August 2019 - ciaooo!

Ariel Leaty and Bryan Yang are the complete antitheses of what you may have thought comedians would look like.

First off, neither of them are white Jewish men with moms incessantly asking when they’re getting married. Secondly, well, I mean, just look at them! United Colors of Benetton couldn’t have done a better job of booking a more diverse, gorgeous duo for their photo campaign. But alas, this article isn’t about how “diverse” the two are, though, we will most likely be using the word a lot because of SEO, but instead, about the launch of the new season of their incredibly funny podcast, “What’s Eating You?”.

Every week, the two comedians examine the world through the lens of food, and try to answer the question, “What’s eating you?”. Guests have included comedians Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central, Viceland, PBS, Amazon Prime), Fareeha Khan (MTV, Reductress), and Anya Volz (The Hard Times, Riot Fest, Bunny Ears).

Started from New Jersey, Now we Here

First, let’s talk about Ariel, 30, model, comedian, and actress hyphenate who made her way through the New Jersey comedy scene before settling in NY. “In New Jersey, I could count on one hand the number of comedy clubs and comics there were. Especially, female comics. But here in NYC, I found a whole group of people who were fun and funny and hustling.” 

The same went for Bryan, 31, who hailed from Sacramento but moved to NYC in search of bigger, and better comedy venues. “Everyone is really trying in New York. Everyone is grinding. You feel it on the train and the streets. Everyone is literally trying to be the best at what they want to do here and I knew I had to come here”. 

Together, the two boast an impressive line of comedy and life credits. Ariel produces a monthly comedy show called “Culture Vultures” that promotes women, people of color, and LGBTQ comedians. Bryan, who’s been doing comedy since he was 18, has been a finalist on Standup NBC and opened up for Michelle Wolf, Ronny Chieng, Gilbert Gottfried, and Greg Proops.

But it wasn’t always that way. 

Ariel burst into the standup scene when she was 24, after a promise to herself to “do something that scared her” and a long obsession for being on SNL. Within 6 months though, she was diagnosed with Leukemia. “I was balding, making jokes about Cancer and dying. It wasn’t the most lighthearted when I did make it on stage. But the whole comedy community really came and rallied around me while I was sick.” 

“Gordon, my cohost from Culture Vultures even collected singles from comedy shows and tried to make it rain on me while I was in the hospital. The doctor had to come in and stop him because money is literally the dirtiest thing on the planet. I was in a bubble!”

For three years Ariel battled Cancer and comedy, and finally, in 2017, Ariel went into remission. Today, she’s back with a vibrant approach to life and spends the bulk of her time producing comedy shows, performing, and of course, eating and talking about their love for eating on the “What’s Eating You?” comedy podcast. Her perspective on life is refreshing, to say the least, “I almost died. I need to live my life doing what makes me happy.”

Comedians call people who don’t do comedy, “civilians”. It’s like we’ve all been to war. We’ve all gone through this trauma. When audiences see you doing really well, that’s like 5 percent of the time. The rest of the time, we’re doing horrible shows. It’s a shared bond. We must be lunatics to continue on this path

Bryan, born in Sacramento to Hmong immigrants from Laos, had an early start to comedy. “My dad loved Johnny Carson and cut out jokes from Readers Digest for me. We always rented funny movies, especially during the 90s. I just knew I always wanted to become a comic”. After flunking out of college, and then later, community college, Bryan went full throttle with stand up. He’s been performing for over 13 years across massive shows and basement bars. “It’s the most fun and fulfilling thing for me, I think. When I do standup, I know this is what I want to be doing”

For the duo, comedy is woven into every aspect of their lives. Perhaps that’s the reason why the two get along so well. The synergy between the two is the type of best friend-ship that puts every Judd Apatow buddy-comedy flick to shame as they finish one another’s sentences, one made even more apparent on their podcast. “Maybe the reason why comedians all get along is that there’s this unspoken bond that we’ve all done trash shows, and yet we’re still here.” After our interview, Bryan is on his way uptown to do a set in someone’s apartment uptown where “everyone gets a donut. I’m not sure why, but it’s just the thing now.”

