Friday, October 29, 2010

Drinks and Dim Sum

Wednesday marked the 27th birthday of my sorority sister and ex-roomie, Lauren.  When celebrating milestones, we love to enjoy a delicious dinner (and numerous cocktails) with our girlfriends.  Wednesday night, we had reservations at Chinatown Brasserie in Noho for our group of lovely ladies.  None of us had been there before, so we were all excited to taste something new.  I am a huge fan of Dim Sum (Chinese style small plates) on a lazy Sunday afternoon in Chinatown.  My favorites are the no frills Mandarin Court for Dim Sum and Tai Pan Bakery for roast pork and red bean buns.  So, I was very curious to see how this restaurant, from the owners of Lure Fishbar in Soho, compared.


(the birthday girl and I as co-maids of honor in our best friend's wedding)

Before ordering from their long menu, we of course ordered drinks.  I enjoyed their new Blood Orange Martini, which they launched for this upcoming Halloween weekend.  This cocktail was a perfect balance of sweet and citrus. 



In the theme of true Dim Sum, we ordered a ton of food to share.  The Roast Pork Buns were tinier than those found in Chinatown, but just as fluffy and indulgent.   The Shanghai Soup Dumplings were hot and flavorful with bits of crab and pork.  The Vegetable Potstickers were light with a great soy based dipping sauce.  The BBQ Duck Spring Rolls were crispy and petite.   



For meals, we tried to order a variety, so that there would be something for everyone.  The Beef Lo Mein was rich, but not greasy like the kind you’d get from your neighborhood takeout.  The Wok Fried Beef with Chinese Broccoli was tender.  The General Tso’s Chicken with Ginger and Scallion was all white meat with a lightly battered crust.  The Wok Sauteed Green Asparagus and Brussell Sprouts was our only veggie dish, but a great compliment to our mostly meat and carb heavy choices.  We were served tiny bowls of both brown and white rice to enjoy with our main plates.  For dessert, we shared the Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake, because what Birthday Girl would't want chocolate?  We also sampled the Trio of Ice Cream Sandwiches.  My favorite was the Spice Cookie with Green Tea Ice Cream. 



The food was prepared well, and could be considered a more “gourmet” version of what you would find in Chinatown at a higher price.   Next time I’m in the mood for Dim Sum, I’ll definitely head down to Chinatown for a cheaper and just as tasty authentic meal.

Where do you go for Dim Sum? xo

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cheaters. And the women who love them.

In the Big City, I’ve come across many men who have girlfriends.  And a girl on the side.  And sometimes multiple girls spread across the country, just awaiting their arrival at the airport for weekend work events and meetings.  This may seem like something that only happens in the lives of celebrities and politicians, but these cheaters can be found on the barstool nearest you.  



Whenever I learn this about a guy, whether he’s the boss of a friend or a guy in our circle, I immediately feel terrible for his clueless girlfriend.  Now, you may be thinking “how would this woman not know he is cheating?”  Well, some of these men hide it so well, that they are able to get engaged to their significant other while still keeping a pretty young thing around in the office or on a Vegas work trip.  


                                                                        (photo via)

So, this post is really not about the douchebag cheater or his naïve girlfriend, but about “the other woman”.  She knows he isn’t single.  Yet, she still goes to happy hour as his date for drinks, meets him in Miami for a beach vacation, and sleeps over when his girlfriend is away visiting her family.  Seriously?  What is wrong with these girls?  I understand you can’t help who you fall for, but you can help if you take action or not!  I am usually the first to blame a man and defend the woman, but I just can’t understand this other woman’s motives.  He isn’t going to leave his girlfriend for you.  And if he does, he will cheat on you too.  

