Long Island City is an area in Queens(for some reason people refuse to admit that it’s Queens), still going through a major gentrification renovation. I pass through this area of Queens quite a bit and on Van Dam St. the heart of Long Island City is the Van Dam Diner. A classic eatery, with seats at the counter, a line of booths on one side and tables on the other. Every inch of this restaurant screams nostalgia and I eat here as often as I can when I’m in this part of Queens.
As soon as I walk in, the host who knows me for years, seats me at my usual spot, right by the window. I love the window seats because they’re great for people watching, which is getting more interesting every year. As I take my seat, I’m immediately accompanied by a cup of coffee from a server who is new to this stomping ground of mine.
As I look at my phone to respond to a text message, my breakfast is sitting right in front of me as I look back. Service is one of my most important determinants when it comes to recommending a place for my readers to enjoy. Now I didn’t give my order to the server and yet there my breakfast is right in front of me. The host knows what I want and puts the order in. The server benefits from the gratuity I am about to leave after receiving excellent service.
My meal is always excellent when I come to the Van Dam Diner as it should be. I have never been disappointed no matter what the meal is, hence why I am not going to elaborate as to what my meal was. Dining establishments can have the best food which can always be ruined by sub-par service. That is why I love Van Dam Diner, the service is great and on point.
The Van Dam Diner is a pillar of the community and hasn’t changed all these years. Gentrification has had no effect on this classic grill and I am absolutely sure it’s going to remain the same. Gentrification causes change we are all aware of that, it’s places like Van Dam Diner that are resistant to change and keeps us optimistic about the future of New York City and its boroughs.
Breakfast in “Little Italy” seems to be a far stretch, however it’s possible. This morning I found myself at Grotta Azzurra, one of the more well-known spots in the neighborhood. This restaurant and its fabulous Italian dining cuisine are very well-known. However, I never knew it had a breakfast menu and a solid menu it is. Their menu consists of a traditional 3 egg breakfast to the full blown English breakfast.
I fell somewhere in between the menu and ordered the 3-egg omelette stuffed with cheddar cheese, tomatoes and ham. My order came quickly along with a refill on the coffee. Looking at my plate, the presentation is very appetizing. The Omelette was delectable, the home fries were delicious and the toast was enjoyable. The omelette is full of cheddar cheese, tomatoes, and ham. Each bite encapsulates all three. The home fries has just the right amount of seasoning and spices that are pleasing to the taste. Their coffee is exceptional.
As all of my readers know, service is always a major part of the restaurant game in New York City and its boroughs. When I walked in, I was greeted by a friendly server, who allowed me to sit anywhere I wanted. Immediately, I was handed a menu and asked about my choice of beverage. Aside from the food, Grotta Azzurra’s service is very good and onpoint. I asked for coffee along with a glass of water. A cup of coffee and a carafe of water were brought to me. Proactiveness is a major score with me and most “Native New Yorkers”.
If you are ever in “Little Italy” during breakfast hours, then you have to check out Gortta Azurra. Their breakfast menu is solid, the service is way above expectations and the decor is charming. Therefore I recommend Grotta Azzurra for a pleasurable and delectable breakfast experience. Great for dinner now great for breakfast. Tell them Dave Jacobs sent you. I can assure your breakfast experience will be a good one.
177 Mulberry St.
New York NY 10013
Anthony Bourdain, host of the popular CNN series “Parts Unknown” left the world with a final and permanent sign-off June 8th 2018. I absolutely loved his show and the fact that he brought us all a little closer to each other just by sharing a meal. Anthony really showed us how much we all have in common through all the culture, diversity and cuisines he brought to us no matter where his location.
Bourdain was larger-than-life, an amazing chef and a fantastic storyteller. The news of his death shocked the world and according to CNN, the most common sentiment was “I feel like I’ve lost a friend”. I personally felt connected to Anthony, through his extraordinary way with words, his gutsy on-scene locations, and his edgy character.
