Hummus Kitchen

444 3rd Ave at 31th Street.
New York, NY
Tel: 212.696.0055
http://www.hummuskitchen.com

I have come to believe, that Mediterranean food is one of the healthier options when it comes to eating out. Right or wrong, what is more important when I come across a new Mediterranean place I can not wait to try it. Recently walking through Murray Hill, I came across Hummus Kitchen, and few friends and I decided to try it out on a Sunday  night.

This is the location of Tibetian Kitchen, but the place is redone. It had a really inviting abiance, with a open kitchen. Since Hummus Kitchen recently opened, they still are in the process of applying for a liquor license, even though you are teased with lines of wine bottles.

As you can expect, the food here is pretty much a Mediterranean staple. Hummus, wraps, falafel and salads. I went for the Sirloin Hummus. It was a nice helping of hummus with sirloin steak in the middle served with a side of pita bread. Very impressive! The portion, flavor and service was excellent. I need to come back to try out the entrees next time.

Libation Thursday Happy Hour

137 Ludlow
New York, NY 10002
212.529.2153

http://www.libationnyc.com/

If I told you I know where to $1 dollar beers in Manhattan, you probably wouldn’t believe me. At most you might expect PBRs. But no! Libation offers a very interesting Happy Hours on Thursday, which ends with $1 draught beers. Thats right ANY beer on tap is $1!

Here is deal

5pm – 6pm : $5 Beers
6pm – 7pm: $4 Beers
7pm-8pm: $3 Beers

Do you see where this is going??

8pm-9pm: $2 Beers

AND YES

9pm-10pm: $1 Beers!

Go Enjoy and Don’t Forget to Tip Your Bartenders!

Open Door Gastropub

110 John Street
New York, NY 10038
p: 212.608.0200
http://www.opendoornyc.com

First things first, if you are asking what is a Gastropub; as per wikipedia: Gastropub refers to a bar and restaurant that serves high-end beer and food.

Being close to my office, I have come here a few times for a happy hour. The constant draw seems to be a combinatoin of the happy hour special and surprisingly good food.

Lets Start with the Happy Hour! The deal is weekdays from 4pm to 7pm, 2 for 1 Wine by the glass and Absolut Martinis. They wine list has a great deal of options, with the Malbec being one of my favorites. I have never personally had any of the martinis but the selection is Dirty, Cosmo, Metropolitan, Peartini, Mango and Pomegranite. Being that I never gave them a shot, I have heard the Peartini is the best. Which one is your favorite? If you are a beer drinker, they have about 15 different beers on draught as well.

What about the food? SLIDERS! Must go for the sliders, they have 5 types of sliders. For me it is a toss up between the Angus Chimicurri and the Lamb slider. I would suggest staying away from the Crab Cake Slider. I didn’t enjoy them at all. Good as a crab cake, but not as a slider. Hey I have to be honest here. Few other stand out dishes are Truffled Blue Cheese Fries, Tuna Nachos, Moroccan Spiced Lamb Sandwich and the Filet Steak Sandwich.

Open Door is quickly becoming the go to spot after work, if you work in the Financial District you might need to check it out.

Happy Birthday BLT Restaurants

To mark their 7th Birthday BLT Steak and BLT Prime are offering quite a deal. On March 3rd, entrees will be $33.04 while sides, drinks and desserts will be $3.03. Reservations are recommended and I am sure spots are flying quickly!

Check the BLT Birthday flyer for more details.

Guest Post Terroir – East Village

When I walked in to Terroir (which is a sister bar of Hearth and Insieme), I felt like I was walking in to a cozy dinner party at someone’s apartment.  It seats about 9 at the bar and 12-14 at one communal table.  The lighting was dim and they played some music from the 50s.  The place was bustling with a people from all walks of life. 

My friend and I parked our rear ends at the bar.  Ordered a glass of Montefalco Rosso.  Med bodied, acidic finish.  Wasn’t too crazy about it.  Second glass – Montepulciano.  Med bodied, smoother finish.  Third glass – Chianti Classico.  THE WINNER!  We had those flowing all night.  (Paying for it this morning… UGH).

Oh, I almost forgot about the food.  Being that this isn’t DrinkTravelSave.  The food was delish! We started off with the Proscuitto Panini with fontina cheese and caramelized onions and the Red wine risotto balls with Oxtail.  Both really great.  Then we ordered the Calamari Salad with smoked chickpeas, garlic and lemon (refreshing blend of flavors) along with the Veal & Ricotta Meatball Sub (mmm… comfort food).  All very sharable and tapas-esque. 

Overall, cute scene with not your run of the mill bar food.  Definitely worth checking out.

www.wineisterroir.com

Delta does away with Mileage Expiration Date

In my previous post, I shared a tip which can help to keep your miles from expiring. Well good new for those who preferred frequent flyer program is Delta Skymiles. Delta annouced they will no longer have an expiration date on the miles. check the email I recieved below. What is interesting is the fact they mention no fine print, no ifs, ands or buts.

 Hello Mr. EatTravelSave,

You now can earn miles without worrying if and when they will expire as we have eliminated our mileage expiration policy – no asterisk, no fine print, no ifs, ands or buts.

