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Archive for the ‘Culinary’ Category

Oct
08

Got a sweet tooth?

Then New York City is the place for you. As one of the culinary capitals of the world, New York has more than its share of places to indulge the kid in you—or, you know, like, your actual kid.

When I was a lass, we once had the grand pleasure of getting room-service sundaes from Rumplemeyer’s in the now-defunct St. Moritz Hotel. Considering that I’m 37 years old and can still taste the hot fudge sauce, you could say it made an impression.

Make a similar lasting impression on your wee ones and hit some of the city’s sweetest spots.

Dylan’s Candy Bar: From gummy bears to popcorn, if you can’t find it here, you can’t find it anywhere. This Third Avenue shop is a must-see for any chocoholic, no matter how old.

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Chocolate Bar

Alison Nelson’s Chocolate Bar: Putting a modern spin on retro favorites is this café’s speciality. Billing itself as a “candy store for grown-ups,” you can indulge in savory chocolate sandwiches, nostalgia-inspired candy bars, gelato or the classic brownie. Or a salad. I say skip the salad, dude. The original West Village store recently closed and relocated to the East Village.

Rice To Riches: Candy not your thing? How about pudding? Mmmmm, puuuuddding. Rice to Riches specializes in nothing but rice pudding. But this ain’t your mama’s pudding, mamas. No, this shop has flavors ranging from traditional to “Category 5 Caramel.” I know from what I speak—I once ordered a vat of the stuff for my honey for Valentine’s Day, and we both ate our way to nirvana.

Serendipity 3: What could be better than frozen hot chocolate? Hey, Oprah loves it, and America loves it some Oprah. Run, don’t walk to this legendary New York City sweet spot. Grab a burger, then top the meal off with an Outrageous Banana Split or a Strawberry Fields Sundae. Expect long lines.

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Dessert Truck. Photograph by Rich Velasco.

Dessert Truck: Need your sweet fix while on the run? Scout out this sugar-on-wheels purveyor pushing $5 treats, such as molten chocolate cake served topped with sea salt and roasted pistachios. Two locations Park Avenue and 52nd Street days; Third Avenue and St. Marks Place (8th Street) nights.

Now I’m craving chocolate. Excuse me while I go scheme ways to get myself to New York City. Perhaps parcel post?

(For recommendations for more substantial family friendly fare, read TravelMuse’s 7 Favorite Family Friendly Restaurants article, or for adults, its 10 Top NYC Restaurant Experiences piece.)

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Oct
06

I wrote about 10 of my favorite places for a good meal in New York in this week’s Taste Buds column, but wanted to share a few of my least favorite, or what I think are overrated restaurant experiences in the city. Yes, I know both lists are subjective, which is why I ask you to please send in your comments and share your favorite or least favorite New York restaurants.

1. Magnolia Bakery. Cupcakes are dry; frosting is too sickly sweet. And that line—oy! If you must go, visit the new location opening next Monday in Midtown’s Rockefeller Center, where all the other tourist traps are located. Otherwise try Billy’s Bakery instead for a truly great cake.

2. Lombardi’s Pizzeria. Dry crust, bland sauce, overpriced. Pizzeria worth its hype? Stick to Grimaldi’s on Fulton Street near the East River in Brooklyn, worth every bit of its hype.

3. Dos Caminos. The service is fine and the portions good sized, but the food is average at best, and the restaurants are way too noisy (have been to the Park Avenue South and SoHo locations). Though in a teeny tiny space, I’m a big fan of the authentic Itzocan Café in the East Village. Excellent dishes all around. 438 E. 9th St., tel. 212-677-5856.

4. Sylvia’s. Why this place still gets recommended I’ll never know. It’s been calling it in and living off its reputation for years. The vegetables taste canned; the fried chicken burnt during my last visit. Instead go to the much tastier Spoonbread, with two Harlem locations.

5. Nobu. I know I’m committing sacrilege to many, but after poor service coupled with good but not great sushi there, followed by a merely average meal at Nobu Next Door, I’ll pass on spending my disposable income here. A favorite low-key, affordable alternative: Tsukushi. No menu—you get served whatever six or seven courses the chef decided on based on what was fresh at the market that morning. 300 E. 41st St., tel. 212-599-8888.