For The Weekenders: The Classic Travel Bar 101…

Writing last week’s post on some great spots to visit got me thinking…in the past I’ve shared other great tips and ideas such as travel essentials…but there’s one essential I forgot to mention.

Picture this:

You’re leaving the airport and grab a cab/take the metro/hire a car to reach your place of stay. Could be a hotel, home stay, or perhaps a small flat you’re renting out for the next few weeks. You get everything unpacked, then decide to take a walk around town, maybe wind down with some of the local spirits. You pick up a small bottle of local spirits you’ve never tried before and grab some mixers to go with it. Everything’s all fine and good, until you get back to your place. Then it hits you –

…you have no real way to create a proper drink. Depending on what kind of accommodation you picked, you may not even have the proper glassware to make yourself a decent drink. Not to mention, the place you traveled to may not exactly have ice you can trust to chill said drink.

What now?

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….cue this For The Weekenders post. I’m going to share with you the travel bar essentials I take with me on every trip. They’re useful for if you want to feel like bringing a small part of your home bar with you – and they take up just about as much space as a pair of trousers does in your carry on. I’ll start with the “classic” items for this For The Weekenders, and in a follow-up posts share with you more “casual” travel bar essentials that are great for the beach or when you’re backpacking. Check out the photos below each item – they’re actual shots of my personal collection. Pretty soon I’ll be adding this entire kit as a regular item to the shop for sale. Look out for it…and enjoy.

1. The Travel Bar Set by Mundi Westport Group. – There’s travel bar sets, then there’s travel bar sets. While there are many sets out there that feature much more storage space, the key here is you want to keep things compact. Discreet. Simple. The Travel Bar Set by Mundi Westport Group helps you accomplish just that. It’s perfect for two (or one), and comes with a slender zippered carrying case, 3 storage pockets for your choice of travel size spirits, waiter’s corkscrew, 2 compact (collapsible) tumblers, one stirrer, and a pair of ice/olive tongs.

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I like it because it’s discreet enough to pass through customs and none of the objects can be deemed “sharp” for when I’m traveling through more Western countries. The tumblers are great, they expand and retract with ease and are easy to clean, just be sure to dry them off, and you’ve gotta give a gentle but firm “tug and twist” when expanding them – once you do though your drink is good to go with no risk of spillage. The key is to not throw it around like melamine dishware – the same way you wouldn’t throw around your better lowball glasses.

2. What Good is a Travel Bar Set Without a Cocktail Shaker? – Is what one of my friends asked me a while back when I bought this. Getting a proper cocktail shaker is an easy fix – I’ve had a single serve one from Oggi for about 6 years now, meaning it is old as fuck and a little bruised and battered…but it still hasn’t let me down. 18/8 stainless steel with a kind of soft rubber grip exterior and a rubber seal on the inside of the top, it’s excellent for when you need that drink shaken, not stirred. The one in the link above doesn’t have the soft grip exterior, but if you can find it, I highly recommend it.

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This thing has ZERO spillage, and in fact it seals so well it occasionally becomes a task getting both the top and strainer off…but if you’re looking to get an ICE COLD shaken drink without freezing your fingers off, try finding the one with the soft grip exterior.

3. Even With All That, You Can’t Forget the Ice. – Lastly, the solution to all your ice problems. You’ve got two choices here – stainless steel or soapstone? That’s right, I’m talking about whiskey rocks. When it comes to keeping your drinks cool, it really boils down to (pun intended) just how cold you want them. If you’re like me and prefer to actually taste your drink, go with soapstone whiskey cubes. If you like your drinks a bit cooler, go with stainless steel whiskey cubes.

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Wait…whiskey what? Yeah, some people aren’t familiar with these bad boys…now’s the time to get acquainted. The process is simple – wash off your new set THOROUGHLY, taking care not to use any harsh soap (so it doesn’t get absorbed) and dry accordingly. Pop them in the freezer for a few hours (I keep mine in the freezer all the time), drop them into your glass (or retractable tumbler in this case, I recommend just 1 or 2 for the tumbler), and that’s it. Your drink can stay cool without the need of ice or the inconvenience of ice drowning it.

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Word of advice: If you’re going to use these rocks in the cocktail shaker, make sure you ONLY use the stainless steel type.

