There were two new star exhibits at the International Restaurant and Food Service Show of NY at Jacob Javits Center in NYC this year, with a focus on new food trends and local NY State food producers. The new Food Trends Experience was a grand display and tasting adventure providing access to over 75 new products, flavors and ingredients driving the most recent trends in the market – healthy, organic, sustainable, ethnic, artisanal, fusion, hot flavors and more from 115 new companies. Presented within the show, the Food Trends Experience was a great way for attendees to see, taste, discover and learn about the new culinary innovations that inspire creative and fresh menu ideas, delight customers and drive profits for 2013 and beyond.
>> Check out more of my fun photos of the show and great food in my online gallery <<
Some of the noteworthy and innovative products were:
Sir Kensington’s Gourmet Scooping Ketchup
The Original Jersey Italian Gravy
The Gracious Gourmet
Guido Gobino Italian Chocolate
Q Trade Organic Teas and Herbs
Udi’s Gluten Free
Hey Shuga Organic Syrups
Pure Indulgent Foods
and Le Voglie Linea Gourmet.
Within the Food Trends experience was a specialty Pride of New York Marketplace displaying food, produce, agricultural products and beverages from local farmers, food producers and manufacturers from New York State. This area of the show gave attendees an opportunity to meet New York’s farmers and producers face to face and sample all the goods it has to offer, while at the same time promoting local businesses and with a goal of stimulating the agriculture industry in New York state.
The Pride of New York State Pavilion was highlighted this year in an effort to make consumers more aware of their local food producers and help increase the consumption of nutritious, locally grown and produced foods, which all leads to strengthening local agriculture and improving health and promoting regional food system awareness in New York State. The benefits of buying and consuming local foods is no secret; exceptional taste and freshness, a healthier and more well-balanced diet, environmental protection by reducing fuel consumption, preserving farmland by keeping local farms in business and preserving valuable open space, and strengthening the local economy by supporting local farms and food processors in New York state, thereby creating more jobs and stimulating economic growth in local residents and communities.
The local vendors were proud to present their rich and diverse array of quality products such as locally grown produce, syrups and sauces, cheese, honey, meats, pasta, wine and baked goods. Some of the notable NY State local goods exhibited at the event were:
Ciao Bella Sorbet and Gelato
Beth’s Farm Kitchen
Upstate New York’s Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars;
J. Glebocki Farms
Pika’s Farm Table
Red Tomato Produce
and Breezy Hill Orchard/Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider.
The show also presented a half-day Farm-to-City Expo – “Growing the Local Food Economy: Trends, Infrastructure and Purchasing” which provided food businesses, organizations and local food system advocates the opportunity to learn more about public and private government initiatives designed to meet the large and growing demand for locally produced foods and beverages. The forum was an example of the Governor Cuomo’s continuing efforts and support for growth in the New York State agriculture industry, with a goal of connecting local food producers, processors and buyers in order to strengthen and create new markets.
Opening remarks for the forum were provided by Empire State Development (ESD) President, CEO and Commissioner Kenneth Adams, and the panels included prominent leaders in the NY food industry and city and state officials from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the New York City Council with speakers from Christine Quinn’s team. The three panels focused on important topics around Infrastructure, Institutions and Restaurants; where the panelists discussed their challenges, best practices and dedication to purchasing food and beverages mainly from local farms, producers and manufacturers in and around New York City, and how buying local has improved the quality of their businesses as well as raise the bar for their customers while supporting the local economy.
The show was great success and had many other highlights worth mentioning including the The US Pastry Chef Competition, where 20 rising stars of the pastry world that were selected to compete for the coveted title, US Pastry Chef of the Year. The theme for this year’s competition was “Women”.
Pastry Chef Ben Shelton from PreGel America took home top honors for his gorgeous showpiece (see above) with an apple symbolizing ‘temptation’.
Daniel’s Sandro Micheli took second,
and Maura Metheny from Norman Love Confections took third.
Salvatore Settepani from Pasticceria Bruno Bakery was an honorable mention. Florian Bellanger also received the Lifetime Achievement Award.
and a specialty desserts section sponsored by Paris Gourmet
with innovative sweets by Swiss Chalet Fine Foods
as well as the exciting Chefs and products at the Japan Pavillion,
New Products Showcase;
and the Culinary Demonstration Theatre with live cooking demonstrations by several prominent and celebrity Chefs from Hell’s Kitchen, Big Brother, Miya’s Sushi, Chopped and more.
