Category Archives: Uncategorized

3 Secret Japanese Restaurants That You Can’t Tell Others

Dining Bohemian Restaurant Dish

We contributed during 1 year for Glamour Brazil. This post was about 3 secret Japanese restaurants in town that we love!

Here is the Portuguese version and below, the English version:

The gastronomic scene in NYC is simply the best! New restaurants are always opening, renowned chefs are always daring and experimenting in their menus and novelties are always popping up in existing restaurants.

The coolest places in New York are certainly the most hidden ones. For anyone who is in love with Japanese cuisine, here are tips three secret Japanese restaurants, kept away from the eyes of the city’s tourists!


Dining Zenkichi Restaurant Entrance
Dining Zenkichi Restaurant Tables
Dining Zenkichi Full Table
Dining Zenkichi Restaurant Abalone Uma Ni
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The Japanese restaurant, Zenkichi, is located in the neighborhood of Williamsburg – which we love!. It opened its doors nearly one decade ago and continues part of the short list of the most secret restaurants in town. The entrance is discrete, with a wooden door and a small number “77″.

With a typical oriental décor and low lighting, the tables are divided into small cabins where your privacy is preserved. Each table has a charming bamboo curtain blocking the view of people passing by the table. Each table also has a button to call the waiter, who promptly arrives to help you.

The restaurant offers an a la carte menu and a special chef’s tasting menu with 8 dishes, the “eight-cours Omakase”. This tasting menu is the apex of the place and changes every five weeks!

Location: 77 North 6th Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn


Dining Sakagura Restaurant Inside
Dining Sakagura Restaurant Dishes
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For connoisseurs of sake and lovers of traditional Japanese cuisine, Sakagura is “the place to go”. It was elected one of the top restaurants in New York.

Founded in 1996, it is considered one of the best authentic Japanese cuisine with top rated dishes elected by best gastronomic critics. It is also among the top sake bars in the United States and in the world, with more than 200 labels for tasting!

Furthermore, on the menu, the dishes have suggestions on the side to indicate the best sake combination. The restaurant is located inside the basement of an office building, so do not be surprised if you bump into suited men while walking in.

Location: 211 East 43rd Street, Midtown

Last, but not least, you’ll surely love telling your friends about the whole experience at this next place. Certainly amusing!


Dining Bohemian Restaurant Tables Bar
Dining Bohemian Restaurant Dish
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Located in the back of a Japanese butcher shop, in NoHo, Bohemian is perhaps one of the most coveted hidden restaurants in the city. It’s a hard place to find and you’ll surely think you in the wrong place. Plus, the long, dark corridor does make you think twice while walking in.

How it works? Well, first the phone number for reservations is not disclosed and it’s a referral-only spot. The way to get a reservation is to try to find someone who has already been to the restaurant so they can give you the phone. This is the only way you’ll be able to call and schedule your reservation. Cool, right?

Everything there is a-m-a-z-i-n-g… from simple food (with inspiration in the American and French cuisines) to the minimalistic décor and background music – playing Japanese grooves, and even jazz and bossa nova! The tasting menu is a great price and nothing out of the ordinary…it goes for $55, with 6 dishes.

Location: 57 Great Jones Street (this is shared on Google Maps)

Also, if you enjoyed discovering these three secret Japanese restaurants, take a look at our Self-Guided Tour of one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Brooklyn, called Greenpoint!

Lastly, you might also enjoy super unique, custom tours! At this Unique Custom Photo Tours, your guide is not only amazing, but they are photography experts that will take your pictures along the way!

Have fun exploring!


Photo Credits: Courtesy of the Restaurants, nicknamemiket, Shanna Ravindra, solaennuevayork

3 NYC Vegan Restaurants You Have to Try

Dining 3 Vegan Restaurants Blossom Marble Bottomed Pizza

Did you know that New York City is one of the most vegan-friendly cities in the world? Whether you follow a plant-based diet, or you simply want to have some healthy meals, this is the place to be! Explore these 3 NYC Vegan Restaurants.

New York City is known for being a fantastic place to go, if you enjoy good food.

You are literally able to find every type of cuisine you love or crave exploring.

Besides, every single day there are new spots opening, so it’s literally an eternal exploration.

