NYC’s Most Undeniably Delicious Fall Desserts

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Pumpkin spice cake & cupcakes // Magnolia Bakery

Though most of us are probably still wondering where summer went, fall is a greatly anticipated season. Who doesn’t love the crisp air, leaf peeping, sweaters, Halloween and, of course, all the wonderful, warming flavors that come along with this change in season?

That’s right, I’m talking about pumpkin spice and everything nice.

So for all you dessert lovers, here’s a round-up the best fall desserts being offered throughout the city. Make sure to get your fill—peppermint season (winter!) will be here before you know it.

Magnolia Bakery

As one of NYC’s most iconic bakeries, Magnolia Bakery goes all out in showcasing the sweetest seasonal flavors of fall.

This cozy bakery will be offering its traditional pies that include an apple crumb, pumpkin praline pie or black bottom pecan, as well as its seasonal cupcakes in flavors that include harvest apple with cranberries, raisins and pecans, topped with a caramel meringue buttercream.

Moreover, there will be a whole slew of pumpkin desserts offered such as pumpkin spice cake and cupcakes with dried cranberries and spices, topped with caramel cream cheese icing, pumpkin cheesecake made with a gingersnap pecan crust and a pumpkin pecan bar with a spiced pumpkin pecan filling on a brown sugar shortbread crust.

Ring Ding Bar

Ring Dings are a modern spin of the classic 1960s snack cakes. Initially launched at TriBeCa’s, Duane Park Patisserie in the summer of 2016, these heavenly handheld cakes are made from scratch by acclaimed chef, Madeline Lanciani.

Using all natural ingredients, they come in flavors that range from dulce de leche and French toast to pistachio raspberry and lemon crème.

Fall seasonal flavors will include pumpkin pie with pumpkin pie spice cream filling and pumpkin colored white chocolate for the month of October as well as ginger spice with old-fashioned Ginger molasses cake, vanilla cream filling and dark chocolate icing for November.

Momofuku Milk Bar

From the masterminds behind cereal milk soft serve and the appropriately named crack pie, comes fall favorites pumpkin pie cake truffles and pumpkin pie cake.

Take a bite out of a pumpkin pie cake truffle and there’s a high chance you won’t be satisfied with any regular ol’ pumpkin pie ever again. Enjoy the flavors of crumbled spiced pumpkin cake mixed with pumpkin milk, which is then coated with white chocolate and rolled in spiced pie and graham cracker crumbs.

If you need larger scale pumpkin pie cake deliciousness, order the pumpkin pie cake which is a spiced pumpkin cake layered with graham cracker cheesecake and rich pumpkin ganache, topped with candied pumpkin seeds and pie crumbs!

Gotham Bar and Grill

Every first day of fall, Pastry chef Ron Paprocki brings back his famed apple tarte tatin. With each tart baked to order, the beautiful creation is a flawless dessert that incorporates caramelized Braeburn apples within a buttery, flaky puff pastry.

Topped with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream and there you have the quintessential fall indulgence. Look forward to plump bites of apple and an unparalleled flavor combination of burnt brown sugar and butter.

Loews Regency New York Hotel

This luxurious mid-town hotel recently launched Flavors NYC, an experience that allows guests to taste hyper-local culinary flavors without ever needing to leave the property. Featured on its fall menu is West Village bakery, Mah Ze Dahr’s brown butter apple tart made with honey crisp apples.

These seasonal apples are enveloped in brown butter and then dressed with an oat pecan streusel. Be sure to top it with a scoop of vanilla gelato. Not into fruit desserts? Order a cookie plate that include maple pecan and ginger snap cookies.

Mastro’s Steakhouse

Despite possibly being dangerously stuffed by the end of your meal, insist on leaving room for dessert. Maestro’s dessert offerings include a sweet, slightly tart cherry crisp with Bing cherries cooked with sugar and almond extract, topped with a buttery pecan streusel and served warm with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on top.

Another decadent option? Its signature warm butter cake.

