Big Apple Life

/Big Apple Life

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

KungFu Kitchen + the Miro Exhibit at MoMA

I tripped across KungFu Kitchen looking for a budget-minded convenient place to meet my friend’s new beau (who we adored). We had come from a member-hours visit to the Joan Miró exhibit at MoMA, meaning we saw it without the crowds. This Shanghainese restaurant claims that it had been voted New York's best hand-pulled noodles and steamed buns, although I couldn't locate the source of that online. (Let me know if you do!) We tried both. Their crab and pork handmade "Xiao Long Bao" steamed soup dumplings were good ($9.95/6), but not as good as I have had elsewhere. Better were the pan-fried chicken dumplings ($9.95/6) that take 20 minutes. [...]

By |2019-05-29T09:32:37-04:00May 20th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Dongbei Cuisine at Auntie Guan’s, Chelsea, NYC

It's often a good sign to be the only Caucasian when you're in an ethnic restaurant as we were when we walked into Auntie Guan's Kitchen. Offered here are dishes of the Dongbei cuisine of China’s northeastern province, something I'm not familiar with. Luckily I had read a number of reviews that gave us some idea of what to order as did their menu with colored photographs of each dish. We started with both the spring roll ($4.99) and pickled cabbage with pork fried dumplings ($7.99 for six). Don't miss the "green bean sheet jelly with sesame sauce" ($10.99), being sure to toss all the clear mung bean noodles with [...]

By |2019-04-19T17:55:00-04:00May 18th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Hudson Yards Grill at Hudson Yards + The Vessel

We planned an entire Hudson Yards day with an art exhibit at The Shed followed by walking the Thomas Heatherwick designed structure called The Vessel and dinner at Michael Lomonaco's Hudson Yards Grill. When the attendant told us it would only take 30 minutes for us to walk to the top of the 150-foot tall structure, we laughed. It didn't. The steps are done in such a way that you don't feel as if you're climbing stairs. It's an interactive fun network of steps and landings to experience on the walk to the top. There is one elevator. The day we were there they were only allowing those who had [...]

By |2019-05-29T09:34:27-04:00May 16th, 2019|Big Apple Life|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

Cedric’s at the Shed + Trish Donnelly Art Installation, Hudson Yards

To celebrate my friend's big birthday, we planned an entire Hudson Yards day starting at an art exhibit at The Shed. We're still laughing about Trish Donnelly untitled and basically unlit art installation — except for the natural light coming through a verticle opening — in a capacious room filled with large redwood tree trunks with bandages on the cuts and a pile of branches. Like other attendees, we kept looking for more! There wasn't any. We used our extra time that we had allocated to the art show before walking The Vessel to sample the just-opened Cedric's, the only place to get a bite inside the Shed. It's a [...]

By |2019-04-27T12:25:01-04:00May 4th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

A Stop at Tacuba After a Visit to the Richard Avedon Foundation

After learning that I was unable to attend the tour arranged by my ex-expats group, I contacted the Richard Avedon Foundation to see if I could go on my own. They were incredibly accommodating. Before going, I read up on this American fashion and portrait photographer. Richard Avedon (1923–2004) was born and lived in Ne York City. The New York Times obituary wrote that "his fashion and portrait photographs helped define America's image of style, beauty and culture for the last half-century." While there, we saw much of his work, both on the walls and in the ultra-organized archives. We also met with Executive Director James Martin, who had worked [...]

By |2019-03-17T18:45:35-04:00April 30th, 2019|Big Apple Life, Other happenings|0 Comments

Milos Wine Bar + Soundtrack of America,The Shed at Hudson Yards, NYC

Like many other New Yorkers, I headed to Hudson Yards following the buzz. This night, I had tickets to the Soundtrack of America at The Shed — their new arts center — and wondered whether we could find a casual affordable bite before the concert. We narrowed our options to the Milos Wine Bar and Mercado Little Spain. The former's a casual version of Estiatorio Milos, the pricy Mediterranean seafood restaurant the latter from Chef José Andrés and the Adría Brothers. We found the Mercado, located on the street level,  too chaotic, crowded and noisy. If we wanted a seat, we'd almost need hover to get one. Milos Wine Bar, [...]

