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Magnolia of Le Monde

Having been the pet mom of an adoring cat the last 20 years, I wasn’t exposed to the same needs and opportunities that canines present. I had a toy fox terrier at my parents’ home as a late teen, but Rocky didn’t go places. He wasn’t a tag-along dog because someone was always in the house.

Now I’ve come to have a little rescue girl enter my life, and in some ways she has rescued me. Although she came from an outdoor, neglectful environment, her dining habits are quite good. She found a stepmom, who is a foodie, but who generally does not give her table food. On my latest lunch outings in Manhattan, I found myself wanting the company of my sweet, little Magnolia. She doesn’t bark…I mean ever. If we lived in Europe, she would tag along with me to many outdoor cafes, but where could I take my canine companion where other diners would not be disturbed and where she would be accepted nearly the same as I am? The answer came quickly the first warm days of spring.IMG_4513

I frequent Le Monde on Broadway for lunch, as you may have read from my last blog post. As soon as the al fresco dining began on the sidewalk, I brought Magnolia along for a test run. She sat close to me on the ground like a well-mannered six-year-old girl should. And then our kind host, Scott, offered her the option of an appetizer of grilled chicken. Actually, he politely asked her step-mommy for approval before bringing it. While her tastes are not so discerning (yet?), she immensely enjoyed her meal at Le Monde and washed it down with a few slurps of New York City tap water. What more could a little rescue dog ask for?

So whether you like dogs or not, I promise I would not subject patrons to Miss Magnolia if she were not well behaved. In fact, she is so small, she could mostly remain undetected. If you do like dogs, come say hello to Magnolia of Le Monde because she can’t wait to go back and see Scott, the hand that fed her , not scraps of fat, but quality grilled chicken. And more importantly, while the weather’s nice, go enjoy one of LeMonde’s well-prepared, delectable dishes for yourself with your furry friend accompanying you…quietly. You might even get a photograph of your pup to appear on .… one of those (profiteroles), please???!!!20190608_140756


My parents introduced Woodloch Pines to me in the late 70s, and Woodloch and I have been having our summer fling ever since (with a winter rendezvous thrown in), except now with friends joining along. We are both not the same as we were in the 70s. We have each grown and improved. To begin with my metamorphosis, Woodloch was never able to lure me with food because eating, to me, was obviously a Medieval form of torture as a child. The dish that came closest to piquing my interest was Woodloch’s famous Scandinavian pancakes, which I recall to be deceivingly consumable in a few bites. That’s about how long it took for my stomach to lose interest, not realizing unrolled, this griddled batter would be larger than my head.


Friendly servers

These days, as June/July nears, like Pavlov’s dog, it triggers visions of those pancakes, but I have not experienced a Woodloch breakfast in many years. So the moment I arrive for lunch, I live out my Hawley, PA morning reminiscence by ordering a crumb cake to take home and savor for days to follow (okay, maybe it lasts a day). In case you haven’t noticed the transformation, food is now the generator of jovial taste buds, which yield a glowing smile. And here, many happy bellies strut through the main dining room after being treated like a king with all the offerings.  In this dining room, the focus is on family-style, country-comfort cuisine; however, there are nine dining facilities that range from grab-and-go bites at the Lakeside Grille to the epicurean-inspired “farm to fork” at The Lodge at Woodloch. Corporate Executive Chef Stevan Sundberg has expanded the offerings to elevate the dining experience.


Chef Sundberg

The menu items not only have increased in number to satisfy today’s diverse food lifestyles – with multiple vegetarian options – but also in class. Chef Sundberg needs to dispel any stereotypes of a “Dirty Dancing”-type resort with campy food. Today for lunch, we ordered the Tomato/Basil Soup, Slow Cooked Beef Brisket Sandwich, Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad and a Charbroiled Cheeseburger for the young one’s unadventurous palate. A refreshing Cucumber, Tomato, Chick Pea and Red Onion Salad was already on the table.

I was always impressed, although there are only a handful of entrée offerings, how the servers never write down the orders. What’s more impressive is how Chef Sundberg is able to churn out the potential of 600 dishes in a relatively small timeframe (seating 12:30-1) and maintain the consistency of perfectly cooked food…and it always is. The choices these days lean towards healthier combinations, but nobody can resist dipping their hands in the basket of boardwalk fries. And if you’ve gone that far, you might as well pour on the cheese sauce!


