A Quick Visit to Portugal

(By way of Chelsea, that is.)

In looking for a middle ground to meet a visiting friend, and somewhere new and novel to us both, Mac and I landed on Lupulo. Located on the ground floor of the Eventi hotel, and connected to the kitchen at L’Amico, Lupulo boasts a casual, cool and informal scene that feels almost foreign within the confines of Manhattan. Fair enough, now that we learned that the white tiles and much of the décor were brought from Portugal to mock the rustic feel of an authentic Portuguese pub.

Naturally, much of the cuisine is seafood, given the typical fare of Chef Mendes’ homeland of Lisbon. The must-have item that absolutely blew our minds was the Shrimp Porridge. Sounds funny, right? A savory style bread pudding base is mixed with another softly cooked egg and garnished with a few shrimp. The result is a fluffy and delicate appetizer that entices you to savor its richness ever so slowly. Better luck next time – this thing was gone in record time.

To note, the espargos (asparagus) with meyer lemon and sorrel was to die for and the beets dish was equally unique.

Most surprising to me was the Beirao New-Fashioned – a take on our famed favorite but with Chamomile infused Bulleit Bourbon, Aperol and Licor Beirao. Beirao is an herbal liquor that lends a distinct flavor to the drink that is balanced nicely by the sweetness of the aperol.

I will note, this is not a place to go alone – I’d suggest sharing and taking some time to try the plethora of offerings.

P.S. The name itself means “hop” in Portuguese. And the Portuguese word for small plates “Petiscos” is just the cutest lil thing – don’t ya think?

Doyers Delight

Doyers Street is a funny little corner (literally) of this ever-so-intricate city we call home. With all of maybe eight doorways – including a beauty salon, employment agency and Chase Bank — it’s certainly not a street I’d choose to duck down, especially late at night. Or lone. Or ever, really, if it weren’t for the gems within. Nestled among family-run dim sum parlors and Chinese herb stores, Doyers Street boasts some unsuspecting and almost seemingly-accidental greatness.

Doyers is home to three of my favorite locales in all of lower Manhattan, each offering a distinct specialty. First is Apoteke, a botanical-based speakeasy, located at 1 Doyers Street. While the staff may take a hot second to warm up to you, the craft cocktails are fresh, unique and just downright delicious. Once you find your way through the hidden entrance (an old restaurant-front) it’s quite easy to decompress in the prohibition-era setting for at least one cocktail. Also a great place to take a mixology class should that strike your fancy.

Just a few doors down at 13 Doyers is Nom Wah Tea Parlor — a self-proclaimed “Vintage dim sum parlor” dating back to 1920. Nom Wah encapsulates everything I’ve ever wanted from dim sum. A fluffy pork bun, light-as-a-feather shumai, and ice-cold Tiger. They also randomly serve Brooklyn Lager, which is just always appreciated.  Saddle up at the bar without the stress of potentially missing the cart of the one thing you wanted. Heaven.

Lastly, right between the two — at 11 Doyers — is Pulqueria, or as I call it “The Mexican speakeasy in Chinatown.”  Now this place not only serves a mean mezcal-rita, but also hosts some great DJ’s during the week.  A fantastic place to host a party or just have a night out, the queso and mole are forces to be reckoned with and the atmosphere just can’t be beat. Here Taco Tuesday is alive and well.