Monday, January 31, 2011

A Review: Alta


If you adore tapas, do yourself a favor and make reservations at Alta.  As a fan of Pipa, I’m usually hesitant to try different tapas restaurants in fear that I’ll be disappointed.  That was absolutely not the case with my recent night at Alta.  Each and every plate that was served to us seemed to get better than the last.  The menu is very long, so you may feel overwhelmed.  For the past few years, I’ve carried an EpiPen (really sexy, I know) as I have developed a tree nut allergy (yes, you can make your inappropriate jokes here).  When we asked our waiter about ingredients in certain meals, he returned with a nut-free menu.  It’s rare to find a restaurant with a separate food allergy menu, so this was very impressive. 

We ordered a few items and were so enamored after trying a few plates, we ordered even more.  Arriving first to our table were the Grilled Stuffed Grape Leaves.  Coming from a Lebanese home, I appreciated the modern spin taken on this classic dish with a grape molasses sauce and chicken confit.  The Lamb Meatballs were delicious and moist.  The Seared Sea Scallops with apple cider caviar were a seafood lover’s dream.  If you like duck, you need to order the Pan Crisped Duck Confit for the tender and fatty meat complimented by the crispy skin.  The Salt Baked Sunchokes (root of a sunflower) reminded me of both an artichoke and fried plantains.  The Sea Urchin Risotto balanced a flavor of the sea with a creamy sauce.  The Enormous Whole Shrimp was my first experience tasting the inside of the head of a shrimp.  I enjoyed the simplicity with sea salt.  You must try the Braised Short Ribs with beet-barbaresco taglierini and fresh grated horseradish.  They were beyond amazing as they were tender and flavorful.  If you've got a big party (or you're just a very hungry foodie, like me) you can order "The Whole Shebang" aka every item on the menu for $420.

I can’t wait for my next visit to Alta as it is a perfect spot for a girls’ night out, a date, or even a dinner when your parents are in town! 

Where is your favorite restaurant for tapas? xo

Friday, January 28, 2011

Out of Sight. Out of Mind.


When it’s time to get over Mr. Wrong, deleting him from communication mediums can be emotional.  The act of deleting seems permanent, but it can be empowering.  Once he is out of your cell phone, you will no longer risk sending an embarrassing late night drunk text.   If you think you may need to contact him again in the future (a potential pregnancy, perhaps?) just write his number down somewhere and leave it in your room.  If you are tempted to contact him when you’re checking your email, block him on your gchat.  No longer seeing his name taunting you on your chat list will only help you to stop thinking about him all day at work.  If he still wants to reach out to you, he can shoot you an email or pick up his phone and make the call.  But, since this is Mr. Wrong, he most likely won’t contact you, unless it is for his own selfish reasons.   If you’re like me and you don’t want him to think you are trying to get his attention by removing him from your online life, you do not need to “de-friend” him on Facebook.  Just remove his activity from your home feed, and use your willpower to stop looking at his page.  Of course at first you will still glance at who wrote on his wall or if he is in any new photos, but at least try to get into a routine where you don’t type his name in the search within minutes after logging in.   If you are both on Twitter, try your best to ignore his flirty tweets with other girls, and absolutely refrain from fighting with him for all of your followers to see, as described in my recent post.

So, are you ready to delete him from your life? xo

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys

I remember my first gay crush.   I was performing in a summer stock production of “The Sound of Music” and he was my dance partner for the ball scene.  Handsome, talented, and charming, he made my little 14 yr old heart skip a beat.  I was blissfully and completely unaware of his sexual orientation.  I was clearly ignoring his overly sweet demeanor, impeccable fashion sense, amazing voice and skillful dance moves (which MAY have been clues of the possibility of his homosexuality) and instead, concentrated on his blue eyes and the way he made me laugh.  His name was Jake, and I was smitten.  After that summer, I attended the musical he starred in at his nearby high school and kept in touch via email.  I hoped and prayed we would be cast together the following summer at the same theatre company.  And sure enough, my wish came true.  During one of our long rehearsals, I overheard a few of the guys discussing Jake and his recent venture out of the closet.  I was crushed.  I couldn’t believe it.  Since those long lost summer nights, I have fallen for numerous gay men.  Whether we performed at a theatre, had a college course together, or worked at the soap opera, I couldn’t help myself.  I seem to be a magnet for homosexual men (who more often than not are so darn handsome).  Maybe it’s because we share the same love of musicals, fashion, and style?  (Such a stereotype, I know, I know)  Whatever the reason, I can’t help but adore these beautiful men. 

