#SCBDEvent Recap: Review with the crew at Johnny Utah’s, NYC

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About two weeks ago I had the pleasure of having the “Review with the crew” event which included seeing the Bar-Top Bandit’s at Johnny Utah’s in NYC. Our beer writer, Stephanie, her boyfriend Eric, and one of our new team member’s Alexandra joined me. Johnny Utah’s is a fun, country-themed restaurant & bar in the heart of Rockefeller Center.

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We got in just in time before the Bandits started performing and decided to order some of their $5 margaritas, beer, nachos, and wings. We enjoyed all our appetizers– the nachos were the perfect side for all of us. We decided to try the BBQ wings and they were cooked to perfection and had just enough kick. After downing a margarita or two, I had the craving for Mac ‘N’ Cheese and it was probably some of the best Mac ‘N’ Cheese that I’ve had because it was so cheesy and not too heavy on breading. It was also the perfect amount.

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It was the perfect night out, filled with food, fun, and entertainment. I also got to interview, Theresa Fowler, ‘The Boss Bandit’ and got the dish on their performances at Johnny Utah’s every Wednesday and more!

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SCBD: When did the Bandits start?
TF: I created the Bar-Top Bandits in September, 2010 with childhood friend Everett Brothers. It started as a fundraiser for an amazing soldier, SPC Brendan Marrocco, who lost his arms & legs in Iraq. The event was such a success, it led to us helping out other local charities and organizations, which resulted in us expanding our show to what it is now!
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SCBD: Where do you perform?
TF: We have been touring the Northeast, rocking bar-tops from Times Square to the Meatpacking District in NYC, to Hampton Beach, NH & Asbury Park, NJ!
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SCBD: What should we look forward to at Johnny Utah’s?
TF: Killer Female Vocalists and Dancers from the Broadway stage to the iTunes charts performing in NYC’s Hottest Country Western Bar!
SCBD: What’s your favorite dish at Johnny Utah’s?
TF: Bandit favorites are “The Buffalo Bill,” “The Calamity Jane” Cubano, the Nachos, the Southern Hushpuppies and the Hot Utah Wings.
SCBD: The best cocktail?
TF: We’re whiskey girls at heart, but we hear Johnny Utah’s bartenders make a mean Blue Long Island! They’ve got the best staff around, and we have a blast with them at every show!
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SCBD:  What makes the Bandits different than any performers?
TF: The Bar-Top Bandits are a unique nightlife event with some of the most talented female performing artists in New York City. We are a boot-stomping, hair-flipping, bottle-tossing, girl-powered show with the hottest and most unique approach to nightlife entertainment. Not only do our Bandits have powerhouse vocalists and insanely choreographed routines, but they specialize in mixology and hospitality. Pushing liquor and beer sales throughout the show results in nightly revenue boosts for venues who book the Bandits!
Don’t have plans for tomorrow night? Make sure you go to Johnny Utah’s and see them perform. Also, don’t forget to ‘like’ the Bandit’s on Facebook, here.
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#SCBDExclusive: Behind The Scenes & Lunch at DBGB Kitchen & Bar

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A saying I’ve learned to live by and well have always lived by is: when a good opportunity comes around, you should take it. Well almost two weeks ago, I was invited to go see the prep kitchen and get a behind the scenes look to the charcuterie and pastry program to Daniel Boulud‘s restaurants in New York City. I was invited to go with a guest so, SCBD team member Kelsey Jelling came with me. We could not put down this once in a lifetime opportunity and it was definitely a day to remember.

When we arrived to the prep kitchen in the East Village we were greeted by Lauren, who does the pr for all of the Daniel Boulud restaurants in the city. We were welcomed to enjoy some complimentary coffee & pastries before our tour began. I made sure I tried a croissant and some coffee and it did not disappoint. I was ready for the tour to begin.

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Our tour began by seeing where all the breads are made and packaged including making our own baguettes (which was the best baguette I ever tasted thus far). We also where the pastries are made and maintained before the charcuterie part of our class began. I was definitely starting to crave all the sweets I was seeing.

