Pumpkin Fatigue?


Pumpkin Fatigue?

pumpkin

It’s that time of year, we will be suffering Pumpkin Fatigue very soon, what about you? It happens every Fall. Pumpkin Spice Oreos are here via HuffPost Taste. Zagat has pumpkin for everyone everywhere with it’s Regional Pumpkin Guide: 25 Must-Try Dishes for Fall. We’re getting a little tired of the orange fellow. We do love Tastykake’s Pumpkin Pies though! Which pumpkin list is your favorite? Will you be happy when it is all over?

Which Top Burger List is Tops?


Which Top Burger List is Tops?
Merman Burger - Courtesy Pornburger.me
Merman Burger Courtesy Pornburger.me

Top burger lists are everywhere. Tasting Table has a great new Top 10 NYC Burger list. I look through the lists carefully and keep a personal score of which I’ve tried. I love burgers.

Umami Burger has opened their first location in New York and I’m sure all the list makers are checking it out. I bet the Umami Burger will shake up some lists to come.

Here are two lists which I really like from Fork In The Road Blog at the Village Voice and from Thrillist New York. Which of these do you prefer or is there a better one?

NYC’s Best Square Pizza Favorites

Are You Square?
NYC’s Square Pizza Favorites

NYC Best Square Pizza Sicilian

Our new favorite pizza is Square. Joe’s Sicilian Square Pie is delish. Next to try is Prince Street Pizza‘s pepperoni-loaded Spicy Spring and then New York Pizza Suprema‘s Upside Down Pizza. Check out Eater NY’s It’s Hip to Be Square: 12 Great NYC Square SlicesAre you a triangle snob!? 

Sant Ambroeus Soho – Fun Lunch, New Friends, Beautiful Food

Sant Ambroeus Bar Restaurant Soho New York Manhattan

After having a great lunch with old friends at Sant Ambroeus in the West Village, I was very much looking forward to having lunch with new friends. Tabelog.us is the United States Restaurant Guide launch of the hugely popular Gourmet Restaurant Guide Tabelog Japan. The people behind the US expansion, Lord Of The Forks and Cutie Patroller (yes, their Tabelog blogger names), invited me to lunch to talk about my plans for BarTaste, their plans for working closely with the foodie blogger community and Tableog’s expansion plans beyond the current cities of New York and Chicago. I am looking forward to some of the big things they have in store.

Sant Ambroeus Soho is a Milanese inspired restaurant with a  fun lunch crowd. The place is perfect for locals, business travelers, tourists and anyone who wants to entertain clients, colleagues, friends or coworkers.  It’s location in Soho puts you right in the middle of a great neighborhood. Go on a nice day or evening and leave some time to walk the neighborhood. Explore some of the very popular small shops, bars and restaurants, both new and old, throughout  SoHo. Sant Ambroeus’ central location puts you within an easy walk to other Manhattan neighborhoods like NoHo,  the Lower East Side  and Greenwich Village and the Bowery. Although I did not eat at the bar, it looked very inviting for a good meal, drinks, coffee or pastries. Great for women traveling alone on business.

We shared the entire meal. Everything was delicious and service was good with friendly fellow diners and staff. My favorites were the Cotoletta alla Milanese, a beautifully done and tender veal chop Milanese  and the Prosciutto e Mozzarella with wonderfully tasty prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella which just melted in your mouth.

Here are some photos of what we ate, loved it all:

COTOLETTA ALLA MILANESE traditional veal chop Milanese, garnished with rucola and tomato

 COTOLETTA ALLA MILANESE traditional veal chop Milanese, garnished with rucola and tomato

 BRANZINO IN PADELLA seared branzino in a light limoncello-caper sauce, seasonal vegetables

 BRANZINO IN PADELLA seared branzino in a light limoncello-caper sauce, seasonal vegetables

Sant Ambroeus PROSCIUTTO E MOZZARELLA San Daniele prosciutto with buffalo mozzarella and marinated artichokes

PROSCIUTTO E MOZZARELLA San Daniele prosciutto with buffalo mozzarella and marinated artichokes

Sant Ambroeus TAGLIATELLE SALTATE ALLA BOLOGNESE with a light veal ragù

TAGLIATELLE SALTATE ALLA BOLOGNESE with a light veal ragù

Now It’s Desert Time!