Have you ever fallen for a gay guy? Xo

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Mulberry Project


On Friday, I checked out The Mulberry Project with my girl Samantha to see what all the buzz was about.  This basement bar in Little Italy opened a couple weeks ago, by nightlife kings from GoldBar, Bagatelle, and The Randolf.  


We had a lovely evening trying a few different cocktails, served to us by a co-owner and mixologist Matty Gee, and shared items from the small plates menu.  


Read my exclusive review here for all the details! xo

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Do's and Dont's of Social Media Dating



Recently, I wrote about the idea of the New Online Dating with the use of Facebook and Twitter.  More people are connecting via social media, which can lead to new business partnerships, real life friendships, and even dating.   Here’s a list of Do’s and Don’ts to consider if you’re connecting with a cutie stranger online:


Do:

Use a recent photo of yourself.
Don’t display an Avatar on Twitter or a profile photo on Facebook from your “skinny days” as a sorority pledge or from that wedding when you paid $100 for professional makeup.  Look like yourself.

Respond to new followers or friends.
Don’t be afraid to reply and make conversation.  You’d make small talk with that sexy stranger sitting next to you on a plane, right?

Keep the dirty talk confined to DM’s (Direct Messages)
TMI people, TMI.

Use your resources.
If you met a handsome guy at your friend’s engagement party, add him on Facebook and continue that conversation you had sitting at the single’s table (you know your married friends totally have these assigned tables).

Take it offline.
Bring this relationship into the real world.  Meet in a public place and see where it can go IRL (in real life)


Don’t:

“Poke” her.
Seriously guys, it’s not flirty.  It’s annoying.    

“Friend” her too soon.
There are plenty of creepy dudes perusing Facebook pictures and sending friend requests to hot girls.  Guys, don’t be one of them.  If you send a friend request before you’ve had a conversation or introduction, she will be weirded out.  And if you met her when you were out one night, make sure she actually gave you her last name before you send a friend request.  A good rule of thumb: If you have her phone number, you can be her Facebook friend.

Fight on Twitter for all of your followers to see.
No one wants their Twitter timeline blown up with your silly lover’s quarrels. 

Post your Relationship Status.
Unless you’re stable, and committed (aka married), don’t post it.  If your relationship is hot and cold, or you break up and makeup every other week—don’t list your relationship status online! You’ll avoid all of the drama and humiliation of breaking up on the Internet.

Tweet your breakup. 
As hard as it is to resist ladies, try to keep from those tragic tweets and Facebook statuses.  If you MUST quote a sappy song lyric or movie quote, don’t attach your ex’s name to it.


What are your Do's and Don't of Social Media dating? xo

(image via)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Restaurant Week


Today marks the first day of NYC Winter Restaurant week which runs until Feb 6th.  Check out NYCGO for the full list of participating restaurants and to make your reservations online.  The prices are a steal with $24.07 lunches and $35 dinners.  Remember that Saturdays are excluded and Sundays are optional per restaurant.  These three course meals are a great deal and give us 20-somethings the chance to check out some of the pricier restaurants we wouldn’t normally dine at unless it’s a special occasion.  Want suggestions for different cuisines?  Check out this article.  With so many amazing restaurant choices, it's hard to choose where to go!

