Don’t go to Brussels.

DONT GO TO BRUSSELS. That’s what everyone said to us, but did we listen? NO. Cause we knew that this international city was way more thAn just the EU HQ, it was fantastic food, parties, and people where you can get down all night.

We were surprised how so many people furled their brow when we said we were going to do a travel guide on Brussels. What’s there to see in Brussels? Well a lot, from chocolate palaces, to giant atoms with escalators, to a perhaps unnatural obsession with statues that pee, Brussels is a strange, wonderful and fun city.

A few places we cover:
The Atomium: https://visit.brussels/en/place/Atomium
Cantillon: https://www.cantillon.be/?lang=en
Delirium Cafe: https://www.deliriumvillage.com/bar/delirium-cafe/
Neuhaus Chocolates: https://www.neuhauschocolates.com/en/

BONUS: you get to witness what happens to Rob’s facial hair when he loses a bet. (Spoiler: It’s not good, and he’ll never forget that Sophia is the capital of Bulgaria)

NEW TRAVEL GUIDE EACH DAY folks … I mean … you wont ever have to leave your house! Get that seamless on redial.

 

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360 Camera: Samsung Gear 360 https://goo.gl/1jsfn8

Mic: Zoom H6 https://goo.gl/Gani8E

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Tripod: Manfrotto 390 https://goo.gl/6PzxBv

Ultimate Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Dinner & Tapas Guide Barcelona 2019.

Where to eat in Barcelona? We’ll guide you through the best, from breakfast at La Esquina, Brunch at Citizen, Lunch at Faborit, Tapas at Bar Mut, St. Josep Market, Dinner at El Nacional or La Malandrina and of course the world famous Canete.

Breakfast: La Esquina
What to eat: Juevos rancheros, fresh green juice and world class coffee
http://laesquinabarcelona.com/en/
Address: Carrer de Bergara, 2, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
Phone: +34 937 68 72 42

 

Brunch: Citizen
What to eat: Eggs Benedict, fresh green juice and world class coffee
https://citizencafe.es/
Address: Plaça d’Urquinaona, 4, 08010 Barcelona, Spain
Phone: +34 933 15 59 61

 

Lunch: Faborit
What to eat: Fresh salad and hot chocolate cheat treat
https://www.faborit.com/
Address: Passeig de Gràcia, 41, 08007 Barcelona, Spain
Phone: +34 934 67 36 43

Tapas: Bar Mut
What to eat: Anything (but the pulpo if they have it)
http://www.barmut.com/
Address: Carrer de Pau Claris, 192, 08037 Barcelona, Spain
Phone: +34 932 17 43 38

Lunch: Mercat/Boqueria St. Josep
What to eat: Everything. Jamon Iberico, fresh fruit, chocolates, cheeses, you name it.
http://www.boqueria.barcelona/home
Address: La Rambla, 91, 08001 Barcelona, Spain

 

Dinner: El Nacional
What to eat: Oysters at the bar with cold vino verde
https://www.elnacionalbcn.com/en/
Address: Passeig de Gràcia, 24 Bis, 08007 Barcelona, Spain
Phone: +34 935 18 50 53

Dinner: La Malandrina
What to eat: Meat. In every variety. Grilled.
https://www.lamalandrina.es/
Address: Carrer de Pepe Rubianes, 5, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Phone: +34 603 62 19 39

Dinner: Bar Canete
What to eat: Whatever the waiter wants to serve you. Bring stretchy pants.
http://www.barcanete.com/
Address: Carrer de la Unió, 17, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
Phone: +34 932 70 34 58

 

 

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Tripod: Manfrotto 390 https://goo.gl/6PzxBv

Best Tacos in Los Angeles. Period.

The 20th century birthed for us as civilization many a great innovative contribution. The advent of advanced medicines allow us to live longer, scientific mental explosions allow us to travel to far away planets to know more about us here at home. Perhaps the greatest gift modern times have given us is combining the world’s greatest food with the automotive industry, that is, the taco truck.

