Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sushi + Meat: Cowfish (North Carolina)

Ok I  swear - no I do - there is a restaurant in Charlotte, NC called Cowfish where they serve fusion japanese meets American meat.  No joke.  And when I was first told about this place, I got pretty excited....
Wildly popular amongst the city, this restaurant is always jammed.  We happened to get there around 5:30pm for an early dinner with the kids (we were visiting some cousins this weekend) and luckily there was no wait.  
*Big miss - we could have sat on the patio but the staff didn't tell us.  Will know to ask next time!  
For starters, I sat down and ordered a meal for the LM.  They had children's Bento boxes.  Unreal.  And cheap!!  $6 bucks.  This one was called oodles of noodles and came with a great list of sides to choose from.  LM got fries + orange slices with his meal.  The noodle King was more then satisfied...
We also put in some starters for the order of the thai chili cucumber salad, tuna tartar w/avocado and trio of fries for the big kids.  
Everything arrived at the table super fast...and was each equally delicious and packed with tons of flavor!  The cucs were a little spicy for my liking but I still loved the vinegar soaked taste that they for the tartar, heaven.  
The menu offered several pages of sushi including make your own sushi using American hamburger ingredients if you would so dare.  Yes grossed me out a bit...but so genius.  I love sushi.  But not all of my friends do.  I am thinking of one in particular right now.  This places crushes both needs by offering a creative menu with well executed food.
It was a fantastic weekend down in Charlotte visiting my hubby's cousins...and I cannot wait to go back...especially for some meat sushi.  I mean sushi + meat.

4310 Sharon Road Charlotte, NC
T:  704-365-1922
Located at the SouthPark Mall, across from the Crate & Barrel.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Spring Fling

It's been a long while since I've put on a party where I've gone all out with food, booze and music. So I thought why not use the spring as an excuse to gather a few friends and get some shots done for my website Little Miss Party, which is currently being updated by Hi Design.

My web designer who I love suggested the photographer Scott Clark.  He shoots for 100 Layer Cake and I adore the site.  His wife is the site's founder and food stylist.  Insanely talented and a major inspiration to LMP.  So I got in touch and was able to work with this fabulous gent.

He arrived promptly at 7pm with a minimal but useful amount of gear in tow.  I on the other hand, was definitely scrambling to get everything out since the party started at 9 and I was a bit nervous to set the food out too early, but understood we needed to start shooting with what was left of the daylight.

It was a pleasure working with Scott.  He was professional and personable and his work is fantastic.  He sent me a link to all of the pictures to view the day after the party.  Being that I am a person with absolutely no patience, this was pretty huge to me.

I am so grateful for getting the chance to work with this talented photographer and hope that one day I can work with his wife too.  If you want to see more of his work you should check out his blog - Scott Clark Photo - for postings filled with fantastic shots.

Party Time ~
For starters, I used this table as my design inspiration:
*Image taken from Amy Atlas's website.
And remember this post about the wheatgrass seeds I was trying to grow in egg shells?  Check out the final product...not too shabby wouldn't ya say?
I wanted to serve Passover tapas that was easy to eat and refreshingly tasty and eye catching for spring.  So I designed the following menu for my spring fling party:
~ Hot Italian sausage & roasted red pepper bites with dijon mustard for dipping
~ Cucumber & dried salami rounds
~ Crudite with three dips:  lemon peppercorn & parmesan, ranch & cucumber, dill & yogurt
~ Platter of assorted cheese cubes, grapes and dried figs
~ Caprese skewers
~ Watermelon, feta & mint skewers
~ Lollipops from Dylan's candy bar
~ Green chocolate flowers
~ Toffee & chocolate covered matzo (AKA matzo crack)
~ Frozen banana pops
~ Brownie bites (Kosher for Passover, leftover dessert frozen from seder #1)
~ Fruit skewers

My colors were pink and green.

I did hours of research to come up with fun ways for displaying food as well as effortless recipes for a minimal amount of prep work allowing me to be a guest at my own party. With the creative help of my sister who also has a great knack for throwing parties, I found this photo of lollipops displayed in a bed of greenery.  I love the color contrast between the pink and green but thought it would look much fresher in a bed of vibrant wheatgrass.  Below you'll see how I incorporated this inspiration into my dessert table...
*Photo taken from the site Blow Out Party.  