In addition to a ton of butter within the traditional yellow cake, a cream cheese cheesecake mixture is placed on top before getting baked off all at once. Just prior to arrival at your table, sugar is poured on top of the cake, caramelized with a torch and finally, topped with ice cream.

Gristmill Farm

Situated in the center of Brooklyn’s Park Slope, head to the seasonal eatery Gristmill Farm for its freshly churned sweet corn ice cream. This farm-to-table focused restaurant frequently changes its menu based on what locally sourced ingredients are available.

That said, you can count on corn ice cream to be incorporated throughout dessert menu with items like the corn and nectarine sundae with blueberry jam, pie crust and black pepper honey whipped cream in rotation.

Rider

Located within Williamsburg, Rider is a trendy, bi-level American bistro that serves an eclectic range of cuisine. Its dessert menu is no exception. If you’re in the mood for a fall-ish sweet treat that isn’t your average pumpkin spice dessert, head here.

Rider features a peas + carrots dessert with carrot cake Swiss roll, cinnamon toasted spelt and pea ice cream and a tahini semifreddo with miso caramel, ginger snap, honey crisp apple and sesame seeds.

Bistro Chat Noir

Upper East Side’s Bistro Chat Noir is an NYC landmark townhouse turned French bistro conveniently located nearby Central Park. Anyone that’s been in NYC during the fall knows that few things are more perfect than strolling through the park while the leaves are all shades of red, orange and yellow.

Pop in post-park stroll and warm up with a harvest crepe dessert trio. Enjoy three total crepes filled with Nutella, caramel sauce and orange zest; sweet potato puree, cinnamon and crème fraiche; and lastly pumpkin maple puree and caramelized apples.

Gallow Green 

Unlike other rooftop bars in NYC, Gallow Green, located in the McKittrick Hotel, (the home of the immersive theater piece “Sleep No More,”) is a magical getaway year-round. During spring and summer, Gallow Green is a secret garden set in an abandoned train station in Scotland.

In the fall and winter, it transforms into The Lodge at Gallow Green, a cozy winter wonderland complete with ski chalet vibe and mountainous cabin-themed décor.

New to Gallow Green’s menu this month is the classic apple strudel made with Gala apples baked in puff pastry with butter, sugar and cinnamon.

Kingside

On the street level of Viceroy Central Park New York resides Kingside, a dynamic seasonally driven restaurant that serves New American classics. This fall, the dessert menu features a caramel pudding with Bourbon whipped cream, popcorn, ice cream and pretzel crumble.

Healthy At-Home Alternatives

Luckily for those attempting to stay healthy this fall, there are a few sweet, yet wholesome treats to satisfy your cravings. For those that love snacking, try out Blue Diamond‘s seasonal Pumpkin Spice almonds which are packed with everyone’s favorite fall flavors.

If you’re a fan of creamy yogurt, noosa yoghurt recently launched an array of favorite autumn flavors including the maple ginger, with crunchy granola, gingersnap streusel and candied ginger, pumpkin, with real pumpkin puree and a touch of clover wildflower honey, along with the all-American apple, which is basically apple pie without the crust.

The original article is featured in Travel Pulse and can be read here.

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NYC’s Most Festive Fall-Inspired Cocktails

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The Harvest Sour // Bar Moga

As New York City says goodbye to the sweltering heat of summer, restaurants and bars throughout the city launch their autumn-inspired menus, which are always accompanied by seasonal libations.

From apple and cranberry to ginger and coffee, the flavors of the season meet their match with wines, ciders, bourbons and more.

So when you decide you’re over the classic pumpkin spice latte, here’s a roundup to help you find the perfectly spiced, warming drink substitution.

The Campbell

Situated within Grand Central Terminal, The Campbell is a masterfully restored New York institution with a luxe, swanky atmosphere. Warm up with a coffee old fashioned with Suntori Toki Japanese whisky, coffee syrup and coffee bitters, garnished with a citrus twist.

The Flying Cock

A Murray Hill gastropub, The Flying Cock is a popular hotspot that offers a pretty epic boozy brunch. However, if you want to swing by for just the boozy part, you won’t be disappointed. Order the seasonally appropriate Pants On Fire, which is a mix of bourbon, root beer liqueur, cinnamon, angostura bitters and ginger beer.

