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Holiday Survival Guide: Best New Bars of 2013

December 15th, 2013 No Comments

Mary Rambin Drinking a Beer

When I go home over the holidays, I like to try the new hot spots all of my friends have been raving about. Thrillist just posted this list that includes bars from all over the country.  They rarely lead me astray, so if you see your city, give their rec a shot!

Click here to read the full article with descriptions of each place.

Atlanta

Austin

  • CRAFT PRIDE
    What you’re getting: A Jester King seasonal
  • WHISLER’S
    What you’re getting: The Dealer’s Choice

Cambridge, MA

  • BEAT HÔTEL
    What you’re getting: A VFW Old Fashioned

Charleston, NC

THE RAREBIT
What you’re getting: Moscow Mule with homemade Sweatman’s ginger beer

Chicago

  • BILLY SUNDAY
    What you’re getting: Fernet & Cola
  • THREE DOTS AND A DASH
    What you’re getting: Poipu Beach Boogie Board; a Treasure Chest (if you’re a baller and/or shot-caller)
  • PUNCH HOUSE
    What you’re getting: Dusek Punch

Dallas

Houston

Las Vegas

  • VELVETEEN RABBIT
    What you’re getting: The Crucifix in a Deathhand; the Burning Bush

Los Angeles

  • NO VACANCY
    What you’re getting: A delicious gin cocktail
  • HONEYCUT
    What you’re getting: Any drink on their extensive list; the Toucan Sam if they’ve got it

Louisville

  • EL CAMINO
    What you’re getting: Whatever sweet tiki drink Susie Hoyt wants to make you

Miami

  • DROGERIE
    What you’re getting: The Pain Killer

Milwaukee

Minneapolis

Nashville

  • PINEWOOD SOCIAL
    What you’re getting: The Honesty of Constant Human Error

New Orleans

New York

  • TØRST
    What you’re getting: A beer you’ve never heard of before that’s probably been barrel-aged
  • DEAD RABBIT
    What you’re getting: Morning Reviver
  • AMERICAN WHISKEY
    What you’re getting: Remember the Maine

Oakland

Portland

San Diego

San Francisco

  • TRICK DOG
    What you’re getting: Eye of the Tiger
  • MIKKELLER BAR
    What you’re getting: A crazy sour beer you’ve never heard of

Seattle

Washington DC

  • 2 BIRDS 1 STONE
    What you’re getting: The Daily Punch
  • BLUEJACKET
    What you’re getting: James & the Giant; the Stroppy pale ale

 

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Check out your new favorite taco, NYC.

November 7th, 2013 No Comments

Screen Shot 2013-11-07 at 9.15.03 AM

 

You will find it here:

Ottos Tacos ExteriorOttos Tacos Loca

Specifically at 141 Second Ave between St. Mark’s and 9th.  You know, where tons of great chefs are opening up their casual counterparts.  In this grab-n-go taqueria, you’ll find these guys (Chef on the left, my long time friend Otto on the right):

Otto and Chef Jose

Serving up this seeming simple but blow your mind flavorful menu (click to enlarge):

Ottos Tacos Menu

 

Don’t get dressed up or wear heels cause you’re walking in starving and taking tacos out to devour.  There are a few seats, but I expect once word gets out, they’ll fill up fast.

When you go, tell Otto I sent you and give hime a big hug for me!

Very proud of you my man.

Mary Rambin Otto's Tacos

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“Where should we go for dinner tonight?”

September 13th, 2013 No Comments

Thrillist iPhone App

 

When the questions arises, I can NEVER think of the places on my wish list or Eater’s hit list.  No more guessing or driving around in circles with the new Thrillist iPhone app.  

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YSL’s new SoHo “boutique”

June 11th, 2013 No Comments

20130611-091029.jpg

Last week YSL opened the doors to its new block wide boutique on Green Street in SoHo.  Unfortunately I rolled up to inspect the space after it closed, but my instincts tell me we’re not missing anything.

The walls are lined with bags we’ve seen.  There isn’t a big selection of clothing…. And don’t get me started on their shoes and bags. Both have gone the way of closet “staples” instead of jaw-droppers.  I used to wear new YSL pieces with pride, now I don’t really consider the brand much anymore.

After Stefano Pilati was fired as creative director (and soon found a home at Zegna), Heidi Slimane was promoted to the position.  The fact that he was previously the head of menswear doesn’t give me hope he’ll bring glamour back to the brand.

We shall see my fashionista friends…

Next time you’re in SoHo I would think the new Kirna Zabete that every press outlet is raving about would be a better destination for you.

 

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Alert: East Coast Queen Rocks Out West Hollywood

May 13th, 2013 No Comments

Janet Fitzgerald SoulCycle

Ok LA, get ready for a treat.  It’s better than a green juice.  Better than a 10 minute hand stand.  Seriously, Janet Fitzgerald is one of the Queen bees up here in NYC rocking out the SoulCycle studios.   She kicks my butt on an doff the bike and all I have to say is “More, please!”  Not to mention, people pay $80 bucks a pop to ride with her for 45 minutes.

