Tag Archives: St. Patrick’s Day

Dina’s 10 Favorite Things About Winter in NYC

I think each season in New York City has something special to celebrate.  I would say winter is my least favorite season for obvious reasons–it can be very cold, especially when you are walking around.  Many times I’ve worn two pairs of socks and gloves, a scarf, a hat with a scarf and a hat over it.  And no one likes when the puddles at the corner look more like swimming pools and there’s no way to cross the street except to wade through them.  But such is life in a New York winter.  Despite these nuisances, there are many reasons to visit New York in the winter.  Here’s my top ten.

  1. There aren’t as many tourists in January.  Snowstorms can mess up travel plans, so it’s not the best time to travel.  But if there is ever a time in New York where it is not as crowded, it’s this month.
  2. New York City Restaurant Week occurs in January, and it’s a great time to try out a restaurant you’ve been wanting to try.  I would just say to keep in mind that because prices are cheaper, the menus are not as exciting as they normally would be.  I would also say to book early at the popular ones.
  3. Hot drinks.  I love to get hot chocolate from Grom, who makes the thickest, most decadent hot chocolate.  My all-time favorite café to get warm drinks is La Lanterna in the Village.  They have the most extensive menu of spiked coffees you will ever see. 
  4. Valentine’s Day and chocolates.  NYC has a plethora of delectable chocolate.  From Jacques Torres to Royce to Kee’s and Stick With Me, there’s something for everyone’s taste.  And it is fun to taste them all! Check out my Dina’s Guide to NYC Chocolate Shops for more great chocolate in NYC!chocolate bon bons, chocolates, Stick With Me, bon bons
  5. Lenten foods–OK, Lent isn’t for everyone, but even if you are not Catholic, you can still partake in the delicious goodies that can be found this time of year like hot cross buns and the Italian chocolate pudding made with pig’s blood, sanguinaccio. It’s also a time to abstain from meat on Fridays, so I get to make all my favorite Lenten dishes like eggs with sauce.
  6. Chinese New Year parade in Chinatown.  A very fun event that is packed, but it is possible to get a good view.  Follow the parade with soup dumplings at Joe’s Shanghai.  Spend the day in Chinatown shopping and visit the Museum of Chinese in America

    Joe’s Shanghai soup dumplings

  7. Purim–Purim is a Jewish holiday that commemorates Queen Esther outsmarting King Haman who was planning to kill the Jews. Like Halloween, it’s a day for costumes and celebration. I like this holiday for its delicious cookie, hamentaschen, or Haman’s hat. You can find these all around the city, but my favorite are at Moishe’s.
  8. Japan Week–For a week in March, Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal becomes an expo of Japanese culture and food. I like to follow this festival with a visit to Minamoto Kitchoan for some Japanese sweets. (This location has moved since I wrote that blog post. It’s now on Madison Ave. between 52nd & 53rd.)

    Kitchoan goodies

  9. St. Patrick’s Day parade–The one day everyone is Irish, including an Italian girl like me!  I love the parade and the after-party at local Irish pubs.  Also corned beef, cabbage, and soda bread. And let’s not forget the elusive Shamrock shake from McDonald’s.

    a festive take on the New York black & white

  10. St. Joseph’s Day–This holiday on March 19 is celebrated by Italians in honor of St. Joseph, the husband of the Blessed Mother. Traditionally, we make zeppole, the fried dough balls you get at street fairs. But we also have zeppole with custard and sfinci/sfingi. You can find these during the season at any of the Italian bakeries in the city, such as Rocco’s, Veniero’s and Ferrara or out in the boroughs.

    Veniero’s zeppole (l) and sfinge

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Aunt Mary’s Homemade Irish Cream

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

St Patrick

Today is one of my favorite holidays, and I love to go to the parade.  One year, I did three St. Patty’s Day parades in a row–in NYC, in DC and in Raleigh, NC.  I’ve been to St. Patty’s Day parades in Hoboken (back when it was good and you could drink in the streets and the bars had free corned beef and cabbage).   I love corned beef and cabbage and soda bread and Guinness.  In fact, I made mine yesterday.

