Without A Doubt, I Love My Stout!

Frothy. Creamy. Dark, Stout.

012914superbowl1MATT
Always a win in my book. Went to Stout for a friend’s birthday this past weekend. It’s super convenient in location. It’s about a 2 minute walk from Penn Station. I made sure to do my research and everyone said to get the Milk or Chocolate Stout. Gosh, I miss my Irish brews. From living in Ireland for 4 months and drinking nothing but whiskey and dark beer… it changes you.

So this place was pretty cool. A very relaxed, hip vibe. And Saturday’s there’s karaoke night so of course we couldn’t pass that up. Let me warn you in saying… I am not a good singer. I mean I am not glass-shattering awful. But I am no Jennifer Hudson. Me and my friends got a nice big table, a few orders of fries and appetizers. Since I couldn’t decide on the milk or chocolate, the waitress was so nice and gave me a sample! They were both so delicious (and a favorite amongst the crowd) but I decided on the milk. The head of the beer was so creamy and the stout was very bold and filling. Just how I love it.

Most of the people come in around 11pm and the karaoke begins. The man who runs it is such a friendly guy and not to mention an AMAZING singer. If you’ve never been to a karaoke bar and are nervous… have no fear. This was my first time and I had a blast. It’s dimly lighted, the atmosphere is casual and with a few drinks… everyone is a superstar. There was such a big crowd… of all ages too. I highly recommend this place and will hopefully be back soon enough.

133 W 33rd St
New York, NY 10001

 

(212) 629-6191

stoutnyc.com

Who? The Ginger Man!

gingerman-front

I feel like I’ve just discovered a treasure map that has led me to the elusive “x” marks the spot –that being, The Ginger Man.

PC: Yelp

PC: Yelp

If you told me a few years ago that I’d be a beer-lover, I’d probably laugh it off. But ever since post-college*, I’m allll about the craft beer. I’m diving into new territory consisting of ales, IPAs, porters, ambers, lagers….you name it. And my favorite, stouts. So when I found a place like this that has over 150 beers on bottle plus 70 on tap, I’m basically in heaven. Dim lighting, comfy couches and large picnic tables make for a very social setting. It can get pretty crowded past 9pm, so plan accordingly and arrive early if you want to nab a spot.

Even if you’re not the biggest fan of beer, you need to check out the Ginger Man. It’s not overwhelmingly loud and the atmosphere is perfect for after-work drinks or catching up with friends. Casual, comfortable and very inviting. (And away from more of the tourist-y places. Yes.)

They print their menus daily, so grab that beer while you can… because once they’ve kicked the keg, you may be outta luck! During my first visit I tried the Vanilla Porter which was excellent. With a $6 price tag and a extremely knowledgeable staff, this place is so so worth it. ($6-10 range) The Ginger Man has been on my “to-try” list for a very long time. I’m in love with it already and can’t wait to go back.** 5 well-deserved stars.
__________________
*In all fairness, I drank the worst beers in college. The many days of Miller Lite and Coors Light, ugh. I’ll never go back.
**Is it too ambitious to say I want to come back enough so that I can try as many of those 70 beers on tap or 100 in bottle as possible? Could be the best/worst idea.

 

11 E 36th St
New York, NY 10016

(212) 532-3740

gingerman-ny.com

The Little Uglyduckling

Uglyduckling is the newest addition to the many adorable shops and eateries along Smith St. This street is a favorite of mine — so naturally when searching for a nice place to grab a drink/grub after a crazy week at work, my friend and I wandered into Cobble Hill.

inside-uglyduckling

Only 2 weeks old, the Uglyduckling offers a diverse selection of American /Gastropub cuisine as well as a nice wall of craft beers on tap. It has a cool, hip vibe with the mismatch wooden panels on the wall, giant tv screens, vintage lighting and chalkboard artwork to name a few. There’s not a whole lot of seating but for the size of the place, they definitely utilize what space they have. We decided on sitting at the bar for dinner… and much to my surprise, they have bag hooks! Ladies (or gentlemen) your wishes have been granted. But in all seriousness, its a small but important perk.

I thought to myself, “what to choose, what to choose” when glancing at the beers along the wall. And then my eyes fell upon the Left Handed Brewing Co. NITRO MILK STOUT. I’ve been searching for this beer for the LONGEST time. So glad it’s at a bar nearby! And might I mentioned it was perfectly poured and delicious. As for the menu, very interesting items. I ended up choosing the Chicken and Waffles ($16). I was intrigued at the combination of the classic dish but with a side of spicy aioli. The buttermilk waffle was fluffy and equally crispy as the corn-flake crusted chicken. The spicy aioli was a nice touch, although I’m not sure if everyone would like that combination of flavors. But all in all, my dish was great. I would definitely order it again.

chickenwaffles-uglyduckling

tap-uglyducklingNot only was the food tasty, but the staff was personable and welcoming. Most of the staff are from Ireland so I immediately struck up a few conversations about my good ol’ days studying abroad in Limerick. Made for some great banter. Next time… my eyes are on the Pork Belly & Quail Egg Burger. Wishing the staff of Uglyduckling the best of luck! I’ll be visiting again very soon.

