Tag Archives: Secrets

16 Things NO ONE EVER tells you about NYC [PART 4/4]

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 4 Rats

I compiled the 16 things NO ONE EVER tells you about NYC! New York City is super friendly city and pretty easy to find you way around. But, there are a few things you should know before visiting!

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 4
©Behind the Scenes NYC

New York City is super friendly city and pretty easy to find you way around. But, it also has a few particularities you should know before visiting!

So, I decided to share 16 things NO ONE ever tells you about NYC, for the 1st timers in NYC. There are a few rules and tips to make your NY experience seamless and memorable.

We split this topic into 4 different posts, so see below the final, Part 4! And check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3, if you haven’t already!


#13 Don’t yell if you see a rat or a cockroach!

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 4 Rats
Photo Credit: Courtesy

This had to be #13! Hahaha! This will certainly identify you as a “tourist”.

Why? Well, let’s start from the basics! Did you know that there are more rats in New York, than there are people?

Ok, let’s do the math! It’s estimated that within the 5 boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island), there are around 8.5 million residents. The number of rats is around 5:1, adding up to over 42 million rats below our very own feet!

Now, let me tell you something about cockroaches. They are smart little bastards! I was LITERALLY chased by a human-eater-roach back in 2014 when I came to visit New York before moving, in the middle of a subway station. I was running away from it in circles (no lie!) and the roach was running after me in circles too!

It was comic not to say, ridiculous! I was screaming and laughing desperately – as were all my friends – instead of helping me out. So, don’t do as I did. Try to chill and act as if nothing is wrong! That is…if you can!


#14 Shoot! I need to “pee” and can’t find a bathroom!

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 4 Bathroom
©Behind the Scenes NYC

The story of our lives! Manhattan is definitely not a bathroom-friendly place and you might get into some trouble if you don’t know where to run to in an emergency.

I do recommend going to every bathroom you pass by, just in case you don’t at some point! Also, I’ll give you a tip, there is a great APP called SitOrSquat that shares all the public bathrooms in New York. Might be good to downloaded to your phone, right?

Hint, hint! Some places that you’ll find bathrooms: Starbucks, Barnes & Nobel and department stores!


#15 New York is NOT synonymous to Manhattan!

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 4 Brooklyn
©Behind the Scenes NYC

And I’m tired of telling people this! I mean, most tourist are stuck between Central Park South and SoHo – which I call “the comfort zone”. But, all the other boroughs in New York are growing and you have just so much to see! It’s just great when you free yourself from Manhattan, and dive into exploring other corners of NYC!

We all know that Brooklyn is now the new “hot spot” with so much going on. So, you might want to start from there. The trendy neighborhood now, is Williamsburg and I love Greenpoint that is close to it. Queens is a paradise for foodies and each borough has its own charm.

And still, there are countless amazing places to visit upstate, as well and breathtaking destinations in Long Island, from wineries to beaches.

Ok, so let’s start slowly just by crossing the bridge into Williamsburg or DUMBO? I guarantee you’ll be amazed at what you’ll find!


#16 Last by not least: When in doubt, just walk in!

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 4 Secret Restaurant
Secret Japanese restaurant hidden behind these doors. ©Behind the Scenes NYC

What I mean is, if you pass by a weird looking door, but apparently people are discretely walking in and out…you might just want to walk in too. I know…the first thought that comes to mind is: “This is part of a horror movie, and if I walk in, I’ll never walk out…” Hahaha!

You never know what you can expect and 99% of the time, you’re not crashing into anyone’s home. On the other side of that door, there might be something extraordinary happening for you to check out or a delicious secret restaurant.

What I mean? Well, secret speakeasy bars are spread all over town, like Patent Pending – that I always love going to, or high-end hidden restaurants with a hidden door tucked behind a hanging art work in a gallery, like Frevo. Regardless, these spots will create some of the most memorable moments of your New York experience!

Be brave…and walk in!


And that’s a wrap for our list of the 16 things NO ONE ever tells you about NYC, for the 1st timers in NYC! There are so many other tips, but I guess that starting through these 16, you’ll be fine!

There are just a few things that we remembered along the way, that we just have to share, and that are FREE:

  • Water in NYC is FREE! Yes, NYC’s tap water is known for being some of the best in the country, and there is even the rumor that our bagel is one of the best, because of the water! So, when you arrive at a bar or restaurant you might automatically receive cups with water that will be refilled all the time, or you can ask for still or sparking water, that comes in a bottle – and these are paid for!
  • Condoms in NYC are FREE! Yup, that’s what you heard! They are Free, so check out where to find them here.
  • Fitness classes for FREE! The City of New York created the “Shape Up NYC Classes“, where you can find everything from Yoga in the Park and Hip Hop Fitness, to Zumba and Aerobics classes!

If you want a post about all the FREE things to do in NYC, leave your comment below and we’ll get right on it for you!

I hope we were able to help a bit more on your understanding of how the city functions!

Also, as mentioned, feel free to use the information we gave that makes more sense for YOUR trip! When we talk about tipping for example, we know that many people are traveling on a budget, so lets just be reasonable, right? The idea was just to share a bit how things work!

