And Away We Go . . .

Just wrapping up before heading off to Playa del Carmen tommorrow AM for the weekend. Tonight is Richard Ashcroft at Webster Hall - a show that will surely kick off the 2 weeks of birthday celebration I have planned! I will try to blog the review while I'm away - if not, then when I'm back. Also, don't forget tickets for "Some Girl(s)" starring Fran Drescher went on sale this AM so get your tix! Enjoy the weekend and I'll be back on Tuesday!


Dave Matthews Summer Tour

Dave hits the NY area for his summer shows on 8/5 & 8/6 at Randall's Island. Even better though is that he's playing at Fenway Park in Boston on 7/7 & 7/8 (with Sheryl Crow as the opener!). Road trip! Tix on sale for both shows on Sat. April 8th through Ticketmaster.

Kate & Jack Sale

It's that time again for the bi-annual Kate Spade / Jack Spade sample sale.

Here's the info:

Metropolitan Pavilion
125 W. 18th St (between 6th & 7th)

Mon Apr 3, 3p-7p
Tue Apr 4, 9a-7p
Wed Apr 5, 9a-7p


Dining Fever

Check out the new site diningfever.com. This site compiles a list of NYC restaurant deals & discounts. Restaurants run the gamut from cheap to expensive with discounts like free apps, 1/2 price bottles of wine, etc. Have a look!


Base 2 Stay

A new hotel is set to open in London in April on Courtfield Gardens between South Ken and Earls Ct. Base2Stay will offer the style of a boutique hotel and the convenience of a serviced apartment. Rooms will feature mini-kitchens with refrigerator and microwave, flat-screen tv's with satellite tv and free high-speed internet. Prices range from £80 for a single to £175 for a deluxe room (VAT INCLUDED!), with all types of configurations in between. If you register on the site they are having a special of pay for 4 nights, get the 5th free - valid between now and Aug. 31st.


Wednesday is Fran-Day!

Today is like THE BEST DAY EVER! It was announced this morning that my idol Fran Drescher will star along with Eric McCormack and Maura Tierney in the Neil Labute play "Some Girls" at the Lucille Lortel Theater on Christopher St. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The play, which garnered rave reviews in London last year and starred David Schwimmer, is the story of a blossoming writer on the verge of matrimony when he comes down with a bad case of cold feet - so much so that he hops on flights to see all of his old girlfriends. "One Guy. Four Exes. Four Cities. One Hell of a Trip." The show will run May 17th - June 24th with opening night on June 8th.

In other Fran news, Sony pictures announced May 2nd as the release date for season 2 of The Nanny on DVD!


Pints & Taxes

Still haven't made that appointment to get your taxes done? Hate going to that shady office of your current CPA? Then contact Tavern Tax, a group of licensed CPA's in the tri-state area who will meet you at your favorite watering hole and do your taxes while you get your drink on!

(*Disclaimer: I have not used this service and cannot guarantee a hefty refund - I just like the concept!)

Epoque Hotels

Epoquehotels.com is another new website for "unique" boutique hotels worldwide. The site is complete with booking capabilities, special promotions and hotel news. Check it out!



My co-worker Carolyn turned me on to a NY restaurant blog called Eater. Check it out!

Trader Joe's Rocks!

Yes, it's open! And everything I had hoped for. I hobbled (with broken toe) over there on Saturday at 1pm to check it out. Utter chaos (although the line to check out moved quick - only took me 10-15 mins.). I'd recommend doing the inner aisles first and then checking out the stuff around the edges as the check-out line snakes around. Make sure to pick up the Cuban Mojito simmer saucer! Prices really are as low as they say and they have some interesting stuff. Sadly, their wine shop next door hasn't opened yet, but thankfully it will be separate, avoiding the store lines. There was no line to get in when I went, but I heard yesterday the line wrapped around the block!

(Photo Courtesy of Gawker)


Paddy's Pub Crawl

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Here's the perfect pub crawl for tomorrow (while avoiding the parade route):

Start in the East Village at St. Dymphnas for pints and a fry-up (you need a good base to get you going).

Make your way west, down E. 9th to Solas. (Look for the secret note drawer under one of the tables in the back).

Head south down 3rd to E. 4th to Swift Hiberian. Down a quick one and head south down Lafayette to Puck Fair. Stumble a bit further down the Bowery to Pioneer Bar.

Enough of the walking. Hop in a cab and head north to for a quick bite (maybe some cheddar & bacon potato skins) at Sebastian Junger's bar The Half King. Then cab it back downtown to MePa to The Brass Monkey.

Finally, saving the best for last, head on over to Dublin 6 for their St. Paddy's Day bash and a couple of jaegar bombs. Finish it all off with some take-away grease from A Salt And Battery. Hopefully that will keep you from suffering from THE FEAR on Saturday!


