Archive for the ‘New York’ Category

White Oak Tavern: Business in the Heart of NYU

January 9, 2016

In continuation of my “Ladies (& Gents) Wining & Dining Series” dedicated to the best lunch, dinner and drink spots for doing business while enjoying the best cuisine that New York City, Los Angeles and other top cities across the country offer, a little gem in the heart of NYU – White Oak Tavern (21 Waverly Place) – is a great place if you’re looking for an easy, laid back meeting place.

I met up with the founders of Startup Island, dedicated to creating epic spring breaks for young student innovators and entrepreneurs, who suggested the location.

Wanting something a bit lighter for lunch, I chose the Ancient Grain Salad with quinoa, wheat berries, goji berries, chickpeas, nuts, seeds and topped with a tamari vinaigrette, as well as a side of the Roasted Butternut Squash with goat cheese, kale, brown butter, sage and hazelnuts.

Summary: The spot wasn’t crowded, was easy to talk as it wasn’t overly noisy and the menu offered a lot of interesting seasonal selections, perfect for the time of the year as the weather was starting to turn cold. The staff was incredibly friendly yet not overly involved as they can tell who is conducting business over a meal, which was nice so there were few interruptions. If you’re looking for a laid back place with reasonable prices and good food, White Oak Tavern is a good choice.

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(Image Credits: Yelp)

Speakeasy Business: The Garret NYC

December 29, 2015

Happiest holidays, readers!  As the next post to follow in my “Ladies (& Gents) Wining & Dining Series” dedicated to the best lunch, dinner and drink spots for doing business while enjoying the best cuisine that New York City, Los Angeles and other top cities across the country offer, I’m pleased to introduce a new favorite – The Garret NYC (Garret West- 296 Bleecker Street & Garret East – 206 Avenue A).

I had the opportunity to enjoy the Garret West which sits nestled upstairs from Five Guys (yes, it’s completely hidden and you do have to walk through the Five Guys) for some amazingly creative cocktails in the city that never sleeps and dreams up these unique inventions.

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The Garret West NYC (Image credit: CBS Local NY)

A prospective client of mine chose the venue and having never been, I had to double check the email a couple times to ensure I was in the right place and that I wasn’t just being duped into eating a Five Guys burger (which is delicious, don’t get me wrong).  As I arrived first, I was able to snag one of the few booths inside the small space which offered a beautiful view overlooking Bleecker Street and recall the times I had a jonesing for Bleecker Street Pizza which also sits directly across from the building.

Being somewhat of an adventurous cocktail connoisseur and loving the name, I started with The First Lady, a combination of gin, combier, matcha green tea, lemon, egg white and fresh basil.

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The First Lady (Image credit: Well+Good)

For the second round, I opted for The Missus Wheeler with bourbon, banana, ginger, drambouie, and lemon. The one definitely packed a punch!

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The Missus Wheeler (Image credit: Eater.com)

Summary: The Garret NYC has a strong appeal as it’s off the grid so it’s great for locals as well as those who are out of state and want to feel like they’re getting the “inside track” to NYC. The cocktails are finely crafted (and therefore somewhat pricey), but worth the spend. As it’s small, it’s not a good option for a larger group (3-4 max is ideal). Additionally, as they don’t offer food, you may want to start out the night here and then head to dinner after, either downstairs at Five Guys if you’re looking for something informal, or choose from the many options of finer dining/sit downs with the vast array of restaurants all nearby in the West Village.

Bourbon & Business: Maysville NYC

December 12, 2015

As a follow up to my new series, “Ladies (& Gents) Wining & Dining Series” dedicated to the best lunch, dinner and drink spots for doing business while enjoying the best cuisine that New York City, Los Angeles and other top cities across the country offer, dear readers, meet Maysville NYC (17 West 26th Street), one of the newest hot spots just due west in the Gramercy area offering soul food and finely crafted bourbon and whiskeys (some of the more rare varieties you can get as the owner has even stocked the bar with some of his home collection).

