Big Apple Life

/Big Apple Life

A collection of posts on Life in the Big Apple along with interviews with foodie friends

Novita, Flatiron, NYC

A man on a train recommended Novita. We started talking on the Amagansett platform and continued until we arrived at Jamaica Station. When we talked food, he recommended his favorite Italian restaurant in my hood that I had somehow missed. I had to try it. It's a dimly lit, white-tablecloth restaurant with a professional (from what I observed) male waitstaff, sporting the white apron and a smile. We started by splitting what the menu called salmon salad. This dish included chunks of grilled salmon tossed with fingerling potatoes, olives and haricot vert ($14); it's almost a meal in itself. Knowing we were sharing, our waiter had offered to have the [...]

By | November 13th, 2017|Rambling|0 Comments

33 Greenwich, West Village, NYC + FIT Museum

After moving to the big apple, I created a Google map with restaurants that I want to try so that when someone says, "Where shall we eat?" I look at the map and locate a place somewhat nearby where we are going. In this walking city, that restaurant could be a mile or so away! That's how we ended up at 33 Greenwich restaurant after seeing the Force of Nature, the current exhibit at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) Seventh Avenue at 27 Street. The exhibit examines how the beauty of the natural world has inspired fashion designers for centuries. This one runs through November 18; [...]

By | November 1st, 2017|Big Apple Life, Rambling|1 Comment

Introducing Sandi Durell’s Theater Pizzazz

About two years ago when my theatre buddy Tom met Sandi Durell at a holiday party, he decided to introduce us as he had a feeling we'd become friends. He was right. Sandi Durell is Publisher/Editor of the fabulous — an entertainment website covering theater and cabaret, with a staff of over 15 contributing writers.  Her site offers interviews, openings and reviews of both on and off broadway shows and music.  Sandi's been writing, reviewing, producing, with a voice in theater, cabaret and entertainment for over 25+ years. We decided to sort of cross-pollinate — me sharing her contributors' theatre reviews here on Bite of the Best, she sharing my [...]

By | October 31st, 2017|Big Apple Life, Theatre|0 Comments

Factory Tamal, Lower East Side, NYC

One friend and I always find a new cheap eats to use as our destination. We then meet and walk there... how we ended up at the Factory Tamal on Ludlow Street. It's a tiny restaurant and I use that word loosely. It's gigantic compared to their former storefront around the corner. The person taking our orders had a smile from ear to ear. Factory Tamal certainly has something to smile about as they were recently and so very interestingly described by Lagaya Mishan in the Times. With one tamale breaking the bank at $2.50 (up a bit from the $2 price in the story), we ordered one of each of the [...]

By | October 28th, 2017|Rambling|Comments Off on Factory Tamal, Lower East Side, NYC

NYC’s 2018 Michelin Bib Gourmands

This week announced the 2018 Bib Gourmands, a collection of venues where patrons can enjoy two courses plus a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less. Any restaurant that receives a Bib is ineligible for a star. The over 120 restaurants who have earned this recognition across the city's neighborhoods are listed below. A Bib Gourmand designation, reserved for a select number of restaurants rated by Michelin’s team of anonymous food inspectors, denotes establishments where diners can enjoy a great meal for a good value. In New York, these restaurants are as diverse as the neighborhoods in which they are found. Here are the New York City 2018 [...]

By | October 25th, 2017|Big Apple Life, Rambling|0 Comments

Lotus Blue, Union Square, NYC

I had watched the progress of a restaurant being build in the space where Pizza Vinoteca was located just off Union Square on the south side of 15th Street. Lotus Blue opened in September while I was in France. I stopped by recently to meet a colleague for a drink. She ordered a Tito's and fresh orange juice ($12). The friendly bartender has just made a batch with mostly oranges plus one grapefruit.  I ordered the same but made with their chili-infused tequila as I wanted my drink a bit spicier. With the fresh juice, both were refreshingly delicious! I will for sure return as the menu looked good, and this [...]

