Tag: birthday

Fat Cat Billiards birthday

Saturday, December 1st, 2007 | All Things, Events, Family

For J’s milestone birthday, his dear wife had arranged a surprise gathering of friends and family at Fat Cat Billiards in the West Village. J suspected that a secret plan was afoot when PL requested his assistance with the family’s move from the Upper West Side to Edgewater, New Jersey that Saturday morning. (More defectors!) J gamely agreed, little knowing then that the request was, in fact, entirely serious. It must have been quite a letdown to arrive on the scene expecting a celebration and finding only heavy moving boxes. Worst surprise party ever!

The real festivities, of course, began later that evening, and did not involve manual labor. We paid the $3 cover for access to the subterranean pool hall/game room, with its d├ęcor reminiscent of a Disco-era suburban basement rec room… but in a good way. This isn’t one of those sceney pool lounge spots — just a low-key place to down cheap beer and shoot stick with friends. Dim lighting, live jam sessions, worn couches, mismatched tables, and strewn throughout: billiards and ping pong tables, shuffleboard, foosball, and board games galore. New York magazine named Fat Cat Billiards the city’s “Best Pool Hall” in 2001.

We arrived early to commandeer the seating area behind the bar — a space which we shared with the owner’s large, friendly dog. I’m still not sure whether he actually liked us, or the John’s of Bleecker Street pizzas we had ordered in.

Fat Cat Billiards

Fat Cat Billiards

Later that night, in the homier environs of the Upper East Side, we toasted the man of the hour over a beautiful Black Forest cake from SoHo’s Ceci-Cela Patisserie — a delightfully potent, almost victorious, confection of Cointreau-sponged chocolate cake, brandy-soaked cherries and airy layers of vanilla whipped cream.

Happy Birthday, James

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BonChon birthday

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007 | All Things, Drinks, Eats, Friends

In honor of HYB’s birthday (week), we ended up at BonChon Chicken in K-town tonight. The boys’ last run for newly trendy Korean fried chicken on the day before Thanksgiving didn’t work out when they arrived at 314 Fifth Avenue to find the place unexpectedly shuttered. Random closings occur not all that infrequently, apparently; Yelpers recommend that you call ahead for hours, despite what BonChon’s printed materials list as their hours of operation.

Bon Chon chopsticks

At 8pm this Wednesday, though, the bar restaurant was hopping. Although we were well prepared for a wait, the delay ended being rather longer than we expected, in part due to the infuriating flakiness of the hostess, who slipped in one newly arrived group ahead of ours. To be clear, I am aware of the practical necessity of seating by party size, and this was definitely just a case of poor management. We narrowly avoided a scene — those B brothers are feisty! — which got the evening off to a rocky start, but things could only improve from there.

I do like this chicken, but is it worth the hour’s wait for a midweek table? And the $40 cost for large (16-piece?) platters each of both “hot spicy” and “soy garlic” flavors?

Bon Chon chicken

The birthday boy thought not, but judging from the crowds that pack this place most nights, BonChon has no shortage of devotees. And wow, the “hot spicy” sauce is just that, in a way that sneaks up on you after just a couple of flats/drumettes/drumsticks. Alternating in pieces of the non-spicy soy garlic variety helps some to quench the fire, as do the accompanying cubes of sweet pickled daikon radish. (I’m not as much a fan of the Thousand Island dressed shredded cabbage.) Beer, too — in our case, a $25(!) pitcher of Killian’s Irish Red.

On the BonChon website, the chicken is promoted as food for “health conscious consumers“: “tasteful & nutritiously enriched” with “collagen ingredients promoting healthy and delicious texture and taste.” Seems I’ve heard this one before, and much as I’d like to believe it, I’m not entirely convinced.

Dubious health claims aside, I’m still looking to expand my K(orean)FC horizons. In July, The Voice‘s Robert Sietsema took a look at four Flushing franchises along the strip of Northern Boulevard between 150th and 160th Streets: Kyedong (150-54 Northern Blvd.), KyoChon (156-50 Northern Blvd.), BonChon (157-18 Northern Blvd.), and Cheogajip (160-24A Northern Blvd.). He rated BonChon a solid “B” — better than Cheogajip, but not as good as either KyoChon or Kyedong Chicken.

Hmm… Korean Fried Chicken Crawl 2008?

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