I’m AMPED about ACME – A review
So, I’m a little late to the party on this one but the first time I visited ACME, I was underwhelmed. I went for brunch at 3:00PM; it was expensive, empty, and I was pissy. Fast forward 12 months, change brunch to dinner, add my three best friends and I finally got it.
WHAT: A restaurant and clounge (“club-lounge”) that are equally fantastic.
WHERE: Acme (9 Great Jones Street at Lafayette, Noho)
ABOUT ACME: ACME has excellent food and an even more excellent crowd. The veggie heavy cuisine is described as “locally sourced, seasonal New American fare with subtle Nordic influences.” Read: Weird but good shit. After midnight, head downstairs to the club (if you can get in) and you will find yourself amongst gorgeous people and bitchin’ tunes.
THE CROWD: A mix of trust fund, models, and Mid-30s hedge fund guys. Just wear black and pout and you’ll fit right in.
THE FOOD: We sampled a bunch of stuff but these were my absolute favs:
- Farmer’s Eggs (with cauliflower and dashi for $12)– The waiter brought it over just because. It was an interesting texture, like baby tapioca balls. If you have money to burn and are feeling adventurous, I would go for it.
- Country toast (with figs, celery root, and blue cheese for $12) – There’s something about figs this winter. This dish was very rich and very good - I mean who doesn’t like carbs and cheese? If you don’t, I really don’t want to be your friend.
- Cauliflower Stalks (with black truffles and brie for $18) - The best part is that they didn’t OD on truffle. You know what I’m talking about. Delicious and not too heavy.
- Black Barley (with wild mushrooms and black garlic for $18 or $23 depending on the size) This great pasta sub is better as a main. This earthy dish tasted rooty (in a good way) and had the mushrooms with the long stalks. #everyoenknowstheyarethebest
- Chicken & Eggs (with roasted potatoes and fried eggs for $25) Served in a pot, the chicken was really moist (I hate that word too, but it was that or tender) and had a great chicken:egg:potato ratio.
THE CLUB: ACME is the type of place you would only find in New York, London, Paris, or some equally as chic city. It’s gorgeous people in bulk. The décor feels prohibition-y and is packed with booths filled with those who are simply too cool to dance. Don’t worry, you can just dance around them. The music is good (not house) but think Jackson five coupled with the latest and mixed together spliced together.
So I highly recommend dining and dancies with the pretties at ACME. #Singingadifferenttuneaboutthisplace
Food Porn Friday: An Awesome Lunch for under $6
I must admit I liked this place before I even went in as it shares a name with one of my favorite people. Upon opening the doors, I spotted this divine dish and knew I would be back.
Where can I get this sucker? Little Collins (667 Lexington Avenue at 55th Street, Midtown East)
More importantly, what is it? The Smash
Tell me more: It’s avocado and feta mashed up on toast with chili flakes and pepitos. Quite honestly, it gives my favorite appetizer at Café Gitane a run for its money. This bad boy is actually on the “brekkie” menu but I recommend it for lunch, dinner, snack, or dessert if you don’t believe in sugar (Silly you).
How much: $5.99
About Little Collins: Known for their coffee, this Australian darling is named after a street in Melbourne. This midtown lunch destination’s food and décor are simple and straightforward. Most simply grab their grub to go, but there a few two tops if you can snag a seat. Noise level is tolerable and eye candy is above average.
The 10 Reasons why Valentine’s Day in New York City doesn’t suck
2.Because when hunting season officially begins at midnight, you have access to more eligible bachelor/ettes than any other city.
4. Because if you have a plus one, there is a high probability that he/she is a catch.
5. Because if you don’t, it is quite possibly the best night to pick someone up during Q1. Go out, don’t stay in and eat ice cream. Trust me on this one.
6. If you haven’t gotten slayed in a while, tonight may be the night. New Yorkers are sluttier than most. I think it’s because we are efficient, goal oriented, and often drunk. (Yours truly is excluded of course).
7. The prix-fixe menus are mouthwatering and the activities are fabulous. Check out The Crobsy Hotel’s deal which includes a 4-course meal and a screening of Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris for $75.
8. Because it gives you a reason to stop thinking about this Le Mis of a winter. #seriouslymakeitstop
9. Because who doesn’t like the empire state building glowing in red?
10. Because the best part about living in NYC is you can be alone one day and in love the next. Things happen overnight in this magical city.
Drink caffeine and give back: Interview with Tyler Gage of Runa
Runa is the clean energy drink made from the Guayusa leaf that offers as much caffeine as a cup of coffee and twice the antioxidants of green tea. Even better? It helps sustain the local economy in Ecuador.
