You have probably seen Vivi Bubble Tea at some point, while walking in the streets of New York: they are everywhere and, at the time I wrote this post, they have 14 locations in the city and many locations in other states. One of them in Hoboken, where they opened in 2014, serving not only bubble tea, but also ramen. We wanted to go for a while, but either went for ramen in the city, or looking for another restaurant because of the crowd. We decided to go on a Sunday, right when they opened, figuring that it would be crowded later. And we were right: we were the first, but the place started to fill up 15 minutes later.
No, this post is not about a trip to Vermont, in the middle of nowhere: it is about The Stone House at Clove Lakes, in the heart of Staten Island. Looking at the photos, it is difficult to believe that, less than 30 minutes from Manhattan lies a little paradise that would make you forget the speedy life of the city.
This place is impressive: first the outside, with a romantic view of the lake making it the perfect place for a special occasion. The Stone House is surrounded by water, being on an island, with for sole access a stone bridge.
The Upper West Side is an interesting neighborhood that is changing as time passes. It does not have the same appeal as others like Soho, Chelsea or TriBeCa and its crowd is often associated with moviegoers, theatergoers and tourists. It is in this mix of hungry people that we tasted TESSA, a restaurant serving mainly Mediterranean cuisine. Taking its name from the daughter of one of the owners, this place has a fantastic decor that is a mix of rustic, with its exposed whitewashed bricks, and industrial, with the double layered blackened steel security gates that cover the entire ceiling and can be found all over the restaurant, wrapping around the bar for instance.
I discovered Ramen Takumi few years ago, at the time it was located close to Union Square. It then moved few steps from Washington Square Park. We were going for ramen in another location when we passed in front of it and finally decided to eat there. Funny enough, the restaurant was packed when we arrived. Ten minutes later, half of the dining room was empty.
We were looking for a good Indian restaurant in TriBeCa, the best one so far being the reasonably priced Balucci's (their crab curry is the best). We stumble upon Saalam Bombay, a more upscale place.
The dining room is fairly large, with a traditional decor, overlooking the section of the kitchen where the tandoor oven is. Menu wise, you will find the classic, with of course a large selection of dishes cooked in that oven.
Last week, I was invited to an event organized by Tabelog, a restaurant review site that is conquering the US and where lots of bloggers contribute, posting amazing photos of food that make me drool each time I visit it. This time was at Andanada 141, the Michelin-starred Spanish tapas restaurant located on the Upper West Side. As always, the event was perfectly organized, giving us the opportunity to meet with the Chef, Manuel Berganza who prepared a delicious meal for us, straight from the menu.
There are many Thai restaurants in Hell's Kitchen and, when I go to one, I am always curious to see what would make it different from the others. Thai cuisine is often associated with cheap lunch menu and Thai Select is no different, with a lunch special served everyday for less than $9, where you get a salad, an appetizer and a main dish. Pretty good deal! No, what makes this place different is the menu: yes you will get the basic dishes like that Pad See-Ew that was delicious or the Massaman curry that I have tried with chicken, that had a nice kick, but was not over spicy. More surprising are the wide choices of appetizers, some of them being a bit unusual like the crab croquettes that are some sort of crispy wonton stuffed with crab meat and...cream cheese. W
I cannot believe it has been two years already since I went to Osteria Del Circo, the restaurant from the Maccioni family, the owners of Le Cirque. It was for their first annual Bollito Misto and I got the privilege to meet with the matriarch of the family: Mama Egi.
Restaurant Week is the perfect occasion to try restaurants that are usually on the pricey side, of course, assuming that they play by the rules and truly offer a menu where the quality will not be sacrificed. So, I was curious to see what China Grill would do for Winter Restaurant Week. Not that this place was unknown to me as I went few times to this elegant restaurant that serves Asian inspired dishes family style. And going with several of my coworkers was ideal as we got to share few dishes. The result?
And going to Kailash Parbat in Curry Hill did not change that curiosity that I have for Indian food, to the contrary. First of all, there were only few dishes that I knew on their menu: no paneer tikka masala or chana masala. Second, I learned few things I did not know. To start, the name of the restaurant comes from a sacred Himalayan mount, Mount Kailash (Parbat = mount). Then, the restaurant serves two kinds of specialties:
I admit that it has been a while since we went to The Madison Bar and Grill. Our past experience for dinner being so so. We did enjoy their regular brunch, but, with all the options around, never went back. Until...Yes, until a night where we were feeling going out, but somewhere close by.
The Malt House is not your regular tavern: for sure, you will get a nice selection of beer, on tap or bottle, as well as any kind of drink you could think of, from wine to scotch, without forgetting their cocktails. No, what makes this place special is their menu crafted by Executive Chef Armando Avila, who from Mexico to New York, worked in places like STK or 5 Napkin Burger.
Nai Tapas Bar is the kind of gem people would keep to themselves, the cozy atmosphere and phenomenal food making this place unique in a restaurant scene that is quickly evolving. This place is the result of the collaboration of Chef Ruben Rodriguez and General Manager/Wine director David Martinez, who offer, in this East Village joint a tapas menu that is phenomenal. Chef Rodriguez first started serving dishes inspired from his grandmother, Emilia Arias, and his mother (Nai), Ana Maria Gonzalez Arias, who is also a Chef.