Bowery B-Day Drinks, Dinner and Ice Cream! 

It was my bro’s B-Day and since we are both difficult to buy for years ago we started taking each other out for Drinks and Dinner with maybe an event of flick thrown in. 
This year we started out at Bar Primi for some outdoor seating and people watching. My brother enjoyed their Paloma #7 a twist on a Margarita using both Tequila and Lime not once but twice. I love Negroni’s, so I tried both on the menu. I liked their Bianco, the Gin washed with olive oil but preferred the Boulevardier that substitutes Bourbon for Gin and a Red Wine Barolo infused with Chinotto. Will need to come back to dine sometime. 

Located at 325 Bowery 

We walked down Bowery to Pop International Galleries just in time to see Panmela Castro a Brazilian Street Artist and Women’s rights activist speak. Love her work and admire her humanitarian efforts.

Located at 195Bowery  

For dinner we dined at La Esquina Brasserie. I’ve eaten at the Taqueria numerous times but never at the downstairs restaurant. I’m all fairness it lived up to the hype. The space is beautiful , as s the crowd which literally included a former Bond Girl/X-Men and the food was great. We shared the Shrimp with Bacon and the Lamb Shoulder Tacos, Carnitas Tostadas and the Grilled Branzino with green veggies. I drank a Benjamin a hibiscus pineapple cinnamon drink topped with frozen Margarita.  

Located at 114 Kenmare Street

For desert we headed to a nearby fave Ice Cream spot but the line there was ridiculous so we walked to another I’m a huge fan of. Along the way we came upon Public, Ian Schrader’s new hotel which is a spectacular space, but decided to come back for drinks another night. 

Public is located at 215 

Finally we arrived at Oddfellows where we encountered no line, simply great friendly service and some of the best Ice Cream in NYC(known for creative flavors like Miso Cherry, Carrot Cake, Burnt Mashmallow). My Bro got a Hot Fudge Sunday, I went with a pint to bring home. Stay tuned for more like upcoming pieces compilation “Night Out” pieces… 

Located at 75 East 4th Street 

#DiPalo +@BlackseedBagel = Jewish American Hero 

Do you love Pizza Bagels? If that’s the case then then you may love Black Seed’s new “Bagel Rolls”. Quite simply they took bagel dough, shaped it like a hero, without the zero and sprinkled on sesame seeds. 

Now to make the Jewish American Hero you will need to get the Italian ingredients at nearby DiPalo’s. That’s right, neither of these places currently serve this creation. File this under, “it’s my blog I’ll write what I want to”. At DiPalo’s get their amazing (maybe the best I’ve had) Meatballs, a ball of Fresh Mozz, a pint/quart of Marinara and some Broccoli Rabe. 

I like to let the meatballs (sliced in half) simmer for a bit in the sauce and sometimes throw in some dried Italian hot pepper. After a bit I drape across them a slice of mozz on each and cover to melt. Slice lengthwise the Black Seed bagel hero roll, lay access the meatballs and melted mozz, layer on top the broccoli rabe. Mangia Bene!  

DiPalo’s is located at 200 Grand Street

Blackseed  is located at 170 Elizabeth Street (they also have an East Village location at 176 1st Ave)

Butcher Bar LES: BBQ and Epic Cocktails 

It is finally Summer! Thus it’s time to start BBQing…though if you live in NYC and it’s boroughs that can be tough. So luckily we have BBQ joints like Butcher Bar, the new LES sister location to the Astoria Queens original. 
They have a great fairly priced selection of cocktails here served in glass jars. I started with their Smoked Cleaver a clever(see what I did there?:) twist on an Old Fashioned using almond washed bourbon with Black Averna (an Amaro) and Bitters which my friends ordered up once they tasted mine. 

By 9:45pm they had already sold out of their “meat candy”(burnt ends), bummer, though a good sign as well. We ordered the Smoked BBQ platter with ribs, pulled pork and brisket and from the sandwich menu The Monster (pulled pork and brisket with Habanero Cole slaw) It came with some very good Fries. 

As much as I enjoyed the Smoked Cleaver, the rest of the cocktail menu piqued my interest too much not to try something else. Like Blood Oranges? I love them, as well as heat. The Blood Moon had my name on it. Habanero Moonshine with Blood Orange and a splash of Peach Bitters. It had just the right blend of sweet and heat. 

For sides we choose Mac and Cheese with Chili and the Brussels Sprouts with Bacon. We liked the ribs and pulled pork a lot. The brisket was pretty good but sliced thin vs thick and juicy. Wondering if once they start selling it by the 1/4 pound if they will slice it thicker. The Monster was a very good sandwich and big enough for two with a side. 

Overall Butcher Bar’s BBQ is pretty damn good, the sides very good and the drinks great. I’m looking forward to coming back for the meat candy, more ribs, more from the cocktail menu and their Brunch sounds pretty tasty…plus Bloody Mary’s of course.

