Big Apple Life

/Big Apple Life

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

Atoboy, A Korean Restaurant in NoMad, NYC

It's been a long time since I was blown away by a flavor combination of a dish. The combination of ingredients at Atoboy, a Korean restaurant in NoMad, did so almost from start to finish. Yes, that good. Junghyun Park, Atoboy’s chef, is the former Chef de Cuisine of Jungsik, a two Michelin starred NYC Korean restaurant. His wife Ellia Park, is the manager. This is an adventurous restaurant, serving unusual Korean-inspired shareable dishes. Atoboy has only a wine and beer license, so cocktails are made with Soju, a clear, colorless distilled Korean beverage. I was thoroughly surprised — and pleased — by their slightly spicy Jalapeño Rosso, with ginger [...]

By |2019-08-19T12:05:56-04:00August 17th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Royal Siam Anago Sushi, Chelsea, NYC

After a board meeting, a few of us walked down to Eighth Avenue to get a bite to eat and to yak. They all wanted sushi. Not eating raw fish (which is what happens when you have degrees in Food Science), I instead ordered a Thai noodle dish ($12). It was not the typical bland Pad Thai, but a spicy noodle version called Pad Kee Mao. I asked for my flat noodles, sauteed basil leaves, scallions and chili with chicken. I'd go for that nicely flavored — but not very photogenic — dish again. The others said the salmon donburi rice bowl ($22), Naruto rainbow of cucumber wrapped avocado with [...]

By |2019-08-19T12:05:04-04:00August 7th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Looking for a Happy Hour? Try Le Colonial, Midtown, NYC

A friend was heading to theatre on 59th street and so suggested meeting for a drink during Happy Hour at Le Colonial on East 57th. The bar area is upstairs at this upscale (dark wood and red velvet chair) restaurant. During happy hour (5 to 8 pm) the classic cocktails, beer and wine are half price. Cocktails and wine are about $8, beer $5. I sampled their ”paper tiger” crafted cocktail served up, martini style, made with chili-infused vodka, cardamom syrup and lime. Quite good. When I go back, I will request a tad less sweetness. Only the drinks are half-price during happy hour. That said, when I return I'll [...]

By |2019-08-15T13:11:15-04:00August 5th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Fish & Chips at Salt & Battery, West Village

Mention fish & chips in the big apple and Salt & Battery is often mentioned in the same sentence as some of the city’s best.  I had to try it. I walked over to Greenwich Avenue to find a small storefront next to Tea & Sympathy, an English restaurant by the same owners.  Salt & Battery, designed mostly for takeout, does have some counter space and stools if you want to eat in as I did. There's also a wooden bench outside the window, to eat weather permitting. You have a choice of cod, haddock, sole or whiting offered in two sizes,   regular (4-ounce portion $6.95 - $7.95) and large [...]

By |2019-08-06T08:58:06-04:00August 3rd, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Bocca in Flatiron, A Return

When I walked in, I realized that Bocca on 19th in the Flatiron District had been renovated. It's now more upscale and hip than it had been when I first visited. K, who began working only a couple of months before the renovation, welcomed us to our table and kept checking back to see whether we needed anything. We hadn't seen each other in years and didn't stop talking for over 3 hours. The restaurant was fine with that. We shared a nicely dressed (AKA not drowning) gem lettuce with market veggie salad ($11) and the rich pappardelle with braised lamb shank sprinkled with pecorino Romano ($20). A perfect amount [...]

By |2019-08-06T08:59:28-04:00August 1st, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Brunch at Bowery Road in the Hyatt Near Union Square

Looking for a spot for brunch really close to Union Square, we ended up at Bowery Road in the Hyatt Hotel on 4th Avenue. I had been to that location before for jazz brunches when it was The Fourth. This was not like that restaurant had been. We started with their "Just a Real Good Bloody Mary," which was fine, nothing out of the ordinary. My friend had the Greenmarket Frittata ($16) described as made with spring peas, zucchini, tomato and fontina cheese. We laughed as my dining partner found one pea in her eggs and only a tomato garnish. My Huevos Rancheros ($16) was no better. The first time [...]

By |2019-05-30T11:43:02-04:00July 30th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

A Return To Union Square’s Laut for Malaysian Food

Some uptown friends came downtown for the Saturday Union Square farmers' market and suggested meeting for lunch at the Malaysian restaurant Laut on 17th Street near the square. We started with the fresh rice noodle spring roll ($9) filled with cabbage, cucumber, jicama, carrot, red pepper and lots of fresh mint, making it quite refreshing. These rolls came with a thick hoisin-like sauce. Our favorite was the well-balanced flavor of the Massaman curry served with a side of rice. This coconut milk-based tamarind-flavored stew contained onions, carrots, lots of sweet potatoes chunks, peanuts and beef.  Also good was their famous shrimp rendang ($20), a caramelized flavorful curry. We weren't as [...]