Our contributor, Sarah Zhao – who is a vegan herself – shared the three NYC Vegan restaurants you have to try:

Peacefood Café

Dining 3 Vegan Restaurants Peacefood Cafe Cheeseburger
Dining 3 Vegan Restaurants Peacefood Cafe Sandwich
Dining 3 Vegan Restaurants Peacefood Cafe Miso Tahini Sprout Sandwich
Dining 3 Vegan Restaurants Peacefood Cafe Chickpea Fry
Dining 3 Vegan Restaurants Peacefood Cafe Dumplings Chicken Fingers
Dining 3 Vegan Restaurants Peacefood Cafe Buffalo Cauliflower Biscuits
Dining 3 Vegan Restaurants Peacefood Cafe Waffles
Dining 3 Vegan Restaurants Peacefood Cafe Red Velvet Scones
Dining 3 Vegan Restaurants Peacefood Cafe Pumpkin Walnut Scones
Dining 3 Vegan Restaurants Peacefood Cafe Pumpkin Cream Cheese Maple Crumb Muffin
Dining 3 Vegan Restaurants Peacefood Cafe Goodies
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Named after the idea that peace begins with the source of one’s food, Peacefood Café was founded by Eric, an antiques dealer, and Peter, an interior designer. They believe that “the awareness of non-violence can be spread through feeding people with delicious vegan food,” and their dishes are definitely delectable!

Upon discovering the hidden gem tucked away from the busy University Place, I have already gone back with several of my friends. I especially recommends the Un-Chicken and Waffles, made with a special seitan only sold to vegan restaurants. It’s not found in grocery stores and it’s topped off with saccharine yet fresh agave syrup!

Peacefood Cafe’s first location opened in 2009, on the Upper West Side. Following its success, a second location was opened near Union Square, in 2013. Now, food lovers around New York City can enjoy a delicious vegan meal!

Both locations are opened every day from 10am – 10pm.

460 Amsterdam Avenue, Upper West Side
41 East 11th Street, Greenwich Village near Union Square


Dining 3 Vegan Restaurants Blossom Upper West Side
Dining 3 Vegan Restaurants Blossom Lemon Seitan
Dining 3 Vegan Restaurants Blossom Freshly Baked Flatbread
Dining 3 Vegan Restaurants Blossom Trumpet Mushroom Scallops
Dining 3 Vegan Restaurants Blossom Tofu BLT
Dining 3 Vegan Restaurants Blossom Empanadas Appetizers
Dining 3 Vegan Restaurants Blossom Cauliflower Steak at Poivre
Dining 3 Vegan Restaurants Blossom Spring Rolls
Dining 3 Vegan Restaurants Blossom Soy Bacon Cheeseburger
Dining 3 Vegan Restaurants Blossom Cauliflower Risotto
Dining 3 Vegan Restaurants Blossom Autumn Tower Entree
Dining 3 Vegan Restaurants Blossom Quinoa Pancakes
Dining 3 Vegan Restaurants Blossom Marble Bottomed Pizza
Dining 3 Vegan Restaurants Blossom Appetizers
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Ronen Seri and Pamela Blackwell founded Blossom in an intimate and historic Chelsea townhouse, in 2005. Back then, vegan food was nowhere near as popular as it is today, and their actions were motivated by their love for animals and passion for entrepreneurship.

All of Blossom’s choices are not only heavenly, but are also creative in their use of soy, tofu, and seitan. They use these ingredients to recreate meat dishes, ensuring vegans do not miss out on the tastes and texture of bacon, eggs, or chicken. After your main course, I recommend getting the Tiramisu, which I think is even better than the non-vegan versions. Believe it or not!

Blossom has also opened as second location on Columbus, featuring a full bar with wine and beer. Most importantly, all of their ingredients are fresh, organic, and sourced from local farms and small distribution companies!

Lunch/Brunch: 12pm – 2:45pm daily
Dinner: Monday – Thursday: 5pm – 9:30pm | Friday – Saturday: 5pm – 10pm | Sunday: 5pm – 9pm

Upper West Side:
Lunch: Monday – Friday: 11:30am – 4pm
Brunch and Lunch: Saturday – Sunday: 10:30am – 4pm
Dinner: Sunday – Thursday: 5pm – 10pm | Friday – Saturday: 5pm – 11pm

187 Ninth Avenue, Chelsea
507 Columbus Avenue, Upper West Side

Sun in Bloom

Dining 3 Vegan Restaurants Sun In Bloom Chia Pudding Granola
Dining 3 Vegan Restaurants Sun In Bloom Dessert by Tedi Sarah
Dining 3 Vegan Restaurants Sun In Bloom Salad by Kim-Julie Hansen
Dining 3 Vegan Restaurants Sun In Bloom Sandwich
Dining 3 Vegan Restaurants Sun In Bloom Cookies
Dining 3 Vegan Restaurants Sun In Bloom Small Portions
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If you’re looking for a vegan restaurant in the serene Park Slope neighborhood in Brooklyn, look no further than Sun in Bloom!

