Craving good food and coffee that won’t cost you a bomb? The Grey Dog is just the place you’re looking for. Located on 90 University Place, this is your friendly neighborhood coffee shop — the wooden sign greets you in swirly black font and paw prints, and the interior is a rustic barn-like setting, complete with wooden furniture and pretty golden light bulbs strung across the ceiling.
The Grey Dog was the brainchild of brothers David Ethan and Peter Adrian, who created the space in 1996. Interesting fact: the name was inspired by the owners’ two Labrador retrievers that were white and black (Moose and Goose). It offers a slice of small-town comfort in the big city, bringing back memories of childhood and college days. It’s a haven for comfort and coziness — and if those dreamy light bulbs don’t make you feel at home, the fireplace will.
When you step off the 7 train on Main Street in Flushing, Queens, you are enveloped in a cloud of confusion. The following questions may pop into your mind, flowing seamlessly from one to the next:
Is this a dream? Am I still in New York? Did I actually get on a plane, not a train, and fly to Beijing, not Queens? Why am unable to read any signs, or understand the language(s) being spoken around me? WHAT is going on?
If you are a native New Yorker new to Flushing, you may be wondering how you could possibly have lived here your whole life and not known this place existed. Sure, you’ve seen the way a large bloc of immigrants can affect a neighborhood. You’ve seen signs in Russian out near Coney Island, Spanish words everywhere in East Harlem and the South Bronx, and lots of restaurants ending in “Taverna” in Astoria. But Flushing takes on a whole new dimension of New York’s interpretation of the American melting pot.
Who doesn't love street food? First Course's own contributing writer Steve Luw, and his corporate-turned-culinary buddy Heezy, have joined forces to bring us Zhà-Mē, Asian Fried Rice Balls to-go. Their creations are set to appear at a Pop-Up this Thursday, between 8pm and midnight (or until food runs out) at Zucker Bakery.
Their menu boasts traditional Asian cuisine in an innovative on-the-go format. Based on Lo Mài Gài a chicken-stuffed sticky rice dish made popular by dim sum restaurants, Zhà-Mē is a fried original, with a crispy outside and tasty fillings like Bulgogi, a type of Korean BBQ beef, or Char-Siu, a Chinese roasted pork. They also offer smaller rice balls, like K-Poppers, filled with Kim-Chi fried rice, eggs, scallions, bacon, and carrots. Try pairing any of those bad boys with a side of Asian Slaw or Asian Fries for anything but your run-of-the-mill dinner.
At Ken & Cook, located at 19 Kenmare St in Downtown NYC, you will find one of the best brunches money can buy!
We had the chance to chow down at Ken & Cook this weekend for their budget friendly $30 brunch special that includs any main entree with bottomless mimosas, bellinis or bloody marys. Trust us--when we say bottomless drinks, we're not joking; as soon as we finished with one drink our waiter was already at our table with another! This made for the perfect boozy brunch deal.
The inside of Ken & Cook exudes a vintage character with its oldschool brass silverware and wood flooring, but the space also has downtown appeal with its huge wall of alcohol behind the bar and DJ booth. Ken & Cook is the perfect New York City spot that combines the history of its location in Little Italy with its modern cuisine that is comforting and tasty.
When Canada’s favorite street hot dogs crashed the East Village, nobody looked at hot dogs the same way again. Helmed by Japanese native Noriki Tamura, Japadog is a little shop on St. Marks Place that serves an eclectic array of Japanese snacks. Japadog takes the typical American fast food like fries and hot dogs on a non-quintessential spin, blowing minds away with crazy flavors and combinations that exceed your wildest imaginations.
Let's be frank. We love this place because everything on the menu screams adventure — from the butter and shoyu (soy sauce) fries to the three-scoop ice cream sandwich. The latter is known as the Ice Age and contains three scoops of flavored ice cream sandwiched between deep fried buns. We’re talking cool flavors like black sesame, mango and green tea, among the classic vanilla and strawberry.
In Los Angeles, the first ever burrito vending machine was installed in a local convenience store on Santa Monica Blvd. The company, unsurprisingly called Burritobox,offers five different 100% natural burrito types, including flavors like chorizo sausage, egg, and cheese, and free-range chicken, bean, and cheese. You can add condiments like guacamole, sour cream, and Tabasco sauce for an additional price, but the burrito by itself costs just $3. After you use the touch-screen interface and pay for your food, a nice music video plays while your snack heats up.
