Sunday, November 13, 2011

NEW Restaurant Review: Slightly Oliver

I attended the friends and family preview of the new restaurant/mixology bar Slightly Oliver on October 27th and the official public opening was this past Tuesday. The people running the joint have a lot of experience in the industry: Stanton DuToit (Owner, Tolani Wine Restaurant), food by chefs Luis Ulloa (Tolani) and Jason Hicks (Jones Wood Foundry) and cocktails by Orson Salicetti and Albert Trummer (both from Apotheke, Theater Bar). The theme is a "cocktail gastropub," the only one to currently exist.

500 Amsterdam Avenue, NYC
The venue used to be Bar Luna but was completely transformed into it's own unique, environment complete with a mini-distillation system made of delicate glass, for art purposes only of course *wink.* As I walked in I was promptly greeted by a beautiful hostess who escorted me to the bar, where I'm most comfortable. My seat allowed me to get a bird's eye view at all the action. Within about twenty minutes of my arrival, the place was packed and everyone was in a celebratory mood congratulating the owners and staff.

The overall look is more "modern-gastropub" than the original English pubs I have been too. Dark, "new" wood is the general theme of the venue and seating for dinner is plenty with more private dining towards the back. I can see people getting real cosy back there late night.

The preview went very well, it was open bar and open food for everyone in attendance. I tried a few things off the menu: the foie gras, which was out of this world with a slight hint of cumin, I think. The spare ribs were beyond delicious and the meat just fell off the bone with a savory sauce.

The cocktails were all pre-batched, mixology punches by Mr. Salicetti in beautiful, large glass containers on the bar top allowing us to watch the fruit-fusions in action and providing a beautiful presentation. The punches were tasty and ranged from sweet, sour, neutral and spicy.

Sailor, Bollywood & Virgin Island
The staff were extremely excited about the opening and took great care to re-fill waters, smile and were knowledgeable on both the cocktail and food menu - you could tell they were well-trained. The cocktail menu will feature classic cocktails from the prohibition era all the way up to modern time.

The fashion: it was a rare, cold night in the city for the Fall so everyone had on their best winter attire: fashionable scarfs, boots, jackets, hats - these are making a huge comback with men - and leggings/stockings for the women.
Foie Gras

By the end of the night I was pretty tipsy -- shocker -- and didn't realize I had been there for three hours, time flew right by. On a scale of one to ten, I give Slightly Oliver a solid 9. I look forward to going back and trying the permanent cocktails and would recommend this place to anyone looking for a more sophisticated atmosphere where you can sip cocktails, listen to some indie-music and all while enjoying a solid meal.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Yerba Buena and São Organic Cachaça

I attended the "Secret Society Mixer" at Yerba Buena in the East Village this past Tuesday night. The private invite said it would be featuring complimentary appetizers and São Organic Cachaça caipirinhas. The Yerba's are known to be mixology/foodie venues so that coupled with the tempting appetizers and caipirinha's was a party I wasn't going to miss. Unfortunately, I am not able to tell you too much about the food as I only managed to get a quick bite of some quacamole, I can tell you it was on point though. By the time I arrived the event was in full swing and everyone was mingling and cocktailing, it was nice to come into a buzzing party.

Street view
The crowd was a cool mix of New Yorkers, you could tell everyone was a New Yorker by the way no one even blinked an eye when someone new walked in the room. Mind you, the space is small, think the size of a living room stretched out longways. Only a New Yorker can ignore someone that is smack in the middle of their personal space. After a while I managed to get into some interesting conversations and exchange business cards.

The fashion was upscale, I didn't see any hipsters for some strange reason, they're usually everywhere! The women wore nice dresses, heels and the men were in suits with ties, not all but quite a few - very MAD MEN type of vibe. Basically what I figured for this venue. I have dined here before so it was nice to find out about this secret room with the "secret mixer."