Yet, the launch of their new podcast goes beyond just talking about food, but being a platform for diverse, underrepresented comedians as well. The first episode, “#LightFlex” dives into the hustle the two go through trying to pursue acting and comedy as diverse looking comedians. Stay tuned for these funny people!

You can follow them:

@whatseatingyoupod on Instagram and Twitter. The podcast is currently available on Soundcloud, and on Apple podcasts asap.

Bryan Yang on Twitter and Instagram. His next show is at Union Hall on August 14th at 8PM. (EDIT: This event has passed)

Chau Mui

Chau is the original New York City stoop kid who cut her teeth hanging out in Union Square, ate soup dumplings in Chinatown and explored this great city by train, foot and everything in between.

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Happy hours aren’t just for weekdays anymore. Even if you’re broke as a joke on the weekend, there’s still a bunch of places for the weekend warrior that wants to stretch their budget in NYC.

Picture this. It’s Friday, and you’ve got plans for happy hour after work with some co-workers and friends, but Saturday and Sunday you’ve got no plans. It’s too beautiful out to spend the whole weekend Netflixing the entire series of Wild Wild Country, and you’re really not trying to have a 3 AM all-night drinking binge. We came up with a list of fun weekend happy hours in NYC, ranging from the dive-iest to the bougie-iest of bars for happy hour deals that stray far, far away from anything remotely Applebees.

Cheers to the weekend!

The Dive Bars

Photo via Yelp User Jimmy Y

The Library

Check out The Library, a dive bar in Alphabet City that features a BOGO happy hour on Saturday from 5-8PM & Sunday 10 -12PM. The buybacks are cute plastic dinosaurs or army men, which can be saved for future use. If you can get past the graffitied bathroom, grab your pint, check out the whatever film is being projected. Don’t forget to put a few quarters in the insanely good jukebox. My friends and I once shotgunned a Tecate with the bartender’s blessing.

Photo by Roey Ahram via Flickr

Local 138

Located across from Ludlow house, this place has an exact opposite feel. Their happy hour runs daily from 4 – 9pm. I was fortunate enough to spend last Christmas eve, drinking four dollar gins and sodas. Don’t let the size fool you, this bar always has a bumping playlist and crowd that’s ready to dance. With friendly and attentive bartenders, it’s never a miss at 138.


Botanica Bar

With a Happy hour that runs 5-8pm daily, it’s going to be hard to not make this your regular bar. Botanica nurses you in the door with discounted wells, wines, and their specialty frozen drinks! It’s a low key spot on Houston that can be missed if you’re texting and walking. Get there early if you’re drinking with the squad, Botanica is pretty big but with DJ Saturday and Karaoke Sunday — they might run outta room.

Photo via Victor Llorente for NY Mag

Winnie’s Bar

After four years away, Winnie’s is finally back! When cheap drinks bring out your inner pop goddess, Winnie’s is a must go. Now located on the second floor, you can twist and shout till 4am without the fear of waking up the neighbors. Try their famous Hawaiian punch, with eight different types of liquor!

For the In Betweeners

Bars for those that wanna of grabbing a cocktail or a pint while and not have to worry about the mysterious stain in the bathroom.

Photo via Timeout


In the East Village after brunch and looking to continue day drinking? Yes, I’ve been in your shoes, a-many times. KeyBar’s BOGO happy hour runs from 4pm-10pm on Saturdays and ALL NIGHT on Sunday and Monday. This happy hour is great for those looking for happy hour deals on more than just wine and beer. Their happy hour special includes a myriad of cocktails such as, a lychee martini, margaritas, and my personal favourite Dragon Tear! A lot specialty shots are included in the deal, if you get a bit too litty — you can save the BOGO cards for next time!

Photo Via Time Out

Home Sweet Home

If you love disco balls, taxidermy, and cheap drinks — this place is for you. Home Sweet Home’s Happy hour runs till 8pm on Saturdays. Underneath the discoball’s shimmer, grab a three dollar well and dance till your burn off that dollar slice from lunch. This place gets pretty crowded after 10pm, so grandfather yourself in and laugh at the suckers that are stuck in line.

