Friday, May 28, 2010

1 - Stand [Burgers]

LAST VISIT: 12/2008

I was sorely disappointed with my Stand experience. I had decided to take two of my friends here mostly because Stand has pumpkin milkshakes, a love that my girlfriends and I shared from seasonally Burgerville back in Oregon []. So when I heard that the Stand had pumpkin milkshakes we hightailed it over there. First off, the milkshake was the grossest thing - a milkshake is supposed to be sugary, fatty and delicious. Stand's tasted like I scooped a piece of raw pumpkin straight out of the gourd. YUCK!!! When I told them that I thought something was wrong with it, they didn't seem to care at all and made me pay for it. To be honest with you I don't even really remember much about my burger and fries except that they were just bland. We left saying that we would never go back and I felt bad that I had psyched my friends out only to have a bad experience. Fellow friends, avoid Stand...stick to Burger Joint, even if they don't have pumpkin flavored shakes!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

2 - Dylan Prime

LAST VISIT: 12/2008

Dylan Prime is a good steakhouse, but be warned, it is not the best in NYC. The atmosphere is chic and classy. The food is good, but not ultra spectacular. It isn't as good as Del Frisco's or Quality Meats, but it is way better than Peter Lugar's!!! Dylan's location in Tribeca is a great one...and who doesn't like steak?!?!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

3 - Emack & Bolio's [Ice Cream]

LAST VISIT: 3/2010

This cone-lickin'-good ice cream place started in Boston, but NYC gladly accepts having three locations in its city. The ice cream is not cheap, but these days where can you buy cheap ice cream??? Their flavors are all unique and there are a ton of different ones each day. They are friendly about giving samples - so feel free, make sure you know what you want! They have radical cones too like chocolate/peanut butter dipped and rice krispie encrusted. This is a fun place to let your mouth have a fun time. 

Friday, May 21, 2010

1 - Vespa [Italian]

LAST VISIT: 9/2009

My husband and I had wanted to try this place for a while (its in our neighborhood) so when friends suggested it we were excited. Not too much later were we completely disappointed! The service was horrible. It was a hot evening and they sat us out in the "garden" and took forever to give us water and they struggled the rest of the evening to give us any more after our first glass. I ordered the Gorgonzola Gnocchi thinking it would be as good as Bianca's, but it was not good at all. I couldn't taste a hint of blue cheese and the gnocchi was soggy. It is no wonder it is no longer on their menu...hum. My husband ordered a beef dish of some kind and was equally disappointing. Now we know for next time - never go to Vespa!

2 - 5Ninth Avenue [New American]

LAST VISIT: 6/10/2009

5Ninth is an ADORABLE spot to dine. The restaurant is crisp and clean and their outdoor seating area is too cute. However, I wasn't overly impressed with their food. It wasn't horrible and I don't have specific complaints, but it just didn't stick out in my mind as being super fab. Their menu is small so that was a bit limiting - I had a nice time, but I am not dying to go again.

3 - STK [Steakhouse]

LAST VISIT: 4/24/2009

If you're going to dinner at STK you can't anticipate a quiet romantic evening at some old men's club steakhouse. STK is upbeat and packed at all times. The food matches the atmosphere - fun and stylish. Their steaks and sides are tasty!! Beyond dinner dessert is also fantabulous. They have cotton candy on their menu and the flavor changes daily. When I went with a group of friends we all dove into their Green Apple flavor and it was OUTRAGEOUS - it tasted just like you were biting into a greet apple!!!

3 - Cafe Mogador [Moroccan]

LAST VISIT: 1/23/2010

I have only been to Cafe Mogador once, for brunch, but it was some of the best brunch I have ingested. I had the Eggs Florentine and also tried a friend's Moroccan Hot Cereal - holy yummmmmmmmm!!!! I still to this day think about that meal and wonder why I haven't been back since. They have a wide selection of food and it all sounds super delicious. It's Moroccan, so of course it has amazing flavor and texture and the place matches its cuisine - it was a tasty visit!

3 - Starbucks (Sbucks) [Coffee, etc.]