Fries and Cheese Sauce

But wait, there is dessert with lunch, and it doesn’t matter if you’re going swimming or waterskiing immediately afterwards. You’re in PA, but ask for the Mississippi Mud Pie, even if it’s not on the menu. They’re hiding some back there…always. Otherwise, I am a connoisseur of maple walnut ice cream. It doesn’t show up in supermarkets, ever, so I must have a dish with chocolate sprinkles when here. A more recent dessert is the warm Chocolate Chunk Skillet Cookie a la mode. It partners nicely with that already existing scoop that was ordered. A little gluttony in the middle of the Poconos is forgivable.

I experience a guilty pleasure at this point. More than satisfied, my logical German mind begins to map out dinner options so as not to be repetitive: beef for lunch equals no Prime Rib for dinner. While I’m intensely paddling a kayak, a standout upgrade to the food is evident to me – the dish presentation, focusing now on color, texture, garnishes. I P1010553certainly don’t recall microgreens topping any fish of years past.  Even the sides have been modernized. Today’s broccoli with roasted garlic, EVOO and asiago used to be steamed broccoli with the reliable cheese sauce.


It’s around 4 p.m. when my high metabolism begins to drive me to ingest something, anything. All that biking, climbing, swimming on a warm day begs for an iced coffee and a small, on-premises-baked item. It’s the first summer Gigi’s Coffee House is open for guests to enjoy a


Gigi’s Cafe

locally roasted cup of java (the difference in taste quality from the dining room pot of coffee is more than apparent for coffee lovers). Premium foodP1010534 deserves…no, demands premium coffee. It can be accompanied by a blueberry scone or bran muffin with honey butter or, in my case, a peanut butter cookie. They’re all tasty tie-overs to the grand supper.

Hints of dinner linger in the air as I suspect preparation happens around that 5 o’clock hour. If you are prematurely hungry, stay away from the front lawn. Delectable smells of roasted meat and baked fish will leave you in a food coma, robotically playing the ring-toss until that traditional dinner bell resonates through your olfactory system granting permission to begin replacing calories.

My self-imposed dress code on a Saturday night is comparable to going out to dinner in New York City with friends. I couldn’t help but peek at the dinner menu lunch time to mentally prepare myself for the tasting journey ahead. Before our hospitable server could get the word “shrimp” out, I blurted out, “Yes, please” for the shrimp and corn


Shrimp & Corn Chowder

chowder. It provides the proper taste bud awakening with a mild kick of spice; perhaps some red pepper. The other opening choice this particular evening was the Burrata with Pea Tendrils, Blistered Tomato and Crispy Prosciutto. Never say no to burrata; it’s fresh mozzarella resting on a creamy cloud. And in case you really can’t wait a few minutes, a healthy-looking family-style bowl of Greek salad greets you at the table. Shortly thereafter, a basket with two different breads is laid upon

the table also: olive and banana walnut, the latter being another fundamental in my Woodloch food memories.

The servers push their carts of food at a swift pace, stacked with covered dishes of food selections. The guests cross their fingers hoping the next sound of wheels in this food-cart derby will be arriving at their table. And here comes the Slow Roasted Prime Rib of Beef, the cover lifted to display itself in all its simple elegance with just a sprig of


Prime Rib


Potato Lyonaisse

rosemary. A helping of the Roasted Potato Lyonnaise worked well as the required starch side dish. Then came the dressings: a boat of au jus and some creamy horseradish sauce. Next to be revealed is the Lemon-baked Halibut with Heirloom Tomatoes, Fried Capers and Basil Oil. The thick cut of fish is flaky and moist, and the sweetness of the tomatoes is balanced by a baked, thin slice of lemon atop the steak. The Lime-grilled Chicken with Zucchini Noodles, Falafel Cakes, Roasted Tomato and Cucumber




Lime Grilled Chicken

Yogurt followed. The Mediterranean flair of the ingredients and the color palette made this a fun dish to want to dive into. The flavors complemented each other.

I was remiss in not ordering Woodloch’s Traditional Jumbo Butterfly Shrimp this time, but it was in the past few weeks that I had the delight of dipping those succulent, crispy-coated crustaceans into both tartar and cocktail sauce. Fried to golden perfection, there is no unhealthy evidence left upon your fingers. However, any diet should be cast aside to delve into the featured dessert, which tonight was House- prepared S’mores with graham cracker crust, chocolate ganache, topped with roasted marshmallow. The portion is not overindulgent, so there is room for another scoop of maple walnut ice cream! And



to work it all off, we strolled down to the night club to dance to the sounds of The Company, which had a remarkable guest singer, DaVido, before the theme show.

