Friday, August 31, 2007

$2 Tacos

Sabor A Mexico

This is the place to go for tasty two dollar tacos in NYC. My favorites are the soft tacos: chicken and beef, and of course don't forget sides of sour cream and guacamole! Their fresh made salsa is delicious and original--a spicy mix of tomatillo, onions, cilantro and spices. The sangria is great as well--keep in mind that for two people, no more than half a pitcher is needed! The location near 90th is the cutest and best for dining in.

Sabor A Mexico
1744 First Avenue (bt. 90 & 91)
(212) 289-2641

Sabor A Mexico II
233 East 77th Street (bt. 2 & 3 Ave)
(212) 439-8301

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Asian Art and Cocktails

First Fridays at the Asia Society

Make sure to check out this fun event the first Friday of each month at the Asia Society. Enjoy a cocktail while networking with other young (21-39 year olds) professionals from diverse backgrounds including finance, art, non-profit, etc. This is also a great time to view the current exhibitions at no cost. Galleries are open the entire time, with two curator led tours during the evening. Exhibitions are always interesting and range from traditional art to contemporary/experimental.

First Fridays
Asia Society
725 Park Avenue (@ 70th St)
(212) 288-6400

Chips & Margaritas

Maz Mezcal

As you know by now, I find it very difficult to find proper Mexican food in NYC. I am therefore on a constant search for Mexican restaurants in the hopes of finding non-fancy, real, delicious, authentic Mexican food at reasonable prices like you will find everywhere in Southern California. This place, alas, does not offer such...

However, the bartenders make great margaritas and it is a fun place to hang out for a drink or two in the summer. Pick a table by the open wall or sit at the bar. Skip the food on the menu and enjoy the fresh chips and three salsas that come in a ceramic boat, and also order the guacomole, if so inclined. I love to ask for Corazon tequila for the maragaritas I order here, and of course, I get the rim salted.

Maz Mezcal
316 East 86th Street (bt. 1 & 2 Ave)
(212) 472-1599

Not-So-Ceviche Ceviche

Crave Ceviche Bar

OK, I know everyone has been reviewing this new restaurant. However, everyone has been saying the same thing! All the reviews read like a summary of what must have been the restaurant's opening press release...

What I think:

I thought everything I tried here was great. It was not ceviche though! The raw fish was very fresh and flavorful, and the combinations of flavors (tuna with yellow watermellon, salmon with chorizo and mushrooms...) were unusual and tasty. We also tried the white sangria, which was nice with watermellon and peach pieces. The wine list was minimal. The decor was cute and the space is tiny--it felt like being in a little place somewhere on the beach. So, come here for a cute evening, some little fish slices and a glass of wine or sangria. This is no ceviche paradise. The End.

Crave Ceviche Bar
946 Second Ave (@ 50th St)
(212) 355-6565

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Recipe: Sparkling Sangria

I must be the only person who does not usually enjoy traditional sangria. It is always either too sweet, or too alcoholic tasting, and I don't enjoy apples or orange rinds in my drink! Try this light sparkling version--it is great for summer.

-2 peaches or nectarines
-prosecco or sparkling wine

Remove skin from peaches or nectarines and cut into cubes. Place in bowl or container and cover with Contreau. Soak for several hours.

When you are ready to make drinks, take white wine glasses and fill with several spoonfulls of soaked peaches or nectarines, several blueberries and several raspberries. Fill to top with prosecco or sparkling wine.

Drink Sake

Sake Hana

This tiny place on the Upper East Side is great. The colorful seats and dim lighting make for a very funky yet elegant backdrop to sushi eating and sake drinking. The rolls are very inventive--like a roll we love that incorporates fresh mango slices! They have lots of sakes to choose from, and each sake comes in its own special carafe with matching glasses, depending on what you order. If you are a regular and get to know the friendly and knowledgeable staff, they just may offer you a taste of something not on the menu! We have tried many interesting sakes in this way that have made their way back from Japan and which are not available in the US.

Make sure to check out:

Speaking of which, twice each year they hold a $55 sake tasting, with usually around 15 different types of sake. Many of these, again, are brought in specifically for the event and not available in the US. At the sake tasting events, sushi (and sake desserts!) are abundant and you get to meet the brew masters of the various brands.

Sake Hana
265 East 78th Street (@ 2nd Ave)
(212) 327-0582

Recipe: Easy Party Appetizers!!