On Thursday (the day before the fling) I was out the door by 8am.  I started at the flower market.  Picked up one bundle of cherry blossoms and 4 (2 large, 2 small) crates of wheatgrass.  I weeded through the branches and made my arrangements around the apartment and then strapped LM on me and ran some errands.  Most importantly, a trip to Dylan's Candy Bar for my special centerpiece pink and white lollipops like you see in the photo above.  Well, have you ever been to this place?  It's bright, colorful, full of kids and filled with loads of every type of candy you could ever possibly imagine.  What I didn't anticipate was Easter weekend was 24 hours away.  There was a giant bunny rabbit for what felt like 800 people in this store to take pictures with.  The store was a zoo.  I'm not kidding you...a zoo.  Kids flying around on sugar everywhere, parents yelling, babies screaming...I felt like I was in some type of horror movie.
After waiting in line for about 25 minutes just to buy 6 perfectly pink and white lollipops, I got home and hit the couch for a little while.  The rest of the day was used to set up for the party and a quick bite out before hitting the hay to get a good night's sleep before go time...
Day of the party I thread the skewers.  Took me about an hour to do each combo.  For the caprese sticks I used fresh mozzarella from Whole Foods that was marinated in olive oil, basil and chili peppers.  What I found after set up was the cheese was too heavy for the sticks and kept falling down.  BUT tasted amazing.  I put a bowl of balsamic & olive oil for dipping too.  As for the watermelon & feta - I bought pre-cut watermelon to make life much easier.  As I was threading the feta was cracking and breaking because it was getting too soft.  I also cut the watermelon too big.  This dish was a bomb.  It should have been served as a salad with a dressing starring the mint in mini white bowls. Note for next time!
As for the shooters, I made this dish up at the very last minute to get some pink color on the table and add to the flair of the photos that I was having taken.  I took a few cubes of watermelon, few mint leaves and 3 tbsp of sugar and blended in my mini Cuisanart.  I took the mixture and put about 1/4 cup into a margartia shaker with some ice and a couple shots of vodka...shake shake shake...and top with whip cream!  Voila!  Gorgeous.  Not all that tasty...but pretty in the pics!
The sasuage bites were a huge hit and so incredibly easy to make.  My friend Joe suggested this dish to me and it worked out perfectly.  I put these in the oven at 4pm.  Hot Italian sausages placed on a wire rack over tinfoil on a baking sheet and cooked at 500 degrees for 30 minutes.  I let cool and sliced on an angle with a serated knife.  I topped each piece off with a square of roasted red pepper and a party fork.
As for the individual crudite veggie dishes I used glass vases that I've collected over the years from flower arrangements and added pre-washed and bagged radishes.  I realize now looking at this picture I should have trimmed the radishes and made them look symmetrical with the peppers.  I will pay great attention to this the next time I present.
Here is the final presentation.  I absolutely love how the wheat grass and cherry blossoms look on the table.  I also love the colors from all of the fresh veggies.  Very spring fling.
Now for the dessert table....something pretty unbelievable is that I made all of the components on the day of the party.  I would normally make everything here in advance but couldn't because the week was so busy. So I must say, wow!  I started with the chocolate flowers because they are the easiest to make.  I take chocolate discs and melt in the microwave on 30 minute intervals.  I then spoon them into a flower shaped mould with 18 individual slots and let them set in the fridge for about 15 minutes.  Pop em out and call it a day.  I stored in a glass jar to keep fresh until I served and made two batches so I had 36 chocolates to display with several leftover to snack on.  I also turned to this cute allergy free website for the frozen chocolate covered banana pops.  A brilliant idea to avoid gluten or keep Kosher for Passover!
Onto the matzo crack:  toffee and chocolate covered matzo.  I got this recipe from The Kitchn.  I friggin love this site.  I always find great recipes and ideas on here!!  And the photographs are simply amazing.  I first tried this recipe over the weekend out at the house.  First batch that I made, I followed the recipe and used wax paper to bake the matzo on.  This was a huge mistake.  The matzo melted with the toffee onto the paper and you couldn't get it off without eating it. Sick.  Had to throw out a huge batch which was a total waste.  Shame.  Second batch that I tested, I sprayed a nonstick cookie sheet with Pam and placed the matzo directly on.  When I removed from oven I let cool and then stuck into the fridge for a few minutes to set the chocolate.  When I peeled the crack off the removed with ease and tasted beyond delicious.  I have yet to eat just one!  I made the batches for the party day of.  
Two batches fit into the day just fine.
The bar is always up to my husband.  He's the bar expert when it comes to the booze shopping, slicing lemons + limes and ordering up the ice. He sets up and mans the bottles for the night.  Great job for him and a needed relief for me!
As the daylight dimmed the food started to look romantic and desirable.  I love how the dried figs photographed and tasted next to the grapes and cheese I served with.
I stored leftover matzo crack in this sweet glass given to me by dear girlfriends years ago...looks pretty and keeps fresh for days to follow for guilty snacking.
The fruit skewers (also thread day of) were so refreshingly tasting and really pretty in color.  Unfortunately they did not look even on the sticks and were a bit tilted.  Note to align better next round of making.
The cherry blossoms look pretty during the day and night.  I love how the pink looks against the deep blue hue in the sky when the night falls.  Overall I was so incredibly happy with my set up, quality of food and turn out for the party.  And I couldn't be more thankful for these gorgeous photos!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Seafood by the Ace Hotel: John Dory Oyster Bar

