Monthly Archives: July 2016
Staying Cool With Frozen Desserts

After a long summer day, you might want to enjoy a frozen treat. There are several treats that you can make and put in the freezer until you’re ready to enjoy them after grilling or while sitting on the front porch with family and friends.

A frozen key lime pie topped with whipped cream does the trick if you want something light and refreshing. This dessert is a good way to try a new fruit as well. You can also make a frozen strawberry cheesecake. Top the cake with fresh berries once it’s taken from the freezer along with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a decadent dessert.

If you like ice cream, consider making an ice cream bar that includes a few different flavors and all of the toppings that make the ice cream delicious. These could include candy pieces, chopped nuts and hot fudge. This is an idea to consider if there are children who stay at the home during the summer months. Frozen bananas are a fun treat and are easy to make. All you have to do is melt chocolate and dip peeled bananas in it before placing them on waxed paper in the freezer. You can slice the bananas into smaller pieces for children or if you don’t want a whole banana at one time. Don’t forget to put the banana on a stick to make it easier to enjoy.

Gristmill Opens in Park Slope

Less than a week ago, the city’s newest spot for pizza parties opened up in Park Slope. The menu is heavy on the gluten, with all its dishes made from a collection of 11 different wheat and corn flours made to order for the restaurant.

Founder Jake Novick-Finder is just 26 years old but has tons of industry experience under his belt. As a kid he apprenticed at Tribeca’s Chantrelle and then with French chocolatier Jean-Charles Rochoux. After that he ran his own chocolate business, worked at Union Square Cafe and Gramercy Tavern, and was the exclusive pastry chef at Ribelle in Boston. Now he’s returned to his home town to open a restaurant of his own. Dessert is Novick-Finder’s specialty, so be sure to leave room for an ice cream sundae.

The menu is pretty vegetable heavy, with only a few pizzas containing meat toppings. Novick-Finder includes unique ingredients to challenge your taste buds like pizzas with fennel and dandelion greens, cornbread with chili oil and crab meat, and pasta topped with “curds and whey.” You can also get old-school dishes that will make your meal a little less serious, like garlic knots, milkshakes, and slices of pie a la mode.

The restaurant has 46 seats, including ten at the bar and four at the chef’s table. You can also sit out on the enclosed backyard patio for intimate drinks and dessert. Check out Gristmill at 289 5th Avenue, near 1st Street.

Balthazar Offers a Welcome to Pokemon Go Players

The Pokemon Go phenomenon that has taken the country by storm since being released on July 6 includes both children and adults playing the game. The hectic furor has even made one of the more upper-crust restaurants in New York City vulnerable to the presence of individuals seeking to find virtual creatures at all different spots around the world.

The restaurant in question is Balthazar’s, located on Spring Street in the Soho district and operated by owner Keith McNally. One of the reasons that businesses have embraced something that might otherwise be an annoying distraction is that the app in question literally brings people to the business.

Whether or not those people end up purchasing anything is debatable, especially in the case of Balthazar’s. Despite the seeming contradiction between patrons and visitors, the restaurant’s staff has helped point out certain regularities. One of them was that a monster is always located in the rear portion of the main eating area.

Balthazar’s status as a “Pokestop” was quickly enhanced into a “Lure,” which makes it a more inviting option for the game’s players. That expense is 99 cents per hour for a site, though the restaurant adamantly states that they aren’t footing the bill in that regard.

The restaurant is known for its taste of Paris that’s meant to evoke the type of ambience international travelers experience. Some of the more exotic meals it offers up include short ribs that are tender braised and shepherd’s pie that’s lovingly crafted with duck.

Hip New Food Hall in The Bowery

In the past few years, food halls and markets have practically taken over the New York food scene. If you want to try the trend without all the chaos, check out the new Bowery Market, located at the corner of Bowery and Great Jones (348 Bowery).

Though it comes in at a tiny 1000 square feet total and hosts just five vendors, the Bowery Market is a hipster foodie dream. With vendors like Sushi on Jones, Alidoro (Italian sandwiches), Champion Coffee (the artisinal coffee from Greenpoint, Brooklyn), Pulqueira (fancy tacos and deceptively strong cocktails), and the Butcher’s Daughter (fresh juice, avocado toast, other Instagram-friendly foods), you can fill your belly with all the latest food trends.

