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Friday, April 30, 2010

Honest Abe [and Arthur's]

Last night was another great dining experience with coworkers.  It was a Thursday night, and we were 4 hot mamas, so the only logical dinner location was Meatpacking.  Didn't you know?  I'm one of the beautiful people.  We went wild on the menu:
  • Appetizers:
    • Tuna Tartar Tacos
    • Hamachi Sashimi (Pictured below, top row, far right): The best of the 4 apps
    • Sliders
    • Meatballs (pictured below, top row, middle)
  • Entrées: Steak, steak, and more steak (it's the restaurant's specialty, so we felt like sinners ordering anything else...minus Jill, the pescatarian of the group).  I believe I have previously mentioned my extreme affinity with dipping sauces, so I ordered my steak with not one but two of them.  I chose the bernaise and the truffle butter.  The bernaise was good, but don't even bother because the truffle butter is incredible.  At only $3 for this addition, do yourself a favor and splurge.  The steak is very tasty on its own, but this is a decadent supplement that should not be overlooked.
  • Sides:
    • Sweet potato fries with a sweet syrupy dip (did I mention my love of dip?) - almost like dessert and soooo good
    • Creamed spinach (pretty much a must with a steak dinner in my book)
    • Polenta: nice and creamy, a good and unexpected side
  • Desserts:
    • Carnival (Pictured below, bottom row, middle): a ferris wheel of doughnut holes with a chocolate dipping sauce and caramel and raspberry sauces that you could inject into the holes.  There was also a mini funnel cake on the side.  Basically, the plate looked adorable, but it was more of a novelty.  The taste was nothing so phenomenal, but the waiter brought it as a freebie, so you won't hear any complaints from me. 
    • French Toast Bread Pudding (Pictured below, top row, far left): Came highly recommended for good reason.  It was delicious.
    • Cookies and Cream Soufflée (Pictured below, bottom row, far left): Great.  It was nice to see a take on soufflée that wasn't the typical chocolate or cheese.  The crème anglaise poured into the center tableside made the dish.  The housemade ice cream sandwiches and oreos were nothing to scoff at either.  I love Bouchon Bakery, but I think this "oreo" was even better than the TKO (Thomas Keller Oreo) served there.
Dinner was long (in a good way), full of gossip, and wine-filled (3 bottles for the 4 of us, to be exact).  I must admit, a meal like this is an anomaly.  We went pretty crazy and ordered up a storm; but in all fairness, I must warn that the bill was waaaay up there.  Everything I had heard about this restaurant previously was along the lines of "the food is good, but comes with a hefty price tag," "loved what I got but thought I should have gotten a little more for what I paid," etc.  This made me leery of going, but I'm glad I was persuaded because I ate famously (though the comments were true). 

We left around 10:30, just when the real party was gearing up (alas, we did have work today).  Like I said, it was Thursday night in Meatpacking and cougars and daddies were out in full force.  But don't worry if you're not in the market for a sugar daddy/mama; there was someone for everyone.  The party gals were there in droves in their high high heels and short short skirts.  I was no shlub, but I must have missed the micro-mini memo.  I'm pretty sure I saw a girl's Cha Cha Slide.  The picture on the far right of the bottom row had to be included due to this Euro's fab shirt and hairdo.  There was a whole table of this awesomeness.

Overall: If you have a lot of money to burn, Abe and Arthur's serves up good food and A+ people watching.  If you don't have an overweight wallet, eat and drink before you go and get an app and drinks there.  It's a good way to experience the scene at this hot new restaurant without spending a bajill.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Unanswered Questions: Gossip Girl Recap - 4/26 Episode

