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

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

Whitehead in the City at Lambs Club, Midtown, NYC

I dined at the Lambs Club for "Whitehead in the City: New Biology Transforming Drug Discovery" recently. The Whitehead Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving human health through basic biomedical research.  Their approach with scientists creates an "optimum environment for basic research". The most mentionable of the meal were the passed hors d'oeuvres during the cocktail reception from Chef Zakarian and his team, especially the steaming-hot, cheesy arancini and the crisp vegetable spring rolls. The meal — like for most large groups — was mediocre at best although the Halibut wrapped in Swiss chard and topped with shredded beets was an attractive presentation. The folks gathered weren't there for [...]

By |2019-11-27T14:05:59-05:00January 2nd, 2020|Big Apple Life, Other happenings|0 Comments

BYOB to Xu’s Public House, Union Square, NYC

Can Xu's Public House, the newest restaurant to occupy the two-story space at 15 Union Square West, make it? I believe this is the third place that I've reviewed there! I stopped by to meet a friend for a drink after it opened and learned that they were still waiting on their liquor license. The owner mentioned that I could dine there and BYOB. Sounded good to me. When dining at XU's, I started with their crab meat soup dumplings with pork (three for $8). I tried to remember what I had learned at Full House Cafe about eating them so I didn't scorch my lips. I knew not to [...]

By |2019-11-24T16:22:44-05:00December 29th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

MáLà Project, East Village, NYC + Gangster Museum

I first heard about the MáLà Project at a panel of other restaurant reviewers, where two of them highly recommended the Sichuan dry-pots. We stopped in at this East Village spot for lunch before heading to the small but informative and fun Gangster Museum. (If you go, be sure to take the free tour as that's what makes this museum special.) We didn't get off to a good start as our pan-fried vegetable dumplings (six for $7) arrived cold, not room temperature but cold. Our server did take them back to heat them. I'd recommend the oddly named leftover fried rice ($13) with pork and veggies. That dish did arrive [...]

By |2019-11-20T14:07:58-05:00December 21st, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

A Quick Stop for Falafel at Taïm West Village, NYC

I had heard others rave about Taïm, the storefront falafel place in the West Village from Israeli chef Einat Admony (Kish-Kash, Balaboosta).  There are five locations of this chain; this one plus others in Nolita, Midtown East, Flatiron and the Financial District. We couldn't miss the three people sitting on the small bench outside the restaurant about to dig into their food. One had a colorful mixed falafel platter ($12.95) with both the green and harissa falafel, hummus, Israeli salad, pickled cabbage, shifka peppers, tahini, za'atar and a pita. Taïm, which means tasty in Hebrew, packs the green ones with parsley, cilantro and mint, the harissa with a signature spice [...]

By |2019-12-13T11:42:59-05:00December 11th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Light Lunch at High Street on Hudson, West Village, NYC

On one of the past autumn days where al fresco dining was possible, we jumped at the opportunity to still eat lunch outside. We shared two lunch items from the small menu. I would recommend the one tentacle of tender tasty octopus ($17) with dabs of roasted pepper puree and slices of perfectly cooked purple potatoes. Delicious. We laughed as we saw the BLT ingredients falling from the thick crusty sliced whole wheat bread. It looked a bit deconstructed.  Once we each picked up (and re-stuffed) our halves, we wouldn't be able to put it down. Was worth every bite. I would highly recommend a stop for lunch. High Street [...]

By |2019-11-19T11:13:10-05:00December 7th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

A Little Attitude at Cafe Cluny, West Village, NYC

Cafe Cluny is a pricey corner spot in the West Village where, upon arrival, you're met with the classic NYC attitude alluded to in various sitcoms. Unpleasant. Once we were finally seated at a table to our liking, our server was wonderful and attentive. We started with their namesake cocktail, The Cluny. Think a lemon drop, served up (AKA no ice) made with Ketel One Citron, lemon and ginger. Nice ($15). Our salad contained fresh figs, lemony-dressed arugula and burrata all drizzled with a port reduction ($19).  I would recommend. I had the pan-seared halibut that had been so overcooked and dried out that the manager had the kitchen re-do [...]

By |2019-10-18T11:42:26-04:00December 5th, 2019|Big Apple Life|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

Queensyard Kitchen, Hudson Yards

After walking up the Vessel yet again with an out of town friend, we stopped at Queensyard for a bite to eat. We chose it, as it's one of the few restaurants at Hudson Yards with windows. We opted to dine in the Queensyard Kitchen area around the bar with a more reasonably priced menu than the dining room a few feet away with tables next to the window. Having just arrived back from France, I was still on a Lillet Blanc ($11) kick so I ordered that. After it arrived warm in a sherry glass, I got up to speak to the bartender as our server was so non-attentive. [...]

By |2019-11-25T11:07:10-05:00November 19th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Peruvian-Japanese Food at Llama San, West Village, NYC

With all the publicity, it wasn't easy securing a table at Llama San, the new modern 60-seat Japanese/Peruvian restaurant in West Village from the people behind Llama Inn. We did so and enjoyed dining outside at the sidewalk seating, enclosed by plants. I started a Flaming Creatures, their version of an old-fashioned, ($17) made with Japanese whiskey, cacao, chancaca  (a Peruvian sweetener), miso and smoke. The menu is small containing various size plates to share. Some of our party ordered the scallop ceviche with cherimoya and avocado chunks ($22) sprinkled with sesame; I ask for the duck, which came as four slives of aged duck breast over rice and banana [...]

By |2019-10-02T09:00:12-04:00November 15th, 2019|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Brunch at City Vineyard & Wine Garden at Pier 26, NYC

On one of those spectacular weather fall days, a small group of friends and I were seated outside on the patio at City Vineyard & Wine Garden.  It was like follow the leader as the first person of the group to order decided on a burger, and four of the five of us decided to follow suit. It was that kind of day. For a starter, we all shared the kale and arugula ($13) salad in an apple-cider vinaigrette with sliced fresh strawberries and a honey crisp apple. I can recommend. Their Vineyard burger comes topped with Cheddar, a fresh slice tomato, caramelized shallots and an aioli,  accompanied by Belgian fries [...]

By |2019-09-30T10:27:39-04:00November 9th, 2019|Big Apple Life|2 Comments