Sunday, December 13, 2009

Office Holiday Parties

It's obvious to anyone has visited Gossip Street recently that I haven't been very good about staying current with my blog posts. So I apologize for my slacking ways within the blogosphere and promise to catch up a bit during the holidays. But in the meantime, I figured I'd give a nod to the holiday season and ask you about your office holiday parties.

Three years ago we had our office party at Pampano in NYC (49th St. btw. 2nd & 3rd). I remember being thoroughly impressed with the venue, the food and the service. We rented the entire upstairs, had free drinks all night long and a full dinner of salmon, veggies, and other meat options.

In the comments below tell us about your favorite office holiday party- not just New Yorkers, I want to hear from everyone! Also, would you rather attend an office holiday party at your boss' home, a restaurant/venue, or do a pitch-in style party in the office?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Eastern Standard (Boston)

This past summer I was in Boston for client events and loved everything about it- having a car, driving down the adorable Newbury Street and staying at Hotel Commonwealth, a luxury boutique hotel located in downtown Boston. The room alone was impressive- complete with a lounging area, a king sized bed, and a large bathroom.
We hosted the welcome dinner at the restaurant adjacent to the hotel, Eastern Standard. The restaurant was completely accommodating for our large group. For our group of 20 we decided not to do a private room but the restaurant was still able to create a custom menu for us that featured a specialty cocktail, designed specifically for our program. [MAP to Eastern Standard]
Our menu included a variety of appetizers served family style- like calamari and flatbread, calamari. For our entrees everyone could choose one of three options, I forget all the other choices but I had the seared salmon served on a bed of vegetable ratatouille.
And again we were given a few different choices for dessert something chocolatey (forgetting at the moment), Pumpkin Bread Pudding and Angle Food Cake.
Going to Boston any time soon? I definitely recommend staying at Hotel Commonwealth and walk to the nearby Eastern Standard restaurant.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Sammy Lin's Famous Cappuccinos

Shortly after I wrote the review on Bottega del Vino in February I received a follow up email from their communications team thanking me for the post... fast forward a few months and they reached out again inviting me to meet their barista Sammy Lin and sip his famous cappuccinos.
So Monday morning I had the pleasure of chatting with Sammy to learn more about him and how he has mastered latte art, not to mention won the hearts of New York's most sophisticated coffee drinkers (even Martha Stewart is a big fan).

Eight years ago Sammy taught himself how to make cappuccinos by intensely watching his boss for one solid week, sipping 15-20 shots of espresso a day to learn the exact flavors, measurements to make coffee that even his true Italian clientele loved. Not only did his Upper East Side patrons love his coffee they were actually the ones who suggested that he start adding art to his concoctions just like the baristas were doing in Italy.

Sammy's first creation was a snowman six years ago, a time when other baristas were creating hearts and leaves he decided to challenge himself by pulling from his Chinese background and creating silhouettes of Chinese women. Shortly after his customers discovered his talent they started requesting him to copy the lion on the cover of their Lion King programs or to replicate the faces of their girlfriends for special occations.
(snowman image:

For our meeting he wanted to showcase his favorite creation... facial profiles of elegant women.
The images took me by surprise, I didn't even recognize they were faces at first glance.

There is one latte, well umm hot chocolate, art that his Bottega del Vino customers will never see and that's the Hello Kitty design he makes exclusively for his five year old daughter!

You can try Sammy's creations for yourself at Bottega del Vino Mondays through Fridays from 8am to 6pm or on Sundays from 10am to 6pm at Via Quadronno located on 73rd St and Madison Ave.
Looking forward to hearing what you think of it!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Abe & Arthur's

Hot New NYC Restaurant Alert!Friday afternoon I got a text from my friend Shannon inviting me to an exclusive Friends & Family night at a hot new restaurant in New York's Meatpacking District. Abe & Arthur's is on track to becoming a true hotspot. Upon opening week the EMM Group restaurant hosted an after party for the VMAs and the Charlotte Ronson's Fashion Week party and the celebs have continued to pile in... even on Friday night Russell Simmons and his posse dined a couple tables away.

Abe & Arthur's doesn't officially open until October 1st so in the meantime they are training their staff and testing menu items an custom cocktails. I'm glad they're still learning though because by the time we got there around 8pm they were already out of french fries and just reading over the menu their fries sound amazing! There are Spiced Sweat Potato Fries, Zucchini Fries and Truffle Herbed-Parmesan Fries. Also, one of the signature cocktails of the evening, The Hemingway, wasn't really up to par. Honestly it was the first time I'd seen Shannon order a drink and not even come close to finishing! I had the Strawberry Capriana followed by a glass of champagne.