Realizing the incredible connection between the food she was eating and the way she was experiencing life, Chef Aimee decided to make a change. The restaurant opened its doors on January 1st, 2010 and the rest was history!

They integrate macrobiotic philosophy into their plant-based, raw-living foods, and they are known for their gluten-free vegan baked goods. I love their Macro Bowls, and if you’re in the mood for something sweet, definitely try their Raw Vegan Cheesecakes!

Sun in Bloom also has a second location in TriBeCa, and both make their foods in their kosher in-house kitchen.

Park Slope:
Monday – Friday: 8:30am – 9pm
Saturday & Sunday Brunch: 10am – 5pm

Monday – Friday: 7am – 8pm
Saturday & Sunday: 9am – 5pm

460 Bergen Street, Park Slope
165 Church Street, TriBeCa

So, what are you waiting for? Go out and try all the amazing NYC Vegan Restaurants that New York City has to offer!

As I mentioned, New York is the perfect city to explore all the Vegan and Vegan-Friendly options. You might want to try some of the best cupcakes at The Little Cupcake Bakeshop, the original creations by Chef Anthony Mongeluzzi at Avant Garden, and still the Michelin-starred Nix.

But wait! Did you even know that Vegan Fashion exists? Go to Vaute, to see what it’s all about.

If you’d like help to organize a private event, or a corporate experience for your team and clients, see how our BTSNYC experts can assist.


Photo Credits: Courtesy of venues, Kim-Julie-Hansen and Tedi Sarah

Gurney’s Montauk Resort: A high-end experience in Montauk

Day Trips and Travels Gurneys Montauk Resort

People that know us well are aware of how we’re huuuge fans of summer time! So yes, we can’t wait for the NY summer and head to Gurney’s Montauk Resort and Seawater Spa. It’s a fabulous high-end experience in Montauk.

Day Trips and Travels Gurneys Montauk Resort Bird View
Day Trips and Travels Gurneys Montauk Resort
Day Trips and Travels Gurneys Montauk Resort Guest Room
Day Trips and Travels Gurneys Montauk Resort Double Guest Room
Day Trips and Travels Gurneys Montauk Resort Balcony
Day Trips and Travels Gurneys Montauk Resort Sunset
Day Trips and Travels Gurneys Montauk Resort Beach Setup
Day Trips and Travels Gurneys Montauk Resort Restaurant
Day Trips and Travels Gurneys Montauk Resort Breakfast Options
Day Trips and Travels Gurneys Montauk Resort Lunch
Day Trips and Travels Gurneys Montauk Resort Beach
Day Trips and Travels Gurneys Montauk Resort Lounge
Day Trips and Travels Gurneys Montauk Resort Sunset Beach
Day Trips and Travels Gurneys Montauk Resort Beach Beds
Day Trips and Travels Gurneys Montauk Resort Balcony
Day Trips and Travels Gurneys Montauk Resort Sunbathing
Day Trips and Travels Gurneys Montauk Resort Pool
Day Trips and Travels Gurneys Montauk Resort Breakfast
Day Trips and Travels Gurneys Montauk Resort Sofas
Day Trips and Travels Gurneys Montauk Resort Sunset from Porch
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In that spirit we’d like to help you guys get your itineraries ready when you come and visit. If you’re a New Yorker, this is a fantastic spot to go if you’re looking for high-end places to spend your summer weekends.

So, this resort is a place you should definitely experience once in your life!

Gurney’s Montauk Resort and Seawater Spa is around 2.5h away from Manhattan. It’s located at almost the very tip of the peninsula of Long Island.

The suites are gorgeous, with a sophisticated and clean decor. Be sure to ask for the ocean view!

Their spa offers an indoor pool with water extracted and filtered from the sea, heated up to a warm nice temperature. It’s also great of a late afternoon chilling spot, or a morning exercise, if you’re into swimming.

There are a few activities in the pool like Aquatic Yoga, which is pretty cool and great to stay in shape! The spa also has a rock sauna, a steam room, fitness center and numerous different services you can book.

Plus, the Resort has several dining options which you won’t get tired of.

Tillie’s has an American kitchen with comfort food for breakfast and lunch. For a classy seafood dinner, make a reservation at Scarpetta Beach. If you want to have a quick grab-and-go during the day, Corso Coffee is an Italian-style coffee bar located at the lobby of the hotel.

There’s nothing better than having a beach bar right at your feet. The Beach Club will set up a great spot for your beach chairs and umbrellas. If you need a snack while enjoying the beach, they have a nice menu with sandwiches, appetizers, saladas and drinks you can pick from.

