Message in a Bottle: “Dude, It’s Rosé Season”


Some times, you want to wander through Brooklyn on a gorgeous spring Sunday, call up one of your favorite people and share a bottle of wine at the hot neighborhood wine bar. All this before heading to said friend’s place to gorge on a large pizza and scream-chew through Game of Thrones.

It’s all good, so long as the bottle you’ve fortified yourself with is Broc Wine’s rose-gold Cassia Grenache 2013 Mendocino Rosé. ‘Tis the season, after all. Gotta drink it up before the Hamptons get to it. And there’s no better place to do it than June Wine Bar in Cobble Hill. Delicately floral and bright, the Broc has the soft touch one needs before an hour of teeth-grindingly brutal television.


(Pro-tip: While at June, avoid the disapproving gaze of newly minted helicopter moms by steering clear of your bluer haha-material. And don’t trip on the strollers.)

Homesick for Mama’s Cooking: Filipino Garlic Rice


Like other Filipino boys growing up, my brothers and I would wake up on Saturday mornings to the sound of spitting oil and the hiss of garlic, a pungent cloud of hot allium filling the house. It was instinctual: Mom was thirty seconds from adding the last night’s rice to the pan. A minute or so after that, three ravenous little boys eager for grade-A cartoon time would descend on our poor mother, noisily feasting on garlic-studded rice heaps, crowned with an olive-oil fried egg and Jufran banana ketchup, a staple of Pinoy kitchens. We’d make short order of breakfast like locusts plaguing Egypt, before holing up with our Gameboys and TV for the rest of the morning. Dishes could wait.

Growing up, rice was available at every meal. For Momz, rice reaches levels beyond comfort food. Even if pasta graced the table, she’d still make a pot, anticipating her garlicky breakfast the next morning. Rice was mixed into pancit (stir-fried rice noodles—more rice!), accompanied lumpia (rice-paper wrapped egg rolls!) and spooned over adobo chicken (no rice in the dish, probably to my mother’s great shame). I felt like such an adult when my mom taught me how to wash and prep the fluffy, starchy white rice for dinner, like I was doing my part for providing for the family. If only growing up were so easy.

When I visit home, without fail, there’s a heaping bowl of fried garlic rice awaiting me downstairs, Momz already digging into her breakfast. These days, I don’t make a lot of rice, but when I do, I always make a bit extra for that next-day hit of nostalgia. I’ll put an egg on it, natch, and I still add some Jufran, but mixed with Korean gochujang for a kick of spice.

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How to Make a French 75

As cocktails go, I love me a boozy fizzy lifting drink, and few are as classic as the French 75. Like all classic cocktails, it’s history is mired in murk and hearsay, but most people agree that it was likely invented in its current iteration 1927, at the height of Prohibition.

According to Liquor.com, though, the drink may have roots as far back as 1867, when Charles Dickens would sip a drink called the Champagne cup with a boost of Tom gin. And of course, nothing is new under the sun: adding gin to bubbly (plus citrus and sugar) ain’t really all that creative, but it sure as hell is delicious!  Continue reading

#EmptyMet Tour: Asses of Antiquity

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I got to do a fun thing yesterday: explore the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but after dark! I was invited by the Yahoo! Travel team to join a ragtag group of bloggers, travel media and the odd reality TV star to case tour the joint alongside one of the original social media gurus, Sree Sreenivasan, formerly of Columbia University and now the museum’s Chief Digital Officer.

I was invited a few weeks ago, so leading up to the day, I was pumped! Who doesn’t want to explore the Met without anyone else around? I had done something similar ages ago, at the Natural History Museum, so my expectations were set a little high. That particular visit was rife with demos, behind-the-scenes looks at exhibition creation, in-depth Q&As, and hey, even a little wine. What a treat!

This wasn’t that. Continue reading

3 Charming + Low-Key Institutions in Montreal

Most people—especially New Yorkers—fly south for the winter. You know, to those sunny climes where shedding clothes and getting tan is de rigeur. Miami, Puerto Rico, the DR.

Not us.

Inexplicably, me and Ian love the cold, but more precisely, we love being where people aren’t.

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Spending the first few days of the new year away from home is a spontaneous tradition we started for ourselves, and something I’m grateful for. Having done it now two years in a row, these trips are a chance to assess our personal and dual goals, while also indulging us in adventures.

Which is why on New Year’s, we packed our bags and fled to Montreal. 

