Cienfuegos is a city on the southern coast of Cuba, sits on a bay and is dubbed the "Pearl of the South". Cienfuegos literally translates to One Hundred Fires.

Cienfuegos is also a lounge in New York's East Village, sits on top of Carteles sandwich shop and is dubbed "The Secret Rum Bar". Cienfuego literally should translate to Punch Bowl Time!

We walked into Carteles, the aroma of espresso filled the air of the small shop. Every stool at the counter was occupied by people seemingly chilling-out, having a small bite and some café. A gentleman approached us and asked in a not so cryptic yet still intriguing tone, if we were looking for Cienfuegos? We replied, yes! He then opened the back door where another man wearing a cabana hat escorted us up a narrow stairway, ducking the low ceiling to avoid hitting the a/c ducts. Once we reached the top it was like having entered the past. The scene, a Cuban 1950's style casa antigua room appointed with light airy pastel colors, timely decor and furnishings, weathered walls and dim lighting. The room is actually bigger and louder than I thought it would be. Not so much a speakeasy, but more like visiting Tia Juana and Tio Pepe on the holidays. Rhythmic Cuban music plays overhead and cocktails each have their own fun history facts.

Punch bowls are the main attraction. The traditional silver punch bowl and ladle comes in different sizes, the smallest able to serve up to six glasses. And for $30 it's not a bad deal. We enjoyed the Alabazam Punch (adapted from a lost & forgotten classic) "lost and forgotten cocktails make for wonderful evenings of nostalgia and remembering absent friends" 8 parts of appleton 12 year old maraschino, lillet rouge, fresh lemon juice, bitters, champagne, whole raspberries, lemon slices and large square ice cubes. It was tasty, but as was cleverly stated at our table, "Tastes like my Grandma's Christmas Punch!"

The food menu displays wonderful tweaked Cuban delicacies, like Crab Croquettas with guava, Albondigas (meatballs) con roasted tomato and habanero, Elena Ruiz sandwiches, and Cubabitos shown here pressed hot oozing with swiss cheese, pork, ham, and pickles served with salty plantain chips. Delicioso mi amigo!

95 Avenue A
New York, NY 10009
(212) 614-6818


NYC Food Film Festival

Taste What You See On The Screen at The 4th Annual NYC Food Film Festival JUNE 23 - 27 2010. Through documentaries, features and short films, the Festival showcases the best and the most memorable of the world's favorite foods. Along with a heaping helping of mouth-watering films, guests are served the foods they are watching on screen for a multi-sensory, full-bodied experience. The competitive film festival presents awards in six categories: Best Feature, Best Short, Best Super-Short, Best Film Made In New York, Food Filmmaker of the Year and the Audience Choice Award. The Official Selections of the 2010 NYC Food Film Festival are reviewed by a judging panel comprised of members of New York City's food and film communities.

Schedule of Events
6/23 All You Can Eat Oysters Great New York Shuck 'N Suck - Water Taxi Beach South Street Seaport
6/24 Brad Farmerie's Southeast Asian Street Food Market - Astor Center
6/25 Edible Adventure #001: Smokes, Ears & Ice Cream Water Taxi Beach - Long Island City (Free Tix)
6/26 The World's First Food Truck Drive-In Brooklyn Bridge Plaza (under the Brooklyn Bridge) (Free Tix)
6/27  Brunch Screening It's Grits! - Tobacco Warehouse Brooklyn, NY
6/27 The Brooklyn Burger 'N Beer Garden Closing Night Party
The 2010 NYC Food Film Festival comes to a close with an exclusive screening of Anat Baron's "Beer Wars" and the Festival Awards - Tobacco Warehouse Brooklyn, NY

Get Your Tickets, but please HURRY! http://www.nycfoodfilmfestival.com/tickets.html
*Portion of Festival proceeds will be donated to the Food Bank NYC to assist in its important work.


MOMA EXHIBITIONS: Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present

"We went to see this exhibition this past weekend which confirmed that the human body truly is a beautiful work of art meant to be appreciated as such."

The Museum of Modern Art is currently exhibitiing the career of artist Marina Abramović March 14–May 31, 2010. Over fifty pieces of her work within four decades of her life in photographs, sound pieces, video works, installations, photographs, solo performances, and collaborative performances made with Ulay (Uwe Laysiepen) her long time former lover and partner. The MOMA exhibition includes live re-performances of Abramović’s works using other people portraying her role in past pieces.

On the second floor of MOMA you will see Marina Abramović herself in a live performance installation where she sits in a simple chair, wearing a long robe, quietly staring into the distance with another chair across from her allowing museum visitors to sit and do the same.

