Rambling

Random musings on Life in the Big Apple

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 |2020-04-05T11:29:35-04:00April 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

Lunch at Studio at the Freeland Hotel, Gramercy, NYC

I had forgotten that I had calendar issues after upgrading to Mohave. Thank goodness my friend texted that she was running late to meet me at 12:30 at Studio on Lexington. It was 12:20. No ballet for me today. I did a quick change, put on some make-up and power walked there. I found Studio a welcoming workspace and restaurant on the second floor of the Freeland Hotel. (That is the same hotel houses Simon and The Whale, a pricey restaurant I was less than impressed with.) We shared a bowl of tomato soup with a hint of basil ($8) topped with sauteed onions, split the shaved lamb on focaccia [...]

By |2019-10-15T15:51:16-04:00December 3rd, 2019|Big Apple Life, Rambling|0 Comments

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 |2018-11-10T15:10:30-05:00December 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 |2018-02-28T16:50:24-05:00February 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 |2018-01-07T08:57:20-05:00February 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 |2018-01-14T11:39:28-05:00February 5th, 2018|Big Apple Life, Rambling|0 Comments