295 Berry St
Kern C. on Yelp says “Wow. They taste way better than Chipotle,their prices cheaper than Chipotle’s anddd they are seemingly less stingy with the ingredients than Chipotle”.
Dude, Chipotle is owned by McDonalds and although it’s fast food Mexican with debatable quality on par with Taco Bell, this statement isn’t saying much. I’m from San Diego and so it still blows my mind how hard it is to find authentic good cheap Mexican food in New York. If Roberto’s, Alberto’s or King Taco opened up in New York there would be a line down the street like when Five Guys opened in MidTown (at least I hope people would know the difference and that would be the case).
In the meantime you can go down to the soccer fields down in Red Hook, up to the Super Tacos on W96th Street 2/3 subway stop for the tacos, or visit a Mexican grocery deli like Mexico 2000 in Williamsburg. Otherwise you can also opt for hipster Mexican. Hipster Mexican means good Mexican food but not as cheap as you’d get in California or the streets of TJ. La Superior has been around for some time in Williamsburg so it deserves some real props. Tacos are $2.50 each – the Carnitas, Pescado and Carne Asada are all great. While you are out in Williamsburg, be sure to also check out the Diablo truck inside of Union Pool and the burrito cart inside of the Woods are also good. Sorry, I’m not a huge fan of the Endless Summer truck although I know it’s very popular.]]>
Maison Premiere Oyster Bar Williamsburg
298 Bedford Ave (between Grand St & 1st St)
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Williamsburg – South Side
My go-to bodega in Williamsburg for cheap Ben and Jerry’s pints ($4 each) recently became victim to gentrification. But in reality I’m not pissed, because the Maison Premiere Oyster Bar is pretty awesome. Not only can you enjoy fresh oysters on the half shell but you can also wash them down with amazing mixology cocktails, absinthe, wines and craft beer. The designers of Maison Premier Oyster Bar also completely transformed the shit hole bodega into an incredible space with an old New Orleans Prohibition era décor. A hostess greets you at the door and leads you a few steps to the roomy oyster shaped bar that surrounds a large copper plated absinthe water tap (where they drip water over sugar cubes) before a wall of candlelit bottles. Several sharply dressed bartenders are stationed within the enclosed oval space and take their time crafting old” tyme” cocktail classics.
Be sure to try my favorite, the Maison Pimm’s Cup (Pimm’s No. 1, Cucumber juice, simple syrup, fresh mint and lemon juice) You’ll not only look cool drinking what the mobsters drink in Boardwalk Empire, but with the mint and cucumber, the Pimm’s Cup is also a great way to feel cool during the summer heat.
I am a little disappointed that they have a decorative bottle of Suze at the top shelf and won’t allow patrons to drink it. I pretty much ask every time I go if I can have a sip – I mean who’s going to notice if it’s full or empty? I love Suze and it’s really hard to find in the US
On the other side of the bar is the oyster station where you can select your oysters and have the staff shuck them fresh for you while you wait. Further back are a few tables and outside is the garden area staffed with a third bar station allowing you and your guests to relax in the shade under a canopy of trees, ferns and vines.
A few months ago I was up in Boston with my cousins and we had a few really great cocktails at the bar Drink over in Ft Point. There they don’t have a cocktail menu and will create specialty drinks from scratch ingredients. You can get this experience at perhaps Apoteke in Chinatown NY but I kind of like Maison Premiere because it isn’t as much of a scene (at least not yet). Of course, if I can also get my ice cream fix at Maison Premiere, that would be even better!]]>
#1 Jerk-off Jerky Competition at the BellHouse
Sun Jan 23rd 4pm
Come on down to the Bellhouse in Brooklyn to learn all about making your own jerky while competing for awesome prizes from Wusthof, Anolon and Microplane. $10 admission ticket allows you to sample all kinds of jerky.
The Bell House, 149 Seventh St.
#2 Fourth Annual Pie Contest at The Bedford (Williamsburg)
Enter your baked pies (sweet or savory) for a chance to win prizes or pay the $10 admission (purchase tickets at the door) and sample all-you-can-eat forkfuls of at least 50 pies. The competition benefits Growing Chefs, which connects people to food through farm-based education.
The Bedford, 110 Bedford Ave. (at N. 11th St.)
319 Graham Avenue
Open Sunday-Thursday 11AM-12AM
Friday and Saturday 11AM-1AM
Motorino East Village
349 East 12th Street
Open Sunday-Thurs 11AM-12AM
Friday and Saturday 11AM-1AM
Just when you thought the top NY Pizza rankings were settled, along comes Motorino and a motorcade of celebrity mentions including Rachel Ray, Michelle Park of NY1, and a NY Times write up in Feb. When I think pure Neapolitan pizza, I think Una Pizza Napoletana in the East Village but guess what? Motorino is Una Pizza Napoletana (Anthony Mangieri, the founder of Una Pizza Napoletana, sold his space to Mathieu Palombino last year). Guess that makes sense since the pizza here is very good.
