Monday, March 30, 2009

China Grill

While my mom was in town I asked around for restaurant recommendations near our hotel and my friend Mike from I Ate It My Way recommended we try China Grill, and I must say, I'm glad we did! Located at W. 53rd St. (near 6th Ave), this midtown establishment is part of a global chain of restaurants owned by China Grill Management who has restaurants from London to Las Vegas.
The menu offers a wide variety of Asian-fusion dishes served family style.
My top recommendations are: the Marinated Tempura Tofu & Shitake Mushroom Potstickers, the Baby Lettuce Salad with grilled hearts of palm, marinated artichokes, warm tempura goat cheese & Chinese apple vinaigrette; the Edamame & Vegetable Risotto red pepper coulis and miso grilled begetables as well as the Wok Sauteed Vegetables as a side.
We finished our meal with one of the most amazing desserts ever, The Great Wall which consists of caramelized bananas along side a block of three different flavors of ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate chopsticks and chocolate shavings.
The restaurant space is in the bottom of an office building with great amounts of seating in the front and in the back. The bar is in the middle section of the restaurant and would be a great after work/happy hour hangout.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Get Well Gifts

Wondering what to get someone who's down and out?
Recently while recovering from surgery I received the most thoughtful gifts throughout the two weeks I was home. So I thought I'd share the amazing gift ideas in case you're in need of a get-well-soon-gift for someone in the future.
The first gift that arrived was from three girl friends who ordered a creative arrangement of cookies from Cookies by Design. I was completely impressed by the cleverr acronym they created for the center piece cookie that read "A Cure 4 Laura".... ACL!
In the following days I received two fruit arrangements, one from Fruit Flowers and one from Edible Arrangements. I have to say, the fruit arrangement with some chocolate covered fruit was definitely my favorite of the two. I also received two beautiful bouquets, both lasted the full two weeks that I was home. One arrangement was from McNamara Florists in Indianapolis and the other was from To top off my first week of recovery I received a little pampering present- a collection of lavender L'Occitane products including a scented candle, foot cream, and body cream. One of my good friends from Dallas sent me an iTunes gift card to help me stock my iPod with all the latest music for when I'm back up and running.
I thought that after receiving a gift almost every day during the first week after surgery that they would stop coming in but to my surprise two fun-filled packages arrived during recovery week #2. The first was a bag full of 2 puzzle books, M&M's, a Knot a Quilt kit and a bamboo plant! The second was a collection of all the NYC publications I was missing including WWD, Manhattan magazine, Metropolitan Home, LOOK magazine and more!
To all my friends: thank you for your thoughts, calls, texts, cards, gifts, prayers, etc. It's so nice to have such amazing friends. Love you all. xoxo
Click HERE to see more pictures of the gifts I received during my post-surgery weeks.

Monday, March 16, 2009


There are two Josie's restaurants in NYC, one on the West side (the original location) and one of the East side. but the owner and executive chef, Louis Lanza, is the man behind two other NYC establishments, Citrus Bar & Grill and Josephina. Lanza is known for his creative dairy-free menus that use all organic ingredients as well as free range meats. All of the restaurants offer amazing food for health conscious Manhattanites- Josie's and Josephina feature American cuisine while Citrus serves Latin dishes with an Asian flair.
Josie's restaurant serves healthy and wholesome dishes throughout the day- brunch, lunch and dinner. I have had lunch at Josie's East in Murry Hill and dinner at Josie's West (the original Josie's located at Amsterdam and 74th St). I was impressed with their lunch offerings like the Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, Steamed Organic Spiced Edamame, Steamed Potato & Broccoli Dumplings, Pan-Seared Spicy Organic Black Bean Dumplings and the Vegetable Stir-Fry. However, I must admit that I had the most filling dinner dish I've ever had when I dined at Josie's West for dinner. I ordered the Veggie Plate Deluxe- wok sauteed greens served over a roasted winter squash, grilled vegetables, roasted beets and organic tamari brown rice.
I definitely recommend either of the Josie's restaurants and look forward to trying Josephina and Citrus.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Fishtail by David Burke

