Category Archives: New York

Win A 2 Night Stay + Brunch In NYC

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Thompson Hotels is giving away a 2 night stay at the Smyth Tribeca (in NYC) including brunch in the Fall for Brunch Sweepstakes, which is being run through Facebook.

The prize sounds like the perfect staycation for a local New Yorker or a great way to visit NYC on the cheap for someone coming from further away.

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Eating Our Way Around The Great GoogaMooga- Brooklyn, NY

a large multi-tiered cake with colorful circles and letters

Yesterday Kim, Lucas and I headed over to Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY to spend the day at The Great GoogaMooga.

The Great GoogaMooga is a food, drink and music festival taking place for the second year. The food vendors were from top restaurants all over the city. There was also beverage tents featuring many wineries and breweries. We didn’t know any of the musical acts besides the closing one- Matt & Kim which we did not stay for.

The festival is free to attend as long as you have a ticket which are given out through an online lottery. This year we didn’t get selected but a friend had an extra pair of tickets for us. There is also a paid option which we did not consider. The food was pay as you go and each booth has their own prices ranging from $5- $16 per item.

A little about the food:

Continue reading Eating Our Way Around The Great GoogaMooga- Brooklyn, NY

A Visit to Delta’s T4X in SoHo, NYC

a group of people in a room

Last month I wrote about a unique way to experience Delta’s new Terminal 4 before it opens at a unique pop-up location in New York City called T4X.

T4X opened on May 1 and I had been wanting to stop by but hadn’t had the time. Yesterday I finally got an opportunity to check it out. I had a great time and also picked up some very nice Delta goodies, some of which I would like to share!

Just a little refresher about T4X:

  • T4X is located at 376 West Broadway at Broome Street in SoHo
  • It’s open Tuesdays- Sundays until May 22, from 11AM- 3PM
  • Preview the new T4, book a reservation, relax, enjoy $4 lunches and random giveaways.
Here is a little about my visit to Delta T4X:

Continue reading A Visit to Delta’s T4X in SoHo, NYC

Patsy Grimaldi Returns: Julianna’s Pizza- Brooklyn, NY

a brick oven with a red sign above it
Back in 1998 Patsy Grimaldi sold his famous and successful pizzeria Grimaldi’s which is located under the Brooklyn Bridge.
The Grimaldi’s brand went on to expand to various locations around the country.
Fast forward to 2012. The owners lost the lease on the original Grimaldi’s in Brooklyn and had to leave the coal oven behind.
a restaurant at night with people sitting at tables
Patsy Grimaldi regretted selling off his beloved pizzeria and recently had an opportunity to get back into the pizza business in his original spot. From what I understand, Patsy went partners with the owners of the building at 19 Old Fulton Street while Grimaldi’s moved to the corner at 1 Front Street. Here’s the catch. Grimaldi’s could not bring the historical coal oven with them. Apparently, coal ovens are illegal to install but if they are already existing they are grandfathered in. So Patsy got his original oven back.

Heading To The Airport, Next Stop Russia

a map of the world
We’re putting the finishing touches on packing for our upcoming trip to Russia. I’m bringing a larger backpack than I’d like to for a trip of this length. But when you are packing for two and need cold weather items, that’s the best option.

We’ll be flying direct on Delta from New York’s JFK Airport to Moscow’s Sheremetyvo (SVO) Airport. The flight takes off around 5:30 p.m. and is approximately 9.5 hours long. 
We always like to arrive at the airport a bit early. We’ll check in, clear security and stop by the Delta Lounge (a nice perk of the Amex Platinum Card) to relax and have a snack before our flight.
a baby sitting on a chair
Lucas Miles W.
Hopefully Lucas will be his usual awesome self and cooperate on the flight. So far, he has been amazing when flying but this time around he is much more mobile and curious so it might be a bit of a different experience. Kim and I are prepared though (we think!). We have a couple of new books and toys ready for the flight as well as some of Lucas’ favorite snacks. Lucas usually goes to sleep in the 7:30-8:00 range so we are hoping he stays awake for a short while and then passes out for the bulk of our journey.

We’re really excited to be heading to Russia. We can’t wait to explore such an interesting place. I look forward to posting about the trip and our experiences very soon.

Happy holidays to all!

A Wrong Turn And An Airplane

a group of cars parked in front of a building

Over the weekend, Kim, Lucas and I were heading for lunch after running some errands. We weren’t quite sure where the restaurant was and I ended up turning the wrong direction. 

