Thursday, December 1, 2011

Ridge Hill is Chain Hill

Wow, wow, wow!  We have a new chain mecca in Westchester County and it is located at the new manufactured village of Ridge Hill.  Nesteled atop what might have been a landfill in beautiful Yonkers, NY right off of the NY State Thruway and up the hill from the famous Murray's Ice Skating Rink where I spent a good part of my youth, this new shopping, eating and entertainment complex is a RorDawg heaven.  Since this is a food blog and not a shopping blog I will focus on all of the dining options.  Stay tuned though because I have big ideas for Chain of Clothes.  Big ideas, HUGE! 
Right now only a portion of the chains are open at Ridge Hill but they include Yard House (where I dined and will write a full review in a later post),and  Cheesecake Factory (back in my heart with their skinnylicious menu).  Opening in 2012 we have Brio (an Italian chain, doesn't excite me that much - let me know if you think otherwise), Oh wait, I take it back.  I just went on their website and the first thing I saw was a $5.00 martini night and $2.95 bar menu. I am in!!! Lots of fun things on that bar menu like Spicy Shrimp and Eggplant, Ravioli Caprese and Spinach Artichoke Dip.   Also opening in 2012 is the one my little Yussie (Brett) is most excited for Texas de Brazil.  It looks like this place has a massive salad bar.  I could get behind that.  The other part, all that endless meat, might not really be for me.  I would try it with Yussie though.   Elevation Burger is opening (cute, fun burger place but with all the other options not sure I will go), Havana Central (Cuban NY chain) and Barbes (this is the TOTALLY random one - only one other location is that weird kinda corporate, kinda Murray Hill location).  The food is described as Parisian and North African.  No thanks.  I'll stick with the Yard House and watch sports and drink beers thank you very much!
Ridge Hill, good job!  I just wish something like this would open in Rockland County.  Jesus knows they ceretainly need it!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Beanie Welcome to NY!!!

It is with great pride and joy that I announce the opening of a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in the greatest city in the world...New York!!!
Yes, one of my favorite coffee chains has finally open in this grand city.  I knew it was opening but when my roommate/friend Cookie told me she had it after a meeting last week I was beyond stoked.  This Monday I made sure to change my usual walking route to work and venture an extra avenue west so I could be one of the first people to experience the NYC Coffee Bean.   If you are not familiar with Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf it is a mainly west coast coffee house chain where Perez Hilton used to sit and blog.  See, you can become famous blogging!!!   I have hope!
Anyway, I made my way to 40th and Broadway and was surprised to see how unassuming this new branch was.  I was also surprised how empty it was.  I have to assume people just don't know about it yet.  I went kinda basic and just got a large iced coffee.  The best thing at Coffee Bean are definittly their lattes, and Iced Blended treats, even their sugar free ones but they still have a bunch of calories so I figured for a Monday just go basic and low cal.  At first sip I was transported right back to LA and all my fun times there.  Then I looked up and was brought right back to the hussel of Times Square.  Then I walked by that big Forever 21 and saw some cute sequin tops and was happy again.   To go with my coffee I also got a yummy parfait.  They have a large variety of muffins for sale too and they look smaller than the ones sold a lot of other coffee  so I assume they aren't too bad for you.  I have had the morning glory one a few times and have always enjoyed it.
I will admit, next time I go I will probably get a sugar free latte.  The coffee was good, but it ain't a latte!
Also, since I am writing about coffee I should mention that I had Starbucks today and they were giving away samples of their Caramel Brulee flavor.  UMM OMFG, that is heaven.  HEAVEN.  Also pretty solid my sis Sombs and her Keuric Pumpkin Spice Coffee.
Sorry, I had to mention that. 
But if you are in NYC and are near Times Square, go indulge, get a fun Iced Blended Coffee Bean and enjoy!  If you are not, go try that Caramel Brulee at Starbucks. You will thank me.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Getting Frisky with the Frisco

