My daily routine consists of pulling articles from various food blogs and posting them via my social media channels. The never-ending artic...

My daily routine consists of pulling articles from various food blogs and posting them via my social media channels. The never-ending articles of restaurant closures and chef shuffles is something I have become accustomed to, but every once in a while there is an article that rocks the food world. One article in particular was the news of Chef Paul Liebrandt packing up his tweezers and leaving Corton, a fine dinning restaurant in Tribeca to go work on a new project in Williamsburg called "The Elm."

Leap forward to this summer and Croton is now Batard. Not much has changed inside of the space other than a new menu, chef, and some sound proofing for the older crowd who have a hard time figuring out how to use the volume control on their hearing aids. The menu itself is French, with a tasting menu option only. Batard offers 3 choices at 3 different prices - two courses for $55, three courses for $65, and four courses for $75. It was a long week and I was hungrier than a kid on his third day at fat camp.

Octopus Pastrami: I've seen a lot of crazy shit in my life, but this dish took the cake. The octopus, cooked to a perfect tenderness. Flavor wise, it didn't hit me until a few bites in, and then WHAM, this dish started singing sweet love songs to the little taste bumps on my tongue. 

Maine Lobster: Green asparagus, zucchini blossoms, citrus rind. This was my least favorite of all four dishes. It's hard to shit on lobster, which was actually cooked to perfection. Flavor wise, it wasn't happening for me. I was actually able to take a bite of the Stellar Bay oyster dish and holy fuck was it good. If you looked up the meaning of the phrase "dish envy" my picture would be right next to it, mean muggin. 

Veal Tenderloin: Tramezzini cut of veal, sugar snap peas, sweetbreads, sauce diable. The veal, wrapped in what I would say was Swiss chard, then wrapped in this tasty, flaky dough served with a veal jus. Bite after bite, the dish got better and better. The crispy, buttery dough combined with the veal made me wonder if I should keep eating the veal or ask for its hand in marriage. 

Caramelized Milk Bread: Blueberries, brown butter ice cream. The one thing I liked about Batard's tasting menu is the option to replace dessert with a risotto dish on the menu. I figured that I would have a shit ton of salt after dinner and I needed something sweet. Well, there wasn't a shit ton of salt, but I still needed something sweet and the milk bread hit the spot. After three bites it got just a little too sweet for my tooth. 

The service  was good, up until we tried grabbing our check. It seemed that there was a "VIP" sitting behind us, and all the staff's attention seemed to dwell on them. The food in general was good. The mixture of classic french techniques, with new aged hipsterism like I tasted in the Pastrami Octopus, shows me that Batard has shed it's old, expensive, snooty skin and is ready to become another legend in New York City's restaurant scene.

239 West Broadway, New York, NY

When most people think of the variety of factors that compliment the food culture, things like music and art come to mind. The car culture i...

When most people think of the variety of factors that compliment the food culture, things like music and art come to mind. The car culture is one that might not be as apparent, however, after attending a few food forward events hosted by Buick, I started to realize how the car culture is quickly making room for itself next to music and art.

In the past, Buick hosted a cooking demonstration at The Brooklyn Kitchen, a formal dinner with a cocktail demonstration at the NoMad Rooftop,in addition to participating as a sponsor for the New York City Food and Wine Festival.  Most recently, Buick gathered a group of bloggers for a day of eating and drinking, in the new food mecca of New York, the Hudson Valley. 

The day started off at Montgomery Place Orchards - an Orchard farm that dates back to the 1700's, where we stopped off for a quick lunch catered by Mona Talbott. Today, the orchard offers a wide range of fruits and vegetables; this includes strawberries, red, purple, and black raspberries, apricots and plums. The orchards are also home to nearly 70 different varieties of apples, many of them antique. Our lunch was served in the orchard and the menu consisted of slow cooked pork shoulder with fava bean salsa verde and wild arugula. A French beans, sweet corn and basil salad with cherry tomato vinaigrette. And for dessert a Montgomery Place Orchard royal and black raspberry meringues with elderflower cream.
The next stop was Hill Rock Distillery. A distillery hand crafting perfect bottles of whiskey in a process they call "field-to-glass" which, they consider to be, their version of farm to table. We were given a detailed tour of their grounds, where we had the luxury of learning about  the process which they  have implemented as their process for making, the perfect whiskey. 

Our last stop was at Zak Pelaccio's farm-to-table restaurant, Fish and Game. A private dining room was set up for us, where a seven course dinner, with wine pairing was served. Some of the beautiful dishes served were a egg, pork loin, salsa verde. A Mushroom and Onion Top Bouillon and a beautiful bluefish served with cucumber, cherries, kimchi, to name a few. 

