4 Spring Time Activities to Get Rid of the Winter Blues

By | Updates

1. Binghamton Parks
Ostiningo Park
If you’re like me, you have been yearning to take your workouts outside. Binghamton is home to beautiful parks that will make you feel calm and relaxed during your sweaty adventures. For students on campus, the nature preserve is your best friend. Get lost one afternoon, but not too lost, and navigate the serene setting in your backyard. My goal is to make it to Otsiningo park located off of Front Street. I hear there are two and four mile loops that are perfect for a warm spring day running around a quiet lake.
2. Hanging in the Quad
Binghamton Quad
This is as college as it gets. Frisbees flying, guys in tank tops and girls in sun dresses will flood the quad. Now that the construction isn’t consuming Binghamton’s free space, this large grassy area will fill up quick as soon as the sun breaks through those clouds. Class will seem miles away and attendance numbers will go down. Grab a snack to eat and bum out with your friends for hours to catch up with them and on your Vitamin D levels that have been low all winter.
3. Eating Outside
Whether you want to make a picnic for the quad or head downtown for a nice lunch with friends, eating outside brings spring activity into the summer time bliss category. There’s nothing more relaxing than eating a nice fresh meal with a slight breeze cooling off the blistering sun. If you’re old enough, grab a drink and sit back and ignore graduation for just a few more hours. Burger Mondays is set to open outdoor eating and drinking this year so keep an eye out for that. And Zona’s deck can’t be beat on a bright sunny day.
4. Spring Fling

One of the biggest days of the spring semester is Spring Fling. A full day of fun, food and festivities brought to you by the SA. This year is going to be even bigger with Matt and Kim headlining on May 3rd. All of campus will be alive and excited to watch student groups perform throughout the day, have fun on the many rides across the quad and grab some funnel cakes from the food vendors lined up the spine.
As soon as you feel that sun on your skin, take advantage of these activities. Before you know it, you will be back from school and locked inside working the summer away. Get out there and enjoy all Binghamton has to offer this spring.
Spencer Kostrinsky – CommuniKey Intern and food blogger at Fooduncovered.com

Southern Tier Crossfit: Downtown’s Newest Fitness Facility

By | Weekly Freebie Rundown

What is crossfit exactly? Is that the thing with the tires and stuff right?

We get both of these questions fairly often. Officially, crossfit is a work-out regime that incorporates high-intensity interval training, Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, gymnastics, calisthenics, strongman exercises and other disciplines. But if you talk to any hardcore crossfitter they’ll tell you that it’s much more than that; it’s a lifestyle and the ultimate way to train your body and your mind.

Luckily for us Binghamtonians (I think that’s right?) there is now a crossfit center located right downtown. Southern Tier Crossfit is Binghamton’s newest fitness facility. They opened their DT facility last summer and are dedicated to providing you with the ultimate crossfit experience. ST Crossfit holds classes every day, throughout the entire day, which is conducive to almost any schedule.

ST Crossfit strives to provide an environment that is supportive and free of intimidation. So if you’re looking to get into a great shape and become physically and emotionally healthier, Southern Tier Crossfit is the perfect solution.

PS: ST Crossfit completely renovated a vacant building, adding to the economic development of downtown. Also, check out their new sign. The owner built it with his bare hands. It’s pretty awesome.

The Café That Has You Crawling On All Fours

By | Weekly Freebie Rundown

Nezuntoz (think knees and toes) located on Pennsylvania Avenue connected to Weis Markets is serving up everything from soup to espresso. Just a short drive from campus, this café has a variety of options to choose from on their vibrant menu. The colorful chalkboards are the first thing that hits your senses when you walk through the door. With so many delectable sounding dishes to choose from, you may want to look at the menu beforehand and maybe even place your order online and it will be ready for pickup as soon as you get there.
My first time in their doors I had to go after one of the many Panini sandwiches with interesting names that I heard great reviews about. I settled on the hungry hiker which has turkey, Muenster cheese which happens to be my favorite, avocado and bacon aioli. It was the aioli that sold me because anytime you read a menu item and it says aioli, it basically means another added layer of flavor. It was a heavy sandwich because of the three types of fats, but the crunchy Panini bread that grilled up perfectly in the press was definitely my favorite part. For me, the bread is always the most important part of a sandwich and Nezuntoz didn’t disappoint.
Nezuntoz sandwich
Besides sandwiches, they have breakfast options, a plethora of coffee creations, homemade soups and salads and plenty of sweet treats to finish your meal. Grab a bite to eat before you head into the supermarket to pick up your groceries for the week to try and recreate the amazing meal you just had. It’s a fun thing to try one night a week: buy ingredients to imitate your favorite meal at a restaurant to see if you can do it any justice. Grab this week’s freebie fast to enjoy a spot serving up food that satisfies all ages.
Spencer Kostrinsky – CommuniKey Intern and Binghamton Food Blogger at Fooduncovered.com

