On Our Radar

Thursday, January 7, 2016
Going Out Along the New Bowery
Business/Location: Saxon + Parole
Address: 316 Bowery
City: New York
State: NY
Zip Code: 10012
Phone: 212-254-0350
Website: www.saxonandparole.com

Posted by:  Krikor Daglian
Photo:  Krikor Daglian
   Saxon + Parole
For old timers, and even people with just a decade or two under their belts here in New York, the transformation of The Bowery from forlorn skid row to the kind of street that can have expense account restaurants, and a clothing joint un-ironically called Blue and Cream, has been one of the stranger turnarounds in New York's recent history. One thing that has remained consistent: it's one of those areas New Yorkers avoid (once because of bums, now because of bros), but as with everything in the City, there are some gems among the fool's gold. Saxon + Parole comes across as a typical overpriced, unauthentic restaurant of the new Bowery, but it's actually not too bad. True, they have a “look at me” dish called the seafood tower (which is pretty much what it says it is) and a steak that costs $58, but with a bunch of dishes in the $25-$30 range, great cocktails and a lovely setting, it's a good option for a nice night out in hell.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Holiday Train Show At NYBG
Business/Location: New York Botanical Garden
Address: 200th St & Kazimiroff Blvd
City: Bronx
Zip Code: 10458
Phone: 718-817-8700
Website: www.nybg.org

Posted by:  Scott Sendrow
Photo:  Scott Sendrow
   New York Botanical Garden
The New York Botanical Garden's Holiday Train Show is one of the highlights of Christmas in New York. I mean, yes, there is that gigantic tree in Rockefeller Center and, sure, the Christmas windows all around Midtown are a sight to behold, but there's nothing like taking in the collection of 150 New York City landmarks entirely constructed from plant material (!) in the Haupt Conservatory. And then there are the model trains. It would be demeaning to call this special tradition "outsider art," but the near-obsessive attention to detail evokes that spirit. When Christmas is almost entirely commercialized in a city where commercialism reigns supreme, NYBG's heartfelt and homespun Train Show is a welcome change of pace. The show's 24th annual installment features 3,000 square feet of additional exhibition space, making room for plenty of new trains, bridges, and tracks, a short behind-the-scenes film, and a stunning multisensory finale of light and sound. The Train Show runs through January 18, 2016. "Bar Car Nights" -- select Friday and Saturday evenings in December and January where adults enjoy a complimentary cocktail while perusing the exhibition -- would make a great date activity before an Arthur Avenue dinner (just a 15-minute walk from NYBG).

Monday, November 16, 2015
2016 NFT Brooklyn Event on 11/18: Books & Beer at Word
Business/Location: WORD
Address: 126 Franklin St
City: Brooklyn
State: NY
Zip Code: 11222
Phone: 718-383-0096
Website: www.wordbrooklyn.com

Posted by:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  NFT
Attention Brooklyn lovers: The NFT gang is headed back to Word Bookstore in Greenpoint, Brooklyn on Wednesday, November 18. We're celebrating the brand new 2016 Not For Tourists Guide to Brooklyn that's just rolled off the presses. Join co-founders Jane Pirone and Rob Tallia along with editors Scott Sendrow and Craig Nelson, plus a special guest, Chris Prout head brewer from Greepoint Beer & Ale Company, for a fun discussion on all things "local" regarding Brooklyn beer and NFT. You can RSVP on the Word website or just come as you are. We'll have some local snacks and sips from the neighborhood on hand including beer from Greenpoint Beer & Ale Company, and we'll have plenty of NFT books available for Brooklyn and beyond. Stop by to say hello and bring along your questions about Brooklyn. See you Wednesday!

Sunday, November 15, 2015
Holiday Spirits Cruise
Business/Location: Holiday Spirits
City: New York
Zip Code:
Website: microapp.villagevoice.com/holidayspirits/2015/

Posted by:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Nathalie Zaro
   Holiday Spirits
It's hard to believe, but the holidays are (almost) officially here. Why not prepare for the oncoming season of holiday parties by getting a jump on the action. Set sail on New York Harbor for a booze cruise to end all booze cruises. The Village Voice has put together over 25 distilleries and wineries that will be pouring festive cocktails to wet your whistle. Plus, there will be a full buffet to fill up on, and a salsa band to help you work off those extra calories. Oh yeah, the views of the NYC skyline from the harbor aren't bad either. If only your real holiday office party would be so cool! Get your tickets and maybe plan on Friday being "a work from home day."

Friday, November 6, 2015
Very Venezuelan
Business/Location: Secara
Address: 234 E 4th St
City: New York
State: NY
Zip Code: 10009
Phone: 917-475-1892
Website: www.secararestaurant.com

Posted by:  Krikor Daglian
Photo:  Krikor Daglian
The East Village, particularly what was once known as Alphabet City, has quietly amassed a pretty solid collection of Latin American restaurants in recent years, with old standbys like Yerba Buena, Yuca Bar, Casa Adela, Caracas and Esperanto joined by newcomers like Fonda, Cafe Cortadito, and now Secara. They serve up Venezuelan food in a appealing decorated space that sits open to the street in warm weather (it used to be the site of The Cardinal, which had the same setup). The menu is pretty straightforward, but it tastes great and is, refreshingly, not expensive. Best of all, it has yet to become overrun like some of the others I mentioned, and the staff is sweetly attentive to the smaller crowd. Worth a try.

