Pig and Khao Launches Brunch: The Hit Dishes

It all started with the chocolate & bacon rice pudding at Pig and Khao: a multi-layered Filipino treat of sticky rice, coconut milk, whole milk, and chocolate, topped with bacon bits. One rice and pork-filled scoop, and I vowed to never let a silly thing like “healthfulness” or “but I’m going out later”  be a concern on the weekends. Why? Because the Thai and Filipino spot Pig and Khao has just launched their weekend brunch, and with a name that translates to “mountains of rice and pig” in Thai, there’s just no time for any thought besides "bring on the bacon."

About Pig and Khao; every forkful at this Lower East Side spot has been crafted by Top Chef contestant Leah Cohen, and everything else – from the décor to the management – is under the care of Fatty Crew Hospitality, the same group behind NY’s Fatty ‘Cue and Fatty Crab. You’re in good hands.

And good hands yield happy bellies at Pig and Khao, where the brunch menu includes hit dishes like a sizzling platter of braised pork head (pictured) with garlic and a just-cracked egg; corned beef hash with raw egg, Thai chili, and cilantro; and the king of the crop – a pan-seared French toast-inspired bread pudding (below) with caramelized bananas baked inside, topped with caramelized plantains and coconut whipped cream.  

And mimosas are bottomless. At $15, you get nonstop, express-delivered glasses of fresh lychee, mango, orange, and watermelon mimosa. And when you couple two hours of those drinks with the sobering effects of pork head and yellow curry noodles, you too can walk out of Pig and Khao a new person, ready to take on the day. Godspeed.

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Pig and Khao

Fat Tuesday Fun: New York Bars and Restaurants With Fat In the Name

Fat. It’s kind of a bad word these days. You really shouldn’t call somebody fat, regardless of their heft. Yet, like so many offensive terms, there are those who have co-opted it, and use it as a signifier. Not surprisingly, New York bars and restaurants are on the forefront of the trend, so in honor of Fat Tuesday, instead of listing places to pig out, we’re directing you to New York’s best bars and restaurants with the word "fat" in the name. Just for the hell of it. So click on over to our latest Top List, New York Bars and Restaurants with Fat In the Name. Yes, obviously we’re feeling silly on this snowy Friday afternoon. 

[New York Bars and Restaurants with Fat In the Name]

Observations from the D’USSE Riser at Jay-Z’s Third Barclays Center Gig

What can be said about Jay-Z’s ongoing run of eight sold-out concerts at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn that hasn’t already been shared, Tweeted, Tumbled, Instagrammed, Pinterested, or discussed using old-fashioned words? Plenty. After taking in the third show Sunday night from the fantastic D’USSE Cognac VIP riser on the main floor, I think there’s no limit to the discussion of the artist, the arena, the ability to get away with smoking weed in said arena, and the way we experience live music today. So here are a few observations, in no particular order.

I liked that D’USSE, and so did everybody else. D’USSE is a VSOP cognac that’s tasty neat or in cocktails like the Code, of which I had more than one. There was a special D’USSE bar in the VIP area and people were enjoying the heck out of their cocktails. The bottle is quite handsome too. You can get one for about $45 at your favorite liquor store. You do have a favorite liquor store, don’t you? 

The Barclays Center is a very nice venue to see a show. At a capacity of just over 18,000, it’s big but doesn’t seem overwhelming. We had a nice place to see the show on the D’USSE riser, of course, but it looked like most of the sight lines were pretty decent. The nosebleed seats, however, are way up there. The concessions are great, and I enjoyed a brisket sandwich from Fatty ‘Cue that cost about $13, which is not ridiculous, considering the venue.

People who work at the Barclays Center are much friendlier than I expected them to be. Even the security people told us “Welcome to the Barclays Center, have a great night.” I’m used to going to Madison Square Garden, where it feels like the security staff is ready to give you the beatdown of a lifetime if you accidentally walk on the wrong side of the rope or something, so it’s nice to not be treated like a hooligan before I actually start acting like one.

Jay-Z rivals Marty Markowitz as a booster of the borough of Brooklyn. Every other sentence was something along the lines of “Is Brooklyn in the house?” Yes, it is, Jay. I live in Park Slope, just down the street. Look, I know that Brooklyn’s his thing and he’s understandably proud of it, but we’re getting close to saturation here. I’ve lived in Brooklyn for 15 years, but I don’t proselytize about it so much anymore. It’s great, I LOVE Brooklyn, but there are other nice places to live too. I digress.