For lunch I chose the Chilled Pemaquid Oysters on the half shell (note: they only serve East Coast oysters, so if you’re a fan of West Coast oysters like me, just keep that in mind) and the Crispy Grits with country ham and bourbon aioli.  You can also enjoy a range of salads, their famous “Chicken Under a Brick” with carrot, bacon and pickled onion or even the squash soup (seasonal) to sip on to combat the cold.

To finish, they offer a scoop of ice cream if you’re leaning towards dessert, or instead, a liquid option – a 1 oz. taste of Evan Williams White Label bourbon – why not?

Chilled Pemaquid Oysters on the half shell; Crispy Grits

Summary: Maysville is a great option if you’re looking for a sit down lunch without a long wait. While I went with a female friend and business connect, if you’re taking the male clientele out, they’ll most likely appreciate it even more given the stock of fine bourbons and whiskeys (especially if they’re Southern given the appeal of the soul food themed menu).  The restaurant is a bit small, so I recommend a reservation, but if you look around especially during a lunch meeting, you’ll see lots of other like-minded business meetings happening.  They also have free wifi so if you need to hole up to get some work done while waiting on your party or after they leave (like I did), you can cozy up to the bar with an espresso (or finely crafted cocktail of your choice).

 

NYC to Los Angeles: Foodie Reflections

April 28, 2015

It’s really hard to believe that it’s been almost two years from this date that I have touched this blog.  My last entry was right before I enjoyed Camp Blogaway in California and I dreamed about being here since that time. Fast forward and my journey has led me here to the city of Angels as of this past July.

I love blogging and I love writing. I love food. None of that went away when I wasn’t blogging here, but there was always a little sensation, a passing comment or curiosity peaked when I mentioned that I have a blog related to the culinary adventures I had documented here. Those little moments kept the blog alive for me even while I wasn’t faithfully writing.

So with that in mind, after a nearly two year respite of writing here, it only makes sense to me to share you with, dear readers, a journey from nearly 10 years in NYC to one in Los Angeles, a place I had wanted to be and now am, on this greater journey called life.

I was really fortunate to have experienced all the culinary delights I had the chance to explore in New York City – from City Lobster to Bell Book & Candle, Kaia Wine Bar, The London, Social Eatz, Koi, B. Smith’s, Dardanel, and my all time favorite (yes, I’m revealing it!) David Burke Townhouse, to name a few – these are not only the places I remember and have documented, but the moments I truly cherish in looking back on the delicious experiences – culinary and company wise, almost as if they were yesterday.  I remember exactly who I was sitting with and what the experience was like. After all, good food is supposed to take you right back to that moment you experienced it, right?

I don’t have a verdict yet on NYC vs. Los Angeles like you might be wondering as I’m still new-ish to Los Angeles, I can give you some compare and contrasts.  The biggest is certainly the distance. While in NYC you can easily get from delight to delight, Los Angeles is a bit harder in that way as it is very spread out. Both NYC and Los Angeles boast great chefs and great establishments so those are a fair comparison, and there are definitely hidden gems in both cities.

So what are some of my favorite haunts in Los Angeles thus far? Read on…

Greenbelt (36 Pier Avenue, Hermosa Beach, CA) – Greenbelt serves everything using local farmer’s market produce and the dishes are delicious for it. I’ve now been for brunch, lunch and dinner and can tell you that you can’t choose a wrong item on this menu.  Depending on what meal you’re going for, I recommend the Grilled Avocado benedict with basil hollandaise. Best part? No bread and you get the healthy fats from the avocado with other great seasonal vegetables that’s filling and it’s also gluten-free for those who have any allergies. Lunch?  Go for a shared pizza like the burrata, mushrooms, fresh tomatoes, basil and pesto. Simple and yummy. Dinner?  I love tuna so the Grilled Yellowfin Tuna with coconut black rice, shitake mushrooms and thai curry is great. Spicy alert on this one though, so the faint beware.

