Archive for the Restaurants Category

Not Your Grade School Cafeteria.

Posted in Food, Gay & Lesbian, Nightlife, Restaurants with tags , , on August 12, 2009 by thefrogge

Last night I did not have a drink at Cafeteria… I had the entire drink menu. Yes… the entire drink menu. I know that sounds pretty insane, and believe me, it was. So why would I do such a thing, you may ask? The answer to that is simple: It was research. For you. So be appreciative because I have a lot of information for you… here we go…

FACT: Today is August 12th… What does that mean? Only six weeks left until autumn starts.

FACT: Cafeteria (17th street & 7th ave) has a fabulous summer drink menu AND an amazing outdoor cafe.

FACT: Everybody loves Cafeteria… and I mean EVERYBODY. (Unless you are 1. Homophobic, and therefore are silly 2. Trying to lose weight, and therefore are resentful of their Mac and Cheese or 3. Have bad taste or faulty taste-buds, and therefore The Frogge can’t help you.)

YOU ARE. YOU EAT.

YOU ARE. YOU EAT.

The Frogge loves Cafeteria for a few reasons. It is open 24 hours and is fun day or night, the food is YUMMY, they play great, eclectic music, the servers are hot, and it is affordable. How can you go wrong? You can’t… Also… the tables are so close together that you can easily eavesdrop on your neighbors conversation, which is always fun… especially when they are talking about dirty things. [Insert mischievous smile here.] Plus, there are frequent celebrity sightings there… To be completely honest, The Frogge does not really care about this… The Frogge is not a Celebrity Whore, but incase you are a Celebrity Whore… here is an abridged list of celebs that The Frogge has seen at Cafe… Susan Sarandon (classy,) Adrian Grenier (discreet,) David Blaine (accompanied by two models who literally did not touch their food,) Kelis & Nas (very smily with some cute kids,) Lindsay I’m a Dumb Bitch Lohan (who did coke under the table,) Paris Hilton (The Frogge likes tall ladies,) Mariah Carey (causing quite a stir among the gays,) Jessica Zhor (really is that pretty in real life,) Adrian Brody (low key and casual,) Leighton Meester (practically in her PJ’s and very sweet,) Blake Lively (cold)… and one of The Frogge’s favorite actors… Wallace Shawn… Oh, I love him… He played Mr. Hall in Clueless… I heard he is on Gossip Girl now? The Frogge wouldn’t know… as she does not XOXO Gossip Girl… I tried to get into it, I couldn’t… Blake Lively does not do it for me… I find her work untruthful and one-note. However, I do have to say that I like the girls who play Nelly Yuki and Penelope. And yes, Chuck Bass and Blair are hot… but other than that, it’s Grade A Bologna.

The cafe at Cafeteria

The cafe at Cafeteria

So, as I said, last night I was at Cafeteria and my dear friends Clark Gale (manager) and Jennifer Castillo (head mixologist) bravely took me on a guided tour through their summer cocktail menu… Here are some of my favorites…

FARMER’S MARKET SANGRIA (The Ellen Degeneres) I have named the Farmer’s Market Sangria after Ellen because it is bold and progressive… and it is a great thing to enjoy in the afternoon… just like Ellen’s show. It is made with white wine that is from a local winery and it is organic (Yay!) The apples, white peaches, and raspberries that are in this refreshing, crisp and surprisingly strong sangria are also grown locally and are organic as well (double Yay!) We (The Frogge, Clark, and Jenny) decided that it would pair nicely with the Fig Salad or the Crispy Cornmeal Calamari.

Next, I tried the INFERNO BLOODY MARY and let me just say that it blows all other Bloody Mary’s away. I have named this cocktail after Eva Mendes because it is hot and spicy! Jenny made it for The Frogge table-side, and creating this drink is quite the impressive procedure. First Jenny put a fresh, whole jalapeño in the glass… then she ‘misted’ the inside of the glass with bourbon. She lit a match, which set the bourbon on fire… and this cooked the jalapeño in the glass… forcing it’s juices to extract. (This procedure is called to ‘flambé the jalapeño.’) After the jalapeño is flambéed, Jenny poured ice in the glass to cool it down… she then adds the vodka and the freshly home-made tomato juice mixture. And ta-daah! You have the most amazing Bloody Mary ever. Of course this is simply perfect to have at brunch (with the Farmer’s Frittata or the Monterey Eggs, to be specific.) But we also thought that it would pair nicely with the Prince Edward Island Mussels.

