The Latest Pines Picks — Updates and New Picks

I’m glad you have found my blog! The restaurant scene in New York City is always changing and I’ll be using this as a way to keep you up to date on the changes and share my new finds. I hope you’ll check back often or subscribe for updates through RSS feed or email so you can be kept up to date. After all, I don’t want you to have to wait until the next edition of Pines Picks to know about my discoveries!

The Polo Bar New York City

Polo Bar BurgerRalph Lauren’s restaurant in New York City is a very challenging reservation to get. After multiple tries, I finally
reserved a table at this club-like restaurant. A bouncer-like man stands at the entrance with a list, only allowing people with reservations to enter. I had heard great things about the restaurant, and was super excited to try all the food. But, one dish stood out from all the rest. This impeccably refined dish was: “The Polo Burger.” The perfect bacon cheeseburger arrives with a cone of French fries, a silver bucket of ketchup, and a deli pickle. The burger is picture perfect: from the large fluffy sesame seed bun to clean crisp whitish-green lettuce to super thinly sliced pickles, tomato and red onions to the thin square of cheddar cheese and the deep red chewy, yet crunchy bacon. But, in the end, the taste of this good-looking burger outdoes its good looks and the juiciness of the soft medium-cooked meat is the real runway star. Accompanied by the saltiness of the bacon and the refreshing veggies, with the addition of a little ketchup, the blend of all of its fresh ingredients creates one incredibly good, special-occasion burger.

1 E 55th St, New York, NY 10022
(212) 207-8562
The Polo Bar


Pommes Frites: Victim of East Village Fire

A few days ago, there was a tragic 7-alarm fire in NYC’s East Village. I learned last night that one of the four buildings that burned to the ground was the home of Pommes Frites!  The Pommes Frites web site said none of its workers or patrons were injured. That is certainly good news. But, very sadly, at least for now, Pommes Frites – the New York City french fry institution – is closed. It will be sorely missed; we hope for its return someday soon.

Pommes Frites
123 2nd Ave,
New York, NY 10003
(212) 674-1234


Burger and Beer Joint

After hearing a lot about the Burger and Beer Joint in Miami, I went to try it out. The restaurant is not a beer place and kids are very welcome. I had a ridiculously good meal there – every course was better than the previous one. To drink, I got a root beer which came is a frosty glass. I ordered the hot “Octane Wings,” the onion rings and a custom burger. The hot wings are crispy, have a light coating, and a pleasingly hot thick buffalo-style sauce. Next, I had the onion rings which are the biggest onion rings I have ever seen in my life. They are “colossal Vidalia Onions” which have a whitish yellow batter, and after dipped in a little ketchup or the jalapeno-cheddar sauce served with them, are truly incredible. After the onion rings, I had a burger on a brioche bun with bleu cheese, red onion marmalade, guacamole, lettuce, onion, and tomato. The brioche bun was soft and buttery, and with the bleu cheese and sweet red onion marmalade, it was a great burger. Also, I got my burger cooked medium which was very juicy and tender and was cooked to perfection.

Although the meal was overall one of the best I have had, it wasn’t fulfilled without the outrageous dessert that I had called the “sweet emotion” with Oreos, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and best-of-all fresh, warm house-made brownies. It came in a goblet-type glass and was a memorable ending to a meal I will never forget.

Burger and Beer Joint
900 South Miami Avenue
Suite 130
Miami, Florida 33130
(305) 523-2244





The Bao

I went to try the soup dumpling at the Bao and was pleasantly surprised. They have a large variety of soup dumplings including wasabi, chocolate, super spicy, crab and regular pork. The soup dumplings all had a very thin wrapper except for the chocolate which had a more gooey crepe-like wrapper. Also, something I really enjoyed was the large amount of soup in the dumplings and the soft delicate meat in the middle of all of the dumplings (except for the chocolate which had a thin cut of mushy banana in the center). My favorite were the wasabi dumplings which had a kick of spice in them, which went really well with the saltiness of the soup and the chewiness of the pork. Overall, the Bao was a good find and I highly recommend the soup dumplings there.

