Tag Archives: restaurants

Inside out signage

IMG_6354

This sign hangs in the window of a restaurant in town. From the outside, it reads ‘Organico’.

From the inside… anyone see what I saw?

As I was taking this shot I said to Gary, ‘Hey, doesn’t this sign look like a penis with…”

And he finished my sentence “… one dropped ball?”

At which point the waiter – who I did not realize was standing behind me – said, “You are not the first person to notice that.”

Must be a full peninsula of Magnets for the Absurd.

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Time to Cry Tuesday – Valentino’s on the Green

This week Time to Cry Tuesday takes a different twist. Having safely deposited both of my kids at college halfway across the country, I will focus this week on the joy of work.

Yes, you read that correctly. As a good friend from art school so wisely posted on facebook recently, ‘find something you love and then find someone to bill for it’. Every so often my career takes a turn back towards doing what I truly love; getting involved in a business and helping them to realize their vision for how they should look and feel.

One such client is a fabulous new restaurant and catering venue in the NY area called Valentino’s on the Green. I was hired to create their menus and associated materials. It just so happens that not only did I have the honor of working with this new venue, but one of the partners happens to be one of my dearest friends from High School, Chef Don Pintabona of Tribeca Grill fame. (we did not call him Chef, back then).

To add to the excitement, Don is planning to build a solar-and-biodiesel-powered vertical farm on the property, where he hopes to grow about 80 percent of his raw materials, from mushrooms and potatoes to farmed fish. He also envisions a teaching lab for local schools. How cool is that?

The restaurant is housed in Rudolph Valentino‘s summer home in Bayside Queens (hey, don’t laugh, in the 20s Bayside was like the Hamptons). The renovation is spectacular, the staff is award winning and stellar, the food is to die for. And Sunday night I had the joy of dining there during the Friends and Family opening.

I cannot tell you the thrill of entering that building I have watched turn from a construction site into an elegant restaurant over the past few months and see it filled with people. People who were actually holding my menus! But the most wonderful part of all was to see my dear friend Don – beaming as he walked through the place – at home in a way I have not seen in a very long time. There is nothing better than seeing a dear friend realize a vision and being able to take part in it.

Sometimes work feels like pushing a boulder up the hill. But if you are lucky, other times work is about doing what you love – with people you love – and finding someone to bill for it. It was an honor to work with a team of passionate professionals who truly cared about every single detail that led up to the opening of this restaurant. Don, Giorgio and Deanna, working with you has been a dream! Jimmy, Michael, Antonio, Don C., Lauren, Erin, and the entire staff, thanks for the great night last night, you were all on the top of your game.

So plug, plug, plug, full client/friend disclosure and all that transparency nonsense, you will surely thank me for turning you onto this place. Let’s help them find ‘many some ones to bill for it’. Join me in making this venue the great success I know it will become. Check it out here, or call and make a reservation at 718.352.2300 and tell them that Amy sent you. Do it now before this article hits and they are all booked up. (Oh and if you are looking to throw a party, their upstairs catering room is magnificent!)

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Filed under friendship, New York, New York City, relationships, restaurants, Time to Cry Tuesdays

Another Reason to Love NYC

Pak-Bangla-Indian-Italian-seafood

Thanks to my friend Sue, of the ‘why don’t you just start a blog already’ fame, I bring you this photo of one of NYC’s more versatile eateries.

Pak-Bangla-Indian/Italian/Seafood – slash a little bit for everyone. I love the use of hyphens and slashes on this signage. And I particularly love the Psychic sign above it from the establishment next door. It is easy to read your mind about what you are in the mood to eat when we serve just about EVERYTHING.

I wonder if the other side says Chinese-Japanese-Korean/Kosher/Vegetarian.

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Filed under absurdities, carry a camera, New York, New York City, signage

Cheap Eats

cheap-eats

Walking into a restaurant the other night I spotted this character. In respect for anonymity I cropped him. He struck such a resemblance to Frank Zappa that I had to do a double take.

