UES Barhop @UvaNYC Sabor A Mexico, Heidi’s House y #Kuu

After the last couple of months of limited contact with friends, family, etc it was time for a barhop…though one following social distancing. I caught up with Real-E and Sin on the UES for a change of pace and due to Sin being a front-line working Nurse ( 👏🏽) who was on call. We started at Uva since my bud wanted a cider.

I on the other hand was craving Mezcal so we headed To nearby Sabor a Mexico II for Tamarind Mezcalita’s. Which were outrageous and made by a petite grandma. We chatted with some EV girls enjoying their margaritas taking about places in their hood since my bud does Real Estate there and got another round.

While my friends were sitting on the stoop a homeless guy shambled over and just plunked himself down right next to them while live music all of a sudden came on and his friend started shaking it like a Polaroid picture. We moved down the block to the next stoop when an awesome rendition of “All along the watchtower” started playing on a rooftop across the street preformed by live musicians!

However the NYPD Blue showed up due to a D the P call and had to tell them to stop. I felt bad for them since they were just doing their job. Some people gave them grief, but once they started handing out 😷’s people started thanking them. Only in NYC.

We then hit Heidi’s House…for no other reason than I actually have a friend named Heidi so had to take a pic and peak inside. Turned out they had a great selection of craft brews and multiple ciders so we ended up drinking Gun Hill Gose’s, Ciders and my friends got their Paella. It was loaded with seafood and pork products. We’ve all been to Spain and couldn’t believe how awesome this tiny little kitchens food was.

For a final stop we came along Kuu and I got their ceviche ramen for something light and different and a spicy tuna hand-roll. Sapporo drafts for the walk. Their stuff falls under fast causal so as s snob it doesn’t get a high rating but I did like it and recommend the place.

After enough drinking, eating and mega amounts of walking we called it a night dropping each other off along the way. Now I know what you’ve been thinking and want to ask. Where the hell is all that Mezcal, beer and cider going?!? Well, heres the thing…its not an exact science. Some places will let you use their facilities if you buy, some won’t. So if you don’t have a strong bladder…start doing more #keegals 🤪

Uva is located at 1486 2nd Avenue

Mexico al Sabor II is located at 233 East 77th street

Heidi’s House is located at 308 East 78th Street

Kuu is located at 1275 1st Avenue

@JeepneyNYC #Filipino Gastropub #Tacos

Craving something different as I walked down Second Avenue foraging for food I came upon Jeepney. I’ve been here before (in the olden days when people gathered together in restaurants) and was pleasantly surprised when the door popped open and Nicole said “Hi…we’re open”.

We went over the menu and I decided to go with the Camarones Rebozado entree over the many pork and beef options (due to me eating too much of late). The shrimp were done in a Tempura like coating and came with Ginger Coconut dipping sauces. I choose the Coconut Rice which was awesome (Read: Crack) and cucumber relish added a nice cool crunch.

A few days later I was craving Tacos and headed back to Jeepney to try theirs. I ordered the Filipino classic Sisig (jowl and belly) and the Loganisa sausage (lean meats). Nicole was right when she said they load them up with protein. While $6 each…they are twice the size of most Tacos and two were plenty. I enjoyed both, though preferred the Loganisa…which made sense since I prefer lean cuts of meat. Both were topped with a very good Avocado Salsa Verde.

I also got a side of the garlic rice which was tasty and went perfect with the pork meat Tacos. Filipino food is awesome and fairly unique. If you’re craving something different and delicious def add Jeepney to your Asian Cuisine, Fusion Cuisine, Lunch, Tacos and East Village hot spots . Maraming salamat (thank you very much) Nicole for staying open during these times and making such tasty snd filling food.

Jeepney is located at 201 Second Avenue

@ButtercupBakeshop Cakes, PB Squares and Banana Pudding…Oh My!

Getting your sweets fix in? While we are all (or at least should be) trying to stay active and in good shop and avoid turning into couch potatoes…sometimes you need a sweet treat to get you to your happy place.

For me the key is small portions at a time and if I’m getting to do carbs and sugars I want high quality that tastes great. Buttercup Bakeshop checks off all the above while taking it yo the next level of total yummyness…

On a recent visit I got their Peanut Butter Cup square, a Magic Bar, and a Chocolate Chip cookie with a swirl of caramel. All were scrumptious with the PB cup the standout.

