Monthly Archives: February 2014

Destination Dogs – New Brunswick, NJ

PeanutPimpMamaI’ve been known to eat my way through my travels. It might be the number one reason I leave the tri-state area. (No shame) When I read the bios for the owners of Destination Dogs I kind of feel like I know these guys, (or maybe I should) since we seem to share some common life/food motives. Before my days of globetrotting began, my friends and family often ventured to New Brunswick for a mini-city destination. It offered a University-friendly bar and restaurant scene while providing just enough city grime and a plethora of venues to entertain the Rutgers students and beyond.

So what is Destination Dogs? I was last here in 2010, and what used to be a drab and common watering hole has now turned into a kitsch concept yet to be done in Dirty-Jerz.

The Experience:

Priding themselves on “Gourmet sausages inspired by the world’s best cuisines,” This bar serves delicious micro-brews with a menu choc-full o’ comforting appetizers and hot-dogs you can order straight off the menu. Feeling like a pain-in the ass? No worries, DD gives you an option to “Pilot” your own dog to your liking!

Each Ready-To-Eat dog attempts a unique experience of toppings indigenous to various exotic lands. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall for the menu’s brain storming session! Pictured Below: The Slumdog Meal-ionaire (Inspiration: India) Note the corresponding acronyms of each airport next to all of the dogs from different lands.

Since my cousin Kristen (a local nurse at RWJ and DD patron) frequents this joint “on the reg” along with a lot of RWJ’s staff, I let her drive and call the shots on the order. She knows my vegetarian parameters in a restaurant whose concept is based around animal links and bi-products. I started off with their delicious deviled eggs, duck fat fries (shhhhh not vegetarian friendly but daaayum good) and later moved on to their “SLUMDOG MEAL-IONAIRE” featuring a veggie dog with samosa topping (ie. potato log) topped with red curry-sauce and scallions. I appreciated the Indian-flare but it was a little on the dryer side. An extra red-curry sauce was necessary. (Next time PeanutPimpMama will be building her own hydrated dog.)

They get an A+ for the homemade chips= thick and crunchy yum yumzz!

Since I knew this would be one of my last NJ dining experiences for a while (Insert sad face here) I decided to go the distance. After the eggs, fries and dog I ordered their cheese tasting. While the local cheese selection was absolutely appropriate, no missing accoutrement went unnoticed. The plate came out half dressed with the selection of domestic cheeses, some apple slices and bread. They were out of olives, plus I had to ask for my side of cornichons. I felt the bread was a bit redundant considering I just downed an entire dog with it. Perhaps a lighter and less voluminous cracker could have substituted nicely? Also, taking into consideration the sharpness of the cheeses a spread was needed. I’m glad I requested a side of the spicy brown mustard… DD, I take my cheese plates seriously!

Nothing washes down cheese like a St. Feuillien Belgian Saison in a can.

For another “culinary experience on a bun” I shall return!


Address: 101 Patterson St. New Brunswick, NJ 08901  Phone: (732)993-1016

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Coffee Shop – (Union Square) – New York, NY

PeanutPimpMamaIt is so nice to be waking up in NYC again. Now when friends ask me to hang out I don’t have an 1.5 hour commute to contend with. In fact, I find that most things I care about now are conveniently located on the E train (a stone’s throw away from my front door). Last Saturday afternoon I was having some major motivational issues getting out of my cozy room. This whole new concept of sleeping-in was foreign until now. When asked to meet at Irving place around 1:30 my ETA became 3:00pm. (Oops)

After a couple of logistical issues and miscommunications, my friend and I finally met at Side-Bar on Irving. What that place lacks in atmosphere it doesn’t make up for in drinks or clientele. I ordered a Bloody Mary which was basically a cup of tomato juice and horseradish with a splash of vodka and three sad little olives. I chugged it quickly to make the experience end and moved on to bigger and better things. My friend and I ventured off to the other side of Union Square and ended up at Coffee Shop Restaurant.

For anyone that has attended a university in NYC chances are you have been here. Famous for only hiring models and/or look alikes, the place somehow runs itself with good service or not. Who doesn’t want to sit in a vintage diner-esque resto inside a building with a facade of bright blue high school paneling? It’s kind of fabulous, and so are their Bloodies, towering a good 10 inches off the table (glass alone) and skewer of shrimp they have added on for an additional heightening effect. It’s like that cruel trick they pulled when constructing the Empire State Building while competing with the Chrysler and 40 Wall Street. The needle officially made it the tallest building of the time. Tallest Bloody Mary? Maybe…

Embracing a liquid-diet that afternoon, I couldn’t help but notice two of them standing proudly on a neighboring table.

