Where's Lefty

I attend many events (NYPC, Meetup, Meetin, NexusCafe, The Lunch Club & private ones) weekly in the New York City area. Here is a review of some of them. For the Meetup reviews the ratings are out of a possible 5 with 5 being the best. Please post comments here.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

Vell, Zaphod's just zis guy you know.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Sake Meetup

Friday, June 30th 2006

I've dabbled a little in Shochu for a while now, so I knew what to expect when Landmark Wine & Sake scheduled a Shochu tasting. For those that don't know Shochu is a distilled liquor similar to vodka. It can be made from many different grains and even vegetables.

Tonight's tasting was presented by Takara Sake USA. Takashi-san, who is a Senior Manager in their NY office was on hand to pour the Shochu's and to educate us with his knowledge of the product. As I mentioned earlier I was somewhat knowledgeable about Shochu before this tasting but after enjoying them with Takashi, I now have a new found interest in learning and enjoying more Shochu. Here are the four Shochu's that we sampled:

Gankutsuoh (Honkaku:Distilled from Rice)
Gankutsuoh is 100% made only from Kome (rice) Koji fermentation. It is distilled and poured into large porcelain pots which are hten stored in a natural cave. This unique process gives Gankutsuoh an exceptionally smooth taste and pleasant aroma.
Alcohol 25%

Towari (Honkaku:Distilled from Buckwheat)
Towari is a unique product distilled only from Soba (buckwheat). This means you can savor real Soba Shochu without the influence of unwanted flavors derived from other materials.
Alcohol 25%

Ikkomon (Honkaku:Distilled from Sweet Potatoes)
Ikkomon is made with Imo (sweet potatoes) Koji. This makes Ikkomon a very special item since other Imo Shochu are generally made with Kome (rice) Koji. Enjoy the authentic Imo flavor.
Alcohol 25%

Korokame (Honkaku:Distilled from Sweet Potatoes)
Korokame is made according to a very traditional method in which Kuro Koji is used and the fermentation process takes place in Kame (a large porcelain pot). This process imparts in Kurokame a very rich and bold taste reminiscent of traditional Imo (sweet potato) Shochu.
Alcohol 25%

Meetup: Sake
Approximate # of Attendees: 6
Organizer: Lefty
Venue: Landmark Wine & Sake
Venue Rating: 5
Attendee Quality Rating: 5
Organizer Rating: 5

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Wine Lovers & Manhattan Social Wine Tasting Combined Meetup

Thursday, June 29th 2006

This was a joint Meetup between both the Wine Lovers & Manhattan Social Wine Tasting groups. I've attended the Wine Lovers Meetup many times before, but I think this was my first time with the members of the Social Wine Tasting group.

It was held in the wine cellar of Grotta Azzurra in Little Italy. The space was great. It was just large enough to accommodate our two groups which were limited to 50 yes RSVP's each. The atmosphere of the room hinted that it may have been used as a speakeasy during the Prohibition era. And tonight it was again easy to speak with no loud music. The food was great, typical Little Italy fare. Unfortunately, the wine was subpar. I'm not sure if this is all that they carried, but our choices were only Long Island wines. Long Island is usually known for great wines, I guess Grotta Azzurra didn't pick the best ones that have made that reputation.

What made up for it was the quality of the people that attended.

Meetup: New York Wine Lovers & Manhattan Social Wine Tasting
Approximate # of Attendees: 100
Organizer: Sima & Lyndon
Venue: Grotta Azzurra
Venue Rating: 4
Attendee Quality Rating: 5
Organizer Rating: 5

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Small Business Breakfast Club Meetup

Thursday, June 29th 2006

Well, This was certainly the earliest Meetup I've ever attended. It started at 7:30 AM.

This was a nice networking opportunity bundled with a live teleconference. I got to meet some very interesting local business individuals and entrepreneurs. The teleconference was heard over a Jabra Bluetooth device and the acoustics of the diner made it extremely difficult to hear. I suggested we hold the next one in the NYPC office.

Meetup: Small Business Breakfast Club
Approximate # of Attendees: 15
Organizer: Kevin
Venue: Skylight Diner
Venue Rating: 4
Attendee Quality Rating: 4
Organizer Rating: 5

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Join Our Sake Meetup


If you are in the New York City area, why not join us!


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Movies Critics Meetup - CHICK FLICK NIGHT

Monday, June 26th 2006

This sounded like a great idea, a movie in a semi-private atmosphere with comfortable seats, a good sound system and the freedom to eat and drink what we wanted to.

OK, I'm going to be a critic of the critics. I'm really serious about my movie viewing and was glad that the group picked a movie that I haven't seen. What I wasn't glad about was that not everyone was into watching the movie, and some of those that did, couldn't shut up or keep their phone/palm away. If you are going to have a movie viewing night, do so. If you want to have a social night where you stand around a bar and drink then schedule another night to do so. Further compounding my frustration was the fact the DVD copy that was rented was probably in bad shape and stopped twice during the movie, and finally during the end credits which had additional scenes that were kinda critical to the movie that we didn't get to see. Now I have to dig out my DVD copy of the movie to see the end.

Eric was a great host and offered us free Jello-Shots before the movie and pizza during the movie. Way to go Eric! Maybe next time more people will show up to enjoy his excellent hosting.

Crime Scene was great. Good beer and one of the cleanest bathrooms I ever seen.

Meetup: Movies Critics Meetup
Approximate # of Attendees: 20
Organizer: Eric
Venue: Crime Scene Bar
Venue Rating: 4
Attendee Quality Rating: 4
Organizer Rating: 5

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sushi & Japanese Food Enthusiasts Meetup

Saturday, June 24th 2006

I arrive at the third and final Meetup of the day hungry and glad I have an unlimited Metrocard (the most I've accomplished is 11 transfers in a two hour period. Anyone need subway or bus directions?)

