I have two favorite things in the world. One of them is bar food and the other is alliteration.
Anyone who has ever given up on their gym membership knows about Wing Wednesday, where local bars and restaurants discount their wings to a cent value for one particular night a week – and because I am sure they love alliteration just as much as I do, they are usually on a Wednesday.
Arthur Avenue reminded me of a compact and consolidated Mulberry Street, featuring dozens of authentic Italian restaurants, bakeries, and little shops. There were so many places to choose from, we honestly stopped into the first place we found, where a gaunt Italian man was standing outside singing an old Italian song. Or Bruno Mars, it was hard to tell. The restaurant was called San Gennaro.
So, it’s not very often that I, The Hunger James, have the opportunity to visit restaurants categorized with 4 dollar signs. 3 is usually pushing it. But, after meeting downtown at work, my boss decided to treat us for a job well done and took us to The Capital Grill, located just across the street.
One of my favorite places I have discovered is The Smith, and if you have lived in New York long enough, you should be well aware of this amazing establishment. With three locations in the city, at least one of them should be convenient for you to get to for a lovely meal.
Randomly finding unique restaurants that offer drink specials and affordable meals is one of my favorite things about this city, and last night was no different. Starving from a long hard day at work I stumbled upon this quaint little place in the West Village called 100 Montaditos that – just as the name explains – has 100 montaditoson the menu.
I enjoy going out with friends and collectively decide on what we should get to share. I really feel you can tell a lot about someone by the types of tapas that they eat. Those who say “let’s get a few orders of patatas bravas and the mac and cheese” are my best friends. Those who want to get “an order of green beans for the table” are people I have since deleted from Facebook.
Don’t Worry, Bibi Happy is the tagline of Bibi Wine Bar located in the East Village, and it is impossible to be anything but happy when you go here for happy hour after work. Most happy hours in the city knock off a dollar for draft beer and end around 6:30, which is insane because who even gets out of work that early to enjoy a $7 bud light?
I just found out five minutes ago that today is National Cheeseburger Day! How the hell did I not know about this? Honestly, to me, every day is National Burger Day, but I figured in honor of today, I would make a list of my top 10 favorite cheeseburgers in the city. This was a very (very) difficult list to make…
A few weekends ago, my friend and I ventured out to Brooklyn to visit the Raaka Chocolate Factory for a tour. Since Brooklyn is horribly inconvenient, we ended up missing our tour because we needed to take 2 trains, a cab, and a boat just to get to the factory. Trying to make the best out of a bad situation, we decided while we were in a new area, we might as well enjoy it.
I have lived in Astoria for a little under a year now, and I am always surprised at the abundance of great restaurants are in the area. It seems like every time I go for a walk (which is rare because I’m lazy as shit) I find a brand new restaurant to try.
There is a place on Stone Street in the Financial District of Manhattan called Bavaria Bierhaus, complete with wooden benches and girls dressed in lederhosen. In case you haven’t been to Stone Street during happy hour on a beautiful spring day, it’s PACKED with Wallstreet kids decked in suits just getting off a brutal number-crunching day.
Little Italy is one of my favorite areas in the city when it comes to eating good food at a reasonable price. Normally, all of the restaurants located on Mulberry Street are pretty similar, so it doesn’t really matter which ones you go to. But, the last time I ventured downtown, I went to Gelso & Grand for an innovative take on classic Itlaian dishes.
I love cheeseburgers, if you couldn’t tell. And I am always in search for the next best burger. Whenever I go out to eat to a new restaurant, I always want to try something new. Something I don’t get to eat very often. But, more times than I am afraid to admit, I order a cheeseburger and fries because I am too hungry and too nervous to try something I may not like
This past week, I went to Chicago for work. Sure, I was looking forward to being in a new city for a few days, but what I was really excited about was the opportunity to try a new restaurant with some of Chicago’s best and most famous food.
I am a creature of habit and I am not very fond on trying new places. Sometimes, sure, I am in the mood to just browse Yelp! for an hour, reviewing menus and trying to select a place for dinner. But honestly, most of the time I am contempt with a Hot Pocket or the Outback Steakhouse.
The Cellar, as you would expect, is located in the basement of a working cheese factory and shop and offers a fantastic eat and drink happy hour special with discounted drinks and 7$ meals, all while sitting in a really comfortable and intimate atmosphere, only lit by candlelight. Very romantic.
My favorite holiday is just one day away – St. Patrick’s Day. The day where we switch out our drab black and grey wardrobe to a bright green blazer, listen to bagpipe music on Spotify, and drink beer. A lot of beer.
Food, this year, was my Valentine (unlike last year when Netflix won over my heart). Food is always there for me. It never breaks my heart. Food is patient and food is kind. And we had a wonderful time together.
