Best Wine Bars in NYC.
Wine bars have been popping up everywhere in New York City. Most are small and intimate with menus meant to share and experience the wine. I love to order tapas and enjoy a glass. Wine bars encourage conversation and relaxation which is why they are a popular choice for many diners. I like to learn a little something about a grape when I visit a wine bar. You can usually discover something you haven’t tasted before. I am doing wine research in Napa this week so I am sure I will find some new favorites! Most wine bars in NYC have a very knowledgeable staff to make your meal even more pleasant. These are a few fun places to swirl a glass.
Terrior www.terrior.com If you would like a $2.50 glass of Sherry before 7pm, look no further. From 5pm-7pm daily Terrior offers a variety of wines under $7. Most of the specials almost double in price making this a great opportunity to try some new producers. The friendly staff is happy to answer any questions and you can order a 3 ounce pour at a discounted price to take some chances. The wine list is huge (400+) with mostly European and some California wines. The menu is tapas style with a small selection of meats (5 for $28) and cheeses (5 for $24).
Barcibo Enoteca www.barciboenoteca.com Barcibo is a good choice for Italian food and a wine list to match. I love the sweet sausages with broccoli rabe and gigante beans and the imported ricotta is heavenly. The servers are very helpful and are happy to help you pick a wine. They have forty wines by the glass and one hundred thirty by the bottle. The open kitchen adds to the rustic brick farmhouse vibe.
Corkbuzz www.corkbuzz.com Corkbuzz offers tons of classes, tastings and special events like clambakes and wine dinners. The clambake is $400 for 6 people and includes all food, wine and a tip. The Blind Tasting Party is $50 per person and includes 12 wines and snacks. They offer mostly European wines and a full menu of both small and large plates. I like to start with spiced almonds and cashews and marinated olives. From 5pm-6pm on Mondays and Fridays they offer blind tastings and flights of three for $15.
Mango with Sticky Rice Season.
I love Thai food and every year I wait for mangoes to ripen so they are turned into one of my favorite desserts, mango with sticky rice. If you’ve never tried mango with sticky rice, you are in for a treat. I love the commitment of a culture that won’t serve a dish until the season is just right. The time is now! Form June to August all of your favorite Thai places will have this simple yet delicious treat. Sometimes I must admit I order it for dinner! It’s that tasty. Sticky rice is made with coconut milk and sugar. The rice is soaked overnight and steamed giving it a transparent color. The rice is served slightly warm and the mango is simply sliced on top. They perfectly compliment each other. In addition to this gem, these are a few places to satisfy your Thai craving.
Wondee Siam www.wondeesiam.com This portion of mango is huge. Always a good thing! Leave extra room for dessert. The Tom Yum soup is deliciously spicy. If you are a fan of spice order the Yum Woon Sen Salad. This rice noodle cold salad with chilis, chicken and peanuts is a classic dish. Order it “Thai Style” and they will even kick it up a notch for you. The decor is nothing special but there is always a line.
Der Krung www.derkrung.com Der Krung is the perfect date place. There are only a dozen tables in this dark wood candle lit find. The steamed dumplings and the beef Thai basil are some of my favorite dishes. During the week they do a three-course lunch special for $7.95. The mango is perfectly fresh with a little extra coconut milk.
Lime Leaf www.limeleafnyc.com Unusually large for a Thai restaurant, Lime Leaf has plenty of seating and is good for groups and families. They do an amazing green curry that includes pineapples. The Pad See Ew hot flat rice noodle dish is full of Chinese broccoli. This mango dessert is served very warm and moist. Yum.
I like beer. Whether it’s a Corona, a stoudt or a seasonal beverage I enjoy the flavors and the suds. I find that people either like “hoppy” beers or “wheaty” “dark” beers. I love wheat beers and stoudts. The infusion of caramel, coffee, malt or fruit flavors is always something that I look for in a beer. With each season comes a new crop of flavors as well. My current picks for the year are: Winter: Left Hand Brewing Milk Nitro Stoudt www.lefthandbrewing.com Dark like chocolate, this beer is smooth as silk. Spring Hacker Pschorr Weisse www.hacker-pschorr.com I love the hints of banana and clove. Summer: Founders Rubaeus Raspberry Ale www.foundersbrewing.com Finally a raspberry beer that isn’t too sweet and smooth enough to drink all night long. Fall Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale www.weyerbacher .com This beer is like fall in a glass with pumpkin, ginger and cinnamon flavors.
