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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What to do (and not do) with 24 hours in Nice

Another quick trip! I know I can house a good portion of food in a short span of time, but what I'm truly looking for is quality! My first stop was a disaster. I needed to see the promenade first (i.e. Times Square of Nice?), since my hotel was just a few blocks away. I am hungry so I do the tourist thing (I never learn) and sit myself down at a cafe facing the promenade and order a baguette with ham and cheese, and a cappuccino. Grossy! I was impatient and intolerant of mediocre food. What a waste of my appetite! My mission continued. I found macarons in a variety of flavors such as pistachio, chocolate, and strawberry. They brought tears of joy to my eyes, though they were from McDonald's.....classless, girl.

Finally I reach my proudest moment in Nice. I discovered socca! It’s a kind of genius French street food found at open front shops around town. Cooked in a large round steel plate, it’s a chickpea pancake with crispy savory edges and a sweet custard-like center. A whole plate of socca scrapings from a small shop called Socca Cuite au Feu de Bois in Old Nice cost only €3, and I was stuffed afterwards.

The rest of the trip involved rosé. Lots of it. A rosé at the cafe, a rosé in Monte Carlo, a rosé with dinner. It's light and easy to drink any time of day (wouldn't I like to think so). A round trip ticket to Monte Carlo, Monaco, was only €7, and in 20 minutes I was in the ritzy town with luxury cars and designer shops at every corner. The Monte Carlo Casino was huge on the outside, but the actual casino that I saw inside was small. I lost €20 on a slot machine, decided I'm better off at the bar with a rosé.

In the morning, I paid a visit to the grocery store before my flight home. I just had to have a French baguette the right way. With some cured ham, French cheese, and cherry tomatoes, I had a homemade sandwich and left for the airport full and content with knowing I reached at least 60% of my food goals. Next time, I take on the Niçoise salad!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Lunch in Vegas

Mon Ami Gabi - Paris Hotel & Casino

With patio seating and a view of the strip, I was sure the bill would reflect the prime location of Mon Ami Gabi. It was the beginning of the warm season in Vegas so I decided to have lunch outside the Paris Hotel & Casino right in the middle of all the action. Across from our table was the Bellagio fountain, and it was a great spot for people watching.

A pitcher of French sangria (frangria) was in order, complete with rosemary sprigs. We had a plate of mussels to start. They were huge! The burger with a thick slab of melting Brie was pretty good, and the fries were thin and crispy. Next up was the quiche with butternut squash and Brie. It was phenomenal! With the sun beaming down on the table, and good food shoved in front of my face, I couldn't be happier!

In the end, that bill was cheap. It definitely didn't reflect the high quality of food and top notch view!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

My NYC Dollar (or two) Menu

Eats & Drinks in NYC for a Buck or 2
 You can eat from the dollar menu at McDonald's any day, but here's my dollar menu for New York City. And mine won't give you the bubble guts! (probably, maybe) 
  1. Izakaya DoDomPa - 71 Clinton St. (@Rivington) - $1 Sapporo beers 5-7pm Tue. After a beer or two you can indulge in some authentic Japanese bar food without breaking the bank. Yakitori options include pork belly, chicken hearts, and chicken meatballs, each for only $3. Beware of the Thursday special: unlimited sake! Yes, for one hour you can have all-you-can-drink sake for $10. A very dangerous challenge. Try it. 
  2. Vanessa's Dumpling House - 118A Eldridge St. (@ Broome) - $1 for 4 chive and pork fried dumplings. And that's not the only cheap option. You can basically have a feast for under $10. In fact, $10 will get you breakfast lunch and dinner, but I don't know how your digestive system responds to mass quantities of fried dough and pork. Try the duck sesame pancake, it's like duck-stuffed Chinese pizza! Always end the meal with an order of Shanghai bok choy to make yourself feel a tad less guilty about your dumpling binge moments earlier.
  3. 2 Bros Pizza - Various locations - $1 slice of pizza, and there's no catch. How can you go wrong with a dollar slice of New York City pizza? You can't! Well, refer to #8 to give them a run for the money...
  4. Continental - 25 3rd Ave. (@ St Marks) - 5 shots of anything (just don't expect them to have Johnny Blue in their inventory) for $10 all day everyday. We are looking at $2 shots, people! During happy hour you are looking at drink prices ranging from $2-$4 and even after happy hour you are looking at $2-$6 per drink. I never leave this place in the right state of mind, and that's how it should be. If you are down for dive bars with a Budweiser decor and Star Wars playing on the projection screen, this would be the place for you. Did I mention there's a jukebox and never a cover charge? 
  5. 508 Restaurant & Bar - 508 Greenwich St. (@ Canal) - $1 oysters at the bar all day everyday. Okay, I've never been here, nor have I ever eaten an oyster, but I've heard great things about 508 and oysters. I've been meaning to go, and I might even experience my first oyster here one of these days.
  6. Hop Devil Grill - 129 St Marks Pl (@ Ave A) - $1 tacos all day on Tuesdays. East Village always delivers a good deal, but come on! I know for a fact I can house a few tacos Man vs. Food style. So when you can find this kind of deal outside of Taco Bell, it's worth trying. The kicker? They truly 1-up Taco Bell by saving you that inevitable post-taco bathroom run. 
  7. Welcome to the Johnson's - 123 Rivington (@ Essex) - $2 PBR. Wood paneled walls, plastic covers on the couches, I love a good theme. This is one of the deepest dives I've seen and it's refreshing! 
  8. Crocodile Lounge - 325 E 14th St. (@ 2nd Ave)- FREE pizza with the purchase of a drink. Go for a pint of beer and you will receive the beloved ticket for your very own personal pizza made fresh out of the oven at the end of the bar. And I have to say, it's not bad pizza. 
  9. 123 Burgers Shots Beers - 738 10th Ave (@ 50th St.) - $1 burgers, $2 shots, $3 beers. Except maybe skip the shots unless you like paying $2 for an ounce of sour juice called something like "Do Me Again". I am a purist, no mixing for me, I go for the beer! This Hell's Kitchen joint may be a bit college but sometimes life just calls for some sliders and a table keg of beer.