Two evenings in Manhattan: Cock & Bull, Drunken Munkey & Two Little Red Hens.

(pre-Covid!)

Cock and Bull pub/Michael McIntyre stand up show (February 2020)

On Saturday evening, we ate dinner and drank at Cock and Bull (British themed) pub-restaurant not far from Times Square. We’d only been there once, about 7 or 8 years ago, and the food was purty good then though we remembered it best for an $11 British pint which seemed steep.  Last night the food was beyond excellent: to start, a rich and sliced delicious British-style sausage roll (with stilton) and the main dish of cod and chips was tremendous!  Something they’re noted for. Marie had two cocktails and I a whitbier.   We chose it partly as it’s near Radio City, and we were seeing the London comedian, Michael McIntyre afterwards.  McIntyre’s  cheeky-chirpy-chappy show was hilarious and we had an amazing time. You wonder before a stand-up show where a comedian will get his or her ideas. With MM he doesn’t rely on politics or worldly satire, or smut, but has everyone in hysterics on topics like mobile phones, peeing, falling asleep at home post-40 etc. He’s so physically animated too.  It was only his second show in America ever and was sold-out (he mentioned that his last and only other U.S gig  was at Beacon Theatre, NYC, two years ago), and the culmination of his World Tour.   Other comedians we’d love to see at some point, though many of the Brits don’t play here:  Greg Davies, Roisin Conaty, Ricky Gervais, Frank Skinner and Noel Fielding.

One day we’ll try Tracks bar at Penn Station before we get the train back to Queens, as my late mum went to Tracks once or twice (and loved it) when she was stopping at the Pennsylvania Hotel in 2006.  But our train was leaving so we opted just to get on it!

The World of Weed –

Oh, I forgot to mention! When we were on 7th Avenue (which is looking fancier these days, with swanky new delis and nice cafes) we came across a big truck that was selling all kinds of “weed” products!  Hemp, we would think. The truck was in very bright colours, and sure enough they were more weedmobiles as we walked along a little later!  So it must be all above aboard (?).  I’m about to look it up on the tinternet… 

…uhm, it doesn’t say much on Wikipedia, suggesting that it’s tolerated rather than lauded?! They’re banning CBD sold in everyday food and drink products in general shops in NYC though, and they only allow dedicated CDB shops. CBD is a harmless product related to cannabis – for want of a better description – that can be beneficial. It doesn’t contain THC, which is what gets someone high!

The Drunken Monkey Indian bar-restaurant/Two Little Red Hens Bakery – Yorkville, February 2020

Marie asked where I would like to go for a meal for my birthday.  We have the Tea and Sympathy voucher from my sister and family, but we’re saving that for later and that’s for both of us, of course.  Marie suggested Felidia’s Italian restaurant, which is Lydia Bastiannich and her son Joe’s restaurant, celebrity chefs.  Marie has been a few times. It was tempting, if expensive, but I think we’ll save that for another treat some day.  Instead, after doing some research I’d chosen a highly-rated, old fashioned colonial style Indian restaurant and bar that specialises in cocktails on the Upper East Side called the Drunken Monkey! 

We got the 5pm train into Penn Station, then two buses from there up to 91st Street and York Avenue – east of 1st Avenue on the far right of the Upper East Side.  Yorkville is an area that we didn’t know much about, but it looks lively yet at the same time is far from the madding crowds; it feels like a real neighbourhood: nice, relatively affordable and not that well known. We found The Drunken Munkey really easily. It’s beautiful and buzzing inside, with a cosy, warmly lit bar flanked by just one room and about a dozen or so tables.  We’d had to reserve, and you lose your deposit if you don’t show up, but you can tell why because it’s really popular. As I commented, it’s a Colonial-style Indian restaurant, well known for its drinks and especially old-world cocktails.  It gets rave reviews. Our table was reserved for 7pm and we squeezed in. The staff were very friendly, and the manager brought us a couple of free small glasses of their house punch, as we’d mentioned my birthday when chatting on the way in. 

The curries, though about 30 or 40% dearer than some more typical Indian eateries, were superb.  We had a lamb rogan josh and a tikka masala, and the meat was extremely tender and the gravy rich and delicious. We’d also shared three giant tandoori prawns to start, and that followed on from an opening cocktail: Marie was quickly blasted half way through her Singapore sling (“the room is spinning already!”) and I had an Indian-spiced Old Fashioned – whisky based – strong cocktail.  Later I had a second, a Makhana swizzle with both port and rum, and we shared a sticky toffee pudding. 

a slightly fuzzy (low-light in there) shot of our prawns starter

The place has a great ambience, felt quite European and was quite full as a second wave came in.  In the kitchen there was a Liverpool football club badge on the wall, but nothing is perfect!  And on the tv they ran the Roger Moore Bond film, Octopussy.  The place is open until about 2 in the morning.  We had a great time, and walked a few blocks afterwards, and over to 2nd Avenue to look for somewhere for a coffee.  We stumbled upon a bakery Marie had wanted to try, Two Little Red Hens.  Nice coffee, and the mini Brooklyn Blackout cupcake was a solid little bite, but we didn’t realise quite why this bakery is so rated until we tried the full size cupcake we took home. We’re not necessarily cupcake super fans at all – especially since the amazing Crumbs closed down whilst inferior places mysteriously thrived – but their coconut cream was incredibly scrumptious.  And not too sweet at all, which is a major plus!  Now we can’t wait to go back to both Munkey and Hens!!

Published by heathgrip

An Englishman in New York for around 15 years, I met a wonderful, beautiful, cannily smart and talented girl from Flushing, Queens whilst I was living in Manchester, UK, through the internet in 2005 and we married in Spring 2006! We both have a passion for travel, restaurants, history, music, all kinds of fun events. Who doesn't? I'm an artist and photographer, and also love to write. Anything creative really (you can keep your science and technology!). I've sent journals back home to family and friends for many years and they've often suggested I start a blog with writings pasted from my journals. So here it is!

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