Mr. Purple

On the 15th floor of Hotel Indigo Lower East Side is Mr. Purple, an ultra-chic rooftop bar and restaurant. Enjoy panoramic views of the city as you sip on The Blood and Sand, a stiff libation with Macallan 12 year scotch, vermouth, Cherry Heering and orange juice.

Loews Regency New York Hotel

Upscale, art deco inspired Loews Regency New York Hotel is featuring two fall cocktails that highlight favorite autumn flavors.

For a strong cocktail, check out the Autumn Old Fashion which incorporates orange, cranberry nectar, bourbon and Angostura bitters in a glass, then garnished with an orange peel and finished with a cinnamon sugar rim.

Interested in a sweet treat? Order the Baked Apple Pie cocktail. With muddled apple, cinnamon sugar syrup, mezcal, bourbon and cider, this cocktail is the ideal dessert substitution for a slice of apple pie.

If these two drinks don’t do it for you, take advantage of Flavor by Loews Hotels, a newly launched experience giving guests the chance to try out local flavors, by tasting one of the many Brooklyn Gin cocktails offered.

Dullboy Bar

If you’re looking for something that feels seasonal without the usual coffee and pumpkin spice flavors that dominate October, check out The Bold & Smokey by Gabriel Rieben of Dullboy Bar in Jersey City.

With Paul John Bold Whisky, Stolen Smoked Rum, Gran Classico bitter liqueur and St. George Spiced Pear Liqueur, it’s a fun twist on the typical brown spirit cocktail.

The Stanton Social

Known for chef-owner Chris Santos’ menu of eclectic tapas, The Stanton Social is offering the Fall to Pieces this autumn season. This libation has a nice tropical twist thanks to its splash of Coconut Oil Washed Monkey Spiced Rum and is accompanied by lime and cinnamon flavors.

SUGARCANE raw bar grill Brooklyn

Old Havana-inspired SUGARCANE raw bar grill in Brooklyn is offering a Tobacco Rum Old Fashioned with Mount Gay Black Barrel rum, maple syrup, Angostura bitters and homemade cigar bitters. Between the maple syrup and the tobacco-infused flavors, it’s akin to sitting next to a fireplace in Vermont.

Hudson’s at Pier 81

Want to cozy up with a warm drink while admiring views of the Manhattan skyline? Take a seat aboard Hudson’s at Pier 81, a lounge and rooftop situated on a 3-story, 160 ft. yacht.

While cruising on the river, why not take in the unobstructed views of the city with a hot Hull of a Mulled Wine in hand? With spices, a hint of lemon and red wine, this beverage is all sorts of comforting.

Bar Moga

Bar Moga is a hip, newly opened “1920s Japanese cocktail bar,” that features Japanese-influenced libations in a retro, glam setting.

A fall specialty that can’t be missed? The Harvest Sour which is a potent concoction of lemon, applejack, rye whiskey, egg white and Angostura and Peychaud bitters.

Runner & Stone

Local favorite Runner & Stone is a neighborhood restaurant, bakery and bar in Brooklyn. If you find yourself in the Gowanus area, pop in and order the inventive Build Me Up Butternut with Old Overholt Rye, butternut squash syrup and allspice dram.

Saxon + Parole

The East Village’s Saxon + Parole is an equestrian-themed American eatery offering a menu full of meat-centric dishes in a lively atmosphere.

For a caffeinated cocktail to get your evening started, order the Take That, Dark & Storm. With espresso-infused rum, ginger beer, lime juice and candied ginger, it’s a sweet zinger of a cocktail.

P.S. Kitchen

Whisky and hearty autumn vegetables go hand in hand. Curious about how roots complement the spirit’s peaty notes? Then head to P.S. Kitchen, a vegan restaurant where 100 percent of profits go to charity, to try The XO. This libation is made with smoked single malt whisky, fresh beet juice, orange juice, muddled raspberries and maple syrup.

