Sunday, February 27, 2011

$6 AMC Matinee Movie Tickets - Don't miss your opportunity to watch Oscar movies on the big screen!

If you haven't had a chance to watch some of the Oscar nominated movies, you can still watch a few of them in theaters - Black Swan, True Grit, 127 Hours, etc -- for the low price of $6.00.

The catch? You have to watch the movie before NOON and prices are only available at select AMC Theaters. Check my previous blog post for more info on this deal, theater locations and other movie theater ticket deals.

Photo taken at the AMC Lincoln Center Theater.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Homemade Turkey Meatloaf

Turkey Meatloaf with Asparagus
(sorry no mashed potatoes; photo taken w/ iphone)

Mmmm... meatloaf. Good meatloaf is very hard to find and since its one of my favorite comfort foods, I decided to make it myself. Normally, meatloaf is made with ground beef and ground pork (and sometimes with veal), but I thought I would make it with turkey - the healthier alternative. This will be my first time making turkey meatloaf, so this should be interesting.

I found a recipe on the foodnetwork and included it below.

A few comments about the turkey meatloaf recipe:

- I didn't want to make 5 pounds of turkey meatloaf, so I cut the recipe in half.

- I cooked the onions as noted below, but its a bit irritating to wait for it to reach room temperature to mix. I've seen Paula Deen cook meatloaf without pre-cooking the onions, so I wonder if this is a necessary step considering the onions will likely cook during the baking time.

- Since the ingredients were cut in half, you should still make sure the meat reaches 160 degrees. If you don't have a meat thermometer, like me (added to the shopping list), another way to check is cutting into it after 1.25 hours to see if the turkey meat is white and firm in the middle like it is around the edges. (Note: when I checked the meatloaf, there was this yellow-white liquid that formed on the top - yuck, right? Yes, but its the turkey fat - i just scooped that off the top and put it back in)

- Kethcup on top of meatloaf - when I saw this - I thought, really? That's it... I followed the meatloaf recipe this time; however, next time, I might mix the ketchup with some bbq sauce to make the crust "sweeter" or A-1 sauce to make it "tangier" (note: after tasting it, i was surprised that the ketchup alone wasn't bad)

- Recipe says to place the meatloaf in a rectangular shape on an ungreased sheet pan -- I opted to place it on a meatloaf/bread pan - but if you place it on an ungreased pan, it will be easier to coat the meatloaf with the ketchup and easier to cut into the middle to see if its cooked

Last Minute thoughts:

- this definitely needs a sauce on top of it -- I used more ketchup at the end, but you can make a simple concoction with ketchup, brown sugar, dried mustard, nutmeg and butter like in this video.
- You can add Turkey Bacon to the top of the meatloaf.

Recipe:
  • 3 cups chopped yellow onions (2 large onions)
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 5 pounds ground turkey breast
  • 1 1/2 cups plain dry bread crumbs
  • 3 extra-large eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup ketchup

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a medium saute pan, over medium-low heat, cook the onions, olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme until translucent, but not browned, approximately 15 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock, and tomato paste and mix well. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Combine the ground turkey, bread crumbs, eggs, and onion mixture in a large bowl. Mix well and shape into a rectangular loaf on an ungreased sheet pan. Spread the ketchup evenly on top. Bake for 1 1/2 hours until the internal temperature is 160 degrees F. and the meatloaf is cooked through. (A pan of hot water in the oven under the meatloaf will keep the top from cracking.)

Serve hot, at room temperature, or cold in a sandwich.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A happy afternoon at the Apple Store in the Upper West Side

Unfortunate for me, my MacBook Pro's battery exploded and it was time to make a visit to one of the Apple stores for a replacement.

I made an online appointment to visit the UWS Genius Bar instead of the madhouse SoHo Apple store or the tourist infested 5th Avenue store to help me save time. I arrived at the store 5 minutes before my appointment, but since there was a waiting list, I still had to wait another 20 minutes before I saw an Apple Care - Genius guy. In my head, I thought - then why did I make an appointment? Oh wells.

But, this is where Apple is very smart with their customer service.

To keep your mind off your watch and the inevitable long wait time, why don't you play with the MacBook Pros that we've left for you on the table? Yes, let time pass as you surf the net, play a game of solitaire or experience the power of the MacBook Pro and maybe you'll want to buy one after your wait.

It worked on me and the elderly lady sitting across from me (see photo)! The time flew by as I surfed the internet and caught up on news. And after 20 minutes, I wasn't annoyed or angry like I would be if I was waiting at the DMV. Very smart Apple!

And it gets better! I don't doubt the aptitude of the Apple Care guys and their ability to resolve issues, but wow, my Apple Care guy took one quick look at my battery and he gave his speedy judgment!

Apple Guy: "Do you leave your battery cord plugged in all the time?
Me: Um, yes.
AG: That's the reason why the battery exploded -- overuse. You're not supposed to leave the cord connected to the computer after you've reached 100% charge.
M: Oh, no one told me that! ... and I've been in here before about my battery problems.
AG: Its in the manual.
In my mind, I thought - who reads manuals? Eeks!
M: Dang it! Ummm, I have Apple Care ...
AG: Yes, since your computer is no longer under warranty and you have Apple Care, we'll exchange your battery for a new one. Only this one time.
Finally, an extended warranty comes in handy!
AG: With the new battery, do not continuously charge the battery, otherwise, the same thing will happen. You have to let the battery go up to 100%, disconnect the cord and then let the battery deplete itself and then recharge it.
M: Ok, good to know.

