On Our Radar

Friday, November 21, 2014
Souper Duper
Business/Location: Nusa Kitchen
Address: 9 Old St
City: London
State: England
Zip Code: EC1V 9HL
Phone: 020 7253 3135
Website: www.nusakitchen.co.uk

Posted by:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow
   Nusa Kitchen
I found myself in Clerkenwell today and began reminiscing about my first job in London which was in this very hood. Back in 2006, Nusa was my regular lunch stop. Something about their soups comforts and reassures. Influenced by Eastern flavours it's common to find the likes of Chilli Chicken and Prawn Laksa on the menu but anything spicy goes and other options today included Prawn Jambalaya and Yucatan Tortilla (FYI they do delicious spicy breakfasts, too). At around £4.95, the soups are hearty and filling--more like stews and curries--and are bolstered by brown rice and flat bread. Also mindful of vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free options, the menu is clearly marked accordingly which is fab for anyone with those concerns. The soups are made from scratch with delicious fresh ingredients which makes you feel confident that you're eating something nutritious rather than the mass-produced franchise stuff. And judging by the queue that goes out the door they're as popular as ever and probably don't need my endorsement. They are however, food heroes for me, and in the sea of high street dross that dominates the takeaway lunch market, family-run Nusa is still refreshingly different.

Monday, November 10, 2014
NYPD in Bright Neon
Business/Location: Times Square
Address: 7th Ave & W 42nd St
City: New York
State: NY
Zip Code: 10036
Website: www.timessquarenyc.org

Posted by:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Craig Nelson
   Times Square

Times Square is dead. But you probably already knew that, unless you like shopping for huge quantities of Peanut M&M's and spending your whole paycheck at Bubba Gump Shrimp & Cheese Factory (or whatever it's called). But don't brush it off all the way. Besides Jimmy's Corner, which we can never say enough good things about, you can still feel that New York hustle and bustle in this part of town. There are also a few good signs. The giant new digital displays don't do much for me, but I've always had a soft spot for this NYPD neon beauty. Next time you're rushing through here if the relatives in town or you're going to see that once-a-year Broadway show, take a moment right here and catch your breath. Then keep moving before an Elmo asks you for money! 

Thursday, November 6, 2014
Village Voice Holiday Spirits
Business/Location: Hudson River Park
Address: Battery Pl to 59th St
City: New York
State: NY
Zip Code:
Phone: 212-627-2020
Website: www.hudsonriverpark.org

Posted by:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Laura June Kirsch
   Hudson River Park

At NFT we're all about a good party. And once November hits, it's time to start planning the seasonal get togethers. One new annual tradition that we now have on our list is the Village Voice's fun Holiday Spirits fiesta. Bringing many of the area's best distilleries together to share their latest creations, guests can sample a great range of drinks from creative cocktails to classic punches. It all happens under one roof -- or in this case -- on one boat! Yes, this year's soiree offers a new twist as it takes to the harbor on a Hornblower Cruise for glittering views of the skyline that will only get better as the drinks continue to flow. It all gets underway on November 20th at 6 pm at Pier 40 (@ West Houston). Get your tickets early, because a.) you'll save some of your hard-earned money and b.) this fun party will most likely sell out. Cheers!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Lunching on the Upper East
Business/Location: Wajima
Address: 134 East 61st
City: New York
Zip Code: 10021
Phone: 212-813-9065

Posted by:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Craig Nelson

"Want to hang out in the Upper East Side?" That's a question you don't hear too often, but almost all New Yorkers still find themselves there at some point. Even if they live in hipster Brooklyn. I guess we can thank The Met and Guggenheim. If you do find yourself in the 'hood at lunch time on a weekday, you might want to check out Wajima. Like a lot of NFT's favorite places, it doesn't look like much. But that's ok, because it's all about the food. Get ready for traditional cuisine where for $12.50 you get a little cup of homemade tofu dotted with seafood, a nice portion of salmon sashimi over an addictive vinegar rice, a bowl of rich Miso soup and even a few pieces of perfectly fried shrimp and veggie tempura. It's not the cheapest deal in town, but for East 61st Street, this is a steal.

Thursday, October 23, 2014
Outdoor Museum for the People
Business/Location: Graffiti Wall of Fame
Address: E 106th St & Park Ave
City: New York
State: NY
Zip Code: 10029

Posted by:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Craig Nelson
   Graffiti Wall of Fame
We don't need to tell you graffiti has a long history in New York. Historians may point to cave drawings and scribbles on walls in ancient times as the beginning, but we know it really all began here in NYC. Although you won't catch many freshly painted subway cars these days (like in the '80s), you can still see new styles being created all over the city. And lucky for me, one is just down the street from where I call home. Just like a museum, The Graffiti Hall of Fame paints their walls every six months or so to create new art that will blow you away. It's easy to get to on the 6 train, it's close to Central Park, and if you're short on cash, you don't have to line up during a two-hour window like other museums in town. It's open 24-7 and is always free.  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014
"The Clock"
Business/Location: Grand Central Terminal
Address: 89 E 42nd St
City: New York
State: NY
Zip Code: 10017
Phone: 212-340-2583
Website: www.grandcentralterminal.com