While it certainly cannot be argued that this is by far the greatest scientific advancement in our time on earth, people may argue as to which of the many taco trucks in Los Angeles is the “best”. While it is estimated that there are as many as 30,000 of these trucks slinging disks of delights in the greater LA area at any one time, there is only one that we can claim is the best. Mariscos Jalisco.

Just off the corner of Olympic and Dacotah (I guess a guy from Long Island tried to spell Dakota) in the Wyvernwood section of Downtown LA, you will find a simple white truck surrounded with bright red stools, and usually a happy crowd waiting for the best hand food this city has to offer. Dont be fooled; MJ truck has lots of delights to choose from, but they are known for one particular dish that is sure to delight, Tacos Dorado de Cameron, or, Golden Shrimp Tacos.

The golden comes from the deep fried color of the lighter then air taco shell, or perhaps from the richness you feel as these savory morsels enter your mouth hole, either way they got the Midas touch when it comes to authentic and fantastic Mexican street food.

Grab yourself a wedge of fresh lime, a cold Mexican coke with real sugar, and a place in the shade to throw one of these huge tacos back, and I guarantee you will not be sorry.

Find them at 3040 E Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90023

 

About CineClast:

 

Roberto Serrini is a professional filmmaker who records his adventures in word, photography and film. He is a staff writer for Get Lost Magazine, a senior contributor to Trip Advisor, a drone operator. and runs the travel channel TravelClast on YouTube. His work can be seen at www.robertoserrini.com where he can be contacted as well.

 

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AMSTERDAM Travel Guide.

Cheap, good and off the beaten path, so excited to share with you a few of our favorite places in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam is so much more then cheese, sex and pot (although they have that all as well and it’s fantastic) … what makes this town so rad is how well they know how to live. The folks that live here love life, and love loving life, and show it in everything they do, from their culture, to their food, and especially in their love for boats…

And if you want to get into the deep culture that is Amsterdam there are plenty of places to go deep. Sure they have world class museums like the Rijks and Anne Frank Museum, but there is so much more to explore, check it out.

 

Now you’re probably so frigging hungry you considered eating some of that cat nibble you saw at the cat museum (no shame if you did). Fear not there are a ton of great places to get your grub on from great Asian street food, to classic Apple Cake and cafe, to food halls that simply cater to all tastes.

 

Obviously you’re going to need to wash down all this deliciousness with something, and thankfully the Dutch do drinking well. From great beer, smooth Rosé and some intense old-school gin, you can wet your whistle in many different forms.

 

Lastly, it’s bedtime my friends, and time to rest your heads… there are a ton of great fashionable hotels, and of course, AirBnB’s galore, but if you looking for something budget, that is definitely an interesting experience, consider the Hotel School. Yeah. It’s a school, for hoteling, that you sleep in. You are basically the students homework. Surprisingly the service is top notch, and the cost extremely reasonable with a quick 5 minute tram ride to the city center.

That pretty much wraps up Amsterdam for us, stay tuned for the 10 other cities we traveled to this summer for WOW Airlines. You can read all about the experience at our other site, The Travel Agency. 

WORLDS BEST BURGER.

Usually I’m all for debate. I mean, I’m Italian. C’mon. However, sometimes, there just isn’t room for debate. Like the holocaust being completely horrible, or Empire being the best Star Wars film, Chef Jeremy Spector’s Brindle Room Hamburger is, without question, the WORLDS GREATEST HAMBURGER.

The reason there is no debate is because of how it tastes (like someone shoved heaven into your mouth-hole), how it smells (like Umami by Armani), how it feels in your mouth (like the satisfaction from eating a mouth full of chips and a mouthful of sushi at the same time) and even how it sounds (like Wimpy noshing into a burger on Popeye. Yeah. That sound).

There is no equal.

I got the fantastic opportunity to find out what the beef is with his beef, how he gets his cheese so damn melty, and what kinda buns he’s into. It was a religious experience, and I hope you are wearing a bib while you watch this cause you will dribble like a 2 year old on Percocet and Jim Beam.

 

I mean Serious Eats, Eater, Thrillist, CBS, NY Magazine, hell, even Food Network’s food deity Guy Fieri couldn’t resist proclaiming their love for this meat temptress. Secret is out folks… and it’s delicious.

