Category Archives: New York City

Fluffy pancakes we spotted in Tokyo in 2016 have arrived in the U.S. What next? A new kind of ice coffee maybe?

In July 2016, we were intrigued in an Tokyo coffee cafe to see Japanese people eating fluffy pancakes as an afternoon treat. Now comes work that those pancakes (apparently known as “souffle pancakes”) have come to NYC, Pasadena, LA and London, according to the NYTimes.

What next? I predict a new kind of ice coffee that we also saw in Tokyo circa 2016 — details below!

July 2016: At about 4 pm we stopped at a chic coffee cafe called 24/7 where people we eating stacks of fluffy pancakes. It didn’t occur to us to eat them any time other than for breakfast but must say they looked delicious. My ice coffee was served in a ceramic soup bowl with a giant block of ice and a little pitchers of milk and simple syrup. Made iced coffee quite exotic. Must try that at home.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Japan, New York, New York City

NYTimes “Journeys” giving Airbnb “experiences” competition in the tour business

Looks like the New York Times has jumped into the tour business, offering walking tours and more of  foreign and U.S. Cities, some based on its 36 Hours pieces (several of which I’ve written including Des Moines, Iowa City and Oak Park, Illinois). I’ve plucked this one off the Internet on the “new” Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood (which I’ve wandered around but never really understood) so I can use it next time I’m there.

https://www.nytimes.com/times-journeys/travel-experience/dumbo-the-new-brooklyn/

The Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn, once warehouses and longshoremen, is now hot and hip. On an itinerary inspired by The New York Times and conducted by Urban Adventures, discover one of the most fascinating neighborhoods in the city, including some spots off the tourist trail. Catch the ferry from Manhattan and have an experience that combines local sights with hands-on and exclusive access.


New York Times Exclusives:
  • Tour the Smile to Go bakery with a staff member to watch pastries being made and taste them fresh out of the oven.
  • Pour your own beer at Randolph Beer, where the beer is also made.
  • Meet the staff at innovative places like Powerhouse Arena and the Brooklyn Roasting Company.

Trip Highlights:
  • Travel like a local on the commuter ferry from Manhattan to Brooklyn.
  • Visit Brooklyn Bridge Park, built partly on old shipping piers, and get breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline.
  • Learn the history of Brooklyn’s waterfront and how it has transformed from industrial to recreational.
  • Try the offerings at some of the neighborhood’s favorite local food creators and businesses.
  • Feel the vibe that has attracted artists, innovators and tech companies and revitalized the neighborhood.

Schedule Details

Duration: 3 hours
Meeting point: Entrance of Pier 11 just east of South Street and Gouverneur Lane, underneath the F.D.R. Drive in Manhattan
Starting time: 9:00 a.m.
Ending point: Randolph Beer

Duration

3 hours

Cost

$99 USD

Maximum Group Size

12 people

Activity Level

Easier

Terms & Conditions

Terms & Conditions

Days of Departure

Tour operates daily

Give a City Tour

A City Tour gift certificate is the perfect present for any occasion. Select a specific tour and date, or choose the value and let the lucky recipient decide how to redeem it.

BUY A GIFT CERTIFICATE

Leave a comment

Filed under New York, New York City

Wandering downtown – NYC

3E2B0234-9648-432F-9637-74D07EFB5A27I got a chance to do what I love to do most in NYC (besides seeing old friends and family): Wandering around interesting pockets of the city.

One day, I started at the Bleeker Street subway station and stopped for what turned out to be a giant breakfast at Russ & Daughters Cafe. (I took about half of my eggs/onion/lox and salad to go and left it at Union Square, hoping a hungry person would eat it…) D and I then wandered around the Lower East Side up to the East Village and ended up at Union Square and the holiday crafts market, where I also found some mutsu apples at the farmer’s market.

The second day, I started at the Spring Street station and wandered south into Little Italy and Chinatown, then a little west to Soho (western section is still charming, along Thompson and Sullivan/Spring and  Prince Streets) and then up to Greenwich Village/NYC, stopping for a nutritious lunch (not) of a chocolate chip cookie and coffee at the wonderful old Vesuvio bakery storefront on Prince Street (now technically the Birdbath Bakery despite the iconic storefront from the 1920s) and admiring a gated mews lined with pretty old carriage houses, MacDougal Alley,  just north of Washington Square Park. Reminded me, fondly, of London. I lingered in front of 1 Fifth Avenue, an elegant old building where my parents got married (when it was a hotel, I believe). Then I ended up at The Strand bookstore and at Union Square where I caught the #6 subway back to the Upper East Side.

Noshing on the Upper East Side included a delicious perfectly cooked (medium rare) half pound hamburger at EJ’s Luncheonette and kreplach soup and a corned beef sandwich (shared) at P.J. Bernstein’s. 

Leave a comment

Filed under New York City

When next in NYC, LA, SF or London – April Bloomfield’s picks

This from a NYTimes Q and A with chef April Bloomfield, whose restaurants we’ve recently gone to (Coombeshead Farm in Cornwall; the Spotted Pig in NYC).

London recommendations:  in Hackney, Violet (cute tea shop/bakery); in Shoreditch, Lyle’s (“clean simple food”)

In LA: Hearth& Hound (her new place in Hollywood for “wood-fired food.”)

