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The Other Short Trip Report: Food and Drink version

Maryland
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The Other Short Trip Report: Food and Drink version

At everyone's request, here, inno particular order, are the restaurants/bars I visited on my most recent trip with my thoughts on them.

Disclaimer: We are by no means fine diners so my thoughts are really just the thoughts of a normal Joe Schmoe with no real experience with fine dining!

Maryland
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1. Re: The Other Short Trip Report: Food and Drink version

Drinks:

Broadway Dive Bar – at 101st & B’way I thought it was a really cool place with a good bourbon and tequila selection. I was there at lunchtime so it wasn’t real crowded. The bartender was nice and told me that it gets packed at happy hour. I also was told that the mixed drinks are not that great – very sweet. I would say if you’re looking for a classic cocktail, this is not the place. If you’re looking for straight up liquor or beer in a fun atmosphere, give it a try.

Cipriani Dolce in Grand Central – I didn’t like this place at all. On the plus side, the location & view are great – right over the main concourse. Lots of people coming and going although if you’re sitting at the bar, your back will be to it all so try to snag a seat along the “sides” of the bar so you can see the concourse area. Their cocktail menu was nothing special, lots of different Bellini’s but not much else. They did have a good size wine list. Their bar snacks are these bowls of wheat crackers that were bland and greasy. While the drinks were okay, they weren’t anything great and the bartender wasn’t attentive at all. The thing I disliked the most was I was there right around 4 or 4:30pm and the bar and tables near the bar were full of business men in suits either sitting alone or with a buddy – all talking on their blackberries loudly saying “I can’t hear you, I’m on my blackberry” like everyone else was supposed to be impressed! The guy next to me talked very loudly about his current divorce and all his great business deals and how much money he was making. Needless to say, that drink was gone fast and I moved on!!

BAO 111 at Ave C & 7th – it’s a Vietnamese place with some very weird food on the menu! I even said to the bartender “does anyone really eat frog legs?” To my surprise, she said yes that a lot of people do and that theirs were really good. I took her word for it. We only had drinks here at the bar. Their cocktail menu was nice. They had lots of saketinis and other wonderful drinks. We sampled the BAO111 which is Banana Rum, mango juice, fresh lime, the Mekong Fizz Sake which is Plum sake, Lychee & Champagne, the Saigon Dragon which was canton, mango rum, ginger, lime and mango, the Kumquat Mojito which was orange rum, fresh lime and mint, the Sake Julep which was sake, mint and citrus vodka and the Ruby Red which was grapefruit sake, gin and lime. They were all great. We got there kind of early but by the time we left, the restaurant was pretty full. The bar area is small and if people are waiting for tables it gets crowded.

Vintage at 9th & 50th – I found this place online and read that it has the largest martini and drink selection in all of New York so of course we had to try it. It was loud, service was slow and the drinks were bad. The bar area looked like it was well stocked with lots of liquor and they did have a drink menu that was the size of a novel. But the drinks reminded me of a typical college bar, where everything is made fast and half-a$$ed with cheap sweet ingredients. Like for a raspberry or French martini, instead of using chambord or a raspberry liquor, they used Pucker. We each ordered a drink, literally had to gag them down and then against my better judgment we tried a different one thinking that maybe we just had bad luck with the first. Nope – the crowd was definitely young – looked like late 20’s so we must have looked like grandma and grandpa there but now I can official say I’ve been there and seen the largest drink menu in New York. (Keenan – I’d love to hear your opinion of this place!! I still get the shivers thinking about it)

Butterfield 8 at 38th & 5th – SO this was the place that I decided to recommend to some friends to meet for drinks. I didn’t know that of all the places I could have chosen, this place was closing to the public at 5:30 for a private work party. I arrived around 5pm, went in and asked for their specialty drink, the Murray Hill Margarita. The bartender told me that they were closing in a half hour and I explained that I was supposed to be meeting some friends there and asked if I could stay until the arrived. Everyone was really nice and said yes. So, I did get to sample a couple of their margaritas but then everyone arrived and we had to move on. We went to Asia de Cuba at the Morgan’s Hotel. Matt & I had been here before as part of our drink tour. The drinks were still good. I had the Mambo King while my friends sampled the Effin Punch, Gingerade and Mojito’s. I think everyone liked their drinks! This place is definitely crowded but not too loud. It’s a nice atmosphere and I think they have a good reputation for their food although we didn’t get any.

Elmo at 19th & 7th Ave – this is misleading because we walked into this place, it was packed and as we were walking in, about 3 groups of 4 people were walking out. It was obvious that they hadn’t been served and were mad. One of them said to the hostess as they were leaving that it was too loud and they had been waiting for long time for sometime to take their drink order. In all fairness, it was very crowded – like all the seats were full and people were standing around. There was also a DJ in the corner which was a little strange since it’s a restaurant too. We left pretty much right away but haven’t written this place off yet – we’ll just try again when it’s less crowded.

There are a couple places I seem to always end up or start out at each time I’m there. They are the King Cole Bar, Punch, P&G Cafe and Matt’s Grill. In my opinion, you won’t find a better cocktail than at the King Cole Bar - don’t even ask for a menu – just tell them what you like and they’ll figure it out. Punch has these 2 drinks Blood Orange Punch and Ginger Cosmo that are both heavenly. And they have a big bowl of olives out on the bar to snack on! Their food isn’t bad either. Matt’s Grill is a place we first went to about a year or so ago as a joke. We were walking and saw it and I joked that we should go there since it’s my hubby’s name. Well, John the bartender is fabulous. He makes great drinks. This time, he talked me into trying a coffee drink at the end of the night and it was good. They also have the best chicken pot pie I’ve ever had. P&G Café – what can I say??? The bartender is totally cool and the old men who sit near the door are always there. They actually receive calls on the pay phone located inside the bar from their bookies! It’s great. The drinks are great – strong and not watered down. The only food this place serves is bags of chips! And the urinal in the men’s room is usually full of ice! (at least that’s what Matt tells me!) It’s a little, kind of dirty place that we love!

