Friday, December 31, 2010
Times Square New Year's Eve madness isn't the only way to welcome 2011. You can opt for sane or silly with these ideas:
Take in the city's gorgeous midnight fireworks display on-board a 3-hour cruise on the Hudson with Circle Line Sightseeing. Guests board at 42nd St. at 9pm and set sail at 10pm. The cruise package includes hors d’oeuvres, a full open bar and a DJ for nonstop entertainment. The cruise stops at the Statue of Liberty at midnight, so you’re guaranteed a great view of the fireworks, and complimentary party favors as well as a midnight champagne toast add to the festivities. Other cruise highlights include stunning views of the Manhattan skyline, Governor’s Island and the Brooklyn Bridge. This all-inclusive event is $140 per person; guests must be 18 to cruise, 21 to drink. Tickets must be purchased in advance and can be reserved online or by calling 212-563-3200.
Ring in 2011 on the Upper West Side at Prohibition. Featured in Time Out New York and The New York Times, Prohibition distinguishes itself through its saloon-like atmosphere that resembles the typical saloon of the 1920s speakeasy era. The New Years Eve festivities will feature hors d’oeuvres, live music, pool tables and a full bar serving various drinks from the Prohibition times as well as New Years Eve classics. Best part is, guests can watch the ball drop on TVs in the restaurant. Admission is $125 per person and all guests must be 21+. 503 Columbus Ave. 212-570-3100.
Escape the noisemakers and crowds and begin 2011 in the ultimate state of peace and relaxation at the Jivamukti Yoga School 22nd Annual New Year’s Eve Celebration. This celebration offers guests 7 ½ hours of food, dance and yoga with Sharon Gannon and David Life, co-founders of the Jivamukti Yoga Method. The festivities kick off at 5pm with a two-hour yoga session, followed by a vegan dinner at JivamukTea Café. After dinner, guests are invited to a dance party, which will feature hip hop, reggae and transcendental sound vibration. Guests end 2010 with massages and silent reflection as the studio observes Mauna, the practice of silence, from 9pm-midnight. All programs are open to the public, and guests can register for this event online or by calling 212-353-0214, 841 Broadway
Admission (per person):
•Yoga class and dinner- $85
•New Year’s dinner only (9:30pm-11pm)- $35
•Kirtan Dance Party and Mauna- free
Bundle up and head to Central Park for the Emerald Nuts Midnight Run, especially if you’re itching to survive the holidays without gaining that dreaded holiday weight. It beats standing in Times Square since participants will be exercising and burning calories while having fun dancing and running the four-mile midnight race. Hosted by New York Road Runners, this fun-run event also features a costume contest and parade at 11pm, which will be held at the Central Park Bandshell (entrance is at 5th Ave. and 72nd St.) along with the DJ and dancing. Guests will also have spectacular views of the fireworks and a laser light show in the Park. All race participants must register before race day and will receive a special souvenir and a long-sleeve shirt. Race photos will also be available as a keepsake of this memorable New Years Eve celebration.
Entry Fees for NYRR Members and Non-Members:
Event Day- $50 Members, $25 Jr/Sr Members, $55 Non-Members
Registration is currently available online. This race is capped, so register early to claim your spot. Allow enough time to get your ticket, as no badges will be given out in the park.
Last year's New York Times travel predictions were interesting. Would you agree that these were "the" places to go? Where should we be focused in 2011? I just got back from Israel with a side trip to Jordan. My vote is definitely for Israel.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Union Square’s red-and-white tents are a holiday tradition. The square between 14th and 16th streets along Broadway is packed with more than 100 shops and boutiques where you can find gifts for family and friends. The nice thing, too, is that most of the crafts are handmade and you usually won’t find them in a storefront in the city. I love the winter accessories, jewelry and funky specialty items. And, in the tradition of outdoor food markets, there are also welcome treats like hot chocolate and hot apple cider, gingerbread men, crepes and more. And, my favorite food truck has an outpost here: Wafels and Dinges (read my review on Gayot.com). Be sure to try the Spekuloos spread (sort of like crushed Teddy Grahams) on a delicious Belgian liege. New this year, there’s a Market Concierge to help you sort through the wonders. Open every day from 11am-8pm until Christmas Eve.