And, if you’re looking for assistance for a corporate group coming to New York, don’t hesitate to contact our experts! We organize everything from dinners, cocktails to corporate events and unique experiences.


Photo Credit: ©Behind the Scenes NYC

Your Friend’s Kitchen: A Dining Experience At The Chef’s House

Events On Going Your Friends Kitchen NYC Dining Experience Table

New York is a gastronomy haven for those that love food! I want to share a different NYC dining experience that will take you on a journey around the world, called Your Friend’s Kitchen!

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Events On Going Your Friends Kitchen NYC Dining Experience Fernanda Paronetto Chef Linda Meenakshi
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I was invited to enjoy a unique NYC dining experience, different from what I have already done around New York City. And believe me, I have done countless experiences around town.

But this time, I was called for a Vegan African Feast at Chef Linda’s home! I was intrigued from the start, considering that not only would Chef Linda cater a totally new menu, but she was going to open her home to host us for this super special night!

I was excited and extremely curious too!

Chef Linda (aka Linda Adria Sebisaho) is was born in the Eastern part of Congo, in Africa and moved to New York at the age of 15! Initially, she dreamt of getting into medical school, but totally changed her mind and became a math teacher! Her cooking talent  kicked in a bit later.

Today, she runs her own catering company. She loves these types of social dining experiences, having meals with strangers, that leaves as friends by the end of the night!

She says, “it’s a form of art”, and we couldn’t agree more!

That said, Chef Linda was thrilled to co-host this night with Your Friends Kitchen, created and founded by Meenakshi lala.

So, let me tell you a bit about how the night unraveled!

Chef Linda’s home is in Harlem, a neighborhood I love exploring with all its Jazz spots and amazing restaurants. I headed up with a friend, that was just as excited!

As we arrived, everyone there warmly greeted us! The table was decorated with colors inspired by the African culture, setting the mood of the night to come.

In addition, they printed a beautiful menu with what we were going to eat during the night! The menu had this beautiful illustration of an African woman wearing one of the gorgeous fabric head arrangements, already bringing us into the journey that was about to start!

Chef Linda introduced herself and in no time, the feast had started! The event is “B.Y.O.B. – Bring Your Own Bottle”, so be sure to bring any drink that makes you happy!


Here is what the menu looked like:

  • Starter #1: Yucca – Mashed Yucca stuffed with chickpeas or cheese
  • Starter #2: Sambusa – Fried dough filled with spiced carrots, peas and potatoes
  • Salad: Sachumbari – East African salad made from tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and lime
  • Main #1: Yassa Aubergine – Harissa spiced eggplants, pilau rice and ginger caramelized onions
  • Main #2 (a surprise!): Plantain with white beans, onions and tomato sauce
  • Dessert: Beignets – Savory fried African doughnut served with strawberries
Events On Going Your Friends Kitchen NYC Dining Experience Plantain
Events On Going Your Friends Kitchen NYC Dining Experience Sambusa
Events On Going Your Friends Kitchen NYC Dining Experience Salad Sachumbari
Events On Going Your Friends Kitchen NYC Dining Experience Yassa Aubergine
Events On Going Your Friends Kitchen NYC Dining Experience Beignets
Events On Going Your Friends Kitchen NYC Dining Experience Menu
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Each dish was explained by Chef Linda, where she would tell us a quick story of its meaning, influence and ingredients.

Portions were extremely generous, beautifully arranged and the best of it all: we had truly a great time, laughed all night long with the stories everyone shared and made some interesting business connections.

Chef Linda amazed us with her talent and we left having a new group of friends that we hope to stay in touch with and explore other dining experiences by Your Friend’s Kitchen!

Last, but definitely not least, I’d love to thank Meenakshi, for inviting us to be part of this special night! We are happy to be part of this new community she’s building and will definitely be back for more!


More information about Your Friend’s Kitchen:

How It Works:

Your Friend’s Kitchen is an authentic food experience, a new take on going out for a meal. Your Friend’s Kitchen aims to bring people together to share an experience that is comforting and familiar, yet not like any other.

Whether they are home cooks or food lovers, our hosts share a passion for bringing people together, one meal at a time!

The Founder:

Meenakshi is a passionate foodie, avid traveler and founder of Your Friends Kitchen. She discovered her love for cooking when she first moved to the United States from India. A foodie at heart, she has traveled to 25+ countries and explored street foods and fine dining alike.

Her passion for cooking food and hosting inspired her to create a platform for others to enjoy dining in the comfort of a warm, cozy, intimate setting and enjoy a delicious meal prepared with love and passion.

Her goal at your friend’s kitchen – Bring people together, one meal at a time!


For you to learn more about Your Friend’s Kitchen and also check out the upcoming events, be sure to go to their website where you can book everything directly!

In addition, if you have a corporate group coming to town and you need help organizing all the experiences, dinners, events, our experts can help you out!

www.yourfriendskitchen.com


Photo Credits: ©Behind the Scenes NYC and Courtesy of Shir A.

16 Things NO ONE EVER tells you about NYC [PART 3/4]

16-Things-No-One-Ever-Tells-You-About-NYC-Part-3 Cover

Ahh! New York City, I love you! But, there are a few secrets you must know before coming here. So, I decided to share 16 things NO ONE EVER tells you about NYC.

