A Steamy Weekend: All for Under $25

FEBRUARY 27th, 2009

Beford Ave, Brooklyn is quickly becoming the prime area to be on a Friday night scene.  For bowling and dinner all together for a total of under $25, I am in love with the neighborhood.  

It took me three weeks, 3 emails and a total of 161 messages on facebook to organize a St.John’s/ NeVAS gathering at the Gutter Bar.  Located conveniently three stops away from Union Square L train line and a ten minutes walk from the Beford Ave L train station to the bowling alley, it’s worth the out of Manhattan borough trek.  

It was my very first time at the Gutter Bar and as it was for the 14 of us: Eno, Helen, Sandy, Maria, Dave,  John, Kim, Matt, Karen, Shirley, Justin, Vaughn, and Obden. We all arrived roughly between 6:30-7:00pm.  While waiting for a pair of lanes there was a full bar, pool table, and hockey foosball to let the time pass by.  Finally, our pair of lanes were available by 8pm but we didn’t settle in until almost 8:30pm.  Let the bowling begin!  

Only 11 of us end up bowling and I was on the team with Sandy, Helen, Kim, Eno and John.  With a personal score of 95 which was obviously not my best score (letting you on a secret or not so much of a secret now I was in the girls bowling league in my high school).  Gutter Bar has amazing atmosphere if you are willing to scream amongst one another in order to communicate over the pumping indie music the Gutter Bar plays.  Unlike most of the 21st century bowling alleys in New York City with an overhead t.v monitor to keep scores and with selections of themes when you hit a strike or a spare or even a gutter ball, the Gutter Bar bowling alley keeps it sweet and simple and old school with only scores on the monitor.   The cons of Gutter Bar is if you are a serious bowler, there are only 8 lanes and you do not have the option to choose your bowling balls and the lanes are not as waxed and you may have difficulty concentrating over the loud music.  Though I was on a bowling team and have bowled at quite a few amount of bowling alleys, bowling is bowling and is pure fun! 


During bowling, Dave ordered two large pies from Fornino Pizzeria for delivery in which he turned the night at the bowling alley into a pizza dealing business charging each of us $2 per slice.  Afterwards we stroll through Beford Ave scavenging for a real meal.  Suddenly, a eureka moment hit me and I thought of Sea the Thai restaurant.  When we had arrived, it was unexpectedly a disco/ club night.  We’re a young group but I think we’re all grannies at heart so we opted out for a more mellow Southeast Asian Cuisine restaurant down the block, Tacu Tacu.  Amazingly, there was a large table destined to compensate our large group without prior reservation.  The restaurant though call themselves Southeast Asian Cuisine, it had a very broad menu with Malaysian, Thai, and Spanish cuisines alike.  I ordered a rather American Asian dish Java Coconut flavored Tofu Fried Rice.  Perhaps it was after 10pm and my taste buds have a time limit, the flavor of the fried rice was rather bland.  I would suggest the complimentary plantain chips they serve before the meal, I think we asked for refills for at least 3-4 times, they we’re addicting.  Half-way through dinner, unexpectedly I had waiters approaching me with a fried ice cream with a birthday candle and a special effect flamed plate singing Happy Birthday.  The whole time I was reacting to the bizarre singing as a mistake that it must be the next table since my birthday has been a month ago.  I know it’s you Dave, so thank you!


FEBRUARY 28th, 2009

img_1153img_11592Personally, I am not a huge fan of hot pot but with the persuasion and enthusiasm of Jesse a.k.a Queen of Hot Pot, my perception of hot pot has changed or at least I’m digging the Sichuan style.  As a belated birthday celebration for Cynthia and a celebratory of the end of my vegetarian month (admittedly cheated),  Jesse, Cynthia, Michelle, Anita and I dined at the Grand Sichuan known for their hot pot on Canal Street, right by the Fung Wah NYC to Boston bus.  Thank goodness, Jesse made reservations because this place was in popular demand by locals and by Fung Wah passengers judging by the luggage as people we’re making their way out.  

Hot Pot consist a choice of broth of spicy or non-spicy or both and an endless selection of anything and everything that can be boiled, cooked and eaten and is excellent for the winter months.  Our selection with all individually priced consist of a plate of prawns, fried tofu, frozen tofu, mushrooms, clear glass noodles, chive meat dumplings, thinly sliced beef and pork, and a bowl of spinach and bok choy.  On the side we order sa cha dipping sauce.  With hot pot it requires self-cooked but that is the purpose and is fun especially with a group of friends and with at least one hot pot connoisseur.  As expected the Sichuan province known for their spicy flavors, the spicy broth with countless amount of chili peppers floating on the broth is authentically delicious and an excellent cold remedy, where throughout the meal caused occasional sniffles.  The regular, non-spicy broth which I believe is a simple chicken broth for those who may not be able to handle the heat is equally delicious.  A combination of some clear glass noodles, mushrooms, spinach and chive meat dumplings in the spicy chili broth with a dollop of sa cha sauce has made my stomach a very happy one.   


Gutter Bar/// 200 N. 14th street

Fornino Pizzeria/// 187 Bedford Ave 

Tacu Tacu Southeast Asian/// 136 N. 6th

Grand Sichuan/// 125 Canal Street N.Y, N.Y 10002

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