Just behind the New York Public Library at 42nd Street is Bryant Park’s Holiday Market. This market is sprawling with more than 125 booths from around the world. It’s a bit different from other locales because it draws holiday visitors for reasons other than shopping as well. Manhattan’s only free ice skating rink is here and there’s also a gorgeously lit Christmas tree. The rushing crowds make it clear that you’re in the heart of midtown, just inches away from jam-packed Times Square. You’ll definitely want to stop by my favorite vendor Max Brenner, Chocolate by the Bald Man to grab some energizing pralines. Open 11am-8pm during the week and 10am-9pm Saturday and 10am-6pm Sunday.
Further uptown is the Columbus Circle Market which sits at the corner of Central Park South and Central Park West. A bit more scattered than the other two markets, this one has lots of interesting booths including handmade games, handcrafted accessories, gingerbread houses, apple cider, clothing, and gorgeous jewelry laid out in pathways perpendicular to one another. I picked up a gorgeous necklace at Over the Moon Jewel . Barbara Wilkinson has an amazing touch with gemstones and is willing to customize to your taste. I had met her at the Mark’t in Madison Square Park in October. And one of my favorite Upper East Side Mexican restaurants, Cascabel , (yup, I reviewed that one, too) will keep you warm with their spicy carnita tacos. Like its Union Square sibling, this year’s Columbus Circle Market offers the services of a Market Concierge. I didn’t see her when I was there, but I could definitely have used her help. Open every day from 10am-8pm until Christmas Eve.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
I’ll never be sick of Brussels Sprouts, personally, but sometimes my foodie blood just itches for something a bit more refined. And there’s only one way to satisfy that craving: truffles! Two restaurants, one East coast and one West Coast are celebrating truffle season with outstanding menus utilizing the mushroom in innovative ways:
At Masa’s in San Francisco you can enjoy white truffles flown in from Alba, Italy in an indulgent seven-course menu from Chef Gregory Short. For $250 per person (not really that expensive, considering the labor-intensive process required to gather truffles and their very short season), you’ll enjoy sweet parsnip custard with kumamoto oyster and white truffle foam; dégustation de pomme de terre; sautéed filet of St. Pierre (which DOES come with caramelized Brussels sprouts), cepe mushroom tortellini, pan roasted roelle of Fulton Valley “poulet biologique,” white truffle ice cream float, and white truffle rice pudding “arancini.” Call 415-989-7154 to book the “Dégustation de Truffes Blances d’Alba.” 648 Bush Street, San Francisco, CA
Osteria il Paiolo wanted to be sure that East Coast folks weren’t left out. This cozy Italian restaurant in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn is offering a menu of winter white truffles cooked up in a down-to-earth cozy setting. The menu is all about dishes from the Piedmont region of Italy with homemade pastas, risottos, and an array of signature polenta dishes which are topped for this special event with a shaving of white truffle for $25. The restaurant takes its name from the paiolo or copper pot in which the polenta dishes are cooked, and they are certainly the standouts on the menu. Try the polenta e osei with polenta, tomatoes and quail; or the polenta with shrimp and rosemary for something different. Call 718-218-7080 for reservations. The truffle menu will be available through the end of the year. 106 N. 6th St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Travel + Leisure has just published the perfect holiday book, "Unexpected US," a lovely coffee table book with unexpected travel hideaways in the US. I love it. See Nilou Motamed's appearance on the Today Show.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
I HATE Black Friday. I really don't feel the need to go out and kill myself to get that 30% off deal. But, if you're eager for the push-and-shove, you're going to need some sustenance to get you moving. Here are 3 spots to help you kick some serious shopping butt:
Virgil's - I wouldn't have thought about Virgil's in Times Square for breakfast until I had brunch there recently. Their BBQ hash with eggs was one of the most outrageous dishes I've had in a while -- truly. On Friday, they'll be opening their doors at 9am sharp so you can enjoy their Full Country Kitchen Breakfast (until noon) with breakfast sandwiches , the mondo prote-in-packed Southern Sampler Breakfast (two eggs, chicken fried steak, bacon, sausage, pit-smoked ham, and Texas toast), or their carb-loaded butter-griddled fluffy pancakes served with maple butter and a side of bacon or sausage. Times Square is close enough to the shopping action of 5th and 6th avenues and a worthy starting point. 152 W. 44th Street
Plaza Food Hall -- If you're starting your shopping a bit later (yes, Thanksgiving was exhausting, wasn't it?), the fabulous Food Hall in the Plaza Hotel opens at 11am. This one's in the heart of 5th Avenue and right across from the Apple Store (oh, yes, the masses will all be there, for sure). Sit at any available counter seat, and order from the various food stands in the hall: The Sushi Bar, The Grill, The Oyster Bar, The Pasta Bar, or the Tapas Bar, plus salads, piza, cheese, charcuterie, dumplings, drinks, and more. One West 59th Street - Concourse Level, the Plaza Hotel.