The transaction took about 10 minutes and I had a new battery. Whew, I saved myself $99 and for once, extended warranty came in handy (though, I do admit I haven't broken even on that extended care warranty yet! Oh wells, peace of mind). And then, as I was putting away my belongings, I forgot I had an issue with my iPhone too and as I tried to ask him, he politely said to me that since there is a waiting list, I won't be able to help you. Bummer. So I put my name back onto the list.

Fortunately, iPhone issues are even faster to resolve, so the waiting list was shorter than the computer issue. I sat down, took a look at the MacBook Pro, and then realized my name was just called. HOW COOL! That was uber fast.

So I explained my situation and the Apple Care Guy #2 ran a series of tests on my iPhone and realized the battery was "consumed" and the tests weren't working on my iPhone. So there was something definitely wrong with my iPhone. After a few more test checks, he realized it was time for a new iPhone. What?! But to my pleasant surprise, he looked up my account and said he could replace it for free. Phew. All of that also took about 10 minutes! Yes! this makes for a happy afternoon at the Apple Store!

Alright, are you bored yet? I am, and I am writing this. So lets just get to the gist of the reason why I am writing this.

1. If you live in New York City, make a visit to the Upper West Side location to get your issues resolved. I believe the lines are faster, the attendants are nicer (since there aren't as many people hassling them), and you will go home faster. The 14th Street location may also be a good location to try out.

2. I'm not sure how making an Apple appointment helps you (since I still had to wait 20 minutes in line without being bumped to the next available attendant), but I guess you can still do so.

3. Be nice to your Apple Care - Genius Guy - you just never know what they can do for you when your product is broken.

4. I didn't think of this until now, but for travelers, you can get free internet access at the Apple Store... Although, I would be careful inputting any passwords, but that's just me.

Have fun! and p.s. I think the new iPads are coming out next week! will FLASH programs work on it? we shall see!

To check the nearest Apple Store to you, click here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New York Times: Doughnut Tour

Doughnuts ... is it the new New York food craze? Or are doughnuts a has been? Who knows, but we know the likes of Dunkin Donuts and Krispy Kreme have found some creative competitors seeking to revitalize the old boring glaze doughnut.

For more, read the New York Times article on the Flowering of the Doughnut Arts, with mentions of The Doughnut Plant (located on Grand Street on LES and a new location at the Chelsea Hotel on 23rd Street), Wonder City Coffee & Doughnuts (10th Street and Ave A), Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop (Greenpoint, Brooklyn) and Dough (Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn).

For a more visual look, check out their New York Times Doughnut Tour Slideshow.

Free Popcorn every Wednesday at AMC Theaters with MovieWatcher Card


Every Wednesday, show your MovieWatcher® card at the concession stand and enjoy a complimentary helping of our hot, buttery best. It's just another way to make a great experience even better — courtesy of MovieWatcher.

And don't forget, you can get movie discounts in New York (i.e. $6 dollar movie matinees?!) - read my previous blog post for more.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Village Voice 2011 Choice Eats Event (i.e. Food tasting) at the Armory

The Village Voice’s Fourth Annual Choice Eats

Tuesday March 29, 2011 6:30 - 9:30pm

The 69th Armory at Lexington Avenue
68 Lexington Ave @ 26th Street, NYC

Set amid the backdrop of the historic 69th Armory on Lexington Avenue, also where Victoria Secrets' held their Fashion Show last year, guests will be invited to sample delicious cuisines that would otherwise require days of travel.

Featuring 50+ restaurants and food from over 35 nations, including Vietnamese, Italian, Uzbekistani, Brazilian, Cambodian, Russian, Tunisian, and Cajun/Creole among many others, Choice Eats stands out as a food event that highlights the hidden gems of New York City’s diverse culinary landscape.

Only guests ages 21 and over admitted.

Early bird ticket prices start at $35 for regular or $75 V.I.P tickets - or pay an extra $5 for tickets purchased after the early-bird special.

To learn more about tickets, click here!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Food Gallery 32 on a Friday Night - Hanok Food Court Revisited

I decided to revisit the Food Gallery on a Friday night to see if the lines were outrageous. If you recall from my prior posting, my biggest complaint was the ordering system at the front could prove to be difficult when there are large lines. Food Gallery 32 was busy at 8:15 p.m. -- with some crowds still confused on the ordering system, however, the lines at the ordering system didn't prove to be "too" unmanageable. Having been here before and knowing how the system works, the frustration level was at a minimal level.

Unfortunately, I had a hankering for traditional Korean food, so I went back to the same Korean restaurant Hanok, instead of visiting another food stall. I tried their BiBimBop (not dolsit) and thought the vegetables were fresh (includes carrots, shitake mushrooms, lettuce amongst other things), but the meat was a bit scarce. For the price of $7.95, it was pretty good, not as good as Gahm Mi Oak ($13.95 or potentially more now), but also not as expensive.

My friend ordered the Dduk Mandoo Guk (boiled dumplings with rice cakes in a broth) for $7.95 at Hanok and it was quite good as well. I thought it was very similar to Wonjo's dduk mandoo guk, which is priced above Hanok's price of $7.95. The only complaint my friend had regarding the entree was that it must have been loaded with MSG because she was very thirsty afterwards.

