Though Far From The Main DC Drag, There's Lots To Check Out In Georgetown!

IMG_2637If you're a shopping freak, then Georgetown is the place for you.  It has several shops and high end boutiques to offer.  M street is the main drag, which leads right from the Foggy Bottom neighborhood all the way over to the Francis Scott Key Bridge; and that stretch is roughly a mile long.  Georgetown is not the most convenient when it comes to getting here by public transportation, but it is totally worth coming to because it is one of the trendiest, if not the most, places in DC.  One store that I like is called Paper Source located at 3019 M Street NW.  Apparently this place has several locations around the country including three of them in NYC.  They don't sell just paper, they have a lot of cool stationary items as well.  They are items you use everyday but they put some fun twists on them.  So it's fun store to check out! There are hundreds of other amazing stores around here that I cannot count, so Georgetown is the place where there is everything that money can buy and youy can shop till you drop!  

IMG_2635For some food and drink, head over to Pizzeria Paradiso for some of the best pizza in the city! In my opinion, it can be as good or maybe even a bit better than some of the pizza you can get in NYC.  After your delicious pizza, walk right next door to Dean and Deluca for some coffee and some sweet treats.  They have many things that are good including an enormous bulk section of candy, baked goods, and gourmet lunch and dinner foods.  There are also several pubs which are pretty much everywhere on almost every street corner so if you need swig of something, chances are you will come across a pub right in front of you as you're walking. 

Georgetown is a haven for college students since it is also home to Georgetown University.  You will see many college students drinking at the bars and shopping around in the town. 

All in all, Georgetown is a great place to go where there are many shops and restaurants that would appeal to everyone.  You might have a better kick out in Georgetown in the late evening hours and into the night since it's it's very lively then, but it's worth going to at anytime, but whenever you go, you will be glad you came in the end.       

Food Trucks Invade Nation's Capital!

I went down to DC this week on an Amtrak train from Penn Station in NYC.  There's always lots to do in town.  I'm sure you all know about the museums, the memorials, the Capitol building, and the White House.  The problem is where do you find affordable delicious food? The museum cafes are touristy okay, but many of the real restaurants can be very pricey.  Well I have a suggestion for you. 

IMG_2626When you're done with a museum, business, or anything of that nature and it's lunch time, head on over to Farragut Square for several tasty options. You can take the metro to Farragut West on the blue or orange lines or you can also take the red line to Farragut North.  As soon as you emerge from the dark metro station, you will see lines of food trucks parked on all four sides of the park.  These trucks consist of any cuisine you want.  From Mexican to Italian to Middleastern.  It's all here at Farragut Square! I chose to have a burrito from a truck called Sol.  After your main meal, a good truck to get a snack would be Popped! republic to get some tasty and affordable kettle corn.  This place also has several other flavors including Congressional Cheddar and Capital Caramel. IMG_2620  These truck provide large portions for a relatively inexpensive price.  If you want to know which trucks will be where and when, check out this website. http://foodtruckfiesta.com/ 

Stay tuned for a report on Georgetown.

Street Waffles in De Trucks? Nice!

IMG_2255If you want a sweet treat after lunch or dinner or even for breakfast, then you should find a Wafels & Dinges truck or cart immediately! This is absolutely my favorite street food in New York City.  Personally, I go for the Liege Wafel with Nutella and Strawberries.  I'm craving one right now, but I have to tell you about it first so you can crave one too! Their waffles range from the light and crispy Brussels Waffle to the savory doughy Liege Waffle.  You can even get mini waffles on skewers.  Let me tell you about some of the toppings they have.  They have Nutella, Belgian chocolate, fruit, and even pulled pork.  These trucks and carts are scattered throughout the city and you can find their locations each day on their website.  Doesn't this one make your mouth water? IMG_0607  I recently caught up with one of the waffle vendors in his truck...

Well folks, gotta run to get a waffle! See Ya...

Off The Beaten Freedom Trail In Boston

Whenever most people think of Boston, they think of Paul Revere, the Freedom Trail, Quincy Market, Harvard and the many other universities there, but not me! I know of some other cool places to go when you're up in the largest city in New England.

Transportation is plentiful.  The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority or MBTA offers a very reliable Commuter Rail, Subway, Bus, and Ferry service to, from, and around the city limits (It's referred to as the "T").  To get from the New York area, you take Amtrak.  Timing of the trip depends on the train you take, if you take the Northeast Regional, it will take a little over 3 hours to get up there.  However, if you take the Acela Express like I did, it takes a little under 3 hours, and it's a real thrill to ride the Acela to Boston since it races along at 150 mph along the gorgeous Connecticut coastline.  I took a snapshot of my phone GPS that showed my position and how fast I was going. Check it out!


