Thursday, April 29, 2010

Crumbs Bake Shop: 1371 3rd Avenue New York, NY (multiple locations)

These cupcakes *look* amazing. They are huge and adorable and beg you to ignore how overpriced they are. I must admit, I've brought them to parties purely because they make a great presentation. (Though, now that I've actually tried them, I promise I won't be doing that anymore) Thinking of stopping in to treat yourself? Don't bother. They are sickeningly sweet, even for a serious sugar-freak like myself. The cake is dry and tastes like it came from a supermarket mix. The frosting is too thick, super oily and waaaaaaay too corn syrupy. Some of the cake flavors are filled with a center of flavorless goo. Ew.
Please see the review of Kyotofu immediately.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Lenny's: 1481 2nd Avenue, New York NY (multiple locations)

Well, I usually try not to eat fried garbage, but I was REALLY craving a chicken cutlet sandwich today thanks to someone who mentioned Rocky's deli to me. (Rocky's is a deli in the town that I grew up in- pretty much the best deli in the world) I stopped into Lenny's thinking that a deep-fryer is a deep-fryer no matter where you are. Oiy. Sadly mistaken. There were 3 thin slices of 'chicken' on this sandwich- but it was mostly mushy, oily breadcrumbs with some poor quality meat inside.  Ew. The pickles that came with my $8 (!!!) lunch were bendy and the ones that come from a grocery store jar (aka: not worth my time) So, I guess the happy ending of this story is that I only ate half. Nice way to turn what would have been a caloric/fat content splurge into something that I didn't feel particularly guilty about. Next time I'll rent a car and drive up to Rocky's.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Beyoglu: 200 East 81st st NY, NY

This is a great restaurant to go to on a nice day. The outdoor seating is lovely with cute little blue-tiled tables and great people watching. It gets pretty crowded and there is usually a wait for the outdoor seats, but assuming you aren't starving and/or super impatient, it's worth waiting for. It's a great place for a date as there are lots of nice small plates to share, and the waitstaff is great about checking on you 'just' the right amount. I've actually lingered here chatting for hours and appreciated that they don't rush you out and they don't bother you. You do get frequent water fill-ups which I love. Just about everything is perfectly complimented by the awesome fluffy flatbread that is quickly replaced when you finish it. I suggest the hummus, the cacik (yogurt with cucumbers & garlic) and the delicious Beyoglu salad. I've eaten inside here too, but don't like it nearly as much. It's an okay atmosphere, but on the dark side and the acoustics make for shouting matches to hear your dining companion.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Street Sweets: Locations change daily, google-able

Not to be confused with the Treats Truck, which was reviewed recently, this truck is also an outstanding place to stop for a snack. The great thing about the new trend to sell sweets this way is that it's getting easier and easier to turn a corner and stumble onto one. My friend and I were pretty full from lunch, but we passed this truck as we were walking to the subway and decided we could probably both manage to find a little more tummy room. I had the coconut macaroon (very thin and crispy) with a layer of nutella and OMG it stopped me in my tracks. Wow. Absolutely fantastic. Crunchy, just sweet enough and perfectly complimented by the perfect smear of hazelnut goodness. My friend was equally impressed with her cookie. Plenty of other things to try the next time I spot the truck! Look for it near you!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Barking Dog: 1453 York Ave NY, NY

This place is 2 blocks from my place which means I go there pretty often. The food is a diner-with-a-twist and has a comfortable (very dog-friendly) atmosphere. You can bring your dog to sit outside and they'll even bring over a cute lime green bowl of water for him/her. If I'm in the mood for a great big salad or the best breakfast around this is where I'll go. The homemade biscuit that comes with breakfast is scrumptious with a light honey taste.  Pretty good burgers also, though I do not recommend any of the other sandwiches or entrees I've tried. Stick to the salads or breakfasts and you'll love it. Or, on a hot summer night it's fun to go with a pal and share a delicious Haagan Daas sundae or sip on chocolate egg creams. I love to meet friends here to catch up because you can sit and chat for a long time and no one really bothers you (aka: pretty inattentive service inside year round. There is however, pretty great service outside on a gorgeous day when they want to move the people eating outside along in a hurry)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