Overall, my visit to the food court at Food Gallery 32 was another success! I would highly recommend this place to anyone craving Korean food and not wanting to put a big dent in their wallets.

For more info on what food stalls they have and a sense of what they serve, view my prior posting.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

City Bakery Hot Chocolate, Pretzel Croissant and Chocolate Chip Cookie was disappointing!

Sad to say, but my recent visit to City Bakery for hot chocolate during their Hot Chocolate Festival was disappointing. Maybe all the hype I heard raised my expectations? Possibly, but as I was sitting there tasting my Bourbon hot chocolate and sharing my pretzel croissant and chocolate chip cookie, I realized -- there is a reason why I rarely come here and why this place hardly comes to mind -- its not good. But I figured I would give you, the reader, the fair shake of the place.

Before I ordered anything, I asked a few regulars what they liked to have there. The consensus was the Pretzel Croissant (and to a less astounding response was the Chocolate Chip Cookies). I had asked about the Bourbon Hot chocolate, but a few didn't try it yet, and others said it was extremely rich. So before ordering anything, I went and had a sample of the Bourbon Hot Chocolate -- the patrons were right, way too rich to have a shot ($3.50) or an entire cup of it ($5.50) (Regular flavored hot chocolate is $0.50 less). So, I passed on the Bourbon Hot Chocolate and proceeded to order the Pretzel Croissant for $3.75 and a Chocolate Chip Cookie for $2.50.

The Pretzel Croissant - $3.75

In addition to positive patron reviews, someone noted that the pretzel croissant is listed in Japanese guidebooks (haven't validated that) as a "must-order"!

As you can see in the photo, the pretzel croissant is covered with sesame seeds as opposed to salt crystals that you would normally see on pretzels. I peeled away a piece of the croissant, the exterior was not as brittle as a plain croissant, but tougher; while the interior part of the croissant had the buttery, flaky consistency of a croissant, with a little bit of a cake-like texture. The taste of it? Butter and it tasted more like a sesame seed croissant versus the pretzel croissant it was named for. So why is this called a pretzel croissant? Perhaps the hard exterior reflects a pretzel? It remains a mystery to me. But the big question is -- was it worth the $3.75 ? Not for me. Why is this in the guidebooks? In all honesty, I'd rather buy a pretzel at the Farmers Market (>$2.00) and a croissant at Starbucks ($1.75).

Chocolate Chip Cookie -- $2.50

Do you want a gooey, soft chocolate chip cookie, with a bit of a crunch? Yes! and I want that too, but here comes the bait and switch -- it doesn't taste good! I was honestly surprised ... It looked great, but didn't taste great. What are people on Yelp raving about here? Perhaps the peanut butter cookie tastes better?

I feel like I need to make a note or a comment to redeem this place, but I'm not sure what I could write other than ... City Bakery is a convenient location to stop by for a coffee/tea and to rest your feet after shopping on the Avenue of the Americas, but just watch your wallets and your tastebuds cause both of them will be disappointed if you choose to eat anything here.

p.s. Note: Eataly has a shop called Venchi that sells shots of Hot Chocolate for $2 (but currently $1 for their Chocolate Month) and I would recommend Venchi's Hot Chocolate for $2 vs. the $3.00 at City Bakery!

City Bakery
3 W 18th St
(between 5th Ave & Avenue Of The Americas)
Mon-Fri 7:30 am - 7 pm
Sat 8 am - 8 pm
Sun 9 am - 6 pm

Agent Anything? Only in New York can you hire a random college student to do your bidding!

AGENT ANYTHING! This is awesome - I can hire a college student at any given hour to run my errands or do "whatever" it is that I want - yes, ANYerrand, ANYtime, and ANYwhere. This is better than Netflix and Fresh Direct, but is it better than asking your minions at work to do your bidding for free? Well, at least we know Agent Anything will be guilt free (assuming you are a decent human being). So how much are you willing to pay someone to do your bidding?

Urban Daddy recently tested out a few agents and their results were hilarious. You have to go to their site and read it. If you're lazy, here is a quick summary.
  • Mission: Stand-in line at Shack Shack to order burgers and concretes and have them delivered ; Cost: $15, 11:32 a.m. - Burgers were still warm and Concretes were not melted.
  • Mission: Personal Masseuse. Cost: Initial bid was at $60 and was negotiated down to $45 (not sure if negotiating is normal or not since you're supposed to name your own price -- but apparently so)
  • Mission: Blind Date Escape; Cost: $24.99 - person came in scrubs!
After taking a look at Agent Anything's Website, they claim their agents can do ANYerrand, at ANYtime, and at ANYwhere. Need someone to hand out fliers for your new business? or someone to walk your dog? or someone to help you paint your room? or how about stand in line at Ippudo or Clinton Street Baking Company to grab you a seat? Sound tempting? Well, it can be easy -- visit the Agent Anything website and POST your mission!

When posting your mission, you have the opportunity to say how much you are willing to pay an Agent to do it. And if someone selects the mission, your credit card won't be charged until after you say the mission is accomplished (or after 48 hours if you don't respond). Not a bad deal. This is like a mixture of eBay and Craigslist combined -- its the new future of legit/legal personalized customer service!

