Rambling

Random musings on Life in the Big Apple

Oaxaca Taqueria, Upper West Side, NYC

We needed a place on the Upper West Side near the Hayden Planetarium, as we were off to a 40th anniversary celebration of the Voyager I and II spacecrafts. The event also celebrated a a new musical piece by Gerald Cohen for clarinet and string quartet based on selections from the Golden Record, a phonograph record included on each Voyager launched in 1977.  We listened to that as we observed the "flight" of the night sky.  Back to the food. I was with a friend who always recommends good cheap eats, who suggested meeting at Oaxaca Taqueria a small eatery on Amsterdam not far from the American Museum of Natural History. [...]

By | January 15th, 2018|Big Apple Life, Rambling|0 Comments

Pershing Square, Midtown, NYC

Pershing Square is quite noticeable across the street from Grand Central Station (GCS) under the overpass. I never ate there until recently when I met a friend for breakfast, first at the classic meeting place — the clock in GCS — then heading there to this bustling American-style cafe. Love the warm atmosphere and friendly service. I had their farm fresh eggs my way (poached) with extra-crispy bacon, home fries and rye toast ($16); my friend had the fluffy buttermilk pancakes served with maple syrup (the real stuff, Grade A), with fresh berries on the side ($17). Both were worth returning for -- at an ideal location for meeting someone near [...]

By | January 9th, 2018|Rambling|0 Comments

NoHo Star, NoHo, NYC

It's too late now to try the decades-old neighborhood NoHo Star as it shuttered its doors on New Year's Eve. I made a point of stopping by as I hadn't tried their purportedly best Caesar salad in the city. One afternoon, I lunched with a couple friends. Our salads arrived with the raw (pasteurized) egg in the middle of torn romaine.The waiter showed it, then tossed it. Really good Caesar although my table-mates wanted less dressing and more grated cheese and anchovies. We also shared a burger and fries. The salad was better. If you missed, you'll just have to look at Instagram photos and dream. NoHo Star 330 Lafayette Street New [...]

By | January 7th, 2018|Big Apple Life, Rambling|0 Comments

Lam Zhou Handmade Noodle & Dumpling, Chinatown, NYC

I often do Manhattan on the cheap. This time I combined a morning at the free Louis Vuitton exhibition downtown with an under $20 meal uptown a tad in Chinatown. If you're heading to the Louis Vuitton (86 Trinity Place), be sure to make a reservation. I suggest doing it without the guided tour. We found the docents in each room quite informative, much better than the tour guide. Go soon, as it closed January 7. We walked uptown from the exhibition to the new location of Lam Zhou on Bowery. This one with 40 seats is much larger than the original one but the same inexpensive good food. Although chopsticks made [...]

By | December 27th, 2017|Big Apple Life, Rambling|0 Comments

Ivan Ramen, Lower East Side, NYC + (The Band’s Visit)

I headed downtown to a press event at Ivan Ramen after seeing The Band's Visit on Broadway — the musical about the Egyptian Police Band mistakenly ending up in a remote Israeli village with no bus until morning and no hotel nearby. In this based on a true story, the musicians are taken in by the locals. (Click here for review on Theater Pizzazz.) The event at Ivan Ramen was to celebrate the November Anime NYC’s Ramen Summit, a dedicated celebration of Japanese animation and culture. Ivan Orkin, a Long Island Jewish guy who's the man behind Ivan Ramen, sat with us and shared his story of living in Japan and opening [...]

By | December 17th, 2017|Rambling, Theatre|0 Comments

Bluebell Cafe, Gramercy, NYC + The Box

We went for a bite to eat at the Bluebell Cafe after seeing The Box Show — one woman (Dominique Salerno) hilariously performing over 25 characters from inside a small  3' x 3'x 2' box — at the People's Improv Theatre on 24th Street. We found Bluebell Cafe, a warm friendly restaurant that's so accommodating. We were four and each wanted to share, as women often do. They were so eager to please, giving each of us a half an order of their creamy cauliflower soup  ($10 a bowl) from the special of the day. If offered,  I'd recommend that! For entrees, we tried the salmon ($23), cooked medium-rare as requested, with [...]