Photo via The Folly

The Folly

Perfect for a date night or hanging with the bros, The Folly has cheap drinks and great food. The happy hour runs daily 12 – 8pm, featuring six dollar wines, drafts, and their frozen specialty. The décor is nautically inspired and usually dimly lit. With booths in the front, barside seat, and an upper level available, it’s really easy to find a spot to lay low and let your Jack Sparrow fantasies take over.

For the Bougie

When the riff-raff isn’t for you, but ya still wanna save a buck or two.

Photo Via Excuse My French

Excuse My French

Feed your inner Marie Antoinette at in this luxurious french railroad bar. Excuse my French has 2 for 1 on selected cocktails Saturday 5-7pm and Sundays 2-8pm! Each cocktail on the menu was handcrafted by their in-house mixologist. Don’t be afraid to talk with the bartenders, you might discover a new favorite.

Photo by Noah Devereaux

The Mermaid Inn

This seafood gem not only has a swimming deal on drinks, but on oysters too! Grab your shellfish fix for only a buck per oyster every Saturday and Sunday from 5 -7pm. With three locations, you can always find the time to have a nautical #SundayFunday


Burke & Wills

G’day mate! Fancy a Foster and a bit of exotic barbie? No Wuckas — Burke & Willis has your back every weekend from 5 -7pm. Okay, my Aussie accent is terrible but you’ll still have a great time at this upper west side bar. Known for their unique cut of meats (think kangaroo), you can grab a discount cocktail and potentially pick up some hotties from down under.

Tessie Viola

Tessie Viola is a native New Yorker from Queens. When she's not writing for ciaooo!, she can be caught eating dirty water dogs near Lincoln Center.

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You May Have Heard of Red Hook, But Did You Know There Was a Yellow Hook?

Located in the southernmost tip of Brooklyn, across Staten Island and shadowed by the Verrazano Bridge, Bay Ridge is a quaint, “family-friendly” neighborhood that rarely makes waves in the headlines. While today, Bay Ridge is filled with quaint treelined blocks, brownstones and a lively main street pocketed with mom and pop shops reminiscent of Astoria (just less hipster-y), it’s history was anything but safe. Read on to find out about the wild days of Bay Ridge.

Originally inhabited by the Nyack Native Americans, Bay Ridge was formerly a rich, luscious terrain of marshland. At its height, there were over 100 different bodies of water that once pocketed the land. When the Dutch first landed in 1652 (via The Dutch West India Company, obvi)  they founded the neighborhoods, Bushwick, Brooklyn, Flatbush, Flatlands, and New Utrecht. The area we know as Bay Ridge was named Yellow Hook due to the yellow sand and clay that made up the land.

Photo via: Macaulay

For several years, the land was primarily inhabited by the Dutch, with a smattering of enterprising sailors and merchants from Germany, England, France, and Scandinavia as well as a large number of black slaves brought from Africa. Due to its waterfront access, Bay Ridge was a land ripe for trade, and in 1674, the British captured the land from the Dutch and called it, New York.

Here’s Some Insane George Washington History

On August 26th, 1776, over 34,000 British troops snuck up on George Washington and his troops. Marching through Bay Ridge (near the Verrazano Bridge), Owl’s Head Park and up to 3rd Ave near Greenwood Cemetary, they fired on the American troops. The battle came to be known as the Battle of Brooklyn and was one of the largest in the Revolutionary War.

During the dead of night of August 29th, Washington led his troops into what would become known as one of the greatest retreats in American history, taking his 9,000 troops across the East River to Manhattan, covered by the night and thick fog. He single-handedly saved his troops and allowed them to later win the Revolutionary War.

Battle of Brooklyn

But Wait, There’s More – Yellow Fever

Between 1848-1849 a tirade of Yellow Fever broke out aboard a ship that spread across the waterfront neighborhood. Infected sheets and clothes were tossed into the water, which then polluted the waters and spread the disease to residents of Yellow Hook. The mosquito-borne disease thought to be spread through water led to over 6,000 acres of ponds being drained in Bay Ridge. 