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This soda bread recipe (different from the one I made last year) is from a woman named Pat Burns in Molly O’Neill’s New York Cookbook.  It’s very delicious.  I used really creamy butter from Maine and full-fat buttermilk.  (I got my buttermilk from a dairy, but it was still full of gums.  It looks as if one cannot get full-fat buttermilk anymore.)

For dessert, I kept it simple by making an angel food cake and fresh whipped cream with some green food coloring.

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Today is a day to celebrate the Irish in America, much like Columbus Day for Italians.  Today is also the name day of someone who is very special to me.  And it also reminds me of my late Aunt Mary who died last year around this time, who like me, loved all things Irish.  So in honor of Aunt Mary, all those named Patrick, all the Irish everywhere and those who love them, I’ve made Homemade Irish Cream, from a recipe my Aunt Mary gave me years ago.  Slainte!

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Aunt Mary’s Homemade Irish Cream

1 egg (I use pasteurized)

1 can condensed milk

1/2 pint heavy cream

1 1/2 tablespoons chocolate syrup

3/4 cup Irish whiskey

Blend all together in a blender.  Chill and serve.

Weekend Whets 3/14

Japanese Restaurant Week, through March 16, 2014, Manhattan: Showcases restaurants serving Japanese cuisine.

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week, through March 23, 2014, Hudson Valley, New York:  Showcases restaurants in the Hudson Valley.

PI(E) Day, March 14, 2014, 7:30 p.m., City Grit, Nolita, Manhattan: Multi-course meal featuring savory & sweet pies.  $55 for one; $95 for two.

Bacon Fest: 6 Courses of Gourmandise Bacon by Sex on the Table, Saturday, March 15, 2014, 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., Tribeca, Manhattan: Bacon tasting for Sex on the Table members or prospective members.

Chef Owen Clark Pop-Up Dinner at The Saint Austere, Sunday, March 16, 2014, 6 p.m. or 9 p.m., The Saint Austere, Williamsburg, Brooklyn: Six-course dinner with ($95) or without wine ($66).

St. Patrick’s Day:  Irish Cheese and Whiskey, Monday, March 17, 2014, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Bedford Cheese Shop, Gramercy, Manhattan: Sample Irish cheeses and whiskies.  $70.

Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure, with Samira Kawash, the author of “Dislocating the Color Line,” and the founder of the website Candyprofessor.com, Tuesday, March 18, 2014, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., Mid-Manhattan Library, Manhattan: Lecture on cultural history of candy in America.

pHFood POP Up Dinner Hosted by Ted & Honey, Friday, March 21, 2014, 6 p.m., Ted & Honey Cafe, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn: Dinner from locally grown, organic and sustainable ingredients.

Crow Hill Supper Club Presents: A Royal Purim Banquet by NYSHUK, Saturday, March 22, 2014, 7 p.m., Crow Hill Supper Club, Brooklyn:  Dinner of ten salads, from pickled cauliflower to matbucha, a roasted red pepper and garlic salad, a classic dairy couscous of Moroccan Purim served with dried fruit and nuts, a spicy fish dish called chraimi, and a”Mishloach Manot”–a massive spread of cookies.  $70.

Ides Of March: Feasting In Ancient Rome, Tuesday, March 25, 2014, 7 p.m., 92nd Street Y, Upper East Side: Learn about dining etiquette and meals of Ancient Rome.  $45.

Warriors in Motion 1st Annual Master Chef Celebration, Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Metropolitan Pavilion, Chelsea, Manhattan: Tastings from many of NYC’s top restaurants and chefs.

System + Taste: Food In Postcolonial Hawai‘i, March 27, 2014, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU, Village, Manhattan:  Discussion on how colonial histories shape current food systems.

Hot Sauce Expo, March 29 & 30, 2014, Penn Plaza Pavilion, Midtown West, Manhattan: Hot sauce vendors, eating contests and more.

April

Just Food Conference, April 5 through 6, 2014, Teachers College, Columbia University, Manhattan:  Conference on making locally grown food available to New Yorkers.