Whatever your gastronomic preferences or requirements are, Woodloch Pines is able to not only satisfy them, but exceed your appetite’s expectations. Your taste buds will be celebrating with you!

Hush Hush I Smell It Calling My Name

Aumm Aumm means “Hush Hush” in the Neapolitan dialect. Well, I’m letting this secret out. I never find myself in North Bergen, but I’ll be visiting frequently now. A friend who works at the elite Le Bernardin – need I say more – had been posting photos of dishes from Aumm Aumm quite often in the last six months. I trust the culinary opinion of someone who is employed at a number one New York restaurant. So back in December, with no reservations accepted, a group of us tried this self-proclaimed “wine bar and pizzeria”…which neither descriptive piques my gustatory sense.

It’s name it was: Aumm Aumm the surprise. I dislike the name; I dislike the tagline. Neither of them provide the golden key to this restaurant – fresh food! Because we waited 20 minutes, our hunger was building. It was best to order a cold throw-together dish to share. The Tagliere is a chef’s selection of 20161216_201942imported cheeses, imported coldcuts, olives, nuts and fresh fruit. It’s the perfect traditional way to begin.

Another cold dish followed: the Insalata Aumm Aumm. A signature dish should be the popular one, and it was among us, as far as a salad can be. Baby arugula, endive, raddichio, artichokes, eggplant, cherry tomatoes, cacciocavallo cheese was all dressed with balsamic vinaigrette.20161216_201312

I’m not one to dine out and order pizza, but with a bunch of people sharing food, one is tempted to try it, since it’s claimed in the name and you sit facing the opening of the large brick oven stove. Choices 20161216_200701are red or white pizzas, round or the larger oblong. We went with a round, red one – the Cappriciosa. It was topped with tomato sauce, ham, mushrooms, Gaeta olives, artichokes and mozzarella. The flavors popped, but as is often with brick oven pizzas, the dough has that lovely charcoal crisp on the outside, but is soft and chewy on the top side. I am a crispy bread freak too, so I was a bit disappointed to get strips of pizza dough in our bread basket for starters.

They carry 150 types of wines. Several primi pasta dishes were ordered, and all were cooked al dente. On the first visit, we tried the Sciallatielli allo Scoglio with fresh pasta, baby clams, shrimp, octopus, PEI mussels, calamari and cherry tomatoes. The second time we went with their new frequent patron, my friend, and the same dish was twice as large and came out inside a pizza dough crust to absorb all the seafood flavors.IMG_3902

Seared pork chops, fish of the day, grilled octopus, among other second courses are worth exploring. Now that Aumm Aumm is no longer on the down low, they may need to change the name…please.


It’s not so offal when you add fruits and vegetables

In summer of 2015, I noticed a “farmer’s market” open up in Bergenfield where a large clothing store had been. I put the term in quotes because there seems to be a trend of these predominantly fruit-and-vegetable stores opening up in Bergen County.  To me, they are mini supermarkets focusing on produce. I envision a farmer’s market to be outdoors, such as the ones that pop up temporarily in the summer in Dumont, Fort Lee, Englewood, Paramus, Teaneck, Ramsey and many more.

I paid a visit quickly for fear it would disappear again. In addition to rows of fruits and vegetables, this new market has a deli counter and a butcher. From a distance, the meat looked fresh and appealing. As I came closer to the case, the appealing part turned to intriguing and a bit squeamish. But that’s just me because I’m not an offal person. Feel free to deduct points off of my foodie score card. I’m okay with it. Maybe I just can’t comprehend what a human would do with a cow’s tongue. It seems illegal. It feels dirty, but I don’t want to insult any cultures that revere it to be a delicacy. It must be tasty. I may have even had it once, sliced, at a Korean bbq restaurant in Palisades Park. I’m not telling. And in the case alongside the tongue are the other parts of the cow, neatly separated – the large heart, the feet, the intestines. This is an unusual place. Yes, you can get some of this at your local ShopRite, especially in Hispanic-populated neighborhoods, where I’m guessing a lot of nicely flavored broths are made with these components. I chose to move along to the fruits.

