Monday, March 31, 2014

Big Daddy's Diner

Strawberry and blueberry pancakes, Big Daddy's Diner

Begging to be franchised, Big Daddy's prides itself on big food, big service, and big smiles, or so we surmised during breakfast last week. By 9 am on a Saturday, the Park Avenue location was standing room only, as parents broke (sticky monkey) bread with their kids, tourists plotted their day over omelets, and construction workers fueled up with sandwiches made from waffles.

As for us, we went with berry pancakes (top), which had an excellent berry-to-batter ratio, and French toast (bottom), made from not-too-chewy, not-too-eggy challah. While we waited, we played Trivia Pursuit (cards provided tableside) and listened to the restaurant's piped-in 80s remix. While there are cheaper breakfasts to be had closer to home, we nevertheless left giving Big Daddy's big thumbs up.  

French toast, Big Daddy's Diner
  

Friday, March 28, 2014

Barn Joo

L.A. galbi fried udon, Barn Joo

We can't ever order bibimbap without also saying "mmm . . . bop," which gets that terrible Hanson song stuck in our heads. Is it in your head now too? If so, sorry. Also, did you know that the youngest member of Hanson is almost 30? Must everything in the world constantly conspire to make us feel old? 

Blame the light-on-flavor bibimbap (far below) we got at Barn Joo, a pricy Korean gastropub in Union Square. Not that it made us feel particularly old, because it didn't. It didn't make us feel much of anything, actually. Too innocuous, too lacking in the telltale crispy crust. But it did get us started on the above rant, so it does warrant some scorn. 

Better were the LA galbi fried udon (above), like a saucier lo mein, with juicy short ribs. Better still were the chicken wings (below), with a nice, thick batter --- perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that the best thing we ate at a gastropub tweaks typical American bar food. And yet isn't the capacity to be surprised a sign of youth? Eh, sonny?  

Salt & pepper BJ wings, Barn Joo

Tofu stone bowl, Barn Joo
  

Thursday, March 27, 2014

CBS New York: Best Ethiopian Restaurants

Hey everyone, we're also writing about New York for CBS New York. Periodically we'll link to content here that we produced there.
 


For the best in Ethiopian food in New York City, try one of the places listed below. Once there, relax into the atmosphere, make sure your hands are clean (after all, you’ll be using them, rather than utensils, to eat), and order a combo platter, to ensure you get to try lots of flavors and preparations. Above all, enjoy!  [read more]

CBS New York: Best Savory Pancakes

Hey everyone, we're also writing about New York for CBS New York. Periodically we'll link to content here that we produced there.
 


Like their sweet counterparts, savory pancakes offer an excellent vehicle for toppings, stuffings, and sauces. We’ve given this some thought, and decided that the six types of savory pancakes listed below represent New York’s best. Herewith, what to eat and where  [read more].

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Influx in Flux

Icy & Sot and GILF! @ Influx in Flux

Influx in Flux connects teenagers with working artists to create murals in various locations in the East Village. Those shown here were found in First Street Green, on a sunny, snowy Saturday.

Influx in Flux

Influx in Flux

Influx in Flux

Influx in Flux

Influx in Flux

Influx in Flux

Influx in Flux

Icy & Sot and GILF! @ Influx in Flux

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cachapas y Mas

Pollo patacon, Cachapas y Mas

Here's what we love about Cachapas y Mas: todo! We love the patacón (above), a shredded chicken sandwich that replaces ordinary bread with pounded, fried slabs of plantain. We love the more sweet than savory cachapa (immediately below), with its thick, barely melted hunk of Venezuelan cheese folded into a large corn pancake. And we love the yoyo (far below), not only because it's almost more fun to say than to eat, as the puffy plantain tends to fall apart after a bite or two. No matter --- that's what forks are for. We love the roast of the roasted pork. We love the pink dipping sauce, the result of mayo marrying hot sauce. We love how crowded the dining area of this Washington Heights institution gets. We love how said dining area has two flat screens that always seem to be showing Animal Planet, no matter when we're there. Like we said, we love it all. 

Queso de mano cachapa, Cachapas y Mas

Pernil yoyo, Cachapas y Mas

Friday, March 21, 2014

CBS New York: Best Spring Film Festivals

Hey everyone, we're also writing about New York for CBS New York. Periodically we'll link to content here that we produced there.
 


Ah, springtime in New York. The trees are budding, the snow is melting, and film festivals are popping up all over town. Here are our favorites [read more].

photo: thanks

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night at New Directors / New Films



Despite the title, this movie, which opened the New Directors / New Films festival last night at the Museum of Modern Art, isn't about victimhood. Instead, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is about vampires, more specifically it's about a vampire who lives in an Iranian ghost town called Bad City, preying on those who truly deserve it.  Oh, and it's in Persian, with English subtitles, but was filmed near Bakersfield, California.

Asked what inspired her to write and direct a Western noir in black and white about an Iranian vampire, Ana Lily Amirpour said, "I like vampires and I like dancing, and I was lonely." She also noted that wearing a chador leftover from a previous film made her feel like a bat --- indeed, some of the best shots of the movie feature the unnamed undead protagonist riding a skateboard, her chador puffing out behind her like wings. Others feature her dancing to moody pop in Persian and English, while still others include a fat cat who likes to be carried (sadly absent at the Q&A). While the movie has a narrative arc, it's more concerned with the visual expression of emotions, setting such feelings as alienation, despair, and even the first tiny blooms of trust between two souls to music. 
 
photo: thanks

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Radiant Light: Stained Glass from Canterbury Cathedral at the Cloisters

Radiant Light: Stained Glass from Canterbury Cathedral at the Cloisters

The stained glass exhibit currently on view at the Cloisters lets believers and non ogle six pieces from Canterbury Cathedral, made circa 1178-80. They also encourage a fun game known as 'consider the name.' Why is it that we likely all know a Jared or a Noah, but no Phalec, Thara, or Lamech? Is it time to bring those bad boys back, or should we let sleeping consonants lie?  