LAST VISIT: 5/15/2010

I know, I know, Sbucks is a global company and not just NYC based, but I have to give it a shout out. Sbucks is the most consistent food/beverage provider, second only to McDonald's. Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE SBUCKS, especially in the fall and winter when they bring out their AMAZING pumpkin syrup. See the picture of the cup containing orange liquid??? That is their pumpkin syrup that a friend  was able to get for me. I kept the syrup in my fridge and added it to my chai lattes once Sbucks took the syrup out of their stores earlier this year. Sometimes their service could be a little better, but overall, on a world-wide concept, their work is impeccable. I love, love, love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2 - Baked by Melissa [Cupcake Stand]

LAST VISIT: 1/22/2010

Baked by Melissa is a place that sells little bitty cupcakes in a little bitty cupcake stand snuck in between two buildings in SoHo. The idea of them is fun - and some of the flavors are creative: Tie-Dye, Cinnamon, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Smores, and Peanut Butter Cup. They are good little morsels, kind of a fun snack...because as you can see they are bite size. Don't expect something fab...just a sugary treat.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

2 - Di Fara [Pizza in Brooklyn]

LAST VISIT: 11/21/2009

I know, everyone who has had Di Fara's is likely upset while reading this because I am saying Di Fara's pizza is a 2. But seriously, it just isn't the best pizza in the whole world. There was SO much olive oil on the pizza that I could have filled an 8 ounce glass. Some say that is what makes it so good, but if 8 ounces of olive oil is what makes pizza so good then it really isn't the pizza, is it? Maybe we should all be ordering a tall glass of EVOO instead of a slice...just a thought. The experience was a bit tacky too. You wait in line for this 80-year old guy to start making pizza. He takes FOREVER and before you know it, people are cutting in line and the son of the pizza maker doesn't care enough to sort it all out. I think everyone should go once and try the pizza and the experience of waiting two hours for it, but I don't think a second try is a must do!

Go here to read my version of theGrimaldi's/Di Fara's debate.

2 - Cowgirl Hall of Fame [Tex-Mex]

LAST VISIT: 3/12/2009

Cowgirl is a fun spot. Their food is unique to say the least. Something I was not expecting was their Frito® Pie (a
Texas tradition. A bag of Fritos® topped with your choice of beef brisket or veggie chili, cheddar, onions, sour cream and jalapeƱos). See the picture? It was seriously a bag of Fritos® topped...!!!! It felt kind of weird eating regular food out of a chip bag, but kind of fun at the same time. Their food is decent, but nothing to write home about. You should go to Cowgirl for the total experience!

3 - Cafeteria

LAST VISIT: 3/14/2009

I found out about this place from being a faithful watcher of MTV's trashy but goody TV - The City. My girlfriend and I were bound and determined to get there and see what all the fuss was about. The fuss is: Yumminess in my Tumminess!!!! Pancakes, waffles, build your own omelets - it is straight up good eats. The white-walled, loud, small place is always packed, so prepare to wait. But, it is worth it - that's why it's called Cafeteria folks!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

3 - Victor's Cafe

LAST VISIT: 5/2009

Yay for Cuban cuisine!! Victor's has awesome food and terrific service. The best thing on their menu is: Ropa Vieja (Victor's House Specialty - Shredded Black Angus skirt steak simmered in garlic, tomatoes, onions, and peppers nestled in a plantain basket). It is like a serving of hot heaven. The flavors are unbelievable!! The only downside to Victor's is its location in the city, Times Square, but once you are inside you forget all about it! For dessert make sure you have the Churros con Tres Salsas (Cuban-style doughnuts sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. Served with chocolate, dulce de leche and condensed milk sauces).

3 - Buttercup Bake Shop

LAST VISIT: 5/2009

So far, these rank as my most loved cupcakes in NYC. They are fluffy and full of flavor. My favorite is the Sour Cream Spice cupcake...holy moly is it deliciousness!!!! Of course they are a bakery so they have much more than cupcakes to choose from...there is something for everyone. I have a hard time looking at the picture - it makes me want to run out and grab a Sour Cream Spice pronto!

1 - Serendipity3

LAST VISIT: 11/2008

I know this restaurant is recognized by Oprah for the frozen hot chocolate...but screw Oprah! I like the desserts, they are pretty good, but I have no idea why everyone loves the frozen hot chocolate so much - it is bland. The food is just okay, but what concerns me is that this "famous place" was shut down for an infestation problem in 2007 []. Ever since I heard about that I really hate the idea of going...and I will only eat the desserts if I do go. Guard yourselves people - just because Oprah loves it doesn't mean it is rodent-free!

1 - Mustang Grill [Tex Mex]

LAST VISIT: 3/2010

Thinking about Mustang's makes my blood pressure rise. Every time I have dined here I have been provided with the WORST customer service. The food is okay...but the restaurant is not in the best shape and the service is horrible...after going here three to four times I am OVER IT! Never again, even though it is super close to my apartment. "No, no, never, never, uh-uh-uh!!! I'll never go back any more!"