When you think of a grilled cheese, you think of one of the most popular comfort foods. But, when you live in NYC, a grilled cheese is so much more. It’s innovative. It’s art. And, it’s competitive. Last Sunday, I spent my afternoon NOT in my sweatpants watching Dawson’s Creek, but out in SoHo at The Big Cheesy: a Grilled Cheese Tasting and Contest.
Ok, by now you all know I quit my “No Dairy for a Month” Challenge. Go ahead. Be upset. Be disappointed. I completely understand. It’s just that…cheese is a huge part of my life. And it’s my shtick. I can’t have a food blog, rate my meals with CHEEZITS and not eat any dairy. It’s just not right.
As the end of the year approaches, we tend to sit back in retrospect and think about the past year. The memories we made, the places we traveled, the stories we shared, and most importantly, the food we ate.
With Christmas just around the corner, I decided to throw a small dinner party for my closest friends before everyone heads home for the holidays. Knowing my apartment was too small and that I can’t cook for one, let alone ten, I made a reservation at La Bella Vita in scenic Little Italy.
This past weekend, my fantastic friend Jeanine invited me to be her date to her company’s Christmas party in Orlando, Florida. “There will be food, drinks, and dancing” she teased. “I’ll be there,” I told her. “You had me at ‘there will be food’.”
Yesterday was every food lovers dream: Thanksgiving! I am sure you are all still in a food coma – believe me, I am too. This post is going to be a little different than my others, mainly because this year, my roommate and I decided to cook an entire Thanksgiving dinner for ourselves.
Not a year goes by where I don't leave the cold weather in New York and head down to Orlando, Florida. Even at 28, going to visit Disney still makes me feel like a kid again. Check out my latest culinary adventures.
Three weeks ago, my good friend Danielle and I were invited to a Food Blogger’s Happy Hour in Midtown. It took place at a bar called Latitudes at 7:30, so we decided to grab a bite to eat after work so we could catch up and not be the first ones there, waiting at the bar, desperate for someone to talk to us. (This still happened, but more on that later).
For those of you that didn’t know, I turned 28 this past weekend. And just like every good celebration, my weekend was filled with friends, fun and most importantly, food. Usually on my birthday, I plan a big dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, The Outback Steakhouse.
There is a place in Astoria that I pass on my bi-monthly runs that I have been meaning to check out. It is called “Winegasm” (ugh, I know) and is located on 37th street and always has a chalkboard out front bragging about nightly drink specials.
There is this little place in the East Village called Cork n' Fork, and it is one of my favorite restaurants in the city. I would call it a tapas restaurant, while some people just refer to it as a wine bar with a really nice bathroom.
I spent my Sunday just like many of you did: Woke up at noon, ordered two bagels and cream cheese on Seamless, illegally downloaded a movie and took a nap. When I woke up around 5:30, I opened my fridge and saw two sticks of butter and a Coors Light bottle. I needed to go grocery shopping
For anyone who knows me, you know how much I love a good deal. Whether it is the 5$ movie bin at Walmart or a bogo special on a pair of kicks from PayLess, I am a happy camper. Maybe this is why I love when bars have .25 cent wing nights (or, I just really like chicken wings, whichever).
Forgive me followers, for I have sinned. It has been one month since my last post. I am sorry, kind of…but not really. Since the end of July, I have been busy eating all of the meat I could find. I have been putting pepperoni on my pizza, chicken in my pasta, and bacon on my everything. It’s been really wonderful.
This past Sunday, I had my first ever encounter with a food truck.
Living in New York City, where food is as ubiquitous as yellow cabs and the sweet, smell of garbage, I had yet to order food from a truck, van, or even a Honda. It wasn’t until my vacation to Fort Lauderdale that I ate my first meal prepared in a vehicle.
Today was the day. The last day of my 31-day vegetarian challenge. Over the course of this month, I ditched the bacon and the chicken and the ground beef and replaced them with vegetables (and lots of cheese). The first few days, I thought it was going to extremely difficult and I started to question my purpose in life. “Why would I give up bacon? Bacon makes me happy. Why am I choosing to give up happiness?” I would ask myself, night after night. I really did not think I could do it.
Today I went back to my hometown, Melbourne Beach Florida to get some much needed R&R….and to visit my parents.
Usually my first night back, my parents take me out to my favorite restaurant: The Outback Steakhouse. But, being still in the month of July, going to Outback would be absolute torture for me. So, I asked them to do some research and pick out a place that I would be able to eat at.
There is a supermarket across the street from my office that has one of the best lunch buffets I’ve been to since Atlantic City (read all about Sultans Feast here). I went there today to see if they had some grilled vegetables, pasta or mozzarella sticks.
