Strongbow Is Back!

Thank you St. Dymphna's for bringing back Strongbow on tap! I highly recommend EVERYONE getting over there on a Summer Sunday and getting a fry-up and at least 3 pints of the stuff!

The Floating Pool

Saturday I went with Suzohn to The Floating Pool in Brooklyn. First off - YIKES - this is even more ghetto than Water Taxi Beach (and without the booze!)! When you first hit the parking lot, you see the "beach area", which is really just a parking lot full of sand:

To get on the barge/into the pool you have to get a wristband for an assigned time period of one hour only (1 1/2 during the week). Lucky for us, we got there at about 1:40pm and it wasn't that crowded so we were able to get on the 2pm session.

I do have to admit, once on the barge the pool itself is pretty nice:

I myself didn't go in (there were WAY TOO MANY gross people and children in it for my taste) but Suz did do a few back-n-forths in the lap lane (1/3 of the pool is reserved strickly for laps) before the entire crowd had boarded and the pool was packed.

The staff that works is place is totally Hitler. I alone got yelled at 3 times! First it was to take off my shoes. Next it was to take a shower before getting in the pool (I got to by-pass this rule since I told them I wasn't going in the water) and then to move my towel from blocking the stairs. They also kept yelling at random people over the loud speaker to stop running etc. Oh, and you can't have any food or drink on the barge either. I will say though the facilities were much cleaner than expected. At the far end (from where the above pic was taken) there is a raised section that had a nice breeze and a partial roof so we were able to be part in the sun and part in the shade. Also, there are definitely great views of lower Manhattan from the barge as well:

I'd say that this one can DEFINITELY be missed. Even though the water taxi beach has no swimming, they do at least have beer and burgers - which is always more important, isn't it?!?!?!?


230 Fifth

I have to start this posting by saying I've always avoided going to 230 Fifth. Everytime I've ever walked by there are crazy lines to get in and I've heard that all it really is is an overcrowded meat market. Last night I found myself there and I can attest to the fact that all of that is VERY true. HOWEVER . . .

I was lucky enough to attend a private party there thrown by my girl Kathleen from over at cookinglight.com. I have to say that it was really great. Basically, they had a small section of the roof reserved which worked out really well. Everyone was given a colored bracelet when entering the section, that way no one could crash and take advantage of the freebies (and since there were multiple parties/sections, each group had a different colored bracelet). Excellent system! The party had 2 designated coctail waitress who kept the drinks flowing as well as a waitress that passed around various DELICIOUS hors d'ouevers that included fried shrimp, vegetable curry empanadas, chicken fingers and dumplings. DEFINITELY better than average bar food. The views from up there were pretty great and an 80's soundtrack filled the air. I will now change from review of this place from an "avoid at all costs" to a "try to get yourself invited to a private party held there".


She Was Born On This Day!

Happy Birthday K.K.!


Back To Perilla

Saturday night I went back to Perilla, but this time for a full meal. Just about everything we tried was amazing. I started with the beef carpaccio ($12) which was interestingly prepared (the beef was wrapped around arugula into a tube shape), although a bit salty. The Lady had the special salad of sushi grade mackel on watercress with citrus and jalepeno - very summery and refreshing and not fishy at all! Mark had the basic market greens salad with cherries peacans & ricotta ($10) - very light and flavorful. For a main, I had the snapper which was served over cauliflower, wax beans & cashews with a VERY light hint of green curry ($27). STUPENDOUS! I'm definitely going back for that! The Lady had the truffle raviolis with peas. I didn't love this one, mostly because it was a bit heavy for the season but it was still very tasty. Mark had the grilled hanger steak with sunchoke creamed spinach and red shallot puree ($28). The presentation was gorgeous and it was cooked to perfection for him. For a side for the table we had the roasted fingerling potatoes with sea salt ($8) which I could become EXTREMELY addicted to! Since we were all super full we passed on dessert. Overall I'd definitely recommend it and again give it a thumbs up. Our only gripe (as a group - and I've heard others who have been say it as well), that the decor needs a bit of help. It seems to be trying for a homey-comfort setting but it seems to come off more as a bit mismatched yet also somewhat stark - really just a lot of contradiction.


Brasserie Ruhlman

Just back from lunch at Brasserie Ruhlmann, part of the Laurent Tourondel empire located on Rockefeller Plaza. Sadly, my whole party was very overwhelmed. First off - our server was absolutely HORRIBLE. When we asked her why the herbed chicken dish was one of the signature dishes, she didn't know. She also described the artichoke vinagrette salad as similar in appearance to bloomin onion. Um, I'm sure Laurent would love to hear that one!

For a starter I shared the tuna tartare which had WAY too much vinegar in the guacamole bed -so much so that you couldn't even taste the tuna. For a main course I had one of the specials, a lobster Cobb salad. I did really like this dish, however they used Caesar dressing on it which to me is a major faux pas for a Cobb and I'm still tasting the overpowering garlic. My fellow diners both had the chicken (despite the conversation with the waitress) which was served with shoestring fries and a roasted tomato stuffed with couscous and pesto. One person liked it, the other didn't. I think this was partially do to the extreme rosemary & thyme aus jus served with it. The herbs in this dish were, as Victoria Beckham would say, "major". In the end I'd have to say I'd pass this one by, unless of course it's a gorgeous Fall day and you'd like to sit outside and watch them get the ice skating rink ready and watch the world go by.