Note: also, I recommend trying the “ice tomato” which is a bunch of eighths of tomatoes cut up and doused in a bowl of sweet-sugary liquid. It was truly refreshing and is a great start to the meal. The tomatoes are transformed from the normal almost savory flavor to a candy-like treat.


The Bao
13 St Marks Pl,
New York, NY 10003
(212) 388-9238

Joe’s Stone Crab

I tried a lot of key lime pie in South Florida. From slices dipped in chocolate and placed on sticks to small key lime tarts, but nothing compares to Joe’s. The famous Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami is mainly known for its stone crabs. But, their key lime pie is truly mouth-watering amazing. Unlike any other of the key lime pies I tasted, the key lime at Joe’s is not too sour. It has a delicious tang and a really great, crumbly graham cracker crust. The pie comes refreshingly cold and is served with whipped cream on top. To me, the perfect key lime pie has a pudding-like consistency. Joe’s key lime pie has exactly the right consistency, not too thin and jelly-like and not too thick and lumpy. If the weather alone isn’t reason enough to head South to Miami, Joe’s key lime pie is well worth the trip.

Joe’s Stone Crab
11 Washington Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 673-0365



The Petite Shell

I checked out the new Upper East side bakery called Petite Shell, where I ordered the chocolate croissant. They take a regular croissant and cut it in half. Then, they add a warm, smooth chocolate spread, creating a croissant chocolate sandwich. They bring the chocolate croissant out in a cone, which is very hot. The croissant is very soft, flaky and has a buttery flavor. With the sweet, rich chocolatey spread, the snack is delectable. I also tried the mini blue cheese and pear croissant which was also very tasty, warm and soft.

Overall, Petite Shell is a great find.

The Petite Shell
1269 Lexington Ave (at 85th Street)
New York, NY 10028
No phone or website

This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef

149 1st Ave b/t 10th St & St Marks Pl in East Village

Cuban Sandwich — A.G. Kitchen

The other day I stopped at A.G. Kitchen to try their claimed “NYC’s Best Cubano.” The sandwich came out in slices, and contained the normal, delicious ingredients of a Cuban sandwich: Pork, Ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and, mustard. The Cuban comes between two slices of perfectly golden brown, panini-like slices of bread. After I took my first bite, I too understood the greatness of this slightly buttered sandwich. The mix of the warm, melted swiss cheese, the delicious slices of roast pork, the sweetness from the pickles and the mustard created one of the most incredible Cuban sandwiches I have consumed. Although the sandwich, in total, is pretty big, I inhaled it. I am already looking forward to picking up another Cuban from A.G. Kitchen.

A.G. Kitchen
269 Columbus Ave
NY, NY 10023
(212) 873-9400

Biggest Portions Ever!

photo-1-Blog---HaroldsFor a one-of-a-kind dining experience, you have to go to Harold’s Deli in Edison, New Jersey. Even half of one of their triple decker sandwiches (I had pastrami, corned beef and turkey) requires its own platter! The deli meat was excellent, very lean and tasty. I also really liked the matzo ball soup, especially the football-sized matzo ball. Harold’s has a fun “pickle bar” with all kinds of pickles to choose from on it as well other items like rye bread and sauerkraut. Even the desserts are ginormous and fun – massive, tasty slices of fudge cake, and giant sundaes for the whole family to share. You have to check this place out!! It is not to be believed.


photo 5 Blog - HaroldsHarold’s New York Deli Restaurant
3050 Woodbridge Ave
Edison, N.J.
(732) 661-9100



Hard to believe it – but Crumbs is gone!  They apparently went out of business due to owing large debts and have had to close all of their cupcake shops.  This is definitely a bad day for cupcake-lovers.  I will particularly miss their giant cupcake, which was great for birthday celebrations.