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The Real NY!

When we first moved to NY, we wanted to go to the hottest bars, party at the most happening clubs and truly experience what NY nightlife was all about. If you google top NY bars/clubs (or even listen to some hip hop) , names like 1 Oak, Greenhouse get thrown around a lot. But a couple of visits to these places makes you realize really quick that thats not where real NY is. Clubs such as 1 oak or Greenhouse is where the hype is. They are the places where only tourists that don’t know where to find real NY end up. You are not going to get into these places unless you look like someone that walked straight out of the Victoria’s secret catalogue or know someone or are willing to buy bottle service. Then how do the rest of us get in? Well….promoters! Promoters can get you into any club that they work with. Provided you dress a certain way and meet their criteria. For example, a promoter that has helped Bijal and I get into clubs usually brings a south American crowd to the club. Meaning…club owners call him up when they need more south american people at their club. Bijal and I are Indian, but i guess we look close enough.

Having been to these clubs, in addition to the numerous other clubs in NY that aren’t as hyped, you realize that true NY is not at 1 oak or Greenhouse. True NY is everywhere but there. Places with friendly bouncers that aren’t really full of themselves, or places where you don’t need to be someone to get in. Real New York is at places such as The Yard or Off the Wagon where you don’t need to know a promoter to get in. So do yourself a favor when you come to party it up in NY…go check out the real NY. Not the NY that is just hype! Leave that for the tourists!


A Saturday in Brooklyn…

Summer is almost over! And we all know it’s no fun trying to explore NY in the winter. A couple of Bijal and my coworkers had mentioned to us that Brooklyn was a must see! So we decided to meet up with a couple of our friends in Brooklyn at the Brooklyn museum.

As we drove past the manhattan bridge into Brooklyn, I thought to myself….”Why have I never been to this gorgeous part of NY before?”. Everything was so New York, yet so wasn’t! The first couple of miles of drive was very manhattan like, lots of street food, local businesses, crowded streets. But then as we got closer to prospect park, the scenery completely changed. A close friend of mine always says that he would eventually want to move to Brooklyn. He loved the artistic vibe the city had. He loved the music scene, the art scene, everything about it! I never quite got him because I didn’t understand why anyone would chose Brooklyn over Manhattan….and all that changed within 10 minutes of us crossing the Manhattan bridge. A blog entry about Brooklyn is useless because you really need to experience it yourself. As we drove by prospect park and the Brooklyn library, all we could do was stare and wonder why it had taken us 6 months of moving to this area to venture out to Brooklyn. We had definitely missed out.

Neither words nor pictures can do Brooklyn justice. Yet, I have posted some of the pictures from our day out in Brooklyn below. They include our trip to the Brooklyn Botanical gardens, The Brooklyn Museum, Prospect park and the Brooklyn Brewery.

$1 beers @ the Brews Brothers!

I thought $1 beers in NYC were just a myth. Something I had just heard about but never actually seen…until this past week when I found myself wandering around in the upper east side. Thursday nights at The Brews Brothers…$1 beers. For the first time in NYC, I had a hard time meeting the minimum credit card tab required to close my card out. $10 = 10 beers…wth! I needed to go to work the next day. So what do you do when you find yourself in such a situation, start buying beers for other people. Oh, another option is to keep your tab open, go have some good Italian food at Tony’s Di Napoli, and then return for some more beers.

On a side note, that part of the upper east side seemed to be quite a happening area. I thought upper east side = what I had seen on the TV show ‘Gossip Girl’ (Yes yes, I have watched a couple of episodes of the Gossip girl….so sue me!). But the area around 82nd St and 2nd Ave has a ton to do, with lots of restaurants and bars with a ton of options. I’ll definitely be going there again some time soon.

Paan and the city

There is a bunch of weird looking stuff (not really sure what) wrapped in a betel leaf and you eat it. Think of it as a lettuce wrap but instead with a betel leaf. That’s pretty much all I know about the making of “Paan”.

If you ever go to India, you will find what Indians call a “paan ka galla” on about every street corner (kinda like dunkin donuts in NY). It’s a small little shack that sells candy, cigarettes but most importantly Paan!! Indians love Paan. While there are many that have a Paan after every meal as a mouth freshener, for my family it was more like a once in a month outing after dinner where the whole family took a drive out to our favorite “paan ka galla” to get ourselves paan. Now the concept of eating a stuffed leaf sounds weird, looks even weirder, but I gotta admit, it tastes amazing.

A good (or bad) thing about living on the east coast is that there is no shortage of Indians here. This also means that where you find Indians, you are also likely to find a … You guessed it right , a “paan ka galla”. I found one such “paan ka galla” in curry hill called Charlie’s paan shop (25th and Lexington). For those of you in the area trying out some Indian food, definitely head over there after dinner for some paan.

