Mezcales de Leyenda is a Mexican brand of spirits that showcase the character, uniqueness and validity of what a true mezcal is. With the debut of the two new artisanal expressions, Mezcales de Leyenda now offers five different versions coming from five different states (in Mexico that is). [Read more…] about Unveiling The New Additions to The Mezcales de Leyenda Family the Right Way
There are not too many places in the world where you can travel to that fascinates every single one of your needs. As we know New York City is one of those places. So is Yotel. [Read more…] about Yotel Is An Unparalleled Hotel Experience Right Under Our Noses
When looking for a power lunch in Hell’s Kitchen, check out Sushi Seki Bar & Oysters. Their newest and flagship location at 365 West 46th Street offers two distinct atmospheres for dining in the pre or post theatre dinner hours and has a wonderful menu of Japanese food and artisanal cocktails. They recently began offering lunch Monday through Friday from 11:45am to 2:15pm on the lower level. Their chefs offer sushi, soups, salads and Udon and Soba noodles, but the jewel of this daytime menu is the “Teishoku” lunch. General manager Yasu told me that they wanted to make a “balanced and nutritious lunch” that will leave you sated with plenty of energy to get through the rest of the day. [Read more…] about Bigger Than a Bento Lunch at HK’s Sushi Seki
One of our favorite Mexican hotspots is officially reopening tonight, and we could not be more excited for this to be happening. Cantina Rooftop, located in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen, is kicking off the start of this amazing warm weather we are having in New York City at 5PM, where you can make reservations and experience what makes this place truthfully unique, tasty and breathtaking. [Read more…] about Cantina Rooftop is Officially Opened Again & We Are Happy
As time has gone by with my food reviews on Manhattan Digest, something that seems to be a constant is that you don’t have to overdo something in order to make it work and of course, delicious. Size doesn’t always matter, insert the obvious joke if you will. This can be said about the beautiful location and tasty dishes at this wonderful wine bar and Latin kitchen called Oovina, which is located in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen on 9th Avenue between 37th and 38th Street. [Read more…] about Oovina’s Delicious Latin Cuisine Lights Up Hell’s Kitchen
Nothing wrong with trying to reinvent something right? Especially when what they have going for them already is pretty damn good. This particular instance is the fabulous restaurant KTCHN, which is located inside the world famous OUT Hotel in Hell’s Kitchen. The restaurant is reinventing itself by adding a fantastic Italian menu to its already mouth watering selections that have made it a staple for locals and tourists alike. What did they exactly add though that will bring even more people in? Let your taste buds decide which is best for you (even if it is everything).
This past Saturday night, Manhattan Digest held its first fundraiser at the best gay bar in New York City- Gym Sportsbar in Chelsea. The event itself was held from 7-9 PM in the basement part of Gymbar, and included great giveaways like T-Shirts, Dog Tags and Trial Memberships from Scruff App. The room was packed throughout with not only friends of mine and fans of the website but a ton of great people who came down and got in on the bidding action & donating for a great cause. A month of hard work, promotion, donations and all of that paid off and the event was a huge success not only for the website but for raising money for cancer research and patient care.
A big thank you to the following people and organizations as they helped tremendously to make the night a big success. Rick Schmutzler, co-owner of Gym Sportsbar, for letting us have the event at your fabulous establishment and Serge Sturbois for being a fantastic and amicable bartender throughout the night and helping all of our participants out with a smile. Thank you to my best friend in the world Nixon Saget who stepped it up ten fold and worked the front desk, encouraged people to donate and helped collect the donations throughout the two hours. You are an amazing guy and friend and I really do appreciate what you did. Thirdly, my buddy (and amazing photographer) Steve Alb for his amazing photography he took throughout the night. Definitely give him a shout for your next event you are having, worth it!
I would also love to thank the following companies and organizations who generously donated an item(s) for people to bid on. We raised hundreds of dollars for this event with more coming in the next couple of days, and the general response from the people who showed up for the event was gleeful & excitement when they saw what they could bid on for a good cause-
We will be doing another fundraiser hopefully in the next month or two, with more fab prizes you can bid on for another great cause… to be determined! Thanks again to everyone who came and participated!!
When it comes to bakeries in New York City, you may find that they come a dime a baker’s dozen. There are so many to choose from, including well known national brands and more localized ones that have grown in notoriety due to a variety of facets, and then there are ones you should go to simply because they are the best. I can firmly say that the best bake shop that I have been in New York City so far (and probably will) is H Bake Shop located in Hell’s Kitchen on 57th between 11th and 12th. Now some might say that as New Yorkers we may get lazy in going out of our normal route to experience something different, including geographically, however the taste and experience at this place is worth rowing, sailing, swimming or doing whatever physical activity you have to in order to experience the expert deliciousness that chef Huascar Aquino has to put out for his customers.