Their signature dessert: SANT AMBROEUS chocolate mousse cake with a chocolate custard centerTheir signature dessert: SANT AMBROEUS chocolate mousse cake with a chocolate custard center

Sant Ambroeus I BISCOTTI a selection of cookies

I BISCOTTI a selection of cookies

BarTaste Rating  ★★★★☆

Sant Ambroeus Soho on Urbanspoon

Kin Shop – Fantastic Contemporary Thai & Terrific Fried Chicken Sandwich

Kin Shop Fried Crispy Chicken Sandwich Manhattan Greenwich Village New York

Business Travelers: Do you recommend Kin Shop for
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Co-workers, Colleagues or Customers?
Conducting Business; having a Business meeting?
Dining alone?
Women Business Travelers dining alone?
Friendly staff, patrons and good service?
Enjoyable food?
Meeting other Business Travelers?
Rating: 4.2/5 (4 votes cast)

Kin Shop has been a favorite in Greenwich Village since it opened. Dinner has always been delicious with a fresh, inventive take on Thai food which keeps diners returning time after time. I’ve had the fried chicken at Kin Shop so when I heard about the Crispy Chicken Sandwich I had to get there fast to give it a try.

The Kin Shop Experience: The Crispy Chicken Sandwich is only served at lunch during the week and at brunch on the weekends. Early one weekend afternoon I head to Kin Shop and find the restaurant not too full with several seats open at the bar. I am pleasantly surprised and sit down to take a look at the menu but I already know what I am going to order.

The bar has about 7 seats facing the wall. There is also a 4 seat chef’s counter facing the open kitchen in the back. I choose to sit near the right end of the bar where I can see all the kitchen action to my right and through the restaurant out onto Sixth Avenue (Avenue of the Americas for the tourists) to my left.


Before I order, someone else sitting at the bar receives his Crispy Chicken Sandwich order. I order one for myself and he nods his approval. He looks like he is thoroughly enjoying it so I am looking forward to my own.

The chicken has a fried coating which is crunchy and very tasty, clearly the star of the show. The in-house baked bun has a slight kick and easily cradles the chicken toppings of napa cabbage slaw, thai-style pickles and nam prik ong sauce. On the side comes emping chips made from the melinjo nut. These chips are much lighter and airier than potato chips and a welcome change from the usual salty sides of potato chips or french fries.

Another new arrival at the bar and another chicken sandwich order is placed. Very pleased with my meal. The hard working staff were very friendly and attentive, making for an overall great experience.

Next time I go to Kin Shop, I hope to come for dinner and snag one of the four seats at the chef’s counter, looks like it would make for a fun meal.

Business Travelers: For both contemporary reinterpretations of traditional Thai dishes and wholly new items inspired by Thai ingredients, Kin Shop can’t be beat. Located Downtown in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, Kin Shop is great for Business Travelers and anyone who wants to entertain clients, colleagues, friends or coworkers. Leave yourself some extra time to explore the nearby neighborhoods. Very good starting or ending point for a walking tour of what some say are the most beautiful blocks in Greenwich Village and the city, West 10th, 11th and 12th Streets between 6th and 5th Avenues. Take a stroll through the streets of the West Village with beautiful residential blocks and shopping. Noho, Soho and Chelsea are also nearby. Great for women traveling alone on business.

BarTaste Rating  ★★★★☆

Kin Shop
469 6th Avenue (11th Street)
New York, NY 10011
212-675-4295

Kin Shop Menu

Kin Shop on Urbanspoon

 

Parm – Terrific Old School Italian-American in Little Italy

Parm Restaurant Little Italy restaurant Manhattan New York

Business Travelers: Do you recommend Parm for

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Co-workers, Colleagues or Customers?
Conducting Business; having a Business meeting?
Dining alone?
Women Business Travelers dining alone?
Friendly staff, patrons and good service?
Enjoyable food?
Meeting other Business Travelers?
Rating: 3.9/5 (5 votes cast)

What can you say about a Little Italy restaurant whose red typefaced menu is heavy on red gravy and traditional Italian-American fare? Delicious! This has always been a favorite food of mine, evidenced by these previous reviews and Parm does it well. It’s all here: meatball and chicken parm, sausage & peppers, turkey and eggplant sandwiches. A different dinner special is served each night. Unfortunately the Veal Parm is only available on Saturday night so I missed it. Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone are behind this restaurant. This same duo is behind critically acclaimed, high-end, red-gravy Carbone where the Veal Parmesan is $54. I wonder if Parm’s $25 Veal Parm Saturday dinner special is comparable? I will find out and report back.

