Good Restaurant

When my best friend Catherine told me she'd be in town briefly but was able to meet for drinks and dinner, my sister Kimberly and I couldn't wait to spend some time with our favorite West Coaster (and honorary sister...though we were severely missing the third Cannon sister - Christine!). The place for our girls night? Good (yup that's what it's called), a sweet little place in the West Village. With seats at the bar, Catherine, Kimberly and I enjoyed happy hour glasses of wine and a few dishes to share.

Along with some 1/2 price (daily from 6-8pm!) Grenache/Syrah, we sampled some small plates. First up was a crostini with fresh ricotta, country ham and fig marmalade. It was like a gourmet version of my own gorgonzola fig crostini. It was sweet and salty with just the right amount of crispiness and creaminess!

We also shared a delicious, extremely thin-crusted pizza. This flatbread version was turned artisinal by featuring creme fraiche (an elusive ingredient that adds wonderful flavor and texture!), chopped bacon, baby arugula and sweet onions. It was smokey, savory and creamy. Yum! And what can I say? It was a pork-driven kind of evening (since Shaun doesn't eat pork, it was a rare yet welcome change for me!)

We also sampled the harvest salad, admittedly the item that was most anticipated for me. It boasted mixed greens, aged cheddar, roasted pears and pecans with an apple cider vinaigrette. Unfortunately this turned out to be the lowlight of the evening. The salad which sounded so autumnal, sweet, savory and hearty (essentially salad perfection!) on paper was in reality a small plate of greens with one pear, two cheese cubes and nary a pecan in sight. Oh and I'm not sure about my fellow diners, but I did not taste any dressing on this salad. At $12 a pop, I have to say, it was most disappointing.

Luckily the other dishes were tops, as were the desserts, of which we obviously felt necessary to sample not one, but two! First up was warm banana chocolate chip bread pudding, served complete with vanilla ice cream. Oh my, this was so mushy, full of bananas and chocolate. It was so decadent and wonderful! It was my pick for best dessert of the night!

We also ordered a devil's food chocolate cake, covered in ganache and served with a toasted marshmallow. While the cake was moist and delightfully chocolatey, we couldn't help but wish that this also came along side a scoop of vanilla ice cream or even some homemade whipped cream.

So there you have it.  A little roundup of our impromptu girls night! The one thing missing from our smorgasbord? A Good Burger - a beef patty stuffed with pulled pork and smoked mozzerella - doesn't that just sound so fatty and delicious? It will certainly be on the list to order the next time I visit...and I plan to, during happy hour!



A Ladies Night Hot Spot: The Dove Parlour

As much as I love date night with the hubs, sometimes I just need a little girl time. Whether it's touring pizza venues like Keste and Grimaldi's or brunching at Hoboken's Elysian Cafe, somehow there is always a reason for girls night. And what would it be without some serious happy hour, consisting of wine carafes and cheese platters? Now that's a ladies night that I can get down with. And I did. At West Vilage's The Dove Parlour with my friend Nicole. 

A blink-and-you-miss-it bar that's located below street level, The Dove Parlour is a fairly small locale with a bar and some low-seated tables that run along a cushioned couch. With a bit of an opulent New Orleans vibe, a darkened space lit by candles, The Dove Parlour is the simply perfect low key place to grab an affordable drink.

Their happy hour consists of a $6 drink menu, ranging from wine carafes, martinis, margaritas and cosmos. Pictured above is my glass and carafe of Syrah. And for $6? It's really a steal since you do get way more than one small glass out of the deal.

And since it's imperative to eat a little something on any ladies night, especially when there's vino involved, we opted for the cheese platter. For just $18, we got to choose 4 cheeses to accompany fresh bread and crostini, apple slices, olives, Marcona almonds, figs, and apricot jam. The ladies at the table next to us literally turned a shade of green with envy and I'm pretty sure ended up ordering one of their own.

And I should note that beyond the delectable eats and truly affordable wine, the decor is upscale yet attainable. The super chic wallpaper even featured my favorite damask-style pattern, and it was flocked, no less.

And how charming is this little fireplace? Even without a real fire inside, it still warmed up the joint and gave me ideas for any New York and beyond apartments with fake, yet pretty, fireplaces.

So that's how Nikki and I spent ladies night. Sipping vino from our own personal carafes and filling up on bread and cheese. The perfect post-work girls night, don't you think? But what I want to know from you ladies out there - how do you do girls night?

Aruba Travelogue: Happy Hour at Bugaloe Beach Bar

After laying on the beach all day, coating your skin with sand, salt, and sunscreen, there is really no better way to top off the afternoon than with a great happy hour. Though frozen and fancy drink sampling is a must at as many places as possible, my favorite happy hour destination of the week, and the place I went back to almost every evening, was Bugaloe .

Found on De Palm Pier, between the Radisson and the Riu Palace, Bugaloe had the very best sunset view every evening, not to mention delicious, highly spiked, low priced cocktails - a perfect end of day, pre-dinner activity. With a full menu of food and drink, my drink of choice quickly became the Pink Lemonade, essentially an intensely, yet not too overpoweringly spiked vodka, cranberry, and lemonade concoction. Other fab happy hour drinks include Fuzzy Navel ($3.50), Bay Breeze ($3.50), Mojitoes ($4.50), and Amstel Bright ($3.50).

In addition to great drinks and atmosphere, Bugaloe also boasts live music, my personal favorite is a salsa band from Aruba Salsa who performs every Wednesday night from 7-11pm and also offers free salsa lessons, the latter of which I swear I'm going to talk husband into next year because it just needs to happen. Salsafied tunes included Michael Jackon's Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' and Coldplay's Clocks. Bugaloe also features live music almost every other evening of the week.

Bonus 1: Before the live music started, they played fantastic, fun tunes in the form of Michael Jackson hour-long music blocks.

Bonus 2: On the pier, you'll also find De Palm Tours, a popular excursion company specializing in sunset cruises and island tours (also the sponsor of my aforementioned Jeep adventure).