Monday, August 7, 2017


Hey guys! So this post is going to be a little longer than usual, but I want to go into details about one of my favorite places in New York City. It is called Ziggy's and is located on 2nd Ave. between 77th and 78th street. Read about it on Yelp.

Ziggy's is open 7 days a week, 4-1am Monday through Thurday, and 11:30am-1am Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The theme is Mexican Beach Bar, so think surfboards and a summery vibe. The whole place is painted aqua blue and the main goal of all the employees is to insure you leave happy (and drunk).

Ziggy's serves Mexican food, so think menu items like tacos, quesadillas, burritos, and a very delicious guacamole that is made in house.  Here is a list of my 5 favorite tacos:

  1. Hawaiian Carnitas- braised pork belly served with pineapple
  2. Carne Asada- steak served with pico de gallo and roasted poblanos
  3. Mojo Shrimp- grilled shrimp
  4. Crispy Fish- fried sea bass
  5. Downtown L.A- Korean style steak with kimchi 
The food is good, yes, but if you are coming to Ziggy's, it is the drinks that you MUST try. They make a killer margarita both on the rocks and frozen that is sure to have you stumbling home. They have an awesome Happy Hour, which is from 4-5pm Monday through Friday. Their Happy Hour includes 2 for 1 drinks (including margaritas, sangria, and specialty cocktails), $3 draft beer,  $5 muchies (including guac) and $1 oysters.  

They also have bottomless brunch on the weekends from 11:30am-4pm. For $25, you get an entree and bottomless drinks for two hours. Trust me, this is a good deal. 

Another awesome deal Ziggy's offers is Ladies Night every Wednesday. On Ladies Night, all girls drink for FREE. That's right, completely free. However, as a moral human being, you should still bring cash to tip the bartenders, as they work incredibly hard to make all those drinks and don't get tipped well because the drinks are free. 

Ziggy's also offers certain deals all the time. Here is a list of them:
  1. The Shot Ski-$25  This is 4 shots of either tequila or whiskey in a SKI. Grab three of your friends and line up as the server counts to three and take that shot. You can even do it with no hands. If you want your Ziggy's experience to go from good to great, this is what you need to order. 
  2. The Beach Bucket- $25  The beach bucket at Ziggy's comes with 5 different beers, including Kona Big Wave, Coney Island Pilsner, Liliko'i Kepolo, Leinenkugal's Summer Shandy and Bronx Brewery Summer Pale Ale. It comes beautifully decorated and for $5 a beer, it is hard to beat. 
  3. Scorpion Bowl- $24  The Scorpion Bowl at Ziggy's is also a ton of fun. A drink for two or more, it comes in a cool bowl with a shot of 151 in the center that is lit on fire. The alcohol is strong and tastes delicious. 
I went to Ziggy's on my 21st birthday and I was far from disappointed. I was dancing on the bar at the end of the night, which tells you something about the atmosphere. 

So, what are you waiting for? Go NOW. 

Ask for me (Amanda) and if I am there, I will bring you and your table free tequila shots on the house. 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Birthday Adventure

Hey Guys! So last Wednesday, I turned 21 years old and I wanted to share with you how the day went and the cool places I went so you can check them out too!

I started with a nice dinner at Bangkok Cuisine UES because it is close to where I live and if you read my previous post (which you can find here), you will see why I needed to return and bring my family with me.

I had the same thing I ordered last time, which was the Massaman Curry, and it was delicious. However, maybe not the best thing to get in preparation for a night of drinking. LOL

My family all really enjoyed the meal as well, and my mom even mentioned that she, too, wanted to return to this restaurant in the future. This is a HUGE deal because my mother is a very picky eater and usually will not go to a restaurant that isn't basic Italian cuisine.

My next destination was Ziggy's Mexican Bar with two of my best friends, which is located on 2nd Ave between 77th and 78th street. We decided on Ziggy's for one very important reason. Ladies drink for FREE on Wednesday nights. So there you have it.

I have also eaten at Ziggy's before and have to say that their tacos are pretty delicious along with some of their other menu items. On Saturday and Sundays, they offer $10 bottomless drinks as long as you buy a $15 entree (which is three tacos). Totally worth it.

After Ziggy's my friends and I decided to take a stroll uptown to Insomnia Cookies. If you have never had an Insomnia cookie, stop whatever you are doing right now and go get one. (And then eat it while reading my blog).

They are served warm and fresh until 3am. AND they deliver. It's pure perfection.

Last, we ended up at Iggy's New York. Located on 2nd ave between 76th and 75th, it is a NYC staple that is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year from noon-4am. It also has karaoke at 7:30pm How can you go wrong?