By | October 15th, 2017|Rambling|0 Comments

A Baker’s Dozen Cheap Pre-Theatre Eats: Theatre District

"Where should I eat?" I'm always asked, especially when friends are heading to theatre. To help respond to that query,  I've decided to create a few posts listing suggested places to grab a bite, divided by cost and time. This first post contains a baker's dozen offerings where you can get a quick meal — of course, depending on what you order — for about $25 (not including tax, tip and drinks!) located not far from the theatre district.   Bareburger 366 W 46th St, (212) 673-2273. For a quick burger and fries. Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., 1501 Broadway (at 43rd) (212) 391-7100 A down-home atmosphere reminiscent of the “Forrest [...]

By | September 9th, 2017|Rambling, Theatre|1 Comment

The 14th Annual Second Helping of Life Tasting Event, September 18

Two dozen of NYC's top women chefs will offer their signature dishes at nonprofit SHARE's annual “A Second Helping of Life” tasting event on Monday, September 18, 6 PM at Pier 60, Chelsea Piers. Celebrity Chef Angie Mar, Executive Chef of Beatrice Inn, will serve as the event’s Executive Chef. All proceeds will benefit SHARE. Participating chefs will include Food Network favorite Alex Guarnaschelli (Butter), Rebecca Charles (Pearl Oyster Bar), Sarabeth Levine (Sarabeth’s), Amanda Cohen (Dirt Candy), Patti Jackson (Delaware and Hudson), Roxanne Spruance (Kingsley’s), and many more. See the list below. The NYC female chef community has been supporting SHARE’s mission for 14 years, making A Second Helping of [...]

By | September 2nd, 2017|Other happenings|0 Comments

Free No More: Pier 81 Boat Rides

I've been raving about the free boat rides from Pier 81 since they began a few years back. Free no more. The North River Lobster boat sailed for 45 minutes up the Hudson about every two hours. When they first began, the lobster rolls were plentiful served with fresh creamy cole slaw and a bag of chips for $16. I've been many times with friends who came for a summertime visit. Sadly as the pricing of the lobster roll when up, the quality down. And now that ride is $10 a person; the lobster roll $22.95. That's not the worst of it. Fish Bar, which also was free,  now has [...]

By | June 14th, 2017|Big Apple Life, Other happenings|0 Comments

Chadwick Boyd

For our visit, Chadwick Boyd whipped up a batch of biscuits and served them warm with salted butter and grapefruit-thyme jam. This month, you can catch him making these quick breads on the big (AKA movie) screen in "Reel Food," his 4-minute cooking and entertaining segment that precedes the trailers in many theaters nationwide. Screenvision Media launched this series last fall, with each episode running a 4-week cycle. They've already commissioned Chadwick through June. Smart idea for sure, encouraging moviegoers to get there early enough to catch the pre-entertainment show. While spreading some jam on the tender biscuits, I learned that Chadwick helps organize International Biscuit Festival. How fitting, I [...]

By | March 28th, 2017|Foodie Interviews|0 Comments

Suzen O’Rourke

Suzi O’Rourke was ahead of her time. In the 80s, she created a cooking club where she sent kitchen-tested recipes to friends, saying the first one to respond got their choice of which to make! Her dinner parties were such a success she ended up with a waiting list of friends wanting to attend. She then realized she might have just have a business concept — Cooking by The Book was born. That business — located in Tribeca — morphed from those dinners into a culinary corporate team building experience. Suzi's clients from Fortune 1000 companies learn to work together in her new state-of-the-art equipped kitchen and dining room. Suzi [...]

By | March 1st, 2017|Foodie Interviews|0 Comments

Cathy Cochran-Lewis

I recently reconnected with Austin-based Cathy Cochran-Lewis, the global marketing programs coordinator for Whole Foods, when I was headed to her city for a mini-sibling vacation. I wanted to pick her brain about where to eat, knowing she'd have fabulous recommendations as she's so involved in her city's culinary activities. When we spoke, Cathy reminded me that we first met at the Greenbrier resort (West Virginia) at the then Symposium for Professional Food Writers where she also first met Julia, as Julia and I were both presenters. Our paths have crossed umpteen times since then. We both served on the board of the International Association of Culinary Professionals; she served [...]