The space may be familiar to many New Yorkers... Abe & Arthur's is located at 409 W. 14th Street (near 9th Ave) which was formerly the home of another trendy scene, Lotus. [MAP]

The menu offers a variety of upscale dishes from appetizers like Roasted Beets & Westfield Farms' Goat Cheese and Scottish Salmon "Rolled"(avocado, crispy rice, radish and cucumber)- see the pics below. For my entree I had the Fall Harvest salad- mixed greens with toasted pumpkin seeds, golden raisins and Loganberry Vinaigrette while Shannon had the 7 oz. Filet Mignon and a side of asparagus.
In general they had several good vegetarian selections but the majority of the menu was full of fresh fish and gourmet meats.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rock Center Cafe

The iconic outdoor skating rink in New York's Rockefeller Center turns into the Rock Center Cafe, a casual outdoor restaurant that is perfect for lunch, dinner and especially happy hour. They feature daily drink specials and light entrees at both the larger tables with wait service as well as at the bar. I was here twice over the summer, once with my roommates for a small bite to eat after work one evening and another time with my brother and his girlfriend for a late-afternoon cocktail.
Here's a look at their MENU.
Located at 20 W. 50th St; near 5th Ave [MAP]
Their hours change depending on the season...
Jan-Sept: Mon-Fri, 7:30am - 10:30pm; Sat, 11am - 11pm; Sun, 11am - 10pm
Oct-Nov 15th: Mon-Fri. 7:30am - 10pm; Sat, 11am - 10pm; Sun, 11am - 9pm
Nov. 16h - Dec: Mon-Thurs, 7:30am - 10pm; Fri, 7:30am - 11pm; Sat, 11am - 11pm; Sun, 10am - 10pm

Friday, September 18, 2009


Earlier this summer I had the chance to celebrate my brother's New York arrival at Craft with him and my mom. So it was only fitting that we ended his New York experience with another one of Tom Colicchio's restaurants... this time we went to Craftbar. Located at 900 Broadway [MAP], Craftbar is Craft's informal sister-restaurant. the menu changes seasonally and features a variety of amazing dishes like Pecorino Fondue with Hazelnuts and Acacia Honey, Summer Squash Puree, Grana Padano Frico soup and more. (I didn't try either one but both sounded like great vegetarian options.)

My brother, his girlfriend and I shared a cheese plate where we chose four different cheeses- Sweetgrass Dairy Green Hill (cow cheese from Tomasville, GA), Sprout Creek Fram Toussaint (cow cheese from Poughkeepsie, NY), Holland's Farm Marieke Gouda (cow cheese from Thorpe, WI) and Ancient Heritage Dairy Adelle (sheep and cow mixture from Scio, OR).
Stephanie had the Bouchot Mussels sauteed with white wine, garlic and parsley. I had the Wild Arugula, Lemon Vinaigrette, Grana Padano and Pine Nuts salad. While Michael had the Linguine, "Cacciucco Livornese."
For dessert we all shared the Warm Brownie served with chocolate source, whipped cream, and mint chocolate chip ice cream. A bunch of the other desserts sounded great too like the Ricotta Fritters and the Vanilla Ice Cream Float.

Craftbar is now even open for weekend brunch- Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 4pm.
See their brunch menu HERE.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Graffiti is a small hole in the wall restaurant in the East Village, located on 10th St. near 1st Ave. [MAP]
Founded by former Jean Georges pastry chef Jehangir Mehta, Graffiti offers shareable dishes ranging from $7 to $15. My friends and I started out with a cheese plate- a combination of three cheeses, along with a bottle of Chardonnay. For our entrees we ordered a few dishes to share including the Watermelon Feta Salad with Mint Sorbet, the Zucchini Hummus Pizza and I believe they shared scallops- which I actually don't see on the online menu so it must have been a special that night. I was pleased to see so many vegetarian options on the menu and really enjoyed the dishes we shared. lists Graffiti as a hot date spot and place for notable desserts and wines.
Chef Mehta will actually be on The Food Network on The Next Iron Chef show, premiers October 4th. Check out this video of Chef Mehta explaining his cooking style and a bit of his background.

Monday, September 07, 2009


As a fan of the popular show Gossip Girl I have wanted to check out Gilt, the bar/restaurant inside the Van Der Woodsen's residence- the Palace Hotel. My friend and I met at the bar for drinks and a small bite to eat one evening after work. We opted to site in the bar & lounge area rather than in the formal dining room as we weren't crazy about the mandatory pre fixe menu. We were impressed by the creative drink and lounge food menus. The cocktail menu featured real cocktails like the Black Mojito and the Gilt Classic Smash as well as an extensive list of "mocktails" like the Thia Lemonade and the Garden of Eden.
Our waitress suggested that we try the truffle french fries and of course we were hesitant to order but we were taken by the fact that they were truffle-infused so we just couldn't pass them up.
For my main meal I had the pear and pecorino salad which was a nice, light dish.
The hotel in general was absolutely beautiful, somewhere I would like to walk around inside more to check out their other restaurants and bars. The Palace Hotel is located in the heart of midtown on 50th St. between Park and Madison Avenues, see map HERE.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Cafe St. Barts

