Ruay Thai: Tasty Thai in Murray Hill

IMG_3556

As the saying goes…good things come in small packages and this little spot in Murray Hill is one of my favorite new Thai joints. Ruay Thai has a good sized menu with a mix of classic and new wave Thai cooking. We started with the Tom Som(green papaya salad w/chilies and peanuts) w/squid and shrimp and the Blue Crab Dumplings steamed. Both were great and whet our appetites. They have an interesting Sake Cocktail menu and I tried Coco Cucumber which was pretty good while my friend had a wine sized bottle of Bear Republic Racer 5.

For our entrees we had the Drunken Noodles with chicken and the Pineapple Curry with shrimp. I love both of these dishes and the Pineapple Curry was particularly good…a little sweet with some heat to it. I switched to bear and had a  Hitachio White followed by a great Japanese beer in a can Yona Ale. I took a took a look at the desert menu and Ruay Thai has a far more extensive then average desert menu for a Thai joint and when I saw Chocolate banana bread pudding my eyes lit up. It was served Warm with coconut Ice cream sauce and tasted even better then it sounds.  Between the diversity of the menu, quality of the food, impressive Beer selection, great deserts and very good lunch specials…Ruay Thai deserves a place on your “where to go for Thai” list.

 

……

 


Ruay Thai is located at 625 Second Avenue

Burger Joint on West 8th Street

Burger Joint    A friend of mine set up a get together recently for beverages and to grab a bite at the Burger Joint in the West Village (sister to the original in the Parker Meridian Hotel). There is something to be said for doing one thing and doing it right and Burger Joint serves a burger with or without cheese. I recommend it with the works…lettuce, tomato, pickles, ketchup, mustard and mayo…it’s a great burger and it’s under $10. For sides they have very good MickyD style Fries served in a brown bag. Aside from that you can get a Pickle and for desert a Brownie.

To drink they have a Milkshake which you can get spiked and a full bar with a very good selection on tap including Rare Vos, Lagunitas IPA, and Abita Haze. Needless to say I’ll have to try the share another time. If you love Burgers check this place out and if you want to avoid the busy and packed midtown rush lunch head down to the West Village location.

Burger Joint is located at  33 West 8th Street

 

Mekong on King Street

IMG_3204

Mekong is one of those places somewhat off my beaten path but on my list to try that I finally got around to recently. When you first walk in you have some tables and a bar to grab a beverage, head to the backroom to find walls adorned with great caricatures sketches in black and white, wooden tables  and chairs for 2 to 6  and a nice big picture window for people watching.

The menu at lunch offers a fair amount to choose from and I was craving something with some heat. I also almost always order Summer Rolls with Shrimp as my litmus test at a Vietnamese restaurant and not only were these fresh and tasty….but what really set them apart was that the peanut dipping sauce also had a pool of hot sauce in it…why doesn’t everyplace do this? For my main I decided on the Spicy Beef Vermicelli which lived up to it’s name being pretty spicy.  Add Mekong to your lunch(and dinner)  spot list when you’re in the west side of Soho and Tribeca.

 

IMG_3203IMG_3205

Mekong is located at 18 King Street

Harry’s Italian…Old School Red Sauce Joint on Gold Street

Harry's Italian

I caught up with a couple of friends for lunch recently and for a pleasant change of pace I was turned on to a spot I had yet to hit. They were craving Pizza and suggested Harry’s Italian. The menu is fairly large and full of all the old school red sauce joint kind of stuff I love and as I was looking at all the appti’s, pastas, salads, and mains…they said “we really want Pizza…let’s get Pizza…We can share one of the big Grandma (rectangular and flat) pies” So…you guys want Pizza, sure. How about a salad to make believe we are being healthy. “Sure…you pick it.” I picked the Spinach, I choose wisely. Now how about toppings…”Sure pick’em”. Harry’s offers a great selection and I love Broccoli Rabe and Prosciutto. “Sounds good…how about half with something else…like mushrooms?”Meat ball and Mushroom’s sound good? “Sold”.

The Spinach Salad here is served “warm” with mushrooms, pancetta and a sharp cheese in a balsamic dressing and was as delicious as it sounds. Both sides of the pizza were great and loaded generously with the toppings. I’m a bit of a Pizza snob and I was really impressed with Harry’s….great crust, tangy tomato dressing, fresh mozz and tasty toppings. Of note at lunch everything tops out at $15 with the exception of the Pizzas which are available small, large, Grandma(Old Fashioned on the menu) and White and go from $17-22 with toppings from $2-5. When you’re Downtown and craving some old school red sauce or Pizza like you wish your Grandma made(or did if you were lucky) Harry’s Italian is the joint you’re  looking for.