By | February 8th, 2017|Foodie Interviews|0 Comments

Nathalie Dupree

I met Nathalie Dupree — a multi-talented food professional — many decades ago in Ashville, North Carolina on a chicken original (3074) trip. That was when the then National Chicken Council hosted food editors on yearly press trips to teach us about the industry. Nathalie actually got married during one of those trips, as I and two other editors stood up for her as her bridesmaids on the beach in Jamaica. Best known for her approachability and her understanding of Southern fare, Nathalie is a best-selling author with 14 cookbooks and more than 300 television shows. She's a productive food professional having been the Founding Chairman of the [...]

By | January 3rd, 2017|Foodie Interviews|2 Comments

Florence Fabricant

If you're a New York Times reader, you'll recognize the name Florence Fabricant. She's one of their longtime food and wine writers, who contributes the weekly Front Burner and Off the Menu columns. We first met at a table on the ocean-view terrace of Beechwood (Astor) Mansion in Newport, RI with Jeremiah Tower and his crew on the lawn grilling our lunch. It was an Ocean Spray cranberry event in the 80s. Florence has written 12 cookbooks, including The New York Times Dessert Cookbook (St. Martins Press), The New York Restaurant Cookbook (Rizzoli) and The New York Times Seafood Cookbook (St. Martins Press). Now that I'm a full-time New Yorker, [...]

By | November 25th, 2016|Foodie Interviews|0 Comments

The Next Big Bite: The Media’s Influence on What We Consume

The Next Big Bite:  highlighted key trends in a discussion about the media’s impact on food and drink decisions. This second annual event was held last month at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) in Brookfield Place, New York City. It was sponsored by Les Dames d’Escoffier New York (LDNY), the preeminent organization of women who are leaders in the fields of food, fine beverage and hospitality. The New York chapter (LDNY) is the founding and largest of the 37 chapters in the United States and abroad. The centerpiece of the evening was a panel discussion moderated by Martha Teichner, correspondent for CBS News Sunday Morning, featuring Carla Hall, Co-host [...]

By | November 23rd, 2016|Other happenings, Rambling|0 Comments

Devin Alexander

When 15-year old Devin Alexander tipped the scale at 200 pounds, she decided to do something about it. By the time Devin left for Smith College she had trimmed down. Devin has maintained her own 70-pound weight loss for over 20 years, turning the nondeprivational way she did so into her successful career. Devin lives and eats her message —  you don’t have to deprive yourself to be fit and healthy. Devin is the author of 8 cookbooks including “The Biggest Loser Cookbook” Series and “The Most Decadent Diet Ever." She's appeared on numerous national TV shows and has been featured in magazines, including Prevention, Men’s Health and Shape. Today, [...]

By | August 29th, 2016|Foodie Interviews|0 Comments

The 13th Annual Second Helping of Life Tasting Event in September

SHARE will celebrate its 40th Anniversary at the annual “A Second Helping of Life” tasting event on Monday, September 19, 6 PM at Pier 60, Chelsea Piers with almost 30 of NYC’s premier women chefs offering up their signature dishes (scroll down). Chef Angie Mar, Executive Chef of Beatrice Inn and Chopped Grill Masters Grand Champion in 2015, will serve as the event’s Executive Chef. All proceeds will benefit SHARE. Tamsen Fadal — PIX 11 Evening News Anchor — will serve as the evening's host. Founded in 1976 by breast specialist Dr. Eugene Thiessen with twelve breast cancer patients and survivors, SHARE currently serves 40,000 people annually with free supportive [...]