As mentioned last week, the title of Best Show Ever has been usurped by Glee, but I still have not given up on my Gossip buddies.  With a case of the Mondays, they are like my security blanket.  This week Billy Baldwin came to shake things up with a mysterious unnamed disease (::shhh:: I think it's cancer) and Jenny decided to slut it up.  Biggest questions of the week are as follows:
  • Jenny, why are you such a hooker?  At least put some boxers with your sleepover seduction outfit...which didn't work by the way because you're barking up the wrong tree and need to go find someone your own age slash not dating your stepsister.  Someone needs to hand that girl a hairbrush and take her out of the Pretty Woman costume closet.
  • Is it just me, or does Billy Baldwin's voice sound exactly like brother Alec's?
  • That whole don't tell anyone you're sick or you'll actually get sick theory is BUNK.  Who wouldn't, at the very least, tell their husband?  (Ex husband doesn't count, Lil.)
  • What's wrong with Blair spilling on Vanessa's pleather leggings?  I think ruining pleather leggings would make the outfit better.  Pleather should never be worn in mass quantities.
Looks like there's madness to come, so stay tuned...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Mezcal at Mayahuel

I am happy to say that I crossed another restaurant off my list on Saturday night!  I am always intrigued by a restaurant that specializes in something.  I think it is because I like the idea that they are throwing themselves into something 100%, nothing half-assed about it.  The latest restaurant to catch my eye due to this focused menu approach is Mayahuel and they're alllll about the mezcal.

Mezcal is a distilled drink produced from the maguey plant grown primarily in Oaxaca, Mexico. Maguey is a form of agave, making the drink similar to tequila, though a tad smokier.  Mayahuel has a looooong list of drinks made from mezcal and tequila, so I had some tough decisions to make.  After requesting a recommendation between two drinks from the waiter, he asked me if I had a sweet or spicy personality.  I answered spicy (duh, we all know I'm a little spitfire), and he pointed me in the direction of the Spicy Paloma, which was jalapeno tequila with grapefruit, lime, soda, and a salted rim.  Very tasty - I'm really diggin this jalapeno tequila lately.  After that, I was ready for something sweeter, so I tried the Blackfriar Cobbler.  I think this one was made with mezcal, muddled blackberries, soda, sugar and spice, and everything nice.  It went down veeery easily.

Don't think I went there just for the drinks!  There was much food and socializing to be had.  I was long overdue for a date night with Steph, and we figured the boys could tag along as well.  Thankfully, they're fun diners and were up for sharing a couple apps.  We ordered chips and guac, the chorizo with shrimp and scallops, and the chorizo and cheese croquetas.  All very yummy, though the chorizo with shrimp and scallops was a little small for 4 people (but perfect for one or 2) and the guac was nothing special.  For the entrées, Gav and I were on the same page and ordered the pork belly and Steph and Dave were apparently sharing a brain when they both ordered the fish taco special.  Maybe we should switch boyfriends.  The pork belly came with 3 mini tortillas so I could make my own little taco.  The belly was crispy and delish with a sweet mango/tomato relish to balance the spiciness.  Of course my fork wandered over to Dave's plate for the fish tacos, which were light with a corn salsa that had a definite kick to it.

The bill was high due to the amount of $13-$14 drinks we consumed, but the food itself was very reasonably priced.  Much like Death and Co. (they're owned by the same people), there's no such thing as a reservation, and they call your cell phone when your table is ready.  If you're smart like us, you'll get there by 8 PM to beat the crowds (our wait was not even long enough to finish a glass of wine at The Mermaid Inn around the corner)...or you'll try to pay the door guy.  The place is tiny but has charisma with the old world tiles and new world bright red lighting fixtures.  Thumbs up.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Food at the Flea

After over a month of waiting, the Hester Flea finally opened yesterday!  Raychel and I headed to Hester and Essex to check it out since the weather was so beautiful.  Raychel walked away with tons of loot (necklace, vase, earrings, ring), and I found some unique pottery.  Of course, I was primarily concerned with scoping out the food, and the vendors did not disappoint.

I love scoring a deal and finding my own personal treasure amidst piles of random artifacts (my 3 small clay bowls were only $15!).  I tend to take the same approach to food.  While I did not enjoy pushing my way through the [seemingly] millions of people and booths stuffed into a much-too-small area of a park, the food I consumed made up for it.  The food vendors were local and upscale.  I went intent on trying the lobster rolls from Luke's Lobster since they seem to have become practically world famous.  However, after seeing the line, I decided I could always go to their brick and mortar outpost at a later date and set my sights elsewhere.  It didn't take long to find the new object of my affection, an omelet station.  I never would have expected to find hipsters serving up made-to-order gourmet omelets at a flea market; but there they were, crammed between racks of vintage dresses and tables of costume jewelry.  There were 4 veggie-packed options (to which your choice of 3 cheeses is added), but for only $2 more (total: $10), I decided to go for The Full Monty with goat cheese, which included everything (kale, wild mushrooms, asparagus, tomatoes, and spiced cauliflower).  It was huge and more than satisfying.

