Category Archives: NYC Food Scene
Freeze The Meal

When it comes to Thanksgiving, you want your meal to be as easy as possible to serve and eat. You can easily make your Thanksgiving meal ahead of time with tips from some of the best restaurant chefs in New York. The main dish of roast turkey can be prepared in the days before Thanksgiving and frozen. Add a bit of butter on top of the turkey to put moisture back into the meat.


Turkey or chicken stock can be used to make gravy that you can also freeze and heat up to serve with dinner. Add a little salt and pepper when it’s heated for flavor. Green bean casserole is a popular dish for Thanksgiving. You can make the casserole before Thanksgiving and freeze it for a day or two. When you heat the casserole, top it with onions instead of freezing it with the onions. Whipped sweet potatoes are a delicious dish that can be made ahead of time. When you reheat them, add chopped pecans, brown sugar and marshmallows to complete the dish. If you want to freeze your stuffing, then consider pouring melted butter and broth over the top of the dish when it’s reheated so that it has a bit of moisture. Almost the entire Thanksgiving meal can be prepared ahead of time so that all you have to do is take the dishes out and heat them before putting them on the table.


Villa Italian Kitchen’s Alternative Facts Pizza

President Donald Trump loves fast food. He extolled the virtues of McDonalds in a Town Hall meeting with Anderson Cooper, and was photographed many times on the campaign trail devouring everything from Kentucky Fried Chicken to a super-sized taco bowl. Donald Trump’s culinary approach is in stark contrast to Michelle and Barrack Obama’s healthy diet. Michelle Obama used to tease the former president for only eating seven, lightly salted almonds as an evening snack. However, while Donald Trump loves fast food, that doesn’t mean fast food loves President Trump.


Villa Italian Kitchen began as a single pizzeria on Broadway in 1964. Today, Villa Italian Kitchen is a 300 location chain found mostly in food courts across America. Perhaps its location on Broadway, next to the Ed Sullivan Theater, contributed to its sense of political humor.


Since Trump’s inauguration, special advisor Kellyanne Conway has used the phrase “alternative facts.” The phrase is a sort of rallying cry against the media, which the Trump administration says didn’t accurately report the size of the crowd at the inauguration. Of course, alternative facts are not facts; they’re falsehoods. Or to put it another way: the alternative to facts is fictions. The Villa Italian Kitchen saw the phrase at a great marketing tool.


The Villa Italian Kitchen now offers an Alternative Facts Pizza. The thick, carb-heavy crust is loaded with bacon, pepperoni, ham, sausage and mozzarella cheese, yet the company claims it has zero calories. Yes, a post-facts world is a wonderful place if you want to eat fatty foods. The Alternative Facts Pizza has no effect on your waistline, nor will it clog arteries or raise blood pressure. Villa Italian Kitchen’s Alternative Facts Pizza is just one of many recent food items lampooning the new Trump administration.


New Legislation Changes Food Truck Scene In A Major Way

When it comes to the fast-paced hustle and bustle of New York City, food trucks are there to provide quick and delicious food. But, did you know that behind every Bahn Mi and onion-covered hot dog, there was a illegal movement making it all possible?


For the past thirty years, the state has been working with outdated food vendor legislation. New York has a ridiculous restrictive cap on the number of food-vendor permits available. With only 3,000 up for grabs, an illegal scheme was created by those that could get their hands on a permit. Potential food vendors could “rent” overpriced permits from the legal owner on a sort of black market food permit trade. Some people are literally paying thousands of dollars to be able to operate their food vendor business.


However, the Street Vending Modernization Act could change all of this. If this bill passes, this would mean that the number of available permits would increase and continue to increase as the years went by.


Supporters of the bill explain that not only would the Street Vending Modernization Act help out the thousands of people on the permit waiting list, but also help inspire a surge of new street food options.


Currenty food vendor feels such pressure to make a profit to keep their permit that they only sell tried and true favorites, such as hot dogs. However, if the pressure is lifted with the introduction of more permits, perhaps food vendors will take some chances on their menu offerings.

A Whole Foods 365 Store Is Coming To Brooklyn, NYC

A few minutes ago, I had the opportunity to read a recent online article about a new Whole Foods 365 store that will be coming to the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn, NYC in early 2018. The 365 stores are sort of like discount versions of the regular stores, with lots of store-brand products in stock.


According to the article that I read, it has been two and a half years since Whole Foods revealed plans for the 365 chain. The planned 365 store in Brooklyn is slated to open at the 35-story Ashland Place development in Fort Greene.


Apparently, the first 365 store opened in Los Angeles, then other stores opened in Lake Oswego, Oregon and Bellevue, Washington. At some point in the future, an Apple store is also supposed to be situated at the Ashland Place site.


