Martin Lawrence Galleries Presents Douglas Hoffman:Left to Right…Mind Blown

 Once in a while I meet someone that says or does something that blows my mind. Last night at The Martin Lawrence Galleries event for Douglas Hofmann while speaking with the Artist about his work and process he stated he does his paintings left to right. Wait…say what? My brain runs what he said…

  • Importance of Initial sketches and sketch on canvas
  • Wash with acrylics (like the Old Masters did though with oil) 
  • Then start the painting with oil working from Left to Right 

I paint for a hobby so I understand the process…except for the fact that he paints from left to right. My brain cant’t process it. I’ve never seen or heard of this before. Yet, he continues to explain why in a logical fashion. Mind blown. His brain literally works on another level. It’s as if on some subconscious level right under his consciousness his brain is seeing the completed work and translating through his hand it onto the canvas…from left to right.

Douglas Hofmann’s photorealistic portraiture figures are amazing by themselves. However that’s not challenging or enough for him. He puts complex backgrounds that vary from tapestries to gardens to rooms full of people with intricate wood floors, figures reflected in mirrors and paintings within the paintings of most of his pieces. 

Go check out his amazing work for yourself. If by the way you are more interested in how the brain works read Leonardo’s Brain by Leonard Shlain. Mind totally blown. 

Martin Lawrence Galleries is located at 457 West Broadway 

@BloodyMaryFest Brooklyn 2017 Year of the Lobster 

The forth annual BloodymaryFest was another hit, once again held at the Brooklyn Opera House. A great spot indoors and out with 60+ sunny weather made this place perfect for the event. Marz Vodka provided the proverbial fuel to the fire so to speak. 

Contestants need three things to win this event. 

  1. A superior Bloody Mary mix that could be traditional or eclectic. Balance is key.
  2. A creative garnish that compliments the mix while providing visual stimulation 
  3. Bringing enough of both. I say this because it happened last year and it happened again this year where a contestant ran out halfway. This is a 3 hour event, a marathon not a sprint. 

I started at Catfish’s table and worked my way around hitting a number of them more than once.  

Catfish – They take a classic recipe and add Abita TurboDog (a great beer) 
A&E supply – Normally I can’t stand Kombucha…but it actually worked here making a tasty and different Bloody topped with homemade pickles.  

Travel Bar-
They get creative adding Cucumber juice and Banana Pepper juice to a classic mix. I’m a big fan and pretty sure I picked them as my fave last year. 

Lobster Joint
– They had lines the whole time. People see Lobster they go nuts. Thing is, what this turned out to be was a pitch perfect Bloody Mary with a creative and colorful garnish. 

Iron Station – they use Bacon infused Vodka for their sweet yet smoky variation with a highly creative garnish 

I love B-Mary’s but after a number of them my taste buds needed a break. 

 Coole Swan Irish White Chocolate liquor did the trick. If you’re an Irish Creme fan check this stuff out. Cheese from Cypress Grove Chèvre and some Bacon Spread from Bespoke Bacon got me back in the game. 

 Insa -Wasabi and Kimchi gave this Bloody an Asian spin. The crowd was mixed on this one. They either loved it…or not. I loved it and the great daikon garnish. I gave them my vote for being very good and different. 

Skylark – They added some brines, hot peppers and Guinness which did work and I liked it. Though I would have liked to have tried it w/o the Guinness

Vampire Vineyards– pre-made in a can with vodka! Pretty tasty as is…I think just a bit of horseradish and here’s your Bloody on the Beach or Park…

Citrico served Michelada’s, I love this Mexican Beer Cocktail. Instead of a traditional Cerveza they used Tsingtao which worked. 

K Bloody Mary mix – A very good well balanced pre-made mix. Just add Vodka and get creative with your garnish. 

Toma Artisinal – this was both very tasty and different being based on tomatillo’s vs tomatoes…I just wish it were green. 

Grady’s White Russian – I was at the end of my Bloody Mary quest and a being a huge fan of Grady’s Cold Brew seeing they had White Russians…this Dude abided more than once. Come to think of it, I think my fiends and I finished off the last of it…

Cocktail Crate – these are tasty pre-made Cocktail mixes. I tried the Grapefruit Daiquiri and the Sriracha Margarita. They were both balanced, not too sweet with the former a bit tart and the latter having a hint of heat. 