By |2019-07-26T21:08:38-04:00July 28th, 2019|Big Apple Life, Rambling|0 Comments

Llamita, A Peruvian Bistro in the West Village

We needed a plan B. Dinner on a boat wouldn't work in the rain. That's how we ended up at Llamita, a tiny Peruvian bistro in the West Village that at that time didn't have a wine or beer license. They recently opened for dinner. Our helpful waiter detailed the unusual dishes offered on their small menu. Don't miss the diced Corvina ceviche ($20) with a bright yellow so flavorful aji Amarillo sauce that we began eating with a spoon. Yes, that tasty. It also contained large chunks of cooked sweet potato, crunchy corn nuts and crispy fried calamari. We sampled the fried yuca chips that came with the large [...]

By |2019-08-06T09:00:52-04:00July 26th, 2019|Big Apple Life, Rambling|0 Comments

Taiwanese Food at 886, Lower East Side, NYC

My first experience with Taiwanese food was at 886, a delightful restaurant on the lower east side. Luckily, I met owner Andy Chuang who helped me understand the dishes and the cuisine. Sweet-salty is a trademark of modern Taiwanese cuisine as is basil, garlic and scallions. They have Kura sake on tap (15) served chilled. Delicious. We also shared the Les Beaux Jours 2017 Emile Zalland, France, 2017 Sauvignon blanc ($48) Our first dish was a sausage in a "bun" made of glutinous rice topped with lots of cilantro and sprinkled with a crumbled duck egg. 886 calls it a Sausage Party ($8). Next to the table was the Shaky [...]

By |2019-08-06T09:07:47-04:00July 24th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Le Midi, My Neighborhood Bistro

Le Midi is the warm and welcoming bistro in my hood that I've written about before. They offer a happy hour (HH) from 4 to 7 daily, including weekends; Sundays HH begins at noon. I stopped in recently to enjoy the $8 HH cosmos, made with vodka, Triple Sec and cranberry and lime juices plus their burger with sauteed cremini mushrooms, Gruyere & fries ($16). It hit the spot and didn't break the bank. I recommend a trip to Le Midi. Le Midi Bistro East Village 11 East 13th Street New York, NY 10003 (212) 255-8787

By |2019-07-21T10:19:53-04:00July 20th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

800 Degrees Woodfired Kitchen, Kips Bay

I was out of the country when 800 Woodfired Kitchen had their reopening event. They had been temporarily closed for a couple of months due to a mechanical fire. I spoke with the publicist to see if I could check it out. The restaurant is located across the street from the Empire State Building, making it a good stop for tourists. The only menu item that I sampled that I can recommend is the woodfire, roasted jumbo artichoke sprinkled with pecorino and smoked salt served with lemon butter ($15). To enjoy, we pulled off those outer petals, dipped each into the sauce then pulled through our teeth to get the [...]

By |2019-08-15T13:04:02-04:00July 16th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Beaubourg, Brooksfield Park, FiDi, NYC + Historical Tour

With my Ex-expats group, we took a historic tour let by Kevin Draper, one of the owners of the New York Historical Tours company.  During the 2-hour tour,  I gained a new respect for Alexandar Hamilton and learned about the Fraunces Tavern that's celebrating its 300th birthday this year. I vowed to gather some friends to visit the museum and restaurant sometime this summer. (That's the tavern behind Kevin in the photo.) After the trek around lower Manhattan, we headed to Beaubourg in Le District, a place I had been a couple of years ago when it opened at Brookfield Place. Sadly this time, I had to engulf and run.  [...]

By |2019-07-21T09:06:23-04:00July 12th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Café D’Avignon Bakery For Lunch, Midtown, NYC

Café D’Avignon, known for their bakery products, recently opened their first standalone café in Midtown. I met their publicist there to try their fare. We sampled their freshly made pastries ($3.50 – $6), including the unusual baklava croissant and my favorite the croissant filled with almond paste. We also tried the spinach feta quiche ($8) topped with toasted almonds and a croissant sandwich filled with goat cheese, roasted tomato and spinach that I would have preferred on a baguette. I'd also recommend their breads. Café D'Avignon is a good place to stop in for a bite while shopping near Herald Square or to pick up some goodies to take home. [...]