Radiant Light: Stained Glass from Canterbury Cathedral at the Cloisters

Radiant Light: Stained Glass from Canterbury Cathedral at the Cloisters

Radiant Light: Stained Glass from Canterbury Cathedral at the Cloisters
  

Monday, March 17, 2014

Treat House

Treat House

Is there such a thing as a dessert too cute to eat? Probably not, but the mini Rice Krispie rice and marshmallow treats at Treat House come close. They come in a dazzling array of flavors --- mint chocolate and chocolate peanut butter are favorites of ours --- and their diminutive portions makes them both eminently poppable and guilt-free. How could something so dainty and delicious possibly be anything but good for you?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

CBS New York: Best Used Bookstores

Hey everyone, we're also writing about New York for CBS New York. Periodically we'll link to content here that we produced there.
 


New York City is lucky enough to boast many independent bookstores, but don’t take them for granted. Instead, take your spare change and loose bills and head over to any or all of the bookstores listed below, and see what treasures you can find for less than the price of a cup of coffee [read more].

CBS New York: Best Cannoli

Hey everyone, we're also writing about New York for CBS New York. Periodically we'll link to content here that we produced there.


Cannoli come in all shapes and sizes, from miniature versions to monster versions, stuffed with a creamy ricotta filling, dipped in chocolate, or transformed into a cheesecake or crepe. Our five favorite cafes and bakeries for cannoli tend to be a little more traditional, a little more old school, a little more old country. Have a bite and let us know if you agree with our picks [read more].
 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The 39 Steps and The Lady Vanishes at Film Forum


You know what there really should be? An all-Hitchcock TV channel. Until that glorious day arrives, there's The Complete Hitchcock at Film Forum, running through March 27th. (The affiliated complete screening of the Hitchcock-directed TV episodes is at the Paley Center.) This weekend, we caught the double feature of The 39 Steps and The Lady Vanishes, two films in which Hitchcock's familiar concern with innocent people caught in a menacing and mysterious situation meets up with historical circumstances --- namely, the looming European conflagration. Both movies are delightful, intelligent entertainments, but our preference was for The Lady Vanishes, with its gripping conceit and flawless tonal tightrope-walking. Who wouldn't want to see that 24 hours a day?

Monday, March 10, 2014

SMITHE Mural on Vandevoort Place

SMITHE, Bushwick

The latest artist to cover the 200-foot wall of the Bushwick Art Park is SMITHE, from Mexico City, who gives the neighborhood a quasi-futuristic clash of the titans.  

SMITHE, Bushwick

SMITHE, Bushwick

SMITHE, Bushwick
  

Friday, March 07, 2014

Indikitch

Pulled pork vindaloo feast, Indikitch

We're rooting for Indikitch, recently opened near the Flatiron Building and definitely looking to do for Indian what Chipotle has done for Mexican. In other words, this fast-casual restaurant is begging to be franchised.

You pick your type of meal (we went with the "feast"), along with your rice, your protein, your sides, and your naan, all while watching the line cooks make your pulled pork vindaloo (top) and paneer tikka (bottom) sizzle. Not only was the food really fresh, it arrived nicely seasoned (you can specify how hot you want it). Are we starting to sound like potential investors? Perhaps. We did drink an awful lot of the Kool-Aid, courtesy of the dining area's Coca-Cola Freestyle Drink Machine.    

Paneer tikka feast, Indikitch

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

CBS New York: 5 Great Manhattan Taquerias

Hey everyone, we're also writing about New York for CBS New York. Periodically we'll link to content here that we produced there.


Tacos are great: eat one, and you still have room for a burrito or a tamale or an ice cream sundae. Eat several, and you’re sated until the next mealtime. New York City has experienced a boomlet of great taquerias in recent years, especially in Manhattan. Herewith, our five favorites [read more].

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Ever in Bushwick

Ever, Bushwick

Great piece by Ever, a street artist from Buenos Aires, in Bushwick.

Monday, March 03, 2014

2014 Oscar Party at Bow Tie Chelsea Cinemas


Like a lot of people, we're a bit bleary-eyed today, having stayed up to watch the Oscars. Factoring in the preshow, that's six or so hours of TV consumed in one sitting. Thankfully we had all-you-could-eat popcorn, all-you-could-drink soda, and all-you-could-take barbs courtesy of the lovely and indomitable Hedda Lettuce to sustain us. "By the end of the night, I'll be the bearded lady," she noted by way of an introduction.

It was our third time attending the Oscars at Bow Tie Cinemas, and while we opted not to get a mini-makeover or pose with the anatomically correct statue, we did sit back and enjoy Hedda's one-liners and liberal use of the laser pointer, including indicating just where on his jacket Alfonso Cuarón had semen stains ("He's been Lewinskied," Hedda shouted).   

Even as she lamented the fact that Amy Adam's camel toe didn't win best actress, Hedda seemed happy that Sandra Bullock and her Gravity / Chucky haircut lost. She pointed out crows' feet, neck wrinkles, Botox gone bad. But she saved her love for those of us in the audience, and she got lots of love in return. 

photo: thanks

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