Tag Archives: nyc

Four and Twenty Blackbirds- I’ve Died and Gone to Pie Heaven

When someone says “apple pie,” I use to immediately picture one of two images:

1) Snow White in that scene where she bakes that amazing looking thing that is promptly ruined by dirty bird feet (gross) or..

2) Norman Rockwell’s Thanksgiving images of some hefty grandma figure holding an equally hefty pie.

But now, I think of Four and Twenty Blackbirds, where they’ve perfected the classic apple pie and given it an awesome twist.

More after the jump!

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Diners of the Caribbean- The Islands

Ricky and I have eaten the $200 dollar steak dinners and have tasted desserts that look like miniature works of art, but some of our most memorable experiences have been at hole-in-the walls, tasting new and delicious food with locals.  This weekend, we trekked back to our old stomping grounds to eat authentic jerk chicken at The Islands in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn

When Ricky and I arrive, we are surprised to find that it is quite literally a hole in the wall, the bottom floor consists of just a counter top and kitchen.  The waiter asks if we would like to eat there and points us upstairs to a room that is, if possible, even smaller than the first floor.  I try to get to an empty table, knocking chairs and bumping into other diners as I make my way.  I  turn around worried about how my 6’2 tall boyfriend will manage only to see him nestled snuggly, wedged between the table and the wall.  The things this kid will do for good food.

We order the large Oxtail platter that comes with rice and beans, salad, and cabbage.  The oxtail, saucy and flavorful, falls off the bone and is amazing with the tender rice. Best of all, we got a HUGE plate for just $15.00.

Their signature dish is the Jerk Chicken, just as ginormous and only $12.00, also accompanied by rice and beans, salad, and cabbage. The rub on the chicken is spiceful, not too hot and so juicy and tasty.  Everything just worked together so well with the spice from the meat, the mellowness of the cabage, the sweetness of the salad and the starchiness of the rice and beans.  If this is what people in the Caribbean eat every day, then pack me in a shipping crate and send me over express.

We also overheard a lot (A LOT) of people talk about how good the mac n cheese is there.  So much so that we almost ordered it to go. Good thing we came to our senses because by the end of the meal, I was so full jerk chicken was coming out of my nose. It truly is a great value. 

Comfort food like this is, in my opinion, some of the hardest dishes to get right.  The ingredients are basic and making it is just as simple, but when it’s done right… I whoosh into my childhood like Anton Ego after his first bite of Ratatouille.

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Scenes from Fort Tryon Park NYC

My favorite park in NYC is Fort Tryon Park by the Cloisters Museum in Inwood. Take the A uptown to 190 st to a little slice of serenity. Click “read more” to see some additional pics.

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Ladies Who Brunch- Petite Abeille

Brunch.  To everyone else it’s not quite breakfast and not quite lunch.  To people living in New York, it’s a weekend practice that’s as ubiquitous and commonplace as the buttered bagel or the margarita slice.  Between the hours of 11am to even 4pm on weekends, New York is the brunchiest town there is.  Bars, five-star restaurants, pastry shops, and even bookstores turn over their normal wares to serve eggs to the hungover and the hungry.  Many places even offer an unlimited mimosa/sangria option for those who truly believe nothing cures a hangover better than more alcohol.

One of my favorites is Petite Abeille, a Belgian Restaurant and Cafe in Flatiron.  They actually have a few locations with the exact same food, but this one has the best reviews, is the smallest, and the most crowded. We arrive on a brisk Saturday at noon to an overflowing entrance. “20-30 minutes,” says mister frenchie, which in New York speak means 40 minutes to an hour wait.  It is borderline claustrophobic, but the smell of waffles and croissants is so inviting and we decide to stay. The walls are lined with “Adventures of Tintin” prints and racks of vintage, French children’s books. The space itself is kitschy and very cute and there’s even a vined brick garden in the back.