I had to finish the meal with something sweet, so I grabbed a popsicle from the La Newyorkina stand.  They were all out of the Raspberry Hibiscus I wanted to try, and I wasn't feeling adventurous enough for the Avocado, so I went with Coconut.  It was so refreshing and clearly made with high quality ingredients.  The only part I didn't like was the chunks of coconut meat at the bottom - I'd rather slurp, not chew when I eat a popsicle, but to each his own.

I'll definitely head back to the Hester flea soon so I can give the other food vendors a chance and hopefully get lucky in the jewelry/housewares department.  My words of advice to future Hester Flea Marketers: go early.  It opens at noon, but by the time we left at 2:30, much of the vendors' stock had been depleted.  Good news for them, not so much for the shoppers.

Giving Friday Another Chance

I don't go out on Friday nights.  I'm too old for that.  After a long work week, all I want to do on Friday night is go home, slap on some pajama pants, and pass out while watching my DVRd episode of Real Housewives of New York.  However, due to the fact that this Friday was Rocio's birthday, I made an exception.

The birthday festivities were set to kick off at 10 at Los Feliz, so Matt, Jen, Richard, and I went to one of my top picks, Kuma Inn, for dinner beforehand since it happens to be right next door.  Kuma Inn serves Asian tapas for a very reasonable price with - wait for it - BYOB.  BYOBs are the jewels of Manhattan.  They help keep spending in check and usually come complete with a ready-to-have-fun type of crowd.  Kuma Inn is located in a Lower East Side tenement (there is no sign for the restaurant other than the name lightly spray painted on the doorpost).  It seems a little sketchy to walk up the grimy stairs, but once at the top, you will be pleased to find a very cute little restaurant.  We came hungry, so we got 2 orders of the pork buns (a must at Kuma Inn), Chinese sausage, coconut rice, grilled octupus (crispy on the outside, tender inside), tuna tartar, pork belly, and the steamed and fried rice crepes with kuma bolognese (a new fav).  After all that and the corkage fees for 3 bottles of wine, our bill only came to $30 a person with tip.  Diners, take note: it's cash only.

We were full and tipsy; in other words, we were ready to party.  Los Feliz was solid, but we didn't want the evening to stop there so after a few drinks, we headed to The Back Room for some speakeasy action.  Speakeasys are all the rage in NYC right now.  Everyone wants to feel like they're a cut above the riff-raff, and what better way than by securing access to a secret bar?  Walk through what seems to be an abandoned building that opens into a large, velvet wallpapered, mirrored room.  To provide the full Prohibition experience, beer is served in brown paper bags and all other drinks are in tea cups.  The vibe was nice, and it's always fun to go somewhere a little different...though I don't know that I would want to balance a saucer every single weekend.  There is a second, "secret", and highly exclusive bar within The Back Room and my goal is to one day hob-knob there.  Wish me luck.

So I guess going out on Friday night isn't so bad.  I may have to re-evaluate my mandatory Friday night chill policy...
Drinking from a tea cup.  Don't worry, it's still a Jack and Diet, duh.

Mac Daddy

One of my favorite ingredients is chorizo.  I can figure out a way to work it into almost any meal and dinner this week was no exception.  After a nice run on the tread, I came home ready to carbo-load, so I boiled up some pasta and started prepping the other fixins.  The chorizo went into a saucepan along with some shrimp (forgot I bought them the day before - bonus).  I wanted to make a cheese sauce so I faced a fear: the dreaded roux.  I know how to make a roux...I've just never done it, and the idea of the flour/butter/cream mixture turning lumpy if you look away for a mere moment frightened me.  I'm glad I tried, because it worked and made the mac and cheese creamy and delicious.  Bread crumbs added a nice crunchy contrast.

