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Games, Free Pizza, & Beers – Oh MY: Croc Lounge

20 Jan

RR is a Natural with Pizza (and accepts tips)!

If there’s one thing I like better than a dive bar with an excellent selection of beers on tap, it’s a dive bar that provides boozing patrons with a FREE personal pan pizza with every beer purchased.  But it doesn’t end there folks, add skee ball, video games + naked photo hunt and you’ve got yourself Dive Bar Nirvana.  And that’s just what Crocodile Lounge in the East Village (14th St btwn 1st/2nd Aves) is – and I’m not just saying that because they let me man the pizza ovens.  Ok, so maybe they didn’t “let me”…

Croc Lounge brings in a wide mix of crowds from the hipsters, to some NYU kids and lots of local 20-somethings in between. It’s the perfect date spot with games to entertain you and free pizza if you don’t wanna buy her dinner get hungry. The bartenders are laidback dudes, there are a ton of great brews ready for the pouring and the free pizzas are actually great – plus for a buck per topping you can add your pick of a ton of add-ons from pepperoni to pineapples.

FACT: Free Pizza Tastes Better

A few things to note about the Croc: it has a huge pizza oven in the middle of the bar, so while that keeps things nice and toasty in the winter, you may want to think twice before heading there on the hottest day of the summer. Also, Wednesday night is trivia night which, if it’s your thing, great – but if it’s not your bag, perhaps go another night.  Crocodile Lounge is definitely one of those awesome spots sure to impress a date or even a group of friends… Now get on over there and have yourselves some free pizza!

Get Hot This Winter: Prana Power Yoga

5 Jan

It's Getting Hot in Herre

I think for a lot of people who have at some point practiced yoga, hot yoga is like the final frontier.  Now don’t get me wrong – I’ve tried many different styles of yoga, but the thought of sitting in a 95 degree heated room and THEN trying to get my yoga practice on seems almost laughable.  Then again, I’m always up to try something new, so when a friend invited me to go to Prana Power Yoga in Union Square (B’way @ 17th St), I thought at the very least it would be an exercise in humility.

I’ll admit that I took the time to read through the FAQ section of the Prana website because I had my doubts about what to expect – so if you’re worried, give it a little read.  What I can add is that a tank top and yoga pants or shorts is the best attire.  Also, you can bring your own mat and a large towel, or rent from the studio for $2 each. Most importantly, make sure you hydrate well throughout the day and bring a bottle of water with you; you’re going to sweat out a whole lotta toxins, friendos.

The studio itself is toasty and clean and the staff members are so friendly.  They have a great deal for first time students; for $30 you can get either 1 week of unlimited classes or 3 classes to use over the following 30 days (or if you just want the 1 class, it’s $18).  Packages are also available to returning students and they help to bring down the cost per class substantially.

Overall, I think the heat factor really enhanced my yoga experience.  Being so aware of your breath and on maintaining focus despite the heat makes for a much more self-aware practice – surprisingly, I found it incredibly energizing. Whether you’re looking for a new way to get your sweat on during this cold winter, or just want to turn up the heat of your workout routine, Prana Power Yoga is definitely worth checking out.

Be a Foodie at Eataly

28 Dec

Benvenuti a Eataly

Whether you’re a food enthusiast or not, the culinary atmosphere at Eataly in Flatiron (5th Ave @23rd St) will have your foodie juices flowing.  The massive space that is home to several restaurants (umm Le Verdure, a veggie-only resto?!), a coffee shop (featuring Lavazza), a gelateria, and the market, which boasts a ton of specialty cuisine sections (hello pasta!!!), will knock your socks off.

Pasta for miles (or at least aisles)

The massive size of Eataly is a lot to take in at first, but pace yourself.  I suggest you start by taking the time to channel your inner cooking muse – there are recipes to take with you spread throughout the various sections (with tastings too) and there’s a place to buy cook books as well that are all signed by the chefs who penned the books.

Get ya produce on

From there, decide what you’re taking home with you; the produce section has some of the largest varieties of citrus fruits and mushrooms I’ve ever seen.  There are also sections for meats, fish, cheeses, breads, desserts, pastas, and even sauces get the spotlight with rows and rows of options.  To round out your meal, don’t forget the wine and beer (a roof top beer garden is due to open in Spring 2011).

While in practicality, Eataly would be a great place for your specialty grocery shopping (albeit a bit pricey), I have to say that its possibilities as a day out with the girls or even as a date are endless (you know how she’ll love to be wined and dined, gents).  Whatever your purpose, set aside some time for Eataly; you won’t be disappointed.

Eataly: 5th Ave @ 23rd St; open every day, 10am – 11pm

Paint, Drink and Be Merry: Little Shop of Crafts

9 Dec

I Heart Little Shop!

I’m always looking for ideas to have a low key night activity that’s outside the norm, which is why finding Little Shop of Crafts made me so incredibly happy.  By now, I’m a repeat-offender guest at the UES location (73rd St btwn York/1st Ave) of this arts & crafts super spot.  I’m constantly coming up with new project ideas as an excuse to go back – you can never have too many mugs!   All you have to do is pick a piece of pottery, choose the colors you want to paint with and you’re ready to go.  The prices are reasonable (you’ll usually spend $20-30) and they’re on Groupon every now and again, so keep an eye out for that to save some moola.