Grilled Avocado Benedict

Grilled Avocado Benedict

Grilled Yellowfin Tuna

Grilled Yellowfin Tuna

Uncle Bill’s Pancake House (1305 Highland Ave., Manhattan Beach, CA) is the ultimate comfort food. I went on a weekday holiday with friends which was great as only on weekday holidays and weekends do they serve the eggs benedict which was delicious.  We also opted to share a side of what they are famous for – pancakes (when in Rome, right?) with coconut and chocolate chips. And for the view alone, the picture says it all.

Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict & Coconut Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Uncle Bill's

Uncle Bill’s

Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach

Others not pictured?

Mediterraneo (73 Pier Avenue, Hermosa Beach, CA) because of its can’t beat shared apps like the Deviled Eggs with harissa oil, Roasted Dates prosciutto wrapped and stuffed with cambozola blue cheese (my favorite on the menu), Polpette beaf meatballs with San Marzano tomato sauce and parmagiano (really you can’t go wrong with anything here), in addition to the very carefully crafted cocktails, do yourself a favor and check it out. Plus you can walk off dinner as you’ll be right by The Strand for a lazy afternoon or crisp evening beach walk.

Manhattan Beach Post (1142 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach, CA), it’s called a “Social House” for a reason. It’s always busy. And the food and scene is why. I also came on a Sunday for brunch when it’s likely at its peak. But it’s entirely worth the wait starting with some Bacon Cheddar biscuits with maple butter like the tasty ones at Red Lobster (but better) and for shared plates like the French Toast stuffed with house ricotta, bartlett pears and candied almonds and the benedict (yes of course I had to try it, lest you forget the name of my blog).  What else is cool?  The fact that the menu changes seasonally and on the whim of a chef. Can’t hate on that.

Zinc at the Shade Hotel (1221 N. Valley Drive, Manhattan Beach, CA) come for brunch, walk the beach later. Or come during the week and enjoy one of the festive cocktails like the Are You Man Enough? with the Patron Silver Tequila, Veev acai spirit, agave, lime and muddled jalapenos or for a less spicy option the Aviation with gin, lemon juice, maraschino liqeur and creme de violette.

Ok, ok, you’re asking where are all the places not at the beach?  Don’t worry, my friends, I have you covered!

Check out:

Taste on Melrose (8454 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, CA) – their tagline is “eat, drink, indulge” and that my friends, you can do. I came with some friends who also happen to be awesome work colleagues and we shared the calamari and Pommes Frites with garlic aioli and remoulade. They have great dishes all around whether you’re going healthier with a grilled natural salmon, or more indulgent like the Rigatoni Bolognese I tried.  Fun fact: Grilled cheese night is every Tuesday and you can add their housemade Pommes Frites for only $5. Yep.

Sugarfish by Sushi Nozawa (Multiple locations, I went to 4722 1/4 Admiralty Way, Marina Del Rey, CA) – You can’t explain this sushi, you just have to try it for yourself. It’s served warm and melt in your mouth worthy. I know what you’re thinking. After I was in NYC for so long, can it get any better?  But this truly is an experience.  If you’re really hungry, go for the Nozawa Trust Me. It’s worth it. It includes organic edamame, tuna sashimi, albacore, salmon and yellowtail sushi, halibut sushi, Toro hand roll, Blue Crab hand roll and the daily special.

041 Bacaro (9552 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA) Chef Conrad came from NYC so that’s almost enough to be said there, but there is true Italian love in this food. Try the roasted brussel sprouts or french fries with truffle oil to start (or both if you’re sharing) and the entrees speak for themselves though I enjoyed the risotto with mixed wild mushrooms. It’s like a slice of Little Italy NYC. Go.

And of course there are more to come.  Have a must try place for me to check out?  Feel free to comment here whether you’re an Angeleno or just know some great spots here in the City of Angels.