Gloria

This Hell’s Kitchen locale is a cozy, contemporary restaurant dedicated to sustainable seafood plates. For a cocktail that showcases the herbal earthiness of a good gin, pair your meal with the Featherbottom. This libation combines gin, cardamaro, bonal and spruce, creating a minimally sweet, crisp drink.

Mastro’s Steakhouse

In the mood for creamy, indulgent after dinner cocktails? Mastro’s Steakhouse is your best pick with two dessert-like cocktails to choose from.

The salted caramel martini features vodka, Gabriel Boudier liqueur de caramel and whipped cream served up with a sea salt rim. The espresso martini consists of Patron XO Café, Svedka vanilla vodka and fresh espresso shaken cold and served up.

Ai Fiori 

Altamarea Group’s Ai Fiori is rolling out “Fall Fridays” this season. Every Friday, after 3 p.m., guests can come in and enjoy a NY Whisky Flight and select ciders and fall cocktails.

In addition, it’s offering Apple Cider Madeleines paired with Orchard Hill Cider Mill, Ten66 Red Label Pommeau.

The Late Late

Located in the Lower East Side, The Late Late is a retro, Irish-inspired pub that prides itself on being a “local” establishment. Start your night with an almost traditional Irish coffee with Irish whiskey, mezcal, espresso liqueur, whipped cream and Cadbury chocolate dust.

The original article is featured in Travel Pulse and can be read here.

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Urbanspace’s Broadway Bites is B A C K

I love having options — who doesn’t amirite? If you live in NYC, chances are you’ve seen Urbanspace’s phenomenal pop-up markets stacked with the best food vendors around. Up and coming. Innovative. Established. Cult-like following. Instagram-worthy. All things delicious live at these markets. Officially open June 1 through July 14 is Broadway Bites at Greeley Square on Broadway, between 32nd and 33rd Street. I had the chance to attend a VIP tasting this week, which basically means I got to stuff my face as much as I could within a few hours. And believe me, I didn’t hold back. Here’s a sneak peak at what you have to look forward to.

Broadway Bites is open daily Monday – Sunday 11am – 9pm. Full list of vendors on website.

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Renegade Lemonade
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Mighty Quinn’s BBQ
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Doughnut Project
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Mi Burger
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Domo Taco
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Squish Marshmallow
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BAO by KAYA
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Ice & Vice
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Squish Marshmallow
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Mochidoki

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NYC Spotlight | Cosme

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Flatiron District’s Cosme serves outstanding contemporary Mexican-inspired cuisine time and time again.

Chef Enrique Olvera brings together the beloved, traditional elements of Mexican food with innovative flavor and ingredient combinations at New York City’s Cosme restaurant. Setting this super trendy, upscale Flatiron spot a part from the countless other exclusive, majorly-hyped restaurants is the creativity of the menu offerings. In addition, its lively bar is top notch and is stocked with around 30 mezcals and 20 tequila, making for a great variety of fantastic cocktails. With warm lighting, copper tones and wooden tables and shelves lining the walls filled with bottles of wine and mezcal, books and chic kitchen ware, the atmosphere is modern, yet comfortable and cozy. Another nice touch are the vibrant, leafy green plants throughout the restaurant.  img_8034cosme3cosme6Start with a tuna tostada which comes with capers, avocado and a slight yuzu citrus on a crispy signature tortilla. Another solid seafood dish is the octopus-scallop cocktail which is served over a black aguachile with charred avocado and slivers of cucumber. The tender lobster with shiso, ginger mojo and brown butter is a unique play on the lobster and butter combo. The freshness of the ginger and shiso flavors keep this dish from feeling too heavy. Any fan of soft shell crab should go for the crunchy soft shell crab that features a well-spiced yellow mole, green papaya salad and lemon verbena.cosmecosme1On to the meat dishes! If there’s one thing you absolutely need to get it’s the duck carnitas which comes sizzling in a iron cast skillet with onions, radishes and cilantro. The duck is ridiculously flavorful. Rich, the right amount of fatty (as duck should be) and indulgent, the carnitas falls apart and is literal roasted perfection. Wrap it up in a purple corn tortilla. Boom. There you have the best soft taco ever. The short rib with scallions, cipollini and avocado is a close second must-order. Likewise extremely tender, this hunk of meat has enormous flavor and practically melts in your mouth.
cosme4cosme2You can’t leave Cosme before wrapping up your dinner with the instagram-famous and drool-inducing husk meringue with corn mousse. Cracked open and filled with a creamy, luscious corn mousse, this dessert is the ultimate balance of sweet and savory. It has a slight salty component to it which pairs excellently with the sweet crunchiness of the meringue and the decadent mousse.

