Saturday, December 5, 2009

Mr. B's Hideaway

Would you join me this Sunday for:

"Mr. B's Hideaway"

Cool out to the sounds of Dub, Ska, Reggae and British Rock off the Bowery
Bi-weekly with Rotating Dj's and the occasional acoustic performance

Gin-centric cocktails served with Sunday hospitality and a wink.

Starting this Sunday December 6, 2009 and every other.

Come to:

Madam Geneva(tucked behind Double Crown restaurant. Walk all the way to the back and push the wall panel on the far left or enter on Bleeker St)
316 Bowery at Bleeker

Vespas welcome out front. Good Vibes welcome inside. It would be my pleasure to see you at Mr B's Hideaway.

At your Service,

The Boulevardist

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Still Bill

Tonight I got to catch a screening at the IFC cinema for an inspiring documentary about one of my favorite singers, Bill Withers.

STILL BILL is an intimate portrait of soul legend Bill Withers, best known for his classics “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Lean On Me,” “Lovely Day,” “Grandma’s Hands,” and “Just the Two of Us.” I was very pleased with how the filmmakers were able to capture the soul and simple honesty not only in his music and lyrics but in Bill Withers the man and his story. I think that I speak for many of us when I say his music resonates through all of our lives in one way or another.

From film synopsis:
"Filmmakers Damani Baker and Alex Vlack follow Withers and offer a unique and rare look inside the world of this fascinating man. Through concert footage, journeys to his birthplace, interviews with music legends, his family and closest friends, STILL BILL presents the story of an artist who has written some of the most beloved songs in our time and who truly understands the heart and soul of a man".

Unfortunately this documentary won't reach the movie houses but fortunately will be released on DVD soon.

For more info check out:
The Still Bill trailer

At your soulful service,

The Boulevardist

Cookin in Brooklyn


2 guys and a 1 guest for Food and cocktail pairings.

The "Cookin in Brooklyn" teaser

At your service,

The Boulevardist

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

And this was just the preview folks!

As a lover, part time slinger and part time geek of the cocktail, I was in good "spirits" all weekend for the preview of the 1st Annual Manhattan Cocktail Classic. We reveled in libations and watched the Official Bar in the Astor Center pump out cocktails from some of the most talented cocktail cats in the country.

The preview weekend to the Manhattan Cocktail classic, a festival of seminars and tastings with a goal of preserving the history, culture and art of the cocktail gave us just a touch of what the full 5 day event will be like in May. Attendees got a chance to see, hear and taste with the thought leaders and tastemakers of the cocktail and spirit industry as they talked about some of their favorite points of the culture through seminars. I dipped into the "Cocktails for Your Home Cocktail Party" seminar with Sasha Petraske and picked up a few great tips for the next time I entertain at home. I imagine the avid consumer found this seminar really exciting as he went through lots of great little tips on things such as the quality of ice as well as specifics on counts per person when hosting a cocktail party and how to properly use your bar tools. Out in the main bar area, I got a chance to chat with folks like David Wondrich, Dale DeGroff and even cracked a joke with Gary Regan at his book release party that was held at the new Crosby hotel.

The kicker of the weekend was the gala that was held in the gorgeous New York Public library's Grand Astor Hall. 12 bars represented by different brands and again bartenders from the most established cocktail joints were in full sling for our sipping pleasure. My lovely date and I sipped on whiskey cocktails all night and danced to the big band jazz sounds of Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks.

It was a fancy affair for the cocktail scene and I was happy to be a part of it. Can't wait for May's events!

At your service,

The Boulevardist

p.s....thanks to MetroMix for the fancy photo

Monday, August 31, 2009

A Liquid Concerto in 4 parts

As I continue on my mission to spread the word of where to get a good cocktail with Nirvino, an online network for cocktail and wine enthusiasts, I share with you a quick recap of my latest cocktail tasting event.

This last Tuesday Nirvino Ambassadors got a real treat once again in Midtown for another Ambassador cocktail review. We had the pleasure this time to experience Rouge Tomate, a beautifully airy and fairly new restaurant thats received lots of buzz for addressing social and environmental issues and seeking out farmers who provide local and seasonal produce. They've developed innovative cooking techniques that ignite the natural flavors while heightening the nutritional value of each dish. Now you put that same philosophy into cocktails and your cocktail just isnt the same anymore.

