BBQ Festival + Country Music + Friends = FUN!

Being a country music fan in New York City falls right above having an infectious disease in order of what people disclose about themselves. I have to hide my love of Tim McGraw, Phil Vassar and Rascal Flats like a skeleton in my closet. That,and the lack of actual country music shows in the tri-state area is why Adam and I often take advantage of when our favorite performers are in driving distance. A few weekends ago, we headed north towards Saratoga to their annual “Taste of Country” festival. The premise was great. Phil Vassar (our fav performer – seriously, watch that guy play the piano!), BBQ food, and friends. We were heading to the festival with two of our good friends, Andrea and Chris. Chris has been Adam’s friend since grade school, and Andrea is a friend of mine from the city – And, I make a pretty darn good matchmaker if you ask me (Patti Stanger, watch out!) if you ask me.

C + A at the BBQ Fest Aren't they cute?

We got to the festival around 3pm – and guess what? The BBQ was pretty much already gone, but we were able to sample some of the tasty (or not so tasty) food. The premise was that we bought tickets and were able to sample a couple bites from each contender, and vote. To be honest, I was a little disappointed in the tidbits of food. The meat was mostly dry, and we could not tell what was pork, beef or chicken – let alone rank each option.  We made the group decision to grab dinner at a local restaurant and head back for the music!

BBQ Samples - What's what? Can you tell?



The concert did not disappoint. Adam and I went on one of first dates to a Phil Vassar concert (at the Berlin, CT county fair – in the rain!) and he always brings me to see him on Valentine’s Day so his shows always hold a special place in my heart. Phil, writes a lot of country music for artists like Martina McBride, and Tim McGraw, but most people never hear his versions of the songs – I think Phil (yes, we’re on a first name basis) does a much better job!

Sing it Phil!


The Celebrities That Moved In Next Door


My boyfriend and I live in quite the neighborhood. We’ve got everything you could ask for at our finger tips. Bed Bath and Beyond,  Starbucks, a large Food Emporium, and lots of Mom n’ Pop restaurants on every corner.  For NYC, this is heaven.  For my wallet, and my waistline, it makes everything a little tighter.

In the past month, it’s gotten even more lively in our neighborhood, as Gina and Pat Neely (you know, the adorable couple from the Food Network) opened their new NYC restaurant within spitting distance from our bedroom window. 

Check out Pat and Gina Neely at the Red Carpet Opening

While BBQ is not the MOST healthy of the food, we could not turn down the chance to tryout their flashy recipes and see if the all the hype was for real! I’m a sucker for new products, restaurants, and makeup.  I’m a marketers dream. We also try to do one date night a week – and this was going to be it.

We didn’t make a reservation, but instead chose to sit at one of the cozy tables at the bar – which meant we could bypass the 60 minute wait for a table. It was perfect, and the staff was lovely! To be honest, I’m not a HUGE meat eater, so BBQ is not my first choice, but Adam loves it and I can always find some fun dishes to try. And the Neely’s was no exception. 

I was a little intimidated by their drink menu – they have more bourbon than I’ve ever seen in one place, and even the Sangria was a little intense (They had Spicy and Green tomato flavors). When I told our waitress that I wasn’t sure about the Sangria, she dared me to try it  and brought me out a “sample” and by “sample,” I mean she brought me a mason jar glass filled with Green Tomato Sangria, and it was fabulous, just the right amount of sweet and tang. Loved it!

Surprise! Green Tomato Sangria is Great!

We ordered a bunch of stuff on the menu to try, with the full intention of bringing some of it home. The grits and shrimp had just the right amount of spice, while the Mac N’ Cheese was my favorite (only in smalls bits, as it was very rich!).

Spicy Shrimp and Grits - AMAZING!

In comparison to other NYC eateries operated by a television host,  the Neely’s BBQ Parlor is by far my favorite, as it’s relaxed and feels like you’re getting real home cooking.

Adam’s Ribs and Spicy Pinto Beans