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89th And Broke

I'm a young professional living in Astoria (formerly of Williamsburg, the UES and Murray Hill - I move a lot!). I'm always looking for something fun to do or the best place to grab a drink and dinner at an affordable price around the city. Have a suggestion? Email me at Laura AT 89thandbroke DOT com.

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My Favorite Bar is Closing – Check Out The Wharf This Weekend

When I was 22, I was introduced to The Wharf - a bar on 39th and 3rd. Every few weeks, my coworkers and I would trek over from 32nd and Park. We went for the discounted beers (two beers on special all night long) and for the nachos. The nachos are fantastic – for years, Caryn (who used to write this blog with me) and I discussed how one day we should live blog us eating the nachos at The Wharf, as they had what my friend Doug called, the perfect chip to topping ratio.

It was one of those bars where even after we left jobs and moved on to different opportunities, no matter where we were in the city, we would just choose to meet there. It was easy, we could usually get a table and we could easily catch up. And the waitstaff would never complain if there was 8 of us, or over the course of the night, our table of 4 would grow to 8.

And then, out of the blue I got an IM from a friend I hadn’t spoken to in years that said the Wharf was closing. I thought it was a great prank, until I did some research – and it was true. The landlord wasn’t renewing their lease and it was becoming luxury apartments.

As I walked down the street last week, a montage of my 20s at the Wharf played in my head – from birthday celebrations (my own 30th), to my parents meeting my city friends for the first time, to our 89th and Broke IT guru/designer McKenna asking us to be her bridesmaids at a table one night. It seemed only fitting that as Caryn purchased a house and got ready to move out of the city, the Wharf was saying it was okay to leave. To cope, I embarked on my farewell tour to the Wharf – with very few nights here in NY the last two weeks, I spent my two free nights at The Wharf, eating the last nachos, the last chicken fingers and waffle fries basket, and drinking Shocktops (sidenote: this was the bar where I first tried a Blue Moon – through college I only had consumed light beers).

So, I apologize that I never gave The Wharf a proper review it deserved – but if you are around, the Wharf is open through Sunday. Whether you go for lunch, dinner or just some beers and an app, get the nachos. You won’t be disappointed.

Now I need to find a new bar. Where should I go?

Help a Reader Out: Missing Banjo

banjoHave you seen this instrument? Reader Robin (who just so happens to live on W. 89th) had her vintage stolen 5-string banjo stolen last Sunday night If you do see it, there is a substantial reward for its return, no questions asked. Robin can be reached at WindyRecATaol.com.

The note from Robin is below:

Distinguishing marks: The banjo is an old Paramount headstock open back banjo with a distinctive raised tone ring and  double brackets inside.  Custom neck made by Providence Guitar and Banjo.  The headstock reads “Royal Artist”, Bruno, NY”. Light colored maple wood neck and pot. Ornamented headstock (see photost) and diamond angles markers down the fretboard. There’s a metal arm rest on the banjo, and a heavy, clunky looking pickup system inside the pot.  The banjo had a Light brown leather clip-on strap. It is heavy to lift. It was in a vintage Pete Seeger-style longneck leather (black) gig bag, with shoulder strap, handle, and forearm carry strap. Very distinctive.


We Tried It: Pret A Manger’s Power Lunch

A few weeks ago, I was invited to try a new lunch at Pret A Manger. Normally I bring my lunch and eat at my desk, but since the folks at Pret were kind enough to send me a gift image1card, I headed over to the 33rd and Park location to give one of their new menu items a try: Power Lunch, Pret’s cutting edge take on the grain bowl. All under 500 calories, each bowl is individually designed with functional ingredients that provide you with the nutrients you need to power through the day.

I like that Pret is a grab and go type of place, so if you are short on time, you don’t have to wait in line for your salad or sandwich to be made, you can just grab it and go. Same goes for the Power Lunch. Each bowl features an array of veggies and protein, over a mix of white and red quinoa and black and green lentils, topped with a drizzle of olive oil, sea salt, black pepper and freshly squeezed lemon. Available in the cold case you can choose from the following options:

Power Lunch

  • Roasted Beets & Feta — $8.99
    • A tasty blend of roasted beets, red wine vinegar, julienned apple, feta cheese, walnuts, and kale — makes this power lunch a heart healthy choice.
    • *PAIR WITH: Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
  • Southwestern Chicken & Avocado — $8.49
    • Sliced grilled chicken, avocado, and roasted corn salsa will add an extra kick to your lunch.
    • *PAIR WITH: Chimichurri Vinaigrette Dressing
  • Roasted Parsnip & Pistachios — $8.99
    • A Mediterranean-inspired recipe made with roasted parsnips, pomegranate seeds, pistachios, and fresh mint is a vegan and veggie-friendly option.
    • *PAIR WITH: Tahini Yogurt
  • Egg & Veggie— $8.49
    • This protein-filled bowl features a cage-free hard boiled egg, pickled cabbage & carrot mix, topped with edamame beans, fresh limes, and sesame seeds.
    • *PAIR WITH: Lemon Shallot Vinaigrette

I opted for the roasted beets and feta, and also picked up the balsamic dressing in the cold case too, mixing the dressing and my bowl together at my desk. If you want to create your own combo with a different dressing, you could totally do that – I just went by the suggestion. The bowl was delicious – I sometimes feel like grain bowls go too heavy on the greens, but it was the perfect balance of kale to grain ratio (and I learned that I love baby kale – didn’t realize that before). My only complaint was that I was a little heavy handed on the dressing when I poured it in – the flavors of the bowl were good on their own that they didn’t need to be buried in dressing.I’m normally starving by mid-afternoon, but the bowl kept me feeling full all day – I wasn’t reaching for any snacks by 3pm.