We were set up in their lower level cocktail lounge StirRed where mixologist Rain Lampariello formerly of Lever House conducted a symphony of flavor and gave us some education on their cocktail philosophy.

We imbibed a 4 course cocktail tasting menu that included a mini Moscow Mule as a palette cleanser and led into the 3 main cocktails of the evening.

Heres what the Ambassadors had to say about them.

Annie S. takes a sip of the Electric Honeydew and gets a lil dreamy "Sweet and sumptuous honeydew melon gets an electric kick in infused gin form. A genius combination with mint tea and honey as the inspiration. Fresh and spiky and shockingly an icicle in August."

Josh B. goes far east and beyond with the Singapore Sling-"Malaysia with its strict Islamic liquor laws and gorgeous brothels make this drink a little mysterious. It was bold with cold blocks of ice and that helps in NY sweltering weather. My friend Liz had never been to to Asia but after one drink, when she hopped into the cab and yelled, Singaore, Buster!"...woah.

Dylan B. gets inspired by the Tequila Maria-"Drinking this is like picking vegetables from your own backyard garden that grows some of the best tomatoes, basil, and peppers. But rather than using those vegetables for a fresh caprese salad, mix their juices with tequila and you've now got your garden in a glass. Zesty, spicy, and fresh."

There you have it again folks. There's a story in every fine crafted cocktail and theres a place to talk about it.

What was your last great cocktail experience like and where did it take you?

As always, I invite you to sip and tell

for more info on Rouge Tomate:

At your service,

The Boulevardist

Monday, August 24, 2009

Mixing cocktails & Swimming in Dumpsters

*pics and excerpts taken from New York Times online Published: July 19, 2009

Last Friday I was invited to create cocktails for a secret pool party and swim in pools made out of dumpsters on the banks of the Gowanus Canal in industrial Brooklyn.For those who have either heard about or read about this infamous space you'd know that very few were able to experience this unique and somewhat magical space that was surrounded in urban decay.

*On a rented lot that’s hidden from the street they have erected what they call a lo-fi urban country club: three connected pools housed in Dumpsters; a boccie court; some lounge chairs, grills and cabanas.

*The idea, said David Belt, a real estate developer and the president of Macro-Sea, the company behind the pools, was not to create an exclusive party destination but to experiment with underused space and materials, repurposing them with urban renewal in mind.

The party was organized by Jonathan Schnapp, Tahir Hemphill, Chanel(not the brand), and Tristan of Tough Dumpling. Jonathan Schnapp who is a friend of David Belt was given an open invitation to throw a party in the space. He brought in bands, Djs, a 6' whale pinata,3 pork roasts for the grill and about 60 guests filled with good vibes.

The bands that played were The Faculty who dropped a a cool live Hip Hop session and Tamar Kali who put it down harder than most could pick up with her afropunk sound. The djs were Tough Dumpling, Radar, Workhorse, Jake, Virgil and Richard who all kept the ebb and flow of the dance floor on point.

As for them doing it again, they'd love to, but the pools are being deconstructed this Tuesday, so we've probably seen the last of the dumpster pools in this current incarnation.

I guess I can say I got a chance to swim in a dumpster as many of us first timers had the odd experience of sharing together.

Keep your ears and eyes open. Theres so many random events happening in New York, beneath the surface and around your corner.

To see the full NY Times article:

At your service,

The Boulevardist

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ping Pong and Puma anyone?