The Joan and Preston Robert Tisch Gallery on the sixth floor exhibits a chronological installation of Abramović’s work. The art is provocative and shocking at times, but mostly the art is interpretational. In one video Abramović is seen slamming into a wall continuously and in another you see her cutting a star into her skin. Beautiful models re-create Abramović's past performance pieces. In one installation two live nude models stand facing each other 12 inches apart allowing museum visitors to walk in between them to enter the next room. In another installation an Indian man lies still with a skeleton lying on top of his nude body. In yet another installation a female model balances herself on a bicycle seat erected high on the wall. This is "live" art. The pictures and videos are most impressive also. This exhibition of Marina Abramović truly is a one in a lifetime opportunity since it portrays most of her life's work at one time in one museum.

Today is Museum Day! That means museums everywhere will offer greats deal around the city. The Museum of Modern Art is 50% off today making the entrance only $10. Half-price admission tickets are for tickets purchased online for Wednesday, May 19 only, and can be purchased at www.MoMA.org/tickets

MoMA Target "FREE" Fridays 4:00pm - 8:00pm


Friedman's Lunch

Friedman's Lunch has been our go-to spot for Brunch lately. Located inside Chelsea Market in the Meat Packing District, it's the ideal place to eat a hearty brunch then do some hearty shopping. Friedman's serves up real American comfort food style brunch plates that pair well with any of their pints. Oh...yeah Brunch 'n Beer!
Southern Breakfast — $10
2 eggs over easy, cheddar grits, fried green tomatoes and a biscuit + side of bacon $3.50

Eggs with Style — $10
2 eggs soft scrambled served with potato pancake, seven grain toast and choice of bacon, chicken sausage, ham or fried green tomatoes. (got tomatoes + added chicken sausages $3.50)

Smoked Salmon Plate — $13
Atlantic smoked salmon, capers, tomatoes, red onions, cream cheese, bagel & mixed greens.

Next, we plan on getting:
Pastrami Hash with 2 eggs served with 7 grain toast.
Nova Benny with smoked salmon, potato pancake, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce.
Shrimp & Grits - Anson mills grits, blackened shrimp, cheddar, over easy eggs.

Suddenly, feel we're going to be bumping into a lot of you there, aren't we?

Friedman's Lunch is inexpensive, casual and delicious. Their bottomless cup of coffee is good too. Best time to arrive is 11:30am to beat the rush since there are no reservations taken. Enjoy!



The Manhattan Cocktail Classic Gala

When you think of New York, you think of a city full of energy, great food, beautiful people, fabulous parties, scenic spots, and delicious cocktails. But when you attend The Manhattan Cocktail Classic Gala and you find all of those under one roof; then of course, your expectations are surpassed, your emotions heightened and all common sense as you know it is gone forever. The rules have now changed and all you can murmur after countless expertly made libations is "I ♥ New York!"

So, like Alice in Wonderland the trip down the rabbit hole began. The Manhattan Cocktail Classic Kick-Off Gala was held at the century old New York Public Library on 5th Avenue. No, it was not held in a function room in the library... IT WAS IN THE ENTIRE LIBRARY! But, let's not get ahead of ourselves, and let's start at the beginning. Once Upon A Time after passing the iconic library lions and entering the gala, guests were welcomed by Old School Crooner Michael Arenella and his brass band playing swanky tunes atop a sparkling wine bar that flowed all night long. A festive evening of boisterous merrymaking awaited all.

The historical library, its floors, halls and chambers including the basement were filled with artistically designed cocktail stations hosting New York's best mixologists preparing the most saporous libations consumed by 2,500 people in one place, at one time.

As you walked the halls, people were everywhere sipping, frolicking and looking smashing at this shake-n-stir! Every nook 'n cranny of the library offered a different spectacle and before you knew it you had gone into sensory overload and decided; If you can't beat'em, join'em... SO, LET THE REVELRY BEGIN!

Hey, what's in that room that dancing guard is protecting? I asked while on the Second Floor then, Woosh..WooHoo..PARTY! Disco music played and people where dancing as I can only imagine Studio 54 was like in the 70's. After a spin on the dance floor in the Don Q Discovery Room the adventure through the library halls continued like a trip through a fun house. Fantasy Queens, Umpa Lumpas, Hi Mario Batali!
As you walked up and down the marble staircase, every story of the library offered just that, a different plot with a new set of characters, set in a world that had been created just for you. On the Third Floor there were delectable concoctions being poured by Veev, Bombay Sapphire and a Martini's Bar and very cool photo taking station by Ultimat Vodka, where you could Prop & Glam-Up with your friends borrowing boas, faux minks and cigars then, pose glamorously with two 1950's style cocktail waitresses for professional photos taken by John Ganun. These pictures were so fun, say Cheeeeeers!
The Third Floor's theme was obviously all about "The Belly", wiggling-it and filling-it! Belly dancers performed around the room to the music of The Hot Sardines Band while some of New York's best restaurants served food. But of course, as in true New York fashion, New Yorkers cleaned out that room from every last Fatty 'Cue pork scrap like the vultures they are and gobbled-up every turkey leg in the house!