I was drawn to the inexpensive price of the avocados – Hass only 99 cents each. A package of red striated beans sat there, leaving me in wonder again.  This is the store you go to when you have that recipe with some nontraditional ingredients such as these beans, sour oranges,

prickly pears, dragon fruit and some unidentifiable tubers. Even the Red Delicious apples looked they were on steroids for 79 cents/lb. It’s fresh food for the adventurous; it’s a delight for many Europeans, Asians and Africans wanting to cook dishes from “home”. Let’s see if offals become a new food craze in America as sushi did. Maybe we’re missing out.  I’m not ready to sing: “Something tells me I’m into something good.” Please explore the market for yourself though. If nothing else, you might find a less-expensive-than-anywhere can of wonderful Lavazza coffee or ….wait for

it….ten different flavors of SPAM! I choose to remain a SPAM virgin but will grab some Lavazza or Fair Trade Melitta coffee and a sampling of fruits and veggies.

Tasting Tapas with Garces

This is the fourth Food Network Iron Chef’s restaurant in which I was graced with the presence of the celebrity chef not long after opening a new establishment. That is the time to see them if you are a celebrity chef stalker. The first for me was Chef Emeril Lagasse at Emeril’s in New Orleans, where he was actually cooking. The second was Mario Batali at Babbo, where he was busy in the kitchen. The third was Bobby Flay a week after he opened Gato; he was visibly sweating on the line and poking his head out to scan the dining room. The fourth, and latest, is Jose Garces at the four-week-old Amada. None were planned to seek out these chefs specifically; I was just seekingchef jose garces quality food, and I found it this evening in Battery Park, NYC, even though Chef Garces was playing overseer from the outside of the kitchen looking in.

Andalusian tapas, traditional and modern, is what’s happening here. Naturally, one wants to taste everything, so the Spanish gastronomy began with Sopa De Esparagos – White Asparagus Soup, Mushroom, Duck Butifarra (described as a duck and garlic sausage), Pistachio. Something comes over me when I order dishes that sound so fluid in another language. Suddenly I speak proper Spanish with the right inflection and all. So I didn’t order it as the “asparagus soup”.


Sopa de esparagos

While we were waiting for the train of dishes to pull in, a complementary garlic flatbread with a tuna and caper with black olive oil spread was delivered.

20160528_191704After a few spoonfuls of soup, the traditional PIQUILLOS RELLENOS – Crab Stuffed Peppers, Toasted Almonds, arrived, as well as the PULPO A LA GALLEGA – Spanish Octopus, Pureed Potato. The octopus was sliced into thick nickel-sized pieces. The flat top of each was pan seared I’m guessing to garner a crisp slight garlic and oil flavor. They sat sunken into a bed of velvety pureed potato. 20160528_192355

Then came a 10-minute welcomed digestion break. The remaining dishes were brought together: the BACALAO – Poached Black Cod, Sunflower-Chorizo Broth, Whipped Potato, dancing with complementary flavors and textures and was the star of the evening for me; the PERNIL ASADO – Roasted Pork, White Beans, Arugula & Orange, which was sold by the waiter after saying, “crispy top and juicy beneath”; and the COSTILLAS DE TERNERA – Spanish Flatbread, topped with Beef Short Ribs, Horseradish, Parmesan, Bacon, which flavor-wise was a surprisingly close second.

20160528_19573020160528_195300Not only was there no room for dessert, there were leftovers. The enjoya20160528_195318ble meal closed with me approaching Chef Garces and thanking him for putting me in a delightful food coma.

You’re a Shining Star, Batard

Every year, for the past five years, I select a Michelin two- or three-star NYC restaurant for my husband and me to celebrate our anniversary. It’s always a surprise to him, and I come off looking magnanimous and benefitting just the same. Having just returned from a California vacation, we needed to trim the expense this time, so I sought out a fine-dining establishment where we could experience high-quality, impressive dishes for maybe half of the cost.

Was this achievable? I was going to find out after securing a reservation at Batard in Tribeca. I had hope in that the restaurant received one Michelin star within its first year of business (opened May 2014). Additionally, Co-owner/Restaurateur Drew Nieporent has quite the resume in his Myriad Restaurant Group, including all the Nobus and Tribeca Grill. Chef and Partner Markus Glocker, of Austria, was most recently in the kitchen at Gordon Ramsay, which earned two Michelin stars during his time there. After doing my homework, I had comfortable expectations of the level of food we were going to consume. It was a different expectation than when we went to Jean Georges and Le Bernardin for example. With three stars, you walk in with one shining on you as the diner, who demands to get the best treatment, one on the server and one on the chef.