After the epic badminton showdown at GOVERNORS ISLAND with TRETORN last month, RECESS is back this SATURDAY AUGUST 22ND at COLONELS ROW from 12PM - 5PM, this time with a SANDPAPER PADDLE TABLE TENNIS challenge with PUMA, the true originals in the ping pong explosion (as it is affectionately known). The game itself is currently going through a renaissance in the US but for the RECESS showdown, we've decided to put a little twist on the game, a sandpaper version that will even the playing field, and more co-ed friendly. While 32 various teams from the creative community battle their way to the finals, there will also be open public tables to test your skill at the sport, paddles provided. LEGAMIN and VAN LEEUWEN ICE CREAM trucks, as well as FUNCTION DRINKS are back for food and refreshments to keep everyone hydrated and well fed. We've even got mini tables, frisbees and kites to keep the young ones entertained. And while you're out on the island, take a spin on the highly coveted series of PUMA BIOMEGA BIKES and test ride them, we promise it's going to change the way you feel about urban transportation! The crew from NO ORDINARY MONKEY will be on the musical decks.

The free ferry leaves the BATTERY MARITIME BUILDING in Lower Manhattan at 11am and every half hour after that. So don't miss out on all the action!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Monkeys, Cocktails and Emotions

This past Tuesday marked another installment of the Nirvino Ambassador Cocktail Review. As we build our cocktail community here in NY we’re also venturing out of our box we call downtown in search for tasty drinks. Ambassadors and guests got to once again take part in creating the first online menu of all the best drinks New York has to offer. Beekman Bar and Books was the perfect spot for this stop for Bols Genever Cocktails. Known for its fine whiskies and cigars this libation pad also has a running theme of monkeys carved in wood and in artwork all throughout the space. Perfect.

Mixologist, Ben Scorah of Beekman Bar and Books created the tasty cocktails for the evening, including the Holland Razorblade which is currently on their menu. As we opened the Nirvino gates for on-site reviews it was also the other cocktails on the menu, the Dutch Blood and Sand and the Green Apple Infused Old Fashioned that equally captured the palettes and emotions of some of our Ambassadors. Might we have another potential Bols Genever cocktail for the menu?? Heres what they had to say.

Matthew L. calls the Dutch Blood & Sand "an explosion of flavor.This is one pinkish colored drink that I will display proudly as I enjoy it!"

Nicole T. says the Holland Razorblade is: "Like biting into a citrus fruit while looking out the window through a sheer curtain at the end of summer . . . Light, refreshing, and sexy. And before the sipping experience even began, I was dazzled by the constellation of cayenne pepper sprinkled on the surface."

And Selena R. says "This one's all about the baked apple bitters, giving the sophisticated Bols a warm autumn punch. Is it fall yet?" referencing the Green Apple Infused Old Fashioned

Folks as you see, a cocktail is not just a drink. It’s also a gateway to fantastic imagery and sensation all contained in a pretty little glass.

So as we continue our quest for Nirvino, I invite you to Sip and Tell.

for more info on the Bols Genever and Beekman Bar and Books:

At your service,
The Boulevardist

Friday, August 7, 2009

Respect...the sound

The legendary Michael Rose of Black Uhuru took us deep into the sound and we were gettin natty down last night at the Independent in San Francisco. Pull out your Black Uhuru CD's and tapes. This is how a sexy summer is supposed to sound.

At your service mon,

The Boulevardist

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Off the grid for green and grandeur

One thing I found important about living in New York is that you gotta know when to get out of town. I had the opportunity to breathe some clean air and enjoy some moments of bliss over the last weekend thanks to my good friends at Outdoor Bound adventures. They take New Yorkers out on an extensive list of outdoor activites for quick weekend getaways without breaking your bank. I went on a 2 day hike and camped out 1 night in the Catskill Mountains and happily ditched all cell and laptop communication. I could say I may be hooked on nature again.

The hike was about 9-10 hard miles over 2 days

4 miles on day 1
6 miles on day 2

It may not sound like much but when you're hitting steep ascensions and descents at a rate of 100 feet every 10 minutes while carrying a backpack thats at least 40 pounds, you might think differently. Not to mention, I don't do this all the time. New York city it flat.

Things got a little hairy or should I say wet as we were rained on pretty hard Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. We managed to stay dry in our tents at night and although the conditions weren't ideal, it definitely made for more of an adventurous physical challenge on the climbs and drops. We even got to do a little rock climbing.It was lot of fun to power through it.

Peaks conquered were:
-Slide Mountain (4,180 feet-the highest in the Catskills)
-Cornell Mountain (3,870 feet)
-Wittenberg Mountain (3,790 feet).