IMG_3690 IMG_3688


Harry’s Italian is located at 2 Gold Street

 

 

El Centro…Muy Bueno Mexican in Hell’s Kitchen

IMG_3672

I was heading over to Art Expo 2014 and needed a place close by to grab a bite. After doing a little research El Centro’s menu hit the nail on the head of what I was looking for. I ordered up a Michelada and started munching on Salsa and Chips that arrived table side as soon as we sat down as we went through the menu. As soon as I tasted the awesome salsa with some nice heat to it on their superior chips I knew I was in for a good meal.  We ordered up a Quesadilla to start things off and my Bro surprised me when he picked the exact one I wanted the Chorizo w/Goat Cheese and Serrano peppers. We both enjoyed it though he wanted more cheese and I a little more heat…but this is generally about as close as we get to agreeing on anything.

El Centro has a fairly large menu…but we came here for the Taco’s and they offer more then enough to choose from. The Tacos come 2 per order (of the same) or get the Taco platter where you can choose any three (3) you want plus rice and beans… which is what we decided on. They all come topped with queso blanco, pickled red onion, and watercress in addition to each tacos individual marinades and toppings. I ordered up the Coca Cola Carnitas(which was overflowing with carnitas), Negra Modelo beer battered Shrimp topped with cucumber salsa, and the Mahi-Mahi topped with caramelized onion and guac. My bro went with the same two from the sea as well but went with the Steak in a pomegranate glaze for his carne. They were also very good with the Shrimp being both our favorite…hey, did we just agree on something again? Though many of the Tacos do come with some guac…we wanted more so we ordered up a side as well.

Fully sated we headed out. El Centro is a great casual spot for drinks and very good Mexican food in Hell’s Kitchen. I need to come back to try their Chiquiles and Pozoles…


El Central is located at 824 9th Ave

IMG_3670 IMG_3669 IMG_3668

El Central is located at 824 9th Ave

Faherty Brand…The Endless Summer

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Endless Summer, for some it’s a fantasy, a retirement goal, for others a surf flick from the 60′s…at Faherty Brand it’s a lifestyle. Their new and first brick n’ mortar store opened up recently on Thompson Street in Soho. Inside it looks like a Beach House with a surfboard up on the wall, posters of waves and bikini’s and sweatshirts ready to be thrown on to hit the beach.

For the ladies my favorites from their collection are the bikinis in solids, florals, batik, and geometric prints, short-shorts(with the right pair of legs will look smoking hot) and their variety of Summer Dresses (Ladies…I speak for all mankind when I tell you we love you in Summer dresses…:)

For dudes Board shorts in solids(I like the Sea Green) and plaids, striped cotton T-shirts, comfy flannel shirts (they call them Work-Shirts and come in some nice weathered solids as well) in Spring weights (available for women as well or just steal/borrow your boyfriends) baseball jerseys  and hoodies(especially the Sea Foam…also available for the ladies).

Pretty much what  you need for the Beach by day, straight to Happy Hour(Girls, I’ve been preaching this for a while…when you just throw on a tee and some shorts and go right to happy you look your best) and the grill or bonfire by night. Check out this up and coming brand and live the Endless Summer…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Faherty Brand is located at 102 Thompson Street

ArtExpo New York 2014 @ Pier 94

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I hit Art Expo on Friday for its VIP Opening Night to check out both new and past show favorites. This year the Solo section takes up quite a bit of space and varies widely from talented aspiring amateurs to some very high end works. I also noticed this year there were many more small booths then usual, but very few of the large gallery backed booths. Judging by how busy and buzzing opening night was it looks like it’s going to be a great show.

My favorites of the show(see pics below) this year were Joanne Morris-photo-realistic charcoals that were pretty amazing (of note, she uses a soft-brush) ,Garsot-Colorful Abstracts see Woman, Rose, Cupid), Lukai-beautiful portraits of women on the beach in China, Azamat-Photo-realistic Lady Macbeth w/skull, Brush-Traditional and Modern Chinese women done in Ink, Oscar Solis-Big, Bold and Beautiful with full red lips, Marco Grassi-Multi colored somewhat abstract portraits of women -(I should have picked one of these up when I first saw them a few years back), Anna Razumoskaya -Always one of the shows favorites and clearly deservedly so…I really liked her new beautiful portraits of couples, though does she do sensuous beautiful women, Stacy O’Neill-Underwater photography women and their reflections creating a colorful “kissing” effect, and  Issac Maimon-Bright and Picasso like.