In the end The Lobster Joint won first place and deservingly so. Competition was once again great with competing Bars putting forth a great mix of original variations on the classic. 

Kudos to Evan Weiss and his team for putting together another great event. For those of you who live in the NYC area the Baroness of Bloody Marys the DrunkenTomato has a Bloody Mary guide coming out in the the not too distant future. Well until next year…I’ll be posting up Bloody Mary brunches throughout the year.  

Dante NYC Negroni Happy Hour 

Love Negroni’s? Dante NYC recently won Best Negroni in NYC. They have an entire Negroni Menu with a dozen variations on one of my favorite drinks. I make some pretty damn good ones at home and even converted die hard Campari drinkers to my White Negroni’s. So would this place live up to the hype? I decided to check out their Happy Hour(4-7pm) to find out for myself. 

The Negroni’s at Dante NYC blew me out of my seat their variations are so damn good, their bartenders are some of the best in the city, especially Michael who I watched make three drinks at once and it’s now one of my favorite spots in NYC. 

I enjoyed two of their seasonal’s The Lavender a spin on a White Negroni was great, Next up really impressed me. The unlikely substitutes Tequila for Gin, keeps the Campari and adds banana, pineapple, some chile and a hint of sesame. I don’t know how they came up with this concoction but it’s amazing. 

This is a very cool spot with a great vibe and eclectic crowd. You come here to enjoy perfectly made cocktails…sip them, enjoy them, contemplate which to order next. If you get hungry they have a nice Italian menu(they serve breakfast, Lunch , Dinner and Brunch). Of note, though under new ownership, Dante NYC  has been around since 1915 making it a landmark. 

Dante NYC is located at 71 McDougal Street 

Montana’s Trail House: Southern Brunch in Bushwick Brooklyn 

Getting hungry after taking in all the great streetart by the Bushwick Collective? Just up the block on Troutman is Montana’s Trail House an oasis with great Nuevo Southern food and a full cocktail menu. 

Montana’s food menu is not an easy one to decide on, there is simply too much to choose from even over Brunch. While trying to decide between the Fried Chicken Biscuit, their Burger, or getting a side of Sausage and and Cheese Grits for a meal I heard the waitress reciting the special of the day at the table over from mine…

“biscuits covered in sausage, bacon, jalapeño gravy with a sunnyside egg on top… ” I wanted that…but then I hear the waitress say “only one left”. Luckily the guys at table thought it sounded a little too heavy (hipsters). I turnaround and say “I’ll take it”…”waitress said “sold”. 

I choose well, it was the best new Brunch dish I’ve had in a while, both smoky and spicy. Yes it was a bit  filling, but nothing I couldn’t and didn’t walk off checking out more of the hoods awesome StreetArt. While I was tempted to get a Bloody Mary I kinda needed Coffee more and they carry local Oslo Coffee plus they were serving the Thor. 

I definitely need to come here to sample more of this delish Southern food in the badlands(well not quite so much anymore) of Bushwick Brooklyn.  

Montana’s Trail House is located at 445 Troutman Street 

Kings County Brewing Collective on a Sunday Afternoon

  After getting my mind blown by all the amazing Street Art in Bushwick I literally stumbled upon KCBC while looking for a spot for a cup of Coffee in Bushwick. However when I saw Robot Fish IPA on the door, realized I just found a new (to me at least) brewery, I decided I needed cold hops more then brewed beans. Inside it’s a huge open space with the available on tap brews up on the menu above the the bar.

I grabbed a spot on the corner of the rather long bar and after checking out the available selection of beers on tap I ordered up the Robot Fish which happened to be such tasty a brew I took a Sixpack of it home. Most of the beers at KCBC are served in 14oz mugs for an average of $6 for far from avenge beverages. 

The bartenders are friendly and the place gets a rather interesting crowd. They also have events throughout the month so check out their Website for info. Add KCBC to your list of great local Brewery’s. 

Kings County Brewers Collective is located at 381 Troutman Street 

Local and Vine, Vino Tastings in Tribeca 

Looking for a great little spot for a date or to get a group together for a wine tasting? Local and Vine is a very cool looking spot with a number of Wines to choose from and some very good appetizers to sate your appetite. 