By |2019-04-28T10:39:56-04:00April 26th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

The Soft Non-Opening of Home Base Bistro, Murray Hill, NYC

I headed to the soft opening of Home Base Bistro on the date of my invite. When I arrived, I found an empty restaurant and a surprised owner/chef John Sierp wondering why I was there. As far as he knew the opening was the following day. I found the email with the date to show John, who couldn't have been nicer. He sat us down at the bar to have a drink, while he went into the kitchen to whip us up something to eat. I had an Old Fashion while I learned about John. He's a native New Yorker who has been featured on a variety of prominent television [...]

By |2019-03-17T17:02:44-04:00April 22nd, 2019|Big Apple Life|2 Comments

A Trip to Pizza Beach for the Launch of Chanmé Frosé

"I want to invite you to the official launch party for my client, Chanmé Frosé, the first ever frozen rosé available in a portable package," read the invitation for the party at Pizza Beach on the Lower East Side. I drink the bartender's special Chanmé Frosé frozen drink cocktail with the addition of Aperol and a splash of watermelon juice. Would be quite refreshing on a hot summer day. Pizza Beach's buffet included blistered shishitos, some meatballs and a few of their pizzas, each with a chewy crust as I like, cooked in wood-fired Italian Al Forno ovens. We sampled the Tulum, a California inspired one, with grilled avocado, cherry [...]

By |2019-03-11T10:07:56-04:00April 20th, 2019|Big Apple Life, Other happenings|0 Comments

A Return to Robert Restaurant, Museum of Art & Design, Midtown West

One slushy day, I met a friend at MAD, the Museum of  Art and Design that champions contemporaries across creative fields, presenting artists, designers and artisans. We visited the exhibits each floor and dined at Robert, the museum's restaurant on the ninth floor. Robert has both artsy looking food and restaurant interior with breathtaking views of Central Park, Columbus Circle and the streets spiking off the circle. Service is good. Go there for the views and experience, the food is secondary. Decent, but nothing as spectacular as the view. I had a bowl of their brothy lentil and potato soup topped with crispy spud  shreds ($14) and a large farmers' field [...]

By |2019-04-20T11:24:35-04:00April 16th, 2019|Big Apple Life|2 Comments

Lunch at Alice’s Tea Cup Chapter II, UES, NYC + Tuesday with Ted Talks

We met at Alice's Tea Cup as I thought it was around the corner from where we were heading to watch Tuesday with Ted Talks at the New York Society for Ethical Culture and discuss contemporary ethical issues. Last time I was at Alice's we were seated in the crowded downstairs. This time, we enjoyed the spacious and well-lit whimsical upstairs dining room with walls painted with Alice in Wonderland quotes. The tables come adorned with mismatched teacups. Their black bean soup was worth the visit ($6/cup); my friend liked her creamy chicken crustless pot-pie soup. The two of us shared their tea-smoked chicken sandwich with apple slices and a few greens [...]

By |2019-04-20T11:26:14-04:00April 8th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

New Danish Bakery Ole & Steen in Flatiron + Exhibitionism: 50 Years of The Museum at FIT

Ole & Steen, a Danish bakery, opened in the Flatiron district earlier this year offering a variety of pastries and bread to take home or soups, salads and sandwiches, both closed- and open-faced, to eat in at one of the few tables in the back of the store. I learned — but didn't see — their additional tables for eating downstairs. Before we ordered, my friend suggested we ask for tastes of their yummy rye bread as they give samples of their bread that showcases their 100+-year-old sourdough starter. We tried their traditional, crisp seeded rye and — our favorite — the soft carrot rye! We shared an open-faced roasted chicken sandwich on carrot rye [...]

By |2019-04-09T03:41:53-04:00March 29th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

A Return to Manhatta, FiDi, This Time for Lunch

Manhatta has turned into my new favorite restaurant in the city. It's reminiscent of the original Union Square Cafe's impeccable service plus the food is quite good with tables spaced far enough apart for easy conversation. That and the views are spectacular. This time, I returned to the 60th floor Danny Meyer restaurant with my son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter who's almost 2. We arrived after an outing on the Staten Island ferry. Deli had fallen asleep in the carrier on my son's back walking from the ferry to the restaurant and slept soundly throughout our lunch. The folks at Manhatta were wonderful, seating us at a leather banquette where Deli could continue her [...]

