Archive for NYC

Peter Pan Donut and Pastry Shop

Posted in Best of..., food, restaurant, Tom with tags , , , , , , on November 13, 2008 by criticalreviews

Peter Pan Donut and Pastry Shop
727 Manhattan Ave
(between Norman and Meserole)
Greenpoint, Brooklyn

This past summer while sitting at home on a depressing day (bad news the day before, good news later that night), we were looking at blogs and exciting things in our new neighborhood. We came across the the NYC Donut Reports‘ post about Peter Pan Donut and Pastry Shop. Being that Peter Pan was right around the corner the only option was to bury our sorrow in sugar. We walked around the corner, picked up a sampling and headed back to the house. My love affair with Peter Pan was born that day.

I am a really stubborn donut eater now. Peter Pan can’t be beat, and I will never go into a Dunkin Donuts ever again as long as I live in Greenpoint (when ever I want a donut I can always justify that I can wait til I get home to go to Peter Pan). We have tried a large variety of flavors over the past couple of months and so far this shop can’t be beat. My recommendations are the Sour Cream Glazed, the Chocolate Glazed with Coconut, any Jelly Donut, and the Chocolate Frosted French Cruller…but honestly you can’t go wrong. The texture is perfect whether it is a cake donut, a yeast donut, a cruller, jelly, cinnamon bun…it doesn’t matter. This place is top notch.

On top of the wonderful Donuts and Pastries Peter Pan has a wonderful diner feel…the inside gives me a bit of the Twin Peaks vibe (and that is something I can’t get enough of), and the ladies who work there have fabulous outfits (as Pipeline pointed out).

Peter Pan was even kind enough to be handing donut holes to the Marathon Runners the other week. This is fine Bakery and deserves support from everyone in Greenpoint, everyone in NYC, and all you you tourists that come to visit our little part of Brooklyn.

Greenpointers wrote a while back that Peter Pan was losing money due to the Dunkin Donuts down the block(both ways), and Starbucks…but if you care about quality you really should try the BEST DONUTS IN TOWN and that is at PETER PAN’S! NYC Donut Report even sites their Donuts as the Best in NYC (not to discount the wonderful Donut Plant, but those are a totally different beast).

Get over to Greenpoint if you are a pastry lover, and eat some donuts(or cream sticks, or cinnamon buns or what ever sweet you love)…so I don’t eat them all…get there early if you plan to try my favorite Sour Cream Glazed, because those go quick.

Long Live Peter Pan!

Photo of Peter Pan and first Donut photo by One Sweet World (via flickr)

Peter Pan Staff by Pipeline

(Tom)

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The Richardson

Posted in alcohol, bars, food, Tom with tags , , , , , , , on October 20, 2008 by criticalreviews

The Richardson

451 Graham Avenue (the corner of Richardson and Graham) Williamsburg, Brooklyn
After last Sunday I was surprised to find myself walking around in Williamsburg again, and possibly headed to one of the same locations. We were on our way to check out Spuytin Duyvil’s No Joke Oktoberfest Celebration, but when we got there is was a little too crowded for our likings…and luckily had a back-up plan. This back-up plan involved heading back north. We walked down Havemeyer from Metropolitan to where it turns into Whithers, and then zig zagged a bit over to Graham Ave. I didn’t realize that there were so many Italian restaurants and delis in the area that is so close to my house…one of which we procured some delicious fresh cavatelli for dinner. The point is we ended up making our way to The Richardson. After the various write ups on Greenpointers (this is the most recent of the bunch), and the reviews on Yelp! (almost all 5 stars) how could we not try it out.

The Richardson is a big place with lots of tables, a huge bar, beautiful wallpaper, and a cozy feel (although it was a little cold with the doors open, it was still a really pleasant vibe). The first thing I noticed was the wallpaper, chandelier, and pumpkins (nice way to set the fall mood). We sat at the bar, and were the only people in the bar for a while but more patrons trickled in slowly. While at the bar klk tried one of their signature cocktails (and a couple fabulous drinks made with Hendricks Gin), while I was in the mood for beer (hence the Oktoberfest as the original plan) ordered a couple Troegs Hopback Ambers, and a Southern Tier IPA. The cocktails were made the old fashioned way, and I was really impressed by the well thought out beer list…this is sometimes a rarity at a cocktail bar (the only other thing I ask for is a stout or porter other than Guinness).

While the bar was pretty quiet we had the wonderful company of the barkeep. He was extremely friendly, and good for conversation…as well as makes excellent cocktails. Sometimes you go to a new hip bar, and kinda get the cold shoulder, but he was genuinely friendly…and this was more or less the icing on the cake. Leah stopped in to meet us for a drink, and had a Manhattan which was also delicious (I can’t pass up trying a whiskey drink when offered a sip).

