Posts Tagged ‘Restaurant’

Going French with Vive la Crêpe!

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

My dream has always been to travel Paris to indulge in the art, culture, and food of France. But with school and work currently dominating my life, my plans of traveling will have to wait until I’m able to squeeze in some vacation time. When that time comes, I’ll be committed to trying all of the delicious food that France has to offer. But in the meantime, I’ve found a small local café that specializes in one of France’s most popular delicacies, crêpes. Vive la Crêpe! brings French street culture into the streets of New York.

Upon entering Vive la Crêpe! in Union Square, I met with with the social media manager, Kate, who gave me information on the popular eatery. Focusing solely on crêpes and café drinks, Vive la Crêpe! aims to exude an aura of “authentic French coffee shop.” It succeeds: small yet homey, with wooden walls and chairs throughout the café, each employee at Vive la Crêpe! has been trained to perfectly create the signature delicate dessert in order to provide diners with an original French crêpe experience rather than turn it into something Americanized. The unique presentation of the crêpes is something to be admired: served in a cone, the crêpes, which are considered street food in France and served in food carts and small storefront windows for a quick eat, are easily portable and resemble over-sized ice creams that just as easily melt in your mouth.

My partner for the day, Maria, and I ordered one savory crêpe and one sweet crêpe to see if Vive la Crêpe! could tackle both worlds.  From the extensive menu, we chose the spinach, goat cheese, mushroom and basil crêpe, as well as the Nutella crêpe. Soon after we ordered, we were holding two large cones of hot, freshly-made crêpes. The ingredients of our savory crêpe were fresh and clearly designed to be a healthier option with creamy goat cheese. The fresh spinach and basil, mixed with the distinct taste of goat cheese, gave this savory crêpe a light yet satisfying meal-like quality. According to Kate, this is one of the most popular crêpes on the menu. Our Nutella crepe was amazing as well, the soft crêpe sheets covered in nutty and chocolatey Nutella. Sweet and simple, the Nutella crêpe would be great as a light dessert or a snack to satisfy a sweet tooth. The layers of crêpe that encased these delicious ingredients were extremely soft and fluffy while still maintaining the traditional thin texture. None of the edges were crusty or over-cooked, and the crêpes were evenly chewy throughout.

Spinach, Goat Cheese, Mushroom, & Basil Crepe

Nutella Crepe

Vive la Crêpe! is the perfect place to grab a quick bite to eat, as well as a place in which you can find a great cup of espresso — all for an affordable price. Better yet, Vive la Crêpe! has a smartphone application with a QR code so that diners can redeem a free crêpe with their first Vive la Crêpe! receipt (with no expiration date!). A hot spot in NYC, Vive la Crêpe!’s Union Square establishment has sister locations in NoLIta, the West Village, and the Upper West Side so that people all over Manhattan can indulge in a great crêpe experience. Maria and I had a wonderful time at Vive la Crêpe!, and I can confidently say that you can grab the best crêpes here, right on the streets on New York City.

Visit their website, download the app for free crêpes, and check out their menu here:

Get a great discount at Vive la Crepe using this coupon from the Campus Clipper

Vive la crêpe! on Urbanspoon

Becky Kim, Queens College, Read my blog and follow me on Twitter

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The Mussel Pot: A Seafood Experience

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

Summer nights in NYC are absolutely beautiful, and around dinnertime on Bleecker Street, there is a sense of orderliness as the city-goers file into the restaurants to enjoy a relaxing night out with great eats. This past Saturday, I finally found some time to myself where I could take a break from my usual routine of work, and I headed out to Bleecker Street with my good friend Amanda for a girls’ night out. Bleecker Street is extremely popular for having some of the best restaurants in the city, and it’s been a popular hot spot for people of all ages. Out of the many restaurants on Bleecker Street, Amanda and I chose The Mussel Pot for a seafood experience that so many New Yorkers love.

Known for having some of the best seafood in the NYC area, The Mussel Pot takes great pride in its mussel pots, as the name implies. The restaurant was warm-toned with soft lights, exuding a romantic atmosphere. The Mussel Pot has a small garden behind the restaurant for diners who wish for peaceful outdoor dining in the busy Manhattan neighborhood, providing a great chance to escape the busy city.