The menu at Batard posed some real first-world problems. We had to put a game plan in motion. First, there was the pre-fixe choices of two- ($55), three- ($69) or four-courses ($79)…now you see I’ve accomplished the price-cut challenge. We agreed to both do three courses, but now we had to decide which course..yes, you have a choice! After some algebraic equations, we figured the best combination would be if I ordered an appetizer, first course and entree and he ordered an appetizer and dessert. With this solution, we could share the first course and the dessert. After about 15 minutes – now you see why – we could rest our minds as two different warm, mini rolls were placed on our plates.image

I was torn between the pork belly and quail for an appetizer. When our waitress (is that a sign of a non-3 star?) answered, “No the pork is not crispy,” I was about to say “quail” until she said it was served cold. The pork belly was delectable! I would not have even known what I was eating. It was sliced like a paper-thin prosciutto with the center having a pressed cornbread and bits of blood sausage, happily draped over baby lentils. His OCTOPUS “PASTRAMI” had the appearance of head cheese without the gelatin. It was accompanied by bits of braised ham hock, pommery mustard and new potatoes.image

imageOur shared first course (are you keeping up with the plan?) was the scallops with leak confit, crispy potato strings, in a puddle of red wine sauce. During my first bite I felt both elated and guilty. I have always said my friend Rob Russo made the most tender and delicious scallops at the former Red Hen Bistro in NJ, but in that split second I felt bad to think these could even be a hair better. I absolved myself by believing it was imagejust because this was the more recent one. The “shared” course became 80% me, 20% him.

At a nice pace, and after a little time to process what we had, our entrees came. I was already completely convinced that this food was worth at least two Michelin stars in my book.

BRANDT BEEF SHORT RIB with grilled wagyu beef tongue, lovage polenta, pickled root vegetables. I had tongue only once before and in a Korean bbq style. I was a little nervous about rekindling that feeling of French-kissing a cow, but no; this tasted like a thin grilled steak. The short ribs barely required a knife.image

IMG_2059BRANZINO with roasted cauliflower, buerre noisette, and cannellini beans.

The fourth course rolled in with our shared dessert: DUCK EGG CRÈME BRÛLÉE spiced pineapple, verjus, yogurt sorbet. I’mIMG_2060 an extremely tough critic of desserts. It was good but not exquisite like every other dish. It wouldn’t have been my choice for dessert. I thank Batard for making a decent cup of coffee though…Your one star shines as bright as two!

Elvis Presley Movies… movies to dye for!

Elvis Presley Movies… movies to dye for!.

Fresh from the Farm

When your mother guides you toward healthy eating habits through your growing years, it’s only proper to take her to a fine dining establishment that promotes fresh, local foods. Even though I broke my own principle of not dining out exactly on Mother’s Day, I made the reservation at Blue Hill in New York City’s West Village because the four-course prix fixe menu is standard there, holiday or not. Ingredients come from nearby farms, including the Barbers’ family-owned Blue Hill Farm in Massachusetts. While the already over-used term “farm-to-table dining” makes many eyes roll at the pretentious tone, it still evokes a health-conscious-good feeling in advance of the meal.

A short walk across Washington Square Park, and three steps downward off the sidewalk, we entered a private hideaway that could easily have been missed. The dining room was ordinary with some brick wall and didn’t have an embracing décor. With two items to select from for each of the four courses, the best idea was to order opposite dishes so we could essentially MothersDay15 003try the whole menu. The food that was presented before our first course was simplistic yet exciting – farm cheese that still looked like curd in cloth, butter rolled in toasted grains, and crusty bread (I wish I had written down the description of) preceded the complimentary whole carrots with edible tops and radishes with boursin dip. They were served on slate and appeared to have been plucked from the ground that day – to which my mother proclaimed, “I hope they washed them.”MothersDay15 002

The first course consisted of my Rotation Risotto: twelve local grains, legumes and seeds, and her Roasted Asparagus with beet yogurt and stinging nettles. When I asked the waiter about the risotto, he explained it was the rotation of crops used to consistently feed the farm animals throughout the year. The chef played with that concept to turn them into a creamy risotto. My mother then whispered something about us being guinea pigs.

