Monday, August 20, 2012

BIKE like a New Yorker

Look! No Hands!   
My friend recently let me borrow his bike so I took it for a spin.  It's insane biking in Gotham, but drivers (sortof) give you space and no one honked at me, so I feel like I did pretty good.  I was really nervous at 1st, but once you get into the flow of traffic it's just balls-to-the-wall and you're OFF! Here are a few of the photographs I took with my iphone.
Straight downhill on the Queensboro Bridge.
(after pedaling uphill of course)
(^__^)
 Overlooking the East River
 Freedom Tower
 √ out the BIKE! 
 Freedom Tower
 34 and 5th Avenue at the Empire State Building
 Jersey City and the Hudson River where Sully landed the plane.
Above is a map of my bike-map.  I used the RunKeeper App, but you can also make it so it keeps track of your bicycling.  I did about 19 miles in 1 hour and 40 minutes.  Not to shabby for my 1st time out. 

until next time,

~Country Boy 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Braves take New York

 My boy who sells tickets owed me a favor.  Favors are an ideal creative force here in Manhattan.  Often leverage or doing things for others will enable you to get more in the long run than charging them money.  Basically what goes around comes right back around.  We've all heard it for years.   
I took the 7 train to the game from Grand Central Terminal for $2.25. 
There's BIGGIE SMALLS on the right flanked by a plethora of random graffiti.
NYC in the background shot from the 7 train. 
The building with the 45 degree angle is the Citigroup Center at  601 Lexington Avenue.
Jamie Kennedy threw the opening pitch.  Ironic considering I'm a Kennedy as well. 
 It was a gorgeous night in Gotham for a baseball game.  The Mets fans were pretty nice considering I had on a bright RED Atlanta Braves jersey at CitiField.  I even met a few North Carolinians who had driven up from Raleigh to watch the 3 game series. (fellow Braves fans)   It was a father and his 9 year old son.  Sorta made my night.
 Left Fielder Atlanta Braves
There's my favorite baseball player of all-time Chipper Jones.
I've seen the Braves play 4 times in NYC.  Twice against the Yankees and twice against the Mets.  And every. single. game. he has gone Oh for whatever.  I have never seen Chipper get a hit or even on base in all the times I have watched him play.  I was literally sitting right next to 3rd base so I watched stalked him all night.  I even screamed at him a few times and called him Larry, his real name,  if you can imagine that.  The Braves lost the game though they had won the 2 games prior.  It sticks, but that's life sometimes.  Ya can't win em' all ya know? 
There's the kid's hat from North Carolina.  He was okay with the loss.  The kid took it in stride. 
"A child shall lead them" so they say....
We got beat. 
:-( 
Roger McDowell- 86' World Champion with the Mets.
and was the winning pitcher in the deciding Game 7. His major league record of decisions was 70 wins and 70 losses.  He's currently the Atlanta Braves Pitching Coach.
After the photo he told me he sucked in his belly on that one.  Made me LMBO.


until next time,

~Country Boy 



Sunday, August 12, 2012

Six Flags-5 Guyz

Six Flags New Jersey is an awesome place to take your family and friends.  With the constant pressure of NYC, it was a pleasure getting out and we really appreciated Sebastian driving.  We did the Flash-Pass after we entered the park.  It enables you to pass everyone in line.  They give you this electronic device you carry with your group all day and you literally make reservations on it, thus enabling you to pass everyone when you get to your destination roller coaster.  One of the absolute best decisions we made of the day.
 Behold SIX FLAGS!! 
 Batmobile 
I've been in NYC for nearly a decade and during that time I've developed a core group of amazing friends.  Real friends who do what they say and say what they do.  We are all 5 from different ethnic backgrounds and that's what makes us so unique.  We never dwell on our differences, we dwell on our similarities, like ROLLER COASTERS!
Abiy Paulos,(left) next Fits Netsanet, Country Boy, Josh Fernandez(right)
 We're all a little pensive prior to boarding the roller coasters.  5 grown men scared crap-less.  As New Yorkers we like to think we can handle just about anything thrown at us.  We are extreme men who indulge, play, and work our asses off, so a roller coaster should be easy right?  
NO, but it was a lot of fun.  
They wanted an arm and a leg for a picture, so we worked out a system.  A few guys would distract the computer operator while I snapped a few pics they posted.  Our "system" worked out just fine as you can see.  
 This was my favorite....BIZARRO!! It had water and fire flames and upside down turns and twists w/ a huge drop-off.  NUTS! 
 SUPERMEN!
Meet NITRO!
Yep, that's right good ol' Pat Benatar was performing at 6 Flags. 
 These were the prizes they were giving away if you hit your free throw.  I thought it was cool that Six Flags in New Jersey was giving away North Carolina Tar-heel basketballs as prizes.
 Red Tailed Boa named Sally...11 years old 6 1/2 feet long. 
Reminded me of HE-MAN
 THE BULL
3 Stooges.
I hit my free-throw.
(only took 6 shots!)