3 Restaurants To Satisfy That Asian Craving

By | Top Spots

You’ve found your favorite Chinese takeout by now. Buffet Star is getting old and you want to awaken your palette with something other than sesame chicken. Here are three Asian food restaurants that break the norm of Binghamton eating.
Moghul Fine Indian Cuisine
While on the pricey end of the spectrum, Indian food brings variety with different spice blends and cooking techniques. The tandoori oven is a large clay cooking vessel that is near impossible to recreate at home. The item being cooked gets charred on the outside locking in all of the juices, which creates for amazing meat. With a side of jasmine rice and garlic naan, you’ll think twice next time you go to order that lunch special from Panda 3.
Nhu Y
Pho Nhu Y
Vietnamese food is my favorite type of cuisine out there. With refreshing ingredients and dynamite soups, it’s a nice replacement to a heavy Chinese meal. The dish to get, which happens to be my favorite soup from any culture, is the pho. It’s a bowl of noodles, thin sliced beef and fixings swimming in a flavorful beef broth. This restaurant has the best I’ve had in Bing so far. Get there now to see what wonton soup has been lacking all this time.

Thai Time

There is a lot of variety in the Thai category throughout Binghamton and I’d figured I’d add this to the list since there are still many students who haven’t been here. It is located right on Front Street for those that like to walk for their food. The atmosphere is inviting and the exposed brick walls give it a trendy vibe.  A nice big plate of chicken curry is worth the trip. Maybe I’ll see you there next weekend hovered over a delicious pile of Pad Thai.
Spencer Kostrinsky – CommuniKey Intern and Food Blogger at Fooduncovered.com

Introducing Fat Boys Pizza

By | Weekly Freebie Rundown

This week’s “business of the week” is Fat Boys Pizza. Instead of doing a generic review we’d thought we’d do something a little different. We got 4 of the 5 CommuniKey co-founders together to sit down, have a few beers, try some Fat Boys Pizza, and share their thoughts.

Before we get started here’s some background info on our business of the week. Fat Boys opened in late 2013 in the spot that Cosmo’s Corner (R.I.P) used to occupy. Fat Boys offers up pizza, wings, subs, calzones and munchies. They are currently take-out only but have future plans of putting in a sit-down/bar area.

So begins the group review….
“What have you heard about Fat Boys”
Adam-Good pizza
Dave-I didn’t know much
Jimmy-That it’s where Cosmos used to be.
Lee-Good things

“Now that you’ve taken your first bites, what do you think?”
Adam-I’m diggin’ it. The dough is amazing
Jimmy-Kind of reminds me of Tony’s in Endicott
Lee-Me want more

“What would you order next time?”
Adam-Chicken parm sub
Dave-I want to try the garlic knots
Jimmy-The chicken, bacon, ranch pizza

“Would you go back to Fat Boys”
Adam-Yes. Can’t wait til the bar section opens!
Dave-For sure

That’s it. Keeping it sweet and simple. Go enjoy Fat Boys this week!

Zona: Helping Bring Binghamton Back

By | Weekly Freebie Rundown

This week’s freebie highlights a restaurant that exemplifies Binghamton pride. With daily free food contests on their Facebook page, charity work and happy hours with insane deals; Zona & Co. Grille is looking to connect you with the town you love. If you haven’t already eaten a burrito with the reoccurring CommuniKey deal, now is your chance to get into Zona’s doors for free.

Owner Mike Tulsey is a dedicated business man that continues to put on events to help his business grow and increase community involvement. Whether it’s a contest partnering with the Binghamton Senators or working with students of BU, Mike wants to help everyone he can. He is a proud supporter of the CommuniKey program and the recent addition of the Zona happy hour further shows his support. On Fridays from 5-7 come grab great drink deals throughout the two hours and a limited amount of free food for the first CommuniKey customers to show up.
ZonaFor first timers to this Binghamton restaurant, Zona’s menu is a compilation of bar food classics with a hint of Tex-Mex inspiration. You will never leave hungry as the portions are as big as the over sized plates they are served on. They also feature specials each week that are creative chef inspired dishes. Their Facebook page is your best bet to find out what they’re are cooking up today and any hints of contests to come. Be sure to follow them for that information and random 25% off deals for CommuniKey members throughout the week.