The Mussel Pot has an extensive list of drinks, ranging from an entire page of beer to a creative list of specialty drinks. To start our meal, Amanda and I each ordered a specialty drink; Amanda ordered the Hemingway Daiquiri Martini which contains rum, grapefruit juice, fresh lime juice, and maraschino, and I ordered the Almond Joy, a mix of Godiva white chocolate and Malibu coconut rum swirled with brown chocolate. Our drinks arrived shortly after we ordered them, and we were just as soon satisfied with our choices. The Hemingway Daiquiri Martini was light with a tart sweetness to it, making it a great drink to start the meal with. The Almond Joy was delicious as well, with a strong chocolate taste.

Hemingway Daiquiri Martini

Almond Joy

We ordered our entrées right after receiving our drinks, starting with the seafood rigatoni and Guinness-battered fish and chips, our two seafood favorites. We also ordered two different mussel pots: the Bouillabaisse and the Louisiana. A great thing about The Mussel Pot’s menu is that their mussel pots are listed by region. For example, the Bouillabaisse is under the French section and the Louisiana is under the American. With six different regional categories, diners are able to experience dishes of varying ethnicities.

The seafood rigatoni and Guinness battered fish and chips arrived first and these two dishes simply blew us away. The rigatoni was cooked to a perfect al dente with an excellent creamy, cheesy sauce over it. The seafood rigatoni was overflowing with different types of seafood, containing baby shrimp, scallops, and mussels. All of the ingredients used were fresh and Amanda and I both loved this delightful dish. The Guinness battered fish and chips were also astounding. Lightly battered, perfectly seasoned, and cooked to a great crisp, the fish and chips were my personal favorite. The dish came with three different sauces: ketchup for chips, tartar sauce, and vinegar. The tartar sauce and vinegar were great additions to the dish, each giving different yet delicious flavors to the fried fish.

Seafood Rigatoni

Guinness Battered Fish & Chips

After we finished our two dishes, our long awaited mussel pots arrived in large stainless steel pots. The two mussel pots were steaming and packed with fresh mussels and seafood waiting to be devoured. The bouillabaisse contained fresh scallops, clams, shrimp, and a thick saffron broth –a classic French styled dish with a great richness to it. All of the seafood incorporated into the dish was well-cooked and the mussels were especially amazing. The natural taste of the sea within the mussels mixed with the saffron broth created a great balance of flavor to the mussel pot. The Louisiana contained Andouille sausage, baby shrimp, crawfish tails, gumbo sauce, and scallion. A classic American mussel pot, the Louisiana had a smoky heat to it that is often found in southern dishes. The bouillabaisse was rich and worked off the natural briny flavors of the seafood, while the Louisiana added a great contrast to it with its spices and distinctive seasonings. The two mussel pots were packed with flavor and were a great finish to our meal.

The Bouillabaisse

The Louisiana

There’s no doubt that The Mussel Pot is one of the most popular restaurants in the neighborhood – diners flowed in out and of the restaurant, crowding the place by peak dinner time. With friendly service, great atmosphere, and amazing food, there’s no surprise that The Mussel Pot is a favorite of many NYC diners. Amanda and I loved our experience at The Mussel Pot, and I highly recommend this place to seafood lovers and others alike who simply enjoy a quality meal in the city.


The Mussel Pot on Urbanspoon

Becky Kim, Queens College, Read my blog and follow me on Twitter
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Authentic Mexican Food in NYC: Oaxaca Revolucion de Taco

Friday, June 29th, 2012

“Oaxaca is a city in Mexico well known for its exceptional food. We have dedicated ourselves to bringing you traditional Mexican fare. Whenever possible we purchase our produce, meats, dairy and soda from local, organic and sustainable sources. Our salsa and sauces are made from scratch and all our food is made fresh every day. Please enjoy our little taste of Mexico.” –Oaxaca Revolucion de Taco

After visiting Mexico during the past couple of summers and consuming only the best original Mexican food, Mexican food in New York did no justice in pleasing my taste buds. I missed the authentic flavors of the grilled meat and the spicy but refreshing salsa. New York’s take on Mexican food is just not the same as the food from Mexico itself, no matter how hard these taquerias emphasize their authenticity. I was about to give up on my search for the perfect Mexican restaurant when a friend and I came across Oaxaca Revolucion de Taco. I was able to find Oaxaca Revolucion de Taco through the Campus Clipper, where student savings and student discounts offer a variety of cheap eateries. This little taqueria is located off Bowery, in an alley covered with colorfully decorated sidewalk. From the outside, Oaxaca Revolucion de Taco looks like any Mexican restaurant – a good amount of seating both indoors and outdoors with a “specials” list hanging on its walls. Despite having a similar look as popular Tex-Mex chains, Oaxaca proved itself to be the most original and authentic Mexican restaurant to set place in NYC.