If you don't have a mission to post, but want to "run" a mission and be a 007 agent for the day, then you can elect to do that too! Oh wait, sorry, this is only available to students! Very clever Mr. Agent Anything business developer because it will keep costs low for your clients. :D But, also a good way to encourage the youth group to work in a time when employment is low (and the agent anything website even provides a usatoday article talking about low youth employment rates! touching, very touching) So, if you're a student, check the existing Agent Mission postings to see if anything is suitable for you!

As of today, Agent Anything is offering a free agent to pick up Ben & Jerry's ice cream for you (so long as you pick up the ice cream bill). Why? Because they were inspired recently by Jerry Greenfield who gave an "incredible, hilarious, and inspiring talk to small business owners" that they started loving Ben & Jerry's for their strong values and their commitment to giving back to the community. So this is Agent Anything's way of giving back and showing their support of the Ben & Jerry's values!

As an aside, the background story to Ben & Jerry's is quite amazing -- if you get a chance, there is a one hour Biography show on the development of Ben & Jerry's that is inspiring to anyone who wants to start a business from scratch and with little to no money.

By the looks of it, Agent Anything has had a little over 900 clients (I am sure most of these are friends that signed up, but haven't had any mission postings yet since most have 0 pending missions, 0 running missions and 0 accomplished missions) and over 1,200 agents willing to do your bidding (and it seems that most of these agents are new too!)... With that said, this is a new and ramping up business -- and I have to admit, very creative. I wish the founders much success as it is a mutually beneficial tool for the community at a reasonable price (yes, your price!)!

Good luck!

p.s. Agent Anything is currently available in New York and New Jersey, only.

p.s.2 For some reason, I think I've heard of a similar company like this that started a year ago -- however, after a google search, I am unable to find them. So, I just hope Agent Anything builds up their SEO to capitalize on their catchy "agent anything" name and quality service.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Vending Machines go to a "hole" new level by selling ART in SoHo

Yup, forget the bubblegum, pretzel M&Ms, bag of chips -- you can now buy art through a Vending Machine. Meet the ART MACHINE by The Hole and ALIFE.

The ART MACHINE is a special project available for viewing and you have to make all your purchases by February 22, 2011. The artist vending machine will be filled with special products and artworks from $5 and up, all the way to the thousands ($1500 according to UrbanDaddy).

Special products? Yes, it includes special personal artist memorabilia (“artist’s panties”) to customized products (“artist bicycle”), to actual artworks (mini painting and mini sculpture!), to limited edition products (T-shirts of G-Shock watches) this machine will vend out items by over fifty artists. Catch a glimpse of the items being offered on the website: http://shop.theholenyc.com

First come first serve, bring your credit card, and take home a cool art object before they are all snapped up.

But seriously, I wonder how a mini-art painting will come out of this machine!

Check it out at: THE HOLE, 104 Greene St from 6-9 pm, 212-226-3000

Flamenco Hoy Performance at the New York City Media Center

Why travel more than 3,000 miles to Seville, Spain to see a Flamenco performance when you can see one in New York City? Save yourself the $700 airplane ticket and spend anywhere from $35 to $85 to watch it at the New York City Media Center.

A friend saw Flamenco Hoy this past week and highly recommends it for people who want to change up their routine and do something different. However, you only have until this Sunday to watch it before it moves on to another city!

Not sure what Flamenco is? Flamenco is a style of music and dance which is native to several regions of southern Spain. Flamenco is popularly depicted as being the music of Andulusian gitanos (gypsies) but historically its roots are in mainstream Andalusian society. Below is a youtube video of the Flamenco Hoy performance.



Flamenco Hoy, directed by celebrated film director Carlos Saura, is a spectacular showcase of flamenco with breathtaking dance, dynamic music, and soul-searing cante (song). Featuring twenty of Spain's most exciting artists from the new generation of flamenco, dramatic choreography by Rafael Estévez and Nani Paños, and musical direction by the electrifying pianist Chano Domínguez, this dazzling show takes the audience into the heart of Andalusian flamenco today.

The show runs for 2 hours and 10 minutes, with one 15 minute intermission.

Remaining Showtimes: Friday @ 8 pm ; Saturday @ 2 pm or 8 pm or Sunday @ 2 pm or 7 pm!

To buy your tickets, visit the Flamenco Hoy website here.

New York City Media Center

55th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues
212.581.1212

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Jim Campbell - Scattered Light Exhibit at Madison Square Park - video

If you are walking by Madison Square Park at night, walk inside and you will see Jim Campbell's cool exhibit of scattered light that outlines people walking.

video

Tip: If you're there in person, make sure you are standing in front of the lawn fence, otherwise you won't see the outline of the people walking.

Jim Campbell's "Scattered Light" is presented by The Madison Square Park Conservancy and will be on display
from October 21, 2010 to February 28, 2011.

UPDATED: After coming home and researching this project more, it becomes even more interesting.

Jim Campbell is an electrical engineer that created "Scattered Light" with 1,600 lightbulbs modified with LEDs and are programmed to display a low-resolution, moving image as individual pixels. The display is 50 ft long x 80 ft wide x 16 ft high x 16 ft deep, a 3-dimensional display.

From the website Switched, I found an interview with Campbell's interview talking about the exhibit and have included it below along with some excerpts from the article.



