Archive for the ‘Funstuff’ Category
We had a fairly short but full week in New York and while it was very much the tourist thing we did , I thought it worth commenting on a few of the places we ate in on our trip, hopefully its useful to other visitors.
Becco: 355 West 46th Street. This is an Italian restaurant on the edge of the theatre district near Times Square. It is listed in the guide I have as a very cheap restaurant without wine and reasonable with. Its a very nice contemporary Italian restaurant and obviously popular as the place was packed out when we visited. The secret to a cheap dinner is to have the Chefs Pasta selection of the day. A starter- in our case we had the Caesar Salad, followed by three pasta dishes served by the waiters from huge big platters of freshly made dishes, and they come round again and again so you can have as much as you like.
We had, Penne in a tomato sauce, which was very nice and fresh tasting, a tagliatelle with a meat sauce- I would hesistate to call it Bolognese but not unlike this, it was OK any my favourite which was spinach and ricotta ravioli. I actually don’t like spiniach but this was wonderful. I think it came to about $30 a head, with water plus a tip on top- and I would very much recommend it. I had a brief look at the wine list, and am not much of a wine drinker but it struck me a expensive but if I am told it isn’t then I would not argue- I know nothing about wine really. Some bottles were several $100 each! Beer too looked a bit pricey too by my standards- I usually like a nice Peroni in an italian restaurant but the beers were al (from memory ) around $10 to $15 a bottle and not types I was familiar with- so I gave it a miss. Service was excellent- Highly recommended.
5 Napkin Burger: 630 9th Avenue and 45th Street. This is an “American eatery” which specialises in their trademark “5 Napkin Burger”. They have other things on the menu too but this seems to be the favourite amongst the diners at the other tables and was what had. Absolutely first rate, one of the nicest burgers I have had and this was borne out by the packed tables,and the wait of The restaurant looks to be a converted butcher shop so the squeamish maybe would not want to look up at the meat hooks on rails hanging from the dimly lit ceiling!15 minutes you had for a table.
Again reasonably priced, they do steaks and stuff- my wife and son had this, and they were a bit fatty, but the burger is the reason to visit and I thought it was good. I don’t understand what the significance of the name is though! Around $20-$30 a head, recommended.
While In New York we went on a Pizza Tour with Scotts Pizza Tours. This is a very well regarded tour of “original” pizza establishments, deli’s and other places all bound up in the story of New York Pizza. I would highly recommend this tour as a way to spend a few entertaining hours in areas of the city you might otherwise miss. Loads of stories and info you never needed to know about pizza. You will never look at a pizza the same way ever again! On our particular tour we visited for a “slice” these three places:
Lombardi’s : (32 Spring Street) the oldest pizzeria in NYC. Very traditional oven cooked pizzas, we never visited here for a mean – just a slice on Scotts tour but I would definitely go back. My Wife’s favourite. Uses Fresh Mozarrella which we seen made on the tour.
Joes Pizzas (7 Carmine Street) : This has a sit in area but is more of a take away type establishment and the pizza was nice. Very crispy based pizza.
John’s of Bleeker Street: Highly recommended, out of the three my son and I liked this best. We went back their on our last evening in NY and it was queued out down the street. It only sells pizza though really, so the queue moves fairly quickly- we queued about 25 minutes but once in the pizza was excellent, large and cheap! Very authentic and very recommended.
This area generally looks good for eating out- lots of nice looking restaurants away from the tourist traps.
Maxies Deli : (Times Square): Now I have to say first that I have seen some poor reviews of this place on the web but we just sort of stumbled into it on our first day in NY. Some places say its a bit of a tourist trap- maybe it is- it was not obvious to me but to be honest we enjoyed it- all the portions were enormous and frankly not the sort of things I would normally eat for breakfast but it was fun and we had no complaints. A bit pricey but to be honest eat breakfast here and your not going to eat until night time. I had croissant with Bacon and cheese and the biggest croissant I have ever seen arrived along with I reckon a whole half pound block of cheese melted over the top! It easily feeds two.
A glass of fresh orange seemed like most of a carton of Tropicana!
We enjoyed it- our breakfast came to about $50 (ulp!) but your on holiday and we never left hungry- we only went twice- on our first day and our last morning before the flight home (it kept us goig 24 hours).
They say leave the best until last and this was by far our favourite:
Frankie and Johnnies Steakhouse (West 45th Street): I was told about this place by a work colleague before we went and kept our eyes open for it. Its a little tricky to spot as the restaurant is up stairs but the entrance is quite small and looks like a bar from outside. The restaurant is ery small and cosy, it has a “Speak Easy” type mood and the waiters all wear black jackets and bow ties. (Its not a “formal” restaurant though so no worries about dressing up to go). The menu is not long – its a steakhouse and I was recommended by my friend to have the porterhouse steak for 2. My son had a sirloin. I have never in my whole life had a steak this size and the taste was simply out of this world. The best I have ever had. We had a few side orders, onios, brocolli and potatoes but had I ate the steak alone I would have been satisfied – the flavour was amazing. I cannot speak highly enough of this place. The waiter was very friendly and chatted away for ages- a New Yorker of Greek beginnings, and as we paid he brought us out a huge slice of new York Cheesecake and three forks saying “this is New York you cannot leave with out a slice of cheesecake”!
The dinner was not cheap- in total with service charge (included in bill) it was $205 but I would have to go back if I am ever fortunate enough to visit New York again.
