As spoken in the voice of Sean Connery – “When you dine with The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen you expect a feast of legendary proportions. No fussy appetizers or namby pamby minuscule entrees. Men of adventure demand large portions of mouth watering meat and the finest whiskeys to wash them down with. Trebek – your mother enjoyed a fine piece of meat last night too!”
I have always wanted to enjoy a meal at Keens Steakhouse with the company of good friends who appreciate a delicious slab of meat, a quality drink, and historic surroundings. Just walking into the front lobby you are greeted by a selection of age old pipes that belonged to iconic figures from the past – Abraham Lincoln, John Barrymore, Teddy Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, General Douglas MacArthur, Albert Einstein, and many others. These clay pipes can be viewed all long the ceilings and walls of Keens, as they own the world’s largest collection of churchwarden pipes in the world – close to 90,000. Each room at Keens breathes history and the past is well preserved here. Dark woods, brass accents, and old paintings adorn the walls. A bit decadent – yes – but modernly casual at the same time as there is no dress code here. Come as you are and be prepared for a meal among the ghosts of the past.
Living on the Upper East Side in NYC offers it’s pro’s and con’s. There is an abundance of bars and restaurants up here to choose from. It has more of a residential “neighborhoody” feel up here as compared to the concrete jungle vibe of midtown, or the crazy party scene of the Lower East Side. Sure, maybe it’s not as much of a nightlife destination spot as downtown is, but we like living up here just the same. Plus, the opportunities to find decent apartments to live in with lower rents are a worthy of checking this part of town out. Now, with the MTA smack dab in the middle of the Second Ave subway construction project underway we have seen an influx of new trendy bars, restaurants, and businesses open up within the past year. From what we have heard many more are on the way. Just hope the rents won’t go through the roof here when all is completed.
I swear the Upper East Side area that I live in will the the death of me. It seems as if Yorkville is quickly becoming a foodie hot spot north of 80th street. As much as I try to keep on a sensible eating plan along with frequent stints in the gym, the food in this hood now is like a bad habit! Sure, I love good food, and it doesn’t have to be all fancy-schmancy. I don’t have to pass the Grey Poupon to enjoy a good meal. Just give me some solid tasty vittles along with good service in a clean environment and I am a happy camper.
It seems as if we are receiving an influx of bars and restaurants popping up here, with more on the way from reports I have read. With the Second Ave Subway line getting closer to completion (planned for a 2016 opening) there are a bunch of new hot spots that have recently opened, and a few more I have passed by that are close to opening. When this new subway line arrives I gather we will see many more new businesses come up this way and take root. After all, we do have one of the most heavily populated residential areas in Manhattan, along with an ever growing younger crowd and gay community. It’s not just an area that has been falsely stereotyped as being where all the older generation lives. It’s way more diverse than that now. Plus, it’s still one of the more affordable areas to find an apartment in the city. Just head east of Lexington Ave closer to 2nd and 1st Avenues and there are deals to be found. Sure, it still needs some work around here, but it’s up and coming. Part of me hopes that it stays a secret and hidden gem!
We who live here in New York love to go out to eat. It’s one of our pastimes that we all adhere to. Brunch has become a rite of passage. We mostly know that we can save a boat full of cash by cooking at home with more regularity, but then that means having to actually go out grocery shopping, preparing and cooking the actual meals, and then having to clean up the mess we make. It just seems easier to head out to one of the bazillion eateries and cafes that inhabit our fair city to enjoy a meal served to us. With the diverse amount of food stuffs offered here in our melting pot we have a cultural smorgasbord to choose from. No muss, no fuss.
Then again, along with the pleasantries of dining out there are the pitfalls that go along with it. Fellow obnoxious diners alongside you can easily ruin a nice meal. Restaurants can drive us batty with their rules and regulations. Clueless wait staff makes one want to scream. There are just so many to choose from! I give to you my fellow frustrated diners a list of rants & ravings based on my observations and experiences over my many years of dining out.