  • Jim Campbell worked in Silicon Valley as an engineer and designed television chips that would convert "what's now called 'legacy' TV definition to high definition.
  • He was intrigued by Leon Harmon's pixelated image of Abraham Lincoln in 1973 (which Salvador Dalí used as the basis for his 'Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea'), and thought about applying the same principles of low resolution to moving images. "The most interesting aspect of these works is the movement," he says. "It's the movement that's giving you the information."
  • Note: I've seen the Dali painting of Abraham Lincoln in Figueres, Spain -- and its pretty amazing ... maybe that's why I love this installation so much!
  • "I believe from what I've seen and the little bit that I've read that there are parts of our brain that only deal with movement, only deal with motion, and they kind of decode that," Campbell says. He asked himself, "What can I represent in really low resolution that has any kind of poetics to it?" and decided that moving figures are recognized by "a more primal part of the brain" that relates to peripheral vision. Up close, the image displayed on 'Scattered Light' looks like nothing more than a series of oscillating bulbs, but the image comes into focus as the viewer moves further back."
There are TWO OTHER EXHIBITS THERE (which I missed, slapping my hand!)
  1. Broken Window - is a facade of glass cubes, behind a series of LED that display footage of pedestrians walking through the city as cabs and cars drive past. There are 7 cubes scattered around the main panel act as pixels that have fallen out of the main display, giving abstract glimpses of the visual information coming through the facade.
  2. Voices in the Subway Station - 20 glass panels embedded in the lawn that light up in synchrony with audio recorded inside the NYC subway system; they flicker in accordance with people's conversations, sometimes turning into a running stream of light as a train passes. No sound is played with the piece.
For the full article from Switched, visit Switched's Website.

For more information on Jim Campbell and about the exhibit, look at Madison Square Park's Conservancy website.

President's Day Coupons - Barnes & Noble, Macy's, etc

I just received this Barnes & Noble 15% off coupon for President's Day and realized you can really just "google" President's Day Coupons and get a whole list of coupons! So I will use this posting if I get anymore ...

-- Happy Shopping!

p.s. don't forget the Loehmann's coupon.

After my google search here are a few that I found from some "coupon_" site.
  • Macy’s - Use coupon code PRESIDENT to get free shipping on orders over $99 until February 15.
  • Martin + Osa - Get 20% off and free shipping on your order online and in stores until February 15. Use coupon code 34197988 online or print the coupon.
  • eBags - eBags is celebrating President's Day with 20% off all orders with coupon code COMJABE251.
  • Disney Store - Use coupon code PRESDAY to get 10% off orders over $65, 20% off orders over $85 or 25% off orders over $95 until February 15.
  • Aeropostale - $14 off orders over $50 until February 15 with coupon code 14FORU.
p.s.2 i just realized blogging can be a FULL TIME job. wowsers!

How does Borders Bankruptcy filing affect New Yorkers?

Many of you probably heard that Borders filed for bankruptcy and the general misconception of the word "bankruptcy" is that the business shuts down and you won't see any more of its stores. Not to get involved in too much bankruptcy law, but since it filed for relief under Chapter 11 - the company will "reorganize" and will later "re-emerge" out of bankruptcy with a better balance sheet that allows Borders to operate more competitively with its peers.

So what does this mean to you? As part of the Borders Group announced closure of approximately 30% of its nationwide stores, 3 out of 8 Border locations will shut down in New York according to The New York Times.

Border Location Expected Closures:

  1. 461 Park Avenue - Park Avenue at 57th Street.
  2. 576 2nd Ave. - Second Avenue at 32nd Street
  3. 100 Broadway - Broadway near Wall Street.

Remaining Borders Stores in the city

  1. Time Warner Center @ 10 Columbus Circle
  2. Penn Station @ 2 Penn Plaza
  3. Small shops at La Guardia and JFK Airports and express store on Staten Island
FYI: Borders announced that its rewards program and gift cards will continue to be honored.

Loehmann's 25% off Coupon

President's Day Sales are starting early. If you feel like braving some of the crowds, Loehmann's is a great place for women shoes, coats and dresses. I'm sure there are some good deals for men too.

Starting this Thursday, you can get an extra 25% off your entire clearance purchase! And guess what? That's on top of existing extra red (25%), blue (50%) and yellow (75%) sticker clearance items.

Click here for your coupon and here for your nearest Loehmann location!

Two stores in Manhattan:

Chelsea
101 SEVENTH AVENUE

NEW YORK, NY 10011

(212) 352-0856


Upper West Side
2101 BROADWAY

NEW YORK, NY 10023

(212) 882-9990

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

February Annual Hot Chocolate Festival at City Bakery



The City Bakery Annual Hot Chocolate Festival is going on now - pick a day and try the hot chocolate flavor of the day. A perfect place to grab something hot during these cold winter days!
Check City Bakery's website for updated drinks of the day!

From City Bakery's Website ... "City Bakery hot chocolate changed the hot chocolate landscape when the bakery first opened in 1990. Made from pure melted chocolate bars, this drink made the word "cocoa" forever obsolete when talking about hot chocolate. The City Bakery Annual Hot Chocolate Festival, held every February, is a celebration of a menu of hot chocolate flavors such as Banana Peel Hot Chocolate, Vanilla Bean Hot Chocolate, Malted Milk Hot Chocolate, Bourbon Hot Chocolate and Sunken Treasure Hot Chocolate. Twenty years after the first cup was poured, City Bakery hot chocolate is now available for your home in a package that's perfect, pure, liquid hot chocolate. This is not a powder or concentrate or mix of any kind. This is the exact hot chocolate poured at City Bakery in New York everyday of the year."

