Gino’s of Long Beach Old School Red Sauce Joint 

Gino’s  has been my usual stop for slices forever…so a full on sit down diner before popping on the LIRR(it’s literally right across the street) was long overdue. 

The dining room is fairly large and who would think the on the other side of this tastefully decorated spot with nice comfy booths is a Pizza Joint. Gino’s has a fairly large menu composed primarily of classic Italian-American dishes. 

She went Eggplant Rollatine with Pasta Pomodoro, I went with my usual old school red sauce joint Shrimp Parm and decided to watch my girlish figure by going with the side salad(which was big enough for two…I shared my cherry tomatoes). To drink a glass of Italian Savingon Blanc. 

Portions here are fairly large and we both took half our dinners home. Which even the leftover portion was a filling meal. I love Gino’s everything pie and their Eggplant slice…so it’s great to know it makes a very enjoyable dining spot as well. Add this to your Old School Red Sauce, Long Beach and Long Island restaurant lists. 

Gino’s is located at 16 West Park Avenue in Long Beach. 

Gowanus Yacht Club Night Cap

After bouncing around Brooklyn’s newest hotspot hood Gowanus it was time for one more before jumping on the Subway. My cuz and came upon the Gowanus Yacht Club sitting right on top of the F and G Train entrance. The place looks like a friends backyard with picnic tables and a charcoal grill to throw hot dogs, burgers and sausages. 

They have a nice selection of both local Craft and Imported Beers($5 to $8, it is a Yacht Club after all) to choose from. Throw in a friendly staff with a laid back atmosphere and good tunes and you have a cool spot to start or finish your night. 

The Gowanus Yacht Club is located at 323 Smith Street in Brooklyn 

@ACGears Super Tech Store on 8th Street 

I have a trip coming up and I needed a new re-charger. I read good things about the Fluxmob Bolt and after reaching out to them for where to get one in NYC (the places I thought would have it did not) a Customer Service rep replied to my e-mail inquiry that AG Gears had it. 

I hopped on the subway (it’s right off the (N,R) and popped into a very cool store filled with electronic gadgets and gifts(see pics) in an all white minimalist setting. Grace their PR Manager not only went over the Bolt and other options with me, she then helped me with a much needed new set of ear-phones(they offer a large variety to choose from and you can test them). I got a sweet pair from RHA

While checking out when I told Grace I was getting them for a trip to Japan she shared she goes regularly and started writing down places for me to go! Totally taking Customer Service to another level! If you’re looking for some sweet tech gear with form and function in mind for yourself or for gifts check out AC Gears. I may need to swing back for a Samurai Sword handled umbrella…

AC Gears NYC is located at 69 East. 8th Street 

@CookieDONYC Eat it Raw or Bake Some Up

Do you like licking the spoon when someone is making homemade cookies? Did you stop because it’s bad for you or you got yelled at for doing so? Well the Ladies of Cookie DO have a recipe that you can safety eat, it’s delicious and comes in over a dozen flavors. Of course you can just bake the dough as well for yummy cookies.

I picked up two pints to field test the goods. One of the Gimme Smores since my nephew loves making Smores and the Fluffernutter, peanut butter dough with marshmallow and chocolate chips:) We tried the stuff raw the night I brought them and cooked up some cookies the next day after the family BBQ. The kids loved the stuff raw best, while the adults preferred them as cookies, thought we throughly enjoyed them raw.

The best part was my Sister-in-Law at first telling the kids they couldn’t have it raw…”but Uncle Steve said we could” until my Bro pulled up on his iPad DO’s website stipulating it was made to eat raw. Either way you like it this a great desert to bring over as a gift or just keep around the house. 

Cookie DO is located at 201 2nd Aveune on the 2nd floor. 

Blue Dog Kitchen Bar on West 50th

 Looking for a new spot for lunch I literally just walked up 50th Street to see what was further west. I came upon Blue Dog Kitchen Bar, an upscale Diner serving very good food in a cute and cozy setting. Instead of your standard bread and butter they bring over a very good whole grain bread and marmalade when you first sit down to sate your hunger. 