I’d hate to see a good drink wasted on account of chipped soapstone.

Plus I’d feel pretty bad for the soapstone in general.

As always…

Stay Awesome.

– Rego

For The Weekenders: The Classic Travel Bar 101… is a post from and first appeared on Rego’s Life

 

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For The Weekenders: Saloons, Bull Riding, and Dirty Laundry…

First off…Happy New Year.

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Secondly, I hope everyone had a great New Year’s Eve – I can certainly say I did. This For The Weekenders I thought I’d try something different from the usual pace…you know how it is – upscale lounge bars, jet set destinations, and the like…most of my readers know by now I’m not really into divey bars or anything. Though I have a small confession – a few places were able to capture my attention – call them the kind of hot spots that walk the line when it comes to aesthetic appeal and quality. So here’s the rundown on 3 places that are for that night when you just wanna go casual. Enjoy.

There’s a point in your natural adult life where going to the newest, most modern late night hot spots can get a bit, well, monotonous…you know, the same crowd, the same drinks, the same music. Sometimes it’s nice to have a change. Something where you know for a fact someone can’t really say “I was there last week too! Where were you?” Good news…Crane’s Downtown in Los Angeles serves up just that.

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…with a vault entrance saloon. Yeah. We’re getting original.

What’s the best part about this place? You wouldn’t know it exists because it’s underground. In a safe. That was once part of an old bank (obviously). The owners who bought the place decided to get creative and lo and behold – Crane’s Downtown was born. Though they don’t have a website, which they seriously should in my opinion this place is too good not to have a huge web presence (call me, I’m here to help.), don’t let that stop you from checking them out.

Why? It’s a mix between dive bar, saloon, and an upscale joint. While the three descriptions being fused together sounds odd, it’s actually a better combination than one would expect. It’s cozy. It’s vintage. It’s unique. The price is right. It’s friendly. It’s everything you could ask for. What are you waiting for – get your arse down to Crane’s Downtown this weekend. You’ll love it (and thank me later.)

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Since we’re on the topic of saloons and all, might as well bring to light another great place that mixes a nice modern but gritty feel together…but this time with extreme sports.

I won’t lie – I wasn’t always a city slicker…for a good part of my youth I lived in the country – I’m talking about country so far set in the woods the nearest, “proper” grocery store was 10 miles out and your closest neighbor farther than shouting distance. I learned about cars, wild life, and the joys of target practice….though somehow I could never get into country music. That’s another story though – the bottom line is, there’s one thing in particular that always fascinated me – bull riding. Fortunately, there is a place that can satisfy my secret shame, where no one’s to judge.

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I call it “country pleasures for city dwellers.” – A title in progress, but *shrugs*…

It’s pretty straight forward – there’s a bar. There’s a grill. There’s fire pits. There’s bourbon. Then there’s a mechanical bull that’s just waiting to take down it’s next contender – equipped with an on board camera to capture the look on your face as it tries to throw you. Go ahead and send a thank you card to PBR Rock Bar. What does PBR stand for exactly? Professional Bull Riding. Yeah – these guys mean business.

Here’s what I recommend – make a reservation. You’ll need it with the crowd and all. You’ll also need some quality booze and food – the food’s for after the bull ride. Knock back a few glasses of bourbon on the rocks (try for American Honey), and make sure you’ve got proper riding attire – sturdy denim and proper boots are a must.

Hopefully you’ve trained for this so you can impress that date you brought along and possibly hustle a few of your city friends who never knew you had an interest (or skill) for such things…then get out there and grab your short moment of attention and fame. If you came out alright, my guess is that date of yours will have a cold one waiting for you…among other things.

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Let’s…let’s just replace that with a Dos Equis though. There’s some things I just never could get used to.

Strut past your friends while you’re at it and collect that nice $300 or so pooled bet money and order yourself up a nice meal for the appetite you worked up while showing off your sheer awesomeness to the world – or at least most of Las Vegas…and hey, maybe if you’re daring enough after about 3 or 4 glasses of bourbon, you can even get into singing “Save a Horse Ride a Cowboy.”

Just maybe.

I’ll leave that one up to you though…

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After all that I’d say you’ll pretty much work up a sweat.

