Events, New York City Eats

summer has only begun…

Summer of 2011 has been eventful so far and I admittedly love it!   It’s always been one of my most dreaded season of the year because I do not do well with heat, humidity and  did I mention summer in New York City rancid smell is unbearable.  This may sound depressing to some people but the only thing I ever looked forward to during summer is longer daylights and juicy watermelon.   Since working for a non-profit local, regional farmer’s market, New Amsterdam Market, I’ve been enlightened and introduced to many amazing food, from fresh seasonal produce to dining at restaurants who cooks and source ingredients mindfully.

Things I ate at the market today 7.10.2011 includes:

Maple Sugar on Pretzel Stick Cotton Candy from Liddabit Sweets 

Sour Cherry Soda from P& H Soda & Co.

Avocado Ice Cream from La Newyorkina

Mast Brothers Chocolate Chocolate Cookie from Blue Bottle Coffee

And a specially made a BOMB Mi (Chef Scott Bridi’s interpretation of a Vietnamese Bahn Mi with handmade pate and pork rilette, cilantro, sriracha mayo, and pickled garlic scape ) from Brooklyn Cured. – it’s da bomb!  yeah Breuklen

In addition the market highlights a lot of fresh, vibrant and seasonal produce.  Today was a  fruit day.  I end the day with  5 types of fruits to carry home and perfect for any fruit salad, jam, tart, yogurt, honey…  Or simply enjoy the fruit on its own with a gentle wash under running cold water.

Blueberry from Flying Fox

Hand picked apricots and blueberries from Flying Fox

Peaches and sour cheeries from Toigo Orchards

And the smallest plums I have ever held and tasted from Do Re Me Farms

I am fascinated by the abundance of fruits and the variety that grows in the NY State and in the Northeast region.  The vastness and richness of what our region provide is a gem and we need to appreciate it more and it starts by supporting and eating local.  Come say hello at New Amsterdam Market.  Every Sunday 11am -4pm near the Old Fulton Fish Market.  South Street,  (Between Beekman St & Peck Slip)


I apologize I have not been writing as diligently as I like to but all that will change soon or at least that is my goal.   As a recap of my summer thus far :

Rockaway Taco: Fish Taco and Chorizo with Guac Taco

7. 9. 2011 – Sunbathing at Far Rockaway Beach and a bite at Rockaway Taco with friends.  Far Rockaway is an example of gentrification as it continues to with new restaurants and food concession opens on the boardwalk.   The neighborhood feels less threatening, much safer and a lot more trendier than 2003.  And the beach is fairly clean comparably to any beach within New York City with waves suit for a surfer.

7. 2. 2011 – Hiking and foraging for mushrooms at Bear Mountain in the Hudson Valley region with family.  My mom has her eyes on fungi.  She spotted a number of different mushrooms which we only photographed and left it untouched in the wild. 2 years later the Appalachian trail which cuts through  here from Maine to Georgia have completed building steps along the trail making the hike extra leisure and easy but still mesmerizing to walk through with tranquil sounds of nature.

6. 29. 2011: Celebrated my awesome mom’s 55th birthday at a vegetarian Korean restaurant, Hangawi,  with an elaborate menu.  The decor of the restaurant transports you to Korea and the floor seating design will make anyone sitting in lotus position look like a master yogi.  What I enjoyed most was to eat barefooted as it is an dining etiquette.

6. 28. 2011:  Shake Shack  now closer to home.  Visited their newest outpost in Financial District.  Shroom burger is the best option for any vegetarians.  Wash it down with  a milkshake or concrete!

6. 24. 2011:  Used my novice oyster shucking skills at my friend Anneliese’s birthday home-cooked party.  On the birthday menu included East Coast Oysters, Seafood Paella, Greenmarket tossed salad, baguette with cheese and quince (YUM), and Adirondack ice cream affogato!

Radegast Hall & Biergarten: Pretzel, Grilled Sausages, Sauerkrauts and Fries

6. 23. 2011:  Took advantage of the free East River Ferry from Pier 11 to North 6 Williamsburg to celebrate first week of summer solstice with friends at Radegast Hall & Biergarten with draft beers and sausages and sauerkrauts.  Pretzel is freshly baked and soft with unique condiments on the side.  A great comfort dish is their Spatzel with gouda cheese, cabbage and Hunter’s bacon like a classic mac n’ cheese.

Bobo Lamb salad at Edible's Seven Ingredients Festival

6. 18. 2011:  Attended the Edible Local Seven Ingredients event during their Eat, Drink, Local Week.  7 ingredients: Rhubarb, Strawberry, Peas, Chives and Green Garlic,  Oyster, Lamb and Yogurt.   Appetizing appetizers all evening long.