> Find out more about the International Restaurant and Foodservice Show of NY and their sponsors NYS Restaurant Association and producers Reed Exhibitions <
>> Check out more of my fun photos of the show and great food in my online gallery <<
All Content & Photographs are property of Kristen Hess/The Artful Gourmet, Copyright 2013. Please do not use, share or distribute without my permission, and if you do want to share please add a link back to my website and the original post.
Ken and Cook
There’s a great new place in Nolita I recently went to – Ken and Cook, a contemporary American cafe and restaurant founded by Jean Georges alumni Artan Gjoni and Executive Chef Richard Diamonte. It has an energetic, lively atmosphere with a buzz in the air – with a gorgeous interior of tin ceilings, brass and wood paneling, vintage leather seating, candlelight, lively music and conversation. The scene was a nice mix of young hipster/artsy types, couples, and the ‘after work’ downtown New York crowd.
They have a great Raw Bar with super fresh seafood including Clams, Oysters, Lobster and Shrimp – (Oysters Rockefeller is one of their signature dishes!) They also have a variety of Chartucerie such as Chorizo, Tuscan Salami, Spicy Sopressata and a cheese sampling menu of a variety of cheeses from Italy, Spain and France.
They serve brunch, lunch and dinner with a really nice selection of fresh salads and appetizers, pastas and entrees: Beef Tartare, Linguine with Clams, Steamed Mussels, Short Rib, Lobster, Salmon, Monkfish, Burgers, Cote de Boeuf, Black Bass are some of their popular dishes. If you’re in the mood for lighter fare, you can always sample some of their delicious sides (brussel sprouts, mac & cheese, polenta, fries, etc.) with a glass of wine and fresh seafood from the raw bar.
For starters, I was served a lovely Italian red wine with a Grilled Squid Salad marinated in lime, chile and mint, mixed with sweet caramelized shallots and shaved fingerling potatoes over Mâché in a tangy yogurt dressing with herbs and hint of vinegar – so delicious I could have stopped there. But wait, there’s more!
I followed with a bowl of their Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup, which they served over toasted pumpkin seeds and dollops of creme fraiche, which was garnished with smoked paprika and sage – silky, creamy, nutty, delicious!
My main dish was a delicious bowl of Veal Ragu over Homemade Pappardelle with Radicchio and Tomato topped with breadcrumbs. This literally melted in my mouth! Tangy with salty shaved Parmesan cheese. Fresh Homemade pasta. Perfect with a sip of that velvety red wine.
For dessert I indulged in some of their hot, fresh homemade Beignets – flavored with a hint of lemon. Light and airy dough on the inside, with a crispy crust on the outside sprinkled with sugar. The best part was the side of warm blueberry and blackberry sauce with a hint of lavender for dipping. Too good for words!
Next time you’re looking for a fun place to eat downtown with delicious food and a buzzy atmosphere – this should be first on your list.
Ken & Cook
19 Kenmare Street
New York NY 10012
Ken & Cook Dining Room
Diners at Ken & Cook
Menu / Candlelight
A glass of vino and French baguette
Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup
Main dining room
Grilled Squid Salad with chile, mint and lime
Veal Ragu with Homemade Pappardelle
Homemade Beignets with Warm Blackberry/Blueberry Sauce
View Ken & Cook Menus
View Ken & Cook photo gallery
Beecher's Handmade Cheese
1. Beecher’s Handmade Cheese
I stumbled upon this handmade cheese-making mecca a few weeks ago while on a stroll to the Union Square Farmer’s Market in the Flatiron District in NYC and was blown away by the impressive facility and store/restaurant as soon as I walked in. Founded by Seattle cheese maker Kurt Beecher Dammeier, Beecher’s offers customers a full range of handmade cheeses and gourmet artisan foods and wines with a cafe, coffee bar and store. There’s a huge window as soon as you walk in where you can watch the cheese makers, well, making fresh cheese in their in-house facility all day long. You can also visit their cellar and taste a glass of wine and check out their “cheese cave” where rows upon rows of cheeses are being aged to perfection. They also have three cookbooks with their signature recipes, and are famous for their “World’s Best” Macaroni and Cheese recipe which is in the book and you can also purchase pre-made in their shop or cafe. The retail store offers a bountiful, well-curated selection of the “best of” American artisan cheeses and charcuterie. While visiting, they’ll introduce you not only to their favorite cheeses and meats but also to the talented producers they know and love. You’ll also be provided with fantastic accompaniments- antipasti, crackers, honey, pickles, etc- for your carefully chosen cheeses and meats, all true to their mission of natural, additive-free foods.
