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La Sirena: Beautiful Cocktails


La Sirena: Beautiful Cocktails

A few months ago the long awaited La Sirena opened in New York City's West Chelsea neighborhood, replacing La Bottega in the Maritime Hotel.  It is of course the newest restaurant in the Italian restaurant empire run by Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich. Luckily,  I have had the chance to eat there a few times since March.  The food is excellent as one would expect from the kings of New York Italian food.  But, the drinks are really something special.  

The centerpiece of the restaurant a 38-foot white Caesarstone bar which functions as a grand entryway and the heart of the restaurant itself.  Since La Sirena is located in West Chelsea on the cusp of the Meatpacking District, it is important to consider dual functionality.  I think the team at La Sirena has stuck a fine balance between fine dining and trendy bar scene.

Of course they would not be able to do this without great drinks.  When I say great drinks, I mean well thought out mixology drinks with fresh ingredients. They are also true to the brand, many are classic Italian drinks with a modern twist. Here are a few of my favorites from the cocktail list (pictured below in order):

CLASSIC SPRITZ (my personal favorite) Aperol, Soda and Prosecco finished off with three classic olives

VIOLA made with Hendricks Gin, Hibiscus, Lemon and Prosecco.  It is served with a beautiful purple flower on top. 

NEGRONI della CASA-Another classic made with Plymouth Dry Gin, Antica Carpano Vermouth and House Blended Bitters


The dinner menu is not available in the bar, but there are some amazing anti-pasti carts offering salumi, olives, wheels of Parmagiano Reggiano and the new and exciting Caprese cart  offering house made Mozzarella, tomato and basil to create a classic Caprese.  

Another thing to note, all of the juices are fresh and there are many choices.  The bartenders are highly experienced and will mix up something based on your tastes and what is seasonally appropriate if you don't want to order a drink off of the menu.

La Sirena screams summer with it's light and airy interior and it's massive outdoor terrace, so since it is about that time plan to stop in for some beautiful cocktails, you will not regret it.

La Sirena is located at 88 9th Avenue in Manhattan.  Hours are 7:00 am-11 pm on most nights.  Breakfast is served in the dining room on weekdays, brunch on Saturday and Sunday.  Dinner hours begin at 5:00pm.









Food Cravings NYC Style

if you have been reading my posts, you know that I love food.  Sometimes it gets extreme.  Sometimes I HAVE to have something very specific and I don't care if I have to go to great lengths to get it.  Here are my TOP 5 food obsessions in New York City.  Most of them I have gone  on a solo mission to eat on my own, definitely my "happy place".  This list could have been longer, but I forced myself to edit!

1. Luke's Lobster- The cravings usually kick in around April and last through the Fall and they are intense.  I love lobster and this is by far the best lobster roll in NYC. The best part about Luke's is that they do not use mayo just some lemon butter, secret spices and a buttered roll.  The pure Maine lobster meat is the star of the roll. There are a few locations, unfortunately none of them deliver to my apartment.  I have to walk about 6 blocks and 4 avenues to get my roll if the Nauti truck is not close by. Apparently, Caviar the delivery service will deliver Luke's, but I haven't attempted that yet.  I think I like it better when it seems harder to get!



2. La Rosticceria at Eataly-The Prime Rib Panino is my obsession.  The problem is, they always run out.  They start serving at 11am, my advice is to get there on the early side.  Every time I have been there after 5, the Prime Rib and the Carne of the day are sold out.  It is ridiculously flavorful and I have been known to go there alone on a summer Friday and devour the whole panino in Madison Park.  Side note, the rotisserie chickens are delicious as well!


3. Shake Shack-Luckily I do not live far from the original Shack in Madison Park, but it is far enough to check the Shack Cam and see how long the line is.  If the line is not too long, I will volunteer to go, wait and bring back dinner before it gets cold if my husband will agree to eat Shake Shack.  I am a classic girl, Shack Burger with Cheese, fries and a lemonade is the usual order.


4. Marea's Fusilli with Braised Octopus and Bone Marrow-One of the most delicious and unique pasta dishes I have ever had.  It is hard for me to eat at Marea and NOT order this dish.  I have made a trip there, just to sit a the bar and order it.  At $34 it is not a cheap craving, but it is worth it!  Check out this article from Serious Eats that shows how this dish is made.

5. Big Gay Ice Cream- Before they exploded and opened brick and mortar shops, The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck took up residence on the corner of 17th street and Broadway, not far from my apartment.  This was when I got addicted.  Now, I will make a special round about trip to pick my son up at school stopping off at their 7th Avenue location on the way.  My go-to is the Bea Aurther, vanilla soft serve, dulce de leche and crushed up 'nilla wafers, haven!



The Pennsy

A few weeks ago, something amazing happened.  A brand new food hall opened up right across from my office!  It is called The Pennsy and it also happens to be right next to Penn Station and Madison Square Garden in NYC.  It is one of the many new high end food halls to pop up in the city over the past few years, but this one is a little different.  First of all, Mario Batali is involved, so that alone makes it special in my book. Secondly, Pat LaFrieda has a counter in this food hall, the first of it's kind.  For those of you who do not know, Pat LaFrieda provides the best quality steaks and burgers to all of NYCs top restaurants.  The Pennsy has done a great job of curating a stellar line up, mostly focused on lunch which is a home run for the area.  As someone who has worked in the area for a long time, the lunch options are not the best.  Now I have a different issue, a very tempting food hall across the street!  Oh, and they JUST got their liquor license, perfect for game nights at the Garden! Here are a few pictures and descriptions of what you can get and what I have eaten so far.


Mario by Mary

Of course this was my first stop.  Mario by Mary is a collaboration between Batali and Mary Giuliani, his catering partner.  The menu is well thought out consisting of Italian comfort food that reminds me of home.  The grilled cheese with truffle honey is amazing, pictured below.  I got the combo #1 that came with a sandwich and a soup (I got the white bean and escarole, so good!) There is a selection of hot panini and cold panini that can be pared with a variety of soups.  And for dessert, rainbow cookies!   Panini run $9-13, combos are around $15.

Pat LaFrieda

All of the sandwiches entail some sort of meat, of course.  I tried the classic steak sandwich and it was great.  The quality of the steak really shines though, great flavor and very tender.  They also have a hot pressed meatball sandwich, a fresh roast beef toasted sandwich as well as roasted turkey.  The portions are pretty big, so go hungry.  Sandwiches range from $12-15. 

Marc Forgione

AKA Lobster Press, named for the signature hot pressed lobster sandwich that you dip into a delicious chili sauce.  I have sampled a few things from here and all were good.  I think my favorite was the coconut lobster bisque, not too heavy but it has a ton of flavor.

The lobster press is good, I wouldn't say the best lobster sandwich I have had, but the chili sauce really makes it special.  Lobster Press is the priciest place in the The Pennsy, with the signature sandwich running at $17, the combo is $21 and comes with chips and pickled vegetables.  If you are in the mood for lobster and feel like splurging on lunch, check it out. You may even get lucky and have Marc himself serve you one day, that happened to me.  He was very nice and it was great to see a chef connecting with their customers.

Besides these three featured counters, The Pennsy also features The Cinnamon Snail and The Little Beet.  I have yet to try either, but will definitely be back soon to try both of them, that is if I can be strong enough to not get a Mario by Mary grilled cheese every time I walk in!

The Pennsy- 2 Penn Plaza, New York, Ny