Six Flags in NJ is serious fun.  We all brought Coke cans and saved $20 bucks a person.  If you ever get a chance to go to Six Flags in NJ, please do. 


until next time,

~Country Boy 

Friday, August 10, 2012

BK: Man on a Mission

Ben Kacmarcik is a man on a mission.  A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, he's an up and coming celebrity chef who was recently featured on the Food Network's hit show Chef Wanted.  He placed second and I honestly think it was the editing b/c you could tell who they wanted to win. I've been on many sets and I've seen it done many times.  Ben was robbed but I'm glad he didn't win, b/c now he has taken it upon himself to implement his order of operations and systems at another amazing New York City restaurant.   
That restaurant is Ilili
(Here's a sneak peak at the interior.  I don't want to show you too much, you need to GO.)
 Tucked just under the Flatiron Building at 236 5th Avenue we have Ilili.  A Mediterranean marvel located right in the heart of Manhattan.  They boast a magnificent cocktail list that includes a Poison Sumac Margarita and a NOT SO Bloody-Mary that appears clear when served.   Also, they have a plethora of spices from all over the globe, thus allowing Ben's creativity to shine through on the plate.  
(facing South)
There's the Flatiron Building in the back. 
Cocktail List:
Fresh Meadow  gin / st. germain / mint / cucumber / ginger 
Poison Sumac Margarita tequila / orange liqueur pomegranate juice / lime 
Phoenician Lemonade citrus vodka / orange liqueur / mint lemon / orange blossom 
St. Germain Cocktail cava / elderflower liqueur 
From Beirut with Passion basil cilantro mint infused vodka sparkling passion fruit 
Black & Blue Bubbles blackberry sorbet / stoli blueberry vodka / cava
Ilili is 3 blocks North of The Flatiron Building.
I had the Poison Sumac Margarita and it was great.  It had a kick of spice and wasn't too strong.  Just enough to take the edge-off during a lunch break in New York.  Also they have really great Natural Sparkling water.   Simple yet very effective. 
For starters we had the Baba Ghannouj with eggplant / tahini / olive oil and a few pomegranate seeds for topping.  This is served with in-house freshly made pita.  It is one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth and I've been all over the world.   Ben is doing an incredible job at executing his vision.  He sees himself as the grease that makes the engine run properly and smoothly.  Ben incorporates a step-by-step approach.  He's a cohesive unit inside the insane restaurant world of Manhattan.  
Black Iron Shrimp jalapeno / garlic / cilantro
This dish is a great way to start your meal, especially if you're sharing.  Sharing is caring and that's the philosophy at Ilili.  The ambiance is warm and engaging and you can tell the place is ran by people who care and who aren't corporate drones.  NYC is slowly being taken over and it's nice to see something like Ilili do well and remain successful in the City.   
THE STAR of the SHOW
Here we have the Branzino Escabeche served with tomato / basil / radish and red onions in a light tomato fumet broth.  Yes, this tasted just as great as it looks.  
 Finally we have the Pistachio Financier with banana ice cream / tahini fluff and topped with a sugar croquant.  I can't tell you how many restaurants I've been to in NYC and this one is one of the best I have ever been to.  The atmosphere is perfect and they basically have no competition; if you want fresh ingredients, a warm ambiance with great drinks and good food then go to Ilili.  Ben Kacmarcik is doing amazing things on the scene with his implementation of an organic and natural approach.  Ben is going to take partial responsibility with turning Ilili into a brand.  They are looking to grow, and fast.  I see Ilili having a sister location opening up sometime soon.  Maybe in a neighborhood near YOU!
Ben said, "If I'm is going anywhere....it's too far."


go to Ilili, 

~Country Boy 

236 5th Avenue
27th Street
New York, NY
10001
(T) 212.683.2929


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