Check out their Pairings Recommendations
900 Broadway, New York, NY
Veselka, East Village
2. Veselka, East Village
I can’t believe I’ve lived in NYC for 7 years and haven’t been to this amazing place until last weekend when I stopped in for brunch. Veselka is a hopping little place in the East Village that specializes in Ukrainian foods and I had to stop in to sample their potato pancakes. Coming from a German-Polish family, my Mom used to make the best potato pancakes served with apple sauce and sour cream so of course I had to size these babies up to see if they compared, and I have to say they did. I had the brunch with a cheese omelette, a piece of their fresh made Kielbasa, rye toast and of course the pancakes. Bummer I forgot to order some of their famous Pierogies, Stuffed Cabbage and Beef Stroganoff – more family favorites I grew up eating..oh well, maybe next time! I’ll definitely be back for another foodie excursion to this yummy place. In fact, I just may grab a copy of the Veselka Cookbook to make some of these noms at home!
Veselka Restaurant was started in 1954 by Wolodymyr Darmochwal who had recently emigrated from the Ivano-Frankovsk region of Ukraine. In the early days Veselka was a humble neighborhood candy store and newsstand that had a small counter and a few tables where a small selection of Ukrainian dishes were served. The popularity of these homemade dishes helped Veselka to grow over the years and become a full fledged restaurant serving a large variety of homemade Ukrainian and American dishes. Some of their signature dishes include: Cabbage Soup, Pierogies, Kielbasa, Potato Pancakes, Ukrainian Borscht, Beef Stroganoff, Bigos (a hearty Ukrainian Hunter’s stew made with Kielbasa, Sauerkraut, Pork and Onions served with a side of mashed potatoes), Ukranian Meatballs, Veal Goulash, Stuffed Cabbage, Soups, Salads, Burgers, Brunch…the list goes on! The atmosphere is buzzing and busy, and the kitchen is open in the front near the fresh baked goods and desserts counter which you also should not miss.
View the Veselka menu
144 2nd Avenue, New York, NY
Roebling Tea Room, Williamsburg
3. Roesling Tea Room, Williamsburg Brooklyn
I don’t get out to Brooklyn as much as I’d like to and especially Williamsburg – a funky creative foodie part of town that has some great restaurants. I stopped in to Roesling Tea Room after visiting a photographer friend of mine looking for a small bite to eat and a glass of vino after our meeting. I ordered at the bar and sampled a side of their luscious Macaroni and Cheese which was oooey gooey layers of cheese and shells with a dash of hot sauce topped with some fresh parsley. It was the perfect size for a small bite of goodness and was only $10 to boot. Their cocktail menu is pretty cool too with unique drinks such as “The White Witch” made with Flor de Cana and Creme de Cacao and Cream, or the “Way Too Early” made with Earl Grey tea, Gin, Lemon and Champagne.
They do have a full dinner menu (see link below) offering Apps such as Grilled Razor Clams, Raviolo with Garlic, Ricotta, Chili and Squid and a hearty Lamb Ragu over Vermicelloni with ground hazelnuts. If you’re hungrier and want a full meal, try the Steak Tartare, “Cock-a-leekie” Chicken, Grilled Hangar Steak or Softshell Crab. The atmosphere is dark and moody, with an open wrap around bar and is perfect for a quiet, intimate dinner with friends or a date. They also serve lunch and brunch with burgers, eggs, salads and fresh sides and offer room for parties and events in this impressive cool space and location.
