Employees Only [Click the photo above to go to Employees Only’s website]
510 Hudson Street (between 10th and Christopher Street), New York, NY 10014
I was meeting a friend at 9pm for drinks in the West Village at Employees Only. I had never been there before, and it was raining so I was immediately fearful that I’d be 20 mins late because 1. I couldn’t get a cab and 2. What if I got lost??
Fear not I was able to grab a cab from a girl getting dropped off at my building, and the restaurant was SUPER easy to find. I also hate awkwardly waiting for people (I hate a lot of things), so I was happy my friend was already there casually waiting in the front by the bar.
Checked coat and we sat (and then we ate). Unforgivable reference…if you haven’t seen it…it’s funny…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dJu1Jj7VTw
First things first. Lets get a drink, it’s 9pm for G-d’s sakes. They had a section called Fancy Drinks which immediately tickled my fancy (I’m sorry I’m not sorry). I like drinks with a little kick, so I asked the waitress what she recommended she said the “Lazy Lover” so I just went with that. The drink was super good, and I gobbled it right up. I ended up ordering three of them, so I was a wittle drunk. Woops.
Then the question of the night came, “are you hungry? We should order stuff.” WHHHHAT. I JUST HAD SALMON TERIYAKI WITH BROWN RICE BEFORE THIS. Oy ok if you insist! So me being the wild eater, I wanted to try the bone marrow (I can’t believe he ok’d this. Most people would have been like, “lets get chicken fingers.”). It wasn’t the best, but I was also full so it’s hard to judge food when you’re not hungry. Feel me? They usually serve bone marrow IN the bone, but this was in a puffy pastry (Employees Only thinking outside the box)
At around drink #2, the next question of the night came, “should we get another dish?” OK!
We went for the cheese plate. NOT the best cheese plate in town. This cheese platter came with tortilla like bread (I like crostinis, but what are you gonna do?). I also like when they give you fruity jellies (do you know what im talking about at all?) on the side, but this restaurant only gave a side of nuts to mix with the cheeses. This obviously didn’t stop me from eating. Alcohol and cheese/carbs were in front of me…I was a goner.
I paired our cheese plate with random conversation one thinks of when they’re a few drinks in:
“Would you ever be a stand-up comedian?”
“Want to see twenty pictures of my dog on my phone? She’s SO cute.”
“Sure” (you’re going to show me anyway).
My Lazy Lover drink had made me super giddy and enthusiastic, and I gave my friend a kiss on the cheek AND a hug good-bye as if I’d never see them again (alcohol does that!). I would totes go to Employees Only again. It was a cute bar with great drinks, but I think I’d eat before again too.
Employees Only (menu)
It does not say Employees Only on the outside of the restaurant. It just has this symbol (ok fine it’s an “E” and an “O”), and the address number.
Employees Only (Fancy Drink Menu)
I just love that it says Fancy Drinks, so I got fancy with editing the picture (please keep reading my blog after reading that joke). The menu was not blue. I’m fancy huh? (I’M SO SORRY. PLEASE KEEP READING MY BLOG.)
Employees Only (bone marrow poppers)
You have to admit they look good for something called bone marrow poppers. The waitress said they were meant to be eaten in one bite, but I felt like I had an oversized sushi roll in my mouth when I did that.
Employees Only (cheese platter).
See what I mean with the tortilla like bread? And the random nuts? I nibbled on the cheese like a little mouse.
Sip Sak [Click the photo above to go to Sip Sak’s website]
928 2nd Ave (between 49th & 50th St), New York 10022
Finding a good lunch spot is hard. It is so difficult to strike the perfect balance between undereating and stuffing yourself to the point of no return.
Undereating means feeling like a savaged beast by 3pm clawing at paperwork and pens at your desk, while overeating can lead you to wanting to take a nap under your desk. Not to mention you don’t want to have wasted all your calories before dinner. I bring you Sip Sak!
Sip Sak is technically a Turkish restaurant, but I like to say Mediterranean, because it sounds way less intimidating. I have been there a bunch of times, and it is always a great alternative to my usual salad.
Their appetizers are delic’. The bread comes toasted (I try to avoid the carbs during the work week, but sometimes I give in), and their hummus is SOOOO good. It tastes authentic and it’s also on the creamier side (i hate when you get hummus that is stiff like a pate). Their spinach appetizer is my favorite (it’s cold by the way)! I don’t even think it tastes like spinach (it tastes like crack. No it doesn’t. It does. No, but it’s good) It comes with a dollup of yogurt on the top too (I will sometimes just get this and a soup and call it a day).
I actually ordered spinach again as my main too, but this time it came hot and with mushrooms (relax, Popeye). Mushrooms and spinach are a super filling option if you don’t want meat (I do not observe Lent but some peeps do. I am one of the chosen people, but it is also a vegetarian option too. I am just trying to stay current).