Essex Restaurant - Bar at Night, Brunch by Day - $20 Brunch served with 3 Alcoholic Beverages

Did you just have a late night of clubbing in the Lower East Side? No? Well, if you want a little taste of it, come to the Essex Restaurant for brunch on Saturday, where you'll feel as if you just walked into a nightclub -- except its daylight. Yes, the sun is shining through the beautiful glass panes and onto the bar that is now serving Mimosas, Screwdrivers and Bloody Marys ... ah, yes, the best cure for a hangover -- bloody mary's!

And as you take a look around the restaurant, you notice, the music is on and the place is packed with people who look as if they went home and decided to come back for brunch. Ok, perhaps, not that extreme, but I would say the crowd is a close resemblance of the crowd who visited Essex the night before, when it was a bar. And if you didn't know any better, you wouldn't know that Essex was a restaurant during the day.

So what's on the menu ? Too much to describe, but to make it simple - they have a $20 brunch that includes one entree and three, yes three drinks. Can you guess which drinks? Yup, you guessed it - Mimosa, Screwdrivers and Bloody Marys !


(L) 3 Eggs any style with Chicken Apple Sausage (M) Mexican Matzo Brei (R) Eggs Benedict with Canadian Bacon

They have the regular brunch fare - pancakes, french toast, eggs whatever style you like, eggs benedict, bagels with lox and more. We ordered the following three entrees:
  • 3 eggs any style with fresh fruit & choice of bacon, chicken apple sausage, breakfast sausage, or tempeh bacon
  • Mexican Matzo Brei – scrambled eggs with tortilla crisps, monterey jack, avocado, black beans & pico de gallo
  • eggs benedict with canadian bacon, salmon gravlax or spinach
Of the three entrees, the Mexican Style Eggs (forgot the name of the entree) was by far the best, followed by the chicken apple sausage in the 3 poached eggs entree. Most entrees come with home fries and salad, unless notated on the menu. If you're not in the mood for brunch, Essex Restaurant also offers sandwiches and other hearty meals. And, yes, you can still order the Mimosa and Bloody Mary's for $4.

Overall, the food was okay, nothing too exciting -- but why so busy and why wait 30 minutes for a table? My bad guess is that there are limited brunch spots in the LES, or the more likely reason is the 3 alcoholic beverages that comes with your brunch. By the way, I forgot to tell you BRUNCH IS CASH ONLY ... So, the million dollar question - would I come here again? Probably not -- Essex Restaurant is too busy and is busy for the wrong reasons; I prefer busy with good food, so I would suggest trying other restaurants in the neighborhood before Essex. I've listed a few other restaurants below.

Other brunch options around Essex Restaurant:

- Clinton Street Baking Company - 4 Clinton St (awesome brunch, but get there early)
- Little Giant - 85 Orchard Street (been here for dinner, was good)
- Schiller's Liquor Bar - 131 Rivington Street


If you're inclined to pay the place a visit, the address is below:

Essex Restaurant
120 Essex St
New York, NY 10002
(212) 533-9616

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Homemade BBQ Chicken Pizza - Made your own way!

Homemade BBQ Chicken Pizza (iphone photo)

For Valentine's Day, I thought it would be fun to make pizza... If you haven't made pizza before, it's a really fun thing to do with another person and it's super easy! The best thing about making pizza is you can choose whatever you want as your toppings and each person can individualize it to their liking!

As for me, I decided to make one of my favorite pizzas - BBQ chicken pizza.

So what do I need? 1 Chicken Breast, KC BBQ sauce, sweet onions, cheese and ... pita bread! Why pita bread? Pita bread saves you time from making dough and even saves you time from rolling pre-made dough bought from Trader Joes. Pita bread also toasts very well in the oven and gives you this extraordinary crunch with every bite. So, make your life easy and buy pita bread, and make it healthy with whole wheat pita! :)

Before you do anything, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Slice half of an onion and cut it in pieces and then halves (sort of look like half smiles)

Now, cut the chicken in cube-like pieces -- the chicken breast is usually pretty thick, so to save cooking time, I slice the chicken breast in half and then cut into cube-like pieces. Now you can cook the chicken in a hot pan. Since I will marinate the chicken with KC BBQ sauce later, I lightly season it with salt. Depending on the thickness of your chicken chunks, cook it for 3-5 minutes on each side or until the meat's white inside. When done, put the chicken in a bowl and marinate with the KC BBQ sauce.

While you are cooking each side of the chicken pieces, you can start preparing the pita. Place the pita on a cookie sheet and coat one side of the pita with BBQ sauce (spread it over the pita). Place some onion halves, cheese and the mixture of marinated bbq chicken on top of the pita. Add more cheese if you like. Then place the cookie sheet in the oven and cook until the cheese is melted (less than 10 minutes, but keep an eye on it since your oven may differ from mine)... Let the pizza cool, then eat!

The entire process will take you less than 30 minutes -- you can't beat that!

Topping Alternatives:

In lieu of cooking chicken, you can substitute it with rotisserie chicken meat (shred a few pieces). And of course you can use other types of meat such as spicy sausage or pepperoni.

In lieu of BBQ sauce, you can buy pizza sauce/spaghetti sauce/tomato paste and use that for the pizza base.

