Tag Archives: New York restaurants

Couple of days in New York with Joanne Weir

Why do we go to NY over and over? The shopping, the restaurants, a great show or tour of another exhibition at one of the many museums.

Joanne Weir asked me to join her for a couple of days to attend a conference about food, new cookbooks, and how the public communicates about food in 2018 and beyond. Understanding the internet and understanding what is next in food trends. The past 10 years has changed where a person cooking finds their recipes. Do they watch a video on how to chop an onion? Pull up an Instagram post on how a dish in the hot new restaurant looks or go to a recipe site to fine 15 versions on how to make Mac and cheese? We know that people are still buying cookbooks, reading publications either on line or hard copy and sharing their new discovery of the best way to roll out pie dough.

Along with the many hours of all the information we were taking in, we also had to sneak away to share a special meal. We arrive a day early so we could explore some of our old haunts. We checked into the Midtown Hilton, since that was where the IACP conference was being held. Dropped our bags and headed out to a new Spanish restaurant, TOMINO TABERNA, 192 Grand Street. Tomino is only a few months old and making a name for its self. They offer small plates of perfect Spanish tapas. We loved the little sausages served on a skewer in a cast iron pan that is flaming as it is placed in front of you. The service is excellent and the owner, Phil, was on hand to make sure everything was to our liking.

The next morning was our free time to head out and start exploring. We headed to Chelsea Market, this is a must for any foodie. We first stopped at DIZEN GOFF, the best hummus you will ever eat. Served with fresh out of the oven pita and a selection of sides, we chose the pickled beets and harissa carrots. Go early because it gets busy and there are only a few stools to sit on. Then we began wandering through the market, next stop LOBSTER PLACE, as you enter you see one of the largest selections of fresh shucked oysters in front of you. Choose one or ten set in front of you to savor with just the correct topping or just a squeeze of lemon. Toward the back they are serving whole steamed lobsters and a huge array of fresh fish of every kind to take home. You can find any type of food from around the world here so plan to just wander and sample to your hearts content.

Since we were in the area it was a short walk to Soho and a little shopping. We went to one of Joanne’s favorite shops, MORGANE LeFAY, they have beautiful selection of simple dresses and jackets that will please everyone, 464 Broome Street. Time for a glass of wine and light snack before we return for the first event at the conference.

Great stop in Soho is always THE MERCER KITCHEN, 99 Prince Street. The main floor as you enter has a coffee shop busy with late afternoon tea, wine and small desserts. We headed downstairs where it is cozy on a rainy afternoon, sharing a glass of wine and small veggie plate was the perfect way to finish our afternoon adventure.

We spent the next couple of days learning how to create a better video blog, write and photo graph a winning cookbook or bone a duck. The next food trends and where prepackaged food and meals are going. One afternoon Joanne and I did sneak out for a perfect bowl of noodles at KUNGFU KITCHEN in Time Square, 610 8th ave. They also have one in HELL’s Kitchen, 811 8th Ave. This was a great find for one of the best bowls you can have. I had the spicy beef with hand shaved noodles and Joanne had the veggie hot pot with chicken. They also had a nice selection of dumplings and bows, make time to go.

Later that night we went a couple of blocks away to MOMO FUKU, 15 West 56th Street. You will go down the steps to the simple dining room with bare tables and a simple menu. We shared several small plates and enjoyed the clean flavors of things like razor clam ceviche, broccoli salad with a miso mayo dressing and spicy fried chicken. They have a nice selection of wines by the glass to pair with the spicy food.

We stayed an extra day after the conference to explore the shops on Madison and see what the new year has to offer in clothes and food. Look for everyone wearing crazy tennis shoes, and simple casual shoes with white soles, of course there are all those very high sexy high heel shoes for over $800, in every store.

We share a lovely lunch with friends at NELLO, 696 Madison, 212-980-9099. This beautiful restaurant adorned with branches of the first spring flowers was a lovely way to relax and dine instead of eat. I enjoyed the shaved baby artichoke salad with just the right amount of lemon dressing and slivers of Parmesan cheese. The pasta dish with fresh shaved black truffles looked and smelled like Italy. We had amazing white burgundy to top off the experience and left the restaurant thinking we needed a nap.

The last night in NY was a true contrast to our lunch. We invited a couple of true foodies to join us for dinner at ESTELA, 47 E. Houston Street. Estella is a very small restaurant up a short flight of steps. When you enter you will be greeted by loud excited chatter in a room holding about 50 guests. The long bar runs half the length of the restaurant with little room to move past all the happy customers crowded onto the bar stools. We were seated at a small table and given the one sheet of interesting dishes to choose what we wanted to share for dinner. We had a hard time eliminating any of them so with a consensus and the help of our attentive server we settled on 7 dishes each one better than the next. The textures, seasonings, flavors and combinations of each was perfect. We loved the azzoz negro, the fluke ceviche, endive salad with anchovy dressing and topping of toasted walnuts, toasted bread crumbs and small bits of cheese, the lamb ribs fell of the one and the simple crunch on the top was delicious.

Always fun to spend a few days in any major city around the world with friends that love food and the adventure of discovery. Pick a new city and just go for 3 or 4 days it really makes you want to go home and try your hand at cooking something new.


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Girlfriends in New York

Last week I had the great pleasure of spending 5 days in New York with 2 amazing girlfriends. We booked into a simple hotel called Park Central on 7th Ave. between 55th and 56th. This hotel has been redone in the past year and worked fine for us. Perfect location and great price. We had 2 Queen beds and a good bathroom. the price for the 3 of us was $359 a night plus all the crazy taxes NY has.