Virgin America

Virgin Airlines has finally launches their U.S domestic service. Starting August 9th they offering direct flights from JFK to SFO (with an introductory price of $278 r/t incl. taxes). Starting August 28th they will also offer direct flights from JFK to L.A., with Vegas to follow after that. Coach class will be equipped 32-inch pitch seats and an entertainment screen on which you can watch TV, listen to MP3s, or screen pay-per-view movies. There will also be a self-service minibar where you can order fresh food (most likely for a fee). Grab a ride while you can!

Emmy Nods Announced

In case you missed it this AM, nominations were announced for the 59th Primetime Emmy's. This year, the drama category looks like a true snoozer. Lost wasn't even nominated in the best drama series category! This year it's all about the comedy category for sure and hopefully Ugly Betty will sweep it. I'm happy to see that Ricky Gervais got the nod for Extras, as well as Neil Patrick Harris for How I Met Your Mother. Tune into Fox on Sunday, September 16 @ 8pm to see who gets the statues!


Ride 'Em Drunken Cowboy!

Finally! There is a mechanical bull in NYC! I'm sure this place will be horrendous and full of drunken idiots, especially during prime banking hours, but head on over to Johnny Utah's in Rockefeller Center and take this bad boy for a spin!


R.I.P. Mr. Butch

Very sad news today came to me today via DEC. Mr. Butch crashed his Vespa into a pole in Allston and died. For those of you that didn't know him, Mr. Butch was a homeless guy with dreads who lived in Kenmore Square and entertained many of us in the early-90's. The NY B.U. crowd will miss you!



Last night I went to opening night of previews for Gypsy at City Center. If you aren't familiar with Gypsy, it's basically story of how an overbearing mother pushes her 2 daughters into a career in vaudville. I've never seen the show before and have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm sure that had a lot to do with the fact that the show is starring Patti Lupone (Mama Rose) who was as brilliant as ever in one of the many roles she was born to play. The other leads that she was paired with - Laura Benanti (Louise) and Boyd Gaines (Herbie) held their own against the legend and were very good as well. In fact, there were numerous notable performances among the supporting cast as well. Unlike most Encores! performances, this one is full staging and fully off-book. The show is only for a short 3-week run, but if have time grab a ticket and run (but be forewarned: City Center is a massive venue with numerous bad sightlines. I've sat in the rear mezzanine before and it was dreadful. There are still orchestra seats available close up for some performances so don't chinz out on the seat prices or you may regret it).


Last Friday I went for happy hour at 'Disiac in Hell's Kitchen. It's a very small space. Inside is just a small bar and about 5 or 6 elevated tables. Outside is a cute little patio that is a bit packed in with about 7 or 8 small tables. I started off with the white sangria ($7 glass/$30 pitcher). It was a bit odd to me - very boozy tasting (not as refreshing as I had hoped), although it did have good fruit in it like blueberries and strawberries. I followed that up with glasses of the Pino Grigio ($8 glass). It was a very mediocre Pino Grigio (i.e. I didn't love it but it did the job). For food we ordered the hummus ($7) which came with a great seasoned flatbread and the chips & salsa ($6) which was definitely nothing to write home about. Still trying to decide how I truely felt about this place so you may want to check it out yourself if you are over that way.


No Name (Yet?)

Last night the Lady & I tried a new wine bar in the 'hood on Hudson between Morton & Leroy called (for now) No Name. I have to say I LOVED this place. It's bigger than my other neighborhood fav Blue Ribbon Wine Bar, with 4 window seats and about 20-25 stools around the horseshoe shaped bar. The wine list represents from around the world. We opted for the La Planta Ribera del Duero ($10/glass, $38/bottle). This was an EXCELLENT choice - one of the top Ribera's I've tasted. We paired this with a sheep's milk Compte cheese (accompanied by peaches, cherries, figs and french bread - $5) and sopressata (with cornichons & whole grain mustard - $5). Music was great by such alternative artists as the Gorillaz and it wasn't very crowded. (Let's just hope it stays that way!). Welcome to the neighborhood (and my suggestion for a name is to just keep it "the Candy Store" like the old sign says)!


BB 8

It's that time of year again - the return of Big Brother 8. Tune in on Thursday July 5th at 8pm on CBS to meet the new houseguests!



Yesterday Mark & I went to see the matinee of Xanadu. We went with an open mind since we had a feeling this one could go either way. Sadly, it went the wrong way. To me, this was nothing more than a suped-up high school musical. The sets and jokes, which were supposed to come of as camp, just came off as plain cheesy to me. The fact that the crowd was hooting and hollering at every line that was uttered didn't help. Go back to the suburbs, people! (Ok, maybe that's a little harsh. What did I expect seeing a matinee of an almost-jukebox musical). I have to say, on a positive note, all of the actors were really good at making the best of the material they were given. And it was kind of fun to hear those songs. Jackie Hoffman definitely stole the show in the role of Caliope. So, unless you are a die-hard Xanadu fan and "experience" the movie in whatever way possible (you can even get seats that are right ON the stage if you're THAT excited!), then this one is best avoided. Thankfully our tickets were free (I can't even fathom that people are paying $111.25)!