Big Apple Life

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

Stocking Your “Pantry” During COVID-19 + Lentil Soup with Sausages

Wanting to feel both useful and helpful during this world-wide pandemic, I'm donning my RD (registered dietitian), cookbook author and former food editor hats to share shopping and cooking tips with you as we're all sheltering in place. I am also including a couple of already posted pre-quarantine and not-shared yet restaurant reviews when I send the NewsBite just for your reading and viewing pleasure. We all need diversions. To start, here's a list of what to buy at /order from the supermarket to keep on hand. Shelf-stable items (meaning they don't need refrigeration). Rice Beans and lentils (canned and dried) Grains, whole grain preferred (amaranth, barley, bulgur, farro, freekeh, quinoa, [...]

By |2020-04-01T17:01:53-04:00April 1st, 2020|Big Apple Life, Entrees, Rambling, Recipes|0 Comments

Lower East Side Quintessential Trip with Lunch at Katz’s Delicatessen

((Written and posted before COVID-19 quarantine)  It had been some time since I wandered around enjoying the tastes of the Lower East Side. I went recently with some other Dames, checking out a potential guide and tour for the upcoming LDEI 2020 Conference that's being held in NYC this October. We made some food stops before ending at Katz's deli for the quintessential New York pastrami sandwich. But I'm getting ahead of myself, At Yonah Schimmel's Knish Bakery (137 East Houston Street) I bought one of their classic potato knishes ($4.25) that they've been selling and using the same recipe since opening in 1890. If you're not familiar, a knish [...]

By |2020-04-03T12:16:03-04:00March 28th, 2020|Big Apple Life, Rambling|2 Comments

Fast Casual Vietnamese at Sai Gon Dep, Murray Hill, NYC

(Written and posted before COVID-19 quarantine) I had lunch at Sai Gon Dep, teeny the fast-casual Vietnamese place on Second Avenue that specialized in Pho. I went with a book club friend who lives in the hood before heading to my breast-sandwich (AKA mammogram) at Langone. We both ordered the Sai Gon Dep lunch special of one roll + Pho with either lemonade or Thai ice tea ($15). I chose the summer pork roll freshly made with grilled pork, mango strips, lettuce, fresh herbs and a fried wonton skin all wrapped in fresh rice paper accompanied by chopped peanuts and hoisin sauce for dipping. Almost a meal in itself. Rosemary, my [...]

By |2020-04-03T12:16:56-04:00March 13th, 2020|Big Apple Life, Rambling|0 Comments

A Time Warp: Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop, Gramercy-Flatiron, NYC

Eisenberg Sandwich shop, open since 1929, was one of those places I'd heard about yet had never been. One morning after being NPO (medical lingo not eating anything) for my doctor's visit, I made a point of going there for breakfast. Outside the shop was a placard offering a $7.99 breakfast egg, cheese and bacon sandwich plus fruit or potato pancakes with coffee. I walked in thinking I had entered a time warp. The diner was empty other than two people at the long counter and a couple in the back room. I think they were regulars as I overheard their quite personal conversation with the staff. I ordered the [...]

By |2020-02-06T10:47:38-05:00March 11th, 2020|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Gordo’s Cantina At Common Ground, Meat Packing District, NYC

After spending time at Apple's Genius Bar because of a small piece of metal stuck in the port not allowing me to charge my iPhone, I decided to get a quick bite to eat in the hood. I walked into Gordo's Cantina at Common Ground Bar as I had a hankering for Mexican food to find a lunch special of $10 for their enchiladas stuffed with shredded chicken, topped with shredded cheese and a well-spiced verde sauce plus an amazing cheese crisp on top! I was one of a handful of customers in the bar My enjoyment of my meal was disrupted by the pacing owner or genera manager (never [...]

By |2020-01-27T05:33:21-05:00March 5th, 2020|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Grab a Drink at Bo’s Kitchen & Bar Room, Gramercy-Flatiron, NY

After a board meeting, we went around the corner to grab a drink and a bite at Bo's Kitchen & Bar Room.  The noise level was almost deafening. Okay, that's a tad hyperbole! yet we almost had to scream to hear. We ordered Old Fashioneds ($14) and some sliders to share. While waiting for our Bourbon Street sliders (3 for $16), we noticed the enticing aroma from the oh-so-close table next to us. Our neighbors Owen and Steve offered us a taste of their apps of blistered shishito peppers ($13) dusted with Grana Padano and their crispy alligator ($16) bites along with some nicely spiced chili aioli. Our three sliders [...]

By |2020-03-01T11:31:52-05:00February 19th, 2020|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

A Greek B-day Lunch at Korali Estiatorio

Korali Estiatorio is located on the Upper East Side, not too far from the Cooper Hewitt museum where we planned to meet first. We had planned a celebratory lunch for our friend Karen's birthday after seeing the current exhibition. Two of us skipped the exhibition yet we all met for lunch at this upscale Greek restaurant with white-washed walls and stonework reminiscent of Cretan Islands. We each had the $28 prixe fixe 3-course menu. I started with the Marouli salad a huge portion of chiffonade of romaine hearts, scallions, and feta cheese. They had the more classic Horiatiki salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, peppers, kalamata olives and a chunk of [...]