By | August 16th, 2016|Other happenings|0 Comments

Alison Awerbuch

Alison Awerbuch grew up in a home where her mom read Gourmet and enjoyed entertaining — creating a menu, setting the ??????????????? stage, preparing the food and serving it with style. This upbringing planted the seeds that grew into her catering career. It wasn't, though, until half way through college that she realized those passions. She finished college with a business degree then headed to the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) for another. Her first job was at Abigail Kirsch, then a small catering company in Westchester. More than 25 years later, Alison is still with the company — only now she's a partner, running and expanding the [...]

By | August 15th, 2016|Foodie Interviews|0 Comments

Maria Loi

When Maria Loi and I met in 2013 on a French wine crawl that stopped at her then Upper West Side eponymous restaurant, she mentioned that she felt we'd met before. After chitchatting, we discovered that we actually may have met in the 70s on the Greek isle of Hyra! I stopped by her year-old restaurant Loi Estiatorio in Manhattan — where she's the executive chef — recently to learn more about her beginnings. I knew she had written more than 35 cookbooks (including Ancient Dining, the official cookbook for the 2004 Olympic Games and her most recent The Greek Diet HarperCollins 2014), cooked for President Obama at the White [...]

By | July 18th, 2016|Foodie Interviews|0 Comments

David Bonom

You may not recognize him, but David Bonom is the face behind many of recipes you might use. He develops these creations Marge Perry David Bonom Love, Lobster, Strawberry Cupcakes Cookbook for myriad food companies and — along with his food-writing wife Marge Perry — has a regular column in Rachel Ray Every Day. If  you're one of those who can't sleep, you might catch him cooking on ABC's World News Now, an overnight television news program airing during the wee hours. David and I met umpteen years ago at one of the many press events we both attended. With me as his agent, we also worked together for [...]

By | July 3rd, 2016|Foodie Interviews|1 Comment

Sara Moulton

My first memory of meeting the talented Sara Moulton was at the Good Morning America set in the 90s. She was working in the GMA kitchen as their executive chef prepping for the food segments; I was appearing in my inaugural network spot to promote Rice, my first cookbook. We worked together many times after that as I did numerous GMA food trend segments. Our paths would then cross on press trips or at media events, as the food community during that era was quite small. But Sara's food career began long before her GMA days when she was associate chef for Julia's Julia Child & More Company TV show [...]

By | June 5th, 2016|Foodie Interviews|0 Comments

Darra Goldstein

I ran into Darra Goldstein recently at the James Beard Foundation Media awards; I was a judge and her latest book was nominated. Funny, as we first connected long, long ago when I — as a newspaper food editor — judged the then Tastemaker Awards and her first cookbook A Taste of Russia, was nominated for that award. Darra and I later met at a Stolichnaya vodka event at The Russian Tea room when she was consulting for the restaurant and a spokesperson for the vodka. I recall her teaching us how to chug that libation while keeping a clear head. Be sure to first have some bread slathered in butter!  [...]

By | May 22nd, 2016|Foodie Interviews|0 Comments

Ruth Reichl: What Everyone’s Talking About on April 20

Join food critic, editor, and best-selling author Ruth Reichl on Wednesday, April 20, 2016 from 7:30 - 9:00PM at the JCC Manhattan (334 Amsterdam Avenue at 76th) as she describes her recent journey away from Gourmet magazine and back into her own kitchen. This journey resulted in her  book, My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life. A six-time James Beard Award honoree, Reichl captures not only her zeal for the great meal, but the joy to be found in small culinary encounters and how what we eat can animate our lives.  For tickets ($25 the public, $20 members) to "What Everyone's Talking About: Ruth Reichl," click here. For more [...]

By | April 12th, 2016|Other happenings|0 Comments

Kerry Heffernan

I first met Kerry Heffernan when he was the executive chef of South Gate, which at that time was at the Jumeirah Essex House; today it's a Marriott. Sadly, I missed him cooking at Eleven Madison, where he had opened that restaurant as Executive Chef and eventually become a partner before heading to South Gate. Kerry is currently chef at Grand Banks, the seasonal oyster bar and galley on the deck of the Sherman Zwicker, an historic cod fishing schooner moored at Pier 25 New York. The floating "oyster barges" that lined Manhattan's waterfront in the 18th and 19th centuries inspired this restaurant that serves up sustainably harvested oysters, ingredient-driven [...]

