Delight Your Taste Buds!
You put da drink in da coconut
Pancakes on Pancakes
There is a certain type of joy when you find out your table is ready at a restaurant. Back in the day, restaurants would write down your name (on paper!) and give you a buzzer. Now, it goes in an iPad and you get a text message.
After 45 minutes, I got a text message that our table was ready at Clinton St. Baking Company (http://clintonstreetbaking.com/).
Even though we already had a cup of coffee at Cocoa Bar, we ordered another one here. Check out Scott enjoying his cup of coffee! I just got a new camera (Canon T3i) and I'm still learning how to use it. I wanted to up the quality of images on my site.
Scott ordered the Buttermilk Biscuit Sandwich made with scrambled eggs, melted cheddar, house made tomato jam, with hash browns. He added bacon because well, bacon. He also got a side order of cheese grits.
I ordered the FAMOUS Pancakes with Warm Maple Butter with Wild Maine Blueberries. It only comes with one small container of syrup (it has the butter melted in it). I like a nice ratio of pancake to syrup, so I asked for more syrup. I was a bit disappointed when it was an additional $2 - at least give me enough so I don't need to pay more!
This is a great breakfast spot. I recommend coming during off hours because it is so crowded!
Only in NYC do you wait 45 mins at 10am on a weekday for breakfast
Scott and I planned to go to Clinton St. Baking Company for breakfast on a weekday. We assumed this would avoid the typical 2+ hour long wait. I guess we shouldn't have been surprised when we found out that we would have to wait 45 minutes for a table. On a Wednesday at 10am. Instead of pacing outside, we went to a coffee bar that was recommended right down the street: Cocoa Bar (http://www.cocoabarnyc.com/).
I ordered a cup of coffee. Plain coffee. Nothing special but it hit the spot. If I have to wait for Clinton St. again, I will try the chocolate coffee.
This is a cute spot that turns into a wine bar later in the day. Will need to stop by!
My Favorite Cupcakes in the City!
Who knew I would discover my new favorite cupcake while attending a Strategy Speaker session on a Friday? My professor ordered cupcakes from Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery (http://www.sugarsweetsunshine.com/) and I was in HEAVEN!
I chose a yellow cupcake that looked adorable without knowing the flavor. Little did I know that I would be discovering my new favorite flavor: Holla Back Girl! It is a banana cake with cream cheese frosting. I am super super weird about banana. I generally do not like it on its own, but I love it in baked goods, especially banana bread. This cupcake captured everything I love about banana bread and slapped delicious frosting on it!
For the last day of classes for the undegrad course I assist with, I asked the professor if I could order cupcakes. Once she gave me the OK, I ordered 84 cupcakes of a variety of flavors. People tended to love the Black & White...Just Right (chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream), Strawberry (strawberry cake with cream cheese icing) and the Holla Back Girl! Without question, the Sunshine (yellow cake with vanilla buttercream) are amazing and a crowd pleaser.
What I love about this bakery, in addition to its awesome cupcakes, is that it offers delivery. If you have a sizeable order, the $16.95 delivery fee (may change depending on distance from the bakery) isn't that much of a drain and it saves you the time of heading over there and lugging them, especially if you ordered 7 dozen!
Also, most bakeries in NYC have cupcakes that are nearly $3 if not more! This bakery has cupcakes that are *only* $2! I know that sounds ridiculous if you don't live in NYC, but this is a relative bargain, especially given the quality.
When I'm in the neighborhood, I look forward to stopping into the physical location to sample some desserts beyond just the cupcakes :)
This is not your typical gelato shop. It is full of incredibly unique flavors. I wanted to try something different while making sure I would still enjoy it (this can sometimes be a difficult balance to achieve!). I chose a selection of three flavors: espresso chip, malt and Vietnamese cinnamon. I loved the malt and cinnamon flavors! I found the espresso to be a bit too bitter for my liking.
Next time, I may try some of the more exotic flavors: earl grey, lavender, pumpkin, and wasabi!
If you're in the Lower East Side and craving something sweet, make a stop here!