I cannot tell you how much I loved this place.  Firstly, the french bistro type decor with the black window panes, bright colored bar stools and fish tanks suspended in the air were so appealing to me in this casual but trendy restaurant.  Go later then 7pm and you'll have to wait but as I stood by the bar with my friend we chatted it up with a couple guys who helped us get some drinks and soon after they got up and gave us their chairs.  Big score!  Didn't wait for more then 10 minutes.  Sat down and wanted everything on the menu.  Ordered about 6 dishes to share and wasn't disappointed with any except one being the Frika, Ramps and Mushroom salad. It was just a bit too earthy tasting for me and quite boring compared to the rest of the bright and fresh flavors found in the other plates that we ordered.

I would highly recommend this spot for a drink after work or a late lunch when it may be less crowded.

1196 Broadway
New York, NY 10001
(212) 792-9000

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cuban eats in the East Village: Cienfuegos

I had plans to meet my old work friends tonight and one of the gals suggested this restaurant Cienfuegos located in the East Village.  She said it's a delicious rum punch bar with tasty Cuban eats.  I thought, perfect!  Great spot for a gals night out to catch up.  And that it was.  An adorably retro chic setting with a menu that was exactly what we all wanted.  Drinks that can be ordered in large bowls to share amongst the table and a menu that has a wide variety of pulled pork, shrimp and ceviche (to name a few) type dishes to nibble on around the table.  I highly recommend this joint for a night out with the gals or going on a date!
Manhattan 95 Avenue A
New York, NY 10009
(212) 614-6818

Monday, April 18, 2011

Passover Cooking: Seder 1 + Seder 2

For Passover this year I hosted both the 1st and 2nd seders at our apartment.  Dinner for 7 the 1st night and 6 the 2nd.  Needless to say, it was a lot of cooking, but wasn't too bad.  The turned out to be delicious...well, as delicious as food can be without eating bread.

The eight-day festival of Passover is celebrated in the early spring, from the 15th through the 22nd of the Hebrew month of Nissan. It commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. And, by following the rituals of Passover, we have the ability to relive and experience the true freedom that our ancestors gained.
The first two days and last two days (the latter commemorating the splitting of the Red Sea) are when we gather as a family to share our dinner meals.
To commemorate the unleavened bread that the Israelites ate when they left Egypt, we don’t eat—or even retain in our possession—any chametz from midday of the day before Passover until the conclusion of the holiday. Chametz means leavened grain—any food or drink that contains even a trace of wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt or their derivatives, and which wasn’t guarded from leavening or fermentation. This includes bread, cake, cookies, cereal, pasta and most alcoholic beverages. Moreover, almost any processed food or drink can be assumed to be chametz unless certified otherwise.
*Following passage quoted from Chabad.Org.

Now what I just gave you here is a good amount of information on Passover which I know some of you will appreciate (whether you're just not Jewish...or you are Jewish and need a refresher).