Butcher Bar is located at 148 Orchid Street 

@BrooklynCupcake Amazing Rainbow Cookie Cupcakes and more…

Do you love cupcakes? How about Rainbow cookies? Brooklyn Cupcakes Italian style Rainbow cookie cupcakes are off the charts. Yes…they have rainbow cookie jelly in the middle…Yum:) 

With well over two dozen to choose from including some Latin specialties(i.e. Coquito, Guava, Dulce de Leche) you have plenty to choose from. I also had the Chocolate Coconut, yummy as well. 

Brooklyn Cupcakes cake is moist, the frosting buttery with just the right amount of sweet and they right sized them, being not small, but not too big either. Perfect to satisfy your sweet tooth while allowing you to maintain your fit girlish figure for the Summer. 

Brooklyn Cupcake is located at 335 Union Avenue Williamsburg Brooklyn

Patisserie Tomoko:French Pastries a la Tokyo Flavors

 When I was in Tokyo I was amazed at how many French Pastry shops I came upon especially in Ginza. So when I saw Patisserie Tomoko on Googlemaps located nearby the Sketchbook Projects new location in Williamsburg it looked like a potentially interesting spot for coffee and a treat. It turned out to be an amazing spot for French Pastries done primarily with Japanese flavors. 
The interior has a long curving bar to enjoy your pastries with Coffee or Tea. They even have flights of sweets combined with wine or sake. I however had just finished a heavy lunch so I wasn’t ready then and there for something, but could not walk out with buying some of their goods to go. 

They bake fresh donuts daily and the day I went was Yuzu glazed was one of the choices so grabbed one of them and since I love Macarons and they have a great assortment of flavors to choose from had to get some of them too. I got a five pack (so as not to blur my six pack 🙂 that included Pistachio, Rose, Yuzu, Chocolate Banana and Lavender Mint. 

The donut never made it home, enjoyed it over coffee later in the day. It was light, yeasty and delicious with the Yuzu glaze offering a citrusy not too sweet burst of flavor. The Macarons I actually managed to eat only one per day. Some of the best I’ve ever had. I also found they had a bit more substance to them and not brittle as most. All were delish, my faves the Rose and Lavender Mint. 

If you’re sweet tooth is craving something new and you have a thing for French pastries and or Asian flavors add this to your Sweets list…you will thank me for this one. 

Patisserie Tomoko is located at 568 Union Avenue, Williamsburg Brooklyn

Jimmy’s Diner: Epic Tator Tots in North Williamsburg

What looks like an old school Diner is more like a Southern GastroPub, full bar included. Jimmy’s Diner menu is broken down into a Breakfast which is served all day, and a fairly large selection of Breakfast bowls, Sandwiches/Burgers, Platters, etc. to choose from. Of course being Williamsburg they have a drink menu that has both cocktails and milkshakes with or without booze.

With so many good looking choices it wasn’t easy to make a decision, I eventually choose the Fried Chicken platter. It comes with three (3)pieces of Chicken, a choice of two(2) sides from a selection of a dozen and a slice of Cornbread. To be healthy I choose collard greens…with bacon and it was a coin toss between the Sweet Potato fries and Tator Tots. 

The waiter recommended the Tots and they turned out to be by far the best I’ve ever had. They were actually fried mash potato balls with Chipolte Mayo to dip them in. Amazing. The greens and Fried Chicken very good as well…but these Tator Tots were the stars of this show. 

Thought I was tempted for one of their milk shakes or a Bloody Mary, I held off on them for a future visit. Jimmys Diner is a great spot for a filing, fairly priced, though superior quality food meal. Just don’t bother counting the calories here…just concentrate on burning them off productively afterwards.

Jimmy’s Diner is located at 577 Union Avenue, Williamsburg Brooklyn 

Saigon Shack’s epic Banh Mi…Pho sure

Some years back I caught up with a cousin in Vietnam who was traveling throughout SE Asia. Being big fans of Banh Mi we were psyched to try them in their county of origin. Oddly enough…we rarely ever saw them “In Country”. NYC however, has plenty of spots offering them and…

Saigon Shack’s
are quite possibly my favorite place for them. On my first visit I started with their big, fresh and awesome Shrimp Summer Rolls. They offer over a half dozen version of Banh Mi, I went spicy with their Brisket with pineapple which ona subsequent visit I turned some friends onto and they raved how good it was. On that visit I had the Fried Fish over Co’m (rice) in their house Mayo sauce that was huge and like everything else delicious. 

The bowls of Pho looked epic, so I went back for some and for something different got my Pho with Lemongrass Chicken which again, loaded with meat and tasty. I tried their classic Banh Mi on that visit and ended up having to bring half of both home. 