     Once I got to Boston,  I took a quick trip over to the North End and Quincy Market.  I walked along Hanover St. but did not find anything that really turned me on.  I then decided to head over to Quincy Market.  I browsed around the typical touristy shops.  When I was walking by a restaurant called Dicks Last Resort, I noticed diners wearing strange looking paper hats.   IMG_2567I hear that is part of the restaurant's shtick.  I also read that the serving staff is known for their rude behavior. If this is your idea of a good time, this is the restaurant for you.

I then went to Cambridge, which is only a 10 minute ride on the T from Quincy Market.  You know what schools are there.  There were lots of students on the street as well as street musicians.  The stores consisted of college apparel shops, restaurants, and Boston souvenir shops.  There were a couple of high end stores, but they were few and far between.  Now on to an edgier spot and what I find more interesting.

I took the red line from Cambridge over to the green line T, which brought me to the neighborhood of Allston.  This line of the T is a light rail and runs both above ground and underground.  On the ride, I had a chance to see the Boston University Campus.  Shortly after passing the campus I got off at Harvard Avenue. which is the main drag in Allston.  Allston is considered to be Boston's "rock city."   IMG_2596Everywhere you look there are music stores and dive bars featuring live bands.  My favorite music store is called Mr. Music located at 128 Harvard Av.  Their main focus is guitars and guitar accessories.  The staff is friendly and cool.  The rest of Allston has an eclectic mix of fun stores including tattoo shops, comis stores, and tarot card readings.  

After exploring Allston, I hopped on a bus down Harvard Avenue over to the town of Brookline, MA.  This is also a fun place to look around.  Here too, is an eclectic mix of shops, but a little higher end than in Allston.  Before I left Brookline, I went over to Anna's Taqueria to get a tasty Burrito.  Anna's has many locations including Cambridge, Somerville, Allston, and Brookline.  It's a good choice for an inexpensive meal.  

This ended my trip to Boston and I had to catch the Amtrak back to New York.  Once again I enjoyed the beautiful views of the Connecticut coastline before it got dark.   


Where Can You Find Some Of The Best Italian in NYC? Fo' Getta Bout It Cause We're going to Brooklyn baby!

New York City is not just known for Times Square, the Empire State Building, and the Statue of Liberty, it is also known for having great cuisines of all kinds.  Brooklyn has a large Italian population and you can get some of the best Italian food in the city and even the entire country! I started off by going to a local eatery in Gravsend Brooklyn called L and B Spumoni Gardens located at 2725 86th Street just north of Coney Island. IMG_0597  It will take some subway time on the D or N trains, but it's well worth it.  Hey! If you're coming from Coney Island and you're hungry, GO TO THIS PLACE! But if you have $2.25 in your wallet, don't refill your metrocard!!! (You will regret it if you do), instead spend it on a "Square" slice because that's how much it costs at L and B.  Just walk from Coney Island it's not that difficult of a walk.  At least you'll get some exercise.

 This place serves several typical Italian classics, but there is one item that gives everything else on the menu a run for their money; "The Square." Their signature Sicilian pizza slice.  That slice is worth coming down to Brooklyn for.  It's crunchy on the outside and nice and chewy on the inside.  And for those of you who like A LOT of tomato sauce on your slice, this is the place to be yo.  Lines can be long, but they move quickly.  Also, go on a day when it's not supposed to rain, since the area where they serve the pizza is outdoors.  There is a small tent covering a small portion of the outdoor eating area, but it's not effective.   The rain water will still seep in and you wouldn't want rainwater all over your delicious precious square! (Happened to me once when I was there and it wasn't cool) So this is a great bang for the buck and is very tasty. 

There's an Italian Market that I like very much called D. Coluccio and Sons located at 1214 60th Street in Bensonhurst. IMG_0596  You can take the N train to Fort Hamilton Parkway (It's right on the way to Spumoni Gardens)  They have several different types of tomatos, Italian snacks, olives and DRY pastas, no fresh:(  The thing that really turned me on about this place was their giant jars of Nutella.  There was one that was about the size of a computer screen selling for $68! I thought it was European Nutella but apparently it was Canadian.  European Nutella in my opinion tastes so much better than "the other stuff." When I was in France, I had Nutella and Banana Crepes and those were just off the charts amazing! When you're in this store, make sure you get some Tarallini crackers.  They're really good and you probably won't find them anywhere else but here and over in Italy. IMG_0619



So if your heading out to Brooklyn, check out these places and you won't be disappointed! (More about places to eat and things to do in Brooklyn in future posts)      


If you like Fresh Pasta, then WATCH AND READ!!

