Friday, April 29, 2016

New Brew Friday- Other Half City Slickers

We're coming back onto the local beer scene this weekend with Other Half's newest can release created with the incredible people over at Arizona Wilderness. City Slickers is an American IPA brewed with Arizona prickly pear, lemon zest, Citra, Galaxy and Equinox hops.


This beer pours a phenomenal ruby red color that looks just like the sunset bottom on the label.  Aromas of lemon zest, grapefruit and prickly pear jump out of the glass; it's so fruity I almost wish I could bite into it.  The flavor is more subdued lots of soft lemon, grapefruit and pine with a smooth finish.  I was expecting a bit more prickly pear flavor since the aroma is so strong but overall this beer is fantastic. It's the perfect easy drinking brew for Spring.  Cheers to the weekend!

Other Half
195 Centre Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Happy Hour at Good Night Sonny

Dollar oyster happy hours are everywhere but finding one where you can actually choose from a few different kinds and add on other raw bar items is a real treat.   Enter Good Night Sonny the newest cocktail bar from the folks behind the Wayland.


From 5-7 every day they have special prices on all beer, wine and cocktails like Other Half Superfun, sparkling roses and spicy margaritas.


Plump juicy shrimp, super fresh oysters and open windows looking out onto the action of St. Marks (serious action- we saw two people get arrested during our visit).  This is a great new spot to get happy in the East Village. 

Good Night Sonny
134 1st Avenue @St. Marks
New York, NY 10009

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Hometown Bar-B-Que

Saturday was all about beers and BBQ.  Mr. T and I began the day at Other Half grabbing some cans from their latest release then walked down to the water for a full on feast at Hometown BBQ.


I swear we didn't mean to order so much food for just the two of us but walking into the incredible Texas style roadhouse the smell of BBQ was so intoxicating...by the time we got to the front of the line we lacked any decision making skills and just ordered everything.



The Brisket was amazing; somehow each slice had the perfect balance of fatty and lean with a smoky, crisp char on the outside.


I really enjoyed the Pulled Pork sandwich.  The meat was super tender, served without any need for BBQ sauce topped simply with a sharp vinegar based slaw (sloppy top love).  Mr. T preferred the mammoth Beef Rib coated in peppercorns and so incredibly rich I could barely get down more than one bite.


For sides a thick buttery slab of cornbread and QUESO MAC & CHEESE!  Full disclosure- I felt nauseous at the idea of eating a mac and cheese since we had devoured two HUGE bowls in one evening up in Vermont the weekend before (overload-it wasn't pretty).  However this Mac & cheese was so delicious I found myself going back for bite after bite.  Roasted chilies with creamy queso sauce on top...Yes Please!


Hometown BBQ is counter service only and there's almost always a long line.  But with two separate bars for ordering drinks and a fantastic lineup of music playing overhead the wait almost becomes part of the fun. So make the trek out to Red Hook and check out it out- this is some serious NYC BBQ.

454 Van Brut Street at Reed
Brooklyn, NY 11231

Monday, April 25, 2016

Brunch at Quality Eats

The newest venture from the culinary minds behind Quality Meats and Quality Italian comes Quality Eats; a twist on the classic neighborhood steakhouse in the West Village.  The atmosphere of the three couldn't be different.  Quality Meats exudes that quiet rustic elegance, Quality Italian is big and ostentatious (Chicken Parm Pizza anyone) whereas Quality Eats feels just kind of fun and funky; a place that's not taking itself too seriously but where you can count on a good time.


I stopped in for a late brunch and sipped on the Hemingway Spritz; a delightful mix of prosecco, rum and luxardo maraschino topped off with a huge slice of juicy red grapefruit.



For entrees the LA Eggs were excellent- crispy corn tortilla topped with fried eggs, melted cheese, salsa rosa and avocado paired with a side of bright greens.  I swear there is nothing better than a spicy, saucy, breakfast tortilla to cure any ailment leftover from a big weekend.  This is a great new "Quality" restaurant and an excellent addition to the West Village food scene.

Quality Eats
19 Greenwich Avenue at West 10th
New York, NY 

Friday, April 22, 2016

New Brew Friday- Logsdon Peche 'n Brett

It's Friday and it's time for something super fruity- Logsdon Peche 'n Brett an oak aged saison out of Oregon loaded with peaches (a pound and a half per gallon).


