Tag Archives: NYC

Lunch’s Best Friend: Grey Dog

8 Feb

Mexican Hot Cha-Cha-Chocolate

Nothing tugs at my heart strings like a good prix fixe brunch special, so you know if I’m skipping brunch to hit up a lunch spot on my weekend afternoon, it’s going to be nothing short of fantastic…  Which, in a nutshell, describes Grey Dog’s Coffee – the quintessential neighborhood coffee and lunch spot in Greenwich Village (University btwn 11th/12th Sts).

Take a step into the cozy, country-styled dining room and witness dining efficiency at its peak.  Don’t let the long line to order deter you – tables are turned over pretty quickly so take a second to eyeball that table of hotties at the front, check out some of the quirky local art covering the exposed brick walls, then focus your concentration on the massive chalkboard menu; it’ll be your turn to order in no time.  While they do offer wine, beer and sangria, we opted for Mexican Hot Chocolate (made with cinnamon) and espresso – when in a coffee shop, right?

Our table had the Grey Dog’s Breakfast with Pancakes, which also included eggs, taters, and fruit, but the bacon (I’m told) was the star of the show.   I’m more partial to the sandwiches; one of my fellow diners had the #7: a Turkey Sandwich with Granny Smith Apple, Brie & Raspberry Mustard – on the Cranberry Bread, it was legit.  I went for the #5 – Portobello Mushroom, fresh Mozz and Roasted Red Peppers which is Panini pressed to perfection.  The sammies are pretty huge so I’d recommend doing a combo with 1/2 a ‘wich + the country salad; their homemade vinaigrette is one of my favorites out there.

The Carmine Street location and the latest addition, a Chelsea locale, give you a few options to hit up.  Whichever you decide to go to, do yourselves a favor and check out the amazing lunch goodness that is Grey Dog’s Coffee –  it will have you running to fetch more.

Tap into Tapeo 29

31 Jan

All Hail Cocktails

Listen up, because this one’s making the list of TOP brunch spots.  Too often I’ve come to find that when you’re getting an excellent brunch special, the sacrifice is in the quality of the food.  So when I heard about Tapeo 29, a Zagat’s rated tapas spot offering a stellar brunch deal, I knew my weekend research was going to take me to the Lower East Side (Clinton @ Stanton).

Tapeo is a true bar and restaurant that, unlike many spots with both these features, doesn’t suffer from an identity crisis.  The resto’s expansive center bar is surrounded by high top tables which are closely situated and make it easy to strike up a conversation with your neighbors, if you so desire.  With the drink special, which is $20 for an entrée + 2 drinks (mimosas, bloodies, screw drivers), I’m certain you’ll be chatting up your fellow brunchers in no time.  Done with your first 2 drinks and fiending for more?  No worries, after your included drinks, additional cocktails are $2 each or $5 for a pitcher, if you’re really looking to get after it.

Wrapped Up in Brunch Bliss

The special also gives you free range of the whole menu, so you have the option to choose a traditional breakfast item, or to order $20 worth of tapas.  The Brunch Wrap with eggs, cheddar and avocado slices was great; the salsa verde was an awesome sauce and the home fries are the ISH – the Eggs Benedict were “super” as well.  A table favorite was the Chorizo al Sidra – medallions of chorizo slow cooked in apple cider and cinnamon, which even I had to admit, smelled phenomenal.

This Benedict's No Traitor

The bartenders and wait staff are friendly and accommodating, which makes it easy to settle into a nice long day of debauchery.  So assemble a crew, make a reservation and get ready to warm up your barstool – Tapeo 29 is the spot.

Healthy and Divine: Pure Food and Wine

27 Jan

For a lot of people, the idea of eating vegetarian may conjure up bad childhood memories of being forced to eat brussel sprouts… but now that you’re all grown up (some of you, anyway), it’s time to put aside these silly veggie prejudices and give greens a chance. Here to prove, in 5 simple steps, that eating your vegetables can be healthy AND delicious is Gramercy’s Pure Food & Wine (Irving Pl btwn 17th/18th Sts).

Step one: cocktail yourselves. The drinks are well mixed + thought out creations that incorporate ginger, açaí berry, green tea and other anti-oxidant rich goodies. The White Light Tini is an infusion of lemongrass, ginger, green tea and unfiltered sake – I’d go back for that alone! Get one!

Step two: appetize. We actually opted to split an entrée as a starter. The deconstructed Spanikopita featured almond feta and cucumber “yogurt” (it’s actually vegan). I don’t know how they do it, but it was one of the most amazing things I’ve tasted in ages. The cauliflower and grapes complimented the dish but, my goodness, those sauces! Wow. Wow.

Step three: wine time. Grab a glass of wine to drink with your meal – their list includes bottles that are vegan, organic, sustainable, biodiverse and all taste really great too. I had a glass of the 2001 Crianza Tempranillo and after a good healthy “breathe”, it was spicy in the front and smooth in the back. Did I just describe a Wine Mullet? Moving along…

Step four: the main event. I honestly could’ve skipped to step 5, but in the interest of research, we opted to have an entrée and a small app as well. The lasagna was made with basil pistachio pesto, sun-dried tomato marinara and macadamia pumpkin seed ricotta layered Jenga-style between slices of zucchini + tomato. ‘Twas a little salty for my taste, but that didn’t stop us from cleaning the plate. We also had the mushrooms which were on a bed of pureed root veggies and topped with aerated thyme foam. VERY different!

Step five: dessert. Do it, this place has amazing desserts. We had the pumpkin cheesecake parfait with maple syrup glaze and candied pecans. Are you kidding me? Effin awesome.  Pure Food & Wine is a sexy spot where you can get adventurous, change up your routine and perhaps even surprise yourself at how good veggie-fiends have it after all; you, too, can indulge and still feel healthy!

Bloody Mary Throwdown: Double Crown

24 Jan

Visit the Bloody Bar!

If you’re a fan of Bloody Marys, you’re going to LOVE the do-it-yourself Bloody Mary bar at Double Crown.  The NoHo (Bowery/2nd St) hot spot offers up several prix fixe brunch options that will have you challenging your friends to a Bloody Throwdown of epic proportions.  Oh, and they serve brunch food too!

Double Crown is a British fusion resto with a really interesting menu that incorporates Asian influences into both the food and décor.  It’s a really large space that is upscale and swanky – the crowd is rather attractive too, might I add!  There wasn’t a wait (although the place was pretty full), which is a big plus.  The brunch at DC is offered either a la carte or with 2 prix fixe choices – for $20 you’ll get an entrée + 1 cocktail or for $32 you’ve got yourself as many drinks as you can imbibe – heck yes.  Get creative with the Bloody bar’s accoutrements – the pickled vegetables (unexpectedly) stole the show for me.

Yummy in My Tummy

The food was good, but a little salt bumped it up to great.  I had the Old English Breakfast – the beans were SO good and the bread was delicious (I may even opt for the French Toast next time).  My brunch partner du jour went with the Grilled Sambal Prawns & Scrambled Eggs – the avocado + tomato salad served with it was legit.  Also, word on the street is that the Crispy Pork Belly on steamed rice with chili caramel, mint and fried egg is amazing.

Fawn Over Prawn

While the unlimited option is a little pricey, you definitely are getting your money’s worth.  Go with a large group and make a day out of it – use the initial Bloody to hone your skills then go head to head with your friends for the Throwdown title of Best Bloody.  Bobby Flay would be proud.  Oh, and if you want to try dinner, book through Savored to get 25% off your total bill Monday-Wednesday.  Get down with Double Crown!

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!

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