Tai Thai ‘s Terrific Take-Out 

One of the things I love about NYC’s food scene is that some of the best meals you will eat come not just from upscale chefs but little ethnic joints from cultures around the world.

Tai Thai is such a spot, it’s a little shoebox sized space that is primarily for takeout though they have seating for over a dozen with Thai Action movie posters decorating the walls. Tai Thai’s menu is fairly large with the usual Thai suspects and some house specialties. 

I choose their Yellow Curry Pineapple Fried Rice with chicken and veggies and from the House Specials menu the Jumbo Shrimp Rama (fried shrimp in a spicy peanut sauce with carrots, cabbage and curry rice). Both were awesome and of note, I’ve been to Thailand. The Shrimp Rama was one of the best dishes I’ve had recently. 

Though not located by where I live, it is by both an Equinox I work out at and a good bud lives nearby, so this may just be my new Thai Take Out spot. For those who live in the hood, they offer lunch specials and delivery. Definitely add Tai Thai to your best Thai food, Spicy food, Little Gems and Take Out spots. 

Tai Thai is located at 78 East 1st Street 


8th Street Night Out @LoringPlace @Ardyn @Analogue

Why didn’t Heidi cross the road to get to the other side? Good question since 8th Street between 5th and 6th Aves is loaded with great spots for dinner and drinks. Some quite simply like to stick with their neighborhood haunts while some of us like to explore. For my fellow gastronomic beveragologists Here are three great spots I hit recently…

We started at the Bar At Ardyn. As soon as I saw that the team behind the bar were wearing white button down shirts with the sleeves rolled up to showcase their tattoos I knew that I was dealing with mixologists vs pour n spray bartenders. The Ardyn has a fairly comprehensive selection of house cocktails to choose from. We ordered up the Grapefruits of Wrath (made up of vodka, pamplemouse, fruit and some agave) which was rather refreshing and the Pickled Ramp Martini (Vodka, gin sherry vermouth, dry bitters and lemon oil) a nice spin on the classic with a nod to Bond’s Vesper.

Next up down the block was Analogue that greets you with with very long bar and a cocktail menu to match. This is one of the better cocktail menus I’ve seen recently, which is saying a lot. Here we tried the Gin n Juice (Gin, Luxardo Maraschino, fruit, bitters) and the Dogs Playing Poker (Mezcal, Amaro, Curacoa and Chartreuse) which were both exceptional.

Though I would have liked to try a few more from each bar it was time to eat and we checked in at Loring Place a nice spot for high end takes on causal dining. I ordered a Sazerac while looking at the menu which was done just right.

We started with the Broccoli with mint, orange and pistachio…the kitchen gave us from the Chef an order of sugar snap peas. I don’t know if they always  do this when you order a veggie app but they should. While very good, the portion was very small and rather (read: too much) expensive at $18. Getting another gratis made it semi-reasonable. 

Next up was the Calzone with soppasata. A refined version of the classic, enjoyed it, would recommend it…but again do you want to pay close to double for a smaller more upscale version of a pizza joint standby?

For entrees we went healthy and not so. The Halibut with peas and chiles is a well prepared piece of fish, but Halibut by nature isnt very flavorful so I think a sauce with more to it would have worked better. The Short-Rib over horseradish potato puree was the best dish of the night being very rich and flavorful. A nice Rose went well with them.

Watching our girlish figures we decided on just one desert the Tres Leche cake soaked in vodka. It was very good, but cupcaked sized and at $14 much like the appetizers was out of whack price wise. 

Overall I really enjoyed the atmospheres and cocktails at the Ardyn and at Analogue and found Loring Place to be a study in capitalism. I liked the space, food and service but the pricing on appetizers and deserts is fairly high and their portions are small…which at the end of the meal what popped into my head was… “what the market will bear”…

The Bar At Ardyn is located at 33 West 8th Street

Analogue is licated at 19 West 8th Street

Loring Place is located at 21 West 8th Street  

Le Parisien Bistrot, Paris en Le Kips Bay

I was in a carnivorous frame of mind but not up for a full on steakhouse experience…the logical choice, a French Bistro. Le Parisien Bistrot in Murray Hill is a petite sized square jewel box of a space festooned with Parisian posters and Bistro mirrors, the one at the front with a chalk menu on it. 

