Gitana Rosa Presents Dress Code by Nikolina Kovenlenko

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I attended the opening for “Masquerade” during the Summer and when I heard that Nikolina Kovenlenko was previewing a new series of works titled “Dress Code” I stopped by to check out her new works and for some inspiration as well. Once again Nikolina explores our self absorbed superficial world which in this series she juxtaposes famous figures from the Old Masters who find themselves in modern day settings such as a children’s Playground and a high end Spa’s Roman like baths. In Swimming Pool my favorite thus far from the new series beautiful women chill in the water and lie out among Roman like columns oblivious to the personification of beauty itself, Venus, they are so self absorbed. These women and the children in the Playground piece are caught in their respective “comfort zones” yet missing out on so much by not stepping out of them. Nikolina continues to push us past our overly commercialized world and to look within to find our true selves.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Gitana Rosa is located at 430 West 25th Street 4th floor

Mast Brothers Brewed Chocolate

MastBrewed

Mast Chocolate recently opened up a Brewed Chocolate spot next door to their factory and retail, store on N 3rd. You choose from the same great chocolate used for their legendary chocolate bars a Single Origin (Peru, Madagascar, etc) or a Flavored Chocolate (Chili, Almond, Maple etc) and its brewed like a Tea with hot water but still has that rich chocolate taste. Add a splash a milk if you like, I did. Add this to your Hot Chocolate spots as the weather begins to cool out there…

Mast Brewed Chocolate is located at 105 A N 3rd Street

Baba Ghanouge…Eat Healthy

Baba Ghanoush

On my way to a meeting with limited time for a lunch I wanted something quick but healthy and espied Baba Ghanouge’s sign down on Fulton Street “Eat Healthy,  Live Longer”. Sounded good so I popped in, liked the menu and chose a Spicy Chicken Pita with Spicy Hummus and a side of fresh made Baba Ghanouge. The wrap was very good and really liked the spicy hummus. However, if you are hungry get a side as well. The namesake was very fresh and with some whole wheat pita hit the spot. To drink I pulled from their fridge a Steaz Green Tea and Lemonade to follow through on the keep it healthy but tasty theme. Fast Food does not enter the Temple that is by body, so if you feel the same this is a great option downtown for something quick, tasty and good for you.

Baba Ghanouge is located at 143 Fulton Street

Sachi Asian Bistro Opens in Murray Hill

Sachi1

A new high end team has taken over the Pan- Asian spot at 713 Second Avenue in Murray Hill and upgraded the interior and renamed it Sashi Asian Bistro. It’s run by some big names in the biz, Pichet Ong (yes, the James Beard Baking phenom) and Andy Yang (of Michelin Star fame) that bring in flavors and techniques from throughout Asia. While this spot was always one of the better looking restaurants in the hood it now looks more Meatpacking then Murray Hill. I walked by the day started serving lunch, so I popped on to check it out.  After looking through the dinner menu I asked if they have a lunch special menu which they do( so ask if not presented) that had a lot to offer, better then12 different entrees in a Bento Box or Sushi Roll specials.

The first time I went I decided to go hot with the Shaking Beef(Wok Charred with Roasted Salt and Shishito Peppers, which I love) that came with Miso soup(which was very good and somewhat differ then most I’ve had…their Dashi gave it a more lemony flavor that was rather pleasing) and a salad. However, not your typical greens w/Ginger dressing, their salad is a Chicken Salad with hearts of palm, noodles and cabbage. You also get a choice  of appi, I went Crab Shumai over the Mushroom Spring Roll which were loaded with Crab Meat. On my next visit I tried the Sushi 3 roll combo. Again, started with the superior Miso soup and Chinese Chicken salad. For my rolls I went with my standby, Spicy Tuna, Yellowtail jalapeno to satisfy my thing for heat and for something different and unique to the menu the Salmon Mango which turned out to be my fave. Of note, they have a serious Cocktail Menu that I will need to return to investigate,.

Whether you’re looking for somewhere a little more high end them most of what Murray Hill offers for a dinner date/night out with friends or nice business/you simply want a nice lunch spot, Sachi Asian Bistro is what I am hoping is the next step in Murray Hill getting it’s game up.