By | April 10th, 2016|Foodie Interviews|0 Comments

Dana Jacobi

Like many of us in the food business, Dana Jacobi has followed her passions and has been doing what she loves for decades. She started her food career as an unpaid kitchen worker in France; Dana says that she’s “the first woman to apprentice in several French 3-star restaurants.” I met Dana a bit further along in her career when she was working at Prodigy  — one of the first online consumer services. That's were her writing career began, with one of first food blogs. Beginning in the late 80s, she penned  The Bytable Feast, an online only food column. Since then she’s written 15 cookbooks, including the most recent The [...]

By | March 27th, 2016|Foodie Interviews|1 Comment

Charlie Marshal

I met Charlie Marshal last fall at a holiday event where he was sampling root beer popcorn balls, ones that ended up on the pages of In Style magazine. Soon after that, I visited his farm-to-table eponymous restaurant in Hell's Kitchen and became impressed with his emphasis on cooking locally, seasonally, and sustainably. He is passionate about all this as he grew up in the business — on his family's farm and in their restaurant on Lummi Island, WA. The Marshal was just received three stars from the Green Restaurant Association and was awarded NY Wine & Grape Foundation’s Restaurant Award. Charlie's currently working on opening a yet-unnamed wine bar [...]

By | March 13th, 2016|Foodie Interviews|1 Comment

David Ransom

David Ransom's career in the wine business began when his parents and brothers collectively decided to buy the Rivendell Winery in the Hudson Valley. That was the mid-80s. Today he's a wine and spirits writer, speaker and educator, whose work can be seen in print (Tasting Panel Magazine, SOMMjournal) and on the web (The Connected Table, InsideFandB), and heard — along with his wife Melanie Young — on radio (The Connected Table, Live!). When we spoke recently, he was preparing to fly to Houston for a TV spot on wine. I had to ask, what he likes best about his current career. He chuckled, “When someone says, ‘I’ve read you [...]

By | February 28th, 2016|Foodie Interviews|0 Comments

Eric Kayser

Eric Kayser was in town to promote the opening of his first Maison Kayser in Brooklyn (57 Court Street). Luckily for him, that visit coincided with a contest for NYC's best baguette that was held late last month at the Sofitel hotel. I was at that contest, sampling crusty baquettes and specialty breads from more than a bakers' dozen bakeries, who were the finalists of French Morning’s readers’ poll. The bakers' breads were pitted against each other in a blind juried tasting to win the title of Best Baguette in NYC. Eric Kayser's baguette was crowned best — both the public's and jury’s choice. So when I posed our Guest [...]

By | February 14th, 2016|Foodie Interviews|0 Comments

Brian Lewis

I first met chef Brian Lewis when I was invited to dine at the elm, his former restaurant in New Canaan, though I had sampled his cooking prior to that. He was the executive chef at actor Richard Gere’s The Bedford Post Inn, a Relais & Chateaux property. I had been impressed with his unusual blend of flavors and textures and gladly followed him to his newly opened The Cottage in Westport. (A review of that meal will post later this month.) Brian was raised in New York (Westchester) and studied at the Culinary Institute of America and Johnson and Wales University. He, his wife Dana and their twin boys [...]

By | January 31st, 2016|Foodie Interviews|0 Comments

Marci Izard

I first met Marci Izard when she was a traffic reporter for WTNH in New Haven. She's come a long way since then with stops anchoring in Springfield (MA) and reporting and hosting cooking and mindfulness segments in Houston (TX). Marci currently writes her blog (Marci's Table) for the Houston Chronicle's, launched her own site ( and published her first cookbook, "Nourishing Your Whole Self: A Cookbook with Feelings" encouraging her readers to become more aware of how food makes them feel. We spoke to Marci recently, and asked her to respond to our Guest Foodie questions. - bonnie BonnieBOTB Follow @BonnieBOTB Which food product or gadget would you [...]