View the dinner menu
143 Roebling Street Brooklyn, NY 11211
4. Limelight Marketplace, Chelsea
If you’re ever in Chelsea in NYC, this is a must-see destination. The ultimate “Festival of Shops”, Limelight Marketplace is a theatrical and fun shopping experience, located inside the restored Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion of 1845, and the infamous swanky Limelight Nightclub that was hoppin’ in the 70′s and 80′s. Redesigned by Henry Bendel, it re-opened its doors in 2010 to reveal a 3-story grand emporium filled with shopping, food, fashion, restaurants, art and home furnishings, decked out with grand arched ceilings, and the recently uncovered huge stained glass windows and limestone arches from the original church architecture. Inside you’ll find some cool bars and restaurants like the famous Grimaldi’s Pizza, Cava Wine Bar (Italian Meats, Cheeses, Wines), Jezalin’s (artisan soups, sandwiches, salads and chartucerie) and soon Cross Bar. Upstairs on the top floor you can’t miss the Marie Belle Cacao Bar and Luxury Chocolates. They also have an outdoor garden atrium (which is currently decorated with Indian tents) where you can chill out and enjoy a coffee or just stare at the amazing grand old architecture in awe.
656 6th Avenue, New York, NY
Geronimo's Mexican, New Haven CT
5. Geronimo’s Mexican, New Haven CT
Funny story how I ended up here in New Haven, CT for Cinco de Mayo…last Saturday I was supposed to go to the Foodstock Festival up at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT to see a great lineup of speakers and check out some amazing food vendors. So I rented a car online, took an early 2 hour train ride up to New Haven Union Station to pick up my rental car. Well, apparently even if you’ve pre-paid for your car you still need a credit card to give them to take the car for the day. All I had was my camera, a Mastercard debit card and some cash – no go. Needless to say, my day in New Haven wasn’t all that bad. I walked around the beautiful campus of Yale University, went to the Yale Art Gallery, cruised around Chapel Street to grab a coffee and checked out the cute shops and boutiques. On my journey around town, I started getting really hungry for some Mexican and discovered a cool little place called Geronimo’s Tequila Bar and Southwest Grill, to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with some margaritas and food.
I had a couple of margaritas since they were only $5 for Cinco de Mayo, and tried their Chicken Tortilla Soup which had huge chunks of white meat shredded chicken, fresh veggies and crunchy tortilla strips on top. The chips were handmade, and the salsa super fresh and chunky with lots of cilantro, just how I like it. For an entree I ordered the Pork Quesadilla which had shredded roasted pork bathed in a Chimayo chile sauce with chihuahua cheese and scallions; topped with fresh grilled corn salsa salad. Delicious! warning: just be super careful if you sample their homemade habenero pepper sauce – its super tasty but super HOT, believe me you only need a smidge to taste the heat!
My waitress was super cool and was patient with me as I ran around the restaurant taking pictures of all their cool Southwestern artifacts and cool interior design inside the restaurant. Chef Timothy Scott (Connecticut native who studied with Anne Willan at La Varenne Culinary School in Burgundy, France) and I chatted for a while as he showed me around the restaurant and told me about all the local, organic ingredients he uses and the South Dakota farms he visits to source all of his meats for some of their unique dishes as the Smoked Buffalo Brisket Tacos and Elk Chili. The menu has your typical Mexican dishes but they are infused with a “Santa Fe” New Mexican flavor, using traditional foods and flavors of the Native Americans, Spanish, Mexican and Anglo-Americans that settled there. Its primary ingredients consist of corn, beans, chile peppers, rice, tomatoes, avocados, pork and bison. Slow-stewed meats and chilis, and natural heat from various chile peppers give the cuisine here a bold, rustic flavor that is distinct from other Mexican cuisine. Don’t miss it if you’re ever up visiting Yale or just cruising around New Haven for a day.
View the menu
271 Crown Street New Haven, CT 06511
Forager's City Grocer, Chelsea
6. Forager’s City Grocer, Chelsea
There’s a new kid in town – an amazing organic grocery market and restaurant called Forager’s City Grocer in Chelsea, sister to the Dumbo Brooklyn location. Everything inside the market is sourced from their local farms and made fresh daily on premises. They have a meat counter and prepared foods kitchen with fresh soups, salads, roasted veggies, house-cured pastrami, roasted chicken and herb-roasted porchetta (to die for!). Cruise towards the back and you’ll find a lovely cheese section, olives, cured and fresh butchered meats, and a full line-up of local, and more organic dairy products like yogurt, cream, butter and milk. They have plenty of spices, honeys, jams, imported pastas and other cool gourmet items. And in the front, you can’t miss the coffee bar and dessert counter where they have freshly baked cupcakes, croissants, and unique-flavored glazed donuts like Hibiscus and Blood Orange…Oh my.