There are not many chain restaurant openings that have excited me as much as the new Del Frisco's Grille in Rockefeller Center.  In fact when the chain first opened in August I made sure my family was there opening weekend (and daddy's birthday) to be amongst the first to see what our favorite steak chain had up their sleeve with their new kid sister.  I was so pleased with almost everything about Del Frisco's Grille that I have been back a few times since my initial tasting and have continued to be more than pleased.  
Del Frisco's Grille is what those in the entertainment world might call a spin-off.  Ala Melrose Place, A Different World, and the Colbert Report.   The first location is in Rock Center as previously mentioned with a second opening shortly in Dallas. 
I have been able to sample many things on the menu.  My favorites have been the delicious flat bread pizzas (roasted tomato) to eat as an appetizer and the generously portioned Prime Steak Sandwich that is filled with juicy steak cooked to your liking and hhorseradish sauce that gives a nice kick.  It is served with chips but you can easily substitute any of their sides like I did.  I went with the mashed potatoes that are of course delish!   They are buttery and or oily but worth the indulgence if you only have a few bites.  I also really enjoyed the truffle mac n cheese as a side dish but admit I haven't really met a truffle mac n cheese that I didn't like.   The cheesesteak egg rolls are a signature appetizer but I will say I am not thrilled by them.  I mean of course they are good but not amazing and if you are going to be eating a big steak meal of sorts you don't really need them.  I would get them maybe if i was just going for drinks at the bar and was in the mood for something fun after a few glasses of vino.  I also threw my bone rules out the window once and had a lollipop chicken wing that was quite tastey.  If I was able to eat something with a bone that means it had to be good.  
The Grille also offers classic Del Frisco steaks in addition to the more casual fare like sandwiches and entree salads.  I like going with the more unique options when I am dining here though.  I guess it is the novelty of it all!  With it's location in Rockefeller Center I can see this being a very cool place to go during the holiday season.  How nice will it be to sip a light Pinot Noir (that is for my Cookie), share a flat bread pizza and look at the tree.  Sounds lovely, I am sure I will be doing just that soon!!!!

Oh wait, one thing did really annoy me.  The price of their signature cocktail (THE VIP Svedka Clementine Vodka Infused with Fresh Hawaiian Pineapple) is $16 buckaroos.  I think thatis a bit much. I guess ill just stick to wine there even though I am a sucker for those vodka infused drinks.   

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Little Pump for Pimp

Happy Fall Everyone.  I usually hate this season because I am such a summer person but due to the fact that I have developed some sort of weirdo sun allergy in my old age I am learning to embrace the other seasons like Fall.   Fall into the Gap ( love that old commercial).  So since I am learning to love Fall I want to bring up something I that is helping me fall in love with this season and that is Pumpkin coffee.  Starbucks has had their Pumpkin Spice Lattes for a while and I always enjoyed them but I wasn't as obsessed with them as everyone else and thought they weren't worth all the calories.  A few weeks ago I noticed Dunkin Donuts was also promoting a new Pumpkin flavor.  As an expert food blogger I knew I had to try.  Well from first sip I WAS HOOKED.  My first thought was OMG, I don't even need my go to sweet and low with this bad boy.   Since I opted for the coffee and not the latte I thought oh there probably aren't that many calories in this.   I kept on drinking them, even after my weekend runs.  I made friends with the Dunkin Donuts worker in Murray Hill.  He is very nice and would ask how many miles I ran. When he was making my Iced Pumpkin Coffee with skim milk I noticed how many pumps of Pumpkin flavor he put in and it was A LOT.  Oh no I thought, there is no way this has minimal calories.  So of course I went online and looked at the nutritional information.  It isn't terrible, but it isn't good either.  As you might know, I only ingest calories through drinks if it contains alcohol.  I mean, why waste it you know.   A medium Iced Pumpkin Coffee with skim has 160 calories. Again, not terrible but 160 can add up after a while.  So my thoughts on this are it is a perfect treat.  Kinda like a tasti d lite.  Won't kill your diet but probably not something you should drink everyday.  So for now only a little pump for the non-existent pimp!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Skinny Dipping in the Cheesecake

A few weeks ago I had my weekly visit with my parents.  Sometimes I get lucky and they pick me up and take me to a joyous NJ mall.  I love that because it allows me the flexibility of having my weekend in the city but also the luxury of spending time in one of my favorite places, a mall!  I am a GREAT mall shopper. Watch out Banana Republic sale rack, I am coming.
Anyway, on my latest trip to the mall I suggested we go to Cheesecake Factory.  I hadn't been for a while and figured I could get something like brunch on a Sunday.  Well much to my surprise and glory I was introduced to their Skinnylicious menu (ugh the name sounds like something someone at a NJ mall would say).  Besides the annoying menu name, the menu is a pure delight.  It isn't just a list of five bland, boring, blah dishes like salmon and broccoli.  Instead it is a full menu of appetizers, entrees and desserts, with something for everyone!  Including Captain Picky McPicky, me!!
I went with the chicken pot stickers for my meal.  They are an appetizers so it is not a huge portion, but were quite tasty and under 500 calories!   My mom got a turkey and avocado sandwich and seemed happy with her choice.   Other items that stick out to me were the arugula salad because it contained raisins, nuts and cheese - a true Rori salad, chicken lettuce wrap tacos in 3 versions - Asian, Mediterranean and Mexican, a veggie burger, an Asian chicken salad, flatbreads, various chicken entrees with veggies and rice and of course many low calorie drinks like sangria and mojitos.  Anyone who reads this blog knows, I love my low calorie chain options so this is obviously a welcome addition!  Good job Cheesecake!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

