@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.


Devil’s Spicy Ramen of Tokyo @Japanfes NYC

When I was in Tokyo a few years back there was a spicy food fest that I didn’t get a chance to hit. It featured Toyko’s spiciest ramen. This past weekend Japanfes.com held a Ramenfest in NYC and Queens featuring Devil’s Ramen from Yokohama Japan…Tokyo’s spiciest ramen. 

It more than lived up to its name…it was crazy hot. You choose from three levels of heat 1,2, and 4 (not a Monty Python joke…see the sign in the pic). 

I was going to go big with 4…but though I love hot and spicy, from my worldwide travels, especially in Asia I learned their definition of hot and ours can be very different so I choose wisely with level 2 which was still crazy hot. Milk required…of which I literally brought a bottle with me. 

To help put out the heat I got a cheesecake from Keki Modern Cake. The company started in Chinatown and is an Osaka,Japan style Cheesecake Made with purple yam, Amish Cream Cheese, and Organic Eggs. It was fairly light for a cheesecake but totally hit the spot. Kinda tasting like sweet potato…but purple. 

If you love Japanese food and culture check out Japanfes.com for future like events. 

Crave Fishbar Prix Fixe Lunch Special 

Have a craving for Seafood in a New England like setting covering a mix of American regional with some global influences available via a Prix Fixe Lunch Special by any chance? 

At Crave Fishbar for only $25.00 (by NYC standards a very good deal) you can choose any appi and sandwich. For an extra $6 any desert (some beverage specials as well). From the selection (of about a half dozen choices each) we shared the (see above)

Salmon Tostados with an avocado puree, chili oil, citrus and micro cilantro along with the Seabass Fish Tacos topped with salsa verde, cabbage and chipotle crema. 

For entrees we both got the new to the menu Barramundi BLT. Grilled Barramundi topped with tomato, lettuce, applewood smoked bacon, avocado aioli on sourdough toast with a side salad.

For we desert shared the milk chocolate peanut butter cake with honeycomb and substituted the milk & honey ice cream for the Marshmallow ice cream with cups of very good coffee. 

Everything here is top notch from the fresh out of the ocean seafood to the superior bacon and outrageous Marshmallow Ice Cream. Add Crave Fishbar to your Seafood, Prixe Fixe Lunch, and Deserts lists.  

Crave Fishbar is located at 945 2nd Avenue 

Charley Street: A Melbourne Style Diner in Soho

The Aussies have landed and over the last few plus years have been transforming the NY Diner scene from greasy spoon to uber healthy grain bowls and Avo toast joints. Charley Street’s menu is primarily veggie oriented, though it does have chicken, eggs, and cured salmon for carnivores.

Their pre-built bowls were all vegetarian, so I went with a Build your own Bowl since I was craving protein after a workout at nearby Equinox. Mine looked like this…

Grain – Quinoa 

Base – Garlic Hummus

Green – Arugula 

Sides – Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Eggplant 

Protein – Stewed Chicken 

Sauces – Sexy Sesame and Green Dream 

It was rather tasty for something so damn healthy. Being an Aussie joint of course it has exceptional coffee, though I would say their cup of joe is even better than most and it comes in a fairly large cup. 

The space is a large open minimalist space with bright white walls with hints of green. Bonus points for friendly service. Add Charley Street to your Fast Casual, Aussie Brekkie/Lunch, Coffee and Healthy Lunch Bowl spots.  

Charley Street is located at 41 Kenmare Street  

Bar Bacon USQ Bacon Madness

Love Bacon but not up in Hell’s Kitchen often? Bar Bacon opened their second location this past Fall right where Union Sq and the East Village intersect. It’s essentially a GastroPub serving a menu where all the dishes have high quality artisanal Bacon in them.

To quench your thirst they have a great selection of Craft Beers, Whiskeys, a full bar and cocktail menu including multiple Bloody Mary options (infused with Bacon, with Tomatillo juice, for example).

At a fairly recent brunch my buds and I shared Bloody Mary flights (4 variations at 5oz each) the Lamb Rueben (Lamb bacon) with Tator Tots, the Shani’s BLT (with an egg and avocado on Brioche) and the All Day Breakfast sandwich (bacon, ginger sage pork sausage, cheddar cheese, and egg on a pretzel-bun. All were very good, but what they do best at is their Flights of Bacon, which I highly recommend.

This  location of Bar Bacon is more of a Sports Bar vs the original with plenty of screens in a large space with lots of seating and standing space. Add Bar Bacon to your Sports Bars, Craft Beers, Whiskey, Brunch, Brunch, and Craving Bacon lists. 

Bar Bacon USQ is located at 127 4th Avenue 

Calle Dao – Chino Latino y Lunch Specials

Love Cuban food, ever have Chino Latino (Cuban Chinese fusion) cuisine? Before the communists took over, Cuba had a thriving Chinese population. They fled to America’s shores after Castro took over since they developed a taste (no pun intended) of Capitalism. 

Calle Dao offers a mix of traditional Cuban food and Chinese influenced Chino Latino fusion plates. They have a great Lunch Special that includes a sandwich (choice of three), soup (two) and a side salad for only $16.95 in a chic setting with friendly service. I enjoyed on my first visit tasty Black Bean soup and a solid Cuban sandwich. 

