Happy 2020! Can’t believe that we are halfway in the first month of the year! What’s even more exciting is next week is NYC Winter Restaurant week. One of the restaurants that will be participating during the restaurant week is Bread and Tulips.
Over the summer, my friend and I had dinner at this hot spot in Gramercy. They had happy hour until 7pm for discounted drinks. We came on a Monday evening during the summer and the place was dead. Service was on point in terms of knowledge and efficiency.
– Appetizers: To start, we took advantage of the restaurant week wine bottle special for $35. The wine was very good and the waiter re-corked the bottle to take home because we could not finish a bottle of wine. We ordered the crab cakes and Tuscan kale salad. The crab cakes were very good overall, the only comment I would say is that it was a little salty but all the components are well balanced if consumed in one bite. My friend got the Tuscan Kale Salad, which was really good, refreshing and healthy. Out of the two dishes, the kale salad was the better of the two.
– For the entree, we ordered the seared sea scallops and Long Island duck. The scallops was really good and the flavors were well balanced. Meanwhile my friend got the duck which was amazing and very lean. Out of the two dishes, the duck was the better of the two. That duck was to die for and personally I could see that dish become inconsistent if it was a busy night. Plus both dishes went well with the wine.
The desserts were to awesome. The tartufo is amazing and with the lemon flavor and currents and walnut texture, the dish was a perfect end to my prix fixe. My friend got the chocolate mousse cake with hazelnut gelato, which was flawless.
Personal note, go on a non-busy night; given the restaurant’s reputation I can foresee regular people like us could get ignored and getting subpar service. The night we went it was dead (10 people were dining that evening).
Bread & Tulips is one of the over 300 restaurants participating in the upcoming NYC restaurant week starting from January 21 – February 7.
Stay tuned for suggested restaurants for this restaurant week….
Hello everyone, it’s been a long time since I last posted, I don’t even remember when I wrote something here (that is really bad). I hope this post makes up for not posting since my review of this year’s NYC Winter Restaurant Week.
Over six weeks ago, I have had the privilege to attend my first Healthy Food Expo/International Restaurant and Foodservice Expo and CoffeeFest at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. This was a three day event and it was the best three days I have had in a long long time. I was honored to meet and learn from empowering chefs and health care professionals. It was so much connecting and reconnecting with people who share the same passion in food and healthy eating. There were food tasting and presentations. I went to 6 presentations that day and they were all amazing and inspiring. For the Healthy Expo I attended the presentation(s) entitled:
The Power Of Spices and Their Health Benefits by Dr. Kanchan Koya, Health Coach and founder of Spice Spice Baby which addresses evidence based science behind the health benefits of spices such as curcumin an active ingredient from in tumeric. Her presentation of spices and its health benefits are informative and resourceful. Check out her blog and follow her Instagram page: Chefspicemama and Twitter page: Kkoya.
For the International Restaurant and Foodservice Expo I attended four cooking demos by Chef Marcus Samuelson who made a pasta dish and a very tasty scallop dish while sharing his empowering and inspiring journey to pursuing his passion in the culinary arts. Now I am interested in reading his memoir titled “Yes, Chef: A Memoir” and hopefully one day this summer I can make a pit stop Red Rooster and try his famous fried chicken. Check out his website on his impressive accomplishments and follow him on Instagram and Twitter: marcuscooks.
The next day, I was ecstatic to attend cooking demos by thriving women chefs Anita Lo and Amanda Cohen. In addition, I learned how to make pasta in a food processor by Fabio Viviani and watched a Meatless Monday cooking competition. I enjoyed hearing Anita Lo talk and cook her awesome cauliflower chaat with almonds. Her story was inspiring because she is also a first generation Asian American who is living her passion. Unfortunately I did not make it to one of her initial restaurants Annisa, I was lucky to even win her new cookbook “Solo: A Modern Cookbook for a Party of One” and replicate some of the recipes. Check out her website and follow her on Instagram and Twitter: AnitaLoNYC.