Westeros Feast – Dinner with Release of Fire & Blood, April 6, 2014, 7 p.m., Jimmy’s No. 43, East Village, Manhattan:  A Westeros-inspired feast.  $55.

Butts, Legs & Sides, April 8, 2014, 7:30 p.m., City Grit, Nolita, Manhattan:  Bo Ssäm Feast & Fried Chicken Fest.  $55 for one; $195 for four.

A Taste of Fifth Avenue, April 9, 2014, 6:30 p.m., The Grand Prospect Hall, Brooklyn: Sample tastings from local restaurants.

A Persian Feast, April 12, 2014, 6:30 p.m., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Manhattan: Group discussion of Middle Eastern art and culinary history followed by a hands-on cooking class.  $150.

Taste of the Lower East Side, April 24, 2014, Lower East Side, Manhattan:  A tasting of restaurants in the area.

Food Book Fair, April 25 through 27, 2014, Brooklyn: Event showcasing books by those in the food world.

Queens Taste 2014, Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel, 135-20 39th Avenue, Flushing, Queens:  Tasting and networking event celebrating the borough.  $100.

May

Grand Gourmet – The Flavor of Midtown®, Thursday, May 1, 2014 Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Terminal, Midtown East, Manhattan: Tastings from area restaurants.

Hamentaschen

Purim is two days away.  St. Patrick’s Day is on Monday.  Here’s a cute article on the Purim-St. Patrick’s Day weekend in Tel Aviv.  I’ve baked up a storm of green in honor of St. Patty’s Day.  So in honor of Purim, I’ve made raspberry and apricot hamentaschen.

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I used this baklava hamantaschen recipe from Jenessa’s Dinners.  The only different ingredient I used was a teaspoon of vanilla instead of the optional almond extract.  This recipe makes a really workable dough.  I used a biscuit cutter to cut the dough into rounds.  Then I put a 1/2 teaspoon of jam in the middle (too much jam and it might leak out of the cookie during baking).  The important thing to remember is to fold over the dough to form a triangle (not pinch as the cookies can open.)  Also, the recipe recommends rolling the dough to 1/8 thickness.  That’s a good idea because if it’s thicker, there’s more chance of the cookies opening during baking.

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The traditional fillings include poppy seed and prune.  I’ve also seen apricot and hamentaschen at traditional bakeries.  Today, you’ll find some interesting hamentaschen on blogs like red velvet, s’mores, the above baklava and more.

If you don’t want to bake your own, you can find them at most grocery stores and bakeries.  My favorites are at Moishe’s Bakery on 2nd Avenue and E. 7th Street.

Two for Tuesday: St. Patrick’s Day Treats

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Here are some St. Patrick’s Day treats.  No, they aren’t traditional.  They are just green.  Green desserts are either mint or lime, so here is one of each.  I made brownies with green mint chips.  I had looked all over Manhattan for green chocolate chips and couldn’t find them.   My family found these for me.

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They are Guittard green mint chips.  Just make your favorite homemade or box brownies and add these chips.  To prevent them from settling on the bottom, just flour them before you add them.  They offer a wee bit of green for St. Patty’s Day.

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I also revisited the cherry white chocolate pudding cookies from Valentine’s Day. This time, I used sugar-free lime Jell-O and sugar-free cheesecake pudding to make White Chocolate Lime Cheesecake Cookies to green it up for St. Patrick’s Day.

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St. Patrick’s Day Goodies from Crumbs

I got some St. Patrick’s Day goodies from Crumbs.  This is a mini cupcake sampler of the store’s St. Patrick’s Day cupcakes.

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I also got a green St. Patrick’s Day whoopie pie and push-up pop.

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Cool Food Blog

Catholic Cuisine is a very cool food blog with recipes that celebrate the feasts and seasons of the liturgical year, including recipes for many saints’ feast days.  With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, the site has traditional St. Patrick’s Day recipes like soda bread and potato pancakes as well as creative dishes like an Irish flag veggie tray or candied shamrocks.  The site also has many meatless and fish dishes for Lent.  There are recipes for St. Joseph’s Day, coming up on March 19.  And egg bread and lamb cake for Easter.  The site also has a lot of recipes to make with kids.