Tag Archives: New York City

BIG APPLE BITES: Well, it’s been a slice…

You KNOW we couldn’t go to NYC and NOT eat pizza, right? We’re hanging out at Joe’s Pizza, this funky little joint serving up some of the best slices in the city, son! Now, the OG location is in the East Village or something, but we’re doing the touristy thing and checking out the one on Broadway, just north of W 40th…

Now, when it comes to pizza, you KNOW I can’t eat just one, so I went with a pepperoni slice along with what I think might be supreme (I just saw it behind the counter and said “I’ll have one of those…”)

Now, this pepperoni is pretty much pizza perfection. Crust is nice and crispy, cheese is melted to perfection, and you’ve got these big meaty bites of pepperoni — can’t complain about that at all!

On the other hand, the onion-to-meat ratio on this supreme slice is a little too high. Some bites, I could only taste the onion. But when I got a bit of sausage or pepperoni in there as well, that is the golden ticket, bro!!!!!

BIG APPLE BITES: Funkalicious southern brunch @ Peachy Keen

Before heading off to a Broadway matinee, we’re heading into Peachy Keen, this funky joint on W 44th where the vibe is cartoon retro, like Austin Powers meets Scooby Doo, with Soul Train videos and modern dance music… and the menu is serving up southern soul food with a twist, son!!!

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What we’ve got here is some pork belly and grits, with fried eggs and red eye gravy. Grits are nice n chewy, with a bit of cheddar cheese, pork is fatty and unctuous, and then you’ve got some of that runny egg action — shut the back door!!!

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But you KNOW I couldn’t just eat one thing, bro! So I also got a FGT — fried green tomatoes, potato salad and bacon sando on tomato ciabatta bread! I have never seen potato salad inside a sandwich before, and it kinda steals the show. Bacon is super crispy, which I like, but the tomatoes get a little lost here. When you get a bit of that tangy crunch though, that right there is the ticket!!!

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Washed it all down with a Mango Beermosa. Instead of orange juice, it’s got beer and Prosecco for double the fun, bro! You can definitely taste the bubbly, while the mango beer is quite fruity, but less citrusy than OJ — which is not a bad thing. A couple of these will get a nice buzz going…

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Still had a bit of time to kill before the show, so I headed down to Junior’s for a slice of their legendary cheesecake. I went with the Brownie Explosion which was creamy, chocolatey, rich and decadent. This is everything a cheesecake should be, bro!!!!

BIG APPLE BITES: The king of beef @ La Grande Boucherie

At West 53rd and 6 1/2th, just a few steps from the Late Night with Colbert studio, sits this busy French bistro, La Grande Boucherie, where the dishes might be French, but the portions are definitively American-sized. We’re talking big cuts of steak, lamb chops, pork chops… even a whole chicken. Better bring your appetite, bro!!!!

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With all the fresh seafood sitting in front of me behind the counter, I couldn’t just eat meat, though. Starting off with Saint Jacques a la Provençale, seared scallops with roasted tomatoes, butter and herbs. Scallops were super fresh, nice and tender with a bit of that saltiness from the sea. Not a lot of excess sauce, but the two big chunks of bread soaked it up nicely.

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But the star of the show is the roast beef au jus — you’ll find it at the top right corner of the menu. Of course, we had to go with the biggest one, Le Roi… although it’s maybe just a Medium in Flavourtown, checking in at 16 ounces.

You know how when you go to a buffet, and they only give you a small sliver of prime rib? Well, this is the opposite of that. Beef needs some of that au jus to warm it up — and there’s not enough of it to go around — but the meat is incredibly tender, and the fresh horseradish adds a nice little kick. And speaking of tender, juicy things, definitely get the side of mushrooms!

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But you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert, and I gotta try the crème brûlée, right? The classic French dessert (they also have a signature version with black sesame, but you don’t phoque with a classic, mec!) hits the spot with its crunchy caramel crust concealing the creaminess underneath. They even put a couple fresh berries on top, so I don’t die of scurvy…

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We’re washing it down with a rich, malty Dunkel from Von Trapp in Vermont. Yes, they do have Kronenbourg, but for a dollar less (and still 11 bucks a pint) I will go with this bad boy instead…

BIG APPLE BITES: Chicago’s best burger…in New York City!?

Now, I’ve heard a whole lot about the double cheeseburger at Au Cheval. But I didn’t get a chance to check it out last time I was in Chicago, so when I heard they had a sister location in NYC, I had to check it out. This one might be *slightly* easier to get a table at; I was able to make a reservation for a Saturday night, although the latest time they had available was 6:15.

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This burger is worth the hype, bro! Super juicy patties, nice bites of cheese, whole lotta donkey sauce, bun is soft and squishy. Of course, I paid almost 7 dollars extra to add bacon — first rule of Flavourtown is always add bacon! And man, this bacon is soooo thick and delicious!!!!

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Now, speaking of bacon, on the side, we’ve got pepper bacon mac ‘n cheese. Sauce is super creamy, nice melted cheese on top… and so many chunks of bacon! I would order an extra large portion of this on its own!!!