By | January 18th, 2016|Foodie Interviews|0 Comments

Sara Jenkins

I've known about Sara Jenkins since she was quite young, as her mom Nancy Harmon Jenkins — a noted food writer/authority and professional colleague — had boasted about her daughter as all mom's do. Following in Nancy's love of Italian food, Sara opened two restaurants in Manhattan. Porchetta, a storefront in the East Village focusing on the Italian roasted pork, typically sold as street food, and Porsena, a sit-down casual-style restaurant with a changing menu focusing on authentic Italian pastas. Sara grew up all over the Mediterranean — as her dad was a foreign correspondent — spending much of her time in Tuscany where her family still has a home. [...]

By | December 7th, 2015|Foodie Interviews|0 Comments

Joanne Lamb Hayes

My two sons — Bryan and Eric — know how famous Joanne Lamb Hayes is for her gingerbread houses. When they were quite young, this dear friend — and cookbook co-author — orchestrated a workshop for one of each of their birthday parties. Their friends still talk about it. Joanne teaches these “Gingerbread House Workshops for Children" annually during the holiday season at the James Beard House and has for 22 years. At the class, the children go from dough to a completely constructed, frosted, decorated, candy-covered and cellophane-wrapped gingerbread house ready to travel in just 3 hours. This year she will be teaching her workshop twice on Saturday, December [...]

By | November 9th, 2015|Foodie Interviews|0 Comments

François Payard

François Payard has baking in his blood. He's third generation, as his maternal grandfather owned a pâtisserie, his dad took that over and both he and his brother are pastry chefs. François is the owner of FP Patisserie and François Bakery in NYC and a former pastry chef at Le Bernardin, Restaurant Daniel and Le Cirque. In 1995, he was named The James Beard Foundation “Pastry Chef of the Year.” Two years later, he opened his own bistro on Lexington Avenue, which is where I first met him. He closed that place after 12 years when the landlord doubled his rent when his lease ended. Speaking with him recently on the eve of [...]

By | October 26th, 2015|Foodie Interviews|0 Comments

Karen MacNeil

I first met Karen MacNeil more than a decade ago when she was part of the teaching team at the Brown-Forman Center for Global Wine Education that I attended in Mendocino County, California. During the seminar, we learned to taste, building our own wine-tasting memory while understanding the subtleties of terroir, vineyard, and vintner. After tasting well over 100 different wines, we could identify wines by grape, country of origin and more. Karen had warned me that to continue to be able to do so, I needed to constantly train all the time, educating my palate by tasting a variety of wines all the time, as she does. Karen, who [...]

By | October 14th, 2015|Foodie Interviews|0 Comments

SHARE Raises ~$500K at the Annual Benefit

Last Monday's event at Pier 60 brought together leading women of stove, stage, screen and publishing to help raise money for SHARE, a non-profit organization that offers free peer support to women with breast or ovarian cancer, their families and friends. All of SHARE’s services are free of charge and include helplines, educational programs, support groups, and public-health initiatives. According to Beth Kling, SHARE’s communications director, the fundraiser raised close to half a million dollars — $496K to be more exact — enabling this organization to continue to support those affected by breast or ovarian cancer. Below is the list of the chefs, their sous chefs and the foods attendees [...]

By | September 29th, 2015|Other happenings|0 Comments

Abigail Kirsch

When researching the first sous chef awards that Michael Anthony won in 2001, I discovered that that's where I met the amazing Abigail Kirsch. We were both judges along with Alain Sailhac, who was at the French Culinary Institute (now International Culinary Center) and Paul Barrett, who was Bertolli's communications manager. I knew of Abigail's eponymous catering company, but wasn't aware of how it began. She shared the story of her beginning by teaching cooking in her Chappaqua kitchen. Her neighbor complained about too many cars in her driveway, he told the town board and they told her to stop. Abigail took it to the New York Supreme Court who [...]

By | September 13th, 2015|Foodie Interviews|0 Comments