His article in “The New Yorker” back in 1999 spoke volumes and I can definitely relate to it. The article titled “Don’t Eat Before Reading This” was about the secrets of working in a restaurant’s kitchen. “In America, the professional kitchen is the last refuge of the misfit. It’s a place for people with bad pasts to find a new family”, Bourdain wrote. Don’t get me wrong I don’t have a bad past. I worked in a few restaurants, starting in the kitchen as a dishwasher and moved through the stations. I can definitely say that I have come across some shady characters.
Now I love food and the relationships it brings to the table. Anthony’s work is incredible and plays a huge influence on my writing as well. I am sure that I can speak for all of my readers and pretty much everyone else. Anthony is sharing a meal in some part unknown to all of us and telling some amazing story.
We will miss you Anthony, your work will not be forgotten.
Queen of Sheba, is an Ethiopian restaurant, that is a true treasure. Right in the heart of “Hell’s Kitchen” New York City, is where you can find this gem. As I walk through the door, the place is full. Then again why wouldn’t it be, I am never disappointed when I come here.
Let’s get down to business. I sat at a table and looked over the menu which I know inside and out. However, Queen of Sheba will make a subtle change every once an a while. Lentil “Sambousas” are my favorite appetizers. Queen of Sheba cooked up these delicious dough packets to perfection. This is an excellent way to start off a meal.
Next, for my main course, the “Doro Tibs” is what I ordered along with the “Taste of Sheba”. The “Doro Tibs” is sliced chicken breast marinated in onions, olive oil, rosemary-jalapeno, with a touch of Chardonnay. I am almost positive that there are some secret spices in the mix as well. The “Taste of Sheba” is a sample platter that includes a mouthwatering taste of 8 items. There are too many to list. The sliced chicken breast was succulent. The “Taste of Sheba” was delicious. Adding a glass of delectable honey wine is the perfect compliment to this exquisite meal.
Aside form the good food, my readers know service is just as important as the meal to me. Queen of Sheba’s service is impeccable and also very accommodating. I normally don’t place too much emphasis on decor. However Queen of Sheba’s setup takes you back to Ethiopia. They arrange the seating, to heighten a sense of community, therefore making me feel like I am eating and enjoying with everyone in the restaurant.
In conclusion, if you are looking for a charming restaurant with a neighborhood feel to it, then Queen of Sheba is the right choice. Whether you are by yourself or with a group, Queen of Sheba will satisfy your palette for delicious food and enjoyable company. Make sure you tell them Dave Jacobs sent you.
650 10th Avenue
New York, NY 10036
Between 45th & 46th Streets
“Post” is a place I have never been to before and it is not on my normal breakfast circuit. I received this tip from one of our readers so I made my way over there, to check it out. Referrals are always welcome.
When I walked through the door, I observed an intimately set counter. There is also a small counter at the window for that outside feel. This is an establishment that takes great pride in presentation. Each space has its’ own bottle of ice-water and a place setting welcoming to anyone.
Immediately, I was greeted by a server behind the counter and was told to have a seat anywhere. I take my seat at the counter and peruse the menu. Before I can make up my mind the recommendation was “Biscuits and Gravy”. “Wonderful, with a cup of coffee” was my response. That is the first time in a long time, I went with a suggestion from a new place.My meal arrived within a few minutes, a nice healthy portion topped with an egg. My first bite to the last, each was better than the one before. I have to admit, I killed that meal within minutes. All I have to say is “delicious” along with the coffee. The biscuits are homemade and so is the chicken sausage in the white gravy, the taste proves that.
When the server came back to check on me, he laughed at how fast I devoured my meal. I started to converse with him and found out that they are relatively new. They have been open for a little more than a year. Now everyone knows I am all about breakfast and really don’t care for brunch. “Post” has a brunch so for the brunch culture in this city of ours, come out and enjoy.
“Post” also does lunch, dinner and has a “chill” nightlife vibe according to the server. I let him know I would be back for dinner and engage in some after diner activity.
