TGI Fridays

By grace.g.yang · May 7, 2014
Under: American,Brooklyn,Desserts,Dinner

For Cinco de Mayo, Ken and I went to Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn to check out the grand opening of the newly renovated TGI Fridays. As you know, I’m usually not a huge fan of chain restaurants, but I did grow up eating Fridays and had my 16th birthday at the restaurant in Champaign, Illinois.

The restaurant in Sheepshead Bay was closed down due to Hurricane Sandy and they spent 18 months completely remodeling it:


It’s one of several locations that will feature the new design, including a large bar area where the bartenders do all kinds of tricks (including throwing a pint of beer in a coaster covered glass across the entire bar!):

There’s also an open kitchen so you can see, hear and smell your food being prepared. This one is right on the water so there is a great view for most tables.

The bar area is really open and has a great energy around it – the President of Fridays was telling me that when the restaurant reopened, the regulars all came back and the place was standing room only 30 minutes after it opened! I can definitely see why – there are flat screen televisions for all sports games, the staff and bartenders are friendly and knowledgeable about their drink menu (30 employees from the original Fridays ended up coming back to work there), and there are specials almost every night.

For the grand opening, they were passing h’ors d’oeuvres around – we sampled almost all of their new (to me) menu items, including the Thai pork tacos:


Ken liked the Thai pork tacos but it was a bit on the sweet side for me. I was a huge fan of the ahi tuna crisps, which were tuna slices on a tortilla chip with guacamole, a jalapeno, and cucumber wasabi ranch:


They were really generous with the slices of tuna and guacamole and it reminded me of something I’d eat at a high end sports bar in the city, not something I could find on the Fridays menu. I was happy to see my all time favorite Fridays appetizer, their potato skins:


These were much more crisp than I remember, which is probably due to the fact that they upgraded the type of potato that they use to deep fry. We could have had a whole platter for dinner. Ken and I also tried several different cocktails, including two recommendations from the really friendly servers. As a kid, I never had any of their alcoholic drinks and don’t remember their non-alcoholic shakes/smoothies, so I was really excited to try all of their new cocktails. I started out with the rum punch:


While Ken had the tropical berry mojito:


Ken’s mojito was refreshing and tasted very natural. The rum punch included a lot of different fruit purees and juices and was a bit too sweet to completely finish without getting a sugar headache.

We decided to sit down for dinner and enjoy the music from the DJ and watch the sunset:


Ken decided to order the Jack Daniel’s ribs and shrimp:


Ken ate the ribs as a kid and said they tasted just as good as he remembered. I thought the meat was flavorful and tender and sparingly used the Jack Daniel’s sauce. Ken, on the other hand, proceeded to dip all of his ribs in the sauce because that’s how much he liked it!

We sat by the kitchen and watched the chefs prepare all of the food:


It’s fun to listen to the bustle of the kitchen and to hear them call out orders – I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Fridays with the open kitchen but definitely liked how clean everything was.

I ordered the grilled chicken cobb salad:


Their chicken was well seasoned and drizzled with balsamic glaze. I thought the presentation was okay but I wish they would have cut up the bacon a bit more and made it easier to eat the salad by possibly putting everything in a larger bowl or just chopping it a bit. Otherwise, it was a good semi-healthy pick to make up for all the loaded potato skins I ate (minus that extra bacon!)

Ken liked his mojito so much that he ordered another:


The server brought the shaker to us since we were eating at a table instead of walking around the bar area:


I ordered the gold medalist, a non-alcoholic smoothie that included strawberries, coconut cream, grenadine, banana, and pineapple juice:


Another drink that was tasty but the grenadine and pineapple juice made it too sweet to drink along with dinner.

After dinner, we got to the best part of the meal: dessert. Ken had to order the Oreo madness:


And I ordered the Brownie skillet:


The Oreo madness was really good and had a really creamy and delicious Oreo ice cream in between a freshly crumbled Oreo cookie crust. Their president said that this was one of the menu items they upgraded; they now use real Oreo cookies and improved the quality of ice cream.

I was less impressed with the brownie skillet; the brownie I prefer is more on the fudge-y side with a nice crisp crust (Tartine Bakery in San Francisco, if you’re wondering where to get that kind of brownie). The ice cream on top of the brownie was really delicious, though, especially with the pecans and caramel sauce, but the brownie also had a layer of chocolate sauce and it was just too decadent for me to enjoy (especially since I had a Gold Medalist to help me wash everything down).

We really enjoyed the experience of dining at Friday’s again and both agreed we’d come back next time we are in the neighborhood (it is right by Marine Park Golf Course which Ken likes to play). Nothing like loaded potato skins, a few cocktails and an Oreo madness after a long day. We are happy to see that Fridays is back!