Lastly, the The Regent Cocktail Club has a lounge and bar area for drinks. A great spot to relax before or after dinner.

The nightlife in Montauk during the summer is pretty amusing and parties are endless in the Hamptons. That said, if you need help getting ready for your party, book an appointment at their hair salon. You’ll be surely the most gorgeous girl in the party!

They have a concierge service to make your life easier too, to don’t hesitate to ask for assistance! Take advantage of this service to had a fantastic experience in Montauk.

Oh! Are you looking for a place to get married? This is a definitely a great place to have a wedding and they do offer a wedding planner to help you out! Check out Kamila Presti’s wedding to see how gorgeous it was!

Location: 290 Old Montauk Highway, Long Island, NY



Photo Credits: Courtesy of Gurney’s

Dziupla, Our Special Polish Restaurant In Williamsburg

Dining Dziupla Restaurant Counter Table

If you read the full story about our Founder’s journey to NYC, you will remember about the huge role and historic moment she had at this traditional Polish restaurant in Williamsburg, called Dziupla.

Dining Dziupla Restaurant Outdoor Façade
Dining Dziupla Restaurant Inside
Dining Dziupla Restaurant Counter Table
Dining Dziupla Restaurant Pierogies
Dining Dziupla Restaurant Sandwich and Beer
Dining Dziupla Restaurant Hamburger
Dining Dziupla Restaurant Full Table
Dining Dziupla Restaurant Mac and Cheese Pierogies
Dining Dziupla Restaurant Chocolate Dessert
Dining Dziupla Restaurant Pancakes
Dining Dziupla Restaurant Cocktails
Dining Dziupla Restaurant Fernanda Paronetto Lunch 2014
Dining Dziupla Restaurant Fernanda Paronetto Dessert
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Making a long story short and putting into perspective for those who haven’t yet read our Founder, Fê’s story, this restaurant has a fundamental significance in her life. It was the place she was having lunch on April 20th, 2014 and actually had the 1st strong insight saying to her sister that she’d be living in NYC in 1 year.

(The last two pictures in the gallery above were taken on this exact day in 2014!)

So…exactly 365 days later, on April 20th, 2015 she arrived in NYC! It wasn’t till 2016, through Facebook memories that she say the entire date “coincidences”.

This Polish restaurant in Williamsburg, called Dziupla (pronounced jou-pla), opened mid March of 2014. It was just a few weeks before our Fê discovered it and decided to sit down for a lunch that would change the course of her life…

That day, Fê ordered Duck Crepe with caramelized apples, smoked polish cheese, cranberry chipotle relish, made out of gluten-free flour and a side salad. OBS: She had still not gone Vegetarian!

Her sister had the the Grass Fed Beef Burger with tomatoes, grilled onion, lettuce, spicy mayo, fries and salsa, served with hand cut french fries and greens.

For dessert they did not spare calories! Hahaha! They ordered the classic Polish Pychotka with chocolate ice cream! Yum!

A few of the dishes you should also try are:

  • Potato pancake with goulash stuffed with grass feed beef goulash and sauerkraut
  • Stuffed cabbage lunch with tomato sauce, mashed potatoes and beets salad
  • Hunter stew and mashed potatoes
  • Any of the Pierogies – a super typical Polish dish

Yup, as we said, they really are a traditional Polish restaurant in Williamsburg!

The interesting part their menu is that the hanger steak is grass fed, the boar is wild and the chicken is “Amish farm raised.”

They have a great outdoor seating area right on the famous Bedford Street, so try and sit outside and experience a bit of “people-watching”. Certainly interesting in this neighborhood!

Now that the Summer is officially here, it’s definitely a cool place to go!

They serve breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, so you’ll surely find the right occasion to go there!

We’ve organized extraordinary tours and experiences around the Willyb, so if you want to experience the hood in style, be sure to take a look at our Concierge Services.

On the other hand, we’ve hosted huge groups of executives organizing fantastic weekend itineraries and interesting study tours. See our different Corporate Services and how we can enhance your team’s skills in NYC.

Monday – Wednesday: 7:30am – 11pm
Thursday – Friday: 7:30am – 12am
Saturday: 9am – 12am
Sunday: 9am – 11pm

Location: 194 Bedford Avenue


Photo Credit: Courtesy of Dziupla and Fê’s lunch pics the day she said, she’d move to NYC in 1 year!

We Love The Organic Beans-to-Bar Chocolate By Cacao Prieto

Shop Specialties Cacao Prieto Chocolate Store

Sourced from the Dominican Republic, Cacao Prieto is an organic beans-to-bar chocolate factory in Red Hook, Brooklyn. See what their chocolate and spirits are all about!

