Monthly Archives: October 2013

Oakland teams feel more East Village-like than NYC’s own squads

It may not be the East Village, but I’ find that there’s some kind of psychic connection between this neighborhood and the San Francisco Bay Area.

I know I’ve personally had a connection with the Bay (in particular with Oakland and it’s sports teams) for pretty much all my life.

I guess it’s for this reason I find it a little disconcerting to read how Oakland may soon lose not one but ALL of it’s professional sports teams — the A’s, Raiders and Warriors — to other cities.

I thought about this when I read an interesting article in this month’s ESPN The Magazine, which details the challenges in Oakland. See the article here, http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=9758976.

I grew up a fan of Oakland’s teams and never wavered. People think I must be from the Bay Area, but I’m not. The reality is that I never chose these teams because I lived in Oakland or even because they played their games in Oakland. Quite frankly, it would have been much easier to have chosen local teams. It would have been easier to watch their games, I wouldn’t have gotten a lot more sleep when I was younger because I wouldn’t have had to stay up late listening to games on the radio or trying to catch the updates and final scores, and I would have been in agreement with the views of a majority of my friends .

But, I’ve never felt any connection to the Yankees, Giants, Rangers, Knicks etc. They may be New York sports teams, but I don’t think any of them is representative of the people who live in the East Village. I feel like the people of the East Village would be more inclined to support the A’s, Raiders and Warriors.

The Bay Area teams long have had an eclectic mix of players who mesh together in fun, creative ways. The Raiders are well-known for having brought renegade players to their teams and wound up having great teams for several decades. And the A’s, well they had the “Swingin’ A’s” in the 70s, Billy Ball in the early 80s, the Bash Brothers in the late 80s/early 90s, Money Ball in the first few years of this decade. For the last couple years, the A’s have brought together a group of young, fun-loving guys who are known for forming home run tunnels and smashing pies in the face of players responsible for walk-off victories. And, look at the Warriors! They almost accomplished the unbelievable in last year’s playoffs — falling just short of beating the perennial world champion San Antonio Spurs.

There’s something unique and different about the East Village, even today despite the gentrification that has taken place over the past couple decades. There is still that air of creativity, the progressive views, old-world charm, and the great nightlife that attracts people from all around. Its residents are unique, fun, creative mix of people not only from all around the country, but from all around the world.

No I’m NOT suggesting that the East Village try to steal away Oakland’s teams.

I just think that — like Oakland — it would take a lot to destroy the East Village’s uniqueness. Teams may come and teams may go. People may go and people can come, but for many of us the East Village remains the place that we call our home.

Pumpkins up the wazoo!

Today, I stopped for lunch at Chipotle restaurant and saw that St. Mark’s Market (21 St. Mark’s Place between 2nd and 3rd avenues) had a whole lot of pumpkins! People were stopping and taking photos as they walked by, so I joined the crowd and took one as well. There were plenty of pumpkins both inside the store and outside overflowing the whole area under the steps leading to Chipotole. Halloween is coming! Booooo!

Find more on the market here: http://www.yelp.com/biz/st-marks-market-new-york

Why not cut back on your GMO corn intake and instead visit Tallgrass Burger

I never have to bring my lawnmower, but I do enjoy visiting Tallgrass Burger (214 1st Avenue btwn East 12th and 13th streets) every so often.

hey have good grass-fed beef burgers that I enjoy eating. They taste really good.

I’ve tried about 4 or 5 different kinds, including the Mushroom Swiss Burger for dinner last night. I added a side of salad with the ginger-sesame dressing for some veggie action. I didn’t order them last night, but the sweet potato fries are quite good (heck, sweet potato fries are always good!).

And they sell good stuff to drink too. Any place that sells kombucha tea can’t be half bad, right!?! I did but any though, because I actually make my own. But, I may have otherwise!

It takes a little longer to get your food at Tallgrass Burger than your typically fast-food place, but it’s all cooked fresh and is much better quality than McDonald’s (Is McDonald’s food even edible!?!). So, a Tallgrass burger is worth the wait! They have veggie burger options too if you’re into such a thing (not me – heck, I ordered a salad!).