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Next, it was time to see the charcuterie department. We started off by seeing where some of the casing was done but then we went into the ‘cold’ room where all the important stuff goes down. We saw a how they make their famous rilette which we also got try and it was a delicious! A rilette is a mix of braised pork shank that was slow cooked for 48 hours, roasted vegetables, oil and seasonings.

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After we finished with the charcuterie part of the class, it was time for my favorite part, our lunch on the house at DBGB Kitchen and Bar. I’ve heard so many great things about Daniel Boulud‘s cooking and after attending the class I knew what I wanted to try. We started off with cocktails, since Kelsey and I both liked fruity cocktails, our waiter recommended The Dicken’s which was fruity with a bit of spice but was delicious and I’d definitely get it again.

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While we were looking over the menu and picking out our appetizers, we also got to meet Daniel Boulud, we were so in awe we didn’t take a picture with him but it was surely an honor. For my appetizer, I  tried the Fried Egg and Wild Mushroom Appetizer which was delicious and creamy, it was a perfect balance of egg and mushrooms. I decided to try the famous DBGD Dog, especially after learning about how all their hot dogs & sausages are made in-house, I was crazy not to! It certainly did not disappoint and was served with some delicious homemade fries. We also got a complimentary sausage de jamon sent from the kitchen, which was great!

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The Chocolate Only Cake

We were getting so full, but could not turn down dessert so I decided to get the ‘Chocolate Only’ Cake which is by far the lightest, most heavenly piece of chocolate cake I’ve ever had. It was a fun-filled, food day that I would never forget and I would love to come back and eat at DBGB Kitchen and Bar again!

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Celebrate #NationalMeatballersDay at The Meatball Shop!

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First, off Happy National Meatball or better yet Happy Meatballers Day! In honor of the holiday today, The Meatball Shop is asking their fans to snap and share your favorite meatball moment on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #NationalMeatballersDay and the handle @MEATBALLERS. The three most creative photos will be chosen and shared on our Twitter and Instagram feeds on Monday, and the winners will receive a limited edition black n’ gold Grinder Hat. HAPPY #NATIONALMEATBALLERSDAY!

So last week, after taking a cooking class at Sur La Table in Hells Kitchen I decided to take food journey to Chelsea to check out The Meatball Shop in their new location, 200 9th Ave. It was also my first time ever dining at The Meatball Shop. I figured it was about time, since I had heard amazing things about them. I had no lunch plans that day so it was definitely worth the trip.

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My $6 Sangria

Let me start off by saying, their meatballs are a big deal and you definitely get a bang for your buck.  It was the new location’s first week doing lunch service and everything was on par. I decided since I came by myself I should sit at the bar. I looked at the menu and decided to start with their signature sangria, which was whopping $6– for NYC that is amazing and thus the excitement began.

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For my meal I decided to get the Naked Classic Beef Meatballs with Class Tomato Sauce & the Family Jewels (which is just a fried egg on top) which as only $7. The meatballs were delicious, huge, and filling so I actually had some leftovers– which didn’t last in the fridge long. The bartender I had was wonderful and recommended I try dessert so of course I did, I mean who in their right mind would say no to a $3 scoop of homemade ice cream? The ice cream of the day that day was passion fruit so I really couldn’t say no. Of course, I was very happy with my decision because it was some of the best ice cream I’ve had in the city. It was so creamy and delicious and you could really taste the fruit!

If your looking to celebrate National Meatball Day in the city– I highly recommend you celebrate the right way with the @MEATBALLERS!

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An Unforgettable Experience – DBGB Kitchen and Restaurant

I’m Kelsey, a 22-year old who graduated from The Culinary Education Center in Asbury Park, NJ almost three years ago. I currently work at Applewood Estates, a retirement community in Freehold, NJ. Always looking for new culinary adventures, I am excited to finally produce my first post and hopefully many more to come. Enjoy!