William Greenberg Desserts: 1100 Madison Ave NY, NY

My grandmother asked me to bring almond macaroons to our recent Passover dinner. This sent me in a tailspin searching high and low around Brooklyn and the Lower East Side, but much to my dismay, the only place I found them did NOT have kosher-for-passover ones. I personally love the coconut ones, but when Grandma asks for something specific, we do not argue. How funny is it that I finally wound up finding them oh, about 10 minutes away from my house. Why I didn't check FIRST at this upper east side Jewish owned legendary bakery is beyond me. Apparently, I much prefer wild goose chases around the NYC boroughs. Anyway, (and we will just look away from the fact that they wound up costing me $28 for ONE lb of cookies) they were absolutely outstanding. Slightly chewy without actually sticking to your teeth. Deliciously and naturally flavored with almond paste. Yum yum yum. I made it a point to go back the following week to treat myself to their famous black & white cookies- which were every bit as wonderful as the reviews around here have built them up to be. It was then that I found out what I've been searching to discover for oh, about 3 years now. THIS is the bakery that supplies Agata & Valentina AND orwashers with the most amazing rainbow cookies/rainbow cakes I've ever had. I am ALWAYS on a mission to find the best ones in the world and will pretty much always buy one to try where ever I see them sold. (unless they have sprinkles on top, which automatically gets them black-listed in my book) Well, let me just start to explain why these are SO far above any others I've tried. In between each layer of colorful cake, there is a layer of jam- apricot and/or raspberry. The cookies are tops with thin layers of dark chocolate. So far, I have not told you why these are any different from anyone else's....but here I go. THESE amazing rainbow cookies put an extra surprise layer of marzipan between each layer of cake and jam and OMG OMG OMG it takes them to a place that is out of this world incredible. Please go visit this awesome bakery, spend too much money on too much sugar and then send me a thank you note for making you drool. If you want, you can come running with me afterwards so that you don't feel so guilty. That's what I do.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Orso Restaurant 322 W 46th Street NY, NY

My mom and I had just finished an awful dinner a few doors up the street and decided to treat ourselves to some yummy after-dinner treats here. We had 30 minutes to kill before theater so we went in for dessert and cappuccinos. As soon as we saw profiteroles on the menu, we knew what we wanted. They were fantastic in every sense, if not maybe just a little on the small side. The pastry was puffed and light, and the gelato inside was a subtle coconut flavor. They had poured warm caramel and chocolate sauce over the top, which pretty much perfected the dish. Our cappuccinos came in cute mugs that fit perfectly in our palms and we enjoyed the extra frothy top quite a bit. The clientele was obviously of a much higher class than the tourist trap we mistakenly ate our dinner at. Oh well, lesson learned. Next time we will definitely come here to enjoy our dinner AND our dessert.

Brazil Brazil Restaurant 330 West 46th Street New York, NY 10036

You'd think that maybe the fact that we were at a Brazilian restaurant, but seeing things like caesar salad and risotto on the menu would have tipped us off that we could probably find somewhere better to eat, but sadly no. We went in. We did get the outdoor table we requested, seated next to an arrangement of dusty, tacky, pastel, fake flowers on a wire pushcart. The paper tablecloth on our table was marked with the drinks of the previous diners, but did that bother us, nahhhh. We had food on our minds and could overlook stuff like that for the time being. The walls were painted a horrific shade of salmon, but still, we kept our hopes high that perhaps we would be pleasantly surprised. After all, the place was packed- with a line of people outside waiting for tables to open up.
A basket of italian bread was left for us by our gruff waiter, who pretty much just walked away when we said we'd just stick with tap water. He came back to take our orders a little while later - a goat cheese salad to share, a glass of sangria (which, incidentally wound up being the ONE remotely Brazilian thing on our table) Pasta primavera for my mother and grilled tilapia with vegetables for me. Mysteriously, on the side of my fish sat a weird pile of chickpeas and alfafa sprouts. Is THAT supposed to be Brazilian? I'm so confused. So, okay, the food was boring, but not terrible. Definitely not Brazilian though. But wait! Is it perhaps Brazilian to add some chef's hair to the broccoli? AH! That must be it! Actually. No. I don't think ANYTHING can justify or explain that. It's just F-ing GROSS. When I told the waiter about it, he simply took the plate away. No "I'm so sorry." No "Is there possibly anything else that I can bring for you?" Nope. No words at all. He did however, not charge us for the hairy broccoli, so I guess that's a plus.
Going to theater? Eat ANYWHERE else.

Docks Oyster bar and grill. 633 Third Ave, NY NY

I had dinner here a few nights ago with my mother and was very pleased. I had 6 delicious oysters and the iceberg wedge. Let's face it. No one orders an iceberg wedge thinking that it's a healthy salad option. This kind of lettuce is pretty much devoid of any nutritional benefits whatsoever, BUT it DOES serve as wonderful platform to put all kinds of unhealthy yet delicious foods atop. I was pretty much in heaven eating my crunchy, refreshing 'salad' topped with blue cheese, bacon crumbles and tomatos. Deeeeelicious. Maybe tomorrow I'll have some romaine.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wildgreen Cafe 1555 3rd Ave New York, NY

I love getting fruit smoothie drinks here after a good run. The no fat no sugar muffins taste indulgent even though they aren't even cheating.
The breakfast wrap with soy-cream cheese, dried fruit and granola on whole wheat is fantastic too. The hot food selection always looks healthy, and yummy.
The only negative is that the sitting area is tiny- and usually you have to wait for someone to get up if you want to sit down.