Hip Tix

The Roundabout Theatre Company offers highly discounted theater tickets to their productions through a service called HiPT!X. The catch - you have to be between ages 18-35. The service itsself is free, you just have to register. Membership allows you to buy only 1 ticket, however if you get your friends to sign up, you can "link" accounts so that you can go to the show together. Another added bonus is that early in the run of each show they throw a free party after a specified performance with free food & booze and appearances from the cast members. Currently, the service has tickets for The Pajama Game (starring Harry Connick Jr.), Entertaining Mr. Sloane (starring Alec Baldwin) and The Threepenny Opera (starring Alan Cumming, Cyndi Lauper and Ana Gasteyer).

New Beautiful South

It's official - the new Beautiful South album is finished recording. The first single will release around the beginning of May, the album in mid-May, with a tour (U.K. only, I'm sure) in late-May / early-June.


X-tra Time!

BBC America has bought the rights to air series 5 of Footballer's Wive$ (currently they are airing series 3 so we've got 2 more full seasons to go now!) AND the spin-off Footballer's Wive$: Extra Time!

Go Team Aniston!

My favorite quote of the week (and on this subject thus far):

"I don't know about Brad Pitt, leaving that beautiful wife to go hold orphans for Angelina. I mean, how long is that going to last?" - Michael Douglas

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44 1/2

Last Friday afternoon my deptartment had lunch at 44 1/2 in Hell's Kitchen. Owned by the same people as 44 X 10 and the Xth Avenue Lounge, this is their less formal cafe. The menu features something for everyone - salads (I had the Cobb - very good), individual pizzas (lobster, bbq chicken), pastas (orchiette w/ homemade pesto), sandwiches (filet mignon, chicken breast), breakfast dishes (brioche french toast, fritata) and also some main courses like monkfish and pork medallions. Everyone seemed happy in the variety of dishes that were ordered (the goat cheese salad was a favorite) and the quality of the food. Lunch and dinner appear to be the same menu, the prices just go up at night. The only thing that made me sad is they don't have french fries :( The decor is minimal modern and they have a great back patio. I'm definitely hitting this one for a summer brunch before a theater matinee!


Welcome Back, Tony

Finally, the new season of The Sopranos begins on Sunday night on HBO at 9pm! Bada Bing!


Shake Shack

Danny Myers Shake Shack in Madison Square Park reopens on March 21st! Their low-priced menu features items like burgers, hot dogs, fries, frozen custard and even wine and beer. Take a spring break and go eat lunch in the park!

Irish Jewelry

Looking for a gift for St Paddy's day for your Irish companion? Check out College House Jewellers. Located in Dublin near Trinity College, this jeweler specializes in claddagh rings, Celtic jewelry and various items that tell the history of Ireland. In business since 1963, their items are reasonably priced and good quality. If you want to see the jewlery in person, book that trip to Dublin; if not, just order online!


The Peppermill Lounge

It seems like as spring approaches a lot of people are heading out to Vega$ and I've been getting a lot of requests for recommendations. With all the modern glitz and glamour of the new Vega$, I want to plug a bar that is a throw-back to old Vega$, The Peppermill Lounge. Featured on tv shows like CSI and in films like Casino and Showgirls , this "fireside" lounge has a vibe that must be experienced. Considered "the brightest dark room", the Peppermill is lined with mirrors that reflect all of the neon lights. Flowers and plants are strategically placed for privacy. On one side of the room is the signature fire pit with flames shooting up from a pool of glowing white water. The waitresses (who all wear long black dresses slit to mid-thigh) sit down on the ottomans at the end of the low, cozy booths while they take your order. The cocktail list is reasonably priced and features an extensive list of exotic drinks and martinis. 15 plasma tv's are scattered throughout the bar showing music videos. Located on the dated end of the Strip across from Circus Circus, enter through the Peppermill Diner and head through a back door to the lounge.


Grand Velas, Nuevo Vallarta

Kimmi K. is just back from her jaunt to Mexico (and is mighty tan I might add!) . She's guest blogging today about the hotel (which is good since I never stay at all- inclusives) and let me tell you people, this place looks SICK!:

Last week I had the opportunity to visit absolute paradise in a newly developed area of Mexico’s West Coast called Nuevo Vallarta (about 20 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta). The hotel we stayed at is an all-inclusive called Grand Velas.

A bit pricier than your average all-inclusive resort, the Grand Velas was well worth it!
Check-in was inside the grandest palapa I’ve ever seen where fountains, streams and koi ponds, pillowed chairs and couches, cold cloths and raspberry iced tea awaited us after our long journey. We were escorted to our suite (the most beautiful I've every seen!) which had a king size bed, huge shower with multiple heads and a Jacuzzi with his and her sinks, a living room, two flat screen 42-inch plasmas and a 1,000 sq. ft balcony with a hot tub and a view of the ocean, where the sunsets could not get anymore beautiful!