By |2019-02-23T11:37:43-04:00March 23rd, 2019|Big Apple Life|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

Grand Sichuan, Chelsea, NYC + Malpaso Cuban Dancers at the Joyce

One freezing evening on our way to the Joyce Theatre, we stopped into Grand Sichuan restaurant directly across the street.  To get rid of the chill in my bones, I had a bowl of their steaming hot, hot and sour soup ($2.95).  Although I've had better (especially homemade), it was good. Good enough for me to decide to return when I'm at the Joyce again. At the Joyce, we saw the exceptional Cuban Malapaso Dance Company with their classically trained dancers and stayed for the curtain chat with founder and executive director Fernando Sáez and some of the company. I highly recommend seeing the Malpaso Dance Company perform when they're in town. Grand [...]

By |2019-01-13T14:28:01-04:00February 15th, 2019|Big Apple Life, Theatre|0 Comments

MSRG @Durden Bar, East Village, NYC

Was invited to the Grand Opening Media Launch Party for MSRG Pizza @Durden to sample their Detroit-style, hand-rolled pizza. Learned that Detroit-style is square or rectangular with crispy edges. We sampled the Margherita, Buffalo chicken, bacon chicken ranch, pepperoni and even a gluten-free white veggie with a cauliflower, goat cheese and egg crust.  As a longtime New Haven-er and consumers of Pepe's and Modern's, I prefer that pizza. My favorite of what we sampled was the Buffalo chicken one with house-made hot sauce. That said, Durden has a fun vibe. They serve popcorn in three varieties in addition to the pizza. If you're in the hood, stop by for a drink and the [...]

By |2018-12-30T14:00:10-04:00February 7th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

I Sodi, West Village, NYC

"I really want to try I Sodi," my friend said as we walked by the storefront one evening. "I've called, stopped in.. tried to get a reservation...No luck." I made a mental note to check into reservations at I Sodi as my friend's birthday was soon. I went online when I knew that the day I wanted would become available and snatched a res!  We headed to this minimally-designed tiny restaurant to celebrate her birthday with traditional Tuscan food from chef/owner Rita Sodi (who is married to restaurateur Jody Williams, of Buvette; they co-own Via Carota). Having read all about the seven Negroni variations, I had to have one. I sampled the classic [...]

By |2019-02-01T14:02:16-04:00February 1st, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Cafe Sabarsky, Upper East Side, NYC

Silly us thought we'd get into the popular Hilma af Klint exhibit at the Guggenheim on a rainy day. The ticket holder line has an hour and a half wait. We left, heading a couple of blocks south to Café Sabarsky the Viennese eatery at the Neue Galerie to get caught up over a glass of wine and bowl of soup. One of my friends who had been recommended the goulash soup. I tried that; the others opted for the creamy chestnut soup topped with creme fraiche. Although the beef was a bit chewy and fatty, I liked the nicely balanced the flavor of the classic soup. With that, we [...]

By |2019-02-03T14:12:40-04:00January 30th, 2019|Big Apple Life, NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

RH Rooftop Restaurant, Meatpacking District, NYC + Andy Warhol Exhibit at The Whitney

Chicago restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff (Au Cheval) opened this stylish restaurant in September on the rooftop of the Restoration Hardware in the Meatpacking District. RH sports crystal chandeliers, marble tabletops plus glass walls providing views of the surrounding skyline. Once the weather warms up, I'll go back for sure to dine or just have a glass of wine on the outdoor terrace that wraps around the restaurant. I had tried to get into RH once before but the wait was too long. Right now, they do not take reservations. This time we went on the early side of lunch — 11 am — before heading to The Whitney to see the [...]

By |2019-01-26T16:59:10-04:00January 26th, 2019|Big Apple Life, Other happenings|0 Comments

Pasqua Wine Dinner at Rue 57, Midtown, NYC

Was invited to meet Alessandro and Riccardo Pasqua of the eponymous estate near Verona, Italy for dinner at Rue 57 with a few other journalists to sample and learn about their wines. The publicist mentioned that Pasqua ranks among Italy’s top 20 family-owned wineries in terms of value. After experiencing their wines, I concur. Each wine we sampled worked well with food, from the $16-bottle of Romeo & Juliet Passione Sentimento Bianco Veneto IGT 2017  to the $100 Mai Dire Mai Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG 2011. The wine sampled included: Romeo & Juliet Passione Sentimento Bianco Veneto IGT 2017 ($16) Romeo & Juliet Passione Sentimento Rosso Veneto IGT 2016/ ($16) [...]

By |2019-01-21T10:19:23-04:00January 20th, 2019|Big Apple Life, Food & Drinks|0 Comments