Category Archives: New York

New York – Eataly

You know how I love a good food emporium…. well Eataly on Fifth Avenue in New York left me gasping 
O. M. G !!! …

It opened in October this year and is the brainchild of US super chefs Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich, her son and Mario’s restaurant partner Joe Bastianich – and Oscar Farinetti who started the original Eataly in Turin Italy.

This is a mega food temple without peer..

4,500 square metres of the best local and imported Italian produce.
Some of the produce is direct from Brooklyn Grange a rooftop farm in Queens.
There is a vegetable bar – ‘ The Vegetable Butcher – that will peel and prepare your produce for you. Think pesky artichokes or the peel on pumpkins…
The variety of citrus is incredible including Buddha Fingers
While it is largely an Italian-focussed complex the emphasis is on local produce grown organically
…and yes given this is Manhattan Fifth Avenue everything is styled Hollywood – ‘Mr de Mille I’m ready for my close-up’

ga -ga blocks of Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano

fresh, salty, crumbling shards
a salumi counter…
And ten different eateries all featuring the produce

La Brea Bakery breads and focaccias wood-fired on site.

home-made pasta..

.. that can be made to order..
An indulgent supply of fresh black and white truffles…
milk in old-fashioned bottles with cream on the top
A pasticceria run by Italian pastry chef Luca Montersino
Saucy is too overwhelmed. I’ve been wondering around mouth agape for two hours now. I may have to make a pit stop here to recover…

New York – Central Park in Fall

We’ve made a dash to New York for work and a little play….
A glorious burst of fall weather has to be enjoyed with a stroll through Central Park.
… and maybe a little row

… a riot of autumnal colour…

…on patrol

picture perfect…

..this bridge dates back to the 1890s…
Central Park covers about 3 1/2 square kilometres…

Now that crime in the park has dropped dramatically, 27 million joggers, skateboarders, families and visitors use the park each year.

 On weekends and after 7pm during the week the park is closed to traffic..

Its about the only place in New York to escape the humdrum..

The Park’s resident squirrels are like nimble rats able to bouce from trees to benches in seconds if they spy a feed
Most of the squirrel are Eastern-grey squirrels which are native to North America

Now this is my sort of garden

Hotel Beacon, Manhattan – A New York Must-Stay

We’ve been coming back to the Hotel Beacon for ten years now. Situated on Broadway in the leafy Upper West Side, the Hotel Beacon has become our New York home away from home. It is conveniently located on the Red subway line one block away from the West 72nd subway stop. The Beacon has undergone extensive renovations in the past three years, making the rooms and suites
 – all with kitchenettes – some of the best value for money accommodation you’ll find.  With two great supermarkets literally across the road (Fairway and Citarella) and the food emporium, Zabars, five blocks away you can easily cook up the treats you find in the markets.  And sometimes – even when you’re in the ciy that never sleeps – you just want to rug up inside, cook some spag bol and watch some trashy TV!
Our suite had a spacious lounge/dining room, kitchen and a bathroom off the entrance hallway
My blogging station. The Beacon has WiFi ($10 for 24 hours) and an iPod docking station
The king-size bed was heavenly comfortable
delicious crisp white sheets and downy pillows
flat screen tv in both the living room and bedroom
lots of room to relax
great shower and deep bath
tiny kitchen that is equipped with everything except a sharp knife which we had to buy from Zabars
high-wattage microwave and good bagel toaster
just enough room for a cuppa….
..and to throw together a comforting bolognaise.
 the Beacon has a doorman who will take in your bags and call you a cab which makes all the difference when the winter wind whips up
most Beacon guests are from Australia and Europe
 The staff are efficient, friendly but low-key – just the way I like it.
 The Beacon has over 25 floors and 250 rooms and suites
The Fairway supermarket and cafe from our window across Broadway
 Fairway is opened from 7am until 1am and gets it’s organic food deliveries in big semi-trailers
A beautiful French Haussman-style apartment block opposite the Beacon Hotel

Salumeria Rosi, Upper West Side, Manhattan

Most New Yorkers disparage the Upper West Side as an ‘eating wasteland’. But how wrong they are. There are some terrific understated gems hovering just below the publicity radar. One of them is Salumeria Rosi. Just over a year old on Amsterdam Ave near theWest 72nd St Red subway stop, this cured meat and cheese deli/bar/restaurant reminded us of all those stylish mod-trad Italian eateries in Melbourne.
Great theatrical fit-out complete with a dramatic plaster friese on the ceiling.
There are dozens of freshly sliced proscuittos, hams and salamis to nibble with foccacia and wine or several simple yet big flavoured tapas-size dishes from squash and goats cheese risotto to slow-baked lamb rib in tomato and rosemary sauce. For an Aussie on holiday a home away from home!
Salumeria Rosi Deli
Eat in or stock up on a take-out antipasto plate
salamis, cheese, dips, and arisanal breads
plaster freize on black reflective perspex ceiling and wall
Your table setting comes with a fragrant sprig of rosemary tucked into the linen napkin. Nice touch!
This pinot grigio was a perfect accompaniment to the tapas plates
marinated white anchovies on a bed of shredded red cabbage
All fuelled up and ready to catch our 1 hour train to Redbank, New Jersey to see Darlene Love and Ronnie Spector of ‘Phil Spector Wall of Sound’ fame perform their Christmas Show
…. knowing Americans this is very funny …..

finally arrive at our destination…
The famous Count Basie Theatre has just undergone extensive renovations thanks to a fundraising concert by local boy turned good Bruce Springsteen. For locals, tonight is a social calendar event to see the renovations unveiled.
Darlene Love is on first and at 68 is extraordinary – big voice, great mover and high energy. Absolute star power especially her rendition of River Deep, Mountain High. Ronnie Spector (who we saw ten years ago) is showing her age. She appeared to be sedated and needed the musical director to remind her what song was next. Still worth the trek out to New Jersey again!