Treats Truck (changes location daily, google-able)

I heard about this truck a few months ago and opted to sign up on their email notification list...Finally, today, for the very first time, my schedule put me a mere 3 blocks from where the truck was parked. OHboyohboyohboy. I knew I had built it up to a very unfair expectation status. INCREDIBLE. How was I to know that it would exceed even MY ridiculously set standards. Fantastic warm, fluffy, inviting baked goods, with a fantastic warm, fluffy , inviting owner/operator/baker entrepenuer. It's true- she does give lots of free samples- and she does it happily. I think it truly pleases her to see people enjoying her creations. ..Well, it does work very well to keep people coming back and buying more and more too. I'll be back for sure.
Go, enjoy!

Anneliese's Pastries & Fine Foods 1516 1st Avenue New York, NY

Not only are the people who work there unusually friendly and knowledgable, the pastries, soups and empanadas are fantastic. I especially like the mini-soup/empanada or soup/sandwich lunch special..Serious bang for the buck- and it feels a little bit like one of those treasures that only a few know about. I LOVE the cucumber/dill yogurt soup and a lemonade for lunch on a hot day. If you need a little something sweet after, you really can't go wrong with any of the delicious cookies or cakes. The only tiny negative is that the empanadas get heated up in the microwave..They are much better if you get one to go and heat it up in your oven. Great little neighborhood spot.

Slice, The Perfect Food 1413 2nd Ave New York, NY

Tastes good, but it's ridiculously overpriced for what it is...I had two slices and a small salad delivered, and including a tip, it came out to $19.00!!! Crazy, huh? Try Pintailes instead..Better pizza, still healthy and not greasy, better toppings, better salads and a much more reasonable price. They also are faster deliverers...It always seems like as soon as I hang up the phone, they buzz me with my dinner. Yum.

Pintailes Pizza 1573 York Ave New York, NY

This is my favorite 'healthy' pizza place. They deliver so fast it makes you wonder if someone else called your order in before you did it yourself. I swear. It seems like my buzzer buzzes the second I hang up my phone to place an order. Try the clam pizza. Try the artichoke/chicken one. Try them all, they are fantabulous.
Oh, and the woman who answers the phone is so very pleasant which makes it even better.

Eli's Vinegar Factory 431 East 91st St. New York, NY

The brunch here is excellent. If you come with a big appetite, you can definately get your money's worth with the unlimited salad barrel. It's not your typical salad bar at all. A huge array of all different salads, wings and other pretty things. Otherwise, it's kinda overpriced. I had a great omelette with homefries and my friend had eggs benedict. We both had coffee and fresh juice (strawberry/orange!). They DO give you a lovely bread basket with delicious jam. The total was about $50 including a tip...kinda pricey for brunch in a very bare-bones factory setting. They were very patient though, and even though they were attentive with coffee and plate-clearing, they didn't rush us at all and we stayed and chatted for almost an hour after we finished eating.

Orwasher's Bakery 308 E 78th, Ny, NY

The people who work here are so lovely and pleasant and I adore the whole experience of purchasing bread and cookies from them. The owners recently sold to someone new and I worried that the quality would change, but I am very happy to say, the only changes I've noticed are actually improvements!
Yum Yum Yummy stuff!

Glaser Bake Shop 1670 1st Ave New York, NY

When you walk into this place you are transported back into a place when people were ALL friendly. Customers seem to temporarily lose any attitude AND the people who work there are so warm and down to earth. The delicious cookies/cakes/ pastries reflect that spirit and are the best comfort food I have found so far. I CAN'T wait until this Thursday when they officially start baking rainbow and leaf cookies again. They don't make them when it's too warm out because the chocolate doesn't behave. Try this place and fall in love with it.

Pio Pio 1746 1st Ave New York, NY

Want a huge array of food for $25? Go to Pio Pio. Very tasty things to eat and super speedy service (as a reward for waiting out in the cold perhaps).
Come hungry with a hungry pal and get the Matador special and splurge on the sangria. Just make sure to bundle up enough that waiting outside isn't unpleasant. Great dinner and drinks for two (could really feed 3) with tip total about $40- very reasonable and
It's well worth it.