Monday, November 2, 2015
Hot Bread on Bleecker
Business/Location: Manousheh
Address: 193 Bleecker St
City: New York
State: NY
Zip Code: 10012
Phone: 347-971-5778
Website: www.manousheh.com

Posted by:  Krikor Daglian
Photo:  Krikor Daglian
It's amazing how a simple thing like hot bread straight out of the oven can be so satisfying. Manousheh's small kitchen on Bleecker Street, open behind the counter, is centered on the large oven where they bake their Lebanese-style flatbread. It's served with your choice of topping, like a simple but delicious zaatar (thyme, sumac, sesame seeds, olive oil) or soft akkawi cheese (or both together), all of which make for a surprisingly filling meal for not much money. You can get a sweet version with Nutella as well. The bread (the eponymous manousheh) is still the backbone of each dish, though, and the quiet star of the show.

Five Dollar ATM
Business/Location: Lower East Side People's Federal Credit Union
Address: 37 Avenue B
City: New York
State: NY
Zip Code: 10009
Phone: 212-529-8197
Website: www.lespfcu.org

Posted by:  Krikor Daglian
Photo:  Krikor Daglian
   Lower East Side People's Federal Credit Union
Some things in NYC are so rare and so potentially useful, that when you run across them, you just have to make a note. Case in point: an ATM that lets you take out money in denominations smaller than $20. The Lower East Side People's Credit Union opened on Avenue B in the 1980s, back when few banks dared tread past Third Avenue (never mind Avenue A). They're still around years later, and still serve a community that mostly gets overlooked by the MegaBanks of the world. Their ATM lets you take out as little as $5 at a time, and if you don't know why that might be useful, you must have just moved here last week.

Grape Stuff
Business/Location: The Remedy
Address: 124 Cleveland St
City: London
State: England
Zip Code: W1T 6PG
Phone: 020 3489 3800
Website: www.theremedylondon.com

Posted by:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow
   The Remedy
I wish there was a branch of The Remedy on every street corner but then perhaps that's why it's so special--because it is so rare to find somewhere that is this passionate about what they serve and that delivers. Of course, wine is the speciality here but this is not the place to come if you want your regular serving of Cab Sav. You can ask the waiter for a safe option but he is likely to offer you something that will challenge your tastebuds (in a good way). I had seen a chilled red on the blackboard which I fancied but the waiter quickly turned me on to a different one from a small producer who uses biodynamic methods. "Eets a leetle beet...funky so maybe you like to try first," he helpfully explained before pouring me a good glug of Adonis from the Loire Valley. It was indeed funky but I liked it. He let me finish the taster before pouring a full new glass. This is what wine drinking should be about, trying new stuff and not having your pants bored off by someone who spouts off about 'minerality' and 'oakiness' etc. Having tried something new on the libation side of things I stuck to the tried and tested on the food front and had an incredibly satisfying Toulouse sausage and chips followed by a more than perfect panna cotta but the seafood oriented specials and oyster 'happy hour' demand another trip.

Mi Casita su Casita
Business/Location: Casita
Address: 5 Ravey St
City: London
State: England
Zip Code: EC2A 4QW
Phone: 020 7729 7230
Website: www.casitabar.com

Posted by:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow
Do not come to Casita on a Sunday. I repeat, do not come to Casita on a Sunday. I'm kidding, you're a grown-up, you can make your own decisions. But seriously, you WILL get merry in this place and you might have a sore head on Monday to prove it (this is in no way based on what happened to me by the way). The cocktails are generous and the bar staff will keep you entertained, plus they're not joking when they describe themselves as a 'cocktail shed' so you will definitely be forced to speak to other drinkers--a perfect formula for fun. Casita's famous tequila con verdita must be sampled and may just make you change your mind about the much-maligned liquor. It's a tequila shot followed by a pineapple, coriander, mint and chilli shot, which will do a little dance in your mouth. And all this in Shoreditch! Who knew? I didn't because I gave up having to wade through people talking about being a model/DJ/writer/musician whilst checking their hairdo in the nearest reflective material some years ago, but apparently lots of people do know about Casita and love it. So I'm late to the party, so what? It's a bloody good party.

Amtrak House Phone (sponsored by the '80s)
Business/Location: Penn Station
Address: 8th Ave & W 32nd St
City: New York
State: NY
Zip Code: 10001

Posted by:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Craig Nelson
   Penn Station

Ah, Penn Station. So many plans to rebuild, so few totally unrealistic dreams that come true. It looks like we're stuck with you and your completely insane system of announcing the tracks as thousands of people race to beat each other on board. Maybe it's time to celebrate the good (not just the bad and ugly like we usually do). If you're train is actually on time, then congratulations! If not, take a look around. Along with the classical music, weary travelers, popcorn vendors and plenty of New York characters, you just might come across this relic from the past. It's a real telephone that will supposedly connect you right to Amtrak. Who picked up on the other end? I didn't have time to find out, because they just called my track number, and I want to get a window seat...