Ninja NYC

I haven’t talked too much about my holiday in NYC / Connecticut / Cape Cod, but more of that is coming, I promise you. While in NYC just before Christmas, I met up with friends and got to experience the restaurant Ninja.

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This restaurant is completely Ninja themed. The waiters are dressed as ninjas and the decor feels like something out of a movie. The experience begins by taking an elevator to the dining area. We were then led to our table, as all of the tables feel very secluded and private. When you order from the menu, it has symbols on it indicating which meals come with Ninja presentations.

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These presentations are in the photos above. They lit food on fire, and used weapons to serve the dishes… and much more.

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My sushi (above) came with a magical fog (dry ice) which added to the presentation.

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Above is a photo of the dessert we ordered. It looks like breakfast but it was a tasty dessert. All the dishes were fun and the night was enjoyed by the whole group. It’s a pricy meal, so save if for a special occasion and it’s fun with groups (as the more specialty meals ordered, the more ninja magic you get to see). Check it out if you get the chance in New York City.

Do This Today: Comedy Bender

I’ve talked a lot about Mohawk Bend┬árecently and I vowed to take a break from posting about them, but then they started something called Comedy Bender and how can I not share that with you? Tonight is a FREE comedy show at Mohawk Bend, and hopefully the beginning of a more regular event.

Event: Mohawk Bend’s Comedy Bender (facebook event)
Location: Mohawk Bend, 2141 W. Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
Time: 9pm – 10:30p
Cost: FREE!
FYI: They have a huge craft beer list and delicious apps. They are also very vegan/veggie friendly.

Chicago 1: Bloomingdale Trail + Street Art + Antique Taco

As you know, I’ve been in Chicago visiting these awesome people. I haven’t been there since before I had the ability to contain memories, so this was a very different and fun trip. There were three surprises for me, an LA’er:

1) Everyone owns dogs and doggie daycare is everywhere.
2) Bikes, Bikes, Everywhere! Everyone bikes.
3) Chicago has a super active culinary scene, with hip new restaurants opening constantly all around the city.

The above photo was taken by a doggie daycare place by the Bloomingdale Trail. We spent time walking around the city and we passed so many pet daycare facilities. I love that pets are a high priority here and architecturally it fits well, because Chicago has many rehabbed warehouses which are a good size to hold many dogs.

The next series of photos are taken from the Bloomingdale Trail. This is very similar to NYC’s Highline, accept it’s in the “before” stage. This abandoned aboveground series of rail tracks is a great walking space and provides a nice view of the city, accept they are still in debates on whether to clean it up and turn it into a proper space. I’m all for it, especially since NYC’s Highline is one of my favorite places. As of now this space isn’t really open to the public, although we found a way in and passed a handfull of people while we walked.

The trail is one level up from the street, and the L train crosses another level up above.

I love Chicago’s graffiti! Much of it looks like it was done by the same street artist. It’s all very sweet.

How cool is the photo below? I love the architecture of man-made steel.

Chicago has so many textures. From the man-made engineering above, to the natural texture of building materials, to the fonts and graffiti. So much texture.

After the trail, we walked around Wicker Park looking at neighborhoods, shops, and new restaurants.

The history and age of this town is unmissable. I like the photo below, where you can see that the side of the right building had a giant mural on it, and then they built the building on the left, covering up this massive piece of artwork. It’s like looking at the layers in a painting. You can tell Picasso started it one way, but in the end it’s a new composition.

We took a break for lunch at Antique Taco. I bet you’re thinking what I first thought when I heard the name: crusty old tacos. Not at all. This place looks like Etsy vomited inside… but a good kind of vomit.

I ordered the fish tacos with smoked slaw and we ordered a side of corn salad and guacamole. Such delicious food. There were only a few actual antiques for sale, but all the food was very tasty & cutesy.

After lunch we explored more of Wicker Park. So artsy! So many graphics!

We started heading back to the car (to make an afternoon zoo visit- in a post to come) and passed another of this street artist’s work. A very fitting piece for Wicker Park, so I’m told. I’m still learning about each area but I had a fun half day walking around Wicker Park.

NINJA New York

Did everyone enjoy the LA rain this weekend? I was in Boston and thankfully the weather was great. A little chilly on Saturday, but Ill take that over rain (or snow!) any day. The full weekend recap is coming soon. I’m so pooped from the weekend and work is a madhouse. While you are patiently waiting for a new post, I’ll give you this little gem my friend Si told me about over this past weekend: NINJA New York. Oh my god, I must go to this place when Im in NYC. It’s a Ninja themed restaurant. The location depicts a Ninja castle and is set-up to be disorienting like a maze. The food is sushi and other Japanese cuisine and they also offer a pre-fix menu… it’s a little pricy so go for a special occasion. Again, Ive never been so I can’t tell you about it, but Ill be in NYC next month and Im adding that to my list!

Miceli’s

On Friday night, my sister invited me to Miceli’s to use one of her Groupons. The deal was a 3 course meal for $15 (1 appetizer, 1 salad, and 1 pizza). If this deal comes up again, get it!

We made reservations for 8pm at their Universal location. Parking was a little tricky as it was Friday night along Ventura Blvd, but they offered valet (for a cost) or you could search for a spot along the narrow winding side streets leading up into the hills (like I did, because Im a proud cheapskate). I was running a little behind because of an accident on the 101 (per usual), so when I finally found a parking spot and walked half a mile down to the restaurant I was about 11 minutes late. As I walked up to the door of Miceli’s, a family was exiting the restaurant with the mother saying “Im glad we got here when we did, because if you get here after 7p, forget’aboutit!” I continued in, thankful Erica made reservations because the waiting area was packed with people. I apologized for being late and she said that even with the reservation she was told it would be a 15 mintue wait, which was perfect timing given my tardiness. After a few minutes of chatting, Erica’s name was called out by a man with a cone shaped bullhorn. We made our way through a packed restaurant to a back area where they gave the 2 of us a table for 4, which was great because it gave us room to spread out (a rarity at a packed LA restaurant).


This place was like being in a cartoon. The walls are covered in murals representing “old Italy” and hundred’s of chianti bottles in signed straw baskets strung around the restaurant as decoration. In the center of the restaurant a band was set-up. Occasionally the wait staff would get their 15 minutes of fame, jump up there and belt out a song. While singing they also walked around the restaurant with the microphone to make all sections feel included. On this Friday night there was a tween birthday party happening in a section behind out table, which meant the songs karaoke’d were mostly Miley and Bieber (not my favorite, but it made them happy).

When using a Groupon you have to present it while ordering, which basically implies to the waitress, I’m a cheapo that uses coupons. Don’t get me wrong, I love Groupon but when presenting it right off the bat, it always makes me think the service will be less than stellar because the waiter knows we won’t be spending a lot of money. At Miceli’s I was proven wrong, the waitstaff was excellent. Our waitress was a woman in her late forties (?), and she was extremely attentive constantly refilling our drinks and checking in with us. Considering it was a packed restaurant, it was all the more impressive.

Our Groupon allowed us one appetizer (we chose the fried zucchini), one salad (perfect for 2 people), and one pizza. We chose the large veggie pizza, but the deal was even good on their fancier pizzas (up to a $22 regularly priced pizza). What a deal! The food was delicious, the live music and crowds were entertaining, and the service was great. My sister and I each left with a doggie bag of 2 pieces of pizza each, and the total spent on the Groupon and tip came to $22. I highly recommend Miceli’s for families and groups, and remember to make a reservation!

Photo taken from Yelp.com