Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Halloween in New York City: Parade, Plays and Pooches

If the weather stays this mild, the Halloween Parade in the Village will be a true zoo this year, with costumes even skimpier than usual.

Here are a couple of my other favorite things to do this coming weekend:

BAMboo!: Brooklyn Academy of Music, America’s oldest continuously operating performing arts center founded in 1861, celebrates its ninth annual Halloween festival. Get the requisite trick-or-treating out of the way and continue your afternoon of fun at BAM with candy giveaways, costume contests, storytelling, a haunted house maze, roaming entertainers, games, and more. This free event is from 2-5pm on October 31.
Lafayette Avenue between Ashland Place and Felix Street; 718-634-4100

Howl-o-ween: Dress your pooch up on October 31 and bring him or her to Canine Court in Van Cortlandt Park at Noon to compete in the annual costume competition and dog frolic. Registration is $10 per dog and $5 for each additional dog and benefits the dog run.
Broadway and 252nd Street; 718-796-4541

Friday, October 22, 2010

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Dessert Shops Offer Sweet Deals

October is breast cancer awareness month. In addition to hotels and restaurants offering great deals, dessert shops around the country are offering sweet deals to keep you "thinking pink." This is the third post in the series.

Dessert shops:

Crumbs Bake Shop: For every one of Crumbs' gorgeous Pink Ribbon cupcakes purchased, the company will donate 20% of proceeds to the National Breast Cancer Coalition. The cupcake, something the Sex and the City ladies would have adored, is made with vanilla batter filled with vanilla cream cheese frosting, topped with light pink vanilla fondant. The frothy creation is rimmed with a mix of ribbon sprinkles and pink and white sprinkles.

Sucré: New Orleans' iconic sweet shop offers a new “Pretty in Pink” collection, featuring their signature macaroons, this time done up in pink and white with an almond strawberry filling. Proceeds from every box will benefit breast cancer research and awareness. Sucré will gladly ship nationwide. 3025 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70115; 504-520-8311

Georgetown Cupcake: If you’re a fan of TLC’s DC CUPCAKES, visit Sophie and Katherine and order the special “Pink Ribbon” cupcakes. Georgetown Cupcake is an official sponsor of the 2010 Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure and is donating 100% of sales of the “Pink Ribbon” cupcakes to the race. There are also “Baby Pink” cupcakes with baby-pink tinted sweet vanilla frosting over Madagascar bourbon vanilla or valrhona chocolate cake. 3301 M Street, Washington, DC 20007; 202-333-8448

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Haunting and Historic Halloween in Philadelphia, Starting October 21 - The Dracula Festival

We always associate Halloween with ghouls, ghosts, costumes and candy, but Philadelphia invites us to celebrate with even more historic horror. Did you know that Philadelphia has a reputation for being a rather haunted city? So much so that its candlelit walking tours through Independence Hall and Washington Square are eerily popular. Rumor has it that Ben Franklin still roams through the streets of the City of Brotherly Love, coming up with new inventions all the while mumbling to himself.

This Halloween season, visit the Rosenbach Museum and Library for its annual Dracula Festival. With the continuous craze of Twilight, Philadelphia's got it goin' on when it comes to the vampire who started it all, Count Dracula. Learn all about Bram Stoker’s inspiration for his 1897 novel (still my absolutely favorite) and take a look at his original research notes and outlines for Dracula. Just tell the kids he’s Edward’s cousin, and you’ll have them in the car in no time.


The Growth of Stoker’s Dracula: Examine Stoker’s hand-written notes during this hands-on tour as Rosenbach staff discuss the elements of creating eerie tales. 10/22 and 10/24 3pm-4pm

Dracula DIY: Margaret McGuire, author of Witch Craft, and Candy DePew, owner of the Studio School for Decorative Art, join together as they guide visitors through creating Dracula-inspired crafts at this free event. 10/23 5pm-8pm.

Halloween Party for Families: Join as the Rosenbach and the Fitler Square Improvement Association throw a festival for all to enjoy with face painting, pumpkin picking, and craft making. 10/23 3pm-5pm in Fitler Square (Pine Street between 23rd and 24th Streets)

Admission to The Rosenbach is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $5 for students and children, and free for children under 5. For museum hours and more information visit 2008-2010 Delancey Place, Philadelphia, PA 19103.