And She's Back ...With a National List

America, rest assured, I am back.  Yes the economy might be tumbling, wars are going on, weirdos running around Wall Street but we do have two things to be happy about.  1 - My girl Amanda Knox is free 2 - I have decided to blog again.  Why you might ask?  A few reasons.  The most important one is that when I run into people who haven't seen me in a long time the first thing they ask is why haven't you updated the blog.  I always come up with some grandiose excuse like I am too busy volunteering at soup kitchens, rescuing dying puppies or sitting on my couch watching copious amounts of TV including Breaking Bad and my ultimate guilty pleasure Most Eligible Dallas (oh I am so happy Matt and Court are getting together!).  Anyway, I decided those are bad excuses so today is the day I shall blog again and one day hope to have my dream come true.  The dream you ask??? To have my blog turned into a reality show staring yours truly traveling around the world to different chain restaurants trying them out and giving my take on their offerings.  A girl can dream!
So I saw this article on Huff Po (not that I read that liberal garbage, it came up on my AOL front page) and decided to blog about it and see what everyone else thought about the list Market Force (whatever that is) published of America's Favorite Casual Chain Restaurant.   You will see many of the RorDawg faves are up there!  See, I know what I am talking about.

1) Cheesecake Factory - holla - stay tuned for my update on their skinny menu
2)  Texas Roadhouse  - Yussie
3)  Olive Garden - Eh
4)  P.F. Changs - should be higher
5)  Carrabba's - long name lot;s of repeat letters

For the rest of the list, see the link below.|aim|dl4|sec1_lnk2|101207#s384365&title=1_Cheesecake_Factory

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Seasons of Love

Last Friday my coworkers and I had our monthly chain lunch at Olive Garden in Times Square.  We know how to keep it classy.  On my way out I noticed a large number of men who looked like they were managers of the restaurant.  Yes, there is a certain look to an Olive Garden manager.  I wanted to impress them with my knowledge of chains so I asked them if a Seasons 52 would ever open in NYC.  You see the Olive Garden and Seasons 52 both are part of the Darden restaurant group.  If you are not familiar with Seasons 52 it is a lovely more upscale chain with all healthy and low calorie dishes.  It is fab. 
So to make a long story short the managers smiled at me and said, "it might be sooner than you think."  WOWZERS!!!  Could this be true?  I really hope so.  I looked on their site and didn't see anything about a NYC opening but it could be soon!  I did see that they are opening one in Roosevelt Field in Long Island.  That in itself is very exciting and a perfect spot of a Seasons 52.  I can see the pre Boca crowd really digging this place.  I would perhaps take a ride to good ol' LI to check it out.  Maybe?  I just really hope one opens up in NYC.   Stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


It is with much joy that I announce the opening of Panera one of my favorite, soup, salad, sandwich chains to the great island of Manhattan.  This has been long overdue.  I am thinking of attending the opening.
Sadly, the first Panera is opening in the vast no mans lands of 7th Avenue between 29th and 30th not really close to my office but is actually right near the UCB training center.  Too bad I am taking a break from UCB to focus on TV watching, the gym and work. It would have been nice to stop for dinner there on my way to class.  Nice incentive to start taking classes again maybe.
Stay tuned for more details on the official opening date.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I am Gonna Sit at The Counter

