Things To Do Labor Day in NYC

28 Aug


Things To Do Labor Day in New York City.

There is one more weekend of lighter crowds before the Hamptons crew returns. I love spending summer holiday weekends in the city to enjoy my urban ‘beach’ activities.

If it’s physical activity you crave, get your bike ready and ride across The Brooklyn Bridge to visit The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory . The views of Lower Manhattan are amazing and free! From August 23rd to September 1st you can also see free opera outdoors at Lincoln Center .

For those looking for relaxation with good eats and water views, consider the below when planning your weekend.

The Frying Pan (Pier 66) Want to impress your friends? Spend the afternoon on The Frying Pan. Located on the water, The Pan is a collection of ships docked at Pier 66. The views from the rooftop balcony are stunning. I feel like I’m on vacation when visiting here. The burgers and fries ($12) are great but they also offer clams, mussels and lobster. They make a mean margarita, have buckets of Rolling Rock (6) for $34, and a full bar for all your favorite drinks.

 The Boat Basin (79th Street and the Hudson River) I like The Boat Basin because it offers Hudson River & Marina views, a covered patio and an open air picnic area for large groups and overflow crowds. The atmosphere is laid back whether you are enjoying a cold beer on the steps, or a sandwich at a table and is right on the west side bike path. The menu includes mostly sandwiches and tasty burgers ($9.50), but you’ll also find interesting items like Mahi Mahi tacos ($13). This is the perfect spot for a sunny beautiful day by the water. From 4pm-7pm Monday through Friday you’ll save $2 off drinks. Family and dog friendly.

North River Lobster Company (Pier 81) New to Pier 81, at the river and approximately West 41st street, North River is already one of my favorite places to enjoy an outstanding raw bar and a cruise on the Hudson River. The floating restaurant goes out for free half hour cruises seven times a day on weekends and five times Monday through Thursday. At $29, the lobster dinner served with potatoes and a vegetable is delicious. Try “The Acadia” which includes six shrimp, twelve oysters, six littlenecks and six Jonah Crab Claws for $59 if you want to snack and share. The raw bar is top notch and the staff is super friendly. It’s a great way to get out on the water.

365 Guide New York City

Seafood Summertime Savings

21 Aug


Best Seafood in New York City.

There are tons of seafood choices in Manhattan but not all fish come from the same stream. In general the seafood is good or they wouldn’t last in NYC, but there are definitely a few gems that impress me every visit. The best deals for sushi occur at lunch time when entrees include soup, salad, or dessert. I try to eat a late lunch and fill up. If you’re a late diner, stop by Atlantic Grill for ½ price oysters at the bar after 9:00pm. When I’m in the mood for sushi, oysters, or mussels, these are my go to places with, of course, a deal!

Flex Mussels (154 West 13th Street & 174 East 82nd Street) The mussels here are in a whole different category. They offer 20 different sauces and the mussels are steamed and sautéed to perfection. From 5:30pm-7pm daily at the bar and counter order the $25 special: two pots of mussels (choose from 3 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. You will not leave hungry.

Amber (4 locations) For reasonable fresh sushi, Amber delivers every time. The décor is hip and modern but the prices are down to earth. The spicy tuna and avocado salad ($8) is bursting with fresh tuna and tangy zip. Rolls start at $5.25 and specialty rolls $16. The lunch special comes with soup, salad and a side starting at $11. Brunch on weekends from 12pm-4pm comes with the same and includes two alcohol drinks for $15.

The Mermaid Inn (3 locations) 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. It is family friendly.

365 Guide New York City


Burger Heaven in NYC

14 Aug


Best Burgers in NYC.

There is nothing better than taking a bite of a really good, fresh hamburger and feeling the flavors explode in your mouth. If it’s juicy enough to dribble down your chin, even better. It always makes me long for another. Burgers have come a long way from the hockey puck we used to eat at barbecues. Today’s burgers use top quality meats, combinations of cuts and interesting toppings. While grilling them at home is fun, it’s not always an option for city dwellers in small spaces. When I’m craving a well filled bun, these are some of my favorite places to get a burger fix.

Island Burger (2 locations) They are the king of toppings with 35+ amazing combinations ranging from pesto to spicy blackened. In addition to delicious burgers you can also feast on equally tender chicken “churrasco” sandwiches with the same toppings. Both are cooked to perfection. I find it hard to choose but usually go for The Mona Lisa ($14.95) with mozzarella, pesto, sauteed onions, mushroom, peppers and parmigiana reggiano on ciabatta. It is an experience. I like to start with the grilled Thai chicken sticks for $8.25. The beach decor complete with surf boards make this tiny place feel like a vacation.