Cookshop 156 10th Ave New York, NY

The pastry basket is not to be missed. Very good service, except that we weren't allowed to order dessert because our waiter felt we'd had too much sugar. I think he was just kidding, but I'm really not sure. He was right though- we were all close to bursting after our entrees. Yummy bloody marys too- but very spicy.

Follow up:
Recently read a review of their seasonal outdoor ice cream cart and think I better head back asap to check it out. Who wants to come with me?

Barbounia 250 Park Ave S New York, NY

Went for a prix fix restaurant week dinner last night. I was meeting 2 others who called to say they were going to be 20 minutes late, but the hostess happily sat me at our table anyway- which was a pleasant surprise. I had a very girlie, but very strong cocktail as I waited, and was checked on (but not in an annoying way) a couple of times by the waitstaff. The menu was unusual and appealing and I tried things I wouldn't normally order...I figure, during restaurant week it's the perfect time to branch out a bit. All 3 of us loved our apps, entree, dessert and the delicious flat bread and olives they kept bringing. The service was gracious, knowledgeable, friendly and attentive. The atmosphere, while a little loud, was open and airy and very tasteful. Looks like a fun place to come with a slightly larger party so that you can share lots of apps and grilled whole fish. I'll come back someday...After I finish trying the other 50,000 restaurants in this amazing city.

Ottomanelli's Cafe 86 1626 York Ave Frnt New York, NY (multiple locations) Butcher shop at 82nd st and York ave

I LOVE Otto's. I've been ordering in and dining here for about a year now and have never been less than thrilled about my bang-for-the buck. Delivery is super fast..Food is plentiful, fresh and delicioso. My favorite part of the delivery experience is that when you call and ask to hear the specials, you think you aren't understanding one word of what the heavily-accented waiter is saying..But lo and behold, he finishes speaking (warpspeed fast) and you realize that you actually understood everything he said. Yes, I WILL have the garlic bread, Yes! I would like to hear about the desserts. Thanks Mr. nice thick accent man. You are the best. Try the rigotoni with chicken and artichokes and ask them to add fresh mozzerella. YUM. Or, if you are feeling iron depleted, try the awesome sliced steak sandwich.

Update March 2011: I DO still love Otto's cafe...but I thought I'd add how much I love their butcher shop down the street a bit on 82nd and York ave. They make AMAZING sandwiches. I particularly love the smashed meatball, the chicken cutlets and the italians- usually on a roll or a baguette. I frequently grab a chopped salad and 1/4lb of tuna or chicken salad for a picnic near the river. Aside from that, it's the best place to buy any kind of meat in the area, not to mention their frozen pastas. It has a wonderful old-world family-run feel to it and the people who work there are warm and helpful. There is often sawdust on the floor which I find particularly charming. Go check it out!

Sabor A Mexico 233 E 77th St New York, NY

Wow, this place makes yummy stuff! Everything tastes fresh and homeade. No toritillas from a factory here, nope. A little on the pricey side for some of the items, but the tacos are about 2.50 each and taste great with fresh radish slices and cilantro. Great guac too!

La Mia Pizza 1488 1st Ave Frnt New York, NY

Excellent UES pizza. I stopped in today for a slice with mushrooms, fresh mozz, and fresh basil and it was much better than average. The sauce has a little kick to it- and the clearly-fresh ingredients make quite a difference from the standard. It took me a while to find this place- but it's my new fav in my hood.

Follow up:
Still one of my local favs, 3 years later! The owner is very friendly and always greets me with a smile and something nice to say. I still LOVE the mush/basil/mozz slice and just got home from enjoying one!

Cafe Blossom 466 Columbus Ave New York, NY

eh. Since I am not actually a vegan I probably didn't like this place as much as I might have. If , for instance, I would never eat a real bacon cheeseburger, than yes, their fake-n soy cheese (not) burger was pretty good but alas, compared to the meat alternative it left a bit to be desired. It came with some mushy mildly flavored sweet potato fries- that we asked for 'well-done' but were still pretty squishy. That said, the oyster mushroom app was pretty great- but then again, what isn't great when it's deep fried in cornmeal? The prices are kind of ridic considering the ingredients they use. I mean- yes, I know organic is pricey, but $6 for fresh juice? C'mon now.

Bagels & Co. 500 E 76th St New York, NY

For those of you who are not Jewish, and/or don't have Jewish friends who have educated you in the way a bagel SHOULD taste, THIS is a bagel. This is a darn good bagel in fact. I would go there much more frequently if the whole place wasn't completely taken over by obnoxious children and parents who can't control them. My advice, get it to go. One of the things I really like about this place is the service. It's super fast- and they always say it's really nice to see me again. I'm not sure if they actually remember me each time, but they are pretty good actors if they don't.

