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Category Archives: New York
Crumbs has closed all its stores. It’s not the end of the cupcake though; it’s the end of Crumbs. According to a Yahoo article, it has more to do with the management of the business and not the cupcakes themselves. I believe that because these are popular cupcakes. Every time there’s a work function like a birthday, the office orders cupcakes from Crumbs.
I always think of seafood in the summer time, and if you can’t get to the beach, how about bringing the beach to you? That is, dining al fresco at Blue Water Grill in Union Square and ordering the most delicious lobster roll ever–the Maine lobster and shrimp roll with herbed mayonnaise, bacon, celery and waffle fries.
Now that summer is here, how about a trip to City Island? This beach oasis in the Bronx makes for a great Manhattan day trip.
A nice seafood dinner at Sammy’s Fish Box.
I got a scungilli and calamari salad.
My friend got the Italian feast with lobster, mussels, shrimp, clams, scallops and crab legs with pasta.
I got the clam bake with lobster, clams and corn.
And of course, I can’t live without dessert–a slice of red velvet cake.
Happy Cinco de Mayo! Today, I’m celebrating Mexican food with a trip to Arriba Arriba, the popular Mexican spot in Hell’s Kitchen. This place is always packed and has outdoor seating if you like to dine al fresco. It can get a little loud inside and with the low lighting and pounding music, it has more of a lounge vibe.
Arriba Arriba makes the best cheese enchiladas mole served with Spanish rice and a salad.
The alambre–marinated shrimp, steak and veggies skewer with rice and sauces.
This year for Easter, I made an Italian Easter rice pie. I’ve written before about the Italian Easter pies, the pizza chiena, or pizza rustica, and the pastiera, or pizza grano. This is a variation of the pizza grano. The pizza grano is a Neapolitan wheat pie served at Easter. My family traditionally made this pie at Easter time. Part of my dad’s family is from the area near Benevento, Italy, and there they make a variation with rice instead of wheat. So he grew up with both the wheat and rice pies at Easter.
I wanted to be ambitious this Easter/Lent and make a lot more, but I haven’t had the time. I had wanted to make hot cross buns, but instead just got some yummy ones from a bakery. I’m also going to make a pizza chiena. My grandma has a variation of the pizza chiena that is vegetarian, using mashed potatoes. I don’t think I will be making that one this year though, as I don’t have time. Now, I do have a homemade crust recipe, but I can’t publish it or else I may get the malocchio from my aunt.
Italian Easter Rice Pie
1 1/2 cups whole milk or 1 cup skim/1/2% milk and 1/2 cup light cream/half and half
1/2 cup rice
1 cup sugar
1 pound ricotta (I use Calabro brand.)
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 oz. candied citron (You can find this at any Italian specialty shop like Di Palo’s or order it online.)
1 deep dish frozen pie crust
1 regular frozen pie crust
Cook rice according to package directions (with water). Add milk and cook on low until milk is absorbed. Cool. Beat eggs and beat in sugar. Add ricotta, orange blossom water, vanilla and citron and stir. Stir in rice. Put into deep dish pie crust and top with top crust. (I used a regular pie crust for the top and cut strips with a pastry cutter.) Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Cool and serve.
Today, there was an article in the New York Post on Little Italy’s becoming extinct. Of course, this saddens me. The first stop in America for both sides of my family was Mulberry Street. But this brings up a larger issue for me–the gentrification of New York City. I do not like it. The great thing about NYC is that it used to be the place to find everything, but as a friend of mine said, who is a published, well-respected economist from the Greatest Generation, NYC has lost its relevancy. I don’t think it is lost yet, but I do think it is happening. As New York becomes a homogenized city of the young and wealthy from around the country, it will lose its character. NYC is a mecca for many–in acting, theater, music, writing, finance, etc, but it’s also a home to the many people who lived there and whose families have lived there for generations. And it will lose its essence if it becomes generic. Of course, this is happening in a lot of cities in the United States–not just NYC–but NYC is known for having a certain character–and its tourism depends on it. If NYC becomes generic, why would anyone pay the incredible hotel bills to visit?
New Taste of the Upper West Side is coming up in May. I’ve been to this event, and it is a great way to try food from the area’s top restaurants. The 7th annual event runs from May 27th through May 31st. It includes A-list talent such as Travel Channel’s Adam Richman and Food Network’s Alex Guarnaschelli, who will host Comfort Classics on Friday, May 30th, and TODAY show contributor and New York Knicks broadcaster Jill Martin, who will host Best of the West on Saturday, May 31st, with honoree Daniel Boulud.
Participating chefs include Jacques Torres, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Christina Tosi and many more. Some of my favorite places will be represented, such as Gazala’s, Big Daddy’s, Treat House, Sugar and Plumm, The Meatball Shop, Bar Boulud, Blue Ribbon, Porter House NY and Rosa Mexicano. I have yet to try Red Farm, The Smith, The Lincoln, THE LEOPARD at des Artistes and Parm, so it will be an opportunity to try them. The event is presented by the Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District, the area from West 67th Street to West 82nd Street, including the American Museum of Natural History and the New York Historical Society. New Taste of the Upper West Side celebrates chefs in the area, and all net proceeds from the event go toward neighborhood projects.
I love the Lenten season in New York City. That’s a religious definition for the time between Mardi Gras and Easter, but I’m using it as an easy way to define this point in time. For a foodie, this is a great time of year. I love the overindulgence of Mardi Gras. I love the joviality of the St. Patrick’s Day parade, and I love the accompanying corned beef and cabbage and Irish soda bread. I love hamentaschen for Purim. I love hot cross buns. I love St. Joseph’s Day zeppole and sfinge. I love matzo for Passover. I love Easter pies, the savory meat and cheese pie and the wheat pie. I love all these things, even though I don’t culturally identify with all the religions and ethnicities. These are all very New York, though many are old traditions that come from the old country. I like this time of year because I associate these traditions with the immigrants who came at the time my family came to this country. It’s what I grew up with and what I remember eating from childhood. Not just the food, I love the cold grayness in the air this time of year. I love Catholic churches in the city, so solemn, so graceful, so beautiful. It’s just a certain feeling, one of reflection, one of mourning, ready for the rebirth that is spring.