And a shout out to Garan and Evan our guides for leading us into a recharging getaway.

for more info and a calendar of events:

At your service,

The Boulevardist

Friday, July 17, 2009

Tales of the Cocktail 2009

Well folks I’ve finally come back to earth from my first trip to the “Tales of the Cocktail” festival and it was by far one of the funnest and craziest “work” trips I’ve taken in a long time. I had the good fortune of attending the festival as media through Nirvino which brought on a whole slew of benefits including access to some of the hottest parties of the week. See random pics below.

Work is play.

New Orleans, Louisiana is the annual host to the internationally acclaimed festival of cocktails, cuisine, and culture, Tales of the Cocktail. This event brings together the best and brightest of the cocktail community — award-winning mixologists, authors, bartenders, chefs, and designers — for a five-day celebration of the history and artistry of drink making. Each year offers a spirited series of dinners, demos, tastings, competitions, seminars, book signings, tours, and parties; all perfectly paired with some of the best cocktails ever made. Basically lots of drinking.
As part of my “work” at Tales, I arranged 2 interviews, first with Kathy Casey, one of the first female executive chefs in the country, a TV and radio personality, author of 9 cookbooks including her latest “Sips and Apps”, mixologist and a few more tricks up her sleeve. Second was exceptionally eccentric as well as the man known for keeping the splendors of the Edwardian era alive through his curiously decorated Hotel Estates in Notting Hill and his oblivious take on changes in society as a whole. Mr Miller was accompanied by his Co-creative director David Bromige who did most of the talking.

As this was the first time I were to interview anyone for anything I was very excited and somewhat nervous. As I built my list of questions specifically directed towards the industry I realized that I would just be one of the many bloggers asking the same questions and getting the same answers. That doesn’t make a Boulevardist. I realized that the people I’m looking to reach are outside of the industry so I decided to look to my fellow Nirvino Ambassadors for questions they would ask from the outside looking in.

The following are a few questions and my interpretation of their answers.

Matt S asks: "for those of us who don't use bitters often, what liquors and flavors would bitters best compliment?
Kathy Casey: With her array of different bitters she looks at using them with any spirit as you would in cooking any meat or fish. She likes to think of them as the salt, pepper or even soy sauce of cocktail mixology. So it all works and should be played with.

Catherine P asks: "I have a theory that the rise of cocktail culture might curb alcoholism because cocktail culture, in my opinion isn't about "getting wasted". It is a slightly more cerebral pursuit that includes being present, savoring, and appreciating a craft. Do you think this theory has validity and/or has potential to create a new respect for alcohol?
Martin Miller/David Bromige: (jokingly)"Well first of all, it takes longer to get wasted because the cocktails take longer to make so your forced to be cerebral about it". As a spirit that's been around for 10 years, they had to reestablish tradition and not just be a trendy spirit. They didn't want to pay to play like other big brands but rather focus on expressing the fine details of crafting their gin and let that hold as their style and fashion. They understand the the cocktail culture has been rapidly growing and because you are sipping crafted cocktails that at times will cost more, they believe that there is more appreciation and time taken to enjoying them as well as promoting more conversation in between.

Neil G asks:
"I would like to hear about their favorite cocktails or any trick of the trade.
Kathy Casey: Although she's a trend forecaster, coming up with ideas that turn into tradition such as the lime in a corona is a big part of what drives her thinking process. She suggests an alternate with Asian food, a cucumber slice with a Tsingtao(its actually good!) Also, when you sit at a sushi bar you have all the fish displayed right in front of you while the chef preps your dish. Why don't these new cocktail bars use the same equipment practice? This could be a new trick in display well as keeping the fresh ingredients fresh.

As I am in this to serve I feel that this is the best way to understand what the consumer thinks and this industry can close into its own club at times forgetting the main reason why they're in it. To make money. Wheres the money to be made if you're only catering to your own colleagues and industry associates?

and now for some random "shots" of the craziness...

Funeral service for the "Red Headed Slut"cocktail

Don Q Mixologist Esteban Ordonez with the Nitrogen tank in a W Hotel suite!

At your service,