Sable's 1489 2nd Ave New York, NY

My FAVORITE place to get delivery from when I am sick. They make outstanding chicken noodle/matzo ball soup.
When I'm not sick (or when I'm sick but still have a Carey-sized appetite) I LOVE their whitefish salad, chicken salad, and any of their awesome smoked fishes. YUM. Definately plan to get delivery or to-go...'cause it's always hot and fish-stinky in there.

Eli's 1411 3rd Ave New York, NY

I have a love/hate relationship with Eli's. It's SO beautiful and fun to shop there...but yet, SO SO SO crazy overpriced. I did my weekly shopping here yesterday for a fun, indoor activity- since it's about 95 degrees out and I wanted to get out of my apt in some other a/c'ed environment....My normal weekly shopping costs about $50-$75 depending on how creative I am planning to get with my dinners...Here, it cost me $129. Insane...As I unpacked my groceries, I noticed that produce especially was just over-the-top expensive. I (I am embarrased to say) paid $7.99 for organic blackberries and $13.99 for organic sugar snap peas. WHAT?? Cleverly, the produce is marketed in such a pretty way (with the prices written on a blackboard seperately- which kept me from the awareness level that should have protected my wallet) that I bought it anyway. NEVER again. Next time I'll be going back to Ramon, my favorite corner-produce stand guy, who always has great, fresh stuff AND always throws in some free fruits for me

Thalassa 179 Franklin St New York, NY

We went for the restaurant week pre-fix meal. Fantastic food. The fish was cooked to perfection, the produce was fresh as could be. Delicious bread and different dips/spreads. The only dissapointment was the dessert. As far as I'm concerned, if it's not chocolate, it's not really worth the calories...However- this was sticking to the theme- Greek, and so they offered a baklava type thingy and a yogurt thingy...neither of which impressed me much.
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Artisinal 2 Park Ave New York, NY

I LOVED this place. I was there for restaurant week for a friend. It was VERY tempting to order from the regular menu..There wasn't anything on the menu that didn't sound good. And the cheese. Oh the cheese. There is a room full of cheese. There is cheese fondue (not that we had that, but just seeing it and thinking about it was lovely) Everything we got was outstanding. And the cheesecake, oh the cheesecake. I wanna go back. Soon.

Via Quadronno 25 E. 73rd St New York, NY

Very good, very expensive. I'm so full, I don't have the energy to write this. I think I'm gonna go lie down.
Just to clarify...
lots of garlic bread. salmon with lemon sauce and vegetables and great whipped mashed potatos.
p.s. the dessert was chocolate fondue.
p.p.s. oh, and cute waiters.
p.p.p.s and little plates with flying pigs on them.

Alices Tea Cup 220 E 81st St New York, NY (other locations google-able)

Ok. I have a lot to say so bear with me. First off, the pumpkin scones with clotted cream and jam are like bits of brown-sugar topped heavenly goodness. My 5 stars are purely for these scones. I think if I ever move out of the city I will really miss them. I go for tea and scones frequently...and have gotten lots of other (even non-pumpkin-loving) people hooked on them too. I've tried the other flavors- and keep coming back to the pumpkin. Dare I say, the best scones in the city. Wow. Said it. If you want to stay there, it's a lovely experience- especially good for the girlie girls in your life. The antique-y looking mismatched tea pots and cups/saucers make it a special snack. It can get a little confusing looking at the vast tea menu, but the staff are knowledgable and always make good recommendations. Other than tea and scones, the food is kinda overpriced for what it is..but it is good. The mad hatter is an awesome presentation, and it's one of my favorite meals to share to catch up with a friend. They also sell some very cute stuff. I have an umbrella from there that I love so much that when it broke, I went back to buy another one. One plus (or minus)depending on how you look at it, and what kind of mood you're in, it can get a little mommy + me-centric. I personally find little girls in dresses drinking tea adorable, but I know some people who would find this less than pleasing as a backdrop to their afternoon tea.

Galaxy Global Eatery 15 Irving Place, NY NY

We should have known to pay attention when this place was nearly empty and there was a wait everywhere else in Union Square last night. But, alas, we were hungry, and the menu looked quite appealing for me and my vegan friend. It also has a lovely blue galaxy-like ceiling which was nice- and the booths were cozy and quiet. Ok. Let's start with the air conditioning. Blowing on us so hard that our candle wouldn't stay lit. Next came the kimchi pancake appetizer. Looked kind of like potato latkas. One bite was very meh. The next bite had a piece of plastic in it. Now, mind you, I realize this is not the waitresses fault, and when I pointed it out to her she did exactly what she was supposed to do- apologize and take it away. She did not, however, offer another app at no charge or maybe a free drink/dessert. The entree- shrimp soft tacos, was pretty good actually- but they forgot the guac and I had to request it. My friends' entree sucked. So not going back. Oh well. Plenty of other choices in the area.