So regardless of your future SkyMiles activity, redeem your miles whenever you want for Award Travel to 350+ worldwide destinations, car rentals, hotel stays, newspapers, magazines and one-of-a-kind auction packages.

We are proud to be the only major U.S. carrier without mileage expiration.

Visit delta.com to learn more about your SkyMiles benefits and explore the many ways you can earn and use your miles.

You’re the reason we fly,

J. W. Robertson
Vice President – SkyMiles

Getting Bonuses To Eat

We all have credit cards that yield us points, and if you are like me you will charge every meal for those amazing points. If so, I would like to introduce you to Rewards Network, also known as iDine. If you already know about Rewards Network how about jumping to a random post, otherwise read ahead.

Rewards Network lets you earn additional bonuses at program specific dining spots when you use any of your credit cards. Bonuses can be miles, points, cash back, college savings and even a donation to a worthy cause. For example you may have an American Express where you get AmEx points, with Rewards Network you can sign up for say AAdvantage miles for your dines on top of the AmEx points. Visit their website and take a peek at their many dining programs and see which one stirs your interest.

When you join, you have to link your credit card to the account and from then on out whenever you dine at a restaurant in the Rewards Network program you will earn the additional bonus. This is a GREAT trick if you are someone who is trying to keep your airline miles from expiring. What makes it even better is that you can join multiple programs and link a different credit card for each program.

As with all rewards programs, there are tiers. You may start with 1 point per dollar spent and move all the way to 10 points per dollar spent as you climb the tiers. In addition there are special bonus offers that will allow you to accumalate even more points per dine.

All in all, this is a must have for any foodie who is a points horde!

The Short

  1. Go to The Rewards Network Website
  2. Find a Dining Program or Programs that Interest you the most.
  3. Create an Account for each Program
  4. Link your Credit Cards
  5. Dine Out
  6. Enjoy the Bonus Miles, Points or what ever your choose!

Guest Post ‘At Vermilion’

NYC Restaurant week is a time we as NYers use as an excuse to indulge and be merry:  Test out some new spots and revisit the old faithfuls…

I had such an “interesting” experience at ‘At Vermilion‘ tonight that I forced Tesh (with a weapon) to give me the password to the site so that I can share with you all…  And here it goes:

At Vermilion stood out from the list.  Indian-Latin fusion.  I like Indian.  I like Latin.  Can’t go wrong, right?  WRONG!

Let’s start at the bar:  I met up with a friend for a drink while I was waiting for another friend to show up for dinner.  I asked for the Coriander Pear Martini.  Nope, unavailable.  My friend ordered a MaCallan 18yr on the rocks.  Didn’t have that either.  How about the Oban?  Try again.  So why the hell are they listed on the damn menu?!  I settled on the Lychee Ginger Martini and MaCallan 12yr for my friend.  After waiting at least 10 minutes to get the bartender’s attention to close out the check (trust me, they were not busy), we were off to the second floor for dinner.

Dining room:  Modern, clean, minimalism at its best.  Decor wasn’t all that bad but could have been more inviting.  We were seated at a 4-top.  The regular menus were presented.  My friend and I looked at each other, wondering if they were no longer participating in Resto week.  I asked our server.  ”Oh, yes.  Would you like to see that menu?”  ”DUH…” A few minutes later, another waiter approached the table and asked to take our drink order.  After we ordered our drinks, another waiter approached us for our drink orders.  The resto week menu didn’t look all too enticing so we went with their regular selection.  We started off with the Kebab tasting:  Beef, Cauliflower, Paneer, and Chicken.  The appetizer took a long time to arrive.  We were hungry and ready to dive in, once it hit the table.  I went for the beef first.  One bite and I thought my mouth was on fire, not realizing that the entire piece was rolled in a plate of chili pepper flakes (Yes, like the ones that you can find in your local pizzeria).  I can handle spicy – Hell, I put Tabasco on virtually anything – but this was on another level.  Even more disturbing was the meat inside. It was so undercooked that the meat was cool and the color/texture was similar to tuna tartare.  Having worked in the food & bev industry, I rarely send things back… but this had to go.  It looked like I performed an open heart surgery on my appetizer plate.  YUK!  The Paneer, Chicken,and the Cauliflower kebabs was prepared on the spicy side as well.  Let’s hope the main course is better…

I ordered the Lamb Shank Gassi.  It was a 5 at best.  The meat was really tender but the sauce was over powering.  Spicy AGAIN.  My friend ordered the Seafood Paella.  Spicy as well.  We are typically drinkers but we barely had 1 round of drinks because we were too busy chugging water.  Everything we ate after that tasted like chili pepper, including the rice.  I understand that I ordered under the ‘Heat’ section so I was prepared for some ‘kick’ but the appetizer and the paella was not listed as spicy.  It really sucked for my friend who doesn’t prefer spicy foods.

