I love the Murray's location at Grand Central Market so my friends and I have been wanting to try the new Cheese Bar location in Greenwich Village for a while. Finally, we went for happy hour and it was amazing. The deal is 10$ cheese flights (aka three cheese and pairings) and 2$ off of drafts and wine. I can't remember exactly what the names of the cheeses were but the gouda paired with the caramel spread was delicious. We also had a sheep (maybe) cheese paired with pickled carrots and a brie with apricot jam. I loved the cool interior and I can't wait to go back for brunch - or just more cheese! P.S. If you're looking for a great cheese to try, I recommend La Tur.
A couple weeks ago two of my friends and I decided to try out the latest social craze, Paint Nite. If you haven't heard of it, Paint Nite consists of taking a painting class at a bar (while having some drinks, obviously). They are hosted frequently throughout the city (and country) at various bars and each class has a different theme. Ours was at Revel, a bar in Meatpacking, and we all painted sunsets. The instructor had us paint step-by-step so all of our paintings came out the same. I was sort of disappointed because I had imagined myself having a stroke of creative genius and going wild on the canvas, resulting in an artistic masterpiece. I guess I'll have to save it for next time. Aside from my initial crushed dreams, Paint Nite was so fun and basically we all laughed the night away. Since you don't need to be an experienced painter at all, I definitely recommend it for everyone. Side note: Revel is a really cute bar/restaurant with an open garden, AND it has a great happy hour from 5-7 so I'm definitely going to go back for that!
The time has come for me to do a post on one of my all-time favorite spots in the city: The Mermaid Inn. I always look for restaurants with character and I immediately noticed something special about The Mermaid. With three locations (the East Village, Greenwich Village, and Upper West Side) you would have to be semi-insane to live in the city and to not go to at least once. I have only been to the East Village location (sadly), but I'm definitely going to be trying the other two this summer. The Mermaid specializes in, you guessed it, SEA FOOD!! It's a perfect summer hangout because of the oysters and cocktail menu, but it's also super cozy in the winter. They also know what's up for happy hour, which is every day from 5-7 P.M. and features $1.00 oysters, a special snack menu, and discounted drinks. Also, you can't beat the cute cup of chocolate mousse that comes at the end of each visit, or the fish fortune teller, which always curls up to let me know I am feeling romantic (HAHA). Ugh. Writing this has made me miss The Mermaid Inn. Now you can count on finding me there every day for the rest of the week.
Cascabel Taqueria is the bomb. I was joyously introduced by my cousin a few months ago and I've been back several times. Sometimes I'm not a huge lover of Mexican food so I was a bit hesitant, but after reading reviews I decided I should just get with the program and go check it out. Cascabel is relatively inexpensive for amazing food and the staff is really fun and laid back. Two tacos are $8.00 and each table comes with a variety of sauces to choose. My favorite so far is the Carnitas taco. They also have a really great happy hour from 5-7 P.M., serving discounted appetizers and $6.00 margaritas. These aren't your typical margaritas. Since being there three times, I've tried the pomegranate hibiscus margarita and the cucumber basil margarita. Even better, Cascabel doesn't stop at dinner and happy hour. They also serve brunch, where I happened to have a buttery and crisp stack of pancakes topped with goat cheese, cilantro, and a fried egg. It came with a side of bacon and they serve a mini churro after every meal (!!!). Cascabel has two locations - one on the Upper West Side and one on the Upper East Side. If you're ever in either area you should check it out, but I would say it's worth making the trip uptown.