Have you ever defended (or been) the other woman? xo

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Review: Croxley's Ale House



When it comes to fatty finger foods, wings are my all-time favorite treat.  I may be a girly girl, who is always attempting to lose weight or stay “on a diet”, but I will never say no to good wings.  My friends think I’m kidding when I say I plan to have them at my wedding one day.  This is not a joke.  So, when you’re craving wings and beer, you must visit Croxley's on Avenue B.  This bar is my go-to spot for plump and crispy hot wings, a wide selection of beers, and a scene of men from handsome jock types to laid back hipsters.  Make sure to order the Irish Nachos (fries with bacon, scallions, and melted mozzarella) for $6.95 to share with your friends.  Croxley’s offers 10 cent wings on Monday – Wednesday nights and 20 cent wings on Saturday afternoons and all day on Sundays.   Here are some of the rules to enjoying the “best deal anywhere”: You must order a minimum of twenty wings, there is a $5 drink minimum per guest (even your sober friends can accomplish this by ordering two diet cokes), one blue cheese is served with every fifteen wings, and no doggie bags are allowed.  This is the perfect cheap night out with friends!  Just make sure to arrive early on a wing special night because after 7pm, the wait can be up to two hours for a table.  
Croxley’s.  28 Avenue B.



Where is your favorite bar for wings and beer? xo

Croxley Ales on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Google him.

Come on, you know you want to. You know your girlfriends all do it too. So, if you have yet to Google that new cutie you’re dating, I’m pretty surprised. 


You would think I’d be embarrassed to admit this, but I am the QUEEN of searching men online. Back in my early college days, before Facebook (the ultimate stalker tool) was launched, I was finding out all I could about the guys I had crushes on with the help of search engines and my creative (ok, slightly creepy) mind. I even figured out via Mapquest just how long it would take to get to a certain football player from Ohio’s hometown with the info on his college football page.  Yes, I’m just that good. I’m probably embarrassing my friends for admitting this on my blog, but they are usually thankful for my skills! 


I’ve recently discovered People Finders for info on just how old that guy from the bar Thursday night really is.  I may be scaring some of the men reading this, but I bet some of them do it too. Why wouldn’t they want to see photos of you from a party on Facebook or learn about your philanthropy work? For safety reasons (but more because I’m nosy) I always see what I can find out about a new guy online before a first date. My mom always told me to “use my resources”, so why not apply that to what’s available to me on the internet? I think it would be silly not to at least do a little search…



So, how many of you Google guys you’ve met? xo

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Review: Bedlam




Named after London’s infamous psychiatric hospital, this eclectic bar on Avenue C opened a month ago with visitors including Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick for the opening.   It’s not every night you’ll find these kind of A-listers in a dimly lit East Village bar.  This couple added a bit of glamour to the sea of plaid and combat boots.    Opened by Benjamin Maisani, boyfriend to Anderson Cooper, and Pablo Raimondi, the walls at Bedlam are lined in vintage Victorian era novels and dictionaries, scientific and natural history artifacts, and a giant moose head attracting attention.  There is a decent sized dance floor behind the bar, featuring guest DJ’s for a mix of classics and current hits.  The intimate back room is perfect for private events (which can accommodate up to 150 guests) or to sip a gingered Whiskey Smash with a handsome stranger.  This venue is perfect for your upcoming birthday party.  Possibly my upcoming birthday party.  So, head east to Avenue C for a night of dancing and debauchery (and maybe a glimpse at Anderson Cooper).  
Bedlam. 40 Avenue C.



Where is your favorite bar on Avenue C? xo

Friday, October 22, 2010

Training the heart.



In an earlier post, I questioned why straight men don’t attend group fitness classes to flirt with women.  I still believe it’s a missed opportunity!  But, speaking of males at the gym, the trainers who are employed there are a whole different story.  When I first joined Crunch four years ago, I was quickly approached by a meathead jock trainer, who my roommates and I simply referred to as “Matt from Crunch”.  We are super creative, right?  Anyway, Matt from Crunch was your stereotypical trainer – he had the body type of a pro college football player from the defense line and walked with his arms always flexed.  I’m not sure if he is able to straighten them out.  Seriously.  At first, I thought he was just trying to get my attention to get a new client and make more money.  As a recent college grad, I was in no financial position to sign up for a personal trainer (I did hire a trainer years later for a few months, but could barely afford him, so that ended after the 20th session).   