Shop Specialties Cacao Prieto Chocolate
Shop Specialties Cacao Prieto Chocolate Store
Shop Specialties Cacao Prieto Chocolate Theobroma Cacao Tree
Shop Specialties Cacao Prieto Chocolate Dominican Republic Sourcing
Shop Specialties Cacao Prieto Chocolate Beans
Shop Specialties Cacao Prieto Chocolate Cacao Beans
Shop Specialties Cacao Prieto Chocolate Mandarine
Shop Specialties Cacao Prieto Chocolate Dominican Spice Hot Chocolate
Shop Specialties Cacao Prieto Chocolate Dark Chocolate
Shop Specialties Cacao Prieto Chocolate and Widow Jane Collection at EBIS OHTSU Gallery Japan
Shop Specialties Cacao Prieto Chocolate Criollo and Bark Collection
Shop Specialties Cacao Prieto Chocolate at ABC Carpet and Home Tasting
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“100% organic, 100% passionately made in house from pods to beans.”

Cacao Prieto was founded by Daniel Prieto Preston, whose family has been farming organic cacao in the Dominican Republic for more than 100 years.

The farm, named Coralina Farms, which supplies all the cacao for Cacao Prieto’s chocolates and spirits, is also the center for long-ranging experiments in self-sustainable and organic farming methods.

In fact, everything is 100% organic and  100% passionately made in house from pods to beans. From bars to bonbons, from hard science to the ethereal joy of tasting high quality chocolate. So, Cacao Prieto aims to link the best of the New and Old Worlds to re-define the manufacture, processing and, of course, the pleasures of chocolate and chocolate based liqueurs and rums.

In addition, they offer some pretty cool Chocolate Factory & Distilling Tours!

Here they explain a bit more in depth what the tour is all about:

“Cacao Prieto tours last 1 hour and include an in-depth look at the history of cacao in the Dominican Republic. Plus, see the beans to bar process, the machinery used for processing and science that makes chocolate the unique product it is.

From turn of the century antiques to patented machines invented in house, see how a raw fermented cacao bean moves from farm-to-bar through roasting, cracking, winnowing, milling, tempering, molding, and packaging. In addition, following chocolate is a look at distilling rums, liqueurs, and whiskey from grain-to-barrel-to-bottle.

Tasting flights of chocolate and spirits included.”

Lastly, if you don’t want to wait to go to their chocolate factory in Red Hook, you can buy online at their store. These organic beans-to-bar chocolates will definitely be a unique and pleasing experience for your palate!

And, you can find them in stores, here.

Monday – Friday: 9am – 5pm
Saturday – Sunday: 11am – 7pm

Public Tour Hours:
Saturday & Sunday: 12pm, 2pm, 4pm and 6pm
Private Tours are available by appointment.

Location: 218 Conover Street


Photo Credit: Courtesy of Cacao Prieto

Guitarist Andre Vasconcelos is Shaking Up New York City

Insider Interviews Andre Vasconcelos Guitar

Today we are here with one of New York City’s best guitarists Andre Vasconcelos. Hailing from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Andre has been living in the United States for quite some time now, playing with several different bands in stages throughout the world.

Insider Interviews Andre Vasconcelos Guitar
Photo Credit: Andrea Vodickova

We’ve written in the past about one of the bands he’s played in, so we’ve been hearing about guitarist Andre Vasconcelos’ amazing musical talent for some time. Since we hear and see his name constantly showing up on band’s concerts line ups and posters around NYC, we decided to attend a show this past June 3rd, at Rough Trade. There, we were able to witness his performance first-hand. Our immediate reaction? We were in awe, and speechless!

Andre was performing as the lead guitarist for the band “Victor & the Peculiars”, who were interestingly acting as the openers for Andre’s main band, the RANN. We were blown away by the performances. Victor’s songs are catchy and energetic and the band that backs him up are made with some of the most incredibly players we have seen live.

Andre took some time to answer a couple of questions for Behind the Scenes NYC. We are thrilled to hear a little about his journey as a musician.

Insider Interviews Andre Vasconcelos RANN on Stage
Photo Credit: Rescalla Cury

1. When did you start playing music? And what was the moment you decided that this would be your professional path in life?

“I started playing music when I was around 13 years old. My brother was having guitar lessons so, when my mom offered me to start doing those too, I accepted just so I could be better than him (laughs).

Having done that, I moved on to developing a true relationship of love and devotion to the instrument. I started on nylon string guitar, but quickly changed to electric after coming back from the massive Rock in Rio Festival, in Brazil, where I witnessed Guns n’ Roses melt my face.