Shake Shack. E 23rd St & Madison Ave AND 366 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY

Now that's a darn good burger. If you have plenty O' time to wait in that long line, it really is worth it...and who doesn't like eating outside in the park on a lovely day? I had a shack burger and shared fries with my Dad and Bro. Deeeeelicious.

Follow up:
DANGER: A new one opened. SHIT. It's MUCH closer to where I live AND there is never a long line AND there are indoor tables to sit at. Now I'm really in trouble. In boot camp, my nickname became 'shake shack' because going to get a concrete and a burger after our workout was frequently my reward for working my ass off. Concretes are AMAZING. Ya know what else is amazing? The ridiculous vegetarian option. You THINK you are making a healthy choice but noooooooo, not even close. This portobello burger is deep-fried with cheese in between 2 mushrooms. AND it has some creamy mayo-y sauce on it to boot. HAHA. Ya. Not that figure friendly after all....but sooooooooooo yummy.

Follow UP:
OMG OMG OMG even more danger coming. They are opening another new one and it's even closer to my place. Guess my 10 mile runs are going to start happening more often. Oiy.

Haru 205 W. 43rd Street New York, NY

Had a quick bite with a friend here in the downtime before an audition. Can't beat the happy hour prices. 20 minutes, edamame and spicy tuna roll, under $10 total. D for done. Out the door in a flash.
thank you Haru.

Kyotofu 705 9th Ave New York, NY

WOW, NY Magazine was right, this is the f-ing BEST chocolate cupcake in the city. Magnolia, little red hen, crumbs etc, can all kiss my fat chocoholic ass. YUM!

Dresner's 1479 York Ave Frnt 1 New York, NY

I've lived across the street from this place for almost 2 years and never went in...Strange, huh? I don't know why, but for some reason the places that are closest to me are the most neglected. Well, my folks were coming in to meet me with short notice and we couldn't get a reservation anywhere so we decided on a whim to give Dresners a shot..Especially because we had initially planned to eat at the greek place next door to it (called Rafini's I think) but there were literally 2 people inside on a friday night at 8pm so we thought it was probably awful. Anyway, this is really a nice neighborhood spot. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't expect downtowners to venture to the UES for it, but if you live in this hood give it a try...You'll be pleasantly surprised. My mom had some AWESOME french onion soup. The entrees were all cooked nicely, not too buttery/oily, and very flavorful. The desserts that we shared were spot-on. I'll definitely come back again now that I know it's better than I had expected.

Pickles and Olives 1647 1st Ave New York, NY

I never even used to like olives, save for the tasteless black olive slices found on pizza- but then again, what item, when smothered in cheese, sauce and pizza dough is NOT delicious? Anyway, I was over at a friend's house making dinner and saw like 6 differerent plastic containers in his fridge filled with olives. I was like, huh? Why so many kinds? And it was then that my new found taste for olives began it's development. Green olives hand stuffed with gorgonzola. Stuffed with goat cheese. Stuffed with provolone. Spicy little tiny black olives with pits. WOW. So, I went in. I had a lovely time telling the olive maestro which ones I wanted to try as he moved around from barrel to barrel filling up containers. And then we moved on to the pickles. Horseradish pickles. The BEST new pickles ever. Super garlicky-licious pickles. I have now made a schedule change to include a once monthly stock-up visit. I LOVE finding new reasons to love living on the UES even though I constantly get harrassed for it by my downtown and brooklyn based friends. Ha! So there. You don't have an amazing pickle and olive place within walking distance do you? So ha. I do. And if you want, come visit my up here in "above 14th st land" and I'll take you there.

Saint Ambroeus 1000 Madison Avenue New York, NY

This 5 star rating is only in regards to the following specific dessert. It's all I've tried.
So. Here's an idea. If it's cold out, and you're sulking and crabby, have some ice cream!
"ice cream?" you exclaim. Just wait, I'll explain.
First of all, you'll need to be in your own little world just enough to tune out the snooty people around you. Sit at the bar if possible. All the way over to one side. Now order a bowl of gelato with a tiny little white porcelain pitcher full of HOT CHOCOLATE. Not, hot chocolate the drink, but hot, melty, glistening, simply de-fucking-licious chocolate. It's okay if you want to email me to say thank you.

