Archive for June, 2012


I love stumbling upon social gems in the city. That’s exactly what happened one day, when I noticed a building with floor-to-ceiling windows decorated by the glow of flashing neon lights and people dancing outside. Naturally, I was drawn in. It turns out that the fun factory was Toshi’s Living Room, aka Toshi’s Play House, a lounge in the Flatiron Hotel. This lounge was anything but low key; more like an after work play land. Surrounded by mom and pop shops in an uneventful section of Broadway, this meet up spot is a diamond in the rough. Colorful, cozy, sunken couches paired with low, chic coffee tables, created a grown-up Alice in Wonderland effect. The spacious hot spot houses a corner bar with egg-shaped stools, and a massive cylindrical aquarium with exotic fish as a backdrop. In fact, the surrounding windows gave visitors a fish bowl feel as well.

 

A great setting to showcase local bands, Toshi is known for nightly live music with space for impromptu dancing.  Foot tapin’ tunes inspire freestyle dancing, whether on the floor or in your chair.  Since it’s a hotel, there are guests of all ages which adds to the fun on any given evening, especially when drinks are involved! There’s a host of spirits ranging from bellinis, to traditional cocktails and wines. When you order wine, the waitress wheels over an actual barrel with a spout to fill your glass… Can you say “out of the box”?

 

With touches of whimsy, a great relaxed vibe, Toshi is now one of my fav picks for a nightcap. I did not try their fare since I had indulged before getting there, but that’s more reason to return!

Baby Back Bliss…

“Don’t try to rush it. Barbecue takes time. Start the grill, then open a beer. When the beer is finished, the coals will be ready. Then let the ribs cook at a nice, low temperature until they are tender.”

…Wise words from up-and-coming Sous Chef Cedric Harden, of Urban Belly and Bellyshack, in Chicago. In honor of the summer season and its pleasures, how could I ignore the chance to share his finger lickin’, five napkin needin’, recipe for charcoal grilled baby back ribs. The magic’s in the dry rub’s aromatic ingredient like coriander and oregano, complimented by fresh lemongrass and dark brown sugar in the homemade sauce. Try your hand at this…

For the recipe and more about Sous Chef Haden, click the pic!

Compliments of Tasting Table

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