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NYC Spotlight | Sanatorium

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Sanatorium: a hospital for the treatment of chronic diseases or various nervous disorders. 
 If you’re over regular, run-of-the-mill, Lower East Side bars, then rejuvenate with innovative libations at Sanatorium — a new, hidden cocktail bar from Apotheke creator, Albert Trummer, also known as the “scientist of cocktails.” Truly one-of-a-kind, the theme of this upscale cocktail lounge is, you guessed it, a hospital.

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Though it might seem a bit off-putting to order drinks with names like Stitched Up (Turkish fig-infused rye whiskey) and In the Ambulance (thyme elixir, orange oil, and fresh rosemary), after one sip you’ll forget all about your former hesitations.
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The lounge, modeled after a 1930s medicine hospital, exudes cool with its green Venetian plaster walls and vintage furniture like blue velvet love seats, chandeliers, and chrome and steel accents. There’s also an operating table equipped with surgical lights that illuminates the bar, beakers, test tubes, bottled up elixir potions, and more hospital-ish décor throughout the space.
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Guests can request unique cocktails based on their own tastes, but some of the drinks on the menu might hit the spot, too: One option is Recovery Time (vodka, raspberry, earl grey, lemon, and hibiscus elixir), and another is the O.R. (rum, pineapple, lemon-infused sugarcane, cilantro, habanero, vanilla elixirs, and angostura).
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The charming bartenders are well-dressed, seasoned professionals. Special shout out to bartender Chris Norton for making our first time experiencing Sanatorium both educational and intoxicating.

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NYC Spotlight | Meatpacking District’s Newest Hot Spot Hybrid: Kola House

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The kola nut is a caffeine-containing nut of the kola tree. {Credit: Kola House}

Meatpacking District’s Kola House had a lot of expectations to live up to. Touted as one of the biggest and hottest openings of Fall, this 5,000 square foot space is the “first experimental kola bar, restaurant, lounge and event space to open in the U.S. market.” According to a recent press release. “The flagship location (in Meatpacking) will also serve as a transformative event space for pop culture moments in music, art, style, film, sports and more.” The Kola House pays homage to the kola nut, a nut that also drives the creativity and inspiration of its cocktails, elixirs and specialty plates on the menu.

PepsiCo owns this modern, oh-so-trendy hotspot, but you’d never guess it based on the atmosphere, décor and style of the space. You won’t see any iconic red, white and blue cans, or any other hint of product-pushing from the food and beverage conglomerate. What you will see are exposed brick walls, a shiny back bar and cocktail infusion area, copper accents, hard wood floors, a space for impromptu pop-up performances and an illuminated square sculpture hanging from the ceiling.

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{Credit: Kola House}

The cocktails and elixirs are some of the best we’ve ever had. Alex Ott is Kola House’s sensory ringmaster — the beverage magician, if you will. Upon reading his bio you’ll read the following about his skills which, “combine sensory dining/drinking psychology with his unique knowledge of hangover preventative elixirs, alcoholic and non-alcoholic functional and disease preventative beverages, nootropics, dietary supplements as well as deep space travel and fine fragrance.” If you’re a little confused as to what that actually means, we can help you. The drinks are out-of-this-world.

The intergalactic peace is described as “a stunning and memory evoking spectacle of beverage induced interconnectedness.” This cocktail comes in a glass dome which houses campfire smells of woods, tobacco, and sandalwood, and inside this dome of fragrance is your cocktail of spiced cognac/rum, tobacco infused honey, sandalwood, vanilla, pear and lime. Before you imbibe, you can inhale the incredible mix of smells which enhances the entire drinking experience.