Posted by:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Craig Nelson
   Grand Central Terminal
Whenever I'm meeting someone in Midtown, I never pass up the chance to say, "Meet me at the clock in Grand Central." If you know what that means, then you've been living in New York for awhile. There's something special about waiting to meet one single person surrounded by thousands upon thousands of darting commuters and photo-happy tourists. Amid the swirl you can check your i-Phone for an email you don't really need to read, or take a few moments to just stare up at the beautiful ceiling and enjoy the rushing city for a few small moments before coming back to reality. And if you don't have a plan when you meet your friend, you can always duck into the fabulous Grand Central Oyster Bar saloon for a martini and a dozen bivalves.

Monday, October 20, 2014
Moreish Polish
Business/Location: Autograf Grill
Address: 499 Green Lanes
City: London
State: England
Zip Code: N4 1AL
Phone: 020 8347 7788
Website: www.autografgrill.com

Posted by:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow
   Autograf Grill
There is a character in Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch called Boris whose mother was Polish and father is Ukrainian, while he was born in Siberia. Whichever dingy bar he's in, wherever it is in the world, whether it's New York or Amsterdam, he manages to conjure up a selection of side plates which appeal to his Slavic palate. I think Boris would like eating in this place. Before our starters arrive we are offered some Polish bread, gherkins, and a spread made up of fat and pork scratchings. Sounds possibly unappetising to our anti-fat Western sensibilities but I assure you it's delicious. I knew I may be in trouble ordering pierogi to start, these pillowy yet filling dumplings are hard to resist though. My partner in crime had bacon wrapped potatoes and I stole his garlicky sour cream dip to douse the pierogi in. My pork loin was fine but the boy's honey pork ribs were to die for. Beautifully tender, despite being full, we couldn't stop eating them. Needless to say, the food came with lots of cabbage--pickled red cabbage, white cabbage, browned cabbage (with more pork crackling) all of which were tasty and moreish. They have an impressive number of flavoured vodkas too but it being Wednesday, we decided to call it a night. How very un-Polish.

Friday, October 17, 2014
Think Italian, Buy Local
Business/Location: Raffetto's
Address: 144 W Houston St
City: New York
State: NY
Zip Code: 10012
Phone: 212-777-1261
Website: raffettospasta.com/

Posted by:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Craig Nelson
I love all food, but if I had to pick one type of cuisine, Italian would be near the top of the list. Luckily, New York still has plenty of excellent Italian food stores to help me stock up on everything I need for nightly feasts of pasta, sausages, cheese, sparkling water, olive oil...you get the picture. Buon Italia, Di Palo, Alleva, Todaro Bros., heck even tourist mecca Eataly, all get the job done. But there's one tiny place in Greenwich Village that has a special place in my heart: Raffetto's. They make their very own ravioli which you can buy fresh or frozen and entering their shop brings you back to when the city was all mom & pop shops, before chain stores took over. So go pay them a visit and show your support, just like New Yorkers have been doing since 1904.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Soup Counter with a Side of Challah
Business/Location: B&H Dairy
Address: 127 2nd Ave
City: New York
State: NY
Zip Code: 10003
Phone: 212-505-8065

Posted by:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Craig Nelson
   B&H Dairy
B&H is one of the last cozy, old-school diners in Manhattan (think Cup & Saucer or Eisenberg's). Every time I sit down here, I'm thankful it's still going strong. They say good things come in threes, and here, in no particular order, you can always rely on: a seat at the counter, a filling bowl of mushroom barley soup and a huge slice of homemade challah bread. I wish I could branch out on the menu, but after years of trying, I just keep going back to the very same meal. Plus, there's no need to stop at the ATM across the street, because the experience won't cost you much more than a fiver. For those interested in diner culture of yesteryear, here's a little history from Vanishing New York.

Thursday, October 9, 2014
Masonic Rock
Business/Location: Brooklyn Masonic Temple
Address: 317 Clermont Ave
City: Brooklyn
State: NY
Zip Code: 11205
Phone: 718-638-1256
Website: www.masonicboom.com

Posted by:  Rob Tallia
   Brooklyn Masonic Temple
The Brooklyn Masonic Temple just has so much going for it - filming location for Boardwalk Empire, backdrop to the weekly Fort Greene Flea, site of the occasional killer concert, and - of course - lots and lots of Masons! But it's the concert series, curated by Masonic Boom, that really gets us. It's only a handful of shows a year, but what a history--Jose Gonzales, Godspeed You Black Emperor, Cat Power, Queens of the Stone Age, Big Star--the list goes on. Who knew Masons could rock out? Probably our founding fathers. Photo by Awlbutler/Flickr.com.