Buick realizes that most owners of their vehicles enjoy unusual experiences. For example, most of my eating adventures are within the five boroughs, and taking a two and a half hour drive from Brooklyn, isn't something I usually turn to when I plan a day of eating; the day has actually has inspired me to broaden my food horizons and take a little food road trip myself, so stay tuned...

Empellon Taqueria was definitely my white whale. I've tried to write a review about this place many times, but yet I've never able t...

Empellon Taqueria was definitely my white whale. I've tried to write a review about this place many times, but yet I've never able to. At one point in time, Empellon Taqueria was my closer. It was the place where I would take the bimbos I met when I was still in the dating scene. The relaxed vibe, ridiculous good food, and decent playlist always had someone naked in my apartment later that night. The problem was that many of these bimbos frowned up my duties as a food blogger. This meant no picture taking, no tweeting, no socializing with the staff to get some confidential info. No nothing. I was pretty much assed out. 

Fast forward a year later and the kid (me) is living the wife life. For months on end I would tell my girlfriend that I'd take her to Empellon for dinner, but the stigma that surrounded the place made me feel weird. Luckily, there was Empellon Cocina. I figured Cocina didn't carry the same stigma as the taqueria once did. Emepllon Cocina is located a few blocks from Taqueria, in the East Village. I knew I was in the right place because as I walked in Common's "GO!" was playing throughout the space, while people chattered and glasses clinked. We sipped on a classic margarita while we read the menu, this is what we got:

Chilaquiles Rojos ($13) - Poached duck egg, ramps. Strips of crispy tortillas, black beans, topped with a slow poached duck egg, crema, and crushed queso. Tons of flavors and textures happening all at once. And let's face it, anything with a fried egg over it makes it ten times better. 

The Guacamole and all 7 salsa's ($15) - Guacamole, pistachios. The Guacamole was extremely rich and deep and in texture, but not to the point where it was over done. Served alongside crispy masa chips, which had to be taken away from me so that I wouldn't fill up on them. 

The 7 Salsa's started with a salsa called "Sikil Pak" which was made up of pumpkin seeds, tomato, onion, garlic,cinnamon, epazote, sour orange juice, and serrano pepper which had a nice and mellow, sweet flavor to it. The last salsa, called "Salsa Habanera," made up of habenero, orange juice, grapefruit, and Mexican oregano had a nice mellow flavor at first, but then a nice tingle of heat hit my mouth. 

Chilled Shrimp ($16) - Sea urchin mousse, lettuce, masa waves. I didn't know if I wanted to eat this dish or hang it on my wall. The shrimp was tender, but a little dry until I mixed it around with the mousse - and then the hamster finally got back on the wheel, and I understood was happening. 

Lamb Tartare ($14) - Avocado leaf oil, pasilla oaxaquena, gauje seeds. Of all the dishes I had this was perhaps my least favorite. I felt the flavors were a little too flat, and what hit me was rather gamy. 

Squid ($17) - Chilmole, nugget potatoes, sour orange mayonnaise. Another work of art to the eye and to the palate. The squid and potatoes were tender in texture. The sour orange mayo gave the dish a nice touch of acid, with a hint of sour. Straight Banger. 

Carnitas ($24) - Onions, cilantro, salsa verde. If I had to explain this dish, it's kind of like getting smacked in a face with a bag of money, by a big breasted woman, while driving a Ferrari Enzo. The pork was perfectly cooked with bits of savory fat every few bites. The flavor reminded me of the pastrami from Katz's Deli. The fresh tortilla, which are served on the side of this dish, were warm and chewy. My favorite dish of the night, and maybe even of all 2014. 

So I finally caught my white whale, and fuck was it delicious. Empellon does a great job at sticking to the script of authentic Mexican food, while bringing a little refinement into the dinning experience.  Another thing I enjoy about Empellon is the chef, Alex Stupak. Once the head pastry chef at Wylie Dufresne's WD-50, Stupak set out to open a Mexican restaurant, with much controversy surrounding the opening. A straight up underdog, and I always root for the underdog. Chefs like Alex Stupak who cook foods from outside of their native backgrounds, and do it right, is what makes the New York City food scene so exciting and off the wall. If Empellon three (which is in the works as we speak) is anything like Empellon one and two, I might have to camp out for an opening day reservation. 

Empellón Cocina 
105 1st Avenue New York, NY 

Grabbing a quick lunch is a little bit traumatizing when I'm working in the South Street Seaport area. I could play food truck roulett...