Eating at an Iconic Restaurant with an Iconic Friend
FINALLY! I went to Katz's Delicatessen (http://katzsdelicatessen.com/) with my buddy Scott. This New York icon has been open since 1888 and serves up 10,000 pounds of pastrami..WEEKLY! Impressive, right?
As a big fan of pastrami, I knew I had to try this place out. Sometimes, I enjoy getting a turkey sandwich with bacon at a deli. But, as a Kosher deli, Katz doesn't dabble in bacon.
When you arrive, you're given an order ticket. I didn't realize that we could sit down for table service (which would have been much easier/less stressful), so we got on line to order. Scott waited for the sandwiches and I ordered my bowl of soup. It was a bit tricky to juggle everything and stake out a table, but great challenges yield great rewards. I managed to get most of the soup to the table...
I don't know if you could tell by the photo, but the matzo ball was just insanely out of proportion. It was a bit intimidating. I ate around it but didn't eat the whole thing. It was simply too much. I would have preferred several small Swedish meatball sized ones than this softball.
Sometimes pastrami can be way too fatty, with loads of gristle. NOT A FAN! As a precaution, we ordered the pastrami lean. Personally, the meat was cut too thick. I prefer thinly sliced pastrami. Also, they give you a lot of lip if you ask for mayo on your pastrami. Not cool! Whatever, I sucked it up and got it. Whatever it takes, right? I prefer Carnegie Deli's pastrami. Plus, they have BACON.
We also got some pickles...or should I call them salt bombs?
I LOVE salty foods but even these pickles were too much for me to handle. Oh well.
You likely know, but this deli was famously featured in "When Harry Met Sally" in the "I'll Have What She's Having" scene. My sandwich was good but not orgasmic.
I'm glad I finally went here but I'm not sure I'll come back. There are simply too many incredible places I have yet to visit!
Dinner in a Plastic Bag Can Still Be Classy
While we were waiting at Fig. 19 for our table to be ready, I received a text message from the restaurant, The Boil (http://www.theboilny.com/). I love that restaurants are now using this form of communication to tell you when the table is ready - no more guessing or waiting around in a crowded waiting area!
We closed out our check and headed next door to the restaurant. We were seated in the rear of the restaurant, which was nice since we were away from people coming in and out - aka the freezing cold air coming into the restaurant.
Before we ordered any food, one of the servers dressed each of us in a bib. Naturally, I had to take a shellfie (this is a selfie at a seafood restaurant, just FYI). Check out my hot outfit below.
Don't be jealous of the bib - if you go here, you can get one too! We were going to order Bloody Marys but decided to get beers instead. I ordered the Abita Purple Haze. Yum!
To start, we go an order of Cajun Fries. We ate these before we put on our gloves to eat all the seafood. SO TASTY! The dipping sauce was almost like a tartar sauce. Very good. Also, as a side note, my hands still smelled like Old Bay, Butter and Shrimp even with the gloves. This is what soap is for.
We also got an order of Oysters. The cocktail sauce and the vinaigrette were yummy. The oysters were super fresh and tasty.
We ordered the Combo bag of 1lb of Crawfish and 1 lb of Shrimp as well as 1lb of Snow Crab Legs. We got them with everything (The Boil Special): garlic butter, Old Bay, and lemon pepper. For the temperature, we got Mild. This was the right call for me since spicy can get too aggressive too quickly.
The snow crab legs were easier to eat than the crawfish. They were SO HARD TO EAT! I never had them before and neither had Scott. Like some people I've dated, I'm not sure they were worth the effort. The shrimp had more payoff for the work required to peel them. The crawfish just didn't have much meat in them.
The boil included sausage, potatoes and only ONE EAR OF CORN! We felt a bit robbed since there were two of us. I ate it and Scott seemed sad. While I was eating it, I didn't realize I was eating the ONLY one. Oops. It tasted great!
I highly recommend coming here, especially with someone you're close with. I say this because you will be a complete slob and look like a fool while you're eating. I had on blue gloves, a bib and managed to have food on my face the entire time. Scott doesn't judge, so he was the perfect companion.
Check out The Boil! Note: Cash only!