On my last visit I picked up cupcakes for the staff working the front desk of my building a slice of Coconut Cream layer cake and a Campfire square (think S’more on roids) for me and I also picked up a Banana pudding for my Sister-In-Law who lives outside the city.

Reason being, that when my Bro came to the city with my Niece for a visit and parking on a side-street by me so we could shout at each other he went to Buttercup Bakeshop and picked up treats for his family. When he got home…”What…no pudding? So being a good Bro-in-law I went and got a her a pudding. Sharing it with her virtually via text with pics of it and me eating it…so she could enjoy it calorie free:)

If you’re craving a sweet treat fix for you, your, etc…I highly recommended the baked goods here…you quite simply can’t go wrong. Their Squares, Layer cakes, and puddings being their best options.

Buttercup Bakeshop is located at 973 2nd Avenue with additional locations in NYC

@ItzakayaNYC Sukiyaki!

As more and more restaurants are forced to shut down due to the coronavirus (which is a total bummer) it is making me look further and deeper to find spots that are open. I literally stumbled upon The Itzakaya NYC while walking down East 6th Street trying to find sushi somewhere.

While I didn’t, when I took a look at the options they had displayed on the table and saw Sukiyaki I was fairly psyched. Plus with an entree you get two side dishes. I chose spicy cucumbers and shishito peppers. A number of others gathered around 6ft apart to order and I was the only one that didn’t speak fluent Japanese which I took as a good sign.

That turned out to be an understatement. The Sukiyaki was top notch as were both appetizers. Plus at least for a brief time I felt like I was transported to Tokyo…the Gaijin among the locals.

In addition to about a dozen entrees to choose from, they have a number of bottles of Sake to go with your meal or if its your thing…Plum Wine. Of note, their hours are 3pm to 9pm Tuesday thru Saturday. If you’re craving some Japanese GastroPub grub and a mini vacation in Japan… definitely hit this spot.

The Itzakaya NYC is located at 326 East 6th Street

Le Fournil An EV French Bakery

Every neighborhood should have a French bakery like Le Fournil in the East Village. Mine unfortunately does not, but being that its only a 30+ block walk, its a great way to burn calories during the period of time known as the age of Corvid-19.

I started with their Rainbow cookies which come in a 4×6 block and can last two weeks in the fridge. They are amazing and will put them up there with the best I’ve had. To share them as best one can while locked down I have been sending pics of them to my Bro who’s mad I can’t bring them over to him and an ex of mine that Im still friends with that is ready to kill me if I keep sending pics of them to her.

As of today, I’ve already been back twice…two types of baguettes, chocolate croissants, a mini cinnamon bun, a Croque monsieur and a Pear Tarte Tatin.

My words will not do these justice…a bite of these and you’re in Paris, the sky is blue, the air smells like lavender and you are enjoying your French pastry with a cup of coffee as a beautiful French girl (please feel free to insert your flava of choice) walks by and you try to decide did you see anything in any of the galleries or museums you visited today that compares.

Luckily the long walks burn off all the calories…whatever shall I do once civilization is restored, Corvid-19 has been smite and I travel via bus or subway to get to the East Village… #GoodProblems

Le Fournil is located at at 115 2nd Avenue

Sons of Thunder : West Coast Burgers

I’ve been a regular of Sons of Thunder ever since they opened a few years back. Originally as per their logo…they were going to be a West Coast style Burger joint competing in the “fast causal” market.

Unfortunately a certain to not be named utility provider kinda missed the date(s) setting up their gas line. So they pivoted into a Poke’ joint…literally catching the Poke’ wave from Hawaii just as it was hitting the East Coast. I still consider @sotnyc ‘s some of the best.

Recently I hit Sons of Thunder for some Poke’ (of note, one of the few places still open during Corvid-19 to offer sushi grade fish) and I saw they had just added burgers to their menu. I had to try one and went big with a Double Cheeseburger with the works (grilled onions, tomato, lettuce, pickles and special sauce).

Lets just say a certain “shack” has some serious competition in Murray Hill. When they handed me the burger, they said they made it with love and this cheeseburger will make you swoon. If you’re already a Sons of Thunder fan check out their new homage to Cali style burgers.

Sons of Thunder is located at 204 East 38th Street

New Muzi Sushi Al Fresco

I was wandering around the East Village for some fresh air and exercise and craving some Sushi. I came upon New Muzi Sushi a tiny whole in the wall…that was open mid afternoon. Being that due to Corvid-19 we can’t eat in restaurants and the fact that there was a bench wrapped around a tree right by this place I decided to give it a shot.

