Archive | March, 2009

Kaleidoscope

30 Mar

This venue is closed.

Kaleidoscope

Rating: ★★★☆☆
212 E 10th St (btwn 1st & 2nd Ave), New York, NY 10184
Website
(212) 420-8822
Price: $$
Nearest Transit:
Astor Place (6)
8th St-Broadway (R, W)
1st Ave-14th St (L)

Kaleidoscope is an pan-asian fusion restaurant that serves a host of items ranging from noodles, to rice, pasta, sandwiches, salads and even seafood. I tried their lobster ravioli ($13), ginger chicken ($11), and steamed codfish ($15). All three were good, but not amazing. Their prices are very reasonable and they’re BYOB on Sundays and Mondays with no corkage fee. The restaurant is nicely decorated, cozy, and great for large groups.

Kaleidoscope

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Kogi, A Toco Truck Fueled By Twitter

30 Mar

kogi_logoKogi BBQ is where Korean barbecue meets, Mexican tacos and burritos, meets restaurants on wheels, meets twitter. It’s an unusual combination, but has a cult following and is refining, not only the melding of ethic foods, but the way food is marketed and served.

Kogi launched last fall and sells primarily through two trucks that are always on the go to new locations in the Los Angeles area. They serve Korean BBQ tacos and burritos that are recession friendly at $2 a piece. Their menus and locations are tweeted out daily, you can follow Kogi at http://twitter.com/kogibbq.

Their way of doing business is very innovative, not only are they using new forms of media to spread the word about their business, but they are essential making it fun for people to become their customers. With over 12k followers, Kogi generates lines wherever they go and draws customers to neighborhoods that they wouldn’t have visited otherwise. They’re like a party on wheels that serves food, customers on line socialize while they wait and everyone is usually enjoying themselves with or without food. My only complaint is that they’re only in LA, I really wish they would open a truck here in NYC. I guess I’ll have to wait until my next visit to the west coast to give Kogi a try.

Below I have embed a video entitled “Chasing the Dragon (The Kogi BBQ Adventure)” by DJ Akaider and it documents his adventure in finding and finally trying the “elusive” Kogi truck.

Calle Ocho

30 Mar

Calle Ocho

Rating: ★★★★☆
446 Columbus Ave (btwn 81st & 82nd St), New York, NY 10024
Website
(212) 873-5025
Price: $$
Hours:
Mon-Thu 6 pm – 10:30 pm
Fri 6 pm – 11:30 pm
Sat 12 pm – 3 pm / 5 pm – 11:30 pm
Sun: 12 pp 3:30 pm / 5 pm – 10 pm
Nearest Transit:
81st Street (B, C)
79th Street (1)
Twitter // Facebook // Foursquare

Calle Ocho is a great place for brunch. They have an airy dining room with lively ambience that can accommodate large groups. They serve a convergence of old Cuban and contemporary American food that is sure to please all taste bud. My personal favorite is their Pollo Ranchero, which includes a crispy corn tortilla with refried black beans, chicken escabeche, and ranchero sauce ($11). Their free bread box is also very amazing, it’s stuffed with freshly baked chocolate chip bread, cheese bread, danishes, and muffins. But the best part about having brunch at Calle Ocho is their free a all-you-can-drink sangria bar. There are eight barrels to try, each packed with real fruit not that not frozen stuff. I recommend the lychee sangria, it’s my favorite of the bunch.

Calle Ocho

Calle Ocho

Calle Ocho

Calle Ocho

Calle Ocho

Swich

29 Mar

This venue is closed.

Swich

Rating: ★★★☆☆
104 8th Ave (btwn 15th St & 16th St), New York, NY 10011
(212) 488-4800
Price: $$
Hours:
24/7
Nearest Transit:
14th St-8th Ave (A, C, E, L)
14th St-7th Ave (1, 2, 3, F, V, L)

Switch serves very unique and creative press sandwiches using freshly baked bread. They are crispy and tasty, but a bit pricy ($6-9) and the portions are quite small. You can make it a combo with your choice of international famous potato chips or a bag of regional famous sweet potato chips and a fountain soda for an extra $2.50. I love their buffalo hot pants and veggie goodness, but I have to admit the sandwiches are a bit oily and not the healthiest of foods. In addition to sandwiches, they also serve salads, which they call deconstructed and a host of sides, soups, and desserts. During lunch they are extremely busy and tend to run out of certain items, so get there early. Loyalty cards are also available that gets you a free sandwich with every ten purchases, this is awesome for people that live/work around Chelsea or people who make frequent trips to this area.

