Monthly Archives: January 2013

31. Bangkok

Bangkok Thai Restaurant is one of those hidden gems in Syracuse.


It’s actually located in Liverpool, on Route 57 in the same plaza as Pascales, so if you’re never out that way you’d probably never know it existed…but let me tell you something, get in your car right now…and go there.

This is my favorite Thai Restaurant in Syracuse…without a doubt.

I will rave & rave & rave about the food, customer service and the prices. Because they’re all pretty stellar.

The portions are huge. A plate of Pad Thai could cover both dinner & leftovers for lunch the next day just for $10!

Bangkok is family run, and if you’re lucky the chef will come out to greet you after your meal.

They’re open Monday-Saturday from 11-2:30pm for lunch and 5-9pm for dinner. They also do take-out!

Tip: Try the fried ice cream!

Follow them on twitter for specials and promotions!


30. Hollywood Does History at ArtRage

Located in the Historic Hawley-Green neighborhood, which is traditionally recognized for it’s art & culture in Syracuse is the ArtRage Gallery.


Throughout the month of February, on Saturday’s, ArtRage will be featuring a series titled Hollywood Does History. They will be playing historically significant films that touch on cultural, social and economical issues. Films like Erin Brokovich, Malcolm X, Milk will play on Saturday’s and Sing Your Song will be on a Tuesday.

This is an awesome idea.

Earlier in the week I had discovered that on the 3rd Thursday of every month the Central Library downtown shows a free movie, this week featuring The Dark Knight Rises…but when I saw that it was at 9am on a Thursday I was seriously shocked. A million ridiculous thoughts raced through my mind, mostly centering around the general theme of, “9am?!?!”

So when I discovered that ArtRage Gallery does something similar on Saturday’s, I was more than pleased to discover the films are shown at a more reasonable hour than 9am…more like 7 or 8pm.

Since Julia Roberts tops my list of favorite actresses, and you can never get enough of Daddy Warbucks (Albert Finney), I’ll be checking this out.

Tip: This is a free event, with a suggested $5 donation


29. Amateur Night at Wiseguys

I do not know one person who doesn’t like to laugh. I’m a huge fan of those tears-in-your-eyes-belly-aching-can’t-breath-laughs…I’m pretty sure you’re agreeing with me here, laughing is medicine for the soul.

Wiseguys comedy club downtown is holding an Amateur Night tomorrow January 30th from 7-8pm.


Whether you’re someone who has been encouraged by friends to stand on stage and try to get others to laugh, or whether you think that you’re up for the challenge of making a group of strangers split their sides, you should check this out.

We’re in the middle of the Winter Blues,  it’s about time we have something to laugh about!

Tip: This is a free event!


-performers must be 21 years of age
-they must bring at least 4 friends (obvi for support & that occasional chuckle from the audience)
-You only get 5 minutes, so make it worth it!


28. The Westcott Theater

The history behind The Westcott Theater is remarkable; it’s been a mainstay in the Syracuse area for almost a century starting out as a small theater and transforming over the years. Today, it’s home to some pretty awesome musical events and has hosted a slue of popular indie bands, jam bands, folk bands, dubstep, the list goes on…

Seeing a concert at the Westcott is like being invited to a party for the first time. You’re both excited and nervous, you never know what to expect but you’re almost positive you’re going to have a great time.


When they re-opened in 2008 as a music venue, the owners had renovated the entire property. They’d torn out the movie theater seats and opened the space up to be the perfect spot to let people listen to their favorite bands. And thus, The Westcott Theater began to grow into a a widely recognized popular music venue in Syracuse.

The inside is exactly how you’d picture it, dark, vintage, hipster. The people, they range from high school and college students to young professionals and adults…depending on the band. When I recently saw a concert at The Westcott, I was pleasantly surprised by the diverse groups of people there. Sometimes Syracuse can seem like one giant bubble, until you visit spots like The Westcott, especially, you are snapped back to reality and reminded that there are so many people with so many different interests and this city is growing and artistic and creative.

In the back of the venue there’s a bar where you can get drinks for a reasonable price without missing a beat from your favorite performers.

The current lineup features some great acts, Lotus (performing on 1/30), The Wood Brothers (2/23), Aaron Carter (!!!!) (2/24), and lots more.

Make sure to check out any show you can at The Westcott Theater, you will not be disappointed.

Tip: Tickets can be purchased at various locations around town, at The Sound Garden in Armory Square, online here, or at the Westcott itself.


27. January JazzFest

Here’s something I’ve learned about Syracuse since moving back…

This place, LOVES it’s Jazz…


I’m not just talking about a nice little sax here and there, I’m talking about huge jazz bands, huge jazz fests and a huge jazz following.

Usually you have to wait until the summer to visit the Jazz Fest at OCC, but Baldwinsville (yes, another reference to my hometown..sorry!) is hosting a January JazzFest at the historic Mohegan Manor this evening.

If you listen to WAER (88.3 on your radio) in the afternoons, you’ll notice it’s all jazz, which should keep you satisfied until you can see some live Jazz Bands in the area. Jazz is featured Wednesday’s downtown at various locations, and that my friends…is a LOT of fun.

Featuring acts from the ever popular Syracuse Blue’s Fest “SOS” Blues Band, Jim O’Mahoney and more, this is going to be quite the event.

TIP:  Tickets are more than reasonable for a JazzFest coming in at $30 at the door, $15 for students, they can be purchased here.

It starts at 1pm and goes until about 9pm.