Do I believe in love at first sight?  I don't really know because stuff like that is way too deep for me.  Do I believe in lust at first sight?  Yes!  I am in LUST.  With what you might be asking??? A hot Yankees fan.  Nope!  Charlie Sheen.  Yes!   The Counter a new burger chain in Times Square.  YES! Yes!! YES!!!
A few weeks ago one of my Mediavest Ad Agency friends told me about The Counter and how awesome it was.  I think the topic came up because I told her about my love of sauces.  She mentioned that you can create your own burgers there from lots of different varieties and add any type of sauce you could imagine.  Wow, sauces galore. I was in!!  A few days later we planned a lunch with her team.
The second I walked in I could tell this place was going to be great and the lovely gay couple next to me talking about doing each other because they were bored only added to the ambiance!!!
To start everyone is given a sheet of paper and pencil where they can fill out what they want for their custom burger.  You pick the meat, cheese, bread, (or no bread and make it a salad), toppings and ... wait of it...SAUCE!
I went with a amazingly fantastic pick.  I got a veggie burger with grilled pineapple, craisins, lettuce and carrots.  For my sauce pick, well I couldnt just pick one, so I picked two and alternated my dips.  I went with the apricot sauce and the honey mustard.  Both were delish!!!!  Others that stood out to me were the Basil Pesto (duh, never met a Pesto I didnt like) and the Peanut Sauce (same could prob be said for Peanut Sauce).  From the pictures posted I think you can tell just how delicious it was.  I can firmly say it was one of the best veggie burgers I ever had in my life.  I know I need to go back and try the beef too.  If they can make a veggie burger that fab, I can only imagine what they can do to a cow.  Moo Moo!
The Counter also has great side dishes/appetizers.  We went with the sweet potato fries which are always a hit and the fried pickles.  Amazing!!!!!
What is great about this place is that you can have fun and order fun stuff and stay kinda healthy if you don't go crazy with the fried stuff and stick with the veggies and salads.  
According to their website they have a lot of locations on the West Coast.  I hope they expand and open up more in NYC so I can sit at Counters beyond Times Square!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Wow, that was way easier than I expected it to be.  I finished 2 Chipotle burritos in under 15 minutes and am really not even that full.  I went with one steak burrito and one chicken burrito. I def liked the steak one better.  Truthfully I found the chicken a bit gross, I am just such a picky chicken eater.  I went steak first and it was no problem.  It was delicious and went down easily.  The chicken was a bit harder, not because I was full, because I just didn't like the quality of the chicken.  Everyone in the office was quite impressed with how easily I did it.  The other person participating also finished his easily but as one of my co-workers said it isn't as impressive to see a big dude eat 2 burritos, it is cool that you can do it.  DUH Winning!!!!
My pre-eating technique was drinking the night before and not eating a huge dinner then only having a granola bar for breakfast.   I am going to skip dinner tonight but have a feeling I might be hungry again soon.  I am pretty gross.  Healthy Rori starts RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!  I was thinking of giving up candy for Lent but then realized I am a Jew and then also realized I didn't want the Taste D/candy store to go out of business because I am celebrating a holiday that isn't even mine.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Burrito Challenge

It is March, I am going to Miami in less than a month, will be spending a big part of my summer on the beach in Fire Island and like always have eaten like a pig, drank like a fish all winter long and for the first time in a long time have not made the gym a priority.  Instead I have been focused on other things like watching Californication and Improv.   I recently decided enough is enough, I am going to get back on track and get in shape again!  Too much going on to let it all go.   But alas I heard a competition calling and I needed to participate.  My co-workers made a statement that Chipotle Burritos are so big how do people eat them.  Of course I had to butt in and say no they arent.  I could probably eat 2 (when will i ever learn to just keep quiet).   From there my co-workers challenged me to prove it to them and I said sure, no problem. I do not let people challenge me and then back down.  If I say I am going to do something, I am. Why can't I just be normal and say, yes the burritos are so big, it is so gross to eat so much food.  Nope, gotta act all big and bad.   From that tiny statement, it has now turned into a floor wide event with another person also participating.  Granted this dude is probably 6 foot tall and has at least 50 lbs on me.  Many people have tried to give me advice on how to do it. I am torn.  There are some days I do have a huge appetite and can eat a gross amount of food, but that is usually when I am drunk or hungover.  Most of the time when I eat I get sick afterwards.  I am very worried what will happen on Wednesday at noon in the 4th floor conference room.  Do I show up to work hungover in the hopes of it helping me scarf down my two burritos or do I do the challenge RAW?  Raw like the RorDAWG!  I guess healthy March will start after Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Taco Ew

I think I might have to become a vegetarian again.  Prob not because it was getting kinda annoying not being able to eat meatballs or chicken parm but this story is pretty gross.  I used to eat a fair amount of Taco Bell in high school and college.  I guess I don't really eat it anymore but how gross is it to find out that only 36% of the meat is actual beef.  Here is the list of ingredients.
Water, isolated oat product, salt, chili pepper, onion powder, tomato powder, oats (wheat), soy lecithin, sugar, spices, maltodextrin (a polysaccharide that is absorbed as glucose), soybean oil (anti-dusting agent), garlic powder, autolyzed yeast extract, citric acid, caramel color, cocoa powder, silicon dioxide (anti-caking agent), natural flavors, yeast, modified corn starch, natural smoke flavor, salt, sodium phosphate, less than 2% of beef broth, potassium phosphate, and potassium lactate.