Cafe St. Barts was one of my first outdoor dining experience in NYC three years ago and to this day hold it as one of my favorite New York spots. My favorite part of this cafe is the fact that it's on the patio of St. Bartholomew's church on Park Avenue.
It's a great place to meet for drinks and a light dinner.
However, they also host brunch and lunch. Click HERE to see their menu.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Corner Shop Cafe

Situated at the corner of Broadway and Bleeker St. the Corner Shop Cafe is cute and has everything you'd want from a New York cafe- specials written on chalkboards, happy hour and a menu full of lite fare. I was excited to see all of the salads listed on the menu and debated between the summer special Watermelon, Feta & Mint salad and the Pear & Arugula salad. So I asked our waitress for her opinion and she looked at me with a blank stare saying that she hadn't tried either one but that the watermelon salad looked good. I decided to go with the watermelon salad and was underwhelmed by the watermelon chunks sprinkled with feta cheese and the load of mint leaves on my plate.
Our waitress failed earlier when we asked for her recommendation on the wines. I may have to give this little cafe another try because I have heard good things about it but was totally not impressed by our slow waitress who had seemingly no knowledge of the cafe's menu.

Have you been to Corner Shop Cafe? If so, leave a comment and let me know what you thought.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

B Bar

I recently had an extremely late night dining experience at B Bar which I had previously only been to for drinks. I've always loved the casual in-door/outdoor layout of the restaurant, half of the restaurant is inside and the back half is a year-round garden which is enclosed and fully heated in the winter and open during the summer so patrons can dine and drink under the stars. It's the perfect spot for weekend brunch, after work drinks, weekend nights out and fabulous for dinner.

For a late night dinner my friend and I started off with a tasty order of Homemade Guacamole & Chips. The menu boasts nine great sounding salads. I ordered the Roasted Beet Salad with herb-walnut crusted goat cheese. The menu also features a variety of dishes from seafood to pizzas to burgers and quesadillas.
I'm a big fan of restaurants and bars that have cocktail menus and B Bar doesn't disappoint. The cocktail menu features two of my favorite drinks- sangria and mojitos- but also offers a Watermelon Martini, B Bar Cosmo, a Spiced Margarita and more.

B Bar is very similar to The Park, located on 10th Ave near 17th St., and after my first visit to B Bar I asked the hostess if they had the same owner and she said yes but seemed a little unsure. Does anyone know if they are owned by the same people?!? (I really hope they are because they are really too similar not to be. Haha)

B Bar is located at 40 E. 4th St. near Bowery, see map HERE.

Monday, July 06, 2009


The Japonais New York location opened about three years ago with executive chef Jun Ichikawa and Gene Kato. The theatrical interior was designed by one of the co-owners, Jeffrey Beers. Between the main dining room, the bar and the upstairs lounge the restaurant can accommodate nearly 300 people. My company this evening were very experimental with the menu which features signature Japanese dishes from sushi to full entree and appetizer dishes. For our table we ordered the Kaiso Salad (marinated sweet vinegar seaweed salad with fresh cucumbers and toasted sesame), Manjus Buns (homemade steamed buns with braised pork and scallions with hot mustard sauce), Spicy Mono (spicy octopus roll topped with spicy tuna and sweet unagi sauce), and of course I stuck with the vegetables I knew... I ordered two items from the Vegetable Mono list: asparagus and avocado. My only wish here was that they would have been able to substitute the sticky white rice with brown rice but unfortunately they don't do that.

For dessert we shared the Apple Toban Yaki (Michigan red and ginger gold apples with oatmeal ginger crust and vanilla honey ice cream) and the assortment of homemade sorbets served with fresh watermelon soup and a yuzu cookie.

The drinks alone are well crafted like the Floating Orchid, their "signature cocktail," (stolichnaya vodka, citronge, pear juice and lemon juice with an edible orchid), Peach Sake Sangria (sake, citronge, moscato d'asti with passion fruit juice and peach puree) and the Pineapple Mojito (bacardi limon, fresh cut pineapple, lime juice and fresh muddled mint).