The Parm Experience: Entering Parm you might think you have arrived in a diner. One quick look at what everyone is eating at the counter confirms you are in the right location. Several people are hanging in the entry area waiting for tables. All the seats at the counter are taken so I pause when someone comes comes over and asks it they can help me. I say I was hoping to eat at the counter and they quickly pull out a stool and deftly place it in a gap at the counter’s corner near the door. My seat luck strikes again. There are about about 8 seats on long side and now 2 on the short, including mine.

Realizing there will be no Veal Parm today, I order the meatball parm hero sandwich and baked clams. The hero comes on classic Italian bread. Other options for all sandwiches include a semolina roll or a no bread platter with a side salad or ziti. The sandwich is wonderful. The meatballs are perfectly cooked, not overdone, tender and nicely seasoned pairing well with the gravy and mozzarella. Maybe the best meatballs I have ever had (sorry Mom & Dad). The clams were a great start to the meal. I order the Pizza Knots to go and the treat continued at home.

Looking around at my fellow diners I drool (not literally) at the Baked Ziti with Meat Gravy, Chicken Parm and the Semolina rolls. The atmosphere is diner-like with 1960’s “tap your foot” dance music. There are 2 small TVs both showing Basketball on ESPN.

Business Travelers: Parm is centrally located in Downtown Manhattan and is terrific for Business Travelers and anyone who wants to entertain clients, colleagues, friends or coworkers. If you want a casual real Little Italy experience, this is your place. Go on a nice day or evening and leave some time to walk the neighborhood. Explore some of the very popular small shops, bars and restaurants, both new and old, throughout the Lower East Side. Parm’s central location puts you within an easy walk to other Manhattan neighborhoods like NoHo, SoHo and Greenwich Village. Great for women traveling alone on business.

BarTaste Rating  ★★★☆☆ 

Parm
248 Mulberry Street
New York, NY 10012
212-993-7189

Parm Menu

Parm on Urbanspoon

Boulton and Watt – Lower East Side Gem: Terrific Food & Service with Fun, Energetic Crowd

Boulton and Watt American Gastropub Restaurant Manhattan New York

Business Travelers: Do you recommend Boulton and Watt for

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Co-workers, Colleagues or Customers?
Conducting Business; having a Business meeting?
Dining alone?
Women Business Travelers dining alone?
Friendly staff, patrons and good service?
Enjoyable food?
Meeting other Business Travelers?
Rating: 4.1/5 (3 votes cast)

The Lower East Side of Manhattan has become a hotbed of activity over the years, from trendy shops to both excellent and lousy restaurants and a hopping nightlife. Boulton and Watt is one of the excellent restaurants with an energetic, bustling, happy and professional crowd.  No matter where you may be in the city, if want to explore some new neighborhoods, make the Lower East Side (LES) and Boulton and Watt a first stop.

The Boulton and Watt Experience: Finally, bright sunshine and temperatures in the 50’s, a welcome relief after weeks of cold and snow. Everyone is out on this Saturday afternoon. I decide to walk the LES and remember the good things I’ve heard about Boulton and Watt and decide to check it out.

About 1:45 pm on a Saturday I walk in to find the place full and bustling, everyone is having a good time. I go to the bar looking for a seat, nothing available. Bartender immediately comes over to ask if I want to see a menu. I say that I was hoping to find a seat and eat and he says I’ll get you your drink, just wait here, there are two people ready to get up in a few minutes. Sure enough I was soon sitting down looking at the menu. The bartender is terrific, attentive and personable all afternoon while I am there, making this meal very enjoyable.  

