A sweet slice of Cuba in Hell’s Kitchen. Hanging out in Manhattan is always fun due to the outrageous amount of choices the city has to offer. Truth be told this place was not our first pick but ended up being a saving grace of our night. Our first selection which shall remain nameless was a dimly lit wooden bench style freezing cold medieval hate even to refer to as a restaurant. The only thing that was missing was Dracula and the Wolfman. So before the waiter could pour water and greet us, we gave each other the look like are you thinking what I’m thinking. Yes, thanks but no thanks! I said all that to say that as a paying customer don’t be afraid to leave an uncomfortable situation. So Tee and I huddled outside and put a quick reboot on our night. Fastforward to the westside of Manhattan and spotted Havana Social. A small classy delightful lounge on 10th Ave. Upon arrival the staff was attentive and friendly. Our waitress was knowledgeable of the menu and suggested great drinks. Cool to say that because Tee did a magic trick with her Chocolate Coconut Martini. Now you see it now you don’t. I stayed safe with a Classic Mojito and ordered the Pollo al Horno ( Half Chicken with sautéed onions). Tee went with the Mini Shrimp Tacos. Both dishes were absolutely amazing. Perfect portions of fresh hot food with great plate presentation. It seemed each table in the restaurant was having a wonderful experience. Only wish we were entertained by the live band which they do carry on Thursday nights. Who knew you could be saved in Hell’s Kitchen…Havana Social two thumbs up!
Tonight’s adventure has lead Sam and Tee into the Borough of Brooklyn. When you think of Brooklyn I don’t know how you really sum it up in a few words, Historical, Diverse, Vibrant, Exciting! A true melting pot of ethnicity which is reflected by the people and the neighborhoods. One such neighborhood is Williamsburg. Just east of Manhattan with a connecting bridge (The Williamsburg Bridge). Sitting along the water bordered by Bedford-Stuyvesant, Greenpoint, and Bushwick. Charles Pfizer founded Pfizer Pharmecuticals in Williamsburg. Wealthy New Yorkers Cornelius Vanderbilt and Jubilee Jim Fisk built shore side mansions here. Charles Pratt founded the renowned art college the Pratt Institute. Williamsburg was once or still home to other notable residents such as Barbara Streisand, Gene Simmons, Zoe Kravitz, and Barry Manilow. So it’s easy to see this jewel of industry, art and music also flaunts great eateries. On this stormy spring night we stumbled into Cafe Mogador. A sweet neighbourly open dining room restaurant which serves freshly cooked Moroccan and Mediterranean cuisine until 2 am. No real wait time we sat and chatted while soaking up the scene. Tee and I joked that we didn’t know what direction the decor was going but overall a beautiful space. I ordered the Pan Roasted Organic Chicken with Jerusalem artichoke puree and sauteed French beans. Simply outstanding mouth watering dish, no complaints and no doggy bag! Tee went with the Crispy Skin Salmon with sauteed Sorrel, Cauliflower puree and Parsnip chips. Hands down one of the best meals ever, loved it loved it loved it. She thought Cafe Mogador had 5 star written all over it if it wasn’t for the nasty attitude waitress who had her head on Ass!!! backwards. Sad that the service from the waitress didn’t match the flavorful cuisine. However one bad apple won’t spoil the bunch. We did get a visit from the chef who was a doll. Hopefully your experience is contrasting with the wait staff because we are sure you will love the food.
Hey Goodeaeaters if your in Astoria hanging out or getting off work late, just footsteps from the L is Sanfords. This place is a can’t miss breakfast, lunch and dinner. Of course with our odd ball schedule it was late night before we pulled up a chair. Sanfords has been a Astoria Landmark since 1922. This place is recently renovated with a nice, sleek ,decor. Tee ordered the Crab Cake Sandwich with sweet potato fries. The Brioche bun was a little on the hard over toasted side. She thought the Crab cake would have been better served on a entree without the bun. I selected the Chicken Avocado Club, 86 the the Bacon with sweet potato fries. I to received the hard over toasted treatment which didn’t do well for my late night fantasy. Overall the interior design was contempo and the service was on point. Sanfords restaurant has comfort food around the clock.
Breaking from the normal weekly routine of our diet, Tee and I decided to head out in search for some Indian cuisine. We hopped in the car and Downtown East Side of Manhattan was our destination. A little rough navigating due to the fact the restaurant we chose happened to be in the affected area where the building recently collapsed. However happy that we could spend a little money in an area having trouble keeping a steady flow of patrons due to the emergency presence along 2nd Avenue.