The restaurant inside the market has a clean design with an open kitchen and bar, high tables and stools and lots of natural lighting. The cuisine has an Asian flair, offering lunch, brunch and dinner. All the menu items are created with local, organic ingredients, house-cured meats and fresh veggies straight from their farm. They have great salads such as Raw Dayboat Salad with Yuzu Koshu and Crushed Lemon Oil, or Fermented Tea Leaf Salad with Dried Shrimp, Sesame, Peanuts, Crispy Garlic and Split Peas. Or try the Wok-Tossed Berkshire Pork Short Ribs or Crispy Whole Prawns with Chiles, Prickly Ash and Green Onions. Brunch is a new thing, serving up fresh omelettes, buttermilk biscuits and gravy, cinnamon french toast, house smoked pepper bacon and house made quinoa granola with fruit. And don’t miss the Forager’s wine store attached to the market next door where you can find organic wines from grape farmers all around the world.
The Chelsea location has also launched the debut of their expertly handcrafted cocktails along with a menu of beers and eco-minded selected wines on tap. The new, eclectic cocktail menu was designed by head bartender Aaron Polsky (also of Amor y Amargo). The menu is heavily influenced by the market’s hyper-local foraged produce and seasonally inspired house-made syrups and infusions. Some of the cool new cocktails to try are:
- Gordon’s Healthy Lunch – made with Dorothy Parker Gin, Foragers Farm spicy baby lettuce juice, lime, meyer lemon oleo saccharum
- Doug’s Spring MP – with Tequila Pueblo Viejo Blanco, rhubarb, tarragon, raspberry shrub, soda
- Bruschetta - Thai basil and sun-dried tomato-infused Absolut 100 Vodka, Dolin Blanc Vermouth, tomato water, Bittermens Hellfire Shrub
- Wisconsinite - Johnny Drum Bourbon, blood orange Oleo Saccharum, Bittercube Cherry Bark bitters
300 W. 22nd Street, New York, NY 10011
7. Cupcake Cafe, Theatre District NYC
I recently went on a search of some pretty cupcakes for a photoshoot I am working on, and found this cute little place called The Cupcake Cafe in Hell’s Kitchen on 9th Avenue and 40th Street near Times Square. It’s a quaint little place with a tiny kitchen in the back where they bake and design their pretty floral cakes and cupcakes with great detail. Anne Warren, co-owner, also designs custom wedding and personalized birthday cakes and offers cake decorating classes and film catering. The interior has a cute bench, a table and a few stools where you can sit and enjoy a coffee and a luscious buttercream-frosted flowery cupcake, just because. No frills, just a cozy spot to indulge.
View the menu
545 9th Avenue New York, NY 10018
8. Metaphore Eurostyle, New Haven CT
While on my journey around town in New Haven, I stopped into this cool, colorful store on Chapel Street called Metaphore -Eurostyle. I met the owner and artist, Liza Clayson, who showed me around her store full of custom art and gorgeous hand-painted furniture, shower curtains, linens, dishes, glassware, French pantry gourmet items such as sea salts, oils, honeys, vinegars, mustards, jams, teas, and cookies. We had an even more colorful conversation about the town, restaurants, blogging and marketing and who knows what else. I couldn’t help but start dreaming up all the cool photography and food styling sets one could design with her pretty hand-painted and imported goodies. Liza also has plenty of unique and unusual European-imported goodies in the store, thus the name “Eurostyle”. Many of her items are things you won’t find here in the U.S. – she has customers that come in the store from all over to buy her unique things. You just have to check it out for yourself. If you can’t make it to New Haven, you can call her directly and place a personalized order. Now that’s pretty cool.