The grounds are beautifully kept with bright and beautiful flowers growing everywhere! The infinity pool had three different levels, each with a different water temperatures to suit everyone’s needs (complete with a swim-up bar in the warmest level). An adults 18+ roped-off Jacuzzi area played host to those people who couldn’t handle the kids on winter break. My recommendation about the pool area is to find the manager on your first day and give him a little something for his “troubles” because chairs tend to get “reserved” very early (they do not actually allow reserving chairs, but if the manager remembers you he'll hook you up).

Now on to the most important element in all-inclusive resorts: FOOD. We were so pleasantly surprised with the food here! At the pool and the casual restaurant, Azul (no reservations needed and no dress code) the food ranges from your expected quesadillas, nachos and fajitas to pizza, burgers, sandwiches (chicken, fish, clubs, etc.). The more formal restaurants consisted of Frida: Fine Mexican Dining, Lucca: Italian-Mediterranean cuisine and Piaf: French classic cuisine. We tryed them all and they were all were delicious (I think Piaf was our favorite)!

Grand Velas far exceeded our expectations and if it's an upscale all-inclusive you are looking for, this is the place to be!


Free Movie Tickets

Time Out NY has launched a new site called Free Flix that will give away free tickets to movie previews. A new movie will be posted every other week. First up is Failure To Launch starring SJP and Matthew McConaughey. They usually have a contest tie-in as well, this one being a chance to win a "dream date" package for 2.

3 Robberies In Hollywood

Felicity, Dolly & Brokeback. So rude! Need I say more.

Ninja New York

Today's guest blogger is Suzanne. She loved this place and wanted to share:

Finally, a theme restaurant that isn’t too, well, themed. Introducing Ninja New York, my new favorite. It’s still under the radar so book it before it’s hot (Tracy called on Sat and got us a 9pm seating for that night). The ambience is the great, the ninjas are great, the secret scrolls, great great great. Our server Eddie (Ninja Name: Flying Dragon) was an attentive server and addressed us by our first names all night. The food was fantastic and reasonably priced and I’m sure that the ever-flowing, reasonably sake helped the taste sensations. The midnight dessert was our favorite but the “bonsai” dessert was simply gorgeous. It’s a great place for clients and for out-of-town friends and a fun change from the average night out.


2 Days 'Til Oscar!

Don't forget, the Oscar's air Sunday night @ 8pm (EST) on ABC. This year's show will be hosted by Jon Stewart. Hopefully he won't keep us up too late; rumor has it that this year the presenters were sent a videotape narrated by Tom Hanks detailing how to keep things moving in the hopes of keeping the show time under 3 1/2 hrs. (Make sure you watch that tape most-hyped presenter Jennifer Aniston!). While you're filling out your ballot during the pre-show, don't forget to tune in to see who Isaac Mizrahi will feel up as he hosts E!'s red carpet show. Oh, and if you can stay awake long enough, switch back to the E! post show where host Giuliana DiPandi tries to get the drunken celebs to let their guard down and do anything possible to embarrass themselves. They also interview the celebs who didn't go to the awards as they are heading into the parties. You can better bet that even though she has NOTHING (and never will!) to do with the Oscar's, Paris Hilton's overdone mug will show up at some point!


Richard Ashcroft @ Webster Hall

DEC just let me know that tickets went on sale at noon today for Richard Ashcroft (former frontman of The Verve and brilliant solo artist) at Webster Hall on March 29th. All I can say is I'm A Lucky Man! I'm so there! (Tix $22 and still available at the time of this posting).


A new restaurant opened in the West Chelsea clubbing district yesterday called Pre:Post (547 W 27th Street, bet. 10th &11th). It is an American bistro featuring comfort foods like meatloaf, pot pie and fish & chips. Coctails take on the names of the clubs in the neighborhood like the Scores (vodka and fresh plums) and the Bungalow 8 (Stoli strawberry and Chambord). Very sleek decor. In one review it says "if you're better than everyone else, isolate yourself and nine friends in a reservable, shearling-upholstered glass chamber". Done & Done! Hours are 12pm - 8am.

Joe's Arrival

I read today that the first NYC outpost of Trader Joe's is finally opening in Union Square (3rd Ave. & 14th St. to be more specific) on March 17th. Personally, I've never been to this low-priced gourmet grocer, but from what I hear it rocks! Someone gave me their store-brand Cuban mojito simmer sauce for chicken as a gift and I loved every last drop of it. Their $2.99 bottle of Charles Shaw wine and the 3 buck Chuck are supposedly a steal! I'll be there opening day and will let you know.