One day, after a long and rough spin class, Matt from Crunch stopped me on my way out and asked for my number.  I was drenched in sweat and exhausted and maybe a little light headed, so I gave it to him.  This was a mistake.  This is where I should have lied and told him about my “boyfriend”.  Matt from Crunch began texting me way too often.  Eventually, I decided to give him a chance and went out to dinner.  We went to Ono (which is now closed) at the Gansevoort Hotel.  Why would a guy take you to a sushi restaurant if he has never used chopsticks before?  This baffled me.  So he proceeded to embarrass himself, even though I tried to instruct him.  I did my best to not judge him, but it was difficult.  Our conversations were superficial and he lacked in manners.  After this slightly painful evening, he kissed me…or rather he slobbered all over me.  I quickly retreated to my apartment.  

Now here was my dilemma:  I was not interested in a 2nd date.  Did this mean I needed to switch gyms in order to avoid his ass?  This was heartbreaking because this location of Crunch has the BEST classes.  In the end, I sucked it up and smiled politely or made small talk each time he saw me rush in and out of the gym.  I ignored his texts as often as possible and eventually had to tell him I just wanted to be friends.  Sometimes a girl just needs to stop being nice and be HONEST.  A few weeks later he was let go from Crunch (possibly from hitting on too many clients?), so my workouts were back to being my own.  I’m sure there are some personal trainers who are attractive, interesting, and intelligent, but Matt from Crunch was none of the above.  

Have you have been hit on by a personal trainer? xo

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Review: Apotheke



Wander down tiny Doyers Street in Chinatown and you will discover a hidden cocktail apothecary.  The only bar to ever be located on this historic street, with a past of early 20th century gang wars, Apotheke is a unique chemistry lab for strong potions.   Number 9 (the address) was once the home to an opium den.  Now, you can enter this lair to find bartenders in lab coats mixing and shaking specialty cocktails of exotic herbs, fresh fruits, and strong liquors.   There is a long list of “prescriptions” available, ranging from Health and Beauty to Aphrodisiacs.   The wall behind the marble bar is lined with eclectic antique medicine bottles.  The mixologists or pharmacists, whatever you prefer to call them, are professionals at their craft.  You will not be disappointed by their inventive creations as you slowly sip in the absinthe parlor inspired lounge.  Apotheke.  9 Doyers St.



Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Donate those 27 Dresses




I’ve been a bridesmaid so many times already (I blame my sorority and my obvious charm), that I have a special place in my closet for my assortment of gowns – way in the back.  Some of these dresses were actually flattering and lovely.  But, there aren’t many that I will find another occasion for.  Bride after bride has said “that color looks stunning on you…and you can always shorten it and wear it again”.  Oh you optimistic and starry eyed brides…  But, alas this is not always true.  So after spending long hours walking down the aisle, posing for photos, pigging out at the cocktail hour, taking one too many shots of vodka, and dancing the night away with a cute groomsman (or two), your dress is in need of a good dry cleaning and a place to call home.  I have recently discovered a charitable place to send your dress for it to have a second life: Donate My Dress  and other similar organizations will give your dress to a girl who cannot afford her own dress for her prom, sweet sixteen, or formal event.   Now single girls everywhere can get rid of those brightly colored reminders that we are always a bridesmaid and never a bride, while doing some good!







Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Review: MacBar



Since the days of anxiously waiting for Mom to cook up that creamy treat from the blue box, to microwaving noodles late night in your dorm room, you have grown up craving macaroni and cheese.   As a sophisticated lady in the big city, I still can’t help but need my fill of this comfort food from time to time.   Delicatessen opened up the long-awaited MacBar last year, serving up Chef Michael Ferraro’s gourmet mac n’ cheese in a dozen varieties ranging from Mac Quack (duck confit, fontina, carmelized onions, and fine herbs) to Carbonara (pancetta, green peas and parmigiano).  My absolute favorite is the Mac Lobsta’ (tender chunks of fresh lobster, cognac, tarragon, and mascarpone).  No matter which cheesy treat you indulge in, you will be more than satisfied.  There are only a few small tables in this casual dining space, so snag one quickly to enjoy your mac n’ cheese while it’s piping hot.   
MacBar. 54 Prince St.