1020 Chapel St # 2 New Haven, CT 06510
9. KyoChon, Fifth Ave NYC
If you like fried chicken like I do, great – but this is no ordinary fried chicken – this is Seoul, Korea-style fried chicken and a tasty one at that. Located on Fifth Avenue near the Empire State Building, KyoChon came to NYC from Korea, opened its flagship store here and never looked back. KyoChon has become a cult-like obsession with New Yorkers (including myself) with its fresh, crispy, juicy fried chicken and tasty dipping sauces. The Soy Garlic and Hot & Sweet Chile sauces are apparently are secret recipes that founder Won-Kang Kwon and his wife whip up in a secret room in the basement of their production facilities in Seoul. They claim to use only fresh, not frozen, chickens, and hand-trim and hand-brush each piece, which is apparent when you taste a piece of their crunchy chicken. This ain’t no Chicken McNugget, folks. They also have sandwiches, salads and wraps filled with fresh veggies and fruits and the interior is pretty cool looking too, with its bright red spiral staircase and clear acrylic Jetson-style chairs and tables. Oh, and the Sweet Potato Fries ROCK.
View the menu
319 5th Avenue, New York NY
10. Rodeo Bar & Grill, Murray Hill
After living in Atlanta for almost 12 years, it was refreshing to find a honky-tonk fun place in NYC that reminded me of the South.Rodeo Bar & Grill is probably one of the ONLY places in New York that you’ll find local and regional country and blues musicians playing live, where you can sit and enjoy a Margarita and some chips and salsa. This Tex-Mex bar and grill is located on 3rd Ave in Murray Hill and serves a kickass portion of chile con queso and chips, and other Tex-Mex specialties such as Enchiladas, Slow-Smoked Texas BBQ, Quesadillas, Tacos and a nice selection of burgers, sandwiches, appetizers and soups and salads. The live shows are on pretty much every night with different artists, until midnight during the week and late on weekends. They have a great happy hour from 4-7 pm offering half price margaritas and bar food like wings, nachos and sliders. Grab your cowboy boots, get yourself some tequila and some live country and blues – too fun.
375 3rd Avenue New York, NY 10016
1. Taproom 307, NYC
I happened to stumble upon this place on my way home one night, lured in by its moody lighting and buzzing atmosphere. Taproom 307 is a bar and restaurant with over 40 varieties of local and domestic craft beers, beer cocktails, wine, unique artisan cocktails and amazing food. I tried their Hawaiian wood-fired pizza which was delicious, served on a wooden board, crispy crust, savory ham, gooey cheese and juicy pineapple. They also have delicious burgers, sandwiches, salads and bar food appetizers, which I”ll be sure to go back to try next visit! Beer Sommelier Hayley Jensen curates at Taproom No.307 - she fell in love with beer after college, and has been obsessed ever since. She discovered old world ales and went abroad to learn more. After moving to London and working in the craft bar scene there, she came back to NYC and joined famed Chef Daniel Boulud, as Beer Sommelier at DBGB Kitchen & Bar. They serve brunch, lunch and dinner every day of the week. Perfect place for happy hour after work with a group of friends!
307 3rd Avenue
New York, NY 10010
2. Marimekko Home, NYC
The name Marimekko is a play on words, yet completely descriptive. ’Mari’ is an anagram of the first name of the company’s founder, Armi Ratia,while ‘mekko’ means ‘dress’ in Finnish. And it was indeed Mari’s dresses that started it all in 1951. This place is a must-see if you ever come to visit NYC. The store in Flatiron District next to Eataly on the corner of 5th Ave and 23rd Street is a mecca full of beautiful, bright patterns and totally irresistable. They have a full line of dining and kitchenware, pillows, clothes, fabric to make your own custom items. Everything in the store is sleekly designed and fun – if you’re a stylist? its a dream come true.
200 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10010
todaro bros nyc
3. Todaro Bros., Murray Hill NYC
Todaro Bros. is a small, local market in Murray Hill that specializes in Italian imported goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, imported cheeses, epicurean delicacies and fresh prepared foods. There’s also handmade fresh pastas, olives, an extensive range of imported olive oils, sauces, spices and freshly prepared breads. It reminds me of a place you’d see on the streets in Italy and it’s my failsafe place to go when I need fresh meats and fish, fruits and veggies or just some downright delicious food for dinner or a party.