We ordered some roasted nuts (part of their new menu), but were slightly underwhelmed. This might be because we are more or less experienced nut roasters ourselves. Some of their other food did sound quite tasty.

On top of the wonderful staff, and nice decor the bar keeps a consistent theme. The bartenders all have a loose rocker/greaser theme going on, and the music is all pre-1970 (if not older) rock n’ roll and r & b. A really nice touch that really ties the place together.

This place is perfect for a date or if you have a large group , and they have something to accommodate everyone. I’m adding this place to my regular rotation of drinking spots (and it doesn’t hurt that it is pretty close to my house).

Photos by Marcus in NY (via flickr)

(Tom)

Burrito Deli

Posted in food, restaurant, Tom with tags , , , , , , on August 22, 2008 by criticalreviews
1504 Lexington Ave
At 97th St
Upper East Side, Manhattan
212-369-7399

I have a constant struggle to find good food on the Upper East Side (specifically in the 90’s) because that is where I work everyday. And while there are some good options for meat eaters, as a vegetarian it isn’t so easy. I recently took a chance and tried the Burrito Deli, and while the atmosphere is non-existent the food is quite good and authentic too.

It is quite a large place: with a counter on the right, coolers on the left, and tables in the middle. The coolers are about half full with beverages and the other half is supplies for the restaurant. There are tables, but I can honestly say that I wouldn’t want to eat inside. The place is pretty warm, and while I don’t really mind it’s not quite what you would call clean. This means two things: 1) the food is probably good, and 2) I can never bring my family here. Luckily it is just a short walk to Central Park so it is all good.

Burrito Deli actually can provide any other sandwich your standard deli can make (cold cuts, fried fish, burgers), but they have a pretty extensive Mexican selection. While I’m sure that they can make any item vegetarian (the man that works the register is very nice) I have stuck with the Vegetarian Burrito. Check out the full menu here (prices are off by about 50 cents).

For $6 (and this is cheap for a full meal on the UES) You get an enormous burrito filled with beans, rice, a little cojito cheese, and a bunch of veggies (peppers, onions, carrots, and more). The burrito is wrapped and topped with fresh sour cream (the more liquidy kind that you often find in authentic Mexican restaurants), and more cojito. Meat burritos are more or less the same price. The burrito is served with shredded lettuce and a pico de galo. All together this fills a very large take out container, and I am totally stuffed and satisfied when I am finished.

While it may not be the best Mexican food I have ever had (we have that in Greenpoint: Acapulco and Papacitos), it sure beats El Paso (located on 97th street between Madison and Park). El Paso’s veggie burrito is very American, but at the same time not Californian. Not quite what I was expecting from a place that looks authentic…for real… you eat it with your hands? That isn’t a Mexican burrito. But Burrito Deli on the other hand is a fork and knife experience. It is probably my 4th favorite Mexican spot in the city behind the two previously mentioned Greenpoint eateries, and Puebla.

If you happen to work on the UES I recommend trying the Burrito Deli…I really like it, and I have eaten there three times in the past two weeks…it’s consistent, cheap, and good. More than I can say for most of the places I have tried in this neighborhood.

**It came to my attention in conversation last night that I kinda glossed over the cleanliness of this place…while the food is very good, if you google you will find health code violations…I still like it.

(Tom)

Permanent Records

Posted in music, record stores, Tom with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 18, 2008 by criticalreviews
181 Franklin St
(between Green St & Huron St)
Brooklyn, NY 11222
(718) 383-4083

Permanent Records is located in Greenpoint just a couple blocks north of Greenpoint Ave on Franklin Street (a very short walk from the Greenpoint Ave G Station, or a 20-25 minute walk from the Bedford L). In 2007 Permanent relocated from it’s original location on Long Island to Greenpoint. While this is a tragic loss for it’s former location, it was a great addition to Franklin Street.

While some of the record stores in the Bedford area have an air of pretension Permanent Records is friendly and welcoming! Marjorie, the owner of the shop, is typically behind the counter and is extremely friendly. I have been in several times, and have only had enjoyable experiences.

Permanent has more vinyl than CDs, and of course this is a plus for me. The store set up is records down the right side, and CDs down the left. There are a couple stand alone racks in the center of the floor: one for newly arrived used LPs, another for 7″s, and a third for DJ esque type LPs). They have a variety of record players in the windows, and lots of sun light. The store is not huge, but feels spacious, and comfortable.

Selection wise I always find more records than I need to be buying in my hands. I’m not quite sure how it is labeled, but they have one large section of LPs (that lives in the back right side corner of the store) that is comprised of a very eclectic selection of rock, noise, folk, electronic, and country of the modern varieties. Then they have some smaller section of things like reggae, soul, jazz, ect. The selection is really wonderful. They have your typical record bins, (by alphabet), and then they reserve space on the walls to display albums too (as pictured). They have pretty much something for everybody, and I find that you might end up with something you didn’t quite expect to find.