 

Sashi Asian Bistro is located at 713 Second Avenue

Birdbath’s Chocolate Chunk Cookies, Hot Chocolate and Coffee by Grand Central

IMG_5338

Add another spot with great coffee, in this case Brooklyn Roasters to your “Where to go by Grand Central list”. The Birdbath spots are the satellite sister locations around NYC of City Bakery. The same amazing cookies (especially the chocolate chunk), variety of baked goods, sandwiches, salads, aforementioned coffee from Brooklyn Roasters and quite possibly the city’s best Hot Chocolate. Tables and chairs outside when it’s nice and when it gets too cold, padded benches to chill out on inside.

Birdbath City Bakery is located in 2 Grand Central Tower

Mimi Cheng’s Awesome Organic Taiwanese Chinese Dumplings

MimiCheng's MimiCheng's2

Do you love Chinese Dumplings, but wish the little pan- fried pockets of pleasure were a bit better for you and not such, much a guilty pleasure? Well I may have just found the organic dumplings(Fleisher’s Grass-fed and Organic Meats here in Brooklyn and Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-op.) of your dreams. After jumping off the bus on 2nd Ave on my way to pick up some Art supplies and run some errands I walked by Mini Cheng’s Dumplings. I love Chinese Dumplings ,liked the organically sourced twist, and the price was right so I popped in.

At Mimi Cheng’s they pretty much does one thing and do it right. You choose between Chicken, Pork or Veggie,6 for $8 or 8 for $10. You can get all of one or split by 2, thought not by all 3 for some reason. Think they should(hint, hint:). They come steamed or pan-fried(they recommend pan fried) and arrived surprising moist and  juicy bursting with flavor. The Chicken had Zucchini and the Pork Bok Choy and Cabbage. The wrapper they use is delicious and notably different  from most I’ve had…plus they very lightly pan fry them. Remember, they are organic, so go crazy..go fried. Top them with Mimi’s secret sauce and or Sriracha. The special sauce is very good, but not spicy so I I went with both.

To drink I had Mimi’s Thai Basil Lemonade(they also had an Iced tea and rotate seasonally) which was very tasty and refreshing…hitting just the right balance between tart and sweet.I didn’t get to try them but they have Desert Dumplings as well…stuffed with Apples. They recently started doing Monthly Special Dumplings and in honor of Football season,  for October they are Buffalo Chicken…will need to check these out upon my upcoming return visit.

Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings is located at 179 2nd Avenue

Bravest Sports Bar…Has Your Games, Wings and Brews

Bravest

Looking for a rock solid Sports Bar with all the key ingredients? Well, I have one for you. The Bravest Sports Bar is a classic Sports/Fireman’s Bar in Murray Hill with very good buffalo wings(10 for $5!), a full menu of Nachos, Burgers, Sandwiches and even Salads for those of you watching your girlish figures. A good selection of beers on tap($4 at Happy Hour, $3 Buds) including a well poured Guinness. Plenty of Plasma TVs, a Juke Box with classic tunes along with Happy Hour specials, NFL Game day/night specials and a good mixed crowd round things out nicely.

Bravest Sports Bar is located at 700 2nd Avenue

Michael Harding Oil Paints/New Wave Artist Palettes Demo’s at Jerry’s Palette Shop

NWMHJPS2 NWMHJPS

Jerry’s Palette Shop has been really doing a great job lately reaching out to the Art Community in the NY area by conducting Demo’s, Drawing Events and the like. Here’s the latest on the recent demo’s I attended for world famous Michael Harding Oil Paints and up and coming New Wave Artists Palette.

New Wave Palettes is run by brothers Kyle and Keith whose Dad is  a portrait painter. While most Artist Palettes stress the wrist after a while they out together a hand held curved palette- with 3 points for the hand, arm and hip points that keeps wrist straight. Made out if Maple wood, it’s finish stands against any paints or mediums. They come in Large Studio (righty and lefty), a Detail palette(smaller) and for travel the Highland palette. For those who prefer to sit while they paint and like a rectangular palette they offer a number as well that include the Table Top Posh palettes(neutral or grey in 2 sizes). A rectangular 11X16 built for most travel cases and a Peel-able gray rectangular palette which is disposable and glued on 3 edges to keep paper secure. I picked up a peel-able rectangular grey one to try out and see how laying out my colors on a grey palette vs a while one affects my blending and painting.