555 2nd Avenue # A
New York, NY
4. Zengo, NYC
Located in Midtown on 3rd Ave and 40th St, Zengo is my new favorite local hotspot for happy hour. The decor is vibrant and dramatic with decorative full length windows, hardwood floors and contemporary lighting and the cuisine is a lovely mix of Latin-Asian styles and flavors created by Chef-owner Richard Sandoval, whose accolades include Bon Appétit Restaurateur of the Year and Mexico’s Toque d’Oro. Chef Sandoval spins regional ingredients into beautifully balanced dishes designed for sharing – you’ll find small plates on the happy hour menu such as Sushi, Shrimp-Vegetable potstickers, an assortment of flatbreads and churros. The beverage menu features innovative, hand-muddled cocktails as well as Latin wines, Japanese sakes and over 400 Tequilas. There are three bars inside – one in the main level and one downstairs, and their Sake & Shochu lounge upstairs is a great place for groups or private parties where you can experience a tasting of their many varieties of imported Sake or Shochu.
622 3rd Ave (btwn 40th St & 41st St)
New York, NY 10017
ABC carpet & home, nyc
5. ABC Carpet & Home, NYC
If there was ever a store I’d like to just move right into, this is the one. Yep, don’t even need to pack my things – they’ve got everything in there imaginable to live a deliciously luxurious life. If you’ve never been to ABC Carpet and Home in NYC you MUST visit next time you’re here. All I can say is when you walk in the store you feel like Alice in Wonderland that just fell down the rabbit hole into a beautiful, glittery, artistic place that you’ve never experienced before. Or got swept away to the Land of Oz like Dorothy did, minus the midgets and ugly witch. All joking aside, this is probably my favorite home store in NYC – there’s homemade pottery and glassware, linens, pillows, jewelry, soaps and candles, fabrics, rugs, furniture – you name it. And everything in the store is artisan-made (which yes, lends to its hefty prices) – even if you just buy ONE thing, you’ll make your kitchen or home that much more beautiful. THE BOMB.
New York, NY
stuzzi ristorante nyc
6. Stuzzi, Flatiron NYC
I have been going here ever since I lived in NYC and its still one of my favorite Italian restaurants in the city. Located centrally in the Flatiron District, Stuzzi is an authentic Italian restaurant that specializes in Italian cuisine from all different regions and has an amazing bar and a daily happy hour from 4-7 pm – buy a drink and you get a small plate for free! Chow down on some Crostini with Ricotta and Honey, Meatballs, Risotto Balls, Cheese plates, Salumi plates with Soppressata and Parma Prosciutto, Flash-fried Roman style Artichokes, Battered Cod with Lemon Aioli…and the list goes on. My go-to drink is an Aperol Spritz made with Prosecco, Aperol bitters and a lemon twist – perfect pairing with the delicious appetizers! Of course they have an extensive Italian wine and beer list too. It’s never too crowded and the atmosphere is beautiful with gorgeous lighting, dark wood and brass. There’s a larger dining room in the back or you can just sit near the bar or outside patio and enjoy a drink and a quick bite. One of the best and reasonably priced for a great Italian place in the city.
New York, NY
fishs eddy nyc
7. Fishs Eddy, NYC
Fishs Eddy is a purveyor of Dinnerware, Glassware, Flatware, Serveware, & Sturdyware, born in 1986 by the owners finding antique goods in Upstate NY and hauled them back in a van to the city to open this awesome shop. Millions of edgy, unique and incredibly fun dishes and glasses have come in and out of their doors. Retro patterns and prints, bright colors, classic styles and fun unique kitchen items are what you’ll find here. The best part is you can buy one-off items if you wish – a single piece of flatware, a fun kitchen towel, quirky straws, canning jars – you name it, they got it. And you won’t find this cool stuff anywhere else but here. As a food photographer and stylist, I’m in heaven in this store – and I guarantee you won’t walk out of here with a million fun and cool gadgets for yourself, without breaking the bank. Talk about FUN!
New York, NY
la esquina nyc
8. La Esquina, Nolita NYC
So if you’re in the mood for some amazing, authentic Mexican food in NYC, this is the place you need to be. Located in Nolita; you can’t miss the old movie theatre style sign on the corner of Lafayette and Kenmare with its bright neon lights. Think street-style Mexican – grilled fresh corn with spices and cojita cheese, lovely tacos in every flavor, homemade guacamole, tortas, quesadillas, ceviche, grilled chorizo, chile relleno, tortilla soup, fresh salads- all made with fresh tasty ingredients. The Taqueria in front has a few bar stools and offers takeout, or you can sit in the Brasserie or Cafe for a full meal. Definitely top on my list for the best tacos in town – and its fairly priced too! Oh, and you just might happen to run into a celebrity while you’re here – Claire Robinson, Chef on Food Network, was enjoying lunch and margaritas right outside on the patio while I was there! Awesome grub for an awesome price – don’t miss this one!