By |2020-01-08T09:15:31-05:00February 17th, 2020|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Overcooked BBQ at Blue Smoke, Financial District, NYC + Bombshell

After seeing  Bombshell, the Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie movie about Fox News Roger Ailes' (played by John Lithgow) sexual harassment at Battery Park theatre, we went for a bite to eat. Blue Smoke was convenient as it was literally around the corner from the theatre. I started with their tasty Oaxaca Old Fashioned ($16) made with Sombra mezcal, Herradura Reposado, agave and Angostura bitters chilled with one large ice cube. The three of us are dark meat-eaters requesting our half BBQ chicken that way ($16); it was the best of what we ordered. Our two half-orders of ribs, part Kansas City and part baby back ($17 each [...]

By |2020-02-16T16:16:52-05:00February 13th, 2020|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Brunch at Flex Mussels, West Village, NYC

Looking for a brunch place close to my tap class to meet a friend one Sunday, I found Flex Mussels in the West Village, a 5-minute walk from class. We arrived before they opened at 11:30 and unlike so many other places they allowed us to sit inside until they were ready to open the dining room. I started with a bloody Mary ($10), my friend a Bellini ($10). The server brought me some fresh horseradish to add to my drink as it wasn't spicy at all. My friend ordered the bacon and poached eggs that came with an arugula salad ($12), I had the lobster BLT + A [a=avocado] [...]

By |2020-02-16T16:18:26-05:00February 11th, 2020|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Breakfast at Bubby’s High Line, Meat-Packing District, NYC

We're still laughing that none of us double-checked the date. It had been months that we were planning to attend Yayoi Kusama's "Every Day I Pray For Love" exhibition, meeting in the morning outside the David Zwirner gallery. We knew something was amiss when there was no line. The exhibition had just closed. Having planned to walk down to the meat-packing district to have lunch at Bubby's High Line, we ended up there for breakfast. The others had eaten so they just ordered biscuits ($10) and coffee ($4). I indulged in one of my favorite breakfasts, huevos rancheros ($20). At Bubby's that's two eggs, fresh avocado chunks on crips tortillas [...]

By |2020-02-16T16:22:12-05:00February 7th, 2020|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

A Mezze at Voula , West Village, NYC

Voula is an authentic Greek restaurant in the West Village. I stopped by with a couple of friends to try their sharable appetizers before heading to a press event at Chelsea Market. I began with their Mousounitsa ($15) craft cocktail made with Blanco tequila, Banhez Mezcal Joven, honey and lime. I'd suggest it, and if you like spicy drinks, ask for some additional serrano pepper. One friend tried their Louloudi ($15), a cucumber forward vodka and St. Germaine cocktail (and switched to a vodka gimlet after!) Do try their pad-seared sesame-wrapped feta with fig marmalade ($16). My friends told me that they had found and been making this dish from [...]

By |2019-12-22T10:11:56-05:00February 3rd, 2020|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Fish for Your Supper at Zauo, Chelsea, NYC

At Zauo, diners literally fish for dinner! The restaurant, of course, prepares it for you once you catch something from one of their moats stocked with various fish. They grill, simmer, tempura fry or make your catch into sushi. Noriki Takahashi and his sons, Kazuhisa and Takuya, who own Zauo, have thirteen locations in Japan. This is their first NYC outpost where diners get to connect with the food they are eating. Let me back up. I met friends at Zauo one night. One got there when I did; the other had work to finish. While waiting, we began nibbling appetizers as we were hungry. We did so while watching [...]

By |2019-12-15T12:13:03-05:00February 1st, 2020|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

A Quick Meal at Carroll Place Before National Theatre Live

We were heading to the National Theatre Live screening of Hansard (noun: the official report of all parliamentary debates) at Skirball with two-time Olivier Award winners, Lindsay Duncan and Alex Jennings in Simon Wood's play. It was a slow-moving yet very powerful play with the married couple jabbing at each other reminiscent of the “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" sparring. I found Carroll Place, a nearby gastropub and wine bar, serving Italian fare to grab a bite before the performance. The food is decent, nothing out of the ordinary but a place I'd recommend it to grab a bite before seeing something around the corner at Skirball. Two friends shared the [...]