Might as well not stop there and keep going – though your mother may have said never air your dirty laundry, I think you can make an exception – this is a different kind, the type that’s a whole lot more fun. Might as well finish off that weekend right with a little place back in L.A…

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Following the rough and ready style weekend I think this is a great place to kick back and wind down…known for it’s early 20th century look and feel, it’s one of those places where you know you’re some place nice but don’t have to necessarily dress for the occasion – and really, what’s better than that?

This one changes the station on that radio you have there though – Dirty Laundry (that’s the name of the place, by the way) switches to rock and hip-hop for music while keeping things interesting with their various and peculiar but eye catching décor, you’ll feel like you’re in a film intended for the modern but brilliantly mixed up kind of crowd that gets you wanting to join in all the fun. Be prepared for hot people…you’ve gotta appreciate the plethora of hot people…and drinks. Gatsby himself would probably be seen slipping into a place like this once or twice in his day.

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Dirty laundry never looked so clean.

As always…

Stay awesome.

– Rego

For The Weekenders: Saloons, Bull Riding, and Dirty Laundry… is a post from and appeared first on Rego’s Life

For The Weekenders: The Unconventional Weekend…

Alright so I know this For The Weekenders has been a bit late, but I have good reason. Business is growing and I’m thinking of giving the official site a revamp. I’ll keep you guys posted….but for now, that’s not what’s important. What’s important is…

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I’m thinking this weekend should be a little…unconventional. With a few of my favorite things – that I’d like to share with you. In traveling, you pick up a few habits, lose some, and gain a few customs and mannerisms. Somehow, seeing and adapting to other cultures changes you – and leaves you a bit melancholy and nostalgic all at the same time when you move onto the next location.

It’s that same feeling you get when you identify with your own background, but on a slightly smaller scale. You’ve discovered something new and different, and you’d like to experience it again.

Let’s start simple. I was in this consignment store the other day, and came across a few scaled model ships…when I was a kid, I was very much into model cars, ships, bikes, etc. This is back when video games weren’t that big of a deal, and getting your hands dirty with a bit of paint or climbing trees was more fun than staring at a screen all day (or as I like to call it, before my eyeballs and eye drops formed a loving relationship).

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Yeah, I was that kid.

Anyway – so there was this scaled wooden ship, and it brought back a pretty strong sense of nostalgia. Thought about buying it, but it was overpriced – so instead, I did some digging…and found this really great store that specializes in scaled, luxury model cars, boats, and other accessories, all at great prices.

If you’re interested in swinging by, the place you’ll be looking for is called Zeidy’s. Don’t let the look of their site fool you – what they have in store will knock any automotive/nautical enthusiast’s hat off. The piecework is unbelievably detailed, which only projects the quality they offer even more. Located at 450 W. 41st St., Miami Beach, Florida just east of North Beach Elementary, this is a definite go to spot for a quiet morning out.

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Let’s take another walk down memory lane though. Somewhere a bit further away, and to a country where ships were probably the most vital asset in the days of frequent naval trade. If you’ve ever been to the U.K., you may have been fortunate enough to check out London…if not London then maybe Manchester – and if neither of those well, I’d say it’s time to book a ticket and go explore.

For those of you who have actually lived there, or just want to try the experience while still keeping a more domestic range, South Beach has a solution, depending on how stringent you are in regards to authenticity.

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Then again, appreciating pure style never hurt anyone, either. With a flair of unconventional art and a mix of classic with modern, Lord Balfour, a British hotel, makes a statement all its own. Strategically placed near the heart of all things artsy, cultural, and a memorable nightlife scene, it’s a fusion of different cultures residing amongst each other.

So what do you do with a place like this? Well, you’ll book The Lord Balfour suite – a one bedroom, thoughtfully furnished suite with bamboo flooring, leather lounge chairs, and a 40″ HDTV to watch Mr. Bean.