On to the cocktails...caipirinhas! I am huge fan of caipirinhas, for that matter a huge fan of anything Brazilian. Pronounced kaip-i-rheena, it's the national cocktail of Brazil. It's made with limes, sugar, cachaça and ice. The Brazilians use crushed ice and serve the cocktail with the limes in it, Yerba's mixologist did the same making them authentic.

I've had caipirinhas with other cachaças and I've noticed a burning in my throat, with the organic cachaça, São, I didn't get this. It tasted clean and pure, real smooth - like a lemonade. Therefore, if you care about cocktails and quality, opt for the organic cachaça in your caipirinhas, it's definintely worth it.

São Organic Cachaça
Cachaça is pronounced ka-sha-sa and is similar to rum in that they are both derived from sugar cane. The difference is that cachaça is made from pure sugar cane juice while rum is made from molasses. The organic property of this cachaça (São) has to do with the sugar cane field, which is free of pesticides and chemicals and allowing the sugar cane flavor to come through.

The spirit is produced and distilled in Horizontina, Brazil in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. Fun fact!: Horizontina is the birthtown of Gisele Bundchen; therefore, if you drink São Organic Cachaça you will shortly thereafter turn into a gorgeous supermodel... psych!

It's nice to go into a venue and see a varitey of artisanal spirits and not just the main-stream, mass brands. This is a hint to the back of the house and the products and ingredients they choose. If they take great care in choosing quality spirits, they're doing the same in the kitchen.

Yerba mixologist
Back to the event...when I arrived I felt very special as I was escorted by a lovely gentleman down tiny wooden stairs, through a skinny candle lit hallway and into the secret mixer. The restaurant has an atmosphere and design that makes you feel at home, down to the friendly staff. Note to venues: this is so important and it's sad that many have forgotten to be nice to everyone who comes into your establishment, it makes such a difference and makes us want to return. In any case, it felt nice to be treated special here.

The space is perfect for intimate cocktail parties such as this one or birthday dinners. I can see it becoming a fan favorite during the colder months as it's very cozy and warm. I loved the mix of cocktail party happening downstairs while the upstairs was a buzzing restaurant with people dining and drinking. As my friend would say it was "poppin."

Yerba is planning to hold the secret mixers once a month and I'm hoping to make the cut again. If not, the environment was good enough to make me crave wanting to make a reservation and bring a sexy date to canoodle with.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Summer Cocktail Soiree

Had some good times Tuesday night at White & Church in TriBeCa and some serious cocktailing activity. Thank you to the fun people who came out and got tipsy with me! Also, thank you to the various blogs/party sites that posted the invite, I see you...

Guest of a Guest -- Socially Superlative -- The Fabulous Report|Nylon -- Fully Booked -- The Print Up|NYC Event List -- All Things A New York Girl Needs -- Beauty and Events.

After all the boozing, I finally managed to take pictures of some of the fabulousness that was hanging out:

Ivy Pascual, Jamie Jimenez

Laurene Williams, Leslie Faison, Lisa Chappell

Caroline, Ilona Tykotski

Mina Jovanovska, Tracey

Katerina Makris, Olga Faldamis

The "original" tipsy girls: Melonie Diaz, Renata Paternoster (Bday girl!), Nadia Chante, Kristin Cruz

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Come Get Tipsy With Me

My invite below got alot of play on various blog boards/party sites and alot of RSVP's, thank you! Hope to see some of you party people tonight. XO -tg

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Bar, Some Drinks & An Elephant

Just when I thought I’ve seen everything in the city, out pops a 5000 pound baby elephant named Minnie just hanging out front of Theater Bar in TriBeCa this past Thursday night. The elephant was part of a  “Bombay” theme party sponsored by Bombay Sapphire, in fact they provided the STAR complete with brand signage hanging down both sides of her. Naturally, I was concerned the elephant was being a little abused sitting out there all night so I investigated and found her to be well-fed and really loved by her two trainers (they gave her lots of XOXO's). She probably had fun being out of her usual environment for a little excitement. Check out the cutie below in my amatuer street video complete with my nonsense babble...