If you are looking for an affordable option on the go, I would definitely give this a try. While I am trying to be good and bring my lunch, I’m glad I know there’s something easy and nutritious I can pick up if I don’t have time to make a lunch the night before.

Have you tried the new Power Lunch bowls by Pret? What do you think?

Tonight! $1 Brooklyn Lagers in Williamsburg

This deal has been floating around a few other deal sites, like our friends at NYC Daily Deals and The Skint, but in case you missed it, there are $1 Brooklyn Lagers from 8pm – close tonight at George and Jack’s Tap Room on Berry and North 8th.

25% off at Sac’s in Astoria Every Tuesday

Sac’s Place is an Italian restaurant a few blocks away from my apartment on 29th and Broadway in Astoria. At one point in my life, I was eating slices there at least twice a week – theirsacs pizza is fantastic. If you dine in though on Tuesday, you can get 25% off your bill in honor of Sac’s being open for 25 years.

Three Food Trucks You Need to Visit This Summer

A few weeks back, I went to the Choice Streets event, which is a ticketed event where you can try samples from 20+ food trucks which are parked on the Intrepid. I’ve been a huge fan of Choice Streets – I like it because it’s outside, you don’t feel cramped like other food events and the past few years, the weather has been AWESOME. It was another warm night this year,

Photo Credit – Laura June Kirsch

and I was excited to try the food trucks! Unfortunately, a few didn’t show this year, which really made me upset at some of the vendors – I was on a press pass, but I know for those who paid money, I’m sure this was a disappointment. It didn’t help that on our passports, you could see who didn’t show, and I was bummed one of my favorites from last year, Carl’s Steaks wasn’t there! Oh well – hopefully next year!

It felt like the theme of this year was pizza trucks or grilled cheese – which made it easy to pick my favorites. Here are my top 3 you should check out this summer:

  • Valducci’s Pizza:  This pizzeria was one of my favorite food trucks last year – and it did not disappoint this year. I thought it was the best pizza at the entire event – the sauce was fantastic, the crust nice and crispy – I’d definitely stop by the truck again!
  • Snowday Food Truck: I assumed this was going to be snowcones – it wasn’t. Everything made on the truck is a maple syrup themed food. I tried the grilled cheese, which was covered in maple syrup – the perfect sweet/salty combination! I also liked the truck’s mission – not only are the dishes made with ingredients sourced from local farms, but the truck is run by Drive Change, a New York-based organization that trains and employs formerly incarcerated youth in hopes of helping them find work and keeping them out of prison.
  • Andy’s Italian Ices: Forget Mister Softee. After being outside on a warm night, the cherry water ice was the perfect way to cool down from this truck!

Did you go to Choice Streets this year? What did you think?

Free D’USSE and D’USSE de Leche – Ice Cream Happy Hour

Like ice cream? Head to The 40/40 Club (25th between 6th and Broadway) from 6-8pm today for an ice cream happy hour! See the flyer below.

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Free Cheese on Friday!

Love cheese like me? According to Gothamist, there are two free cheese events going on Friday, May 15. 

Ditch the Gift Cards, Pay with Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts Apps – Plus Get a Free Drink!

A few months back, I wrote the below post about why you should use coffee mobile apps to pay for your coffee when visiting Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts. Starbucks recently sent out an email that anyone who joins their loyalty program and registers a Starbucks card will get a free drink as long as they are new members. If you have a Starbucks card in your pocket, now’s the time to register it! Note you do not have to use the app to get the drink, you just have to register your card but to be honest, the app makes it so much easier!


Originally Posted January 21, 2015

We were sitting at a bar last weekend, when my friend Dave of Barton’s Bites whipped out his money clip and I saw several coffee pay with starbucks appgift cards. I immediately asked Dave – don’t you know you can pay with Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts apps? He was amazed that he didn’t need to lug these cards around.

It’s simple – download the apps on iOS or Android and add your gift cards to the app. You can then transfer all your balances into one digital card and when you check out at your favorite coffee shop like Starbucks, all you have to do is hit pay and show the barcode on your phone, and the balance will be deducted from your card. Best of all, you can throw out those gift cards – less clutter!

The apps both have other features too – the Starbucks app allows you to earn stars, every time you pay with the app. You can redeem these stars for free food and drink.  The Dunkin’ Donuts app also offers rewards, but is filled with mobile coupons that you can redeem as well. Not bad!

Do you use any apps from any chains to save money? Let us know!



Giveaway! Win Tickets to A High Lonesome Bluegrass Mass at Carnegie Hall!

A few months ago, I went to a concert at Carnegie Hall (yes, an acapella concert because folks from Pitch Perfect were there). I hadn’t been there in years and the venue was so amazing.bluegrass Felt very quintessential New York.

If you’d like to go to Carnegie Hall, we’ve got the offer for you. If you are looking for plans Memorial Day this weekend, check out A High Lonesome Bluegrass Mass. Southern hymns and down-home harmonies blend with the traditional instrumental sounds of a bluegrass band to create Come Away to the Skies: A High, Lonesome Mass. This exciting new choral work makes its New York premiere at Carnegie Hall, courtesy of Distinguished Concerts Orchestra and Distinguished Concerts Singers International. Composed by Wes Ramsey and Tim Sharp, who’ll be on hand to conduct, the piece is set to be accompanied live by the Chuck Nation Band. You can purchase tickets starting at $20 by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-721-6500 or visiting CarnegieHall.org, or by winning them here on 89th and Broke!

To win, please fill out the below form by 12am on Friday, 5/15. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Food For A Fraction Of The Cost