Just make sure it’s 3 weeks in advance – you’ll get a comfortable 15% off if you do. Be sure when you check into your room to remind yourself that this isn’t just a work of art – but a tip of the hat to history, honoring Arthur J. Balfour – a man who once quoted that “Enthusiasms move the world.”…and indeed they do. So when you head down to the bar and order up a drink, just before walking across the street to the beach…be sure to grab some tea, shaken with gin, fresh pressed citrus, egg whites, and aromatic bitters – “Tea Time” to be precise – and toast to Arthur’s words of wisdom…

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…because it’s with enthusiasm, that everything from that chair you’ll be sitting in, that glass you’ll be sipping from, and that room you’ll be lounging in was made. Life’s all about living good experiences – you won’t wanna pass up this one.

From there, if you’ve had your fill of room service and want to dine out on the town, I know of a place…that reminds me of a place….but has way more than that place.

Was that vague enough for you?

Good.

Always good to have a bit of mystery.

Aside from that, it’s also always good to have a Brazilian Steakhouse and lounge all in one building. Maybe it’s for convenience’s sake, maybe it’s just because the sounds of Steakhouse and lounge sounds good in the same sentence.

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That’s because they are good in the same sentence…and setting. So what’s a good place to go to when you’ve got the cravings for an upscale buffet? Well, make a reservation because you’re headed to Porcão Farm to Grill. Why? The fact that they have all you can eat meats plus a seafood option for the non-red meat enthusiasts makes it a great place to bring friends (or dates) with different food preferences.

With a great food menu that’s unique and seasonal, being sourced from local farmers, ranchers and fishermen, saying you’ll just “enjoy” eating to your heart’s content would be a bit of an understatement…and once you’re done with that shuffle upstairs to Kao Lounge for live DJs and epic music.

If you’re looking for something more intimate, and your date likes to try new things, make your way from the regular lounge to Kao Smoke. Do your homework on smoking and cigars so there’s some interesting conversation – and try not to choke if you’re not much of a smoker.

kao smoke

At the same time enjoy yourself – cigars are a unique experience…everyone should try them at least once.

Life is meant to be experienced – sin a little. You’ve done worse 😉

As always…

Stay awesome.

– Rego

For The Weekenders: The Unconventional Weekend… is a post from and appeared first on Rego’s Life

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Musings Episode 29: Lifestyle…

Alright so…as you all know, my blog mainly focuses on lifestyle enhancements. But lately a lot of what I’ve been finding is, when you Google how to improve your lifestyle, or getting more from your money to enjoy life, most people talk about just being frugal, money conscious, or maintaining a dreaded “budget”…..damn I don’t like that word. Not in the slightest.

The question is….why? Why is it that lifestyle is associated with money? Well, for one – money is the modern day bartering system. So alright, fair enough there…

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…but why is it that people believe that money is what limits them? I believe in splurging and living practically – the best of both worlds. I’ve been blasted before because of this – many stating that method of thinking is easier said then done – but if you really look at how society is taught to utilize money, you’ll realize it’s not about budgeting, or clipping coupons, or getting that no-frills flight for a discounted ticket rate.

It’s about the way you look at money….and the way many are taught to look at money is a very weird way. I know I keep banging this into your head but as a whole, people are taught to be consumers. Now I’m not saying consumerism is bad, not at all. But the way in which you’re taught to be a consumer, may be detrimental to the way you’re also taught to achieve your real desires, and real goals.

There’s a saying – Americans live to work – Europeans work to live.

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What is living? It’s a definition custom tailored to each and every individuals concepts and goals. Yet still, as a majority, people are mostly taught what living is – not to define and teach themselves what it is.

Learning can be done two ways – the lazy way, or the easy way with a touch more effort on your part. You’re probably thinking “lazy and easy are the same, aren’t they?” – not necessarily so.

Lazy is auto pilot – which hey, sometimes I love autopilot. Push notifications, auto updates, automated money making, etc, etc….lazy can be fun as hell.

Easy can be auto pilot, but in order to be auto pilot, there has to be some sort of structure built first – when you think about it, lazy stems from easy, except it’s already put in place.

That’s how many who have learned how to live, have learned it the lazy way. This is especially so in any country where the mass majority intakes large amounts of tube time (television, if that didn’t register with you).

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Weeks ago I was at a friend’s working on a car with them, it was the weekend…and as we were driving out of the neighborhood, for the first time I saw a lot of people’s garage doors open – and when I looked inside…what do you think I saw?

Stuff.

Garages filled with stuff.