With every belly full, dancing duos shimmied in true Cabaret and Swingin' style for all to enjoy before heading back into the halls in exploration of the other rooms and floors, unveiling more characters and bars with masterful cocktails from which to imbibe.

This party really did happen!

It is not an Urban Myth.

The Library's basement, dubbed The Stork Club was a big party! The Budos Band played to a packed dance floor where you could literally pull a guy or gal onto the dance floor and dance until your feet went numb without ever asking their name. Not that you would remember it anyway with the additional barstenders around the room concocting mixes to help you forget.
The Manhattan Cocktail Classic Gala was the perfect kick-off to the four day cocktail extravaganza taking over the city. Until Tuesday, Manhattanites will be learning while they sip by the best cocktail geniuses in the world. There will be more parties and much more drinking. So,wear uncomfortable shoes,  pack some crackers in your bag and push forward because, this is the First Annual Manhattan Cocktail Classic and it's worth remembering. Cheers! ¡Salud! Kampai! L’Chaim! Skål! Saúde!  A Votre Sante!  Oogy wawa! Cin cin!


Pulino's Bar & Pizzeria

Pulino's has quickly become the must go to pizzeria in New York City. It's difficult to get a reservation, celebrities are flocking in and it's constantly packed with people trying to get in to eat a pie. It was 11:15pm and we had just left John Varvatos Thursday Night Live across the street, so we tried our luck and sure enough Pulino's was a scene. People everywhere drinking and eating thin burnt end pizzas that looked delicious. I said hello to owner Keith McNally who was minding the front and congratulated him on his James Beard Award for outstanding restaurateur. His response "I don't get excited about many things, so yes." We were seated ten minutes later at a great table near the open kitchen. Sitting at the next table was Lou Reed and his entourage. Also saw Oliver Platt sitting in a corner booth with his wife. Pulino's Executive Chef Nate Appleman stood outside of the kitchen overlooking the dining room confident everything was running smoothly inside the ovens. Hungry from Rockin' Out, we quickly ordered.

First Up: Ndjua house made calabrian spreadable salami with grilled bread is truly good stuff. It's creamy and salty and goes well with a Carafe of wine. (but you might need more bread)

Next Up: Porchetta "Pizze" porchetta, tomato, red onion, mozzarella & pecorino.
Pork on pizza... what's not to love?

Last Up: Fazzoletti Al Forno with smoked ricotta, lamb ragu & pecorino.
Folded squares of baked pasta, a prefect ragu with a hint of gaminess to remind you it's lamb.

Pulino's Bar & Pizzeria
282 Bowery, New York
NY 10012
(At Houston St)

John Varvatos Thursday Nite LIVE: Michael Monroe

Fashion designer John Varvatos opened his 315 Bowery store in 2008 at the space once occupied by the legendary CBGB. Preserving the interior brick walls of the club, still with original grafiti, posters, fliers,and memorobilia amongst the racks of clothing, the fashion designer created Thursday Nite Live on the first Thursday of every month, to bring good ol' Rock 'n Roll back to the Bowery.

On the bill, this time around, in his first NYC concert in 15 years, was none other than Glam God Michael Monroe and his band all the way from Finland. Comprising of ex-Hanoi Rocks bandmate,  bassist Sammi Yaffa; Guitarists Steve Conte of the New York Dolls and Ginger of Wildhearts, and Drummer Karl Rosqvist of Danzig.

At 9:00pm, with the room packed and feeling good from the free PBR's, Tanteo Tequila cocktails and Icelandic Glacial water, the band took the stage. Monroe, tall, wiry, full on make up, eyeliner and his trademark blonde mane showed everyone why his name is still mentioned among the all time great performers. Didn't know? Just ask Axl Rose.

During the 12 song set, comprised of old and new songs and a couple of covers, Monroe performed leaping from stage to monitor to off stage, all the while never missing a beat. Even throwing-in a split or two (or three). At one point, while jumping off a monitor, he hit his head on an overhead speaker and with blood streaming down his face, still was able to pick ups his sax and continue the show.

The band finished their performance with an encore that included "Kick Out the Jams" in honor of Varvatos's Detroit roots; as the crowd, including Debbie Harry, looked forward to the Band's full show the following Sunday night at the Highline Ballroom with local group, The Dirty Pearls opening.