What is your favorite childhood comfort food? xo



MacBar on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 18, 2010

Paper Magazine Nightlife Awards

The 6th Annual Paper Magazine Nightlife Awards were held Thursday night at Good Units in the basement of the Hudson Hotel presented by Russian Standard Vodka.  The New York Times recently deemed Paper Mag’s annual awards as “the Oscars of the city’s clubland”, so of course this Downtown Girl just had to be there! 



The night was a fabulous, and gay-influenced party, featuring most of New York’s prominent nightlife personalities from the best DJ’s, hotel owners, musicians, designers, stylists (including Patricia Field of Sex and the City fame), and reality television stars (including Countess Luann de Lesseps of Real Housewives of New York City and Brad Goreski, the former assistant/associate of stylist Rachel Zoe). 



                                                               (Images via Paper Mag)

The doors opened at Good Units at 8pm, with nominees and presenters seated first on the basement level around the stage.  The rest of the guests filed in upstairs with a balcony view of the stage and nominees.  The bars located on both levels were quickly serving Russian Standard Vodka cocktails all night.  The awards started around 10pm with Pee-Wee Herman as the opening act.   He is the October cover-boy for Paper Mag, with his new Broadway show opening soon.  Most of the crowd, who grew up with Pee Wee (and his scandals), just couldn’t believe he was actually there.  He brought back all of his old-school jokes and sayings, such as “I know you are, but what am I”, while working his best nightlife knowledge by name dropping the best of the best, such as The Boom Boom Room.



The award winners included Kenmare for “Best Restaurant with a Nightlife Scene” (a favorite place of mine), Charlotte Ronson for “Best Designer with a Nightlife Influence (seriously want most of her Fall 2010 Collection), Le Bain for “Best Club” (not sure if I’m “cool” enough to go there yet, but I’ve been dying to since Fashion Week).  For a full list of the winners, click HERE.



Nominated for “Best Nightlife Website” was The Downtown Diaries by Kristina Marino.  Although the award went to Gayletter (congrats, boys!), I just adore The Downtown Diaries.  I have been a faithful reader since I found her site this summer.  I’ve been following her in-the-know stories of Downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn parties, dinners, brunches, concerts, and overall antics.  This girl really knows everyone in the nightlife scene.  She is definitely one of my blogger inspirations.  I was so excited to meet her (even in my vodka induced haze) after the awards ended in the bar upstairs in the Hudson Hotel.  I’m sure I sounded like a crazy fan (much like the soap opera fans whose letters I often read in the production office at As The World Turns).  I hope to run into this “not so average girl about town” again at Goldbar or another spot we both love below 14th Street.  Maybe she can even hire me one day (yes, wishful thinking!).  

                                               (Kristina Marino at another event)

Overall, the night was a grand tribute to the city’s thriving nightlife scene.  From the hipsters and fashionistas, to the over-the-top drag queens, it was the typical crowd and vibe found at the newest bars and clubs around the city.

                                                  


Where was your favorite new bar/club/hotel this year? Xo

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Burbs.

Even a true city girl needs a break from the concrete jungle every once in a while.  This weekend I headed home to Somerset, MA for my cousin Shannon’s surprise 40th birthday party, hosted by our cousin Rachael.  The extended family gathered to enjoy delicious finger foods, desserts, drinks, laughs, and storytelling.   My sister Sami and I bought Shannon a sexy (yet tasteful) lingerie set because with how youthful, fun, beautiful, and fit she is, forty is truly the new twenty!   Rachael spent hours creating the menu, cooking, and setting up an array of treats.  My cousin Liz made rich and amazing mini cupcakes, inspired by Baked By Melissa, in Soho.  As always when I’m with my family, I indulged in more than my share of calories.


