Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Ruminations On My Domain

Hell's Kitchen....aka Clinton, aka Midtown West, once considered the "underworld," the stomping grounds of Irish-American organized crime. It's ethnic conflicts formed the basis of musicals like West Side Story. Once the bastion of poor and working class Irish-Americans, is now undergoing... gentrification.

For virgin New Yorkers it's referred to as Clinton, while for us native New Yorkers it will always be Hell's Kitchen. It is now largely, the home of theatre actors and musicians and also anyone wishing to live close to midtown Manhattan.

I'm taking this opportunity to give props to our local merchants, who without fail have contributed to the betterment of this neighborhood, before and during the rehabilitation process.

Lopez hardware store: small but efficient, very helpful and friendly staff. Get your keys copied there too.

The Amish Market on 9th Ave: always good, reliable produce, nice variety of cakes and pies for the holidays, well stocked and helpful staff.

Perdition: Quiet and unassuming during the day. Great vibe at night, good local crowd, clean, well stocked bar.

Rice n' Beans: Delicious Brazillian fare. Tiny space but good, hot food and the deliveries are just as good. Try their bobo de camarau (shrimp in sweet sauce)

Laundromat Cafe: Not just your local laundromat, it also features local artist works on their walls and a small section in the front offers hot coffee for patrons. Good drop off service too.

Food Emporium: Reliable supermarket downstairs with just about everything you need, recently revamped their upstairs quarters with ready, to go foods including a deli, pizza, fresh baked bread and assorted soups and sauces.

St. Malachy's Church: along with their Encore Community Program uses their contributions well and gives back to the community by providing low cost housing for seniors. Along with their lively priests and lay people they organize fun broadway trips and really go all out with their fantastic singing choir to bring in the holiday spirit.

Goucho Steak: A new establishment that offers yummy steaks and other meaty portions for reasonably priced local eats. Friendly staff and owner.

Sushi Jun: Opened about 2 years ago. So small, if you're not looking for it you'll walk righ tby it. The corner of 8th and 50th St. Reasonably priced sushi, good and interesting combinations. Mild experimentation with their appetizers and salads. Nice family owned place. Good for friday and saturday night eats.

Tofuyaki: there's no name on the front so it's easy to find! Serves up great japanese desserts, custards, cookies etc and offers a variety of teas, saki's and other beverages to accompany the desserts. Great reviews from Zagat and writes up in the New York Times.

Beer and Cheese: yes, that's what it's called! It's right next door to the wine store and connected to it as well. They pair various beers with the approriate cheese, they offer cheese and meat platters for party orders, some catering and they also host great wine and cheese tasting events.

Dewitt Clinton Park: The forgotten park, somewhat. Houses a great dog park, elevated grounds that overlook the harbor and 12th avenue. Also has a small ballpark where local tri borough baseball teams play. Also the namesake of Hell's Kitchen's renewal.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Decking the Halls...

As the holiday season draws closer, many of you who have not yet completed your holiday shopping will be left scrambling to find gifts that are practical and yet different. Naturally your recipients don't all share the same taste or perhaps they already have everything under the sun otherwise Christmas shopping would be much simpler.

To help you, here's a short list of some items that are not like others and if you hurry, they might still be available. Otherwise, your recipients will have to suffice with rainchecks or I owe you's. This year's theme... food and drink:

Illusion Wine Glasses

Fun drinking glasses that create an optical illusion of a floating wine glass within a pint glass. Bewitching and clever, these modern glasses will give any beverage an unexpected twist of whimsy. Combining inventive design with delightful execution, the wine goblet fills entirely with liquid and seems to float within the surrounding glass, which remains empty. Sold as a set of 4. Priced at $75.00.

The Mono Giro Apple Slicer
The Mono Giro Apple Slicer cuts around the apple core, creating beautiful apple spirals for snacks or garnishes. The Giro Apple Slicer was designed by Jessica Battram and Christina Schafer and features stainless steel. Yes, it's a German design! Woohoo! Priced at $34.00.

One Bottle Tote by Built NY Inc.
The One Bottle Tote by Built NY, is an insulated bottle bag made from neoprene, a durable stretchy wetsuit material. It keeps one bottle of water, wine, champagne, or what ever you want chilled. Protects bottles from breaking. Machine washable.
It's your lucky day because this item is on sale from $11.99 to $17.99 depending on the color at: http://www.lumens.com/lumens/product.asp?s_id=0&pf_id=PAAAIAKGCEGCNOCN. The cost of shipping will probably be more than the gift itself.

Guitar Ice Mold
As seen in Daily Candy...for the hip, yet budget conscious shopper, how about rockin' out the holidays with these guitar shaped ice "cubes." Freeze, stir and chill. 1 tray creates three 3x2x1/4 inch ice cubes with sticks.It’s time to kick back and chill and here’s a cool way to do it! Drop one of these groovy guitars into your drink, and give it a stir. Just the thing for jazzing up your favorite beverage.
expected to ship out 2nd week Dec. Priced at $8.00. Find it at:

Portable Chopsticks Set
For those of you who no longer use forks and knives OR for those of you that wish to sharpen your chopstick techniques. Just pop the chic aluminum chopsticks out of their cloth pouch, screw them together, and make quick work of sushi or dim sum, or even chop suey. They're fabulous at that just discovered Malaysian place, on trips to Asia, and at home for takeout ceremonies. Chopsticks and rest easily assemble and dissemble for transport or storage. The set includes a pair of chopsticks, chopstick rest and cloth pouch. Comes in a red box that measures 5.5"L x 2.25"W x 1.25"H. Price is $56.00. Find it at: http://store.unusualthings.biz/pochset.html

Merry Christmas shopping to all and to all a good night!