Ruby’s Cafe, Aussie Diner faves hit Kips Bay 

She’s craving a burger, you’re trying to watch your girlish figure and want a tasty healthy salad. Ruby’s of Soho recently opened up a sister restaurant in Kips Bay whose menu will make you both happy. 

Both locations offer the same Menu full of great Aussie style burgers(they top them with pineapple and beets), egg “Breakie”dishes, a number of pastas, and the best Fish and Chips I’ve had in a while. If you love fries, you must get their fries with truffle mayo. 

For those looking for something lighter, the Menu has plenty of healthy choices for those who prefer veggie and grains like Quinoa bowls with avocado and soft boiled eggs, Of course, they have Avo Toast and a number of salads like the Shrimp with Avo, Fennel and Mandarin oranges. 

To drink Beer and Wine is available and of course a large selection of coffee bean beverages including the Aussie fave a Flat White. 

This location gets as packed with a good looking crowd as the one in Soho, it’s a bit bigger with more table space. If your looking for a hip spot in this hood, now you have a spot. 

Ruby’s Cafe is located at 442 3rd Avenue

Salt + Charcoal = Japanese Itzakaya 

Looking for a great spot for Japanese Robata, Noodles and more? Salt + Charcoal along with their Japanese style Itzakaya menu has a full bar with a great selection of Japanese Whiskeys, Cocktails and some very tasty infused Sakes.

My first time at Salt+Charcoal was to check out their Happy Hour. It’s low key and geared towards enjoying a causal cocktail vs pre-gaming. I started with a Yuzu Martini and some of their very tasty wings, a nice into to their culinary skills. I decided on one more drink and from the infused Sake menu I choose the Shiso(this leaf has a mild mint and anise flavor to it)…I choose well. 

On my next visit I went for a causal at the bar dinner and started with their twist on a Dirty Martini with Rosemary infused Sake. We decided to eat Itzakaya style (the Japanese version of Tapas) ordering Cheese Tempura with Wasabi Honey dip, Robato style Eel, raw Waygu Beef Sushi and Chicken Negima. 

After I knocked down the Martini it was time for more from their infused Sake menu and we tried the Sakura (Cherry Blossom, this is a delicate flavor not a Cherry bomb)which was also very good. 

Everything was delicious and menu is fairly priced for the quality of the food. Salt+Charcoal is a great spot for a small group, date, night out with a friend or just to grab a well crafted cocktail and get transported to Tokyo for a short spell…

Salt + Charcoal is located at 171 Grand Street 

#Gowanus #Brooklyn Micro-Brew & BBQ Night Out 

I caught up with a couple of buds to do a little recon on the craft brew scene in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn. We started at Strong Rope a Micro Brewery right around the corner from the Union Station stop. It’s a cool little spot that falls under the “Thinking Man’s” Beer Bar vs a rant and rage party spot. 

From their selection of ten brews two of us choose the Balance of Power a nice classic Pale Ale and our friend had to order Year in the Weeds a Double IPA. He enjoyed it though maybe a little disappointed their was no ganja infused in it. Of note, they rotate their selection often.

Strong Rope Brewery is located at 574 President Street 

Next up we headed about four blocks up from the subway entrance to Threes Brewery a Great Micro Brewery that carries their own house made and local craft beers. It’s a huge space with a long long bar and a number of tables. This place is rather lively and could serve to enjoy a fine beer or to throw’em down with shots. I would have sworn I was in Minneapolis or Oregon looking at the crowd in their flannels, trucker and cowboy hats…did any of these people ever see a razor…?

It was not easy choosing a beer from their selection of 24 on tap. We went with their Three’s There You Are an IPA with hints of mango and citrus. I love that they have  mini cocktail boiler-makers. How awesome is that?!? I went Negroni (Campari and Gin) my buds went old school with Four Roses Whiskey. These are not full shots, but only an extra $1 and just the right size. If you get hungry Meat Hook is right inside for grub and they even have a Ninth Avenue Coffee joint for a jolt of Joe.

Threes Brewery is located at 333 Douglas Street 

I was up for another drink or three, but my buds were already hungry and one of them had to get up very early to jump on the train to D.C. For the #WomensMarch so we headed back towards Union to Dinosaur BBQ so he could man up on some BBQ and more beer before donning his pink knit pussyhat.