I hadn’t heard of H Bake Shop until last month, when a friend of mine recommended that I try this place after a recent review of another fab bakery which is close by. After seeing the variety of very positive reviews posted on Yelp, Seamless, Facebook and so much more, I knew this was something that I had to try. So I took my good friend Erick to experience H Bake Shop first hand and boy was I in for a treat. I sat down with the handsome Huascar and understand how he got to where he is today, which is quite impressive if I may say so myself.
Getting to know Huascar really makes you understand that if you have the passion for something it is worth taking every risk to get to where you need to be. Born in the Dominican Republic, he moved to the United States a number of years ago where he developed a love for pastries by learning at the Internationally renowned French Culinary Institute Of New York City. Just a heads up this is the same place that LEGENDS in the culinary industry such as Bobby Flay, David Chang & Dan Barber have gone to and where deans include just the run of the mill dynasties in their own rights like Jacques Pepin, Jose Andrews and Jacques Torres are deans there. You know, no big deal whatsoever. After his time at the FCI, he honed his abundance of talent at historic NYC locations like The Four Seasons and Landmarc which then led to him opening up his own location two years ago. Oh, and one more thing. Huascar won on the Food Network hit show “Cupcake Wars”, in which the theme was Jessica Alba’s “The Honest Company”. The win came with a sweet $10,000 dollars and national recognition, which is great for anyone regardless of what their field is. You can watch that episode here.
Now of course, as awesome as he is I have to describe just how amazing his treats are. To say heavenly is beyond at this point, they are just incredible. Take something as classic and simple as a chocolate chip cookie with a twist (Or as he calls it- Chocotella Cookie). I have had many of these in my life (which attest to my ever increasing waistline) and can say that these tasted better than any others that i have had in the past. And that goes for his variety of cookies as well, not just the chocolate chip. A good cookie essentially has a great bite on the outside, but is warm on the inside. You also want to be able to taste as many ingredients as possible outside of the norm. You get that in his cookies.
Same goes for his line of cupcakes. They are moist, flavorful and unique in taste, creativity and texture which is important when making your own creations like this. When going, I would highly recommend the PB&J, The Scarlet Velvet (his take on the classic Red Velvet), and the Vanilla Introvert Cupcake (Vanilla Bean Cake with dulce de leche filling, sprinkles and frosting.) They all are an incredible experience that you must try.
What is even better is the specialty services that H Bake Shop provides. They make wedding cakes as well as specialty themed cakes for birthdays, graduations or whatever event you are particularly throwing. They also have a great line of other products from cheesecakes, macaroons and brownies that are to die for. Something incredibly special that Huascar and his team did today was make this OUT OF THIS WORLD Monsters Inc. themed cake for my 3 year old nephew Eddie. The look on everyone’s faces when they saw it in person as well as the reaction on social media was insane as so many people have never seen anything made like this. We were even debating not cutting into it as it looked beyond incredible. Take a look at the above picture for jaw dropping status.
I beyond recommend going to H Bake Shop the next time you are in Hell’s Kitchen, or have an event, or want something sweet. Just go. You won’t regret it. For more information log on to their official site. Oh, and this is a photo of my nephew devouring the cake today. Totally worth it.
H Bake Shop
601 West 57th Street (Between 11th and 12th Avenue)
New York City has always been known for its trendy everything. Trendy fashion, trendy clubs, trendy outfits for your pets (eww), but something you never really put together is trendy Belgian cuisine. I discovered that is actually factual when me and a friend visited a brand new restaurant located in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen called The Jolly Monk. Only being open for a month or so, The Jolly Monk is nestled right on 9th Avenue and 48th Street, an area that is growing in its popularity for its food selection, gay and straight bars, and overall town appeal. So naturally I was excited to check out the new digs and see what this place had to offer.
When you walk into The Jolly Monk it feels like your atypical bar, but the brand new sense of it really kicks in with how spacious the actual location is set up matched with how beautiful the wood furnishings are throughout the place. I will preface this with saying that I am not much of a drinker myself, which begs the question why did I review a place that is becoming known for its choice of Belgian beers? Its simple- they had a yummy menu. Duh. As much as I am not a drinker, I do have to say that the selection that was presented to us was tasty in their own ways. Some of the beers were easier to go down, especially paired with the food that we had (more of that to come later), and some had an actual sweet texture to them that really was enjoyable. The Jolly Monk actually boasts quite a beer list that you can order from, including imported, American Brewed, Craft Bottles & Cans and other staples such as wine by the glass and cocktails to strike whatever your fancy is.