Patty Wu, the owner of Oaxaca, walked us through the menu and explained some of the highlights offered at Oaxaca. Although the menu is not extensive, customers are able to mix and match fillings and toppings, thus able to get a good variety with simple ingredients. Another thing that Patty mentioned was the special tacos that were not on the menu: the Korean taco and the potato poblano. The Korean taco is filled with Korean bulgogi, sweetly marinated beef, topped with pear and mango slaw, kimchi, and gochujang, the infamous spicy Korean pepper paste. The potato poblano is a vegetarian taco made of stewed potatoes, vegetables, and pico de gallo. My friend, Amanda, and I voted the Korean taco as our favorite, not because of our Korean heritage, but because this taco had the perfect balance of sweet, sour, tangy, and spicy all in one. We’re very well aware that bulgogi has the tendency of being overly sweet from being marinated, but Oaxaca’s bulgogi was light and chewy, with a slight taste of sweetness.

Pollo Guisado, Carne Asada, Korean Taco


Potato Poblano Taco

Amanda and I were served with four different tacos: the Korean taco, potato poblano, carne asada (grilled steak), and pollo guisado (stewed chicken). Upon tasting the tacos, I instantly knew that this was the taste of Mexico that I had been desperately searching for. Wrapped with double layers of heated corn tortilla, each taco had its distinct taste of meat and salsa, while at the same time giving the authentic taste that brought me back to Mexico.  We also tried the enchilada (carne asada, pollo guisado, carnitas), chicken quesadilla, and the burrito. This may sound like a lot of food to split between two people, but everything served at Oaxaca is light and fresh, leaving you satisfyingly full instead of bloated as happens after a heavy Mexican meal. The great thing about Oaxaca is that all of their meats are slow cooked, making them extremely tender and well marinated, and their meats are hormone free. To top all of this off, Oaxaca serves Jarritos, traditional Mexican sodas that have a refreshingly cool yet not overly sweet flavor.

Chicken Quesadilla





Oaxaca Revolucion de Taco is an overall amazing Mexican restaurant, but the best thing about it is that everything is so affordable. With each taco priced as low as $3.25, it’s guaranteed that you can enjoy a filling meal without having to break your wallet. Oaxaca also offers a great lunch special deal and a taco happy hour, where you can get a taco for only $2. With a wide delivery range and a “bring your own beer” system, Oaxaca is a popular taqueria amongst local eaters and traveling eaters like myself. Everything on Oaxaca’s menu is worth trying and I will be paying them another visit shortly for another round of tacos.

Use this coupon from the Campus Clipper to enjoy a cheap, but delicious Mexican meal at Oaxaca!

Becky Kim, Queens College, Read my blog and follow me on Twitter
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Oaxaca Taqueria on Urbanspoon


Cheers to Homey Organic Goodness: Corner Shop Cafe

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

It’s been excruciatingly hot in NYC recently and having to take the crowded subways couldn’t have been any worse in the insane humidity level. Despite roasting in the heat, I had the chance to meet and catch up with a good friend of mine, Kaila, as we went to grab a bite to eat at Corner Shop Café. A small, trendy restaurant located on the corner of Broadway and Bleeker near Soho, the Corner Shop Café was a delightful surprise to both of us.

Painted a deep gray and featuring red brick walls, the Corner Shop Café gives off the kind of rustic, vintage air that is popular with today’s hipsters. Kaila and I benefitted from the recommendations of Jen, our friendly waitress who covered the menu and daily specials for us. As she suggested, we started off with a salmon tartare to share, plated with strips of crispy yucca chips and pesto sauce. The salmon tartare was a beautiful escape from the steaming streets; the freshness of the salmon and avocado mixed with the smoky taste of cilantro, chipotle, and capers gave the perfect blend of creamy and clean that I look for in an  appetizer.

Salmon Tartare with Yucca Chips

Moving on to our individual entrées, Kaila went with the Corner Shop Café favorite, truffle mac & cheese, and I decided on the pancetta-wrapped pork loin with Waldorf apple slaw and orzo. The pork loin was cooked to absolute perfection, the moist and succulent meat wrapped in salty pancetta with the sweet apple slaw and creamy orzo balancing the usually heavy meal. Pancetta wrapped pork loins can easily be a disaster if the seasoning is off. However, the Corner Shop Café’s take on this dish presented a fantastic balance among multiple flavors. Despite not being my own dish, I couldn’t help stealing bites of Kaila’s truffle mac & cheese throughout the meal. With the creamy taste of three different types of cheese and the nutty taste of shiitake mushrooms and truffle, I couldn’t stop commenting on how delicious it was. We also added prosciutto to the mac & cheese, lending a heartier flavoring to the depth of the cheese.

