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Posted by on Jan 31, 2015 in Blog, Personal, Travel | 5 comments

Dinner with Lots of Other Really Cool People in New York City (Keen’s Steakhouse)


Nolan Dalla and Michael Baden


Keen’s Steakhouse has been open since 1885.  It’s the second-oldest steakhouse in New York City.

I had the chance to dine there last week for the very first time.  Joining me were several dear friends, some of whom I’ll tell you more about.

First, a little more about Keen’s.

Located in midtown Manhattan, this is the quintessential power restaurant.

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Posted by on Jan 25, 2015 in Blog, Essays, General Poker, Travel | 5 comments

A Day with Mickey Appleman in the West Village


mickey appleman nyc 2015


The term “professional gambler” gets tossed around way too loosely.

Fact is, relatively few full-time professional gamblers exist, particularly when defined as someone who actually earns the vast majority of one’s personal income making bets.  While there are indeed many pretenders masquerading around as professional gamblers, and even more part-time players with other means of financial support, year-to-year professional gamblers who survive long term are a rare breed.

Mickey Appleman is a professional gambler.

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Posted by on Jan 24, 2015 in Blog, Restaurant Reviews, Travel | 1 comment

A Sentimental Journey to New York Chinatown’s Wo Hop Restaurant


wop-hop-nyc-nolan-dalla-15mottstreet (1)


To me — Wo Hop City Inc. has been, and shall forever be, far more than just a restaurant.

Permit me to explain why this is so.  It’s deeply personal.  It’s a love affair that’s lasted nearly 25 years.

Located at 15 Mott Street towards the far southern end of New York City’s famous Chinatown, Wop Hop is one of hundreds of similar ridiculously cheap Chinese restaurants seemingly wedged next to and seemingly stacked atop one another, most all of which serve outstanding food and provide quick and efficient service.  Expect classic Cantonese cuisine suited to conventional American tastes, although plenty of Asians seem to enjoy the food, as well.

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Posted by on Jan 23, 2015 in Blog, Restaurant Reviews, Travel | 0 comments

Babbo Italian Restaurant in the West Village (with Peter Alson, Steve “Ice” Eisenstein, and Stevan H. Goldman)




Babbo is an upscale Italian restaurant in New York City’s West Village on Waverly Place, just steps away from Washington Square Park.

A few nights ago, I dined there with three of my dearest and most respected friends — Stevan H. Goldman, Steve “Ice” Eisenstein, and Peter Alson.

While it’s entirely inappropriate to sum up these complex men’s lives in a simple sentence or two, at the risk of offending those who I least want to offend….Goldman owns a very successful private company, Eisenstein is one of New Jersey’s most well connected and sought-after attorneys, and Alson is a New York City -based writer and longtime friend who just so happened to be my collaborator on the Stu Ungar biography, “One of a Kind.”  Oh, they are also all people who I have met while playing poker and known for at least 15 years.

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