The Shops at Columbus Circle --And, of course, you'll need an afternoon snack. Starting at 2pm, Bouchon Bakery, Landmarc, Porter House New York and Union Square Events will be giving out complimentary goodies to keep your energy levels high. Try the chocolate chip cookies from Porter House, mini s'mores from Landmarc, star cookies from Bouchon Bakery, and mallomars from Union Square Events. But, hurry, supplies are limited. 10 Columbus Circle.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
I'm the most guilty one here -- I eat out almost every night of the week (read my Thanksgiving articles on AllNY.com), and I'm pretty diligent about cleaning my plate. Thanksgiving is even harder, because it's a meal when you're encouraged to eat everything and you have hours and hours to sit, sip and munch over conversations with your family.
Travel and Food Notes welcomes guest blogger Stephanie Middleberg, RD, founder of Middleberg Nutrition, my favorite expert when it comes to helping me recover from my foodie lifestyle. Here's Stephanie's advice for dealing with the excesses of Thanksgiving and recuperating.
Thanksgiving is probably the most anticipated meal of the year. We all have our favorites, the mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes and marshmallows, creamy vegetables or casseroles and pies galore. A typical Thanksgiving meal can add up to 3,500 calories, that's one and a half times your daily calorie intake! Below are some strategies to help you eat your favorite foods without feeling like you need to run a marathon to burn the meal off.
1. Plate proportions: 1/2 of your plate should be vegetables or salad, 1/4(or 1 fist size) protein and the other 1/4 your carbohydrate (i.e. stuffing, potatoes, squash, etc.). Whether you choose your favorite carbohydrate and stick to one serving or choose a few, the key is to keep to 1/4 of your plate!
2. 1 plate rule: If you consumed the above, you should not need a second serving! Give yourself at least 20 minutes for the food to get digested before you make a move.
3. Slow down! We often scarf our food down at this meal. Be sure to put your fork down at least 4 times and drink at least 2 full glasses of water during the meal.
4. Have dessert: If you have a sweet tooth, choose 1 dessert, enjoy it and no picking. Choosing pumpkin pie or apple pie over pecan pie can save over 200 calories. Furthermore, if you forgo the crust, you are saving yourself another 100 calories.
5. Sip wisely: every 4 ounce glass of wine is roughly 100 calories. Multiply that by 4 and you have added a meal worth of calories. Wine, spritzers, light beer, a glass of bubbly or liquor with soda water or on the rocks are the least caloric options. The sugar in the alcohol or mixers increases your sugar cravings and the alcohol acts as an appetite stimulant causing you to go for that second slice of pie.
6. Eat during the day: Have a healthy breakfast and lunch and don’t arrive to the table starving. As much as you think you are saving calories, you will attack everything in front of you.
7. Beware of the pickables: (i.e. bowl of nuts, cheese plate, hummus and crudités, crackers and guacamole). 20 nuts in one handful= roughly 200 calories; 5 wedges of cheese=over 500 calories. Forgo these items. Save the calories for the good stuff at the meal itself.
