Saturday, May 26, 2007

Pane e Vino Restaurant

(791 Lexington Ave; between 61st & 62nd)
This little Italian restaurant on Lexington doesn't offer outdoor seating but they did have floor-to-ceiling windows that were open on a sunny Friday evening for dinner. It was great to almost be outside sipping wine and enjoying one of my favorite dishes- Caprese di Bufala con Peperoni Arrosto (buffalo mozzarella with roasted peppers, tomato & basil).
Even though my meal was an appetizer, the entrees looked good. Someone sitting across from us ordered the grilled salmon- she and her friends all liked it. The specials included many fish dishes, such as swordfish.
This is definitely a good place to go for a relaxing dinner. (Although I don't think our waiter was very happy with our small orders.)


Dining at the NY hotspot usually means you'll be waiting for up to 2 hrs. for a table... unless, that is, you get there right as their dinner service is beginning (6pm). Arriving early enough, two friends and I were seated at a prime table, getting a view of everyone who came in and all those waiting at the bar. Our waiter was very friendly and attentive while we debated over what we wanted to order. We finally decided to order the Hot Artichoke Dip with Crisp Bread as an appetizer, which was fluffier than most artichoke dips I've had which was great! For dinner we shared the soup of the day- butternut squash (so good!), and two salads that we shared- I couldn't find them on the online menu but they were good!
(End of Freeman Allye; off of Rivington between the Bowery and Chrystie- it's a bit hard to find, but worth the search!)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Grocery Shopping in NYC

Today was my first visit to the Trader Joe's in Union Square and I have to say for how much people rave about it, I was not that impressed.
What I liked about it: they had a ton of gourmet frozen foods, a great trail mix section, reasonably priced tomatoes, and friendly staff.
What annoyed me: I wanted to buy 1 zucchini and 1 yellow squash but they they only sold them in packs of two, the grapes were sold in plastic crates- I couldn't choose my own bundle, the same was true with broccoli, they only sold it in pre-packaged bags, and the space was very small with too many people (typical in NY but especially annoying in this setting).

Leaving Trader Joe's a bit annoyed I treated myself to a visit to Whole Foods! Where I tried a new type of cheese from Canada- Oka, it was soft and very flavorful (I put it on my sweet potato tonight for dinner, so good!) and stumbled upon products from the raw food restaurant I wrote about a while back, Pure Food and Wine. I bought a bag of the company's organic snacks- Cinnamon Crispies, made from organic buckwheat, organic mayple syrup, organic cinnamon, vanilla extract, Himalayan crystal salt. I know buckwheat doesn't sound like it would be anything special but it seems to be a pretty amazing "fruit." Buckwheat is not actually a "wheat;" it's the fruit of Fagopyrum esculentum. Since it is gluten free therefore much easier to digest than grains, and full of high quality protein. Plus buckwheat has been shown to prevent the accumulation of fat in the body, reducing blood pressure and slowing the aging process! Sounds pretty great to me... I'll keep munching on this snack for sure.

Monday, May 14, 2007


After work this evening I met a friend to try the famous Pinkberry!This is the place to get "real" frozen yogurt and delicious toppings from fruit like mangoes and kiwi to cereal and nuts. The frozen treat boutique sells only two only two flavors, original and green tea (I didn't get to taste the green tea because it wasn't working). YumSugar's taste tester said it was terrible and too sour but I liked it, the first bite was a bit sour but once I added fruit to the bit of yogurt it was very tasty!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Today I attended an event hosted by SELF magazine called Workout in the Park-- it was fabulous!With more than 20 different sponsors and about 20 different fitness classes from yoga and pilates to exciting dance classes such as Awesome 80's Dance and Crumpin' & Tweakin'. However, my favorite aerobic class was taught by my favorite instructor, Serina Jain, was Masala Bhangra, a Bollywood-inspired traditional Indian dance.
No joke, I walked away from the event with a huge bag full of free products from the various sponsors including- 2 full sized mascaras from Maybelline, granola bars from Kashi, water and flavor packets from Crystal Light, the new water/juice from Tropicana, lotions from St. Ives, and a ton of 100 Calorie Packs-- just to name a few, serious!
Last weekend the event took place in Chicago; next weekend it'll be in Miami. It was so great to see so many people getting together with fitness and wellness on the mind.
I loved it and can't wait for next year's event!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Baraonda- 1439 2nd Ave (75th Street)
My first outdoor seating of the season! This corner location became more well known this past winter when a hi-jacked truck crashed into the side of this Italian eatery. After a full recovery this restaurant is still as crowded as ever, full of the trendy 30 year old crowd. There were a couple of girls sitting behind us that reminded me of the women in The Real Housewives of the O.C.
Our dishes looked fabulous and (in my case) tasted great too. I had the Buffalo Mozzarella with tomatoes, roasted bell peppers and basil. One of my friends ordered the Halibut. While my other friend was a bit more selective/creative with her order, choosing her favorite features of 2 different pasta dishes and having them made into one. The waiter had her dish customized per order, I was impressed with his understanding of the complex order.
To top it all off, we satisfied our sweet tooth by stopping at the Maggie Moo's next store! Yummy! The ice cream shop even offered Ice Cream Cupcakes, as a long-time fan of ice cream cakes I was impressed to see this clever creation- who would have thought- Ice Cream Cupcakes?!?!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Fresh Market I have added one more grocery store to my list of favorites. Over the weekend I went home to visit my family. To prepare for a family cookout my mom and I went to Fresh Market where we experienced the best customer service I have ever received in a grocery store! One of the sales reps, Sarah was so enthusiastic about her job it was amazing, She opened a bag of their organic corn tortilla chips and a package of their homemade guacamole right in front of us for us to try. Plus she had veggie kabobs created just for us within minutes!
Their guacamole, by the way, was really great. As was their other produce! If you have one near you, you must go!
(130 Seventh Ave. South, at 10th St.)
I enjoyed the trendy Spanish atmosphere in the West Village but was sadly let down by the red wine sangria that seemed to be infused with too much cranberry juice. However this Spanish tapas bar does offer white wine- so try that instead and let me know what you think!
Unfortunately Tasca does not take reservations, no matter how large the party. Luckily the restaurant and wine bar next door, Central Kitchen, has the same owner as Tasca so while our party of 6 waited for about an hour for our table we were able to enjoy a drink at Central Kitchen’s wine bar.
Tasca’s menu was full of seafood and meat. The few vegetarian options- carrots & a plate of assorted cheese and salad- were very good, but definitely not too filling.
Overall I'd say it was a small place with a lot of people, not great food, service was alright.