Why Is Javelina Tex-Mex NYC’s Hottest Restaurant Right Now?

Just when you think you might have at least a tiny understanding of New York City's restaurant scene, WHAMMO, along comes a spot like Javelina. Let me explain. Javelina opened last week in a modest space just east of Union Square (an area not hurting for places to eat and drink), with fairly attractive decor, and a deliberately un-revolutionary menu of Tex-Mex standards, like Nachos and Enchiladas, Quesadilla and Fajitas, all priced kind of high. Sounds ok, maybe worth checking out, but nothing really quickening your pulse, right? And yet from day one until right this second, Javelina has been seriously mobbed, the bar up front turning people away because they literally are out of room, the tables in the back commanding hours-long waits.   

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Spring Cleaning 2015: Tips for NYC Apartments

Truth be told, I'm not much a cleaner. I mean, I've never hired a cleaning women (or man) to wash down and tidy up any of my apartments over my many years here in New York City, so I'm very familiar with, for example, getting down on my knees and scrubbing a toilet. (Nor have I ever had a dishwasher, but I can Zen-out while doing that chore and really don't mind it at all.) That said, it takes a LOT for me to tackle those huge organizing, de-cluttering, deep-cleaning projects that can really make a difference in the way you feel about your home. So every spring, along with a big chunk of the rest of the city, I turn to the internet (it used to be books) for inspiration, to try and motivate and get at least one large job done before it gets too warm out and all I want to do is hit the beach. Here then, are some good things I found this year; if you have any other and better ideas, please let us know in the comments…        

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Paulaner: The Big, Bold Beer Hall on The Bowery

It's certainly not news anymore that New York City's legendary skid row along the Bowery has become more of party-time restaurant row for area swells over the past decade. Some of these spots are good–Bar Primi is a personal favorite, along with Pearl & Ash and The Wren, and I hear Narcissa and Cherche Midi are worth their high-ish prices–while others are considerably less appealing. And no matter what, I recommend steering clear on the weekends. Anyway, about a year and a half ago the German brewing giant Paulaner opened a massive beer hall just below Houston Street, and my thought at the time was to avoid it at all costs, assuming the place would just be way too loud for me and packed with frat kids. Turns out, however, as a pair of very satisfying recent visits have shown, I was wrong about Paulaner, which is far more "grown-up" than I imagined (at least on weeknights), with plenty of solid, hearty, sausage-y food to go with all of the brewed-on-site beers.

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It’s Summer All Year At The Upper East Side’s Pizza Beach

Ah, summer! No, not outside–not yet–but INSIDE the recently-opened Pizza Beach, it sure feels as if the season has arrived a few months early to the Upper East Side. The creation of the Martignetti brothers, who know how to throw a party (the hopping Brinkley's, in Soho/Nolita), and help us stay healthy (the veggie-centric East Pole), Pizza Beach feels both bizarrely out of place on the corner of 81st and Third, and seems exactly right, packed nightly with a Hamptons-starved crowd. Throw in downtown-ish bit of street art by Nick Walker on the exterior wall, another 18 tables slated for the sidewalk once the weather actually does warm up, an interesting, reasonably-priced menu of crowd-pleasers (though often with a twist), and fun cocktails, and there's no reason not to think this place won't be year-round hit.

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Just In Time For Beach Season: Four Great NYC Bootcamp Workouts

best-nyc-bootcamp-classes-barry's-bootcamp

Maybe you were fortunate enough to go somewhere warm and ocean-ish for spring break just recently, but for me its been way too long since I last felt the sun on my back, the sand on my feet, the thrill of body surfing those waves all the way in. Yup, we have about six weeks until beach season begins again in earnest here on the East Coast, so now's maybe the time to get serious about getting this body of mine back into something that even vaguely resembles "good shape." There are of course dozens of exercise programs and/or diets and/or cleanses that your friends and acquaintances will swear by, but one of the most popular quick fixes, looks-wise, that also provides long-term health benefits, is the bootcamp workout. There are tons of classes all over town these days where you put yourself through one of these highly effective (but brutal!) burn fat/build muscle/increase endurance fitness regimes, but here are four suggestions to get you started.    