Blue Dog has a fairly large menu of usual diner food suspects, but many with a global spin that includes French, Mexican and Southern American flavors. Prices are a little on the high side but there are a number of options for under $15.00 and the quality of the food is very good. I had their Tuna and Avocado sandwich that came with some very tasty fries for $12.00.

The Coffee here is very good and comes in an Alice in Wonderland sized mug that is refillable. Along with Iced Teas, Soda, etc they have a full bar. If you’re looking for a good lunch spot in Midtown a notch above most for sandwiches, burgers, salads and such Blue Dog is well worth checking out. 

Blue Dog Kitchen Bar is located at 308 West 50th Street 

Barley and Brixx by the Beach

Since I have a thing for Craft Beers I normally pop in here after a long hard day in the sun, sand and waves for a flight of craft beers before I jump on the LIRR back to NYC.

On this evening while I wanted my flight of beers, she wanted seafood. Though the menu at Barley and Brixx is pub grub oriented, as in Wings(I’ve had the Wings before, they are pretty good and they have a very large selection of sauces) Pizza, Burgers and the like, they do have a nice selection of Salads, Appi’s and Entrees that include dishes like Ponzu Tuna, Coconut Shrimp and Wild Herb Salmon. 

We ordered up some Baked Clams which turned out to be very good and the special Salad of the night the Ahi Tuna with watermelon, radish, arugula, and Sriracha which turned out to be one of those dishes that sounded better than it turned out to be. My flight of beers included a Bells and a Ballast, while she went with Mint Tea. 

The space here is very large, service is good and their menu offers something to make sure everyone is happy. 

Barley and Brixx is located at 152 West Park Avenue in Long Beach 

@SueTsai ‘s #MisadventuresOfTheHeart Surrealistic Pop-Art Works 

Love Pop Art and have a thing for the surreal? I originally came upon the Surrealist inspired Pop Art works of Sue Tsai on Instagram of all places. When she posted that she had an upcoming show and pop-up shop down on the Bowery I had to check it out. 

I had the opportunity to chat with her a bit about her new works. She’s influenced by Surrealist and Pop Artists that include Dali, Murakami, and Warhol. I love her use of dreamlike imagery and how her colorful characters practically pop off the canvas. I also find interesting how many of the figures in her paintings have Teddy-Bear like bodies but no faces(further and deeper thought required). My favorites of her works from the show are 
Kaleidoscope Coral Reef -Deep Sea-Diver
Tunnel Vision -Super Cat-Girl 
Emotional RollerCoaster -Speaks for itself 

Sue Tsai aside from being a very talented Artist is also a rather shrewd business woman. If her beautiful and rather large originals are out of your price range you can acquire limited edition copies of her work or merchandise like iPhone covers, T-shirts, or a pillow to rest your head against while day-dreaming. For the time being I will have to suffice with her limited edition for the show T-shirt and add her to my list of Artists to keep an eye on…

Sue Tsai’s Misadventures of the Heart is located at 208 Bowery from August 11th to the 28th. 

Great Northern Foodhall – Nordic Food invades New York 

Manhattans newest food hall centers on Nordic cuisine with over a half dozen vendors. It is the brainchild of Danish Chef Claus Meyer of Noma fame. On my first visit I sampled goods from three of the kiosks. 

For lunch I decided on some sandwiches Scandanavian style from Smorrebrod. They serve their goods opened faced on delicious rye bread. There are quite a few to choose from, I went with a Salmon with Fennel, Apple, Yougurt and Horseradish and one with Boiled Eggs with Shrimp, Mayo, Rye Crisps and Watercress. One would make a great snack, two for a meal. Of note, there are vegetarian options available. 

For desert I headed over to Meyers Bageri and choose from their large assortment of baked goods a Chocolate coated Cardamom Cloud Puff (available in a number of other flavors) which hit the spot bring petite yet rich.

 I washed it all down with a very good Iced Coffee from Brownsville Roasters made with organic Kokowagayo beans. 