A lot of Vietnamese restaurants have been written up recently, but Saigon Shack is one of my favorite new finds. The food here isn’t fancy haute cuisine…it’s fresh, delicious food served in large portions at very fair prices, served by a friendly accommodating staff in a cool atmosphere. What more could you ask for? 
Saigon Shack is located at 114 MacDougal Street 

Amaranto of Bushwick: Mexican Cocina con Muy Bueno Cocktails 

After hitting a number of spots for Happy Hour in Bushwick it was time to get something to eat. While discussing the hoods restaurants with KCBC’s General Manager, Casey, he recommended Amaranto, a Mexican spot I was not familiar with. The cocktails he described sounded simply too outrageous to not check out…oh and food. 

The menu here is far from your typical Mexican restaurant menu. It’s not big, but has plenty to choose from a selection offfering plenty of twists. We started with the Spicy Guac, which though very good, I didn’t find very hot(in all fairness, never ask me how spicy the food is or how cold the water is:). 

The cocktail menu was intriguing, I ordered the Zanahoria a spin on a Margarita with Tequila, carrot juice, lemongrass and chilies and one of my cousins  choose the Elote made Mezcal, corn and pineapple. While I really enjoyed the Zanahoria it was the Elote that really stood out. It was like drinking liquified sweet corn. 

As soon as I saw Seafood in Creamy Green Rice my decision was made. It was topped with a perfectly cooked and seasoned piece of salmon with shrimp and scallops in the rice. My cousins both choose land over the sea ordering Pork Lion with the house Mole and Carne Assada and Carnitas Tacos. Everything was flavorful, delicious and nice sized. I recently ate at a Haute Cuisine Mexican restaurant in NYC and far enjoyed this meal more. 

Amaranto is a great spot for delicious authentic Mexican food with some very tasty and creative cocktails. The price points for the quality and quantity of the food here make it a must add to your Mexican Restaurants in Brooklyn list. 

Amaranto is located at 887 Hart Street in Bushwick Brooklyn 

San Carlo Osteria’s Best Italian Lunch in NYC 


San Carlo Osteria
is one of those places that’s transports you to Italy the moment you step through the door due to their combination of superior food, top notch service, and the atmosphere that Moreno’s warm and friendly staff creates. 

Their $15 lunch includes an appetizer and an entree (both offer a number of options to choose from, some items have an additional nominal charge) of superior Piedmontese cooking. From the appetizer selection I choose the Calamari which was perfectly lightly fried with a squeeze of fresh lemon and marinara sauce for dipping. 

For my entree the Pescato Del Girogo (Fish of the day) with vegetables and potatoes sprinkled with olive oil and herbs made me think I was sitting by the sea in Capri. To complete my meal a pitch perfect double Espresso. 

San Carlo’s lunch special might just be the best deal in NYC due to the high quality of the food and superior service. This place would be equally great for a dinner date or business meeting that needed a touch of elegance. 

San Carlo Osteria Piemonte is located at 90 Thompson Street

Superfine Art Fair NYC Edition 

Art Fairs are where creativity and commerce crash. Artists create works they have trouble giving up, while Collectors look for the next big thing. SuperFine is geared for those looking for the original works of new Artists yet at affordable pieces. Most are under $1000.00 and one of a kind. 

I personally view buying Art like buying wine(which if note, they pour with a heavy thumb at the bar here) it’s what you like not what it costs. You may not care much for a $$$$$ from Chateau Le blah but might love the $15 bottle with the funny label from Oz. The works at SuperFine include Pop Art, Mixed Media, Abstracts and Photography.

Here’s a sampling of my favorite from the show. Nino Liguori’s (featured piece) Allegorical Abstracts, especially his clever dyptiches. Sarah Tse’s imaginative images that integrate with an app to further bring them to life that Daria Pletneva of ArtiNyc was kind enough to demo for me.  

The the bright colored PopArt street scenes of Carmen Smith and Julie Gross and the PopArt Dino’s of Naoaki Funayama. 

Brian Leo’s
Pop Art with a message and the Con Artist Collective’s multi-media works. 

Kenneth Burris
fantastical pieces look like what HP Lovecraft would paint if climate change was on his mind and had a thing for bright colors. Abby Elizabeth’s pieces done with rice and plastic toy soldiers were very creative. Alex Dykes piece made me think social commentary ala Walking Dead on our obsession with beauty. 

Deming King Harriman won best name and had some cool multi-media collages that included a Samurai Tiger. Ryoto Unno Panda pieces were whimsical. Gallery 55BelleChasse works by Pascal Vochelet  were rather interesting and Hui Shen’s tasteful nudes of women in nature were beautiful. 

Kudos to Alex Mitow and his SuperFine team for putting together a fun event. Check out their up coming events in Miami and Mexico City.