Tag: birthdays

Windswept way up the West Side

Saturday, March 8th, 2008 | All Things, Eats, Friends

The arduous, detour-ridden trip up to Washington Heights almost derailed the entire evening, bringing our coterie through Herald Square, into the wine store inside Penn Station, onto the A, windblown along 168th Street, aboard an MTA shuttle bus and finally, finally to the Hudson View Gardens.

We lost one member of our party long the way, but the hardy four that made it to JD’s birthday celebration were rewarded with a spirited party among Kiwis and medical researchers, and slices of astoundingly decadent birthday cake.

Empire State Building

David Glass‘s aptly named “Ultimate Chocolate Truffle Cake” truly is like a giant bourbon-infused truffle in cake form: richly dense, it manages to pack in more dark chocolate flavor per bite than just about anything I’ve ever tasted. Locally, the cake is available at Zabar’s — by the slice, too — but for non-locals, the Bloomfield, CT factory ships nationwide. Fine Living named it among the ten best desserts available by mail order.

There’s also an “Incredible Delicious All-Natural Reduced Fat Chocolate Truffle Cake” with 77% less fat than the original version… but tonight’s was not that cake. A slim, fat-packed wedge was all we could manage before the swift, but strange cab ride home.

Tags: , , ,

There are 2 comments

Back to the ‘roots

Friday, February 15th, 2008 | All Things, Drinks, Friends

At Grassroots Tavern tonight for SYB’s birthday celebration. CF and I headed to the East Village straight from the office and were among the first to arrive. Eventually, though, the revelers would total over 40 – all there to toast the man of the hour.

Grassroots Tavern is, not to mince words, a dive — “the only honest dive on one of Manhattan’s most gimmicky streets,” according to Time Out. Located in the basement of the landmarked Daniel LeRoy House, the bar has been around in its current incarnation since the mid-1970s, though its history as a drinking den dates to the 1940s. Cheap booze, low lighting, tin-pressed ceilings, battered wooden tables, dartboards (BYOD, though), an actual phonebooth by the front door and scary bathrooms…. the unpretentious vibe is a main reason that in 2007, Grassroots Tavern was named one of the 100 best bars in America by Esquire. There’s even a resident dog and cat prowling the grounds usually, though I didn’t see them tonight.

Worlds collided over mugs of beer, which was a fine thing… for the most part. And here, pitchers start at $9 – Bud, but still! – a price point rapidly going the way of the Noo Yawk accent. We sprung for the somewhat more upmarket Brooklyn Lager: it was a special occasion after all.

Grassroots Tavern

$1 baskets of popcorn were not going to tide us through this night. We weren’t nearly inebriated/college-aged enough for Mamoun’s next door, and the neighborhood’s tiny ramen joints probably wouldn’t accommodate our group of seven for dinner. We opted in the end to keep things simple by merely crossing St. Mark’s to Je’Bon — a newish noodle shop with a Thai, Japanese, Indonesian, Malaysian, and Cantonese menu. Usually I find such culinary schizophrenia suspicious, but the hour was late, and we were starving, so I was willing to make an exception here. And maybe it was the hunger, but my Pad Thai with Mixed Vegetable was surprisingly decent, and at just under $9, a bargain. I’ll remember this place for the next time I “trek through the tacky.”

Tags: , , ,

There are 5 comments