Category: Night Life


so-it-appears

So It Appears

Sure, New York City has lots of glitz and glam. Huge buildings and iconic attractions are among its characteristics, but NYC wouldn’t be what it is today, without its dreamers; those who take a chance to pursue their passions with reckless abandon – or those who live by ‘YOLO’ (You Only Live Once). For generations, New York has been built by go-getters and is full of those seeking their ultimate ‘American Dream.’

The same aspirations are true for Frankie Rodriguez and Alyssa Sartor, owners of August Laura, in Brooklyn. Bartending more than 20 years combined in New York City, the couple was blessed to open their ‘dream,’ befittingly located four blocks from where Alyssa’s grandfather (an Italian immigrant) grew up. Paying homage to her grandfather, the living room style bar has been named after him. The deep familial ties are undeniable at August Laura. Family pictures and home-goods are tastefully placed around the room, creating a cozy nightcap for all guests.

Tipples are elegant, intriguing, and satisfying, at the warm neighborhood cocktail bar. Each highlight the individual ingredients whether sweet, bitter, or savory and progress thoughtfully in spirit strength. The signature and nostalgic Amaretto Sour is seriously addictive. Alyssa’s recipe uses egg white and flavorful Nocino walnut liqueur, which adds sophistication and a seductive, creamy element to each sip. Shaved nutmeg heightens the senses and is the perfect garnish for the luscious drink.

The dedicated staff at August Laura pours sippers for patrons nightly, in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, while listing to stellar playlists such as Sam Smith, 90s rap, and even a live jazz duo (every Wednesday night).

In its premier year, August Laura is making its imprint because Alyssa and Frankie dared to dream. Each time a customer enjoys their drink of choice, in essence, he or she raises a glass to couple’s surreal American Dream.

Want to know more about August Laura? Check the interview and how to make the buzz-worthy Amaretto Sour on POUR.

August Laura

387 Court Street

Brooklyn, NY 11231

Tidbits:

Jazz on Wednesday evenings

Pop-up Weekend Brunch: Dovecote at August Laura – Saturday and Sunday 10 am – 3 pm (featuring La Colombe coffee, coffee cocktails, and local bakery goods)

flying_purple_pisco

Lynnette Marrero, co-beverage director of Brooklyn’s Llama Inn, shares the inspiration of the Flying Purple Pisco – a play on the traditional Pisco Sour and named after the Flying Purple People Eater. This refreshing libation  features Peru’s infamous spirit, pisco, a grape brandy made in the country’s wine regions. It’s perfect for any season, celebration, and much needed happy-hour. Click here to learn how to make the Flying Purple Pisco.

Courtesy of Llama Inn.

Flying Purple Pisco Recipe

1 oz of Purple potato puree (with simple syrup mixed in*)

½ oz Lime juice

½ oz Lemon juice

2 oz Macchu Pichu Pisco

1 Egg white

Directions

Dry shake all ingredients together.

Add ice to ingredient mixture and shake again.

Strain into a low-ball glass

Top with a streak of Angostura bitters and grated nutmeg

 

*Simple Syrup Recipe

1 part water

1 part white granulated sugar

Simple syrup directions:

Directions

In a medium saucepan combine sugar and water.

Bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar has dissolved.

Adjust amount of sugar to desired taste.

Allow to cool.

llama-innA truly international and rustic cuisine, Peruvian food deserves more acclaim than it receives. Serving up a melting pot of cultural influences including Spanish, African and Incan, yield iconic dishes like ceviche and Escabache de Pescado (fried fish with onion sauce). Peruvian dishes often have bold, complex and vibrant flavor, incorporating ingredients like aji chili and sweet lucuma (a native fruit).

Flavors such as these are proudly served at Brooklyn’s Llama Inn. Don’t let its hipster vibe fool you – the ‘Llama Drama’ (referring to the buzzing atmosphere) is serious about delicious authentic eats, reflecting Chef Erik Ramirez’ favorite nostalgic meals. Chef Ramirez and his staff have done a wonderful job turning a social haven into a full-scale, epicurean, must-visit. One of the stand-out dishes is the Beef Tenderloin Stir Fry. This visually stunning dish matches its aesthetics in taste as it is a beautiful mountain of sliced tenderloin topped with red onion, rocoto (hot chili pepper)  and French fries served with a side of avocado and scallion pancakes. The succulent beef is bathed in a luscious soy sauce, perfect for dipping fries or drizzled on a pancake burrito.