My seat is to the left of the long side of the bar directly in front of one of the two televisions with the Sochi Olympics on. The long side of the bar has about 12 seats with additional seats curving around the two shorter sides of the bar. The bright sunshine is streaming into the corner restaurant from the large windows on Avenue A, East 1st Street and Houston Street (pronounced “HOW”ston, not like the city in Texas). This is adding to the great vibe inside.

I’ve seen some online photos of the Chicken Pot Pie which was my intended first choice to order now that I finally got to come here. Unfortunately it was only going to be available at dinner. So I went to my backup choice, Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon. Now this dish was delicious, big on flavor, creamy with big chunks of bacon. Now I normally don’t take food pics to include here but this was so good I could not resist.

Boulton and Watt Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon NYC

Business Travelers: Boulton and Watt is a great way to get out of the ho- hum of Midtown Manhattan and explore some of Manhattan’s neighborhoods.  This place is terrific for Business Travelers and anyone who wants to entertain clients, colleagues, friends or coworkers. The noise level might be a little higher than usual but certainly manageable. Crowd seemed professional on my visit. Not a place for a quiet dinner. Start here and leave yourself time to walk around and explore some of the small shops, bars and restaurants both new and old throughout the Lower East Side. The spot is centrally located putting you within an easy walk to other Manhattan neighborhoods like The BoweryLittle Italy, Soho and Greenwich Village.

BarTaste Rating  ★★★★☆

Boulton and Watt
5 Avenue A
New York, NY 10009
646-490-6004

Boulton and Watt Menu

Boulton & Watt on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Information

 

* Restaurant Name
Boulton & Watt
* Overall
★★★☆☆
* Neighborhood / Cuisine
East Village / American New
* Street Address
5 Ave. A (Corner of Ave. A & 1st St.), New York, NY 10009
* Phone
(646) 490-6004

Quality Italian – Fun and High Quality Italian – Perfect Name in Midtown

Quality Italian Restaurant New York Manhattan Midtown
Business Travelers: Do you recommend Quality Italian for

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Co-workers, Colleagues or Customers?
Conducting Business; having a Business meeting?
Dining alone?
Women Business Travelers dining alone?
Friendly staff, patrons and good service?
Enjoyable food?
Meeting other Business Travelers?
Rating: 4.0/5 (6 votes cast)

When you select a name like Quality Italian for your restaurant you have already set expectations very high. After two visits I can tell you that those expectations have been exceeded. The first visit with friends had me wanting much more so I returned to have a meal at the bar.

The Quality Italian Experience: On a snowy Tuesday evening I decide it is time for a Midtown Manhattan review and head to Quality Italian. Being a Tuesday with snow I’m sure there will be lots of room. I arrive to find the bar full.

Quality Italian (QI for short) has a small bar downstairs but the slightly larger upstairs bar is where the action is. All the 8 seats on the long side facing the wall and the couple on the short side facing into the main dining room are full. One of these has been strangely co-opted by a woman sitting with friends in a small cocktail area next to the bar. Sitting substantially higher than her friends, and precariously leaning over, she looks as if she will shortly tumble over. The bartender, another patron and myself look at her quizzically and shrug.

The bartender, an extremely nice and attentive guy, asks what I would like to drink. I reply that I was hoping to sit at the bar for dinner. He replies that should not be a problem with a knowing nod and a smile. I order a drink and settle in, standing at the corner of the bar, waiting for a seat.

A regular is eating dinner next to me and she knows the bartender well, raving about the food. My new friend offers me a piece of an appetizer she is eating, Dry-Aged Porterhouse Agnolotti. It is terrific and I have a new best friend.

A seat opens up at the end of the bar and, before someone down there can snag it, the bartender guides me over into the seat. I finally settle in for what turns out to be a great meal.

I start with the Baked Clams, perfectly done and delicious. Make sure you have plenty of the freshly baked bread to soak up all the leftovers from the clams. Next is something I have been waiting for all week, the Veal Chop Milanese. Yes it is $39 but worth every cent. Pounded veal cooked perfectly with very tasty House Pickled Peppers & Mozzarella. I ate it slowly, thoroughly savoring every bite.