I didn’t drive more than a half block before Kim told me to look up on the right. When I looked, I saw a really amazing sign of an airplane flying out of a building. 

The sign was for a travel agency.

a building with a sign above it
I had to stop to get a few photos. I pulled over to let the cars behind me get by while Kim took a couple of shots (including the second one in the post) before the light changed back to green. 

I needed to get another look and decided to come back around on the other side of the street to get some more photos.
a large airplane on the side of a building
a sign on the side of a building

A wrong turn ended up becoming a fun photo-op thanks to Kim spotting the plane sign!

Win A New Years Trip to NYC from KLM

a city with a blue sky and clouds

I just found out about this contest and TODAY is the last day to enter!

KLM is giving a trip for 2 to NYC which includes a meet and greet with superstar DJ Armin Van Buuren on New Years Eve. 

I can’t say that I am a fan of trance music or DJ Armin, but if I did not live in NY I’d still be interested in winning a free trip to NY!

The Prize

  • Two economy class roundtrip tickets to New York from any destination operated by KLM, Air France or Delta 
  • Four night hotel stay for 2  from December 29- January 2
  • Meet & greet with Armin Van Buuren on 12/31 in NY
  • Two concert tickets for NYE show
  • A Nikon D5200 camera
  • A unique, official Armin Van Buuren merchandise package

Some Rules:

  • The winner agrees to make a movie about the entire trip with the provided camera. The movie must be delivered to KLM within 2 weeks of trip’s end. KLM will use the video with social media. 
  • Open to anyone at least 21 years of age 
  • To enter the sweepstakes, you need to log-in with Facebook
  • Enter by December 9, 2012

Enter for a shot to win a trip to NYC for New Years Eve HERE

Checking Out Hurricane Sandy Aftermath in Brooklyn, NY

a house with a damaged roof
Side of house blown or washed away

There isn’t much to add regarding Hurricane Sandy. Luckily the storm did not affect us much. Besides shaky windows and being stuck inside, the worst thing that happened to us was our building’s parking garage getting a foot of water. My car started up yesterday, so hopefully it works later without issue. 

Many people we know had flooded basements, some waist high or as much as five feet!
I can’t imagine what that is like to clean up.

During the storm we did not have any loss of power however, last night it went out around 9:00pm and was back on by midnight. (The reason for this post being so late). Three hours of lost power is definitely not much to complain about.

a car parked in a dirt road
Muddy, tree blocked street

By our place (in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn) there wasn’t much damage. We saw lots of branches from trees on the gorund and some dirt in the streets & on sidewalks. A few blocks further, the same could not be said. I heard that trees were down, blocking streets and cars were abandoned in the middle of the street. In the main shopping area, many stores were destroyed. They were flooded or had windows blown out. I can’t imagine how long it will take to clean up this mess and rebuild these areas.

I decided to tag along with my parents for a ride to check out Sheepshead Bay and Manhattan Beach. I could not believe what I saw.

See for yourself with some of the pictures I took.

Some of the flooded shops along Emmons Avenue in Sheepshead Bay:

a building with a sign on the front
a flooded restaurant entrance with a metal fence
a flooded building with a glass door
 a building with a sign on the roof
a flooded entrance to a cat cafe

This store on Sheepshead Bay Road had it’s windows blown out and the inside of the shop destroyed. See the turned over soda refrigerator and shelving making a huge mess.

a store front with a sign on the front
a storefront with broken windows

Here are some photos of the Manhattan Beach area:

a car parked in front of a house

a tree fallen over a pile of trash
Paved street covered in mud
The owner of the house below told me how he had thee feet of sandbags blocking his driveway. Regardless, it took around 15 seconds for the water to rush in and flood it. The sandbags were knocked over and his garage looked like a swimming pool. He told me that luckily the first floor of his house only got about five inches of water inside.
a house with a garage door
a pile of bags of trash outside a garage door

Here are some more shots of Sheepshead Bay:

a flooded building with pillars
a flooded building with trash in front of it
 a car in a flooded street
 a flooded street with trees and a building
 a television on the street

In the bay, boats were pushed around and the walkway bridge (which was recently replaced) was in pretty bad shape.

a bridge over water with boatsa boat tied to a dock
a blue wooden bridge over water

Our thoughts go out to everyone affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Interview: Michael Chernow of The Meatball Shop in NYC

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Michael Chernow is the co-owner and General Manager of the very popular and successful restaurants The Meatball Shop in New York City. He is also co-author of The Meatball Shop Cookbook and was recently on Jay Leno with co-owner and Executive Chef Daniel Holzman.
I had a chance to chat with Michael after attending a cooking demonstration with Daniel Holzman at The New York Times Travel Show.