Ah, cheese - I didn't mention which cheese I used - I used what I had -- Parmesean, but feel free to add mozzarella, asiago, romano, or provolone. OR, make it taste better and mix all of them together (however, if on a budget, just one of them is sufficient -- it just won't be as cheesy)

and last, instead of onions, you can add all sorts of other vegetables - mushrooms, bell peppers, olives, etc. However, just be mindful not to use too many vegetables because as it cooks in the oven, the vegetables will release some water which can and will dampen the bread. So be creative, but smart, especially if you want a crunchy pizza!

If you can't decide what type of pizza you want, take a look at a pizza menu from your local pizza parlor, Dominoes or Pizza Hut!

Well, that's all folks - homemade BBQ pizza that can be a fun night for you and your significant other, or with your friends!

So happy eating!

Interested in Guitars, more than just playing the game Guitar Hero?


For a limited time, The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a new exhibition focusing on guitars. Many of you may think you know how to play a guitar from the Guitar Hero game, but do you know anything behind the history of it? Well, here is your chance!

Here is the excerpt from the museum...

New York City and nearby New Jersey, Long Island, and Westchester County have been home to a vibrant Italian American population since the late nineteenth century. Within this community, a remarkable tradition of lutherie (stringed-instrument making) has flourished. Italian American craftsmen have produced an enormous variety of musical instruments, from traditional European-style violins, mandolins, and guitars to newer American instruments such as archtop guitars and mandolins and even electric guitars. Since the 1930s, makers from this tradition in the New York region have become especially well known for their extraordinary archtop guitars. This exhibition examines the work of three remarkable craftsmen from this heritage—John D'Angelico, James D'Aquisto, and John Monteleone—their place in the extended context of Italian and Italian American instrument making, and the inspiration of the sights and sounds of New York City.

1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street
New York, New York 10028-0198
Information: 212-535-7710

Tuesday–Thursday: 9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 9:30 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
Sunday: 9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Monday: Closed (except Holiday Mondays)

Bon Chon Chicken Discount - 50% off in New York City

Discount at Bon Chon Chicken? Really? For free? Yes, REALLY, for free - but you have to act now, as in RIGHT NOW. Click on the link and check out this site -- SCOUTMOB ... The offer gives the holder a 50% discount, but you must apply for it before midnight. So once you're in the kewl club, you can use this coupon until 05/15/2011.

Any catch? The discount is limited to up $12 -- max. Only 1 allowed per check and you can't combine this with any other offers. Your number/email will likely receive other offers from ScoutMob in the future.

So, now your $21 large plate of chicken that includes fourteen wings and four drumsticks with three sides of rice will cost you $10.50 + tax, or $0.60 per piece of chicken. Still a bit outrageous, but much better than the ~$1.20 per piece!

Yum, bon chon chicken on sale! :D


NOTE: Photo above from Bon Chon website.

p.s. I'd give you the code I received, however, they were smart and only issued one "CODE" per submission.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Food Gallery 32 -- The New Food Court in K-Town; Hanok Food Reviewed

Hanok's Jyuk Dupbop
photo with iphone.

Food Gallery 32 ; 7 Food Stalls; An Abbreviated menu is provided.

Watch out Woorijip, the new Food Gallery 32 may give you a run for your money! Last night, a friend and I checked out the new Food Gallery in K-Town and although we loved the food, we were overwhelmed by the vast-amount of choices on the scrolling food boards. Just to give you a sense of the place -- there are seven food stalls and two dessert stalls located in this three-story building.

The layout of the international food emporium is as follows: Ground floor - seven food stalls , Red Mango, and an ordering station; Second Floor - lowered ceiling seating area with a MetroPCS mini-retail shop; Third Floor - Crepe-making dessert station and additional seating.

Even though I will give you a precursory of what to expect inside this food emporium, make sure you take a walk inside, otherwise the list below simply does the food court an injustice:

SEVEN FOOD STALLS
  1. Boon Sik Zip - Menu is orientated towards Korean Appetizers/Snacks with Kim Bob (Yummy korean-style sushi-like rolls), Fried Vegetabls/Squid/Sweet Potato, Dduk Bok Ki, Bo-Ssam, etc.
  2. Pastel - Menu is more Asian-Americanized foods with Japanese infusion of Pork/Chicken/Fish Cutlets, Hong-Kong infusion of Seafood/Tomato Spaghettis, and Korean infusion of Kimchi Omlet Rice...
  3. De-ppangi - Japanese Style foods -- with Donburi's, Teppan-Yaki and Onigiri's...
  4. Bian Dang - Taiwanese Food - also has a food-truck selling taiwanese lunch boxes -- I had this at the Food Truck Drive-In last year and it was good.
  5. Big Bowl - serving all sorts of ramen!
  6. Hanok - Traditional Korean food-fare, including Haemool Pajun, Jap Chae, BiBimBop, Kimchi chigae, Mandoos, Jeyuk Bokum, Chicken/Beef Bulgogi, and Kalbis! (Read review below!)
  7. Jin Jja Roo - a mixture of Chinese and Korean together -- with Jja Jang Myon (Ja Jiang Mien), Lo-Meins, Ma Pa Tofu over Rice, Deep Fried meat served with vegetable and sweet & sour sauce
DESSERT
  1. Red Mango - SURPRISE! The new red mango has changed its business model to "SELF-SERVE" similar to 16 Handles in Lower East Side. It has a lot more yogurt flavors for you to try! It starts at 49 cents per ounce.
  2. Crepes - Didn't catch the name, but there is a creperie on the top floor...