I don’t think I have ever decided that this would be my path, but also never really saw myself doing anything else. Then, I attended Business School for a while, just to find myself skipping classes to practice and/or learn new material.”

2. When did you move to New York City? What is the day-to-day life of such an in-demand musician living here?

“I moved to New York City around a year after I graduated from the renowned Berklee College of Music, in Boston. Many of my peers and collaborators were making the move to the big apple so the timing felt right. I had been playing in New York City for many years before I moved here, which is how it eventually works anyway.

The city requires you to be smart about your planning, scheduling and all of the logistic aspects of the profession. You need to understand immediately how big the city is, how long it takes to get from one place to the other and how costly it is to do so.

My day-to-day varies immensely as I have a Music House (Ghidrah Music) in my home studio, in Bushwick. There, I am a writer and producer for my own original rock band, called RANN, where we are always working on new materials. My jazz/rock band, called Racha Fora, does yearly tours in Japan, several other projects and side gigs that keeps our schedule very busy and diverse.

To answer your question, it is basically a combination of studio production sessions in the morning, followed by pretty intense rehearsals or performances at night.”

3. Talking a bit about RANN, how did this amazing project come to life? You guys went on 3 tours, what were they like? Plus, when can we expect new material?

“RANN is the main project I work with. There are four of us: Apoena Frota is the lead singer and also my partner at Ghidrah Music. We have our drummer, Joe Ullmer and Rafael Russi is our secret weapon playing guitars, synths and bass. I play guitar and sing harmonies.

We all met in Boston, but we only formed the band around January of 2015 when we rented a cabin upstate NY and wrote our entire full length record “Yellowgun” during that trip.

Quickly after finishing the album and seeing our shows get more and more hype, we went on our first US Tour. The, we won the Deli Magazine award of “Best Indie Pop Band of 2015”, had our song placed in a massive movie in Brazil and performed extensively.

In 2016 we crossed the country twice playing shows in over 45 different cities, driving from Cape Cod to Seattle and back.

New material should be released soon! We are very excited about it.”

4. After seeing your show with Vic, at Rough Trade, we decided to invite him to be part of the Sofar Sounds event we organized at the Greenpoint Gallery a few days ago. The show was a tremendous success and we were sold out! I heard you’ve played at several of these Sofar events with countless different artists. Can you tell us a bit about the event and what it feels like to see it from different artists’ perspectives?

“Absolutely! Sofar is always a fun experience. The name stands for “Songs from a Room”, which is a great concept. I’ve played Sofar shows with Brazilian artists singing in Portuguese, with Brazilian artists singing in English, with RANN, with heavy rock bands, but also with very soft and subtle singers…and pretty much everything in between.

Sofar Sounds shows are usually ‘stripped down’ versions of the original musics. So, adapting some music to that setting is both challenging and really fun. The show I did with “Victor & the Peculiars” was a particularly interesting one. The band is usually a full blast rock band, taking no prisoners. For our Sofar show last weekend, we managed to rock out, keep the energy up there, but still play the room. It was awesome!

I usually have around 10 guitar pedals with me, but for this show I only had 4. After the show I saw so many posts and comments from people complimenting the guitar sounds. It is always very rewarding. I have the Strymon pedals to thank for that – they are truly incredible pieces of gear.

One of my favorite Sofar concerts I did was with Racha Fora, the powerful and fiery jazz/rock ensemble, led by Hiroaki Honshuku. The music composed and performed by Hiro, myself (guitar), Rika Ikeda (violin) and Sebastian Chiriboga (percussion), pushed the envelope so much that the crowd’s reaction was stunning. Everybody really loved the concert. Being able to share our international touring experiences was another highlight.”

Insider Interviews Andre Vasconcelos RANN
Photo Credit: Alyss Tyler

Andre, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us, at Behind the Scenes NYC! We are very excited to share this inspiring feature on you and continue rockin’!

“Thank YOU so much! This has been so much fun. Hope to catch you at our show soon!”

If you want to learn more about RANN, take a look at their website: To listen to their music, enjoy their You Tube Page with countless clips!

We’ve chosen two, to share below. One was filmed at a place we love, with some of the coolest people in town, called Pianos.

Lastly, if you’re dying to see the guitarist Andre Vasconcelos play, his next show with “Vic & the Peculiars” will be for the July 4th celebration at El Derty’s rooftop in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

See you all there, for we are definitely going!


Après Ski Fondue Chalet in Soho: Café Select

Café Select Restaurant Façade

Passing through the kitchen of a stylish Swiss eatery in SoHo named Café Select, you’ll find a hidden room. Inside the room, Après Ski Fondue Chalet.