If you take the train to Fordham or the subway to Fordham Rd, walk south to 187th street, turn left and you'll soon find the little Italy of The Bronx! Arthur Avenue and a few blocks of 187th Street has some of the best italian food venues in the city.  There is everything from deli meats, bakeries, and what I am very interested in is fresh pasta stores.  Borgatti's Ravioli and Egg Noodles IMG_0593

Another place that also has some amazing fresh pasta is Raffetto's.  It does not have a website, but here is the address: 144 W Houston St (b/t Sullivan St & MacDougal St).  It's located in the South Village.  The nearest subway stops are Spring st on the C,E trains and W 4th St. on the A,C,E,B,D,F,M trains.  This hole-in-the-wall type place has several different varieties of both fresh and dry pastas.  Their fresh pasta consists of regular egg, spinach, and even squid ink (black pasta!) The fresh pasta is cut by using a machine similar to a sewing machine.  The worker powers the blade by foot! It seemed that she was riding a bicycle with only one foot, but really she was moving the blade up and down and cutting the pasta piece by piece.  It was mindblowing! It's always best when you use an old machine like that instead of a machine that does the job for you.  That my friends is a sign of hard work and a labor of love to deliver best quality good for the customer.  The dry pasta comes in many different shapes, but is all regular egg pasta.  It's pretty cool how the dry pasta is stored because it's stored in dresser drawers.  


Oh by the way, the video below is a review of Borgatti's. Not Raffetto's.  I'll get around to making a Raffetto's video soon.  So enjoy this video while it's here and make sure you check out these places!

Princeton, NJ. It's Not Just About the College!!

Ok, you might think that the only icon that shouts out Princeton is Princeton University. Hell, that is not the case! There are lots of things you can do in this quaint town. The train takes about 88 minutes on a local train from Penn Station in New York City. You take the train to Princeton Junction then switch to the "dinky" shuttle train and that stops right on the Princeton campus. The campus is right in town so it's a short walk from the station. You can take NJ Transit or Amtrak. I took NJ transit because it's cheaper. It's $33 round trip from the city. Yes, there are trains you can take in New Jersey. New Jersey happens to have the densest railroad system in America, with several commuter lines that span to almost every pocket of the state.

There are several shops that would appeal to all ages. One of my favorite stores in Princeton is the Princeton Record Exchange located at 20 South Tulane StreetIMG_2216This place has thousands upon thousands of vinyls and dvds IMG_2214that you could ever imagine; in several price ranges. There are ones that are as cheap as a dollar and there are ones that can cost thousands of dollars depending upon how scarce or rare they are. I bought a Kinks vinyl, it actually came with 2 records. It's called, "The Kinks, Everybody's in Show-Biz." Everyone who buys a record must use a turntable in order to the record to play. I am especially impressed with the album cover! I interviewed the General Manager of Princeton Record Exchange, Jonathan Lambert. In this video he will talk about the history of the store and what the business is about. Enjoy!

Princeton also has a variety of eateries and food stores that are very enticing. If you are coming right from the train, and you need a caffeine boost OR something to munch on, I would say to head right over to Small World Coffee located at 254 Nassau Street.
IMG_2501The baristas are very friendly and they give you a great cup of joe. IMG_2500 This place would be a great introduction to Princeton and would give you a sample of life there, even some of the college life since many students come and study while sipping a cup of joe. That is why this is the best place to start out as soon as one arrives in Princeton! There are several good places where you can get a bite to eat for lunch. Olives Gourmet Bakery and Deli located at 22 Witherspoon Street has a great selection for the health conscious. They have soups, salads, and typical Jersey subs. The other place you can go to is D'Angelo Italian Market located at 35 Spring Street. IMG_2515 This place has a variety of tasty Italian goods such as sandwiches, breads, and pastries. They also have typical grocery store items and did I mention that there is an entire freezer section with over 15 different types of ravioli!? In case you haven't noticed, I like pasta.

There are so many different shops and boutiques ranging from a Lacrosse store to a spice shop to clothing stores catering to any style.

The bottom line is this is a great day trip from NYC.

Yellow Rat Bastard... A Clothing Store Other Than the Norm

YRB store frontIf you want to piss off your teachers at school, you might want to check this place out.  The clothing store Yellow Rat Bastard is not the typical raunchy boardwalk logo shop, but it's not your regular clothing store either.  It is situated on Broadway right in the heart of Soho.  To get there, you can take the N,R train to Prince Street or the 6 train to Spring Street.  It can be a little hard to find at first.  All you have to do is look for three window panels that have open spaces in them.  There are three yellow signs on top of the window panels that have their logo, which is a dead rat.  When you walk inside, it looks like you are walking into a castle.  The place is very dark and is lit with old chandeliers.  There is a guy standing randomly to the left of the doorway awkwardly close to you.  I think he's there to monitor the flow of what comes in and out of the store.

Anyway, when you walk in there are several different articles of clothing, mainly T-shirts that have almost every design and logo you can think of, many of which are very explicit.  They have everything from heavy metal band covers, to a variety of designs. One example is a man painting a graffiti mural on the giant wall.  You can also see many different uses of swear words on shirts that sort of make fun of actual items.  I saw a shirt that had a picture which was similar to the person on an itunes gift card.  The  message said if**k instead of itunes.  That's how crazy this place is.  I have to say, this place will really appeal to teens like me.