Rambling

Random musings on Life in the Big Apple

How Does Ed’s Lobster Roll Compare to Others?, SoHo, NYC

I hadn't been to Ed's Lobster Bar but had been to Pearl's Oyster Bar from where the restaurant spawned. You see, Ed's Lobster Bar is related to the other downtown seafood shacks. First, there was Pearl's where Ed McFarland cooked for many years. Then there was a falling out. Rebecca Charles kept Pearl's, her partner Mary Redding opened Mary's Fish Camp and Ed, Ed's Lobster Bar. About a decade ago, there was a lawsuit against Ed's for plagiarizing the Pearl restaurant concept and for stealing the recipes for his restaurant in Soho. It was settled out of court. Decided to try Ed's lobster roll for comparison, and so met a [...]

By |2019-09-24T09:04:45-04:00September 25th, 2019|Big Apple Life, Rambling|0 Comments

A Return to Harlem’s Red Rooster

On our way to a walking tour of Harlem, we stopped at Red Rooster for lunch. To start, we tried to order a bottle of bubbly rosè. I say tried as there was a mix up with the servers electronic ordering system. More than half an hour later the waitress found, opened and poured the bubbly into our glasses. Sadly after all that waiting, the rosè was at room temperature. We switched to a Sancerre ($75) that finally arrived after our food, not giving us enough time to be able to enjoy and finish the bottle before running off to our tour. Foodwise, we shared the shrimp with grits ($23) [...]

By |2019-08-30T11:17:44-04:00August 25th, 2019|Big Apple Life, Rambling|1 Comment

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

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

A Return to Mary’s Fish Camp for a Lobster Roll + Fat Cat

I've been a fan of the lobster roll at Pearl Oyster Bar since my first bite. I recently was reminded that chefs Rebecca Charles and Mary Redding had once been sweetheart partners owning the restaurant together. When they split, Rebecca kept Pearl and Mary opened Mary's Fish Camp not far from the original restaurant also serving the classic roll. I was surprised to find a line outside Mary's Fish Camp before it opened on a Monday night. I'd been to Mary's before, but this time I tried the lobster roll on a mission to compare the two. Mary's is a fun small space reminiscent of a seafood house on the [...]

By |2019-05-13T12:32:53-04:00May 8th, 2019|Big Apple Life, Rambling|0 Comments

A Mezcal Tasting at Rosa Mexicano, FiDi, NYC

The mezcal tasting invite began, "Rosa Mexicano’s Master Mezcalier Courtenay Greenleaf will lead a tasting and explain how she crafted this unique mezcal – aged over two years in bourbon barrels from a 19th-century Nashville distillery." I couldn't resist heading downtown to the Rosa Mexicano location on Murray Street in the Financial District to taste this limited edition of their special Fidencio private label Mezcal from Oaxaca. Before the tasting got started, we were treated to the restaurant's famous guacamole at a buffet with many optional toppings that included pomegranate arils, bleu cheese, pepitas, chicharrones, mini shrimp and diced mango plus fresh tortilla chips. Servers also passed both mini flautas de [...]

By |2019-03-17T09:12:44-04:00February 21st, 2019|Rambling|0 Comments

A Quick Cheap Eats Lunch at Gogi Grill, Chelsea, NYC

On the suggestion from a woman in my building who had lived in Korea, I met a friend at Gogi Grill, a new Korean BBQ grab and go. Or, you can actually sit at the very few tables in the tiny restaurant for a quick bowl, burrito, salad or tacos. I grabbed one as I looked over the menu to make my choice. This is not the place for someone indecisive! I knew I was going to order a bowl but hadn't yet decided on the starch (rice, fried rice or vermicelli), the meat (beef Bulgogi, beef Galbi, chicken or shrimp) and the choice four toppings from the bakers' dozen [...]