I love the cover of the magazine with ‘Cheap Eats’, which by the way the restaurant is not. I never realized but our friend pointed out that $17.95 was kind of pricey for eggplant parmigiana. I suppose I can’t argue with that.

I wonder what article he was reading. The way he has his hand over his mouth it appears that he is astonished. Maybe he just ordered the eggplant parmigiana and is reading an article about where he can buy it for half the price.

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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What’s the poop on this restaurant?

modern_toiletAhh… to eat or pee, that is the question!

There is a new restaurant chain in Taiwan called Modern Toilet! And the theme would be? You guessed it, bathroom gourmet. I first read about this in Time and had to do a little exploring.

Now here is concept that my extended family would surely embrace. When we all get together it is inevitable that the conversation will go the way of defecation. My brother has amazed my kids more than once with stories of his bathroom feats. And my nephew, I believe there was once a comparison to the titanic.

toilet_sushiThis place is wild. You sit on ‘the can’ at glass top tables with sinks beneath them. Food is served in mini toilets bowls, drinks come in urinals and the soft serve ice cream? Um, kinda doodylike.

I would imagine there would be families that would be turned off by such a crass place. Us? Almost worth a trip to Taiwan in my book.

My favorite part would be the home page on the website. There is a picture of this cute little blue mouse on a piece of cheese with the words ‘shit or food’ in a bubble over his head. Hmmm, intriguing thought

Seriously, aren’t you just a little bit curious about eating here?

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog.

For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Filed under advice to my son, humor, marketing, Uncategorized

Eat Me? Crude Sells.

eat-me_small 

This should have probably landed on Leaving the Zip Code, but I needed to write more than I do over there and that poor blog has been quite neglected of late. 

On St. Mark’s Place in NYC resides Crif Dogs, an eatery that specializes in the ever-so-healthy deep fried wiener. Aside from dreaming up ways to clog the arteries of New Yorkers, these guys have a great sene of humor and decided to hang a larger than life hot dog out front with the words ‘Eat Me’ written in an artful mustard script.

I saw this while circling for a parking spot and dragged my daughter and nephew back there to snap a shot. 

Ask me how sick of my photog antics this next generation of my family has become. Actually, they bitch and moan about my snap happy behavior, but neither of them could deny that this would make a fabulous blog post.

Let’s face it, the signage is crude, but it did catch my attention. Did I purchase on of these death wieners? Of course not. If I am going to venture down the road of wiener death I am strictly a grilled Hebrew National Girl.

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at Mid-Century Modern Moms and at 50-Something Moms Blog.

For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Filed under absurdities, humor, Jana, New York City, photography, signage

And the chairs go up on the tables by 10

There are many advantages to living in the suburbs. It is a wonderful place to raise a family, you can have a garden, it is safe and clean.

But there is one thing about living here that I have never gotten used to. We eat late at home. And when we go out we like to linger. Sadly, the restaurants clear out by 10PM. On the weekends maybe you can stretch it to 10:30. And then the staff starts to get restless. In an awkward and uncomfortable sort of way. ‘Um waiter, could you not put on you coat just yet? If you hadn’t noticed, we are still dining here!’

This happens to the First Thursdays all the time. Many times we have watched as they put the chairs up on the tables around us. It drives me nuts.

Last night we reached new depths of being the last ones out. First we watched as the wait staff paraded past us carrying piles of table linens into the kitchen. I felt like it was laundry day at camp. Something tells me that the Culinary Institute does not teach this as part of their curriculum on customer relations. 

Then, the valet parking guy came in and starting handing out keys. I am not sure if this has every happened before, but it was surely not all that endearing.

I have good friends who are chefs. I don’t remember this every going on in their restaurants. Even the suburban ones. Jeff, you never did this, did you?

What next, are they going to shut the lights? Come to think of it, they might have turned off the AC around 10.

Then again, at a table of menopausal women after a few bottles of wine, it was hard to tell.

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Filed under humor