Jay-Z reads The New York Times. On Saturday there was an article in the Times about Friday’s night’s concert. Among its praise of the minimalist aesthetic was a reference to Jay-Z’s ownership stake in the Brooklyn Nets: “Jay-Z owns one-fifteenth of 1 percent of the Nets.” That struck me as interesting, since I was under the impression that he owned a much larger percentage of the team. On stage, Jay-Z said “I don’t know where the Times got that 1/15th of one percent, that’s news to me, but it’s not all about that anyway.” So be careful, Times writers. Jay-Z is paying attention. 

Jay-Z is a dad who was out on a school night, just like me. This may be why he started the show at a few minutes after 9 and finished promptly at 11pm, presumably to head home and go to bed in case Blue Ivy gets up overnight and needs some bouncing. I can totally relate and appreciate being able to get home by midnight. I wonder what time he actually made it to bed. Did he watch TV first, like I did? And did he regret it the next morning, like I did?

Jay-Z is great live. This much should be obvious, but he’s a lot of fun to watch, and I appreciated his spartan approach to performing. There was no opening act. No "special guests" joined him onstage. He did have a backup band, but otherwise he was up there all alone. He knows what he’s doing and ran through all of his big hits, from “Hard Knock Life” to “Empire State of Mind.” Everybody was dancing, or at least swaying and bouncing the way people do at concerts. 

I couldn’t help but wonder how many concerts in a row Jay-Z could perform until they’re not sold out anymore. He’s doing eight nights at Barclays, and they’re all sold out. Eight nights! Even with a nice dressing room and plenty of water, that’s serious labor. He’s working hard, and that’s cool. But if he kept on playing every night, charging the same ticket prices, eventually his shows would stop selling out. At which number show would that happen? I’ll take a stab and say show #14 would have a few empty seats. What do you think?

There was some weed, but not too much. The Barclays Center is a new arena with all kinds of security, including metal detectors and lots of cops, but a Jay-Z show is a Jay-Z show. I didn’t even catch a whiff of anything until the lights went down and he took the stage. Once he did, though, a few clouds rose up and the unmistakable aroma of sticky icky wafted around, but I never actually witnessed anybody smoking.  I stuck to the D’USSE.

Jay Z Phone Lights Photo

Possibly related to the above, lighters are out, phones are in. In my day, sonny, to show your appreciation for a live band, you’d hold up your Bic cigarette lighter when the lights went down. Today everybody turns on their phones. They’re just as pretty as lighter flames, with less of a fire risk. I wonder what the cumulative energy usage is, though. 

The powers that be have given up trying to stop people from recording shows like this. Everybody had their smart phones– and in some cases, iPads—up and taking video, presumably to post on Facebook and Twitter. I’m pretty sure nobody had express written consent to do so, but there’s not nearly enough security to stop people. More to the point, there’s no substitute for seeing a Jay-Z show live, so who cares if a couple of bouncy, grainy video clips get shared on the internet? Jay-Z’s the King of Brooklyn. He’ll be alright. 

New York Gears Up for Malaysian Restaurant Week

Zak Pelaccio and his Fatty Crab empire definitely have pushed the boom of Malaysian food in the city. Or rather, Pelaccio has made Malaysian cuisine more popular to the masses that had never heard of Malay fish fry, chicken claypot, or the spicy curry dish java mee. Today the city kicks off the second annual Malaysian Restaurant Week, an event that runs until June 24 and includes not only New York, but New Jersey and Connecticut as well.

In the city you can get your Malaysian on with a three-course menu for $20.12 at popular establishments including Laut, Café Asean, Nyona, and of course, Fatty Crab, though both locations strictly offer the prix fixe deal for lunch, before 7pm or after 10pm. Also on the line up are some Asian-fusion restaurants that are offering a special Malaysian menu for the week. These include Top Chef contestant Angelo Sosa’s Social Eatz, Ian Kittichai’s Ember Room, Dragonfly, Wild Ginger in Midtown East, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Spice Market, though only for lunch. Not a bad line up considering the small number of Malaysian restaurants in the city, and, for you adventurous types, this weekend the Asian Food Markets in North Planfield, NJ will be hosting a sampling of the cuisine from 10am to 6pm.

