When You Say Bagel, I Say Baz

Baz, is a small neighborhood sit-down bagel shop and lunch counter right on Grand Street in New York City.  According to many of my readers, it’s the place to go for a true “New York Bagel”.  Now that’s a bold statement, a true “New York Bagel” is hard to come by these days, especially when you’re in Manhattan.  I find it comical that people even consider a bagel from Starbucks or Dunkin.  Their coffee is bad enough.

I walk into Baz and I already like what I see.  It’s decorated with a traditional subway tile and mosaic theme.  There is a busy lunch counter and a small yet adequate dining area.  However, traditional “New York City Decor” doesn’t produce a true “New York Bagel”.  A vibrant host let’s me know it will be a few minutes before I can be seated.  “No problem” I said, Baz has plenty of items to occupy your wait time.

Baz | You Me NYCI thumb through one of the on-hand pieces of literature and minutes later, my table is ready.  As soon as I sit down, there is a menu in my hand and coffee in my cup.  At this point my great expectation of a good breakfast experience is rising.  I take a sip of coffee and it rises a little more because the coffee is excellent.  I order an omelet with diced peppers and Muenster cheese accompanied by an everything bagel with plain cream cheese.  However, the server suggested scallion cream cheese instead of the plain for my bagel.

Now I’m a big fan of suggestions and an added tip from the server is always welcome.  That to me is a great way to enhance a customer’s positive dining undertaking as well as repeat business to the establishment.  When the food arrives, the presentation is good.  I take a bite of the bagel and it’s a “New York Bagel”.  This is a hand-rolled small batch bagel.  There is no mass-production at all, you can taste the difference.  Throwing in the omelet or any of their other tasty breakfast dishes is an added bonus to an already over satisfying and delicious meal.

Baz know’s how to treat a customer.  They treat you as if you are a longtime patron.  Each time my cup was empty, my server or any of the other servers filled it back up.  I never had to ask for a refill.  Service is the key to an excellent dining experience as well as good food and they nailed it hands down.  No surprise though.  The traditional Italian/Jewish heritage as well as the native spirit of “Little Italy” and the “Lower East Side” that comprise Baz, knows all about good service.  I absolutely recommend Baz and when you visit tell them Dave sent you.

Baz
181 Grand Street,
New York, NY 10013

Café Medi

Café Medi, is the restaurant associated with the “Hotel on Rivington” and you guessed it, it’s on Rivington Street in New York City.  Normally I don’t do referrals when it comes to a hotel eatery.  However, I did receive quite a few tips about their breakfast and how good it is.  Full speed ahead to the “Lower East Side” and Café Medi for my favorite meal of the day, breakfast.  Upon reaching my destination I came across a chalkboard already setting me up for what I hope is a good breakfast experience.

Cafe Medi | You Me NYC

As I enter, I see a nice layout.  There is a sky-lit atrium and the main dining area comes with a view of a brilliant Spanish tile mural.  I finish the short tour, head towards the dining room and the host of the establishment approaches me.  He asks if I’m a guest of the hotel or a regular customer.  After confirming that I am a regular customer, he ushers me over to a side annex where there are a few small tables.  Instead of sitting in a luxurious dining area with pleasant surroundings,  I get a tiny table overlooking an empty bar.

Café Medi | You Me NYC

Strike one, a customer is a customer, whether they are a guest at the hotel or not.  What’s even more aggravating, is that the place is totally empty except for a few people strewed about.  As soon as I sit down the host who is also the server asks for my order.  I look over the menu and deliberately ignore him at this point.  After a few seconds, I ordered a cup of coffee and continue to peruse the breakfast menu.  My coffee arrives just as I put my menu down and am ready to order.  However, the server decides to walk away.

Strike two, I’m ready to order, don’t walk away from me.  The menu is clearly out of my hands and laying on the table.  This is “Restaurant 101”.  If the menu is closed or not being read go take the order.  As I sip my coffee and wonder what just happened, I realize that the coffee is very good.  Some time passes and the server returns.  Before he asks about the order, “I’ll have the three-egg omelet with  bacon, cheddar, and mushrooms, Rye toast, butter and another cup of coffee.” I said.  One of the associates arrives with the coffee and pours a much-needed refill into my cup.  I continue to sip and a few moments later my food is in front of me.