Mac and cheese is basically my favorite food (and it has to be said, no one's is better than my Mommy's).  With a little tweaking, mine may actually be as good as S'mac (and with a lot of practice, as good as Mommy Konter's).  S'mac is one of my favorite restaurants in the city.  The menu is made up of only mac and cheese dishes - each one better than the last.  The best part (well 2nd best because the taste is clearly the best) is the price.  The nosh (aka: small) is more food than you actually need and is only about $7.  My favorites are the La Mancha and the Cajun.  If you can't make it to my kitchen for mac and cheese, head to S'mac to satisfy your macaroni cravings.
My S'mac Substitute

Friday, April 23, 2010

Love is a Battlefield

Rant of the day: the dating world is scary.  Trust me; I know from personal experience.  I once went on a blind date with a boy who wore no undershirt under his white button-down in hot GA June weather.  I saw way more nipple than I wanted.  If I wanted a wet t-shirt contest, I would have gone to Spring Break in Cabo.  Don't worry, it's not all bad - Dave and I met on a blind date, and a year and a half later, I'm still not sick of him.  But after hearing the following 2 horror stories from the girl who sits next to me at work, I'm wondering if I am the exception rather than the rule...
  1. My podmate, Zaneta, met her blind date for a trip on the Staten Island Ferry.  When they got to the wasteland that awaited them on the other side, he suggested that they take a 20 minute bus ride to a random mall and walk around like they were 14 (even though they were in their mid 20s).  After trekking to the middle of nowhere and boring my friend with stories of how he attends Anime conventions in costume, he had the nerve to tell her he "didn't think it's working out."  Oh, and he called her materialistic because she wore a little bit of make-up on the date.
  2. Zaneta's buddy had it even worse this week. 
    • Her date requested to meet at a very dive-y bar - an odd choice for a first date.  I love a good dive, but it's weird on a blind date when the bar is sticky and there are zero other patrons.  One seedy bar wasn't enough, so he decided to take her to 3. 
    • They met at 6:30 - clearly too early for her to have eaten between work and the date - yet after about 2 hours she still had to suggest grabbing a bite.  McDonalds must have been all out of reservations because he decided to take her to Crocodile Lounge so he could buy a beer for himself and receive a free personal pizza for her, thereby freeing himself of the obligation to buy food.  Great place for trivia night...but they didn't go for trivia and he looked cheap.
    • He was wearing a denim shirt with jeans.  Head to toe denim.  I may not be a fashion guru, but ew.
    • He asked her if she was a good cleaner.  Why didn't he just ask how many goats she was worth or check if she had child-bearing hips?
    • He is a graphic designer, but had never heard of graphic design software (she happens to be in the field and attempted to ask questions).  Do your homework before telling career lies.
    • He had never heard of The Killers or the song "Mr. Brightside".  I'm no music buff, but even I know that song, so it struck me as slightly bizarre.
Men, let this be a lesson.  I'm not trying to be high-maintenance, but some behavior is unacceptable on a first date (or ever - that whole denim on denim thing is never ok). 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Little Sushi with Your Swisher?

A distinction: I am NOT a Yankee, but I am now a Yankees fan.  I attended Yankees games on both Thursday night and Saturday afternoon.  On Thursday, I was in the nosebleed section while on Saturday, I enjoyed cushy seats and waitress service from the 9th row behind 3rd base.  Different views, same great baseball experience. 

While I wanted to watch the action on the field, my main concern was completing the research necessary to perform a comprehensive food comparison between Yankee Stadium and Citi Field.  I think Citi Field wins overall, thanks to Shake Shack, but I was intrigued by one thing at Yankee Stadium: sushi.

At a sporting event, I want game food.  The act of balancing a basket of greasy food on your lap while still trying to stand and cheer for an amazing play is almost a sport of its own.  Sushi is awkward and requires too much coordination.  Who wants to weild chopsticks at a baseball game?  Instead, over the course of two games, I opted for Carl's Cheesesteaks, Nathan's cheese fries, a Lobel's roast beef sandwich, and of course the very reasonably priced $5 bottle of water.

