AWESOME ALERT: Free coffee in SoHo from Cafe Bustelo all week!

Need a boost for your week? Café Bustelo is hosting a Pop-Up Café Experience this week and wants to ply you with free coffee :)

Starting today Oct. 20 through Sunday Oct. 25, stop by the SoHo cafe (168 Bowery) for complimentary Café Bustelo ​espresso, ​regular ​and decaf brews, and K-Cup’s served in a lounge with free wifi and phone charging stations. There will also be swag giveaways, live band performances (10/24 @ 2 p.m. Janelle Kroll & 10/25 @ 2 p.m. Jukebox The Ghost), and an i​nteractive photo booth.


  • What: Café Bustelo Pop-Up Café Experience
  • When: Tuesday (10/20) – Friday (10/23) 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Saturday (10/24) & Sunday (10/25) 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Where: 168 Broadway


AWESOME ALERT: Free Fitness Classes This October with Just Salad and DavidBartonGym

Bikini season may be gone, but that doesn't mean you should stop being kind to your body. Just Salad is partnering with DavidBartonGym to help you stay fit on the cheap by offering free fitness classes every Saturday in October! The #JustMove Fitness Series will feature Just Salad samples and swag after each class.

The class, aptly called "Shredded," will feature loud and aggressive music and a full out mix of barbell, dumbbell, and bodyweight exercises. Advance​d​ sign-up ​is ​required here and classes will be offered at all NYC DavidBartonGym locations at 12 and 2pm every Saturday in October--except 10/31, because that's when you're supposed to stuff your face with candy​. The best part is that all classes are FREE!​ 

Limit one class per person and you must be a local NYC resident to participate.


Celebrate Coffee Culture at a Buzz-Worthy Event

I don't know if you've noticed this, but coffee has become a very diverse thing in the past few years. A cuppa joe is no longer just a cuppa joe, if you know what I mean. The flat white has been imported from Australia by Starbucks, Portlanders (from Oregon) encourage roasting your own beans, and San Franciscans have been pushing 500 different ways to brew your coffee. But whether or not you can tell a Chemex from a French Press, there is something for everyone at The New York Coffee Festival.

This inaugural event will be taking place September 25th-27th at the 69th Regiment Armory (Lexington Ave & 26th St) will celebrate the ideology behind the coffee industry--from the farmer to the barista, and all of the steps in between.

The 3-day festival is being launched by Allegra Events Ltd. as part of Coffee Week NYC, and will be highlighting over 70 innovative exhibitors, including Starbucks Reserve, La Marzocco, La Cimbali, Pacific Foods, La Colombe, Steampunk, Joe, Toby's Estate, Irving Farm, and more. It will also feature the Coffee Masters NYC barista championship, sponsored by leading US artisan roaster Counter Culture Coffee.

The Festival will also feature live music as part of the Coffee Music Project, The Coffee Art Project gallery, gourmet street food, and The Espresso Martini Bar. Additionally, The Lab sessions will give attendees the opportunity to participate in in-depth educational workshops and seminars given by some of the industry's most influential leaders..

Half of ticket proceeds will be donated to charity: water via the Allegra Group's Project Waterfall initiative. Through these donations, Project Waterfall will be able to continue bringing clean water to coffee counties such as Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Rwanda.

To purchase tickets, click here. Standard passes start at $20 for a single morning or afternoon session and VIP tickets start at $45 and include fast track entrance, all day access, a free espresso martini and a tote bag.


Get Glammed Up This Weekend for NYFW

It's New York Fashion Week! So you better get your nails did, your cat eye on fleek, and tend to those curls. But who has time for that?

The Glam App

For this week only, beauty on demand service The Glam App, founded by actress/blogger Cara Santana and hair and makeup expert Joey Maalouf, is giving New Yorkers access to beauty on the go with complementary nail, hair and makeup services aboard a custom mobile salon. The mobile salon will be open to the public 9/12-9/14 from 12-5 pm. The custom-fitted bus will offer the apps most requested makeup and hair looks as well as a range of bright polishes for attendees to choose from.