Fig. 19 is a Truly Hidden Treasure
Scott and I were planning to eat dinner at a spot that didn't take reservations - normally this pisses me off, but we wanted to do a seafood boil and there are limited options! When I got there, I gave them my number and was told that the wait would be about an hour. As I waited for Scott to arrive, I went on Yelp! to see if there were any interesting bars nearby for a cocktail. A spot a couple doors down caught my attention: Fig. 19 (http://www.figurenineteen.com/).
This is a legit speakeasy. I almost went into the bar downstairs (Home Sweet Home) but luckily I asked the bouncer where Fig. 19 was located. The bouncer was standing between Home Sweet Home and an art gallery. Based on the reviews I read, I did not know that Fig. 19 was located through a secret door in the art gallery. So, when I asked the bouncer "Where is the bar?" I basically handed in my New Yorker card and looked like a complete n00b tourist. Better safe than sorry - the last thing I wanted to do was open the wrong door. Sometimes, a surprise is not the best thing on the other side of the door!
The bar is a stark contrast to the art gallery. The gallery is bright, white and sparse. The bar is brooding, dark and cluttered with knickknacks - including taxidermied animals.
I really loved some of the details, especially the back bar. Check out that spooky animal and owl. Creeptastic.
The fireplace was also very inviting. The peacock was beautiful and very watchful. Dead serious. See what I did there? I know. No shame.
From the menu, I selected the Rhapsody in Rye, made with rosemary infused rye, ginger syrup, Campari, fresh grapefruit juice and sea salt. It had a certain bite to it from the ginger but was overall very balanced.
Scott ordered the Red Lead, made with Irish whiskey, red wine reduction, dry vermouth, Sherry and Absinthe. I gave it a sip - a very complex flavor profile from the reduction and the Absinthe.
Although I was initially annoyed I couldn't make a reservation, I'm glad we had an hour to kill! I had no idea this speakeasy existed. Make sure to add it to your list of hidden NYC treasures - like PDT and Milk & Honey.
A Hidden Spot Worth Finding
I recently went on a first date with someone from OKCupid. According to the site's algorithm, we were already a strong match at 95%. We also texted back and forth. Overall, I had a positive vibe going into the date. Although I try to temper my expectations, it is exciting when you're meeting someone new and have a good gut feeling.
My initial impression was further confirmed when he suggested three awesome cocktail places to meet. I had just gone to one of the places (Analogue) and was intrigued by the quality of his other two choices. I hadn't even heard of The Skylark (a three level cocktail bar with impressive views of the city)! I decided to go with The Experimental Cocktail Club (http://www.experimentalcocktailclubny.com/). I heard many great things about this lounge and wanted to experience it first hand. Not only did he bring one good idea to the table, he brought three! I was delighted!
As I mentioned in my earlier post, I arrived about 30 minutes early. I met up with him at 7pm and we went into the bar. I was pleased as he was even cuter than his photos which were already very cute! (Side Note: Be forewarned if you come here that it is hard to find! There is no signage outside. There is a black awning and the windows have curtains covering them. Just watch the street numbers and you'll find it!)
Since we got there exactly when they opened, we cozied up at the bar so we could chat with the bartender. I knew the cocktail menu was impressive so I wanted to be able to ask questions and watch him make our drinks. I started with Dabam's Flip. It is made with Plantation Barbados 5 Rum, Sweetened Thai Ice Tea, Condensed Milk, Whole Egg, Angostura Bitter and Pernod Absinthe. I'm typically not a huge Absinthe person but the bartender assured me that it only complemented the cocktail and wasn't overbearing.
I LOVED THIS! If you've ever had a Thai Ice Tea, it tasted exactly like that but better! The addition of the alcohol tempered the sweetness of the tea and condensed milk. Yum! My date ordered the Take (pronounced "Tah-Cay") Is Going Back to Japan. It is made with Shitake Mushroom Infused Great King Street Scotch, Cocoa Nibs Infused Maple Syrup, El Maestro Pedro Ximenez Sherry and Black Walnut Bitters.
My date really liked his cocktail. I sampled it and it was good but not as much my cup of tea. Sometimes scotch is a bit too intense for me, especially if it is a smoky or peaty scotch. I don't have the taste appreciation for it! My date suggested that we order something to nibble on while we sip on our cocktails. He chose the cheese plate which turned out to be an awesome suggestion!