Japonais is located on E. 18th St. near Park Ave. [MAP]
Make reservations online via OpenTable

Friday, July 03, 2009


I have lived in the Upper East Side for three years and have walked past Trata many times but finally had the chance to try it on a recent sunny Sunday evening with my brother. This Greek restaurant is located on 2nd Ave. near 70th Street, has outdoor seating and offers a creative Greek menu with fresh fish, creative salads and wonderful desserts. I ordered a salad that I had never seen on a menu before with lettuce, watermelon and fried Greek cheese (maybe it's a summer special because it's not listed on the online menu). There was a minor issue with our meal though so we were given two complimentary desserts which were amazing. The first was Yiaourti- a dish with three scoops of chilled Greek yogurt each with different toppings. The first scoop was topped with pistachios, cherry syrup and honey; the second was topped with honeyed figs and the thrid was enhanced with honey, walnuts and quince. We were also able to try the Sokolata, a warm double-chocolate torte with seasonal berry coulis.
Outside of New York City, Tata can also be found in the Hamptons and will soon be in Roslyn, NY.
I am surprised to see that the restaurant is engaging in social media and has a dedicated Facebook Page.
Tata's rating on is only a 3.7 but what do you think? If you've dined here I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Il Bastardo

Il Bastardo is a Tuscan Grill, Raw Bar and Wine Bar in Chelsea located on 7th Ave, near 21st Street. It's perfect for people watching with it's floor to ceiling windows, mirrored walls and 40-foot bar. You might even get a glance of a celebrity. You may remember in Season 4 of The Hills Il Bastardo is where Whitney Port and Lauren Conrad first met Jay, see the clip from that episode here:

Even though it's a wine bar they have a great cocktail menu as well. Besides the regular menu there are also daily specials. The evening I went we ordered the special appetizer that was a twist on the traditional caprese. Instead of fresh tomatoes they used sundried tomatoes, mozzarella and avocado. For my entree I ordered the Organic Mista salad but there are a lot of other vegetarian options like the Rigatoni Eggplant with tomatoes, ricotta salata and fresh basil.
Apparently there are additional rooms in the restaurant including a VIP room and a lounge but when it's nice out I definitely recommend you sit near the open windows.

Monday, June 29, 2009

City Lobster

I'm not really proud to say I went here but I did so I'm here to talk about it. Located on W. 49th St. near 6th Ave. I definitely felt like a tourist entering City Lobster, which looks like an upscale Red Lobster. My brother and I decided to grab dinner there because we were extremely hungry for dinner and in the area. We sat in the bar area and didn't even order a seafood dish! As a vegetarian I was very unimpressed with the menu selections and decided to order two sides- steamed broccoli and corn on the cob. I was not excited about my order but ended up really enjoying it- corn on the cob always reminds me of summers in Indiana and what vegetarian doesn't like steamed broccoli?!? Haha.
City Lobster would be a good spot for families visiting NYC who are uncomfortable trying trendy New York restaurants and want to eat somewhere near their hotel or before seeing a Broadway show. This seafood establishment offers a $35 Prix-Fixe Theater Menu served from 4pm to close. City Lobster may also make sense for business lunches for those who work nearby.
Have you been to City Lobster? If so, what did you think of it?

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Smith

Opened in 2007, The Smith quickly become an East Village hangout serving breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner every day. Opened by Glenn Harris and Jeffrey Lefcourt, owners of Corner Table Restaurants, who also owns Jane, an American bistro in Greenwich Village. All Corner Table Restaurants are committed to using local, natural, organic and sustainable ingredients.Located on 3rd Ave. between 10th & 11th Streets, The Smith offers seven amazing menus- one for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, drinks, Sunday brunch, drinks and delivery. I recently visiting The Smith for dinner and drinks with a few friends. The dinner menu has a great variety, definitely offers something for everyone from Mac + Cheese to Chicken Pot Pie. The menu is divided into six sections- Starters, Main Courses, Salads & Sandwiches, Steaks, Pasta and Sides. I ordered the Mediterranean Salad and really liked it but everyone else loved their entrees as well which included the Pork Chop (served with crispy potatoes, baby portobellos and bacon bordalaise) and Diver Scallops (served with asparagus, leeks, truffled, spring pea puree).
Also noteworthy are the drinks which included Muddlers, Fancy Cocktails, Long Pours, Bourbon/Whiskey, Draft and Bottled Beer. I loved both the Belini and the Blood Orange Mimosa.
The open atmosphere, casual classic American menu and late night hours reminded me of Cafeteria. (The Smith is open until midnight on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays, 1am on Wednesdays and Thursday but open until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays.) FYI: Reservations are accepted and you may need them for dinner but not really needed for breakfast or lunch.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

La Palapa

While strolling around the West Village with my brother on a Saturday evening we came across La Palapa, an adorable Mexican restaurant with a lively bar, a large dinning area and best of all, outdoor seating. The West Village location (6th Ave. between 21st & 22nd St.) has three custom drink creations; Fresh Lime & Pomegranate Juice Margarita, White Hibiscus Sangria and Michelada (a beer cocktail). I love white wine and love sangria so ordered the White Hibiscus Sangria, which, I have to say, was not the best white wine sangria I've ever had. It was refreshing but not great. We started our meal with their delicious homemade guacamole and chips. The menu featured four different entree-sized salads, even one that includes grilled cactus. I ordered the Ensalada De Palmitos Y Aguacate (hearts of palm, avocado, tomates and mixed greens with fresh oregano vinaigrette) with a side of black beans. They even have a main entree specifically for vegetarians, Plato Azteca Vegetariano- two potato taquitos with guacamole, salsa, rice tortilla, grilled cactus paddle and black beans.
La Palapa is a great summer spot and I definitely recommend it. Apparently there is another one in the East Village- at St. Mark's Place & 1st Ave.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Allen & Delancey

