Andrea F

Archive for the ‘NYC Restaurants’ Category

Day 91: Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden

In NYC, NYC Bars, NYC Culture, NYC Restaurants, Queens on August 30, 2009 at 11:56 pm


It’s been said that in New York, you can travel the world without even leaving the city, thanks to all the ‘little’ neighborhoods, and the shops, cafés and bars within them. If you’re ever in the mood for a visit over to the Czech Republic and its surrounding Eastern-European neighbors, head to Astoria to Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden, where for an evening, you’ll feel a world away. The last remaining beer garden of its kind and a fixture in the community since the early 1900s, Bohemian Hall is a gathering place for local Czech and Slovak communities and adventurous others with a liking for beer and a taste for some hearty Slavic fare. The massive back garden is especially inviting on warm-weather days where lines of picnic tables cover the ground and mobs of strangers and friends unwind to live music—note the Czech and Slovak flags on the stage—, a great beer selection, and what else but pierogies, potato pancakes, sauerkraut and goulash. Does it get any better than this?


Day 84: Rickshaw Dumpling Truck

In NYC, NYC Cheap Eats, NYC Food Trucks, NYC Restaurants, things to do in NYC on August 23, 2009 at 11:54 pm


As if there aren’t enough brick and mortar restaurants for hungry New Yorkers to debate about, nowadays there’s the whole contingent of cool food trucks to consider. In actuality perhaps it’s a better deal—tasty eats, usually on the cheap, always on the fly—tacos, artisan ice cream, waffles, treats, and yes, dumplings! Rickshaw Dumpling Bar, named after the early means of transportation that originated in Asia focuses, like the man-powered vehicle- on speed and catering to the people with a simple, straight-forward menu. As a secondary location after opening on West 23rd Street in 2005, the truck, opened three years later, moves throughout the city parking itself in various neighborhoods feeding pedestrians who are, what else but on the go. With fresh ingredients and flavorful herbs and spices the dumpling truck serves the perfect sidewalk snack, six dumplings for six bucks in flavors like Chicken and Thai Basil and Classic Pork and Chinese Chives, and any side, say a Chili-Sesame Noodle Salad or an Asian Green salad for three bucks more. Take that and a cool beverage, a pair of chopsticks, find a park bench and you’ll be saying it too: ‘nice dumplings’.


Day 80: Glass of Rosé at City Winery

In NYC, NYC Music, NYC Restaurants, NYC Wine Bars, things to do in NYC on August 19, 2009 at 11:49 pm


It’s an interesting concept they’ve got going—a 21,000 square foot restaurant/wine bar that combines the dining experience with live music and…winemaking. Yes, actual winemaking, right here in the city. It’s City Winery. One foot into the immense dining room space, it’s evident they’re all about wine—wood plank floors, wood beams (Oak, one would guess!), brick walls, high ceilings and a winding staircase leading to a wall of wine bottles. The wine list includes 500-something wines and the dinner menu, is a clever chart where wines are broken down by red or white and then once more by fruity, crisp, bold… then from each, arrows directing you to suggested food pairings from cheese and salamis from Murray’s Cheese, to crostinis, flatbread pizzas, pan-seared scallops, steak and chops. A typical visit is probably a seat at a table or up by the bar, maybe with a performance of live music or spoken word. But if you’re up for a real experience sign up for tasting seminars, winemaking classes or become a barrel owner and get in on the process from the start—the crushing, the pressing, fermentation and bottling—even design your own label. Whether you’re up for the whole adventure or nothing more than a refreshing glass of summer Rosé, City Winery is a hot new place on the Manhattan map and definitely worth a visit.


Day 67: Smith Street, Court Street

In Brooklyn, NYC, NYC Restaurants, NYC Shopping, things to do in NYC on August 6, 2009 at 11:51 pm


For an afternoon away from the big city, but one that’s still only a train ride away, hop over to Carroll Gardens’s main drag—Smith Street. Though condensed within less than a mile there are great shops specializing in everything from nuts to graphic novels to trendy fashions from the cutting-edge (Bird) to the quirky (check out the rubber shoes at Epaulet!), and an assortment of restaurants and bars for an afternoon snack or an after work drink. Mosey one block west to Court Street where you’ll suddenly find yourself in the neighborhood of Cobble Hill. There you’ll find equally cozy-cool venues for indulging, be it by way of stylish garb (AliKat and Néda) or homemade confections (The Chocolate Room and Sweet Melissa). In between the two neighborhoods you’ll see brownstones on every block and trees lining the streets. You might even find movie trailers lined up along the way and hear rumors that a certain someone is filming nearby…oh like maybe…Julia Roberts!

Day 56: Sunday Dim Sum

In Chinatown, NYC, NYC Restaurants, things to do in NYC on July 26, 2009 at 11:06 pm

dim sum1

For a new spin on Sunday brunch, do like the Chinese and go for dim sum. Restaurants dotting Chinatown cater to weekend crowds who wait in long lines to sit down for the traditional Chinese breakfast ritual that includes small dishes served with tea. Like typical of dim sum in Hong Kong, it’s common to find servers pushing carts (or carrying trays) through the maze of dining room tables until patrons wave to take something. Menus are available with pictures and descriptions, but since the flow of food into the dining room can be rather sporadic, it’s easier just to take things as they come, and at least give them a try. From common steamed dumplings and spareribs, to not so familiar rice wrapped in Lotus leaves, savory Chinese ‘donuts’ and sweet cream buns, dim sum is the perfect time to sample a little of everything. Just be sure to go with an empty stomach and an open mind!