On my most recent visit I purchased Boris’ new effort Smile, the repress of Thurston Moore’s of Psychic Hearts, a used copy of the Grateful Dead’s Blues of Allah, as well as the reason for my visit… my special order of Eat Skull’s new album Sick to Death.

I have to thank Marjorie and Permanent Records for allowing people to do special orders. I had been looking all over to find that Eat Skull record, and had asked several places about ordering it for me…but no one would do it. I just kept hearing “Check back next week.” Marjorie ordered the record for me, and kept in touch with me until it came in stock. The LP I wanted was on back order, but the store followed up with me three times. Once to let me know that it didn’t come in, a second time letting me know the day it would be there, and finally a call to let me know that my record arrived. This is wonderful customer service, and they didn’t even make me put down a deposit (which I happily would have done).

They are also open until 9pm! Which means I still have time to make it to the store before they close after I’m done having happy hour (it is one of my favorite activities to record shop after a beer or two)! Permanent Records does instore performances too. To find out what is about upcoming events stop into the store, or email: marjorie@permanentrecords.info and ask to be added to the mailing list.

It may be that Greenpoint just has wonderful specialty shops…besides my consistently good experiences at Permanent, I was also recently surprised by the kindness of the young lady that was working at Dalaga (we didn’t catch her name, but she mentioned she was a new employee). KLK and I were in the store on Sunday, and she was just so genuinely nice that she really made us want to frequent their shop.

While I had never visited a lot of these shops before moving to Greenpoint, overall I am just pleasantly surprised with the shops in my new neighborhood. I am happy to live here and be supporting them. Permanent Records (and Dalaga) are both doing good things. They both have made some return customers out of us. I love the Franklin Street shopping district, and I can’t wait to explore it more.

If you are a record collector, or just in the mood for some new tunes stop by Permanent. If you can decide on something I’m sure that they are full of recommendations. One last thing I forgot….Permanent is typically a couple bucks cheaper on new LPs than Earwax and Soundfix!

Photos:

Greenpoint Store by JT (via Picasa)

Inside Greenpoint Store by Michael Kirby (via Time Out NY)

Old Store on Long Island by Seamus McGuire (via flickr)

More music news in Greenpoint this week…if you are a fan of punk rock or folk music… Defiance, Ohio is playing Club Europa this Thursday August 21st. If you don’t have anything going on, or are looking for something to do, I highly recommend going (I plan on being there)…it is not so often that you get to see a mostly acoustic punk band play. Good times.

(Tom)

Charlie McAlister is in NYC this week!

Posted in music, News, Tom with tags , , , , , , , on August 4, 2008 by criticalreviews

One of Charleston, South Carolina’s musical heros will be in NYC this week! Charlie McAlister will be playing at the Stone, in the East Village, this Friday, August 8th! He is doing two performances at 8pm and 10pm.

If you are not familiar with Charlie you can read my review of his album Mississippi Luau here!

Artist and musician, Kevin Earl Taylor, also originally from Charleston, will be in the City to play with Charlie at these performances.

This should be a treat for all in attendance, and I high recommend checking it out (I know I will be there!).

This show, along with all shows at the Stone in August, are curated by Trevor Dunn and Shelly Burgon.

Cheers,

(Tom)

Photo by Wolfie Whitman (via flickr)

Times New Viking @ the Whitney Museum. Wordless Music Series, June 27th, 2008.

Posted in music, shows, Tom with tags , , , , , , , on July 22, 2008 by criticalreviews

When I heard that Times New Viking (from Columbus, OH…possibly the best thing to come from Ohio since Guided By Voices) were playing the Wordless Music Series I was a little put off. I was thinking Times New Viking…without words…how is that one going to work, but after a little research I realized what the series was all about. ACME, the opening act, is a string Quartet, and they played a really wonderful discordant post-punk influenced piece composed by Jefferson Friedman. It was actually really great, and alot of thought was put into matching composers with bands. Times New Viking on the other hand was full of words, and I was really happy about that. This is a wonderful free music series, but get there early or it might fill up.

I purchased Rip it Off when it came out, and it has become one of my favorite albums released in 2008 (after I got past the fuzz-i-ness of the initial listens), and I have really fallen in love with this band. I picked up their other two records, Presnet the Paisley Reich and Dig Yourself (both on Siltbreeze), and I have grown to love them all.

The Whitney had everyone sit on the floor during ACME’s preformance, but when Times New Viking picked up their instruments people slowly stood up. There was a woman behind us, who had a video camera that looked somewhat professional, that asked: “Are you really going to stand?” Someone responded “This is a rock band,” so with a huff she moved her camera to the side of the stage. Times New Viking started playing and after a couple of songs they said to the crowd: “We don’t really use monitors…feel free to move closer.” So everyone did, and at this point I’m sure that the camera woman was probably really angry because she had to move and set up her camera again.