At the show Michael spoke about his love for travel and some upcoming travel plans so I figured he would make for a great interview.

Here is the interview:
MW: How did you decide that you wanted to work in the restaurant business?
MC: I began working in restaurants in Manhattan as a kid (13) because I always wanted money in the pocket. My folks didn’t have much money and father taught me early on about monetary value. I have always thought like an entrepreneur. When I was 11 years old, I was walking every do in a two block radius. By the time I was 16 I had a lot of my friends working for me in a Flyer/ Mailing Promoter business (before e-mail).

MW: What was your first job in the industry?
MC: Delivering food via roller-blades for a vegan restaurant- The Candle Cafe on East 76th Street.

MW: The Meatball Shop is very popular & successful. Did you always feel that a shop focused on meatballs would catch on?
MC: Everybody loves meatballs! I always thought it would catch on, I only dreamed it would catch on at this level. People assumed I had gone mad when I proposed a meatball and ice cream restaurant. I also thought it was a bit risky, but I listened to the people of NY- they want simplicity and the best of! 


MW:What is your favorite combo from the menu?
MC: I am a huge fan of Spicy Pork Meatballs with Spicy Meat Sauce over polenta. I eat the Veggie Meatballs with Pesto Sauce on the Kitchen Sink Salad- A healthier option for a daily Meatball Shop eater. 

MW:Any plans to expand outside of NYC?
MC: As of now we are focused on NYC. We have discussed other markets but NYC is a big place with lots of hungry people.

MW:Do you prefer fine dining or comfort food?

MC: I like both very much! Fine dining is a special occasion venture for me and so is comfort food, I am a very healthy eater. The Meatball Shop is a place that one can indulge or be a health nut as well.


MW: What is your favorite food asides from meatballs?

MW:Do you have a favorite drink? Favorite beer?
MC: I don’t drink alcohol anymore, so beer is no longer a favorite of mine. I typically drink seltzer water but I love Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider and Abita Root Beer on tap.

MW: What other interests/ hobbies do you have asides from food?
MC: I  am an extreme athlete. I train Muay Thai kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, I run marathons, snowboard, skateboard, dream about surfing and lift weights. I also really enjoy traveling and antiquing with my wife. 

a group of men standing in a convention hall
R-Michael Chernow C-Michael W. L-Daniel Holzman

MW: We spoke a bit about travel and you seemed really into it.

MW: Has travel affected your likes/ dislikes when it comes to food?
MC: Traveling has left major impacts on me when it comes to food. I have a dream to open a restaurant much like Cal Pep in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona. No menus, just super fresh, top quality ingredients cooked and served. There are very few place in the US where you go in and simply eat what the chef is cooking. Kinda like when you go to your grandmothers place, you eat what she cooks and 9 out of 10 times it is delicious and exactly what you wanted anyhow…

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MW: Do you plan to incorporate anything from travel into The Meatball Shop’s menu?
MC: We always incorporate traveling into our menu. We can make a meatball from any flavor profile we like. All cultures have a meatball or traditional dish.

MW: When traveling, do you seek out any culinary related activities? (local cooking classes, markets etc…)

MC: The first thing on my agenda when traveling is food!! First I see out the local markets. Typically I do all the research before hand so I know exactly where and when to go. Once I get there I ask the people at the markets where to eat, always works out well for me. Most people at farmers markets and local markets are the locals, they know the best of the best.

MW: Do you have a favorite place or region of the world?
MC: I love Barcelona, Spain. My favorite city and in my opinion best eating town in the world. 

MW: What food did you discover or try out that you would’ve never known about if not for traveling?
MC: Eating espresso granita and fresh brioche buns for breakfast in Catania, Sicily. That’s what they have everyday…. Amazing.


MW: Can you tell me a little about your next planned trip?

MC: My wife and I are going to France to horseback ride on a 5 day tour through the south. We will then rent a car and drive into the Alps for some great food and to tour some amazing cheese caves.

I want to thank Michael Chernow for taking the time to answer the questions for this interview!

The Meatball Shop has three locations in New York City (two in Manhattan, one in Brooklyn) and recently announced plans for a fourth location in Chelsea, NYC.
To find out more about The Meatball Shop, check out their website HERE

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