6. 9. 2011:  Volunteered at Tasting Table Lobster Rumble (General admission: $130; VIP admission: $250; Volunteered: FREE)  17 different lobster rolls to sample from and all  intrinsically different.  Some lighter than other, other more mayo, more butter, more bun…mmm  I helped two chefs from Boston, MA,  B & G Oysters & Menton to griddle countless numbers of hot dog buns and ate countless of lobster rolls.   The team I helped out B & G Oysters were of course the best!

6. 7. 2011:  Grand Opening restaurant, Casa Nonna Party.   American food meets American Italian food.  Cute petite cup sized milkshakes.

And summer in New York City has only begun…


Casa Nonna ///310 West 38th Street (between 8th & 9th Avenue) New York, NY 10018

Radegast Hall & Biergarten /// 113 N. 3rd Street Brooklyn, NY 11211

Shake Shack /// Multiple locations: 215 Murray Street New York, NY 10282

Hangawai /// 12 East 32nd Street New York, NY 10016

Rockaway Taco /// 95-19 Rockaway Boulevald, New York NY 11693

New Amsterdam Market /// South Street Between Beekman Street & Peck Slip, New York NY 10038

text and images © iluvpotato 2011

New York City Eats

The Perfect Cup of Coffee …and Apple Cider too.

Recently, Yahoo news posted a list of 100 things that makes you happy.  Listed on top 10 was the perfect cup of coffee.  The taste, the smell of coffee is uplifting on any given day.  Coffee sets the mood and it is part of the Western culture.  Over business, a friendly outing, a routine, or just because.   As a former Starbucks barista for 2+ years and as a daily pick me up during  the middle of the day, I think I have had enough coffee in my life by now that I am certified to be a coffee connoisseur.  So here are what I have encounter on my search to the perfect cup of coffee.

Once a Starbucks barista always will be a Starbucks customer.  I do regularly crave for my usual favorite and that is the iced grande hazelnut coffee with half and half.  It is a safe choice whichever Starbucks you step into it is more or less consistent whereas the lattes and cappuccino it really depends on the  skills of the barista.  Thankfully, less than 1 mile radius from the office I work at in Chelsea, the Starbucks on 23rd and 8th ave brews close to the palette I desire.

Not very far away on 23rd and 9th ave, recently turned 2 years old is Joe the Art of Coffee. Sister branch of the original Waverly Place location which started as a mom and pop coffee shop have now expanded soon to be fifth location tailored to the Upper West Side nautical family.  Joe the Art of Coffee have made latte art into mainstream and have really set the bar for all coffee shops to require to have latte art.   Most of the design is not fancy, no Hello Kitty latte art here just the basic leaf and heart.  The balance between milk and espresso is exceptional and the baristas are hip too.

Last Friday I had Good Friday off.  Thank You Jesus!  So I decided to pampered myself on my way to pick up my half marathon gear at the 2 World Financial Center.  I made a quick coffee stop at Financier Patisserie and right opposite is of course Starbucks.  Financier Patisserie is best known for the French influence pastries.  Leading to the weekend of Easter Sunday, Financier Patisserie was festive and Easter ready with various pastries with beautiful Easter themed designs.  I ordered an iced coffee and the staffs are by far the jolliest I have encounter at a coffee shop in awhile.  Along with my iced coffee I received a little treat, a mini madeleine wrapped in a clear plastic with the Financier logo.  The iced coffee was good but the service and mainly the surprise treat really exceeded my expectation of Financier Patisserie.  Will definitely return for sweets in the future.

Packaging has become such a crucial part to marketing coffee in what coffee has become a commodity.  Remember the 50 cents cup of coffee in a “We are Happy to Serve You” paper cup.  Irving Farm teamed with a renowned graphic designer Louise Fili and created the most beautiful coffee bean packaging found in the coffee sections of Whole Foods.  Being curious,  I had to get my hands on a cup of Irving Farm at the Irving Farm coffee shop on 14th street and 7th Ave. If you like mild coffee Irving Farm is your kind of brew.  I personally like my coffee bold so the design of Irving Farm is what really makes this coffee shop standout from the pack.  The coffee shop also carries bake goods from local bakeries such as the Almond Croissant from Balthazar Bakery.  This is the best croissant I have had since visiting Paris.  The almond croissant had toasted almonds on the outside and frangipan filling on the inside. It was buttery but not overly greasy.   Though it is on the expensive side for $3.25 I shared the croissant with my family of four which is why it may have tasted so good.  Everything just taste better when you share.

Other than the perfect cup of coffee,  on the menu of many coffee shops have hot cider and no where other than Shake Shack at the heart of Madison Square Park have the best caramel apple cider with a side of munchkin donuts during the winter months.  Shake Shack Shroom Burger makes me happy too.

I have my regular go to spot but when you’re in New York City why not go explore from your comfort realm.  Coffee shops I would like to try, so let’s meet up and sip:


Grey Dog’s Coffee

Gorilla Coffee

Indian Road Cafe & Market

Stumptown Coffee