We ordered a varieties including the famous Margherita DOC $14 (tomato / mozzarella di bufala / basil), a Soppressata Piccante $14 (tomato / fior di latte / spicy soppressata / fresh chilies / garlic, and the special that night (mushroom). I thought the soppressata was a little salty for my taste, but he DOC Margherita was just perfection. I prefer the Williamsburg location – it’s a bit larger and includes a nice backyard patio space. Enjoy!]]>
The Bagel Store
247 Bedford Ave
Brooklyn, NY, 11211
The Bagel Store
754 Metropolitan Ave
Brooklyn Ave, NY, 11211
What do you do when you’re faced with equally attractive options of having a nice toasted fresh bagel with great toppings, french toast, or an egg bacon and cheddar sandwich? Thanks to the innovative folks at the Bagel Store, you can kind of do it all with their 2 new crazy bagel flavors: French Toast and Bacon, Egg and Cheddar!
I guess you really can’t expect anything less crazy from a bagel bakery that has a mural of huge bagel toting robots on its store front right? Now I know I’ve written a few raving posts about Absolute Bagels on the Upper West Side which I still believe are among the best bagels in the NY Metro area, but the bagels at the Bagel Store should also be considered quite seriously. Besides I like the friendly and fast service, free wifi, and adequate seating.
As for the crazy new bagels, to best enjoy the French Toast Bagel, toast and add syrup. For the Bacon, Egg and Cheddar – I think butter is a better option than cream cheese, although now that I am thinking about it maybe ketchup might also be a good possibility. You can also do what I do and put a slice of one on top of the other and eat them together. Enjoy!]]>
South 4th between Wythe and Kent
Hey have you been to the new The Woods bar in Williamsburg ? It’s just 2.5 weeks old, and I love it. First off, it’s got a a great selection of really cheap beer. “Working Man’s Cans” are just $3 (PBR, Schiltz, Schaeffer, Old Milwaukee, Colt 45, etc). Jameson and Bud $6! PBR Whisky $5! Pickleback (shot of Jameson and shot of pickle juice) seemed to be one of the most popular choices as well.
Speaking of Colt 45, I was at the bar with 2 Germans and they gave the thumbs up for the beer. It’s got some character in the taste they say. Maybe compared with Bud, PBR, and the others, that’s pretty true.
The Woods bar also has a nightly DJ and enough space for probably a band on the stage. But get this…they also have a really large outdoor space with a taco truck! Yes, and an authentic one as well. $2.50 tacos and $5.00 burritos. These are amazing tacos. I think it’s actually the same cart that was on Metropolitan and Bedford if I’m not mistaken.
The Woods is definitely going to be a success. It was completely packed last Friday night. I can only imagine what it’s going to be like in the summer. By the way, also on S4th (off of Bedford) is another new bar named Bar-Celona – it’s more of a speakeasy cocktail bar with fancy rococo furniture, fireplace and chandeliers. 100% different crowd from The Woods. Check it out!
Spotted on Bedford Ave @ N 3rd
Here’s a story of a brother and sister buying an old ice cream truck in LA, hipsterizing it, and moving out East to NY. They don’t sell any prepared food, which I believe is a clever way around the highly competitive and underground mobile food vendor licensing laws in NY. They sell candy!
I was kind of in a rush but I quickly spotted a pack of those fake candy cigarettes and bought one. Unfortunately they weren’t the ones that produce the fake smoke out of powdered sugar. Had fun later that afternoon anyhow with my friends at 1 2 3 Burger Shot Beer. Hey what’s a better way to enjoy the Zippo iPhone App than with fake candy cigs inside of a NY Bar?!!!!
You can of course find HeartsChallenger candy food truck via Twitter : http://twitter.com/hrtschallenger
They are usually in NOLITA spring and mulberry daily 1-6pm. Enjoy the smokes! (They’re SWEET!!)
367-A Broadway (@ Keap between the Marcy and Hewes JMZ stations)
718 782 3797
Restaurant open till about 10pm everyday.
In the late 90s I lived on a sketchy block on W27th between 6th Ave and Broadway. The closest grocery stores were way out on 8th avenue or Park Ave South. Occasionally, I’d take my bike and ride out to 10th avenue in the W30s to shop at a few tiny Mexican grocery markets which have the best selection of tortillas, beans and chipotle salsas. Besides a few 24 hr bodegas, there wasn’t much else in terms of food but inside those Mexican grocery markets was something that might surprise you – a makeshift restaurant. I say makeshift because at a moment’s notice the chairs and tables could be folded. I’m assuming that these restaurants weren’t exactly legal at the time, but nevertheless the food was awesome. These deli + restaurant combos are quite popular throughout NY. There’s a few on Amsterdam between W100 and W110. Some of these deli grocery marts are clean and nice, and some are a bit on the shady side such as this one down in Bed Stuy near my friend Olivier’s loft on Myrtle and Bedford. From the uniforms of the waitresses, you’d think that there’s more on the menu than just food. Either way, it’s definitely a fun experience to check out.