Next I stayed to listened to Amanda Cohen’s story behind the ups and downs of starting a vegetarian restaurant and maintaining it. Her persistence, creativity and passion for cooking vegetables is remarkable and I have learned so many ways to utilize a simple vegetable such as a carrot. I have yet to eat at Dirt Candy but all my peers and friends that have eaten there raved about it and told me to eat there. Yes, Dirt Candy is on my bucket list as one of the restaurants to go to this year (God willing). I was impressed how Amanda created her famous and popular dish Carrot Risotto and Carrot Dumplings. She utilizes a lot of science and technique to make this dish high end while utilizing ingredients on a budget. I have tasted this dish and it was amazing. Unfortunately, I failed to get a good clear photo of this beautiful dish. Luckily I won her cookbook “Dirt Candy: A Cookbook” which contains this recipe and I sense a calling to replicate this dish. Check her restaurant’s website and follow the restaurant’s Instagram: dirtcandynyc and Twitter: dirtcandy.
Chef Cohen’s cooking demo was followed by Chef Fabio Viviani’s cooking demo on making fresh fettuccine with roasted pine nuts and basil pesto. He made fresh pasta using a food processor, his method was 4 tablespoons of flour per 1 large egg. His demo made it look so easy as it took about two minutes to create the dough on the food processor. After the dough is made, if the dough is too sticky and wet add more flour and if the dough is too grainy and starchy add a little water. I was so excited of how simple and quick to make fresh pasta that I tried it at home. Luckily I won his cookbook “Fabio’s 30 minute Italian” which contained the recipe of replicating the fresh pasta. I have attempted to make the fresh pasta, but more on that later. I felt that the demo was rushed and quick due to time constraints. In addition, he was also the judge for the next food demo – The Rapid Fire Challenge, among three chefs themed Meatless Monday. The winner wins $1000.
On to the Rapid Fire Challenge the three way battle of the best Meatless Monday dish. The challenge was judged by: Maria Loi, Cookbook Author, Greek Food Ambassador, and Healthy Lifestyle Expert; Peggy Neu, President of The Monday Campaigns ; Gennaro Pecchia, Co-Host of Rolands Food Court at Sirius XM and Chef Fabio Viviani who is also a restaurateur. The challenge started with Chef Patricia Washuta from Orlando, FL who presented the following dish: Impossible Meatless Kefta, which was creative, tasty, healthy, low carb and budget friendly. Check out her audition video of the dish on YouTube.
The second dish was presented by Chef Heidi Liv Tompkins from Heidi’s Health Kitchen in New York, NY who presented her dish: Mock Tuna Recipe. The dish is gluten free, plant based, organic, paleo and therefore, healthy.
The final dish was presented by Chef Lisa Sereda from Wine Time based in Chico, CA who presented her Walnut “Meat” Stuffed Anaheim Pepper, which was my personal favorite because of its presentation and taste.
After tough judging from Maria Loi and debates about the origin of food among the judges, the winning dish of the Rapid Fire Challenge was the Mock Tuna by Chef Heidi Liv Tompkins. Congratulations Chef Heidi!
In addition to the amazing talks and demos I have had the privilege to experience, I get to sample various food products from new businesses who are seeking to sell their products in US markets. There were so many amazing new products out there are creative and healthy. It was a honor to be a participant in tasting these products before they go out to the distributor(s).
My favorite savory tastings from the expo were the:
Aliments Mello Inc – Smoked Meat Brisket Sandwich – the meat melts like butter in your mouth
Synear Shrimp Supreme Dumpling promoted by Walong Marketing – Dumpling is really good; the filling was amazing; this brand does not skimp on the shrimp.
Mama’s in the Kitchen Breaded Shrimp was the perfect balance of shrimp with breading. The breading can be purchased online. They also have breading for chicken and fish.
Chef Fun Foods seasoned fries using the shake bags: these fries shakened with various flavors. My favorites were BBQ, garlic parmesan and sour cream and onion.
BeItalian Meatballs and pecorino in cooked wine – these meatballs were freshly cooked and very authentic. The dish was a collaborative effort organized by Lombardia Fiere.
VegeWorld Vegetarian meats from Malaysia and I was impressed by the taste of the products. My favorites were the Vegetarian Lamb, Vege Roasted Chicken and Vege Hawaiian Chicken.