Claus Meyer’s new Great Northern Food Hall is a great addition to New York’s food scene and I look forward to exploring some more Scandinavian cuisine.  
Great Northern Food Hall is located in the Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal


Quality Eats-Know Before You Go, But Do Go…

She’s in the mood for a steak, but you’re craving seafood, you’re looking for something new on the side…you’re bro has a sweet tooth. Quality Eats’ menu can cater to all of the above but…caveat emptor its menu also varies wildly portion wise. 

I liked the selection on their cocktail menu and a Sparkling Negroni and a Key Monkey(Gin infused with Strawberries, with mint and lime) were ordered up. They arrived looking like half portions, my bro literally asked when he could have the 2nd half of his drink. The drinks are so small and at $13…I would recommend getting pre-drink cocktails at nearby Highlands or Happiest Hour where like priced drinks are excellent and twice the size. 

For starters we went with the Hamachi with Pineapple and Pistachios and the Crab and Avocado. Both were very good, but were extremely disproportionate size wise. The Crab with Avocado was excellent and I was pleasantly surprised portion wise how much crab meat it had. The Hamachi dish was minuscule and at $16 grossly overpriced. I probably should have sent it back for something else.

For our entrees the Branzino portion served filleted looked small but I was told it was very good. My Hanger Steak was a nice portion of thick juicy delicious cooked rare as ordered beef and came with a nice side salad. I Ordered a glass of Cab (Grapesmith and Crusher) from their excellent by the bottle or glass selection which I believe is the way to go here. For sides The Corn Elote was very good, but the Spinach Tator Tots were awesome and huge! Side Dish of the Year? 

For desert you must go with their homemade Ice creams. We ordered the Banana with Bacon and Peanut Caramel which was very good but the Smores made with Burnt Marshmallow Ice Cream stole the show. 

Overall I really enjoyed the meal, but feel that they really need to increase the size of their cocktails and rethink their portions. If you order the right items you will be very happy, but I could see ordering the wrong combo’s and while liking them needing to go for pizza afterwards. The menu does accommodate the hungry and those looking for light and tasty but you only find this out the hard way. 

Quality Eats is located at 19 Greenwich Avenue 

Pig Beach- Epic BBQ on the Gowanus Canal

While discussing Best BBQ spots with a bud at work…to protect the guilty let’s call him Wonder-Boy, he mentioned a spot I had yet to hear of, Pig Beach. Thoughts of roasted meats, cold beers and bikinis danced in my head. 

Reality turned out not to be too far off. The outdoor space is ginormous with plenty of picnic tables and high tables to sit and a cool bar in back with a good mixed crowd. 

You place your order and wait on line Texas style. We ordered a half rack of Ribs, a Karl Elmer made in Queens hot dog that we topped with Mac n Cheese, the Yankee Red Hot sausage and a Pig Beach burger. 

We grabbed seats at one of the community high tops. I chatted up a cute blonde asking what she thought about the food. Turns out she was there for a Frisbee meet-up and had already eaten elsewhere, she didn’t know Pig Beach was a BBQ joint! Can’t make thus stuff up… 

Ribs- Off the damn charts, some of the best I’ve ever had. Not sure what they are glazing it with aside from honey, but I tasted cherries

Karl Elmer Hot Dog- Got it topped with Mac n Cheese sauce. While very good, I expected Mac noodles and it’s just cheese sauce.

Sausage – stuffed with provolone and hot cherry peppers …loved it. 

Burger – Go Briggie or go home…My Cuz said “You want a burger at a BBQ joint? Yes. We shared a single(comes with cheese, pickles, and special sauce) and had it topped with pulled pork…they could open a side biz just selling these awesome burgers 

In the back is a nice sized bar with a great selection of craft brews on tap and in cans as well as some interesting cocktails. Started up with Other Half Hogwash IPA’s and a very good Gose by Single Cut with a hint of Hibiscus. To finish the meal we decided to hit the cocktail list and went Off The Grid a nice spin on a margarita made with Mescal, smoked Sage Agave, Pineapple and Lime. 

Pig Beach is epic and well worth jumping on the F or G for some serious good eating, drinking and fun. Stay tuned for more exciting finds from Wonder-Boy. 

Pig Beach  is located at 480 Union Street, Brooklyn