New York Openings: Fatty ‘Cue, The Cardinal, Frankies 570 Spuntino

Fatty ‘Cue (West Village) – Plenty of smoky goodness at this grown-up version of Billyburg original. ● The Cardinal (East Village) – Southern vittles from ex-Bubby’s chef will put Carolina on your mind. ● Frankies 570 Spuntino (West Village) – Frankies Castronovo and Falcinelli reverse migrate and bring their Brooklyn pizza bread concoctions to a second location in the big town.

NYC: The Best Bars to Entertain Holiday Visitors

The holiday season means higher-than-usual tourist density in New York City, and naturally, that spike in traffic is due in no small part to your own eager friends and family, who descend on the city for an authentic, fairy-lighted experience of the Big Apple in winter. But after a day at Macy’s, an evening at Rockefeller Center, and a dinner somewhere “New York-y,” as per their request, where do you, their trusty tour guide by default, take them for a night on the town? Here are a few crowd-pleasers that will still earn you some street cred, whether that crowd involves your boyfriend’s distant Uncle Larry, Mom and Dad, long-lost friends who’ve emerged from the woodwork, hard-to-impress rubberneckers, or your old high school mates. A comprehensive list of the best yuletide boîtes to celebrate the new year – and the best of NYC.

Bars with Games Good For: Who doesn’t like to indulge in the nostalgia of old-school games, especially this time of year? Whether you’re with a raucous bunch of old friends, have a score to settle with your Mom over ping pong, or need to take the focus off a conversation with relatives you barely know, these bars offer distractions and can make for a festive time. Bar 675: Basement rec room goes for casual chic with Jenga, cards, and board games. Earn extra points from sceney friends, who will be thrilled to tell the folks back home that they hung out in the Meatpacking. The Diamond: Brooklyn bound? Beer makes shuffleboard so much more fun at this Greenpoint joint. SPiN: Table tennis for mom, and the fact that it’s owned by Susan Sarandon will appease cousin Name Drop as well. Barcade: Are your friends from the Midwest looking for “authentic Brooklyn?” Watch their wide-eyed wonder as they take in skinny-jean gangs playing thumb-cramping faves like Frogger and Tetris for an authentic 25¢ a pop. Ace Bar: Skee-Ball bar pleases the kiddies and anyone else who likes bare-bones décor sprinkled with bits of pop-trinket nostalgia from your childhood. V Bar: Siding with the gaming snobs of the world, this spot is best for your Princeton-alum brother (who happens to be a chess genius). Café and wine bar stocked with NYU grad students, chess and Scrabble battles, and a nice selection of beer and wine.

Next: Cozy Fireplaces

Cozy Fireplaces Good For: Catch up time with people who came to really enjoy holiday spirit in the city. Rose Bar: Have friends or family more interested in being around artists than actual art? For example: I once took someone here who fawned over what he thought was a Warhol (he read about it in a city guide) loud enough so that he was sure Neve Campbell, seated a table away, could hear. It was a Haring. Rubber-necking friends aside, the velvety banquettes and giant fireplace are a cozy departure from the winter weather courtesy of Ian Schrager and Julian Schnabel. The Lobby Bar at the Bowery Hotel: Wood paneling, stuffed animal trophies, and twin oils of hunting hounds give off an English-manor-library vibe. Can be a headache to get a good spot, which are usually reserved for “hotel guests,” monied travelers, and pretty hipsters. Try eating at Gemma first and brown nose your server for a spot by the fireplace. The Back Room: Semi-secret spot for those wishing it was still Prohibition. They’ll get a kick out of drinking their $11 cocktail from a mug. Employees Only: High-class weirdness, with a gypsy psychic at the door and stellar mixologists to determine your fate. The smell of the fireplace and the sight of all the handle bar mustaches will really transport your visitors. Highlands: Décor is pub-meets-hunter’s-lodge, with stuffed deer on brick walls and salvaged woods. Cozy, and it exacerbates that whole “New York Melting Pot” idea. Savoy: A townhouse in the middle of Soho with a fireplace as the festive cherry on top. Shoolbred’s: Scottish pub parlor warmed by actual fireplace. Ten brews on tap. Scotch, natch. It’s Highlands for the East Side set, with a low key (NYU students) crowd.