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MothersDay15 007The second course delivered my Maine Halibut with currants, pine nuts, apple, fennel and chickweed, along with her Farm Egg, fiddleheads, morels and ramps. Are you feeling the flood of vitamins yet?MothersDay15 006

The main course for me was Roast Chicken, curried carrots and fighter spinach. Don’t sigh at the boring thought of chicken. This bird did not taste like Perdue. It was something far more flavorful. Even more scrumptious was her Grass Fed Lamb with eight row flint corn, Jerusalem artichokes and pea shoots.

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We finished with poached Rhubarb, goat cheese, quinoa and blue hill milk sorbet plus a plate of Chocolate Bread Pudding, blue hill milk jam and cocoa nibs ice cream. We joked that the coffee would be disappointing after that wonderful meal. They should grow coffee beans because this coffee was watery and contradicted all that we consumed.

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Field of Food Festivals in NJ

There must have been one time that an adult reprimanded you for eating while walking or running around. We all know now that it was done in our best interest, so as not to choke on food and to simply develop proper eating habits by sitting at a table and acting civilized. But let’s admit, it’s not easy to remain seated with the grill fired up and a hamburger, watermelon or ear of corn in hand.

Now that spring is in full swing in New Jersey, there are a number of opportunities to combine food and the outdoors. Here are a few that I try not to miss, mostly because the food goes beyond zeppoles and hot dog carts.

While the Hoboken Arts & Music festival does not denote food, it is a major component. The combination of music and food awakens your auditory, olfactory and gustatory senses all at once. Now that’s a way to feel alive. Hoboken offers this in both the spring and fall, so if you’re reading this after May 4, 2014, you have another chance this year to attend. The music performances are some of the best FREE acts you can see in New Jersey, including a headliner of high merit. This year it is Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes, but in years past, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Joan Jett, Peter Noone, Mickey Dolenz, Roger McGuinn, Flo & Eddie, and John Eddie. Yes, I’ve been to a few. But before settling into the music, it is a priority to grab some lunch from some of the finer vendors or restaurants with stands. It is probably the only time I ever eat a gyro. Two of the most popular vendors are closest to the end stage: the crab cakes and the brisket and pulled-pork sandwiches. For those who prefer traditional fair food, there are plenty of fried oreos, cheese steaks, and potato chips on a stick to give an elephant arterial discomfort.

My absolute favorite festival, however, comes along in June. It is the Annual Seafood Festival in Belmar. For all of you crazy crustacean lovers, this is a weekend-long celebration of breaking legs and peeling shells. Many of the tents offer the same types of platters that can include a whole lobster, shrimp, clams and corn on the cob for a set price. Walk around the field and scout them all before you jump at the first claw reaching out to you. The lines tend to be long, and seating is sparse. I prefer to take a few steps across the street and sit cross-legged on the boardwalk, facing the ocean while dipping everything in a little clarified butter and lemon and making a mess on my hands. There’s the added benefit of a beer and wine tent for those who want to wind down with a cold one, but looking at the Atlantic Ocean is generally calming enough.

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Now begins the season of great New Jersey festivals. If your focus is food, there are plenty of others such as: Shad Fest in Lambertville, Michael Arnone’s Crawfish Festival in Augusta, Highlands Clamfest in Highlands, NJ Chili & Salsa Cookoff in Toms River, plus many more. Now is your chance to be that rebellious child – grab some food and eat while walking!

A Seafood Gem (Okay, a Pearl)

imageI am not an impulse buyer; however, after seeing the photo of lobster stew that would be available New Year’s Day, I impulsively drove myself over the bridge to order it. The bowl initially looked small for an entree but was deceiving. It with jammed with potato, carrot, snap peas, truffle butter, cream, sherry, and of course chunks of lobster. It paid off to be impulsive!



Whether you like Mario Batali or not – I obviously do, if you’ve seen my blog posts – you have to respect a chef/restaurant owner who has four restaurants on Michelin’s 2014 NYC Star Ratings list. What I want to know, though, without him giving shameless self promotion, is what restaurants someone like Mario enjoys for himself. And here it is:, however, eats on a celebrity income; I, on the other hand, pretend to do that once or twice a year. His restaurants, in comparison to other star chefs’, are quite affordable though. As I’m perusing the list of NYC restaurants, it’s “skip, too expensive”, “skip”, “oh, this is a possibility”… I remember Cornelia Street because it’s where Mario’s first NYC restaurant (no longer his) opened in 1993  is located, and it is the first Batali eatery I ever patronized, and thus the catalyst for my sickening Batali dining…

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