In New York City there are several places I visit to get my fill of craft beer. They all change taps often and offer tasting nights from visiting breweries.
Rattle n Hum www.rattlehumbarnyc.com They offer 40 beers on tap and delicious burgers and wings. They have the best thai chili wings I’ve ever had. Their beer events are listed on the Event page on their site. If you visit Monday through Friday from 11am-7pm, you’ll score $5 select drafts, wine and well drinks. They are also a great choice to watch sporting events with plenty of tables and a large bar area.
The Pony Bar www.theponybar.com The Pony Bar offers $6 craft beers daily. From 4:20pm-5:20pm daily beers are only $5. I usually order the veal meatball sandwich and the large soft pretzels. The Hell’s Kitchen location is better for conversation and the Upper East Side spot is great for larger groups. They often have breweries that take over all the taps so you can really learn all about a new producer. They offer 20 taps and a cask selection.
The Dive Bar www.divebarnyc.com Of the three locations I prefer the Upper West Side spot. They make absolutely unbelievable homemade sweet potato chips with cinnamon and cayenne pepper. The bartenders are always knowledgeable and they often have live music and tasting events.
Best Craft Beer Bars in New York City. www.365guidenyc.com
4th of July in New York City
It is great to spend holidays in New York City when most people leave for beach destinations. The city is noticeably more calm and it is easier to get tables at some of the most popular restaurants. I usually hit Nobu! http://www.noburestaurants.com There will be crowds at the “touristy” spots but there is still an air of relaxation. If you’ve never seen the Macy’s NYC fireworks you should try and catch them. They are spectacular and television doesn’t do them justice. If you are going to the fireworks I recommend having dinner at The South Street Seaport. I like Cowgirl Sea-Horse http://cowgirlseahorse.com/ for Mexican food or the wine bar Acqua http://www.acquarestaurantnyc.com/at Peck Slip. Enjoy the weekend!
Macy’s Fireworks www.macys.com If you’re staying in New York City this weekend, you shouldn’t miss the Macy’s 4th of July fireworks. The display will return to the East River instead of the West Side. The best viewing spots will be from Brooklyn Bridge Park and the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, and along the east side of Lower Manhattan. It is best to get there early and bring a chair or blanket. The magic starts at 9pm.
The Press Lounge at Ink 48 http://www.thepresslounge.com/ You’ll need to take the elevator to the roof and find this hidden bar. Ink 48 offers sweeping views of the Hudson and the Empire State Building. You are paying for the view so be prepared for $15 cocktails. It is a wonderful place to catch a drink and then wander to Ninth Avenue for a casual dinner. Try Nizza http://nizzanyc.com/ for homemade pastas and al fresco dining.
The Half King http://www.thehalfking.com/ If you are in search of the perfect burger without going to a backyard, look no further than The Half King. They offer sidewalk tables, a backyard garden and an air conditioned pub atmosphere. The burgers are seriously good. I like the plain burger and the lamb gyro style burger. The jalapeno poppers and the sweet potato fires are also worth trying.
World Cup Viewing in New York City
World Cup fever has taken over New York City! We may not call it football but soccer is growing as a sport. I am fascinated by their stamina. Running six to eight miles a game and making plays at the same time is incredible. Soccer also unites countries instead of teams which brings all Americans together. Hey, it’s a good excuse to go out as well! You’ll have a great time at any of these bars. Go USA!
Midtown 1015 http://midtown1015.com This is one of the best rooftops to enjoy a game. Midtown 1015 offers four floors of viewing pleasure. There are tons of TVs so everyone has a great seat. Get there early to score a seat on the roof. They also have great bar food. I love the beef sliders and sweet potato fries. The servers are friendly and the crowd is electric.
Village Pourhouse http://www.villagepourhouse.com/ There are three locations and they will take reservations for a table with a $25 per person minimum. They all are great sports bars and offer food specials, beer specials and discounted shots based on the event. They have awesome wings with sauces like sweet chili and chipotle. Guinness is always $6.
