This past weekend, we decided to drive to the Bronx to the world famous, Arthur Avenue. Arthur Avenue is considered the “Little Italy of NY,” yet if you talk to any New Yorker about Arthur Avenue in the Bronx either people have no idea what you are talking about or have passionate feelings about this neighborhood famous for all the Italian cuisine. Truth is, that most New Yorkers have not been to it, including my native New Yorker husband. But with nothing to do over the weekend (thank you, COVID, thank you Winter weather), we decided to take an adventure up to the Bronx to try out some food. We are so glad we did this and CANNOT wait to return — it had so much energy, kind locals, and ridiculously tasty food.
If you know me well, you know that Fred’s at Barney’s was my go-to restaurant for 11 plus years. It is where we had every Sunday dinner, multiple meals throughout the week, and even many special occasions such as Marathon parties, birthday parties, and special moments. It was our kitchen. We knew the entire wait staff and loved everything about it — it felt like home. So we were extremely sad when Barney’s shut down PRE Covid. It felt like we lost a part of our family and didn’t know what other restaurants to go to. Sure enough, a month later, the music died, and all restaurants were shut down to Covid…..but here we are, back in NYC, restaurants are reopened (currently only outdoor dining) and the chef from Fred’s, opened up his own restaurant “Mark’s Off Madison.” It is located downtown on 26th street and Madison, with Mark as the chef, and many of the same wait staff as at Fred’s. It felt like going home — we were so happy to see so many of the same waiters and think often of the others that we don’t know their whereabouts (Lorraine, Aggie, Jose, Gian Franco, and so many more — we miss you and hope you are all safe and healthy). Fred’s was a special place to us and so going to Mark’s Off Madison felt special, too.
If you live in NYC, you have to RUN right now to Nami Nori, the newest Japanese restaurant in the West Village. Only one month old, it was created by three ex-employees from Masa (whose tasting menu costs $595 per person!!!!). This new restaurant is casual elegant with accessible prices specializing in Temaki (hand rolls). Absolutely everything about this restaurant is perfection: the zen Japanese vibe, the appetizers, the temaki, the desserts, the staff, everything! So if you live in NYC, make a reservation and GO! And if you don’t live in NYC, it is an excuse to come in to the city and eat!
While running family errands this past weekend, we stopped in at Eataly’s rooftop for lunch. Ken and I had been there during early summer years ago and loved the ambiance, decor, and food so much. Newly decorated for Autumn, it was the perfect place to grab a bite to eat in a beautiful setting. The rooftop restaurant, Serra on the roof, serves Italian cuisine and drinks. The food is simple and great, but the DECOR, my god, it is so beautiful! My daughter (who didn’t love her lunch) was so in awe of the space that she kept saying she wanted to have her birthday party there.
The local community pool in Eugene, Oregon (Amazon Pool) is unlike any other public pool. Sure, there is a random mixture of people (Olympic athletes, White Trash, professors, and a mish mash of kids), incredible views and greenery, and endless options of fun (high dive, platform dive, loopty-loop slide, tunnel slide, obstacle course, water sprays, sandbox, you name it). But it is the snack grill that is my ultimate favorite. It is not your typical pool snacks — no corn dogs or french fries — but rather hippy dippy Asian cuisine served at Ume Onigiri House. Kombucha, of course, and even better their dumplings and onigiri. Even though Ken is half-Japanese, I had never tried an onigiri until this summer. AND MAN, how I love it. Seriously, if you ever go to a restaurant and see it on the menu, get it. It is essentially a rice ball filled with various fillings — teriyaki chicken is my kids go to, but I have had the kimchi and teriyaki tofu and they are DELICIOUS.
So yes, I understand that Ume Grill is unique to Eugene, but wherever you are, go find ONIGIRI. So good and so healthy, too. The perfect little meal.
On a beautiful summery day last weekend, we went with friends-that-are-family to Bar Pisellino, a bar that I had read about and was so excited to try out. If you know me, I have been obsessed with Aperol Spritzes for the past 12 months, and Bar Pisellino not only serves them, but has them on TAP. YUP — Aperol ON DRAFT.
After months of hearing about Ralph’s Coffee, I finally made it inside. And it is even more divine and fabulous than I ever imagined — chic, beautiful, and old school glamorous. Located inside the Ralph Lauren flagship store on 72nd and Madison , Ralph’s Coffee is a relaxing and delicious place to grab a drink and snack (Ralph Lauren partnered up with the team at La Colombe to create Ranph’s Coffee’s signature blend). It also helps that the people inside are just as beautiful as you would expect, making for great people watching.
I was introduced to my new favorite pizza place by my out-of-town-brother this past week and now I am dreaming of the pizza nonstop. My brother is one of those people that knows everything about a place even when he doesn’t live there. He also loves food, reading about food, and is always right. So when he was visiting this past weekend and suggested trying Prince Street Pizza — I knew that it was going to be good and worth the trek down. And YUP, sure enough, this tiny little pizza shop is where it is at. I can’t wait to go back.
