UFC-Unidentified Flying Chickens: Fried Korean Style

IMG_7091

I was in the East Village looking for somewhere to grab a bite while watching the NCAA championships. After doing a few laps UFC caught my eye for something different and grabbed some seats across from the bar with a good view of the games. For a Fried Chicken joint they have quite the selection of  Craft Beers to choose from on draft and in bottles. I tasted a few ordered up Ballast’s Grapefruit Sculpin. Grapefruit seems to have replaced Lemon as the new black in beers lately and I’m a huge fan. To start we ordered up Beef Bulgogi sliders(available as a large burger as well) and to be semi-healthy the house salad. The sliders topped with onions were pretty tasty, the Salad  was huge and big enough for 2-4. A combo of Romaine, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes in a creamy dressing.

As per their namesake ,Fried Organic Chicken is primarily their thing, double fried Korean style keeping the chicken ultra moist. You can go all wings, drum sticks, a half or Whole chicken. Can’t decide, go with a combo plate of Wings & drum sticks. Chose your glaze from their selection of 4 (you get split the order with 2 choices)


Soy garlic
Sweet & spicy
Mustard BBQ
Hot

Though I normally go hot the Sweet Spicy tasted like an amazing duck sauce, more sweet then hot, but not too sweet so we ordered that and the Garlic Soy glaze which was nice as well. You get Coleslaw or Pickled Radish with the Combo plates…get the Radish, they are amazing, tasted like a sweet melon with a hint of vinegar. The chicken was moist and delicious and we devoured it. Between the awesome Fried Chicken, the tasty Asian glazes topping them and the great beer selection I’m a huge fan and adding UFC to my Best of Wings, Craft Beers and Pub Grub lists.

UFC is located at 60 3rd Avenue

 

 

Umami Burger Opens in #Williamsburg, Brooklyn

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I love a good burger and heard very good things about out of LA Umami Burger. When I saw they opened up a new spot in hip, happening Williamsburg it was time to see if they lived up to the hype. Their twist on the humble beef patty is that they combine ingredients to create “Umami”  the mysterious “5th element” of taste sensations. Since Umami Burger is a chain for some reason I was expecting a medium sized spot, primarily for take out. Turned out it’s the opposite, a very  large cool looking industrial space with a bar.The menu has a number of burger combinations available including if you have a non-carnivore with you three non beef burgers, Ahi Tuna, Turkey, and a Veggie. A number of the burgers caught my eye, but I figured I would try the Umami Original(Parmesan crisp, Shiitake, roasted tomato, and caramelized onions) to see what they were all about. Since it’s all about the beef, this was an exceptional burger. It came out just as I ordered it rare, bleeding, kicking and screaming, juicy, flavorful with all the ingredients really melding together with the Shiitake mushroom being the most noticeable of flavors that I’m not used to tasting with a burger, yet totally(the place is out of LA) working. For sides they have a few salads and a selection of fries to choose from. Thin fries(not matchsticks, more like half sized Golden Arches),sweet potato,Truffle fries and Tempura Onion Rings. I went with a side of thin fries which came with a bucket of condiments ….

Jalapeno Ranch
Aioli mayo
Hot
Umami ketchup

The fries were pretty good, the condiments great, especially the Jalapeno Ranch and Aioli Mayo. They have a pretty  awesome Cocktail menu including their bacon maple twist on the Old Fashioned and a Bacon Bloody Mary. I’ll need (as well as for the Tempura Onion Rings) to come back for these. I had a green tropical iced tea…refreshing. If you’re still hungry they carry Cool Haus Ice Cream sandwiches for desert which are some of my favorites. If you’ve never had a Cool Haus…save some room. Add Umami to your Best Burger list.


Umami Burger is located at 158 North 4th Street

 

Pop International : #PamelaCastro “We’ve Got Your Back Girl”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Pop International always puts on a good show, so when I say this is one of the best ever, it rocked! “We’ve Got Your Back Girl” the galleries latest showing of Street Artists featured a number of heavy-hitter regulars and sensational new find  Pamela Castro . She’s a Street Artist from Rio, Brazil who started out doing huge pieces on the sides of multistory buildings. The pieces she did for the show fairly large at 3’x5′ and up were like postage stamps for her! Pamela’s vibrant colorful female faces burst with emotion and energy.

I had the opportunity to speak with Pamela and she shared that she actually does these small (by her standards and perspective) pieces without even doing an outline. An image pops into her head and she just goes in and brings it to life working primarily with spray paint and then uses paint brushes to add some fine detail, such as in the eyes. Like many Street Artists that I’ve met she is very actively engaged with her community and the Global community as well. She is a Vital Voices award winner and the Founder of Redi Nami an organization to promote women’s rights. As with many of Jeff’s shows charity work and important causes are key ingredients to the mix. Great Street Artists works adorned the walls and they included the works of…

Bradly Theodore-These were pretty wild…psychedelic and trippy

Chris Stain-Photo-like figures in Street scenes, these were very cool

Dom Pattieson – Provocative yet empowering

Joe Lurato- Figures literally “popping” off the walls

URNY – City Street scenes, raw and edgy

“We’ve Got Your Back Girl” along with showcasing the amazing and inspirational works of these artists addressed the problem with Violence against Women and Domestic Violence in our society. When I see the works of such Artists who are being discovered literally on the Street it really makes me wonder how much raw talent is out there creating incredible Art without “classic training”. Good thing guys like Jeff keep finding these amazing Artists and sharing their works with the world. If Street Art is your thing, pop by and check out this pretty incredible selection of Global Street Artists who are not only creating beautiful work…but doing their thing to make the world a better place.