Most of the wines are from New York State though they have some well curated ones from around the world.

Our Wine tasting (just pinch and pull the menu in the pics to see the selection we enjoyed) started with a Sparkling, moved on to some Whites, then Reds and finished with an Apple Cider Ice Wine. It was a nice selection made that much more enjoyable by a friendly knowledgeable staff  that engaged our thoughts on the wines we sampled throughout the tasting. 

For those that prefer hops to grapes they do have a nice Craft Beer selection available as well. If you like the wines you sampled you can buy bottles in the store next door to go. 

Local and Vine is located at 282 Hudson Street 

Cow and Clover Bloody Mary and Burger Brunch

My cousin was jonesing for some Bloody Mary’s and I was up for a new spot for Brunch. After a little research I came upon Cow and Clover. They offer a bottomless Brunch option, had a good looking menu and were by the water in Williamsburg.  

The space is huge and open with floor to ceiling glass windows that let the sunshine in even when its cold outside. 

The menu here has a mix of Brunch items as well as a number of lunch like choices. I chose their amazing  super juicy Short Rib Cheese Burger which is what I think more than half my fellow diners ordered. I added green tomatoes to my mine. It came with some great fries. My cousin got the Berkshire Pork and Potato Hash which was…well just look at the pic below…
I just got one of their Bloody’s since I was recovering from a cold…my Cousin manned up and went full on with the Bottomless Brunch option. Their Bloodies are good, but a little salty. 

Cow and Clover is located at 291 Kent Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 

Delilah’s Bottonless Bloody Mary Brunch on Rivington

I was looking for some new spots for Bottomless Bloody Mary options and it was nice for a change of pace to be taken somewhere new vs me finding it. A Travel website/app I use and contribute to took a number of fellow Travellers to Delilah’s to check out their Brunch. 

Delilah’s is one of the cooler looking spots I’ve seen recently. The main room is very long, though not narrow with a bar to match that leads into a spacious back room that looks like where Austin Powers would throw a party.  

The staff from the host that greeted us to the friendly attentive waitstaff that served us and kept our drinks flowing(including a good cup of coffee) were great.  

Their menu has a varied selection of egg based dishes like Eggs Benedict, Frittata’s and non egg more lunch like options like Pasta dishes and Lamb or Portobello sliders.  

We started with an order of their Barbaganoush that was fresh and a rather nice sized portion to share that required more pita points to finish. 

I went classic with the Eggs Benedict that included a side arugula salad. The hollandaise was one of the better I’ve had. My friends enjoyed the Frittata, the Avo Toast and the French Toast. 

The ladies went for Mimosa’s while I of course had to go Bloody Mary. Delilah’s version is non traditional being light on the tomato juice with very little horseradish and has a Spring of Rosemary,Jalepeno and lime as a garnish. For a change of pace they were good and easy to drink. I do generally prefer mine with more horseradish. The Ladies seemed to be enjoying their beverages as well. 

Delilah’s Brunch includes an entree and AYCD Bloody Mary’s or Mimosas for only $35.00 in a beautiful space. It’s on my new Bloody Mary Brunch list, you may want to add it to yours. 

Delilah’s is located at 155 Rivington 

Lilly’s Victorian Establishment Epic Prixe Fixe Lunch

Tired of the same old spots by Rock Center and Times Square? Lilly’s is a great upscale GastroPub serving superior food with a nice full bar in a beautiful space reflecting its location in the Theatre District. 

Lilly’s has one of the best Lunch Specials in the city at $14 for a Sandwich with fries,chips, or a salad or an Entree Salad that even includes a selection of Beers and Wine.
My fave from the menu thus far has been the Brisket Sandwich topped with Fontina cheese, pickled onion and Horseradish mayo. Their Cheeseburger is great as well. While I like to be somewhat healthy when I eat, the fries here are too good to pass up. 

The beer selection includes local craft beers like Bushwick Pilsner and import faves like Hoegaarden. The Vino is House Red or White. The combo of quality of the food, price point, service and great space make this spot a hit that belongs on your Where to Midtown lunch list. 

Lilly’s Victorian Establishment is located at 249 West 49th Street

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