I am not quite sure how I went from the Bloody Mary to the LYCHEE AND LAVENDER MARTINI… but it happened… and it was delicious. Normally The Frogge doesn’t even like lychee… but the lavender flavor did something nice to it. I am naming this drink after Jennifer Aniston because it is classy, sweet, very feminine, and I think most Americans would enjoy it, the way most Americans enjoy Jennifer Aniston. This cocktail is a triple threat because it has it all. 1. A delicious lemony taste. 2. A fabulous lavender aroma. And 3. A tasty lychee texture. To top it all off, the lychee and lavender martini is made with an organic vodka called Rain. It also has the most beautiful garnish. They take a large basil leaf and put ‘lychee caviar’ on it. It is really very beautiful. We decided that this cocktail would pair nicely with Heirloom Tomato Salad with Burrata… Mmm… The Frogge is getting hungry writing this article.

After tasting all these different flavors, I wanted to try something a little more subdued, so I went for the ALOE CITRUS MARTINI. This drink seemed a little more masculine to me, so I named it after Ryan Gosling. He is plain and simple, but at the same time, he has a great appeal, and that is exactly how I felt about the Aloe Citrus Martini. It is made with fresh aloe juice, fresh lemon juice, Bulldog Gin, and garnished with a lemon twist. We thought this drink would be the perfect compliment to the Seared Yellowfin Tuna appetizer or the Grilled Mahi Mahi entree.

Since the Aloe Citrus Martini was made with gin, it seemed natural to try another gin cocktail next, so I choose the CUCUMBER MARTINI. The Cucumber Martini is made with my favorite gin, Hendrick’s gin, a fresh cucumber puree, triple sec, and a splash of lime. It is served up and is as cool as a cucumber… which is why I am naming it after George Clooney. To contrast with the cool, we thought it would be great to pair it with something spicy like the Spicy Roasted Chicken, or something very flavorful like the Crab Crusted Halibut.

After being low-key and cool with the Aloe Citrus Martini and the Cucumber Martini… I wanted to go back to big flavor, so I tried the BLACKBERRY CARDAMON MARGARITA. This drink is definitely not for everyone because it is so different, but thats what I loved about it. I have never had a cocktail that had the spice cardamon in it… which is why I am naming this cocktail after Freido Pinto… the cute chick from Slumdog Millionaire. Something about this spice reminded me of India… and then I thought of Slumdog. There is something about this cocktail that is very warm and passionate. We thought it would go lovely with the Almond Stuffed Dates, the Crispy Baked Polenta, or the Smoked Double Cut Pork Chop… After all, most people in India do not eat beef… so we felt it was only natural to suggest pork.

Almond Stuffed Dates

Almond Stuffed Dates

Last but not least… The Frogge’s personal favorite, the PASSION FRUIT CAIPIRINHA. Cafeteria is well known for their Passion Fruit Cosmo… which is sooo delicious. It is their staple cocktail and will probably stay on their menu forever (I would probably have to name the P.F. Cosmo the Carrie Bradshaw.) No one is dissing the P.F. Cosmo, but the P.F. Caipirinha is kind of like the new, fresh, updated version. It is made with Leblon Cachaca, fresh muddled passion fruit and garnished with an edible flower (that tastes really good!) It is the ultimate girly drink, which is why I am calling it the Katy Perry… because she is a girl and… she kissed a girl and… she liked it. (Incase you forgot.) When you drink the P.F. Caipirinha, you need to go all out so get the Mac And Cheese… or get really nuts and get the Mac Attack (which is a tasting of the three varieties of Mac And Cheese that Cafeteria offers.)

Mac Attack! (Pretty please make a vegan version!)

Mac Attack! (Pretty please make a vegan version!)