It’s difficult to go wrong at the Inn with so many exceptional selections including the refined octopus or spicy pork belly anticuchos (skewered meat). Whether a novice to Peru’s succulent fare or a native, Llama Inn is an unforgettable experience transporting diners’ taste buds to the motherland itself.
Hungry for more? Click here to watch the ‘Llama Drama’ in action on POUR featuring Llama Inn’s iconic Flying Purple Pisco cocktail.

Llama Inn

50 Withers Street

Brooklyn, NY 11211

718-387-3434

Tidbits:

Brunch: Saturday and Sunday 11 am – 3:30 pm

Rooftop bar and dining space

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Grilled Pork Chop Phó

‘Tis the season for comfort food. As always, it conjures up fond memories, awakens the taste buds and is super satisfying. We all have our go-to favs, but I’ve added different dish to my all-star list – phó – and Shanghi Shack serves up the real deal.

This shack is a local favorite among the NYU, Greenwhich Village crowds and phó lovers alike. No passport or long flight necessary to indulge in this pool of brothy love straight from the orient. Cozy up to a deep dish filled with noodles and grilled pork chop (or your choice of topping). Pick and choose from a spread of fresh lime, basil leaves and beansprouts to enhance the rich flavor of the phó. Or, settle down to the classic, plentiful báhn mì sandwich with Vietnamese ham, house bacon and paté. If you’re more of a vermicelli purist, pair it with tender grilled lemongrass chicken or seasoned soy. There’s a great selection of choices including vibrant salads and fresh juices, but don’t overlook the perfectly fried sweet potato fries with the addictive house mayo sauce – I promise you’ll want it sauce on everything!

As we turn to stews, casseroles, and roasted veggies this time of year, venture out and try a new type of home cooking. It may not be momma’s kind of fare but as long as it’s tasty and brings you to a happy place, she’ll approve.

 

114 MacDougle St.

212-228-0588

Open for dining, pick up and take out orders

**cash only**

7121 Bethesda Lane

(301) 656-5515

 www.redwoodbethesda.com

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Chicken Sliders

You’re probably like me. I love being surprised, especially when it comes to a restaurant like Redwood in Bethesda, Maryland. Located in an upscale area near DC, it’s highly touted and was chosen as the venue for Bravo’s Top Chef season 7 “restaurant wars” – a legendary event and honor in itself. Needless to say, I was slightly intimidated by its score card. Yet, when I was invited to dine there, I jumped at the opportunity. Surprisingly, my nerves were quickly eased. The food and exceptional service lives up to the reputation but it is unpretentious. Although chic and modern, Redwood focuses on wholesome comfort food and doesn’t take itself too seriously. With delicious appetizers like whimsy fried chicken sliders with a chipotle aioli and lightly fried macaroni balls, I knew I was in good hands. This local favorite renewed my faith in fried calamari as well. In the past, I’ve been highly disappointed by calamari if I order it anywhere else other than an Italian eatery.  But I was more than pleased here. The flavorful, plump “O’s” are crispy and well-seasoned with the perfect thickness – it didn’t stand a chance for survival!

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Shrimp and Grits with braised greens

Known for its commitment to serving the best of traditional and contemporary dishes with local ingredients, the kitchen takes homey favorites such as chicken pot pie or shrimp and grits and refines them while evoking memories of  our first bites of these classic entrées. Executive Sous Chef, Sedrick Crawley’s take on custom and modern American cuisine is the perfect balance between familiar and new tastes while leaving diners wanting more. And with an ever-changing menu, it excites me to see what else he has up his sleeve. Chef Sed’s passion for his craft radiates from each plate. Such is the case with the steamed muscle with chorizo and roasted garlic and even the bucatini (a thick pasta dressed with a pork and beef meat sauce finished with the Italian grana padano cheese); both appropriately served in a rustic “mama’s favorite” skillet.

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Bucatini

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Steamed Muscles

Now, when indulging in such great fare, the occasion begs for a 21+ libation. It’s hard to go wrong with any of the impressive, hand crafted drinks and wine list. (A comfort to know.)  I’m a gin girl and my favorite drink was the brilliant Chartreusian 75 which includes yellow chartreuse, simple syrup, and sparkling wine. A tantalizing mixture of sweet and tart…basically it was seduction in a glass.

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Chartreusian 75

With delicious happy hours, weekly live entertainment and a menu that’ll thrill your taste buds, Redwood is more than a restaurant… it’s an experience for all senses.

“Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name,
and they’re always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see,
our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows
Your name.”