Gianni’s Chicken Burgers were awesome chicken burgers made locally in Long Island. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture, but I can testify that I will be ordering these burgers online. In addition, their burgers are sold at local supermarkets in White Plains and Huntington. My personal favorites were Jalapeno Popper Chicken Burgers and Original Chicken Spinach Burger.
My top 5 sweet tastings from the expo were the:
Mochidoki Green Tea and Passion Fruit Mochi Ice Cream – great healthy dessert; a perfect end to my savory food tastings. Mochidoki has 12 flavors and some of their products are sold at Turnstyle Underground Market and you can place an order online that includes all 12 flavors.
Carubies Decadent Carob Truffles from Heidi’s Health Kitchen is a healthy and tasty truffle. Who knew that these truffle chocolates are plant-based and gluten free? This means that the products are soy free, dairy free, and caffeine free. These truffles can be purchased online on their website. Personally the best buy is their original flavor for $20 which has 20 pieces.
Everyday Gourmet Bakery Cookies were so good. Did you know that they are vegan, kosher, non-GMO, and made with whole grains? In addition, they are nutritious with a good amount of protein and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, iron and manganese. These cookies can be purchased online and the best buy is the 2 box pack only for $5.
Wateke Foods is new company based in Florida who produces various products especially guacamole, acai, frozen fruits and beverages. I only tried the acai which was fresh and good. I have yet to try the guacamole, but based on their high tech technology, the product still looks fresh and I can’t wait to eat with my chips.
Pure Crumb is another local product developed by a NYC Fitness Trainer containing less calories and a perfect snack to satisfy a sweet craving. Plus, it’s gluten free and only 150 calories. They come in two flavors: banana bread and chocolate brownie. My favorite was the chocolate brownie. The products are sold online and are currently on sale for $24 for 8 pack and $44 for 16 pack.
Earth Effect Frozen Greek Yogurt is a local sustainable product that is healthy. They are a new company in search for partners and manufacturers to support their mission. The frozen yogurt comes in five flavors: tart with dates and pistachios, chocolate with coconut brittle and sliced almonds, Taihitian vanillia with strawberry jam and chocolate, maple and maple pecans and coffee with hazelnut butter and chocolate. I have had tried all five flavors and my favorites were: Taihitian vanillia with strawberry jam and chocolate, coffee with hazelnut butter and chocolate and chocolate with coconut brittle and sliced almonds.
After eating and sampling all the foods at the event, I have had to stay hydrated with drink samples from various companies both non-alcoholic and alcoholic. Below were my favorites:
Figspresso is a plant-based, gluten-free beverage based in Long Island made from dried and roasted figs. This beverage is deceivingly healthy and it would serve as a great alternative for coffee and tea.
Dandy Lion Tea is an organic tea made from dandylions and fruit. They come in two flavors: cherry and peach. It is kosher and organic. Did you know that dandelion is good for digestion and detox? I’ve tasted both flavors and my personal favorite was cherry.
Cliffton Dry Wine Cider is a vegan, low calorie, low sugar, gluten free and low alcoholic beverage. It is a sparkling wine equivalent to prosecco but made with locally grown apples from the New York’s Finger Lakes Region. This beverage was really good and they’re accessible in some NYC restaurants and Whole Foods.
Senor Sangria is sangria mixed with natural ingredients with either merlot for the red sangria, sauvignon blanc for white sangria and syrah for their new flavor: apple raspberry. I tried all three flavors and they all tasted great, but apple raspberry was my favorite. What’s interesting about their new flavor is that there is no sugar in this sangria making it more healthy.
Brooklyn Crafted Herbal Teas and reTreat Juices are beverages manufactured by Brooklyn Food and Beverage, which is based in Bushwick community in Brooklyn. The herbal teas were pretty good; I have only tried the chrysanthemum and hibiscus herbal flavors. However, the reTreat juices were the standouts for me as the fruits came from places such Thailand. I was excited and enjoyed the mangosteen flavors of these juices. These teas and juices can be found in some local supermarkets.
Brooklyn Crafted Ginger Beer is manufactured by Brooklyn Food and Beverage, which is based in Bushwick community in Brooklyn. The ginger beers were legit meaning is that they are made with real natural ingredients and cane sugar and has the right amount of kick for each level of spice intensity. They can be found in some markets in Brooklyn and used in some restaurants in the city to make cocktails such as the mule.