I personally do not celebrate Passover following the strictest of rules as listed above.  To give up all of these foods, I'd have to drop dead.  So I just simply cut out bread.  Growing up my mother and Boobie would always tell me that I should celebrate our Jewish holidays the best way that I can and the big guy will understand.  And I agree, and think there is nothing wrong with studying and understanding why we are celebrating these holidays but taking the traditions and tweaking them to fit my family's needs.

With that said, I went through all of our snacks and sent all bread products such as pita, Ritz crackers and pretzels with my hubby to share in his office.  We stocked up on Matzo and got out the good ol' family Passover recipes.

It was time to cook and I did so all weekend long...through Tuesday at about 4pm.  Here was the menu:
Deviled eggs 
Boobie's gefilte fish
Boobie's chicken + matzo ball soup
Aunt Debi's meatballs
Aunt Sandy's brisket n' peaches
Steamed asparagus drizzled with EVOO and lemon zest (1st night); Peas (which A. Debi later told me are not Kosher for Passover - so see what I mean?  I don't follow all the rules...) and broccoli sauteed with onion.
This photo was taken on Seder night #2.  Low key version of Seder night #1 which was no joke...

To prepare for the seder table, I spent much time in the flower market located in the heart of Chelsea this week getting to know the quantities they sell in as well as their pricing.  In season right now:  peonies and cherry blossoms.  Two of my all time favorites.  So for Passover I wanted to go white.  Crisp, fresh, spring.  Monday morning I got a bundle of peonies and a bundle of hydrangeas (which were lush, large and beautiful).  Cold water for all as they were in full bloom.  I ordered a bundle of cherry blossoms for Thursday pick up (for my spring fling party on Friday which we'll get to in a later post...) and made my way home to cook.
I do apologize as I cannot give out these family recipes but I can tell you how I made the eggs since they are one of the dishes from where else but Martha!
Egg platter in photo is from Anthropologie.  One of my favorite stores for gifts.  And I love that our Aunt Knee gave this to us.  It's just so beautiful and I try make deviled eggs all the time just so I can use it.
Happy Passover to all, and I hope you had a wonderful holiday!  xo

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday night lights: Skirt steak a fun way

In honor of Friday night lights' last season starting tonight (tear) I made a special dinner for two.  Something different but a dish I knew we'd both love:  Sliced steak salad with bloody mary vinaigrette.  A-mazing.

It's a Rachael Ray Magazine (I subscribe and wait eagerly for her new mags every month...) recipe and one worth trying if you love that classical delish tomato drink...
*photo courtesy of RR's website.
Mine certainly turn out as pretty as hers and that's surely because I didn't have a shallow bowl on hand...but boy it tasted great!  My hubby's one complaint was it could have used more horseradish.  I followed her recipe exactly so next time I'll increase by a tablespoon!

Party Preppin'

I'm having a little ditty a week from today...just for a few friends, to celebrate spring.  Even though it doesn't feel like spring outside...and I have yet to retire my winter sweaters, brrr, I still thought it would be fun to ring in the new season.
A few things that I've done to prep so far are as follows:
* To do lists.  I have lists for my lists.  So what?  They keep me organized.
* Pull out items to use for decor...such as solid/pattern paper in my theme color (green) to line platters with.
* Grow wheatgrass in eggs to use as table card holders (to display the names of the tapas on the main dining table).  I visited my local nursery to pick up potting soil + wheatgrass seeds and followed the instructions that I recently posted on my blog a few weeks ago...
And I tested some recipes...including milk chocolate chocolate flowers.  They were delish.
The prep continues this week.  But first comes Passover...stay tuned for some down home Boobie inspired cooking!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tilapia Tales

I made a delicious dinner tonight...
An open face tilapia sandwich topped with a lettuce slaw + sweet potato fries.  Incredibly easy to make...the meal took me about 20 minutes total.  Here's what I did...

Ingredients - for 2 people:
2 sweet potatoes
2 pcs of fresh tilapia
1 bag shredded lettuce
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 hero type baguette
salt + pepper

Preheat the oven to 450.  Scrub the dirt off the sweet potatoes and dry well.  Slice into wedges and place onto a baking sheet.  Drizzle EVOO all over and hit the potatoes with a couple good pinches of salt and pepper.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden.