Get your glam on here:

  • Saturday, September 12, 2015: Washington Street (between Clarkson and Houston Streets, near Skylight Clarkson Square)
  • Sunday, September 13, 2015: Eighth Avenue between 30 and 31 Street (near Clarkson Moynihan Station)
  • Monday, September 14, 2015: Meatpacking District

Follow @TheGlamApp on Instagram for more deets throughout the weekend~


AWESOME ALERT: Free Froyo at Bloomingdales This Week

Labor Day may have marked the unofficial end of summer, but this crazy hot weather begs to differ! Good thing Bloomingdales wants to help you beat the heat this week with some free froyo from the forty carrots truck!

Free forty carrots froyo at Bloomingdales

Here are the deets for where and when you can catch some complimentary confections with a topping of your choice:
  • Bloomingdales SoHo: Thursday September 10 from 12-4 pm
  • Bloomingdales 59th Street: Friday September 11 from 12-4 pm
All you have to do is show up! Now that's a treat.


Grazing on Some Great Greek

Living in Astoria, I've tried some excellent Greek food. So I definitely approach any new Hellenic epicurean event with a keen sense of taste. 

Avaton Estiatorio exterior

I was invited to Avaton Estiatorio (1 East 35th Street) recently and was instantly struck by how clean, chic, and welcoming the space was, especially mere steps away from the hell-hole block that is 34th Street right outside the Empire State Building. It's tucked away from the hubbub and features a small but protected sidewalk cafe and 2 separate dining rooms, plus a private upstairs section. 

On the way to our table, we passed by the fresh local and Mediterranean fish display, which makes for quite the appetizing welcome. We sat in the back dining room under an impressive chandelier and across from a wall-sized replica of an olive tree.

Fresh fish display
Fresh fish display
View from my seat
View from my seat
I'm not sure how much pineapple is a part of classic Greek cuisine, but it was a hot day out and a tropical cocktail sounded great to me. I tried the Elpinia (at least it had a Greek name!) with vodka, fresh pineapple, fresh squeezed lime juice, ginger and a cinnamon stick. My friend was a bit weary about the combination of cinnamon and pineapple initially, but the combination totally works! I also appreciated that the drink wasn't too sweet.

Before our "official" food even arrived, we were smitten with the bread. The bread! I know! It had olives in it and was toasted and drizzled with some high class EVOO. It was all gone fairly soon after it arrived.

Olive bread
Olive bread
Our first appetizer was the tuna tartare served with diced yellow fin filet, avocado, soy ginger vinaigrette, and an oregano tortilla. This was good, but nothing special or unique. In fact I've had this dish at restaurants that define themselves as anything from Italian to Mexican to Japanese. And now it's Greek. Don't let this stop you from ordering it, as if you know you like tuna tartare, this one will satisfy you very well.

Tuna tartare
Tuna tartare
Next up we sampled the platter of Avaton dips: Taramosalata, htipiti, skordalia, melitzanosalata, tzatziki. We pretty much finished this crazy amount of dip. My favorite was the skordalia because garlic. Don't eat too much of this on a date.

Avaton dips
Avaton dips
For the main course, we split the special seafood risotto. The chef explained that his tomato sauce has no sugar in it, which was great because fresh tomatoes have plenty of natural sugar. I liked the wide array of seafood in the dish including scallops, mussels, clams, and prawns--two a piece so perfect for sharing (or boarding Noah's ark). It was all topped with feta cheese.