Let’s start from the beginning…
Tyler attended the prestigious Brown University, but opted to take two years off to study indigenous languages around the world (Yes, he is a real person). While living in Ecuador, he fell in the love with the Rainforest but found it troubling that he constantly heard trees being cut down. The locals had few sources of income and felt like they didn’t have a choice – they could either cut down a tree to get money for their children or not get money for their children. Guess what won?
While living in Ecuador, he enjoyed a local drink made from Guayusa that indigenous people have brewed for thousands of years. He loved it because after drinking it he felt super alert, without the edge.
After two glorious years off, he went back to Brown with a mission: bring Guayusa in the US. After winning a local business plan competition and receiving grants, he moved to Ecuador in 2009 to make his plan into a reality. He teamed up with a good friend Dan MacCombie, and Runa was born.
Read the interview with Tyler below to learn more about Runa, where you can get it, and the positives and negatives of doing your own thing.
Tell me about Runa
Runa is an entirely new take on energy drinks. One can of Runa Clean Energy has 120 mg of caffeine, 650 mg of polyphenol antioxidants, and a clean, smooth taste. The kicker? It all comes naturally from a brewed leaf, called Guayusa. Guayusa offers a clear, focused energy.
Tell me more about the process
Before Runa, no one had every commercially built this leaf before. As a result, we had to build the supply chain from scratch. I lived on the ground for two years working with farmers. It was really cool. The idea behind Runa is all about sustainability. We sustain local farmers. The product launched about two years ago and we now support 2,600 indigenous farming families and save 150,000 trees a year.
Where can you get Runa?
We are now in 6,000 stores, everything from Whole foods to The Vitamin Shoppe to Amazon.com. In addition to stores, we are in a bunch of cool offices like Google, MTV, Apple, and Intel and are on college campuses as well. Our target for Runa is young professionals, who want a healthier energy.
Why is Runa awesome for you?
I’m really passionate about what I do – it’s social entrepreneurship. Farming families receive direct income from our business operating as a business. It’s a great feeling to run a successful business while creating social good.
Most rewarding thing about starting/working for Runa?
We go to the Amazon to meet with farmers and have a dramatic impact on their lives. Kids now get to attend school because of Guayusa. It makes the long, long hours of beverage distributions, promotions, and staring at excel worth it.
When we have a new product - introducing it to consumers is a BIG effort. We have to educate people what clean energy means and why is it a better option than other alternatives.
I’ve heard you’ve won a few awards
We have! We won the gold award for fancy food product and Forbes 30 under 30. We also recently won an award from the World Wildlife Fund for innovative companies.
What is your favorite place in NYC?
I love Prospect Park. As someone who has lived in the Amazon, getting to run through prospect park means a lot to me. It’s my go-to destination to get rejuvenated.
Where to Brunch in Midtown
Where: The China Grill (60 West 53rd Street at 6th Avenue, Midtown West)
What: The “Dragon” Brunch.
Tell me more: 2-courses for $28 and an additional $10 for all you can drink. Recommendation: Try the Bloody Mary. Made with Yuzu, it’s truly the most unique brunch bev I’ve tried in a while.
Seriously? For those who cannot afford to dine at China Grill for dinner, this is an amazing loophole. The food quality, portion size, and level of innovation is comparable, but for half of the price. Served family style, start off with one of their four tasty (and large) salads then choose from 14 brunch entrees.
About China Grill: Opened in 1987 by the acclaimed restauranteur Jeffrey Chodorow, China Grill’s space is what one would think of when you think of a “hot” New York restaurant. It’s a massive two-story venue with 40 foot ceilings, black walls, and modern decor. Jeffrey came up with China Grill’s concept when he wanted mashed potatoes. However, he thought “Why not wasabi mashed potatoes? Lobster mashed potatoes?” He decided to think outside the wok, and voilà China Grill was born. Now 20 locations deep, China Grill is truly a destination.
Great for: Big groups, when mom and dad are in town, post your morning trip to MOMA, or when you want great food + alcohol that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
Tell me more about the food: For someone who doesn’t like mixing too many things (this was an issue in my college cafeteria), I did strictly lunch versus breakfast.
What we ordered (and would recommend all of them)
- Confucius Chicken salad with sesame oil vinaigrette
- Peking Duck salad with crispy wontons & tangerine orange dressing
- Curry Miso Black Cod with sweet soy glazed Chinese broccoli & yuzu miso butter sauce
- Sake Marinated “Drunken” Chicken with ponzu sauce, sweet crispy onions & Asian slaw