This beer pours a gorgeous orange gold with a fluffy white head that dissipates almost immediately. The nose is a combination of peach flesh, oak and floral notes followed by flavors of tart juicy peach, lemon, yeast and a super dry bubbly finish. It's kind of like champagne meets sour peach gummy rings :)  I'm always shocked at the 10% abv on this brew.  It's so easy drinking I would never guess it to be so high.  Cheers to a fantastic weekend!

4785 Booth Hill Road
Hood River, Oregon 97031

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Seamores

I'm starting to compile a list of al fresco dining spots for the summer and this beachy seafood joint in SOHO is first on the list.  Located right on the edge of Little Italy, Chinatown and LES; this place is the perfect spot for people watching of all kinds.  Tables of two and four line both sides of the street and the indoor space is bright and airy for those needing a bit of shade.


The menu changes daily depending on the catch of the day and market veggies but a few staples include Tuna Poke with ponzu and peanut, Curry Mussels, and Big Fish Tacos served either crispy or seared.  Obviously I went fish tacos all the way (Dogfish that afternoon) served with shredded cabbage, guacamole and an ample drizzle of chipotle mayo.


These tacos were AMAZING- super crisp, super spicy and the grilled flour tortilla actually held up to all the toppings instead of falling apart.  This dish and a delicious glass of rose in the sun make for a perfect afternoon.

Seamores
390 Broome Street @Mulberry
New York, NY 10013

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Springing into Rose Season

This week has been absolutely gorgeous.  Walking home over the Brooklyn Bridge with rays of sun on my back, smelling the gorgeous tulips in bloom all around Gramercy Park. It's officially time to put away those heavy red wines and slip into something a bit more light and lively.  I had the pleasure of sipping some fantastic wines perfect for the season last week with winemaker Laurent Prada of Barton & Guestier, the largest importer of French wine in the United States.


The Vouvray is their most popular wine made entirely of Chenin Blanc grapes. It has a sweet but vibrant balance of fruit and acidity with flavors of crisp apple, pineapple and white peach.  It's fresh and light bodied; the perfect pairing for fried dishes like Maialino's Baby Artichokes.


The Cotes De Provence Passeport Rose was much drier than the Vouvary with honeysuckle and pear aromas.  Rich notes of strawberry and raspberry dance across the palate making this a great wine for grilled meat during summer BBQ's.  At only $14.99 a bottle this is a fantastic warm weather investment.


La Villa Barton Cotes de Provence 2015 is the newest rose from Barton & Guestier comprised of 45% Grenache, 30% Syrah and 25% Cinsault sourced from the region around St. Tropez.  This is more aromatic than the Passeport with crisp flavors of berry and lychee nut and a long elegant finish. It's a tiny bit pricier than the Passeport ($19.99 a bottle) but still a fantastic value.


All of these wines are perfect for popping open whenever the occasion arises be it a picnic, golf or just a glorious summer day in Central Park.  Bring on the season of Rose!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Happy Hour at The House

Ahhhh...happy hour at The House.  It doesn't get much more cozy and romantic than this spot. Located right off of Gramercy Park this restored carriage house from 1854 exudes such elegant old NYC charm from the fireplace up front to the candles in each window.  This is where I go to just relax and forget about the craziness of life for a while.


The House has an extensive wine, beer and cocktail list which are all half off during happy hour including the deliciously spicy Pompepper Martini with pomegranate & jalapeno and the Carriage House punch with bourbon & a red wine float.  There's also a small menu of appetizers just perfect for sharing with a friend.  They make an excellent cheese plate and the Deviled Egg Tasting can be really fun; the lobster topped egg being my favorite. 


Happy Hour at The House runs Monday- Friday from 5:00-7:00 at the bar.  The space is super tiny so I wouldn't recommend bringing more than one or two people; save that rowdy after work party for another spot.

121 East 17th Street @Irving Place
New York, NY 10003

Friday, April 15, 2016

New Brew Friday- Lawson's Peril IPA

Last weekend we celebrated the 8th Anniversary of Lawson's Finest Liquids in Vermont.  I absolutely love this brewery.  Its located in the super tiny town of Warren and it's not open to the public so getting a taste of these beers is pretty difficult. I was lucky enough to get a bottle of their Triple Sunshine last year (thanks Mr. T) and it was easily the best triple IPA I'd ever had and one of my favorite new beers of 2016.  This time we brought home a different Triple IPA from Lawson's The Peril.