Here we were, driving through the community and where I thought most garages would look like their intended use, instead I saw tons of stuff, piled on top of each other however neatly people saw fit – and not being used. Forgotten about. Stored away for…whatever reason.

That’s not caring about yourself. That’s not the good kind of selfish. That’s temporary gratification to fulfill short term desires.

The commercials come on, they tell you you need this, and you want that, and you’re missing this, and you’re home wouldn’t be complete without that – and your daughter needs to learn how to be a mom, and your son needs to learn all things rough and tough and mechanical and tactical all before they’ve both even hit puberty. They tell you you’re better off with this credit card, because you can get more things – then months later if you’re still in lazy mode and the bill hasn’t been paid, they say it’s okay that you’re in debt and this and that company can help you – it’s not your fault, but those damn people who enticed you and held an imaginary gun to your head making you sign up for that card and this loan for that boat. They further encourage you – they say even if your financial track record is shot to shit it’s still okay, because they’ll help you finance and consume more irregardless, if you’re tired of that 2012 CLK500 and want the 2013 one now…

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….doesn’t all this sound exhausting?

but alas – you’ve learned the auto pilot way of living – what do you care? It hardly took any effort….

Wait though. You do care? Good, that’s what I want from you. To care. About yourself. Be selfish – in a good way. Not the way you’ve been taught.

Plain and simple, the easy way of living is this – exercise your imagination. Creativity. Attitude. Looking inside yourself – not at the TV, not listening to the radio commercials, not reading the junk literature…but looking inside yourself. Taking time out, day by day – even 30 minutes – that’s just 2% of your day – to strike up a conversation with you. Get to know what you like, what you want, what’s fun for you, what you enjoy buying – not what everyone else says that should be liked, should be desired, is fun, and is enjoyable to buy.

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There’s two roads – the road less traveled, and the most well known road. Take the less traveled one – because really, when you think about it, that’s your road. Free of pot holes, miles and miles of smooth, unbeaten pavement.

When you begin to teach yourself how to live, how to desire, and how to acquire – then you’re learning how to live – because you won’t be going off any cookie cutter template that’s already been made – but you’ll have your own identity. Side note – go ahead and subscribe on my official site for a free ebook on how to do this.

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You’ll be original in your own way. You’ll stand out above the crowd, and you’ll do it for you – not for anyone else. You’ll be selfish enough to find out and explore what makes you happy…and you won’t care whether or not you have the latest car or the newest iPhone – because you’ll go after what you really want, and not people judging you by what you should want.

It takes more effort, but the effort is minimal, and in fact, less stressful.

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Remember this – the person you see in the mirror – that’s your competition. That’s your audience. That’s your follower. When it comes to your life, and how to live it, as long as you do it in a positive and constructive way, to better yourself – then the only person you have to focus on getting things done for, is yourself.

Stay awesome. 😉

– Rego

Musings Episode 29: Lifestyle… is a post from and appeared first on Rego’s Life

For The Weekenders: Surfboard DIY, Bombay Bliss, Ninja Lessons

This summer’s been hot.

Too hot.

hot-weather

It’s the kind of weather where all you want to do is stay out of the heat, go swimming, and avoid the beach during high noon at all times for the sheer fact the sand will burn your skin off…so you wait until evening instead.

Well, while waiting until that time – why not be productive, not to mention creative….? Can’t think of any ideas…? I can.

Three words.

Surf.

Sand.

Sun.

Grain Surboards can help you out.

Grain Surfboards

In my most recent musing, I talked a bit about DIY – well, this is the perfect chance to exercise that side of yourself. You can thank the guys at Grain Surfboards for this. Formerly wooden boat builders, these guys thought it’d be a great idea to take the concept and put their time and effort into something smaller, more transportable, and, well, fun. Not that boating isn’t at all fun…but honestly – which one do  you think your date would be up for more?

Hey I know, we should build a BOAT!

Or….

Hey I know, let’s make our own surfboards (then head for the water so we both have excuses to see if both of us look good with less of our regular clothing on)!

Grain Surboards 3

The answer is obvious.

So it’s pretty straight forward – you google their website and head over to their online store – pick a board that’s to your liking (and body composition) and go from there. Wait a while for the mail to arrive (plan the order early on in the week to get it at a suitable time before the weekend), then sign for the package – receive it calmly until your door closes then proceed to tear it open to shreds like a 5 year old at Christmas.