                                                               (Rachael and Shannon)

I’ve been living in NYC since I started college in 2002, but I try to come home once every few months for a long weekend visit.  But, the city is obviously THE place to be, so family and friends can't resist visiting me for downtown food, drinks, shopping and fun!  


                                                   (Rachael and Liz visited me in NYC)

Here is a list of my favorite suburban things to do:

1.      The Providence Place Mall (or any mall, for that matter)
2.      Panera Bread
3.      Target  (with a diet coke and popcorn combo)
4.      Nordstrom
5.      Driving a car
6.      Marshalls Shoe Megashop
7.      Hour spa massage for $60 at Back Into Balance
8.      Wrentham Village Premium Outlets (who doesn’t love designer discounts?)


                                          (Sami visited for my 25th birthday at Superdive last year)
     
What are your suburban must-do's? xo

Friday, October 15, 2010

Speed Dating (on the F train)

Do you welcome a “hello” from a handsome stranger on your commute?  I’ve never personally been approached by a quality guy during my underground travels (I tend to get winks or questions from foreigners or thug-types), but I have a sorority sister who met the man of her dreams while riding the Path one night back to her Hoboken apartment.  Of course the beautiful Meghan and Tristan’s chance meeting is pretty adorable – I will leave the details out as to not embarrass them, but basically once he approached her and they chatted, he walked her home, even though he had to get back on the Path to his apartment in Jersey City, and the rest was history.  This perfect couple has been together for a few years now – going on lovely dinner dates, seeing cool concerts, training together for triathlons and marathons (yes, they are both athletic and have super fit bodies), traveling to family functions, throwing brunch parties, and attending a million weddings together.  Meghan and I have been good friends for years and Tristan easily fell into our friend group.  He puts up with all of our reminiscing of frat parties and pledging, while willingly entertaining new guys that I’m dating (even those who aren’t as cool as Tristan).  They are one of my favorite NYC couples.  Moral of the story?  True love can be found when you are least expecting it…possibly on the F train.




Have you ever dated a guy you met on public transportation? xo 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Review: Mikey's Burger



The Lower East Side has evolved over the past decade as THE place for nightlife and dining.  Less than a year ago, Mikey's Burger opened their doors with a small menu of delicious burgers, fries, hot dogs, and shakes.  The small counter and diner décor is retro and quant.   The BLT burger (Chinese bacon, kewpie mayo, lettuce, tomato) with American Cheese was one of the best burgers I’ve had in the city.  Honestly.  Their burgers are all served on warm potato rolls and cooked to perfection right in front of you (I prefer mine medium rare).   The bacon was thick cut and full of flavor, the cheese was heavenly melted, and the kewpie mayo was creamy.   I dipped my hand cut fries in their chipotle mayo – which is so good it’s dangerous!  I only wish they sold it by the jar to take home.  Or maybe I don’t wish that for the sake of my hips.  Mikey’s Burger.  134 Ludlow St.




Mikey's Burger on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Official (on Facebook)



The good ole’ days of engagement and wedding notices in newspapers as the first public announcement of the newly betrothed couple is long gone. Minutes after the proposal, women everywhere are getting a shot of their princess-cut diamond ring on their blackberry and uploading it to their Facebook Wall after changing their status from “In a Relationship” to “Engaged”.   


Every day, whether on a college campus, at work, or at home on their laptops, girls and guys are changing their Relationship Status on the infamous Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg had it right back in his Harvard dorm room when he realized that everyone wants to know who is with who and most importantly, who is having sex. His social network has become the go-to spot for stalking both lovers and friends, as well as making your new relationship “official” for all to see.  