Terminal 5 http://www.terminal5nyc.com/ Get ready to party on the rooftop of Terminal 5. They put in a huge screen and bench seating for all games. It’s free to get in but get there early to get a wristband. They do fill up. They don’t serve food but you can bring in your own. Pick up a pizza and enjoy the atmosphere. Be prepared for singing, face painting and cheering. It’s very fun.
Restaurant Deals in New York City
The main reason I wrote 365 Guide New York City was to save money on food and drinks while still being able to eat out eight days a week! Yes, Manhattan is expensive but I realized that there are options to make it more affordable. I found 365 discounts and visited 400+ restaurants. Sometimes I am in the mood for a cold beer for $3 and sometimes I want great food at a great price. The restaurant deals below are some of my favorite upscale and mid-priced restaurants that offer tremendous discounts on incredible food.
Barbounia www.barbounia.com They have the best hummus! From 3pm-7pm daily you can sample half price appetizers and $6 cocktails. Barbounia is sleek and sexy with an upscale menu. Take advantage of the affordable options at the bar and don’t leave without an order of the iron skillet shrimp. Amazing. They do a great job of keeping you full and comfortable. I usually have so many many appetizers that I don’t have room for dinner.
Flex Mussels www.flexmussels.com The mussels here are in a whole different category. They offer 20 different sauces that are steamed and sauteed to perfection. From 5:30pm-7pm daily at the bar and counter order the $25 special of two pots of mussels (3 different flavors), fries and one glass of beer or wine. I have converted several people who told me they don’t like mussels by bringing them to Flex. I never leave hungry!
Mermaid Inn www.themermaidnyc.com The discounted appetizers from 5pm-7pm range from$3-$6. Oysters and clams are only $1. For oyster fans this place is a must. I like the fish tacos and the shrimp sliders. Try an Aperol Spritz for $7. The Mermaid Inn reminds me of a comfortable fishing village restaurant. It is family friendly.
Best Father’s Day Restaurants in NYC
It seems like moms get all the credit for a child’s accomplishments. Let’s face it, moms are great. This weekend it’s time to thank the guy who brought home the bacon and taught me how to be strong and driven. He taught me what to look for in a partner and to treat people with love and respect. What better way to thank him than taking him out to eat! I also have my dad to thank for my fast metabolism. As someone who eats for a living, it has come in quite handy.
Hill Country Barbecue Market http://www.hillcountryny.com/locations I have blogged about them before but it bears repeating. They have the best brisket I’ve ever had! It is so moist that it melts in your mouth. You don’t even need a knife. The jalapeno and cheese sausage is also off the charts. Hill Country is perfect for a dad that loves meat. They can handle any size family in a fun and casual atmosphere.
B.B. King Blues Club and Grill http://www.bbkingblues.com/bio.php?id=3957 If your dad like music, B.B. King’s is a perfect spot to catch live music and good food. On Saturday you can treat dad to a Beatles Brunch at noon for $44 including a buffet. On Sunday at 1pm they are featuring the music of Louis Armstrong. Tickets are $20 and a full menu is available. At 7pm and 9:30pm you can enjoy Decade of Soul and their Motown hits for $15 with a full dinner menu available.
Barcibo Enoteca http://barciboenoteca.com/content/kitchen For the foodie in your life give Barcibo a whirl. The vibe is rustic Italian with a wine list to match. Plates are perfect for sharing. I like the meat and cheese plate with five selections for $25. They usually have a homemade pasta and the baked veal meatball crostini is a must have. The servers and owner are very knowledgeable and will guide you through a lovely meal.
Mets Game http://newyork.mets.mlb.com/schedule/?c_id=nym#y=2014&m=7&calendar=DEFAULT It’s always great to catch a ballgame with dad. Citi Field has a ton of great food options. Shake Shack http://www.shakeshack.com/location/citi-field/ burgers are supremely tender and juicy. If your dad has a sweet tooth, try a “concrete” with chocolate ice cream, peanut butter and bananas. Blue Smoke http://www.bluesmoke.com/citi-field/ serves up delicious ribs and pulled pork sandwiches. El Verano Taqueria http://unionsquareevents.com/index.php/sports/view/el-verano-taqueria makes authentic tacos. My favorite is the chili marinated skirt steak tacos.