By |2018-11-10T15:10:30-04:00December 21st, 2018|Big Apple Life, Rambling|0 Comments

Ophelia Lounge, Beekman, NYC

The newly renovated rooftop lounge at the Beekman Tower is now open sporting breathtaking East River views along with high-end cocktails and nibbles.  The lounge, originally built in the 1920's, includes dark velvet banquettes backed by big windows for city viewing. We stopped by for a drink after partaking in an hour tour of Carnegie Hall ($17 for adults; $12 seniors) with a friendly and knowledgeable tour guide, who shared more than 125 years of Carnegie Hall history. The excursion to see the impressive concert hall is worth the time. I tried their Ophelia’s ascension ($16) made with smoked Jamaican pepper infused Del Maguey Vida mezcal, Makers Mark, sweetener and bitters attractively served [...]

By |2018-07-24T10:55:38-04:00July 24th, 2018|Big Apple Life, Rambling|0 Comments

Carl’s Jr., Coney Island, Brooklyn

The invite to the opening of Carl's Jr. in Coney Island — a California-based fast-food chain — came with a bonus. After the tasting at the grand opening, we would be heading to an afternoon at the Sea Gate Beach Club in Coney Island, the day before the beach club opened for the season. I couldn't resist. Our car service to Coney Island got a tad messed up, so we arrived almost when it was over, which turned out to be a good thing as we had the management team who flew in from Nashville all to our selves to share about the company and its offerings. We sampled Carl's Jr's [...]

By |2018-06-01T13:25:47-04:00June 23rd, 2018|Big Apple Life, Rambling|0 Comments

La Mirabelle, Upper West Side, NYC + American Museum of Natural History

After spending a day at The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) seeing many exhibits including the newly opened Unseen Oceans, we slipped out to dinner at La Mirabelle before heading back for Randy Cohen's (original author of The Ethicist for The New York Times) interview with two fascinating museum scientists — venomous sea snail whisperer Mandë Holford and deep-sea evolutionary biologist Mercer R. Brugler — for his Person Place Thing podcast.   I would save a visit to the French bistro La Mirabelle for dining, not grabbing a bite between exhibits.  It's that good. And, to dine according to their menu, you'll each need to have an entree or [...]

By |2018-03-30T09:23:36-04:00May 3rd, 2018|Big Apple Life, Rambling|0 Comments

310 Bowery Bar, Bowery, NYC

My friends and I ended up at 301 Bowery Bar as guests of my realtor's The Alliance Team for their fun appreciation night. 310 Bowery's pizza is based on that of Chef Nino Coniglio from Williamsburg Pizza who they partnered with when they first opened. They kept it simple, offering only one specialty: Grandma's pie with imported pecorino romano, fresh basil, aged Parmigiano-Reggiano, EVOO, housemade mozzarella and san marzano tomatoes (half $15; full $25). Today you can get pepperoni on that pie or order one of their other specialties. We did -- sampling both the flavorful paisano with added mushrooms, sweet sausage and roasted red peppers and the (too bland for me) bianco, [...]

By |2018-04-01T09:10:00-04:00April 30th, 2018|Big Apple Life, Rambling|0 Comments

The Greek, Tribeca, NYC

Recently attended a dinner at The Greek in Tribeca, featuring the wines from Naoussa from the northwest region of Macedonia, Greece. I was introduced to the Xinomavro (tzsee-NOH-mah-vro) varietal, a red wine with great aging potential as it's high in both acid and tannins. Since it's a food friendly-wine (I enjoyed this red wine much better with food!), we sampled the Xinomavro from many vineyards and some cooperatives along with various offerings from The Greek. Those included: Naoussa Kokkinos Winery Mavro Elinos Winery Damascenos Co-op Vaeni Naoussa Argatia Winery Naoussa Reserve Tsantali Winery Grande Reserve Co-op Vaeni Grande Reserve Boutari Winery Naoussa 2000 Co-op Vaeni Food-wise, I'd recommend the tyrokafteri [...]