 

 

 

Pop International Galleries is located at 473 Broadway

Nish Nush: The Secret is in the Schug

Nish Nush Nish Nush Schug

 

I was downtown looking for some new lunch spots in Tribeca when I came upon Nish Nush (means snack in Hebrew). It’s a Middle Eastern restaurant with a menu consisting of primarily Falafel and Humus(flavor options include Corn,Spinach, and Harrisa to name a few) Sandwiches, Platters and Salads. A large selection of Meze as well that include spreads and vegetables. I’m generally a carnivore when it comes to sandwiches, but love a good Sabich (of Iraqi origin). A combo of hummus, egg, eggplant, pickled veggies , tahini , and Israeli salad. Nish Nush’s is awesome, and on top of everything being so tasty and fresh, the sandwiches here are the biggest pocket pita sandwiches that I’ve had.
When I grab a seat at the community table I look over and see some green sauce in a jar so of course I slap some on. Wow! Spicy yet flavorful…turns out to be Schug(of Yemen origin and usually red) getting it’s green color from jalapenos. This stuff is addictive. I think about it. I went back today and had their Deluxe sandwich that has all three versions (regular, spicy, spinach/mushroom) of their Falafel loaded up with the works. Tasted great as is..mo better with the Schug. Seems the only cure, is to go back and eat more…

Funny side story, I started talking to one of my neighbors at the community table up front, turns out Israeli guy who loves Schug and when friends and family visit the number one thing he requests that they bring is Schug. He recently received a bunch of jars and offered me one. This version was red. I tried some last night…I was transported back to an Arab market in Israel! After all these years I finally found the blood brick red sauce that lit me on fire all those years ago…

Nish Nush is located at 88 Reade Street

Baked: Sweet Temptations on Church Street

Baked2Baked CB:OG

After checking out an Art Gallery in Tribeca I needed some coffee and headed up Church Street looking for somewhere new (or at least new to me). I came upon a place called Baked and decided to take a look inside. I am greeted by a long glass case of phenomenal looking baked goods, actually make that mouth watering. The Baked treats are primary sweet, though some savory and a full sandwich menu as well. They do a number of pound cake like loafs, I was going to go for my usual Banana but then saw Pumpkin with Chocolate Chips which I’ve never seen, much less had before. Unreal! Who would of thunk a giant overgrown squash would taste so epic with chocolate and be so moist! Of note, I’ve been back a few times and their Banana loaf is top notch and if you like Cinnamon Bun’s get one. I had one  topped with an orange cream glaze. Epic. Ask for it served warm. To top it all off they serve Stumpton Coffee and high end Tisane Teas.

When I got to the register I looked over and it hit me that the space turned out to be much larger then I expected. There are plenty of wooden tables with white metal chairs for seating along with a blueish gray couch that takes up the entire back wall. I now have another coffee shop to work out of, plus there are plenty of sweet treats here to come back and work my way through, especially their Brookster, a Chocolate Chip cookie encircled within a Brownie…the place is named Baked after all…


Baked is located at 279 Church Street

Armory Art Show 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Armory Art show is one of the largest annual Art Events that takes place in NYC or for that matter anywhere. Actually, it’s fairly Ginormous. The Contemporary section takes up Pier 94 while the Modern section Pier 92. This was my first time attending this show and it did seem geared more towards Museums, Galleries and very high end Collectors then the semi-casual Art Collector like myself. Due to the size and scope of this show I’m going to let the photo’s I took tell the story. Of note, my favorites(excluding works from Grandmasters like Dali in the Modern Section) were;
Yen Lei’s -Spider girl(my title not his) that looks like the model Candice Swanepoel doing a Spider-Girl like Ballet stance. I thought it was a photo and was blown away when I saw it was an oil painting done with swirls of color(like at the pic for the details)

Rustem Kasapoglu’s Girl lying on a bed titled Swallow(his title not mine). I paint and doing a face is challenging as is…doing one upside down.

How and Nosm – I’ve seen their works before as Street Art. This piece titled Never, Ever, Again

Of note, as interesting as the various Art here is the people watching is worth the price of admission alone…

Russian Pavilion @One Art Space

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Spring is almost in the air and Art Events are popping up all over NYC this month of March and in April. My first event of the season was the Russian Pavilion going on at One Art Space in Tribeca. This show featured Eastern European Artists primarily from Russian. They included Grandmasters like Chemiakin Mihail whose works evoke metaphysical Picasso like abstracts and up and coming Artist Olga Minnibaeva, I especially liked her painting of the Turtle with the ancient world on its proverbial shoulders. My others favorites included Artem Mirolecich pieces which reminded me of the Sci-Fi Animated classic Fantastic Planet with their “techno-organic cities”, the Lenticular works of Valery Yershov and Ernst Neizvestny’s sculpture of a Human-Griffin like creature grasping an Eagle in one hand, an Ax in the other while carrying a Baby papoose style across it’s chest was pretty powerful.