Dessert anyone?: We needed something sweet after all that spice and salt.  So we gave the dessert menu a whirl.  I wanted something sweet and cold so I went with the trio of sorbets: blueberry cardamom – floral, cardamom was overpowering. passionfruit chili – tasted like mango, not bad. coconut clove – tasted like coconut icee.  My friend ordered the Hedonism (dark chocolate molten cake, chili – masala orange – blueberry cardamom sorbet).  It was mediocre.  Notice, why the hell is the word chili on the desert menu twice any how?!

Check, please!: At this point, we were approached by 3 different waiters.  Clearly they do not communicate amongst each other.  The runners were also disorganized.   We were almost served coffee in error and they did not know seat numbers when the entrees came out.  After $85, I walked out with buyer’s remorse.  Major Resto Week FAIL!

Restaurant Week at Les Halle

15 John Street
New York, NY 10038
p: 212.285.8585
f. 212.791.3280
http://leshalles.net/

The coworkers and I choose Les Halle as our Restaurant Week pick of the winter season. Well, actually I choose it, in case any of them decide to post a comment, I will take all credit. The menu featured appetizer choice of Asparagus Soup, Mushroom Puff Pastry and a Crab cake. The entree choices were Skate in a Lemon Butter Sauce, Braised beef in tomato sauce, and a duck sausage on sauerkraut. And the dessert finale was between a coffee creme brule and pecan pie. Some had a fancy french name, but I am going to eliminate the “oh you fancy huh” names.

The best way is to just get to the disappointing experience. Yes, I said disappointing. My meal was the crab cake, duck sausage and creme brule. First problem, the service was slow! It took a good amount of time to bring out the appetizers, it actually left us all staring at the bread basket and wanting more. The apps themselves were okay at best. I have definitely had better crab cakes. After more waiting we finally got our entrees. They messed up my coworker’s skate and brought out the duck sausage. What made this worse, nothing was done to bring out the correct dish, until we had to mention it to the waiter himself! Apparently the table runners and the waiters do not communicate. As for the entrees, none of us were impressed at all. One person even said the sauerkraut was sweet. The duck sausage, was not amazing, and that was the best way to put it.

From there once we done with our entrees, we had to wait for another 10 minutes for our desserts to come out. I am all for fresh dessert, but really? On restaurant week, normally places know how to fly food out! Especially at lunch time. The desserts were okay, possibly the best part of the meal. Not all was bad, I must commend the water guy, he was on top of it and made sure I never had an empty glass of water. You might think there is some sarcasm tied into the comment, but those who know me, I always like a full glass of water and making me wait for water is possibly the easiest way to tick me off.

One person at our table said “You would think that during restaurant week, they would put out a menu that would entice you to come back, this menu does not.” Well I have to agree with that comment. I do have to mention, that have been to Les Halle on another occasion, and I really enjoyed the food. I would say go and enjoy the regular menu, restaurant week or not! To close, what would Bourdain say of such an experience?

Capital Grille

 www.thecapitalgrille.com

Capital Grille has always been one of my favorite spots for a corporate dinner. It is actually a surprise that I have never gotten around to writing a review on a previous visit. I guess it does not really matter as this visit to Capital Grille was quite unique. Keep in mind this review is based on the NYC Financial District location.

It has been a while since I last dined at Capital Grille, about 3+ years, so things have changed, ever so slightly. The one change that hit me off the bat, was that the menu had calorie counts for each dish. The good.. I can attempt to eat healthy! The bad.. I see that Delmonico Steak with 12 Year Balsamic vinegar has over 1000 calories. More bad.. the lobster mac and cheese has over 1500 calories. Clearly healthy is not going to work here, so let’s throw that idea out the door and have some fun.

Like it was even a question, this meal started off with the Grand Plateau, a seafood tower consisting of Jumbo Shrimp, Oysters, Lobster and Crab Legs. What makes this tower exceptional is that the shrimps are peeled, lobster tails cut with the meat ready to eat, and the crab legs have been drained of all water so you can avoid the splatter when cracking them open. The Grand Plateau was not on the menu, we had to specifically ask for it.

Before I get to the entrees, I will mention the sides. We got the lobster mac and cheese, what, did you think that 1500 calories would stop us? Adding to that we had the truffle fries, creamed spinach and asparagus. Hey I wanted something healthy, but mind you it came with hollandaise sauce.

On to the steaks we go. Looking through the menu, I was having a tough time deciding on which steak I wanted. It came down to the dry aged sirloin and the dry aged steak au poivre. Based on the waiter’s suggestion I sided with the dry aged steak au poivre, medium rare. The steak was pepper crusted. Unfortunately when the steak came out, it was medium well. Normally, I am not one to send back food, but I was having a difficult time eating the steak, so I had no choice but to send the steak back. The staff was extremely friendly about it, they even brought out a hot order of creamed spinach with my steak. The second time it was perfect, but I had loaded up on the lobster mac and cheese while waiting so I could only get through ½ the steak. To end off the meal I ordered my favorite dessert the crème brule.

Capital Grille continues to be a go to spot of mine. Even with the slight blip with the steak, the staff made it into a non issue. I purposely mention this because I have been to steak houses where the waiter claims “that is how we cook our steaks.” This place certainly caters to the customer and cares about you walking out happy.