If you liked that you should check out my other blog, Make Me A Sandwich. It’s a sandwich show I produce because, well, I fucking love sandwiches.

Rs

 

Roberto Serrini is a professional traveler who records his adventures in wordphotography and film. He is a staff writer for Get Lost Magazine, a senior contributor to Trip Advisor, as well as a commercial film director and drone pilot. His work can be seen at www.robertoserrini.com where he can be contacted as well.

Japan: Next Stop Nara.

Nara is a beautiful little town. Quiet, out of the way, and not murdered by tourists, it really is a beautiful retreat where you can experience ancient Japan in the modern era. The train here is a quick hop from Osaka, and getting around by foot is a breeze.

Arriving at the station we didn’t know what to expect; it really looked like any other town. As we walked down the main street, just off the station, we started to notice the shops were a bit more geared to antiques and writing utensils. It took us a good 20 minutes to get Nara Park. Lemme tell you something, this place is magical.

First of all… deer. Everywhere. It’s like a Disney movie. According to legend, a mythological god Takemikazuchi arrived in Nara on a white deer to guard the newly built capital of Heijō-kyō. Since then the deer have been regarded as heavenly animals, protecting the city and the country. They also love these deer biscuits that guys with carts sell. Don’t try to ride them thought. They do not like to be ridden, apparently, if you are not a god.

The park is magical. There are several shrines and museums, but the most fantastic part is just walking the paths. Stone lanterns line green paths, there are gardens pretty much everywhere, and you truly feel at total peace. At the end there is a small “love” shrine, where you can get a “magical” piece of paper that when soaked in the sacred water will show your love’s path. I can tell you this, my love’s path was the one that led me to Nara because I simply am in love with it.

Once you had your full of nature, the back roads of Nara are equally enchanting. This is an ancient city, and was the capital of Japan in the 700’s. Not too shabby. Wandering around here you will find little shops and artisans selling this and that, and some fantastic spots to eat that will make you cry tears of miso.

One thing that was super interesting were these yellow raised tiles (see above). You will find them everywhere in Japan, in the train stations, in the streets, everywhere. They’re for blind people. Yeah. So blind people can get around Japan, easier. That’s the kind of place Japan is.

In any case, blind or not, Nara is definitely not to be missed. Easy to get to, walk and see in a day. We had lot’s to see though so …

Next stop… KYOTO!

-Rs

Roberto Serrini is a professional traveler who records his adventures in word, photography and film. He is a staff writer for Get Lost Magazine as well as a commercial film director and drone pilot. His work can be seen at www.robertoserrini.com where he can be contacted as well. 

Japan: Osaka is OK by me!

Japan is by far the most foreign place I have ever travelled to. Let me mention that I have been to Bhutan, Pond Inlet above the North Pole, and even the south Bronx. Japan is by far the most xenocentric locations on the globe, and has good reason why that is so.

My knowledge of Japan was like any other persons; a heathy understanding that sushi is delicious, Judo is awesome, and you can buy panties in vending machines. Unfortunately none of these academic kernels of knowledge came close to preparing me for what would be a mind blowing adventure.

If you’re reading this because you are about to embark to Japan then know that I like to travel as close as possible to a local. I like to stay in proletariat areas, usually renting an apartment, and eat at places that the general population favors. This is a disease I have that I caught at some point from living in Williamsburg in the early 2000’s. Unfortunately I can no longer be sated by a centrally located hotel and restaurants that have a menu in my native language. Makes me sick.

As training to enter a new culture, I do a minimal amount of research, as I hate spoilers, and yeah, you can spoil a city. I was fortunate to find one of the best guide books ever written, A Geek in Japan, by Hector Garcia. Who knew a Spaniard could capture Japan so well. What’s fantastic about this book is just that; it frames Japan from the mindset of a foreigner. He fills you in on not only what the culture has to offer, but why it is so different. Let me give you this small nugget to chew on: Japan was completely, COMPLETELY, closed off to the world up until the 1860’s. Think about that for a second. A country, stewing solely in it’s own culture for thousands of years. Only until an American captain (with finally superior weapons) forced them to open up their boarders to trade. When you understand that their culture was refined without input from any other culture for a millennial, and has only started to let the rest of the world in for the last 150 years, you start to understand why things are so differentspecial, in Japan.

