eat. shop. love. nyc.

Solid breakfast sandwich at Zaitzeff
January 28, 2011, 11:01 am
Filed under: Eat | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Zaitzeff is best known for its juicy Kobe beef burgers, but what you probably didn’t know is that they have a really delicious egg and cheese breakfast sandwich that is $4.75. It’s made with organic eggs and melted cheddar cheese, and you can request tomatoes, avocado, or bacon. I just requested Tabasco.


The bacon here is not nearly as delicious as the bacon at Frankie’s/Cafe Pedlar at 17 Clinton St. just on the other side of Houston, but the eggs are cooked much better than at Frankie’s (just cooked, not overcooked), and I like the Portuguese bun better than an English muffin or biscuit any day. On a street where you have several excellent breakfast sandwich options (Clinton St. Baking Co., Frankie’s/Cafe Pedlar), Zaitzeff is definitely one to try.

Eat: Zaitzeff (EV/LES) 18 Ave. B at 2nd St. Sun – Thu, 12 pm to 11:30 pm; Fri & Sat, 12 pm to 1:00 am. There are also locations in Financial District and Midtown.


Christmas 2010 & Merry James-mas
December 25, 2010, 7:38 pm
Filed under: Go, Listen | Tags: , , , , , ,

It’s December 25th, and it’s my first Christmas in the city. My brother is in town visiting since our parents are out of the country. As such, we’ve been attempting (and failing) at trying to experience a very New York City Christmas. Instead, we spent Christmas Eve eating Cuban food in the West Village, then drinking beers, playing pool/shuffleboard/Scrabble/listening to live jazz (Eddie Wyatt) at Fat Cat. Today, we went to go 92Y Tribeca for Chinese and a Movie – a Leslie Nielsen double header of Airplane and Naked Gun, complete with a Chinese food buffet. No one told me it was going to be vegetarian, and for that, I would dock the experience at least a bit. Still, Shirley, you can’t go wrong with the classics.

Tonight, we’re cooking at home before heading out to Merry James-mas! at Nublu (62 Ave C between 4th and 5th Sts;; 10pm, $10) on Avenue C to celebrate and remember James Brown, who passed four years ago today. According to Time Out NY, every year since that sad day DJ Nickodemus (from Turntables on the Hudson) has hosted a James Brown Christmas tribute. Nickodemus will rework James Brown classics against the backdrop of timeless J.B. videos. The Pimps of Joytime will also perform live. Covers, classics, mashups, Funky People 45’s, The JB’s, videos & all things that’ll get you on the GOOD FOOT! In Funk We Trust! $10/ 21 & over.

Let’s play darts (downtown)
December 9, 2010, 5:35 pm
Filed under: Do | Tags: , , , , , , ,

There’s something intensely satisfying about hurling a sharp, pointed object at a wall while intoxicated, especially when said activity is socially sanctioned. Enter: darts. Socially sanctioned throwing of sharp objects while intoxicated!

But where does one find a dartboard? I did a quick search on Yelp, and thought I’d share my downtown finds with you fine folks. Aren’t you lucky you read this blog, you fun seeker, you?

East Village:

  • Ace Bar 531 5th between A and B
  • Duke’s 129 Ave. C at 8th
  • Doc Holliday’s 141 Ave. A at 9th
  • The Edge 95 3rd St. at 1st Ave.
  • The HorseBox 218 Ave. A at 14th

Lower East Side:

  • Stanton Public 17 Stanton St. between Bowery & Chrystie
  • Welcome to the Johnson’s 123 Rivington between Essex and Norfolk
  • Boss Tweed’s 115 Essex at Rivington


  • Bleecker Street Bar 56 Bleecker St at Crosby (near Lafayette)
  • Puck Fair 298 Lafayette at Houston

If you want to find bars that have dartboards in other parts of the city, you can do your own, customized search on Yelp.

Don’t hurt anyone!