With my sister and cousin in town over Valentine's Day weekend we wanted to try the famous Serendipity but given the popularity of the weekend for lovers and out of towners the wait was nearly three hours long! Realizing it wasn't worth us waiting three hours to eat dessert we walked around the 60's until we stumbled upon Fishtail by David Burke which I had heard had great desserts. Even though the restaurant is known for their innovative seafood dishes the desserts are just as innovative.
We walked in, sat at the bar and ordered three different desserts (my sister and I don't mess around when it comes to desserts!). It was hard to choose between the Caramelized Banana Tart (maple gingersnap ice cream and peanut dust), "Can o' Cake" (molten chocolate cake, baked to order with all the fixins), the Apple "Toffe Pudding" Tart with pomegranate sorbet, the Passion Fruit Creme Brulee and the David Burke's Cheesecake Lollipops served with raspberries and bubblegum whipped cream.
We decided on the Apple "Toffee Pudding" Tart served with pomegranate sorbet which was amazing, we also shared an assortment of three sorbets and topped it all off with the made-to-order "Can o' Cake," and the best part? They bring you the mixing bowl and the whisks so you can lick the batter while you wait for your dessert to be presented. And the presentation is definitely worth waiting for... they bring you the piping hot chocolate cake baked in a tin that they top right in front with toffee crumbles, chocolate frosting, and more!
So I can't speak for their food but as most things created by David Burke, I'm sure everything else is just as delicious as the desserts were!
Location: 62nd btw. Lex and Park.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Salt is an intimate Soho restaurant serving seasonal American cuisine to patrons seated at communal tables. The stark white tables and accents are the perfect contrast to the exposed brick walls and the wood beams on the ceiling. The menu is designed to allow diners to customize their dinners by selecting a protein plus two sides or they can play it safe by ordering a pre-designed "chef's entree." Protein options include Salmon, Grilled Dorade Royale, Duck Breast and Hangar Steak. As a vegetarian I was more impressed with the sides which included Braised Leeks, Braised Brussel Sprouts, Sauteed Eggplant, Braised Fennel, Wilted Spinach, Baby Root Vegetables, Yukon Gold Potato Puree and Parsnip Puree.
Instead of ordering a protein and two sides from the menu I ordered three sides and an appetizer- the Braised Brussel Sprouts, Parsnip Puree and the Cream of Cauliflower Soup with Mushroom, Truffle Essence. FYI: The brussel sprouts were probably the best brussel sprouts I've ever had.
Located at 5 MacDougal St (near King St)
Besides dinner, Salt now serves lunch Monday-Friday and weekend brunch starting at noon.
Reservations can be made on

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Novecento is the perfect European style bistro that just happens to have a presence all over the world- New York, Miami, Buenos Aires, Punta del Este, and Cordoba.
The New York bistro is located in Soho at 343 West Broadway (near Grand St) and serves dishes that are a combination of Mediterranean and Latin American cuisines. Novecento provides a very comfortable atmosphere and is perfect for a relaxing weekend brunch before hitting the Soho shops. All three appetizer salads interested me- the Ensalada de Queso azul (blue cheese, pears, mix greens, beets, walnuts, raspberry balsamic vinagrette), Caprese Tartain (warm mozzarella, tomatoes, diced olives served over a puff pastry), and Ensalada de Rucula (arugula salad, cherry tomatoes, shaved Parmesan cheese, truffle citrus vinaigrette). I also love the facet that they offer roasted or mashed sweet potatoes. If the wait is too long at Novecento there are tons of other great French bistros nearby that are also open for weekend brunch.

Monday, March 09, 2009


Elmo is somewhat of a one-stop-shop, it's a place for New Yorkers to have brunch, lunch, dinner or even cocktails. A friend and I stumbled into Elmo on a rainy Sunday afternoon for brunch and were quite impressed with the extensive late morning menu. I found it difficult to choose between the Roasted Tomato Soup, the Toasted Granola and the Tropical Fruit Salad. I opted fro the Tropic Fruit Salad, served with a side of fresh yogurt. I've looked at Elmo's dinner menu as well and the dishes sound amazing from the Butternut Squash Soup, Roasted Beet Salad and the Spinach Ravioli. I haven't seen Elmo's cocktail menu but judging by the bar at the front of the restaurant I'd bet they can serve up some pretty tasty drinks.
Located in Chelsea at 156 7th Ave (btw 19th & 20th Ave)