16-Things-No-One-Ever-Tells-You-About-NYC-Part-3
©Behind the Scenes NYC

There are a few rules and tips to make your NY experience seamless and memorable, and we decided to share a bunch of them with you!

We split this topic into 4 different posts, so see below Part 3 of 16 things NO ONE EVER tells you about NYC! And check out Part 1 and Part 2, if you haven’t already!


#9 Yes, yes, we are “behind the scenes”, but certain attractions are must-sees!

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 3 The Pond
©Behind the Scenes NYC

Guys, I’m all about exploring the off-the-beaten-path spots and staying away from the touristy scene, BUT this is New York City. What this means is that there are countless attractions that you HAVE TO go see at least once in your life, after all it’s culture, right?

So, yes, you have to walk through once (or twice) the crazy streets of Times Square to see the infinite sea of lights, bump into the Naked Cowboy and Cowgirl, hear the never ending symphony of cars honking their loud, annoying horns, be in the middle of crazy people walking up and down and pushing you to the side, etc! Phiuf! I got stressed just talking about it!

But, after that, if you’re not actually going to a Broadway show or going to our Behind the Scenes Dining with the Broadway Stars Experience, then I wouldn’t recommend going back there too often.

To see which are the touristy locations we recommend in NY, take a look at our lists: 1st Cheap NYC Guide: 40+ Top Attractions and the 2nd Cheap NYC Guide: 30 Top Attractions.


#10 NEVER IN YOUR LIFE hop on a Central Park carriage ride!

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 3 Horse Carriages
Photo Credit: Courtesy

And I’ll tell you why! It can seem like a nice activity to do, right? But, the reality is that most of these horses are super badly treated of over-worked during the day.

They barely rest, don’t eat enough, and many don’t have good hoof pads protecting their hoofs from the concrete streets. It’s not unusual to suddenly see a horse collapsing in the middle of the streets from exhaustion.

We need help from the tourists to stop with these silly horse carriage rides and spare these animals of being mistreated.

In addition, there is just SO much to do in Central Park, that you can surely skip this carriage ride. We can help you book bike rides around the main spots, or even explore the Secrets Of Central Park Walking Tour.

P.S. – I have talked to a company that does horseback riding inside Central Park. These guys told me that their horse have a max limit of hours or rides per day. They are securely transported in and out of the city and have a specific treatment. You can read more here. Aside of them, I don’t know any other company that has this type of careful approach with the animals.


#11 Never make eye contact! LOL!

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 3 No Eye Contact
Photo Credit: Nirosha Methananda

Do you know these guys that are mostly around touristy locations like Times Square, Central Park, etc…calling you? They are trying to sell you on a tour or an activity! Unless it’s your life’s last craving going on top of that crowded 2-story touristy bus that roams around town, I’d just walk away.

If you do look, be sure they WILL approach you to try and sell something!

Also, if anyone is just randomly standing in the street, looking at people with an iPad in their hand…they are also going to ask for 2 minutes, that actually add up to 10minutes, to try and sell something else. In addition to getting your email and spamming you with promo emails.

The real New Yorker flies by these folks as if they were in the middle of that Olympic Speed Walking modality! Hahaha!

But, on the other hand, it’s an amazing feeling to walk around town – in non touristy areas – and just make eye contact with people! You’ll be surprise in how many will literally smile back!


#12 Holding the door can be polite, but….

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 3 Times Square
Photo Credit: Courtesy

Sure! I do super recommend you being polite and helping out someone by opening the door but, be smart about it. You might be holding the door all-day-long with an endless river of people flowing in and out, if you’re not smart, specially in places like Times Square!

I always encourage you to help moms with strollers, elderly folks, kids, someone carrying something super heavy with no spare hands or anyone that apparently needs help. Otherwise, be mindful and kind with anyone walking in and out, but just go with the flow.

Ah! And in the winter, don’t think about holding the door open for too long. The people inside will surely start starting at you with fierce eyes!


So, this was our Part 3 of the 16 things NO ONE EVER tells you about NYC.

But wait!

There is still a few last tips: Part 4! If you haven’t seen Part 1 and Part 2, you might want to check them out before heading to the last post.

There is just so much to know when coming to New York for the 1st time, that you might as well get ready to have the best time of your life!!!

And finally, if you need any type of assistance for big parties and specially for corporate groups, contact our team.


Photo Credits: ©Behind the Scenes NYC and Courtesy of Nirosha Methananda

Frevo: A Restaurant Hidden Behind An Art Work

Dining Frevo Restaurant Fernanda Paronetto

You all know how much we enjoy finding secret spots around New York, right? So, take a look at Frevo, a restaurant hidden behind an art work inside a tiny gallery in the Greenwich Village. It’s the new hot spot!

Dining Frevo Restaurant Photo Charissa Fay
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Yes, so this is exactly what you read!

Frevo is one of the newest restaurants in town that officially opened its doors on May 16th, but the fun thing is that it’s actually a hard to find spot. Just like we like it and how our story began!

The contemporary French restaurant is hidden behind a beautiful art work inside a tiny gallery in the Greenwich Village, in Manhattan.