The Brooklyn location of the mini-chain is a ginormous space offering large portions of tasty BBQ. We dug in to some great Ribs and tasty Wings. However they had already run out of Pulled Pork and Brisket before 9pm…which amazed me. The sides were very good, the Poutine would have been better with Pulled Pork but good nonetheless with chicken. Dinosaur has a pretty good beer selection but I think they need to expand it a bit.

Fully sated after some serious BBQ and tasty craft brews it was time to call it a night and pop back on the subway. I recommend all theee of these spots…but the most do for me here is the mini cocktail boiler makers with craft brews at Threes Brewery

Dinosaur BBQ is located at 604 Union Street 

12 Chairs Israeli-Med Cuisine 

After my last trip to Israel I couldn’t understand why there were next to none Israeli fusion Med spots in NYC. The food is delicious and New York has a large Jewish population as well as Middle Eastern and people of the Med. 

12 Chairs is a cool space with a bar and tables indoors as well as out. Street Signs from Tel Aviv adorn the walls. Tasty Israeli-Med-American cuisine includes salads, sides, sandwiches, entrees and a cocktail menu. The sandwiches here  are very good and comes with maybe the best and biggest side salad out there. I had the Tunisian their Med twist on a tuna sandwich using spicy Harissa dressing, olives, egg, and potatoes on my first visit. 

Before I left I spoke with the management team and staff and they told me if I liked their sandwiches I needed to come back and try their Hummus. 

I took their advice and came back for the Hummus Meat platter. It has ground beef, pine nuts and mudhroooms on top of the smooth, creamy and tasty Hummus with a side of pickles and olives and that amazing Israeli style pita bread to scoop it up with. Quite simply some of the best Hummus I’ve had in the states.  

If your looking for some healthy,delicious  and nutritious Med food and want to sample some modern Israeli cuisine add 12 Chairs to your Must Have Food of the Med list. 

12 Chairs is located at 342 Wythe Street in Williamsburg (It is the sister location to their original Soho spot)

@PeteesPie Scrumptious #Pies 

I should have known better than to pop in and see out of curiosity’s sake what type of pies Petee’s Pie Company offered and how they looked. A group of girls from a Bachloreete party were moaning over their slices. How could I not join in…and get some? 

Petee’s offer a number of fruit, cream and chocolate pies available by the slice or pie that make choosing one rather challenging. To add to your dielemma in choosing your treat are cheese cakes, cookies and even some savory pies.  
I couldn’t decide if I should get the Coconut Creme pie with a Cherry Nut cookie or the Cherry Pie slice with the Coconut Macaroon…I went with the former but will be back for the later.

Space is limited inside, it’s really for take out. They do have hot beverages available to wash your Pie down if like the Bachelorette Party you just can’t wait to satisfy your cravings and desires… 

Petee’s Pie Company 
is located at 277 Broome Street 

Williamsburg Granda Square #Pizza #LES

2017 is being hailed amongst other things as the year of the square sliced Pizza. Since I’ve been eating Sicilian since I was a kid and Grandma style slices for years, I don’t exactly consider it a trend, just a variation on something I love…Pizza. 

Williamsburg Pizza offers a variety of grandma style square pizzas loaded with toppings along with a few old school round pies and some sandwiches and salads as well. 
What I really like about this place is that their square slices are available  by the pie and by the individual slice(drives me crazy when Pizza joints don’t offer by the slice). I went with slices of their Paesano and the Kale Taleggio (see ingredients in the pics) which were both totally covered with high quality toppings. I need to go back to try the Messina and the Apple Bacon…

The LES location (this is the Sister spot to the original in Brooklyn) is primarily geared towards take-out but they do have a few tables and window ledge space available for seating. Definetly add this to your Pizza spot lists…tell your old school friends about the great sausage on the pies and your hipster friends about Pizza…cut…in squares! 

Williamsburg Pizza
is located at 277 Broome Street 

#Bushwick #Brooklyn #StreetArt


Bushwick Street Art

Since I have a thing for Street Art I was a bit overdue for checking out Bushwick’s scene. On this first trip I rode the L to the Morgan Street Station and wandered around that area. To fuel myself for the walk, while it’s Roberta’s Pizza that Bushwick is known for I was craving Sushi so I hit the Momo Sushi Shack for some Rolls and Bombs.