Where will you be dining this Restaurant Week? xo

Friday, January 21, 2011

Don Hills: Harley Davidson Launch Party

Last night, I attended the Harley Davidson Launch Party at Don Hills, invited by my nightlife guru Kristina Marino.  With a three hour open bar and Paul Sevigny rocking the DJ booth, it was obvious this had epic night potential.  The crowd was filled with hipsters staring at the biker babes (Kate Von D look-alikes) posing on the motorcycles on stage.  This scene would have been Jesse James' dream.
(With my girl Renie)

When doors opened at 9pm, there was a line wrapping the block.  Don Hills was packed (at one point the coat check couldn't accept any more coats).  Cocktail waitresses carried trays of mini crab cakes and buffalo chicken bites.  Bowls of caramel popcorn lined the bar, for your snacking pleasure while you waited for your next free drink.  
(With two of my sexy Downtown Diaries writers Jenna and Angela)

The music was amaze, as should be expected with Paul Sevigny running the show.  And yes, I did try to chat with him, but the bouncer didn't seem so thrilled.  It's not like I was going to gush about how much I adore his sister, Chloe.  

Where is your favorite rock bar? xo

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mommy Matchmaker

My mother is a meddler.  Nosy, chatty, and overbearing.  She wants to feel like the “cool mom” (think Mrs. George in Mean Girls, but without the supply of condoms).  While she wants the scoop on the guys I date (and brings up being a grandmother "someday” a little too often than is comfortable) she has yet to play matchmaker (thank God).   But, there are other mothers out there who have taken it upon themselves to search for love for their children.  Date My Single Kid, a website where mothers (or aunts or grandmothers) create dating profiles for their adult children to find their future spouse, caught my attention during the summer on this Today Show Segment. 


How would you feel if your mother searched for your perfect match online? xo

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Luke's Lobster Interview

Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Ben Conniff, a co-owner of Luke's Lobster, for NearSay.


Back in September, I reviewed Luke's Lobster on my blog, as they remind me of home in New England.

Check out my exclusive interview here!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The New Online Dating.

Do guys send you messages on Facebook before you begin texting?  Have you wondered about that cute stranger’s avatar on Twitter?  It seems that communication via social media has influenced the world of dating.  Traditional online dating (making a profile describing your interests and what you’re looking for in a relationship) now has less of a stigma, yet not every 20-something New Yorker is rushing to sign up.  While I do have friends who have found love (and even marriage) online, I have more friends who prefer to meet guys the good ole’ fashion way – drunk at bars in the Lower East Side, through friends at an apartment party, or while shopping at Whole Foods for coconut water. 


As a Facebook user since my junior year of college in 2005, I have seen many guys use this social network to contact and flirt.  You get a friend request from a guy from your past – maybe he was in your high school AP English class or a dude you met at a party a few months ago.  So, you accept his friendship, because you do kinda know him.  And then it all begins… He “pokes” you.  Then sends a private message.  And comments on the photos from your 21st birthday keg party.  Eventually he finds a reason to write on your wall.  And maybe you exchange numbers and begin texting before he convinces you to go out for drinks.

Connecting on Twitter is completely different, as most of your followers are strangers, not real life friends (or friends of friends).  Have you tweeted with a cutie who eventually send you a DM (Direct Message, for those of you who are not Twitter users) asking you a question?  Then exchanging emails and phone numbers?  Guys seem to be willing to be forward on Twitter.  Maybe because if they are rejected it won’t feel as personal, since they haven’t met you and most likely won’t run into you, as you aren’t in the same circle.

Have you ever met (and possibly dated) someone from a social media network? xo

Monday, January 17, 2011

Buenos Aires, Big Apple

Sometimes a girl just needs a good steak.  When you’re looking for a quality red meat fix at a reasonable price, Buenos Aires, an Argentinean steak house, should be your destination.


Enjoy warm grilled bread with butter, as you sip wine from their long list.  If you love red wines, order the Las Perdices 2008 Malbec.   For $50 a bottle, it is the perfect wine to accompany the meat focused dishes. 