I recently found one down in Williamsburg under the JMZ tracks on Broadway between the Marcy and Hewes stops. The front of the shop has all of the popular canned products, salsas, vegetables, as well as music videos and CDs from the hottest stars on the Latin music scene. In the back, are 2 tables, the requisite jukebox and a TV playing your favorite Telemundo daytime soaps. I ordered a carnitas burrito and a bottle of Negra Modelo beer ($9.50 total). The plates are enormous and come with a side of rice, salsa and salad. The burrito itself was interesting. While the carnitas was very good (it’s hard to find good carnitas in NY for some reason), they decided to add carrots, string beans and peas as vegetables within the burrito. It kind of reminded me of the pizza restaurants in Beijing that use corn as a topping on a pizza – weird but kind of works. Nevertheless, Mexico 2000 is definitely worth checking out. It can’t get any more fresh and authentic than this at such a deal. In fact, you may want to brush up on your Spanish skills a bit as the owner doesn’t speak any English. Enjoy!]]>
247 S.1st Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
My friend Noel and I started a whacky tradition a few 4th of July’s ago. It started with laziness – laziness to put together a 4th of July bbq. Hey, it’s not easy when you don’t have a terrace, rooftop, backyard or adequate fire escape space. Going to the park is well too much effort in our book. So we came up with the brilliant idea on going to Peter Luger’s to have steaks on the 4th (then we expanded to other random holidays like Thanksgiving). The tradition is no reservations, just walk in. Usually on holidays like the 4th, it’s manageable. One year we did wait about 1.5 hours which would have sucked more had it not been for the endless well-made gin and tonics at the bar and a celebrity sighting of John Lithgow. Mr Lithgow with daughter in tow, of course cut through the line as effortlessly as the Luger’s steak knives slice through their juicy porterhouses. Damn, I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
Anyhow, this year the 4th of July fell on a Saturday which unbeknownst to us meant that it would be impossible to get a walk-in seat because Peter Luger’s closes earlier on weekends (good to know). So Luger’s was out of the question. Instead, Noel, his GF and I walked not to Dressler’s across the street but to the ex-Dressler Chef/Owner’s semi newly opened Rye Chop House a few blocks away.
There was Rib Eye on the menu, so we ordered a few of those, a round of drinks, a crab croquette, and the lamb chops. The rib eye was more of a medallion so that was not expected. It was also overcooked (came as medium well when we ordered medium rare). I guess I don’t really feel that bad since it also happened to Frank Bruni of the NY Times! The rib eye is served with a beef bourguignon stew of vegetables which complements the beef very well. Personally I think this dish would have been fantastic if it was just a normal cut of rib eye and not over cooked.
The lamb chops with the roasted garlic mash, haricot vert and roasted tomatoes was spot on. Order it! Now 2 items that I did not have room to eat were the sloppy joe sandwiches that my coworker swears by and the dessert doughnuts. Oh well, maybe next time, but probably not next 4th of July. We’re going to set up the fucking grill or we’re hitting Smith and Wollensky’s. (2010’s 4th is on Sun)]]>
172 Bedford Ave (Bet N7th and N8th)
Williamsburg Brooklyn NY
718 384 0028
Open 7 days
10-11pm Sun – Thurs
10 – 1AM Fri – Sat
If you’ve been following my posts, you’ve probably noticed my recent obsession with banh mi sandwiches. Luck would have it that a small banh mi sandwich shop opened up a few weeks ago in Williamsburg. Actually it’s just phase one of the owners’ plans as they are preparing to launch their restaurant in a few months (located adjacent to the sandwich counter) that will be serving a full Vietnamese menu. You know that means bowls of fresh pho! In the meantime, the banh mi sandwiches are flying off the counter at this latest food enterprise in Williamsburg. LOL, is Vietnamese the new Thai of Williamsburg?
Priced at just $5 each, Banh Mi 172’s 7 varieties of banh mi include xiu mai (Vietnamese Meatball), banh mi ga nuong sa (grilled lemongrass chicken), banh mi thit khia (bbq pork), banh mi cha ca (fish cake sandwich) and a vegetarian option (of course). I’ve tried the #1 special combination (all of the above excluding the lemongrass chicken) as well as the classic #2 (thinly sliced pork). I really liked the special combination since it was a bit different especially with the fish cake slices. The #2 Classic is spot on and will defintiely do the job. The next time I’m definitely going to try the BBQ Pork sandwich. I found out one of the owners is Chinese and I’m hoping they’ll use Chinese Cha Xiu BBQ Pork like they do it out in the Vietnamese restaurants in California. Check it out!
P.S. Banh Mi 172 is open till 1AM on Fri and Sat so you now have an alternative option to the greasy pizza across the street!]]>