There are many other cocktails on Cafeteria’s cocktail list, however those were my favorite because I felt that they were the most innovative, interesting, and yummy. By the way, if you do not drink alcohol, do not feel left out by any means! Cafeteria offers a list of Mocktails as well! The Blackberry Lemonade is so delic, that I want to bathe in a tub of it… not to be dramatic or anything. The bottom line is, they have a drink for everyone… and a dish for everyone too. The restaurant has been open since 1998, but if you haven’t managed to make it over there yet, now is the time to go. Their outdoor area is so nice and very dog friendly! They will even give you doggie treats and a bowl of water for your pups. So, if you head over to Cafeteria, tell Clark, Jenny, and the whole gang that The Frogge says Ribbit!

Love your friend,

The Frogge ❤

PS- To become a friend of The Frogge on Facebook CLICK HERE!

PPS- My good friend Doug Rand will be DJing at Above Allen tonight at 10 p.m. If you are on the LES go check him out… The gem of a host Tim Sharp will be there as well.

Being Social at Stanton…

Posted in Food, Interviews, Nightlife, Parties, Restaurants on July 28, 2009 by thefrogge

Last night The Frogge had dinner with some friends at The Stanton Social (Stanton between Ludlow & Orchard.) It was a really fabulous dining experience, and The Frogge is here to tell you all about it. 

I arrived to the restaurant at 10:30, which you would think would be “a little late for dinner.” Not at The Stanton Social… by the way, their kitchen is open until 2 a.m. on Sunday-Wednesday and 3 a.m on Thursday-Saturday. It was 10:30 on a Monday night and the place was completely packed to the point where there was a wait for a table. My party was seated at a nice table on the first floor which looks like this… 

The first floor of the Stanton Social

The first floor of The Stanton Social

Since we were a large group of about seven or eight people, everyone decided that it would be best to order a lot of things and share. (By the way, that is the idea behind The Stanton Social… the menu is designed as sharing plates… this is what they have to say about themselves… “Rather than offering individual starters and main courses, The Stanton Social serves dishes that are designed for sharing among friends and are brought to the table steadily and continuously throughout the meal.” So if you want to go there and taste a lot of the choices on the menu, I do suggest to go with a bunch of people… I also suggest to make a reservation.)

Before we placed the food order, it was cocktail time. I got the Strawberry Fields which is Grey Goose Citron, fresh muddled strawberries with a lemon simple syrup, fresh lemon juice and a Riesling floater… it was really delicious, a perfect summer drink. My friend who was sitting next to me ordered a dirty martini… now you would think that a dirty martini is just a dirty martini… but apparently that is not true. For some reason the dirty martinis at The Stanton Social are the best martinis ever, not to mention they give you really nice olives (The Frogge has an olive addiction!) I also tried the Blood Orange-Jalapeno Margarita, which is amazing, especially if you like your drinks a little spicy. It is made with jalapeno-infused Sauza Commemorativo, blood orange juice, fresh lime and Cointreau. 

Then, the food started to arrive… we started off with the Grilled Pizzetta. It was made with fresh mozzarella & grana cheese, oven-dried tomatoes, roasted garlic & hot chile oil. I can not tell you how this was because it was not vegan, so I ate Wok Charred Edamame with a spicy miso glaze. If I sat here and told you everything that came to our table, we would be here all day… so in the interest of saving time  I am going to cut to the interview I did with Anthony Serignese, the general manager of The Stanton Social. 

The upstairs lounge of The Stanton Social

The upstairs lounge of The Stanton Social

The Frogge: I am here at The Stanton Social with Anthony Serignese, the general manager of The Stanton Social… tell me a little bit about the restaurant…

Anthony Serignese: We are a share plate restaurant which serves global cuisine. The restaurant is very trendy, it was Avroko designed…

TF: For people who don’t know what Avroko is, tell me what that means…

AS: Avroko is an award-winning design firm; they did everything from our uniforms to our signage. They are one of the most popular design firms in the city, even in the country right now. 

TF: Speaking of the design, I have noticed that the downstairs part of the restaurant is quite different from the upstairs… tell me the difference between those two spaces…

AS: The downstairs has a very masculine feel. It has two-toned banquets and a herringbone wine wall… In the 1940’s [the time period that inspired the design of The Stanton Social] men used to wear pants with the herringbone pattern, so that was the inspiration. The upstairs is very feminine, I am sure that you noticed the small beauty mirrors on the walls…

TF: Yes, those are gorgeous; they are my favorite things in the restaurant.