Even if you’re not into “trendy” foods, there is something for every palate here. Sip a giant pina colada out of a frozen pineapple, munch on a sandwich of fresh Italian meats and cheeses, or just grab a latte from one of the best coffee houses in the city.

This tiny market was built into an old auto body garage and though it is technically set up as an outdoor venue, the vendors are safe and snug in individual kiosks, so the market will be open all year round. Check it out seven days a week from 8 in the morning to 9 at night.

Chef Shaun Hergatt: Out with the Old, In with the New

When Juni, the award-winning Midtown restaurant run by Australian chef Shaun Hergatt, closed last May, there was plenty of disappointment in the Hotel Chandler. Now, according to a recent article in the New York Times, Chef Hergatt is opening a new establishment, again in the setting of a trendy hotel but this time with a major difference: his new restaurant will be closed to the general public (
The new restaurant – it hasn’t yet been named – will be located on the 12th floor of 432 Park Avenue. The 96-story skyscraper is still under construction, although some of its stories are now open. When finished and occupied, 432 Park Avenue is going to be the tallest residential establishment in the Americas, as well as the second-tallest building in New York City. Chef Hergatt’s restaurant, designed by Bentel and Bentel, is slated to open sometime this fall. It will occupy an entire floor of its own, complete with a lounge and huge luxury terrace; the terrace measures 5,000 square feet all by itself.
But unlike his previous establishment at Juni, Chef Hergatt’s new place will be completely private, open only to the residents of 432 Park Avenue and their guests. That means that diners interested in sampling the Michelin-starred chef’s elegant cuisine will need to know someone who lives in 432 Park Avenue. When complete, the residential skyscraper will contain 104 condos.
Shaun Hergatt is sharing in the new venture with Scott Sozmen. The position of sommelier will be occupied by Michael Scaffidi.

NYC Gets Robot Quinoa Restaurant

This fall, New York will be home to Eatsa, a California-based restaurant where the menu consists solely of custom quinoa bowls. The only strange part is, there are no cashiers. All orders are taken on iPads and when your quinoa is ready, your name pops up on an LCD screen and your bowl magically appears in the cubby below the screen. It is basically like a healthier, more high tech vending machine.

The restaurant’s founder David Friedberg wanted to base his fast-food venture around quinoa because it is healthier, cheaper, and more environmentally sustainable than meat. He also hopes to use technology to encourage healthy eating around the country. He eventually envisions Eatsa restaurants being “built into shipping containers and dropped into neighborhoods with no source of healthy foods.” To encourage healthier diets, he also wants to create discounts for regulars; this would be possible because all Eatsa transactions must be made through credit cards or mobile phones. Finally, Friedberg hopes to experiment with foods on the molecular level to create meals that taste as indulgent as junk or fast foods but are actually healthy.

The restaurant has thrived in both San Francisco (where it was founded) and Los Angeles, and now it is time to give the East coast a try. With the fast checkout transactions and low prices (only $6.95 per quinoa bowl), Eatsa is sure to be a hit in any busy city, but especially New York. Check out the restaurant this autumn at 285 Madison Avenue between 40th and 41st Streets.

NYC Restaurants Using Pokemon Go to Attract Patrons

Pokemon Go, which is currently topping the charts as the most downloaded app, is also boosting the business of several restaurants in New York City.

A number of business owners and managers have found a way to attract players of Pokemon Go – by paying a nominal fee to lure virtual Pokemon characters to their location. Sean Beneditti, the manager of L’inizio Pizza Bar in Queens, said that he paid $10 to get the cartoon creatures to come into his establishment. For 30 minutes, a dozen characters could be found hanging out at his pizzeria, waiting to be caught by anyone playing the game.

It’s a business move that paid off, as people came to have a drink and a slice of their favorite pie while beefing up their scores. Others in the industry are also cashing in on the Pokemon mania.

Since many places advertise and connect with their patrons via social media, showing off the Pokemon action going on at a location via Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook seems like a perfect way to drum up sales. If a certain restaurant happens to be near a spot, known as a “gym”, where you can battle other players, managers can also use that to their advantage. Running around in a city during what’s been a hot and humid summer can make people thirsty for a cool drink and hungry for a savory snack.