Staying with the paleo mind set we started with the Filet Mignon Carpaccio with Asagio cheese and greens. I had a glass of the house Bourdeax which for a vin de la maison was rather nice. 

For entrees my bud chose the Steak Au Proive Special which turned out to be a pretty good sized steak cooked as requested with the Au Poive requested on the side…tres bon. 

I ordered up the Pork with Rosemary, Sage and Lemon which aside from being delicious was of a larger portion than I expected, being both classic French Bistro and something different. If this is on the menu I highly recommend it. 

Fuller than expected after the meal we skipped on desert though I will have to come back to sample their Tarte Tartine. Add Le Parisien Bistrot to your French Bistro, Murray Hill, Transportive and craving Steak and or Pork spots. 

Le Parisien Bistrot is located at 163 East 33rd   

@MakiMakiNYC – Sushi Rolls Ready To Go 

Craving some Sushi, but you just want to grab it and go…yet looking for quality fresh fish? Maki Maki does some pretty tasty rolls…they are priced at about sushi bar prices…but as the saying goes you get what you pay for. 

The menu offerings at Maki Maki are limited to Sushi Rolls available as a hand roll or cut into pieces (8) and a few or so sides. Though they do offer over a dozen rolls to choose from that include some vegetarian choices and offer a number of add-ons to customize them. 

They serve the handrolls in a special wrapper (see pic above) to keep the fish extra fresh and the nori wrapper crispy. They are easy to take off and do what they are intended to rather well. 

I tried the Spicy Tuna, Hamachi and Scallion, and the Spicy Scallop as hand-rolls. Though they were pretty good, for true Sushi snobs (guilty as charged) the rolls here will generally not cut it so to speak. I found they all tasted fairly similar. 

Having said that, nights I’m craving Sushi but don’t want to go out for it or wait for it to be delivered I would keep Maki Maki in mind as a viable and enjoyable option. 

Maki Maki is located at 360 Lexington Avenue 

@HiddenPearlBK Tokyo Style Cocktails in Greenpoint

Have you ever been to Tokyo and enjoyed their cocktail culture? Whether to re-experience it or to get a taste of it so to speak The Hidden Pearl located in the back of the restaurant Wanpaku is a great find.

The Hidden Pearl is a petite intimate spot with seating for about 20 between the bar and tables. Cocktails are fairly complex ingredients wise, not the type easy to replicate at home even if you are well stocked.  

The menu is comprised of craft cocktails, highballs, sake, beer, wine and small plates. My new friend, one of my buds and I enjoyed two of their great cocktails the Fireflies on the Water (Apple Brandy, Gin, Verjus, Genepi an herbal aperitif and Orange Bitters) and the The Windrush Generation (White Miso Infused Bourbon, Jamaican Rum, Amaro Nonino, Banana, and Castilian Bitters). 

Add The Hidden Pearl to your Craft Cocktail, Japanese Cocktail lounges, Date Spots and chill spots with friends lists. 

The Hidden Pearl is located in the back of Wanpaku at 621 Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint Brooklyn 

@BoticariosNYC Mexican Happy Hour y Comida

When you go out for Happy Hour do you kinda wish they had some Happy Hour food to go with all your drinks? Boticarios is a great little eclectic Mexican spot with a very good Happy Hour that includes cocktails, beer, wine and some tasty treats. 

The place looks and feels like you’re in a friend’s basement built like a cool lounge with a very well stocked bar. Thus making it good for groups large and small as well as a date spot.

The bartenders are all friendly and at the top of their game. For those that want to go off the Happy Hour menu they have some nice twists on classic cocktails and entrees if a sit down menu is in order. 

Put Boticarios on your Happy Hours, Happy Hours with Food, Tacos, Mexican food and Cocktails lists. 

Boticarios is located at 58 East 1st Street 

@CocoPazzoNYC : Pitch Perfect Pasta in Soho

If the name Coco Pazzo rings any bells its because back in the 90’s it was a huge hit on the UES and part of Pino Luongo’s empire…before like the Roman empire it fell. 

Well it’s having a second coming and relocated to Soho. The new space is beautiful and welcoming with a nice bar to enjoy a glass of vino or cocktail while you wait for your table. 

While going over the menu our waitress (who was exceptional) came by to go over the specials. We choose from them the Cuttlefish, peas and pasta and the Pasta Duo of Lasagna and Spinach Cannelloni. The former was delicious looking kind of like an oriental dish but most definitely tasting Tuscan, while the later were pitch perfect versions of the two Italian classics. 