AS: There are also other feminine touches, such as the white tassels on the walls. The lounge, which is also upstairs, is also very feminine and sexy. There are cherry covered Shoji screens, which glow from behind.

TF: When did The Stanton Social first open?

AS: In 2005.

TF: So, this is four years in the making…

AS: Correct, we are very fortunate. We keep on getting busier every year.

TF: That’s fabulous… is that really true?

AS: Yes, its true. We are three times as busy now compared to when we first opened.

TF: Why do you think that is?

AS: We have great, consistent service, innovative cocktails; the food is great quality…

TF: Do you think the increase in business has to do with word of mouth?

AS: I do, if you come to a restaurant and have a great experience; you are going to tell your friends about it. It’s just how things work in New York. We are also very well received on the Internet.

TF: I know! I read about 50 reviews on Yelp.com, and they were all positive. I don’t think I saw a negative review… it was insane. I have never seen that. Normally places will have mixed reviews, but that wasn’t the case with The Stanton Social…

AS: I would say we are one of the top ten reviewed restaurants in New York City… its fun for us to read what people say about us on the Internet… if there is a negative review, we do what it takes to make a change… if someone doesn’t like one menu item, or they don’t feel it is as good as it used to be, we will check on that…

TF: My sources tell me that there was once a drink on the menu that had fresh, muddled watermelon in it… I heard it was the best drink on the menu… so why was it removed? Certain people are devastated about that…

AS: Yes, it was a watermelon ginger margarita. We make everything in house, and we used ginger infused simple syrup, with muddle fresh watermelon, and watermelon infused Don Julio tequila… we couldn’t put it on the cocktail list this season because the watermelons didn’t ripen quick enough, so we found a great replacement with the honey peach margarita with Don Julio reposado.

TF: What is the difference between regular Don Julio and Don Julio reposado?

AS: Reposado means its aged for a minimum of five years in an oak barrel.

TF: You guys are very serious about your tequila!

AS: We are serious about everything we do, but at the same time, we like to have fun with it.

TF: Let’s talk about the food…

AS: Our executive chef and partner is Chris Santos… he is also on Chopped, he does a lot of things with the Food Network…

TF: What is Chopped?

AS: Chopped is a show on the Food Network, Chris Santos is one of the celebrity judges. He appears on about 13 of the 26 episodes they do a season. So, Chris Santos has created most of the dishes on our menu… he has developed a really accessible menu, that is really fun and sharable… it is great for group dining… we have a lot of large tables in our dining room for this purpose.

TF: Do a lot of people have their special occasions here?

AS: Yes, we do a lot of birthday parties, bachelorette parties, anniversaries, sweet sixteen’s, graduation parties…

TF: Tell me about the cocktail menu…

AS: Seasonally they change, we try to keep it fresh and inventive… but not to the point where you are going to wait fifteen minutes for your drink…

TF: Ugh, I have been in that situation, its ridiculous…

AS: We want to make good drinks that are of a high quality…

TF: And last, tell me about your dessert menu…

AS: Jamie Sudberg is our pastry chef… she makes shared plate desserts. The warm donuts are very popular…

TF: I know, I heard they are amazing… I couldn’t eat them because I am vegan…

AS: We try to accommodate all dietary restrictions…

TF: I know, your chef was fabulous, he made me a special vegan menu… every time they brought something to our table that wasn’t vegan… there was something vegan as well. I never felt left out… it was exciting.

AS: We also have a gluten free menu.

TF: Wow, that is extremely accommodating… 

AS: That is our main goal..

So there you have it people. Thats the dish on The Stanton Social… make sure to check it out especially if you find yourself roaming around hungry on the LES… 

Love your friend,

                            The Frogge ❤

Last Night… I Got Lucky…

Posted in Art, Fashion, Food, Nightlife, Parties, Restaurants on July 14, 2009 by thefrogge

Last night I got lucky. How ironic that the same exact day I decided to start a nightlife/fashion/music blog I got invited to an event that 1. was at night (clearly) 2. had a fashion show 3. had live musical performances. Well, the stars must have been aligned for The Frogge because that was exciting. This event was held at Pop (58th between 5th and Madison) and all the usual suspects were there looking fierceee. 