In a medium size bowl add your mustard, vinegar, good pinch of salt + pepper and 1/2 cup EVOO and whisk together.  Add the lettuce and mix well.

On a non stick skillet heat a tablespoon of EVOO over medium high heat.  Add salt + pepper to the tilapia and place into the hot skillet.  Saute for 6 to 8 minutes turing once.
Slice the baguette in half and add to the oven to toast up (only needs a few minutes so keep your eye on this).  Top the baguette with the lettuce mixture, tilapia and add a sliced up pickle on the side.  Pile on the fries next to your sammie and enjoy!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Dim Sum, Yum!

I heart Asian cuisine.  Most specifically:  Dim Sum.
My favorite spot in NYC is Dim Sum Go Go located in Chatham Square.  I was craving it this morning when I woke up (often do so on Sundays) and my hubby was going to work for the day so it was just me and LM.  I tried to find a friend to join me but everyone had plans.  So I figured LM and I could just go alone.  After all, the lil guy is my best friend.  We'll find stuff to talk about I'm sure...
As I was packing I thought how can I make this lunch most enjoyable for myself with the lil banchi on my hands?  First things first - seating.  They do not have high chairs at this establishment.  And unfortunately I'm getting to a point where LM doesn't like sitting in high chairs at restaurants anymore.  So, I thought it would make sense to bring a long the portable Phil & Ted's chair that I've got.
What a genius idea.  It's light weight, fits into my diaper bag and is always easy to put on.
I attached it to the table as soon as we sat down and LM went in without making a peep.  He sat there and played with chopsticks patiently while we waited about 8 minutes tops for our food and just shoveled noodles and pork buns in his face for the rest of the meal.  Pretty amazing actually.  I had to pry him out this place...
As for the food - they don't walk around with the push carts but instead there is a menu page on the table with a pencil for you to mark off what dim sum you'd like to eat.  You hand it to the waiter and they bring it all fresh and piping hot, just how I like it.  There's also a full menu with all sorts of noodles, rice, beef, chicken and seafood dishes.  LM and my fave's are:
* Crispy pan fried noodles with beef (off the full menu)
* Chive and shrimp steamed dumplings
* Roast pork buns
* (any flavor - they are all amazing) Rice noodles
* Pork dumplings

Give it a go won't be disappointed!
Dim Sum Go Go
5 East Broadway
New York, NY 10038
(212) 732-0796

Thursday, April 7, 2011

10 creative date ideas

A friend of mine just asked me to come up with a list of creative and fun date ideas for him and his I figured I'd post this list for all of my readers to enjoy since (if I do say so myself) this is a pretty great list!  Here you go...

1.)  Skating and dinner The Standard hotel has opened up a small skating rink!  You can rent skates there, get on the ice and maybe even take a walk along the highline after.  If you can go for sunset would be AWESOME!  Then grab dinner at the Biergarten (they serve beer and sausages) OR make a reservation at the Standard Grill (I’ve eaten there and really enjoyed the food and the scene).
The Standard Ice Rink
848 Washington Street, at West 13th street
$12 for adults, $6 for children and $3 skate rentals.
On-on-one instructors are $25 for 30 minutes; skates included

Bowling:  So this doesn’t sound creative at all BUT this Brooklyn Bowl place is supposed to be AMAZING!  They play awesome music while you bowl and the food and drinks that they serve are by Blue Ribbon (Adam and I LOVE this restaurant!!).

OR this sounds pretty awesome too!  Deep fried Twinkies...woah!!  HA!!!
Floyd It only takes two to play bocce, and the 40-foot clay court devoted to the Italian version of bowling is the main draw at this vast bourbon bar. Players waiting their turn can sink into antique couches and order the Crap-a-copia (an assorted six-pack of beer, $13) and a spread of Kentucky Beer Cheese and crackers ($4). Or pick up potpies ($11) and deep-fried Twinkies ($3.50) from neighboring Chip Shop (129 Atlantic Ave between Clinton and Henry Sts, Brooklyn Heights; 718-855-7774, 131 Atlantic Ave between Henry and Clinton Sts, Brooklyn Heights (718-858-5810,

Cooking class:  So I’ve taken classes at ICE.  It’s AMAZING there but not necessarily romantic...maybe you could call to see if they could do a private cooking class or something?  That would be cool!