To celebrate my friend's engagement I took her to Allen & Delancey, located on the corner of Allen and Delancey in the Lower East Side. It's a romantic spot with a bar in the front and the main dining room in the back. The dim lighting, velvet details and exposed brink walls make it an intimate restaurant and perfect for date night or celebrations. The creative dinner menu that offers upscale classic American is a wonderful compliment to the seductive cocktail menu designed by Alex Day.
The cocktail menu is unique in that each drink has two variations that fit a specific theme. The first cocktail is always light and festive with citrus and fruit meant to refresh the mind and whet the appetite while the second option showcases a base spirit, a stirred cocktail best enjoyed with thought, time and good conversation.
The dinner menu isn't exactly fit for vegetarians but thankfully they are able to make accommodations for you. The menu is divided into four sections, Raw, Appetizers, Entrees and Sides and features dishes like Foie Gras, Scallops, Seared Duck Breast and more.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Poll Results: Meeting up with Friends...

When meeting up with friends the majority of Gossip Street readers prefer to go to dinner rather than brunch, lunch or happy hour. What's your vote? Make your vote count, vote HERE.
I've created a new poll (see left) asking what is your go-to drunk food? Vote HERE.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Gramercy Tavern

Upon entering Gramercy Tavern the first two things you'll notice are the amazing floral arrangements, designed by Roberta Bendavid, and the panoramic mural painted on panels surrounding the bar and the front dining room, created by artist Robert Kushner.
Gramercy Tavern has been an NYC staple since 1994 located on 20th St. near Park Ave [MAP]. Chef Michael Anthony serves up gourmet American classics with a twist which includes several vegetarian options like the four delicious vegetarian dishes I tried, the Sunchoke Salad (fyi: a sunchoke is a root vegetable related to the sunflower) served with apples and walnuts, the Chilled Asparagus Soup, a warm Mushroom Lasagna and a giant Heirloom Cauliflower sliced and served with almonds, capers and lemon.
We passed on dessert so we could visit the nearby Pinkberry but it was hard to pass up Apple Pie served with cinnamon sour cream ice cream and Mango Lime Cheesecake.

If you don't make a reservation via OpenTable prepare to wait at least 30 minutes, but not to worry, champagne bar Flute is two doors down and the perfect way to begin (or end) your evening.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Food & Wine Events in NYC

Monday, June 01, 2009


This past week my mom, brother and I went to Craft in the Gramercy neighborhood of Manhattan (map). The restaurant, owned by the famous Tom Colicchio, is an amazingly cool space with modern hanging lights and a large leather wall. The menu lists our a wide range of meets, side dishes, salads, pasta, seafood and more and is served family style, meant to be shared with the table. We ordered a wide variety of dishes each better than the next! We started off with cocktails and two side dishes. My brother ordered the Crispy Bacon, recommended by our waiter, while I went with the Roasted Tokyo Turnips. The Crispy Bacon was four big slices of bacon, it was like nothing I had ever seen before, I never knew bacon could be so large. The bacon was sauteed in orange marmalade and my brother loved it. The turnips were very tasty and a great dish to share.
Before our entrees were served we were greeted with a shot-like portion of fava bean panna cotta puree. Thankfully I had mentioned to the waiter that I'm a vegetarian when we ordered our side dishes because they gave me the non-bacon garnished fava bean puree. :)
Our entrees included the Roasted Baby Carrots, Asparagus, Roasted Beets with tarragon, Gratin Potatoes, Mezzaluna Pasta (moon-shaped pasta) and the Braised Beef Short Rib.
It was too hard to pass up dessert since everything else we tasted was so fabulous we knew that dessert would not disappoint. My brother had a single scoop of vanilla ice cream while my mom and I shared the Warm Carrot Cake with cream cheese frosting, candied walnuts and Rhubarb sorbet.

The service was amazing, our waiter was very friendly and made wonderful suggestions. Just like at Bouley the hospitality continued until we left the door, as we left we were each presented with individually wrapped homemade chocolate chip muffins.
Craft is a restaurant where you are encouraged to sit as long as you'd like, enjoy your company, the food and the wine. You may want to make your reservations via Open Table a few days in advance.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Studio Square- Astoria Beer Garden

I don't go to Astoria very often but every time I do I have a great time. This past weekend a group of friends and I checked out the brand new beer garden- Studio Square.