(In case you didn't get the reference in the post title, Swisher is a player for the Yankees.)
Prepping my Lobel's

Book Review: Midwives

This novel was a quick but good read recommended by my Mommy (and Oprah). At the center is the ethical dilemma of whether or not a midwife is guilty of murdering a patient.  Minus a point or two because while there was resolution to each character's issues, many things were handled from a surface perspective (part of why it was such a quick read).  Overall, the idea of doubt is interesting and how it plays within the courtroom space even more so.

Mostly, I liked this book because I enjoy saying "midwifery," pronounced "midwiffery.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Finding Nemo

At about 5 PM today, I got a yen for fish tacos.  Not sure why I suddenly craved the West Coast specialty, but I was hungry and it was pretty much all I could think about.  My stomach led me to the nearest Whole Foods so I could pick up all the ingredients.  Since it was my first attempt at fish tacos, I enlisted the help of the perky man at the seafood counter who helped me choose the appropriate scaly friend.  With his assistance, Nemo made it on my plate by 8 PM.

After spending my entire San Diego/LA trip trying to track down the best fish tacos in SoCal, I can now say that the best fish tacos can be found Chez Tess.  I topped my grilled swordfish with a homemade chili-lime slaw, pico de gallo, and avocado.  It was delicious!  But more importantly, it satisfied my craving and took no time to make.  On the side, I ate beets with mangoes in a cilantro raspberry vinaigrette, courtesy of the Whole Foods prepared foods section.  And now for the perfect end to the meal, I'll be eating Haagen-Dazs' Creme Brulee ice cream (complete with swirl of caramelized sugar)...straight from the pint of course.

Kellari's a Keeper

After some last minute changes in plans on Saturday night, we found ourselves walking into Kellari Taverna for dinner.  We didn't have a reservation but were seated immediately.  If you're wondering about the restaurant's credibility due to the fact that there was no hour-long wait, I'll have you know it was recently featured on Gossip Girl; and if B and S grace a restaurant with their presence, it must be good. 

We snacked on the hummus, bread, radishes, and olives on the table while examining the menu before coming to our food decisions.  For appetizers, we ordered some ultra creamy tzaziki and a wonderful octopus salad.  The octopus was lightly dressed, warm, and not at all tough.  In other words: perfect.  Seeing as how fish is the house specialty, I ordered dorado.  It was very tasty, but I found a couple bones.  I can safely say there is no demure or ladylike way to pull fish bones out of your mouth in a fancy restaurant.  We ordered the potatoes, spinach, and asparagus sides as well since the menu was à la carte style.  Everything was very lightly seasoned to pull out the best, natural flavors of the dishes.  We finished the meal with the baklava, which was delicious - more melt in your mouth than chewy, as baklava should be.

Kellari is not cheap, but if you want fresh, well-prepared fish, it is a great place to keep in mind.  While I am a carnivore through and through, I have a couple of ::gasp:: veggie-minded pals, and it is nice to have a reliable vegetarian-friendly restaurant in the arsenal.  I think this is a little better than directing them to the make-your-own salad station at Europa.  Though if they are completely vegetarian and do not even eat fish...I don't really know where to tell you to go.  Is there a celery store?

Bacon Makes Everything Better

Wowee zowee, this is my 100th post.  In honor of this auspicious occasion, I knew this blog entry would have to be a doozie, and what better subject than BACON. 

