Category Archives: New York

A Little Bit of Brazil in Soho

brigadeiro, brigadeiro bakery, brazil

While on my way to St. Anthony’s church in Soho, I stumbled upon Brigadeiro Bakery in Soho.  I’d never had a brigadeiro.  A brigadeiro is a Brazilian confection made from condensed milk and butter.  Yeah, you read that right.  Why hadn’t I heard of this before?

Since it was my first time visiting the bakery, the woman behind the counter let me sample one.  I chose banana cinnamon, and wow, the pop of sweet banana with the kick of cinnamon made me buy a half dozen more.

brigadeiro, brigadeiro bakery, brazil

I got chocolate, coconut, pistachio, Oreo and almonds & honey.   All were great.  My two favorites are banana cinnamon and coconut.

brigadeiro, brigadeiro bakery

 

Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream

Ice cream is probably my favorite food, so I never pass up a new ice cream shop.  I had been wanting to try Morgenstern’s on the Lower East Side because it is so popular and has such good ratings.  On my visit, I went on an off hour so there was no wait.  First, I have to say I am not a fan of the trend of unusual flavor pairings for ice cream.  It’s not that I’m a complete traditionalist because I do like some creative new flavors, but I most appreciate a well-executed vanilla.  Some of the flavors on the menu at Morgenstern’s were just not appealing to me (salt and pepper pine nut, cardamom lemon jam), so I didn’t know what to order.  We got burnt honey vanilla, angel food vanilla, chocolate oat and salted pretzel caramel.  The vanillas were just OK, not very flavorful.  The chocolate oat was disappointing because I couldn’t taste oat, and the chocolate pieces were frozen and way too hard to eat.  But the salted pretzel caramel actually tasted bad.

IMG_1174

Swedish Princess Cake

At a recent FIKA stop, I had to try the Princess cake.  I can’t believe I hadn’t tried this Swedish cake before.  It has a sponge cake base with a thin layer of raspberry jam and a heavenly dome of whipped cream topped with another layer of sponge cake and a covering of marzipan.  Divine is the best word to describe it.

FIKA, princess cake,

Swedish princess cake at FIKA

Why Foodies Will Want to Visit the New Whitney Museum

The Whitney Museum made a smart move to the highly trafficked High Line in the popular Meatpacking District.  While it was a great idea to draw more crowds, I have to say I prefer the old building and space.  Why?  Not sure.  If it’s not broke, don’t fix it?  Having said that, the museum still has the same great art and many more acquisitions.  The good news is while there is a line to get in, it is short and moves fast.  It’s very efficient–others could learn from its example of how to keep a line moving.  Inside, there’s a small gift shop area near the ticket line.  Once through the ticket line, take an elevator up to view the art–if you’re lucky, you’ll get to ride the huge freight elevator with a horde of other art lovers wondering how much weight this elevator can hold.  On the top floor, step out on the balcony for great views of the city.  The museum is also right on the High Line, so you can stroll through after your museum tour.

Now–for the foodies.  The Whitney has a Danny Meyer restaurant, Untitled.  Besides Untitled, foodies may want to visit just to see Wayne Thiebaud’s cakes.  While the museum has a number of his works, only one is on view, Pie Counter.

Recap of Best of the West 2015

The Smith, gnocchi, white truffle

Toasted ricotta gnocchi with white truffle cream from The Smith

Last weekend, I attended Best of the West, the third and final night of New Taste of the Upper West Side, the annual food event celebrating the chefs and restaurants of the Upper West Side.  It was a beautiful evening–though not clear enough for Manhattanhenge, but perfect for the festivities going on under the tent as the sun set and the stars twinkled above the upper Manhattan sky.

IMG_1099

This year’s event featured 44 restaurants and many wineries and breweries, serving up tastes of their best dishes and drinks.

IMG_2089

I wish I could’ve tried all of the options, but I did my best to eat my way around the entire tent.

The food is definitely the highlight of the evening, and I was happy to try the offerings.

Bromberg, The Ribbon

Chopped liver on rye crackers from The Ribbon

 

RedFarm

Chicken & watercress dumplings from RedFarm

 

Ed's Chowder House

Skuna Bay salmon sliders with pickled pepper relish & aioli on a Martins potato bun from Ed’s Chowder House

 

Cesca Enoteca & Trattoria, stracciatella

House-made stracciatella served over fettunta with a spring rhubarb compote and fresh mint from Cesca Enoteca & Trattoria

 

Sysco Metro NY

Chilled shrimp over farro salad from Sysco Metro NY

 

Cesare Casella

Cesare Casella salami station

My vegetarian friend was also happy, as there were a lot of options for vegetarians.  In fact, some of my favorite dishes of the evening were vegetarian ones.  The chipotle grilled seitan with corn salsa and avocado mousse from Candle Cafe West was a delicious favorite.