If you’re looking for something calming, get the Mind & body, which is described as a “resort like elixir with mood regulating and anti-inflammatory properties.” Think: mild bitters, white cranberry, levigated pearl garnished with a delightful spruce pillow of forest scents. Absolutely lovely.

Bottom line: make sure to get some cocktails.

On the food side, Kola House’s Executive Chef, Jon Feshan draws from his Persian heritage to create New American cuisine that highlights purity of flavor and freshness of the ingredients used.

We ordered a nice selection of dishes which began with a fresh fig toast with sweet, crunchy maple-glazed hazelnuts and cheese; the unique wild salmon tartare which came atop crispy sticky rice, and a scallion crème fraiche; and the very filling pork shoulder carnitas which was seasoned with a kola spice rub served with warm tortillas.

To some, that may sound like a full meal. Not for us. We continued the feast with a light dish of braised beets with lemon yogurt, pistachio granola and chunks of pickled strawberry. The grand finally was the roasted & fried chicken with collard greens and a side of house-made Fresno hot sauce butter. Similar to a buffalo sauce on steroids. The roasted chicken was juicy, while the fried chicken had a satisfying crunchy coating surround the also tender meat. This dish is meant to be shared and is a must-try for lovers of buffalo chicken wings.

For dessert we recommend the s’mores bowl – no need for explanation on that decision. It’s indulgently sweet.

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NYC Spotlight | Winter Village Holiday Shops at Bryant Park

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Gooey, cheesy goodness.

New York City wastes no time when ramping up for the holiday season. Even though the weather is still relatively warm, and we are barely past Halloween, Bryant Park has officially reopened its much anticipated pop-up market. This year, the Holiday Shops at Bank of America Winter Village feature a dedicated food market called “Feast on 40th” on the park’s south side. In addition, Bryant Park’s seasonal skating rink is in full-swing and already busy with people wanting a jumpstart on winter festivities.

The market, curated by the well-known pop-up organizer Urbanspace, is featuring over 30 different food purveyors, selling everything from classic New York staples to new food-mashups.

Baked Cheese Haus is a must. Picture a glorious raclette service where they melt half wheels of Alpine cheese and scrape the gooey cheese over items like fresh, toasted ciabatta and cured ham, topped with Dijon and baby gherkins. If bubbling cheese isn’t your thing, we definitely recommend grabbing a savory, crispy chicken filled Chick’n Cone — which also makes for awesome Instas — trying out a bowl of borscht from Veselka’s Borscht Bar, or biting into some traditional meatballs from Meatball Obsession.

Brodo, a bone broth vendor we haven’t seen much of, is a popular, warming choice that comes in either chicken, beef or hearth broth with add-ins like bone marrow and roasted garlic puree. Those of you who attended the 2016 Vendy Awards will recognize the award-winning Mr. Bing selling its traditional Chinese street crepes — jianbing — filled with Peking duck, barbecue pork, and eggs.
img_5253img_5242Taco lovers will be thrilled with a nice selection of Tacos such as Coney Shack’s incredibly crunchy fish tacos or Domo Taco’s Asian-inspired options with meats like lemongrass chicken and braised five spice pork. Perfect for when winter really hits, the Ramen Bar by Chingu is offering hot bowls of noodle soups in flavors such as Bulgogi with beef bone broth or vegetable with fried tofu skins.
img_5630img_5252Over on the sweet side there’s a whole lot to try. Get hot cider and cider doughnuts at Breezy Hill Orchard. Bite in to a fresh Cretzel (croissant-pretzel hybrid) in flavors like pumpkin or Nutella almond from Breads Bakery. Grab a hot chocolate from Max Brenner’sand pair it with fresh doughnuts from Doughnut Project. Grab one (or two) crunchy, sugar coated, dulce de leche filled churros at Dulcinea. Buy a pretty box of classic macarons at Woops! Or crunch in to some Nutella filled chimney cakes. Trust us, you can’t go wrong.
img_5259Lastly, check out Danny Meyer’s new pop-up restaurant, Public Fare which will be an all-day cafe with pastries, coffee, soup, sandwiches, and cocktails for the evening.

