#SCBDFavorite: Business Power Hour at Croton

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I turned 21 a few weeks ago, and despite the fact that I am now considered a legal woman in the United States, I must say that I have always been and always will be a mummy’s little girl! I recently had a business power lunch with my mum on our lunch breaks during the work week at Croton. I come from a Filipino household, so to my pleasant surprise, Croton had the Filipino beer San Miguel in stock! There are few things as authentically Filipino as cracking open a San Miguel on the island, whether it be on a Philippine island or the Manhattan island.

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Croton Reservoir Tavern is an American style bar, located a block away from Bryant Park. Its central location is on 40th street between 6th Avenue and Broadway, attracts businessmen who sign contracts and talk loudly about luxury cars, golf, and women. Croton is considered a more expensive restaurant but it is still relatively affordable. If you do not want to spend too much money, enjoy Croton for lunch and not its more expensive dinners. During lunch, I had a hearty Grilled Black Bean Veggie Burger for $14. If you want something a bit cheaper than a $14 burger, I highly recommend their bar menu which offers small plates such as $9 Polenta fries. Their glass of J. Lohr Riverstone chardonnay was quite a steal for $10.

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If you’re around midtown during pre-theatre hours, there is also a 3-course prix fixe menu for $34.95 between the hours of 4 PM – 7 PM. The prix fixe menu includes a glass of Croton’s House Red or White, a starter, a main, dessert, and coffee or tea. Make sure to take advantage of both the upstairs are and downstairs bar! Croton is open every day starting at 11 AM, so don’t be shy about day drinking and enjoy yourself a local Captain Lawrence Freshchester Pale Ale. Cheers!

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#SCBDFavorite: Hop-On, Hop-Off

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0-1Dear SCBD Readers,

It is with great sadness and swallowing of pride that I must admit that I am not a true born and bred New Yorker, but rather a member of the bridge and tunnel crowd. My cousin, on the other hand, is a true born and bred New Yorker who only has to take the 1 train downtown to get where he needs to go in Manhattan. When I told my cousin that I’ve always wanted to take a Gray Line Hop-On, Hop-Off bus tour, he, too, had to swallow his pride and go along with my silly antics. (Always thank the kindness and patience of family members, folks, they’re the only ones who will ever be this patient with you!)

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My cousin and I went to the Gray Line flagship location on 777 (three sevens, I thought, must be good luck!) 8th Avenue between 47th and 48th Street. When we arrived several minutes ahead of the 8:30 A.M. required time to pick up our tickets, the company told us that we would not be able to board the bus until 9:15 A.M. Wanting to kill some time, I asked a company representative if he was aware of any nearby parks where we could spend about forty-five minutes just to sit and relax, since there was no sitting area in the flagship location. The representative told us that there was no place nearby that we could go to and return in time. I used my handy dandy iPhone and found that there was a park literally around the corner and down the block from the tour location. Of course, in the mind of the representative, maybe the park on 47th street between 8th Avenue and 9th Avenue was too far by his standards.

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We finish up our cup of coffees in the park and return to the flagship location by around 9:10 AM. By this point, we already knew this tour was going to be just as cheesy as we predicted. We chose to do the four-hour-long Manhattan Experience Highlights tour which drove by the main Manhattan icons including the Empire State Building and an extremely classy CVS on the Upper West Side that the tour guide failed to properly point out. One of my favorite spots was the Cathedral of St. John the Divine near Morningside Heights and Colombia University. The bus stopped there for ten minutes for the tourist to go in and see the church, really quickly.

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Overall, after taking this tour, all I can say is that there is a good reason why you rarely, if ever see locals taking these tour buses in their own city. It is too frustrating, even for me as a member of the bridge and tunnel crowd, to watch as a tour guide gives the cutesy and squeaky clean history of Manhattan. My cousin and I exchanged knowing glances as the tour guide remarked that there were no slums in Manhattan as we drove through Harlem. The tour guide noted that while the African-American population was quite prevalent in Harlem, you would not be able to tell who was of a less affluent class since everyone dressed like they were all middle class. It was at this point that I decided to tune out the tour guide’s remarks and simply admire the dynamic and moving view of Manhattan from the top deck of the bus. Hop on, hop off.

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Links:

-          http://www.graylinenewyork.com/tourpage.php?item=HME Website where I booked the Gray Line $50 per person tour

-          http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/ramonapontepark/ Park where my cousin and I had a nice cup of coffee and watched children play

-          http://www.stjohndivine.org/ One of my favorite cathedrals in NYC which was highlighted on the tour

Don’t ‘Overlook’ the Overlook!

Overlook Lounge (225 East 44th Street  New York, NY 10017)

I love the food, I love the city, especially Midtown East. If you’ve read my past blogs it’s pretty obvious. This past week I was fortunate enough to find my way to a taping of The Rachael Ray Show again, but this time with my mother and Aunt. After enjoying the taping and smelling food the entire time, we were pretty hungry. As I mentioned in previous posts, I tried to go almost everywhere that sounded good and wasn’t too far of a walking distance from my internship last semester. But there was one place, I overlooked. It was actually across the street and one of the closest places I could’ve gone and it was Overlook Lounge. So since I hadn’t been there, we gave it a try, here’s what I thought:

Customer Service: 5 — Our waitress was friendly and let us take our time deciding what we wanted, she brought our second round of drinks pretty quick. Questions about the food were answered right away as well.

Atmosphere: 4.5– It’s relatively small but when I went inside it was definitely different then I imagined. It seems like such a small place from the outside looking in. The bar is pretty big for the space it is too.

Food/Drink Quality: 4.5– The drinks were great, I usually get a Malibu Bay Breeze and it was made perfectly. My mom and aunt were impressed with their drinks as well. I got the steak bites which is basically 3 skirt steak sliders with cheese. I got them cooked medium well and probably should’ve had it cooked medium because it was a little darker than I had wanted but it still tasted delicious, and I love skirt steak. My mom and aunt were both very impressed with their choices as well. We all shared their “pommes frites” which they serve rather than fries and I loved them. They come served with a chipotle dipping sauce and it’s like a whirlwind of flavor in your mouth!

Price: $$ — It’s not the cheapest joint but you can definitely get a delicious lunch with a drink for about $15. Yeah you’re probably thinking that’s not a great deal but they have two for one drinks during there happy hour every Monday-Friday from 2-6 pm and drink specials after 6 as well. Now I’d say that is a deal!

Final Score: 14/15– The drinks were made to perfection, service was on key, and it was bustlin’ when we first arrived for lunch. The pomme frites are a great snack to go with a drink too. I’d highly recommend going to the Overlook Lounge next time you’re in the city, you won’t be disappointed! I know I’ll be heading there for happy hour  sometime!

- Small Chick :)

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