We enjoyed a very nice Red and a Rose to drink with our meal. For desert we shared scoops of Lemon Sorbet and Pistachio Gelato. The scopes were a little small but did the trick. 

Coco Pazzo is a great spot for a date or night out with friends for superior Tuscan dishes or a classy spot for a great glass of vino and twists on classic cocktails.

Coco Pazzo is located at 160 Prince Street 

@DomoDomoNYC Sushi-Raw Bar Tastes like (but better than) Sugar

Looking for a Happy Hour that has good food vs Pub grub? I recently hit a great spot in Soho that is a mix of a Raw Bar, a Sushi Handroll bar and an Itzakaya. DomoDomo Raw Bar is a sleek long narrow space with most of seating at the long Sushi counter with a few tables for two and a community table.

Happy Hour here goes all night starting at 5 till closing. The Happy Hour includes the below…but of note, the menu here is very fairly priced. While you can get your drink on…this is primarily for yummy fresh sushi and oysters as there is no bar.

$1.50 Oysters of the day

$6 hand rolls

Beer, Wine and Sake $6-7.00.

I started with the Negi Toro and a Spicy Yellowtail from the hand roll menu. Both were fresh and tasty.

From the kitchen the Fried Oysters with black tobiko mayo and peanut sauce slaw were great.

I had to try the Oysters of the day especially when I saw that Wasabi Lime sorbet and Thai Chile were sauce options. Delish. Put Domo Raw bar on your Happy Hours with food, Raw Bars, Sushi Hand Rolls, Oysters, and Japanese Itzakaya spots.

Raw Bar at DomoDomo is located at 138 West Houston

Poncha 32, A Seoul Style Watering Hole

Looking for somewhere with a rather unique decor while craving a beer and some Korean food? Poncha 32 in Koreatown takes you off the streets of NYC to a backyard somewhere outside of Seoul. The dining room is filled with large metal disk topped oil cans for tables and a ceiling covered with green fishing nets with Christmas like lighting making it like you are outside under trees. 

From the rather large menu we started with the scallion pancake with seafood. The pancake was good and pretty big, but the seafood in it was just a little bit funky for me. I would get the pancake again next time but with Pork or just veggies. 

For our main we shared the Kimchee Stew with Pork that was loaded with big pieces of tofu, but oddly enough did not come with rice but instead had…bowtie pasta in it! This even surprised my bud who’s Korean and all about authenticity in his homelands food. Regardless it was tasty and I recommend getting it.  

To drink I had a pretty good Korean beer, Kloud a German like Pilsner. Of note, Poncha 32 was busy at Happy Hour and stays open very late for those of you out clubbing. If you’re looking for one of those places that transports you off the streets of NYC to another country…add Poncha 32 to your list of spots to hit. 

Poncha 32 is on the 2nd floor of 25 West 32nd Street 

@SauceandSodanyc @Carmentasnyc @TheBadbagel Hit #Bushwick #Brooklyn

Sauce and Soda offers a tasty selection of Grandma style slices and a number of traditional Italian classics. In addition to their real deal large slices. I devoured the Bushwich Veggie slice with Broccoli, Mushrooms and Peppers. They also make homemade sodas in a number of traditional and not so. The Black Cherry though light in color nailed the Cherry flavor. 

Sauce and Soda is located at 40 Wykocff Street 

I love an old school Philly style Roast Pork Provolone and Broccoli Rabe sandwich…which of note I think are far superior than that other sandwich they are known for. Carmenta’s Italian Specialties a new, yet classic Italian sandwich shop makes an awesome one (plus they add hot peppers to it). They also carry some assorted goods for the pantry. Their canned Yellow Tomatoes make a great easy peasy to make yourself sauce for pasta. 

Carmenta’s is located at 50 Starr Street 

Bad Bagel fills the gaping hole of not having a legit Bagel joint by the Jefferson L stop. They offer a large selection of Bagels, Spreads and Sandwich combinations. I tried their Za’atar Bagel…first time I’ve ever seen a Bagel made with this beloved Middle Eastern spice combo. I’ll be back for more. 

Bad Bagel is located right next store to Sauce and Soda 

When in Bushwich don’t forget to check out all the world class amazing street art. Troutman Street has the best.