Created by the talented Brazilian Chef Franco Sampogna and his Portuguese business partner and General Manager Bernardo Silva, the restaurant’s launch was far from being an “easy one”. What I mean is, we all know that many of the restaurants out there are backed up by these big money investors, making the entire endeavor easier.

But, Frevo went down another path and was self-funded by the duo. Certainly, a challenge that brought its own characteristics, the main one being the idea of being a secret spot.

The concept of it being discreet and offering a unique experience had been thought out. But, a restaurant hidden behind an art work, happened by occasion based on a challenge they had.

Bottom line: the place they found was amazing, but too big, too expensive and above their budget.

Dining Frevo Restaurant Fernanda Paronetto Franco Sampogna

So, after analyzing and deciding exactly what size restaurant they’d actually need, the remaining space was offered to the French painter Toma-L, which draws inspiration from Joan Miró and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Voilá! There, he’d be able to show and sell his art pieces, while creating the beginning of, what they call, “a unique cultural and culinary dining experience”.

As soon as you arrive at the tiny gallery in the Greenwich Village, you’re greeting by a hostess. Note: If you’re early, you might have the pleasure of being greeted by Chef Sampogna himself!

When the time comes for your reservation, you get a bit curious to know exactly where the entrance is.

Then, the moment comes when you’re just in “awe”! The biggest painting in the gallery opens up like a door, and you’re taken inside to your seat. The staff is extremely friendly and welcoming, plus you’re able to actually meet and talk to the talented duo behind it all.

There are 18 counter seats where guests can enjoy and see their dishes being carefully prepared. In addition, there is also a more private table for up to 6 people as an option.

Frevo offers a 5-course pre-fixe menu with: 2 appetizers, 2 main courses and 1 dessert. Oh, and you do get an amuse-bouche to wake up your taste buds! This tasting menu costs $124/person and is definitely worth every cent! You can also request wine pairing, at an additional cost.

I’m vegetarian and at the time of my reservation, I was asked for any dietary restrictions or allergies. So, they were able to perfectly accommodate my request. (Note: They are just not able to accommodate vegan diets, as of now.)

So, this is what we had:

  • Lump Crab with Broccoli and Curry
  • Green Asparagus with Pistachio and coconut
  • Halibut with Fennel, Mushroom Marmalade
  • Long Island Duck with Spinach, Raisins and Potatoes
  • Chocolate mousse with Oreo crumbs, ice cream with a side of dulce-de-leche (aka caramel)

For me, the dished slightly different:

  • Quinoa Salad
  • Green Asparagus with Pistachio and coconut
  • Fennel, Mushroom Marmalade with a small bread soaked in the marmalade
  • Onion, Pear and Carrot, on top of a Carrot cream
  • Lemon pie with Vodka, Lime and Almond

And, to finish it off in grand style, and to celebrate the Brazilian culture (since I had mentioned that Chef Sampogna is Brazilian), we had a good strong expresso.

The menu is seasonal, so you can be sure to go back and re-experience this delicious secret journey into a contemporary French cuisine.

They do not accept walk-ins and even if you pass by the gallery, you’re not able to give that sneak-peek inside. So, be sure to get your reservation done in advance to explore this restaurant hidden behind an art work!

To get a sneak peek inside our experience, take a look at this IGTV Video!


Dining Frevo Restaurant Chef Franco Sampogna Bernardo Silva

More about the Co-Founders:

Chef Franco Sampogna and Bernardo Silva met at the age of 17 in France, even though they are from Brazil and Portugal, respectively.

They spent most of their early years studying in France and working at renowned Michelin-star restaurants. This, eventually, built up great knowledge and experience of the hospitality industry, bringing them to explore New York and start their journey away from France.

They duo is well-known for their former Long Island based restaurant, Jema. It won Newsday’s Best New Restaurant 2016, was listed among Best Long Island Restaurants 2017, and won the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence 2017.

Chef Franco Sampogna entered the international San Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 competition, along with another 3621 candidates. Selected amongst ten French Chefs for the semi-finals at only 24 years old, he went on to win second place on February 10, 2015.

“The James Beard Foundation featured Jema and honored the culinary talents of Chef Sampogna at the Beard House. Dining on his food is a real pleasure.” — Susan Ungaro, President of the James Beard Foundation.


Frevo is by reservation only, so be sure to get yours done: reservations@frevonyc.com.

Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 6pm – 11pm

Location: 48 West 8th Street

www.frevonyc.com


Photo Credits: ©Behind the Scenes NYC and courtesy of Charissa Fay

Sushi by Boū: Secret Japanese Restaurant Inside A Hotel Suite

Dining Sushi by Bou Speakeasy Japanese Stairs

Uncover the new Sushi by Boū location! They opened a secret speakeasy Japanese restaurant inside a hotel suite in Manhattan! How cool is that?!

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Dining Chef David Bouhadana Speakeasy Japanese Chef David Bouhadana
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Dining Sushi by Bou Speakeasy Japanese Stairs
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“A unique 30minute omakase speakeasy experience by sushi chef David Bouhadana, Michael Sinensky and Erika London.”

That we are into super secret spots around New York City, you’re all tired of knowing, right? But, these secret spots don’t stop popping up (and we love sharing them with you)!

I mean, there is obviously just so much to experiment in NYC, with so many creative minds and talented people, that these businesses just continue to flourish.