Pancetta Wrapped Pork Loins with Waldorf Apple Slaw and Orzo

Truffle Mac N Cheese with Shiitake Mushrooms and Prosciutto

As we were finishing up our meal, Mark, the manager of Corner Shop Café, gave us two magnificently colored cocktails crafted by their bartender. I had the chance to speak to the creator of our drinks, who said that all of the cocktails at the Corner Shop Café are his original recipes and tweaks on some of his favorite drinks. I had the pleasure of tasting the Berry Peculiar Margarita, which contains Sailor Jerry Rum, iced tea, raspberry puree, mint, and lemon juice, and also the Angry Peach, which contains Bombay Sapphire, lime juice, peach schnapps, and prosecco. Both drinks had a distinct tartness mixed with a sweet, bubbly taste, refreshing enough to beat off the grueling heat. The bartender also described the drinks as having the “mellowness of the berries and the tartness of the gin.” Though these unique cocktails came at the end of our delicious meal, they were definitely the highlight of the evening.

Berry Peculiar Margarita

The Angry Peach

Corner Shop Café prides itself on serving only quality organic food prepared immediately before each meal (brunch, lunch, and dinner). All of the meats used are free-range and grass-fed – only the best types for the best quality. Our waitress, Jen, also recommended that on our next visit we try the truffle poached eggs and the tuna burger for brunch, indicating that brunch at Corner Shop Café is always a fantastic experience for people of all tastes. With the woody décor and lively atmosphere, Corner Shop Café is perfect for a casual date night, a hangout with your friends, or even for a quick meal alone after having roamed around the city. Kaila and I left extremely satisfied with our experience at the Corner Shop Café and there is absolutely no doubt that I will be paying them another visit soon.

Corner Shop Café’s website:

Use this coupon from the Campus Clipper to enjoy a fantastic meal at Corner Shop Cafe!

Becky Kim, Queens College, Read my blog and follow me on Twitter
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Corner Shop on Urbanspoon


Kebab Garden: Middle Eastern Eats Turkish Style

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

The red brick interior and dark brown tables and chairs bring a very pizza parlor vibe to this Turkish restaurant. In much the same way pizza parlors offer more popular variations of Italian food, Kebab Garden serves up popular Turkish fare such as the titular kebabs as well as hummus, babaghanouj, and gyro sandwiches. Also available is non-Turkish fare such as macaroni and cheese and spaghetti with tomato sauce as part of the “Daily Specials” on select days.

Despite not being on the daily special menu, the food my friend and I ordered was still inexpensive and delicious. Think you’ve tasted all gyro and kebab have to offer? Think again; Kebab Garden is a lesson in why regional food differences really do count. I ordered the lamb doner kebab, which comes with rice and salad, while my friend ordered the chicken shish sandwich. And despite the store being open to the hot temperature outside, the restaurant itself remained only pleasantly warm. We also did not have very long to wait for our food. The chicken shish sandwich was ready in under 10 minutes, but be advised if you order the kebab it will take a little more time.

But it’s worth it, especially if you’re picky about your lamb like I am. I wanted it well done, but not charred or overdone in anyway. Crispy but soft and with just the right combinations of spices is how I like it. Kebab Garden’s lamb doner kebab delivers and then some. The meat is tender and juicy, really taking advantage of the earthy taste and somewhat tough texture of the lamb. It came cut in thin strips, and when doused with the white sauce that came with my order, was absolutely perfect. It paired really well with the rice and salad giving the meal a very down-home vibe, too.

The chicken shish sandwich was just as good as the lamb doner kebab. The chicken was tender, flavorful, juicy–everything you could want from chicken–with an added bonus: it was Turkish style! Think you’ve had chicken in a pita before? Think again, as Kebab Garden’s chicken shish sandwich will blow you away to the point you’ll keep eating long after your full. Between the sandwich and kebab, my friend and I completely forget the soft, warm bread were given to start our meal. The yougurt drink was also forgotten, a cold creamy yet salty drink worth trying.