By |2019-12-15T08:18:40-05:00January 30th, 2020|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Legasea Seafood Brasserie, Midtown + The Greater Clements

Legasea Seafood Brasserie was bustling the night we dined there as Billy Joel was performing at MSG a couple of blocks away. We weren't heading to the Garden, instead, we were off to The Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre at Lincoln Center to see Judith Ivy in the very long (2 hours and 40 minutes with two intermissions) The Greater Clements. For a complete review on Theater Pizzazz, click here. We ate at Legasea as their guests. I started with their eponymous Old Fashioned made with their own single barrel Hudson Bourbon, allspice dram (an allspice-flavored liqueur) and angostura bitters ($20). I'd recommend this yummy drink for Old Fashioned lovers. For [...]

By |2019-12-29T09:41:59-05:00January 24th, 2020|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Ex-ExPat Holiday Luncheon at Bluebird London, Columbus Circle, NYC

I had eaten at Bluebird London in the Time Warner Center (third floor) when it first opened. I knew by this visit the kitchen would have its act together. They did. It was our ex-expat's holiday gathering, with 25 of us in a private room. They served warm rustic boules on wooden boards piped with a surprisingly tasty butter flavored with Marmite. Yes, that horrible salty classic English condiment. This restaurant is, after all, from the British restaurant group, D&D. Gooseberries and pumpkin garnished the Brooklyn buratta ($19), which I found bland and in need of salt. I liked it, though, when I spread it on a piece of the [...]

By |2020-01-22T07:14:02-05:00January 22nd, 2020|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Mel’s Burger Bar, Upper East Side, NYC

Mel's Burger Bar serves burgers and other bar foods, yet drinking is what folks go there for. We arrived during happy hour, yet ordered a brand name cocktail (Grey Goose on the rocks, $16) so the specials didn't apply. Since this is a burger joint, we each ordered one. I had the fat Mexican signature burger ($13) pico de gallo, Monterey jack and avocado made deluxe by adding fries ($4) and roasted cauliflower ($4) to share. My dining partner had their California ($13) one with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, avocado, Monterey jack and house sauce. Neither of us could believe how hungry we still were. The burgers contain a small [...]

By |2019-12-14T08:21:42-05:00January 20th, 2020|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Japanese Dinner at Mizu, Gramercy-Flatiron, NYC

Mizu is a Japanese neighborhood restaurant between Union Square and Madison Park where I stopped in as their guest one night for dinner. We had just missed their happy hour that ended at 6 pm. If you go early (3 - 6 pm), there's beer and sake for $4, wine for $5, edamame and California rolls for $4 and spring rolls for $5. Do not miss the tender shrimp tempura served over lettuce and topped with crunchy fried onions in a yuzu-honey sauce. Truly yummy. Some of the freshest shrimp I've tasted recently! Also amazing are the five crisped tuna-stuffed dumplings (Spicy Tuna Gyoza) each sitting in a mound of [...]

By |2020-01-03T15:12:18-05:00January 16th, 2020|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Holiday Luncheon at Le Midi Bistro, Greenwich Village, NYC

I gathered my afternoon book group at LeMidi for lunch over the holidays. The location is close to the Union Square subway station making it easy to get to and where the holiday market was happening so those who wanted to shop after lunch could.  And, I knew that the restaurant offered a reasonably priced ($19.95) two-course prix fixe lunch option with a choice of soup or salad plus an omelet, coq au vin, sea bass, wild mushroom risotto or steak frites. We each opted for the special. Many of us selected the cauliflower soup made without cream (which I'd recommend!); two selected the green salad. Along with our starter, our [...]

By |2020-01-22T07:26:09-05:00January 14th, 2020|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Another Visit to Norma Gastronomia Siciliana, Midtown + Knives Out

After "Knives Out" an old-fashioned whodunit with an all-star cast, we walked over to Norma's. It's the best, most consistently good place to get a bite after going to the Kips Bay AMC. A glass of wine is de rigueur with a Sicilian meal. (Actually, with any meal!) I had the Donna Fugata, Sedara, Nero D'Avola, 2016 ($14), my friend the Gulfi, Cerasuolo Di Vittoria, 2016 ($16). Both worked well with our food. My friend ordered the pantesca salad with ventresca ($13), Norma's Italian version of the classic French salad Niçoise yet with Nocellara olives.  Her large bowl came filled with oil-cured tuna, olives, green beans, tomatoes and potatoes in [...]

By |2019-12-01T08:32:09-05:00January 10th, 2020|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Happy Hour at Mi Garba, East Village, NYC

We were finishing the itinerary for our upcoming trip to Thailand and decided to go out in the hood for a glass of wine and a nibble. I had walked past Mi Garba early that afternoon when out doing errands. It looked inviting. We got there in time for happy hour  (from 5 to 7) each ordering a glass of their non-buttery Chardonnay (only $9). We shared the app of eggplant parmigiana and arugula and Asian pear salad with a balsamic reduction. I'd recommend the eggplant. Still hungry, we added an order of gnocchi in a Pomodoro (tomato) sauce. Mediocre at best as the gnocchi were a bit gummy and [...]

By |2020-01-08T09:15:06-05:00January 8th, 2020|Big Apple Life|0 Comments