So guys, all in all, my birthday went well. Be sure to check out one or more of these places for your next birthday (or just because you can...)

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Restaurant Week

Hey guys! It's Restaurant Week in New York City and you know what that means, the food you usually can't afford just became affordable.

From now until August 18th, a variety of 390 restaurants will be participating in restaurant week in all five boroughs. For lunch, the deal is a three-course prix fixe menu for $29. For dinner, it's also a three-course prix fixe menu but it is $42.

Here is a list of my personal favorites.
  1. Neta
  2. Boulud Sud
  3. Morimoto
  4. The John Dory Oyster Bar
  5. Tavern On The Green

It's awesome, and I wouldn't want you guys to miss out on this, so click here to find a restaurant in your area that is offering a restaurant week deal!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Bangkok Cuisine UES

Hey so I'm back with another restaurant recommendation. It is called Bangkok Cuisine and you must go asap. I found this place on Yelp after having an extreme craving for some good Asian food and this place certainly lived up to its high reviews and my high expectations. Here is what I ordered:

To start, I ordered a Thai Iced Tea, which is an awesome drink to have with spicy food because it cools down your taste buds due to the heavy cream. It was served in a tall glass which I think added to the atmosphere of the place, which you can also kinda see from this picture. Not to mention it was only $3! It was very clean and felt very southeast Asian. To top off the aesthetic of the restaurant, pictured below you will see a golden decoration. Guess who? Buddha.

As an appetizer, I had the Thai Style Pork BBQ. It was insanely good and came with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce that complemented the pork perfectly. It comes with 5 skewers, not three like pictured below. I ate two before remembering I needed to take pictures for my blog. They were THAT irresistible. $13.

Next, I had the Pad Prig Khing with beef. The picture is a little dark, but this dish includes veggies like carrots, string beans and red peppers all sautéed in a delicious curry paste. A perfect combination of flavor, which leaves me with nothing to critique.  $15. 

Finally, the Massaman Curry with chicken. A massaman curry includes coconut milk, butter beans, sweet onions and potatoes. Paired with chicken, this dish is irresistible. I probably could have eaten two, and I will definitely be returning to Bangkok Cuisine for this dish. If you have read my post on Up Thai, you might remember that I had this same curry, however, in comparison, Bangkok Cuisine wins, hands-down. $14. 

I have really no complaints about this restaurant, except one. On my bill, I was charged $3.50 for the Thai Iced Tea instead of $3 like it said on the menu. Although it is only $.50, it displays either a careless mistake, or the restaurant being sneaky and trying to make a few extra dollars. So watch out for things like this at any restaurant you go to! 

Please go here. I promise you won't regret it!! 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

How To Pick a Restaurant

Hey Guys! So this post is hopefully going to help the next time you're asked the famous question "where should we eat". I'll tell you about a trick you can use with a friend or a date and I'll walk you through the best way to use Yelp. At the end, I'll include other apps you can use to help pick the perfect spot.

The Trick

Here is a simple trick you can use when you and your dinner companion can't decide on a place to eat. It's called the 5-3-1 tool and it works like this. First, you (or your companion) choose 5 restaurants they would like to eat at. Then, the other person chooses 3 out of the 5 that were just named. And last, the person who picked the initial 5, chooses out of the remaining three and BAM! You have yourself a mutually agreed on place to eat.

But maybe your problem isn't agreeing on a restaurant but choosing one in the first place. That's where Yelp comes in.


Yelp is the number one app for restaurant selection in my opinion. It automatically picks up on your current location to list the restaurants in your area. You can type in "Restaurant" in general or a specific cuisine. You can even type in a certain dish and it will list all the restaurants that have that dish on their menu.

Another good thing about Yelp is the amount of filters they let you use to narrow down the options. The most useful choices in my opinion are the price options, open now, outdoor seating, happy hour, and free wifi. But they also have cool options like vegetarian friendly, wheelchair assessable, full bar and so many more. They even have a filter for a PokeStop nearby!

They also have a section where people can write reviews which the restaurant cannot delete. Of course, restaurants sometimes have their employees purposely write good reviews, but I like that they don't allow restaurants to delete the bad ones.

I highly recommend downloading Yelp on your phone to help with restaurant options.

Other Useful Apps

Besides Yelp, here is a list of other useful apps to use to find good places to eat (besides my blog!).