By |2019-07-05T10:06:56-04:00July 4th, 2019|Big Apple Life, Rambling|0 Comments

Book Group at Bistango at The Kimberly Hotel

Some book group members only have a pied-à-terre in the city, not large enough to host luncheons at their home so they opt for a prix fixe menu at some restaurant. That's how we ended up at Bistango at the Kimberley Hotel, discussing Michele Obama's autobiography, "Becoming," a book we all liked. I can't say as much for the meal other than their super attentive service. We all did the $24.95 prix fixe menu, starting with the plentiful arugula salad in a light lemon balsamic vinaigrette. Sadly the eggplant in the Parmigiana needed lots more time in the oven; we might not have noticed so much if the entree had [...]

By |2019-07-05T10:05:10-04:00July 2nd, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

A Trip to Harlem’s Tison Cafe for Ethiopian Food

I'm familiar with Ethiopian food as that was the culture I selected for a Culinary Arts graduate project at NYU. To serve for my presentation, I made all the foods from scratch, including the spicy doro wot (the berbere-seasoned chicken stew considered the national dish) and the injera (the sour, springy Ethiopian teff-based flatbread). I was flabbergasted that all other students brought in takeout for their projects! Knowing the cuisine, I was looking forward to a trip to Harlem's Tison Cafe for their  Ethiopian and other Mediterranean foods. I tried their Kafa Martini, their version of the espresso martini. Although the menu described it as made with vodka, coffee and [...]

By |2019-07-05T09:52:06-04:00June 28th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Return to Jones Wood Foundry for their June Specials, UES

Jones Wood Foundry's monthly seasonal menus give me cause to return for a tasting now and then to this Upper East Side English pub with consistently good food. Each time I return, there are a few starters I must have as they're that good. Don't miss either the smooth and creamy chicken and duck livers to spread on toasted brioche ($17) and of course the irresistible humongous Yorkshire pudding (popover, $7). We also ate the seasonal gooey grilled Cheddar & Stilton sandwich with pickled jalapeños. It came with a small serving of chilled tomato soup ($12), which I found unnecessary. This grilled cheese teawich, as its called, was so successful [...]

By |2019-06-22T15:30:52-04:00June 18th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Hunky Dory in Crown Heights + Frida Kahlo Exhibit at Brooklyn Museum

I had been given the edict to find a place for lunch after going to an exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. Sadly by the time you read this, the amazingly interesting exhibit "Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving" ended. This show was the first in the US to present a collection of her Tehuana clothing, pre-Colonial jewelry, and other personal objects — even her hand-painted corsets and the prosthetics she used. Hunkly Dory, a sustainable all-day cafe and bar, is about half a mile from the museum. It's the project of Claire Sprouse, whose experience includes Sunday in Brooklyn and ABV in SF. You order and pay for your food [...]

By |2019-06-22T15:25:08-04:00June 14th, 2019|Big Apple Life|3 Comments

Brunch at Augustine in the Beekman Hotel, Financial District

I hadn't yet seen Brookdale Battery Park Retirement Home where my friend had just moved her mother. We made a Sunday date to head downtown to see the facility and take her mom out to brunch at Augustine in the Beekman Hotel. Their fairly new chef Markus Glocker splits his time between that restaurant and Bâtard, a Michelin-starred Tribeca restaurant. We thought a bistro brunch called for Bloody Marys ($17). Once we took a sip, we both wondered whether they had forgotten to add the vodka. Our waiter Matthew played dumb when we mentioned the issue. We split a smoked salmon and avocado omelet($21), their flavorful burger ($25) topped with [...]

By |2019-06-10T15:36:43-04:00June 2nd, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Paris and West Village Visits to Jody Williams’ Buvette

So enjoying Jody Williams Buvette when I had eaten there that I decided to head to her Paris establishment when I was there recently. That visit in the City of Love made me hunger for another trip to the West Village one. In the 9th arrondissement in the Pigalle neighborhood of Paris, we shared a croque forestier, Jody Williams vegetarian alternative to the croque-monsieur sandwich with layers of Gruyere with roasted mushrooms and hearty French bread (12 €), some roasted fresh beets  (9 €) topped with Roquefort crème fraîche and a lightly dressed salad with celery olives and tender chicken (15 €). We also indulged in her heavenly mousse au [...]

A Return North River Lobster Co. Boat, A Bit More Pricey

A boat ride in New York City is always a treat and often a surprise to locals as well as visitors. I discovered the North River Lobster boat when it began sailing in 2014. At that time the sailings were free. Yes, free. Today it costs $10 for the boat ride. Cocktails come in all sizes from a 12-ounce cup ($15) to 64-ounce pitcher ($55) with a 24-ounce tall lighthouse ($25) in between. We had ordered the regular ones so when a lighthouse was delivered, silly us to think that was the regular size. Decent drinks, not light on the alcohol. And in 2014, the over-stuffed lobster roll costs $16. [...]

By |2019-05-26T19:17:07-04:00May 26th, 2019|Big Apple Life, Other happenings|0 Comments