Yesterday was Sunday Funday, so Dave and I headed to Brooklyn to check out Matt and Jen's new digs.  That was not a typo - I actually hopped on the L and went to Brooklyn yesterday.  I don't think I'm quite cool enough to be in Williamsburg full time (read: I don't look like a Jonas Brother), but after 3 years in NYC, I figured it was time to give the BK a chance.  Turns out, there are some pretty cool things in Williamsburg.  Matt and Jen have an amazing apartment and happen to live next to 2 check-out worthy (and cheap) places:
  1. Carmines pizza - delish.  I had one with chicken and bacon.  Bacon on pizza is a wonderful idea.  I also spied one that was comprised of a chicken ceasar salad on top of the slice.  Interesting...
  2. Uncle Louie G's Italian Ice - TONS of flavors; and now that I am the proud owner of a loyalty card, I intend to try them all.  Thus far, black raspberry proved to be pretty solid.
But don't think the bacon stopped at the pizza.  What's Sunday Funday without brunch drinks?  Sunday Borningday.  Mimosas and bloodies were the perfect accompaniment to our steak and eggs, but the kicker was the vodka.  BACON VODKA.  I suppose it was only a matter of time before someone infused the nectar of the gods with the best meat around.  It added a little something extra to the bloody marys.  At only $30 a bottle, this is cheap (and yummy) enough to keep in your freezer for on-going brunch occasions.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Gleek Out

Yayyyy Glee's back!  Last night's episode was not the best ever (mostly due to Will/Emma cheesiness), but it definitely satisfied me, primarily because of the following lines:
  • Kurt: (in response to Will's question how everyone answers the phone) No, she's dead; this is her son.
  • Brittany: Did you know dolphins are just gay sharks?
The show was also bumped to greatness by showing me my Broadway dream, realized.  Idina Menzel as a guest star yessss!  To top it off, we got to see Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff together again.  Loved the sexual chemistry...minus the fact that Groff is actually of the homosexual persuasion.  But it took me back to when I saw their respective boobs and booty from about 2 feet away in Spring Awakening - aaah memories.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hi Tess, How Was the Ice Age? Welcome to the New Millennium.

I am sooo cool.  Er actually, I'm about as cool as the rest of the world already is.  I now - finally - have a smartphone.  The Droid Eris, to be more precise.  It's a whole new world - internet! touchpad! apps!  But if you're reading this, don't call me - I still don't know how to use it.

Unanswered Questions: Gossip Girl Recap - 4/12 Episode

I apologize in advance because I admit my heart is not fully in this recap.  All I can think of is tonight's return of Glee, which I believe has replaced Gossip Girl as the greatest show of all time.  We may be changing up the recaps soon, kids.  In the meantime, I'll recount only the most confusing bits of last night's episode:
  • Was that a folky Russian accordian version of The Black Eyed Peas' "I Got A Feeling" during the balloon game?  Somebody please confirm. 
  • Is Eric's crush for real?  First of all, don't go to a wedding you weren't invited to.  And don't bring a date.  This second rule is twofold: that's two extra very pricey heads to feed and don't bring your beard when you try to mac on someone else.
  • What would have been the big deal of Serena running five whole steps into the ballroom to tell Nate she was leaving?  Those 30 seconds aint gonna make or break your flight.
  • Is it weird that I found Vanya attractive out of uniform?
Here's the best part: while I suspected Vanya was not a real Pole, turns out he's a very American Jew named Aaron Schwartz.  I know this because I stalked looked him up on IMDB after determining that, yes, I did find him attractive without his doorman attire.  Does his name sound familiar to you?  Probably not, so let me tell you where you may have seen him.  That is the formerly tubby star of HEAVYWEIGHTS.  He played the main character, Gerry.  He was also in Mighty Ducks.  That just blew my mind.  With that, I leave you with the following quote:

"Attention campers, lunch has been cancelled due to lack of hustle.  Deal with it."

-Tony Perkis

Monday, April 12, 2010

Death Becomes Her

Saturday was a great day, start to finish.  Ess-a-Bagel was a smart way to start the day and fill up on carbs before heading to The Village Pourhouse for some day drinking while watching the Masters.  Golf may not be the typical sport companion for day drinking, but we seemed to make it work.  By the time the golf ended, we needed to hurry home to get ready for dinner and our night out.  I was only a tad upset about being denied my nap, but I managed to rally even though I no longer consider myself a spring chicken. 