There are a variety of empanadas offered for appetizers including Carne Picante (spicy meat), Pollo (chicken), Caprese (mozzarella, tomato & basil), and Jamon y Queso (ham & cheese) for $6.95 per order.  Make sure to share a few of them with your date or best gals. 


For entrees, you must order a steak.  Seriously, this is their specialty, so don’t order the chicken.  Okay, so the salmon is actually delicious – cooked to perfection and flavorful.  So, if you’re really against red meat, feel free to go with seafood, as it is imported from Chile. 



The Boneless Rib Eye was tender and full of flavor.  For $25.95 it is a NYC steal!  When looking for a fattier dish, order the Grilled Short Ribs for $20.95.  I prefer requesting my steaks medium rare, but I realize not everyone likes their food still moo-ing.  Don’t forget to try the chimichurri sauce, which is served on the side, with any of the meals as it adds a perfect kick.

Where do you enjoy a good (and reasonably priced) steak in NYC? xo

Buenos Aires on Urbanspoon

Friday, January 14, 2011

Have an Affaire in the East Village

Affaire, a bi-level lounge and French restaurant opened last week along the dive bars and Italian Restaurant haven of Alphabet City.  I was invited last night by Kristina of The Downtown Diaries to try the Tasting Menu and meet her freelance writing team, that I am now a member of.  




Check out my exclusive review of Affaire here.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Four Loko


Banned from college campuses months ago, and most recently pulled from all store shelves in the state of New York, Four Loko, the alcohol filled energy drink, is possibly in higher demand now, than when it was legally sold from your local bodega.  When New Yorkers first heard of the final selling date last month, many bought cans of this overly sweet beverage in abundance for future apartment parties and to “pre-game”, just like during their the good ‘ole college days in the Midwest.  But, some New Yorkers rushed to purchase Four Loko for a more scandalous plan - to later deal at high prices by the case.  Just like any drug, banning Four Loko made it more desirable.  Some New Yorkers have made the trek to the Dirty Jerz to get their hands on this crack-like drink.  And now, it has been reported that cans are available for purchase via Craigslist. 

NBC TV investigator Chris Glorioso, who has investigated many hard drug rings discovered an underground Four Loko Ring by responding to one of the Craigslist ads.  Apparently, twelve cans of Four Loko sell on Craigslist for $80.  When they were available in stores, Four Loko only cost $2-$3 per can.  Seriously, everyone?  Let’s find a new drug of choice.

Would you still search to buy Four Loko?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Single Girl Bucket List


Before you settle down with The One, attempt to finish this Single Girl Bucket List:

1. Go to a movie alone.  (Order the large popcorn with tons of butter.  And a diet coke, of course)
2. Lift weights.  And don’t ask that sexy male trainer for help unless you really need it.
3. Try surfing, skiing, or some physical outdoor activity you don’t already know how to do.
4. Set a mousetrap, do your taxes, build an Ikea dresser, and backup your files.
5. Live alone, or at least move apartments in NYC without the help of family (mainly meaning without your dad’s strong arms, his truck, and his money).
6. Train for (and finish) a huge physical test like a half-marathon.
7. Learn to cook well.
8. Fly to a foreign country by yourself.
9. Fly to a foreign country and join the mile high club. Or at least chat with a sexy stranger on the plane.
10. Learn to stand up for yourself.
11. Go on a date with a sweet man, whom you’re not initially sexually attracted to.  Give him a chance!
12. Revel in being able to watch all the reality TV you want.  Hello, Real Housewives of NYC Marathon...
13. Get drunk during the day, just because you can.  Boozy Brunch?  A daytime bar crawl?
14. Let your married friends edit your online dating profile.
15. Go out with an older man who takes you somewhere nice and makes you feel like a million bucks.  And don’t go home with him just because he spent so much money on you.
16. Go out with a guy who makes you laugh ‘til it hurts.
17. Be a good wingwoman.  It’s not always about you.  (Even The Situation takes grenades for Pauly D)
18. Go out with a younger guy before judging his maturity solely on his age.  But, if he sleeps all day or isn’t reliable, end it before you get in too deep with his frat boy antics.
19. Volunteer.
20. Do at least one Valentine’s Day alone.  (Oh, I was supposed to do only ONE?)
21. Attend a wedding (or 15) alone.
22. Invest in a LBD (little black dress) and sexy platforms that are a little out of your usual price range.
23. Buy yourself some flowers.
24. Buy one of your best girlfriends flowers.  (Have them sent to her office to surprise her)
25. Sit at a bar by yourself and drink a dirty martini.
26. Get your finances in order.
27. Throw yourself into something time-consuming, like learning a foreign language.
28. Babysit for a frazzled new mom for a few hours to give her a break.
29. Help a friend through her divorce or a bad break-up.
30. Host a girls-only night. Some coupled-up women forget how much we need each other.