Back in the early 2010’s, we used to spend our weekends driving out to Red Hook (in Brooklyn) to grocery shop at Fairway, gaze at the Statue of Liberty, eat cookies at Baked, and pretend like we lived in the outer boroughs/suburbs. We were religious about this weekend ritual and tried to keep it up as long as we could. But then Fresh Direct (and a second child) came along, which made it impossible to drive 30 minutes just to grocery shop. This past weekend, we decided to go back. And now I can’t wait to go back and make it a monthly ritual — Red Hook is a special and unique neighborhood and I just love it so much. The highlight was our brunch at Brooklyn Crab. I want to have a big blow out party there. The food is delicious, the views are great, and it just screams FUN PARTY.
One of my favorite neighborhood go-to’s is Le Botaniste. It is perfect for days when you want to be uber healthy and are looking for a quiet place to eat and relax. Le Botaniste was concepted by the creative force behind Le Pain Quotidien (more here) and serves healthy, organic, vegan, and gluten-free meals. Although I have been over two dozen times, I always get the SAME thing — I make my own bowl.
Last weekend, we went on a family adventure to Queens to visit the Queens Museum. As we decided we wanted to have dinner on the way back, I researched hip but kid-friendly restaurants for an early dinner. We landed on Sotte le Stelle, which had rave reviews on Eater as the #3 hot spot in Queens. And… pizza. The new restaurant was DELICIOUS.
Recently, the Upper East Side has become more hip with good restaurants and stores (not that it makes the UES hip or cool… but it’s moving in the right direction….). My favorite addition is Hu Kitchen. Back in the day, I would take the subway downtown to Union Square, just to go to Hu Kitchen and get my hands on some cashew cream mash (think frozen yogurt, but not). Now that there is a location close-by, I go there weekly to get my fix of granola, crack bars, raw brownies, and drinks. As a granola snob, I can safely attest that their granola is TO DIE FOR. INCREDIBLE. And made with healthy, pure and raw ingredients!
After our big celebration this past Saturday night, we went out to cure our hangover / adrenaline / socialization with a big brunch. My brother, Giora, who lives in Seattle and is always up to speed with pop culture and what is cool (way more than any other New Yorker I know) told me about a restaurant that he wanted to go to — Llama Inn, a new Peruvian restaurant in Williamsburg that has a lot of buzz about it.
One of our favorite Sunday family activities is to go downtown for early family brunch — no traffic, easy parking, and it makes us feel young, hip, and in the know (wishful thinking). Even with a 6 and 3 year old in tow -> #HipstersEatBrunchAt9. Yesterday, we drove down to Soho to Sadelle’s, a new hip restaurant/Jewish deli run by Major Food Group (the people behind Dirty French, Carbonne and Parm) and ate ourselves silly. Highly recommend — the food, experience, service, ambiance — 5 stars from this family!
Dimes has been on my list of places to eat for quite some time, not just because of its cool and hipster vibe, but also for its healthy (and colorful) menu. We recently ventured downtown (49 Canal Street) to this eclectic, health-concsious hippie dippy, hipster minimalist, holy cow delicious restaurant. I was in pig heaven — so many healthy choices to choose from!
Happy Sunday! Sorry for the delayed Friday food post, but lots going on, including the great Josie Fragrance/Fashion event at Bloomingdale’s yesterday!
This past weekend, the family went on an adventure to Red Hook (Brooklyn) to satisfy my craving for a lobster roll (not pregnant, just hungry). AND HOT DAMN, this lobster roll did not disappoint. Unbelievably delicious. KNOCK OUT GOOD.
Fred’s at Barneys is our second kitchen. We eat there so much that I would feel comfortable walking in and opening the fridge to see what I want to eat. I know the menus (both lunch and dinner) backwards and forwards, and love almost everything I have tried there. We eat there so much that the waiters and hosts treat Ken as royalty (but when I go by myself, they often don’t recognize me!) I guess without Ken, I am just some other blonde, white, Upper East Side chick coming to eat at Fred’s for dinner. But if I am with Ken (who, yes, is more distinctive looking than me), the red carpet is rolled out! Holla!
Fred’s is located in Barneys on the 9th floor and is open for both lunch and dinner. The lunch scene is a full on fashion runway show with lots of celebrities, big time shoppers, tourists, and business people. It is always jam packed for lunch with people in the know. Dinners are much more subdued and low key — there is never a wait, never a scene, and one can always get a table (this is why we only go for dinner). Not only can you get a seat, but it is quiet and a perfect location for a tasty, quick, easy, reliable meal in a classy and quiet environment.
I am a creature of habit. I have a routine for everything… exercise, sleep, and especially, food. As a result, I tend to frequent only a handful of restaurants in New York City. Don’t get me wrong, I love going to new and hip places, but I also love my local faves which I go to more often than not. It seems like now that I have a family of my own, I am more concerned about quality of food and proximity to home than hipness or anything else. Guess I am getting old. *Le sigh*
Le Pain Quotidien is one of my all-time-faves. It is perfect for breakfast or lunch and always hits the spot. Luckily for me, there are two close to our apartment (5 minute walk for a more crowded and intimate setting or a 10 minute walk for a spacious and more kid friendly version). The ambiance is uber European which makes me feel cultured, and relaxed. Wood interiors, classical music, French themed food… it’s almost like you ARE in Paris when you go there.