The Incredible Ichabod's
Happy Hour at Rosa Mexicano is a Great Deal!
A brand new speakeasy near Union Square that demands your attention
Still Can't Call Myself a "New Yorker"
Sometimes it is painfully obvious that I am still relatively new to living in Manhattan. I was recently reminded of this fact when Melissa suggested grabbing a bite to eat at Republic (http://www.thinknoodles.com/findex.html). I had mentioned that I felt like something Asian - maybe Chinese or Thai, so I was confused when she suggested this place. I had (how embarrassing!) thought that it was a burger place. It is near Heartland Brewery...the signage looks very similar...so, you can see how I'd be confused! Clearly, I had said something sacrilegious. EVERYONE (except little ol' me until then) knows this place has yummy Asian food.
Melissa RAVED about the Spicy Beef noodle soup - similar to Pho. This bowl contains heavenly noms, like wheat noodles, rare beef, garlic, onion, lemongrass, chili peppers, bean sprouts, scallions and fried shallots. For $15, this bowl will FILL YOU UP!
This restaurant has a great reverse happy hour that starts at 10pm. Cocktails that are normally $11 are $7 and beer/wine is around $4. We each got a frozen Lychee-tini!
This is a lovely spot. I'm glad I'm no longer in the dark! If you haven't been here, please enlighten yourself as well!
Incredible Indian Food in Flatiron
After our disappointing Indian meal at Dhaba, I wanted to look for a new go-to place. I spoke to my friend Aditya and he recommended Devi (http://www.devinyc.com/home.html). He is a fellow foodie and Sternie, so I trusted his judgment. I noticed on their site that they have an awesome lunch special: $20 for any appetizer and any entrée!
The interior is beautiful and spacious! Unlike some other Indian restaurants I've gone to, you're not sitting on top of your neighbors and you can hear what is going on!
It was a hot day when I went to Devi, so I ordered a Kingfisher. Because they don't have it on draft, I requested a frosted glass. Gotta love the service!
When you check-in on Yelp! or FourSquare, you get a code for a complimentary appetizer (value $12)! This is in addition to the appetizer that comes with the entrée. Scott and I split the Manchurian Cauliflower - delicious! The four pieces of cauliflower were huge and well coated in the tomato-based sauce.
For our included appetizers, I ordered the Lamb Seekh Kebab (served with mint sauce and apricot chutney) and Scott got the Bharwan Aloo (homemade Indian cheese stuffed in roasted potatoes). I LOVED mine - great flavor in the lamb and the sauces were a great compliment. Scott's was good, I just preferred mine much more (which is probably why I ordered it!)
The vibe on the inside is refined. The Interior lanterns are so beautiful!
With the entrees, we were served a bowl of rice for the table. This was a decent portion size - sometimes you don't get enough to sop up all the sauce!
For our entrees, we ordered the Nizami Chicken Korma (mildly spicy royal curry with almond paste) and Kadai Lamb (sautéed with onions and peppers in a brown sauce). The chicken is great - white meat that was fork tender. The lamb was also lovely but a bit tough.
We also ordered garlic naan - it was perfectly puffy and just the right amount of crispy. It could have used more garlic though - never enough!
I wanted to order another Kingfisher but THEY WERE OUT! Is that even allowed at an Indian restaurant? I ordered a 1947 instead - it was good, but not as good as Kingfisher.
I took a shot of the interior layout - I love the leather booth seating. I also love the voluptuous bottoms of the statues - HEYYY!!!
If you're sticking to a budget, come here for lunch as dinner is much pricier.
A Ladies' Lunch to Celebrate my Graduation
My mom and I met up with my Aunt Shirley for lunch. The weather was cooperating so I was pleased with my restaurant choice: The Pavilion (http://www.thepavilionnyc.com/). I went here nearly 8 years ago when it was Luna Park (you may remember it from Sex and the City (Episode: The Monogamists) when Carrie went there and met Jared (the hot shot writer)and Big couldn't find the entrance).