What’s on your Single Girl Bucket List? xo

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Safe Sex


No, this is not a PSA for the HPV vaccine or Planned Parenthood.  But, safe sex is an important issue that all dating city gals (and ladies all over the world) need to discuss with their new boyfriend (or one night stand).   Don’t be shy with a new guy to discuss if he’s sleeping with anyone else or the last time he got tested.  Using condoms to prevent disease is very important.  Once you know you’re exclusively sleeping together, you still want to be sure you both have a clean bill of health before discontinuing condom use.  If you’re on the pill, remember that you may not become pregnant, but you could contract an STD if you don’t make sure he is willing to wear a condom.  

Do you make safe sex a priority? xo

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Review: Agave


Looking for a Southwestern menu with a spin?   Agave is the perfect spot for comfort food with a kick.  Round up your best girlfriends and head there for happy hour, where you can get half-priced frozen margaritas, draft beers and house wine from 4-7pm.  Stay for dinner, and order meals to share.  The portions are huge, and most of the meals are too heavy to finish on your own.  Order the guacamole to share with the table.  This dip comes with sour cream and a fresh chopped tomato salsa.  When ordering entrees, don’t miss out on the short ribs, which are fall-off-the-bone tender.  The Santa Fe Shephard’s Pie is also a must-order as it is a huge portion of creamy mac and cheese, covering chili.  During the summer months, sit outside at one of the sidewalk tables, for perfect West Village people watching.  There is a private dining room available when throwing a party for 30 guests, such as an engagement or birthday party.

What is your favorite spot for Southwestern cuisine? xo




Agave on Urbanspoon

Friday, January 7, 2011

Non-Negotiable



“Dump Him.  A bad kisser is a non-negotiable”.  With that quote, the ladies of Sex And The City clearly had their priorities.  Every woman has pet peeves or experiences downright bad behavior with certain men.  No one is perfect (Prince Charming is a cartoon.  And even Mr. Big left Carrie at the altar).  You must learn to accept certain faults or little bad habits to be with the one you love.  But, some things are non-negotiable: issues or situations that we are not willing to deal with.  Social drug habit?  Lives in his parents' basement?  No career goals?  Not affectionate?  Rude friends?  


What are your deal breakers? xo

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Review: Porsena

Praised and celebrated for the magic she creates with boneless pork roast at Porchetta, Sara Jenkins has recently opened Porsena, a pasta restaurant just down the block from Porchetta on East 7th Street.   


Jenkins got her start in NYC at I Coppi and won a loyal following at 50 Carmine.  With her solid past, you can’t help but have high expectations for Porsena. 

Read my exclusive review HERE on The Downtown Diaries.

Where are your favorite new Italian restaurants? xo

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Mr. Right Now

(Summer's "Mr. Right Now" in (500) Days of Summer)

You tell your girlfriends time and time again that the new guy you're seeing is just for fun.  He's attractive and the sex is great, but you already know he's not "the one".  He lacks maturity or he isn't affectionate or he just doesn't have his life together. Whatever the reason, you know he isn't boyfriend material.  So if you keep seeing him, will you eventually get attached?  Confuse the physical with the emotional?  Will you want more?  At first you may feel confident that you'd never want that with him.  But, will you start to care too much and get hurt because he can't give you what you need?  