Merrion (1840 Second Avenue) Hold on to your buns! This hamburger or vegan burger is free with the purchase of a beer. You can also score a free order of wings with a pitcher purchase. Merrion is a great choice to watch sports. They have twenty beers on tap and run other food and drink specials during big events. The burgers are basic with lettuce, tomato, pickles and onion but they are tasty. Splurge on the waffle fries or sweet potato fries for $3.

Corner Bistro (331 West 4th Street) This hole in the wall serves up some of the juiciest burgers in the city. Absolutely no frills and they like it that way. I wouldn’t change a thing. The menu consists of burgers, grilled cheese and chili. Salad eaters need to move on. For $7 you get a burger cooked to order and served on a sesame seed bun. It is anything but ordinary. I usually get a second one for dessert. Beers starting at $3 complete the experience.

365 Guide New York City

Cool Ice Cream in NYC

7 Aug

Monica DiNatale 365 Guide New York City Book NYC Restaurant Deals Bar Specials

Best Ice Cream in NYC.

Nothing says Summer like ice cream. Truth be told my favorite surprise is turning the corner and seeing a Mister Softee truck. “I’ll have a twist with chocolate sprinkles” for $3 and the world is a better place. When I’m in the mood for hard ice cream, beyond turning to a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, there are a few places that win me over with original flavors and creative presentations. Ice cream gives New Yorkers everything they need in summer; it’s quick, cooling and affordable.

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory (65 Bayard Street) As you weave through the narrow streets of Chinatown you will soon come across a line of people on the sidewalk in front of the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. It is absolutely worth the wait. Chinatown offers regular flavors like coffee and vanilla, but the real stars are the exotic, homemade flavors. Stretch your taste buds with flavors of black sesame, red bean or lychee. They are outstanding and silky smooth. One scoop is $3.75 and two scoops $5.75.

Coolhaus (Various Locations) You have likely seen the truck roaming Manhattan. Feel free to chase it because these ice cream sandwiches are that good. You’ll also find Coolhaus at various stores including Whole Foods throughout the city. The combination of interesting ice cream flavors like beer & pretzels or balsamic fig & mascarpone will leave your tongue tingling. But wait! It gets better. Put your cream in between a potato chip & butterscotch or a maple flapjack cookie and call it a day. The possibilities are endless. Cookies are only $1 but add the cream for $5 sandwich heaven.

Emack & Bolio’s (3 NYC Locations) They have the most creative cones in the business. Try a marshmallow dipped cone with rice krispies or fruit loops ($3.00) to make your treat really crunchy and unique. They also make fun ice cream flavors like chuck o’ funk with oreos and chocolate covered pretzels and bananas foster with butter and dark rum. I love the Beantown buzz full of espresso beans. Small cones start at $4.75.

365 Guide New York City

Restaurant Deals and Bar Specials

31 Jul


Four years ago I started writing down some restaurant deals and bar specials in New York City so I could afford the dining scene. I’m out eight days a week. What started as just something for my friends and I to take advantage of turned into my book 365 Guide New York City. It has been great to see that New Yorkers and tourists like to save money too! There were no other guide books that were focused specifically on deals. I love Manhattan and always wanted others to be able to come here and enjoy every inch of the city. I hope I have boosted the economy and made your wallet and your stomach fuller. Thank you for all the great feedback. Here are a few reviews.


The Courier Journal

Gourmet Business

Delaware County PA News

My Central Jersey

Best Wine Bars in NYC

24 Jul

365 Guide New York City, Best Wine Bars NYC, Monica DiNatale, Restaurant Deals, Bar Specials

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 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 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 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

17 Jul


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 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 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 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.


Best Craft Beer Bars in New York City

10 Jul


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 Dark like chocolate, this beer is smooth as silk. Spring Hacker Pschorr Weisse  I love the hints of banana and clove. Summer: Founders Rubaeus Raspberry Ale 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 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 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 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.


4th of July in New York City

3 Jul


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! 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 for Mexican food or the wine bar Acqua Peck Slip. Enjoy the weekend!

Macy’s Fireworks 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 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 for homemade pastas and al fresco dining.

 The Half King 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

26 Jun

World Cup viewing NYC, 365 Guide New York City, restaurant deals, bar specials, Monica DiNatale

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 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 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 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.



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