On a side note: New Orleans, where a larger Yellow Fever outbreak had occurred years earlier had “made efforts to purify the atmosphere by firing 600 discharges from cannons. Alas, that only led to more deaths as the sick went into convulsions”. Gotta love the logic of the past where the answer to solving a disease was to shoot bullets into the sky. 

By 1905, Yellow Fever was considered eliminated through the advent of modern medicine and elimination of mosquitos but, the name of Yellow Hook still held nasty memories of jaundiced children and convulsing bodies, so the locals renamed Yellow Hook as Bay Ridge for its gorgeous ridge and the beautiful views of the Bay. 

Photo Via: The New York Times

Insanely Wealthy Bay Ridge

The re-brand to “Bay Ridge” was a rock-solid publicity move and the rich soon swooped in. Bay Ridge became a huge resort town for the wealthy, and glamorous hotels like the Grand View were built along the waterfront. Eventually, the mansions were torn down and turned into apartment complexes as Coney Island grew into popularity, drawing visitors and residents away.

Photo via Public Domain of the Grand View Hotel

Bay Ridge Today

Today, Bay Ridge is a family neighborhood with a huge middle eastern, Irish, Italian and Norwegian, Dutch population. Fifth Avenue is a repository of quaint, mom and pop shops including one of the oldest bars in Brooklyn (Three Jolly Pigeons), oldest ice cream parlors (Anopoli Ice Cream Parlor) and more. Bay Ridge is worth a neighborhood visit for sure.

Photo via Dave Sanders for the New York Times

Chau Mui

Chau is the original New York City stoop kid who cut her teeth hanging out in Union Square, ate soup dumplings in Chinatown and explored this great city by train, foot and everything in between.

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Today’s favorite NYC cult food is bak Kua (肉干), the Malaysian version of beef jerky. Instead of being the primo tough tendons that your friend Harry the powerlifter or Susie, the avid hiker likes to snack on for protein, Malaysian beef jerky is moist, tender, cut into little 3-inch squares and charcoal-grilled to perfection. It’s a special treat for kids after school or a to-go snack for those on the go.

Mountain of Malaysian Beef Jerky

Bak Kwa originally had its roots in China, where it was air-dried and especially popular for the Lunar New Year because, well, it’s red, duh, and Chinese people love anything red to signify good luck.

When the Chinese started immigrating to Singapore and Malaysia, the locals gave it their own spin, mostly, by grilling it over charcoal instead of air drying it for that smoky perfection. Additionally, they marinated it so that the bite is sweet, marinating the meat in various sauces from sesame to soy to oyster.

While there are quite a few variations of jerky in Chinatown, our favorite is located on Elizabeth street. It’s the aptly named, “Singapore Malaysia Beef Jerky”, a tiny 20+-year-old neighborhood staple. Like the mark of a true hole in the wall, the first thing you’ll notice is the scent of crisp, charred smoke with a hint of sweetness wafting through the air. Despite the shops “less than stellar” ambiance, you’ll still walk in.

Mrs. Wong

Many of the employees have worked here for years, including Mrs. Wong (or Wong Tai in Cantonese) who has worked in the establishment for the past 8 years. This part of Chinatown has Cantonese speaking residents, but the owners started in Malaysia and brought the jerky to the states.

Grilling fresh jerky!

Marinated in a variety of spices, soy sauce, and sugar, the shop has a few different varieties of pork, chicken and beef jerky, both spicy and non-spicy. When we visited the shop, it was packed with parents bringing their children for an afternoon snack, locals needing a quick bite, and curious tourists.

The shop is worth a visit, and if you’re looking for a new cuisine to try – make sure to stop by the Singapore Malaysian Beef Jerky!

Chau Mui

Chau is the original New York City stoop kid who cut her teeth hanging out in Union Square, ate soup dumplings in Chinatown and explored this great city by train, foot and everything in between.

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The Upper West Side’s Shady, I Mean, Shanty Past

Before Seinfeld made the Upper West Side the playing grounds for a show about nothing, the UWS was a shantytown of squatters

After Central Park was built in 1853, thousands of lower-income tenants were displaced and created makeshift villages and shacks along the West Side. It wasn’t until the end of the 19th century when large developers (no, not Whole Foods) started building grandiose apartments (like the San Remo that Steven Spielberg calls home), that pushed squatters out and brought yuppies in. I guess you could say yuppies were the hipsters before hipsters?