Pala

28 Mar

Pala

Rating: ★★★☆☆
198 Allen St (btwn 1st Ave & Houston St), New York, NY 10002
Website
(212) 614-7252
Price: $$
Nearest Transit:
2nd Ave-Houston St (F, V)
Delancey (F, J, M, Z)
Foursquare

Pala is not another NYC pizzeria; It’s Italian style, slightly more up scale and very healthy. Their dough recipe is all natural, high in protein and low in carbs. It’s created with a blend of over 14 flours and is left to rise slowly for up to five days. Their toppings are simple, innovative, and always fresh. My favorite is the bufala cruda, a simple slice topped with buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomato sauce, and fresh basil. You can order by foot or slice, with an option for gluten free crust. They also serve a host of delicious pastas and all meals can be paired with wine. They are pricier then your average pizza joint, but it’s definitely worth it. Pala is a must try if you’re a fan of Italian style pizza. I also recommended that you come with a group so that you can sample more of what Pala has to offer.

Pala

Pala

Pala

Pinkberry

27 Mar

Pinkbery

Rating: ★★★★☆
1577 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10028
Website
(212) 861-0574
Price: $
Hours:
Mon-Thu 12 pm – 11 pm
Fri-Sun 12 pm – 11:30 pm
Nearest Transit:
86 St (4, 5, 6, 6X)
77 St (4, 6, 6X)
Twitter // Facebook // Foursquare

Pinkberry is a Korean inspired desert shop that serves frozen yogurt, shaved ice, and smoothies. Their frozen yogurt comes in three flavors; original, green tea, and pomegranate (some locations still have coffee). I like original the most, coffee is the worst. They also provide over 18 fresh toppings to personalize your froyos and shaved ice. Their store on the upper east side is the first one that I came across and maybe their first in NYC, but they have over 50 branches spread out between New York and California. It’s really small and has very limited seating. The service is a bit slow and the lines are usually out the door, but the froyo is good and worth the wait. A bit of warning, they are a bit pricey at $3-12 depending on size and amount of toppings.

Pinkbery

Pinkberry

Pinkberry

Sushi of Gari 46

27 Mar

Sushi of Gari 46

Rating: ★★★☆☆
347 W 46th St (btwn 8th Ave & 9th Ave), New York, NY 10036
Website
(215) 468-1546
Price: $$$$
Hours:
Mon 12 pm – 2:15 pm / 5 pm – 10:45 pm
Tue-Thu 12 pm – 2:15 pm / 5 pm – 11:15 pm
Fri 12 pm – 2:15 pm / 5:30 pm – 11:15 pm
Sat 5:30 pm – 11:15 pm
Sun 5 pm – 9:45 pm
Nearest Transit:
8th Ave-42nd St (A, C, E, 1, 2, 3, S, 7, N, Q, R, W)
Facebook // Foursquare

Sushi of Gari 46 is Chief Gari’s third sushi restaurant in New York City, his other two are located uptown on 78th St. bet 1st and York Ave (headquarters) and Columbus Ave bet 77th and 78th St. Sushi of Gari is not a traditional Japanese sushi house, they pair fresh fish in a very creative way. I recommend the omakase ($100 – depending on how many rounds), where Executive Sushi Chef Aoki delivers the freshest fish with a truly unique combination of condiments and ingredients (stewed tomatoes, sauces, chopped truffles). They also have cheaper options such as sushi and sashimi patters that range from $25-48 depending on quantity. The fish here is incredibly fresh and just melted in your mouth. I would also suggest sitting at the bar, if possible. I’ve been here twice and you don’t get the same felling from siting at a table.