P.S. They’re creating a brunch menu and a happy hour which should be finalized within a week or so. So keep your eyes peeled.

166 Smith St

Brooklyn, NY 11201

b/t Wyckoff St & Warren St in Cobble Hill

uglyduckling-bk.com

Ole-a!

Inside-Olea

PC: Olea

I have a firm belief/philosophy in life that I try live by:
“Sharing is caring.”

And what’s one of the best ways to share? TAPAS.

Olea was brought to my attention by my co-workers. They raved about this cute eatery and its uniquely styled Mediterranean offerings… so naturally I couldn’t wait to go! Inside reminds me of a combination of decorations that borders a Pier 1 Import/Antique feel. My taste in a nutshell. It was a very cozy and relaxed environment which is just what we needed after a long work week. We went early to ensure we didn’t miss the happy hour specials…which are great. You can choose from a couple of wines and sangria (both white and red) for $5 each. They also have happy hours for the tapas $3-6 each and $1 oysters M-F and from 4pm-7pm.

Drink-Olea
They bring you out a nice bread basket with EVOO to dip in. It was very fresh and the perfect start to our meal. As for the tapas, we ordered a bunch. The more the merrier, am I right? I’ll try to be concise and highlight the best parts of each dish.

-Almond Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Dates: Umm, what’s not to love about Bacon? The only negative is that they should have given us more. It was an interesting pair with the dates/almonds. Crunchy and crispy.

-Boquerones al Vinagre: It’s a very light “salad” if you will. Not my favorite. But then again I’m biased since I’m not the biggest fan of anchovies (unless they’re in a sauce). But the arugula and toasted almonds helped balance out that strong flavor.

-Spanish ‘Pitza’: One of the best items of the night. It’s sweet, savory, and spicy in one. It’s a crispy thin pizza with quince paste, Manchego, toasted garlic and red pepper. Side note…If you haven’t had Manchego cheese, you’re missin’ out in life!

-Fried Chickpeas: I’d like to think of it textually-like wasabi peas. Pretty good.

-Patatas Bravas: My friend called this the “fancier version of cheesy fiesta potatoes*”. Which I laughed at. This is a killer side dish. The thing that makes it is the harissa aioli. Yum.

-Harissa-Deviled Organic Eggs: Good. Spicy. But nothing special IMO.

-Grilled Whole Wheat Pita with Spicy Feta Dip: The dip was very creamy and fluffy. I liked the unique twist of the added heat.

From what I’ve seen their brunch is pretty popular as well. So I can’t wait to try that soon. But speaking for their dinner experience, it was a pleasant one. The staff was friendly, attentive and patient while we pick our tapas. And of course the food was pretty darn good! At a place like this, try as much as your wallet can allow. (Happy hour certainly helps!!!) I’ll definitely be back to have the full brunch experience.
____________________________________
*Really? You’re comparing this place to Tbell? Shameee.

171 Lafayette Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11238

 

b/t Adelphi St & Clermont Ave in Fort Greene

(718) 643-7003

oleabrooklyn.com

Ritas and Fajitas

Cilantro, you may not be the most nutritious… but you’re certainly delicious.

I’ve heard a lot of great things about this place from my co-workers. What first caught my eye was the $5 ritas. Can’t get much better than that! I ventured here after a long day at work and was craving some quality Mexican food. My friend and I sat outside under an awning which was nice for a change. Perfect spot for surveying the area. That’s one of the many beauties of dining in NYC, if there’s space… they’ll put seating there.

Chips-Cilantro     Fajitas-Cilantro

LOVED the crispy banana chips and corn chips with salsa. What a unique take on the usual chips and salsa. That’s the first time I’ve ever seen that done. The fresh salsa had a nice kick to it as well. As for dinner, I ordered the chicken fajitas (my usual) which was absolutely delicious! I ordered it with whole wheat tortillas (always a plus). The chicken was sliced thin and not only was it juicy/tender but packed with flavor! I don’t know what spices they used, but I really enjoyed it. Along with the sauteed onions/peppers and the guac/sour cream… it was a great meal inside and out.

The ambiance was festive, colorful and most importantly inviting. Back to those $5 ritas, wowza. They did not skimp out on the tequila. One or two and I’m good to go. Also, our waiter was awesome! He was attentive, always made sure our water glasses were full and made some light conversation. Nice guy.

Cilantro has several locations around Manhattan. I highly recommend you stop by if you’re looking for reasonable Mexican food that doesn’t skimp out on the flavor. Ole!

1712 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10128
b/t 88th St & 89th St in Yorkville, Upper East Side
(212) 722-4242
cilantronyc.com