Union Square Markets, New York

The Union Square Markets have an extraordinary assortment of farm and homemade products displayed rustically among crates and flapping canvas. This farmers market or ‘green market’ set the standard that other big city fresh food markets around the world have followed. They were established in 1976 to enable local farmers to sell their produce directly to consumers. Farmers set up shop every week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays and come from a 150 kilometre radius. There are over 1000 different varieties of fruit, vegetables, cheeses, breads, fish and meat sold. Even though the below freezing temperatures had numbed my feet and hands, armed with a cup of hot spicy apple cider, I managed to inspect every stall before retreating to the legendary Union Street Cafe for lunch.
how good do these carrots look?
honeycrisp apples
turnips and beets
a golden beet definitely from the underworld
wish I could have cooked up a dish with this broccoli and garlic
brussel sprouts are winter vegetable de jour over here.
The best way I have had them is peeled into individual leaves and deep fried with garlic and onion at ‘South’ restaurant in San Francisco
golden pears
acorn squash
hmmmm…buttered and baked
artisian breads
and biscuits
….apple pie, pumpkin pie and rhubarb crumbles
delicious fresh cheeses
farm fresh googs
every yoghurt flavour
harvested this morning
crays, clams…
…and Bluepoint oysters
The yanks love their turkey….
homemade jams and spreads
didn’get to try this unusal one
what an interesting pasta flavour

Shilla Korean BBQ Restaurant, Little Korea, New York

When you have to feed 8.3 million people three times a day you get pretty efficient at it. Eating in New York can be a little like ‘get ’em in, get ’em out’. Where Australians like to languidly sit through a meal over a few glasses of wine New Yorkers want their food at their table even before they’ve ordered. Nearly every eating establishment from high end to low end whizzes out a bread basket and iced water while you’re stilll peeling off your layers of winter armour. The ‘check’ arrives before you’ve eaten your last bite. It takes a bit of getting used to.
Seeking a hit of spicy Asian food we made our way to Little Korea located around East 31st St bet 5th and 6th Avenue. This is a superb strip of authentic Korean delights from the freshest dumplings to at-your-table BBQs.
This lunch was a very languid affair…..
BBQ mixed vegetables

BBQ pork tenderloin strips
daikon kimchi
pickled broccoli
fermented black beans
marinated mushrooms
spicy cabbage kimchi
spicy chilli sauce
gyoza  – pork and chicken dumplings

Brooklyn – The Day I Ate Two Lunches

Manhatta – the original Indian name for Manhattan Island
New York consists of many burroughs but rarely do visitors venture out of the Manhattan Island district. Brooklyn has become quite a hip enclave since my last trip and a walking tour reveals some wonderful brownstone architecture and the best views of the Manhattan skyline. The Brooklyn Heights Promenade – built literally above the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway – is an invigorating way to take in the Statue of Liberty, East River and the Brooklyn Bridge.
The Brooklyn Bridge was an engineering feat for its time.
The disused wharves on the waterfront are being transformed into parkland, sports complexes and marinas
We had planned to have lunch at The River Cafe but the line outside the famous Grimaldis Pizzeria just up the road tempted us inside for an appetiser. To be fair, there’s nothing like walking in below freezing temperatures to build the appetite.
I’d read that Frank Sinatra was such a fan of Grimaldis Pizza that he had it flown in to wherever in the country he was performing. A good yarn… possibly marketing spin (little did I know..).
From the outside you wouldn’t know the gastronomic treat that lay within.
The place is packed with locals, tourists and a couple of guys that look like they’ve just walked off The Sopranos set.
The pizza chefs carry out their craft with a nonchalant laid-backness
Grimaldis believes it is their coal-fired oven that gives their pizzas its crunchy crust and characteristic smokiness.
We order the simple Marguerita with extra garlic.
Wow! Lives up to the hype. Stringy cheese, fresh tomato sauce and minty basil leaves. Oh and that crust!Combined with the extra garlic hit we are in mobster heaven!
Absolutely worth a trek to Brooklyn just to experience pizza the way they use to make it in the ol’ country.
Now onto Lunch No 2 at the River Cafe.
The River Cafe is situated right on the Brooklyn waterfront under the Brooklyn Bridge and must have one of the best views in the world.

We grab a perch at the bar first to soak in that glorious vista….

The Big Apple behind the big strawberry
Manhattan through a Moscato..
Overwhelmed by the location we decadently order a dozen oysters which come freshly shucked with a lemon and black pepper granita.
The granita is a delicious accompaniment to the saltiness of the oysters.
And while we’re being gluttoness why not order the ‘Lobster and Lobster’ which is a chunk of lobster claw served with a lobster brioche sandwich.
Petit Fours: bite-size gingerbread men, chocolate-coated toffee and some almond biscuits.
Where did we find the room?
And that, my friends, was the day I ate two lunches.