Of note, for those of you looking  to acquire you can usually negotiate somewhat with the Artists and Galleries…especially on Sunday and especially on originals(so they don’t have to ship them back)…thus a great opportunity for both the Artist and the Collector to strike a fair deal…

Art Expo NY is located at Pier 94 and runs April 4-6th

Wayside Coffee, Baked Goods, Food and Beverage Bar

IMG_3534

Great new spot in the East Village for coffee, sandwiches, soups, salads and tasty baked goods. It’s a very cool sleek Nordic looking place inside with high stools and blonde wood square and round table-tops. There is counter top space as well. They use Intelligentsia coffee for their bean brewed drinks and have some tasty Teas as well. I’ve had their Salted Brown Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookie which was so delish it inspired me to write an upcoming piece on “Best Cookies” and an Almond Croissant which was very good as well. Of Note, they serve Beer and Wine at night. The Wayside is on my list of “go to” Coffee Bars and after a movie in one of the nearby theaters would be a great spot for a treat or a beverage.

IMG_3532

Wayside is located at 139 East 12th Street

Miansai Leather Goods and Tasty Teas

Miansa TeaIMG_3162
I popped in here originally while strolling down hot and happening Crosby Street and espied Tea in the window of a new store with Miansai on it (not noticing at the time the rather large fishing hook hanging up outside the stores door) one cold day and then noticed once I was inside that it was a store full of cool looking Leather goods and accessories. Leather or Nylon Corded bracelets with Fishhook and Anchor clasps are the mainstay of Miansai line.Though the Nautical theme is masculine most of the line is Unisex.

Accessories include Leather bound Note Pads (Would love to see them do Sketch pads…hint-hint:) Wallets, Watches, Opinel Knives, Soap on a Rope and of course their tasty teas. They offer a rather large variety to choose from including Black, Green, White etc served both hot and iced. Due to the weather I have primarily enjoyed them hot but the other day had a delicious Green Mint Tea iced and look forward to more from their great selection. For those of you who like Kombucha they serve that as well in a number of flavors.

Overall a great spot to pop in, grab a healthy drink and maybe pick up a little something for special someone or yourself . Of note, the staff is great,…friendly and knowledgeable about their products and beverages. A great edition to Crosby Street.

IMG_3159 IMG_3158 IMG_3160

Miansai is located at 33 Crosby Street

Campeon Mexican Sports Bar

IMG_3571

IMG_3573 IMG_3572

Campeon falls under the chocolate-peanut butter thing…things that go amazing together  It’s a good looking space inside that is clearly geared to attract women as well as men withs it’s leather banquettes with Cheetah prints and dark pink walls…don’t worry guys their are Flat Screens galore adoring the walls. .Campeon has a rather drink drink menu that ranges from beers on tap, in bottles to of course Margarita’s, Cocktails and a huge selection of tequilas. Since it was Friday…I started with an Oyster Shooter, a freshly shucked oyster swimming in Sauza tequila and a Negro Mondelo on tap, my bud a Sixpoint IPA.

For my my bud this was dinner time(married w/children from the burbs), I on the other-hand at 6pm just wanted to try something from the menu. Their menu is another great example of how they are catering to men and women. He had the Chipotle Pepper Burger(topped with bacon, avocado, oaxoca cheese, and chipotle cream) and I ordered the Seared Ahi Tuna Tacos (2 per order). His Burger was huge and came with waffle fries and he devoured it before I could ask if it was good…guessing it was. My Ahi Tuna Tacos were excellent consisting of perfectly grilled and garlic-cilantro seasoned thin slices of tuna with slices of avocado and mache leaves, but size wise more geared toward the petite girl looking for a protein fix after her kickboxing class then the hungry guy. Another round ordered up as well.

For my desert(read: last drink:) I had a Beer-Garita…I don’t think it was on the menu but its 3/4 of a Pint of Mexican Beer topped with a some frozen Margarita (shout out to Michelle by bud Terry’s better half for Turing me on to these in Texas) yet another chocolate-pb moment. If your looking for a great new Sports and want more then your standard grub and brews or just a place to go with your girl, go with your girls or your guy friends who aren’t big on sports but love to drink, eat, and mingle… this is your new spot

Campeon is located at 9 East 16th Street