Let’s get onto it, first stop, Osaka.

Osaka has a brand new airport that kicks ass and offers wickedly affordable flights, much lower then flying into Tokyo. This is the reason we chose it for our home base, also considering that the Shinkansen or Bullet Train is only 2 1/2 hours to Tokyo and a ridiculous 15 minutes to Kyoto.

ALERT: First thing to mention, buy a rail pass for the Shinkansen, or Bullet Train. YOU CAN ONLY DO THIS OUTSIDE OF JAPAN for reasons I have have no idea why. In any case buy them, they are super cheap, and make travel a SNAP. Don’t cheap out and get the “green” pass … it’s the first class version and it’s sick. I never want to travel any other way ever again then on a bullet train. They have good food, fully reclining seats, and hot towels with jasmine. Also they bow to the train when it arrives which is just so goddamn sweet I wanna kill myself.

bento box

The first thing you will notice is Japan isn’t nearly as expensive as you think its going to be. In fact, it was 1.25 to the dollar while we were there. So good on you there Japan.

I take it back, the very first thing you will notice is that NO ONE SPEAKS ENGLISH. I have been to roadless villages in India where people spoke more English then Japan. It’s surprising, but also quite nice in an unexacting way. Japanese people in general are super accommodating. It’s integrated in their culture, and you will be hard pressed to hear anyone say the word “no” to you at any time. We called a restaurant to get a reservation and the reservationist said “Oh, it would be very difficult to sit you at that time”. Asking in a different way for a different time she said “It would be very difficult to sit you at that time as well”. It is never “We don’t have any space available.” or “We’re sold out.” it’s just never said cause it’s super rude to them. That being the case, even if you don’t speak Japanese, they will make every attempt to make sure you are satisfied, no matter what the request. Ridiculously polite is not even close to what Japan is.

From the airport its about an hour ride on the train to Shin-Osaka; a bustling outskirt of the main city, where we rented an Air B&B. It was in a traditional residential high-rise and nothing less then adorable. The ceilings were about 7 feet high, the tatami mats were pristine, and we got to sleep on a futon on the floor. In fact everything was on the floor. I imagine Ikea doesn’t do much business in Japan.

The nice thing about staying in Shin-Osaka is that you’re right next to the station which is amazing. There are dozen of restaurants and shops, it’s almost its own city. And in 10 minutes you are anywhere in Osaka, which, would turn out to be my favorite cities in Japan.

Osaka gets overlooked a lot. It’s modern, not as big as Tokyo, and is mostly proletariat in nature, but that is exactly why it’s so fantastic. It’s the difference between midtown Manhattan and the East Village; one is where tourists go, and the other is where the “real” people are. Osaka is a fully functioning city, and in so has some of the best restaurants in Japan. In fact it’s quickly getting the recognition as being the “chef’s city” where you can sample some of the best food this island has to offer. For instance, behind the Hozen-Ji temple you will find a positively ancient street with no name. You will know it by it’s cobblestone and crooked design. It is here in the heart of Dotonbori you will find a skinny little sushi restaurant that will melt your face with deliciousness.

Another night we hit the same street … lightning does strike twice people. This time for the famous Kobe beef and a fantastic Yakiniku restaurant named MatSuzAkaGyu. In a narrow little building you climb ancient steps, and they give you a little private booth with a grill where you proceed to cook the most amazing beef you have ever had. AmAzIng.

The entire area is a zoo in the best possible ways; nightclubs that offer “groups” of girls (for men) and boys (for girls) line the street. Apparently nightlife is pretty segregated here, with men grouping together to go to these nightclubs to be entertained by young girls singing and dancing. Women have the same option usually next door. It is truly bizarre.

There are also maid cafes, where girls, dressed as sexy maids, serve you tea or coffee. Thats pretty much what they do. And giggle. That’s a thing. These streets are full of rowdy locals, all getting their drink and food on. It’s about as authentic as it gets.