Honesty: It had a really impressive presentation and the composition of tomato juice, horseradish and seasoning was pretty solid. I see a palate here of amazing potential… Why not take this a step further Coffee Shop? Perhaps blacken your shrimp, or put a seasoned rim on the glass? A nice branch of celery couldn’t hurt either! The olives were fresh and firm (unlike the previous experience) and most impressively the skewer of shrimp were butterflied and cleaned! I couldn’t even get that out of a $20.00 shrimp cocktail at The Plaza Hotel!

 Pictured Above: The shrimp cocktail at The Plaza Hotel (roughly two months ago)

Pictured Above: The Bloody Mary I ordered at Rose Club – The Plaza Hotel for $23.00. (Guess what never made it off the skewer?)

I may have a thing against mucky crustaceans, but I sure do love my Bloody Marys as “cheap and dirty” as they come. No shame here! (PPM Lesson Learned: Sometimes in this life we don’t always get what we pay for.)

Peace, Love, and Bloodies!


Address: 29 Union Square W, New York, NY 10003      Phone:(212) 243-7969

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Casa- (West Village) New York, NY

PeanutPimpMamaThis past week a long standing dream came true for me. I moved to the west side of Greenwich Village, NYC. So much has been unraveled in the last couple of years with some pretty major adventures I only wish I had the time to write about. I guess I was too busy living. When our dreams become reality, it can be quite overwhelming. This post is all about my first dining experience in the West Village, NYC (as a neighboring resident). I have been dreaming to go here for quite some time now. So it became the celebratory venue for my big return to The Big Apple.

Look Sharp: Casa – Regional Brazilian Home Cooking : Soho NYC

I wish I had a picture of the restaurant from the outside. (Please see link above! Credits to: Look Sharp for the image) It’s a tiny little haven on the corner of possibly one of the most quaint streets in the West Village, Bedford St. (intersecting with Commerce). The facade is all windows with painted white wooden frames. The interior is all white (candle lit at night) and the contrast is cozy up against the brick pre-war building. Basically, living across the street from this place has always been a PeanutPimpMama ultimate dream. I’ll take the dream on Carmine Street for now. 😉

The Experience:

When you enter Casa there is a teeny tiny bar (en face) filled with all of the Cachaças your little heart could desire. My cousin and I were given a Cachaça tasting menu, along with the specials and the main menu to select from. The menu is small and to-the-point suiting your experience at Casa. I was not exactly ready to commit to a glass of Cachaça (straight) which our waitress enthusiastically suggested. Cachaça served up or even on the rocks is truly an acquired taste only a soldier could handle (Or a Brazilian). Pictured Above: The Coconut Caipirinha, one off their list of multpile enticing flavors!

Our first course was the The Salada Completa: sliced heart of palms, watercress, mesclun greens and cherry tomatoes. It was  light and refreshing precursor to our decadent entrées that followed! We also snuck in a small plate of Mandioca Frita: fried yucca sticks. The salad was served with small ramekins of oil and some sort of a pepper “Molho” which you were instructed to mix and add to your salad for extra flavor. It had heat… PeanutPimpMama loves her some heat!

Just to get an idea of how romantic this little joint is… Here is the bird’s eye view of our table after our entrées were served. I decided to go for the “Moqueca De Frutos Do Mar Com Pirao De Peixe Ou Farofa De Dende” (say that three times fast): squid, shrimp and fish with coconut milk, cilantro, tomatoes and “dende” palm oil served with fish and yucca flour puree. My cousin decided to go for the “Xinxim De Galinha” which included: Bahia’s organic chicken and shrimp stew with tomatoes, cilantro and onions served with white rice. Unfortunately I didn’t get to taste hers because of the selection of Aves.

The fish stew (served in a clay pot) kind of left me speechless. Granted I wasn’t much in the mood for talking that day anyway. (An honest moment) My upset stomach was soothed by the creaminess of this velvety fish mélange, if only for an hour or so. The calamari (contrary to its frequently rubbery state) was so soft; I had never had calamari like it before! Nice to know I didn’t have to “break the bank” for it either.

If only I had eaten fish when I went to Brazil in 2010. (Says the former strict vegetarian) Food options were scarce, where amazing memories were in overabundance!

Overall moving weekend was filled with a lot of love (right when I needed it) even from those who couldn’t make it. Cousin Kristen was super supportive as she rallied a frazzled PPM (and all of her possessions) all the way to The Big Apple. I am so grateful. Evidently she’s always been there for me like a big sister. (Pictured Above: Cousin Kristen and I Circa 1986?)

Pictured Above: Cousin Kristen and I three weeks ago celebrating my big 32… We’ve changed a little bit, at least our height difference.

My friends and I even snuck in a quick champagne toast on the rooftop to celebrate this special night in PPM’s life. I can’t wait to make more memories here!



72 Bedford Street  New York, New York 10014 | Phone (212) 366 9410

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