Tag Archives: Grom

Neighborhood Watch: Columbus Circle

Columbus Circle is named after famed explorer Christopher Columbus.  The 75-foot-high statue was created by Italian sculptor Gaetano Russo in 1892 for the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America.


New Yorkers recently got to see Columbus face to face in the Discovering Columbus exhibit by Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi where a scaffold was built to get to the head of the statue where a “modern living room” was constructed.  Guests were invited into the living room to see the sculpture’s face up close for a different perspective on Columbus.

Columbus Circle

The vicinity of the Circle is a foodie oasis, with a plethora of places to visit for quick bites or grandiose meals.  With the famed Time Warner Center and its Shops at Columbus Circle on the west side of the Circle, there are a number of options, including the pinnacle restaurant, Per Se.  For culture, Jazz at Lincoln Center, is also nearby.  For accommodations, ever hear of the Trump International Hotel and Tower?  (You may recognize it as the site of Ben Stiller’s Tower Heist movie.)  There’s also the Mandarin Oriental hotel, which has a piece of Dale Chihuly glass sculpture in the lobby.  (I love Chihuly’s work.  I volunteered at the Orlando Museum of Art’s Chihuly exhibit back in 2004.)

Time Warner Center

Time Warner Center houses luxury shops, as well as a Whole Foods and a Williams Sonoma for some foodie-related shopping.  The dining options include Bouchon Bakery (also owned by Per Se owner Thomas Keller), A Voce, Masa, Landmarc and Porter House.

Per Se

cookies from Per Se

I’ve eaten at Per Se, which is the restaurant to dine in NYC, with a perfect view of Christopher Columbus and Central Park.  Here, you experience luxury dining at its finest.  I’ve also eaten at A Voce for high-end Italian

cheese, fava beans and olive oil from A Voce

cheese, fava beans and olive oil from A Voce

and Porter House for classic American fare.

Scottish salmon

Scottish salmon from Porter House

Bouchon Bakery is one of my favorites for many sweet treats, including the best raspberry macaroons!

But there is more to Columbus Circle than the Time Warner Center.  At the east side of the Circle is the USS Maine National Monument. This is the gateway to Central Park where you can walk off all this extravagance. During the holidays, this is the scene of the Columbus Circle Holiday Market.


the USS Maine National Monument

On the north and east sides, the legendary Little Italy bakery Ferrara has outposts where you can get their famous pastries.


On the south side of the Circle, visit the Museum of Arts & Design.  On the ground floor sits the gift shop with many interesting jewelry and home decor pieces.  I saw a Judy Chicago exhibit here once.


If you want to dine with one of the best views in the city, go to the top floor for the museum’s restaurant, Robert, and the food is excellent too.

ricotta pancakes from Robert

ricotta pancakes from Robert

A block to the west is the fairly new Sur La Table for cooking items and cooking classes, if you’re game.  Or stroll down Broadway to Grom for some gelato if it’s warm outside or some hot chocolate if it’s cold out.

Grom hot chocolate

You won’t be disappointed with the rich chocolatey drinks and gelato made with Italian ingredients.


If you’re not a coffee drinker, look no further, there’s an Argo Tea where you can get any number of tea concoctions.

Argo Tea

A block down is Francois Payard‘s bakery of French-style delights.  If you read my blog, you know I’m a Payard fan.

macaroons from Francois Payard

macaroons from Francois Payard

What to Eat:  macaroons from Bouchon Bakery or Francois Payard bakery, pastries from Ferrara, gelato from Grom, luxury dining at Per Se, classic American fare at Porter House, sushi at Masa, dining with a view at Robert, tea at Argo, high-end Italian at A Voce.

Where to Shop:  Time Warner Center for luxury shops and Williams Sonoma, Museum of Arts & Design gift shop, Sur La Table, Columbus Circle Holiday market (in season).

What to See:  Columbus monument, USS Maine monument, Museum of Arts & Design, Time Warner Center, Central Park, Chihuly sculpture at Mandarin Oriental hotel.

Two for Tuesday: Warm Drinks

Since temps have been dipping into the teens, like everyone else, I’ve been craving the steaming warmth of drinks and soups.  Whenever I go into Grom, I get gelato, but now that it’s cold, I wanted to try its hot chocolate.  Boy, am I glad I did.  The cioccolata calda fondente is hot dark chocolate that is thick, creamy chocolatey goodness.  Even the whipped cream on top is extra creamy.  Trust me, my pic doesn’t do it justice.

Grom hot chocolate

If you’d like something not so rich and less caloric but still warming, how about some tea served in a charming tea pot at Tea and Sympathy in the West Village?  Tea and Sympathy is a long favorite of mine, and despite the name, there’s more than tea, and not so much sympathy for unruly patrons.  The restaurant usually has a long wait at peak dining times, and it posts a list of rules that apply to everyone.  Luckily, I was in the neighborhood at an off hour, so I was seated right away near the window.  The food here is delightful, and in addition to some sustenance, I also got a basic English breakfast tea with milk and sugar and warmed my hands over the steaming cup.


Two for Tuesday: Seasonal Ingredients

If you read food blogs, you should know that pumpkin is the ingredient of the season.  But there are some other great fall/winter ingredients making a presence.  If you didn’t get to try Grom‘s chestnut flavor last year, you MUST try it this year.  But if you do, please leave some for me.

Grom’s chestnut

Also, the substitute for pumpkin, the sweet potato, is being used in some creative ways.  I had brunch at West End Grill in Hell’s Kitchen.  My eggs came with a side of sweet potato chipotle short rib hash.  Yes, you read that right.  Not normally a hash fan, I found this dish to be delish.

sweet potato chipotle short rib hash

Not a meat eater? No worries, try the potato carrot hash instead.

potato carrot hash