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.

 

 

We Don’t Care, We Have HYDR8

Poland Spring bottled water is a product of Nestle. Is it water from an untouched source? Is it 100 percent “Spring Water”? There have been a few lawsuits against the product alleging that it’s not and they’ve been misleading the public for quite some time now. Here at You Me NYC Magazine, our thoughts on this are simple. WE DON’T CARE, WE HAVE HYDR8!!!

No more having to separate plastic bottles that go into the recycling bin or having to wait for the water delivery and the attitude that comes with it. More importantly, no more lugging the 5-gallon 40-pound plastic bottles to the cooler and spilling part of it all over you. HYDR8 is all about space and maximizing its capacity, by offering a streamlined approach, to an endless supply of purified water through your current system. In other words, HYDR8 filters the “Hell” out of your tap water by removing all impurities as well as bacteria found in your tap and then sterilizes, using the latest in advanced filtration technology. To quote Peter from You Me NYC Magazine, “HYDR8 Makes New York’s Water Taste Great Again”.

Ralph Marucci & Business Partner | Eric

We were fortunate to sit down with President, CEO and founder of HYDR8 Ralph Marucci(pictured in image right with business partner Eric) for a few “New York Minutes” to get to know a little more about him and his company’s mission. Saving billions of plastic water bottles from being dumped into our oceans and landfills, combined with little to no plastic usage in their equipment is only part of their vision. Building a strong customer relationship, whether it’s an individual household or fortune 500-company as well as implementing their state of the art purification systems all over the world, to developed and underdeveloped countries is the other.

According to Marucci, over the next 5 to 10 years, HYDR8 will be the household name for water purification as well as the authority in educating the public on the importance of their product to one’s health, vitality and the environment.  Marucci along with his team, has reached out through various “Social Media” outlets, schools throughout the city’s five boroughs, and word of mouth to spread HYDR8’s ideology of keeping up with the latest water quality technology, along with what makes HYDR8’s process so unique.  HYDR8 will be available all over the world, especially to those who don’t have direct access to clean drinking water.

Marucci held a few different sales positions before he decided to go into business for himself, making water his chosen industry. When asked what kind of advice he can offer to the entrepreneurs just starting out, his response was, “Understanding and achieving emotional neutrality during wins and losses is the key to longevity and minimizing stress. It’s easier said than done, but focusing on it can be the key to future success..” HYDR8 is the future of in-house water purification and we at You Me NYC Magazine are enjoying it one glass at a time. It just tastes better.

 

 

 

Millennial Dating in NYC

I’ve been in a relationship for the last 5 years. No, it hasn’t been just one relationship in the last 5 years, but two separate relationships. Relationship one was right out of college. For me that was it, he was the one. I’ve been in love with him since the third grade and we both were finally at a point in our lives that it made sense and it was the right time. The first few months were hard as I lived in DC (finishing up my last semester) and he lived in Brooklyn. Little did I know that moving home would be such a bittersweet thing for us. That relationship lasted for about a year and a half.

Then, I found myself all in love all over again and this time this person would be the one I share my life with. We met at work and started a flirtatious friendship that grew into something beautiful. I felt like I was dating my best friend. We experienced so much together from tragic losses, major moves and vacations just to name a few.  When that relationship ended it really took a lot out of me. I didn’t only lose a lover I lost my best friend.  Like any normal person (or female depending on who’s reading and interpreting lol) I hit a state of feeling lonely and a little depressed. 3 months later my mother decided to put me on a dating app. Yes, I said it a dating app. I was super against it because I thought it was weird, but hell I figure anything is better than being sad. Well here it goes newly single and a millennial dating in NYC – what’s the worse that can happen, right?

Date 1: Anxiety got the best

“How’s work?” he texted.

“I’m ready to go home I’m aggravated now,” I responded.

Two simple messages led to what in my opinion might have been the WORST first date I could have been on. We agreed to meet at 8:30pm at a restaurant not far from where either one of us lived. I was so nervous leading up to the time, I had pep talks with myself, my cousin, my mom and my boss (listen a girl needs some reassurance after being off the market for 5 years).

I arrived and parked my car down the block, I didn’t want to park close because you never know who’s legit, weirdo or not, safety first. When I got there he was already there waiting for me so we can be seated. When he stood up to greet me, I was definitely taking back about how tall he was. His 6’6 muscular frame seemed really large next to my 5’7 slim frame. I was starting to relax, but after seeing him all those nervous feelings came back and I think I wasn’t prepared for how tall he was. But I gathered myself and my thoughts (so I thought) and we sat down.Millennial Dating NYC | You Me NYCThe restaurant was dimly lit, tables were close together and the AC was in full effect. We sat across from each other and started to talk, you know a basic conversation trying to get to know each other. About 5 min in, I started to feel a little tight chested and light-headed. The waiter came and took our drink orders, I got a margarita and I honestly forgot what he ordered, but we did end up ordering calamari as well. About 15 minutes into the date, I had to excuse myself from the table, my anxiety started to get the best of me and I needed a minute.

I went to the restroom to breathe and recollect myself so I could finish this date. When I got back to the table, I took a sip of my drink and tried to resume like nothing was wrong. Unfortunately for both of us, I was not successful at that. After being there for all of 30 min – I had to leave the entire date. I couldn’t sit there anymore – I needed fresh air and I needed to be out the situation. I felt extremely bad and embarrassed, but I did not tell him it was my anxiety, instead, I said I wasn’t really feeling well. Not a total lie, but I just knew I had blown it. He told me it was ok and not to worry about.