Zona & Co. Grille is trying to push the envelope with new additions to their menu and cater to students and Binghamton residents the best they can. They are always looking for feedback so let them know what you want to see changed, what you really enjoy or a crazy idea for a new menu item. Hurry in for this week’s freebie to get a taste of what everyone’s been talking about at a restaurant that is helping to reface downtown Binghamton.
Spencer Kostrinsky – CommuniKey Intern and Binghamton Food Blogger at Fooduncovered.com

A Burger For Any Day

By | Top Spots

This week I had the pleasure of sitting down with owner/head chef and family man Matt Jones of Binghamton’s Burger Mondays. His focus is serving up bar food at a fine dining level of execution and presentation. With the three year anniversary of Burger Mondays coming up this Friday, I was excited to talk to this businessman about the past, present and future of this student favorite on Henry Street.

Tell me about your start as a chef?
“I went to Sullivan County for two years for professional chef training and then to Oneonta to get my bachelors in food service and restaurant administration.”
Matt knew from the beginning that he eventually wanted to own his own place. He set himself up with front of the house and back of the house knowledge so that he could follow his passion of cooking, but still be aware of the business side of running a full service restaurant.

Walk me through how you started and developed Burger Mondays?
After working at Binghamton’s well known upscale eatery Number 5 for eight years as executive chef, he knew that in order to support his family and take it to the next level he needed to become an owner.
“I’m trained in fine dining, but that’s not where the money is in Binghamton. You got to have something that appeals to the masses so what I did was take fine dining to a bar.”
His concept has continued to please palates of all ages for three years. It’s the dedication to ingredients and his house made preparations that show on your plate. From the burger blend that is sourced from three different butchers, fries that take over 24 hours to prepare and a pickle that has to brine for two weeks; your plate of food starts well before you walk in the door. It’s this type of food service that is exciting for foodies like me and Burger Mondays manages to keep their prices low even with this intensive labor of love.

What is your inspiration for the new menu?
Matt is always thinking of his customers and he wants to be serving quality food that you want to be eating.
“This menu wasn’t about pushing the envelope. It’s more wholesome, recognizable flavors with my little spin and a more upscale type of feeling, but still not getting pretentious. If one guy wants to come in an order a steak and the other wants to get finger foods, they will be served at the same level in terms of execution and presentation. That is important to me.”
Whether you’re a student walking out of a test or a top lawyer coming off a big case, Matt wants you to be able to walk into Burger Mondays and have a meal suitable to your wants and price range. This is one of the many factors of his success. He doesn’t just serve excellent tasting food; he is consistently thinking about how he can improve his customer’s experience.

With a successful three years under your belt, where does it go from here?
Burger Mondays in the short term now has a permit for outdoor seating and outdoor drinking. With spring time in sight, you can now swing by, order up a drink and a burger and enjoy the beautiful weather. Matt also has plans for another new menu that takes it to the next level.
“I’ve got some fun ingredients coming in. Proteins coming from local farms that will push the envelope.”
He also started selling his own sauces in large quantities to customers that want to bring some of Burger Mondays home. Now you can enjoy that creamy aioli on your turkey sandwich right on your couch while watching Netflix. Matt is thinking long term and a second location is a possibility, but he doesn’t want to sacrifice the quality at his original location by spreading himself too thin. He thinks growth will start with the house made sauces and plans of a possible pizza shop could be in the works down the road.
He says,“We’re not stopping at 23 Henry Street.”
From his involvement in the kitchen, working the social media and doing paper work to make sure the wheels go round; Matt is a professional businessman that works hard to give back to the city he loves.

The CommuniKey team is happy to show their support and give the stamp of approval to Burger Mondays. With three years gone, it is exciting to see how the next three will look like for this fine dining meets bar food empire.
Spencer Kostrinsky – CommuniKey Intern and Binghamton food blogger at fooduncovered.com

What The Muck? Muckles’ Ink Is What’s Up

By | Weekly Freebie Rundown

Muckles’ Ink is the proverbial newcomer to the Binghamton screen printing scene but they’ve already made a big splash with their innovative designs, many of which you’ve probably already seen around town. Muckles’ specializes in high-end screen printing and giclee ( pronounced zhee-KLAY) paper prints, but what sets them apart is their attention to detail and superior design skills. I was able to catch up with the owners, Casey & Chauna (both BU alums) last week and I was able to ask them a few questions about their business:

Q: When did you start Muckles’?

