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Mary Queen of Scots

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I have a new favorite spot, rivaling my affections for Fat Radish. Dined last night at Mary Queen of Scots and was utterly impressed with the lovely space, inventive Scotch based cocktails and of course the outstanding fare. Gents, I highly recommend MQS for a first of second date.

Must haves: Devil on Horseback and the Seared Fois Gras.

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NORMA’S at LE PARKER MERIDIEN

Strayed from BBE Wednesday and cashed in my code for the always divine Norma’s for lunch on Monday. I’m a little heavier and my wallet is a little lighter but the lobster swimming in macaroni and cheese was well worth it. Loyal followers brave the long wait for brunch on weekends (and even if you have a reservation, you will wait) but those in the know enjoy the same menu during the weekday lunch, along with punctual seating! I hear the lobster mac & cheese though is not available during brunch anymore, which is such a shame because the huge chunks of lobster drenched in glorious cheese are sinfully indulgent and a guaranteed food coma. It is a dish better suited for a lazy brunch day but definitely worth sacrificing post-lunch work performance to try at least once.

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Village Vines v Blackboard Eats

I love dining out.  Dining out at a discount – even better.  Both Village Vines and Blackboard Eats offer their users (typically) a 30% discount off the bill at their partner restaurants.  Here’s a comparison and my two cents.

Village Vines
https://www.villagevines.com

At Village Vines you pay $10 to secure their exclusive pricing via their website.  Everything is done on their site.  Their portal allows you to: make the reservation and pay the fee.  Reservations can be changed or cancelled up to two hours in advance and the feel will credited to your account. Once at restaurant, remind the host that the reservation was made with VillageVines and the discount will applied to the final bil.  Participating restaurants include: Bann, Seasonal, and Le Cirque.  

BlackBoardEats
http://blackboardeats.com 

BlackBoardEats delivers a new special every week.  Users have the option of buying an annual pass for $20 for unlimited access to the discount codes or pay $1 per special.  Once at the restaurant, you provide the code to the host and the discount will be applied to the final bill. Participating restaurants include: Pure Food & Wine, Dressler and Mary Queen of Scots

My Two Cents
I recommend signing up for both – there’s no cost to do that.  (If you do sign up for Village Vines, would appreciate you using the referral code H45D145.) Each of these sites have their merits and unlike their competitors offer well edited dining options – you can trust that the meal will be high quality.  

I foresee myself using Village Vines for meals with business contacts or with my parents.  Their restaurant offerings are reliable with strong menus but a bit more conservative.  BlackBoardEats restaurants have more of an edge and are a great way to explore new venues – in the ever changing culinary world of NYC, it serves as an excellent compass.  You can’t go wrong with either option but it really all depends on what kind of dining experience you are looking for.  

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The Vanderbilt NYC

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Ventured into Brooklyn to use my Blackboard Eats coupon code at the Vanderbilt. Mapped out my journey on google maps, had a vague idea of where I was going yet when I popped out of the subway I still managed a confused look on my face and wondered: where am I? 

I don’t know what I was expecting but as I walked down Carlton Avenue, from the 7th avenue subway station to the restaurant, I passed these quintessential Brooklyn townhouses with large picture windows, high ceilings, and tenants who clearly had a strong sense of style and design. I was tempted to climb up the stairs of one townhouse and snap a picture of this stunning bulbous lamp that screamed please stop and admire me (and admired I did). Thank goodness it was freezing cold and I was starving or I would have definitely overstepped my boundaries. 

The Vanderbilt was warm – lots of dark wood and a great atmosphere (not too trendy, not too local, not too many first dates – just the right mix). It reminded me of DBGB – but less of a scene, lower noise level and easier on the wallet. I will have to go back to see if the menu is comparable in quality to DBGB.  We ordered off of a set menu because of the bbe discount, and all five of us ended up ordering most of the same things (parsnip soup or beet salad, cheddar kielbasa and spiced warm doughnuts), so didn’t get too wide of a sampling of their offerings. The beet salad and brussels sprouts (that we all ordered because every write up about the restaurant suggested we do so) were stand outs. 

I arrived early and waited for friends with a glass of “liquid gold” beer – just so when my friends did arrive and asked me what I was drinking I could say “liquid gold.”  (Yes, I’m a dork!) A friend waited with a hot toddy, a popular order based on a quick glance around the restaurant.  He was rather pleased with it – I wish I had asked for a sip.  I’m not a beer connoisseur but I liked the liquid gold along with the beers in our pairings. 

I will definitely be back just to be able to try other items on the menu that piqued my interest, like the blistered shishito peppers. Next visit will be in the heart of spring so I can walk the neighborhood more and linger around the windows a little longer.

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• Bombay Talkie •

Last night, I redeemed my Blackboard Eats discount code at Bombay Talkie and enjoyed a lovely dinner with my darling friend Nicole. Bombay Talkie is quite the change from the Curry Hill establishments that I frequently dine at with its modern decor, Bollywood theme and creative drink me. While tempted by the Umrao Jaan (billed as the cocktail that can drown any sorrow), I started my evening with a Toofan (muddled mint, lime and pomegranate juice, Bacardi Vanilla and champagne). The food was presented beautifully and was delicious but definitely catered for the Western tongue – I don’t recall having the option to ask for more spice but all the dishes were mild, even by Western standards. Of all the dishes we ordered, the dosas were a stand out.

The service, however, was disappointing. At a higher price point than most of the Indian restaurants in Murray Hill, I didn’t expect to spend a good chunk of the night on the lookout for the lone waitress to refill our glass of waters. Nonetheless, another great evening courtesy of http://blackboardeats.com/

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A Foodie MUST: BlackboardEats.com

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If you live in LA, NY or SF and aren’t using Black Board Eats, then you are missing out. FACT. For the cost of $1 per discount code or a $20 annual membership (buy it now!), you will receive a significant discount, usually 30%, to a phenomenal restaurant. Unlike other discount websites, BBE is well edited – you can trust that the selection will have a great vibe, be in an amazing space and most importantly the meal will be delish! In NYC, selections have included Dressler, Hundred Acres and Hecho en Dumbo.

I’ll be starting to blog about my experiences at BBE restos. Look for the tag: BBE.

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