I left and instantly called my mother to tell her how embarrassed I was. Again she reassured me things happen and reach out to him. He’ll either genuinely be understanding or not and of course, she was right, but let’s never tell her that. He was genuinely understanding and eager to have a make-up date.

The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul: Jazz

The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul You Me NYCSaxophonist Branford Marsalis and his quartet have been playing rebellious and unapologetic Jazz for the past three decades.  Anyone familiar with this group is definitely aware of their high-flying improvisations that can launch at any given moment.  “The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul” is a perfect example of freeform at it’s best with each instrumental voice being defined with purpose.

For 20 of those years, piano player Joey Calderazzo and bassist Eric Revis have been a staple in the group.  Drummer Justin Faulkner has been with the band for about 10 years respectively.  I have to say that the band has reached another pinnacle tending to a collection of moods with motivating commitment.  Faulkner’s chops are crisp and smooth.  Calderazzo goes ahead and smokes the ivories and Revis’s bass line is fluent and on point.  Marsalis outdoes himself on this album, his phrasing is sharp and endless.  Each member of the quartet compliments each other the way an improv band should.

“Life Filtering from the Water Flowers” is Marsalis’ one and only composition on this album and it is of true Marsalis form.  This arrangement displays a cleverly organized instrumentation with very moving and contained sax riffs only Marsalis can phrase.  Calderazzo’s piano playing and Faulkner’s drumming help convey the message Marsalis is bringing across.   “Life Filtering from the Water Flowers”, compliments the album as a reflective tribute to his late mother Delores Marsalis.

“The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul” is a definite must-have for all Jazz fans.  The creativity of the improvisation tangents in each song is truly an original compilation that cannot be duplicated.  This album is an enjoyable and innovative listen that features some engaging moments of Jazz Improvisation.  This album serves as a perfect example as to why the Brandfors Marsalis Quartet is held in such high regard for the past 30 years.

Jamaica Avenue

I decided to shoot somewhere, I went all the time as a kid-The Ave.  Where I use to get the latest mix cd’s, clothes, sneakers or just walk around with my friends and people watch, capturing history. On a chilly Sunday, the streets were nowhere near as crowded as I remember and the Coliseum was closed.  It’s really only been a few years since I’ve been on that side but new buildings and businesses are going up quicker and quicker every day. I can’t even keep up with it, in my own neighborhood. But for the most part, it was actually just how I left it. As a New Yorker, to be able to go somewhere and it’s still the same, I can’t ask for anything else.

Transplant Nation

There really aren’t many of us left and that sounded super weird in my head and even more weird to admit on paper but its true. More times than not, I bet you are the only New Yorker in your group of friends or even at work.  You ever go somewhere with them and they try to tell you the best way to get somewhere when they weren’t here for tokens or 9/11? 

 It’s almost like starting High School and hoping you see a familiar face somewhere in the crowd. Forced and/or bought out of their homes to make room for people who are too scared to live in it themselves. “It’s not the best neighborhood but the rent is cheap and they just built a hotel, which means it will be really nice in 5 years! Haha, I definitely won’t be there by then.” Literally a real conversation!

Being ditched by your first yellow cab, eating dirty water dogs(hot dogs) and of course running for the train only to be in the lonely car with the homeless guy who carries his original fragrance. If they survive more than a year of that, people consider themselves Native. That’s the average day for a  New Yorker and that’s only the morning time. I need your public school to have a number in it. Did you take the regents? Ever go to school during a snowstorm? Can you double parallel park anything? Even then, you’re not valid. 

A big part of New York isn’t just about great shopping, pizza, skyscrapers and the sight-seeing. It’s about the people, which makes New York New York. It’s damn near a novelty and a raw form of respect that comes with it. We’re exposed to a lot so we’re open but could sniff bullshit before it hits our nostrils. I’ve heard a lot of transplants admit they couldn’t grow up here or even raise their kids here, a lot of our parents did both. Now a lot of people are either being pushed out or just tired and leave.

Conclusion

This is not to talk complete shit about transplants. I have many friends from the transplant community. You get to experience a place you’ve been your whole life in a completely different way. Take everything in! Admit-tingly, you end up doing things you would not have done and finding little things you walked past every day. Specialty shops that make eating fun and just happen to be vegan, gluten-free and sourced locally.  I know for a lot of people that come here, it’s about conquering fears and following dreams, New York is their Wizard of Oz. I just don’t want to look up one day and not be in Kansas anymore.

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

 

 

The Black and White

There are things that native New Yorkers know that transplants don’t like what “regular” coffee means, or what a “smear” is or a “black and white”. These are just some of the best things about New York.

I remember the first time I had a black and white cookie. It was first grade, 1977. Theresa Catina carried one in her lunch box every day. One day, she shared hers with me, splitting it against the grain, so that I had an even bit of black and white.

I was so excited I never had one before. That first bite was magic, I was hooked. Let me explain for those who are not native New Yorkers. A black and white is more than a cookie, its really more of a cake. The base is a yellow cookie/cake with a hint of lemon essence. Half the cookie is frosted with a white glaze the other half is frosted with a chocolate glaze. There is nothing else like it. Each bite is soft and chewy with a delicious sweetness.Black and White Cookie You Me NYCEveryone I know has a different way of eating a black and white. I am a chocoholic, I eat the white side first and save the yummy chocolateness for last, always the best for last. Some people prefer the white side, so they eat the black side first. Others just go for it and dig in. It’s The perfect cookie for sharing as they are the size of a desert plate. They are a NYC staple.

Next time you walk by a NYC bakery, not a cupcake place, pick one up and share it with someone you love or savor every bite for your self. They are worth the calories.