It is not the worst list ever.  Water, chilli pepper and onion powder aren't that scary.  I think just knowing that it is less than half actual beef is the weird part.
Here is the link to the article from Gizmodo.
Yo Quiero Taco Bell!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Brother Jimmy's is Gonna Pack Some Meat

Nina just let me know this breaking news but Brother Jimmy's is going to be opening up ANOTHER location, this one in the meatpacking district.  I think we have enough Brother Jimmy's in the city already.  It is bad enough there is one in cheeseball heaven Windsor Court.  I have a feeling this one is going to be even cheesier and be a hot spot for bridge and tunnel action.  No thank you.
Here is a link to the story so you can check it out yourself.
This is totally random but they should open up a Brother Jimmy's at the Jersey Shore.  That would be AWESOME.  I would pay to chill with my girls JWoww and Snookie there.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

RorDawg Likes Blue Dog

I apologize a lot, mostly for not blogging enough.  So I apologize but I am back.  I figure I would start the new year of blogging by writing about my new favorite lunch spot near my new office.   My new friend told me about Blue Dog Cafe and said I would probably like it.  At first I couldn't remember the name which is kinda ironic because you would think RorDawg would remember Blue Dog but no.  I guess all those white wines are getting to my brain, or perhaps it is old age, who knows? 
There are two Blue Dogs in NYC, one on West 56th and the other on West 25th near Madison Square Park.   The atmosphere here is not like your typical NY lunch spots.  It looks like it should be in some hippie town not the middle of a bustling metropolis.  Also there is nowhere to sit which is kinda annoying.  It would be nice to take a friend here and enjoy a nice lunch but not possible with no seats. 
Everything at Blue Dog is fresh and homemade.  Pretty much the opposite of everything in my kitchen.   They have a large breakfast menu that has lots of interesting sandwiches like Nutella and Banana as well as all these fresh fruit drinks and smoothies.  I have never had any of these but I am sure they are good. 
When I go for lunch I pretty much get the same thing every time.   I get a small soup and half a sandwich.  The soups I love are all vegetarian (of course) and my favs are the minestrone, lentil and garden vegetable.  For sandwiches, I stick with two and both are fab!  My true number one is the fresh mozzarella, pesto, basil and tomato sandwich on a lovely baguette.   That is when I feel like splurging.  When I am trying to be "healthy" I get the hummus and avocado sandwich on whole grain braid.  Also delish!!!  I read some reviews on Yelp on this place and it pretty much got rave reviews overall so I am clearly not the only fan.
If you live or work by this place you should def check it out.  It is a little pricey, but whatevs.  It is worth it for the quality.

Friday, December 10, 2010

IHOP - To the Hip Hip Hop, a You Don't Stop

This must be a big deal because not one, but two of my friends (and I only have like five) sent me this breaking news.  It seems that IHop will be opening more locations in Manhattan, most importantly a flagship hub in Times Square.  I am kind of indifferent towards IHop. I like it, but I am never like oh man I gotta go to IHop.  I would never eat anything but the pancakes here.   I think the best thing about IHop is the variety of syrups you can chose from.  That is pretty rad!  I am on their website now and it looks pretty good actually.  They have Simple & Fit options that are under 600 calories.  I am always into crap like that.  They have a Blueberry Harvest Grain 'N Nut Pancake that comes with a scrambled egg substitute.  I wonder if I could actually substitute the substitute for real eggs?  They also have a 55+ menu which I would bet my entire snow globe collection on that my parents order from that.  That isn't embarrassing at all.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

To Veg or Not to Veg

I have something very shocking and important to share with all of my dedicated readers, 12 days ago I decided to become a vegetarian.  I have just been really grossed out by most meats lately that I figured it would be easier if I stopped eating it all together.  I don't even like animals, so the act of killing them is not what upsets me.  I think I dislike them so much, I don't even want to eat them. Blah!
Of course I realize what this means for the blog in that I am not sure I can fully be a trusted source of chain restaurant knowledge but I am going to give it a try.  When I think about what I am going to miss most, food at baseballs games is what I think about it.  I can't imagine seeing Jeter and not eating a hot dog at the same time.  That being said in the 12 days I have been a veggie, I haven't craved any meat.  Now I am not guaranteeing this veggie thing is permanent, but for now it is brussel sprouts and cous cous and hummus for me!
I have decided that today's post will be dedicated to the chain meat meals I will miss most (in no particular order)