Last Tuesday I had the pleasure of meeting Sara in the city to experience a pretty much a once-in-a-lifetime culinary adventure. I didn’t know what to expect and thought it would just be a basic cooking class that I already had learned from culinary school. Boy, was I wrong!

When first arriving at the prep kitchen for DBGB we were greeted by Lauren, the PR contact for all of Daniel Boulud’s restaurants. She gave us a brief background and offered us coffee and refreshments. We were then introduced to Chef Mark who has been working in Daniel’s restaurant for over 14 years and pretty much started the baking program for the kitchen. He gave us a thorough background regarding all of Daniels restaurants. Then Giles Verot who started the charcuterie program with Daniel, came in. For those of you who don’t know, charcuterie is the art of making sausage and forced meats like pates and terrines.

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Giles Verot

Nowadays, it’s hard to find restaurants that produce their own charcuterie. It was crazy to see how they make all the bread, pastries, and charcuterie for all of Daniel’s restaurants in New York in this kitchen. We first began our tour in the bread-making part of the kitchen. We got to see all of the ovens and other equipment they use, then got to roll our own baguette! That was a fun aspect of the tour and we got to take home what we made. Then we went to pastry part of the kitchen, saw some cheesecakes being packaged and all the appliances they use to produce all the pastries, which wasn’t a lot for the amount of product they are producing weekly.

Cheesecakes being packaged in the kitchen!

Cheesecakes being packaged in the kitchen!

Continuing on our tour, we walked through to the charcuterie section of the kitchen. They had a small area for the actual cooking part of the charcuteries, which was crazy for the 36 sausages and other charcuterie they sell throughout the 6 restaurants. Then we went to the secluded, cold area where they make the sausages and pack the terrines. Giles and one of his employees took a pork shank they braised for 48 hours and vegetables they roasted in the oven, and mixed them together with oil and seasonings. We were allowed to sample the final product, the rilette, which was very tasty. The two other people we got to tour the kitchen with had an interest in how head cheese was made. So they pulled out a pigs head and showed us, which I honestly didn’t need to see! My mind was completely blown away by this tour and really opened my eyes to the culinary world.

Making the rilette

Making the rilette

After the tour we were treated to whatever we wanted at Daniel’s restaurant, DBGB Kitchen & Bar. Taking advantage of this amazing once-in a lifetime-opportunity, we both ordered The Dickens cocktail, which was fruity and spicy but not too overpowering. I then ordered the steak tartare to feel fancy and privileged, which was very good but I think I prefer cooked steak to the raw preparation of steak, like tartare. I was very excited for my sausage to come, after the tour and class! I ordered the Beaujolaise sausage, which was a pork sausage with onion, bacon, red wine, and mushrooms served over lentils. This was absolutely delicious! Completely different than any sausage I ever had before so I ate every last bite! We also received a “complimentary” sausage de jamon and hash brown, which was very creamy and tasted great. Even though we were stuffed, we couldn’t let this opportunity to go to waste, so we ordered dessert. The choices were limited, so I went with the apple pie. It was very beautifully presented and served with scoop of freshly-made green apple sorbet. The perfect ending to an amazing experience.

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I would definitely recommend DBGB to everyone and would like to try more of Daniel Boulud’s restaurants in the future!

Valentine’s Day & Weekend Dinners in NJ & NYC

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching and there are tons of ways to celebrate! Interested in taking your Valentine out for special dinner, or better yet out during Valentine’s Day weekend.

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Here’s a few places to take your sweetheart out to:

Maura’s Kitchen in Nyack is buying every lady their first Pisco Portón Cocktail on Valentine’s Day. Feel the love with their great Peruvian grub and cocktails.
They will have a few specials for the night including, back by popular demand, their Peruvian Osso Bucco. Call 845-535-3533 to make a reservation.