Her mixes are a little rock, a little dubstep, a little remix, and A LOT sexy.  I didn’t even realize a jog could be sexy until I took her class.

So whip up your green protein smoothie and then get on your computer  to book a bike with her in West Hollywood.  You really need to click at 12pm PST today.  Otherwise I’m sure the bikes will be gone.*  You can sign up for:

  • Friday May 17th at 11:30am
  • Saturday May 18th at 9:30am & 10:45am
  • Sunday May 19th at 9:30a

Do it, rock it, love it.  Thank me later.

*If the classes are sold out, you can always get on the waitlist and show up.  They usually get a good number of people in to ride.  I do it all the time!

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Are new, trendy NYC restaurants worth the $$

April 25th, 2013 No Comments

Eleven Madison Park Tasting Menu Vegetarian

You look at a dish like this and you’re thinking “Absolutely!”

Well, there’s more than meets the eye in this case.

The mushroom delishiousness you see before you was created by Chef Daniel Humm at Eleven Madison Park, one of New York’s FINEST restaurants.  Every single bite in his tasting menu BLEW MY MIND, as I expected it would and the price tag would suggest it should. Let’s see another plate shall we?

Eleven Madison Park Tasting Menu Carrots

Fresh ground raw carrots with flavors on the side.  They suggest you mix them all in.  Here you see the waiter grinding the carrots in a meat grinder at our table.  Such a unique presentation.  And each course delivered more of a production!

Eleven Madison Park Tasting Menu 3

After 8 or so courses, I  understand why EMP (as the foodies call it) is an NYC institution.  The vaulted, yellow-lit dining room is beyond stuffy, but I forgave that after I could not stop raving about the second course.

However, such overwhelming satisfaction was not the case with my experience at Humm’s new-ish, trendy outpost – The NoMad - where his famous $80 roasted chicken left me bored and hitting the door without dessert.  As many foodies tell me, I’m crazy for making this claim (the chicken made Jerry Seinfeld cry apparently), but my taste buds, my money, my disappointment.

So how do you know if you the restaurant everyone is talking about is worth fighting for a reservation, possibly sitting down at a ridiculous hour (6:30pm or 10pm), and then paying what seems like an arm and a leg for your dinner?  The answer is:  you just don’t know.  What I can give you is your best bet: follow the restauranteur/hospitality group you love, not just the chef.

In my recent travels and current stint in NYC, I’ve tried a handful of new restaurants, all of which received winning reviews from either publications or my foodie friends.  Some lived up to their accolades, others did not.  What I should have used to decipher whether or not I should go after the referral was their previous venues.  You’ll see how the role of the hospitality group plays out in my personal winners and losers below.

ABC Kitchen – Winner

Just like the NoMad, everyone and their mother can’t get enough of Jean-Georges‘ Chelsea restaurant helmed by Chef Dan Kluger.  JG is a bit of unique case because he’s a chef and restauranteur.

I’ve eaten at ABC twice now and cannot wait until my next visit!  Kluger delivers the freshest farm-to-table food in Manhattan in the most delightful way.  His food is intricate without being unapproachable.  Coupled with the beautifully-appointed dining room, dim lighting (a must for me!), creative wine list, and celeb scene, ABC Kitchen makes for the perfect NYC dining experience.

ABC Kitchen Tuna20130425-054318.jpgABC Kitchen fishABC Kitchen FennelABC Kitchen cookies

Even the chocolate chip cookies were so unique I ordered another plate to take home!

AG Kitchen – Loser

AG Kitchen tacos

I hate wasting my time to write about this new Upper West Side taco, burger, pub, diner, whatever they want to call it.  But I will just to warn you, DON’T GO!  A friend referred me so we went last week for a quick bite.  The service was slow, the staff uninformed about the preparations, the food itself was overcooked and cold, and the drinks were hardly existant because the bartender rarely came around to ask us what we wanted or needed. And we were sitting at the bar!  It was so bad I felt the need to speak with the manager (very politely) at which point she insisted we not go elsewhere, but instead we should stay and she would send us out a bunch of food.  At this point, we’re starving, so we stayed and waited for what seemed like forever before this buffet of bites came out.  Honestly, it was just as bad as the first round we had ordered.  I really wanted to like it because she was so nice, but bottom line, the food was terrible.

Saxon + Parole – Winner

Saxon + Parole

This East Village hot spot is everything I want in a New York City dining experience:  interesting decor, a variety of food at a range of prices, a moderate-sized bar with interesting bartenders serving up inventive cocktails, and a lively, intimate scene.  I usually prefer to eat at the bar by myself or with one other person instead of the dining room, so the bar is a big deal for me.

Saxon + Parole Bar

When I found out that the venue was opened by the same hospitality group as one of my favorite spots Public, it made sense why I liked it so much.  They have the formula down!  And most importantly, the food is solid.

Fish at Saxon + Parole

 

John Dory – Loser

As a person who doesn’t like The Breslin due to it’s very pork-centric menu, I should have known that an oyster bar/raw fish restaurant opened by the same chef would probably not be a place I would want to eat.  I like fish, but usually not raw.  And I hate oysters and lobster.  I’m not sure why we walked in and sat down….probably had something to do with the young crowd inside and the variety of beers on tap.