The bar area began filling and I made more friends, QI is a fun place. I met a couple from Long Island and she was making her own drink. After ordering a martini she pulled out a packet of Crystal Lite lemonade mix and poured it in. She did not have a name for the drink but she was certainly happy. Now I like martinis and Crystal Lite but don’t expect to be mixing them together anytime soon.

Business Travelers: Quality Italian is absolutely terrific for Business Travelers and anyone who wants to entertain clients, colleagues, friends or coworkers. In a top location, this restaurant is convenient to most buildings and hotels in Midtown Manhattan. It is worth the trip if even if you are staying downtown. QI is close to Central Park and all the very high-end Midtown Manhattan shopping and the city’s premiere office locations. I met several business women who felt very comfortable dining alone at QI’s bar and do so on a regular basis

BarTaste Rating  ★★★★★

Quality Italian
57 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019
212-390-1111

Quality Italian Menu
The Daily Meal Quality Italian Review

Quality Italian Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

The Diner – Sanity and Classic Dishes in a Bustling Meatpacking District

The Diner New York Manhattan Meatpacking District
Do you recommend The Diner for:
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Co-workers, Colleagues or Customers?
Conducting Business; having a Business meeting?
Dining alone?
Women Business Travelers dining alone?
Friendly staff, patrons and good service?
Enjoyable food?
Meeting other Business Travelers?
Rating: 2.8/5 (5 votes cast)

Sometimes we are in the mood for a classic diner breakfast but being in the trendy and pricey Meatpacking District in Manhattan leaves few options. Luckily I remembered The Diner which turned out to be a good fit. Diner food at a place called The Diner, sometimes it’s just too obvious.

The Diner Experience: This place has several big pluses. It’s location in the center of the Meatpacking District is an ideal choice for calming those hunger pangs without spending big. The large windows on the corner location allow for lots of people and sidewalk entertainment watching. The large section of outdoor seating, wrapping the corner, makes a great place to spend time on a beautiful day.

Walk in and sit at the bar. The Diner has a fully stocked bar with about 7 seats on the long side with the short side being a service area. I call it a bar and not a “counter” as it does not have the layout of a typical diner counter. I sit towards the right giving me a good view of most of the restaurant and out through the windows to the street. The televisions are tuned to ESPN, one of my favorites. The bar is empty as is most of the restaurant and the outdoor seating on this Wednesday morning. Not a lot of street activity as well. This is good for me as I get good and quick service. Since it is just after 9 in the morning, I suspect everyone has headed off to the office.

I order an omelette with feta cheese, onions and tomatoes with a side order of crispy bacon. The food comes quickly, nicely done, especially the bacon, delicious and I quickly eat, being hungry from an intense workout.

Business Travelers: The Diner is down the street from Google’s very large New York City presence as well as numerous other Silicon Alley businesses. The standard diner fare with a few twists and reasonable prices (for Manhattan) amidst the increasingly expensive Meatpacking District make it an ideal place for a good, quick bite with friends, co-workers, clients or colleagues. A central location provides easy access to many nearby neighborhoods including Greenwich Village and Chelsea. In addition to the high end shopping, bars, restaurants and nightly packed streets you can spend little or no money checking out the galleries in West Chelsea and the Chelsea Market, an indoor food and retail mecca. Don’t forget the best of all, New York’s Park in the Sky, The High Line. Walk from end to end and get a unique perspective of Manhattan. A good place for women traveling alone on business.

BarTaste Rating  ★★★☆☆

The Diner
44 9th Avenue
New York, NY 10011
212-627 – 2230

Google View
The Diner Menu

The Diner on Urbanspoon

Smithfield – Great Sports Tavern and Soccer Mecca in Chelsea with Food to Match

Smithfield Sports Restaurant & Bar New York Manhattan Chelsea
Business Travelers: Do you recommend Smithfield for

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Co-workers, Colleagues or Customers?
Conducting Business; having a Business meeting?
Dining alone?
Women Business Travelers dining alone?
Friendly staff, patrons and good service?
Enjoyable food?
Meeting other Business Travelers?
Rating: 3.7/5 (7 votes cast)

Here at BarTaste we are continuing to beef up our reviews of Sports Bars, especially now that we are at the midpoint of the baseball season. The MLB All Star Game 2013 was on Tuesday night so I decided to head out to watch the game and have a meal at the bar. A friend recommended Smithfield and the Smithfield Burger which comes with foie gras and truffles! Of course I did not pass up the opportunity to order another burger, I know I promised no more burgers but foie gras and truffles! It did come recommended and I was not disappointed.