You’ll have the opportunity to move around the Mohegan Manor to Club Sushi to check out the various acts, try the tasty foods and partake in an auction/raffle.

I love stuff like this. It’s a great chance to meet new people, get out of the house for a few hours and experience something that is important to this great city.


26. The Polar Plunge

Back outside we go…

Note:  the weather report for today says it should be a high of 21 degrees, which means 1 thing…it’s a perfect day to go swimming in a river.

Is it weird that I hear the Rocky theme song when I think of the Polar Plunge?

polar plunge

The Seneca River is conveniently located in the middle of the quaint town of Baldwinsville…which I am only semi-partial to because, well…I did grow up there (go bees!). And it doesn’t matter if it is the middle of June or the dead of winter; it’s a staple in the town. For decades the townspeople of Baldwinsville, (we’re not as bad as you might think), have gathered in the summer to utilize the river by boating, swimming, floating… or they drop down to their skivvies in the winter, and plunge into the frigid water to raise money for a good cause!

This year, the people and teams will raise money to support 3 local charities, the Greater Baldwinsville Chamber of Commerce, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Central NY Chapter, and the Ronald McDonald House Charities of CNY.

Afterwards, enjoy cuisine from local restaurants and a bonfire to keep warm.

Tip: There is still time to register, you can do it at the event.

This is a weekend event featuring a lot of fun activities, including a bar crawl! Check it out, you won’t be disappointed.

There’s also a polar plunge in Skaneateles!

25. Freedom of Espresso

It is so cold outside its almost unbearable. It’s important to stay warm, which is why today’s thing to do is getting a nice piping hot cup of java. There are many options in syracuse, including Kind Coffee, and also Freedom of Espresso.

The convenient thing about Freedom Of Espresso is the variety of locations, they’re all over town! everywhere you turn you’re close to a location; from Franklin Square to Liverpool, Armory Square and Fayetteville.

They’re local, they roast all of their own coffee and the variety of coffee drinks seems unlimited with the different syrups, strength and sizes.


There’s nothing that soothes the soul on a freezing cold day other than a hot cup of coffee in a welcoming cafe. My favorite location is in Liverpool, near the parkway and quiet. It’s a great place to get work done, read a book or catch up with a friend.

Tip: There’s free wifi at all locations!


Franklin Square

Armory Square


24. Toggenburg Mountain

Ahhh…. welcome to the 2nd leg of your Syracuse winter. It’s been a while since we’ve seen sub-10 degree weather, snow that’s not going to melt, and lots of cars in the ditch on 481…

Lets just say I’m ready for spring…

But, until then…we must do what we can with what we have.

Today’s activity is an outdoor one, so grab your snow pants, your goggles & some hand warmers. This outdoor activity is, yep…you guessed it…Skiing.


Toggenburg Mountain comes in #2 for my favorite CNY Ski areas, next to Lab of course. Located right outside the town of Fabius on Route 80, it’s a mere 30 minutes southeast of Syracuse. Perfect for a day of skiing. And for the novice, lessons are available.

Toggenburg is decent sized with 6 open runs , 4 open chair lifts and reasonable prices. Coming in around $45 for a day pass ($15 with your college ID), you’ll be able to ski from 9am to 9pm. There is equipment available for rent and you shouldn’t forget to stop in for a mid-day meal (or libation) at their award winning Foggy Goggle.

Tip: January is learn to ski month! Buy one Learn To Ski/Snowboard package get one free – all month long! (source)

(Also, for those skiers in the CNY area with smartphones, a great app to get is iski. It features conditions, temperature, prices, directions and more for all of your favorite mountains in the area and throughout the country!)

23. Namu


It’s Wednesday, grab a group of friends and go out to dinner…it’s a nice mix for the middle of the week blues…and we all know with this weather, it’s easy to develop a little thing we’re all familiar with, Seasonal Depression.  We’re always looking for affordable (!!!) places to eat, and Namu ranks right up there with our top spots.

One of my personal favorite places to go for dinner with a group of people is Namu. The intimate space, the familiar wait staff, the delicious food…it all adds up to a perfect combination of dining pleasure. They offer a variety of different options on the menu, from Pad Thai to exotic sushi rolls you’re bound to find something to satisfy your taste buds.

Also, it’s location is pretty prime if you’re looking to grab dinner and drinks downtown. It’s located right on Walton St within walking distance of all the bars in Armory Square. It’s a great spot to hit up for dinner before a night on the town.Location

Tip: Monday has half price sushi & Thursday has half price drinks!

22. Boulangerie Cafe

Ahh, the beloved lunch hour in Syracuse attracts more people to the downtown area than I think happy hour does…but, that’s a very general statement, and I’m probably 100% wrong.

In any case, what I’m getting at is the Hanover Square, Franklin Square & Armory Square area’s of downtown Syracuse attract a lot of people for lunch. From the Armory Square hotspots like Black Olive to Franklin Square you’re going to find a lot of people out between 12-2pm, which in my opinion is pretty cool.


I’ve been to Boulangerie a few times, and each time I have left fully (fully!) satisfied. They keep the menu pretty simple with soup, salad, and  sandwiches. Their prices are standard for the area, and certainly won’t break the bank (another perk to Syracuse).

It’s located downtown on the quiet streets of Franklin Square and has a very “lunch-time” feel to it. Your meal is made for you right at the counter, they have specials daily and the staff is always very very friendly! When the weather gets warm (which don’t expect that to happen anytime soon…) they set up tables outside and you can enjoy your meal under the tree lined Plum St.

Tip: Check out the New England Clam Chowder on Fridays!