  • Trip Advisor
  • Foursquare
  • Open Table
  • Urban Spoon
  • Chefs Feed
  • Tastemade
  • Matchbook
Happy Eating!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

A Sit Down With a Sous Chef at Cafe Boulud

I have blogged about Cafe Boulud once before when I talked about the importance of food presentation. If you missed that post, you can read it here. This time, I asked their sous chef to answer a few questions I had regarding her experience working in the kitchen. Her name is Kiki, she is from Korea and this is what she said...

Q: What sparked your love of cooking? And why did you decide on French cuisine?

A: My love for French cuisine is based on the similarities it has with Korean cuisine. It is very simple, yet elegant. This is what I want my future restaurant to be based on. A mixture of French and Korean cuisine.

Q:How do you motivate your employees to work hard and care about the food that they are preparing?

A: It is sometimes very hard to do by yourself. Loving your job is important which shines through when you are working. Your employees mirror your own work ethic.

Q:What was the most stressful situation you have faced in the kitchen?
A: When unexpected things happen it gets stressful. For example, a cook not showing up for work or being short on ingredients to make the dishes.

Q:In your opinion, what is the most important aspect of your job?

A: Consistency. Having to be in the kitchen every day both mentally and physically. This is a mentally taxing job and subduing emotions from your personal life is very important.

Q:How do you feel about racial diversity in the kitchen?

A: My current kitchen is very diverse. Most chefs respect diversity within the kitchen. You can see this in our voyage menu because many cuisines from around the world are displayed. Having this voyage menu allows all of us to learn from each other's culture since there is such racial diversity in this kitchen. I even was able to do a Korean voyage dinner.

Q:Do you feel the role of women is different than the role of men within the kitchen?

A: Mentally there is no difference but yes, physically. My arm is currently injured after two and a half years of grueling hands on labor, so I cannot lift heavy things or do repetitive tasks which slows me down. Men have an easier time completing their daily tasks because of their physical strength.

Q:What is your favorite food to eat? What about to prepare?

A: Korean food is my favorite to both eat and prepare. I like to cook all Asian cuisines. Southeast Asian and Japanese are some of my other favorites.

Q:What individual has had the greatest impact on you?

A: Chef Aaron who is the head chef at Cafe Boulud has always given me opportunities to grow and has always pushed me beyond my limits to make me grow extremely fast. There is never nothing to do.

Q:How do you evaluate success?

A: I rely upon feedback from my coworkers. I make something good, it tastes good and I feel good.

Q:What is your greatest strength? How does it help you as a sous chef?

A: I am a very organized person and as a sous chef prioritizing and keeping the rest of the kitchen organized is extremely important. It makes delegating tasks faster and more efficient which keeps the machine going.

Q:What do you do to stay educated about new food trends?

A: I use the internet to look up current top restaurants and visit those restaurants. I do this because the top restaurants are basically the canon in which our industry relies upon for trends.

Q:Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

A: I want to start out small with my own restaurant with a unique style which is Korean food with French influence. I want it to be called Bottari which is a cloth that Korean's used during the war to carry all their belongings when traveling from place to place.

I want to thank Kiki so much for taking the time out of her busy schedule to complete this interview with me. I also recommend you check out Cafe Boulud next week during Restaurant Week to catch their $29 Prix Fixe Menu while you can!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sushi Gama

Hey Guys! So last night was Saturday night and I visited a restaurant called Sushi Gama on the Upper East Side. 

I sat in a corner table with a nice view of the outside. The atmosphere was nice, and it was decently busy for a Saturday. Here is what I ordered:

Ika Butter: This is a grilled whole squid in a butter sauce. It was cooked to perfection and the presentation was appealing. I would order this again, and recommend it to you. $12.

Soft Shell Crab: The whole point of a soft shell crab is so you can eat the shell. This crab was delicious and definitely met my expectations. $8.

Hamachi Kama: This is a grilled yellowtail fish collar. It is the best part of the fish, in my opinion, and this collar proved that to be true. The meat of the fish fell right off the bone and was tender and perfectly cooked. It was so good, the person I was eating with wanted to order a second one! I do feel, however, that presentation could be improved. $14.

Sashimi Platter: Chef's Selection of 18 different pieces of sashimi. This was the one big disappointment of the night. The raw fish they used was horrible compared to other sushi restaurants in the area. The raw salmon was too slimy and the raw yellowtail was too chewy. Overall, this dish left me feeling unsatisfied and grossed out. I do not recommend the sashimi or any of their raw fish after this dish. $24.

Overall, I would recommend Sushi Gama, just not for their sushi. The three appetizers were all delicious, but as I mentioned, the sashimi that I ordered was below par. 

My Rating: *** $$