Smithfield Experience: In the middle of a heat wave I venture out into steamy Manhattan to watch the 2013 MLB All-Star Game. I was considering attending the game in person since it was played at the Met’s Citifield in Queens, an easy subway ride. With the oppressive heat it looks like I made the right choice to skip Queens in favor of the cool air conditioning of Smithfield in Chelsea, a recommended place which has been on my radar for a while.

I walk in just after 7 P.M. giving enough time before the start of the game to find a good seat. It looks like all the tables and bar seats are full with a very energetic and boisterous crowd having a good time. My luck comes through once again and I find a seat towards the left at the bar. I order a drink, ask for a menu and settle in.

Smithfield is focused on Soccer (Football anyone?). Yes, plenty of attention is given to those other minor leagues like the NFL and MLB, but be prepared for a soccer emporium. Of the many large TVs everywhere, at least half were showing the CONCACAF Gold Cup ‘13. From my seat I could see two large televisions, one with the Gold Cup, the other NFL Network. I saw Cuba beat Belize in the quarterfinals and the beginning of the USA vs Costa Rica match which USA won.

The bartender was extremely nice, friendly and attentive. I was very impressed how the channels were changed to FOX right as the national broadcast began at 7:30. This shows attention to detail from Smithfield, managing their televisions, understanding their customers and treating them well. Read my rant on places not managing their TVs here. The pre-game and game came on right in front of me without a hitch, I was happy. In too many places I’ve had to ask that channels be changed to events which should have already been on, sometimes the channel on has been Lifetime, at a sports bar! Not at Smithfield. The sound of the USA vs Costa Rica soccer match was on throughout the place, making watching the All Star Game a little different, but this is after all a Soccer Mecca, and they know their customers and keep them happy. I knew plenty of baseball fans were around because of the very loud groans when Robinson Cano of the Yankees got hit by a pitch on the knee. It looked bad but he is supposed to be okay. I really like Joe Buck but he looked like an alien coming in for a landing on that platform FOX built him for the game at Citifield.

The Smithfield Menu is several steps above a typical sports place and delicious. The Smithfield Burger with foie gras and truffles was tremendous. I will be thanking my friend many times for recommending it. The Thursday Short Rib special looked very good but alas it was Tuesday. The bar faces a wall with 5 large TVs with about 18 seats on the long side and 3 on the short side. Plenty of TVs throughout the first floor. There is also a second floor and mezzanine. Sit anywhere for a terrific view of the action.

Business Travelers: The crowd seemed to be mostly an after work business crowd mixed with locals from the neighborhood really enjoying themselves. A great place for friends, co-workers, clients or colleagues. Be prepared to speak up if you are getting serious about conducting business here. Smithfield is in the Chelsea neighborhood, not far from Flatiron and, being at 28th Street, a quick trip from most of Midtown and about a 5 minute walk from Madison Square Garden and Penn Station, great for pre or post game. Some consider the location part of Midtown. The location puts you within quick striking distance of many Manhattan’s fun neighborhoods and attractions for shopping, strolling, bars, restaurants and exploring. Checkout The High Line, Manhattan’s Park in the Sky, Meatpacking DistrictWest ChelseaNoMadMadison SquareUnion SquareFashion District and Greenwich Village. A comfortable sports bar for women traveling on business.

BarTaste Rating  ★★★★☆ 

Smithfield
215 West 28th Street
New York, NY 10001
212-564-2172

Smithfield Menu

Smithfield on Urbanspoon

NYC’s Top 10 Pizzas


NYC’s Top 10 Pizzas

Pizza

Always loved Joe’s Pizza and Prince Street Pizza. Thrillist New York has just released their 10 Top Pizzas in NYC. Do you agree? Who was left off?