The plate came with three cheeses - two were softer (cannot recall the names) and one was a harder, sharp cheddar. I don't recall how much the cheese plate was and of course there is no menu online (I doubt it was over $20). Anyway, my point is that the quantity was HUGE! It was served with an orange marmalade, honey, slices of bread and grapes. SO TASTY. I'm so glad he ordered it - smart move!
For my next cocktail, I ordered the Jean Claude Pandan - amazing name, right? It is made with Pandan Infused Plantation 3 Star Rum, Batavia Arrak, Ceylon Tea Mix, Citrus, Coconut Water and Clarified Banana Juice. The drink is CLEAR because it is clarified. It looks like water but tastes like a tropical explosion.
I loved how it was served in a small bottle - it looked like I was prescribed this drink. I'm ok with that! My date ordered the Handsome Jack. It was made with Rittenhouse Rye, Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac, Byrrh Quinquina, Aperol, Chartreuse, Maple, Angosture and Peychaud's Bitters. He loved it! I sampled it and really like it too - I love Rye!
In the photo you may notice the other glass. Our bartender was very generous! We asked a lot of questions about the spirits on the back bar. He gave us several small samples of rare spirits; one was Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon. Another was Ron de Jeremy. You guess it! A rum that is affiliated with the infamous porn star Ron Jeremy. The tagline (my favorite): Long Smooth Taste! I just have no words.
I had a cocktail before I arrived at the bar, so I took a lap while my date ordered another. He asked our bartender to make whatever he felt like for him. The resulting cocktail is below!
My date really liked it! I think it was reminiscent of a Manhattan. I gave it a sip and approved! Next up, our bartender continued the trend of generosity when he offered both of us a complimentary round of his favorite cocktail: the Hay-Hay. It is made with Burnt Butter & Toasted Hay Infused Drouin Calvados, Sage, Lemon and Black Salt.
After our first sip, we could both see why this was a favorite of our bartender! It was a wonderfully balanced drink. Also, don't you love the glassware? The drinks we ordered were served in an array of glasses. Like my grandma always told me, it makes a difference! A red solo cup is not the same as cut crystal!
For our final round, we both asked the bartender to make whatever he wanted - we had implicit trust in him! I asked for a sweeter cocktail and my date asked for something Scotch based.
I loved my drink. I don't at all remember what was in it, so I cannot provide further info. My date loved his too. CHECK OUT THAT GINGER GARNISH!
The trend continued - all the drinks were winners! Halfway through the night, someone started playing live music. The vibe was wonderful here. Ample seating, beautiful bathrooms and an incredible staff. I cannot wait to come back!
A New Spot in the Lower East Side
I arrived for a date way too early (like 30 minutes early) and the bar we were going to meet at wasn't open yet (it was 6:30pm- didn't open till 7:00pm). I checked on Yelp! (my trusty digital friend) to direct me somewhere to spend 30 minutes. The first place that popped up was practically next door: Rochelle's (http://www.rochellesnyc.com/). It is a cocktail bar that opened up about 3 months ago. I started walking over. And by walking, I mean moving like a crab down the sidewalk while attempting to avoid all injury.
The inside of the bar is warm and inviting. There is a long bar with stools and there is also booth seating. I loved the back bar set up.
The bartender was awesome. He introduced himself and I'm clearly a terrible person for forgetting his name. He was cute too! Don't worry, I haven't forgotten his face. I also cannot forget the face of the gentleman below. He was ghastly!
I asked the bartender to suggest a popular cocktail. He directed me to Daddy Issues. I love that the menu describes it as "Why not one more?" - don't we all have Daddy Issues? The cocktail is made with Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka, Casoni, Honey and Lemon.
This was a light and refreshing cocktail. The vodka has bison grass in it - how cool!