Make sure to swing by the Holiday Shops at Bank of America Winter Village before it closes on January 2. For more information, click here.

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NYC Spotlight | Anisette

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This vibrant dish comes with house-made tortoloni stuffed with Swiss chard and ricotta cheese in a carrot Agro dolce sauce. {Credit: Anisette}

This newly opened eatery will fill your longing for rustic French fare and regional wines.

If you want a charming and delicious dining experience, look no further than Anisette, a “country fresh” wine bar, café, and bistro that features innovative French Provencal cuisine.

Located on the corner of Third Avenue and East 19th Street, this lovely spot stands out against the bustling New York City backdrop thanks to its bright blue patio awnings, rustic décor, creamy white accents, and dainty hanging flower pots that adorn the restaurant.

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The owners of La Follia, the sister restaurant to Anisette that will reopen soon, have put together a diverse menu with offerings that include small plates, salads, and market vegetables; charcuterie and fromage boards; as well as rich pastas and heavier entrées. I started my meal with a flakey, buttery, and warm goat cheese tart filled with zucchini tomato and caramelized onion; tuna tartare with fennel, citrus, and avocado; and a creamy, indulgent truffled burrata.

We also received a steamy pot of fresh PEI mussels bathing in a flavorful saffron-tomato broth and a side of herbed French fries. Excellent.

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Though the menus includes entrées such as duck leg with lamb sausage, mushroom, and lentils; steak au poivre, a dry-aged shell steak with spinach and potato purée; and short ribs with summer vegetables, we opted for the carbo-loaded pasta dishes.

I devoured the meaty, decadent pappardelle with lamb ragù, artichokes, and Parmesan, and ate a hefty portion of my friend’s mushroom and ricotta agnolotti, which came covered in a fabulous, slightly sweet, brown butter and sage sauce.

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The wine list, curated by chef, owner, and sommelier Suzanne Letulle Riva, is stacked with regional French wines and refreshing rosés. We paired our courses with rosés that complemented the warm weather and French cuisine.

“The menu is inspired by the many bistros and homes where I have savored some of the most deliciously prepared and beautifully presented dishes,” Riva says. “When people ask me about the menu I tell them… Think olive oil, herbs de Provence, shellfish, saffron, ratatouille, and a great steak au poivre, and there you have my Anisette.”

The restaurant serves dinner seven days a week, 5 p.m. – 10:30 p.m., and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Next month, the restaurant will begin serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week.
 

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Welcome to Sugar Factory, the Real Life Candyland of Your Dreams

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Dessert fiends of all ages will get sugar high on the outrageous sweet treats and drinks this spot has to offer.

For the ultimate sugar rush, head to the recently opened real-life candyland: Sugar Factory. Whether celebrity spotting, hanging out, or simply in the mood to devour sugary, brightly colored goodies of epic proportions, this is the place to go. The recently opened Sugar Factory in Row NYC Hotel, has an energetic, lively, and fun atmosphere with décor that includes crystal chandeliers and pictures of famous, candy-loving celebs adorning the walls.

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The only way Sugar Factory could be better, was if the entire store was edible, a la Willy Wonka. I would be the only one with 24/7 access, of course.

Vibrant, candy-stuffed bins line the entire store; huge, swirly rainbow pops are everywhere; nostalgia-inducing candies such as Pez and pop rocks are for sale; and Sugar Factory’s signature creations — think chocolate-covered Oreos, fudge-covered pretzels, and frosting-dipped Rice Krispies treats — beg to be eaten. Not to mention the entire section of the store dedicated to various pastries, cakes, cookies, and cupcakes.

You can’t miss out on Sugar Factory’s famed goblets, either. These goblets are 60 ounces of sugary insanity. The signature goblet that I tried was the lollipop passion — “a true taste of the tropics.” It tasted amazing. Imagine melon, coconut, and pineapple flavors combined with a Slurpee on steroids, and (to put it even more over the top) it’s garnished with huge lollipops and finished with liquid nitrogen to transform the dessert drink in to a bubbling cauldron. They have a variety of goblets that all vary in flavor profiles, but all deliver on the O-M-G factor.