Sushi by Boū is known for being a to-go spot for people craving a delicious 12-piece omakase menu served in only 30-minutes and for $50.

But wait, lets go back a step! The idea of these spots came to life when the 3 partners, Chef David, Michael and Erika decided to get underutilized spaces inside existing venues and transform them into “sexy sushi speakeasies”, as they call them.

Chef David fell in love with sushi at the age of 18, in Boca Raton, Florida. After deciding that what he wanted to do was become a renowned chef, he hopped on a plane to Japan. There, he was taught by the top omakase chefs in the Kansai regions.

After mastering his craft, he flew back to New York with his journey began and his reputation grew quickly.

And, after working in renowned restaurants like Morimoto, he ventured on his own recreating the Japanese fast-casual omakase concept, tweaking it around and blending in his own particular style. The result: Perfection!

Today, Chef David is an expert in his field, has won countless awards and even won a New York Emmy Award for his web series “Shokunin, An Eater Series Hosted by David Bouhadana”.

That said, there are currently 3 Sushi by Boū. One found underneath the Sanctuary Hotel in Midtown Manhattan and a second one inside Jue Lan Club, in Chelsea. The 3rd and most unexpected location just created roots inside Suite 1001, at Hotel 3232, in the in the heart of Flatiron-Murray Hill neighborhood.

Suite 1001 offers a 60-minute omakase for $125/person inclusive of service and tax. ​

In addition, they do not accept phone calls, reservations accepted for parties of 2 or 4 only. Plus, they accept advanced and day-of reservations, space permitting. For private events, please contact 3232@sushibybou.com.

And, this past summer they followed Jue Lan Club to the Hamptons and the team announced that some news spots are set to open in 2019…so lets wait and see inside which unexpected spot it will be in!

So, stay tuned and if you need any help in NYC, contact our experts!

Hours:
Sanctuary Hotel:
Lunch: Monday – Friday: 12pm – 3pm
Dinner: Monday – Sunday: 5pm – 10pm

Jue Lan Club:
Lunch: Monday – Friday: 12pm – 3pm
Dinner: Monday – Friday: 5pm – 10pm | Saturday: 5pm – 11pm | Sunday: 5pm – 9pm

Hotel 3232: Coming soon!

Reservations:
Sanctuary Hotel – (917) 348-5737
Jue Lan Club – (917) 870-1587
Hotel 3232 – (347) 495-4221

Locations:
Sanctuary Hotel – 132 West 47th Street
Jue Lan Club – 49 West 20th Street
Hotel 3232 – 32A East 32nd Street, Suite 1001

Contact: info@sushibybou.com

www.sushibybou.com


Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sushi by Bou

Boutique BK: A Private Dining Experience in Brooklyn

Dining Boutique BK Ginger Braised Short Ribs

Boutique BK is a private dining experience in Brooklyn, hosted by the Le Cordon Bleu trained Chef Matthew Ricketts. Uncover this hidden gem with your friends and have fun!

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Dining Boutique BK Chef Matthew Ricketts by Drica Pinotti
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Have you ever dreamt of a private dinner party? One where you’re away from the hustle and bustle of a crowded restaurant, with the joys of an unbelievable chef exclusively for you!

Or, maybe even a chef to cook (and clean!) during you’re at home dinner party? Shhh, don’t tell your guests…

In walks Le Cordon Bleu trained Chef Matthew Ricketts and his private dining concept Boutique BK.

Nestled in the heart of Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn, Boutique BK is a private dining room available by reservation only, for parties 2-14 in size. The intimate setting, offers a curated multi-course dining experience, featuring elevated American fusion cuisine, and locally sourced food when possible.

Chef Matt, as he likes to be called, will personally work to craft menus tailored to guests’ tastes and event needs. He typically offers 3 or 5-course set menus, and can accommodate dietary restrictions within your party.

While reservations are required, this is no ordinary restaurant. In fact, it’s not a restaurant at all!

Picture a beautiful dining room, exclusively for you to enjoy, celebrate and watch Matt cook. There is a peak through to the kitchen from the dining room too! In addition to cooking, he hosts and serves as he walks you through your meal, oh-so-perfectly!

The addition of Boutique BK to Carroll Gardens, where your favorite ol’ Italian staples live, is a welcomed complement to this beautiful neighborhood.

In addition to the dining room, this superstar chef is also available for private parties. He caters up to 150 guests at the venue of your choice.

Chef Matt hails from Pittsburgh originally, but has spent more than a decade around the country training with Michelin Star restaurants to hone his craft. He saw white space in the market for private dining and personalized experiences and decided to venture into this space.

His passion for food and unique service come through the second you connect with Chef Matt. It’s truly a one of a kind experience.

So run, don’t walk to Boutique BK – space is limited and it’s suggested to book in advance! This allows optimal time for space reservation and menu curation.

You can easily get to this hidden gem through the F train in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.

Location: 187 Sackett Street

http://boutique-bk.com


Photo Credits: Courtesy of Boutique BK and Drica Pinotti

Justin Teodoro: Statue of Liberty Illustration Gone Viral

Curiosities Insider Interviews Justin Teodoro Statue of Liberty Illustration

Justin Teodoro is the powerful  and creative name behind the Statue of Liberty’s illustration that went viral a few weeks back! We talked to him about his breathtaking career, his inspirations and discovered his 7 secret spots in NYC.