Next: The Oldest Bars in New York

The Oldest Bars in New York Good For: Skip these precious spots if you’re with a crew that couldn’t care less about anywhere that doesn’t have a VIP list. Otherwise, impress friends and family with the storied, often quirky backgrounds of some of New York’s oldest watering holes. Bridge Café: Opened in 1794, old but not musty. Looks like the site of a nautical murder mystery and is rumored to be haunted by ghosts of sailors and whores, like your parents’ bedroom. Ear Inn: Classic New York-on-the-waterfront feel, minus Marlon Brando, but with plenty of coulda-been contenders. I’ve seen a Soprano in here. McSorley’s: Born in 1854, and perhaps the most renown bar amongst the younger members of the Historical Society, this beer-chugging joint sees tanked fratboys, the cirrhosis crowd, and, after a court order, a few ladies (in other words: no women were allowed until 1970). Sawdusted floors, dust-encrusted wishbones, and loads of cats make this a very special place, indeed. Delmonico’s: Quenching your bloodthirst since ’37 -1837, that is – your parents will appreciate the air of refinement this joint still exudes, not to mention the supposed hauntings. Mahogany wood dining room with glowing chandeliers is the ideal noir-glam setting for steakhouse staples and a bustling bar separate from the dining room.

Next: Mixology Bars

Mixology Bars Good For: The mixology trend is widely known across all towns and townships, so let your slightly underage cousin Timmy learn firsthand just how delightful muddling, zesting, and spicing can be. Just about anyone who doesn’t limit themselves to wine coolers will appreciate the craftsmanship and ambiance. Apotheke: For those who want the back alley as much as they want the absinthe, welcome to Albert Trumer’s quirky school of cocktail science – this former opium den has been transformed into a medieval apothecary by the Austrian mixologist. Bonus: it’s in Chinatown. The interior is antique-sexy, with warm lighting and super-friendly bartenders. PDT: Oh, this is good. Through a hot dog joint you’ll go, and then through a phone booth, where you’ll have to say some secret something-or-other (though they’ve grown lenient in their older age) before you take your dumbfounded guests back to a room with a diagonal slat ceiling, de rigueur taxidermy, and a glowing bar. Note: Make a reservation earlier to get a good seat and smooth entry. Little Branch: By far the most talked-about speakeasy, this West Village spot boasts no signage unless you count the line out the door during peak hours. Retro cocktails served with cool swizzle sticks by tall drinks of water. Go on the early side of a Sunday night to chat up the mixologists and catch some jazz. Mayahuel: The cocktail connoisseurs at Death & Co. built an agave altar. Intimate confessionals, stained glass, and communal pews evoke a Mexican mission. All tequila, all the time, with all the bells and whistles to render previous tequila blow-outs null and void. Death & Co: Dark and polished, this cocktail den packs in a lively crowd. Bartenders in suspenders and vests serve up expert cocktails, and clearly love what they do (they don’t take of their vests when they get home). Great spot for just about anyone who can appreciate such a scene. Cienfuegos: Cuban rum bar from Mayahuel/Death & Co vet seduces with pink couches and sugarcane.