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Of course, you can’t have a burger without beer, bro! We’re drinking a Hopewell Ride or Die, a nice pale ale with a slightly citrusy taste. I could pound these all night…

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But you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert! This chocolate cream pie is made in house, and it’s like eating chocolate mousse on a chocolate cookie crust, with whipped cream on top… Nothing wrong with that at all!

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And with that, we’ve got a Mother’s Milk Stout from Keegan Ales. It’s got more vanilla than a Guinness, and goes great with the cream pie for dessert!!!

BIG APPLE BITES: Mac n cheese pancakes? Shut the back door!!!!

So, we’re hanging out at Mom’s Kitchen and Bar, this funky joint at W 48th and 9th serving up all day brunch. This place has got your classics like avocado toast, omelettes and even a pancake burrito… but when I saw the mac n cheese pancakes, you KNOW I had to check em out!

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The creamy noodles go great with the fluffy pancake batter, and then you’ve got some extra mac with cheese sauce on top. I paid extra for a side of thick cut bacon, which really kicks it up a notch!

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We’re chasing it with a Dad-mosa, bro! You’ve got UFO White beer, peach liqueur and orange juice, served in a 21 oz goblet. OJ and the wheat beer go together nicely, while the peach flavour is a little more subtle. That’ll wake you up in the morning!!!

BIG APPLE BITES: This steakhouse has been serving up mutton chops since the days when men had mutton chops…

We’re hanging out at Keens Steakhouse, an NYC institution going back to the 80’s — the 1880s, bro! This place is super old school with wood panels and floors, waiters in bow ties and vests, and they’re serving up big old cuts of meat like back in the old days.

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Starting off with a Twice Baked Vermont Blue Cheese Puff, served on a bed of hollandaise. It’s sorta like a soufflé, with a slightly eggy taste — the blue cheese is not as strong as I would have expected here.

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Now, I definitely don’t eat mutton every day… but if all mutton tastes this good, then I wish I could! Super-tender, texture like a ribeye steak, the meat doesn’t need much help to come off the bone. And cutting it up is half the fun, son — I think I did a pretty good job:

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No meat left behind, bro!!!

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But of course we’ve still got room for dessert! This Lady M Chocolate Cake has layers and layers of chocolate, with chocolate mousse, chocolate ganache and chocolate sponge cake. You KNOW I need you now, bro!!!! (Oh wait, that’s Lady A…)

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This place even has its own signature beer, Keens IPA. Very smooth and drinkable, not too heavy on the hops. Goes great with mutton chops!

BIG APPLE BITES: Drinking in a winter wonderland…

Now, ever since I got back from Munich, I’ve been missing German beer halls. And I totally missed out on the Christmas markets when I was over there, too. So when I found out about Loreley, this funky joint a block from the Bowery, serving up German beers in “Eine Maß bier” amounts, you KNOW I had to check it out, bro — plus, they still had their Christmas decorations up last weekend, so that was an added bonus!

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We’re starting off with a litre of Kostrilitzer Schwarzbier, a nice, dark lager from Deutschland. Nice, rich, caramel/chocolate taste, but easily crushable at 4.8%.

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Not only are they still celebrating Christmas at Loreley, but they’re still celebrating Oktoberfest, too. This Hofbrau Oktoberfest is a nice, malty lager, a lot like the ones I slammed in Germany, but a bit stronger at 5.8%. Nothing wrong with that at all!

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When I heard they had soft pretzels, I had to get one of those, too. I haven’t had a proper pretzel since I got back from Munich… but I gotta say, this is just like I remembered. Soft, fresh and chewy — even better than some of the ones across the pond!

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And because it still feels like Christmas, I’m having a Delirium Noel. They don’t serve this one in litres at Loreley — and that’s probably a good thing, since it’s pretty strong at 8%. Not quite as strong as Delirium Tremens, but it’s still a heavy dark ale with rich flavours, halfway between prune juice and chocolate. Worth trying once, anyways.

BIG APPLE BITES: A bar for Seattle Seahawks fans…deep in the heart of Manhattan???

So, we’re hanging out in New York City for the weekend, and the Seahawks have a big Week 18 game — win (and get some help from the Lions) and they’re in! Fortunately there’s a bar within stumbling distance of Madison Square Garden that turns into Seahawks Central on Sundays, with (just about) every TV showing the Hawks, with sound, and they’ve even got a football-themed game day menu. This is Feile!

What we’ve got here is a Montlake Dawg, fully loaded with mustard, relish, tomatoes, jalapeños and pickles. Dog is nice and beefy, good crunch from the pickles and tomatoes, good tang from the mustard, and the hot peppers add a bit of a kick. All good things!

We’re pairing that with some Feile Loaded Fries. You’ve got bacon, Colby Jack cheese, scallions and ranch — that’s a solid starting lineup in Flavourtown!!!

And they’ve even got Elysian Space Dust, coming straight outta Seattle. This heavy, hoppy IPA hits like Jordyn Brooks at a hefty 8.2% but tastes pretty smooth for such a strong beer.

Man, when the Hawks pulled out a win in overtime, the place erupted. And the Lions actually came through last night… Hawks are heading to the playoffs, bro!!!!