After 40 minutes (didn’t I tell you?), we finally get seated. I order the Croque Madame and frites, basically an open faced ham and Gruyere with a fried egg on top and fries.  My friend Ava orders the Gaufre Special, a Belgian waffle with whipped cream and fresh seasonal fruit; and her friend get the Eggs Benedict and a side Gaufre de Liege, waffle with powdered sugar.  The food is spectacular despite the slow service and the long wait. My Croque Madame is cheesy without being too greasy and heavy, the frites are crispy and well seasoned, and my friend’s waffles were fluffy and cakey.  The Belgians know what they’re doing when it comes to the waffle and I slightly regret not ordering one for myself. Check out the photo gallery above!

I usually go to the other location in Gramercy, where it’s much roomier and you’re not elbowing your fellow diners all the time.  If you want to try Petite Abeille, go to that one, you will have a much better experience with shorter wait time and friendlier staff. The only downside is it’s kind of a trek away from any of the nearest subway lines.   Also, I have never been to Petite Abeille for dinner, but I am told they have an all-you-can-eat moules and all-you-can-drink beer night! If their mussels are are as good as their brunch, I am sure to come out smiling! Check out the rest of the menu for their lunch and dinner items.

I’ll include a list of my brunch favorites soon in the Eatings page of Monsieur Jamon.

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Upcoming on MJ

Hey guys,

I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend and enjoyed their extra hour of sleep.  I know I did!  I’ve been working hard on an “eats” page for all my fellow gluttons out there so stay tuned for some of my favorite places to nosh in New York.  It will feature restaurants ranging from hole-in-the-wall finds to Michelin rated haute cuisine.  Whether you love ethnic or classic American dishes, there will be something for everyone.  I’ll link the working project some time this week, so keep an eye out.  Upcoming entires also include a visit to one of my favorite brunch places followed by a visit to my favorite New York park (and no, it is not Central Park). Here are some teaser pics!

Talk to you soon, loves!


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St. Vincent @ Webster Hall Videos

Hi Loves,

I finally got a chance to upload these videos.  The quality isn’t perfect since I’m still learning how to use the new camera.  A bit of the time, I actually accidentally covered the mic. Doh! I’ll be better next time. Anyway, enjoy!

I have a couple of others I may share on request.  They were a bit shaky since everyone around me was dancing and swaying pretty energetically!  Let me know if you’d like me to post them.

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St Vincent- Annie, You’re a Star

Calling all hippies, indie folk, and lovers of the melodic and insane! The St Vincent concert is one of the best shows I’ve seen thus far.  If you ever get the opportunity to go see Annie Clark perform live, do it! You won’t regret it.  She use to tour with Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens, the two bands that book ended my college years.  St Vincent own sound is much more manic, though angelic at the same time. Strange Mercy is her third and best album following Marry Me, and Actor.

Webster Hall is as grungy as I remember it, with paint peeling off the wall and god knows what staining the floor;  I am sort of glad it’s crazy dark . The show is sold out so everyone is packed in like cattle, and despite getting there early, we still barely have room to walk.  Ange and I push to the center of the stage and witness the longest sound check in the world. When she finally comes on the stage, people (myself included) are swooning and going nutso like she’s the goshdarn Pope.  Sister’s got fans, and a lot of them are guys.  They claim it’s not because she’s hot (though she is), but because she can shred (and she most certainly can).

“Holy Sh*t!” becomes my choice phrase for the night.  Annie is slamming her guitar so hard, I’m half expecting it to start bleeding. She kills all my favorites with include “Strange Mercy”, “Cruel”, and “Northern Lights” (listen here). Her voice sounds out as clear as spring water and her lyrics pierce my soul: “I’ll be with you lost boys/Sneaking out where the shivers won’t find you.”  The whole night is magical and I can stand how cute her clothes are. Before I know it, she plays her last song and during the crescendo, she “oh.my.god.what.is.she.doing” stage dives right in front of us.  My friend Ange is holding up her ass or something and I am just thinking, WTF! I must say she is a brave, brave girl to jump into a crowd of people who want her so badly.  She’s so beautiful, talented, and funny; it makes me want to either A) lick her face or B) crawl into a hole and die. Sigh, I love her. Some video footage to follow tonight so stay tuned, my loves!

