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Last-Minute Luxury Gifts for Her

We are getting down to the wire here, with just a little over a week before Christmas. It can be hard to find the perfect gift, but it doesn't have to be. With online shopping, you can find some really great items she'll love, and ones that  don't cost a fortune either.

Etsy can be a great place to find something beautiful and unique. Some items on Etsy have a longer processing time, but some, particularly the jewelry and candle shops, tend to have things ready-made. Thus you're bound to find some very beautiful and unique gifts. You just have to check the deadline for Christmas in each shop's announcements. Some will even work with you on rush orders, so it never hurts to ask! Pictured above: Chevron Kite Dangle EarringsModern Chevron Kite Laser Cut Earrings



First up on today's gift guide for women is a jewelry shop on Etsy calledLucky Tree Studio. At Lucky Tree, you can find gorgeous, one of a kind bamboo jewelry. With intricate laser-cut designs, this isn&#…

Heartland Brewery In New York City

As most of you know, I met up with Nick Feitel (seen on Bethenny Ever After), who writes a very knowledgable and detailed food blog on Bethenny.com. I couldn't leave that interview without asking him where to eat while I was in New York. I had already eaten some New York pizza, Nathan's, and falafel; so I thought I'd figure out where to have our last sit-down dinner.

"Well, we're wanting a sit-down place, moderately priced, but the problem is my friend doesn't like anything spicy or ethnic..." I said.

As he was thinking, I turned to my friend Kim and asked, "Do you like Irish food?" I immediately felt like a total idiot.

"There's no such thing as Irish food," Nick said, shaking his head.

By "Irish food" I actually meant Irish pubs, because I thought American grill/pub food would be the safest bet for Kim's overly-sensitive taste buds. Nick was right; I mean, make some bland but hearty American home cooking, add a glass of beer and bam! There is the American version of authentic Irish cuisine.

"I hate to suggest this because it's a chain," he said, "but Heartland Brewery would be a good compromise..."

When he told me they have good burgers and good beer, I was sold. I don't digest meat very well, especially red meat, but every now and then I am stupid enough to make myself sick for the sake of culinary pleasure. What the hell.


Heartland Brewery is indeed a chain, but it is a born and bred New York City chain that paved the way for pub-style grills. They currently have seven different NYC locations conveniently spread across the city. The price points range from $10.00 to $30.00 a plate, but including drinks, you could easily spend $30-$40 a person for dinner. But if that is your price range, it's worth it; the portions are fairly large, and the atmosphere is surprisingly elegant. Think modern grill meets British castle. Dark woodwork that is a must in any brewery/pub-style grill in my opinion, was beautifully accented by a mix of modern and medieval light fixtures. And the vibe of the place was still casual enough that I didn't feel out of place in my T-shirt, jeans and flip-flops. (It was the end of the week, folks. My complicated dresses and Grecian sandals were so over.)

As I sat down at a large wooden table with my friend Kim and her friend Melissa, I dove into the menu.

"Will you guys help me with the fried pickles appetizer?" I asked.

"I've never had fried pickles," Melissa said with a hint of fear but mostly curiousity. "Sure, I'll do it!" she said so quickly as she shrugged her shoulders in her very New-Yorkish attitude...this underlying coolness that gave me the impression she's tough & adventurous enough to try anything at least once.

"I'll try it," my other friend Kim said.

"Awesome," I nodded and was back into the menu, anxious to look at their beer list.

"They have a beer sampler," Kim pointed out.

"Ooooh," I said. "Oh, but they also have a huge list of scotch and bourbon." My mouth watered as I looked over their long list containing Johnnie Walker Black and Red. "Okay, I better just go with a single beer so I can get some scotch too." I know my limits. If I'd ordered the beer sampler alone, I'd be buzzed past the point of good judgement. Everyone has a weird thing they do once they reach that point; like flirting with strangers, laughing really loud, or suddenly telling your life story for no reason. My weird thing is I suddenly want to drink everything in sight-usually large glasses of nothing but Vodka. I still had the next day of sightseeing, so I didn't need a hangover.