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Dine at Zinburger for Valentine’s Day (2/14-2/17, while supplies last) and receive a special gift with purchase when a table purchases a bottle of wine or two glasses of wine: Zinburger Wine Corkscrew, chocolate flower and a coupon for a free shake on next visit. Available at both NJ locations – Clifton and Paramus.
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Triomphe, the hidden gem in the historic Iroquois hotel in Midtown Manhattan has designed a decadent four-course Valentine’s Day tasting menu. Executive Chef Jason Tilmann has prepared a menu full of foie gras, caviar pearls and oysters – all aphrodisiac foods – quite suiting for this romantic holiday.  Each course is paired with a glass of wine. The first course will be a grilled corn and oyster chowder with caviar pearls followed by a roasted striped bass with spaghetti squash with a roasted cauliflower and warm tomato caper vinaigrette. Other menu items include pecan crusted pork loin and a Valrona chocolate soufflé with Grand Marnier anglaise. $125 per person.

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Jay Z’s The 40/40 Club is serving a special Valentine’s Day Dinner Menu as well as the Cupid’s Kiss cocktail for the non-conventional couple that would like to share a romantic meal while enjoying the sports bar scene. The 3-course menu includes a grilled vegetable terrine & pesto oil appetizer, four entrée options, and two dessert options. Guests may choose from the beef tenderloin wrapped with turkey bacon, fresh herb marinated roasted French chicken breast, old bay style snapper fillet, or 4oz lobster tails. For dessert, guests may indulge in red velvet a la mode or a homemade cheesecake.  $80 per couple. The club recently underwent a $10 million renovation and expansion to include 5 private lounges, luxe stadium style seating and over 30 flat screen televisions.

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Valentine’s Day Live Jazz 5 Course Menu at Session Bistro,$139.95 for two. Limited seating begins at 6:30pm. Call (201)880-7810 to reserve your seats. 

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Blue Morel at the Westin Governor Morris in Morristown will offer a delicious 4-course menu with multiple options including oysters, hearts of romaine, butter-poached Maine lobster, rack of lamb and chocolate fondue for two. The full menu can be seen here.  It’s $75 per person. Reservations available February 14-17 from 5:30 to 10pm.

One of the most romantic restaurants in New Jersey, Chakra will celebrate Valentine’s Day weekend with various events. On February 14, 15 and 16, the restaurant will serve a romance-friendly three-course menu resplendent with oysters, lobster, caviar, truffles, foie gras, lamb, 40-day aged steak, chocolate and other delicacies to ensure a delicious and memorable experience the guests will love sharing with their Valentines. Vegetarian options available, the menu is attached ($85 per person, tax & gratuities additional). Reservations: 201-556-1530.

On Sunday February 17, the temperature will rise a few degrees and the clock will turn back to the 1940s with a special dinner and show featuring the Va Va Va Venus burlesque show and a menu of 1940s classics such as Waldorf salad, beef Chateaubriand and baked Alaska. The evening will begin at 6:30pm with pre-dinner cocktails courtesy of Brugal Rum, followed by a three-course dinner and a playful show at 7pm. Reservations are required and can be made at 201-556-1530. Pre-dinner Cocktails, Dinner & Show:  Priority Seating $115  General Seating $105 (tax & gratuities extra).

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China Latina is offering romantic meals – and hotel rooms. Their Valentine’s Day Weekend Party Package ($350) includes three-course dinner for two with complimentary glasses of champagne and cocktails in Executive Chef Julieta Ballesteros’ Asian-meets-Latin American restaurant, plus a room at the four-starred Hotel Indigo where China Latina is located. And the next morning, wake up to a complimentary breakfast at China Latina!  The Valentine’s Day Weekend Party Package is available from Thursday, February 14th through Saturday, February 16thReservations for dinner for two ($125) are also available, as well as a dinner that comes with an open bar from 10 pm to midnight ($165). If you’re on your own that night, head on up to their year-round rooftop bar Dragones will host a wild Singles Party for folks on the prowl. Mingle during the open bar from 9 am to midnight ($55 per person) while a DJ spins live, plus toast with champagne and new friends at midnight.