The dinner hot spot of choice was Death and Company (the menu is a tad outdated on the website).  The name derives from the prohibition era mindset that to consume alcohol was to live a life shadowed by death.  Here, bartending is an art.  They are master mixologists and they have put some blood, sweat, and tears into determining the best combinations possible.  When a drink is stirred, they don't just swish around a swizzle stick.  They meticulously count out each one of the 40-50 rotations.  The tiny restaurant does not accept reservations but after slipping some cash to the bouncer, our names magically moved up the list rather quickly.  Well worth it.  The cocktails were wonderful, and the food didn't disappoint, either.
  • Tuna Tartar (with avocado and homemade kettle chips)
  • Lobster Brioche Rolls (with a jicama salad)
  • 2 orders of crispy pork belly (served with cranberry beans and pomegranate)
  • Truffle Mac & Cheese
  • Pulled Pork Sliders (with a potato and apple salad)
Sadly, I only managed to take two pictures before I was told to turn my flash off, but trust me when I say that both taste and presentation for all dishes was well done.  My favorite plates were the Pork Belly (the explosion of the pomegranate was a nice contrast to the creamy I love pork belly - it's basically an excuse to eat pure fat in a nice restaurant) and the Truffle Mac.  I need to buy myself some truffle oil.  It makes everything just taste fancier.  I could probably pour it over Cheerios and feel like I'm in a gourmet restaurant.  I think it has the same effect on food that English accents have on people.  I automatically think Englishmen are intelligent, cultured, and hot - even when they have awful teeth.

    After dinner, we tried (and failed) to hit up 2 very crowded bars (Whiskey Town and PDT) before meeting some friends at Dempsey's.  It was worth going to that bar just to watch a couple NYU students make fools of themselves.  Oh college...

    Sunday, April 11, 2010

    A Royally Good Time

    Even before this weekend rolled around, I knew it would be a biggie.  One of Dave's besties from college, Carter, was in town and we were determined to show him a good time beginning the moment his plane landed on Friday.  After a quick burger dinner, we headed to The Royalton Hotel for drinks.  I wish I took pictures of this place.  Thankfully, the website took care of that, so I don't feel so bad about neglecting my photo taking responsibilities.   The crowd wasn't great, but the chic atmosphere cancelled that out and made it a great place to start the night.  I could see it as a nice place to bring the 'rents when they visit - great ambiance without having them trek downtown.  The drinks are not cheap; therefore, I offer two tips:

    1. Go there for your first drink or two on the way downtown.  My $15 cocktail was super delicious (jalapeno infused tequila with cucumber and a splash of pineapple juice), but there are only so many of those you can drink before your wallet starts scolding you.
    2. If you're in the mood for champagne, order 2 half bottles.  A full bottle of Veuve Clicquot was $145, but a half bottle is only $42.  Now, I'm no John Nash, but I did well enough in Algebra to know that ordering 2 half bottles is much more reasonable than one full bottle.  Plus, anything mini is automatically cute.  We felt brilliant for discovering this anomaly on the menu and even more so when the waitress told us only one person before us was smart enough to do the same thing.
    From there, it was off to the east village for drinks and games at Ace Bar.  Carter decided Bear Fights were the obvious next step.  Don't worry, I didn't know what that meant either.  I now know that it is a Jager Bomb immediately followed by an Irish Car Bomb.  I took them like a champ and am confident it improved my Skee Ball skills.  Back to my apt for some pizza to soak up the alcohol and in bed at the very reasonable hour of 4 AM.

    Skee Ball Action Shot

    Thursday, April 8, 2010

    Unanswered Questions: Gossip Girl Recap - 4/5 Episode

    Yes, my weekly GG recap is a tad late this go 'round, but I was busy; sorry.  Something tells me nobody produced an intense and pungeant sweat awaiting this, but I felt like I should [sorta] explain myself in case this happens to be the highlight of your week.  On the other hand, while I would love that I would be a part of what you consider to be the best piece of your week, I find it a tad sad if this is all you have to live for.  As Bethany on Real Housewives of New York would say "you need to get a hobby."  Speaking of hobbies, this week on GG everyone seemed to have the same hobby of birthday games and destruction of frenemies (how's that for a segue!?).  I'll keep this one brief and just discuss what I found to be the question marked bits of this week's episode...
    • Why is Dorota waiting on Serena like she's her employer? Blair is your Queen - don't forget your loyalties!
    • What was going on with Blair's coat, which was nothing if not an homage to shoulder pads?  Forget fashion, that was downright dangerous.  Somebody could've gotten their eye poked out.
    • Was Nate really supposed to believe that Serena has a garter for her cell phone?  She may have a trashy past, but that's still a stretch.
    • Thank you, writers for explaining Eric's absence...but why in the world would he be in Japan?  Alone?  I doubt he was checking out colleges...unless that's what the kids are calling bathouses these days.
    • Now that her PR career is kaput, she is no longer seeking out her absent father, and she kicked the married politician to the curb, what does S do all day (when she's not planning elaborate b-day parties)?  I love me some free time, but I think even I would get bored of doing nothing but spend money.
    Until next week...