Café Select Restaurant Façade Night
Café Select Restaurant Façade
Café Select Restaurant Rosti with Blackforest Ham Eggs
Café Select Restaurant Scrambled Eggs Toast
Café Select Restaurant Chop Salad
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Mimicking an après-ski fondue chalet bar in the Alps, fondue and raclette are served during the colder months at Après Ski Fondue Chalet in Café Select.

During the warmer months, the back room turns into Cervantes Oyster Shack and Bar – a nautically themed restaurant serving a selection of seafood dishes.

I guess you’ve figured out their cuisine at this point, right? Well, if not, it’s ok. They offer great modern European dishes that will please almost everyone!

Furthermore, here are a few dishes you can try, if you’re not sure where to start:

  • Chop Salad with mesclun, endive, cherry tomatoes, celery, avocado, egg, hearts of palm potato salad, cucumber, house vinaigrette;
  • Burrata with heirloom tomato, pickled eggplant, basil & olive oil, balsamic reduction;
  • Müesli Pancakes are short stack of pancakes with macerated berries, vanilla sweet butter;
  • Schnitzel  with thinly pounded, breaded chicken breast, eld greens and potato salad;
  • Rösti Norwegian with smoked salmon and fresh herb sour cream, served over rösti.

Plus, it’s a great late night place to head to, if you’re part of the night-owls of NYC!

Are you looking for a cool place to hang out with the trendy kids in town?

Well, this is surely one of them! Actually, that entire block has some of the hottest NYC hang out spots.

You can also reserve tables for bigger parties (8+) and they have a private dining area where you have the possibility of hosting private events.

Do you need help planning your party? Contact our team of experts to know about our Concierge Services and Corporate Services, so we can organize it all for you (or your company).

If you’re in a rush, just run in and grab your take-away.

Café Select is the perfect place for lunch or dinner, but also the to-go brunch restaurant over the weekends! Start off ordering the famous Mimosa or one of their delicious cocktails!

Have fun at this NY après ski fondue chalet, where you’ll enjoy a bit of Europe.

Daily from 8am
Weekends start at 9am

Location: 212 Lafayette Street


Photo Credit: Courtesy of Café Select

Bear Mountain: For the Adventure Seekers in New York

Day Trips and Travels Bear Mountain by Virtual Tourist

If you’re part of the adventure seekers in New York that loves outdoor sports, Bear Mountain is the place to go! Plan a day trip up there, or enjoy weekend hideout.

Day Trips and Travels Bear Mountain by Virtual Tourist
Bear Mountain State Park. Photo Credit: Virtual Tourist

Located only 1.5 hours from Manhattan, Bear Mountain State Park is located on the west side of the Hudson River. It’s actually divided into two different New York counties: Orange and Rockland county.

The park has over 5,200 acres and countless things to do!

You’ll find outdoor adventure activities from biking and swimming, to hiking, boating and even snowmobiling in the winter!

The park also features a zoo, trailside museums and the Perkins Memorial Tower with an amazing view of the park. You will also find picnic areas, playgrounds, nature trails and several other amazing amenities and activities.

We know that golf is a national passion and if you’re a pro, or an enthusiast, you can book a game at the Bear Mountain Golf Course. It’s located right at the base of the mountain.

You can get season passes, sign up for leagues & tournaments, book classes and play in their driving range. They also have a shop, in case you forgot any equipment or accessory.

Are you the radical sports person? Well, they also offer cross country skiing during the winter season!

Plus, if you decide to stay for the whole weekend, a good option is the Bear Mountain Inn built in 1915. It passed through a massive renovation and is now up and running!

It’s surely a perfect place for the adventure seekers in New York!

Lastly, for those that look for adventure in New York, you might want to try the Brooklyn Boulders and their new technology.

If you’re coming to New York and need a hand booking a trip to Bear Mountain, our experts can find you the best options that suites your budget. For corporate groups in search of annual retreat locations, team building experiences and other activities, let our team assist you.

Location: Palisades Parkway or Route 9W North Bear Mountain, NY

Day Trips and Travels Bear Mountain Inn
Bear Mountain Inn after reconstruction. Photo Credit: Wikipedia


Photo Credits: Courtesy of Wikipedia and Virtual Tourist

Tijuana Picnic: One of the top Mexican restaurants in NYC

Dining Tijuana Picnic Restaurant Corn

If you’re a native New Yorker and enjoy Mexican cuisine, you’ve probably been to Tijuana Picnic, one of the top Mexican restaurants in NYC!