Photo via Public Domain of Shantytown in 1880.

The Upper West Side Now

You get a lot of the touristy crew around the Museum Of Natural History and Central Park, but other than that, the UWS is one of those neighborhoods that feels neighborhood-y. Maybe it’s the 79th street Farmer’s Market that takes place every Sunday or the cute brunch spots like Jacob’s Pickle that line up Amsterdam Ave, either way, it’s a place definitely worth exploring on a sunny Sunday with friends who won’t complain about going up past 14th Street.

Our guide this week is the swing dancing, Spanish-speaking, business professor (he earned the first doctorate ever in positive psychology), and start up advisor, Orin Davis aka smartest guy I know. 

Having lived in the UWS for the past 5 years, Orin knows the ins and outs and showed us some of his very favorite local hangs. Follow @ciaooomag and @drorindavis on Instagram!


Photo via Foursquare


When You’re Broke as a Joke
Literally everything here is $2. Don’t ask me how they do it. Espresso? $2. Italian hot chocolate? $2. Chocolate chip cookie? $2. Soup of the day? $2!!!!

Photo via Sideways

Grill 212

This authentic Yemenite and Middle Eastern restaurant serves up some of THE most explosive flavors. A husband and wife team run the shop and blend up their own “secret” spices daily and make an incredible homemade hot sauce called S’chug (click to hear pronunciation). Go for the Yemenite Soup, Kibbeh, Hummus with Shwarma, Moroccan Cigars and Kofta. BEST HUMMUS & FALAFEL I’VE EVER HAD.  BUT there are Israeli drinks in the cooler here that are a must try! Including the Malted Beer. PS- tell Ricky we sent you, and she’ll take care of you!


When You’re Digging Some Sweets
The original location was on the same street Edgar Allen Poe wrote “The Raven” for 25 years before it moved here. Something about the ambience here is kitschy meets adorable. The ravens above the door. The massive painting of Edgar Allen Poe. The cracked ceiling and brick walls. It’s a great spot for a date or wine with friends- definitely recommend coming here for dessert and drinks. The cheesecake is DI-VINE.


Irving Farm New York

The lines get long, so be wary, but it moves fast. The shop stretches back but you might have to wait a bit to get seating. It’s a good spot to meet friends to begin your adventure!




Flying Tiger

Tchotchkes and knick-knacks, there are all sorts of random things to buy here for pretty cheap. Kitchenware, Halloween fish masks, art supplies, it’s like a junk drawer at grandma’s house. Quality might not be the best, but hey, you get what you pay for.

Book Culture

This book shop has “blind dates with a book” where the books are wrapped in brown paper. You don’t know what you get until you open it! There’s a note with similar book titles on the cover, and each book is similar in style to the suggestions listed on the cover.


This grocery store has brie cheese for $1.99!! Way cheaper (and smaller) than Zabar’s, but if you’re going for the experience, or to find something special, hit up Zabar’s.


Spanish Portuguese Synagogue

The Spanish Portuguese synagogue is the oldest congregation in the US, and the building is beautiful. You can book and attend a free tour on their site.

Customers relax at the cafe at the 79th Street Boat Basin in Manhattan, New York on August 24, 2005. The 79th Street Boat Basin is the only city-operated marina in Manhattan and has a waiting list of more than five years. Photographer: Jennifer S. Altman/Bloomberg News

79th Street Boat Basin

Most tourists go to Central Park, but locals also hit this one and I love the views. Plus in the summer time it’s a bar!

Symphony Space

Most people go to Broadway (42nd st.), but this place is so far uptown people don’t even realize it’s up here. Tickets are $21 for ages 30 and under and $24 for regular tickets.

Chau Mui

Chau is the original New York City stoop kid who cut her teeth hanging out in Union Square, ate soup dumplings in Chinatown and explored this great city by train, foot and everything in between.

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