Peril is stronger than Triple Sunshine clocking in at a whopping 11.1 %.  It pours a light amber/gold color with a fluffy white head and strong aromas of citrus and pine.  Whereas Triple Sunshine was super juicy and tropical the Peril is all bitter pine, caramel and fierce hops.  It has a boozy element but is incredibly crisp and balanced considering the high abv.  It's not quite as good as my love Triple Sunshine but still an incredibly crafted beer.  Cheers to Lawson's Anniversary!


Lawson's Finest Liquids

Warren, Vermont

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Five Alive: Cooks Kickin' It In Queens

Last week I was invited to the E-Space anniversary party, celebrating 5 years of helping small businesses get a start.  This NYC Economic Development sponsored space features a fully equipped commercial kitchen, office space and classrooms that have generated more than $6 million in revenue and created over 100 jobs in the past 5 years.  All the different vendors that use the space were on hand showcasing their products under the theme "Five Alive: Cooks Kickin' It In Queens".


Some absolutely incredible St. Louis Gooey Butter Cakes were on hand from Gooey & Co. They're crisp on top, buttery on the bottom and served in gooey bite sized squares perfect for late afternoon sugar rush.


Casa Maya had three fantastic salsas: Salsa Verde with avocado, Dill-Icious and a Fire Roasted Red with layers of garlic, lime and charred jalapenos that had the perfect balance of spice and chunky tomato. These will be my go to party dips from this day forward.


Bayside Brewery was doling out their brand new Pale Ale made with Cascade hops while over at Biggie's Crack Toffee the biggest hit was definitely their Toasted Pecan & Bourbon Toffee which had an incredible buttery caramel drizzle on top.


Probably my favorite of the night were the snack sized granola bites from Luv Michael.  The ingredients were all organic, locally sourced and each bag was hand packed by in small batches by people with Autism.  It was great to see a company paying living wages while teaching independent life skills and creating an incredibly delicious product.

It always inspiring to come to the E-Space events.  So many great small companies just getting their start I wish I had time to name them all.  NYC can be a tough city to break through in.  Kudos to all the fantastic E-Space vendors for a great evening.




Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Bigelow's

I was super sad when one of my favorite couples moved from their apartment one block away all the way out to Rockville Centre.  I mean who freaking leaves Manhattan!  The apartments are huge, public transportation is awesome; it's the perfect place to raise a bunch of kids. (sigh)


Of course I love the city but there is something to be said about Long Island life.  People actually own houses...with things called basements and attics.  There are big yards with grills for BBQing and some classic old school clam bars churning out AMAZING seafood like Bigelows.


This circular lunch counter has been serving up two types of clams since 1939; plump Ipswich clam bellies or clam strips which happen to be Mr. T's favorite.  It's impossible to find strips in the city and these were perfect- light on the batter, fried a perfect golden brown with no grease- delicious!


I highly suggest adding on the rich chunky Clam Chowder studded with a TON of clams along with the delightful Buffalo Popcorn Shrimp.


This place was the BOMB!  The food was incredible and the divey atmosphere was great. Plus the train ride was only about 35 minutes so I guess I'm okay with them living out in Rockvillle Centre.  As long as I get invited to one of those BBQ's.

79 North Long Beach Road
Rockville Centre, NY 11570

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Dish at Eataly La Pasta

Every single time I have a cold I crave pasta to no end.  Not chicken noodle soup, not grilled cheese (Mr. T's cold/flu staples) but a big steaming bowl of pasta in some kind of hearty sauce.  This is when living right near Eataly's La Pizza & La Pasta comes in clutch.    The former serving Naples style pies and the latter serving various pasta dishes using either Secca (imported Italian pasta) or Fresca (homemade artisan pasta).


I tend to go for the fresca dishes, the egg addition giving a little bit more chew to the dough than just water and flour; one of my favorites being the Pappardelle with Lamb Ragu, mint, lemon, Pecorino Romano and chili flakes.


Eataly never skimps on the big chunks of lamb in the ragu and the chili flakes give a big spicy kick to the dish that's also perfect for clearing up the sinuses.  It's a big bowl of everything the doctor ordered.

