Tag Archives: New York City

Don’t Look Far, Look UP: Fuerza Bruta

2 Aug

Being in NYC is all about doing things outside the normal and having the strangest most exciting experiences out there.  Sure, you don’t have to look FAR to find unique things to do, but I recommend you look UP – at Fuerza Bruta, that is.  I was lucky enough to score an outing to this extraordinarily eccentric spectacle as a gift from my fabulous friends.  The show, which takes place above the audience, is worth craning your neck to check out.

Enter the Daryl Roth Theatre in Union Square and walk down into a cocktail dungeon with a crowd that’s as diverse as the performance itself.  I was surprised to see young kids (it may be above their heads, not just literally) and just as shocked to see some seniors as well – not that these folks didn’t know how to party.   And that’s exactly what you’ll do at Fuerza Bruta.  Bring your childlike sense of wonder (but leave the children home) and get ready to enjoy the parade of attractive actors dancing, swimming, sprinting and all sorts of other verb-ing for your viewing enjoyment.  Not to give too much away, but the most interesting part to watch unfolds as actors slip, slide and dive on a clear trampoline pool suspended above you.  It’s almost mesmerizing to look at and definitely had me aching to join the cast on their slippery stage.

If you’ve heard of the show or maybe even walked past it hundreds of times (like me), it’s time to go – now.  Shows are Weds-Fri @ 8pm, Sat @ 7 & 10pm and Sun @ 7pm.  Tickets are usually $75 but if you’re flexible with dates, pop over to the theatre 2 hours before the show to see if you can snag one of the limited rush tix for only $25 or search online for deals on tix, which there are ALL the time – score!  Whatever you do, don’t overlook this one, folks.

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Double Your Fun – a Great Bar & Resto in One: Jo’s!

13 Jul

When I’m running a few minutes early for dinner with a friend (yes, it does *occasionally* happen), I really appreciate a resto that rocks a solid bar scene where I can get my sip on and wait.  So with 15 minutes to spare and no idea what to expect, I showed up early for dinner at Jo’s in Nolita (Elizabeth btwn Houston/Prince) and was thrilled at what I found.  The rustic neighborhood joint, which knocks a couple bucks off your bottom line with happy hour till 8pm daily, is a great spot to hang while sipping a glass of vino in good anonymous company.

Walking into Jo’s, you might not even know this legit bar doubles as an eclectic eatery.  Blackboard specials and a small sign pointing to the rear dining room are your only clues to the joint’s seemingly secret identity.  Spend a moment taking in the cocktail-craving swarm imbibing in the front room – I opted for a happy hour glass of Gruner ($7; regularly $9). Soon enough, you’ll be good to check on your table and let the hostess whisk you to the back room where the casual wooden paneling borders dangerously close to sexy.    I was surprised, after leaving the healthily occupied bar area, to see that the dining room had many tables available BUT after tasting the amazing food, you could call me straight up perplexed.

 My dining partner du jour and I started with the Portobello Mushroom Sliders – 3 bite size veggie-friendly burgers topped w/a creamy cheese and decadent caramelized onions.  I nibbled to savor every scrumptious morsel.  Next, my din-date had the Garganelli ($16), a ziti-wannabe with street-cred (not to mention Lardons, caramelized shrooms & 3 cheeses) that was described as intensely rich.  He would’ve loved some bread to dip, but that didn’t seem to hinder his impressive plate-cleaning performance, which was only surpassed by the number I did on my meal.  I had the Mussels ($12) w/ Serrano pepper, Thai curry, coconut, scallion and lemongrass.  Do NOT underestimate how spicy this dish is; it’s one of those rare flavorful heat-forward dishes that I sometimes dream about… Yes, I dream in food – but that’s neither here nor there.  Don’t judge – order the mussels.

I’ve got just a handful of “neighborhood spots” I’ll recommend when a friend isn’t too specific about what they’re looking for in a resto and Jo’s just edged its way up my list.  Even better?  You can dine with a 30% discount from Savored.com most Sunday-Thursdays.  You might be out for dinner with a friend; you might be out for drinks with a date – you MIGHT even be on a date with a friend (git ‘er done) – whatever the case, Jo’s is sure to hit the spot.

Lobster Roll-ing in the Deep: Luke’s Lobster Truck

7 Jul

Being a bit of a social media junkie, stalking my favorite food trucks on Twitter has become a top-priority hobby.  Luckily for me, ever since I’ve started at my fabulous new job in Manhattan’s Flatiron district, the trucks have been coming out in droves.  Most notably, Luke’s Lobster’s food-mobile, “Nauti” seems to be hitting up the hood on the daily!  The crustacean connoisseurs at Luke’s are clawing their way up the lunch ranks – forget, “we could’ve had it all” – now you CAN have it all, and be Lobster roll-ing in the deep.