Next: Impressive Hotel Bars

Impressive Hotel Bars Good For: If your guests really “wanna see stuff,” like mine usually do, guiding them to impressively-designed hotel bars around NYC—usually the crown jewels of the hotels themselves—will go over well. Here are a few that leave a lasting impression. Bemelmans Bar: It’s classic New Yawk! Located inside the Carlyle, this timeless upscale New York City bar near Central Park draws bold-faced names, many of whom your out-of-towners could care less about. They will enjoy the classic cocktails and gilded ambiance. Hudson Bar at Hudson Hotel: If your guests approach things like rock music, sushi, and democrats with trepidation, this bar on acid may not be the place for them. Shrek-green lights illuminate the escalator, there’s a chandelier the size of a Volkswagen, the floors glow, the chairs seem to float—except for the tree stumps—and the whole thing makes you feel like you’re living in 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s that cool. The Waldorf Astoria: Ah, the sprawling impressiveness of the Waldorf – the stuff salads are named after! Three bars, four restaurants, and Jazz Age overindulgence. A certain spirit abides, especially during the holidays. Jane Hotel and Ballroom: This place is for your visiting sorority sisters – leave the parents at home. Dual bar spaces decked out with Edwardian charm, as befits the hotel’s 1908 origins. Posh couches, leafy palms, tortoise shell ceilings, and an ancient disco bar all made better by the creatively-dressed PYTs. Plunge Rooftop Bar + Lounge at the Gansevoort Park: This hotel bar sort of looks like the New York in the Sex and the City movies. It’s slick and arty, with shinning angles and scrumptious views of the Empire State Building. Stoke your vertigo with windows in the terrace floors that look straight down on distant midtown traffic. Your guests will feel so very modern. The Standard Hotel: So this is the place with all the naked people? Depending who you’re with, I’d say a stroll around the grounds with a stop at the bar in the hotel’s Standard Grill will be enough. Unless you’ve got some young model/socialite family members, why waste family time on rubbernecking at Boom Boom? The Ace Hotel: It has a curious cheeky quality to it without being a tourist magnet. The Lobby Bar is reminiscent of an all-American library, with Ivy League reading-room tables, a bar serving up Old Fashioneds and the cult favorite Porkslap Pale Ale, a vintage-style photobooth, and a massive, tattered American flag on the wall. Bring people—not sheeple.

Next: Editor’s Picks

Editor’s Picks Our editors are often tasked with selecting the perfect place for their cousin Sarah’s college roommate’s mother, who’s coming to the city for the first time. Here’s where they like to bring their special holiday guests this time of year. Chris Mohney: Pegu Club. Great place to take any out-of-towner who likes a good drink. Still some of the finest cocktails in the city, and now that it’s been around a while, almost always chill enough to easily find a spot without worrying about crowds. Ben Barna: Fatty Cue. It’s good for anyone, really. Except maybe vegetarians. It’s got the kind of vibe you can only find in Brooklyn, and the kind of unique cuisine you’ll only find in New York. Also, it’s a restaurant meant for sharing, so that’s fun. And the drinks are as good as the food. I’d like to just bring my bros, but it’s expensive, so I take my parents as well. Megan Conway: The Good Fork in Red Hook. I’d like to take my parents to visit this historic, less-trodden waterfront neighborhood. This cozy restaurant offers inspired grub in one of the more unique pockets of the city. Nadeska Alexis: The Dove. It’s a well rounded place that’s chill enough for friends, and I’ve been there with adults and have not been embarrassed. Fun cocktails too. Victor Ozols: Rudy’s. It’s a really lasting, authentic experience that stays with someone. Cayte Grieve: Oyster Bar at Grand Central. For New York newbies and friends and family who haven’t spent a lot of time in the city, the Oyster Bar is one of those bars-slash-attractions that sort of kills two birds with one stone. Grand Central? Check. Getting Grandma drunk? Check. All done with old-style glamour.

Next: Around Rockefeller

Around Rockefeller Good For: Sometimes you just gotta give the people what they want: A Disney-fied version of the most wonderfully commercial time of the year! While your skating, shopping, and taking photos around The Tree, you might as well ease your sensory-overloaded nerves with some family vodka time. Rock Center Café: Tourist magnet, priced accordingly, and you will wait accordingly—yes, even the early birds. Perhaps it’s best to skip the food and opt for a toast instead. Perfect before, during, or after a spin around the rink. Watching wipe-outs with the fam never felt so corporate. The Modern: Danny Meyer’s unabashed flamboyance for air-kissing culture whores. It’s at the MoMa, kids, so take only those who desire such a scene. If you’ve got yourself a crew outfitted in suits and ties longing for a culture cocktail, here’s your promised land. 21 Club: It’s so famous! Free parking if you show up before 6:30pm, if that tells you something about the demographic, but only the locals and culture snobs will take note. Skip the steaks and head for the scotch with the people who’ve read about the place or heard about it in hip-hop songs. Morrell Wine Bar & Cafe: Here’s a cozy place to get warm after running with the masses around Rockefeller. Please remember that other people longing for a night cap will also be directed to this wine bar, which boasts over fifty well-chosen wines by the glass and 2,000 bottle choices on the menu.