Up next was Michael Harding Oil Paints. Michael starting making his own paints after observing Rembrandt’s works at the National while at University in the UK.  After fellow students saw his colors he starting marking them to sell and eventually landed a job as the in-house supplier for a major store in London. This helped connect him with some notable local Artists that eventually led him to world famous artists like David Hockney. His oil paints are hand made the way the Old Masters did n the UK and sold in 35 countries around the world. Michael takes vibrancy of color to another level because he doesn’t add filer to cut costs like the larger labels do, but uses just high end pigment with some linseed oil which increases light fastness and Chroma.The collection includes Old Master colors (ie Lapis Lazuli made from semi-precious stones from Afghanistan as  well as the new artificial  colors like Ultramarine Blue ).

After Michael shared his story on how he got into the business and how his paints differentiate from his competitors he let us come up and experiment mixing his paints which I rather enjoyed. Some went right after his rich bright colors while I started mixing up flesh tones. I used a palette knife while some used their fingers. Of note, samples of Titanium White 2, Ultramarine Blue, and Magenta were given out as samples. I also picked up the Rose Madder, Kings Blue Light and his Cadmium Yellow which I’m really looking forward to trying out on my upcoming new pieces.

Jerry’s Palette Shop is located at 111 4th Avenue

Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings…Organic, Delicious & Good for You

IMG_5301IMG_5298

Do you love Chinese Dumplings, but wish the little pan- fried pleasure were a bit better for you and not so much a guilty pleasure. Well, I may have found the organic dumplings of your dreams. After jumping off the bus on 2nd Ave on my way to pick up some Art supplies and run some errands I walked by Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings. I love dumplings , liked the organically sourced info on the menu board and the price was right so I popped in.

The menu is fairly limited to Chicken, Pork or Veggie Dumplings, but hey came for the organic dumplings , right? You can get all of one or split by 2, thought not by all 3. Of note, I think they should change this (hint, hint:). Go for 6 for $8 or 8 for $10. You can get them steamed or pan-fried, they recommend pan fried. I found them to be very juicy and flavorful. The Chicken has zucchini mixed in with it and the Pork has Bok Choy and Cabbage. The wrapper they use is delicious and notably different from most I’ve had…plus they very , very lightly pan fry them. Hit them wit some of Mimi’s “secret sauce” and or Sriracha, I used both. To drink I had Thai Basil Lemonade that was very tasty and refreshing …just the right balance between tart and sweet. They have Iced Tea as well. While I didn’t get to try them, they have desert dumplings stuffed with apples and cinnamon. These really are some of the better Dumplings I’ve had, add them to your Best Of list.

Mimi’s Dumplings is located at 179 2nd Avenue.

Trading Post…Fine American Dining by the Water Downtown

Trading Post Lobster Cobb

I had a business lunch with some Partners recently and one of them recommended the Trading Post for great American food in an upscale tavern setting. It’s a fairly large space inside with a very long bar with very pretty girls behind it with some super comfy padded bar stools by the bar and by the high tables by the windows. The Trading Post serves classics like Turkey sandwiches, Burgers, Steaks, French Onion soup along with twists on classics like their Cobb Salads with Lobster.

Most of our party ordered up the Lobster Cobb which came served like a fancy tartar packed puck but once dismantled had a fair amount of lobster meat. As an added bonus for me one of my friends likes the lobster tail meat, but not the claws..which I took care of for him. We also got a side of the jalapeno mayo (comes on their Lobster Roll) to dip the Lobster in. I really liked it but found it more flavorful then spicy. My bud on the other-hand was kinda feeling the heat. One of our friends started with the Onion Soup that he put down before I could how it tasted…guess he liked it and another got the Turkey sandwich with homemade potato chips that he shared with the table that were amazing.

To finish our meal we ordered Coffee and Cappuccino’s, the coffee coming in Alice in Wonderland size coffee mugs. Service like the food was very good. A great place for a business lunch or dinner and likely a good spot for a beverage or three after work. Of note, It is all the way down John Street by the water…so if you hear the sound of a splash…you walked past it…

The Trading Post is located at 170 John Street