Kelvin Slush Company is a local organic cocktail mix that is non-GMOs and has no high fructose corn syrup. It is also vegan, kosher and gluten free. So I had tasted some of the flavors, but my favorite was the aperol spritz and frose. The cocktail mix come in various flavors and they are all available on Amazon.
Asarasi is sparkling tree water that is plant-based. This naturally produced water comes in five flavors. My favorites were mango and cherry. All five flavors are available for purchase on their website.
Graft Cider is a company that makes gluten free ciders. These ciders are produced in New York by two siblings. I have had three flavors and my favorite was the Lost Tropic which is a hop mimosa cider. These ciders can be purchased at various restaurants and local markets.
There’s a lot more I have sampled, but unfortunately I did not have good pictures. Overall, it was a honor to connect with people who share the same passion of food, health and medicine. I hope that I will be able to see their products in the US markets and stores so people can enjoy them.
Five months ago my friends from college wanted to do a girls night with dinner at the new and popular chicken and waffle spot in Long Island City called Sweet Chick. Personally I have heard how popular this place was in Brooklyn, but the one in Long Island City was said to be bigger and more accommodating than its original location. They are also two additional locations, one in Brooklyn and the other in the Lower East Side in Manhattan.
When my friend contacted me on Saturday afternoon, she informed me that this restaurant did not accept reservations and it was walk in only. Given my knowledge of this franchise’s popularity, I decided to take a cab to the restaurant. I was glad I did because the nearest train station was closed for routine weekend repairs. When I approached the restaurant, there was a line going out the door of people putting their names down on the wait list. As I got closer to the host inside the restaurant, the host was telling each person on line that the wait was two hours. When I heard that the wait time was two hours, most people walked out, but I stayed so I can talk to the host and even the manager about wait time, when the restaurant did not appear crowded. Anyways, I put my name down and the host stated that they would try to reduce my wait time and as more and more people decided to leave, my wait time was reduced to 30 minutes. Thirty minutes was definitely better than two hours. By the time, my friends arrived and we were finally seated. To start, I ordered the Pink Noise cocktail ($12). The cocktail tasted really good (flavors were well balanced), but strong (there were two maybe three different liquors in this cocktail) and I was buzzed throughout the night despite consumption of the fried chicken and waffles.
Pink Noise – White Rum, Brut, Luxardo, Rhubarb-Ginger Shrub, Lime and Grapefruit Bitters
Now to the food:
For the table we ordered the Crawfish Hush Puppies ($11). The hush puppies were greasy. The hush puppies also contained corn, which enhanced the texture. I loved the jalapeno jam because it complemented the saltiness of the hush puppy. If you don’t want to feel that you’re eating greasy fried fish fritters, the remoulade sauce was a great addition if you want to mask the oily exterior while embracing the crawfish flavor inside.
Crawfish Hush Puppies – Remoulade Sauce, Jalapeno Jam
For those who can’t eat seafood, there are the pork belly nuggets ($10), but personally it was too small of a portion for the price. It was also forgettable. Personally it was a failed attempt to create a balanced dish of a sweet marinated pork belly with a pickled fruit and the acidic kimchi.
We ordered three different chicken and waffles dishes ($19 each); all look really good and interesting. In addition, you can even design your own chicken and waffles meals.
Nashville Fried Chicken Waffle – my friend ordered this meal because it was one if not the spiciest meal in the menu. My friends like their meal, I took a bite of the chicken and it was packed with Southern flavors and spice. If you like hot and spicy, this is a choice you won’t regret.
Buffalo Fried Chicken Waffle – my friend ordered this meal and tasting a piece of that buffalo fried chicken, it definitely lived up to its name. What I mean is that this was definitely a chicken and waffles version of Buffalo Fried Chicken. It is a twist from a classic that will leave you satisfied.
Fried Chicken Parmesan – I am a sucker for cheese so when I saw fresh mozzarella on top of a fried chicken served on a little cast iron plate with tomato sauce, it was over. The mozzarella, basil and parmesan waffle complemented the tomato sauce.
Overall the fried chicken was properly battered and the texture of each bite from three different dishes was very consistent. Plus, the dish helped alleviate the alcohol buzz from the Pink Noise.