If you’ve got a lunch budget like mine (read: shoestring), you’ve probably noticed that make-your-own-salad joints are multiplying in cost on the daily.   Well folks, when Nauti’s on the block, it’s not exactly frugal Friday BUT if you eat like me and savor every bite, it’s not hard to make one of these precious roll creations into a full meal.  Plus, these Lobster, Crab and Shrimp rolls ($15/$10/$8, respectively) are SO worth what you’re shelling out – and only get better if you make it a combo (+$2) with a drink, chips and a pickle.

The rolls themselves are seemingly simple but with ingredients this fresh (delivered straight from Maine), letting the flavors speak for themselves is the key.  While I’ve had these buttery bites in all roll varieties, my favorite is the shrimp – those little guys pack a BIG punch of flavor.  I do always tend to go with 1/2 shrimp and 1/2 lobster – who can resist the namesake roll?!

So if you’re not lucky enough to be within walking distance of one of Luke’s 4 NYC locations (E. Ville, FiDi, UWS, UES) or their new Washington, DC locale, fear not!  You can cherish that rare occasion when the Luke’s Lobster Truck is nearby – such a welcomed surprise!  The morale of the story is this: when your boring lunch spots put you in a dining rut, check out Twitter or the new Zagats Food Tuck Site (still in beta) to find a food truck near you.  If you’re lucky enough, you may just get a little Nauti on your lunch hour.

For Brunch, Park Here: Garage Restaurant

21 Jun

When my dad asked to make our Father’s Day plans in NYC, a bunch of ideas came to mind; I mean, my folks love a great time and will always partake in a lil cocktailing… I’ve had the sneaking suspicion they were a little sore I’ve never invited them to a boozy brunch.  So I knew we had to do something a bit upscale that would also satisfy the wild child streak in those crazy kids.   Throw in the fact that we’re a music loving family and the boozy Jazz Brunch at Garage Restaurant in the West Village (7th Ave South @ Grove St) was the way to go; this crowd pleasing filling-station is a spot you won’t want to just drive through.

Alternate Side(walk) Parking: Upon arrival, make some moves and decide whether it’s indoor or outdoor seating.  You can opt to eat on the sun-drenched sidewalk where the service might be a little slow but the people watching and Vitamin D absorption happen fast.  Conversely, play it cool inside the Garage and get close to the live music action, which is better for larger parties as well.  Since we were just a party of 4 and it was a gorgeous little Sunday, we did the hang thang underneath an umbrella outside where we could catch just a little bit of the music AND some rays.

Gourmet Garage:   We started with 4 MASSIVE shrimp from the raw bar ($3.95 each) then moved on to the $16.95 Prix Fixe Brunch, which includes a drink and was lovely.  The Surf & Turf Benedict (+$5) was a big table hit and the Fresh Lobster, Applewood Smoked Bacon & Avocado Sandwich (+$5) made my dad’s day mouth-wateringly memorable.  I was sold at “add $6 for an hour of AYCD brunch cocktails,” but then the Brunch Potatoes happened.  They come with most dishes or a la carte ($3) and are a must-try – think a baked potato, doused with garlicky herbs and then smashed with the skin on… seriously FAB.  Also worth mentioning is the dinner, where the appetizers are affordable and perfect for a meal that’s on the lighter side.  The Green Apple and Bleu Cheese Salad ($14.25) was great and ideal if you’re not looking to splurge on one of their pricier entrees (no one likes to leave the garage with a wallet hit-and-run).

Garage Sale: Score some serious discounts on dining by booking a reservation through Savored – pay just $10 for your rez and you’ll get HUGE 30% savings off the total bill during dinner most nights…  as if you needed another reason to get there.  So put some distance on the old pedometer, drive walk on by and park yourself at Garage for an evening of pleasant jazz and tasty eats.

Winos and Music Lovers Rejoice: City Winery

17 Jun

Let me go ahead and clarify right off the bat; no, this title is in no way a reference to Amy Winehouse fans.  What I am looking to share with you is the 411 on the most low-key, relaxing music venue I’ve ever experienced in NYC: SoHo’s City Winery (Varick @ Vandam).  This place is hands down my ideal spot to grab a drink, a light bite (or delicious dinner) and relax into an evening of musical delight + witty stage banter with stripped down performances from some of the most celebrated artists in the biz.

Element 1: Drinks – City Winery’s got this on lock down.  With their own winery in house, they knock out awesome bottles and even have membership for vino-philes to come in and make their own private-label wines.  If you’re not fiending some fermented grape action – they’ve got an extensive full bar plus lots of import and domestic brews for sale.

Element 2: Eats – If you’ve got a smaller menu that’s built to be paired with delicious, small-batch wines, chances are you’ve made sure your offerings are pretty damn tasty.  I’ve consistently had solid food ranging from their crispy flatbread pizzas, to the awesomely shareable hummus plate.  Recently tried the Roasted Beet Salad ($10) which to my surprise (and eventual delight) was deconstructed and plated in a linear fashion.  The sliders ($14) were also a crowd pleaser, though as a friend pointed out, eating in the dark is not the ideal so maybe show up a bit early to eat before the lights dim and the music begins.