In San Francisco: her place, Tosca Cafe or Marin Brewing Company (in Marin)

In NYC: her places – Breslin Bar & Dining or the John Dory in Flatiron district; White Gold Butchers, Salvation Taco.; recommendations – Kunjip in Koreatown.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under DINING, London, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Uncategorized

David Hockney retrospective and a “highlights tour” at the Met – NYC

1hockney.jpgI arrived at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on a Monday morning just as a free tour was starting, focusing on “museum highlights.” Curious about what constitutes a “highlight,” I joined the one-hour tour and saw things I’ve never seen during many previous wanderings around the Met. Later I asked our guide if the highlights vary by guide and tour and she said “yes.” Which only makes sense – there are far too many highlights to pack into one hour. We made six stops (I dutifully wrote them down on a brochure and then left my list, by mistake, in a bathroom) – I knew only the last piece well, because, interestingly, it was a 2007 mural by the Ghana-born Nigerian artist  El Anatsui, who had a big exhibit several years ago at…the Des Moines Art Center. Other works included a 17th century painted Japanese screen,  Winslow Homer’s The Gulf Stream, 1899,  (of a black man aboard a ship in very rough seas), the  Velasquez portrait of Juan de Pareja (1650) , an ancient Virgin and Child carved wood reliquary (late 1100’s) and a reproduction of an 1884 Rodin statue (Burghers of Calais.)

Schnechen “snail” at Greenberg’s

From there I went to my original destination – the David Hockney retrospective which I recommend also. His bright colorful paintings of Los Angeles, in particular, are enough to bring cheer on a drab winter day (not to mention the sunny fall day when I saw them). Here’s the original of a poster I have had hanging in my office for years. (The colors in mine, I realize now, have faded).

I also stopped for a little schnecken at Greenberg’s bakery on Madison Avenue, near the Met. And enjoyed the warm artichoke salad with my wonderful Aunt Shelby at Bella Blue on Lexington and 70th.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under museum exhibit, New York City, THE ARTS, Uncategorized

NYC Restaurant hopping in the Village —Prune, The Spotted Pig, Snack Taverna

Outside Snack Taverna, West Village

I have wanted to eat at the tiny East Village restaurant Prune ever since I read Blood, Bones and Butter, the well-written, compelling memoir by Gabrielle Hamilton, the owner/chef of Prune. Yesterday I finally did and loved it. My pal Myra and I may need to make this the annual dining spot at the end of our much-cherished post-Thanksgiving rendezvous. The food was outstanding — unique and memorable without being fussy or out there — and the service was welcoming, warm and attentive. Did we want bread to sop up the one or two spoonful left of our mussel and leek stew? our server inquired. Yes. Please.

Prune, at last

We arrived when it opened for dinner at 5:30 (Myra had an early train to catch) and the place was empty but it soon started filling up and we were glad we made a last minute reservation. Soon the dozen or so tables were full and single people sat comfortably at the bar.  Several customers seemed to be regulars and were greeted by name or even a kiss by wait staff.  Felt like a neighborhood handout. Myra and I shared everything (except her martini and my beer): creamy white parsley root soup with a flavor-packed piece of crispy chicken skin; fried oysters with a white creamy herb sauce; the light and delicious stew; a side of crispy grilled onions and garlic, and for dessert a rectangular “crouton” topped with a light caramel sauce and a scoop of ricotta ice cream. We will be back.

Earlier during our wander around the West Village, we stopped for a drink at another tiny restaurant, The Spotted Pig, that has long been on my list, run by another female chef, April Bloomfield. At 4 p.m. the bar was full, as were a few tables. Cheerful cozy place. The menu is more English fare, somewhat pricey but hope to return. We ate a light lunch at Snack Taverna, which was surprisingly good considering that we just stumbled in, lured by little beyond an empty table (actually all the tables were empty, which usually is uninviting).  This place seemed to be doing an good take out business.  We had good solid Greek-with-an-earthy-flair food:  a light country Greek salad (no lettuce; a slab of fresh feta) and spinach feta leek triangles.  Myra had a yummy egg atop polenta with a delicious light sauce. Around the block we found Westville, the restaurant I am always looking for but I can never remember the name or street. Glad to try something new.

Spotted pig

1 Comment

Filed under DINING, New York City

PJ Bernstein’s, Pomodoro Rossi, new Q subway, gotham Hall, Central Synagogue– NYC

We love NYC but hope to get home to Des Moines tonight on this dreary rainy day. Our flight is already delayed so we aren’t sure we will make our connection in St. Louis. Other than that, we had a great time. We were surprised to enjoy our two visits to Central Synagogue so much. It turned out to be a spectacular Sephardic temple on 55th and Lexington, run by a smart charismatic group of women rabbis and cantors who we’re warm, friendly, and sing beautifully. The lead rabbi was also Asian. Another surprise.  The party was held at Gotham Hall, an imposing former bank (I’m told) on 36th and Broadway and 6th Avenue, near the original Macy’s. It has a huge domed ceiling below which some 300 or so of us ate, danced and partied until after midnight.

Breakfast at PJ Bernsteins

Last night we had good Italian food at Pomorodo Rossi, a neighborhood place on Columbus and 71st or so, can conveniently located near my relatives apart. Good pasta with seafood and a light red sauce, grilled artichoke and an outdoor table where we had a rare and wonderful dinner with our dear friends Myra and mike who won the good friend award for driving in from Connecticut.

At Pomodoro Rossi, Columbus Avenue

Today, we met my brother at The Whitney Museum, our favorite place to hang out on a rainy Monday. This time we saw the Biennial exhibit which had some challenging stuff, as expected. Lunch was lobster bisque and a shared crab cake sandwich at Lobster Place in Chelsea Market.

Noshing on Schnecken at Greenbergs, Madison Ave. in 80s

at Lobster Place, Chelsea Market

On the east side, we had corned beef and breakfast at PJ Bernsteins on 3rd, morning pastries on Lexington at Corrado Bakery and coffee served by Aussies at Heavenly Rest Stop at 91st and Fifth, in an alcove of a fancy church by the same name.

Heavenly Rest Stop, Upper East Side

Leave a comment

Filed under DINING, museum exhibit, New York City