– “Where Everybody Knows Your Name” Lyrics by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo

Do the lyrics above sound familiar? It’s the opening to the hit show, Cheers. Who knew that the simple idea of frequenting a local bar would become an insanely popular sitcom? Well, it’s something we’ve been doing for the longest – visiting our favorite spots, ordering “the usual,” and a brew or two. We even catch up on the week’s news be it last night’s game or the front page of the Times. And the thing is, we can’t get enough of our favorite bars. The thought of visiting instantly perks us up and we think about the good times and dishes there. So, in that spirit, I’ve decided to feature some of my favorite local bars and grills on the island. No mater the day or time, good times and good eatin’ are always on the menu…

Croxley’s Ale House and Eatery

(Multiple locations

www.croxley.com)

Whether you’re looking for a hearty bite or rearing to go for game night, Croxley’s Ale House & Eatery’s got you covered. The ale house brews its own beers and has a wide array of national and international selections. With 60 on tap ranging from light to dark lager, angry ales to beer cocktails, Croxley’s is sure to engage the “brew-curious” and brew enthusiasts’ pallets. And for a limited time, there’s a seasonal Croxley’s Pumpkin Ale served with a cinnamon sugar rim. I may not be a “brew guru”, but I’m a “food guru” and their eats are not to be missed! The savory menu has American and English pub classics such as crispy fish and chips, stand out burgers such as the Ale House Burger with bacon, glazed with an addictive 1,000 Island dressing sauce.

But my favorite fare there arethe finger lickin’, 5 napkin needin’ wings! Fried to fall-off-the-bone perfection, the chicken is doused in your choice of mild, medium, hot or BBQ sauces – all of which are tangy and tempts diners to lick the plate. Not into sauces? No problem. The wings are served plain as well. Served in groups of 10, you can literally feast on them all day long.

Best of all Monday – Wednesday the wings are $.10 and unlimited. Ready for more? Thursdays, the $.10 wings go boneless and Saturdays and Sundays the wings are $.20. Still that can hardly be beat. Wings and beer go hand-in-hand when it comes to football. Croxley’s a is great spot to watch fights or the game but get there early, by kick-off, it’s packed and for good reason too!

Meal:

20 wings : $2.00

Glass of Angry Orchard Cider: $6.00

Total: $8.00

Other tidbits:

  • Multiple locations:
  • Long Island: Franklin Square,* Rockville Centre, Farmingdale, and Smithtown
  • NYC: Brooklyn, Manhattan
  • Multiple huge flat screens
  • Follow on Facebook and Twitter (@Croxley_FS) for news and events

* Location reviewed by Canny Candi

Shakers

(267 Mineola Blvd.

516-294-0445

www.shakersny.com)

We’ve all done it while driving. No, not texting. (Shame on you!) I mean, noticed a new restaurant on a street we always travel and say “hmm,… I should try that one day.” Well, that happened to me recently. On a residential corner in Mineola, sits a rompin’ good time within four walls. Applebee’s, known as your neighborhood grill, has nothin’ on Shakers. This no fuss, true neighborhood hangout spot lets the guests set the mood with a decked out touch screen jukebox, and serves up fresh, flavorful bar bites all day long. Locally sourced, the food is delivered daily and is never frozen offering a truly fulfilling made to order experience for diners. All of the selections looked delicious. It was hard to decide, but I ordered a flawless Long Island Ice Tea, and Chicken on a Stick, three Panko crusted breasts on skewers and a side of perfectly golden French fries. What really won me over was the chipotle mayo served as a dipping sauce.

It was just enough spice to add some south of the border zest to the whimsy chicken dish. Next time, I can’t wait to taste their finger lickin’ Colossal Wings or their Frito Pie!

This hidden jewel’s popularity has grown in the short six months it’s been in Mineloa. That’s not surprising because it has so much to offer: a legendary Level 15 Wing eating challenge, guests can play “bar tender” on Sunday’s with the Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar, live music on the weekends and Way Back Wednesday (a weekly blast from the past with a themed menu and stellar prices based on the decade, i.e. 80’s night). And no local joint could proudly hold the label of “bar” without honoring footballs nights. Shakers offers $5 Football meal deals and drinks specials every Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday game nights. It’s so easy to order a round of beer and wings, watch the game and root for your team without breaking your budget. If you’re looking for a low-key place to unwind from a busy day or somewhere to catch up with friends, Shakers is your place.

Meal: $15.00

Other tidbits:

  • Daily happy hour: 3pm – 7pm
  • Outdoor seating
  • Like on FB (site listed above) and follow on Twitter for promos and event news (@ShakersMineola)
  • Free local delivery
  • Comfy leather seating in lounge
  • High top bar seating
  • Multiple huge flat screens

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!

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