Rochelle's features a unique offering: The Miller High Life Split. For $9, you get the Champagne of Beers and a Shot of the Whisk(E)y of the Week. I noticed that a very attractive woman next to me had ordered it. Was I checking her out for myself? No. I was being an awesome sister. My older brother is single and also an online dater. We are very close and I feel like I know his type better than himself. She was his type. We easily struck up a conversation and I awkwardly asked if she was single. She said yes! I asked her if I could show her a photo of my brother. She said yes and was interested after seeing his picture! I got her number and set them up! I will keep you posted on how it goes. I felt like I really paid it forward on this one :)
As a final comment, Rochelle's has an awesome notice in the bathroom. It is a warning against having sex in the bathroom. My picture doesn't really capture what it says that well, but you can get an idea.
This is an awesome bar with a knowledgeable bartender staff. I look forward to coming back!
A Cancelled Class Visit Turns into a Mexican Lunch
Last week, my class was supposed to visit Kickstarter on Monday. Due to Veteran's Day, we had to move the visit to next week. Instead of heading right back to campus, we had lunch at Calexico (http://www.calexico.net/).
We ordered guacamole, chips and salsa for the table. The guac was awesome and still chunky - I hate when it's too smooth. I'm still on that low carb kick so I ordered a Burrito Bowl without rice and beans but with extra meat. I chose the Carne Asada. It was delicious! I got the "crack sauce" which is a chipotle something or other.
This is a nice Mexican spot. I would probably check it out again.
It's Saturday - Of course we're going to Bottomless Brunch
With my friend (Meredith) still in town, I knew a boozy brunch would be on order for her and her friends. I wanted to check out a spot that I had not been before, so I suggested Essex (http://www.essexnyc.com/). I had heard good things and I love that the spot takes reservations - woot!
There were lovely freshly baked, hot onion rolls brought out to the table. I didn't partake - noooo bread for me! It looked delicious though - ugh! The brunch special is $23.95 for an entree and "3" cocktails (mimosas, screwdrivers or bloody marys). I use quotes because they are constantly refilled, so who knows how many were actually poured. The quality of the cocktails weren't exactly thrilling, but sometimes quality can be dodgy when you get unlimited quantity.
Meredith ordered the potato pancakes and I got the omelette with a side of sausage. I was really happy with what I ordered. Poor cocktails though aren't an excuse, so I would likely return to old reliable Agave! (http://agaveny.com/)
Back to School Beers!
Two wonderful people in my block, Michelle and Mike, had the bright idea to organize a drinking occasion after our "first last day of school". It is hard to believe, but I'm already into my second year of business school!
They suggested a relatively newish rooftop beer garden that opened, Blue Ribbon Beer Garden (http://www.blueribbonrestaurants.com/rests_beer_garden_main.htm). I'm not a huge beer drinker, but figured I would order that vs. a glass of wine ("When at a Beer Garden"). I got a bottle of Sapporo Light for $7 - it seemed a bit overpriced and wasn't that cold - wahhh. I do realize that at these places you're really paying for the location - an awesome rooftop setting in the Lower East Side. Some of the people in our group played beer pong. Not really my thing, but play on players.
I'm not sure if I would go back since there are so many other places I still need to discover.
Tequila & Tapas!
I wanted to take Amber to a "Big Night Out" dinner so we went to Beauty & Essex (http://beautyandessex.com/). Before we had some yummy tapas, we ordered a drink at the bar. I ordered the O.D.B. "Old Dirty Bramble" - it was made with Don Julio Reposado tequila, smoked blackberries, honey, ginger juice, and lemon. I tend not to be the biggest fan of tequila because so many are not good, but Don Julio? Delicioso!
This Prescription is Quite a Pickle!
Before we had dinner at Beauty & Essex, I wanted to try out a new cocktail spot. I read favorable reviews about Nurse Bettie (http://nursebettie.com/). The bar has a reputation for Burlesque and the bartender was a real character! People in NYC go crazy for Pickleback shots, but I refuse to get in on that action. My interest was piqued however when I saw the Pickle Martini - this sounds more like me!
The drink includes gin, Pickle Guy's pickle juice, dry vermouth and fresh black pepper. I was shocked at how much I loved the drink! I always wanted to be cool and like dirty martinis, but whenever I order them I don't like them. This, however, was SO DELICIOUS! It was more a hint of pickles than overwhelming. Really balanced, a bit salty, but I love salty. Make sure to order a nice tall glass of water with it! Yum! New favorite!