TGI Fridays on Urbanspoon

Sohha Savory Yogurt

By grace.g.yang · April 30, 2014
Under: Chelsea,Desserts,Mediterranean

Next stop on our day of fun was Chelsea Market, where we braved the touristy crowds for Sohha Savory Yogurt. Originally I wanted to get a savory yogurt for lunch (based off the amazing savory yogurt snacks they serve at Chobani) but Ken wanted something a little sweeter, so we settled on the plain yogurt at Sohha Savory Yogurt.

Sohha Savory Yogurt has a stand in the back of Chelsea Market close to One Lucky Duck and has one type of yogurt (plain Greek yogurt) that tastes great with savory spices sweets:


We ordered the yogurt with berries and pecans and they scooped it with an ice cream scoop (that’s how thick it is!):


Two scoops of their yogurt + berries and pecans = $8:


Slightly expensive for how much yogurt we got, but it was slightly tangy and very creamy (and very filling). We liked it a lot, but I think we prefer the Chobani toppings (and prices!)

Sohha Savory Yogurt on Urbanspoon


By grace.g.yang · April 28, 2014
Under: American,Burgers,California,Cheap Eats,Chelsea,My Life,Weekend Diet

Since I picked iced coffees for the first stop of “you pick, I pick”, Ken had to figure out where to go next on our Saturday adventure around the city. We ended up going to Bareburger for a quick afternoon snack. Neither of us were super hungry but wanted a small bite to eat – we shared a turkey Burger, California style, with spicy pickles, on a lettuce bun:


Spicy pickles:


I’ve only had Bareburger from Seamless (group lunches were always catered by Bareburger and I had a fondness for their sweet potato fries) but it was my first time going to their store. The burger was only ok – I think we shouldn’t have ordered the turkey (too lean for a burger!) but I was a big fan of their pickles. Ken thought they were a little too spicy (the spicier the better for me, please!) but we enjoyed our quick lunch at the counter.

After lunch, it was my turn to pick again – I picked Citipups to look at the cute puppies in the window and inside (there were three shiba inus there that day) The puppies were all so cute – we love looking at them…and not taking them home.

Bareburger on Urbanspoon

Toby’s Estate

By grace.g.yang · April 25, 2014
Under: American,Drinks,Flatiron,My Life,Weekend Diet

Over the weekend, it was so beautiful outside that Ken and I decided to enjoy the entire day outdoors. We started by playing our new favorite game, “you pick, I pick”, where we switch off picking what to do next. Since he suggested the game, I started with my first pick of the day – Toby’s Estate Coffee in our neighborhood:


We both ordered cold brewed coffees with a little room for milk (cream for me, skim for him) and we walked to the back area while sipping our coffees. The space is very open and is a Strand bookstore, flower shop, and all connected to Club Monaco on Fifth Avenue. The setup was very beautifully decorated – lots of fresh flowers, beautiful seating, and clothes on sale!



We’ll have to spend more time there on a lazy afternoon – it was definitely a good way to start “you pick, I pick” on a fun Saturday afternoon!

Toby's Estate on Urbanspoon

Glenview Dairy Bar

By grace.g.yang · April 23, 2014
Under: American,Cheap Eats,Chicago,Desserts,My Life

A few weeks ago, I was in Chicago for Angie’s bridal shower and to visit Ken’s family. Ken didn’t come with me because he was on a business trip in Florida – after Chicago, I flew directly to Miami directly and he flew from Orlando back to New York. We eventually reunited in New York a week later, but not before I went to Glenview Dairy Bar with Ken’s family. Ken grew up eating Glenview Dary Bar’s soft serve every summer and always talks about it, but this was my first trip to the Dairy Bar. They are closed during the harsh winters and their opening day is such a big deal that people literally camp out to be the first person in line on opening day. Even though it was very chilly out, the lines were still very long:


Charley was especially excited for their soft serve and opted for the vanilla soft serve with sprinkles:


I ordered the vanilla soft serve with a dark chocolate dip and a rainbow crunch (I can’t remember the exact name and it’s escaping Ken’s mind as well):


Charley and I sent this to Ken to make him jealous:


The soft serve is very creamy and not too sweet – the dip actually makes it difficult to enjoy the soft serve and the crunch is a little too crunchy and sweet for me. I can’t wait to go back to the suburbs with Ken to enjoy it again – this time, I’m getting the soft serve without dip and maybe just sprinkles.

Glenview Dairy Bar on Urbanspoon

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