Curiosities Insider Interviews Justin Teodoro Statue of Liberty Illustration

A few weeks back, the social media universe went wild with a beautiful illustration created by the NY-based illustrator, Justin Teodoro.

In a powerful response to the first lady, Melania Trump’s Zara jacket, which had “I really don’t care. Do you?”, written on the back, Justin’s creative, powerful and positive reply, moved the world.

The outrageous act that has been moving people to stand up against the zero tolerance policy of family separations at the boarder, led by President Trump, was spread through out the internet.

Even those that chose to be isolated for the political scene, were touched.

Like us, countless other media platforms and Instagram users, reposted Justin’s illustration, supporting the cause.

Our interview below, will show you more about Justin’s story, career, conquests, inspirations, finishing off with 7 of his secret spots in NYC!

Curiosities Insider Interviews Justin Teodoro Kevin Lamarque Reuters
Photo Credit: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

1. Can you tell me a bit about your background? Where you’re from? What you studied? Where you’ve worked?

I’m from Vancouver, BC Canada – born and raised there. I did my undergrad at University of Toronto and after I graduated in 2003 I moved back to Vancouver to figure out what to do for a career.

I’ve always drawn and loved art, but never knew how to make that happen as a “job”. I was always into fashion but, that seemed so far away to me as a career.

I then found about the Associates Fashion program at Parsons and with the support of my family applied and got in. So, I moved to NYC in 2005 to pursue a career in fashion.

I worked as a womenswear designer for 8 years for brands as Tuleh, Cynthia Steffe and Kenneth Cole, before I made a career change to focus on my own illustrations and art.

Curiosities Insider Interviews Justin Teodoro Installation

2. Was the Barney’s window in NY your first major fashion project? Tell us a bit about this project! Or, tell us about your first major project that boosted your career.

My first big project as an illustrator was probably working with Lorenzo Martone and his brand Martone Cycling – we met through mutual friends and I began doing illustrations for him.

That led to us working together on a small capsule range of illustrated tees for Martone Cycling, then a pop up in NYC and finally an artwork for a window display when Martone Cycling was sold at Colette in Paris. That was a major first for me.

I’ve worked with Barneys NY a few times – first on their website doing a few illustrations stories. Those projects led me to working with Barneys New York Japan in 2015 for their holiday campaign. Another major milestone in my career – I created artwork for their holiday campaign and was invited to Tokyo for the holiday launch.

Curiosities Insider Interviews Justin Teodoro Colette Lorenzo Martone3. You’ve done so many amazing works around the world like Colette in Paris, the subways in Tokyo! I believe you obviously enjoyed them all, but is there one that you’re exceptionally proud of and would love to relive it? Why?

I’ve been lucky to have worked on some pretty amazing projects with really great brands, so it is hard to choose.

I guess though I would always cherish the projects that allowed not only my work to travel internationally but me as well!

So, my project with Barneys in Tokyo and recently doing artwork for Six Senses in Kaplankaya, Turkey was amazing. It’s been great to expose yourself and your eyes to what is out there.

Curiosities Insider Interviews Justin Teodoro Tokyo Subway Barneys New York

4. The entire Social Media universe saw your latest illustration of the Statue of Liberty with the child. We were one of the hundreds of accounts that share it. Can you give us a taste of how the idea can about and how the creation process was? Did you expect this amazing repercussion?

Curiosities Insider Interviews Justin Teodoro

It really came about from me just reacting to all the news that week – I remember it being so hard to hear all the stories of these families being separated and then seeing all those images in the news.

It was hard not to react.

I think I tried to do something that felt true to what I wanted to say, but also to my art and I think I just wanted to put something out there that was perhaps positive, a sense of hope in all of this sadness, anger and messiness.

So, it kind of just came naturally – I don’t remember exactly what the process was but putting the jacket with what I think we all wanted it to say on the statue of Liberty seemed to be my creative reply.

The reaction was pretty amazing to see – definitely all the viral attention was amazing.

But, it was much more amazing to me to have people email/message me to say thank you for doing this artwork, that it gave them a sense of hope and light in all this darkness.

That really touched me and made me realize that the work had taken on a more powerful meaning that I ever anticipated.

5. Is there any exciting upcoming project you can share with us first hand?!

A few projects in work, so stay tuned!

6. Can people find your work in NY and also to purchase online?

I have a few t-shirts/prints available on my site.

Curiosities Insider Interviews Justin Teodoro Janes Carousel Dumbo

7. What are you +7 top secret spots in NY you love to go with friends, or for work inspiration?

  • Communitea Café – A neighborhood coffee spot in LIC;
  • FIT Museum – For fashion inspiration;
  • Lucky Strike – A classic NYC happy hour in SoHo;
  • Tuffet – A great bar in Brooklyn for cocktails and drinks;
  • McNally Jackson – A great local bookstore/magazines and coffee spot in SoHo;
  • Strand Bookstore – A classic and has an amazing vintage book collection;
  • Blick Arts – I’m a sucker for an art store and am always here getting more paint or pens.