My friends and I often joke and tease each other that your new boyfriend isn’t official unless Facebook says so. Many couples publicly change their status too often for my tastes. Do you honestly need to get in a fight and change your status from “In a Relationship” to “It’s Complicated”?  Seriously, guys?  I have personally kept my status as “Single” since I started my account back in 2005 as a Junior at Wagner College. No matter who I was dating, no one has been important enough to make me adjust that status.  I’d rather not switch it every few months (or weeks for that matter) for each new guy who is entertaining me.  Maybe I’m too much of a Samantha Jones, but I just can’t fathom committing to a guy on the nosy world that is Facebook.  

How often do you change your Relationship Status? xo

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ice Ice, Baby

Have you ever followed a stranger you met outside a bar down dark flights of stairs to discover a lair of belly dancing, exotic music, and a Bulgarian Ice Room?  Okay, so I know what you’re thinking (and what my mom is also shaking her head over).   So let me explain.  My pretty city girlfriend, Renie and I always seem to find ourselves on adventures when we go out together.  On that particular night (during the middle of the week), as we followed this odd man into Mehanata in the LES, we thought, “We will either die or this will be an epic night”.  Obviously, we lived to tell this story (Mom, does this make you feel any better?)   



What we encountered down those stairs was a magical world.  Our new friend bought us delicious sangria, as we met his belly dancer friends and moved to the music.  He even ordered us a hookah.  I felt like I was making my Middle Eastern ancestors proud.  Okay, maybe “proud” isn’t the right word… Anyway, after a few more drinks, I noticed a small glass room on the side of the bar.   No sooner did our new companion and the sexy bartender gear us up in Russian-style hats and coats, while explaining the rules of the Ice Cage: we had two minutes to drink as much vodka as we could, without puking on the floor or drinking directly out of the bottles that lined the wall.  Ice shot glasses were shoved in our hands and we were sent into the chamber.  I felt very “college” as I took shot after shot (but these vodkas were top shelf; no frat boy quality booze here).  The tiny room kept the vodka and our bodies freezing, but the energy of the bartender screaming a countdown and our fellow drinkers cheering outside the glass box, kept us excited and unaware of the drop in temperature.   After all the shots, I had to sit with a few glasses of water (See Mom, I do listen to you) before continuing to dance into the wee hours of the morning. Mehanata Bulgarian Bar. 113 Ludlow St.

Would you drink in an ice room? xo   

Monday, October 11, 2010

PIZZA PIZZA PIZZA



In the past year or so the East Village has become a Mecca for everyone’s favorite dish: pizza.   If you’re a New Yorker, you have a favorite shop for a late night slice or a dinner party of pies, and you are generally passionate about where the best of the best is. 



After working for almost five years out in Brooklyn, my all-time favorite pizza is made with love by Di FaraSeeing as a trek to Midwood whenever hunger strikes would be absurd, I’ve come to find and adore a few shops in my Neighborhood…

If you’re on the run and want to grab a quality slice, head over to Artichoke on 14th Street.   The Artichoke slice is to die for: creamy and cheesy, dense and delicious.  And their Margarita slice has even been compared to Di Fara’s, so get over there and get to the end of the long line and decide for yourself! 



On a date night, when you’re craving a flavorful thin crust, head over to Motorino.  The original location is in Brooklyn, but I love the intimate feel of the East 12th Street restaurant.   The Spicy Octopus and Potato antipasti is divine.  The Brussels Sprout and Pancetta pizza is original and a favorite.  When they have their Special white pie with prosciutto available, make sure to order that as well!


















Recently, we tried Veloce on 1St Avenue for Caitlin's going away party.  Ten girls shared a few different pizzas, sipped delicious wine, and argued which pan pizza was the best.  Unlink the thin crust fad, these pizzas are a thicker Sicilian-style and cut into square slices.  I think the mushroom was my favorite, but I was satisfied with every variety I tried.



Pulino's, from the owner of Pastis, Balthazar, and Schiller’s, opened this past year with raves and a long wait for reservations.  With another group of girlfriends, we sampled a few of the antipasti’s and most of the pizzas.  My personal favorite is the Quattro Formaggi.  How can you go wrong with four rich cheeses?  I also plan to stop by for their brunch sometime soon. 





Where is your favorite pizza? Xo
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