My sister got lamb kebabs that I was pretty jealous of. They were perfectly spiced and had great texture. It also came with rice and cabbage. I am a weird sucker for a good cabbage salad (I really don’t know), and I reached my fork across the table and scooped it off her plate, eventually screaming “JUST PUT IT ON MY PLATE ALREADY”
My mom went for a traditional greek salad with grilled chicken. SipSak just added some fava beans. She has been here before, and if she likes a place…we go back.
There are seriously a ton of options. I drag everyone in my office to this restaurant. I think they’ve had enough of me.
Sip Sak (interior)
It’s just too cute.
Sip Sak (lamb with rice and side salad)
There are no words. I know some people are not lamb lovers, but this is legit. You can see my cabbage salad peeking over the lamb’s left shoulder (was that weird?).
Sip Sak (greek salad with grilled chicken)
They gave a ridiculous amount of grilled chicken, and my mom was definitely full.
Sip Sak (spinach with mushrooms topped with peppers and tomatoes)
You know how I feel about their spinach. No need to beat a dead horse.
Sip Sak (toasted bread)
I could fill up on this alone, but I held myself back and let my mom and sister take some too (they’re so selfish sometimes).
Shake Shack [Click the photo above to go to Shake Shack’s website]
Madison Square Park:Southeast corner of Madison Square Park, near Madison Ave and East 23rd St
Whenever I take a gym class in Flatiron I always have to stroll by Madison Square Park on my way. As I walk by the small piece of green I always see a line snaked around the corner for Shake Shack. In Manhattan there are only 2 reasons for a line, one: those people are tourists and idiots, and two: it’s actually worth the wait.
Being that I am walking to a gym class I always decide it would be counterproductive to stop for a cheeseburger and fries, but in the back of my mind I always think, “I will eat there at some point.”
Well! That day has come!
I was planning a Thursday night dinner with my friend, and her only rule was it had to be under $20. “Are we drinking?” I immediately ask (alcohol would make it a lot harder to keep the meal under $20). We are not (bummer, it’s Thursday), “Lets save ourselves for the weekend.” Suddenly I had an epiphany. We shall go to Shake Shack. It’s on.
The plan was we would meet at Shake Shack, and then bring the food back to my apartment to eat and “watch” the Knicks Game (what up LINsanity). I had told everyone and their mother (I’m going to Shake Shake. Spread it!) I was going so I had received a few suggestion.
Get the milkshake!
Get the burger!
OK OK! TWIST MY ARM!
I threw on my Thanksgiving pants (you know where that’s from!), and off I went.
As we’re waiting on line I peruse the prices. “It’s so cheap for a burger.”
“That’s because they’re so small,” my friend replies.
Small! Small! Panic immediately starts to build inside my stomach. What if I am not full? What if I am still hungry? (looking back it would not have been the worst thing) I change my mind. I shall get the double cheese burger, and a vanilla shake. I went to the gym in the morning for this exact reason!
My friend ordered a double burger, and we split fries. As we waited for our food (they give you buzzers so you know when your food is ready, which immediately led to phantom vibrations. did it go off? are you sure??) we chitchatted.
“Do you think it’s a big deal we’re missing part of the Knick’s game?”
“Nah, the 4th quarter is all that matters.”
“Oh, ok good.”
“They should just give each team 100 points and then put 2 minutes on the clock”
We invented a new game, while waiting for our burgers. PERFECT! LamLam? Carmello? Lin? How do you feel about this new sport??
Finally, the buzzers go off! (ok it was 3 minutes) I have to say, it was worth the hype. The burger was almost buttery, the fries were seasoned, and the milkshake was delightful (I’m lactose intolerant so I took a big risk with that). We packed it up and left to watch the Knicks game (they lost to the Miami Heat, and I screamed GET A REBOUND 10x to myself in my apartment).
“Hey,” I said as we were getting up, “this would be a cute date spot. It’s casual, and it’s cute being in the park at night, and you can even get a beer.”
“Yea, sure” my friend replies, and pops one last fry in her mouth.
Shake Shack (Madison Square Park)
Tell me that isn’t a little romantic with the lights!
Shake Shack (double cheeseburger)
Ch-ch-ch-check it out! Cray-zay! I ate the WHOLE thing. I did, and I only felt a little guilty when I checked myself out in the mirror this morning. Maybe get a regular burger if you’re on a date…
Shake Shack (vanilla shake)
I got fancy with it!! I like the classic diner shake, either vanilla or black & white. This does NOT taste like a diner milkshake, but it was really yummy (my milkshake brings all the boys to yard…Sorry I’m not sorry!)