Once fueled up I bounced around Bogart, Seigel, White and Grattan Streets taking pics galore. While making the rounds I came upon the Fine and Raw Chocolate Factory. I sampled their goods some years back and had to check out their Factory. While their bars and chunks are very good it was their Coconut Dulce Con Leche that came home with me.

I continued on  but it was getting pretty cold and I needed some coffee so I popped into the Ange Noir Cafe on Varet Street. By day a spot for Coffee, baked goods and sandwiches. By night live music and drinks. From here I called it a day and jumped on the L back to NYC.

Of note, there  is a whole nother section of Street Art  that I need to check out by the Jefferson Station close by to Flushing Avenue. Stay tuned for a piece on that section once it warms up a bit…


@PasqualeJones Wood-Fired Rustic Italian Food 

Walking in I knew I likely was not getting a table without a long wait. As it turned out I was seated immediately(I don’t believe this is typical, my neighbors at the bar waited over an hour, and they were two cute girls, I was with no head turner, just my cousin). 
The dining room is a beautiful space with an open kitchen featuring two huge domed wood burning ovens taking up a fair amount of the space. There is no bar for drinks, it is used for additional seating space, perfect for a view of the mesmerizing fire under those glorious domes.

The menu is fairly small made up primarily of appetizers and wood fired Pizzas. They have a few Pasta’s and about as many wood fired entrees along with some sides. Having said that, what they do, they do right. 

We ordered up their White Clam Pizza to start, the Pork Shank in jus with fennel to share (it comes with a side of lightly dressed Arugula to cleanse the palette) and the Brussel Sprouts with Smoked Mozzarella. As to how good they were…the girls to my right noted we “out-ordered” them. In all fairness I’m kinda a semi pro when it comes to that. 

To drink Pasquale Jones has an extensive yet fairly expensive Wine selection by the bottle. However I felt they offered too few by the glass, only a few beers and no cocktails. I would like to see them offer a larger selection of wines by the glass and more bottles under $100 (who drinks $350-$2,000 bottles of wine with Pizza, even when it’s this good?).

Also, for those with a sweet tooth they generally do just one desert a night that is usually fruit with some gelato. Luckily the neighborhood has plenty if you’re looking for something more.

Overall Pasquale Jones is a great spot that works for a date, a group or one’s family members birthday. 

Pasquale Jones is located at 187 Mulberry Street 

Yamato Ramen & Izakaya lands in Murray Hill

There used to be a time when you couldn’t find Ramen in Murray Hill unless it was instant in a Grocery store. Lately Murray Hill is turning into a Little Tokyo and it’s newest Ramen joint is also a Japanese Gastropub aka Izakaya. 

Yamoto offers a number of different Ramen to choose from, Donburi(rice bowls),Yakitori and appi’s. I had their  spicy Tonkotsu for lunch and it was very good packing some heat. I now have to see if their “Spicy as Hell” lives up to its name while still being tasty and not just hot. 

Being an Itzakaya the space has two horseshoe shaped bars and a nice sized selection of Sake. Of note, they have a Happy Hour that features food and drink specials. At this time I’ve only enjoyed their Ramen so I will need to hit their Happy Hour to check out more of the menu. 

Yamato Ramen & Izakaya is located at 542 Third Avenue

Ben’s Cookies in Dark, Milk, and White Chocolate Chunks

 Looking for some great cookies for Santa to make up for being naughty this year or maybe you just love cookies and prefer your chocolate in chunks vs mere chips? 

I stumbled upon Ben’s Cookies back when it was just a pop up in Soho, but once I took a bite into their dark chocolate chunk cookies with a hint of Orange I knew this place was going to take a longer term spot soon. 

The cookies are good sized, but not huge. Most of their selection are variations on the classic chocolate chip cookie with chunks of dark, milk, and white chocolate and flavors like Pralines, Orange, Peanut Butter and Ginger for example. They also do a very tasty Coconut cookie. 
Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, if you crave cookies check these chunky bad boys out. 

Ben’s Cookies is located at 822 Broadway