The Yard @ SoHo Grand Hotel – The Perfect Summer Hangout Place in NYC

Cute waitresses, good drinks, located in the happening neighborhood of SoHo and last but not the least, its outdoors!!! Ladies and Gentleman, say hello to “The Yard”.

Now some of you that actually read my “About me” section know that I just moved to NY (Shame on the rest of you for not reading it!!!!). Prior to moving here, I lived in Seattle for 5 years. And as most of you might have heard, living in Seattle = NO SUNSHINE FOR MOST OF THE YEAR. So most people from Seattle really learn to appreciate the summer because its pretty much the only time of the year when you actually see sunshine. As such, I try to go to as many summer friendly places as I can so that I can soak up the sun and enjoy the good weather. The Yard definitely serves this cause. It doesn’t have blaring music; so you can actually enjoy a conversation, and at the same time, is outdoors, so you can enjoy the weather as well.

Drinks are a bit on the expensive side (mixed drinks cost about $14) and the food comes in small portions…but hey, thats a small price to pay for a good summer joint and some eye candy walking around. I am looking into finding a lot more of these summer friendly places, so if you have any suggestions, leave a comment and let me know.

P.S…. I wish I had taken a camera. Totally forgot to. Photo below is one I found online.

Hookah in the city!! – Falucka

This is one of the 3 hookah places I have been to in the city and by far my favorite. Its really hard to pin point what I like about the place other than the fact that it has a good vibe. The music here is good (mixed variety with lots of international music) and the staff is friendly. Hoohahs range at about $15 and drinks aren’t that expensive either. And how can I forget, its right next to Mac Dougal Street. And if you are not sure why thats such an awesome thing, read my blog post about Mac Dougal and Bleecker. Over all, if you want a good place to unwind after work and hookah is your thing, then check this place out. Place isn’t too crowded, but gets packed very fast after 11 on Thursdays-Saturdays.

BTW, the place has extremely small bathrooms, that start getting pretty nasty pretty quick as the night progresses…so empty your bladder out somewhere else if you are a germaphobe.

The pictures below make the place look lit up but that’s only because of the flash. The lights are pretty dim at Falucka which gives you the feeling of sitting in a middle eastern tent enjoying hookah as the sun goes down!

P.S….Thanks for the pics Daphne! Your camera rocks!

MacDougal and Bleecker

I have been waiting to write this blog entry for a long time as this is by far one of my most favorite spots to hang out in NY!! The stretch of MacDougal street, right by the intersection of MacDougal and Bleecker is hands down my favorite part of NYC! Falafel Sandwiches, Kati rolls, Crepes, awesome bars, cheap drinks, this area has it all.

Mamoun’s Falafel Restaurant [http://www.mamouns.com/]: Best Falafels I have ever had. Having grown up in the middle east, I can comfortably say that I have tried Falafel sandwiches at a lot of places. Been eating them over the years, but to this date, no Falafel sandwich has blown me away like the one at Mamoun’s. At first, I was like, yeh this is good. But now its almost like an addiction. Guys and gals…definitely check out mamoun’s. They are open till late (and almost always have a line that runs out the store). Oh..and beware of the infamous hot sauce. Only for the brave!!

Kati Roll [http://www.thekatirollcompany.com/]: Kati roll is an indian food item that this particular restaurant is famous for and is the only thing it serves. Its a tortilla wrapped with either meat, or eggs or beans or cheese inside. Their menu is fairly simple – you have a variety of 10 Kati rolls to choose from. If you like spice, but don’t want too much of it, its the perfect place! And if you are drunk, this will definitely hit the spot. And lets not forget that its tightly wrapped in a tortilla, so your drunk senses will definitely be able to handle a kati roll without making a mess.

Creperie [http://www.creperienyc.com/]: This is by far the most famous out of the 3 restaurants I mention in this post. Whether you want a crepe for lunch, dinner or dessert, they have it all. They have a VERY large selection of Crepes to chose from. I recommend #45 which is the smores crepe. I also see a lot of people order the ‘famous crepe’, which I guess is appropriately named :). Creperie has had a lot of media coverage including being featured on the food network. It is also frequented by celebrities (I have yet to spot one) [http://www.creperienyc.com/celebrities.html]. BTW, did you notice Scarlett Johhanason on their celebrities page…yumm! I would love to spot her there!

Over all, if you are a food lover, this is the spot to be. Cheap food, fun people, zero drama (except that one time some drunk kid tried to pick a fight with me)!