Grand Central Oyster Bar Grand Central Station New York, NY

I had a delightful dinner with my father this evening at the Oyster Bar. We sat in the casual area at the bar where we could watch the shucking. I immediately felt the sense of a well-preserved spot that had probably been exactly the same for 50 years or more. The service was polite and available, but not overly present, which I liked. The food was suberb. I had the lentil crab soup which was hearty and wholesome. That's a recipe I'd love to have. Dad and I each polished off a dozen assorted clams and oysters which were all fantastic and exactly the way they should be- cold, fresh, sweet and slippery. MMmmmmMmm. I am glad I got a chance to eat here and will most likely go back the next time I'm having an oyster craving. By the way, the whispering wall is right outside of the restaurant so make sure to try it out- it's pretty cool.

Pure Food and Wine 54 Irving Place New York, NY

I'd been meaning to try Pure for a while..mostly for the novelty of the whole raw food movement...something that I understand and respect, but could never really stick to. I met a friend for dinner at 6:30 on a Wednesday night and we were one of 3 tables with people in the whole restaurant, which made me feel a little guilty that we were just sharing one app and one entree. Anyway, while the menu was quite appealing sounding, none of the dishes that we were leaning toward were recommended by our waiter so we tried others...Overall, it was interesting. Great presentation, and very unique flavors...but the flavors were all VERY strong and really competed with each other more than they complimented each other. For what it was, it remained kind of a novelty of a meal, but the prices made it less than fun. We skipped dessert after we nearly passed out at the $17 price tag for one. I mean, c'mon. You don't even have to pay for gas or electric ovens!! Shouldn't that keep costs down?? Our one entree and one appetizer (which left me feeling hungry enough to go get a cupcake for $5 at whole foods) came to $56 including tip. Seems rather ridic, no? I will not be going back. I should mention the one saving grace (aside from my awesome company) the service was impeccable. Friendly, attentive, not too-in-your-face, quick to refill low water glasses, and very helpful with advice and suggestions.

Candle 79 154 E 79th St New York, NY

Hype Hype Hype. I am really getting sick of sub-par vegetarian places that get slammin' reviews. I can cook better than this with a blind fold, nose plug and a hand tied behind my back...AND I would never charge you 200 times the cost of the indredients for the meal!
The atmosphere is nice- and if there wasn't a group of 3 obnoxiously loud girls sitting next to us, it would have been even better. The waitress, though polite when she came around, didn't even check on us after we were served our bland meals...and we had to flag her down to order dessert. Actually, the bus boys were the best part of the staff- refilled water frequently and cleared plates in a very timely manner.
Overpriced, under-talented, Completely and totally overrated.

B Bar & Grill 40 E 4th St New York, NY

Lovely outdoor/indoor garden atmosphere. It really is a little oasis in the east village, and it was the perfect spot to meet 9 others for a pre-show dinner. The food was fine- nothing to write home about. I had fish and chips, minus the chips, plus a little salad. We had some guac and chips on the table- which were quite good, but it's pretty rare that guac and chips are not good. Avocado all mushed up. Deep fried crispy things. What could really be bad about that....but I digress. The one thing that I was highly UNimpressed with was the fact that my mojito was only 2 bucks less than my entree. A little ridic, don't ya think? I'd go back anyway, to re-enjoy the lovely ambiance.

Gotham Pizza 1443 York Ave New York, NY

eh. Not a big fan of the cornmeal crust...other than that, pretty decent pizza. Stay away from the salads unless you like brown iceberg lettuce, yum yum.

Central Park Boathouse East 72nd St in the park Ave New York, NY

This is one of my favorite spots for lunch. You can grab a salad/sandwich/soup/burger etc and a homemade lemonade for less than $10. Walk inside towards the fancy restaurant and through to the other side and you'll find a quiet little atrium that is still outdoors, but has the view through the fancy restaurant out to the lake. Leave the front outdoor seating for the tourists (suckers ;)
I especially love the veggie chili- and ask them for a baguette with some butter for a buck- it's worth it. Since I'm in Central Park M,W,F for boot camp anyway, it makes for the perfect lunch stop afterward. See ya there!

The Corner Cafe and Bakery 1645 3rd Avenue New York, NY

I took my G'ma here for lunch today and it was just delightful. We both had great omelettes which were as thin as crepes, cooked perfectly and filled with great fresh veggies. It came with the most ridiculously decedent little mound of mashed potatoes with cheese and a grilled corn muffin. I also had a fresh OJ that was 'eh', but I blame that on the oranges. It was fairly quiet and comfortable, and one step nicer than a diner in terms of atmosphere. The strainer light fixtures overhead are very cute. I would go back for sure. The only strange thing was the service. Our waiter would stop by every 3 minutes for 20 minutes, and then would disappear for 20 minutes. He did this for the whole hour and a half that we were there. weird weird weird.