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An Only-In-New-York Type Of Art Show

rae-trunk-work-chinatown-basement-painting

In the fall of 2010, the artist and Brooklyn native RAE was messing around in his studio, which at the time was in a residential building in Midwood, and some sort of "art experiment" involving a microwave went awry. There was an explosion. There was paint everywhere. There were alarmed tenants. There were tenants who couldn't care less. There were tenants who didn't really notice. 

But whatever, the landlord had had enough–noise complaints had been leveled against the artist for some time–and, with the help of a burly "nephew", RAE was escorted from the building. Security deposit: gone. Access to his storage space in the basement: denied. It wasn't until four years later, on August 4, 2014, that RAE was able to reenter the space, during the chaos caused by a sudden, mass evacuation ordered because of cracks in the building's facade, discovered by a construction crew working next door. 

RAE retrieved his almost-forgotten belongings, including a metal trunk filled with sketches, rolled-up canvases, and other ephemera from that era, all of which provided the creative inspiration for RAE's latest exhibition, Trunk Work.    

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Introducing City Kitchen, NYC’s Newest Giant Food Hall

Enjoy the Times Square view from City Kitchen

You know it will happen again, and maybe soon: you splurge on Broadway tickets for you and the kids, or you and your sweetheart; or someone gives you a pair as a gift; or you're in charge of out of town visitors who just HAVE to see [insert latest show with movie stars]. Which is all great, I have nothing against Broadway spectacles, they're just a bit out of my price range for a frequent entertainment option. Anyway, sometimes the most difficult part of seeing a Broadway show–not including wading through Times Square–is figuring out where to grab a quick dinner before the curtain. You want someplace close, but it can't be terrible (everything on Restaurant Row), or crazy pricey (Esca), or a full-on tourist mob scene (Shake Shack). Enter the latest upscale food court, City Kitchen, which, though tiny when compared to, say, Hudson Eats or Gotham West, has several first-rate vendors and is conveniently located on Eighth Avenue and on 44th Street. And if you work in the area, your lunch options just got a whole better.

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A Foodie’s Guide To The Best NYC Food Events in April

A Foodie's Guide To The Best NYC Food Events in April

With spring finally kicking in for real it's time to get serious about the upcoming beach season… by eating and drinking tons of delicious things! Ok, so maybe that's not everyone's strategy, but it's definitely mine, and the folks at Rockaway will just have to deal with my less-than-perfect beach bod. Because April is the cruller-est month. Anyway, here are a half dozen food events coming up over the next few weeks that are worth your consideration. 

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Who Will Win NYC’s Battle of The Babkas?!

Chocolate babkas from Breads Bakery

It's a pleasant "problem" to have, trying to decide which of the many excellent chocolate babkas to eat on any given day. Here in New York City, you see, we take our babka seriously, so much so that even one of the region's largest distributors, Green's Home Style–Big Babka, as it were–who supplies the likes of Fairway, Whole Foods, and Garden of Eden, among many other markets and restaurants, is still pretty special, and until fairly recently might even have been considered the best in town. However, there have been a number of new bakery babkas introduced of late–from here on out assume I always mean the chocolate variety when I say babka, rather than the lesser (though admittedly good) cinnamon breed–so I decided to go on a tasting spree of three of the city's most buzzed-about spots for these loaves of sweet, sticky heaven. And so was launched the great 2015 Battle of the Babkas.

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Make Time For The 2015 Triennial: Surround Audience, at The New Museum

Art by Josh Kline at the New Museum

This has become the New Museum's signature exhibition, their exhaustively curated Triennial, offering an of-the-minute (and even predictive) look at some of the freshest, most provocative ideas in contemporary art. Now in its third iteration and once again taking over the entire building, the 2015 New Museum Triennial gathers together the work of fifty one "early career" artists from more than twenty five countries, many of whom have never shown their stuff in the United States before, so you, like me, have probably never seen, nor even heard of, most of the young men and women who have contributed to this enormous survey. Which is a good thing! Because while going to something like Matisse at MoMA is undeniably a NYC cultural must, seeing the other end of the art-museum spectrum is equally vital as well. 

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