On the other side of the river in Namba you can find some amazing shopping. Electronics, camera gear, and a cooking center where you can buy the most exquisite knives you have ever seen. It’s a bit industrial, but never dull, and there are plenty of street markets to keep your eyes and stomach entertained for sure. Don’t forget to hit up Don Quijote; a 8 level superstore of bizarre Japanese shit that can easily be the mecca for finding gifts for your jealous friends back home.

Here the food is amazing, and sometimes tastes you back. There are a few things you must try… the pancake which is an Osaka original… usually good after several high powered beers. Then the octopus balls. WARNING they are extremely hot. Let them cool, then when you think they are cool enough, let them cool again. In fact, buy them, forget you bought them, then later that day find them and eat them. Last is the little octopus with a quail egg in its head. Is it good? No. But it sure is fun to eat.

And of course, after a day of drinking and eating it was obligatory to visit your local Karaoke center to drink some sochu, smoke some cigs, and sing some Springsteen. Karaoke here is serious business, so much so that the lobby looked like a Ritz Carlton. Oh yeah, they have costumes you can wear too. Epic.

And so we did Osaka … next stop… NARA

-Rs

Roberto Serrini is a professional traveler who records his adventures in word, photography and film. He is a staff writer for Get Lost Magazine as well as a commercial film director and drone pilot. His work can be seen at www.robertoserrini.com where he can be contacted as well. 

 

Barcelona Mi Amor.

So… when is Spain, Right? Was on the world tour with Nike and was able to spend 18 hours in the fantastic city of Barcelona, so basically I saw the hotel, and got to eat one great meal.

The hotel was the hotel@icaria.bcn – yep. I stayed at an email address. See:
icara outsideI believe the hotel is called the SB Icaria, but staying at an email address is so much more 2015.

The hotel is nice. It’s like staying at a drug dealer’s mansion in 1982, sans the high hipped bikini clad coke whores, and the drugs. So I guess its not much like that at all, maybe its the red laqueresque details that threw me for a loop. The lobby is spacious, they have a sweet little bar in the back that you can Cava yourself to death at, and the rooms are clean and modern, and super comfy. They also have C.O. Bigelow products which I found super cool as I used to live above them on 6th avenue (they’re like a super old school pharmacy, er, apothecary. Like you can still get health tonics and cocaine drops).

Dumping my gear I made a B-Line (more like an “i” line, eh Dane Cook?) to dinner cause I had heard about Bar Mut from about everyone that I told I was in Barcelona. Convo went like this:

Me: Hey, I’m in Barcelona.
everyonelse: Oh cool. You going to Bar Mut?

Pretty much like that. And it didn’t disappoint. I mean, the joint is perfectly Barcelonian meaning they don’t give a shit in a way that makes you feel free, the food is simple and exquisite, and you drink as much as you can sweat. It is a dark, compact, sexy little space that does pretty much everything right, and if you have one thing you have the polpo as if I had to tell you that. If you’re suuuuuuper nice and ask suuuuuuper cool they might even tell you how they make their marinade. After hearing how you will either love it more, or love it a lot less. As for me, the stranger the better.

Of course after a full belly of delicious Spanish morsels and gallons of Rioja, its best to head across the street and throw some pesos in the casino, then stumble into the Stinger The Bar (as opposed to Stinger The Musician) to have, well, a Stinger, which is a drink that time forgot and shouldn’t have. Besides Angel’s Share in NYC this joint makes them perrrrrrfect.

2015-02-09 20.56.48-2

By now, we are well loose. A quick triptych with photographer Billy Kidd and it’s definitely a wrap. Oh Barcelona, we were lovers for just a few hours, but you get it done cause you know exactly what you are doing. SWAK.

cobble hill. stay away.

Seriously. Do not move to, or even come visit Cobble Hill in Brooklyn. It is the worst place on earth. Earth. Flint Michigan? Please, more like Daytona Beach. Detroit Michigan? Palm Springs in comparison. Hell, anywhere in Michigan is better than Cobble Hill. You should definitely go to Michigan. Here are some cheap plane tickets, check them out.