Maryland
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2. Re: The Other Short Trip Report: Food and Drink version

Food:

Soup Stop at Columbus and 85th I love soup and this place was just what I needed on a cold afternoon. I thought it was just going to be a soup place but when I walked in, they had wraps, Panini’s, sandwiches, salads, breads. I was surprised. I had their tomato and feta soup with a piece of sourdough bread and it was really one the best cups of soup I’ve ever had. I’m usually stuck with soup from my work cafeteria though so I could be wrong! It was a small place with a bunch of chairs against a small wall counter. There were also a couple small tables packed in. The people behind the counter were very eager to take my order when I walked in. Thank goodness it wasn’t busy because it took me a minute to absorb everything on the menu. If there had been a line, I would have caused a big delay.

Roxy Coffee Shop on John St down in the financial district. Typical diner food. Food is fast, hot and cheap. What I liked about this place was that lots of cops were coming and going and everyone seemed to know everyone else so the conversations were entertaining to say the least. I had a full breakfast which I couldn’t even finish for $5.

Sesame on Smith Street in Brooklyn – WOW one of my new favorite places for Thai Food. So very good! That says it all….oh, but no alcohol! Until I tried this place, I used to think that Thai Select in Chelsea was the best place, but now I love this place more.

Sabor A Mexico II at 77th & 3rd – MY new all-time favorite place to eat. Superb Mexican food. All homemade and delicious. Green or red salsa options and the waitress was nice and took the time to explain things on the menu. She made recommendations. She also makes the drinks and the margaritas were excellent. After our meal we paid and then while I was waiting for Matt, she gave me a free shot of tequila! She was extremely nice and the food was fantastic. It’s pretty tiny on the inside, only a couple tables but they did one heck of a take out business in the time we were there. The whole time we were there, there were only 2 other parties that came in to eat. The food comes out quickly. We had the special which was three soft tacos with your choice of beef, chicken or shrimp with onions, peppers, jalapeños and hot sauce, chicken tamales, chips & salsa and chimichanga. Everything was so good. I would definitely recommend this place to everyone.

World of Nuts and Ice Cream – alright, it’s not really a restaurant…but the walls and walls of candy can’t be resisted! I bought a marshmallow cheeseburger!

New Wave Diner at 79th & B’way – again, typical diner food that really fills you up. I liked Roxy better but this place wasn’t bad at all. It was a little more expensive than Roxy too.

Madison Bistro – Stopped in unexpectedly for dinner while just searching for a place to eat. We had no reservations but were seated right away. Our food order came out pretty quickly and mine was delicious. I had the chicken with potatoes and a salad. We also got a free appetizer from the chef which was cherry tomatoes with blue cheese – they were delicious also. This is one of those places that I would have walked right by without noticing but I’m so glad we went in because it was very good.

Queens, New York
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3. Re: The Other Short Trip Report: Food and Drink version

Excellent descriptions! Thanks!

I agree that Vintage is a total and complete rip-off. I was also suckered into believing it was a decent bar by the website, drink menu, location, even the name "Vintage". But it's really just a sloppy dive bar for recent college grads, young pretentious theater people, and alcoholics in training.

Durham, United...
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4. Re: The Other Short Trip Report: Food and Drink version

Thanks for posting this. Your drinks report sounds just as appetising as your food one!

Although, there are a few places you mentioned that are going on 'the list', namely Sesame and Sabor A Mexico II. They sound terrific.

Brooklyn, New York
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5. Re: The Other Short Trip Report: Food and Drink version

merch - thanks for the great report - I have not been to one single place you mentioned. I feel so sheltered ;-)

Nyc (Upper West...
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6. Re: The Other Short Trip Report: Food and Drink version

Merch, the next time you stay in my neighborhood ( UWS 90s), we have to go out to some local places. Ken

Maryland
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7. Re: The Other Short Trip Report: Food and Drink version

QB - thanks for the comments! At least i know it wasn't just me!

Ange - you'll love the mexican place. I like to think we actually have some good mexican places near where i live but this place was even better

LLT - I was so nervous about posting this because you are so knowledgable about food places! I thought for sure you would make fun of me for going to a soup place and calling it a dining experience! ha ha!! (Gotta eat cheap cause I spend my money on liquor!)

Ken - you're on! I have been to a couple places up near the hotel I stayed at, but not many. I've been to Calle Ocho and Compass.

Sterling, VA
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8. Re: The Other Short Trip Report: Food and Drink version

Merch---It looks like you found a Mexican restaurant that's a keeper! I've noticed that most of the time when posters ask about Mexican food in NYC, they often get told that good Mexican food is hard to find. Your descriptions of some of the drinks you had got me thinking...gee...I'd like to try some of those!

New York, NY
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9. Re: The Other Short Trip Report: Food and Drink version

Merch, always entertaining and informative, thanks for the recommendations.

Brooklyn, New York
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10. Re: The Other Short Trip Report: Food and Drink version

merch - my lunches most days are usually spent in the pursuit of cheap & great food - especially soups & sandwiches - I roam my work neighborhood (SoHo/NoHo) looking for great soup and sandwich vendors - Bite comes to mind as does Whole Foods on Houston and the Crosby Connection. I also spend a lot of time eating in noddle bars, Vietnamese restaurants and burger joints.

Life is more than plate of foie gras!

I am definitely going to try your Mexican place and also that Thai place in Brooklyn.

Thanks again for the recommendations!