42 Ave B
New York NY, 10009
Tucked away on 32nd street, midtown Manhattan, there is a tiny storefront serving some of the best breakfast in New York City. I am talking about Mike’s Coffee and Deli. There is nowhere to sit and nowhere to stand so if you are looking to go and take a load off, don’t bother going to Mike’s. There is usually a line around the corner, packed with people that are looking to get their breakfast and go. Don’t worry though, if you see a long line, it moves fast. You will be at the front within minutes, paying for and receiving your food not too long after.
Mike’s is a breakfast spot for the fast paced. People waiting on line know what they want and know that they don’t have to wait long for it. The employees, know your own order better than you do. Every once an a while, an order could change up and then one might have to wait a few extra seconds. One patron was talking about how all she has to do, is make eye-contact with one of the counter people, nod and they will have her order waiting for her when she gets to the front of the line.
Affordability and quality, Mike’s nails that on the head. Probably one of the best bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches in the city, along with a good strong cup of coffee to get you out of your morning fog. If you are ever in midtown and crushed for time, Mike’s Coffee and Deli is the spot to satisfy your morning feeding routine. Even if you are not in a rush you can save time by stopping at Mike’s, think about what you can do with a few extra “New York Minutes” in the morning. Stop by and enjoy, tell them Dave Jacobs sent you over.
Mike’s is located at:
44 East 32nd Street
New York, NY 10016
An institution of all coffee shops in NYC, the “Lower East Side Coffee Shop” says it all. I love this shop, and pretty much all “Original” and “True” New Yorkers love this place or at least know of it. What I love the most aside from the price, is that it is completely unchanged and in keeping with the “Coffee Shop” tradition.
When you walk into this java hub, you are taken back to a vintage era. An age of leather booths for four and tables for two. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee and breakfast foods, that get your taste-buds going, fills the air. The staff is professional and seasoned and probably have been at this coffee emporium since its establishment.
My favorite time to visit is early morning. There is nothing better than listening to “WBGO DJ” Gary Walker spinning timeless Jazz classics over a hot cup of coffee. That first sip of coffee with the anticipation of my favorite breakfast is what I like to call “Great Expectations” as the early morning stress melts away. Every once and while, you can relive your youth, watching a young guy make an ass out of himself to impress his date after a night out on the town.
What makes early morning special, is you get to see both sides of the city. The night time crowd retiring and the early risers beginning their day. Either way this place removes the weight of the world off of you, for however long it takes to down a cup of coffee or a bowl of oatmeal.
The “Lower East Side Coffee Shop” is open 24 hours a day and believe me, I have been there all hours of the day and evening. From a night of hard partying with friends to actually meeting first dates. The “Lower East Side Coffee Shop” is truly a great spot to start your day or end your evening. It is a staple in the realm of the “Coffee Institution”.
Now I already know that all of the original New Yorkers know about this restaurant, and I am sure most true New Yorkers know as well. If you are new to “The City”, you need to make note of this alluring dining hashery. The name is “Malecon” and it’s Dominican Food at its finest served in an atmosphere that is very comfortable and enjoyable.
Whenever I walk into any of their locations(my favorite is the one on Amsterdam Ave, it’s around the corner from me), the aroma of Rotisserie Chicken fills the air and really gets my appetite ready for some of the best food for the money. Malecon is one of the most affordable dining establishments in “The City” and all of their other locations around the boroughs as well. Each one of their eateries have plenty of space to sit back, relax and enjoy one of the many Dominican delicacies on their menu including quite a few seafood dishes as well. I went with my customary, half a Rotisserie Chicken, yellow rice, and black beans and as usual the tender garlicky chicken and the sides were all on point.
Now all of my readers know that I am a real stickler when it comes to service. The staff does a great job, they treat me like I am part of the family and that is not because I have been going there for years. I have observed over the many times I have dined there, all customers are treated the same, with courteous professionalism and first rate skill. You can tell this is a favorite of all original New Yorkers, just because almost everyone who comes in is a long-time customer.