So on this cold Spring night we stumbled into Haveli on 2nd Avenue between 5th and 6th Street. Nice open seating with a friendly staff, Tee thought the lighting could have been better and the interior could have used some updating. Although when food hit the table boy was she excited. I ordered Salmon sauteed in tomato paste and served in a coconut sauce. She ordered the Seafood Combination. While waiting on the entrees we had Vegetable Samosas and Naan served with yogurt sauce and spices. After eating such a variety of dishes we topped off with mango ice cream. In the words of Tee the food was amaze balls 5 stars. So if you’re looking for some wonderful Indian Cuisine head downtown to Haveli Banjara!
If you’re ever on the Upper West Side of Manhattan or west side of Harlem, here is a few places you can checkout. During Restaurant Week February 2015 we ate at Melba’s for breakfast. We started the morning with mimosas regular and mango, stick with the regular mango didn’t mix well. Tee ordered the Fried Chicken and Grits. The chicken was golden brown with a perfect crunch, superb! She thought the grits were a little too salty. I had the Salmon Croquettes with Grits, Eggs and Homefries. No complaints from me, great southern style breakfast.
Lido is an Italian restaurant with a sleek modern decor. They boast a live, sexy, cool atmosphere for its size. I ordered a Chicken Cutlet sauteed in a White Wine sauce with Garlic Mash Potatoes, yummy! Tee went with the Spinach Tortellini with Roasted Butternut Squash, Walnuts and Sage Pesto. Great dish even though it favored a green glob in a bowl. The squash was cooked to perfection. Both Melba’s and Lido are in Harlem located on Frederick Douglass Boulevard.
Down on Columbus Avenue between 85th and 86th Street we found a fantastic breakfast place called Good Enough to Eat. Eclectic and relaxed, I see why this is a busy little place. Tee enjoyed the Pumpkin Bread French Toast with Pear and Cranberry compote. She thought the french toast was fluffy filling and delicious. All the flavors married well, hands down the best french toast ever. I ate the Home Fries, Eggs, Biscuits with Strawberry Butter and Homemade Turkey Sausage. That’s right homemade, looked hideous but once I tasted the sausage I wanted to kiss the chef. Definitely Good Enough to Eat there again!
The City, is how we Native New Yorkers refer to Manhattan as. It’s usually what you see on T.V. when New York is depicted. Buildings that seem to touch the sky, Central Park which spans 50 city blocks, and a city beneath your feet in the subway system. Every corner of Manhattan has its on sensational story to tell. From Washington Heights to Wall Street the City is split into many interesting neighborhoods. What does that mean, awesome food everywhere!
Our neighborhood of choice to dine tonight is the Theatre District. Smack dab in the heart of the City, famous for its on and off Broadway plays and musicals. Walking distance to so much like Times Square and 42 Street. In search of some good Italian Cuisine we decided on a place called Trattoria Trecolori. Right on 47th Street between Broadway / 8th Ave this restaurant is a gem. Beautiful hardwood floors, white linen tables, and exposed brick walls set the mood for a great experience. We were greeted and seated promptly accompanied by warm Italian bread. They sport an extensive wine list however we requested special order cocktails which the bartender came correct with. Tee ordered the Vegetable Lasagna, said her entree was perfect and the sauce was amazing. I ate the Chicken Parmesan which was fantastic. Nicely breaded thinly sliced cutlet with pasta. The service here was quick and attentive. One waiter served the dishes, the next one came with parmesan, the next one brought the black pepper, teamwork like snap crackle and pop! Felt so good we decided on dessert. I had my eye on that ricotta cheesecake but it was ladies choice so we shared the chocolate mousse cake served with whip cream and berries. The only bad thing I can say is that we had to pay the bill. So now you know where to go for great Italian in Midtown Manhattan.
Astoria Queens is a diverse community of adventure, culture, food and entertainment. It is also the home neighborhood of TV classic Archie Bunker as well as producing real life talent like Tony Bennett and Christopher Walken. One of the major streets Steinway Street is named after the be famous Steinway Piano Company which also calls Astoria home. Its a go to neighborhood for great food in northern Queens. It’s mid week, needed to catch up with Tee so we decided on a fairly new restaurant in Astoria. Sabor de Cuba a small cozy dimly lit place to soak up some Latin food and vibes. Getting right into it we just made a quick trip for drinks and apps. The music was good, decoration was tastefully done and it was a strong positive energy inside. The waiter personally made our Sangria. Tee ordered the Chicken Aioli and Yucca Frita, I ordered the Chicken Empanadas with the side of Black Beans and Rice. The menu was small, however the atmosphere was nice. The only thing missing was a good domino game and some good Cuban cigars!