September 30, 2010

El Parador

Here's a Happy Hour spot worth your time and your money! El Parador has a killer happy hour from 3-7 each weeknight: 5 dollar margaritas and sangria, and super-affordable appetizers! I've been here a few times but this was only my second visit for Happy Hour.

El Parador's claim to fame is being the city's oldest Mexican restaurant, and they tout their margarita as one of the best in NYC, and most of the time I agree! I've been one night when it was all tart and no sweet, and that was tough. Way too acidic for me. Generally though, they are AWESOME. And five dollars!

Chips and salsa are on the house--note they serve their salsa warm! It took some getting used to for me, but not long. I could swear the last batch had pumpkin in it, but don't quote me. There was a very atumnal, squash-type flavor going on there.

You should definitely get the house-made guac to share--it's a steal at 8 bucks, and it's muy delicioso. I prefer this to the salsa no question! The happy hour portion is plenty for two people.

Another winner for me were the chicken wings. The menu says they are baked, but they are so delicious you won't miss the frying. Normally I leave half of the meat on the bone because I get all freaked out by fat, tendons, etc., but these wings are so succulent, the meat falls right off the bone. So good.

On my most recent visit, I shared the fajita dish with a friend. It's not what I would call 'cheap' at 21 dollars, but sharing it breaks it down to about ten bucks each, and that is a delicious thing. I loved the chicken--normally fajita chicken is the throwaway--it's usually overcooked and dry and tasteless, but this was moist, seasoned to perfection, and oh-so-good. The refried beans had an off-putting spice in them, so I didn't really eat those. The rice wasn't bad, but I've never been a huge fan of the stuff.

No matter the reason for showing up at El Parador, you'll leave full and happy for not a lot of money. This is definitely in my Top 5 Happy Hour spots!

El Parador
325 E 34th St
New York, NY 10016
(212) 679-6812

September 29, 2010


Every foodie newsletter I get has been squawking for months about the arrival of Mario Batali's Eataly, but I wanted to wait a bit for the buzz to die down before going there myself. After our Shake Shack Sundae, ABF and I crossed the street and wandered in late one Monday night. It was still busy at 8pm, but I'm sure much calmer than during the day.

We took our time strolling through the gorgeous displays--beautiful, fresh cuts of meat of all kinds, local and imported, duck breast from Long Island, grass-fed beef from Michigan--you name it! The man working the meat counter saw my camera and waved me over for this shot--thanks!

They also have plenty of organs, offal, whathaveyou (nope, no tripe for me, but thanks). I have eaten cow tongue (or maybe it was horse for all I know!) and it was actually not terrible, but I'm not rushing to make it at home!

One of my favorite spots was the seafood counter. What a gorgeous, fresh display of seafood! They had an amazing array of fish and shellfish--pompano, arctic char, trout, bass, even a mako shark!

The freshness was visible--not a whiff of that fishy smell, and the eyes on all the fish were clear and bright.

Eataly also houses seven (SEVEN) restaurants, and they were all packed as we took our tour. ABF wants to visit soon, and I will only be too happy to go with him! The wine bar looked especially lovely to me (oh, hush), as did their seafood restaurant. It's all very open and spacious--nothing is really cut off from other sections. It can be a bit noisy, but you're busy eating anyway, right?

And check out the plethora of pretty, pretty pastries!

I guess it's big, right? I know I've been living in NYC for a while when my first thought is "Huh, it's not as big as I thought it would be!"

Eataly also has fresh produce, cheeses, cured meats, preserves and other canned goods, dairy, fresh AND dried pasta, freshly-baked probably do not want to shop here when you're hungry.

You absolutely should wander through here, if only to feast your eyes!

September 28, 2010

Shake Shack Sundae

It's never too cold, wet, rainy, whatever for a quick double dip sundae at Shake Shack. ABF & I stopped by on a drizzly but warm September night. Thanks to the rain, there was no line. We ordered a vanilla/chocolate custard sundae with hot fudge, whipped cream, and almonds, and promptly devoured it under our umbrella.


Then we went on our merry way in this awesome city, off to see yet another fun place (Eataly post coming soon!) Good gravy I love this city!!!!

September 27, 2010

Peter Pan Donuts

While walking through Greenpoint with Jen & Tom, I found them leading me towards Peter Pan Donuts. Tom was a bit annoyed that his favorite donut spot had gained some recent fame thanks to a certain celebrity (*cough* Tina Fey *cough*) who proclaimed this spot her favorite donut outlet.

It was late and most of the donuts were gone by the time we got there, but I figured it was still worth checking out, right? DONUTS!

Peter Pan looks super old-timey, but what you get you first is the smell. The warm, wonderful smell of freshly-baked deliciousness.

There are lots of frosted beauties in the window, but everyone: Jen, Tom, and the unexpectedly friendly, though low-key, server told me I had to get the cream chocolate sprinkle donut. Okay!

This multi-colored creation caught my eye, too, so that came home with me.

And finally, Jen is a fan of the red velvet, but this one didn't have the customary glaze. I opted to try it anyway.

After our feast at the Polish restaurant, I had absolutely no room for donuts, so these had to wait for the next day.

I did a cross-section of the cream filled chocolate sprinkle, and holy FILLING Batman! Look at that!

Oh yeah, this was good. A soft, pillowy donut with a hefty amount of filling. The filling is like a cross between frosting and whipped cream. It's got some texture and some weight to it, but it's not heavy. Oh no, my friends. This is all too easy to eat. I was pleasantly surprised to see that these donuts are NOT sicky-sweet, either. Just sweet enough!

The red velvet looked gorgeous, but tasted like any other cake donut to me. I have a feeling the glaze is key.

And I'll be honest. This last one? Creeped me out. Yes, the chocolate icing is delicious and the donut is soft and fresh, but that fruit topping is the WORST. The strawberries are...rubbery. You know that canned fruit that's just a bit too...chewy? I can't deal with that. I got halfway through a bite and made the "Oh gah NO" sound. Ick ick ICK. It's a texture thing. Some folks might LOVE that kind of fruit filling. I cannot abide it! I'll be sticking with the cream chocolate sprinkle.

My overall thoughts? These are very, very good donuts: fresh, delicious, and tasty, but I'm not ready to call them the best donuts ever...yet. I think I need to go back in the morning when they're super fresh, and I can linger at the counter with a hot cup of coffee, too. Hear that, Jen? That's me inviting myself back to your neighborhood!! :)

Peter Pan Donuts

727 Manhattan Ave

Brooklyn, NY 11222

(718) 389-3676

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