Nashville Fried Chicken Waffle with Milk Jam Waffle
Buffalo Fried Chicken Waffle – Celery and Carrot Waffle, Blue Cheese
To end our evening of awesome comfort food, we ordered the entire desserts menu. All the desserts were to die for. If you want to go towards the healthy route, stick with the blueberry cobbler. Personally I would choose the Daily Special Donut Ice Cream Sandwich, which was amazing.
I realized why service was slow throughout the evening because the chef was ensuring that every dish that came out of that kitchen was up to par and all of our orders did not disappoint.
After sharing this information here on my blog, I am craving chicken and waffles. I definitely want to check out the other locations especially the one in the Lower East Side.
On May 10, 2018, I attended the American Cancer Society 13th Annual Taste of Hope event in New York City. I purchased my VIP ticket at $275 which included a gift bag and early access to the food and festivities. The event had two honorees: Sarabeth Levine was this year’s culinary honoree and Chef Antonio Prontelli was this year’s survivor honoree.
My top 5 favorite savory tastings from the event were the:
The Smith’s Toasted Ricotta Gnocchi with White Truffle Cream
Calle Ocho’s Pastelillos Cubanitos
Jing Fong’s BBQ Roast Pork Pastry Puffs
Casa Nonna’s Siamese Agnolotti
L’Amico Fontina Cappelletti with Wild Mushroom and English Peas
My top 5 sweet tastings from the event were the:
Bonsai Kakigori’s Strawberries and Cream Kakigori
Loi Estiatorio’s Yiaourti Me Meli
Melt Bakery’s Mini Ice Cream Sandwiches
Frose & Campari Popsicles
Below are images from the event.
There were a lot more stuff at the event. The event set up gets better and better every year. There were a lot of wine tastings, beer tastings and emerging food companies promoting their products. More importantly a lot of the food tastings were on the healthier side; there were salad variations, ceviches, and barbecued dishes.
I can’t wait to visit these restaurants during the upcoming restaurant week if they participate. Stay tuned.
Happy Saturday and I’m counting down the days until I’m able to eat food with refined/processed sugar again. As I stated in my last post, I gave up sugar except for the natural sugars in fruits and vegetables for 40 days for Lent. It’s been really challenging and hard especially this last 10 days with the gatherings for St. Patrick’s Day.
Ten days ago I’ve have had the privilege to see a preview of the food and drink at the revived Andaz Kitchen and Bar at the Andaz Wall Street Hotel in Wall Street. Previously named Dina Rata, which I learned was an Indian name meaning moon. It was deceiving that a place with that name was serving Italian food. Anyways, I preferred the new name.
When I arrived, I was greeted with champagne which I did not drink due to the sugar content. However, I settled for the Chianti which has low sugar, thanks to one of the general managers who suggested the wine as he also gave up sugar. The wine went well with my selection of crudites containing fruits, and vegetables with no hummus, dressing and/or dip to avoid the possibility to ingesting sugar.
I was impressed by the food display and presentation. I loved the color of the vegetables indicating that it is fresh. I also liked the cheese and cold cuts selection.
Next, the passed food samples from the menu, which included a variety of dishes inspired from different cultures including Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Italy and Vietnam.
Below are images of the food created by Executive Chef Pietro Consorti from the event:
It was obvious that I did not eat everything due to the 40 day sugar sacrifice. As a result I did not try anything containing bread and dessert. However, my favorite even from just looking at the menu was the Beef Peccadillo plantains.
Thank you to the management team at Andaz and Andaz Kitchen and Bar including Executive Chef Pietro Consorti for making me feel welcomed. I can’t wait to return and sample the remaining dishes.
Big shout out to the Liquid Lab team for a great demo on making the cocktails, which I could not participate. I do look forward to seeing them in the future.
Today is the last day of NYC Restaurant Week and after reviewing menus and reviews, I was not impressed with the options that were offered this season. Therefore, I was considering skipped this season’s restaurant week. However two of my friends wanted to do restaurant week lunch and dinner. So after getting my arm twisted, I ended up eating a really good lunch at Cut by Wolfgang Puck in Lower Manhattan. My friend wanted to eat there and so I joined her. The service at this restaurant was really good and very accommodating.
