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.

Goodbye Petroleum Jelly, Hello CoCoMe

Petroleum Jelly | You Me NYCDitch the Petroleum Jelly, an oil-based product that was first discovered on some of the earliest oil rigs, in the mid to late 1800s. Petroleum jelly now uses more friendly names like Mineral oil, Petrolatum, or Paroleine. It is found in over 95% of all makeups, soaps, and hair care products.  We all know of the many products that contain Petroleum Jelly.   People have been applying it on their lips, face, hair and on their cuts for years. Short term relief, is the temporary comfort, however, over time, the effects can be quite damaging. It creates a false facade of hydrated skin and actually suffocates your pores by building a barrier between your skin and the very air you breathe.

CoCoMe is an eco-friendly skincare brand derived from all-natural ingredients wrapped in a package of organic virgin coconut oil and a touch of bees-wax.  It caters to your skin by nourishing each layer with a healthy and refreshing covering, all while protecting your skin from the free radicals that can damage it.  The bees-wax allows the application to glide easily and evenly as the organic virgin coconut oil is absorbed quickly into your skin.  The unique properties of CoCoMe leave your skin soft and hydrated as well as repair and restore exuberance to those tired and dry areas.  Blemishes and scars are less noticeable after incorporating CoCoMe into your skincare regimen.

CoCoMe | You Me NYC

The product also has anti-fungal, antibacterial, anti-itching, and anti-inflammatory properties and a whole lot more.  No more annoying mosquito bites, Eczema, and athlete’s foot.  After removing makeup, with traditional cleansers, there are still a lot of chemical remnants left on your face from both the makeup and these traditional cleansers, which can cause breakouts and irritation.   Used as a makeup remover, CoCoMe cleanses a majority of those chemical remains away with its all-natural ingredients preventing breakouts and irritation from occurring.

CoCoMe is a universal product for both men and women.  Now we all know that women are more inclined to take care of their skin and men kinda have skincare on the backburner.   However, both men and women can agree on one thing, they are both age-conscious and CoCoMe aids in slowing down your skin’s aging process.  It’s safe to use from head to toe, even safe enough for a newborn baby.  This is just a brief synopsis that I put together about this product, there are many more uses and benefits to take advantage of.  I use CoCoMe every day as a lip balm and a moisturizer and I absolutely love it and you will too.

CoCoMe | You Me NYC

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

 

Barbie’s 60th Anniversary a Universal Figure

Have you ever stepped into Barbie’s Dreamhouse? As we all know, New York City has the best pop up events, with themes that are astonishing to people.  Leaving everyone wondering what events will be next.  Barbie’s 60th anniversary takes no backseat to the other popups appearing throughout the city.  Barbie has been honoring female achievement since 1959. There were many iconic females that were represented by their own Barbie dolls.

Barbie’s 60th anniversary paid tribute to real-life women and the positive roles they portrayed in their existence. Women like Amelia Earhart, Frida Kahlo, Bindi Irwin, Katherine Johnson, Yara Shahidi, Dipa Karmakar and many more. 60 years of female empowerment through a doll, making Barbie a universal figure.

This event wasn’t specifically for kids, many adults attended and participated in the event dressed as Barbie. Each wearing the loud color pink from shoes, dresses, shirts, and accessories. The event showed an overview of Barbie’s career, her fashion and the use of other miniatures to represent the diversity of the female personification today.

Barbie has evolved, coming in all shapes and sizes. It was a day of celebrating the nostalgia of one’s childhood. From entering through her closet, then her bedroom, and eventually her kitchen, made you think you were one of the Barbie Dolls as well. The dream house you’ve always admired on television, at a friend’s house or the one in your bedroom,  has come to life, right before your eyes.

This pop up was to render the last generation of firsts for young women to follow their dreams and creativity. Becoming the first of the first or the last of your generation is most inspiring. Barbie isn’t just a doll; Barbie is the person you’ve always wanted and needed to become when you were younger. She is you. The Barbie doll is a representation of you.  Like Barbie says “You can be Anything” and by the way, I participated too.

Barbie's 60th Anniversary | You Me NYC

Priyanka Chopra: The International Star

 

Before entering Hollywood with Quantico and Baywatch, she was one of the mainstream Bollywood actresses that starred in many Indian films. Chopra had die-hard fans all over the South Asian countries.

After being crowned Miss World in 2000, she had already done over 40 movies in India. She is known for her performances in the movies Dostana, Salaam e Ishq, Bajirao Mastani, Mary Kom, and many more. However, her big break happened with her role in the 2008 Bollywood movie Fashion.

The plot renders a small town Indian girl who wanted to pursue her dreams of modeling but her parents had other ideas in store for her. She takes a risk by herself to be in the world she’s always wanted to be in. The story goes on to where she had to face many obstacles into becoming a model in what seemed to be a glamorous world.  However, it wasn’t what she really expected.

At the beginning of filming the movie, she wasn’t quite sure if she wanted to be a part of the film. Her directors helped build her confidence to continue shooting. As the movie premiered, viewers were noticing how her role immensely affected her career in a serendipitous way.  She’s had a tremendous influence on other female actresses in India. A few years ago she also debuted in her first songs, In My City and Exotic featuring Pitbull and Will.i.am.

Aside from film and music, she was the national UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. She is also associated with the Girl Up campaign. The campaign’s objective, no matter where a young girl lives, they should have the opportunity to become educated, healthy, and safe. Chopra wanted to build awareness for every child to have an education and skills to acquire jobs in different fields. Priyanka Chopra taught many girls around the world to follow their dreams through hard work and ambition.

DanceAfrica 2019

The DanceAfrica festival this year was absolutely fantastic as usual.  I expect nothing less from the largest festival dedicated to African Dance and music, returning for its 42nd year.  In case you don’t know, the festival takes place at BAM(Brooklyn Academy of Music).  I arrived just in time to get to my seat to watch each performance, one more amazing than the next.

Abdel Salaam | You Me NYCRwanda Reborn: The Remix is the title of this year’s DanceAfrica performance.  Under the leadership of artistic director Baba Abdel R. Salaam(pictured to the left, courtesy of BAM), this presentation acknowledges the 25th anniversary of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.  This production offers a moment to celebrate the path forward towards reconciliation and renewal of the devastating travesty(more than 1 million people killed within 100 days) that occurred 25 years ago in Rwanda.

Rwanda Reborn: The Remix was performed through traditional and contemporary dance, music, along with theater and spoken word.  The program demonstrates a perfect example of linking classic and modern techniques together to convey a tribute to all the lives that have been affected by past tragic events in Rwandan history.  I enjoyed every moment of this incredible theatrical arrangement.Dance Africa | You Me NYCAs the show comes to a close, I exit the theater quickly.  My usual constitution is to walk down Lafayette Ave. through the heart of the festival.  Making my way through the crowd recognizing the usual faces and vendors,  I also see a lot of new faces, shopping, eating, vending and enjoying as well.  All the vendors lining the street with beautiful and exotic merchandise for sale are such a welcome site.  The smell of food fills the air with a delicious aroma rivaling the already well-known restaurants in the area.

This is what I love about this festival.   In an area of disappearing culture due to forced gentrification constraints, it is great to see that this festival is still a staple in this community.  It brings an experience that all Brooklyn natives in the community as well as newcomers have enjoyed and took part in for years. Dance Africa | You Me NYC

 

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.