Photo Credit: FriendsEat.com

Photo Credit: FriendsEat.com

 If you and your sweetheart love feasting on Southern fare, head to Neely’s Barbecue Parlor on the Upper East Side, which will serve shareable barbecue platters for two ($79 including complimentary glasses of champagne, add $20 for a pitcher of house wine or Neely’s signature sangria) from Thursday February 14th through Saturday, February 16th from 4 pm to 11 pm. Hold court in the festive restaurant, which is laid out like a gorgeous Southern home, and go to town on Applewood Smoked Chicken Wings, Memphis-style Ribs, BBQ Shrimp, Fried Catfish and sides like Pinto Beans with burnt ends. There’s even Romance in a Bowl – a refreshing salad featuring baby spinach, strawberries, brie, sugared almonds and lime poppy dressing. And for the grand finale of this Valentine’s Day dinner, grab your sweetheart by the hand and head into Neely’s Valentine’s Day Dessert Room: Choose from decadent treats like luscious Red Velvet Cake with cream cheese icing, Pecan Pie, Key Lime Lemon Bars, Cookies, Brownies, Cupcakes and more. And for couples who prefer to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a romantic evening at home, Neely’s Barbecue Platter for Two, which includes Red Velvet Cake or Cheesecake for dessert, is also available to go ($79). 

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For a romantic dinner in the countryside, look no further than historic The Ryland Inn, about an hour outside Manhattan in Western New Jersey. This landmarked, sprawling white cottage sits on a 200-year-old estate and reopened this past fall with gifted Executive Chef Anthony Bucco at the helm. His food reflects the atmosphere of The Ryland Inn, which is like a farmhouse meets a cathedral – comfortable yet elegant. From Valentine’s Day through Sunday, February 16th, Chef Bucco will offer a sensual three-course tasting menu ($99). Start with a luscious Pastured Egg with Anson Mills-sourced polenta and black truffles, or a lighter option like Oysters with Champagne gelee and caviar. Main courses include Rohan Duck with maple-glazed turnips and duck rillettes and Butter-poached Lobster with almonds and cauliflower, among other standout dishes. The grand finale is the Sweetheart Dessert Tasting starring chocolate, hazelnuts and espresso components.

Photo Credit: Opentable

Photo Credit: Opentable

Lavish and luxurious New York restaurant The Russian Tea Room is pulling out all the stops for Valentine’s Day. Settle into one of their gorgeous red leather banquettes and enjoy a three-course prix fixe menu ($125 per person) featuring over-the-top dishes like Lobster Salad with a vanilla-champagne sauce, Octopus Terrine and Black Truffle Foie Gras Mousse. Couples can also splurge on The Russian Tea Room’s extensive caviar selection – one of the best in the city – as well as on bottles of champagne and flights of vodka. Taste four different vodkas – Russian Standard, Purity, Czar’s Village and Jewel of Russia Wild Berry for $26.

Photo Credit: NY Mag

Photo Credit: NY Mag

 Virgil’s Real Barbecue in the Theater District will offer specialty cocktails like the Chocolate Kiss ($11), a blend of Grey Goose Vodka, Crème Cacao White, and smooth Godiva White liqueur topped with shaved chocolate. But Virgil’s doesn’t just cater to the lovebirds – they’ve got your back if you’ve had a tough break up. That’s what the Beer Kir for the Broken Heart is for, made with raspberries, Maker’s Mark, sweet Vermouth, lemonade and Lindeman’s Raspberry Lambic. 