This is one of my favorite Meetups as it combines two of my passions, Japanese food & Sake. The organizer Tai had picked a fantastic location, Sakagura. It should be noted that this is a Sake bar that also offers some food, and they state no Sushi. They do offer a Sashimi platter and other small Japanese style appetizers and plates. In addition to some of the appetizers that we shared we did order two of the Sashimi platters for the group. Those of us who drank Sake were very glad I had chosen a bottle of Dassai Junmai Ginjo.

Meetup: Sushi & Japanese Food Enthusiasts
Approximate # of Attendees: 6
Organizer: Tai
Venue: Sakagura
Venue Rating: 5
Attendee Quality Rating: 5
Organizer Rating: 5

Graphic Design and Visual Arts

Saturday, June 24th 2006

On to the next Meetup which is one that I've wanted to make for about a year now. I'm so glad I finally did. As small as the group was, it was a great bunch of people. The theme of this meeting was to showcase the work you've done. So-Yeon brought her laptop so those that did not bring hard copies of their work could show their projects online as Silk Road Mocha offers free Wi-Fi. Silk Road Mocha is located at 30 Mott Street is a great Vegan cafe that specializes in Bubble Tea.

Alas, I could only stay for about an hour as I had to go back up to 43rd for dinner.

My only suggestion for the organizer is that she printout a table sign from the promote section on Meetup so that people could easily find the Meetup. Ironically, there was another Meetup meeting at the table next to this one that had a sign and when I walked in, I thought it was one big group broken up into two different tables.

Meetup: Graphic Design and Visual Arts
Approximate # of Attendees: 7
Organizer: So-Yeon
Venue: Silk Road Mocha
Venue Rating: 5
Attendee Quality Rating: 5
Organizer Rating: 5

Café Cards with the Boardgames & Cardgames Meetup

Saturday, June 24th 2006

Most days I go to at least one Meetup, today is a triple header.

I start out with Café Cards at a Cosi on 7th Avenue between 36th & 37th. I've been to many other Cosi's in the City before, but this was an excellent choice for this Meetup. It has a fairly large upstairs balcony with many tables. The group pretty much took over the entire area and set up different board and card games. This group also has two other board and card game nights during the month so this was like a bonus gathering. Steef, the regular organizer couldn't make it, so Joe assistant organized. Many games had already begun by the time I had gotten there, but fortunately, Mark brought Mille Bornes and we were able to start a six person game. I hadn't played it for nearly 40 years (yes, I'm THAT old!) We then moved onto two different groups of three to play Hearts. There were also people playing Scrabble, Settlers of Catan and other very interesting looking games. No wonder the major complaint on the Meetup feedback board was that people wanted to stay longer than six hours, some wanting it to go for at least eight!

I was only able to stay a couple of hours as I had to move on to other Meetups.

Meetup: Boardgames & Cardgames
Approximate # of Attendees: 22
Organizer: Steef
Venue: Cosi
Venue Rating: 5
Attendee Quality Rating: 5
Organizer Rating: 5

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Joey Thai Supper Club Third Anniversary

Thursday, June 22nd 2006

My friend Sharyn organizes this great dinner monthly at Joey Thai. This month was the third year anniversary celebration. What's great about Joey Thai is it is a BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle) restaurant. I of course bring a Sake. Sharyn arranges that we have a set price all-you-can-eat type meal that includes dinner, tax & tip. So we arrive, pay her up front and then sit down to a great meal with great service and don't have to worry about who had what and how to split the check. Probably the most enticing thing about her event is the quality of the people that attend. Every time I've attended I met excellent people I look forward to seeing either next month or at other social events.

Drinking with Strangers Meetup

Wednesday, June 21st 2006

After the NYPC Speech Recognition SIG I headed right out to a Meetup. This will be my first Meetup review, so I'll come up with a standard rating format/system as follows:

Meetup: Drinking with Strangers
Approximate # of Attendees: 20
Organizer: Kari
Venue: 11th Street Bar
Venue Rating: 3
Attendee Quality Rating: 2
Organizer Rating: 4

NYPC's Speech Recognition SIG

Wednesday, June 21st 2006

I Co-Chair NYPC's Speech Recognition SIG with Laura.

Tonight we had scheduled an ergonomic presentation by Arlette. Unfortunately, Arlette had been injured over the previous weekend, so I setup a tele-conference using Skype so she could do the presentation remotely from Conneticut. After having to find a machine in the office that could handle the task, we were on with the show. Arlette has done a this excellent presentation for NYPC a few times before and this time she was just as good.

Drinking with Kazuhiro Sakurai of Asahi Shuzo Sake Brewery

Tuesday, June 20th 2006

My friend KC of Astor Wine & Spirit had asked if I wanted to join him to go Sake drinking with Kazuhiro Sakurai of the Asahi Shuzo Sake Brewery which creates Dassai, one of my favorite Sakes. I jumped at the chance, being a Sake Connisour. Also in attendance were Tim of Urban Sake fame and Warren, a Spirit buyer and fellow employee at Astor.

We met at Matsuri (369 W 16th St, by 9th Ave), which is an awesome place to go if you love Sake as their list had well over 200 different Sakes available.


It was a great idea from my friend Eric, since I'm so active in so many different social activities in the New York City area to kinda do a quick review of the events I attend. So, here it goes. Where's Lefty is like a Where's Waldo for the modern socialista.