Eat uP, Drink uP: Take a walk down Washington Street

14 07 2010

I’m very fortunate to have an incredibly scenic commute to work. Every day I walk up Washington Street, from Christopher to 14th (where I work) and back again, and marvel at how many great bars and restaurants are along this 10-block west side street. As a matter of fact, you can do your own little “pub crawl” without ever stepping off Washington Street.

Begin your descent at 14th Street, and walk one block down to the corner of 13th and Washington. Here you will find one of the original Meatpacking biker bars: Hogs and Heifers (859 Washington Street), aka the “Coyote Ugly” bar. This is basically a disgusting dive bar but hey, beer is beer, right? Plus, it’s always a hoot to see tourists bring their kids here: “Look, Johnny! There are SLUTS dancing on the bar!”

The Biergarten at the Standard: You'll never see it this empty again

Cross the street and you’ll find The Standard Grill (848 Washington Street) and their outdoor Biergarten, serving up beer, German-style snacks and boozed up chicks in 5″ heels. Get there early because it gets packed and it gets loud.

If the scene at the Standard isn’t for you, cross back over Washington and grab some thai food at SEA (835 Washington Street). There’s outside seating with a great view of the High Line and the drunken hooligans at the Biergarten.

Food is served here. Really.

In the mood for diner food, or doing an AM walk down Washington? Grab a breakfast wrap at Hector’s Café (Corner of Little West 12th & Washington Street). It looks like the shadiest diner in the world but it’s inexpensive and delicious. I recommend the Florentine wrap.

If you’re in the mood for something a little more upscale and Italian, Barbuto (775 Washington Street) is a fabulous place with great ambiance. With outdoor seating, daily menus and brunch on the weekends, you can’t go wrong here.

Barbuto. But look out the window: it's Tortilla Flats!

Now if it’s cheap, not really authentic but still delicious Mexican you’re craving, you’re in luck! Everyone’s favorite west side drunkery, Tortilla Flats (767 Washington Street) is just across West 12th Street.  If you’re not in the mood to have your memory erased by a barrage of tequila and bingo, not a problem. There’s a new wine bar next door called Entwine (765 Washington Street) that has an outside garden, wine tasting downstairs and a more loungey, sophisticated vibe.

On the corner of Bank and Washington Streets you’ll find the best happy hour deal on the west side at Automatic Slim’s (733 Washington Street): $3 draft beer, $4 wine. It can get crowded and loud here but there’s always good music and funny bartenders. Oh, and cheap booze.

Continue your trek to The Upholstery Store (713 Washington Street), one of my absolute favorite places in the city to get wine and a snack. From the outside it appears to be a home furnishings store (hence the name) but what’s inside is an intimate space filled with friendly bartendresses, overpriced pretzels and a lovely wine selection.

Last but not least, before hopping onto the PATH train back to the Jerz, we stumble upon Malatesta Vino & Cucina (649 Washington Street), a terrific little Italian restaurant on the corner of Washington and Christopher Streets. There’s plenty to see on Christopher Street so this is perfect even if you just want to sit outside, have a carafe of Chianti and take in the sights.

Happy west side eating and drinking!


Drink uP: Cleaning House

5 01 2010

To say that I overindulged during the holidays would be the understatement of the year. If it had sugar, frosting or sprinkles on top, it went in my mouth. If it had any French written on the label, I drank it. Basically if it wasn’t alive or nailed down to the table I helped myself to seconds. It’s now January 5th and I’m trying to take back my life with the help of my favorite seasonal detox: The Blueprint Cleanse.

A client turned me on to the Blueprint Cleanse a few years ago and my husband and I have done it two or three times a year ever since. This all-juice cleanse can be done for 1 to 7 days and basically consists of 6 different numbered bottles of juice that are consumed in order throughout the day. There are three different cleanse levels to choose from, depending on your health and lifestyle. One can expect to drop a few pounds over the course of the fast, but we primarily do it to get back on track after one too many bad judgment calls.

Although we have completed the 5-day cleanse before, Frank and I opted for the 3-day this time. Day One was a breeze until I decided to go to the movies at 5:30 and was tortured by the smell of buttered popcorn and the urge to urinate every 30 seconds.  After a good night sleep, however, I woke up feeling refreshed and raring to go. We’re currently on the second day and I’m wondering (as I do each time) why the hell I chose to do this to myself again. Day Two is the absolute worst for me as the toxins are releasing and the desire to chew is making me want to punch anyone I see eating on the subway. In between juices we’re allowed to drink water or tea and, only in dire situations, are allowed to nibble on a few cucumbers or celery stalks.  This means I’ll put myself to bed early tonight since I’m already on Juice #4 and it’s only 5 pm. Day Three will suck until around 4 pm when I’ll start to feel amazingly light and clear-headed and wonder why I didn’t sign up for the 5-day. This is what we like to call “Cleanse Bravado.”

So why do I do it year after year? For me, it pays off to go balls to the wall after a month of bodily abuse. The strict cleanse shows me how much unnecessary snacking I do on a daily basis and helps me make smarter choices going forward. Upon completion of the cleanse, your body doesn’t want processed foods and you’re no longer experiencing sugar cravings like before. When I start to feel like I’m slipping back into old habits, I’ll do another one (probably right before summer).

I like Blueprint Cleanse because it’s easy, convenient, straight to the point and delicious.  It’s also expensive and may not be in everyone’s budget but if you sign up for the Blueprint email list, you’ll receive frequent discounts and specials.  For more information on the Blueprint Cleanse, visit their website: and choose the cleanse that’s right for you.

Drink uP: Delicious Cheap Organic Red Wine

20 11 2009


Back in the day my girl Jen Smith and I would debit-card a humongous bottle of $9.99 Citra Merlot from the liquor store across the street from us on Graham Ave in Brooklyn and not even think twice about how embarrassing it was. We’d pair it with a loaf of Italian bread from the Mafioso bakery, olive oil and hours of good music (cds, not iPods) and, in the words of my Irish grandmother, be happier than pigs in shite.

In the past five years I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to France twice, Spain and Greece and have sampled beautiful wines in all price ranges but I refuse to become a wine snob. This in turn has kept my mind open to the little treats in life such as Luzon Verde, a $9  100% organic red wine from Spain that I can’t stop drinking.

Dark purple in color, this Monastrell is best chilled for 10 minutes and poured into a decanter as it opens up wonderfully. I’m sure it’s delicious with food but we love to drink it by itself. The flavors are violet, licorice and berries, rich and full on the palate without the choking of the throat that tends to happen with many Spanish reds.

I’m not a wine writer or expert by any stretch but I am an enthusiast and I assure you that I’ve come a long way from the crappy wine days back in Billyburg…and this one’s a winner.