Malecon is all about repeat business and that is why when partaking in the hospitality being offered from this bistro, there is never any disappointment. One assurance that can always be reproduced is that you will never leave hungry and most of the time you will probably be taking food home because the portions are very generous. If you are looking to eat a lot on a shoestring budget and dining ambiance that is carefree and unrestrained head over to Malecon. Tell them Dave Jacobs sent you.
764 Amsterdam Ave
New York, New York
In the over-crowded Washington avenue section just south of Atlantic ave Brooklyn, there is a little slice of breakfast heaven called the “Penny House Cafe”. As soon as you walk into this hidden gem of a coffee shop/cafe, you are greeted by an aroma of coffee and a menagerie of pastries which tantalize all of your olfactory senses.
The menu had a ton of delectable items on it. Since this was my first time in this establishment, I carefully studied each item, trying to decide which was best, to match my palette’s craving. Everything was so tempting and then it jumped right out at me. The three cheese omelette with American Cheese, Swiss Cheese, and Sharp Cheddar, all encapsulated in one of my favorites, the “Everything” bagel. I placed my order with the server behind the counter and was told to grab a seat.
Just as I sat down, I literally only waited about two minutes(original New Yorkers don’t like to be kept waiting more than five minutes) and the server already brought my sandwich over to me which was completely overstuffed. That’s what an original “New Yorker” like myself and all others truly relish, good food and fast service. As I took my first bite, I tasted the perfect melding of the three cheeses along with the seasoning that our chef flavored the eggs with. Flavoring of the eggs is a very important quality everyone should look for when visiting specific breakfast eateries. The bagel was a “New York” bagel, considering “New York” bagels are the best, that was an added bonus to the medley of tastes that danced across my tongue as I was getting ready to take another bite.
In between each succulent bite I took a few sips of some very good brew. I asked the server what kind of coffee I was drinking and he said a combination of a “La Colombe Coffee Torefiction” and La Colombe Nizza Espresso”. The perfect way to wash down a breakfast delight that I completely devoured in a “New York” minute and yet still enjoyed each bite to the fullest.
If you are in a rush or if you are looking to sit down and enjoy a hardy breakfast pleasure, head over to the “Penny House Cafe” you won’t be disappointed. Make sure you tell them Dave Jacobs sent you.
The Penny House Cafe
732 Washington Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11238
Earlier this morning I was at a cozy diner in Brooklyn on Utica Ave. I am sure all of my readers have passed by it once in their lifetime. Utica is a main street that pretty much runs all the way through Brooklyn going North and South. I have driven by it for a long time myself and I just never had the time to go in and partake, except for today. When you drive by Mike’s Diner, it’s tiny, you could miss it, even though it’s on the corner of Utica and Winthrop. However, when you go inside, it lives up to the cozy ambiance you would expect from an old-school diner, especially when being greeted at the door by Michelle, one of the servers.
I ordered my usual breakfast standard, two eggs up, bacon, home-fries, and coffee. Now I know what you are thinking, any diner can do that and do it well, however, not every diner can serve it well. I was in there during the heart of the rush and Michelle who was my server didn’t miss a beat. She took my order and at the same time she was pouring my coffee she offered me a shot of vitamin “C” (Orange Juice in case you don’t know). She is a true professional at what she does, especially when she brought my order out which was piping hot.
The food itself was good, as stated earlier, my order came out piping hot and I didn’t have to wait long at all. The coffee was fresh and the eggs were good, the bacon and home-fries were delicious. Mike’s Diner is a breakfast cooking machine and definitely prides themselves on return business because they have me as a repeat customer for future dining experiences.
What sets Mike’s apart from every other diner out there is the service and the cleanliness. Mike’s dining staff is truly exceptional at what they do, from the chef in the back to the people upfront. Head over to Mike’s when you have a moment for breakfast and ask for Michelle, she will take care of you and make you feel like you are the only one in the restaurant.
630 Utica Ave, Brooklyn NY 11203