4.)  This place sounds really interesting and romantic!
The Bar Next Door at La Lanterna Vittorio (Greenwich Village) Bar / Lounge, Jazz
129 MacDougal St, Basement (btwn W 3rd St & W 4th St), West side of street; 212.529.5945
Notes: Small jazz lounge in the basement of La Lanterna Vittorio, features live jazz sets every night of the week, cozy and intimate space with a small bar, tables for two and banquettes lining the wall, full menu available from the restaurant upstairs, order a dessert and/or some wine and enjoy the music, How to find it: Walk down the stairs in front of La Lanterna to the basement level room, but if there is no access, ask the host/ess inside how to get down there through the restaurant.

Jimmy Fallon Show – this would be SO COOL!!  Here’s the link for tickets...You need to call and you can try to get tickets for up to one month in advance...I just called to see if I could get tix...they said they are sold out for now but if you call on Monday they will be opening up seats for the second week of May!!

6.)  Bingo - This sounds absolutely hilarious!!  I must go to this place...brilliant idea!
Dirty bingo and a late-night bistro Erect penises and the big O aren’t fodder for winning patterns at most church-basement gambling parlors. Too bad for them: At Provençal restaurant Paradou’s Dirty Bingo soirée (8 Little W 12th St between Ninth and Tenth Aves; 212-463-8345; Tue 23 8pm, $4 per game), these racy variations—along with saucy prizes from high-end erotica boutique Kiki de Montparnasse—spice up the lucky-balls pastime. Pairs of cards run $4 per game, while $5 champagne-cocktail specials ensure that you won’t blow your wad too early. A late-night supper awaits at Gansevoort 69 (69 Gansevoort St between Greenwich and Washington Sts; 212-989-5779), a street away. Chow down on the bistro-comfort food like mac & cheese ($9) or the seared Tuna LT sandwich ($13).

Comedy show – Adam and I sometimes go to the shows at this place and LOVE it!  The comedians are hysterical!  You could go to Minetta Tavern for dinner before or after...a VERY cool spot right down the street.  You need a res for both places...

8.)  I kinda love the dance idea even though she already suggested manybe you could make it totally funky like this the walk – sounds so fun!
Tango and Pakistani food We could go on about how tango inspires la pasión in the unlikeliest of folks, but we all know it’s true. For an eve packed with serious cheek-to-cheek action, try Lafayette Grill & Bar’s Monday night sessions (54–56 Franklin St between Broadway and Lafayette St; 212-732-5600,; 7pm–1am, $10), which include an hour-long beginner’s lesson and four-and-a-half hours of deejayed tunes. After your Buenos Aires–style hoedown, cool your heels at subcontinental spot Pakistan Tea House (176 Church St between Duane and Reade Sts; 212-240-9800) five streets away. Though it’s only a counter and a smattering of tables, it’s a must for foodies. Display your culinary prowess by asking for mango lassis ($6), baked-to-order naan ($2 for two pieces) and chicken curry ($14 for two). Then linger over paper cups of chai ($2 for two) and rasmulai ($5 for two)—a milky cheese pudding—before further astonishing your sweetie by easily conjuring up a cab.

9.)  As for the boat idea...this sounds like a GREAT way to go!
Grey Dog’s Coffee and Downtown Boathouse Breakfast is to morning as protection is to sex: You wouldn’t dare get going without it, would you? Jump-start an early date with brunch in the West Village at the cozy Grey Dog’s Coffee (90 University Pl between 11th and 12th Sts; 212-414-4739, Carbo-load to your heart’s content with the bagel-and-lox platter ($10.95) or the challah French toast served with fresh fruit ($9.75). Avoid slipping into a food coma by walking to the Downtown Boathouse at Pier 40 ( and becoming one with the Hudson—and your date—in a kayak. The aqua-loving staff offers free paddling tutorials (complete with paddles and boat). If you’re lucky, you can convince them to hum the Love Boat theme as you and your date drift away.