1)  A hamburger from Houston's
2)  ChickenNuggies from Md Donald's
3)  Thai Chicken Pizza from CPK
4)  Filet Mignon from Del Friscos
5)  Baja Chicken Burritto from Baja Fresh
6)  Chicken Rice Bowl from Pita Grill
7)  Szechuan Beef from PJ Changs
8)  Chicken Parm from Carmines (yeah that one is really gonna hurt)  I guess I can get Eggplant Parm there but I can see this really annoying my family.
9)  Sesame Jack Chicken Strips from Friday's
10)  Meatballs, everywhere!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Kanye I Knew I Liked You For a Reason

Kanye, with all the BS you pull it is hard to like you but your new album got ridic reviews and I just read you are a chain restaurant owner.  OMFG that is amazing!  We have something in common, we love the chain (restaurants, not gang).  You own them though, I just eat at them and write about them. 
The article I read on Consequence of Sound says you already own 2 franchises of the chain Fatburger and are planning on opening 10 more.  Kanye, did my blog inspire you?  Not sure, but you inspire me.  In honor of your love of the chain I am going to to try to get tickets to your show tonight!
Below is a link to the article I read that mentions Fatburger.
One more thing, we kind of have a similar style in this picture.  Gotta love the cable and collar!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

With The Seven, Seven-Eleven, Seven-Eleven Seven Even Back do Lil Joe

Today was a good day.  There is a new chain opening up in the Hill they call Murray and not just any chain but a mega chain.  On 28th street there will now be a 7-Eleven.  Yup the Big Gulp is coming to the hood.  I actually have mixed feelings about this.  Part of me sees this becoming a homeless hangout. Also, I don't think I would ever eat any of their hot food.  It totally grosses me out, probably as much as when I see hot dudes dating ugly girls or obnoxious Mets fans or hippie liberals.  Also, I don't like Slurpees.  Icee drinks should not be carbonated.  But, there is also a part of me that is kind of excited.  7-Eleven reminds me of high school and I love being nostalgic.  I remember going there all the time to get their  iced coffee coolata kind of drink.  I can also see myself enjoying all of the beverage options.  For example, I imagine them having every flavor of Diet Snapple and Vitaminwater Zero.  What a treat!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Lavo was Lame-O

In honor of the President Brett's birthday this weekend my family and I dined at the new midtown hotspot Lavo.  If you read some of my earlier posts you know how excited I was about the opening of this Las Vegas Italian mecca.   I was a bit disappointed with the atmosphere in the New York location.  It was very understated but not in a good way.   I thought it would be a bit more glam, glitzy and fab (like me - on a good day of course!).  I am not really sure what the restaurant was going for, maybe some sort of older rustic thing, I wasn't feeling it though.
The food overall did not stand out.  We started the meal with kobe stuffed riceballs that were just ok.  I have had better riceballs at many other Italian restaurants.  Those balls should have been awesome because they are a mixture of everything I love Kobe (the beef and Bryant), some cheese (just a bit), rice and fried goodness, yet somehow they disappointed.  The restaurant also gives you fresh, hot garlic bread to start.  Really, you can't go wrong with butter and garlic drenched bread.  For my entree I got the Rigatoni Melanzana which was just rigatoni with some fresh mozzarella and eggplant.  I get this a lot at Max in NYC and it is much, much better there and probably half the price.  My brother got the chicken parm, which was a huge portion and very good.  If I ever go back I would get a chicken dish instead of the pasta.  The dessert was actually awesome.  We got the Roasted Apple Napoleon which was just a delish apple pastry with cinamon gelato.  That was by far the best part of the meal!  I can't believe I am saying this but the dessert was probably even better than my glass of rose.  That is saying something.
If I ever go back to the NY Lavo, I would go later in the evening hoping that the scene would be a bit better and share a few dishes with friends.  I am glad I went, but don't think I will be running back anytime soon.  I shouldn't really be running anywhere anyway because I tend to trip over my own feet on the east river and have cuts and bruises everywhere now.  Ooopppss!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

I Wish I Parked My Car in Harvard Yard

I am obsessed, obsessed, with all things related to Mark Zuckerberg and the background information on how Facebook started.  I read everything I can find about it (well just what is on NY Mag, Gawker and the Post - but that is a lot).  I relish stories like the one my friend Merryl told me about Zuckerberg's sister stealing all of her clothing when she was at sleep away camp. She even cut her name tags out.  Obviously the obsession has to do with the opening of The Social Network this weekend.  In honor of the opening, I decided to dedicate my post to Harvard, where clearly I should have spent more time.  Perhaps I would be Mrs. Mark Zuckerberg today, but I spent my time drinking dollar beers at Great Scott and shopping on Newbury Street. Stupid girl!  Oh if I could turn back time. I can't, even Mark can't do that, but what I can do is write about my favorite chain restaurants in Harvard Square.  So here it is!