Cafe Greco 1390 2nd Ave Frnt New York, NY

I *think* our waiter was just trying to be funny, but he was really just an ass. He made mistakes with 3 orders and when we asked him a question he would just walk away to go get the menu to explain the answer. Not good. The food was very eh. It's supposed to be a greek restuarant, but more than half of the menu was filled with parmegianas and francais's. heh? Our waiter pretty strongly advised us not to bother with anything aside from the fish. The fish was fresh but flavorless. The sides were kind of like airplane food. The menus in this place are also really weird. You get a regular menu, a prix fix menu and a specials of the day menu. You have to keep cross referencing all three of them to make any sense of it. What the crap is up with that? The best part by far, and really the only part worth mentioning, were the profiteroles. They were excellent. There are about 50 other places within a 10 block radius of this one that I'd have much rather gone to. Ya win some ya lose some.

Oh Mammamia's 1471 2nd Ave New York, NY

YAY! Now we're talking. I ordered delivery a few nights ago and was thrilled to receive my delicious roasted vegetable pizza. This is kind of like nicks or totonnos style...thin crust, real mozzerella, thinly sliced and roasted eggplant, zucchini and a couple of other veggies. So So SO tasty. really tasted like there was care put into the whole process. I don't know how I managed to wait this long (3 years!) living in this neighborhood before trying it. Fantastic...will definitely go on my 'hot' list for delivery.

Follow up:
sadly, I've ordered twice more hoping for the same experience but wasn't nearly as impressed. The second time was way too salty but giving them the benefit of the doubt, I decided to give them one more try...The 3rd time, the roasted vegetables were cut into too thick, small pieces instead of the long, paper thin pieces that made that first pie so awesome. What do you think? Should I give them one more try?

Pick a Bagel 1475 2nd Ave New York, NY

Really not too shabby for a bagel chain. They are reliable and the food is always fresh. The bonus is that they carry Munchee cheese. Not muenster, munchee, the sweeter creamier cousin of muenster. I adore it, and it can be kind of tough to find.
The one thing I hate is that they tend to get a little creative with the pricing. It seems like I could go in on 10 different occasions, order the same thing every time, and get charged something completely different each time. Pretty annoying. Oh, and their rainbow cakes (something which I consider myself a connoiseur of) are pretty bad.

Follow up:
I have grown fonder and fonder of pick a bagel. I LOVE the whole wheat flat bagel toasted with baked salmon salad and go back almost weekly for it. The one on lex by the subway is TOTALLY not as good as this one

Pyramida 401 E 78th St New York, NY

This is one of my "go-to" delivery spots..I can't believe it took me this long to write a review! The staff is very polite and good about mentioning substitutions etc. The food is AMAZING. Some of the best falafel I've ever had and the pita is seriously like bits of heaven. Fluffy, light and SO filling. I love the tzatiki sauce- and am often appaled to find other middle eastern places that don't offer it. The grilled chicken and veggies is also great- a platter that you will easily get 2 or 3 meals out of..I always order extra pitas to accompany tomorrow night's leftover dinner. Also worth a try, the frothy lemonade..really tart and refreshing on a hot day. Oh, ok, I get it in the winter too :) The sides are slighty too salty for my taste (but I tend to like a lot less salt than most people)  but everything is always fresh and seems to be a pretty healthy choice. I think their business would be increased 10 fold if the interior was a bit nicer and more welcoming..It's really more like a food stand and not really worth staying to sit at one of 3 plastic tables...It 's very nice that it's a block away from my house so it's just as easy to go home to eat. If you're nice to me (and you buy me something), you can come over to eat here too.

Follow up:
I just want to add that I REALLY wish they'd add a small size for the lemonade. As much as I love it, I never get it because it's just way too expensive. $4.50! If I could pay half as much for a small, I'd be in there all the time! If I want to spend that much for something cool and refreshing, I'd rather go around the corner to Sedutto for a fro yo.

Follow up:
YES! Ask and you shall receive! I realized that when I wrote that last addendum about not having a small lemonade size that I should at *least* talk to them about it to see if they'd accommodate my request and lo and behold, with a big smile, they DID!!! So, now whenever I want a little delicious frothy tart drink I can go in and get an 8 ounce one for $2.75. This makes me a happy lemonade drinker for sure, and gives me even more reason to yelp about how AWESOME Pyramida is!!! YAHOOOO for Pyramida!

Follow up: WONDERFUL news! I stopped in today to say hi and to tell them about my review of their place on here..and I got SUCH awesome news...In 2 short weeks they will be moving and having a grand opening at their newer/bigger/better location! Wooohooo! It will be moving to 1402 second ave (the corner of 2nd and 73rd) and will be known as Pyramida Grill. The best part? They will have seating for 30! YES! Here's for continued success to Matthew and the rest of the gang at Pyramida.