Guac Club

I don’t want to brag, but I belong to one of the most exclusive clubs in New York City. A club that celebrates one of the greatest inventions of all time… Guac.

Guac club meets at no particular time for no particular reason, and in the past we’ve gone on the Nachos NY Guac Crawl, attended the 2013 Guactacular at The Bell House, caused a scene at Salsa y Salsa in Chelsea (which you can read about here), and recently had our fourth gathering at Horchata in the West Village.

Guac Club

Horchata is relatively new, inhabiting the old BLT Burger space, and with cocktails like the “Drunk In Love” and Hibiscus Margaritas, Abby, Andy, and I couldn’t wait to check it out. Sadly Dan was busy being a crazy awesome comedian, so he’ll just have to live vicariously through this post.

guac food

The first rule of guac club is to not to talk about how much you ate at guac club, but I’m gonna do it anyway. We of course started with the classic guac, although Horchata’s menu offers FOUR different kinds. One even uses apples and tomatillos. And for you meat eaters, the queso and house made chorizo option sounds like it’d be worth a shot… or a gallon.

The guac was super fresh, and therefore super good. And lemme tell ya about dem chips! By the taste of it, not five minutes earlier, someone had cut up fresh tortillas and dropped them in the fryer. Nothing from a bag here! I love Tostitos Hint of Lime as much as the next smart human, but there’s something about food made from scratch that always tastes better.

We went our own ways for the entrees. Abby and Andy stuck with tacos, which looked so so good, and I went with the avocado toast, which I feel like is the dish of the moment. I expected something a little more simple, however Horchata’s combo of radishes, cotija, and chipotle honey was interesting to say the least. Smoky, sweet, and salty, it made for some good eye candy to start, and totally delivered.

As a result of Horchata’s badass playlist, Guac club of course ended with some impromptu karaoke. Remember the 1997 hit “Love You Down” by INOJ? Turns out we still know every word. My sincerest apologies to our fellow diners, but my sincerest props to the staff at Horchata. They gave us a fun evening full of good food AND good music, sealing the deal that Guac Club will definitely meet there again.

*Points if you spotted Lil Jon in that video!

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A night out in Chelsea

For everyone out there who likes to have drinks, dinner, and dessert all on the same block, this post is for you.

Last night I joined up with Andy and Stacilyn for a two block Tour de Chelsea. We started for a quick drink at Jake’s Saloon on 23rd and 9th. It was quiet, full of wood paneling, and just what the doctor ordered. The actually Irish bartender poured a perfect pint of Guinness, which isn’t an easy find in the isle of Manhattan. (I think I just quoted Death Cab… Deal with it.)

Once sufficiently chilled out, we set off for the main attraction. After reading about Bombay Talkie on Serious Eats, I was left with three words looping endlessly in my brain. Cashew. Jasmine. Rice. And on our one block jaunt to the restaurant, there wasn’t time for too many saliva-inducing repetitions. While most places would seem toasty compared to the 20 degree winter night, when entering Bombay Talkie we were immediately struck by the restaurant’s warmth that was only partly due to the heating system.

The decor was dark and cozy. Tall booths against the etched wood wall allow for privacy, while a long banquet table on the other side would be perfect for a small party. There was also a bar area playing Bollywood films against a neon sign listing signature cocktails like “Truth is Beauty, “A New Phase of Life,” and “Love Story.” Or maybe they were just listing Taylor Swift songs… Regardless, romantic, serene, and inviting are all words that would fit the bill there.

bombayBut enough of that. Let’s talk about the food. Known (by me and maybe other people) for their homemade naan, we ordered the cilantro/red chili flake and onion/sesame  seed options. To go with it, we got the cucumber raita, and the cool cucumber yogurt was the perfect balance to the spice of the bread. You’re gonna notice aside from Chelsea, the other theme for the night was carbs. And speaking of carbs, once we demolished the naan, it was time for the Cashew. Jasmine. Rice. (Which, FYI, is actually called Pulao)