Monday, November 22, 2010
SEE New York Sparkle by SEA (well, actually, RIVER) through December 26 with Classic Harbor’s New Architecture Cruise
After my many walks across the High Line and visits to the Standard Hotel, as well as an in-depth exploration of Chicago architecture on the fabulous Chicago Architecture Foundation boat cruise , I am delighted that NYC finally has its own version of an architecture cruise. Viewing the buildings of Manhattan from the High Line is one thing, and a walking tour can only cover so much ground in this city, so a tour by boat with architecture expert is a welcome addition. Classic Harbor Line’s new “Official NYC Architecture Tour” launched this summer and invites you on-board the decks of the Manhattan, an elegant 1920s-style yacht with an enclosed back-deck observatory, to experience and be in inspired by Manhattan’s buildings and bridges, by water.
I’ve always loved Classic Harbor Line’s cruises like the foodie-fantastic Morimoto Sushi & Sake Sunset Sail and the gorgeous four-hour Fall Foliage Cruise, and their new architecture cruise certainly met my expectations. The 2-hour and 45-minute sail sets off from Chelsea Piers (Pier 62) and is narrated by architects and members of the NYC AIA (American Institute of Architects) chapter. My cruise had a fabulous set of guides, Rick Bell, executive director of AIANY, and one of his staff. They knowledgeably educated on our sail under all 18 bridges around the island of Manhattan, channeling our inner Frank Gehry as we juggled cameras, glasses of champagne and hors d’oeuvres. Cruise highlights include East River icons such as Gracie Mansion, the UN, and the Seagram Building; the modern additions to the West Side, referred to as “Starchitecture,” such as The Standard Hotel, Frank Gehry’s IAC, and Jean Nouvel’s Eleventh Ave condos; Lower Manhattan’s classics such as Trinity Church, the Woolworth Building, and Pier A; and much more.
The tour runs through December 12 and is offered on Tuesdays at 1:15pm and select Saturdays and Sundays at 2:15pm. Priced at $75, the tour can be booked online or by calling 212-209-3370. Departure point is Chelsea Piers, Pier 62, W. 22nd St. and Hudson River.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
After doing some surveying, Marriott found that downtime periods, meals and bedtime were most stressful for parents. To keep the kids occupied, the promotion gives kids a free bracelet with a URL to an exclusive online SpongeBob SquarePants-branded game on Nick.com, an activity book with mazes and brain teasers, and Nickelodeon activity placemats for mealtime.
Families can add even more enticements with a $10 upgrade to the Nickelodeon package. Kids will receive a SpongeBob SquarePants activity bag, a brightly colored splash ball (good for bathtubs and pools), Nickelodeon sunglasses, and a 3-D “build-your-own SpongeBob” craft. At JW Marriotts and Marriott Hotels, a $20 upgrade includes SpongeBob SquarePants-branded items plus turndown service with a SpongeBob pillowcase and a travel-themed SpongeBob storybook.
To add some Nickelodeon day activities to the stay, the family can embark on a Nickelodeon Getaway, a multi-day family vacation with live entertainment and arts and crafts programs.
Parents have a new online resource, too, with, ParentsConnect.com filled with parenting tips, community, and travel tips and information about family-friendly vacations.
Visit NickelodeonYourStay.com or call 877-Nick-Stay 877-642-5729.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Travel and Food Notes welcomes guest blogger Kate Goodin, an editor at Parenting.com and writer for Globorati.com.
Last November I visited the Capella Pedregal resort in Cabo San Lucas. Between the beautiful, secluded setting at the southernmost tip of the Baja peninsula near Land’s End, and the warm and attentive service, I had an immensely enjoyable visit. This November I came back to Cabo and I made sure to drop in on Capella Pedregal, particularly eager to relive my favorite part of the resort: its restaurants and food.