(Man, I wish I could come back here next weekend…)

NYC DINER DUEL: Westway Diner vs. Tick Tock Diner

Now, we may be Triple B, not Triple D, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love a good diner, bro! And when it comes to diners, New York City might be the diner capital of Flavourtown. So we’re chowing down at two classic NYC institutions — which one will come out on top?
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WESTWAY DINER

This Hell’s Kitchen diner is apparently the place where Jerry Seinfeld came up with the idea for a show about nothing in the late 80’s. Up on West 43rd and 9th, it’s a pretty big place — you can probably fit about 200 people in here. I heard there was a line, so I got there early…and marched right in at 8 am, when just a few tables were taken (people started filing in at 8:15.) But hey, the early bird gets the corned beef benedict, bro!!!!
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Dude, these are some of the biggest benedicts I’ve seen, bro! Corned beef is nice n crispy, you get some creaminess from the egg, and there’s even a bit of mashed potato in there. And they’re two for $13.50 — that’s a five finger discount in Flavourtown!
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These also come with a whole lotta hash browns. Crispy on top, but soft in the middle — dude, this is body by hash browns!!!!
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TICK TOCK DINER

The party don’t stop at this classic joint, which is open 24 hours a day, on 34th and 8th, across from Madison Square Garden. It’s also attached to the New Yorker Hotel, so if you’re staying there and too hungover to go outside — not that I would know — this is the place for you!
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Most people think of chicken and waffles as a southern soul food staple, but this dish was actually invented in Harlem, back in the day. We might not be quite that far uptown, but I figured I had to check out the Tick Tock’s take on this classic.
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Now, the waffles were nice and fluffy, but I’m not so sure about the chicken. You can definitely call it crispy (this dish is called “crispy chicken and waffles” on the menu), but it’s not a chicken leg or chicken thigh…or even really a chicken tender, more like this vaguely Batman shaped chicken burger. Ever seen those fried chicken patties you could put in a toaster? (Yes, that was actually a thing.) This is what they remind me of.

Also, the piddly little forks they give you often aren’t big enough to spear both chicken and waffles in the same bite, which is a bit of a bummer…

FINAL VERDICT

Tick Tock might be in a great location, and it gets props for being open all night (Westway closes at 9, apparently), but it is definitely more of a tourist trap. For the real-deal diner feel, head up to Hell’s Kitchen.
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BONUS: Tilly’s Diner in Monticello, NY

Sometimes, to find a real-deal diner, you gotta go upstate. We’re hanging out at Tilly’s Diner, this funky little joint a couple hours north of New York City in Monticello. This is one of those places that used to be an old trailer, until they grew big enough to attach a dining room. And it’s completely packed on a Sunday, with a mixture of locals and post-concert checkout crowd from the Best Western two doors down.
But you can still take a seat at the counter, and watch them crank out diner classics, like this three-meat masterpiece in Flavourtown, the Farmer omelette:
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This bad boy is packed with three little pigs — bacon, ham AND sausage — along with peppers, onions and Swiss cheese. You’ve also got home fries and white toast, Blues Brothers style.
This is not subtle food. It’s huge chunks of meat, barely contained by a thin layer of egg, which cheese in the middle. It’s delicious. And it’s only $10.50…about the same price as a supersized sammy at Colosseo next door!!!!

Demolishing the legendary Gramercy Tavern Burger!!!!

Now, it’s been almost 10 years since we’ve had a killer burger in New York City, so you KNOW we gotta take care of that, bro! We’re hanging out at Gramercy Tavern, this funky joint on East 20th Street, where I hear their Tavern Burger is one of the best in town… so we’re definitely gonna check that out. But first, it’s time for some duck liver mousse:

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This duck definitely doesn’t suck! Rich and creamy, like a pate, served on grilled sourdough toast. But what makes it is the cherry compote, adding a nice tartness to balance out the dish.

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But now it’s time for the main event. The Tavern Burger is coming in hot, a nice blend of 70/30 chuck and brisket, cooked to medium. This burger is tender, juicy, with some bacon and an oozy white cheddar cheese. The onion donkey sauce on the side adds a bit of a kick, but it’s better off without it. My only complaint is it was too small — more like a supersized slider. Now if they could make it a triple, I’d be all over that, son!!!!!!!!!

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Washed it all down with a Legendary Shader, this funky German-style Hefeweizen from 3 Floyds. Dude, this tastes bananas (literally), just like a good German wheat beer should. And at 6.2%, it packs a bit of a punch that kinda sneaks up on ya…

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We’ve also got a Sun Up hazy IPA from Talea Brewing in Brooklyn. This one checks all the boxes — hazy, hoppy and just a little fruity. I’ll take 10 of these to go…

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Now, since that burger wasn’t very big, we’ve still got room for dessert. And when in New York, you gotta go for some cheesecake, bro! This caramelized cheesecake comes complete with cookie crumbles, honey strawberry sorbet AND compote on the side. You’ve got the creaminess of the cheese, a nice crunch from the cookies and the tartness of the strawberries. And it’s all over in a New York minute!!!!