Our waiter promptly came over to jot down our orders. I ordered a colby burger with blue cheese. It was delicious, though I ordered it medium rare, and there was barely any pink in the middle. This happens to me so often, I might as well just start ordering everything rare. The fried pickles, mostly a southern thing, were absolutely perfect and came with a slightly spicy mayo-based sauce that was just enough to balance out the sour pickle.

After we ordered our drinks, the waiter came back looking a little embarrassed and confused. He leaned into Kim's ear and said, "I'm sorry to ask, but I just don't know how to make this...what's in a Tequila sunrise?"

She patiently explained.

"Isn't that like the oldest cocktail known to man?" I asked.

"How could he not know that?" Melissa said.

Still, he was cute enough, we let that one slip. After I finished my scotch on the rocks I was ready for a dark, full beer. Anytime you have anything particular like that in mind and you're out somewhere new, don't even bother looking over the menu. Ask the waiter and he or she will be happy to suggest something that is just what you're looking for.

"I really like super-dark beer," I told the waiter. "Can you suggest a house beer?"

His eyes lit up. "Yeah, actually we have an oatmeal stout that you'd love."

"Great!"

Not a minute later, he was back with my beer, only he was walking around aimlessly before he made it back to the table. He leaned in to hand it to me and said, "I totally forgot where to take this. I was walking around trying to remember, and then I saw you and totally remembered that you ordered the beer." That was strike two. His tip was slowly declining. But all was forgiven as I sipped through the super-frothy top and tasted the dark but smooth hints of chocolate and espresso in Farmer Jon's Oatmeal Stout.

After our cute but scatter-brained waiter left the ticket I said, "Um...should we have him split the check, or do you guys think that would be too much for him to handle?" I wasn't kidding, not one bit.

"Yeah, he's hopeless," Melissa said.

"He needs help," Kim said.

"Oh, I think that's my problem..." I said. "See, I see a guy like that and just think, aw how cute. It must be the nurturer in me. I've gotta get rid of that!"

Melissa chuckled and Kim said, "Yeah, self-sufficient is good."

I shook my head and giggled at myself. "Seriously, if he makes one more mistake, I'm taking him home."

Melissa busted out laughing and said, "I'm gonna wake up be like what is the waiter doing on my couch?"

I said, "Well, at least he could serve you coffee in the morning."

In the end he actually managed to split the check, so we left him at Heartland Brewery and called it a night.

 
Nick's Culinary Crawl Links on Bethenny.com:

Nick’s Culinary Crawl: “Brownies”

Nick’s Culinary Crawl: “Totes Downscale Mac+Cheese”

Nick’s Culinary Crawl: “Pizza”


Comments

  1. Sounds like heaven, except that I don't drink beer, or scotch, or bourbon ... I'm also not sure that I could bring myself to eat a fried pickle. Oh, well. I guess I'm better suited for the falafel vendor on the corner.

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  2. Everything in NYC is big and more. Sounds like you had fun.

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  3. I had such a blast, Shelly!
    @Karla, well maybe you'd like the little bar I went to that had nothing but crepes and cocktails...unless you don't like alcohol at all.

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  4. This is one of the things I've always enjoyed most about trips to New York--the restaurants! I've had the pleasure of enjoying some of their best, but my favorite place has always been Pete's Tavern near Gramercy Park.

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  5. The food was definitely one of the best parts! Pete's Tavern...I'll have to remember that for next time.

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  6. Cute story. Sounds like you all had alot of fun that night!

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  7. Love the part about the clueless waiter! LOL!

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  8. The colby burger with blue cheese sounds fantastic.

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  9. Sounds like you had fun and the food was great! On another note you behaved and left the waiter there....lol

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  10. Sounds like a fun place to eat. But I am just like you as well...I don't tolerate red meat well. Blah...but I too suffer through tummy aches for the sake of that juice burger...MMMmmm.

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  11. I definitely have to visit this place next time I'm in NYC!

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  12. Sounds like Nick made a great recommendation!

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  13. Fried pickles sounds weird and NOT good... but I tried them while in Georgia and I am totally in love!! So yummy!!!

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  14. Sounds like it was a great night!

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  15. I laughed out loud at the wonderful memories that were brought back from reading this. I love you and I loved our New York adventure!!! (incompetent waiter and all!)

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  16. Love you too, Kim!:) That was definitely the best vacation ever!

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