The Johnnie Walker House of Walker Free Tasting Event is returning to New York City and New Jersey. Join the world’s greatest whisky house for an exclusive night out with a hand-picked group of discerning drinkers like yourself. Guests are personally led by a Master of Whisky through a private tasting of select Johnnie Walker Scotch whiskies. We attended the last one and it is really well done. First there's a cocktail room where you enjoy a pre-tasting drink with some light appetizers. Then in the tasting room, you receive a guided tasting of Johnnie Walker Green, Black, Red, Gold, Blue and Double Black Labels. Various dates and times. RSVP sign up link: http://tinyurl.com/3834zko



LUCKYRICE Grand Feast of Asian Flavors was hosted by Lisa Ling in the ballroom at Mandarin Oriental, New York with beautiful views of Columbus Circle and Central Park. New York's best restaurants and chefs payed tribute to Asian Flavors by presenting dishes of their own creations for guests to taste. Wine, Sake, Japanese Whisky and Asian Beers where also enjoyed throughout the evenings festivities.

Santa Barbara Sea Urchin, Black Bread, Jalapeño and Yuzu Jean-Georges was too delicious.

Smoked Tofu, Miso Glazed Sturgeon and Umeboshi Fondue from ASIATE at Mandarin Oriental New York by Chef Brandon Kida.

Chinatown Brasserie had the most festive table at the event complete Lucky Chinese charms and served Beef Sirloin Tarts with Curry by Chef Joe Ng.

A giant Bi bim bap the classic Korean rice, vegetable and meat dish was presented by the Korean Cultural Service and KumGangSan. It was later mixed and shaped into balls at tasters delight.

Daniel Boulud poses for pictures with the Wild Rocket Chefs while DANIEL Pastry Chef Dominique Ansel Singapore Palm Sugar and Coconut Lemongrass Soup Mango-Thai Basil Gelée and Poached Pineapple.

Tanuki Tavern Chef Kazuhiko Hashimoto Shrimp Sunomono, Asparagus, Rice Vinegar, Mirin & Soy Jelly

Kittichaí Chef Lulzim Rexhepi “Meing” Tuna Tartare with Limestone Tartlet, Peanuts, Ginger, Lime
Wild Rocket Chef Willin Low - Black Olive Rice Kueh Pie Ti Seabass Carpaccio Salad Orange Soy

Iron Chef Morimoto Morimoto
Chef Jamison Blakenship
Grilled Wagyu/Congee/Sweet Soy

Mixologist Chris Johnson's Asian Inspired Cocktails:
THE MERLION Fresh Mint, Lychee Puree, Fresh Lime, Mekhong Rum, Yeoh’s Lychee
SINGAPORE SLING Pomegranate Syrup, Bull Dog Gin, Sugar Cane Juice, Cherry Herring, Pineapplejuice
THE COLONIAL Mangosteen Puree, Lemon, Fresh Ginger, Kissui Vodka, Yeoh’s Chrysanthemum Tea
THE NYONYA Durian Ice Cream, Bulldog Gin, Muddled Cucumber, Pineapple Juice, Lime Zest

Le Bernardin Pastry Chef Michael Laiskonis - Black Sesame Panna Cotta, Shiso, Cherry, Mandarin, Soy

The Setai, Miami South Beach, Chef Jonathan Wright Singaporean Laksa Lemak -Rice Noodle, Tofu, Shrimp, Quail egg, Fish Cake, Bean Sprouts, Spicy Coconut Soup.

Lola Chef Michael Ginor (bottom left) Torchon of Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Duck Prosciutto, Kabayaki Glaze, Pickled Jicama, Yuzu Marmalade. Tabla Chef Floyd Cardo (right) Spice Crusted Steak, South Indian Rice Salad, Horseradish Yogurt.

LUCKYRICE FESTIVAL celebrates Asian food and culture. The festival events also included the Opening Night Cocktail Party with Asian-Inspired Cocktails hosted by Kelly Choi at The Bowery Hotel, Buddhist Cuisine: Chefs Eric Ripert + David Chang In Conversation with Tim McHenry at The Rubin Museum of Art, Night Market hosted by David Chang at The Archway Under The Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn, Family Workshop: Making Dumplings with Anita Lo; Afternoon Tea + Asian Dessert Pairing hosted by Chef Pichet Ong Mandarin Oriental; Talk + Taste Cooking Demonstrations International Culinary Center; Restaurant Week serving three course lunch and dinners at NewYork's top Asian inspired restaurants and The Festival Closing Dinner with Zak Pelaccio/Fatty Crab and Simpson Wong/Cafe Asean held at James Beard House.