The End of an Era: Goodbye Continental, One of New York City’s Cheapest Bars!

If you’ve lived in New York City you’ve probably heard of or been to Continental Bar NYC. It’s a bar located in East Village on the very busy intersection of 9th street & 3rd avenue. It was the perfect pre-game spot for those nights where you didn’t have money or didn’t want to spend a lot of money. Their drink special of 5 shots for $10 was the hook (now it’s 6 shots for $12, or 5 shots for $10 with the purchase of a drink). 

As you know, NYC is an expensive city.  A night of drinks typically costs no less than $100, especially if you’re going to non-dive bars. Continental provided the financial relief that young, broke New Yorkers who wanted to drink outside of their apartments needed.

Unfortunately, most of the block is going to be demolished and developed into “boutique office buildings” so Continental will be gone forever in the next few days. My friend @jeffbukhari* & I wanted to stop by and pay our respects with 1 last round of shots.

Here’s the post from the owner Trigger from the Continental website:

“It is with heavy heart that I have to inform everyone that Continental’s days are numbered. Shortly after June 30, 2018 this entire corner will be knocked down and developed. It’s truly heartbreaking that we and so many Old Skool places are falling by the wayside but unless you own your building that’s how it goes. This Bar has been my life. First as a Rock Club and then as a Dive Bar and I’ve loved every minute of it (mostly speaking). Don’t hate my landlords. They’re older now, got a great deal and I can’t blame them and I want to thank them; Eddie, Ruth and Jack (RIP) for treating me like Family and always giving me an affordable rent and I also want to thank Jeff Bezos for not selling Beer. Special Thanks to my Staff- especially Noel and Bingo, the Bands, the Regulars and the rest of you lunatics for coming to my bar all these years! I’m grateful and honored that we’re part of NYC Rock History and I’m also very proud of this incarnation, what I call a Classy, Dive Bar. When I was bartending my way through college- this was my Dream and it happened! I will always be so deeply grateful for this experience…Trigger”

Good bye Continental. Thanks for the memories … at least the ones we can remember.

*Jeff is single and an eligible bachelor. You can find him on Instagram & DM him here

Do You Like Thai Food? Chang Sensory Trails 2018 in Los Angeles, CA

As many of you know, I am moving to Bangkok, Thailand in October of this year (to pursue a freer lifestyle…be free my sheeple!) so I was super excited when Chang Beer invited me to their event in Hollywood, CA called  Chang Sensory Trails to try some local LA Thai cuisine & drink some Thai-imported Chang Beer.

One of the best things about Thailand has to be their food! The typical Thai dish combines the 4 major tastes:  sweet, salty, sour & bitter which makes the Thai flavor very distinctive. There are also a number of Thai dishes that are on the healthier side because many dishes have a ton of vegetables and can be served with brown rice. #FitFam

This event had a ton of local Thai food trucks but the one I picked was WatDongMoonLek. I had their Pad Thai which was delicious!  Perfect combination of sweetness & spiciness. If you don’t believe me, perhaps you’ll believe their almost-1,000 Yelp reviews.

Pad Thai, a classic Thai dish

Of course there was plenty of Chang Beer to go around. I’m not too big of beer drinker these days but I actually like Chang Beer. It has a light, refreshing taste and it reminds me of my future home in Thailand.

It’s also a good thing I drank a few beers because as soon as I saw the stage, I lit that thing up with my incredible dance moves & aggressive nightclub antics.

When the beat is too good and your moves are too lit that the camera can’t focus

Sweetfin, a delicious Poke franchise in Southern California (Venice, CA Grand Opening)

Last week, @dashofting & I were invited to celebrate the grand opening of SweetFin’s newest location on the iconic & highly-instagrammable Abbot Kinney. Being that salmon poke bowls are one of my favorite foods that I discovered after moving to Los Angeles in 2015, I was so excited to try their Salmon Yuzu bowl.

 For those who haven’t heard of or tried poke yet, you can learn all about it here, but it’s usually raw fish, vegetables and either a kale, seaweed, salad or rice base. If you’re trying to keep it healthy like me, you’ll either go for the brown rice base or something carb-free like kale or salad. I always add avocado, jalapeños, onions, crispy onions & Sriracha to my bowls.

We got to meet the owner of Sweetfin and women entrepreneur Dakota Weiss who is a culinary and business rockstar who appeared on Top Chef. 

Enjoying my Salmon Yuzu bowl from Sweetfin while casually looking off into the ocean.