So check out Tallgrass, but leave your mower at home (it’s tough carrying it down six flights of stairs anyway!).

For details go here: http://www.tallgrassburgerny.com/

Teriyaki Express and Sushi

I’ve been to Teriyaki Express and Sushi (963 3rd Avenue btwn East 12th and 13th streets) a good number of times. I think I was actually one of their first customers when it first opened with a no-frills look. The best thing going for it is that it’s so close to home!

I had a guest, so we stopped over for a quick dinner on Sunday night. I usually just order take out from here, but we sat down for a quick bite. I was in a healthy mood (it comes and goes!), so I ordered the Spring Flower Chicken from the “Nutrition Spectacular” menu. Spectacular means that it comes less fat and sodium (Hey, why not bypass the MSG!) , seasoned with ginger sauce. Mmmm, I love ginger!

The meal served it’s purpose. It fed me when I was hungry.

I think I actually prefer their Japanese dishes over the Chinese options. I’ve never had their sushi.

With a name like express, don’t expect to be blown away by the food’s quality. But, it’s convenient and the prices are pretty reasonable. So, Teriyaki Express and Sushi definitely does it’s job. I’m sure I’ll be back there again soon.

Find more details here: http://www.teriyakiexpresssushi.com/

Barnyard: It ain’t about the cows!

I read a few reviews about Barnyard, 149 Avenue C, btwn East 9th and 10th streets) and thought it sounds good, so I decided to stop by for lunch. I had thoughts of cows running around in the backyard and Ross Perot wielding a pitchfork full of hay.

When I got there I saw a pretty trendy looking crowd of customers milling around in a place that has a cute and cozy atmosphere. It took me a few minutes to figure out how to order, but when I did I went right for the Three Cheese Grilled Cheese sandwich. I’d read a review saying that it was the way to go!

It was a long wait — about 15 minutes. It was lunch time and there were a number of people already waiting for their own goods when I arrived, so I guess it was to be expected. Then after everyone had left, I got my sandwich.

When I saw my sandwich, I was a little bit disappointed. I guess I thought it would be larger. It was standard bread. And, I’m not a fan of white, sandwich bread by any means. I didn’t even think to ask if they had any other bread options (my bad, perhaps!). It didn’t come with any sides, which I didn’t eally expect. I guess I figured it would come with a pickle, cole slaw, some greens or maybe some fries. So, it was not as substantial a meal as I would have ordered after just having finished a trek to East River Park.

Anyway, I sat down and took a bite out my sandwich, which included some bacon and tomato (God, I long for heirloom tomatoes when we get into October! But, that craving wasn’t to be satisfied today.). At first thought, I thought to myself that it was OK. I think I was still trying to overcome my disappointment over the white bread and size of my meal. I took another bite and then another. Soon it was gone. And yes, I was still hungry!

The verdict: the sandwich was good (not great). Next time I’d probably stick to making my own grilled cheese. Exactly the way I like it! But, I would return to Barnyard. It looks pretty cool and I think some of the other options would probably work better for me. Heck, having a andwich with a couple sides (like a salad) would proably send me home much more satisfied!

That’s all for now. I’ve gotta go get a snack!

Find details here: http://www.barnyardcheese.com/

What makes Bareburger so horror-able?

I always enjoy going to Bareburger,http://www.bareburger.com/restaurant/85-2nd-avenue/. They have great burgers and good beer. I had the pleasure of going back again the other night for some fun with a group of film enthusiasts, http://www.meetup.com/NYCGrindhouse/.

We took over the private room upstairs to view some really horror-ible films and have a few laughs. I mean these films were so bad that it’s unlikely you’d ever catch them even on “Mystery Science Theater.” And speaking of “Mystery Science Theater,” group members wit is at least the equivalent of the television show’s unique hosts. No costumes of course, although all bets are off now that it’s October and Halloween is on the horizon. But being a Raiders’ fan, I would probably feel even more at home with such such a display of individuality (ain’t nothing like the Black Hole, baby!).

So, check out out Bareburger. Don’t come bare, but do grab a beer. Maybe even join NYCGrindhouse, http://www.meetup.com/NYCGrindhouse/. Good times!