Why on earth would you want to come here? I mean, it’s minutes away from the rat infested city, and most places here actually have a backyard, or, dare I say, a veranda, that have bugs and shit. Ew. Nature. I mean, sure, there is one Starbucks, but most of the businesses and restaurants in the neighborhood are family owned. I mean, that’s just un-American! Where is my Olive Garden? My Spice Thai food? What do you mean you Italian and you are a butcher? I thought we got rid of all you people!

Yes, Cobble Hill, this family orientated, classic Brooklyn neighborhood, with strong Italian ethnic roots, and food direct from the old country is definitely a place to stay clear from. I mean, people here talk with an actual NYC accent? I thought we did away with that in the 1990’s with Sex in the City?

So, here are a few of my most hated places. Please. Do not come here, under any circumstances, unless you like disappointment and cultural shock. For reference I created a Goggle map so you can more effectively navigate your way away from these sinkholes of despair.

Eats:

Henry Public

Perhaps the lamest bar in Brooklyn with a terrible menu. A Turkey Leg sandwich on fresh-cut, thick sliced bread? I usually order two because I can’t believe how much I hate it. Also it’s not like they have the best mixologists in the city there, happy to make you a delicious, garden fresh libation. Who’s got time for that crap? PBR for me friends; none of this ice-cold Captain Lawrence Liquid Gold, thank you very much.

Brucie

Dear God. How many times do I have to come here? Seriously? They keep changing the menu. And I keep clearing the plate, literally taking the fresh-baked bread and wiping it clean. Obviously the portions are too small, obviously. Thank God for Alka-Seltza which should come standard with the meal. They keep creating new dishes, (“market fresh and seasonal” they call it. “Communist” I call it.) each one more disgustingly dynamic then the next. And how cheerful does a place have to be? And the damn staff, I mean, it’s like they’re my friends. Who needs that? What are they trying to hide? A full bar, and an eclectic wine selection is the icing on the cake for this dump. Do not come here.

Prime Meats

Germans. Who need them, right? With their farm fresh meats, amazing beer, and dear God, what is the deal with the bread? It’s like warm, oven fresh bread with butter is some sort of religion for these people. Every time I come here I regret it. It’s usually for brunch and they usually shove one of their “specialty” bloody mary’s in my face. Then another. German’s right? So pushy. And them I’m like “Oh, you made me eat too much, now I can’t walk home” and they “happily” call me a cab. I swear, this place is a nightmare.

Frankies Spuntino

People actually get married in this dive, if you can believe it. Just because they have A) a farmhouse in the backyard and B) they have “amazing” food. Yeah, apparently they won some sort of award for the food and service, but I just don’t see it; this place is always crowded so to me that just says that they are as slow as shit. And how hard is it to make Italian food? I mean a red-head dude called Mario (fake) can do it, and I bet he’s from Ireland. Don’t waste your time here folks, make it a Di’Giorno night.

River Deli

This place is so lame that it doesn’t even have a website. Hows 1982 of you my friends. Are those parachute pants working out for you? Cash only and about the size of a thimble this joint serves up what they call “Sardinian Fare”. Please. With it’s “charming” rustic interior, and actual Italian staff this place is about as un-American as you can get. Not even a basic hamburger on the menu! How they stay in business I do not know.

Lucali

The last time I had to wait outside for a pizza was in 1984 in Moscow. Wait. I’m American and we have Domino’s. I don’t wait for pizza, ever.

Ted and Honey

More like “Meh and Run-with-your-money”. Casual seating with room for kids, and artisan breakfast sandwiches? Free newspapers and large lattes? No thanks. I take my breakfast like an American; wrapped in plastic while riding the F train.

Drinks: 

Henry Public – See above. Or not. Don’t care.

Bar Tabac

French people, am I right? With their cheese, their Saison beers, and their Goddamn joy du vive or whatever they fucking call it. Going to this place is like hanging out at some shack in Marseilles. That’s like the Detroit of France. Viva l’Americans. Dont go.