Get in your zen moment, and call up that special someone you’ve been trying to get out and about – finally, you’ll have something interesting to suggest doing other than the same old lounge bar/restaurant deal. Head to your garage and push aside that floor jack and Snap-On tool set – from here up until the next few days your garage is now your “wood work shop.” Put on some nice music to work to, and create speak easy conversation while crafting your masterpiece and showing him/her the satisfaction of creating something so unique.

If that’s too much for you or you just really dig classes – sign up for one of their numerous classes now, and meet some new acquaintances.

Days later hit the beach up and enjoy your finished project.

Grain Surboards 5

You haven’t tried surfing until it’s on your own hand made board….

Then again if you haven’t tried surfing – you might want to learn first. Just a thought.

Speaking of hot, if you’re into hot and healthy foods it’d be a good idea to hit up a decent restaurant….not just decent but unique, original…inviting.

I’ve always been a fan of lamb…and with Bombay Bliss, there’s more than one way to have it. Now hang on – don’t let the drab website fool you – their site is nothing compared to their food. With so many options, it’s not wonder its a hidden gem. Forget Chicken Tandoori – so typical – let’s go for the works and start with Mumbai Pav Bhaji, a mixture of flavors and ingredients, my favorite two being mushrooms and bell peppers – win.

That was just to tease the pallet. Continue with either soup or salad, and have your fill and more with Spinach & Mushroom soup, or Asian corn with Edamame. Sit back and enjoy all this and take in your surroundings while waiting for the main “event” – I’d recommend sharing.

Bombay Bliss 2

Nobody likes to feel like they’re gonna burst. Plus…there’s always desert to follow. What – you didn’t think it was gonna be some boring chip shop menu did you? Think again.

Hands down the main event for me is Lamb Boti Masala….tender, succulent tandoori lamb cubes surrounded and embraced by a hot & spicy sauce. Now I’m not usually one for spicy – unless it’s Kimchi and a few others – but this….this place – and this dish, quickly changes my mind when I think of all the great (and aromatic) options they give to fuel your stomach.

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This is the perfect spot for friends, family, or even a date. The setting is neutral but welcoming, with a touch of class….I don’t go many places that lack class. So it’s a given you’re always being steered in the right direction 😉 If you’re vegetarian, they have plenty of options for you too. So go ahead, sit back, relax, eat to your heart’s content, and if you can manage grab some dessert after. Or before…I’ve always liked my dessert before dinner. *nods*

But let’s say after all the chill, calm zen moments you’ve had, you wanna take that inner peace and discipline and turn it into something cool…like being a ninja for a day. Or 3….or 5. You get the idea – ninjas = cool – and for a good long while they were the experts on espionage.

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Well now you can take classes at Bujinkan New York Dojo, and be on your happy way to being one step closer to cooler…it also teaches serious discipline and self-awareness – not to mention a bunch of useful self-defense moves and the spiritual aspect of combat. With lessons every Tuesday and Thursday – it’s a chance you don’t wanna miss.

Right now they’ve got a trial month going on – $79. Keep in mind – this isn’t a place you can just drop into and check out – they want their students to focus fully on their training with no distractions – so walk-ins where people watch aren’t really allowed. They also have special workshops the first Saturday of every month – a different item on the menu every time. When you sign up – you’re signing up for a commitment – not a casual night out.

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What makes their classes so unique? Check out an excerpt from their site:

Any good martial art can teach you to kick, grapple or use a weapon. The Bujinkan arts differ in that we pursue the essence of the martial arts: living and training with the proper spirit. This can lead to a just and prosperous life… devoid of this spirit, one can be lead to ruin.

The Bujinkan arts emphasize the development of character. The qualities we strive for are honesty, desire to learn and perseverance. A warrior is always calm and never surprised by any situation. In this way, we neutralize an opponent’s ability through an effective economy of movement.

If you really wanna learn the art of ninjutsu – this is it.

Stay awesome 😉

– Rego

For The Weekenders: Surfboard DIY, Bombay Bliss, Ninja Lessons is a post from and appeared first on Rego’s Life