P1030713

NYC, NY

I am no stranger to the Ace Hotel. Having stayed here a couple of times for Roadrunner-related things and Moscot-related events, it is the hotel I usually want to be holed-up for the night. The room this time around was a wee bit smaller than last time, but it’s still a great place. The benefit to staying at the Ace is that they have really great food and drinks at every corner of the downstairs area: a wonderful sandwich to-go spot, Stump Town Roasters Coffee (for that good cup), 2 sit-down restaurants (one New American, one seafood I believe), and a bar that makes righteous cocktails. Don’t let the dressed-to-the-nines kids or the 90′s/60′s-fashion-amalgamation-adorned hipsters scare you off, they don’t bite (typically). 

Birreria is a new Italian restaurant (could it be called “New Italian”?) that resides on the rooftop of Eataly in the city. Ashley and I decided to go see what the buzz was all about. The interior is open and welcoming: natural light comes in from the windowed-ceiling, the visible beer tanks greet you on your entry, the bar is on one end of the restaurant with tables surrounding. We tried a couple samples of their pretty darn good house-made beers; I ordered the Gina, a house brewed cask ale. We also ordered a traditional American pale ale with fresh thyme from the hills of Borgorose, Italy – a twist on a classic. 

Famished, we went for: Olives, Ricotta Fresca, Asiago Fresco, and Gorgonzola Dolce to start; the mains we chose were the Biroldo (Toscana-inspired Blood Sausage with Mustard and Krauti) and a Brussel Sprout and Wild Mushroom Risotto dish; the former obviously my pick. 

The olives were meaty little footballs. If one is a fan of olives, be prepared to be in love with Birreria’s. The cheeses were all sourced from North Eastern small-farms; you can taste the time, energy and love put into these morsels of goodness. Each of the three brought such a diversity in taste and texture; the fresh honey and house-made bread elevated the flavor spectrum to whole new levels. Honey and cheese and bread are quite a trifecta of taste. 

Our mains’ were spectacular. If I recall, we both didn’t share… a rarity for sure. Blood sausage is one of those great things in life. If you’re scared and haven’t tried yet, you must try it in a reputable spot. It’s a meat-in-tube-form item of godly stature. The blood sausage here is laid on top of cabbage that has flavors reminiscent of Polish and German cuisine; the mustard again a nod to those cultures. 

Intelligently, we decided to skip desert due to the feast to come later in the day: The Breslin. 

(Me playing John Petrucci’s live 7 string; with John and Corey B. Photo by Jordan Rudess)

John Petrucci and Matt Heafy guitar lesson episode 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEexr-OCbvk

John Petrucci and Matt Heafy guitar lesson episode 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yg0xAJzpeKw

John Petrucci and Matt Heafy guitar lesson episode 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgzVutGffSo

John Petrucci and Matt Heafy guitar lesson episode 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HG4CdqO9Uvg

 

I Love New York City… Oh Yeah… New York City (part II)

NYC

I play hard, because I work hard. It ain’t all hours of gorging and drankin’ and feasting all the time… but that’s the stuff that I work towards. We woke up after our night of extravagance and headed to Josh Wilbur’s studio in New York. That’s where we’d be attempting some new clean vocal parts over the pre-existing “In Waves.” 

We caught up with Josh at his really-rad old-building turned renovated-studio space where he played us some of the new Lamb Of God well before it’s release. Goddamn is that stuff good. Continue reading

I Love New York City… Oh Yeah… New York City (part I)

NYC

I’ve mentioned before how my memory is pretty bad. It’s odd – at times I can’t remember bits of my life; on any given day – I usually don’t know what time/date/month/year it is. I forget my age, I forget things I’ve said, I forget who I’ve met (this one usually bums people out and creates an awkward Curb Your Enthusiasm-theme-song-queued moment). 

We played.. somewhere… before the NYC show on the Dream Theater tour. It was either in Jersey or Pennsylvania. In a neighborhood-esque town in an all seated Theater-hall. The show was alright – the crowd took a ton of effort to get em into it. Me and Paolo were to be picked up by car immediately after the set to drive into Manhattan, grab a bite with Monte (our A and R at Roadrunner and serious-foodie friend of mine) and Darren (our co-manager at 5B management who is also a serious foodie-buddy of mine).

We did the show, piled into a car, got into the city – and checked into the Ace hotel. 

The Ace hotel is the definition of cool. When one merely walks into the lobby – that person will be immediately swept with a sense of: “Oh shit. I am underdressed and far less-cool than everyone in here.” At any given time of day or night at Ace, it’s the trendiest of trendy kids – dressed in the most current of cool trend-style, either drinking cocktails or working on something on their Macs. I am not exaggerating or criticizing – I wish I looked that cool all the time. Those kids are hip. Continue reading