Pumpkin Café: Get into the Halloween mood by fueling up at Pumpkin Cafe (we couldn’t resist), a few blocks away from the Rosenbach. The café specializes on offering local and sustainable products, and the all-day breakfast menu makes it worth the visit. Favorites include the Egg and Cheese Panini, Breakfast Burrito, and Nutella and Banana Panini. 1609 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19146; 215-545-1173

For more information and other great ideas for what to see and do in Philadelphia, click here.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pop-up Restaurants Make Their Debut in NYC -- More to Come Nationwide

We’ve seen pop-up shops, pop-up fashions shows, and most recently pop-up markets with pop-up food stands, and now foodies have the joy of a sit-down pop-up restaurant. Tomorrow night marks the first night of The Feast, the pop-up restaurant concept by the production company Guerilla Culinary Brigade featuring celebrity guest chefs and mixologists in different culinary destinations nationwide. The Feast’s first theme will be “Roaring ‘20s: Speakeasy & Steakhouse” and will represent a “Jazz Age” dinner party held in a 1920’s chophouse. The event opens October 21 and closes October 23, with dinner at 7pm The Rivington Hotel (107 Rivington Street). Guest Chef Seamus Mullen, former owner and chef of Boquería and contestant on The Next Iron Chef, has created a menu inspired by an original menu from the 21 Club, circa 1922, a time when the restaurant was in its speakeasy glory and known as The Red Head. The pop-up menu includes amuses bouches (malpeque oysters dusted in cornmeal, roasted fennel aioli and citrus); warm smoked brook trout; dry aged New York strip steak; and a dark chocolate arbequina olive oil mousse. New York’s own mixologist Ben Demarchelier (Brasserie Cognac, Monkey Bar, l’Oubli) has also designed a varied cocktail menu to enjoy while listening to the live swing band and other performers.

Reservations are required.

Monday, October 18, 2010

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Restaurants Offer Great Deals

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and in addition to hotels offering great deals, restaurants around the country are offering sweet deals to boost awareness as well. This is the second post of several with lots of choice offerings as you "Think Pink" this month.


Panera Bread: Panera’s delicious baked goods have just gotten sweeter with October’s “Pink Ribbon” bagel. The idea for this bagel was developed in 2001 by Sue Stees, one of Panera’s first franchisees and a breast cancer survivor. The bagel is made with cherry chips, dried cherries, cranberries, vanilla, honey and brown sugar. Proceeds will benefit various breast cancer charities depending on the location of the bakery-café.

‘21’ Club: This NYC landmark is offering a special Raspberry Flourless Torte dessert during the month of October. Created by Pastry Chef Kimberly Bugler, the torte is topped with red currants and marshmallows. A portion of the sales from this dessert will be donated to the American Cancer Society.

21 West 52nd Street, New York, NY 10019; 212-582-7200;

Aquavit: Get a taste of Scandinavia while sipping on a delicious Aquapolitan cocktail (orange-lemon aquavit, house made sour, cranberry juice) to help raise your consciouness. 10% of the purchase price of this drink will be contributed to the American Cancer Society’s breast cancer research and support programs in New York City.

65 East 55th Street, New York, NY 10022; 212-307-7311;

B.R. Guest Restaurants: If you're a fan of B.R. Guest’s NYC-based restaurants, Blue Water Grill, Ruby Foo's and Dos Caminos, you'll love their specially designed desserts during October for Breast Cancer Month. The desserts vary by restaurant, and 75% of proceeds will be donated to the Breast Treatment Task Force. Try the pink velvet cake with raspberry-hibiscus ice cream at Dos Caminos or the white chocolate raspberry crème brulée at Blue Water Grill. For a full list of restaurants, visit

Saturday, October 16, 2010

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Hotels Offer Great Deals

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and although the month is half over, there are still many deals offered by hotels and restaurants around the US to help raise awareness of this killer disease. This post is the first of several with lots of choice offerings as you "Think Pink" this month.


Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos: As a part of Hard Rock’s Pinktober campaign, travelers are invited to “Get Into Bed For A Cure.” Guestrooms at select Hard Rock Hotels have been decked out in pink, and 25% of the room rates will be going to support breast cancer research and awareness. In the mood for a pink-themed pool party? Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, FL will be showing off its pink side with pink pool towels, lounge cushions, interior and exterior lighting, and more.

Peninsula Hotels: Join The Peninsula Hotels as they “think pink” to introduce their “Enriching Your Life” initiative. The North American and Asian properties will donate a percentage of proceeds from their “Pink Ribbon” promotions to breast cancer-related charities. Highlights include:

The Peninsula New York: The luxury hotel's lobby will feature pink lighting and pink florals and front desk agents wearing a pink tie or scarf. For every Afternoon Chari-tea served in the Gotham Lounge, $5 will be donated to Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. A special pink tea, Might Leaf’s Organic Berry Wellness, will also be featured. The Peninsula Spa by ESPA will provide a complimentary Pink Hair and Scalp Mud Treatment and donate $5 with the purchase of 60-minute massages. On October 23, join others in the Gramercy room for the Think Pink Flower Workshop and Afternoon Tea with Flowers of the World from 2pm-4:30pm. A $15 donation will be made from the purchase of each ticket to Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.