Candle Cafe West, seitan

Chipotle grilled seitan with corn salsa and avocado mousse from Candle Cafe West

The barbecued turnips, avocado, pumpkin seeds from Dovetail was delicious as well.  Our vegetarian favorite was the toasted ricotta gnocchi with white truffle cream from The Smith (and yes, we did have seconds!).

For the sweet tooth, there were a number of options–from classics like brookies at Alice’s Tea Cup and  banana pudding

banana pudding, Magnolia Bakery

Banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery

and whoopie pies at Magnolia Bakery to beautiful pastry creations like Driscoll strawberry parfait verrine from Jacques Torres

Jacques Torres

Strawberry parfait verrine from Jacques Torres

and strawberry tiramisu from Jean-Georges.

Jean-Georges

Strawberry tiramisu from Jean-Georges

The dessert standout was the salted caramel macaron spiked with Remy Martin Cognac 1738 from Mille-Feuille Bakery.  Oh, boy, did this have a kick!

Mille-Feuille Bakery, Remy Martin, macaron

Salted caramel & Remy Martin Cognac 1738 macaron from Mille-Feuille Bakery

Best of the West offers a VIP option where doors open an hour earlier, as well as offering other perks like a gift bag of goodies and a private lounge area.  I like the VIP option because it is less crowded and there are no lines to wait to try the food.  Also, the VIP hour gives you a better opportunity to meet your favorite chefs for a photo and chat.

Lauren Scala, WNBC “Today in New York” host was MC and hosts included Anne Burrell, chef and host of Food Network’s “Worst Cooks in America”

Anne Burrell

Anne Burrell in the VIP lounge

and Marc Murphy, chef and host of Food Network’s “Chopped.”

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the entertainment.  As you walked through the tent, you were greeted by glamorous beauties on stilts

IMG_2060

and a corde lisse artist a la Cirque du Soleil.

IMG_1097

A DJ spinning great house, dance and techno music divided the night with Joe Battaglia and the New York Big Band for a night of Dina music heaven.  Some folks danced, especially as the night wore on.  And of course, the night ended–too soon–with the band’s rendition of New York, New York.

Tell Mayor de Blasio to Support Small Businesses

The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation has made it super easy to tell Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito to support Intro. 0402-2014, the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA).  Just click this link for easy and quick automated letters showing your support.

Small businesses are threatened with extinction if rents keep doubling and tripling.  Already, the city is losing some of its beloved businesses because they simply cannot pay the exorbitant rents.  Avignone Pharmacy is set to close at the end of the month because its rent tripled.  Some of these businesses have been in NYC for a century–or more.  Avignone is 183 years old.  Avignone (then called Stock Pharmacy) survived the Civil War, including the Draft Riots, and the poverty of late-18th century NYC.  What is happening that these businesses could survive through two World Wars, the Great Depression and the ’70s recession, but they cannot survive today?

Avignone’s new landlord is Force Capital Management, a hedge fund that manages $1.2 billion.  This is the bottom line–NYC, along with the rest of America, is losing its character, its charm and its history so a minute percentage of people in this country can become the super wealthy.

15 Things to Do in New York City During Christmas Time

Every season in New York City has its unique flair.  But Christmas is definitely the most exhilarating.  The crisp chill in the air.  The sparkling lights and holiday decor. If you’ve never been, you must visit NYC just once during this time of year.  The things on this list are my favorites–especially the store windows, decor and markets.

IMG_0075

1.  Department store windows–The major department stores have different displays every year and it’s always fun to see.  Check out Macy’s, Saks, Bloomingdale’s, Lord & Taylor, Barney’s, Bergdorf Goodman

IMG_0019

2. Rockefeller Center tree and skating

skating rink

Bryant Park skating rink

3.  Bryant Park Christmas market and skating rink

4.  Union Square Christmas market

5.  Columbus Circle Christmas market

6.  Rockettes Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall

IMG_0193

7.  Neapolitan creche at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

8.  Holiday train show at the New York Botanical Garden

9.  Empire State Building lights–LED light show

IMG_0065

10.  Strolling through Midtown to see the decorations like the Cartier building dressed as a package and the tree at the New York Palace hotel

IMG_0153

11.  Origami tree at the American Museum of Natural History

12. Dinner at the much-decorated Rolf’s German restaurant

IMG_0115

13.  Holiday decorations in the Dyker Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn

Olson Manor

Olson Manor

14.  Gingerbread Extravaganza at Le Parker Meridien

15.  Gingerbread Lane at New York Hall of Science