Grabbing a quick lunch is a little bit traumatizing when I'm working in the South Street Seaport area. I could play food truck roulette and see what's parked where, but time is always limited. The rows of crappy delis, with their stomach flu incubators that double as salad bars are the main reason as to why I brown bag it on a daily basis.

On Fridays, I tend to "forget" my lunch so I spend most of the morning devising plans. I was going to roam around for 10 minutes and if I didn't find anything good, I was gonna hit up Chipotle. With having any luck, there I was on course to Chipotle, but just as I got there I noticed a location of Clarke's Standard. There I stood trying to figure out one of life's greatest questions - burritos or burgers. Through the window of Chipotle, I could see the line of desk jockeys wrapped around the store. I looked over at an almost empty Clarke's Standard and the decision was clear. I don't do lines or long waiting times.

Clarke's Standard is a fast casual burger spot whose pedigree comes from legendary Manhattan bar PJ Clarke's. A quick skim of the menu and this is what I got:

The Butchers Cut Combo ($9.90)
The Burger: A 6 ounce burger topped with cheese, lettuce, tomato and PJ's special sauce cooked to order. I usually take my burger cooked medium, but this burger was cooked more to the taste of medium-well, nonetheless the burger had a decent char flavor to it, and it was juicy. I'm pretty sure that the special sauce was just Russian dressing which is just a mix of ketchup, relish and mayo.

The fries: The fries were medium sized in cut with the skin on. Crispy outside, starchy soft texture inside, with a nice light coating of salt. Might I also mention the abundance of condiments on tap - including BBQ sauce, which I prefer to dip my fries into. Step your condiment game up, homey.

Chances are you won't be sucking someone's dick for a cheeseburger from Clarke's Standard, but to throw something into your weekly lunch routine, this place is perfect. At such a low price point you'll probably have enough money left over for happy hour.

Clark's Standard 
101 Maiden Lane, New York (4 locations in total)

I will admit it, I am a burritHO. I can eat burritos all day, everyday, and twice on  Wednesday while watching Seinfeld in my boxers. So whe...

I will admit it, I am a burritHO. I can eat burritos all day, everyday, and twice on Wednesday while watching Seinfeld in my boxers. So when I heard that Danny Bowien was making burritos at his new spot Mission Cantina, I had to see what the deal was. I loved Mission Chinese, but I never got the chance to write about it, as I was too busy sweating my balls off from the chicken wings to jot down my thoughts on the dishes we ordered.

We arrived around 9pm with an hour wait, which was cool because we had a few specialty drinks at the small bar situated across from the front door. I liked the bar so much that we wound up eating dinner there. This is what we ordered:

Scallop & Veal Heart Ceviche ($13) -  Topped with fried capers, olives, and red rice vinegar on a crispy house made tostada. This dish had a lot of things working for it. Right off, I noticed the flavors of savory and sweet from the corn tostada and the vinegar. I loved the texture of the firm scallop and veal heart with the crispiness of the tostada. My palate was having a field day. My favorite dish of the night.

Chicken Wings ($12):  Mole, spices, chili vinegar, sesame, crema. I'm not going to lie, I was kind of in shook when they brought these wings to the table. I remember the wings from Mission Chinese, which were extremely spicy and mouth numbing. I like heat, but the spice had me sweating harder than Gwyneth Paltrow when asked for directions to Brooklyn. Mission Cantina's wings  are a little bit more tolerable on the tongue. Fried to a crisp and devilishly good.

Tacos ($6.50 for 2) We ordered the Cummin Lamb Taco, smoked prune, herbed crema and The roasted pork - Al Pastor with pickled pineapple. On my two trips to Mission Cantina, I had a great tortilla stuffed with extremely dry meat. I can usually excuse dry meat for flavor, but the flavor just fell flat on it's ass. This was like eating Taco Bell but while sober in the daylight.

The Brisket Burrito ($12): Beans, avocado, crema, queso blanco, salsa fresca, chips and 2 salsas, with your choice of meat, fish or vegetable. Let me start off by saying "Holy Fuck!" The sheer weight alone made me realize that I would be in a food coma for the next 3 days. Everything from the fresh and extremely dense tortilla to the perfectly cooked brisket was one hundred percent on point. What threw me for a loop was that there was no rice in the burrito; Bowien packs the burrito with perfectly cooked beans instead. The text book definition of a good burrito to me is that every bite tastes the same and Mission Cantina nailed that aspect.