Until now I've only experienced beer gardens in Germany where there are hundreds of communal tables lined up outside with a very small indoor space, if any, and bars that only serve beer, bratwurst, giant pretzels and radishes. So you can imagine my surprise when I entered into the huge modern warehouse space on 36th St. in Astoria. There are three indoor areas to escape the rain or the cold if that's the case but there is also a large outdoor space with rows and rows of communal tables and a square fire pit.
Not a beer lover?- not to worry, the bars at Studio Square are fully stocked with all kinds of liquor, beer, wine and sangria. The menu puts an American twist on traditional German beer garden fare, offering bratwurst, hamburgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, and keeping vegetarians in mind by offering a portobello sandwich, jumbo pretzels, french fries and more!

I definitely recommend you visit this fabulous beer garden- it's perfect for big groups or even for a party of two! It's located at 35-33 36th Street and is open Monday - Friday: 4pm-4am and Saturday - Sunday & Holidays: noon - 4am.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts of Studio Square!
To see more photos of Studio Square check out Yelp

Thursday, May 28, 2009

L'Orange Bleue

L'Orange Bleue is a Moroccan restaurant on the corner of Broome and Crosby Streets in NYC. And it's hard to miss with it's royal blue exterior and outdoor seating.A few girl friends and I met for a Sunday afternoon brunch. The prix-fixe menu is $12.95 and includes orange juice, mimosa, coffee and a choice of special brunch dishes like different types of eggs, sandwiches, crepes, and salad.
Besides brunch L'Orange Bleue offers fun evening events like Monday Drums with live Brazillian bands playing every Monday night at 8:30pm and again at 10pm. Monday Drums prix-fixed menu is $35.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Nearly eight weeks ago the owners of Zampa (Anthony Briatico, Danny Emerman and chef AlessandroProsperi) opened another wine bar, this one in Chelsea. Barocco is nestled in on 9th Avenue between 17th & 18th Streets, down the street from the Maritime Hotel. Barocco is similar to Zampa- it's a small wine bar with a menu much like Zampa's in that they have amazing cheeses, homemade fresh pastas and an assortment of Italian sandwiches.
Much like my experience at Zampa, my friends and I shared three bottles of wine and an assortment of tapa-style plates to share. We started with a basket of bread (baked daily at Zampa), and a cheese plate consisting of dolce gorgonzola, truffle pecorino and tres creme. For our main course we shared the fava bean and snow pea puree crostini, roasted artichokes served with sea salt, and mushroom lasagna.
The girls (myself not included) passed around a plate of golden calimari, compliments of the chef which, I was told, was delicious!

What's your favorite NYC wine bar or favorite wine bar experience?

Monday, May 25, 2009


Some time last year I was lucky enough to dine at Peasant, a Soho hotspot located on Elizabeth St. and Spring St. Peasant has the same sort of modern rustic feel as Stanton Socialwith exposed brick giving it that intimate touch but somehow it also feels very exclusive and chic. The food at Peasant carries on the rustic setting with artisan bread and hearty-sounding entrees like the mushroom gnocchi and four types of wood oven pizzas.
Interesting fact I read on was that Peasant's Italian cooking method uses fires fueled by different fruit woods and Hardwood charcoals. It's definitely a great spot for friends or on a date as it is a bit romantic.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Medieval Times Giveaway!

Did you read my recent review of my Medieval Times experience last month? Whether you've been to Medieval Times before or not I definitely recommend you experience it at least once in your life! So to help you get there I'm hosting a Medieval Times Giveaway! The prize pack will include two complimentary tickets to any Medieval Times location in the US (there are 9 different locations) and other Medieval Times goodies including a DVD!

To enter to win leave a Medieval Times-themed comment below, either explain who you would take with you and why, share a story from your Medieval Times experience, etc. You have until June 1st to enter, at which point I will select one winner.

And for all the other Gossip Street readers Medieval Times would like to offer you a free Royalty Upgrade for your next visit. From now until 8/31/09 enter this promotional code [ROYALB9] upon checkout and you'll bumped up to Royalty status for free at any show (any location)!
You can purchase your tickets HERE.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

El Parador Cafe

This Murray Hill establishment was founded in 1959, making it the oldest Mexican restaurant in Manhattan, according to their profile on OpenTable. Typically I would have walked passed the aged red awning on East 34th St. thinking the restaurant would be old and gross inside but to my surprise the decor inside is quite charming. The rustic lanterns casting dim light against white stucco walls.
The chips, salsa and guacamole are all homemade (as they should be). Their salsa is definitely unique, seasoned with undertones of cinnamon was an unexpected but delicious twist on traditional salsa!
Three friends and I shared two vegetarian entrees and two bottles of wine for a very reasonable price and loved our dishes. After reviewing the main menu we asked to see the vegetarian menu, which unfortunately isn't available so you'll just have to trust me that it features some amazing dishes. We ordered the spinach and cheese enchiladas served with a thick black bean sauce and sweet potato tostadas- two flat tostadas served with a sweet potato mash that was sweetened with honey and citrus. I would definitely recommend trying the sweet potato tostadas but I think it would be too sweet to eat the whole thing as an entree so consider sharing it either as an appetizer or an entree.
Besides the food, El Parador Cafe also offers an extensive wine list that's primarily Spanish wines, white and red sangria and an encyclopedia of tequilas.
As you've noticed from my reviews, Mexican cuisine is always one of my favorites... what's your favorite Mexican restaurant in NYC?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sanctuary Tea