My favorite part of Little Shop is that Wednesday-Friday from 6:30-10pm is adult night – translation: free glass of wine! While they could definitely be a little more generous with the amount of wine they give you, the fact that they offer it at all is nice, and you can always opt to BYOB as my friends and I usually do.  The party room in the back is also a great idea for a grown-up party – I did my 25th birthday there and the “kids” loved it.

No matter what the occasion, Little Shop is the perfect evening of relaxation and always a good time when you’re looking for something different to do – now head on over and get to work on your masterpiece!

Perfect for Winter: NY Vintners

2 Dec

Let's get this party started!

Vino-philes (and winos alike) listen up: if you’re anything like me, wine is something you really enjoy partaking in, but know very little about (other than how much we like to drink it!).  As such, when I find myself under pressure to select a good wine when I’m at restaurants and even in liquor stores – I usually just go with the cheapest bottle the safest choice.  Nodding your head right along with me?  Then you need to make a trip to New York Vintners.

NY Vintners is a liquor store in Tribeca (Warren St btwn B’way/Church) that doubles as a classroom for hungry minds looking to learn more about wine.  I recently went to a Wine 101 class with the lovely Megan M and upon our arrival at their classy showroom, we were greeted with glasses of Prosecco – now that’s my kinda kick-off to a day.   We were seated at a long communal table with cheese and cracker plates, along with many tasting glasses.  We tried 3 different whites and 3 reds (sometimes we had SEVERAL tastes).  Our teacher Daniel was funny and made the day interesting, but more than that, he explained the tastes and sensations of drinking each glass in a way that made it accessible to the entry level wine enthusiast.

In my happy place!

Classes start at $50 for a 2 hour course + MANY glasses of vino and range from Wine 101 to Food Pairings (they have a full kitchen for demonstrations).  The whole day was excellent and would be awesome for a date, a girl’s day out or for anyone who wants to be a little bit better prepared the next time they have to stare down an intimidating wine list.

Check out their website to book your class, or if it’s a little too pricey for you, wait for a Groupon to roll around (pay $25 for a $50 class!) – there have been 2 promotions this year, so we’re probably due for one soon.   Plus, after a class, you get 15% off bottles and cases – yippee!

For a full list of classes, click here.   Cheers!

Gobble Up: Thanksgiving Week Suggestos

23 Nov

Are you spending the long holiday weekend in NYC?  If so, and you spend the rest of the year here, then you already know you’re best off avoiding midtown and any other bed bug tourist traps (Macy’s Day Parade, anyone?).  As for my downtown weekend “to-dos”…

What I would recommend above all else is to head to Union Square.  Stop at the holiday market that’s built right in the park square itself – they have awesome gifts and some great seasonal eats too.  While you’re down there, you may want to look into some of the great prepared sides and dishes at Whole Foods – esp if you’re cooking for Thanksgiving.  Most importantly, though – stock up on your favorite variety of 2 buck chuck (it’s $2.99/bottle) @ Trader Joes Wine Shop – they have a new Red Blend that sounds just right for the weather!

If you’re going out to eat, a great east village resto doing the work for ya is Back Forty (Ave B/12th St) – their 3 course prix fixe is only $50 and includes options for meat lovers, pesky-tarians and veggie fiends alike.  Make sure to make a reservation (212.388.1990); they’re doing seatings from 2 till 8pm.

As for the rest of the weekend, hit up some brunch spots you’ve always wanted to try.  This may be your weekend to check out Penelope, or get your boozy brunch on – my favorites are Diablo Royale, Philip Marie, and Essex (fear not – review to come soon).

Finally, if you’re looking to brighten your holiday at the expense of others, look no further than the Sticky-Note Confessions of Awkward Thanksgiving Moments – click here

Whatever you decide to get into, enjoy!  I’ll be back with more recommendations before you can figure out why your pants won’t fit…

The name says it all… GOOD BEER!

16 Nov


Me Likey

What they should’ve called this place is Great Beer because it is AWESOME.    The spot is on 9th St between Avenue A/1st Ave – it’s a few steps down from the sidewalk so keep your eyes peeled!  When you walk in, you’re met with walls covered floor to ceiling in beers, exposed brick and a butcher’s block bar to hang around.  Everything about this place is inviting including the peeps who work here – they’re friendly + knowledgeable.  Buy a Growler and fill it up there or choose from the 100s of loose and packaged bottles for sale there.

Growler Says: "Fill Me Up!"

As much as Good Beer is a beer retailer, it’s also a great local hang.  They always have 12 different beers on tap – the 4/4oz beer flight for $8 is a great bang for your buck. My FAVE?  The Arrogant Bastard which was a darker beer but not too heavy.  As far as eats go, the food was the biggest surprise of the evening – I had the Vegan Spicy Italian Sausage over warmed sauerkraut and it was possibly the best faux-meat I’ve ever had – it was fennel and spicy pepper heaven.  The food items also included pretzels and real meat sausages, cheese and meat plates – all were priced to keep me coming back for more.

"There's so much BEER in this Clubbb"

I highly recommend you check this place out.  It’s good for a group, a date or just stopping in to pick up beer for your next soiree.  It’s multi-purpose-awesomeness.

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