500 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10010

Friday, April 8, 2016

Happy Hour at Grand Army

I stumbled upon this place on my walk home from work last week; the promise of $1 oysters drawing me away from the cold rainy day outside and into their cozy candlelit space.  The special that day were Malpeques, one of the standard $1 oyster picks around NYC which I enjoy for their big briny flavor.



I also added on a Montauk Pearl and Peconic Gold, both sweeter and smaller than the Malpeques, the Peconic Gold being my favorite of the tray.  Little eye dropper accouterments were served with the platter in thai, mignonette, hot sauce and ponzu.  I'm usually an oyster purist (squeeze of lemon- down the hatch) but it was really fun testing out the different flavors.  And judging by the bar room packed with couples these cute little quirks make it the perfect spot for a date.

If you go you absolutely must check out the bathrooms.  I took a few pics but don't want to spoil the surprise by showing them (plus bathroom and food pics together are kind of gross).  But trust me on this one- they're worth it.

336 State Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Tutti Matti

Saturday I was invited to the charming new Tutti Matti restaurant in LIC for an afternoon of Italian cuisine with the Creative Shake & Eaters Drinkers group.


Tutti Matti was showcasing some of their incredible cocktails including the Pinna made with Hendrick's Gin, Limoncello, Lemon Juice & Basil and the Borgo Rosso with Grey Goose Vodka, Basil, Strawberry and Prosecco; pretty much everything I love in one big martini glass.


The restaurant specializes in all different kinds of wood fired pizzas done Amalfi Coast style with big puffy edges, fresh San Marzano tomatoes, Mozzarella Fior di latte and the perfect balance of char and chew in the dough.


They also had a variety of pastas made in house including a hearty Lasagna with beef ragu and a spicy Maccheroncini Dello Stretto with Sicilian tuna, spring onion and calabrian sausage.



The pizzas and pasta were delicious but my two favorites of the afternoon ended up being an antipasta and secondi; the Golden Fried Calamari with spicy aioli...


...and the Grilled Organic Lamb Chops with broccoli rabe and roasted potato.


Both were so simple and beautiful.  The grease-less calamari and the rich tender meat; all of the fresh ingredients really shined in every dish. This is a great new place for both a casual or romantic dinner out in LIC.  

Tutti Matti
47-30 Vernon Blvd
Long Island City, NY 11101

Monday, April 4, 2016

Easter Brunch at Zum Schneider

Mr. T and I celebrated Easter at Zum Schneider last week.  This was an annual tradition of ours for years so it was nice to finally get back.  There's an Easter Egg hunt inside for the kids, traditional German music playing overhead and awesome Easter menu specials like Baked Honey Glazed Ham and Roasted Lamb Shank in red wine sauce with green beans and gratin potatoes.


I always feel like I'm back at Mid-Evil Times eating this massive platter of meat.  We could have split this dish and been fine but we were so excited to finally be back we had to order our old favorites.


Zum easily makes the best Potato Pancakes in the city; fried to a crisp golden brown served with applesauce and greens tossed with their delicious house lemon honey dressing.


And of course leaving a German restaurant without ordering a Brat and two enormous beers would just be wrong.  


The weather was so nice we even got to sit outside for a few hours.  Mr. T had just gotten over his sunburn from our Florida trip so it was the perfect time for him to get another burn here in NYC (he really needs to start wearing a hat).  

107 Avenue C at 7th Street
New York, NY 10009

Friday, April 1, 2016

New Brew Friday (Philly)- Orval Day at Monks

Orval is hardly a new beer.  This Trappist ale has been in production since 1931 and it was the very first Brett beer to make its way to the United States.  Now brewers are throwing brett in beers all the time but none of them can quite master the balance of fruit, funk and bitterness that come from Orval.  We were lucky enough to be at Monks on Saturday to celebrate the first ever Orval Day.


They had a few different years on the menu so we ordered 2009 and 2015 to enjoy side by side.  Both had the classic Orval aroma- super yeasty, grass, apple and Barnyard funk with the 2015 tasting like raisins, peach and apricot with a deep earthy flavor while the 2009 was much more dry, sour and vinous.


Of course when at Monks a big bowl of gueuze and garlic Mussels & Frites are an absolute must.


This is always such a great spot to spend a few hours in Philly- Cheers to the weekend!

Monks Cafe
264 South 16th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102