One Art Space is located at 23 Warren Street

Greecologies: A Taste of Greek Culture

IMG_6766 IMG_6767

I was catching up with my crazy cousin when a friend of his text him that she has finally found yogurt just like at home…as in Greece at Greecologies. Since we were in the area we headed over on over. At Greecologies they make their yogurt (both traditional and strained) in-house from milk that comes from grass fed Cows brought in from a farm located in upstate NY. We are talking ultra organic, ultra green, no GMO pure as can be. Top your yogurt($7) with special high end imported from Greece preserves like Rose Petal, Bergamont and Thyme and Flower Honey (+$1 per topping). I had the yogurt  with Rose Petal and Sour Cherry. Sour Cherries were great but the Rose Petal preservers were off the charts (not to self,go back and get a jar).

In addition to the yogurts they also have smoothies (Cherry Himalayan Salt sounds tantalizing) a small selection of Savory(Grape Leaves, Spanakopita )and  Sweet(puddings,halva) treats and a full selection of Coffee (they use Intelligentsia) and Tea beverages.The interior is a cool, sleek, minimalist space with a community table in the back and a huge outdoor space(I was tempted to make snow angels) for when the weather is nice and for special events.

IMG_6769 IMG_6768

Greecologies  is located at 379 Broome Street

#Florian : Modern Italian Trattoria on Park Avenue South

IMG_6711 IMG_6707

It was belated Holiday gift (we do dinners since my brother and I are challenging to buy for) time of the year and we were up for some Italian. After a little research I found Florian and since I was familiar with the Management team being a big fan of the Red Eye Grill and Trattoria Dell’Arte I was looking forward to checking out their latest and greatest. Florian’s space is huge and beautiful somewhat reminding me of cafes in Prague. A nude golden female statue (think Goldfinger) greets you and another poses behind the bar, a nice long, sleek and marble topped one. I really liked their Cocktail menu and the New Fashion (Maker’s Mark, blood orange liquor,burlesque bitters) had my name all over it. If you like Bourbon get one, my favorite new cocktail of 2015 thus far. My brother ordered up their twist on the Margarita the Diavolo Zafferano (Tequila, St. Germain, pineapple, and pepperoncino) and was a big fan. While waiting for our drinks Focaccia and Fried Meat Ravioli showed up gratis(turned out Happy hour is from 5-7pm). The Focaccia was fresh out of the oven oozing just the right amount of olive oil and the Ravioli were very lightly fried and stuffed with a delicious ragu.

Once seated I ordered from their create your own Negroni bar…I love Negroni’s(Bond drinks them in the short story Risicio). I choose Hendricks for my Gin, Americano for my Vermouth, and Cynar  as my bitter. In addition I added Mint bitters. Nailed it. We started with a selection from the Veggies that included Purple Brussel Sprouts w/Bacon Spinach ,and the Cippolini Onions w/ Eggplant. One of the specials was an order of Pasta Carbonera…with Lobster! This I had never seen before, though my Bro claimed he has. A great rendition of the classic dish with the Lobster taking it to another level. For our entrees we ordered to share the Colorado Brook Trout with Shrimp Meunière (two large fillets with about 5 medium sized shrimp. Very good though a little heavy on butter and oil for me) and the Veal Chop Parm with Pepperoni(another dish I’ve never seen before…how could no one think to top chicken or veal parm with pepperoni?)! It filled up the entire large plate. I ordered a glass of Sangiovese to work my way through the entrees. We somewhat over ordered, which worked out for me since I had the Veal for the next few days, it was that big. We were fairly stuffed, so we ordered up coffee and espresso to relax with…and to go with the slice of flour-less Almond and Lemon cake. I did mention we were stuffed right? Florian is another hit from the Firemen Hospitality team and more New York restaurants should look this good. Service of note was top notch our waitress was awesome.



Florian is located at 225 Park Avenue South

#Blogging101 Who I am, and Why Read This Blog

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Born in Brooklyn, raised on Long Island, schooled in Massachusetts, I live in NYC and I’m well traveled worldwide. Years ago my friends told me I should start a “website”.  At the time it was not so simple with the technology at hand, though now it’s as simple as opening your laptop, zipping across the Internet and choosing a WordPress theme.  I’m the guy my friends, family, neighbors and co-workers go to for where to Eat, Drink, Events, etc.  I’m constantly looking for both new places to try and discovering great old spots as well. I take great pleasure in food and drink, enjoy the Arts, love gadgets, and while I don’t believe in fashion…I’m a strong believer in one having a distinct sense of style. Please note, I’m not a critic…I’m more of a Cool-Hunter(for the record Hunter is my Middle name). I only write about places and things that I enjoy and would like to share. Enjoy and feel free to comment and post suggestions on places for me to explore.