10.)  Mini golf – this sounds super cute!
Mini golf and a beer garden on Randalls Island If you want a typical summer date in the city, you can hit up an outdoor concert or take in a rooftop movie, but more-daring daters should head to Randalls Island (hear us out before you laugh). Walk across the footbridge from East 103rd Street to the Golf Center (1 Randalls Island; 212-427-5689,, where you can putt-putt around for only $6 per game. The course is tougher than it looks—with rock caves and nearly impossible angles—so bring your A-game. You’ll have worked up an appetite (golf really is a sport!), so refuel with lager and burgers (just $13 for both) at the Beer Garden and Bar. The nearby batting cages provide a free snack-time show as patrons take their best shots. It’s a date straight out of suburbia, without the tunnel traffic.

*Note I turned to Time Out New York online for several of these ideas.  A great resource for what to do, where to eat, etc., in New York City!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Date weekend ~ mormon eatz

I'm a big fan of broadway.  But I mostly enjoy musicals.  This Saturday night my husband and I went to see the Book of Mormon on Broadway.  Created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone (South Park) together with one of the dudes who put together Avenue Q - this play did not disappoint.  I laughed through the entire show.  The storyline was brilliant and the content was tolerably offensive.  I was thoroughly impressed by the writing, singing and casting.  The actors in this show were outstanding.
PRE-show my hubby and I grabbed a bite for dinner at Social Eatz.  Angelo (we love Top Chef) Sosa's new restaurant up in Midtown.  I was so excited to try this place.  He's a laid back chef who likes to use a lot of flavor in his food and that's exactly what we found in the dishes we ordered.  An American menu with Asian flavors.  It was brilliant, actually.  My hubby and I shared all of the appetizers (listed in our ranked order of fave to least fave):
1.)  Crispy Spring Rolls (with home made plum sauce - omg.)
2.)  Smoked ribs
3.)  Hot wings
We also had 2 tacos:
1.)  Chili kissed tilapia
2.)  Korean beef taco
I could rave about the food all night long and I cannot wait to go back to try the rest of the dishes here.  I literally had to ask the waitress for a menu half way through our meal just so I could study it and decide what I want to order the next time I go back...
I will be honest though, and tell you a few things that I noticed.  The service was not great.  The staff seemed nervous for some reason, and they have been unable to get their liquor license (expected 4/9).   They had two large TV's which is great for watching games but they gave us a hard time about putting the College basketball games on during a march madness finals series.   This was touch and go for the people sitting next to us (we got there at 6:30 on Saturday and had to eat at the bar - they do not take reservations) who also had to send back their french fries because they were cold...
But seriously - I still want to eat here again.  The tasty and beautiful food won me over!

Social Eatz
232 E 53rd Street (between 2nd & 3rd Ave)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Smiling at the Smile

It was a beautifully sunny morning today.  Unfortunately, winter has not fully left us yet and there was a deep chill in the air.  But we had to get out so after a stroll through Washington Park we started walking over to the Bowery for some lunch.  We planned on going to Peels for a bite with LM but when we arrived there was a monster line outside for some sample sale going on next door and as a result the restaurant was packed.  So we dodged the crowd and kept walking.  Last night our friends told us about a spot called The Smile.  Since we turned onto Bond Street this placed popped into my head as it was right on the block that we were walking along...
A steep set of stairs made it slightly hard to get our beast of a stroller down but since there were two of us we managed just fine.  We walked in and were greeted by a friendly staff, cozy and rustic atmosphere and warmth which was so nice coming in from the cold outside...
The menu was different.  No simple eggs and bacon but instead a showcase of sammies, baked eggs and salads.  Really nice change from the usual brunch items we normally see.  My hubby went with the smoked salmon platter and I had baked eggs with crushed tomatoes, manchego and avocado.  I also got a baguette with brie and fig jam (which was a total eyes bigger then my stomach type order).  LM couldn't have been happier.  He ate everything.  And I mean everything that we ordered.  Never without a baguette slice in his hand, he gobbled up a full piece of salmon (including capers!!) and was all over the baked eggs.  What kind of kid eats this sort of food?  Unreal.  He didn't move for the whole meal because he didn't want to miss a bite.  I highly recommend this place for a weekend brunch or midday lunch.  I suspect their dinner is also wonderful.  This place was a great find.
26 Bond St # 1
New York, NY 10012-2491
(646) 329-5836