Element 3: Music – The massive multi-tiered dining room is a welcoming space where you can partake in delicious eats and drinks while listening to world-class musicians. Their bread and butter artists are singer songwriters who bring chillaxable tunes to the table (literally).  What’s unique about the space is how intimate it actually is – the evening will usually end up 70/30 music/stand up comedy routine, respectively.

Next time you’re looking for that rare evening when you’re at least feeling like a mature grown up, go to City Winery for an awesome hang.  Whether you’re seeing a favorite band or just checking in for a bite on the fly, it’s a great spot to make any simple evening a sophisticated affair.  And let’s be honest, sometimes giving the debauchery a rest is just necessary. You stay classy, New York.

Liquid Assets: Cold Pressed Juices @ Liquiteria

25 May

While I tend to play pretty hard on the weekends, being at my best for work on Monday is always a priority.  I’ve found that nothing gets my natural performance enhancement on like starting my week off with a juice cleanse.  I know “juicing” might sound scary or weird to some of you, but it’s actually quite easy, leaves you feeling great all week and won’t lead to a congressional hearing (though folks may question how you’re hitting all those metaphoric homeruns in the work place).  My favorite spot to get the best cold pressed juices in NYC?  Well that’d be the East Village’s Liquiteria (2nd Ave @ 11th St).

The menu features an assortment of healthy breakfast/lunch choices, but I head straight to the Liquid Rx section for my weekly juice cleanses.  My go-to drink after a hard hitting weekend is the Royal Flush, a blend of pineapple, pear, ginger, aloe and a Liver Kidney Lymph Detox supplement.  The drinks are freshly squeezed at $5.45 for 14 oz and $5.95 for 20 oz OR you can snag bottles of the cold pressed versions for $8.50 a piece (this method of extracting the juice is supposedly the most nutritionally effective).  With names like Immune Rocket Booster, Skin Trip and Liquid Lozenge, you’ll have no trouble picking a juice if you’re looking to get specific health benefits.  Customize your juice by opting to add one of the many supplements as well.  I usually get 4 drinks to have throughout the day when I do my Monday cleanse.

Non-E. Villagers and folks Nationwide listen up: they’ll deliver ANYWHERE in the US.  So go ahead and get your juice on at Liquiteria.  I promise this venture won’t lead to fist pumping BUT you may be lusted at for your gorilla juice head body, you sexy thang.  Disclaimer: I’m not a nutritionist, so if you have serious questions about juicing, do your research.  All I can say is that 1 day a week of drinking the fan-effing-tastic juices from Liquiteria is what works for me; you do you.

Get There: Hester Street Fair

10 May

When I told my girls I was rallying them for a street fair last Saturday, I couldn’t help but notice a slight resistance.  Not that I blame them; the days of generic falafel and shawarma booths beside kettle corn and funnel cake stations are numbered.  But street fairs have come a long way, baby, and there’s a new kid on the block.  No, I’m not talking NKOTBSB; this year Hester Street Fair has got the right stuff (oh oh OOH oh).

My perfect little Saturday started after a nice walk down Essex; we met up at the fair’s entrance on the corner of Hester and Essex – can’t miss it.  There’s a lot of action in there, so pace yourself, take a lap and scope out the goods before your decide on your first eats.  After doing a once over, we decided to get on board with Luke’s Lobster (OMFG – it was my first time with Luke…)  The combo of ½ Shrimp/Lobster/Crab rolls ($19) was AMAZING – a great savory kick-off to the eating festivities.

After sating our initial cravings, we took some time to peruse the other vendors. Vintage jewelry and eclectic clothiers were a-plenty along with some other interesting additions like the Casa Helecho Terrariums (I’m going to go back and further investigate these – get my geek on). The live music added to the festive atmosphere as we sampled pretzel rods smothered in Herbin’ Spoonful’s Habanero Caramel (mmm) and grabbed small delights from the Macaron Parlour (the Red Velvet was decadent and the Caramel Fleur de Sel, a perfect savory/sweet combo – $2 each).

One of the most popular vendors of the day was the Shaved Ice Shop – your “sundae” consists of finely shaved ice, drizzled with condensed milk and topped with your choice of fruits, nuts, granola, and some more surprising delights (red beans, anyone?) PLUS a scoop of sorbet or ice cream. At $5 a pop, it won’t hurt the wallet and on a hot day, it’s the perfect treat to take to the small lawn area just beyond the vendors – a small sheet to sit on isn’t a bad call either.

The Fair will be open for business from 10am-6pm on Saturdays through October 30th – you’ve got more than enough time to check it out, but don’t miss it.  Next time your Saturday leaves you jones’ing for some open air, great music and gourmet treats, get yourself to the Hester Street Fair – it’s a force to be reckoned with.  I’m putting all other clichéd street-closing-fests on notice.

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