Places to avoid: We were not in many places we would not recommend but a few that were not great:
TGI Fridays in Times Square: My son wanted to go here- we go to TGI’s here as a treat- its marketted as a trendy American eatery here whereas in the US its more like a glorified MacDonalds in my opinion. It wasn’t actually “bad” but nothing to rave about and probably would not go back- some of the staff were quite “off hand” as is the way with some New Yorkers I found.
Applebees 42nd Street. This was right next to our hotel and we went in one morning just for a change- very strong coffee (Cawfee!) and juice was freshly poured out of a cheap carton I suspect! Cheap and free wifi which was sort of the reason we went in! There was another Applebees in Time Square around 46th or 47th Street that was more of a diner/sports bar and we went in here a few times for a drink to rest our weary legs, in the lounge bar area- think they call it the club bar, as it was somewhere we could go with our son in tow and in fairness it was OK and we even had a steak sandwich here one night and I have to say I enjoyed it! I think this place is maybe a chain but its not one I am familiar with.
OK so you have to be a certain age to understand that title.
Nonetheless- I am always fast to comment on airlines and how crap they are, especially Ryanair (Dick Turpin airways) and Squeezyjet (cattle flights). However I am recently just back from a trip to New York and we went with KLM. I have flown with them before but the service was sort of non descript and anonymous if I am honest- I went to Warsaw that time via Schipol. It was OK nothing good especially nothing bad. This trip was the first time I had a chance to experience their long haul service. We went Edinburgh, Amsterdam- JFK (737 then 777, outbound) and the reverse back, (747, Airbus, back). I have to say I was impressed. The Amsterdam, JFK was especially good, service was excellent, entertainment on board just made the hours vanish- they have these seat back videos but you can watch any film when it suits you so its not like a running schedule. Food was fine for an airline meal, you could have all the drink you wanted and we even had ice cream about 3/4 the way through. The flight crew were helpful and friendly and all in all it was the best long haul I have done.
The return was Ok too, it was about an hour shorter in length (the old east/west v west/east thing) and I had no complaints. Being a 747 it was a bit noisier back in Cattle class- but thats just the way 747s are, – had the same in BA‘s in the past.
Would definitely use them again, OK it was a bit of a longer journey than the direct Continental flights out of Edinburgh but hey- it was about £500 cheaper too (we booked via Expedia) and in my book the travelling day ia a dead loss anyway by the time you arrive, get through immigration, get bags and in to your hotel.
Been very busy of late on various projects so the blog has been given the slopey shoulder treatment.
I need to update the SPRY based multi level search tute, and a few other bits and bobs.
For now if you like an occasional blast away at like minded individuals on xbox or pc you might have ben slogging away through Modern Warfare 2 for the last few months. Some players get to Prestige 10 legitimately apparently- gawd knows how. Anyway no doubt they ar enow slopig over to BF Bad Company2. Had a go onthe Xbox of this- single player was OK but the multiplayer left me cold- think it might be better on PC- I tried xbox. Anyways here is a review!
Flying back home on Squeezyjet the other week there, I was listening to the cabin crew do their usual safety speil (as you do) and they got to the section where they say:
“In the event of a loss of cabin pressure, oxygen will be provided, a mask like this will fall from the panel above, pull it to your face and by doing so the oxygen supply will be activated. Secure your mask before helping others with theirs….” You know the bit?
Anyway it occurred to me that with Easyjet, Ryanair and no doubt others looking for more ways to extract revenue from their passengers a new ploy could be forthcoming. Don’t forget that many “pleasures” you used to take for granted are now no longer free… they are subject to you paying extra.
- If you fancy queuing longer- pay extra to stand near the front for half an hour before the flight is called : speedy boarding
- If you want something to eat on board, the “easy kisok” will come round offering you food and drink- please have the correct change
- If you want to take a bag with you (as if!) eh, that will be a tenner please…. each way….
- If you want to have a pee, em a pound (Ryanair- well at least they were threatening this- dunno if they did it as I would rather piss on their seat than give them anything more quite frankly- Dick Turpin and all that.)
- If youwant to pay on line with a credit card (no- I would rather pay cash- how do I do that?) there will be a credit card charge…..
- Feeling lucky- buy an easyjet scratch card and win a notional £20 to spend in the easy shop, where the cheapest item is £21, (obviously this entails you spending a £1 on the scratch card, then spening more money to extract the value for the prize- money you would otherwise never have spent) Why on earth woul dyou want to buy a platic orange airbus jet model, or a bear in a flying jacket……
You get the picture…..
Anyway how about this one
“In the event of a loss of cabin pressure, oxygen may be provided, a mask like this will fall from the panel above, pull it to your face . Easy card plus holders will continue to breathe reasonably normally. The cabin crew will come around to assist, and will offer to actually turn on the oxygen supply for a mere £15.
You are reminded by prebooking you can save ££££’s. Prebooking your oxygen supply will only cost you £5 or £7 return.
Why not purchase easy breathing plus our annual oxygen supply card for only £100.
Customers choosing not to purchase our oxygen plan, em, might hallucinate wildly, and ultimately , em,….. die.
Please be aware Easyjet operate a no dying policy, passengers so doing will be refused carriage and may be evacuated from the aircraft over the first stretch of open water we encounter. Please make sure you are wearing clothing that is unlikely to tear in the event of cabin crew having to lift you by it and throw you from the cargo hatch.
We do hope you have a pleasant flight………”