I ordered up a Spicy Scallop roll and a Yellowtail Scallion roll. Once they were ready took my seat for some al fresco (Read: curbside) dining and mixed some wasabi into the soy sauce. Both rolls were fresh out of the sea and excellent, what you would expect from a high end restaurant vs this tiny spot off a side street.

While pleasantly surprised, in all fairness this is common in Japan and I’ve been noticing more and more tiny Sushi as well as Ramen shops popping up in NYC. If you live or find yourself in the EV and in need of a sushi fix definitely check this spot out.

New Muzi Sushi is located at 350 East 9th Street

@ThaiDiner : Uncle Boon’s Burger

Love Thai food, but have some friends/family that are less than adventurous food wise? Believe it or not, I was that kid who went through a phase where I would practically only eat Hamburgers…even when we went to a Chinese restaurant. I wish the burgers were this good when I was a kid.

Thai Diner is primarily a Thai restaurant, part of the Uncle Boons empire with breakfast items reimagined via a Thai palette and ingredients. The nod to American diners is the Burger and the fries. The menu is comprised of Thai style Egg Sammies, Pancakes etc, a number of Thai usual suspect dishes, sides and some soups.

Though I love Thai food I was actually craving a Burger so I ordered up a cup of Tom Yum for some Thai and a Cheeseburger Deluxe to see if they got the Diner part right. The Burger showed up with a large plate of some of the best crinkle fries I’ve had, so well seasoned I didn’t bother with ketchup.

When I inquired where the soup was…turned out the order didn’t show up in the kitchen so I told them to skip it. The burger through not as thick as I like was great and cooked very rare as requested. It was topped with lettuce, onions, pickles and a very good special sauce on a tasty bun.

Being a Diner they have a large selection of deserts. The Coconut Monster looked awesome but sized to feed four. The couple sitting next too me ordered the Strawberry Basil Jam cookie, but got it to go. When I said I was hoping they were going to eat it to ask how it was, the girl in a classic NYC moment pulled it out and took a bite out of it, then described it in detail. I ordered one myself…to go. Its yummy.

The decor is pretty cool with a nice sized and fully well stocked bar, Thai movie posters and artwork adorning the walls with booths and center cut wooden tables for seating. Service was very friendly but still needs some kinks worked out. The Hostess didn’t seem to know where to put people while they waited to be seated and my cup of soup never showed up. Overall a great spot and I will be back.

Thai Diner is located at 186 Mott Street.

Milk Hops and Ramen Bar

Have you heard the one about a cheese shop within a craft beer shop with a Ramen joint within? Its an interesting mix that for me since I love all three works. I will say that while I went originally for the Ramen, I think its cheese and beer selection are superior to their Ramen.

Most of their Ramens are non-traditional and head into fusion territory. I went Spicy Miso that has Iberico Chorizo in it. While it was good…I wouldn’t recommend coming here for just the Ramen for fellow Ramen snobs. However their prix fixe lunch (weekdays 12-3pm for $15) where you get a craft beer with your Ramen is a very good deal. I got the Alewife Frau Holle a dark lager ftom LIC that was very good.

Also, though I didn’t end up it, the pretzel pork bun appetizer sounded pretty awesome and the cheesy gyoza interesting. I did get a 1/2 pound of an excellent local Cheddar cheese, so its likely its the Cheese shop and craft beers that would draw me back here.

Milk and Hops Ramen Bar is located at 1159 First Avenue

@Karakatta #Ramen #Soho

Craving some Ramen on a cold day before hitting the Equinox on Prince Street I came upon Karakatta Ramen, a little nook of a place that you usually find in Tokyo.

Karakatta has a dozen plus Ramens to choose from. You pick your heat level 1-5. I choose 3 for the Spicy Ginger Chicken which sounded perfect for an oncoming cold with Ginger combined with spicy peppers and spicy oil in the broth. While it had some heat it was very flavorful, so I would consider going for four.

They have a number of appetizers and Don Buro (rice dishes) if you’re not up for noodles and or soup. To drink beer, sake, wine, soda and Tea. Its a great little spot and Soho is a little light on Ramen joints so psyched I found this place.

Karakatta is located at 230 Thompson Street