John Harvards - A great American chain with lots of awesome salads, burgers and chicken sandwiches.  I remember very well the bread they serve before the meal was amazing.  They also have a ton of great craft beers.
California Pizza Kitchen  - who doesn't love a good gourmet pizza (see JAP chain write up below)
Bertucci's - Good Italian food, big portions, but sometimes I think I ate too much and it made me sick.
Border Cafe - This is just another name for Jose Tejas, THE BEST CHAIN EVER.  Yes they took my Nevada fake ID here, but it has been 10 years, I am over it!
Fire and Ice - This was a staple of where you would go when your parents were in town.  Now that they opened one up in the Palisades Mall, it doesn't feel as special.

I need to write a special note for a chain that is no longer there, the TGI Friday's.  They allowed me and my friends many nights of fun that included chocolate, bananas, mudslides, DJ's wanting to go to Revere Beach and if I remember correctly a fight with the Harvard Hockey Team (Mark wasn't on that, if he was, we wouldn't have fought with them).

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Happy New Year Japs!

Happy New Year to all my Jewish friends.  In honor of the year 5771 I decided to create a list of the Jappiest chain restaurants around.  I actually can't believe it has taken me this long to create such an important list for my people .   It just dawned on me when I was getting my coffee this afternoon that it would be such a genius idea.   I ran upstairs, Macchiato in hand, and told my favorite Jap that this was going to be created as soon as possible.  Without further adieu, put down your shofar and get ready... I present to you the most Jappy chain restaurants in the USA!

1) Haru - Japs love sushi and with the many outposts in NYC, this media lunch staple is a Jap heaven!  Miso Eggplant??
2) Tasti d Lite - This sort of frozen yogurt chain really started the trend of allowing Japs to indulge in their sweet tooth.  Where else could one enjoy cookies and cream for 100 calories?
3)  Berry Wild/Pink Berry/Red Mango - I am lumping all 3 together for this list because every Jap has her fave among them.  These more natural frozen yogurt chains are all the rage.  Even mommy dawg is into them with all of their fresh fruit and other fun toppings.  I am a moochi kinda lady.
4)  Houston's - What Jappy girl doesn't love to go to Houston's?  With their array of fun salads, delicious burgers, spinach artichoke dip and now SUSHI!!  This is a Jappy must!
5)  California Pizza Kitchen - With prime spots in all of the Jappy locations (Bloomingdale's, Murray Hill, Garden State Plaza, Prudential Center, etc) it is almost by default that this chain is so beloved.  I might even consider this an old-school stomping ground.
6)  Nobu - What Jap does not dream of her honeymoon in Mykonos and dinner at Nobu or her anniversary date and the chance of spotting a celeb there in NY or LA.
7)  Chop't - A salad chain must be included and this is the one I picked.  A bit pricey, but with all the fancy, low call dressings, it is a Jappy lunch dream.
8)  Dos Caminos - This made the list over the other Mexican chains because of their small portions (those tacos are tiny) and because of their new meatpacking district location.  Ample outdoor seating, yes please!

I would appreciate comments with ones I might have missed.  I am pretty, pretty low on the Jap totem pole (if I am even on it) so any feed back would be helpful. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Eataly is Ecstacy