I’m shit at French, and Ian is un peu better than me, but that didn’t stop us from walking the city’s low-line streets. In the infamous Quebec chill. On a goddamn sheet of ice.

I can positively report that reports of Montreal’s good looks are not an exaggeration. Neighborhoods like Mile End, Plateau and Petit Italie (where we stayed) reminded me of the best parts of Chicago, Boston and Brooklyn, processed through a Francophile filter: urbane and tree-lined and welcoming. Despite the holiday weekend and freezing temps, a buzzing commingling of French and English filled the frozen air with an easy-going energy. Shops like the famous Drawn & Quarterly were inviting, and restaurants seemingly pumped out their delicious kitchen smells, enticing us to stop in and stay awhile. Continue reading

Meandering in Montreal

So I spent the first few days of 2015 walking like a duck. Thanks a lot, Montreal.

Per our random, not-at-all official New Years tradition of traveling deeper into the very heart of winter (last year was Burlington, VT), we decided to ditch NYC’s glut of festivities, trading noisemakers and party hats for French-speaking lumbersexuals and poutine instead.

It was both of our first times in Montreal, and despite an inch-thick baby glacier covering the ground throughout the city 90% of our time there, it was actually an amazing time. (Exhibit A: My Instagram feed.)

More in-depth posts forthcoming (‘cuz guess who has a resolution to keep up?), but here’s a highlight video I stitched together of our time in the city.
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As I play around with my camera, and its video capabilities, please let me know what you think!

It’s New Year’s. Get Me a Sandwich, Stat.

Like, oh, the rest of the world ringing in the New Year, I’m reflecting on 2014. Was it a good year? Yeah, I’d say so. I traveled more, worked harder, developed new skills and largely avoided not dying. Someone get me a prize!

The flip side of reflecting on the New Year is dipping a hopeful toe in Jan. 1, the calendar date equivalent of fresh fallen snow.

“Should I be prettier and thinner this year, or just nicer?”

“Should I try harder or maintain the status quo?”

“Do I finally make it to Paris this year?” Continue reading

Feeding My Obsessions: New York’s Best Bookstores

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It’s the last weekend of Christmas shopping and I’ve basically checked out of consumer culture.

Don’t expect much from me this holiday season, unless of course, it’s wine. Or books. From, y’know, the bookstore, not that Internet-commerce hydra, Amazon.

Because, try as you might to deny it, bookstores are cool, bro. Cliche, I know, loving bookstores, but! Their smells! And the quiet rustling sounds of spines cracking! Pages fluttering! Other readers breathing!

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My Cup Runneth Over

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This last month has been quite the doozy and frankly, I’ve been bad at Internet as a result of it. It’s hard to keep up with the blog when there’s so much to do IRL, but let’s give it the whole college try, eh?

November was a big month for work: lots of projects, lots of learning. But it was also a fun month of events and press trips. A cruise out to sea—I billed it as the world’s fanciest U-turn—kept me away from the office, while Virginia’s Eastern Shore treated me to waterway adventures in and around Chesapeake Bay, whereupon I ate all the oysters and clams. All o’ dem.

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For Public Consumption | Racing Thoughts

LJIZlzHgQ7WPSh5KVTCB_TypewriterEveryday around 5 PM, I can hear the trains rolling through Mt. Kisco from my desk.

The aggressive horn starts off in the distance, and I can’t help but look at my desk clock. The sound comes closer, and I pack my bag. The doppler’d noise goes off into the distance, and I’m getting into a cab, eagerly waiting for my own train to whisk me back to the city.

It’s a process that I neither hate nor love, but helps me mark the time nonetheless.

This week’s been a doozy, what with rain, ebola scares and terrible commutes, it’s all a guy can do to hold out until Friday. Since Monday, I’ve been expecting that train to remind me to go home, perking up to the sound, only to be roundly disappointed because I remembered yet another thing I had to do once I got back to the city. Another event, another friend to hang out with.

But now it’s Friday. Though I’ll be bartending tomorrow, I also have a relaxing weekend of adventures planned. I’m looking forward to head up to Beacon for art and Doctor Who-themed eating on Sunday, and then of course, Saturday is gonna be cray: I’M JUDGING A PUPPY COSTUME CONTEST. Let that sink in.

As I wait for the train to sound off and tell me to go home, I’m gonna practice for my role of a lifetime with a trip down the Buzzfeed hole. Have a great weekend! Continue reading