The photos above are mine shot with my Leica D-Lux 5, but check out MJ reader Yi-Chin Ling’s Flickr for some really amazing shots from last night’s show.  Thanks for sharing!

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Sleepless Hallow- 3 Nights of Halloween

Just like every kid, I have a lot of fond memories of Halloween growing up.  I remember making the perfect witch’s costume, trick-or-treating around the neighborhoods, and eating so much candy I can’t see straight– the standard Halloween fare. Then once I was a junior in high school, all my friends decided that maybe we were too old to trick-or-treat. That’s when I died inside. From then on, my Halloween’s were spent at home giving away candy to cute little kids dressed up like cowboys and princesses and volunteering at the local haunted houses.

Then I moved to New York and found out that adults have even more fun on Halloween.

Guess what Ricky and I went as this year?  Yep! Sesame Street’s beloved Bert and Ernie.  To be honest, the weather was really getting me down all day, a literal damper on my mood, and I almost considered flaking on my friend’s party. We eventually made it out to Brooklyn and boy was I glad we did. We boozed, danced, and made enough hilarious memories to last me a lifetime. These pictures from the Sinners Sanctum party are courtesy of my friend Helen.  Please forgive my lazy self.  I bought a camera and I still don’t use it.

On actual Halloween day,  I usually go see the Halloween parade in the West Village.  Every year, it sounds like a good idea and every year, I end up getting pissed at how crowded it is or how I can’t see anything because I am shorter than a piece of gum on the floor.  So, this time, my friend Ange and I went to a masquerade ball at The Capitale instead, where we drank and danced ourselves into a stupor… again.  The costumes were incredible! It made me mad that I abandoned my Ernie costume for some homemade superhero outfit.  My super power:  potent farts… they call me gas chamber. Just kidding, not really.  I was expecting a lot of sluts and hos, but there were a surprising number of people dressed as really, I dunno, awesome shit! Forgive the inarticulateness.

The one bad thing I will say about this party though, they really try to gouge every cent from you.  Cover price: $20. Coat check: $5 per item. Vodka red bull: $12. Group dancing to Thriller for the 3rd time in the past hour: priceless.   It was my first time attending one of these giant Halloween events in the city and I really would do it all over again.

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Girls’ Gotta Eat – Grub Street Food Festival NYC

Every once in a while, NYMag  hosts the Grub Street Festival at Hester and Essex St in LES.  This past Sunday, they brought it back with a vengeance: over 100 vendors + a newly added beer garden.  I truly do heart New York.  In a way, this city reminds me a lot of Thailand in that the street food is always abundant and almost always delicious.  It was us who popularized the gourmet food truck and make street fairs a trendy, foodie affair.

These were some of the highlights from the Sunday with my girls Avs and Annie.  From right to left, top to bottom: pork ribs from Purple Yam, nori taco from Purple Yam, polish sausage mac n’ cheese from Gourmet Mac N’ Cheese, Schnitzel from Schnitz, Jerk Corn, and Monday Sunday from Big Gay Ice Cream.  If only my stomach were as big as my eyes, I could’ve eaten everything there.  Check out NYMag’s Grub Street Highlights slideshow here and try not to drown in your own drool.

A lot of tourists come to New York and they want to eat a hot dog from some truck by Central Park.  While that’s all fine and well for New Yorkers who are grabbing a quick lunch,  it’s just sort of a waste of space in your stomach if you are visiting from out of town. Why oh why would you come all the way to such a food capital to eat over boiled mystery meat on a stale bun when you could be eating the good stuff? Check out the street festivals happening every weekend all around New York. Check out the numerous food trucks littering the city. Make way to parks and fields to find out what new, tasty creations the locals have conjured up. That’s when you’ll find out what New York street food is all about.

Upcoming: Heading to my absolute favorite fair this coming Sunday with Rickyburr. Smorgasburg– on the Williamsburg, East River Waterfront (goes on until mid Nov). It’s much smaller and the food is a tad more expensive, but the atmosphere is very chill with the river streaming by you.  I’m just such a sucker for anything that takes place by the water. Stay tuned!

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