The food itself was quite delectable. This is like an elevated bar experience in terms of you get a lot of quality out of the food that is presented to you and not just something that was hastefully put together. Two appetizers that I would recommend getting are the mussels served in a delicious and warm sauce that really pair well together (see photo above) and their delicious frites which come with not one, not two, not three but 6 DIFFERENT SAUCES! From Garlic Mayo to Sriracha Ketchup, each of them have a very unique flavor that compliments the frites very well.
When one thinks dessert and waffles, the other word that needs to be wedged in their is Belgian. So naturally after having some delicious starters we were happy to make a beeline all the way to their dessert and try the epic deliciousness that is their waffle. You can choose it in either classic Belgian style or Sweet Liege style. As they said in one of my favorite 90’s shows, “Legends Of The Hidden Temple”- “The Choice Is Yours and Yours Alone”. Corny but whatever. The waffles come with the following, do your best to not salivate as you read- Belgian Chocolate Sauce, Vanilla Honey, Scoop of Gelato, Whipped Cream, Fresh Berries, and COOKIE BUTTER. You heard that right folks, COOKIE FREAKING BUTTER. I was enamored at the richness of the waffle paired with so many different toppings that it really was a great way to end the meal.
Bottom line, this is a good place to go to and hang with friends in a casual setting. Right now The Jolly Monk is offering some great Happy Hour specials as well as their own Brunch menu should you choose to go at an earlier hour. I would definitely recommend stopping by The Jolly Monk as it is a guaranteed good time to have with you and your friends. Check out the official website for more info.
The Jolly Monk
701 9th Avenue (Between 48th and 49th Street)
Something that I happen to love is surrounding myself with people who have enough drive and tenacity to get themselves where they need to be and not rely on everyone else to do their shit for them. About a year and half ago I met the incredibly sexy and smart Jeffrey Wachman, who at the time met with me to discuss a book he was writing. The former Nasty Pig model was smart, in both the book and street way and I was immediately entranced by his personality, good looks and way he discussed his life. So when I found out recently that he launched the booming and successful Buffboyzz here in Manhattan, I knew I had to meet up with him again.
Buffboyzz is an all male revue located in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen at the trendy Bartini. It is a two night a week event starting at 6pm on Sunday’s and Tuesday’s and can go until the later hours in the evening. They also have a separate event for Long Islander’s out in a place called Show World located 45 minutes out of New York City in West Babylon, as well as a new event starting on September 8th at the popular Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street. With the franchise of Buffboyzz increasing at a skyrocketing pace, I got the chance to sit down with Jeffrey and his partner John Greco to discuss said success and what you as a customer can expect upon arrival. Take a look.
So tell me how the concept of Buffboyzz started?
John– Buffboyzz started in July of 2005. I started it that year after the Gaiety Theater closed which was a male strip club in Manhattan. They used to do all nude male dancers seven days a week, it was like the shrine of male strip clubs in New York for some time. As many of you know, they cleaned up Times Square and knocked the building down and that place was history. With that I started a party in the Lower East Side at this place called Thirteen Little Devils on Archer Street on a Sunday. Had about 15 guys that would dance that day. From there, we went over to Stonewall Inn for a couple of weeks, and then we wound up doing Sunday’s at this place called Heaven if any of your readers remember that. It was on 16th Street and 6th Avenue, and we were there for quite some time.
From there I was called to Florida, and I went down there for a year and a half. I co-managed a local strip club down there which wound up closing in 2008. I then came back to New York and started doing a place called Show World out in Long Island on Sundays. From there I hooked up with Jeff a little more than a year ago.
Jeff- Actually me and my husband were searching around for shows in New York City, a place to have a good time and hang out with the boys. John said, “You know you guys should come here and work, instead of spending money you can make money”. So I took him up on the offer, did it and made a lot of money. Dancing really isn’t my thing though. I’m such a business minded person that if I am going to dance, I am going to create a job for 100 dancers that is much bigger than me just dancing.
John- So my goal was with him was to get back to New York City even though I was running a pretty successful show in Long Island. Everything is here in Manhattan from my friends, colleagues and email contacts they were all in the city. I bugged Jeff for a couple of months to do this, like “Let’s do Manhattan, Let’s do Manhattan, Let’s do Manhattan!”