Most of the new Whole Foods 365 stores are smaller in square footage than regular Whole Foods stores. Each store is expected to have fewer employees than at the standard stores, and less variety of items will be offered. The 365 store coming to Brooklyn, however, is actually going to be 43,000 square feet, which is larger than the 365 stores that are already in operation.


Grocery shopping is something that I enjoy and also take seriously. Although I live near a traditional Whole Foods store, I’ve only shopped there once. Even though I was impressed by the quality of the produce, breads, and seafood that I saw, I thought that the overall prices of the items there were too high for my pocketbook.


Hopefully, the 365 chain will be well-received by consumers. As long as they keep their prices as low as possible, people will come.


Knives Out: Per Se Gets a Dressing Down

In 2004, Thomas Keller, the American chef best known for his landmark restaurant The French Laundry, opened Per Se in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle. Per Se is the East Coast version of Keller’s famed Napa Valley restaurant. The New York Times named Per Se the best restaurant in New York in 2011. The three Michelin star property features a nine-course tasting menu and an award-winning wine list. Per Se is currently the third most expensive restaurant in the world, with the average guest spending $851.


According to the food critic Pete Wells, with each review, a restaurant needs to earn its stars again. In a recent New York Times review, Wells claimed Per Se struggled to live up to its lofty expectations. Mediocrity had crept into one of the country’s best restaurant like a New York City rat. Wells called Per Se “respectably dull.” Wells downgraded Per Se from a four star restaurant to a two star restaurant. For a dining establishment that once brought in a ballet dancer to teach servers how to slip around tables, losing two stars is unthinkable.


As a food critic, Pete Wells is known for his brutal honesty and colorful rhetoric. His reviews have flair and could never be described as “respectably dull.” But are they accurate? In a 2012 review of Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen and Bar, in Times Square, Wells took the knives out and delivered one of the most scathingly entertaining restaurant reviews of all time. While the review was entertaining, some people thought it was unfair. His critique of Thomas Keller’s fine dinning beacon has also come under fire. Nevertheless, New York has a rich history of dinning establishments getting a dressing down. Even French laundry gets dirty.


What Will Replace The Four Seasons?

People around the world are familiar with The Four Seasons restaurant. This iconic New York City restaurant opened in 1959 at 99 East 52nd Street. Here, chefs introduced Americans to the idea of dining on culinary dishes that rotated with the changing seasons. It was also one of the first fine restaurants to print a menu in English. For over fifty years, people enjoyed fine dining in the restaurant. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. In June 2015, it was announced the lease for the restaurant would not be renewed. The Four Seasons closed its doors on July 16, 2016.


After the restaurant closed, many people wondered what would replace it. Now, we know it will be a restaurant from the partners in a company called Major Food Group, and the three men behind the company have big shoes to fill. The previous tenant of the space was a legendary power dining area. Executives and stock brokers did business there all the time. The new restaurant will have to appeal to these people again. This is why the three men behind Major Food Group recently sat in the empty space trying dish after dish. They wanted to know exactly what food should be served in their new restaurant. After sampling duck, pork, figs, mushrooms, and more, the men were no closer to making a final decision. In fact, the only firm decisions they had been made involved the kitchen. The kitchen was freshly renovated. Almost everything else is still up in the air.


If this uncertainty in such a famous space unsettles, you don’t worry. The Four Seasons will reopen on Park Avenue at a future date. Until then, you’ll just have to make do with what these guys come up with. Hopefully, it will be delicious!



NYC Is Now Home To A Safe-To-Eat Raw Cookie Dough Shop

Although food experts have been warning us not to eat raw cookie dough for several decades now, diners in NYC will now be able to safely eat as much cookie dough as they please. A recent online article that I read today shines the spotlight on a new shop and eatery located in the Greenwich Village section of NYC that actually specializes in raw cookie dough.


The cookie dough shop is playfully named DO (pronounced dough), and is slated to officially open for business this week. The shop is utilizing heat-treated flour and a pasteurized egg product, in order to produce raw cookie doughs that are safe to eat.


Situated on La Guardia Place near 3rd Street, DO is a cute and clean establishment that seats 15 people. You can go in and order scoops of cookie dough in different-colored waffle cones or in cups, and enjoy a cup of their high quality coffee. In case your taste buds prefer a more traditional treat, an assortment of fully baked cookies are usually on hand at this unique food establishment.


You can create your own sundae, with your choice of ice cream flavor, baked cookie, and cookie dough flavor. DO offers a luscious cookie dough ice cream pie that is anchored by a chocolate chip cookie crust, and is topped with cookie dough.


If you’re a fan of cupcakes, the cupcake-shaped baked cookie dough treats are a must-try item. Filled with a choice of Nutella or sprinkles, these sweet gems are like no cupcake you’ve seen before.