A: The business was officially founded on 4/5/2012 but we’ve been doing this unofficially for years.

Q: Why did you start the business?

A: The business kind of just found us. Chauna had experience with screen-printing in high school and when we found out from a family friend that the owner was selling his equipment we decided that it was the perfect time to start our own thing.

Q: What do you want Muckles’ Ink to be known for?

A: Wearable art. We have many friends who are artists and we wanted to give them a way to showcase their work. We also want to be the go-to spot for well made and designed apparel.

So whether your org/team/club/frat or sorority is in need of some “proper prints” or you’re just looking for some Parade Day or Bar Crawl shirts for you and your pals, Muckles’ will take great care of you. We went to Muckles’ for our 2014 CommuniKey Parade Day shirts and we couldn’t be happier with the results.photo-55

Warm Up With Sip of Seattle

By | Weekly Freebie Rundown

Sip of seattle menuBinghamton weather has been numbing your toes and making the morning commute frigid over the last few weeks. Here is your chance to defrost with a free drink from Sip of Seattle on Washington Street. This week’s freebie is good for more than just warming your soul. The caffeine rush will be sure to keep you attentive in today’s classes and feeling toasty for hours to come. Venture on in to see all of the options Sip of Seattle is brewing up.

Sip oF SeattleWith a special blend of espresso, this spot is ready to whip up any coffee addict’s dream. Grab a hot drink, breakfast sandwich and copy of the paper and sit down for the afternoon at this comfortable café. The walls are lined with art that makes for good eye candy and helps let the creative juices flow. Sip of Seattle picturesSip of Seattle also offers drinks for those like me that aren’t in love with coffee just yet. Fruit smoothies are refreshing and bring you back to your warmer times on the beach. Sip’s baristas recommend the chocolate raspberry latte for an elevated twist on the typical fare.

Whether you need something delicious to hold in your hands on the way to class or an extra boost to get you through accounting, Sip of Seattle has you covered.

Stay Hungry and Eat Local.

Spencer Kostrinsky – CommuniKey Intern and food blogger at fooduncovered.com

Top 3 Places To Amp Up Your Lunch

By | Top Spots

Lunch should be the new golden meal of the day. Without a solid base in your stomach heading into a long string of afternoon classes, failure is inevitable. Breakfast is just as important, but fades like a 5 hour energy. There is an apparent need for something to get you through that last stretch of work. Here are 3 Binghamton restaurants that deliver a quality meal that will give you a boost to finish the day strong.
1. Café West 46
Cafe West
This first spot on Seminary is a close walk for many that live on the West Side. With lunch fare ranging from fresh salads to gourmet sandwiches, this café will give you energy for more than five hours without the little red bottle. My favorite sandwich is the classic Vietnamese street food known as the Banh Mi. It’s a baguette loaded with roasted pork and pickled veggies with chili sauce. Add the seasoned fries for a full plate that will keep you awake through chemistry.
2. Whole in the Wall
Whole in the wall
While this vegetarian’s dream of a restaurant isn’t quite on the bus line, it’s worth the brief walk from the Downtown Center. Dedicated to serving local and fresh ingredients, Whole in the Wall brings food to the table that downright makes you feel good. From Mediterranean platters full of falafel and baba ghanouj to pizzas topped with their famous pesto, you will have plenty of options to choose from. This is my new favorite spot to come to on a Saturday to do work with their free wifi and gaze at the beautiful paintings on the wall.
3. Despina’s Mediterranean Taste
You may have grabbed this freebie last week, but I had to finish off this list with this hidden gem. Another location in walking distance of the Downtown Center, Despina’s serves up homemade Greek favorites including gyros, chicken souvlaki, falafel and more, made from quality ingredients that are cooked with love. Try any of the salads to get a dose of her renowned dressing that goes well on just about anything. PS: Despina makes some of the best potato salad on Earth.

If that smashed brown bag in your backpack just isn’t cutting it anymore, try any of these three locations to turn that frown upside down. Save at all of these locations with your CommuniKey and check out all of the deals at TheCommuniKey.com.
Stay Hungry and Eat Local.
Spencer Kostrinsky – CommuniKey Intern and food blogger at FoodUncovered.com