I recently went to Sanctuary Tea for brunch with five other ladies and found it to be absolutely lovely. Located in Soho, near Novecento, this little tea house was the perfect brunch spot. And I have to say, I was actually quite impressed with the menu that included a light yogurt parfait, Farmer's Omelet, Eggs Benedict, Tahitian Vanilla Bean Pancakes and much more!
Sadly I didn't order a brunch cocktail but their tea infused-concoctions did sound absolutely delicious- Blood Orange Martini, Lavender Cosmopolitan, and Rise & Shine (pear, green tea, vodka and lemon). And of course, their massive menus of teas did not disappoint.

Monday, May 11, 2009


For quite some time I have been tempted by this Upper East Side's relaxed outdoor seating and finally had the chance to experience it first hand. On a beautiful Saturday evening a friend and I decided to enjoy the fresh air with a glass of crisp white wine and a fresh green salad. Mediterraneo seemed the best solution.Sitting outside really made the experience. The starters menu offered a long list of salads and several that were completely vegetarian (not vegan) which was nice to see. I ended up with the Insalata Arobaleno- fresh arugola with yello and red roasted peppers, grilled with zucchini and mozzarella.
Overall, I would definitely recommend Mediterraneo if you're looking for a quiet Upper East Side dinner outside.

Monday, May 04, 2009

The Results Are In!

The results are in from my first poll, "What info is most important to you when reading a restaurant review?" [Poll #1] It turns out that the majority of Gossip Street readers (48%) like to have suggested menu items when reading restaurant reviews.
I have just posted the second poll, see to the right- let me know what outing you most prefer with a group of friends: brunch, lunch, dinner, or drinks. [Poll #2]
Thanks for voting!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


A new NYC hotspot, Apizz is located in the Lower East Side on Eldridge near Stanton Street (map). "Apizz" is Italian for pizza and is pronounced "ah-beets."I recommend making reservations a couple days ahead of time and be on time, especially if you want a good seat. I got lucky and got the last Thursday evening reservation after calling earlier that afternoon. But given the cocktail menu it's not a bad spot to have to wait at the bar and enjoy one of their concoctions. My favorite? The Blood Orange Mojito. My friend Rolland Berry and I went here a couple weeks ago and loved the food. Each meal starts off with a basket of rustic bread served with ricotta cheese and tomato sauce instead of butter. For an appetizer we shared the amazing APizz Bianca E Verde, a flatbread pizza topped with fresh ricotta, parmigiano-reggiano, buffalo mozzarella d.o.c. and sauteed spinach. For my entree I ordered the Insalata Di Formaggio- romaine hearts, drunken goat cheese, cherry tomatoes, croutons and I substituted the creamy sherry vinaigrette with the lemon-honey vinaigrette. The salad was good but did not stand up to the quality of the pizza appetizer. Rolland had the Lasagna Cinghiale- lasagna, ragu of braised wild boar and parmigiano-reggiano, which he apparently wanted to try since it was a unique twist on the traditional lasagna dish.
Overall, I enjoyed Apizz but would have liked to have sat in the main dining area of the restaurant instead of the tables by the bar. I've heard that Apizz is not only great for dinner but a wonderful weekend brunch spot as well.
John Lafemina is the owner and executive chef of Apizz and The Orchard as well as the author of A Man and His Meatballs.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


After work a colleague and I went to Aquarmarine for a dinner meeting and loved it! The menu has something for everyone- even the non-sushi lovers. Naturally we started off with an appetizer of edamame. They offer an entire vegetable section including the Sauteed Asian Veggie Thai Style, which I highly recommend. And of course they offer classic sushi rolls like avocado, cucumber, and more but they also offer an aray of Aquamarine Special Rolls including a Hawaiian Roll with salmon and pineapple topped with avocado and spicy mayo and the Manhattan Roll with shrimp tempura, enoki mushrooms, kani, spicy may and red tobiko. They even offer a Japanese Fruit salad which I didn't have but it sounds great, especially for lunch. The fruit salad consists of mesculin, mango, avocado, pineapple, kiwi, orange and cherry tomato with yogurt dressing.
Watch this video to get the full inside view of Aquamarine:

