Dining Out At Mojave

Mojave is a wonderful new addition to the Ditmars Blvd. and 31st Street area in Astoria. Their cuisine is described as Southwestern. Last week I went there with a large group which allowed me to sample a bit more appetizers than I normally would have. I enjoyed a sampling of the Hand Hacked Hass Avocado Guacamole and also the Corn Crusted Calamari Cracklins – both were great. Each table got their own plate of chips with 2 different salsas. Each salsa had a distinct flavor and was quite good. I only wish I could have had more as the serving size of the salsa was a little small.

Mojave has a varied specialty drink menu with many options to choose from. Some brave friends of mine sampled a spicy margarita which had jalapenos in it. Too spicy for my taste but they enjoyed them. For my entree, I had the Tejas Blue Crab,Chilis and Cheese Quesedilla. It was delicious and also quite filling. There were so many items I wanted to try on the menu, I will have to go back another time again soon.

The dining area at Mojave is decorated quite nicely with dim lighting brightened by many candles. It is a very enjoyable and welcoming atmosphere. There is also outdoor garden seating for when the weather is nice.

Mojave offers a weekend brunch menu and has a prefixe lunch available. Head there on a Thursday and you get a complimentary margarita with dinner. There are also tequila tastings and live music on Thursdays. Happy Hour at the bar is from 4-7pm with $5 House Cocktails, Wine and Sangria along with $3 Draft beer.

Mojave
22-36 31st Street

http://www.mojaveny.com/

Art Crawl in Soho!

Tomorrow, September 24th, Artlog.com and Soho Night are having an Art Crawl event in Soho. I went to the one this past June and it was a really great time. Here is how it works…

When you pick up your ticket you are handed a map of all the participating galleries. You then get to pick and choose which ones you want to see or if you are really ambitious you can try to visit all of them during the hours of the crawl. Most of the galleries offer some beverages and there is an after hours party once the crawl is over at Naked Lunch (at Grand and Thompson). There are a lot of small gallery spaces so you get a chance to really look at everything at each location you attend. They are all within short walking distance from each other so you will get to see quite a few galleries if you plan your timing right. Overall, it’s a wonderful way to mix and mingle while seeing a variety of artistry. I am not able to attend this one but am looking forward to the next event they host. If you are free tomorrow, I highly recommend that you try the crawl yourself!

To purchase tickets and see a map of the galleries go to http://artlog.com/collectsoho.

Football Fun at Phebe’s

This Saturday I went to help cheer on a friend’s college football team at Phebe’s Tavern & Grill (359 Bowery at East 4th Street) . The game started at 1pm so we got there in time for the brunch special. I ordered the breakfast burrito and it really hit the spot! After my brunch mimosa, I was able to enjoy $3 Miller Lite Drafts for the duration of the game.

The space was arranged nicely. The alumni group was set up in a sectioned off area with a perfect view of the TV and lots of seating for everyone. Meanwhile, there was plenty of room at the main bar and surrounding front tables for everyone else who was there to enjoy the other sports events being played, order brunch, etc..

In general, Phebe’s is great place to watch your favorite sporting events. They have the expected bar food options, lots of TVs in different spots so you can always keep your eye on the game, and plenty of drink offerings. If you still follow your college team it is likely you can find their games on one of the big screens here.

Check out their website at http://www.phebesnyc.com/ for all the details on their happy hour in addition to the daily drink and food specials.

Experience Beertopia!

Last night I headed to the Village Pourhouse (64 Third Ave at 11th Street) for one of their popular beer tastings. For their monthly Beertopia event, people are able to try samples of beer for the affordable price of $1 per tasting or $10 for 12 tastings from 7pm-9pm.

There was a wide variety of beers to choose from. My friends and I leaned towards trying some of the beers we were less familiar with which included sampling the Hitacho Ginger, Kona Fire Ale, Pripps Carnegi and Carib Lager to name a few. We weren’t sure if the 12 samples would be enough as we have a tendancy to be quite thirsty. However, it turned out it was the perfect amount of sampling for us.

In addition to the nightly drink specials, the Village Pourhouse offers many fun events such as Wii Mondays, Rock Band/Guitar Hero Tournaments every Tuesday and Trivia Nights on Tuesdays and Thursdays. There are also other tasting events to try such as a Ginger Cocktail + Sushi class and the upcoming Maker’s Bourbon Tasting on 9/23. Check out their website for details on when these are scheduled and all of their other special offers. It’s a great space and is definitely worth checking out sometime!

www.pourhousenyc.com

Hiking in the Moonlight

This Saturday night, when most people were getting ready to plan their evenings out on the town, I was getting myself ready to enter the wilderness. I had signed up for a Full Moon Hike through Outdoor Bound. So I gathered my new headlamp, my water bottle, some snacks and my backpack. I was ready to go.

I had been worried about the weather since showers were in the forecast. All day it looked dreary and cloudy. I wondered how I would be hiking in the moonlight if there was no visible moon? But the trip was still a go so I met up with my group at 7pm. We ventured out of the city and were on our way to Harriman State Park in upstate NY. It was about an hour drive away from the city.