Jeff- It was never a question for me of whether I could’ve done it, it was just that at that moment in time I had so much going on for me outside of what he wanted to do. From the club I was running. the book that I’ve written, and the store I was managing with my brother I was spreading myself way too thin. At that time too I had just gotten married to my husband and had probably saw my husband only four months out of that entire year. So when he approached me about doing a party, and some initial resistance, I finally caved in and said “Let’s give this a shot”. Then I said “Let’s do this on a night where there is nothing going on in New York City”. I said we are going to take Tuesday nights and did it first at Bartini in Hell’s Kitchen.
The party was going really well, we were almost hitting the 100 person mark in our first couple of months of doing this. After some internal problems at Bartini we moved to a club called Secrets on 29th and 10th. It was such a desolate and quiet area that we were lucky to maintain what we were doing, but it was also fueled by the fact that I know that me and John could get this done. We kept on moving, even with the outside voices saying “You guys are crazy, this isn’t going to work, etc.” We started seeing the numbers coming back and then out of the blue the owners sold Secrets. The new owners at Bartini’s called us and asked us to come back to the original location, which we agreed and figured it was meant to be. After the continued success of Tuesday’s we decided to move ahead and do Sunday’s on top of that at Bartini just to see how it would go.
John- So we basically had two shows going at the same time in two different markets. We had Tuesdays/Sundays at Bartini in New York City and then for the Long Island folk we were still running that party Sunday’s at Show World.
Jeff- We realized that doing Sunday’s party we were able to produce consistent numbers like that, regardless of extenuating circumstances like weather and what not. We had a rainy Sunday three weeks ago and made more money that day than we did all month.
John- What New York needs now is a gay owned, male strip company every night of the week someplace. Both of us are gay, and I feel like gay owned and gay operated we got our company.
100-150 people that fast at Buffboyzz is pretty fast given the turnaround rate here in New York City. How were you able to do that?
Jeff- John has an email list that he has built for the past couple of years now, and some of the people were dancing twenty-thirty years ago. He is able to bring an older clientele whereas I am able to bring this whole new blood situation to the table where the bars are happy with the outcome, the dancers are happy with the outcome, and in turn with both of them happy it then makes ourselves happy. We have always established a relationship with the bar where we have to make sure they are happy, otherwise it isn’t going to work. So with the two different followings we have created something good. However, it is nowhere near where we want it to be, we are just making headway in this game.
John- Plus what we do that no one else does in Manhattan is we start early at 6PM. I always believed that when I worked at the other venues that there is a whole population in Manhattan that everyone forgets. Whether it is the older and married gentlemen or whatnot, I literally say in my emails “We are going to get you home by the 11 O’Clock news”. So the earlier crowd is going to come in, have a great time, and by 9 or 10 o’clock they are going to go home and then here comes to new wave of people. The second shit per se. At 11pm the line is out the door, its insane.
Jeff- It has gotten to the point that even at 2am where we are supposed to be done we are having to keep it open later and later as people are still coming in beyond that time. Which is a longer shift, but it means we are progressing.
So basically what you are saying is that it is a combination of social media presence mixed with old and new school principles?
Jeff- Pretty much yeah. We are building our brand basically on customer satisfaction and to not feel like you are being swindled by whatever dancer you are with. I have had dancers that have seen customers get too drunk and will stop what they are doing to make sure they get a cab and get home safely. This is the place to come to to really enjoy yourself and not worry about your wallet being taken advantage of.
What is the per dance rate here for all of our viewers?
John- It is $20 a song per lap dance.
What is the process of picking your men for the customers to enjoy?
John- They can find us and whatnot, but what we are looking for ultimately is masculine dancers. That is what we want and what our clientele is looking for.
Jeff- There is a variety of body types and ethnic backgrounds, and of course good looking is a must as that is what they are going to pay to see. I’ve been to places before where guys legit look like they swallowed the juice, not even injected it. I love the big guys and I love the small guys, I just love guys. So to me it is important to have variety when it comes to running an establishment like this.
John- And when it comes to finding that diamond in the rough, you would be surprised at the men who are making the most money here. It isn’t always the big muscle guys. You can be the hottest guy in the city with the hottest body. However if you have a bad attitude however you aren’t going to get away with it for that long. So if you look a certain way and are good to your customers with the right mind frame, you can go far in something like this.
What are you guys ultimately hopeful for with the Buffboyzz future?
Jeff- Seven days a week in New York and a much bigger place. We are also opening in Midtown and Chelsea this month, so be on the lookout for that as well!
To find out more information about Buffboyzz check out the official website! Best of luck to John & Jeff in the future!