Downtown NYC walk, shop & eat circuit

[tweetmeme]Some girlfriends are coming in from out of town and they are staying with another mutual friend in Union Square. I have plans to ride my bike to Brooklyn with other friends after brunching with them, so I wrote up an e-mail with suggestions of where to go and what to eat given that their home base is Union Square. What emerged was what I think is a great rough itinerary for a weekend day when all you want to do is eat, shop, and fall in love with NYC. My perfect Saturday (or Sunday – or any day you don’t have to work, I guess):

I’ve taken the liberty of drawing a walkable downtown Manhattan shopping map for you (with words). We can start with brunch in the East Village, the earlier the better bc then we won’t have to wait for hours. I would like to go to Cafe Orlin at 10 am so we can get in before the 11 am brunch rush, or we can do Cafe Mogador if you want slightly more ethnic (Moroccan and Mediterranean), but if they’re too busy, Paprika can be our backup backup. After brunch, I’ll be leaving you, but here are a few suggestions:

Recommended shopping (that you can’t get in DC)

East Village – walk down East 9th St. (very close to brunch) between Second Avenue and Avenue A to find a sweet collection of boutiques, clothing and otherwise. I like Cadillac’s Castle for jewelry and I picked up a gently used Alexander Wang dress there for $88. I like Think Closet as well and I think they’re having a sale, and there’s Roni and so many other stores on that stretch that are so cute but I don’t remember all their names. A great area to spend a few hours shopping. If you’re hungry after, head over to E 7th St between 1st and Ave A where there’s Luke’s Lobster for a lobster roll, Porchetta for a slow roasted pork sandwich, and Butter Lane for the most amazing FRENCH (not the American) vanilla buttercream on vanilla cupcake that you have ever had – seriously, the frosting is so good I want to rub it all over my body. I rarely feel this way about vanilla. One block up on St. Mark’s is Crif Dogs for a deep fried hot dog – I like the Chihuahua – or Xi’An Famous Foods for a lamb burger and some hand-pulled noodles. So many choices, so little time…

If you want a quick break from shopping and eating, swing by Tompkins Square Park on Ave A and 7th/9th. Usually there are musicians or sometimes concerts and festivals. You can just hang out on the green for a bit and rest your feet if you like, or just cruise on through.

From East Village, you can make your way down south to LES past Houston, stop by Szeki on Rivington (she’s a doll!), Honey in the Rough, Pixie Market, Miks, Yumi Kim (sale section in back of the store), Foley & Corinna… If you want jewelry there’s also Hillary Flowers on Clinton St. By this point, you’ll probably be ready for a snack. I would recommend swinging by Baohaus to try the pork belly or beef brisket bao, or just get a Straight Frush between the three of you to share. If you are in the mood for sweets, go to Sugar Sweet Sunshine for a $1.50 cupcake and some bomb-ass banana pudding. Or swing by Meatball Shop for a $4 homemade ice cream cookie sandwich – ginger snap cookie with vanilla ice cream is the best.

Continue reading

Xi’an Famous Foods in Manhattan
May 25, 2010, 10:49 am
Filed under: Eat | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Behold: the perfect noodle.

The $5 “spicy and tingly lamb noodles” (D1) from Xi’an Famous Foods are definitely spicy, and I suppose the tingle comes from the burning sensation in your mouth that intensifies with each glorious mouthful. I had to pat dry the tiny beads of sweat that appeared on my nose after the first few bites, but I didn’t care because it was so messing good. The ancient city for which this restaurant is named (Xi’an) is home to the famous terracotta soldiers and fuses Middle Eastern and Chinese flavor profiles together seamlessly. The smokiness of the cumin, the  mellowness of the lamb, the crunchiness of the bean sprouts and scallions, and the crazy heat from the chilies all added to the dish’s hearty, toothsome goodness. The thick, chewy noodles have a delightful texture, and they are pulled and cooked to order by this woman and her magic hands:

She takes the fat pieces of dough and splays them across the counter so that they stretch and flattens them with a few quick pounds, and then she takes the long, flat noodles one by one and *poof* magically whirls them around with a few quick flicks of the wrist and voila! They become thinner in width (though still thick in girth) and they are tossed into the pot to cook. Continue reading

Michelada Recipe for Cinco de Mayo
May 5, 2010, 1:12 pm
Filed under: Drink | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Photo credit:

When I was in Mexico last November for a friend’s wedding, I was introduced to a fantastically refreshing beer cocktail called a michelada. I drank several over the course of the week in various parts of Mexico: Acapulco, Mexico City, and Veracruz. Each one was slightly different from the last, but we did pick up a shortcut from our bartender in Veracruz: Maggi Jugo.