If you like all of those things, I suggest you go.  However, I caution you, the prices seem high for the small slivers of fish that are put down in front of you.

For more great places to eat in NYC, click here!

(Full disclosure: no media rates were extended for these reviews.  John Dory photos not mine, click the image to link to the original source.)

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My workout regimen is based on location, location, location.

April 15th, 2013 6 Comments

Mary Rambin exercise 2013

@JaclynDayBlog tweet

As a matter of fact I have!  But that could have been 3 years ago…after so many years of blogging I lose track :)

If you’ve been following me through those years, you know I’ve moved a handful of times – New York, LA, Houston, Mexico, Atlanta.  As much as I would like to take my workout with me as I bounce around, I can’t because of the facilities and studios specific to each city.   In some ways that’s good so I don’t get burned out and my body doesn’t become accustomed to a routine.  As we all know, one of the most important parts of changing our bodies and getting stronger is challenging your body.

The basis of my workout is always the same:  cardio, weights/strength, aerobic/zone 3 heart rate/fat burning days, yoga.  How I accomplish those things is based on where I am and my heart rate goal for the day (cardio = zone 4-5 for 1 hour, fat burn = zone 3 1 hour).  Here is an approximate breakdown of what I do where.  If you click the links, you’ll get more details on what my workouts entail.

New York

  • SoulCycle – 3 days a week = cardio
  • Blink/Equinox – 2 days a week = weights + zone 3
  • Yoga – 1 day a week (haven’t found a studio here yet)

To answer Jaclyn’s question, SoulCycle isn’t enough FOR ME because it misses 2 major muscle groups (chest and back) during the arm segment and doesn’t allow for building muscle with heavy weights.  However, the arm section is amazing to tone your shoulders, biceps, and triceps.

Los Angeles

  • SoulCycle – 2 days a week= cardio
  • Runyon Canyon – 2 days a week = 1 day cardio, 1 day zone 3
  • Equinox – weights or group fitness classes (they have THE BEST!), 1 day yoga

**I still haven’t figured out my scheduling of these yet.

Houston

Atlanta

Mexico

  • My beach workouts – 3 days a week = 1 day cardio, 2 day zone 3
  • Gym – 2-3 days a week = weights + cardio
  • P90x – weights, resistance bands, 1 days a week = weights
  • Yoga DVD (haven’t found a favorite yet)

Traveling

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Justifying the cost of gyms and finding an affordable one in NYC

April 8th, 2013 No Comments

blink fitness gym new york

In the comments section of a recent post, a reader asked very politely, “how do you afford fancy things?”  She was referring to my Tom Ford sunglasses.  My answer to her: I bought them with a credit I had from years ago.  Otherwise, TF shades aren’t something I would splurge on in the middle of a cross-country move.

My umbrella answer is: I’m smart about how I shop.  I don’t buy TONS of shoes or clothes.  I buy NICE pieces OCCASIONALLY and I wear them for a long time.

The cost of my fitness regemin falls under its own category.

Exercise is critical to my health and well-being.  It makes me stronger in more ways than just physical.  How can I put a price tag on that?  Well, the answer is, I don’t, the gym/trainer/studio does, right?  So let’s break this down:

I spend at least 5 days a week at the gym and take classes.  If you consider the cost of a personal trainer can be $50-$125 a pop, or a private studio class is $20-$35, then spending $100 (or more!) on a gym membership doesn’t seem so bad.  If we’re going to get technical about costs, I taught spinning at gyms to avoid membership fees and also take on fitness studios I love as clients and barter work for classes.  (This by no means makes them free, trust me!)

Now you know I’ve also shelled out for a trainer.  Cederick was more than just a trainer for me.  He was a light in my life.  (See our workouts here.) At the time, I was making more money in Houston and could afford him.  Due to his cost, I didn’t eat out a lot or buy shoes.  Is this making sense?  Ced made me happier than things, so that’s where I put my money.

Moving back to NYC for the next two months I was concerned about what my gym situation would be.  SoulCycle classes are not enough to maintain my level of fitness.  (That’s just personal preference.)  Oddly enough, having an Equinox membership in LA does not allow me entry or even a discount to use one of the many facilities in NYC.  So I was thinking I would have to finagle something at Crunch or NYSC for the next two months to get some lifting in.  Thankfully, that didn’t prove to be the case.  Blink gyms, owned by Equinox, are fully-equipped, clean, gyms with a monthly rate of $20!  When I heard about them, I couldn’t believe it!  That is insane for New York.  So I went in and blink had everything I needed.  They don’t offer classes, but they have 2 or 3 of every machine and it’s super clean. SOLD!

I believe that fitness provides us with so much more than just a physical benefit.  I think if you’re reading my blog, you agree with me.  I’m with you that it stinks to make it a line item in our monthly budget, but it’s worth it on so many levels.  And since you’re paying for it, find something you actually enjoy instead of making it yet more “work” in your life.  If you look hard enough, there will be a “blink” opportunity for you wherever you are.

 

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