Take a look at a few cultural activities in New York, if you’re into arts, music, museums, etc!


Thank you Justin, for the amazing work, your strong voice and talent, and for sharing with us a bit of your life!

Keep up the amazing work!


Photo Credits: Justin Teodoro and Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Original Buddha Bodai: My Favorite Restaurant in Chinatown

Original Buddha Bodai Mott Street Most Popular Dishes

If you’ve never been to the original Buddha Bodai, a Kosher Vegetarian restaurant, you should start planning for it! Located in the heart of Chinatown, this is literally one of my favorite restaurants in New York City!

Original Buddha Bodai Mott Street Most Popular Dishes
Original Buddha Bodai Mott Street Dim Sum Appetizers
Original Buddha Bodai Mott Street BBQ Meat
Original Buddha Bodai Mott Street Vegetarian Turkey
Original Buddha Bodai Mott Street Full Table
Original Buddha Bodai Mott Street Vegetarian Treats
Original Buddha Bodai Mott Street by Google Maps
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I’m completely in love with this restaurant, in the heart of Chinatown, and could go there EVERY SINGLE DAY OF MY LIFE!

Truly! I’ve been to the original Buddha Bodai many time and every time I go there, I love it more and more, and MORE!!

It’s a Chinese Kosher Vegetarian / Vegan and Buddhist Restaurant, but DON’T let these words haunt you! You will have one of the best experiences of your entire life! Hahaha! Yes, I really do l-o-v-e them! They are experts in serving the famous “imitation meat”!

They were founded back in 2004 and for only a couple of bucks, you’ll have a fabulous and delicious Chinese feast! Last time I was there with my friends that actually introduced me to this gem (last weekend, lol), we had a fully served table, and we only spent $12 each!!!!

We has the Dim Sum Menu – available every day till 4pm- and a few options from the normal menu.

How does ordering from the Dim Sum Menu work?

Well, you’ll get a paper menu with a huge list of options and you’ll just write, beside the dish, the quantity you want. If you order too much, no worries, just ask them to put the rest To-Go.

This is what we had from the Dim Sum Menu:

  • Bar-B-Q Vegetarian Meat – this is MY favorite dish on earth! If you’re a meat eater, you won’t believe this!
  • Vegetarian Shrimp Dumplings
  • Vegetarian Meat Buns
  • Shrimp Rice Roll
  • Fried Eggplant Stuffed with Vegetarian Meat
  • Spring Rolls
  • and Hot Tea, of course

And what we had from the Normal Menu:

  • General Tso Chicken – meat eaters also DIE for this one!
  • B.B.Q Meat Fried Rice

Yup, for only 12 bucks each + tip!

Oh! And they are a BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle) restaurant, so bring whatever makes you smile! If you forgot your bottle, ask anyone from the restaurant the way to the closest deli! They’ll know the way!


Meet the Chef

“Chef Dong has been delighting his patrons with exquisite vegetarian meals for over 45 years. He and his staff have created dishes and ensured that it reached the highest standards of quality and freshness.

His passion and desire to share the delicate flavors that he creates is a driving force that has kept his customers, old and new, coming back time and again.”


If you’re into vegetarian options, feel free to explore our suggestions!

Hours:
Monday – Friday: 11am – 9:30pm
Saturday & Sunday: 10am – 9:30pm

Location: 5 Mott Street
Note! There are TWO Buddha Bodai in NYC, but the one we’re talking about is the original one on Mott Street!

www.buddha-bodai.com


Photo Credit: Courtesy of Buddha Bodai
Text Experts: Buddha Bodai website

Six Impossible Things: Interactive Magic Experience with Joshua Jay

Events On Going Six Impossible Things Joshua Jay NYC with Fernanda Paronetto

Who doesn’t enjoy a little bit of magic in their lives? I certainly do! I got a behind the scenes peek into Six Impossible Things, a magic show that defies all Laws of Nature! Uncover with me the world of Joshua Jay!

When we walk around New York, we find a little bit a magic spread throughout every corner of the city!

Events On Going Six Impossible Things Joshua Jay NYC Skull

And I mean, who in this world does not like a bit of magic? I do!

Joshua Jay is one of the most renowned names today in the world of magic!

He’s performed in over 100 countries, he’s won several prizes, he’s been live in countless TV shows and he even holds a Guinness World of Records for card tricks, which is pretty awesome!

He still holds the title up to this date!

How I met Josh? Well, I met him back in 2011 in Brazil where my brother and I participated in a small shooting he was doing at a friend’s photography studio!

I really thought that we would not fall for his tricks, but…to my surprise, it was truly a-m-a-z-i-n-g!

Now, Josh lives in NY (hum…actually he’s been here for over 10 years!) and started a special show called Six Impossible Things.

I went behind the scenes before his show started, to check out what’s going on, before he goes on stage!

And the magic happens, right behind a blue door…

Get your ticket!


My experience at the show!

Events On Going Six Impossible Things Joshua Jay NYC Fernanda Paronetto

After the shooting with Josh, I actually came back to witness the show and I was in awe all through this interactive experience.

There were only 20 people there, keeping it quite intimate. Every single person was able to participate in one or another magic and engage with Josh during the show.

Plus, each one had a one-on-one with him!