    Wednesday, April 7, 2010

    For the Person Who Has Everything

    I think I can say I've seen it all.  Last night, I left work at a reasonable hour due to a fire that caused us to evacuate the building at 7:30.  We still have not regained lights, AC, or full elevator use (but don't worry, we all came to the office like the good little worker bees we are).  Anyhoo, since I left work early, I headed to Macy's for some towels (not sure why I feel the need to tell you that).  When I got home, I further unwound by watching some mindless TV (90210 - embarrassing to admit, but those hottie patotty boys walk around shirtless, so I like it). 

    After that full day (thank you again, evacuation), it was time for bed, but I was still feeling the stress of the workday weighing on my shoulders.  And then I saw it.  A commercial for the Chia Obama.  Did you know Chia Pets still existed?!  I didn't.  And I certainly didn't think I would see one featuring greenery growing out of our president's normally shiny bald head.  Maybe it was the old-school style infomercial that got me, but somehow this calmed me down after a very stressful day.  I'm not saying I'm adding it to my b-day wish list (exactly 2 months away to the big 2-5, hint hint), but it made me laugh.  Ch-ch-ch-chia! 

    Monday, April 5, 2010

    Decision: Unlikely Spots Make for Good Burger Eating

    How fast can I eat a burger?  My speed will astonish and amaze you.  If I am hungry and the burger is good, I am a BEAST.  I'm pretty sure I inhaled my Burger Joint masterpiece in less than 2 minutes.

    Walk into one of the swankiest hotels in New York and the last thing you'd expect to find is a dive, but that's exactly what you'll get when you walk through the nearly hidden door in Le Parker Meridian into The Burger Joint.  After scarfing down our burgers, we spent the remaining 5 minutes playing the "find the coolest famous person signature on the walls" game.  My latest goal is to become a celebrity so I will finally be allowed to make my mark on the walls.

    It's not like the menu is big (choice of burger, cheeseburger, fries, milkshake, box wine), but be prepared to tell them exactly how you want it (how it should be cooked and topping choices of lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, ketchup, mustard, mayo) the minute you step up to the register or else face the wrath of angry customers waiting in line behind you in the tiny box of a restaurant (maybe 150 square feet).   The no-frills menu is written in marker on cardboard for reference.

    The burgers are not in the fashion of JG Melon's or PJ Clarke's.  But that doesn't make them bad.  Much like the line drawn between Chicago and New York style pizza, there are two very distinct kinds of burgers.  Burger Joint falls into the greasy (in a good way) category à la Shake Shack or In-N-Out.  When I asked Dave if he thought this was better than Shake Shack, I learned he had never even been to the famed Madison Square Park burger stop.  Now I know what I'll be doing next weekend!

    Somehow, greasy burgers and fries was a super delicious and perfect way to end our cultured Broadway Musical-filled Sunday.  Loved the burger.  Still think it may come in a hair below Shake Shack (I love their special sauce but they lose points for their mass expansion).  If you haven't been yet, make sure to give it a shot so you can weigh in on the great burger debate.

    Friday, April 2, 2010

    Democrats Like the WNBA - Go Fig

    While perusing some of my fave blogs (other than my own, obvi), I came across this little gem, which maps party identification against likelihood to vote. 

    Now when people ask me why I am a Republican, I won't go on about such nonsense as healthcare; I'll explain that I lean conservative because I love college football and pro bull riding.  That should clear things up.


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