It opened up three weeks ago and occupies a controversial part of Union Square. The photo below shows the stone structure that is part of the park. Opponents of the restaurant claim that it is "unfairly commercializing" public space. This battle has been fought for two years and the restaurant owner (Simon Oren, also the owner of Five Napkin Burger) invested several million dollars to restore the structure. Oren has a 15-year contract with the city and will pay $300K per year to lease the space. Read more here: http://www.zagat.com/b/new-york-city/the-pavilion-in-union-square-park-is-finally-open
A celebration is not complete without Champagne!!! My mom and aunt ordered a glass and I opted for a unique cocktail. The waiter instead brought out three flutes - I was more than ok with that! Cheers! :)
The Park-Side cocktail features light & dark rums, fresh mint & lime, guava "foam" and local pollen. It is a very unique drink - the guava foam has some seeds in it from the fruit. Also, you're not supposed to mix it up. So, don't drink it with a straw. In order to get all the flavors, sip it!
I read a lot online about how great the complimentary bread basket was, especially the spread that comes with it. I'm not sure what the spread was, I should have asked, but it tasted delicious! I had to ask the waiter several times (maybe 5?) for the bread. The service is still lacking a bit. Hopefully it is just because the venue recently opened and isn't going to continue - this place is simply too great for poor service.
I ordered the Blue Maine Mussels & Fries. As you can see below, the fries are beautifully presented. They were SO tasty!
The mussels were delicious, prepared with white wine, garlic & shallot puree and butter.
Our server recommended the Greek Salad, made with tomato, cucumber, peppers, onion, olives, croutons, local feta cheese & lemon vinaigrette. My aunt ordered it and I tried a nibble. It tasted really fresh and light.
I took some photos of the enclosed area of The Pavilion. The weather was nice so we chose to eat outside, also the inside area is a bit louder. The structure amplifies sounds so it can get a bit loud. This makes conversation with your mom and aunt difficult! I love the ceiling lights - white globes are simple and beautiful.
I ordered a cappuccino. I was really disappointed when it arrived cold! If you're paying $5 for a cup of coffee, it better be piping hot. I asked the server to bring a new cup and it was hot! I think the issue comes back to the slow service - the coffee was likely made and just sat there. Get your act together on the service Pavilion! This is a great venue, so don't mess it up so early!
I look forward to coming back here for brunch or dinner and hopefully much improved service!
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.
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!
Guacamole is Best Served in Massive Quantities
Last week, I went out to dinner on a date at Rosa Mexicano (http://www.rosamexicano.com/newyorkcity/unionsquare/index.php?action=page&id=1976&group_id=1955&location_id=9). There are multiple locations of this popular chain and we went to the one in Union Square. I haven't been to this location and it much larger than the one in Midtown East - the ceilings are higher and the vibe seems younger in general. There is also one on the Upper West Side. Naturally, we started with the Guacamole. It is delicious! It is made tableside. There are servers at the restaurant that push the Guac Cart around and are busy NON-STOP! People cannot get enough of that green goodness.
After we were happily nibbling on yummy chips and guac, I ordered Frozen Pomegranate Margarita, made with silver tequila, pomegranate and lime juices. My date ordered a Michelada, specifically the Chelita. It is made with Tecate, fresh lime and Tabasco, served over ice with a salted rim. As soon as he tried it, he commented that he hated it. I tried it and agreed. Sometimes being adventurous doesn't pay off.
For my entrée, I got the Chamorro (Crispy Pork Shank). It is a slow-braised "carnitas-style" with chipotle-creamed spinach and red bean-chorizo chili. SO TASTY! It is served with teeny-tiny tortillas to make baby tacos.
The meal was delicious! My date ordered the Chicken Enchiladas - I tried a little and they were good, though a bit limey. I was glad with what I ordered.
There is a Happy Hour here Sat- Thurs from 4pm - 7pm in the Bar Area. Cocktails are $6-$7, Beers are $4 and a selection of appetizers and rotating tacos are $6. I will need to check that out!
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!