Friday, March 06, 2009

Forge (Marc Forgione)

To celebrate my 25th birthday my friends took me to Forge, a chic restaurant in Tribeca headed by chef Marc Forgione who serves sophisticated American favorites using seasonal ingredients. Forge opened in June 2008 but had to change it's name to in January 2009 to Marc Forgione, after the owner and head chef, to avoid litigating a lawsuit.
Marc Forgione is the son of culinary legend, Larry Forgione, who revolutionized American-style cooking in the 70s and 80s.
Patrons are welcomed with pastry chef Jennifer McCoy's homemade potato rolls, served with caramelized onion butter. I ordered the Yellow Beet Terrine, Watercress, Candied Walnuts, and Midnight Moon Goat Cheese while my friends ordered most of the fish dishes like the Loch Duhart Salmon en Pappillote, Honey Crisp Apple-Coriander Nage, Micro Celery. For dessert we shared the Pumpkin Creme Crulee, Creme Fraiche, Cranberry-Cashew Dark Chocolate Clusters and the Banana Betty, Ginger Bread crust, Roasted Banana Ice Cream.
Located at 134 Reade St (near Hudson St.) - map.
Reservations can be made via

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


I first tried Eskimix in August and was reminded of it's goodness Monday afternoon when I received my daily TrendCentral newsletter. Eskimix takes the frozen yogurt trend to the next level by blending your choice of four different yogurt bases with a variety of toppings and/or boosters.

Yogurt flavors include Tart Frozen Yogurt (similar to Pinkberry's Original), Vanilla Frozen Yogurt, Dairy-Free Frozen Tofu and Sugar-Free Frozen Yogurt. There is a wide variety of toppings to chose from in 3 categories: Fruit, Candy and "Everything Else." I knew I wanted a fruit topping but found it hard to chose from mango, blackberries, strawberries and more. Other toppings included Butterfinger, M&M's, Twix, Honey, Nuts, Peanut Butter and more. Check out their menu HERE.
Eskimix also has a list of pre-designed mixes to help make decision making a bit easier.

My only disappointment during my Eskimix visit is that since everything is custom blended you can not try any of the flavors before placing your order.
Eskimix is only located in NYC on Bleecker between Grove and Christopher Streets.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Bar Baresco

After a work event a couple weeks ago some colleagues and I celebrated another colleague's birthday at Bar Baresco, located in Chelsea at 191 7th Ave (21st & 22nd St). Upon being seated our friendly waitress asked me if I could guess who was sitting in my seat the night before. After one or two guesses she finally told me that Jude Law had been sitting in the same exact seat as me!

The Malta brothers have turned Bar Baresco into a wine bar featuring Southern Italian wines, all preserved using an Oz Cruvinet, an expensive piece of machinery that keeps 40 bottles open and preserved simultaneously. The wine is paired perfectly with the Italian menu put together by Roberto Lopez, from BiCE and Cipriani Dolce.

Of course everyone loved the pastas but as usual, I ordered a salad and thought it was wonderful too. It was the Organic mix greens, toasted pine nuts, shaved parmigiano, grape tomatoes and balsamic dressing which was perfect for what I was craving.

Reservations can be made online via
[source: NYMag]

Sunday, March 01, 2009

L'ybane Restaurant

Chef Al Rineh opened L'ybane along the French Riviera in Nice before moving to New York City where he opened another restaurant by the same restaurant at 1136 1st Ave (between 62nd & 63rd St). The menu features a long list of small plates influenced by the southern Mediterranean, many of which are vegetarian. My friends and I shared the Assiette Composee, Legumes Vapeurs (steamed vegetables, green beans, carrots, zucchinis, potatoes), Spiced Chickpea Fritters, and the Caviar of Eggplant (which is actually baba ghanouj). All of which were very good.
If you're in the area I definitely recommend stopping by L'ybane for a drink and a small bite after work, and may even be a fun bar to grab drinks on the weekends.