Café Medi Three-egg Omelet | You Me NYCThe presentation is almost perfect.  The butter packets are on the plate with my meal, I hate that.  I’m not a big fan of toast being on the same plate either, however, I can deal with that.  I take my first bite of the omelet and WOW, this is good.  The right amount of seasoning is there, along with a perfect melding of the cheddar, bacon and mushrooms.  The mushrooms are marinated to perfection and the cheddar is sharp.  I dive head-first into the potatoes and there is no disappointment at all.  What bothers me, is my coffee cup is empty.  No one came to refill my cup or to see how I am doing.

 

Conclusion

That is a big strike three.  Café Medi needs some serious fine-tuning on very basic serving skills.  The breakfast is fantastic, everything is cooked to delectable superiority and the coffee is exceptional.  However, that’s only part of the experience.  It’s hard to enjoy a meal with service that is less than adequate.

 

 

Frost Williamsburg Brooklyn

As we all know, Brooklyn has really blown up over the last couple of years.  Highrises going up all the time as well as cool and trendy shops popping up all over the place.  Williamsburg and it’s sought after real estate is old news.  The original fabric has pretty much dissipated in Brooklyn, except for a certain demographic that continues to profit off the “Brooklyn Boom”.  At one time Williamsburg was pretty much known for the “Peter Luger” steak house and that was it.  I can remember getting off the train and making run for it.  However, in the same neighborhood, there’s another restaurant that has stood the test of time as well.

Frost is a neighborhood Italian restaurant that all of the natives know.  It’s hard to believe that there is still a neighborhood restaurant in Brooklyn.  The fact that it’s been around since 1959 is a pretty good determinant.  It’s a family-style restaurant which is a concept that escapes most eateries in the 5 boroughs today.  Whether it’s the first time you’re walking in or you’re a longtime customer, the family atmosphere attaches itself to you.

As my readers know, I’m a big fan of Fettuccini Alfredo.  I use that dish as my deciding factor when it comes to trying out new Italian Restaurants.  However, all the menu items at Frost are delicious.  For my appetizer, I had the Portobello Mushroom, which was cooked to absolute perfection.  My entree was Frost’s “homemade stuffed shells”.  Frost also makes their own pasta on a lot of their signature dishes.  Service is another influencer when it comes to my dining experience and Frost never disappoints.

Conclusion

Frost | You Me NYCFor a true Italian Neighborhood dining experience, Frost is where you want to be.  Named after the street it’s on, you can pretty much ask anyone in the Williamsburg area where it’s at.  However, with the rapid changes happening in Brooklyn, especially in Williamsburg you better call or Google for directions.

 

193 Frost St,
Brooklyn, NY 1121

 

The Van Dam Diner

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.  Van Dam Diner You Me NYC

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.

Van Dam Diner You Me NYC

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.

Conclusion:

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.

Little Italy for Breakfast

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.  Little Italy for Breakfast You Me NYC

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”.   

Little Italy for Breakfast You Me NYC

Conclusion:

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.

Grotta Azzurra
177 Mulberry St.
New York NY 10013

 

 

Ethiopian Gold Queen of Sheba NYC

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.

Queen of Sheba You Me NYC

Location:

650 10th Avenue
New York, NY 10036
Between 45th & 46th Streets

 

 

Post NYC

“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.

Post NYC You Me NYC

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.Post NYC You Me NYCMy 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.

Post NYC
42 Ave B
New York NY, 10009

 

Mike’s Coffee and Deli for Breakfast

Mike's Coffee and Deli You Me NYCTucked 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

 

A Coffee Shop Institution

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.

Lower East Side Coffee Shop You Me NYC

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”.

 

 

 

Malecon

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.malecon you me nyc

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.

Malecon
764 Amsterdam Ave
New York, New York