Hill Country

Hill Country: Being that I am orginally from North Carolina, and have visited the Tar Heel state every summer since I was seven, I know good barbeque when I eat it. A good rule of thumb for Carolina barbecue is: the messier it is to eat, the better. Texan bbq is a whole other playing field; Texans don’t do sauce, they pride themselves on their dry rub. My boyfriend had told me about a restaurant that served Texas bbq a la carte and I was eager to see what all the fuss was about. The second I walked through Hill Country’s front door, I was hit with an overwhelming scent of wood chips, meat, and spices, making my mouth salivate with anticipation of what I was about to indulge in. We ordered two bottles of PBR ( happy hour special, $2 a bottle), and ventured up to the meat counter. The cool thing about this place is you can order your meat by the weight, so if you’re in the mood to just order one single rib, just order one! We decided to each order pork ribs upon recommendation of the butcher. We then ventured over to the “sides” counter and ordered baked beans with charred ends. Settling into our seats, we started to chowdown on our massive Texan delights. I was apprehensive to eat the ribs without some sauce, but to my surprise, these hunks of meat didn’t need a drip of barbecue sauce.The flavors of the dry rub brought out the taste of this very tender, fall off the bone kind of meat.  Note: When eating, be prepared to  have meat juice dripping from your chin; thankfully you have a roll of paper towel at hand to clean up the mess. Hill Country is the perfect place to go with a big group of friends to watch a football game, drink some beer, and let your carnivore flag fly. I guess in Texas, everything is bigger and better

The Bottom Line: I will never again underestimate the power of a good dry rub.

P.S. At night, they have live music in their huge mess hall downstairs! Yee Haw!

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Eataly!

Eataly: Nothing is average in New York City, and Eataly is a prime example of it. Eataly is an Italian grocery store pumped up on steroids. The brains behind this establishment didn’t forget a single detail, from homemade pasta counters, to being able to enjoy a house brewed beer, this gourmet store hasn’t left anything out. Located across the street from Madison Square Park is this foodie’s house of worship. The unique thing about this Italian emporium is that throughout the open floor plan, there are mini restaurants that specialize in different foods, i.e. fish, pizza, meat, cheese, ect.  If you don’t want to sit down and have waitress service, just walk up to one of the counters and get fresh mozzarella, homemade baked bread, olives, anything your Italian appetite desires! Wine kiosks with their very own connoisseurs are dotted around the store offering patrons a variety of vinos, something for everyone’s palate! If you decided to take a stroll through Eataly on the weekend, expect a mad house. This place may be huge, but Eataly has crammed everything and more inside of it, making it difficult to navigate without bumping into people or things. Once you have had enough of the crowds, ride the elevator up to the fourteenth floor and enjoy a pint of in house cask conditioned ale , brewed thirty feet from the bar at Birreria, Eataly’s rooftop restaurant and brewery.

Basically..: If you are grocery shopping for the week, avoid this place on Saturday and Sunday, go on a quiet week night. If you are looking to impress a date, wine and dine him or her at one of their fourteen Italian restaurants.  Enjoy!