The weather was perfect so we covered the city top to bottom. The first night we went to “Mercer Kitchen,” located at 99 Prince Street. We ate downstairs where the energy was wild, we had a corner table so other than Very low light it, was a little quieter. This was the beginning of the sort shell crab season and they did a top job.

The next morning we hit the stores and then after our shopping fix we headed to Eately for lunch. You can take the subway and it opens right at 23rd and 5th Ave, across the street from Eately.  Eately is over whelming when you first walk in, it is often described as a grand Italian food hall. You will have several choices for eating, an area for pasta and Pizza, a vegetarian restaurant or one that serves cheese and meats with you favorite glass of wine. You may have to wait for a seat in your choice of areas. As you leave you can buy anything from fresh fish, beautiful selection of cheeses or dried pasta. You wish you had a kitchen to cook dinner in later.

After wandering for blocks we headed back to the hotel for a rest before dinner.   Friends had reserved a table in a simple restaurant called Bacaro–136 Division Street, 212-941-5060. The lower level of Bacaro is described as walking into the catacombs. We had 14 of us so we ordered family style. The first dish was razor clams, the little ones like you see in Italy, served in the shell with bread crumbs and garlic butter topping, could have eaten the whole plate myself. The Frito Misto was so crisp and each vegetable and piece of fish was cooked perfectly. Be sure to try the different pastas they do a great job with all of them. The prices were very reasonable and the fillet of sole for $19 was enough for several of us to share. Everyone wanted to try several deserts and raved about the ice creams and chocolate cake.

Since we did not get home until late we just took it easy in the morning with breakfast up the street at a nice bakery and good coffee. We had gotten tickets to the new Ground Zero museum so took the subway down for our 10am time slot. Be sure to get tickets on line so you can just walk in when your time is called. Allow time to wander the park out side first, the Museum was an interesting collection of photos, pieces of the building and artifacts from the tragic event that took so many lives. Plan at least an hour or more. Then leave the area and walk to the small church, St. Paul Chapel,  a couple blocks away that was the safe place for so many working on the relief during the days that followed the tragedy . 

We headed to SoHo for lunch and time to explore a few unique shops. I love Barbara Bui on Wooster Street. Very up scale clothes, but so special it is always worth the stop along with so many others on both sides of the street.  We walked on the Balthazar for a late lunch, located on 80 Spring Street, good idea to make reservations 212-965-1414. You can always order a seafood platter with great fresh oysters while you wait for the rest of the meal, if you are still hungry. Across the street is the Sur La Table store that was one of our favorite stores when we owned the company.

Back to the hotel for a rest since we had a 9:30 dinner at The Red Rooster, Marcus Samuelson’s restaurant. The Red Rooster is located at 310 Lenox Ave in Harlem, cross street is 125th, The bar is hopping and the lower level Jazz club was packed. The restaurant is know for American Soul food. We started by sharing the cornbread, love the corn kernels and moist texture, and the fried wings, Very hot so be prepared. We shared several dishes and the meal was fine not great. We loved the energy and enjoyed the people watching and our waiter was very good.

Of course, since we had the morning free we had to hit the museums and MOMA was first on our list.  The exhibitions are ever changing and It is always great to go back and visit the regular collections, I always love to stand and look at the Vincent Van Gogh pieces over and over or Lichtenstein’s many pieces and wonder how they were created.

We had matinee  tickets for the play “Beautiful”, Carol King’s story about her music and life. The music was from our era, so of course it brought back so many memories. The entire audience was on their feet at the end and the cast gave us one last number to have on our minds as we left.  

After the play was over we wondered through Time Square just to see all the crazy things, like the naked cowboy playing his guitar, of course getting a few dollars for a picture with a naked body painted woman was a big attraction.

Dinner that night was at the new “Chalk Point Kitchen”  only open about a month, but will get nice review soon.  (527 Broome Street, 212-390-0327)  We shared a bottle of rose to start and then after eating 2 plates of their amazing dill pickles we could not wait to order. We shared many small plates and nothing knocked our socks off  but we enjoyed the space and the food was fine. It will be interesting to try after they have gotten their feet firmly planted in a few months.

With only one day left we went to a friends jewelry studio to see her amazing collection. Patricia Von Musulin has been creating beautiful pieces that are sold around the world. We purchased necklaces that we loved and look forward to showing them off when we get home, Patricia’s e-mail is VonMusulin@Aol.com

Lunch was outside at The Surrey’s wonderful restaurant, “Bouleu”. We drank rose, had perfect fresh pea soup and salads worth a picture. the deserts could not be passed up. This restaurant is great in the winter in the white table cloth room or outside all summer. If it is warm the rooftop bar in the summer is a must for that late afternoon drink.

We worked our way back to the hotel to rest after wine and a 2 hour lunch. We had a dinner at 8:30 at Il Mulino uptown on 60th street. Make your reservations in advance, 212-750-3270, since the place is small and very popular with the high end traveler and local business executives. The waiter brought us several small tastes from the kitchen while we decided  on a wine and dinner. The wine we chose was an Italian Gavi since we chose the whole fish baked in salt and perfect veal with lemon. We had the waiter choose 2 pastas that we shared before our main course. One with fresh peas and a cream sauce and the other with a tomato base and as light as a feather. This is a great Italian restaurant and a must for uptown Italian cuisine, fine dining.

New York is always a great spirit lifter especially with friends and perfect weather. We called Uber for a quick trip back to the airport in style. Until we venture back to NY great memories will keep us thinking how to get together with friends again before to much time passes. 



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