When is it time to cut ties with Mr. Right Now? xo

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Do You Detox?

It’s the beginning of a brand new year!  Goodbye to last year’s disappointments, failures, and struggles.  Hello to this year’s accomplishments, loves, and hopes!  With this fresh start, many city girls start a detox to get their body feeling as healthy as their mind and spirit.  But, is this type of cleanse always good for you?  From The Master Cleanse of lemons and maple syrup, rumored to be used by Beyonce, to the less extreme juice based Blue Print Cleanse featured on The Today Show, there are many fads out there.  These extreme liquid diets usually result in quick weight loss, although most people will gain the weight back once they resume normal eating habits.  I’ve personally found that the healthiest and easiest way to detox after weeks of binge drinking and fatty Holiday meals is to follow an eating plan of unprocessed and natural foods. 


Full up on:

Vegtables (unlimted greens, 1-2 starch, such as a sweet potato per day)
Fruits (2 per day)
Lean proteins (fish, chicken, turkey, fat free greek yogurt)
Healthy fats (olive oil, avocado, eggs)
Old world grains (such as quinoa)
Beans and legumes (chickpeas/hummus, black beans, etc)


Avoid:

Alcohol (sorry nightlife divas)
Caffeine (coffee adicts will survive!)
Processed sugars (no candy, white breads, white pastas and rices, etc)
High fat dairy (cheese is so hard to say goodbye to, if even only for a few weeks)
Red meats (you can wait a couple weeks for that cheeseburger)


Hot water with fresh lemon is a great way to start each morning, followed by a few cups of tea throughout the day.  And don’t forget to hydrate with lots of water!  After even just 2 weeks of following this plan, you’ll most likely stop craving sugary sweets as often, have more energy, notice less bloating. and feel lighter (possibly actually losing a few lbs per week).  This type of plan won’t restrict you too much, so you can eat REAL food, while getting your system back on track. 

Do you detox? xo

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Job Do's & Don'ts for the City Girl

After spending the past five years on the producing team of a television show, today I begin a new job (and possibly a whole new career) at NearSay.  I’m very excited for this opportunity and thought I’d share some Do’s and Dont’s for the first day of a new job with my lovely readers:



Do:

Arrive on time.  Make sure you have already mapped out your subway or bus route.

Wear flats (possibly these) and carry your heels in your bag.

Eat breakfast before you leave the house.  Fresh breath and clean teeth (no poppy seed bagels, please) are a must.

Be yourself.  And be friendly and courteous.  First impressions do count.

Listen and learn.

Ask questions.  Get it right the first time!

Dress smartly.  It’s better to be a little overdressed than to show up too casual.  This shouldn’t be too hard - you are a NYC fashionista, after all.

Volunteer for projects that will help you get noticed.  But, don’t neglect any assigned work.

Keep a positive attitude and an open mind.   Your life has changed and it will take some getting used to.


Don’t:

Forget your work day begins when you leave your apartment.  You never know who your coworkers may be, so no rude remarks or pushing in line on the F train.  (PS - my new boss lives in my building.  Seriously)

Make personal calls from the office phone.  (Duh)

Gchat, Facebook, Tweet, etc until you learn from your coworkers what is acceptable.  Obviously if you have a job in Social Media, you can ignore this one!

Say “That’s not how we did it at my old job”.  Hold on to your knowledge from previous companies, but don’t forget every workplace has its own way of doing things.

Expect to make it to happy hour with your girlfriends during the first week.  You may need to be put some long hours when you’re learning the position and responsibilities.

Get drunk at an office party.  Save that for a few months down the line.

Flirt with that sexy coworker.  Resist until you get to know him (and your company’s dating policy) better.



Wish me luck! xo
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