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Dining Tijuana Picnic Restaurant Prochetta
Dining Tijuana Picnic Restaurant Three Tacos
Dining Tijuana Picnic Restaurant Chicken
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Dining Tijuana Picnic Restaurant Tacos
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The restaurant is considered by locals, one of the top Mexican restaurants in NYC and presentes a clear fusion with Asian cuisine. This surely gives the dishes an interesting finish.

To start, the place is gorgeous and gets pretty full! You’ll see in the center of the restaurant, larger tables for big parties, but they also work as communal tables. The full bar is at the back and they know how to create some of the most outstanding cocktails.

In the menu, you’ll find delicious “mash-ups” and exotic dishes like: duck empanadas, shredded duck, scallions, foie gras, cognac ($8), pork chop marinated in coconut milk and served with a thai spice chimichurri sauce ($24), mezcal marinated shrimp, red cabbage and crisp purple potatoes ($11) and other amazing creations!

We also love the mushroom tacos with goat cheese and jalapeño tortilla, the avocado toast, the chicken skewers, the ezquites and one of our favorites: the elote asado that is a delicious grilled corn on a stick!

Ah! And the churros desserts?! They are to die for! Try the five spice, yuzu, dulce de leche. This is not the place to spare the calories, ok!?

Need help in New York City?

If you are in town for only a few days, and you’re not really sure how to best optimize your schedule to do everything you want, contact us to see how our Travel Planning Services can help! Also, take a look at everything our expert do through our Concierge Services.

Sunday – Tuesday: 6pm – Midnight
Wednesday – Saturday 6pm – 1am
Brunch: Saturday & Sunday: 12pm – 4pm
Bar Hours: Wednesday – Saturday: 6pm – 3am
Happy Hour: 1/2 off Margaritas: 7 days till 7pm

Location: 151 Essex Street (between Stanton and Rivington)

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Tijuana Picnic

An Artful Luxury Boutique Hotel Called The Renwick

Renwick Hotel Boutique Entrance

New York is overflowing with countless hotels for every style and every budget. If you’re looking for an Artful Luxury Boutique Hotel, you might want to try, The Renwick.

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Renwick Hotel Boutique Art Suite Bedroom
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“Like many travelers, I look for a place that is quiet, clean, and has free Wi-Fi. Furthermore, location is key: it could mean the difference between spending a $30 cab ride to get across the city and being right where the action is (and I’ve done both).

With the vast selection of hospitality companies offering standard and specialty accommodations there is no need to visit anyone place twice. Until now! Say “Hello!” to The Renwick, an intimate 173-room boutique hotel, and full of big city dreams. This brick and mortar classic is packed with stories from the early 20th century.

Built in 1928, the hotel is named after its architect, James Renwick, Jr., who is best known for his design of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Although not a formally-trained architect like his father, Renwick Jr. studied engineering and was influenced by his world explorations.

Originally, the building was comprised of oversized artist’s studios and lofts that were eventually turned into a long-stay hotel.

This was home to many creative types and prominent literary figures, such as John Steinbeck, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Mann.

Plus, it’s charming to pause at the doorway of The Renwick, to soak in the inspiration of the streets of Midtown New York. Just like the title character in Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.

Eventually reimagined into an “artful luxury hotel”, the Renwick offers inviting guest rooms designed as its own ’artist studio’, equipped with ’blank canvas’ white walls. The TV stand is fashioned to look like a painter’s easel.

In addition, for window shades, local artist Ben Cowan produced unique renderings of the New York skyline for each room, using a dry brush technique on painter’s drop cloth. From Erin Lass’ wall quotes to the ceramic pen cup by Yuka Uchida of OVO Ceramics, each guest room has a unique curation that begs to be noted.

However, the art theme does not end there. The stairwell leading to the fitness center has drawings by Heather Heckel as motivation. Moreover, even the housekeeping staff dons outfits that replicate an artist’s smock!

To conclude, there is much at The Renwick to acknowledged and admired. The design is in the details, and the details are everywhere. I look forward to my upcoming stay, so that I can continue to revel in the history and draw on creativity for my future endeavors.”

It’s surely and artful luxury boutique hotel in Manhattan!

“People don’t take trips. Trips take people.” – John Steinbeck

Are you busy that an extra pair of hands to help you with your trip would be simply a gift? Take a look at our Concierge Services and let us know what we can do!

Are you a company, organizing the agenda and activities for your executives? Or, do you need a local production team for an event, meeting, seminar or a dinner? Learn about our Corporate Services and contact us to be your local team.

Location: 118 East 40th Street


Guest writer: Elena Murzello
Photo Credit: Courtesy of The Renwick Hotel

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