What makes the poke in California special is that it’s only 1 of 2 states in America that do not flash freeze their fish (Hawaii is the other state). This means it tastes better & fresher and this salmon bowl was no exception.

What’s also interesting is that their tobiko was green, when usually these little eggs are orange. That’s because Sweetfin adds wasabi into their eggs which gives them both a green color and a wasabi-spice.

Close up shot of the delicious Salmon Yuzu bowl from Sweeten

I can’t wait to go back to Sweetfin & try the rest of their delicious menu. Let me know what you think in the comments! And if my post inspired you to try Sweetfin, I expect an invite 😉

Cardio at the Santa Monica Stairs (I almost died!)

 

I’ve been living in LA for almost 3 years and I never checked out the iconic Santa Monica Stairs until this week.  I’ve always heard that running up and down the stairs (170 steps) a few times is a good workout and they weren’t wrong. 

First off, this neighborhood is absolutely stunning. The houses are quite expensive. I hopped on Zillow to check out the prices and you can see the prices range from $3 million USD up to $18 million USD. Yeah, that’s probably not happening in my lifetime. 

Map of available real estate prices by Santa Monica Stairs

Once you get close to the stairs, you start seeing a lot of people exercising in the general area. I saw a lot of runners, a woman using resistance bands for a thigh workout, and a guy shoulder-pressing 30 pound dumbbells that he keeps in the back of his SUV (not sure why I haven’t thought about throwing a few dumbbells in my trunk and basically having a mobile gym). It’s a good place to workout because seeing all the people exercising can be more motivating than working out alone. However, keep in mind that you can’t park on the streets after 6pm or you might get a ticket. Shout out to the fellow stair-climber who mentioned this to me at 5:57pm as I was filming my vlog. She’s the real MVP.

Here’s a good workout routine:

-Run up and down the stairs 10 times as fast as you can (but not too fast or your heart might explode like mine almost did)

I did 1 climb and I was sweating, out of breath and my heart rate was certainly elevated. 

I’m going to hit these steps tomorrow as my diet has been a little brutal lately (including a Happy Meal from McDonald’s last night).

If you live in LA or you plan on visiting anytime soon, definitely check out the Santa Monica Stairs as a tourist or to get a workout in. You won’t regret it (or maybe you will). As my friends over at Anabolic Aliens say, “if it was easy, everybody would do it.”

And if you liked my pants, you can get them on Amazon.  Super comfortable and very affordable. Just look for SUPERBODY.

I Tried The Burgers at IHOP/IHOB (Review Inside)

After a few glasses of wine at The Lincoln, in Venice CA, I was craving a cheat meal. Luckily for me, there’s an IHOP in walking distance from the bar. I bet IHOP makes a killing every Friday & Saturday with the 2am intoxicated crowds.

As an advertising professional, I always appreciate a good marketing campaign, so when I saw the uproar and madness that IHOP was changing their iconic name to IHOB, I had to check out their burgers for myself and compare it to their pancakes. Despite the importance of fitness in my life, I am a cheeseburger connoisseur. I probably have a cheeseburger 1-2 times per month and I truly savor those moments.

We ordered their Vanilla Spice pancakes (a brand new addition to the menu), even though my waiter strongly recommended the Mexican Tres Leches pancakes. As to be expected, these vanilla-infused pancakes were absolutely delicious.  However, because I cover my pancakes in syrup, sometimes I can’t tell if it’s the pancake I like or the syrup. Yolo. For those who don’t know, I’m allergic to chocolate but fortunately for me I’ve always preferred vanilla. Definitely recommend these pancakes for any pancake and/or vanilla lover.

I drown my pancakes in syrup. Send help.
I drown my pancakes in syrup. Send help.

Because I like my burgers like I like my women (spicy), we ordered the Jalapeño Kick. Wow was it spicy! Their jalapeños had a nice bite to them. I especially loved the addition of crispy bacon (which I shared with my kids). Just to feel less guilty about eating a cheeseburger at 1am, I split half with my friend. The burger had a little too much sauce but it was still a delicious cheat-meal.

Bottom line is that IHOP’s marketing campaign worked. I probably wouldn’t have gone into IHOP if it wasn’t for the temporary IHOB rebrand. Their burgers are definitely good enough for a burger lover and they had about 6-7 different burger entrees. However, I would say that IHOP does pancakes slightly better than they do burgers (which is to be expected). 

Final Verdict

Pancakes: 4.5 stars

Burgers: 3.5 stars