The small, thick ice cream SanDOwiches served at DO feature a sturdy rectangle of cookie-dough ice cream encased by flattened pieces of raw chocolate-chip cookie dough. Frosty, delicious milkshakes are served at DO, and lots of tasty toppings are available.


How Will the Trump Presidency Affect the Restaurant Industry?

Food has brought different types of people together for centuries. It’s a common bond in a world of differences, and restaurants celebrate that common bond as gathering places for people to meet, talk, and enjoy food. How will the Trump presidency, an administration that many see as being built on discord and divisiveness, affect the restaurant industry?


Many restaurant employees are worried about Trump’s presidency. Undocumented immigrants working in America’s kitchens and farms fear they’re going to be deported. According to the Pew Research Center, roughly 1.2 million restaurant workers in the U.S. are undocumented. A group of restaurant owners from the Restaurant Opportunities Center United hold meetings to express their employees’ concerns. In addition, many restaurants around the country have singed on to become Sanctuary Restaurants. Sanctuary Restaurants display signs in their windows stating that they are safe place for undocumented immigrants, and that they have a zero-tolerance policy for racism, sexism and xenophobia. While its long been common not to mix business and politics, in the age of Trump, many restaurateurs are no longer ignoring the political nature of their work.


On the other hand, if Trump repeals Obamacare, it could be viewed as a win for restaurant industry. According to Andy Puzder, CEO of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., Obamacare is hurting the restaurant business. Puzder claims that Obamacare is reducing consumer spending and likens the health care policy to a government-mandates restaurant recession. While that may sound harsh, in 2016, restaurant traffic declined 2.8% from January to September.


President Trump loves fast food. Sean Spicer, Trump’s press secretary, has an obsessive hatred of Dippin’ Dots, the “ice cream of the future.” Long story short: tastes in food are as polarizing as the Trump presidency’s probable effect on the restaurant industry.

New York Cookie Dough Restaurant Is Opening Soon

New York is opening a new restaurant that will serve cookie dough that is safe to eat raw. DO (pronounced dough) is set to open in about a week. The eatery serves as great news for people who have been scared away from eating cookie dough due to the FDA warning that the dough is unsafe to consume due to raw flour and eggs.


Kristen Tomlan is the founder of DO and found a way to ensure that the cookie dough is harmless, since the dough contains heat-treated flour and pasteurized egg product. Tomlan also launched an online company that offers dough in several different forms, including cookie dough that has been scooped into cones and cups like ice cream. The dough has also been flatted and frozen to resemble a cooked dessert that can be made into an ice cream sandwiches. Tomlan also offers half-baked brownies or mixed into Blue Marble ice cream for tasty milkshakes and sundaes.


DO will open in Greenwich Village and will offer 15 menu options for customers. Toby’s Estate coffee will also served at DO, and there will be lots of packaged flavors to choose from, including cake batter, confetti and chocolate chip. The cookie dough is also packaged into pint-sized cartons to resemble ice cream, and can easily be scooped out for customers to enjoy. There’s even a cookie dough cupcake stuffed with Nutella and topped with buttercream frosting that is also made from cookie dough.


The address for DO is 550 La Guardia Place near 3rd Street.

Sunday in Brooklyn: Reinventing Brunch

New York is the brunch capital of the world. Perhaps brunch’s popularity can be traced back to Carrie Bradshaw and her “Sex in the City” clan, or maybe Manhattanites are just looking for an excuse to enjoy a late morning, boozy breakfast. Either way, in New York, brunch is a Sunday ritual sandwiched between doing the New York Times crossword puzzle and going antique shopping. As brunch became a Sunday institution in New York, the lines got longer, and the mimosas got weaker. The meal became divisive. Brunch became a fad, a trend for those with disposable income and time. It was lampooned in episodes of “Portlandia.”


Today, brunch is being reinvented in New York. Jamie Young, the former chef at Atera, is leading the charge. Young’s newest restaurant, Sunday in Brooklyn, is a three-story place on Wythe Avenue. The building’s red-brick exterior resembles an English townhouse, but the inside features stucco white walls, palm trees and gray marble tables. The space is configured as a three-story market, espresso bar, and dinning room. The to-go market isn’t a gourmet market like Trader Joes or Whole Foods, but an extension of Young’s kitchen. According to partner Adam Landsman, the idea is that guests will see how Young incorporates items into his menu and will be inspired to buy those items and cook with them at home.


Sunday in Brooklyn has a dinner menu, but it’s the hedonistic brunch that attracts the biggest crowd. Young’s versatility as a chef is on display with fluffy scrabbled eggs, shoestring potatoes, pecan sticky buns, and breakfast sausages made in house. However, nothing compares to the pancakes. Coated with hazelnut-praline syrup and brown butter, the pancakes taste like Italian gelato. “Portlandia” could never lampoon something so delicious.



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