Day 44: NYC Summer Restaurant Week

In NYC, NYC Restaurant Week, NYC Restaurants, things to do in NYC on July 14, 2009 at 11:51 pm


In New York City, dining out is certainly a favorite pastime for visitors and locals alike. With thousands upon thousands of restaurants lining every side street, every avenue and industry insiders touting the newest hotspots daily, it’s hard to stay away, even when times are tough and money’s tight. Enter NYC Summer Restaurant Week where over 250 restaurants offer three-course prix-fixe menus for lunch at $24.07 and dinner at $35. Since it started in 1992, the program has gained a tremendous following over the years, bringing people to tables they ordinarily might not visit. Menus are available for previewing at, so take a look, grab some hungry friends, and feast away. It’s likely the most delicious bang for your buck you’ll ever find.

NYC Restaurant Week – now through July 31

Day 38: New York City Slice

In NYC, NYC Cheap Eats, NYC Pizza, NYC Restaurants, things to do in NYC on July 8, 2009 at 11:10 pm


Pizza is a must in NYC. The classic slice. A cheap eat and the perfect chow when you’re on-the-go like most of us are here, at work or at play up and down, east and west, tiring you feet on the city streets. But with pizza places on every corner, which one to choose? Ask anyone which is best and you’ll get a hundred different answers cause they’re all great. Ray’s, Ben’s, Joe’s, whatever, just as long as you’re not walking into one of the big names whose commercials you can’t get out of your head. Some of these guys here have been donning the white apron, tossing the dough for decades. Just the same, New Yorkers know the drill—order and move, 1,2, 3. No waffling! Once you’re out the door, you can mosey. Grab a seat on a park bench and enjoy your slice while watching the city whirl around you.

Ben’s Pizza (the personal fave)

Day 30: Shake Shack

In Best burgers in NYC, Milkshakes and Sundaes, NYC Parks, NYC Restaurants, things to do in NYC on June 30, 2009 at 11:26 pm


Nestled under the trees in the southeast corner of Madison Square Park, with tables and chairs on a floor of gravel, reminiscent of a traditional biergarten but with a menu of ultimate all-American eats, Shake Shack is a summertime do. It’s typical for the line to snake nearly as far as the park’s entrance gates, but don’t let that deter you. Once you make it to the over-sized menu boards you’ll realize it’s worth it. Burgers, hot-dogs and fries—from your most basic to the most piled high with savory toppings; and for dessert—frozen custard in daily special flavors, milkshakes and concretes— a custard base with your choice of mix-ins, from the divine list that includes shortbread cookie, peanut butter sauce and Valrhona chocolate chunks, to name a few. Day or night it’s a great way to spend some city downtime outdoors. Just make sure you go hungry.

Day 29: Burger at Corner Bistro

In Best burgers in NYC, NYC, NYC Restaurants, things to do in NYC on June 29, 2009 at 11:54 pm

A longtime neighborhood favorite, this place needs no introduction. On most any night of the week, it’s filled to capacity, every seat full, hungry carnivores lined up inside waiting for tables, waiting to order what are some of the city’s best burgers. With a menu of only about a dozen items (all of them under ten bucks) and a list of cheap beers, this dive bar-slash-burger joint is a New York City must. To avoid a painstakingly long wait check the place out midday where the grub is just as good and you can get it minus the mayhem.

Day 24: Bleecker Street Stroll

In Bleecker Street, NYC, NYC Bookstores, NYC Restaurants, NYC Shopping, things to do in NYC on June 24, 2009 at 11:52 pm


With what can sometimes feel like an overwhelming abundance of things to do and see in New York City, it’s understandable one might get stumped when deciding something as simple as where to go for a lazy day stroll. The stretch of Bleecker Street from Sixth Avenue heading west to its end on Hudson Street is brimming with storefronts to wander in and out of or just window shop in. There are so many you could come back for days, but since they’re all in a line, it’s possible to do it in a couple of hours. For specialty groceries you’re set with four shops between Leroy and Morton Streets—Amy’s Bread, The Lobster Place, Murray’s Cheese and Faicco’s Pork Store. A few doors down is the inviting Aphrodisia, chock-full of every herb, spice and essential oil under the sun. Down the block is Risotteria with a menu of over thirty…yup, risottos, among other yummy items. Just at Seventh Avenue (not technically on Bleecker, but close enough) is Centro Vinoteca for Italian eats, and a few steps further, Surya for Indian…with a garden. A few blocks down is Pumpkin, a bright collection of kid’s clothing and unique playthings. In between and across the street is a tiny shop Variazioni for frilly, feminine clothing and down a few doors are the strikingly beautiful windows of Ovando floral shop. Simply admire the exotic flowers from outside, or step in to buy even a single stem to walk away with. A little ways down find great leather bags at Verve then continue along to find Paris’s best candle shop, Diptyque. Just beyond that find Marc Jacobs goodies galore with Little Marc Jacobs, and two Marc by Marc Jacobs stores, one for accessories alone, the other for Ready-to-Wear. In between you’ll find the famed Magnolia Bakery and directly across (but soon to be moving farther east on Bleecker) is the quaint Biography Bookshop. And then along the way, if these aren’t enough, you’ll of course find the big names like Reiss, Steven, Juicy, Jack, and Ralph. Tons of fun, all on one street.