I love inventing appetizers for parties. Here are some small, easy to make ideas that you can throw together last-minute. They are all highly delicious.

-toast squares
-pistachios (shelled, unsalted)

Spread thin layer of marscapone on toast square. Layer thin slice of kumquat, one pistachio nut, then drizzle a small amount of honey on top.

-rosemary-olive oil crackers
-manchego cheese
-quince paste
-prosciutto (optional)

Place a small rectangle of cheese on cracker and same size slice of quince paste on top. For variation you can also add a small slice of prosciutto between the cheese and quince.

-flatbread with seeds
-aged goat cheese
-fresh pesto
-dried cranberries (optional)
-walnuts (shelled, unsalted) (optional)

Place small slice of cheese on flatbread. Drizzle with pesto. You can also place one or two dried cranberries, or a piece of walnut on top.

-toast squares
-smoked salmon
-creme fraiche
-fresh pesto or chopped chives

Place small dollop of creme fraiche on toast square. If using pesto, put small amount on next, then place small piece of salmon on top. Top with small amount of fresh chopped chives, if using. You can also top with some fresh ground pepper if you like.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sushi Delivery on UES

Iron Sushi

This place is fantastic for take out. The fish is really fresh, they give you very large pieces and it is not too expensive. I like to order the sashimi, but also enjoy ordering the rolls for variety.

Iron Sushi
355 E 78th St (bt 1st & 2nd)
(212) 772-7680

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Recipe: Fabulous Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

I know everyone has a recipe for this. However, in this recipe you avoid the sauce becoming runny and also don't have to deal with cucumber seeds.

1 large cucumber
Fage fat free yogurt
flavorful olive oil
fresh dill, leaves removed from several stalks
1 lemon
garlic, finely chopped
sea salt
freshly ground pepper

Skin cucumber and slice in half lengthwise. Scoop out seed with a spoon. Thinly slice cucumber and place in a bowl. Sprinkle salt over cucumber slices and let sit for 20 minutes.

Place chopped garlic and dill in another bowl. Cover with olive oil and then squeeze juice from one lemon. Add fresh pepper.

Drain accumulated water from cucumbers. Stir yogurt into lemon/olive oil mixture, then stir in drained cucumbers.

Voila. This is great served with grilled chicken breast, salad with lemon juice dressing and hot chickpeas. A great way to make the chickpeas is to saute garlic, onions and colorful bell peppers in olive oil, and add a can of chickpeas. (If you have the time, it always tastes better to make your own beans from scratch.)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Wow--Beer Pong!!

Aces & Eights Saloon

So I know everyone played tons of games of beer pong, all throughout college. However, as we all know, at NYU students are much too busy wandering around the bars/art gallery openings/random park gatherings etc. to spend our time playing loud beer games like frat kids.

BUT, don't worry--you too can play beer pong AND live in Manhattan! I played for my first time a couple of weeks ago and loved it (put aside your fears of cleanliness!!) It was a lot of fun so I suggest everyone get your teams together and go battle:

Aces & Eights Saloon
1683 First Ave (corner of 87th Street)

I Love Ceviche


I just love eating ceviche and this place is great. It is inexpensive, has a great youthful/international vibe, and has a delicious selection of ceviches. The chicken choices are all also fabulous, and there are some good steak options too. You must make sure to check out nightly seafood specials (such as the whole grilled baby octopuses on a recent visit) which are always wonderful and interesting. I love the house margaritas, and the pisco sours. There are also some good wines by the glass. Stay away from the sangria which is too sweet.

99 First Ave (corner of 6th Street)
(212) 253-1011

Try Organic Dry Cleaning

Divine Touch Organic Cleaners

Once you convert to divinely organic cleaned clothes, you will never go back to smelly, itchy traditional dry cleaning that wears out your clothes and makes them look overall drab. I found this place after too many of my great clothes had been ruined by various dry cleaners and have been confident taking even the most delicate garments there ever since.

The prices for women's clothing are roughly the same as anywhere else in Manhattan, and they deliver all over the West side. Men's shirts may seem a bit pricey at $6 each, until you find out they are hand pressed, with a crease down each arm, and the collar held in place with a strip of cardboard--just like getting a brand new shirt! No shrinking, either.

Divine Touch Organic Cleaners
41 W 58th Street
(212) 980-5744