2 - Crumbs Bake Shop

LAST VISIT: 5/2009

These x-large cupcakes look unbelievably delectable however, they are not my favorite in NYC. As a baker friend of mine says, "They lack soul." Sure, they are sugary and gooey, but they can sometimes be dry and boring on the inside. When I get a cupcake from Crumbs I judge a book by its cover - I think it will be super scrumptious because it is exterior is gorgeous, but then I bite in and it is just average. :( Don't be fooled by the decorated cupcakes...they are wolves in sheep's clothing.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

3 - Quality Meats [Steakhouse]

LAST VISIT: 1/29/2010

This steakhouse is one of my favorites in NYC...especially the dessert that follows. Quality has their own sundaes with choice of sauce. The steak is of course delish and the sides are fantastic: parm waffle fries, crispy artichokes and yorkshire creamed spinach are among a few of the most delicious sides. The decor of the restaurant is super fun too!

3 - Coffee Shop [Diner]

LAST VISIT: 5/2009   {no website -}

This is not your ordinary diner. Your waiter will be an aspiring model who is earning some extra $$$ by serving you - most are beautifully exotic and decorated with a coloring of tattoos. All the food is YUM - the sandwiches, salads, etc. You walk in thinking it will end up to be ordinary, but their food is special for diner food. Coffee Shop is always hopping and it is usually hard to hear your table-mates...anyone who goes through Union Square stops to eat here.

3 - Citrus [Latin/Asian]

LAST VISIT: 5/2009

Citrus is a fun fusion of both Latin and Asian foods. They serve basil mashed potatoes with some of their dishes and they are DIVINE!!!! The atmosphere is hip and extremely cute - a great place for all ages. The food is upbeat and tasty...I haven't had anything that was disappointing. The Roasted Chicken, Poblano-Pinon Pesto & Queso Fundido Quesadilla is one of my favorites...the flavor is OUT OF CONTROL!!!!!!!!!!!!

3 - Craft [Haute Cuisine]

LAST VISIT: 10/1/2008

This restaurant is the best with friends! Sharing really made it a fun time for the group that I was with. The braised short ribs of beef are TOP NOTCH - I don't even like ribs, but the meat literally dissolves like butter in your mouth - "Butta"! They have a fantastic selection and the atmosphere is modern, but not too trendy. The dessert menu is also a hit because they have a section where you can "make your own"!!!!! Holy good food Batman!

3 - Good Enough to Eat

LAST VISIT: 3/2010

This is one of my favorite breakfast/brunch places in the City. The style is "home cookin" so everything is like grandma made it. You have to start breakfast out with their hot is so good! They always have a "specials" menu to go along with the regular menu, so make sure you pay attention to that. Everything is yummy though - Coffee Cake, Banana Walnut Pancakes, Pumpkin French Toast, Omelets, etc. You CANNOT go wrong here for breakfast. This is a great place to go when you want something warm and satisfying...take your friends, they will indeed love it!

3 - Bianca [Italian]

LAST VISIT: 4/2/2009

I am doing this restaurant a MAJOR disservice by not having a proper food picture. Bianca is beyond beyond phenomenal! Holy moly - Gorgonzola Gnocchi???? Let me tell you - it is something to save your calories for folks...if you love blue cheese and you love gnocchi, you will DIE when you have their dish! Plus, their prices are so reasonable ~ this makes for something exceptional in NYC. For awesome Italian - don't hesitate...hit Bianca up. FYI - they do not take reservations, but wait the is worth it!

3 - Cafe Rhonda

LAST VISIT: 8/9/2009

Cafe Rhonda introduced me to baked eggs - a new found love. Seriously - eggs are not the same after you have had Cafe Rhonda's baked eggs. They have quite a few options for the eggs - plus you can mix and match within the options:
  • Spinach & Portobello w/herbed goat cheese
  • Mozzarella & Tomato w/fresh basil, oregano & parm
  • Mediterranean w/tomato, feta & black olives
  • Smoked Salmon w/chives, dill & cream cheese
  • Argentine Sausage w/sauteed onions & peppers
They have a full menu beyond the baked eggs too of course. I am just a huge proponent of baked eggs now. I have full intentions to get a recipe and try to make them at home, but I am fully prepared for the fact that I won't replicate Cafe Rhonda's!

Monday, May 17, 2010

2 - Old Homestead [Steakhouse]

LAST VISIT: 11/20/2008

Old Homestead is like any standard steakhouse in the US. The food was good, but did not exceed other outstanding steakhouses I have tried. It's location [Meatpacking] is of course fun, but nothing on the menu set OH apart from the rest...also, the atmosphere is pretty typical. Try OH for a standard experience, but don't go to be wow'd.