Shake Shack (double cheeseburger, vanilla milkshake)
Here is my delicious meal! It ain’t fancy, but who cares!
Tiffin Wallah: 127 E 28th Street, New York, NY 10016
Being a girl, I do not like to sit at a restaurant and eat alone. “She must be so sad and lonely,” the other patrons think to themselves as they stare at me weeping into my salad. That’s what delivery is for! I decided to broaden my horizons and try something new instead of ordering from my go to sushi place.
I always feel skinny saying I ate vegetarian, so I decided to try a restaurant from the infamous Curry Hill landscape. Tiffin Wallah appeared in my search, and with Wikipedia open in a separate tab, I researched the menu as I waited for Bethenny Ever After to come on (why so late Bethenny? Ok fine 9 pm is not late)
First thing I saw was Rasam (spicy tomato lentil soup). I love lentil soup, it’s delicious, filling, healthy AND vegetarian (winning!). Besides, spicy food speeds up your metabolism. That ended up being a bust. It tasted like water with hot sauce.
Moving on I decided to pursue the mixed vegetable uttapam. Uttapam is essentially a savory pancake made from rice and lentil flour. Success! It came with 2 dipping sauces, and I was filled with just one order and did not even go in search of a little snackaroo in my fridge later in the night.
If you feel like taking a dip in the curry pond I would def try Tiffin Wallah to get your feet wet.
Order: Mixed Vegetable Uttapam.
Barbounia [Click the photo above to go to Barbounia’s website]
250 Park Ave S #1 New York, NY 10003
Weekend Brunch! What girl does not love brunch, and being that I live in Murray Hill (stop judging me fellow New Yorkers), finding a decent brunch spot is near to impossible, especially since my friends never want to go very far. Since I was able to drag them to L’express before I figured I could force them to try the restaurant across the street, Barbounia, and thank gaaaad for Barbounia.
For 1, they have a drinking special (boom). $18 for unlimited mimosas and bellinis. One mimosa is $12, so it is a deal in my book.
Not to mention there were men there, MEN AT BRUNCH. Unless there’s a big screen television, beer and tater tots, it is hard to get a man to brunch. Barbounia somehow managed to make that happen.
Crowded? Drinking Special? There must be a wait. The brunch gods were shining down on me that Saturday, because we were seated right away (next to a group of drunk girls but we were seated: i’ll take it).
And the food did not disappoint. I picked up the menu about 3 times before I decided on the crab benedict with truffle oil (yes, truffle oil), and it was delicious. I did not leave one morsel on my plate.
My friend got the burger, and she cleaned her plate as well. I also want to point out that while I am an adventurous eater, my fellow diner is not. Caesar salad wraps are her go to choice, and Barbounia managed to please both of us.
Overall it was an enjoyable experience, except while we were paying our bill, the manager asked if we would be willing to move to the bar so they could seat a larger party (back off buddy). He’s lucky I finished my mimosa so we just paid and left.
Here is the burger my friend ordered. She was sick and coughing up a lung, so I was too scared to take a bite, but I really wanted to sneak a few fries (if it’s not on my plate it’s like it never happened).
Barbounia (crab benedict)
Here is my crab benedict that I went to town on. I haven’t met a dish with truffle oil I did not like, and if you do not like truffle oil…i’m judging you, harshly.
Barbounia. (bloody mary and mimosa)
I got the mimosa, and my friend got the bloody mary. She has never met a bloody mary she did not like, and this one fell under that umbrella. I sipped my mimosa like a lady, of course.
BLUE SMOKE[Click the photo above to go to Blue Smoke’s website]
116 E 27th St b/t S Park Ave & Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016
Went to Blue Smoke last night with my pops. It’s a good spot for Murray Hill: comfortably crowded, decent food, and sort of a dudefest (girls think about that for an after work drink).
We ordered the warm bbq potato chips with blue cheese and bacon dip to start. It’s hard to complain about a creamy dip with bacon, but the chips were stale and tasted store bought.
It was fine, but I wouldn’t say it was restaurant quality. It reminded me of in college when my roommates and I would try to “cook” (look boys we’re cute and domestic). We’d haul our cookies to the supermarket (secretly munch on samples), buy all the ingredients, make this fatty dip, and realize we forgot chips, and end up running to the vending machine to see what they had.
I had the burger, and I have to say I liked it. It was big and juicy (don’t make it weird), and the fries were well done which I love!
Mi padre had the fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy. We also split a side of brussel sprouts and sesame cole slaw. I had a nibble of my dad’s, and if you’re not in the mood for red meat I would recommend getting that.
Overall it’s a good spot if you’re going with parents or a coed crowd. I didn’t see one group of girls sitting at a table. Some might see that as no competition.