I have been to the uptown Pop before as a lot of my friends host tables there, that being said, when I arrived I wasn’t really sure what to expect. But, I knew one thing, I had to pee, so I immediately did the trek up the 2 long flights of stairs and ventured towards the bathroom. On my way up I got a sneak peak at the models getting ready for the show as well as the bands tuning their instruments. Kira Sherrine, a former FIT grad was the designer showing her line. The models looked great in her duds which had a very natural, earthy feel. Unfortunately, I do not have any pics of the fashion show  😦   but I did find this adorable pic of sleepwear that she designed…

Kira Sherrine

(Kira… I want those PJ’s girl… really, really cute.) But what was really great about this event was artist Daren Chambers was there, paintbrush in hand, creating lovely works of art in front of our faces. You can check his work out on jazzformulanyc.com. *For those of you who like jazz, you will especially appreciate this… I think they are lovely, especially this one…

"Untitled"

"Untitled"

After some veggie burgers at Pop (which are really yummy, I definitely recommend them) it was off to Stanton Social. It was the first time I had been there and I was pleasantly surprised. We sat down for dinner with our gracious host Mr. Dave Delzio when one of my darling friends who will remain nameless decided to fling a tiny piece of lettuce at another man at the table. Lets just say, the other man was not pleased and responded by throwing an entire glass of whiskey on my nameless friend, however most of the whiskey ended up on me and my favorite jumper. I said, “Excuse me, are you aware that you just poured your entire drink on me and now I am soaking wet?” and this man said, “Don’t be too upset, that whiskey was better than Johnny Walker Blue Label.” All I have to say is… what an idiot. Because of him I smelt like whiskey for the rest of the night, although I did have some girl ask me “what perfume I was wearing” after the incident. Interesting… maybe her mother was an alcoholic and my smell reminded her of her childhood? 

After the whiskey was wiped up, dinner at Stanton was served… salad with some kind of shredded cheese and corn, fish tacos, raviolis, meatballs… all which looked and smelled really yummy but I can’t tell you from personal experience as nothing was vegan. Marty E from The Dirty Pearls moseyed in and we talked about the release party for their new singled called “New York City Is A Drug,” a really great, catchy tune that is being picked up by Sirius XM Radio as soon as The Pearls release it into the world. The release party will be on Thursday July 23rd at Santos Party House (tickets are available at ticketweb.com for $10.) The show starts at 8 pm, so don’t be late! We were also hanging with singer Bianca Linta who just recently recorded a remake of LMFAO’s “I’m In Miami Bitch.” Her remake is called “I’m In NYC Bitch” and thank god, because who really gives a shit about being in Miami anyway? Miami… sucks. Her version of the song is getting some play at The Box, which I would say is a nice steppingstone considering this chick only moved here from Romania 4 short years ago. I will put up the link to the song later for all of you New Yorkers to enjoy. 

Stanton Social’s lounge upstairs is beautiful as well and oh-so-chic, but as it was an amazing night (weather wise) we decided to head over to Above Allen at the Thompson Hotel (Not to be confused with the Thompson Hotel that is in SoHo… people seem to be making that mistake) to enjoy the rooftop. All I have to say is, I’m down with any place that is playing The Smiths as I walk in the door, and I did not stop them, even though I knew I heard that song before  🙂   The views from Above Allen are really intoxicating, especially on a night that was as clear as last night. I would have stayed there for the rest of the night gazing wistfully at The Chrysler Building, but I promised my dear friend Samuel Valentine that I would make an appearance at Greenhouse for the weekly Monday night Rock N’ Roll party. 

I pranced through the doors of Greenhouse at probably 2:30 am, and it was still packed. Samuel Valentine and Scott Hockins must know how to throw a party to keep people out and about at all hours of the night, especially being that it was a Monday. I stayed for a bit and then contemplated going to Le Royale for after hours, but by that point I was exhausted and decided it was time to go home… I told my disappointed friend PDM that I had to go because I had stuff to do in the morning, when he replied with…

THE RIBBIT OF THE DAY: “F*CK IT… AND FOR THAT MATTER…  F*CK EVERYONE.” THANK YOU PDM FOR YOUR WISE WORDS, I WILL DEFINITELY TAKE THEM INTO CONSIDERATION.

That said, you stay classy New York City.

Love your friend,

                            The Frogge ❤