700 Fifth Avenue at 55th St, New York, NY 10019; 212-956-2888

The Peninsula Beverly Hills: Los Angeles' Peninsula Hotel serves up “Peninsula Pink Tea” during daily Afternoon Tea in the Living Room. Priced at $55, the formal tea service includes a five-course menu, a glass of Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Rose Champagne, a Peninsula cake packaged to take home, and a $50 Tory Burch gift card. A portion of the proceeds will go to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

9882 South Santa Monica Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90212; 310-551-2888;

Palmer House Hilton: Chicago’s classic 140-year-old beauty shines in pink lights at its Monroe street entrance. Support the Lynn Sage Foundation at Lockwood Restaurant or Potter’s Lounge when enjoying a Bubble Gum Martini with Three Olives Bubble Vodka, Triple Sec, Ginger Ale, and Grenadine. Fifty percent of the proceeds from each cocktail sold will support the foundation. Additionally, diners can donate $1 per check as part of the Foundation’s “In Good Taste” dining initiative at Lockwood.

17 East Monroe Street, Chicago, IL 60603; 312-726-7500

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa: In Atlantic City, Borgata invites you to enjoy four signature pink cocktails from its DRINK PINK menu at any of their six fine dining restaurants (Old Homestead, Izakaya, Bobby Flay Steak, SEABLUE, Wolfgang Puck American Grille, and Fornelletto), Gypsy Bar, B-Bar, and The Sunroom at The Water Club. The pink cocktails are priced at $10 each and include the Pink Margarita, Pink Lemonade Martini, Pink Melon, and a Fleming-Jenkins Victories Rosé wine by breast cancer survivor Peggy Fleming. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the charity Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC).

One Borgata Way, Atlantic City, NJ 08401; 1.866.MY BORGATA

Fontainebleau Miami Beach: The “Bleau Goes Pink” promotion invites diners to any of Fontainebleau’s signature restaurants (Gotham Steak, Hakkasan, and Scarpetta) for a special $39 three-course prix-fixe menu. $1.50 from each cover will be donated to the Fort Lauderdale Affiliate of Susan G. Komen For the Cure. The Miami Beach hotel is also offering a 25% discount on Lapis, The Spa at Fontainebleau, on the signature 50-minute Swedish and Aromatic Blend massages during October to reinforce and reward well-being and healthy lifestyles.

4401 Collins Avenue , Miami Beach, FL 33140; Restaurant reservations: 877-326-7412; Spa reservations-866-750-4772

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fabulous Drinks Event Tonight: Ultimate Cocktails, Spirits & Wine Blast at Marriott Marquis, NYC

Hope you can join me tonight at this wonderful event -- spirits, mixed drinks, wine tastings, seminars and fabulous camaraderie:

Ultimate Cocktails, Spirits & Wine Blast

Where: Marriott Marquis, Broadway Ballroom, Times Square, NYC
When: Friday, October 15
When: VIP entry 5pm; Regular admission 6:30pm until 10pm

And, the all-important What:

An exciting array of whiskeys, brandy, vodka, tequila, rum, gin and more, presented by the nation's foremost bartenders PLUS wines, champagnes and sparkling wines

And, to make you smarter: Seminars on cocktails, spirits and wine, conducted by the world's foremost authorities

How much: VIP tickets $110 at the door; General Admission tickets $90 at the door.

Let's drink to the END of Oktoberfest season and the beginning of holiday refreshment.

Pop-up Food & Art Market: Mad. Sq. Mark't - through Oct. 23

Manhattan has seized onto the concept of pop-up shops in a big way. And, Madison Square Park is showing off one that really hits home to me: restaurants mixed with arts & crafts and designers' wares. Mad. Sq. Mark't is a restaurant pop-up dream-come-true with selections from the best in the city plus an arts and craft fair. The hottest restaurants and food trucks are there, including my favorites Wafels and Dinges and Fatty 'Cue. The market is sponsored by the Madison Square Park Conservancy.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Brooklyn Oktoberfest Celebration on October 17 -- Frankies Spuntino

I just got back from Germany and I’m thrilled there're still Oktoberfest happenings going on in NYC so I won’t go through extreme biergarten withdrawal. Join me at Frankies Spuntino on Sunday, October 17, for chefs Frank Falcinelli's and Frank Castronovo's annual Oktoberfest celebration. Traditional Bavarian fare from 12-6pm, following by a special musical treat after 6pm. 457 Court Street, Brooklyn. From the people who brought you Frankies and Prime Meats.