Overall this is a really great time to visit the Whitney. It was amazing being able to take in the Buckminster Fuller exhibit, and then just walk down stairs, and see Times New Viking. Times New Viking are even better live than they are on recording. While playing songs mostly off of Rip It Off they did hit several songs off of the previous albums too. They were loud, fun, and more or less got everyone moving. When you see a band smaller band play a museum, let alone the Whitney, it instantly brings to mind John Water’s movie Pecker, there is just something about an relatively new and smaller artist showcased in such wonderful setting.

Adam Elliott (drums/vocals) and Beth Murphy(keyboard/vocals) talked between songs quite a bit, and give off an overall friendly vibe, and made a setting that could feel awkward fun. You could tell that the band was really excited to play the Whitney by the fact that Elliott kept referencing it, and the inspiration that they were drawing from the painting hanging above them.

Times New Viking’s guitarist, Jared Phillips, broke just about everything imaginable…from shorting out the power supply on his amp (which probably shouldn’t happen at the Whitney)/ almost breaking it (or so it appeared), breaking strings on his first guitar, and the output jack on the second. During all of the technical difficulties one of the girls in the front was trying to get the band to pose for a photo shoot (the band seemed to be ignoring the requests, and were were thinking WTF?). It just seemed inappropriate for the setting. I later found out from the girl next to me that the person taking photos knew the band, but she agreed that it was still totally inappropriate

After the second guitar mishap happened, almost an hour into the show, Phillips picked up some drum sticks and finished out the song adding to the percussion. This was pretty much the end of Times New Vikings set…my only complaint was that “Faces on Fire” wasn’t played…but I learned my lesson. If I want a song played I at least need to try and request it (thanks Abe Vigoda)…next time. I got the impression that they would have played a little longer if it wasn’t for the guitar problems…but there will always be another tiem.

I had so much fun, and this show was definitely one of my favorites of 2008 so far, and I am kinda sad that I missed them this weekend at Pitchfork (my trip was sadly canceled), and at Siren Fest (I don’t think I can do another one of those no matter how good the line up is). Another sad thing is that I might not get to see this band play a venue as small as the Whitney again…I really feel that Times New Viking might come across the strongest when there is no stage between them and the crowd. We will see if I get to experience that again (I hope so).

Media:

“(My Head)” and “R.I.P. Allegory” free download from Matador

Live video and audio on WFMU!

More TNV at their myspace!

All photos from RustMonster (via Flickr)

(Tom)


Tullycraft @ Cake Shop. Saturday June 14, 2008. Free Afternoon Show!

Posted in music, shows, Tom with tags , , , , on July 16, 2008 by criticalreviews

Because we bought Teenage Jesus & the Jerks tickets we unfortunately missed out on the twee legends at Pianos, but luckily Tullycraft played a second (free) show at Cake Shop the next afternoon. This was my first time seeing a show in the coffee shop/record store space of Cake Shop.

We got to the show about an hour before Tullycraft was set to preform. The record store was closed up, and packed away tightly so that there was room for the band, and the bar was closed. This was a little bit of a bummer, because I always want to record shop, and I really wanted an afternoon beer…but we grab some iced coffee and tea and grabbed a table right by the little stage. We were actually there before the band was, and got to watch a little twee reunion as Tullycrafts’ friends all showed up to the Cake Shop.

The show was set to start at 2pm, but the space didn’t get really crowded until about 1:55…We were really lucky that we got to the space so early because instead of being behind a huge crowd we just stood on our chairs and had a great view of the band.

Tullycraft played from their entire catalog, and was really fun and full of energy (as you would expect). A funny story was told of how one of the guys fell into one of those metal grates on the sidewalk that leads into a stores basement the night before, and although the stage was cramped they made room for him to take a seat…and a funny musical interlude while strings were being changed. This is just one of those bands that gives a super positive vibe. It was a blast, and I’m really glad these twee popsters made it to the east coast again after such a long time. The one thing that didn’t happen was “Pop Songs Your New Boyfriend is too Stupid to know about” was not played (but I understand…there are some songs that bands just need to move on from). One odd thing was that their bass only had two stings, but I guess this is just their style. The show was super fun, and Tullycraft played for almost an hour (pretty sweet for a free show).

Every time I go to Cake Shop for a show I wonder why I don’t hang out there more often.

All in all it is just what I needed after getting into that Los Campesinos album.

Listen to Tullycraft:

“Pop Songs Your New Boyfriend’s Too Stupid To Know About” off of Old Traditions, New Standards

“The Punks are writing Love Songs” off of Every Scene Needs a Center

all media from www.tullycraftnation.com

(Tom)