Medieval Times

This past weekend my friends and I thought it would be fun, and completely random, to go to the Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament in New Jersey. Surprisingly the Lyndhurst, NJ Castle is only 15-20 minutes outside of Manhattan. Upon entering my friends and I were totally impressed by the Medieval shop, museum and dress up photo area... and of course the three bars where we were able to order three bottles of wine throughout the evening! The dinner show began at 8pm but I am so glad we got there around 7pm so that we could hit the bar and enjoy some fantastic people watching!
I have to admit I was expecting the worst food imaginable but was pleasantly surprised by the vegetarian dish my friend requested for me upon purchasing the tickets. Which was incredibly thoughtful of her because I ended up with a tasty platter of hummus, pita chips, rice and beans, and a vegetable kabob of roasted potatoes, zucchini and red bell pepper.
I recommend purchasing your tickets in advance since shows do seem to sell out a week ahead of time. The dinner theater experience ranges from $45 - $60 depending on which location you select. Plan your Medieval Times experience HERE. And there are nine Medieval Times throughout the US and Canada from New Jersey to California (complete list of locations HERE).
After reviewing their website I noticed that they are pretty involved within the social media realm. They have a Facebook Page, MySpace page, a Flickr channel to showcase all the Medieval photos and a Twitter channel! So props to Medieval Times for taking advantage of the modern times!

Monday, April 27, 2009


August restaurant in New York's Greenwich Village is a hole in the wall that's definitely worth visiting. We found this quaint little spot after searching New York Mag's Restaurant list using Critics' Pick and Bistros. The menu is a mix of European foods ranging from Mediterranean to Northern European and changes seasonally since they use local ingredients. There was a nice variety of meat and vegetarian dishes and thankfully most dishes, like the Lemon-Ricotta Gnocchi, can be made to order to accommodate for vegetarians, etc. This past weekend one of the specials was a vegetable spread that included a spring pea and fava bean salad, fava bean puree, ramps and three fried Morel mushrooms.
Besides the food, I loved the rustic feel of the restaurant. The front of the restaurant only has about ten table tops while the back of the restaurant is in a glass-covered courtyard with greenery all around. We sat in the back which I definitely recommend, especially during the hot summer months ahead. August is open for brunch, lunch and dinner and is located in the heart of Greenwich Village at Bleecker & Charles Streets (map).
Click HERE to learn about August's Executive Chef Terrence Gallivan.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bistro 61

Bistro 61 is a modern bistro located on the corner of 1st Avenue and 61st Street.
The menu is a delightful combination of classic Provecal fare fused with inspiration from the Mediterranean coast. The menu changes throughout the year to include seasonal changes as well as daily changes to accommodate specials. One thing that was especially interesting to me was the option of a Children's Menu, a good idea for restaurants on the Upper East Side. I was completely impressed during my experience at Bistro 61 from the service to the food. I ordered La Tour de Betterave et Chevre Chaud (roasted beet and goat cheese tower with fresh mint and pine nuts) while my friend enjoyed the one of the most tasty gnocchi dishes I have ever had. He ordered the Gnocchi al Gorgonzola, a vegetarian gnocchi in a gorgonzola sauce with spinach and roasted pecans. I was very impressed that three out of the four selections on the Pasta & Risotto section of the menu were vegetarian dishes.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Another Astoria restaurant posting. The first time I was ever in Astoria was to visit a friend and dine at her favorite Japanese restaurant Watawa. I'm not a huge sushi fan but I was pleasantly surprised by the veggie sushi rolls and miso soup I had at Watawa.
The restaurant is located at 33-10 Ditmars Blvd. in Astoria, NY.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Bouchon Bakery

Always expect a wait for Sunday brunch in Manhattan no matter where you go, even the third floor of the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle at Bouchon Bakery. The picture to the left is of the actual bakery where you can pick up delicious baked good to eat on the go. Across from here is Bouchon Bakery's sit down cafe with view overlooking Columbus Circle and Central Park. Our bunch quickly turned into an early lunch so I ordered the Bibb Lettuc salad- bibb lettuce with shallots, garden herbs, roquefort cheese and red wine vinaigrette. The French bakery also offers delicacies like Viennoiserie, Pastries, Muffins, Tarts, Cookies, Chocolates, Soup and Salads, Sandwiches, Quiche and even Pet Treats.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ammos Estiatorio

I seem to always gravitate toward Greek restaurants and this time is no different. Ammos Estiatorio restaurant is located on Vanderbilt Avenue near Grand Central (btw. Park & Madison) which makes it a convenience place to meet friends after work. My friend and I sipped on crisp white wine while enjoying a plethora of Mediterranean dishes. We started with Krya Orekitka- a platter of House Made Spreads and Grilled Pita. The spreads included Kalamatat-Chickpea, Garlic-Ground Almond, Greek Yogurt, Roasted Pepper-Feta and Eggplant. For my entree I had the Kolokithokeftedes- fried zucchini cakes, Myzithra cheese, mint and Tzatizki sauce.
Everything was so good here- the food, the wine and the service!