I’ll be back to further explore the menu especially to check out some of the fusion dishes. They have a nice long bar up front perfect for their happy hour (drinks start early, 11am!) that includes food (after 4pm I believe). Add Calle Dao to your Fusion Cuisine, Cuban Sandwiches, Lunch Specials and Happy Hour lists. 

Calle Dao is located at 38 West 39th Street 

Sugarfish Soho…believe the hype or is it a sequel? 

Sugarfish recently opened up a second location in NYC down in Soho, so I figured this would be a good time to see if it lives up to the hype of its fans or the reality of its critics.  Sugarfish’s menu gives you three Trust Me “Omakase” priced choices, a Don’t Think, Just Eat option and a somewhat limited selection of a la carte pieces and rolls. To drink, tea, beer, sake and white wine.  

I decided on the “Nozawa Trust Me” the largest and most expensive of the Trust Me’s at $52.00. You start with a bowl of Edamame, followed by tuna tartare, six types of fish (one is a daily special, large scallop the night I went) , two pieces of Sushi each for a total of twelve and two hand rolls.  

While the quality of the raw seafood was good, a serious Sushi Chef would have gone hari-kari over the rice. It was too loosely packed and frequently fell apart when I picked up my pieces of Sushi. Keep in mind Sushi is not raw fish, it is vinegared rice that is topped with a variety of ingredients, often raw seafood. Have fun with your friends over this fact.  

The interior is a nice, dimly lit, minimalist  space. The staff is very friendly and accommodating. Essentially, Sugarfish is by traditional standards an inexpensive priced Omakase Sushi meal in a chic setting. The crowds that are looking for this are more than happy here. 

Sushi purists are correct that this chain is overhyped but are being snobs totally dissing it. For me the selection is too limited and the pieces kinda small. This chain is more of a girls night out kinda spot rather than a date or client lunch place. Regardless, it’s perpetually packed.

Sugarfish Soho is located at 202 Spring Street

Little Tong’s Yunnan Mixian Noodle Shop

Looking for something truly different then just another variation of the same old? Something that tastes so unique and delicious that your instagram photo is just not going to do it justice…

From the Chinese province of Yunnan comes Mixian rice noodles. Little Tong’s lunch special of a small side and full bowl of Noodles is a great deal at $15 bucks. Not only is the food here very good, but a different new taste sensation as well. 

Out of the five stater options I ordered the Ghost Chicken for my starter. The ghost here refers to homage to ancestors versus the burn your tongue off chiles. Nonetheless this shredded chicken dish is tasty with some heat.

For my main out of the four choices the Banna Shrimp Mixian called out to me. Shrimp in a smoked tomato shellfish broth with Coconut Mint sauce pickled hot peppers and fried shallots. Its served hot or cold. I was going to get it hot but my waitress recommended it cold. I went with her suggestion and was rewarded with not only a delicious dish but something legitimately different.  

I also added their Pork Wontons ($4) for three that were shaped differently in a non traditional wrapper and very good. I topped them with some hot sauce…but wish they brought out their chili soy sauce which I found out about after I ate them.

The good news, you can buy their sauces (4 of them) to go in jars for $3-8 bucks. Add Little Tong’s to your Noodle Shops, Yunnan Chinese restaurants, East Village spots, and Lunch Special lists.

Little Tong is located at 177 1st Avenue 

Yemen Cafe’s Saltah Lamb and Yemenite Pita Bread

Love Middle Eastern food or looking to try some…ever have enjoy the cuisine of Yemen? Yemen Cafe’s menu is primarily comprised of lamb and chicken dishes along with some vegetarian options and appetizers. Entrees come with Marag a lamb based broth and a simple salad and an amazing very large pita like bread. 

I decided on Lamb and ordered up the Fahsah a traditional Yemeni Saltah (root vegetable stew) with shredded lamb served literally bubbling hot in a clay bowl.  A lime and a fairly hot pico de gallo like sauce came on the side. It was delish and I mopped the bowl clean with the Yemenite pita bread.

I really loved their Yemenite Pita which was the size of a small pizza, thinner and crisper. Of note, beverages are all non-alcoholic. Put Yemen Cafe on your Middle Eastern restaurants, Cobble Hill spots, Craving Lamb, and Love Bread lists.

Yemen Cafe located at 176 Atlantic Avenue

Upside Pizza…Old School Style Za

Having trouble lately finding slices of authentic NYC boroughs style Pizza? This type of Pizza used to be the norm vs today’s plethora of ranch sauce soaked flatbreads that are shaped and somewhat look… but do not taste like pizza. My slice of Upside Pizza’s Pepperoni tasted like classic old school Italian Pizza joint za.

Thus when I find a spot that does Pizza right I need to share it. Upside Pizza is an old school Pizza joint that serves about a half dozen pizzas by the slice or pie. They offer traditional round Cheese and square Sicilian with and without pepperoni, Heritage pork and hot peppers and a White Wine and lemon cream slice with mushrooms and mozz.

The Pizzas are baked in a huge heavy duty Montague Hearth Bake Brick oven that gives their crust a nice bubbly char. This is a grab n go joint with just a few small hightop (no chairs) tables. Add this to your Pizza by the slice, Pepperoni Pizza and authentic Italian Pizza joint lists.

Upside Pizza is located at …West 39th Street