HOW DO YOU ORDER YOUR FOOD?

Did you want to order some food here? Well, let me save you some time and frustration by letting you know that you order your food at the entrance to the food court. Seems a bit strange since your instinct is to walk-up to a counter and place your food order there... but, nope Food Gallery 32 had to be different from other food courts in the world. :D But, to be fair, and if I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt, I assume the food court is trying to save space at each stall and/or to keep the exchange of "dirty" money to a minimum, especially since food is being handled. So, think of the process of paying for your food like buying a ticket for a ride at the carnival... You pre-order your food at the entrance, walk-up to your stall and hand them your ticket to get on the ride -- its the same process to order and pick up your food (well, you pick up your food once the machine they give you vibrates).

So my recommendation is to walk around the food stalls, figure out what you want, and then go back to the food ordering station to order. Inefficient? Yes, but what are you going to do?

Also, as an FYI -- make sure to order your drink at this station, otherwise, you'll have to go back... And if you're not interested in ordering a drink for $1.50 (water/can soda) there is water on the second floor.

PROS/CONS OF FOOD GALLERY 32

PROS:

I like the variety of foods here -- although most of the food IS Korean (but what do you expect?, its in k-town), I do like that there are a few other Asian cuisine options -- such as Taiwanese and Japanese. As a side note, I was pleasantly surprised that I could order Taiwanese food here and not have to trek to Chinatown for pork chop over rice! (sorry, a bit biased here since I'm Chinese - at least I'm being honest!).

Prices are not outrageous, and I would say mildly less expensive than sitting at a formal Korean restaurant (for example: ordering Jeyuk DupBop @ Woorijip is ~ $5.50 w/ soup; @ Wonjo ~ $8.95 during weekday lunch specials; and @ Hanok in the food court ~ $7.95... albeit the food court lacks all the pan chon you would get at the restaurants)...

Overall, Food Gallery 32 is a great spot to grab a quick and
good meal ... and is a great spot to meet up with friends for an easy, inexpensive meal and to hang out afterwards. Food Gallry 32 has ample seating and I can see this as an ideal spot for college kids, tourists, overspill from Kunjip and Woorijip, and people on a budget who want good food for their money.

CONS:

I wasn't a fan of the ordering system. I would have preferred to order my food at my food station, especially since images of the foods are located at the stalls. If you aren't annoyed by the scrolling food menu board at the ordering station, then I would say you're a patient person... When ordering, I would recommend picking up the printed menu and make your selection from there (that is, after you've taken a walk around to see what food items you want). I just hope the inefficient ordering system won't be the "downfall" of this good food court -- especially since this place just opened and the "buzz" of a bad ordering system could potentially deter impatient/not-so-smart people - for the Food Gallery 32's sake, lets just hope it doesn't turn out to be a Kyochon disaster. As a "p.s." the ordering location is right at the entrance and could prove a bit chaotic when the place is extremely busy!

Separately, for some reason I thought the black trays were a bit heavy -- especially if you have to carry your food up to the third floor to eat - so I would suggest getting not so heavy trays (but i'm sure it serves a purpose -- i.e. it doesn't flip over as you walk it up to the third floor).

Lastly, patrons are encouraged to leave their food behind because bus boys are expected to come by and clean up the tables... however, we were there late night and there weren't that many bus boys cleaning up the tables and I can imagine how messy that could turn out to be.

Overall the cons are not noteworthy enough to deter me from the Food Gallery, especially since I thought the food from Hanok was good!


SO WHAT FOOD ITEM DID I TRY?

I visited Hanok and ordered the Jeyok Dupbop, which is Spicy Pork with Vegetables over rice. It was $7.95 and included seaweed soup (yum!) and mini-dishes of mung beans and kimchi -- all of this was more than enough food for anyone to consume in one seating. For food court style food, I was pleasantly surprised that there was TASTE in the food and a good serving size. When compared to Woorijip, which is across the street, this is definitely better than its competition -- and mind you, this is made-to-order and is not sitting in a heating case. In my opinion, I think the quality of the pork is better here than at Woorijip.


(L) photo of the Hanok stall (R) Jeyok Dupbop on tray (the black tray was heavier than normal trays)
taken with iphone

As a departing note, I liked the food I tried at Hanok and am willing to overlook the ordering system to eat here again. If it wasn't for the ordering system, I would say "hands-down" that this Food Gallery would be a better place to eat than Woorijip -- especially since you are getting "better quality meat" than at Woorijip... but something has to be said about the convenience of Woorijip's pick up and pay model that we shall see whether customers will go for CONVENIENCE or BETTER FOOD.

In due time, we shall see if the food court will take-away business from the neighboring restaurants or not ... who knows ... but I do know that restaurants that serve Korean Fried Chicken, such as Mad for Chicken, Bon Chon and Kyochon will be safe ... for now.


Until next time, Happy Eating!

Food Gallery 32
11 W 32nd St
(between 5th Ave & Broadway)
New York, NY 10001

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Freebies in NYC? -- Pizza, Coffee and Pisco Sour

Just read on Grub Street that Tresanti in SoHo will be giving away one 12-inch pie to everybody who walks in from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. this Thursday.

And two other freebie mentions were free coffee offers given away at participating restaurants via Seamless Web ... and a free pisco scour at Summit Bar or Hop Devil if you register for a voucher by clicking here.
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