By |2018-03-29T12:21:18-04:00April 15th, 2018|Big Apple Life, Rambling|0 Comments

Cookshop, Chelsea, NYC + Yayoi Kusama

Silly New Yorkers. We stood in line out in the cold to see the immersive “Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors” free exhibit in Chelsea as it was closing in two days.  It was worth the wait. Afterward, we headed nearby to Cookshop for a quick bite. We each ordered a bowl of soup — white bean, fennel and escarole — to help warm our innards.  Hearty and good, albeit a bit salty. The moist and tender Albacore tuna came atop broccoli, citrus pieces and a mellow castelvetrano olive relish ($25). We were disappointed in the lack of flavor of the herbed goat cheese served with roasted pears, parsnips and pistachio toast [...]

By |2018-02-28T16:50:24-04:00February 21st, 2018|Big Apple Life, Rambling|0 Comments

Cafe Frida, Upper West Side, NYC

With both my NYC book groups having discussed Elizabeth Strout's novels (Anything is Possible, My Name is Lucy Barton, Burgess Brothers and Olive Kitteridge that won her the Pulitzer Prize), some of us decided to hear her interviewed at the New York Historical Society. What a waste of time and money. Elizabeth Strout can certainly write, but is a horrid interviewee, giving one-word unrevealing responses. The only good part was her reading excerpts from her books.   A large group of us went out to grab a bite afterward to Cafe Frida about a block away. We sat upstairs unable to hear without shouting. Service was painfully slow. The starter guacamole ($14 [...]

By |2018-01-07T08:57:20-04:00February 10th, 2018|Big Apple Life, Rambling|0 Comments

Boulud Sud, Lincoln Square, NYC + The Post

After seeing Steven Spielberg’s exhilarating drama “The Post,” starring Meryl Streep as Katharine Graham the Washington Post's publisher and Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee The Post’s editor in a story about their decision to publish portions of the Pentagon Papers, we looked for a place to get a bite. We walked in and out of restaurants along Broadway and even made a few calls hoping to get in someplace as we hadn't made a res. Since 45 minutes was the least wait, we kept looking. We walked around the corner to 64th, noticed a table in the bar area at Boulud Sud and jumped at it. Wanting only a light bite after the [...]

By |2018-01-14T11:39:28-04:00February 5th, 2018|Big Apple Life, Rambling|0 Comments

LOX at Café Bergson, Museum of Jewish Heritage, Battery Park

A friend had purchased admissions to the Museum of Jewish Heritage on Battery Park (36 Battery Pl,) and invited me to join. When we arrived, we learned that our IDNY got us each a year's membership, free admission and a discount at the store and restaurant. The museum is located on Battery Place by the water. The museum "features more than 800 artifacts and 2,000 photographs that illustrate Jewish history and highlight personal experience of global significance." We spent a couple hours but hadn't gotten through the three floors, as there's so much to see. Hunger stuck. We heading to the second-floor restaurant LOX, with wonderful iconic views of both [...]

By |2018-01-14T11:38:40-04:00January 27th, 2018|Big Apple Life, Rambling|0 Comments

Morning Star Restaurant, Upper West Side, NYC

We had tickets to see Juilliard students perform the "New Dances: Edition 2017" at the Peter Jay Sharp theater and needed to find a place for a quick bite as the performance began at 7:30 pm. That job is usually delegated to me. In addition to proximity, I had to be price conscious. I made a reservation at Morning Star Restaurant in Lincoln Square, a diner-like restaurant that answered both concerns even better than I had anticipated. This restaurant offers simple fare. My expectations weren't very high, leaving the bar low. One friend ordered the ziti with eggplant ($17) that came with a fresh garden salad. Two others ordered the [...]

By |2018-01-14T11:38:33-04:00January 25th, 2018|Big Apple Life, Rambling|0 Comments

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 |2017-12-24T13:16:47-04:00January 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 |2017-11-24T08:20:05-04:00January 9th, 2018|Rambling|0 Comments