At each magic trick it just kept getting more and more amazing and it truly blew my mind (and everyone that was there). I paid close attention to see if there was any way to figure out how it was done, but some tricks were pretty complex to even try…

What can I say? For one, I don’t want to do any spoiler alerts, but you’ll be sure to see some of the most spectacular magic tricks ever, that even defy all Laws of Nature! Oh, and the art work by Serge Bloch is breathtaking and pretty special!

I LOVED IT and recommend it to every one out there, at every age!


More about the show:

“Six Impossible Things is an interactive magic experience in which you will experience astounding magic inches from your face, in the dark and even alone.”

The show is approximately 75 minutes and includes an unusual refreshment and a hard-backed volume not otherwise for sale.

Events On Going Six Impossible Things Joshua Jay NYC Hands

Six Impossible Things has been built into Wildrence, an acclaimed event space on the Lower East Side.

In each room, a new mystery unfolds to reveal an impossible ‘thing’.

You will see six astounding magic effects, all original compositions by master magician Joshua Jay.

The show is strictly limited to twenty persons per show, and reservations are limited to groups of eight or less.

Tickets are $106—136.

Doors open fifteen minutes before showtime and the show begins promptly at the designated hour. Absolutely no late admittance or refunds offered.

Due to the nature of the show, guests are admitted JUST ONCE to Six Impossible Things. So pay attention, enjoy, and don’t blink.

Get your ticket!

 

Date: Show will be live up through December/2018!
Location: Wildrence – the unmarked Blue Door at 59 Canal Street between Allen and Orchard Street

NOTE: This show is strictly for attendees 14 and up. No children, please.

https://siximpossiblethingsshow.com


Are you really into magic?

Josh has two amazing books for adults and aspiring magicians for you to check out!

And, he also has a book for the littles ones that dream in bringing to the world, a bit more of magic moments!

The books are: MAGIC: The Complete Course, The Amazing Book of Cards and one for children, Big Magic for Little Hands.

Have fun!


For other on going and up coming events in New York, you might want to see our selection!

And, if you’re coming to New York and you’re still looking for a place to stay, see some of the hotels, break & breakfasts and other options we adore!


VideographyRenata Meirelles
Photo Credits
Renata Meirelles and courtesy of Joshua Jay

A Secret NY Music Gig at Hell Phone Curated by Us!

Our Experts Recaps Sofar Sounds Hell Phone Brooklyn BTSNYC

On April 28th, we curated another Sofar Sounds NYC! This time, it happened at a super trendy speakeasy called Hell Phone, in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn! And, we KICKED ASS that night! Check it out!

We love New York’s music scene. The city is the home of an infinite number of amazing musicians and artists!

Every 3 months or so, we curate a spectacular live music event in partnership with the team at Sofar Sounds NYC.

We choose the 3 bands that are performing during the night….and honestly? WE KICK ASS, believe us!

On Saturday, April 28th, we had a fantastic night with a mix of different style musicians. The event was hosted at a pretty awesome speakeasy bar in East Williamsburg, called Hell Phone. It’s in the back of a coffee shop called Ange Noir Café.

Way in the back of the coffee shop, you’ll see a beautiful red phone cabinet…open the door and walk in to explore! Be ready for a great night!

For this show, we brought in to perform:

  • Jair Oliveira: a famous Brazilian singer, composer and producer. He is a former student at the renowned Berklee College of Music, in Boston and plays MPB (Música Popular Brasileira). In other words, traditional Brazilian Pop Music;
  • Olivia Chindamo: a beautiful Australian vocalist! She’s best known for her natural and effortless ability to improvise or “scat”. As the 2016 Bell Award winner for “Young Australian Jazz Artist of the Year”;
  • Kenny John: a very special musician our Founder, Fê Paronetto, met one day passing through Union Square subway station in NYC. He was playing the trumpet and she was in awe! Kenny learned to play the trumpet and an early age and today brightens up the day of thousands of commuters in NYC, playing Jazz and Soul music!

And…we had a surprise! We had a special guest joining in for a song! Aline Muniz is good friends with and was invited by Jair Oliveira to sing one song on stage with him!

Our Experts Recaps Sofar Sounds Hell Phone Brooklyn BTSNYC Guests

What’s Sofar Sounds?

If you’ve never heard of Sofar Sounds, they host the most exclusive, secret and intimate music gigs in over 300 cites all over the Globe!

The secret location is disclosed only on the day of the show. Plus, they don’t tell you which 3 bands are performing, so expect a night full of surprises!

Once you sign up, you get into a line and hope to be luck enough to be part of these events that actually sell out very quickly! (We have the promo code to skip line, below!)

“Bringing the magic back to live music. Amazing artists in intimate spaces, performing stripped-back sets to carefully curated audiences. Sit down, settle in and just listen. You’re gonna love it.”

In addition, this event is BYOB, so you can bring your own Booze! So, feel free to bring wine, beer, or whatever makes you happy!

See here how it all started, back in London!

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Finally,  skip with line and immediately purchase the ticket, with out special PROMO CODE!

Code: BEHINDTHESCENES – type this at check-out. Let us know if you have any issues – the code might eventually be updated!


Videography: Renata Meirelles
Photo Credits: Renata Meirelles

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