By | December 13th, 2017|Rambling, Theatre|0 Comments

Feinstein’s/54 Below, Midtown, NYC + Ben Vereen

My friend invited me to join her at Feinstein's/54 Below nightclub for opening night of the Ben Vereen show Thanksgiving weekend. Ben is the Tony and Drama Desk Award winner for his performance in Bob Fosse’s Pippin. Some of this other credits include Wicked, I’m Not Rappaport, Chicago, Hair, Fosse and Jesus Christ Superstar. The New York Times wrote that “Mr. Vereen is a song and dance man who never lets up.” Ben Vereen, now 71, was exactly as the Times described. Quite the showman. (Click here for a complete review on Theater Pizzazz.) 54 Below is also a supper club, offering dinner and drinks. I tried my waiter's suggestion of their fettuccine Bolognese, made [...]

By | November 28th, 2017|Big Apple Life, Rambling|0 Comments

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

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|2 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

Dan’s Taste of Summer, Hamptons, NY

Dan's Taste of Summer annual food & wine festival takes in the Hamptons beginning on Friday July 17th with GrillHampton, a competition pitting 8 NYC chefs vs 8 Hamptons chefs in the ultimate grill off. Located at Sayre Park, 156 Snake Hollow Road, Bridgehampton. Tickets available for $125 (inclusive of all food & beverage). Saturday July 18th is the fifth annual Taste of Two Forks, the biggest celebration of East End restaurants bringing together more than 40 spots under one roof, hosted by The Chew's Michael Symon and Hamptonite Katie Lee (also co-host of Food Network's The Kitchen). Also located at Sayre Park, with tickets from $170 for general admission, [...]

By | July 10th, 2015|Rambling, USA Restaurants|0 Comments

Practice Makes Perfect Spring Fling

Practice Makes Perfect Spring Fling will be held May 6, at Midtown Loft & Terrace (267 Fifth Avenue, New York City) from 7-10 pm. The event will have dancing, food, an open bar and an auction that includes Yankees tickets, a 2-night stay at the Las Vegas Cosmopolitan  Delta Voucher, Knicks tickets and a private dinner provided by Celebrity Chef Gabe Kennedy, winner of ABC’s The Taste. Guests will enjoy beverages from Gunhill Brewery, Banfi Winery, Lagunitas Brewery, and food from Kitchen Provance, Shake Shack, and Joanne’s Restaurant. A 100% of the proceeds go to Practice Makes Perfect to allow them to provide summer educational programming in low-income neighborhoods. Practice [...]

By | April 22nd, 2015|Rambling, xyz misc|0 Comments

Carnevale at Tommaso’s, Bay Ridge, Brookyn

The celebration of Carnevale at Tommaso’s (1464 86th Street) in Brooklyn continues it's 42nd year of tradition. The festival celebration — from Friday, February 6th through Fat Tuesday February 17 —  features a  food, wine and music from a troupe of classically trained singers, who perform Italian arias, folk songs and Broadway standards. The feast begins with a parade of 15 hot and cold antipasti — many prepared only for Carnevale — and continues with a choice of pasta and entrée, followed by coffee and dessert. The fee is $45 to $60, depending upon the day. For information visit their website or call for reservations call 718-236-9883. - Guest submission [...]

By | January 22nd, 2015|Rambling, xyz misc|0 Comments

New Taste of the Upper West Side in May

The 2014 New Taste of the Upper West Side  begins in Theodore Roosevelt Park on Tuesday, May 27th (with a rain date on Thursday, May 29th) at 7 pm with a cocktail event under the stars to celebrate and raise funds for New York City’s Theodore Roosevelt Park ($150/person) Travel Channel’s Adam Richman and  Food Network star and Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli (Butter Restaurant) will host Friday, May 30th's Comfort Classic from 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm, at the Grand White Tent on Columbus Avenue between West 76th and 77th Streets. The duo will oversee 40 restaurants from the Upper West Side showcasing their comfort dishes and competing to win [...]

By | April 17th, 2014|Rambling, xyz misc|0 Comments

A Taste of Excellence, Time Warner Center, NYC

Attend the  epicurean event on Thursday, April 24th, 2014 beginning at 6:30 pm on the second floor of the Time Warner Center, NYC. The Restaurant and Bar Collection at Time Warner Center offers an evening of fine dining, wine and entertainment. Enjoy canapés served by Union Square Events and sip specially crafted cocktails from Center Bar and Stone Rose Lounge during an open-bar cocktail hour. Dine on dishes from A Voce, Landmarc, Porter House New York and Masa. End the evening on a sweet note with desserts and cordials, accompanied by live jazz from Jazz at Lincoln Center. To purchase tickets ($95/person), click here.  

By | April 16th, 2014|Rambling, xyz misc|0 Comments