2 - Pastis [French Bistro]

LAST VISIT: 12/18/2009

Pastis is known for celebrity sightings and fun atmosphere. Well, it is just that. It is a cute place with a fun French feel, but the food is mediocre at best. Also, it is pricey. I was so excited to try Pastis, but my excitement was killed when my $34 Steak Frites was comprised of mostly fat and hardly any flavor. The service was also sub-par. I was a little bummed and left asking myself, "Why is this place always packed?"

2 - Shake Shack

LAST VISIT: 2/2010

I like Shake Shack, but not as much as Burger Joint, thus the "2" rating. The burger is decent, the crinkle fries are not my favorite (a little lacking in flavor), the frozen custards and shakes are good. Shake Shack provides a fun NYC experience, but you really have to wait in the line at Madison Square Park versus going to the W 79th St location. I know any diner will like the food, but I cannot guarantee that it will be thought of as amazing and worthy of a "3".

2 - Woo Lae Oak (WLO) [Korean BBQ]

LAST VISIT: 3/20/2010

I know a few of my friends will disagree with my "2" rating for WLO. The idea of grilling your own food with friends is fun, but paying $$$$ to grill your own food seems a little crazy. The grilled food usually tends to get overcooked because you get distracted while talking with the other diners at your table. To be honest, the food is just okay...nothing to write home about. I would much rather pay one-fourth to one-half the cost and eat at a Korean BBQ place in K-Town.

1 - Jackson Hole

LAST VISIT: 11/2008

Honestly, thinking about the two burgers I have tried at Jackson Hole makes me feel ill. Look at the picture...see how thick the burger is? The picture's burger is thinner than each one I have tried. The meat is not good and they don't cook it to your specifications. This is NOT quality meat. I have nothing good to say about this place...when I walk by one of their locations I feel like cringing.

Friday, May 14, 2010

2 - Fig & Olive

LAST VISIT: 7/15/2009

I was disappointed in the food at Fig & Olive. It wasn't bad, but of course I expected phenomenal food. I had the opportunity to dine at their Meatpacking location - the decor and ambiance is outstanding, but with the food, it doesn't make for a complete package.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

3 - Nobu

LAST VISIT: 8/14/2009

BEST Black Cod I have ever literally dissolved on my tongue and my mouth went CRAZY!!!!! My husband and I were fortunate to be able to visit Nobu with a gift card in a large denomination so we were able to try many things on the menu. I was not overly impressed with the atmosphere, but the food makes you forget about everything else. It is top notch and no wonder why the prices are on the higher side. You can't go wrong taking friends to this place...if they like Japanese cuisine, they will LOVE Nobu! It has been open since 1994 and is still kickin' the good flavors!

3 - Gobo [Vegetarian/Vegan]

LAST VISIT: 8/2008

Gobo is an awesome option for Vegetarians/Vegans or for anyone wanting a "different meal" outside of the normal meat and potatoes track we can often end up on. The Scallion Pancakes are a MUST EAT! They are probably the best scallion pancakes I have ever had, and trust me, if they are listed on a menu I order them. Gobo was delish to me because their menu ideas are creative and make you wonder why you would even consider adding meat to dishes. Gobo is more of an "upscale" NYC vegetarian option featuring Pan-Asian and Pacific Rim menu options.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

3 - Houston's / Hillstone's

LAST VISIT: 5/4/2010

Not only does this salad look like a jungle - but it tasted like a jungle - a jungle of yumminess in my mouth!!!!! I had been to a Houston's in Florida in 2003 and remembered it being good, but not as good as last night's tour! The Dip Duo was fantabulous as well. As I sat with my girlfriend enjoying our meal we couldn't help but drool when when saw all the plates being delivered to each table in the restaurant. Everything looked AMAZING. The burgers were HUGE - I can only imagine how tasty they are! I want to go back so bad!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

3 - Big Daddy's Diner (up from a 2)

LAST VISIT: 3/2010

Seriously - I used to think Big Daddy's Diner was just like every other diner...but, now I can't stay away. Their pancakes are stellar...fluffy-mcduffy...melt in your mouth!!! Tater tots ("TOTS"), Chicken-Lickin Sandy, Very, Very Veggie Burger, and the Big Daddy Sundae are among my favorites. If you want a hearty meal, big portions and deliciousness - hit up the Big D's!!! :)