Basically, a michelada is a savory beer cocktail. It is always served in a glass with the mix at the bottom and the beer on the side, and you pour the beer into the glass when you are ready to drink. In some ways, it’s a lot like a bloody mary. It seems to be more of a daytime drink than a dinnertime drink, and some bars serve the mix with Clamato juice.

There’s no single right way to make a michelada, as it varies by region and by establishment, and it all comes down to personal taste. We experimented with different proportions at home, and this is what we came up with:

  • 1 (12 ounce) bottle Mexican beer – it’s a michelada claro if you go with a light beer like Sol or Corona, and it’s a michelada obscura if you choose a dark beer like Negra Modelo or Indio. I prefer the obscura, but it’s all a matter of preference.
  • 3 key limes, juice of – juice of three regular lime wedges will do just fine, too.
  • 1 tablespoon of Clamato or other tomato juice (OPTIONAL – In Veracruz, they didn’t use any tomato juice at all) – my buddy Jason swears by Mr. & Mrs. T’s Bloody Mary Mix.
  • 1 tablespoon Jugo Maggi seasoning – this magical michelada sauce tastes a little bit like soy sauce and worcestershire sauce mixed together, but lighter and more spiced. If you don’t want to go out to the grocery store and pick up a bottle of this stuff in the international foods aisle, you can substitute 1/2 tbsp worcestershire, 1/2 tbsp soy, and freshly ground pepper to taste.
  • Tabasco (or other high vinegar hot sauce) to taste

I like to make my micheladas look pretty by rimming the glass with lime juice and dipping it in Tajin Clasico Seasoning, which is described by the manufacturer as a powdered salsa with salt and lime. It’s a little spicy, it’s tangy, and it’s salty. I like to rim beverages with it, or sprinkle it on fresh fruit or black beans or anything that could use a little zing.


  1. Rim chilled tall glass with lime juice
  2. Dip rim of glass upside down into small dish of Tajin Clasico Seasoning (or celery salt, if you prefer)
  3. Combine all ingredients except beer in bottom of glass and add ice
  4. Garnish glass with a lime wedge and/or a peeled cocktail shrimp, if you’re feeling fancy
  5. Serve glass and bottle of beer separately, allowing guest to add beer as they drink

I understand that Mayahuel in the East Village serves an excellent and spicy michelada, though I haven’t personally checked it out myself. They use a sangrita as the base (spicy drink mix made with tomato juice, orange juice, and spices) plus lime and Negra Modelo. $9. They also serve cheladas, beer cocktails with lime and salt. $7. Cafe El Portal in SoHo also serves micheladas and cheladas for $6 a pop.

Happy Cinco de Drinko!

$1 Taco Sundays at Mayahuel
January 19, 2010, 9:18 am
Filed under: Drink, Eat, Go | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

[tweetmeme]I am a big fan of specialty tequila den Mayahuel, so when I read on Eater that they were starting a Sunday food and drink special, I was ecstatic. $1 tacos (chicken, pork or chorizo soft tacos topped with cilantro, radishes and lime) are usually $12 (for 3, I think). The cocktails are in the neighborhood of $12-16 a pop, and go for $10 on Sundays.

Beware the wait: I went to Mayahuel this past Sunday around 9 pm and was told that the wait was 2 hours long. Apparently, we are in a recession and everyone wants a piece of the $1 taco action. Get there early, and try the pilot punch.

Go: Mayahuel, 304 E Sixth St (between Second and First Ave). 212-253-5888