First stop was the resort’s main eatery Don Manuel’s, for lunch. The waiter Marco was friendly and attentive – just as I had remembered the staff to be. After some ceviche and succulent lobster tacos, Capella’s Executive Chef Marco Bustamante, with whom I had taken a cooking class on my last visit, graciously stopped by to say hello. I was encouraged to stay as long as I liked, with my iced tea topped off and a pool waiter stopping by: Would I like to try a truffle? Why, yes, I would!
It was those touches that made my first visit so memorable, and I am happy to report nothing has changed in that respect. The resort itself was beautiful as ever. Judging from a cursory glance it appeared that all 44 rooms still had private plunge pools firmly ensconced (my favorite amenity). What was new to me was the seaside seafood restaurant El Farallon, carved into the rocks on the beach, which was not open on my last visit,
I arrived at El Farallon quite late, not long before their usual closing time at 11 pm. I figured a quick drink and I’d be on my way – but, of course, the staff was as gracious as ever and offered me the full El Farallon dining experience. I was also so pleased to see many people who had taken such good care of me on my last visit. In particular I was happy to see Antonio deftly preparing all manner of seafood at El Farallon; he cooked in su cocina in Don Manuel’s on my last visit, and I still remember a tuna with carrot-ginger puree amuse-bouche he made for me.
There is no menu at El Farallon. It changes daily based on what’s the freshest catch, and the “Captain” presents you with a bounty of options: Spiny lobster, scallops, sea bass, red snapper and more were all offered the night I was there. You choose your sides as well; the asparagus I ordered was prepared simply, but the grilled corn was especially memorable, beautifully charred and caramelized. My scallops were gently coaxed into a cooked state, clean and butter-soft.
The whole dinner was a thoroughly enjoyable affair; despite dining alone I never once felt lonely, with a constant stream of attentive (but never obtrusive) waiters and chefs accommodating me (even preparing a dessert of orange-scented crepes with chocolate on the fly, well after closing, with my only instruction being “Surprise me with something chocolate”). It was quite dark but the crash of the waves and occasional sea spray provided pleasant ambiance; I think I would prefer dining there at sunset, but an after-dark dinner is well-suited for a more private, romantic dinner. The waiters helpfully illuminate your dinner with flashlights, so you can see what you’re having.
This new part of Capella only heightened my initial impression of the resort, which is that I would unequivocally recommend a stay for anyone looking for quiet, luxurious getaway in Cabo.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Announced today, the 2010 EATER AWARDS, presented by GREY GOOSE. In 50 categories spanning seven cities, the winners comprise a diverse bunch of the finest and most interesting chefs, operators, and characters in the country. We applaud!!
Restaurant of the Year
ABC Kitchen, The Breslin, Del Posto, Eleven Madison Park, Torrisi Italian Specialties, Roberta'sFinalists: Del Posto, Eleven Madison Park, Roberta's
Winner: Torrisi Italian Specialties*
So Hot Right Now
Burger & Barrel, The Lambs Club, Lotus of Siam, M. Wells, Osteria Morini, Peels
Finalists: Burger & Barrel, M. Wells, Osteria Morini
Winner: Osteria Morini
Chef of the Year
Einat Admony (Balaboosta), Daniel Humm (Eleven Madison Park), Dan Kluger (ABC Kitchen), Mark Ladner (Del Posto), Anita Lo (Annisa), Michael White (Alto, Convivio, Marea, Osteria Morini)Finalists: Daniel Humm (Eleven Madison Park), Mark Ladner (Del Posto), Michael White (Marea, Osteria Morini, Convivio, Alto)
Winner: Michael White (Alto, Convivio, Marea, Osteria Morini)
Shaker of the Year
Damon Boelte (Prime Meats), Jim Meehan (PDT); Julie Reiner (Clover Club); Greg Seider (Summit); Phil Ward (Mayahuel); Yana Volfson (Freemans, Peels) Finalists: Damon Boelte (Prime Meats), Jim Meehan (PDT), Yana Wolfson (Freemans/Peels)
Winner: Yana Volfson (Freemans, Peels)
Keith McNally Restaurant of the YearAwarded annually to the Keith McNally restaurant that opened closest to press time.