Photo Credit: NY Street Food

Photo Credit: NY Street Food

 There is nothing more romantic – or stressful – than cooking for your loved one on Valentine’s Day. Admit it; you have your favorite take-out place, just in case, on speed dial. What if I told you that you could learn how to make a Valentine’s Day feast from the master himself David Bouley? That’s right, on February 14th, chef Bouley is organizing two exclusive cooking classes in his elegant Test Kitchen. Those who wish to wow their lovers with a four-star meal can opt for the Valentine’s Day Cooking Class ($275), where they will learn how to prepare an incredible meal, and leave with the recipes, ingredients and culinary confidence of a chef! For those who wish to share this unique experience with their special someone, Bouley will be conducting a Cooking Class & Dinner for Two ($650; wine pairing $125 per person) starting at 7:30pm, where couples will learn how to prepare a sumptuous six-course meal filled with irresistibly healthy, local and all-natural ingredients, and then sit down and enjoy the exquisite fruits of their labor to the sound of the grand piano! Reservations can be made by calling 212-964-2525, but tell your readers to act fast though, as seating is extremely limited.

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Interested in cooking at home this year?

Check out this awesome Valentine’s Day menu from Fairway’s own Cheesemonger, Steve Jenkins.

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Here’s to a great Valentine’s Day with our sweethearts! 😀
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Love Seafood? Indulge at Millesime!

Before I got the flu I had some really exciting food adventures including dining at Millesime with some of my blogger friends, Blanca of FriendsEat, her friend & Lindsay, The Lunch Belle! We were in for great dining and a fun girls night out in the city!

Here’s some background on the restaurant, taken from their site: In the heart of the Flatiron, centrally located to 5th, Madison and Park Avenues, Millesime is aging like a fine wine.  Mil-e-zim (French for “vintage”) features a Tiffany skylight dome circa 1904, original mosaic floors and century-old bars. A compilation of venues including a bustling seafood brasserie, Live Music Venue, Oyster Bar and event space, Millesime has something for everyone.

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Photo Credit: Blanca Valbuena

We started the night off right with Prosecco, $1 oysters, and cocktails followed by a chef tasting! It was one of the best meals I’ve had.  One of the dishes that stood out most to me was their Caesar Salad which has one plenty of best of awards. That was just one of the many dishes we tasted. I also enjoyed the tuna tartare, ceviches, and snapper we tasted. Of course, we ended the night with dessert which delicious and incredibly flavorful and unique.

Here’s a peek of what we tasted:

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Even if you don’t come in for an entire meal they have $1 oysters every weekday from 5:30pm-8pm at Millesime‘s Oyster Bar!

Unsure where to take your sweetie for Valentine’s Day brunch this weekend? Go into Flatiron and be wowed by Millesime!

Happy Eating! 😀

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Pizza done the Italian way!

Finding authentic food in New York City can prove to be a challenge at times but worth every second. While attending an Italian play at Cherry Lane Theater (38 Commerce Street, NY, New York) for an extra credit assignment this past week, a restaurant suggestion was made for us to check out Numero 28 (28 Carmine Street, NY, New York). The restaurant offered our group of 20+ accommodations instantly and greeted us with pure Italian hospitality. The authenticity of the restaurants energy complimented the menu perfectly and the pizza dishes that arrived at our tables completed the experience with pure satisfaction.

Our dishes included the Margherita plain, the S. Daniele and the Prosciutto with Arugula pizzas. A bite into either one of these slices was like taking a trip to Italy every time. The texture of the brick-oven slices added to the experience and when complimented with a Birra Moretti (Italian beer), the meal was complete. If the endless pizza and beer werent enough to satisfy the tummies of our group, the torta di cioccolate was absolutely did the job and was heavenly. The hint of what seemed to be coconut allowed our senses to go wild and visit a sense of euphoria.

Take the trip to Numero 28 Ristorante and enjoy your bite of Italy today!

Tiffany Salisha

Tiffany is a born and raised true New Yorker. Having lived in 3 of the 5 boroughs, her taste for NYC life includes both the social energy of the city as well as the amazing eateries she can stumble upon. Her grandmother, who is a native to Puerto Rico, instilled her passion for food and boy was she sure to bring the flavor with her. Through the years, she has expanded her food horizons & has grown an appreciation for all shapes, sizes, & tastes of food allowing her to self-proclaim herself a “foodie”. Follow her @atiffanything!