Now that your bellies are stuffed and the tryptophan has fully kicked in, we’re here to remind you that tomorrow is Black Friday. So, not only did you have to trek to the in-law’s on the worst travel day of the year, tomorrow you get go stand in line with a bunch over-stuffed Americans or completely-unaware-of-their-own-space tourists from far-away lands just to trade your hard-earned dollars for this year’s latest and greatest mountain of chattel. We are all about simplifying your life at ON THE REAL., so we’ve enlisted the aid of our friends, children and wives to help make your holiday shopping as painless as possible. Every day between now and the end of December we’ll be posting OTR Presents. with gift ideas for everyone from that sweet, wonderful person you call your better half to that bitchy great aunt that you put up with twice over the course of the next month.Today we’ll kick it all off with something for him. How about a Benchmade suit from Freemans Sporting Club? These hand-crafted suits are made right here in New York City using only the finest new and vintage fabrics by simply the best tailors in town. Completely custom versions start at $3,950 with their sewn-in-Brooklyn Readymade siblings entering the fray at $2,200. They also have tons of other men’s apparel and accessories that are sure to be worn lovingly for years to come.
Before kids, before meaningful responsibilities and certainly before this forum of ours moved from infancy to toddlerdom, there was a cozy and rustic tavern tucked away in a nook at the crossroads of Little Italy and the Lower East Side. Many long afternoons were spent at the perfectly worn zinc bar with great friends and loves nibbling on Devils on Horseback and Smoked Trout, sipping on French 75’s. Sadly, that tavern was too long forgotten by this writer and unfairly so.Freemans at the end of Freeman Alley just off Rivington is back on the radar and it’s as great as it has ever been. No matter how many times you’ve been, Freemans always feels like a find…like you really have to know the underground byways and secret handshakes of this town. When you enter the blue door at the end of the graffiti adorned lane, you are greeted with what they describe as this “rugged clandestine Colonial American tavern” with walls loaded with peeling paint and vintage taxidermy. The menu follows the same mantra, “simple, rustic and inspired by early American traditions.”For brunch, the Piedmontese Cheeseburger is amazing and the Smoked Trout is second only to the ones I smoke at home…but, I digress. The Roast Pork Sandwich is one that also must be tried with its blanket of thinly sliced pickled zucchini and garlic mayonnaise piled between two slices of grilled peasant bread. Dinner brings other fantastic goodies. To start, go for the House Made Country Paté, the Hot Artichoke Dip or Steamed PEI Mussels. For the main, their Whole Grilled Brook Trout is always a winner as is whatever their Daily Market Fish happens to be. Or for something a little meatier, go for the Grilled Pork Loin or Colorado Lamb Stew.Whichever your culinary poison, wash it all down with one of their classic cocktails or traditional old-world wines. If you’ve never been to Freemans, go now. If it’s been a while, let this serve as your reminder. If you go all the time, call me an idiot and have a nice day.