I came, I saw, I ate, I drank, I met Batali, I conquired Eataly!
When I first heard about Eataly opening, I was beyond thrilled.  My favorite chef Mario Batali would be opening an Italian mega food complex based on a similar concepts in Italy (hence why it is a chain and I am writing about it).   When it opened this week, I knew I had to be go and check out this land of white cheeses, tomato sauce and wine.   Having recently traveled to Italy and eating and drinking my face off, I knew I would be an expert on judging Eataly.   So this Saturday, I shook off my normal Saturday morning hangover, went for a run and made Nina come with me to see what all the buzz was all about.
There was a line just to enter, but we only waited around 10 minutes until the security man allowed us in.  When you first walk in it looks like a fancy Italian supermarket, but as you navigate through the complex you realize there is more.  What really stood out to me was how you would be in the seafood section and all of a sudden there were tables and people eating, that is how it was throughout.  We started at the wine bar of course as we waited for our table in the pizza/pasta restaurant.  Because it is so new and opened ahead of schedule there were some hiccups in the service.  They ran out of wine glasses so it took some time to get our delicious rose.  Nini and I didn't care, we were chill, just enjoying the atmosphere and the fact that seconds before I took a picture with the captain of the orange crocs club.   The same can't be said for the miserable chubster we were next to at the wine bar with the red glitter flip flops who called the establishment a sh*t show and was being quite mean to the nice men behind the bar.  If I have learned anything in my 29 years on this planet it is that you be nice to your bar tender.  Be nice to anyone who can provide you with wine!  So, after our glass of vino we proceeded to go to the pizza/pasta restaurant because it was time to check on our table.  Lucky for us it was almost ready!  Right before we sat I noticed my favorite sommelier from Otto was working there.  For some reason I feel like we are friends, but that can just be my imagination, I am not sure.  He seemed very stressed and unhappy, it was sad.  Anyway, Nina let me pick our food, that was nice, so we got the Margarita Pizza and the Pesto Pasta.  You can tell by the pictures, it was delicious!!!  The pizza was extra, extra soft and the pesto was flavorful without being too greasy.   You could totally tell the pasta was homemade too.
I would definitely come back here soon and explore more of the different eating options.  I am excited about the beer garden on the roof and Manzo's (like the Real Housewives of NJ last name - so funny) restaurant.  It is kinda of sad that I don't really know how to cook because I imagine food shopping here would be fun.  I could probably get some good Truffle Oil. 
Welcome to NY Eataly and welcome to my heart! 

Monday, August 30, 2010

Real Chains of New Jersey

I am writing this blog in utter shock of what I am watching on TV.  The Real Housewives of NJ are so nuts and disgusting and crazy and fake and broke.  These so called women or womans, whatever they call themselves should be ashamed   Gross.  Thank god for that fine piece Albie, brings some class to that show.  I also think Danielle's daughter is really pretty and should be a model.  Good luck!
Anyway, I can think of one good thing coming from NJ and it is not these women or Xanadu.  It is CHAIN RESTAURANTS!
So without further adieu here is my list of chain restaurants I want to go to but am scared I might run into a housewife (also known as my fav NJ chains).  I will pick 5 in honor of every housewife (I dont't forget about nutso Dina).

1)  Jose Tejas (no shock there)
2)  P.F. Changs
3)  Joe's Ameican Bar and Grill
4)  Houston's
5)  Bahama Breeze

Oh Theresa just said "Do we believe everything the NYPost writes."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pop The Champagne, It's The Birth of a Chain

Mazel Tov Lavo!  Congratulations and welcome to the world of chains.
It is with great pleasure that I announce that Lavo will be opening in NY, therefore having 2 locations and being a chain.  The original outpost is in fabulous Las Vegas at the luxurious Palazzo Hotel.  Lavo is run by the same peeps that run Tao and I certainly love me some Tao.  Lavo is an Italian restaurant.  I went in Vegas and from what I can remember, which sadly is not much, it was quite lovely and quite delicious.  I do remember the nice waiter that Nini became friends with and eating meatballs that were yummy and a pasta dish.  I was kinda a hot mess that night, not gonna lie.  Oh well.  Now that it is opening up in NY I can have it again soon.  My bro claims he has a connection and can get us into opening night.  Fingers crossed!!  If that happens, you can expect a full blog posting on it.

Friday, August 13, 2010

My Response to Eater's List

My heterolifemate, Nini just sent me a link from Eater naming their picks for the top 10 chain restaurants that need to come to NY.  I am outraged that they did not contact me, the NYC chain restaurant extraordinaire, for input.  By not contacting me, they totally messed up and missed so many key chain restaurants that need to come to NYC.  Here are their picks with my comments.  Sonic (ok might be cool), Waffle House (no let it be a southern thing), Krispy Kreme (we had and we have enough donut stores -this is the most egregious pick), Dairy Queen (eh), Denny's (no, it is really for WT and I like my island for the lack of WT), Cracker Barrel (this is a country thing, good, but not for the city), P.F. Changs (yes, yes, yes) Chilli's (sure but not necessary), Chick Fil-A (yeah I would hit that) and In N Out (obvi yes).

For the correct list of the the top 10 Chain Restaurants that need to open in NY.  See below.

10)  Blue Ice Gelato
9)  Yogurtland (bc it is now Phileo)
8)  Katsuya
7) Panera (would be great for lunch, better than freakin Le Pain)
6) In N Out (give Shake Shack a run for it's money)
5) Cheesecake Factory
4) Del Taco (heard it was good)
3)  P.F. Changs (my parents would prob visit me more, if that is even possible)
2)  Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (please)
1) JOSE TEJAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  (no shock here)