Clover Club

What is with people, prohibition, and pool? What was fun about prohibition? Nothing. Super un-American. So this “speak easy” with a “rousing attitude” can just go suck it. I mean, craft beer and hand crafted cocktails? Um… MGD thank you very much.

61 Local

All I’m gonna say is look at the name of this place. 61 Local? UNIONS!? Please. Should be called 61 Communists.

Shops:

Paisanos

Listen, Italian’s, we get it. You like to eat. Stop shoving it in our faces with your fresh meats like hand-made sausages, veal and something called a “porchetta”. If I want to eat pig, I do so with a chop. Like an American. And congrats for being family owned for over 150 years. Making your kids slaves does not sound like freedom to me.

Staubitz

Another one. Immigrants. Where are all the Americans? This one puts photographs of 4 entire generations of his family on the wall. Here’s the kicker, the old guy behind the counter expertly cutting your meat? He’s the young guy in the first picture. Right? Like way to move up in the world buddy. Sure their meats are top quality, and you can’t beat their “service” but seriously, if I wanted to go back in time I would watch Back to the Future on Betamax.

Pacific Green Gourmet Food

Hand on face slap. Gourmet Food? C’mon people, we call this a bodega here in NYC. It’s the kinda place you go when you need toilet paper or scratch-offs. Sure they have some cheeses from around the world, fresh fruits and veg, and yeah, orange blossom water in case you’re making a Ramon Gin Fizz, but really we’re only looking for the post-nightclub Red Bull and wishful thinking pack of Trojans thank you very much.

Trader Joe’s

I swear, didn’t I leave California to get away from this hippie crap? The only saving grace with Trader Joe’s in Manhattan is that there is a 3 hour line to pay for your two buck chuck and bean dip. Here though it’s, like, empty… all the time. Balls.

Cobblestone Catring

Broccoli Rabe in garlic and chili? Sweet Yams glazed with honey? Roasted Chicken with sautéed wild mushrooms? How lazy do you have to be to pick up a freshly cooked dinner. Not to mention their fresh-baked Pretzel Croissants? Didn’t you get the memo? People like cronuts idiots, not your flakey delicious pretzel Frankensteins. Lame.

Brooklyn Wine Exchange

When did America stop making things? Wine from Aruba? Ruhm from Canada? Bitters from the Marshall Islands? I mean give me Carlo Rossi American Wine and stop with this eclectic serving of drunk juice. No one wants it.

Cafe Pedlar

When did Starbucks lose its grip on the coffee industry? Why would I possibly want a fresh, hot, ham and cheese croissant that didn’t come from a factory and was lovingly swaddled in a cellophane wrapper with my fresh brewed coffee? Why?

Court Street Pastry Shop and Caputo’s Bake Shop

Jeebus! What is it with Italians and food? Thank you for the Olive Garden, you can go now. I mean TWO bakeries right next to each other? And neither one of them has a web site? It’s like they expect word of mouth to keep them in business for over 100 years. One word idiots, “groupon”. Look into it.

Esposito’s and Son’s Pork Store.

Pork Store. What a joke. This place has all kinds of fresh-cut meats, Italian goods, even arancini’s. I mean way to mislead the public. There should be a law.

First Place Provisions Beeeeeeeeeeeer

Um, really? There are children around. Do I need your world-class selection of beer, cheese and coffee? Is this an Istanbul market? What do you mean “don’t worry about the coffee, we got it, come back soon”? What kinda cult is this?

Mazzola Bakery

Please. Look at all these old Italian types hanging outside drinking coffee eating brioche. Mafia. All of them, Mafia. They should raid this place.

Court Street Grocers

Specialty items? Cheeses from New York? Pickled rhubarb? unpasteurized Milk??? Communist. Where is the Key Food?

Bookcourt

Oh brother. A bookshop. An “independent” bookshop no less. How “neighborhoody” and shit. I mean, first of all, if I want a bookshop, I want it to sell toys and mugs, like a Barnes and Nobel, mainly because I have to use the bathroom and they have one. Sure this shop is extensive, and if the don’t have it, then they can order it. They call you even when it arrives (hell, one guy actually brought the book to my house because it was “on his way home” as if the people who work here aren’t homeless – psssst…. no one buys books anymore, we have the internet now. Cat videos).