To go along with the Pulao, we got the Biryani, the Baigan Bharta, and the Sukhi Harabara Beans. Each contained a palate boggling burst of flavor that was beyond comprehension and explanation. The dishes’ flavors were even more complex than their names. I feel like despite eating Indian food countless times, last night was the first time I ate Indian food. The combination of spices, texture, and freshness caused a blanket of silence to engulf the table. And believe me, the three of us have NEVER been at a loss for words. The green beans tasted like they had just come from the garden, the eggplant mixture had hints of the Middle Eastern food my dad raised me on, and while I didn’t try the Biryani (stupid vegetarianism), there wasn’t one speck of it left, so I guess it was alright.

bombaymenu

The meal ended and we were full. Full enough for the following exchange:

“Stacilyn: I never want to eat again, which would be bad cause I weigh 95 pounds…

Andy: My cankles weigh 95 pounds.”

So of course from there we took a walk across the street to Billy’s Bakery. The 50 steps totally counted as enough exercise to justify the yellow daisy/chocolate buttercream cupcake that followed. Simple, sweet, delicious. Billy’s always delivers.

billys

Next time you’re hanging out on 9th bt 21st and 23rd, I urge you to go to any of these three places. But if you have to choose just one, go to Bombay Talkie. Stat. And then get a cupcake while you’re at it… And then maybe a beer too… I’m not so good at this whole restraint thing.

Where I want to eat (and drink) in 2013

The new year means trying out new restaurants, and now that the effects of drinking too much “iced tea” on NYE have left my body, this girl is ready to eat. I’m typing this, fork in hand, to share where I intend to stuff my face in 2013, and to prove that I’m a woman who doesn’t need all ten fingers to use a keyboard.

COCKTAIL BODEGA

205 Chrystie Street (LES)

It might be a little soon to talk cocktails, but these cocktails are blended with fresh fruit, so I think it’s okay. Organic Avenue meets the TGI Fridays app menu at this Lower East Side bar/restaurant, and I couldn’t be more intrigued. According to the restaurant’s website, they offer spiked juices and smoothies, and street food-inspired fare, all in the sunny upstairs cafe situation or their underground bar. I’m counting the minutes until I get to go to Cocktail Bodega, and not just because they have a Birthday Cake Smoothie… I swear.

BOB WHITE LUNCH AND SUPPER COUNTER

94 Avenue C (Alphabet City)

If I had a time machine, I’d go back and eat at all the old school diners and cafes which, in this situation, wouldn’t be old school cause I’d be eating at them in real time. But luckily I don’t have to wait on Biff and McFly to get their act together, and can just go to Bob White’s instead. Apparently, back in the day a lot of these small restaurants existed that offered seasonal food at an affordable price point, and that’s what they’re trying to replicate. Catfish, Black Eye Peas, Banana Pudding, and more populate Bob White’s menu along with other classics that are making me go deep into food fantasy mode. The best part is I could get all of the above for under $20. I think I’m in love.

EARL’S BEER AND CHEESE

1259 Park Avenue (UES)

Beer and cheese, lots and lots of cheese, is what I hope to find after taking the trip to Earl’s on the Upper (Upper) East Side. Despite being decorated to look like a hunter’s wilderness heaven, the food on Earl’s menu is far from what the camo-clad set would usually expect. The grilled cheese comes with pork belly, the tomato soup is made with sriracha, and the tacos are wrapped in scallion pancakes. I plan to set aside a whole day’s worth of hours (and calories) to indulge here and can’t wait to see their top hat wearing pig in person.

GEZUNTE BAGELS

121 W 19th Street (Chelsea)

My grandparents yelled “Gezunte” every time somebody in the family would sneeze or burp, so growing up, I heard this phrase a lot. That has nothing to do with this restaurant other than giving me the feeling that it holds some sense of home. Described as an “upscale kosher cafe” I’ve heard their bagels, cream cheeses, and Jewish food is some of the best around.  Whether you go with the aforementioned treats, a pastry, coffee, salad, or soup, Gezunte Bagels provides tons of books to sit and enjoy while you’re sitting and enjoying your food.

MISSION CHINESE

154 Orchard Street (LES)

I never made it out to this go to spot in 2012 and refuse to rest until I get my tushy to Mission Chinese. So much has been written about New York’s newest best restaurant, so I’ll refer you to Adam Platt’s opinion, until I can write a post-meal review of my own.