Best Barbecue in New York City.
Now that Summer is here my mind thinks about barbecue. Living in the city means it’s time to find that perfect restaurant. These guys do barbecue so well, you’ll never want to cook again. Barbecue takes tons of time, patience, spices and preparation. Let them do the work! Plenty of restaurants have ribs on the menu or a pulled pork sandwich but to find the pros is a real treat. I base my opinion mostly on whether I need utensils for the meat or if it falls apart in my hands. These are my top three picks for New York City.
Hill Country Barbecue Market www.hillcountryny.com They have the best brisket I’ve ever had! It is so moist that it melts in your mouth. You don’t even need a knife. The jalapeno and cheese sausage is also off the charts. Hill Country is a Texas Roadhouse in the middle of Manhattan. Take advantage of $5 drinks from 4pm-7pm and start ordering. If you need somewhere to host an event, there is a private room downstairs and they offer free live music from Tuesday to Saturday. Be careful: the bartenders are so friendly and attentive you may loose track of time.
Daisy May’s www.daisymaysbbq.com I love the Sweet Potatoes with bananas and brown sugar and the Kansas City Sweet and Sticky Ribs. Daisy May’s offers great takeout for your next barbecue. Their delivery is quick and the food delicious. The dining room is no frills but the food is top notch. Do not leave without trying the Baked Beans with Burnt Ends. I can eat them for dinner.
Virgil’s Barbecue www.virgilsbbq.com Definitely order the Memphis Style Pork Spare Ribs. The dry rub is perfect. Virgil’s is a huge restaurant which makes it great for families. For me, no barbecue experience is complete with Banana Pudding for dessert. Don’t miss it. They have an extensive appetizer menu as well. The Trainwreck Fries and the BBQ Nachos are almost a meal. They also have a nice selection of craft beers.
An Affordable Memorial Day in NYC
There is something special about Memorial Day and the start of Summer. I always reflect on veterans and the sacrifice they make for us. This year the winter was long and cold so New Yorkers are anxious to relax and play. I like to stay in the city and enjoy my urban beach. Wouldn’t it be great if we had off every Monday?! My favorite place to pack a picnic and a cold bottle of Sauvignon Blanc is The Sheep Meadow. http://www.centralparknyc.org/things-to-see-and-do/attractions/sheep-meadow.html If you want to relax, this is the place. I’ve decided to get my bike ready and ride across The Brooklyn Bridge to visit The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. http://www.brooklynicecreamfactory.com/ Without a doubt, it is one of my favorite things to do. The views of Lower Manhattan are amazing and free! These are a few other places to consider when planning your weekend.
The Chinatown Ice Cream Factory http://www.chinatownicecreamfactory.com/ Let me start by saying that ice cream is my favorite food. If you’re looking for a downtown outing on Memorial Day, visit The Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. My favorite flavors are Black Sesame, Ginger and Lychee. They offer a full array of regular flavors and specials like Chocolate Bacon. Trust me, this stuff will make you melt. I usually stop by after hitting Shanghai Cuisine http://www.yelp.com/biz/shanghai-cuisine-new-york for soup dumplings. This combination makes for a perfectly satisfying and affordable day.
The Frying Pan http://fryingpan.com/site/ Want to impress your friends? Spend the afternoon on The Frying Pan. Located on the water, The Pan is a collection of ships parked on Pier 66. The views from the rooftop balcony are stunning. I always feel like I’m on vacation when I’m visiting. The burgers and fries are great but they also offer clams, mussels and lobster. They make a mean margarita and have buckets of Rolling Rock (6) for $34.
ilili Restaurant http://www.ililinyc.com/ If you’re looking for an upscale treat, take advantage of the specials at ilili. From 5:30pm-7:30pm enjoy $5-$9 appetizers and $7 specialty drinks. Try the Poison Sumac Margarita with pomegranate juice. It’s a special occasion restaurant and high end menu that you can enjoy for half the price! I always feel like I’ve discovered one of the best kept secrets in New York City.