Ice cream and gelato are also offered, as are sugar cones dipped in chocolates, candies, and cookies to bring your scoops to the next level. For creamy beverages, you can also order old fashioned milk shakes.
IMG_23586You can get “real” food here, too (although, I’m perfectly happy eating desserts all day). Sugar Factory offers a huge selection of pancakes, waffles, crepes, and French toast, which are all arguably dessert in a way. But with options like red velvet pancakes, s’mores crepes, and banana split waffles, why would you pass up any excuse to eat these tasty monsters?

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NYC Spotlight | Scarpetta

IMG_05717LDV Hospitality’s Scarpetta, offers classic, upscale Italian food, in an unpretentious, elegant, and exceptionally classy way. The restaurant is very stylish and well designed— I particularly am a huge fan of the indoor skylight that allows natural sunlight to pour in to the dinning room.

Normally I don’t go crazy on the bread baskets at restaurants, but Scarpetta’s is in a league of its own. Along with fresh focaccia sprinkled with flakes of sea salt, comes cheesy, buttery Stromboli, one filled with sausage and the other spinach. It even comes with three options for dipping that includes a whipped mascarpone butter.

Appetizers range from refreshing and summery to more indulgent. The raw yellowtail with pickled red onion is a simple dish that highlights the freshness of the fish. The thin slices of yellowtail with a touch of olio di zenzero (a type of ginger oil), melts in your mouth. The tuna ‘susci’ with marinade vegetables and preserved truffle is likewise buttery in texture. The tuna was nicely rolled up with the vegetables giving it a nice crunch.

The beet salad with shaved vegetables, market greens, and ricotta crema, in a light beet vinaigrette, was delicious. Not to mention it was beautifully plated and looked like a work of art. Other starters include the famed, decadent creamy polenta with a fricassee of truffled mushrooms and braised short ribs with a faro risotto.
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Scarpetta is particularly known for its incredible handmade pastas. I’m not one to usually order plain spaghetti, but here thespaghetti tomato and basil is said to be impeccable. Scarpetta takes many traditional Italian dishes to a whole new level, while staying true to their authenticity. Using seasonal ingredients in combination with unbeatable in-house pastas make for satisfying plates of complex flavor.

I highly recommend the short rib and bone marrow agnolotti with garlic chip and horseradish. The little pockets of pasta are filled with intensely flavorful meat, topped with fresh Parmesan. The duck and foie gras ravioli with a marsala reduction is equally indulgent. Both dishes were savory and rich, and I’d definitely order each again.

Though not the most carnivorous mains to be ordered, I didn’t miss having a hunk of meat on my plate at all. Other pastas featured are the black tagliolini with a seafood ragout and pancetta; a tagliatelle with braised oxtail and rapini; a zucchini mezzaluna with squash blossom; and the farfalle with vegetables and goat cheese fonduta.

There are also a variety of seafood mains to choose from such as the black cod with caramelized fennel; branzino with clams and a shellfish brodetto; and the halibut with braised Brussels sprouts. For those looking for red meat, Scarpetta offers a veal tenderloin with sweetbreads and a sirloin of beef with fingerling potatoes and truffled spinach on the menu.

For dessert I am a fan of the coconut panna cotta, which comes with a caramelized pineapple and guava ‘soup’ that is tropical, creamy, and perfectly sweet. For the chocolate lovers they feature a flourless valrhona chocolate cake with butterscotch and caramel gelato. Other options include a limoncello semifreddo with pistachio cake and a mascarpone cheese cake with stone fruit and gelato.

If you’re looking for a posh aperitivo spot, Scarpetta has recently debuted daytime hours (3 p.m.- 5 p.m, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) for the first time in the restaurant’s history with a weekend aperitivo hour, which you can also enjoy on its al fresco on its patio. Items offered include crudo trios, fried olives stuffed with homemade sausage, and, of course, a list of tasty rosés and cocktails.

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