106 Kenmare Street
New York, NY
MOMA design store SoHo
9. MOMA Design Store, SoHo
Now here’s a cool place I discovered recently – who would have ever thought that the MOMA Design store would have such cool stuff for the kitchen and a serious cook? An extension of the Modern Museum of Modern Art, the store is a mecca for high design. Kitchen tools, glassware, silverware, dishware, cookbooks, bowls and baskets made of modern metal design, funky kitchen gadgets, all brightly colored and sleekly designed with modern materials (metal, plastic, glass, silicone, etc.) by notable artists and designers. I wouldn’t go here to stock up your kitchen though, as the prices are a bit steep – but if you’re looking for a collectible kitchen or home item that you can actually use and proudly display, this is the place to go.
81 Spring Street
New York, NY
le labo nyc
10. Le Labo, Nolita NYC
Last but not least, is a really fun place I discovered down in Nolita – Le Labo fragrance lab. Originating in France, this store makes high-end custom fragrances in the store based on your preferences and desired scent. Made from natural ingredients and essential oils like lavender, vanilla, lemon, bergamot, rose, patchouli, orange blossom – each fragrance has a unique scent. They do have about 10-15 pre made fragrances to choose from too but its too cool that you can make your own – and they even print your name on the bottle label so its truly a personalized scent! Check out their online store if you can’t make it to NYC. Too cool to ignore.
233 Elizabeth St
New York, NY 10012
Last week I was looking for a fun place to go for happy hour with some friends, particularly one with some food and drink specials that didn’t look like a college fraternity party just swooped in with beer and peanut shells on the floor. I found Barmarche, a lovely little fusion place on the corner of Spring Street and Elizabeth Street in the heart of Nolita.
When we arrived around 5 pm, it was still a bit early so the place wasn’t crowded at all. The waiter immediately greeted us and offered the best seat in the house at a corner nook near the window. The interior was impressive with its crown moldings around the bar and windows, its antique chandeliers and whitewashed tin ceilings – almost a bit fancy for my taste, but charming all the same. The tables were donned with small votive candles, and the music and dim lights gave it a cozy, romantic ambiance – like the bistros you would find on the streets in Paris.
The happy hour drink menu had a great selection of $6-7 wines, bubbly and cocktails, and offered a variety of Italian, French, Mediterranean and Mexican small plates to choose from.
We shared the bacon hummus which was absolutely delicious – smooth and creamy, topped with chunky bacon and whole chickpeas, lemon and parsley, served with a side of homemade crispy tortilla chips. (It tasted a whole heck of a lot better than the picture looks too – the lighting wasn’t ideal for shooting!)
Popcorn Shrimp w/ Chipotle Aioli
The popcorn shrimp was nice too – it came out steaming hot with a crispy, light batter (similar to tempura) and was served with a spicy chipotle aioli for dipping on the side. More nibbles on the menu included mixed olives, charcuterie and cheese, spicy guacamole, salads and calamari. If you want more of a meal for happy hour, they also offer shrimp or bass taquitos or a classic grass-fed beef cheeseburger and frites. The dinner menu offers the same small plates and salads but with a larger selection, and also includes entrees such as Truffle Shrimp Risotto, Roast Chicken, Rib Eye Steak and Frites, or Mediterranean Branzino served over sauteed greens.
Overall I was pleased, but think it might be a nicer place for a romantic dinner or cocktail brunch on the weekend than for happy hour with friends.
Barmarche is open for brunch from 10 am to 4 pm on weekends, mid-day from 4 pm to 6:30 pm on weekends, happy hour from 5 pm to 6:30 pm everyday (except Saturday), and dinner from 6:30 pm – 11:30 pm Sunday through Thursday and through 12:30 am on Friday and Saturday.
View the happy hour menu.
View the dinner menu.
Make a reservation online.
14 Spring Street (at Elizabeth St)
New York, NY 10012