Danny Meyer Empire Builder of the YearIn recognition of a chef, restaurateur or team whose heads-down, unbridled need for an empire in 2010 came closet to matching that of Empire Builder Meyer himself.
Michael Bao, Chris Cannon and Michael White, Dave Chang and Christina Tosi, Scott Conant, Ken Friedman, Gabriel Stulman
Winner: Chris Cannon and Michael White
Jean-Georges Vongerichten Award for Quietly Killing ItAwarded to the person or team whose 2010 ascent was most ninja-like.
Winner: Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo
Daniel Boulud Award for Most Originally Named Restaurant of the YearNamed in honor of the best restaurant namer there ever was.
Winner: Fat Radish
Eric Ripert's Kids AwardAwarded to a young chef who would benefit most from a day of serious Buddhist training from Eric Ripert.
Winner: César Ramirez
Thomas Keller Benefit-of-the-Doubt AwardPresented to the Keller Alum who will surely get it right because he worked for Keller. He will, right?
Winner: Jonathan Benno (Lincoln)
Tom Colicchio Up-and-Coming Stone-Cold Hustler Award Blink and you'll miss Tom Colicchio inking another lucrative deal.
Winner: David Chang
Comeback of the Year Presented to that restaurant whose return from the dead proved most grand.
Winner: The John Dory
Shitshow of the Year, New York
Abe + Arthurs, Bar Artisanal, Kenmare, The Lion, Rouge Tomate, Shang
Spectacle of the Year, New York
4Food, Ace Hotel, Josh Ozersky's Wedding, Marcus Samuelsson, McNally vs. Platt, Tavern on the Green
Winner: Josh Ozersky's Wedding (and Subsequent Media Shitstorm)
Eater Door Prize for Toughest Door of the Year
The Boom Boom Room, Jane Hotel, Kenmare, Le Bain, Provocateur
Winner: The Boom Boom Room
For more national winners and all chef and restaurateur winners across the country click through here
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Are we yearning for the good old times? The new Chock Full o'
Nuts on West 23rd Street made me shiver when I saw its signature Nutted Cheese sandwich on the menu. I still remember paper-wrapped sandwich that the ladies served when you asked for it. There's also the Chock Classic: homemade date nut bread with cream cheese (for our generation, it's whipped cream cheese). But now they've caved in to modern tastes: you can get a grilled portabello sandwich and a veggie omelet to go with your cup of java. In my mind, it's still a diner and a NYC icon at that. I'll have to forgo my Starbucks one day and try Chock's coffee again. I still miss the old Comfort Diner where Chock Full o' Nuts is now located, but this ones gives a pretty cool dose of nostalgia. 25 West 23rd Street, 212-924-FOOD (3663)..
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Here's the full press release about this important composer:
Jerry Bock was an inspired musical composer who wrote the scores to such shows as Fiddler on the Roof and The Apple Tree.Mr. Bock made his Broadway debut in 1955 with Catch a Star, a musical revue in which he collaborated on music and lyrics.
Jerry Bock was best known for the memorable and thoughtful score for Fiddler on the Roof, which incorporates Jewish prayer and klezmer music within a musical theater score. He also composed the shows Mr. Wonderful, The Body Beautiful, Fiorello!, Tenderloin, Never Too Late, Man in the Moon, She Loves Me, Baker Street, Generation, and The Rothschilds. He scored another musical hit in 1966 with The Apple Tree which was revived on Broadway in 2006. Mr. Bock collaborated with many notable Broadway writers, but he consistently worked with the late Joseph Stein, who wrote the book to Fiddler on the Roof, and his long-time creative partner lyricist Sheldon Harnick, also of Fiddler on the Roof.
Mr. Bock received the 1965 Tony Award® for writing the music to Fiddler on the Roof, which also won the 1965 Tony Award® for Best Musical. He won his first Tony Award® for his Best Musical Fiorello! in 1960. Fiorello! also won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama that same year. He was nominated for She Loves Me (1964), The Apple Tree (1967) and The Rothschilds (1971). Mr. Bock was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972.