To finish her meal, my friend ordered the baklava which initially didn’t interest me. I’d had baklava many times before, but the flavors of the pastry always seemed off to me and I never really liked it. However, continuing the trend that afternoon, Turkish baklava is also very different from the usual Grecian variety. My friend’s portion was heated up so she could sample the natural flavors better. Hmm, I thought looking at the flak dessert, this looks worth trying, so I dug in and was happily surprised. It was delicious, flakier and with a more mellow sweetness than I was used to in baklava. It’s definitely a must-order when visiting Kebab Garden.

If you’re looking for Turkish home-cooking or even a new spin on your beloved kebab or gyro, I highly recommend visiting this establishment. They’re currently redesigning their restaurant and have changed the service from self-serve to waitstaff service. Kebab Garden is located on 128 First Avenue between 7th Street and Saint Mark’s. They’re open 11:00AM to 3:00AM everyday, and make for great post-bar and club food. In fact, it’s great any time at all, especially with a student discount like the one offered below.

Evelyn Oluwole, Brooklyn College

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Slane in NYC

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Restaurant review of Slane Public House by Emily Ho, NYU

102 MacDougal Street
New York, NY 10012-1203
(212) 505-0079

The Brief Bite

– Great chatty atmosphere

– Wallet friendly drink specials – $5 Cosmos, Sangria, Margaritas, and $4 beers

– Free wifi during the day!

– $6.00 Lunch – last I heard, Slane is planning on sneaking in an authentic Irish dish somewhere in the Student Special menu.

I hear it even before I step in the door: the steady rhythmic beat of the music, people calling out to one another, and the sound of drinks clinking as the bartender, Annie, shakes up another two mojitos. It’s a Tuesday night at Slane on MacDougal, next to the Creperie.

If the name Slane is sounding slightly familiar, you might be thinking of the castle it was named after: Slane Castle in Ireland, now a concert hall hosting acts such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers and U2. The cool, slightly quaint Irish aesthetic seemed very much on bar owner Glenda’s mind when she designed the interior: dusted brick walls with niches for candles and green Irish lettering on the walls, and dim pendant lamplights along the bar. The space is cleverly designed to accommodate big groups in the front (they often host birthday parties), football fanatics (there are 5 flat screens, each tuned to a different sport), and a smaller intimate booth in the back (elevated by a step, these few tables offer some privacy if that’s what you’re looking for). Stepping in reminded me of my own trip to Ireland a few years back, and my visit to its oldest pub, the Brazenhead. So just coming in, I knew this wasn’t just an ordinary pub.

Sitting at the bar, what caught my eye was their large selection of beers, most notably of them the Irish classics Guinness and Carlsburg, and Sam Adam’s Octoberfest, which had just come into season. Big points to Slane for having a seasonal beer selection, but even more so was the quick and friendly service from Annie, the bartender and only waitress. Even though the bar was filling up fast, she was quick to take my order.

The comfort food menu leaned slightly towards European cuisine, ranging from Fish N Chips ($14) to meat and vegetable pies. After much deliberation, my friend and I settled on an appetizer of garlic breaded mushrooms ($8), a chicken & mushroom pie for her ($10), and a classic shepherd’s pie ($13) for me.

So – the seemingly rudimentary appetizer. Who knew a simple dish of sautéed mushrooms ensconced in bread crumbs, with an underlay of butter and garlic could be so plain delicious? The button mushrooms were just juicy and crispy enough to pop the tastebuds – a hard combination to pull off. Combined with a light side of arugula salad, this dish makes a great vegetarian option. Definitely the high point of the meal, my guest and I devoured the plate in minutes. We didn’t have to wait too long for the entrees to arrive. My shepherd’s pie was a hearty casserole of beef chunks and vegetables, baked with a topping of mashed potatoes. The real winner at the table though, was the meat pie: topped with only a thin crust, the soupy mixture underneath had a nice touch of wine – a sherry like Harvey Bristol, perhaps. Whatever the secret concoction, the flavor soaked into the chicken & mushroom combination, elevating the dish from standard fare to true comfort food (with a slight twist of sophistication to boot).

The music was still playing when we finished, but the birthday party had left, making room for the nightly 3 hour music set, Mondays through Thursday. Each night features a different group, playing anything from jazz to a more eclectic alternative pop. Slane is pretty receptive to local bands in the area, and even features student bands from NYU. It’s definitely a good atmosphere whether you’re catching up with the old gang, or whether you want to mingle with new people (I caught a guy’s eye a few times). So, is Slane a tiny slice of Ireland or just a cool joint for hanging out, either before or after hitting up the nightclubs? You decide – Slane is right on MacDougal, close to Bleecker.

Click here for a student discount at Slane.

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