For $29, my lunch prix fixe included the following: goat cheese ravioli, crispy quail salad and empire apple crumble.
For dinner, I decided to use my $100 gift card I won at last year’s American Cancer Society Taste of Hope event to eat from Massoni, an Italian/Asian casual fusion restaurant. Service was not par and food was not what I had expected. Furthermore the waiter was terrible, he didn’t know how the food was made and screwed up people’s orders. He suggested items for the $42 prix fixe, which was a bad idea because everything was salty. The waiter too responsibility for his mistake and gave me a free drink and a side dish of squash.
In addition, I took advantage of the happy hour $8 wines until 7pm. I had a Falanghina/fuedi di san gregorio 2014, a white wine and a Barbera/pico maccario 2015, a red wine.
For the $42 salty three course prix fixe dinner, I ordered Biriyani balls, Brussels sprouts pizza, and Snickers cannoli. Let’s put it this way, the cannoli was the best dish out of the three. The first two dishes were so salty that I couldn’t finish it, my friend shared the appetizer with me and I took leftover Brussels Sprouts pizza home.
By far Massoni was probably the worse restaurant week meal I have had and I used the remaining balance on the gift card to order more food to see if their regular menu was better….
My friend ordered the salmon and it was supposed to have potatoes and leeks. Let’s just say the dish was a disappointment because it not only had too much dill but it was salty with very little potatoes and leeks.
If it was not for the gift certificate I would not have eaten at this restaurant. I believe the food needs more work, I have to give the benefit of the doubt that this place opened less than a year ago. Honestly, I would not come back here, there are more restaurants out there to try for better food and service.
Happy Winter Solstice! Yes it’s officially winter and this year is going by way too fast. I was reviewing the thousands of pictures taken within the last five years and I’ve come across several pictures taken of my meals eaten at David Burke Fishtail (closed on January 2016), which is now Tavern 62, which opened in October 2016. Anyways, what I enjoyed eating at both places was the camaraderie vibe between the staff, bartenders and management. I enjoyed the happy hour deals, well presented entrees and desserts. Food tasting at times varied depending on the day and whose cooking it and whether it was healthy or not is another story. But anyhow, I am still drawn into eating at this place due to their seasonal changes in menu. Below is a chronological timeline of some of the dishes consumed at Fishtail and Tavern 62.
This year I have visited a restaurant that focuses on desserts. This place has become my favorite go to places if I have a sweet tooth. The unique Asian fusion flavors and elaborate presentations has been recognized by NBC, Zagat and Examiner.
Each dessert is served to share and it’s $10 per dish. It’s ideal to go with groups and order the tapas set. I was with a group of girls and we ate at the original Spot Dessert Bar in the East Village. We ordered a 3 tapas set costing $27. Below is the three tapas we ordered:
Chocolate Green Tea Lava Cake
Another perk of Spot Dessert Bar is their punch card; so for every $10 or every tapas set ordered a stamp is placed. If you collect 9 stamps, you get a free dessert. The quickest way to the free dessert is to order the tapas set. I’ve eaten here three times at all the locations and ordered the 3 tapas set each time, which resulted in 9 stamps entitling me to a free dessert tapa on my next trip. Stay tuned for more….
One year ago, I have had the privilege to attend the the celebration of the top ten pastry chefs in the country hosted by Dessert Professional Magazine at the ICE in downtown New York City. Below are some of the many favorite highlights from the amazing pastry chefs. We are very excited to return this year’s event.
This past Christmas my cousin made of the best cobblers ever and I’ve yet to order one from a restaurant. This week was the week to clean out the fridge and pantry. As a result, there were still leftover blueberries and strawberries from New Year’s and an old fashion fruit cobbler mix purchased on sale from Aldi. Therefore, a decision was made to made a mixed berry cobbler. Totally not being creative here but we followed directions outlined on the cobbler mix. Therefore, the look and taste definitely does not compared to the freshly made cobbler from scratch. Although this dessert is high on calories it carries some healthy ingredients that have demonstrated resourceful in healing, preventing and evening treating disease, two of which were mentioned in previous posts.
1 box of the old fashion fruit cobbler mix from Baker’s Corner = <$2 on sale = 110 calories/serving