They didn’t. Everything was meat. All of it. Apparently Morton Williams is not following my 31 Day Challenge.
My friend and I were going stir crazy in the house today so around 6 we decided that it was a nice day to sit outside and drink. So, we went to this restaurant/bar in Astoria called Oliver’s because they had a pretty good drink special going on.
There is nothing better – or happier – than leaving a long work day and meeting up with a friend for dinner and drinks. And that is exactly what I did on this glorious Wednesday night. I met up with a friend downtown (well, 25th street) for happy hour at a bar called Rogue.
Today for lunch, I tried out this new bodega by my office, which I will refer to it as “The Fancy Bodega” mostly because they take credit cards. I went over to the hot foods area to see what they were serving today. Fried calamari, sesame chicken, and beef with broccoli. Not being able to have any of them, I decided to get creative.
Last week I went to a restaurant in Astoria called Il Bambino and had an out-of-body experience with a roasted eggplant Panini. Desperate for those 15 minutes of euphoria again, I went back to Il Bambino for brunch.Not only do they have an amazing selection of Panini’s and crostini’s, but they have a pretty decent sized brunch menu.
Now, if you have been reading The Hunger James, you know I love a good chain restaurant. Outback, Fridays, and even Applebee’s on some occasion. I don’t know why I love chains so much. Maybe it’s because that’s all I knew in Florida, so eating at a Ruby Tuesday makes me feel nostalgic?
As soon as noon came around, my stomach was growling and I knew I needed to leave my office and pick up some lunch. I couldn’t get my normal “2 BLT’s”. And I can’t eat a salad twice in one week. So, I went downstairs to Subway to see what kind of vegetarian options they had.
I was sitting on my couch, minding my own business, when my roommate came barging in carrying three huge bags from Carmines. She had family in town, so naturally, they went to Carmines – the best Italian food in the city. Besides the Olive Garden. She took out all of the food containers and said, “I hope you’re hungry!” I pulled out the first one: Chicken Parmigiana. I pulled out the second one: Chicken Marsala.
I cannot believe I have made it this far – Especially with so much temptation being thrown in my food path. First my friend put a piece of bacon on my plate. Then there was the time I accidentally ordered a salami sandwich. And then, just tonight, my roommate came home with an entire Chicken Parm entrée from Carmines and said, “I won’t tell if you won’t…”
Normally for my lunches during the week, I cook a big meal on Sunday and portion it out for Monday through Friday. But, if you read Sunday’s post, you will see that I did absolutely nothing all day. So, today I had to walk the streets of Manhattan looking for a delicious and affordable lunch.
Sundays are supposed to be spent in front of the TV and napping on the couch, right? Because that is literally all I did. The only time I put on pants (pajama bottoms) was when I went out to get my 2 bagels and cream cheese for breakfast. I put in a good five to six hours on my Netflix account and then, before I knew it, it was time for dinner. Not in the mood to go out (and put on pants) and definitely not in the mood to cook, I did the next best thing: Seamless.
Saturday, I went to a Met’s game at CitiField. Normally, a baseball game is a great atmosphere to chow down on hot dogs, cheese steaks, and just meat on a stick. But not today! Today I had to walk past the Nathans’ hot dog stand, the baskets of chicken tenders, and the Shake Shack. Ignoring the Shake Shack was probably the hardest thing I have ever done.
Tonight, I left the bright lights and busy streets of Manhattan and ventured through the Lincoln Tunnel back to New Jersey.
I lived in New Jersey for three years and in that time, I had experienced some of the finest culinary institutions in the Garden State. From Outback Steakhouse to Red Robin to The Cheesecake Factory and Houlihans, I really enriched my palate.
After being yelled at for eating mozzarella sticks and a quesadilla the past two nights, my roommate veered me back on track tonight with a roasted potato and quinoa salad.
I walked in the door, grabbed myself a Bud Light Platinum, and took a look at all the ingredients that would soon be my dinner. Asparagus, lemons, a red onion, and a jar of Dijon mustard were all lined up on the counter.
I know what you are all thinking: “It’s about damn time you posted about mozzarella sticks!”
I am actually pretty surprised that it took a full week of this vegetarian challenge for me to eat mozzarella sticks, having them be my favorite food group (yes, mozzarella sticks get their own section in my food pyramid).
Today I was feeling adventurous and experimental, so I decided to cook (from scratch) a vegetable lasagna. Usually on Sundays, when I’m not napping or sleeping on the couch, I like to make a big meal that can be portioned out in little Tupperware containers for my lunches for the week.
When my roommate and I went to Whole Foods the other day, we filled up our cart with plenty of vegetables to make our stuffed peppers and spinach quiches. Now, on a lazy Saturday, what better breakfast than to throw everything into a pan, add in six (organic) eggs and make an omelet!