It’s unclear how long the trend will continue; as for now, many restaurateurs are enjoying it.

Couscous Based Restaurant Opening Soon

Chef Einat Admony, owner of Taim, Balaboosta, and Bar Bolonat, will soon be opening a fourth restaurant, Kish-Kash. In a recent interview with Grubstreet, the chef expresses her craving for “real” couscous since moving to New York from Tel Aviv seventeen years ago. She explains that all North American couscous is an instant version; authentic couscous takes hours and lots of work to prepare. That’s why the menu at Kish-Kash will revolve around dishes containing the grain.

In the interview, Admony explains the process of making couscous, which takes up to three hours, many labor-intensive steps, and lots of special equipment to prepare in a traditional way. She notes that her craving and desire for these dishes inspired Kish-Kash, since she didn’t see anyone else in the New York food scene making it for her.

The restaurant will have both takeout and eat-in options, with the dining room composed of communal tables to reflect the community and culture of the food. Admony says that she will keep the menu small to keep wait times as low as possible, with dishes like chicken tagine, mafrum, brined fish, and ground beef stuffed in potatoes. She explains that because she will not need to hire chefs, just prep staff, the food costs will be low; she says she aims to make her restaurant accessible to customers of all economic classes.

Though location and opening date are yet to be determined, keep an eye out for Kish-Kash in either the West Village or Chelsea late this year.

Chicago Classics Ready for Spotlight in New York

Any Chicagoan would tell you that their Italian beef sandwiches are perhaps the most underrated gastronomical delight in the country. But the classic sandwich is now getting its chance to shine outside of the the Second City. One of the few eateries bringing the Italian beef sandwich to New York is new arrival Hank’s Juicy Beef, a sandwich shop in Tribeca.

Hank’s started off at street events like festivals and open air markets, but now the restaurant has found its permanent home. Hank comes from a long line of Italian beef devotees. His aunt operated a Chicago beef sandwich and pizza restaurant in Chicago for 35 years.

Watching the creation of an Italian beef’s sandwich makes its appeal to Chicagoans clear. The slow roasted beef seasoned minimally, then cut into paper-thin slices. The sandwich is dunked into savory au jus, then finished with spicy giardiniera or sweet peppers.

“There’s no other sandwich like it,” says Hank’s owner Henry “Hank” Tibensky. The closest thing is the Philly cheesesteak, and that’s not even really like it.”

The menu will be short, and is set to include eggplant parmesan (which Hank says is “just as good as the juicy beef”), Hank’s signature giardiniera, which he plans to jar and sell, Italian sausage, and eventually, Chicago-style hot dogs. Beer and wine will also be available, including a house specialty brewed beer.

Delicious Indian-Style Breakfast and Lunch Foods Are Now Available In NYC

In my ongoing effort to stay aware of current events in the NYC food scene, I came across an interesting online article earlier today that focused on a brand new Indian-style restaurant located in Manhattan.

Located on West 27th Street, this new restaurant is named Pondicheri, and is run by a renowned chef from Houston named Anita Jaisinghani. In addition to providing creative breakfast and lunch menus, Pondicheri features an on-premises bakery called the Bake Lab.

I find it interesting to see that this eatery is offering masala egg breakfast wraps, rice and almond pancakes and stuffed parathas to hungry New Yorkers during the morning hours.

Although Pondicheri is a large 5,000-square foot establishment, the management team want people who are purchasing just a cookie to feel as comfortable about sitting down at a table as someone who is enjoying a full meal.

At lunchtime, customers can choose from an assortment of curries, salads, stuffed rotis, and more. Dinner service at Pondicheri is slated to begin soon, as is bar service featuring craft liquors.

According to this article, the Bake Lab in the front of the restaurant will be serving pastries all day, and gluten-free and vegan items will also be available.

Having worked as a restaurant cook for many years, I can’t help but wonder how Indian-style breakfast items will be received by the general public. Chef Jaisinghani has experienced success with her restaurant and bakery in Texas. I hope that her NYC venture works out just as well.

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