After a few drinks and the food, our bill came to a measly $110 before tip. The service was on point our bartender/server was excellent - we even had a 10 minute conversation about tacos. I will gladly admit that he has the burrito game on lock. As for his tacos, they need work. There are a lot of great tacos popping up in Manhattan, and in a very large spectrum. Anything from a quick casual taco at Los Taco No.1 in Chelsea, to the high end tacos being slung a few blocks away by Lord Taco, Alex Stupak. I'd hate to see someone as talented as Bowien left behind in the taco dust.

Mission Cantina 
172 Orchard Street, New York

Manhattan's ever evolving burger scene has a new contender to add to it's roster, The BFB Highline. BFB which stands for "Best...

Manhattan's ever evolving burger scene has a new contender to add to it's roster, The BFB Highline. BFB which stands for "Best Fucking Burger" is a fast casual burger joint concept located in the heart of Manhattan's Meat Packing district at 55 Gansevoort Street.  At the helm of this new burger joint is Chef Chris Mitchell, whose culinary pedigree stems from iconic New York City eateries such as The Breslin, The Meatball Shop, and Hill Country. 

The burger menu has a tempting array of options. Their best seller is an 6 oz burger, topped with tomatoes, lettuce, house pickles, and special sauce and American cheese. If you're not in the mood for a burger you can try the Pescatarian Delight, a breaded deep fried tilapia, citrus crema, raw onion, pickled jalapeño, and house pickles. If you're an adventurous glutton, you can try the unique "Heisenburger," a 10 ounce, custom blend of dry aged ribeye and pork belly, with crystallized onions, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and your choice of Swiss, American or blue cheese. All of BFB's burgers are made with meat from Pat Lafrieda, along with produce picked up daily from the Union Square Market, and all burgers are topped with Sir Kensington's condiments. 

What's a burger without fries? BFB has three options for you. The Old School, a thin cut fry seasoned with salt and pepper, the VIP fry, seasoned with bacon salt, and also sweet potato fries. You can wash down all that goodness with a drink from the fully stocked bar, or with one of their signature cocktails. 

On the weekends only, BFB will also be serving up BBQ and Lobster Rolls. 

Unfortunately, all good things come to an end, including the BFB's residency at it's current location which will be open for a limited time only. So get your ass over there before you get stuck having to go to the Upper East Side, or even worse, Queens. 

The Hiesenburger 

The Hiesenburger - Medium Rare
BBQ Brisket Sandwich. Weekends only. 
Bacon Salt Fries
Bourbon Iced Tea 

BFB Highline
55 Gansevroot Street 

One day while roaming around Chelsea Market, I don't know why. I'm not a French tourist, nor do I live in Manhattan, but I was hung...

One day while roaming around Chelsea Market, I don't know why. I'm not a French tourist, nor do I live in Manhattan, but I was hungry as fuck. As I roamed around, I noticed sign with a big red arrow that said "Tacos," and "Los Taco No. 1" beneath that. If ever I was waiting for a sign, this was it. I like signs that say "tacos," and I sure as fuck like Tacos. As I walked past a spice and candy stall, I found Los Taco No.1 tucked into the corner of the four stalls in the same room. As I ordered, I couldn't help noticing a short Mexican woman hand pressing fresh tacos behind the counter or the rotating meat, did I just walk up to the pearly gates of taco heaven?

After paying, I handed off my ticket to the gentlemen behind the counter. Beware, they have a two ticket system. This is what I got:

Adobada ($3.50) - A freshly pressed tortilla stuffed with pork, pico de gallo, and topped with light and creamy guacamole. It was fresh with the flavor of cilantro, and the salsa gives it a nice bit of heat. I usually only fuck with double tortilla tacos, but this tortilla was nice and dense. Super fresh, hints of corn that went nice with the spicy pork. The pork itself was juicy and had the right balance of fat to non-fat meat. 

Carne Asada ($3.50) - Another fresh pressed tortilla, packed with Carne Asada and topped with the same ingredients as the Abodada. The meat was tender and full of flavor with hints of smokey char flavor every few bites. 

Quesadilla Adobada ($4) - A slightly large tortilla topped with same ingredients as the tacos, but with queso and what I believe is cactus. Another banger! Maybe my favorite of all three. 

Some people dig for gold, but I dig for great unknown food joints. With Los Tacos No.1, I feel that I have struck gold. Who would think that a place like this would exist in an area that's a lot like the waiting room for tourist hell. There should be an app so you can find a place like this. Maybe an app like Tinder, but for tacos in your area you can eat. 

Los Taco No.1 
75 9th Avenue, New York, NY (inside Chelsea Market)