Video Free Brooklyn

Do I really need to even write anything here. I mean a video rental shop? It’s 2014 people. Heard of Netflix? Video is dead my friend, and no one wants to watch any of your funky foreign films are art house crap. We want Michael Bay and we want it pausing every 12 to 17 minutes to buffer.

That’s it, and honestly, it is just the tip of the iceberg. Tip. Cobble Hill and its adjoining nightmare Carroll Gardens are just chuck full of these un-American, socialist sinkholes, that only exist so hippie communists can take honestly earned American Dollars. I swear, it’s neighborhoods like this that make me wonder where our future is going.

Rs

 

 

a perfect meal. the brindle room.

Spoiler alert: I am head over heals with the Brindle Room. Expect a gushy review.

So, this little gem on 10th street in the village is the kinda place (that luckily for me) many people walk past. In a neighborhood crammed with celeb fueled eateries (Momofuku I’m looking at you) the Brindle Room, with its unassuming entrance, warm interior, and chill atmosphere might not even register on most people radar.

Effectively you have then missed one of the better meals of your life.

It was so good, I even made a video about it. I was literally moved so much by this meal that my passion as a filmmaker was called into action. Take a peek, but I recommend putting a drip towel over your keyboard … https://vimeo.com/39804758

Let’s be frank and earnest here for a sec; the Brindle Room is not Boulud. It is not Jean George. We are not at Per Se. Nothing has foam on it, or even a hint of truffle. What we have here is neighborhood haute cuisine at its finest.

Seared Pepper Steak sandwich, house smoked chicken wings, even classic baked oysters that slide down your mouth like the caress of a warmed silk glove of a parisian lover. The menu stretches from the comforting beer battered pork belly to the more elegant venison loin, but don’t be fooled; everything on this menu was created by the chef to be just good tasting and fun eating. It doesn’t try to be anything that it’s not and that is where you realize it is a rare find; a genuinely good place to eat that focuses on food not fame.

It has been extremely hard not to mention the burger for three paragraphs. Extremely hard. Having been to the Brindle Room on multiple occasions you find out that even though they have THE BEST HAMBURGER IN THE WORLD, that the rest of their menu is stellar as well. But, let’s talk about it, because, damn it’s good…

brindle room burger

… their burger is a select mixture of prime meat that incorporates the deckle cut of steak which is the most delicious cut you could put in your mouth. What? Never heard of the deckle, a.k.a. The Rib-Eye Cap? The 2nd filet of Brisket? The Pillow Cut? (I made that last one up… sorry, rule of threes owns me)

Well the deckle is that guy that shows up to your party that makes it the best party that ever was. The guy that, 20 years later at someone wedding you don’t really know but you have a lot of mutual friends so you decide to go because you might see Charlene there and you wonder if she’s got fat, and you see all your high school buds and they were like “remember that party at Tom Higgin’s place when Deckle showed up in the stolen cop car a case of Goldschäger and a Billy Goat?” and you’re like “remember? Do we not all have tattoo’s of the date with “Deckle 4 EVA … bhaaaaa!” on all our arms???”. Yeah it’s like that.

More scientifically, Deckle is the back end of the Rib-Eye steak. Basically a mixture of filet and marbled fat, that, when blended in the right proportion, seared in a seasoned cask iron skillet, and then baked with soft, sweet onions and American cheese, produces a hamburger that you want to slowly rub on your face while confessing your love to it before consuming. Hence the reason they give you cloth dishtowels instead of paper napkins at the Brindle Room. You dont come for a meal; you come to make love to your food, and if done right, cleanup is always a bit messy, but always worth it.

Besides delicious devourables, Brindle keeps a pretty great, albeit small, selection of craft beers and affordable wines to help libate the meal properly. They also have a brunch that might take you out for the day. It really should come with in-house cots. Monday nights is vinyl night, so if you’re looking for some ear candy and mouth treats, that might be your jam.

Full disclosure: I have absolutely no stock in the Brindle Room. At all. This review come straight from the heart, and or perhaps stomach.

Rs