Lunchtime in New York is a challenge for the indecisive. We're truly spoiled for choice here, and as food typically doesn’t come cheap in this city, everyone wants to make sure their hard-earned money is well spent.
Should your quest for a worthy lunch take you to the Flatiron district, Mangia, a spacious cafeteria-style Italian eatery, gives you great value for your dollar. While not quite as economical as, say, McDonalds nor as fancy as other offerings in the area. Mangia makes food of good quality at reasonable prices, and the cafeteria setup (far less chaotic than the image the word "cafeteria" likely conjures) makes it easy for you to eat well, and quickly.
When it comes to brunch, we like to scout for cute, cozy little places with amazing menus and a lively crowd. That was how we discovered Locale.
Nestled in the cultural neighborhood of Astoria, Locale prides itself on serving quality Italian cuisine with an American influence. Brunch on a Sunday morning attracts a wide range of people — the Astorians from several blocks away who have made this their weekend brunch spot, the magazine editors in their chic pleather jackets and classy totes hanging from the side of their chairs, the best friends catching up over a Bloody Mary and coffee at the bar, the big family at the long table with three kids, the couple on their first date, and then you have the major foodies like ourselves.
As the pioneer of the other Pio Pio chainlets burgeoning across New York City, this restaurant features a large space furnished with square tables, wooden chairs and a long bar at the front. Pio Pio is renowned for its delicious Peruvian chicken, which is well-marinated and flavorful with each bite. This is a haven for carnivores.
For $38, the Matador Combo is perfect for a party of two or more. You get a whole marinated rotisserie chicken, rice and beans, avocado salad, fried sweet plaintaines and salchipapa -- thick fries with sliced hot dogs. The avocado salad is a medley of thin avocado slices, fresh tomatoes and lettuce tossed in a tangy homemade dressing. It's light and absolutely scrumptious.
The chicken is so tender and well-seasoned that the flavors dissolve in your mouth. Drench your chicken in the salsa verde, which is a magical green concoction of garlic and herbs in a small metal bowl. The creamy sauce evokes such a strong, irresistible smack that instantly elevates your dining experience. Remember, don't dip, don't even drizzle--drench!
Pair your meal with Pio Pio's famous red sangria, and trust us, you won't regret it. This is probably one of the best sangrias in New York. Drunken fruits swim around in red wine and brandy, their chunky masses infused with so much alcohol that the sharpness of the wine still lingers in the chopped cubes after all the sangria's gone.
It's a fun place for a date, as long as you don't mind the constant eruption of birthday songs and the loud chatter ricocheting across the restaurant. The wait for dinner on a Sunday night can be a pain though, so make a reservation beforehand.
If you're in the mood for something heavy, the Steak & Eggs will fill you up in no time. 60z of marinated grilled flank steak in all its juicy glory is served with two eggs, chunky Cranky's potatoes and Bearnaise Mousline sauce. Mhmmm.
The space is engulfed in a rustic charm through its furnishing — dark wood and brick walls make you feel like you're home, while the crystal lights twinkling overhead lend a gentle elegance. Sunlight spills through tall windows and the smell of pancakes and fresh coffee fills the cafe.
Speaking about pancakes, the Ricotta Mascarpone Blueberry Pancakes are to die for. The sweetness of the cheese and blueberries blend really well with the fluffy stack of pancakes, which are served with maple syrup and an option of banana slices. The Banana Frosters & Pecan Pancakes are also another crowd-pleaser. The taste is just as luscious as the way its name rolls off your tongue.
Get the Croque Madame, which arrives with your choice of ham or turkey on country bread and gruyere cheese, coated with rich bechamel sauce and topped with a sunny side egg. It's also served with salad or pomme frites. This is pretty much a fancier and cheesier version of the classic grilled sandwich. Another crowd favorite is the Huevos Rancheros, which comes with eggs, black beans, rancheros sauce, sliced creamy avocados and topped with sour cream and cheddar cheese. This is served over crispy homemade tortilla chips. The piquancy of the tomato is especially prominent in the sauce. While you're there, feel free to try the in-house French beignets, served warm with your option of apple, strawberry or nutella. Or just have them au naturale.
Cranky's Café offers brunch on Friday through Sunday from 9 AM until 4 PM.