Sushi of Gari 46
Our Amuse Bouche

Sushi of Gari 46
Clear Clam Soup

Sushi of Gari 46

Burger King’s Whopper Bar Coming Soon

26 Mar

whopperbar
Burger King has unveiled a hipper and fancier line of burger joints built around their Whopper brand. The Whopper Bar as they call it, is mini restaurant that has a generation Y-oriented atmosphere. It serves ten premium variations of the Whopper, including Bourbon Whoppers, Pepper Bacon Steakhouse XT, Texas Double Whopper and the spicy onion-topped Angry Whopper. Customers are also be given the opportunity to personalize their Whoppers with 22 different toppings such as peppers, guacamole, smoked bacon, and steak sauce. The idea of serving alcohol at the Whopper Bar is also being thrown around, but there are no plans to implement that offering as of yet.

The first Whopper Bar opened last week at the Universal CityWalk in Orlando, Florida and is garnered a lot of buzz. The company plans to roll out six to ten more Whopper Bars around the globe by the end of 2009, with the next set to open in Munich, Los Angeles, New York, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

Cold Stone Creamery

25 Mar

Cold Stone Creamery

Rating: ★★★☆☆
253 West 42nd St (btwn 7th & 8th Ave), New York, NY 10036
Website
(212) 398-1882
Price: $$
Hours:
Mon-Thu, Sun 7 am – 1 am
Fri-Sat 7 am – 3 am
Nearest Transit:
42 St – Port Authority Bus Terminal (A, C, E)
Times Sq – 42 St (7, 7X)
Times Sq – 42 St (1, 2, 3, N, Q, R)
Twitter // Facebook // Foursquare

Cold Stone Creamery is an innovator when it comes to ice cream, they serve custom creations made specifically for each customer. Their ice cream/sorbet is made fresh in every store, every day. The creation process begins with a choice of ice cream followed by an addition of wide variety of mix-ins (candy, nuts, fruit, cookies, cakes, syrups) that is combined in front of the customer to create a personalized ice cream. It’s then served on either a cup, waffle cup or a waffle cup dipped in chocolate. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with choices, Cold Stone also has a signature line which are a number of predefined ice cream and mix-in combinations for you to choose from. In addition to ice cream, they also serve personalized cakes and shakes.

Cold Stone has over 1,400 locations worldwide, but I happen to visit the busiest branch of them all, the store in Time Square, New York. It’s recommend to visit any of the dozen locations in NYC, but this branch because of the wait you may encounter due the abundance of tourist in this area. During my visit to this Cold Stone, I waited 20 minutes on line and had the Berry Berry Berry Good and Cheesecake Fantasy signature selection on a waffle cup. The ice cream is indeed very fresh, thick, and creamy. Their novel approach to serving ice cream is very interesting and the sheer number of combinations is sure to excite all sweet tooths out there, but the amount of calories one of these bad boy packs is a real downer. They have however, address some of these issues with some healthier options. Cold Stone is a bit pricey ($7-15 a cup), but definitely worth a try.

Better Burger

24 Mar

Better Burger

Rating: ★★☆☆☆
178 Eight Avenue at 19th Street, New York, NY 10011
Website
(212) 989-6688
Price: $$
Hours:
Sun-Thur 11 am – 11 pm
Fri-Sat 11 am – 12 pm
Nearest Transit:
18 St (1, 2)
14 St (A, C, E)
23 St (A, C, E)
Foursquare

Better Burger is a burger joint that aims at being healthy. They state that most of their meat are organic and 100% meat, no fillers. Their fries are air baked and organic, and so are their buns. They have a total of three locations (Murry Hill, Chelsea, and Midtown West), I had dinner at their Chelsea branch.

I’m all about being healthy and when I came across a burger joint that prefaced being healthy I couldn’t help, but give it a try. I order the 1/2 pound classic beef burger ($8.59) and add the combo ($3.50), which includes your choice of bottled water or soda and a better side (fries, smash potato, veggie chili or slaw, or fruit salad). The burger is made to order and is served with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and pickles. I requested my burger be made medium-rare, but their version of medium-rare happens to be well-done (next time, I need to order my burger rare). The burger was very dry and I had to load it up with condiments in order to make it eatable. The 1/2 pound burgers are actually very small and not enough to stratify a grown man yet alone a child, and this is coming from a person that eats very little portions. Their fries are very soggy, I guess that’s how healthy fries are suppose to taste like.

The final verdict is Better Burger is an alternative to McDonalds and the like, but they are a lot more expensive (about $10 more per meal) and they are not as tasty, but are a healthy option. I personally would not step foot in another Better Burger.

Better Burger