As we drove, there were some rain showers and only cloudy skies. I just hoped the weather would hold out when we got there. Luckily as we were driving up the mountain it looked like the rain had stopped! Hopefully it would stay that way while we were out in the woods.
We went up a small winding road and when the van was parked and we turned out the lights it was pitch black. All you could hear was the chirping of all of the surrounding nocturnal insects. It was then that the reality hit me of what I had signed up for. I was about to head into the middle of the forest with 12 other people with nothing but our headlamps/flashlights and our hiking guide to lead the way. It was exhilarating and a bit scary.

As we started out, I quickly adjusted to the ways of night hiking. You could only see what your headlamp revealed directly ahead of you, along with the trail of lights ahead where the others were walking in front of you. If you wanted to see the surrounding area, you really needed to watch your step since your light would no longer be guiding your feet! As I walked, I kept thinking to myself – WOW! I am in the middle of the woods, in the dark, and if I turn off this light I will be in complete darkness! Not only that but we were climbing steep trails and slippery rocks since it had rained so much before. It was hot and muggy so any rain drops that fell through the trees were actually welcome.

We made our way to the lake where if it hadn’t been raining you would light a fire and roast marshmallows. This wasn’t possible for our group with all the rain that had occurred but it might have been even better this way. This way you got to fully appreciate the surrounding darkness. To my happy surprise the full moon had made itself known through some thinner clouds. Shining brightly in the sky it had an illuminating glow over the lake and surrounding forest. It was beautiful! We had been prepared for a possible night swim in the lake but the water was a tad chilly. So those of us who were so inclined went in to wade in the shallow water. I could have stood there for hours. It was such a peaceful experience. Most of us had turned off our lights and our eyes had adjusted to the moonlight while we rested. I really enjoyed our time by the lake.

Soon it was time to get back on our way. For the rest of the journey we encountered some steep inclines, had to climb some rocky sections (which is why they suggest using a headlamp so you have the use of both hands), and were able to hear some owls, see a family of deer and hear the surrounding wildlife. I felt a million miles away from civilization. When I turned off my light and looked around I could see no other lights at all. We were that far away from any stores, houses and lights. I loved it!

Our hike was completed at around 1am. I was sad when we returned to the van and had to head back. But my body was a bit sore from all the activity so I guess it was for the best. All I know is, I had an amazing time and cannot wait to go on another night hike. I was also extremely thankful that the weather had held out for us. Once back in the van we had more showers to drive through and I was happy to be sheltered again when that happened.

Outdoor Bound has another full moon hike offered in October. That is the last one for this season but they will have more next season. I know I will be signing up next spring/summer! It is a wonderful experience and I highly recommend giving it a try.

A Rockin Cruise!

I had the pleasure of going on a super fun concert cruise last night. ROCKS OFF hosts a Concert Cruise Series aboard the Half Moon. The Half Moon is a two level boat. Upstairs there is a sun deck as well as a shaded dance floor while downstairs there is a full bar and an indoor seated area with large windows. The cruise I went on featured live performances by Bryan Scary & The Shredding Tears and Via Audio. Both bands were excellent!

The Half Moon departs from Skyport Marina located at 23rd St. & FDR Drive. Boarding for my cruise began at 7pm and we departed promptly at 8pm. The cruise ended close to 11pm and you’ll be having so much fun that you won’t want to be back on land!

Last night, there was an especially beautiful view of the city skyline. On top of what the river normally offers, we also got a chance to see Olafur Eliasson’s Waterfalls (which can be seen till October 13th, 2008) as we floated underneath and past three of the city’s majestic bridges. These waterfall installations are particularly fun to see at night when they are all lit up. And the most meaningful view of the evening was seeing the “Tribute in Light” beams as they reached to the sky near Ground Zero. It was an awe inspiring!

As for the cruise experience itself, we got chance to really enjoy the city views and take lots of pictures before the concerts began. Then while we were circling really close to the Statue of Liberty it was time to let loose and listen to some great music. My friends and I were able to enjoy the cash bar on the ship without missing any of the show and they also have a hot food buffet if you get hungry. The concert area is fully enclosed and according to the website this ship runs rain or shine for all their concert events. I know that I personally was having so much fun I didn’t want to head back to dock at the marina. I look forward to going on another one of these concert cruises!

You can get all the details about the concert cruise series as well as Rocks Off’s other offerings – such as their Mets Game cruises – at their website: http://www.rocksoff.com/

And make sure you get to see Olafur Eliasson’s waterfalls before they are gone. More info at http://www.nycwaterfalls.org/ .

Free Pizza with Every Beer? Count Me In!!

In these rough economic times, how about getting a little bang for your buck? Or in this case, a free cheese pizza with every beer you purchase at a fun bar called Crocodile Lounge! There is no limit on how many pizzas – as long as you order a beer you can order a pizza. If you’d prefer something more on your pizza, additional toppings are a couple bucks extra.
While you are enjoying your beverages and food there are lots of fun distractions. The highlight is the Skee Ball machine in the back room and there are a bunch of other fun arcade games to play too. In addition to the indoor space, Croc Lounge has a small outdoor seating area for when the weather is nice.

Monday is Nintendo Night, when video game tournaments are held on the bar’s large TVs. And on Wednesdays there is a trivia contest, test your knowledge and win free drinks.

Crocodile Lounge is located at 325 E 14th St (Between 1st Avenue and 2nd Avenue).
There is also a location in Brooklyn called Alligator Lounge that has the same pizza per beer deal. This Brooklyn location has a pool table and karaoke/band area. It is located at 600 Metropolitan Ave at Lorimer Street.

I have been to both locations and they are lots of fun!