Seafood risotto
Seafood risotto
Dessert may have been my favorite course of this meal. We were treated to three different sweet offerings and all were completely unlike anything I'd ever had before. My favorite, the textured halva, was made from semolina, raisins, nuts, and cinnamon citrus syrup. The chef told us he borrowed from the Turkish tradition and made the halvah with milk as well, which definitely added richness. My friend's favorite was the Karidopita, a moist and surprisingly gluten-free (no flour!) walnut cake, which was served with caramel fudge. We also tried the chocolate pot which is the dessert to order for all chocoholics. It's very apparent that high quality cocoa when into this treat as it's as rich as it is balanced and creamy.

Dessert trio
Dessert trio
Avaton offers a $33 price fix lunch or $38 pre-theater dinner. I would definitely recommend parking yourself in one of their outside tables if the weather is nice, but a seat in the back room under the chandelier is certainly transportive. The waitstaff was very cordial and friendly and will certainly answer any questions regarding the menu and work with you over any food allergies and restrictions. Whatever you do, save room for dessert!

Disclosure: Avaton provided us with a comp'd meal but all opinions in this review are my own.

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Chicken (and More!) in Hell's Kitchen

I've always loved snarky restaurant names. Hell's Chicken (641 10th Avenue) has to be one of my favorites. Their food was pretty darn good also.

I was invited to visit the Hell's Kitchen Korean eatery last week and sample some traditional dishes as well as their highly-rated fried chicken. I visited South Korea about 2 years ago and love finding menu items that remind me of my trip. Instantly, I saw makgeolli ($14)--an unfiltered rice drink similar to nigori sake--and knew how we had to start our meal. It may look weird, but makgeolli is cold and refreshing with a crispy finish. Perfect for a summer evening.


The friendly owner Sung Jin Min walked us through the menu and advised that we start with the Kimchi Jeon ($10), a Korean-style kimchi fried pancake, and the Mussam Mari ($7), pickled radish wraps with vegetables. The pancake was one of my favorite items of the meal. It reminded me of the scallion pancakes I've ordered from many a Chinese dumpling restaurant, but the kimchi made it a bit heartier. It was served on a sizzling hot platter with a soy-based dipping sauce. The Mussam Mari was cooling yet tart and was a great palate cleanser between the Kimchi Jeon and what was to come.

Kimchi Jeon
Kimchi Jeon
Mussam Mari
Mussam Mari

Then came the chicken from Hell! Just kidding. Well, kind of. We ordered drums (you can order wings or a combination of both) because I find they are easier to eat ($12-$50). Then we had a wide array of sauces to choose from arranged on the menu from mild to spicy. We went with soy ginger (a take on the traditional soy garlic) and spicy Hell's (the house sauce).

I'm kind of a wimp when it comes to spice but the spicy Hell's was totally manageable. If you like ginger, the soy ginger will be your best friend. The chicken itself was cooked to a perfect crisp and each piece beckons you before you even finish the last.

What's interesting about the fried chicken is that it's gluten free. It's made with an all-rice flour batter and fried in canola instead of soybean oil. Celiac's rejoice!

Soy ginger (left) and spicy Hell's (right) fried chicken drumsticks
Soy ginger (left) and spicy Hell's (right) fried chicken drumsticks

Lest we forget the rest of the very authentic Korean menu, we finished up with the Dolsot Bibimbap ($16). A classic hot stone bowl mix of vegetables, rice, beef, hot sauce and an egg, this bibimbap cooks as you mix it up (don't worry, I'm not into eating raw egg!). I apologize for not taking an after pic, but I highly advise you go to Hell's Chicken and get this dish yourself. You'll find the rice puffs and crunches a bit more than it would in a regular bowl and that makes this bibimbap that much more incredible.

Dolsot Bibimbap
Dolsot Bibimbap

You may have to walk a couple blocks further west to get to Hell's Chicken than you would normally, but it's worth the extra steps (your FitBit will thank you). Try the chicken that matches your tastes, share a steaming bowl of bibimbap, and wash it all down with some makgeolli or soju. Oh and tell Sung I said hi!

Disclosure: Hell's Chicken provided a comp'd meal in exchange for this review but all opinions are my own.

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