Midtown Foodie Find: B & Co.

B and Co NYC
Exterior Photo Courtesy of B & Co. All Other Photos By Anne Raso. Click on any Image to Enlarge.

It was really by accident that we ended up at B & Co. on East 58th Street. Earlier in the day, plans called for us to dine on the lower east side, but electrical problems at that establishment saw our reservation moved to midtown. And what a fortuitous change of plans that turned out to be, because our meal at B & Co set a new bar for delicious food and very fine service in midtown Manhattan.

Honeycomb Mirror Ceiling Detail

B & Co. is a months-old establishment, situated mid-block, directly across the street from FAO Schwartz Flagship store, that features not only a fine restaurant but also a lounge and a private club area – all on separate floors. We sat in the restaurant’s front bar area, where we could enjoy the mesmerizing honeycomb mirror that travels up the wall to the ceiling, while we lost ourselves in the ever-changing, farm-to-table fresh Northern Italian / Mediterranean cuisine.

Let me show you what we ate, and tell you a little bit about each dish, so you will have some good ideas of what to order for when you go there.

Burrata Pugliese

Have you ever had Burrata cheese? If not, you need to try it, because it is just insane. Burrata starts out as a mozzarella ball, to which mozzarella curd scraps are stuffed into the inside of the ball of cheese and topped off with fresh cream. The Burrata Pugliese ($24) pictured above is accompanied by locally farmed beefsteak tomatoes, drizzled with balsamic reduction and extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with shredded fresh basil. It’s a perfect appetizer to share.

Red and Yellow Beet Salad

I never miss a chance to enjoy a beet salad and B&Co’s Barbabietola Red & Yellow Beet Salad ($16), with chunks of Brin d’Amour cheese and extra virgin olive oil, is satisfyingly delicious. It’s a very healthy choice and another great dish to share with a dining companion. And look how beautiful it is!

Risotto Invernale

Look at the huge, tender sweet chunks of Butternut Squash nestled in this dish which is called Risotto Invernale ($40), a Northern Italian specialty that is suitable for vegetarians but oh so decadent and rich tasting. One of the more popular items on the menu, this risotto also features porcini mushroom and black truffle, cheese, cream and truffle oil. It smells as good as it tastes!

Steak and Potatos

For a tasty red meat fix we ordered the Tagliata ($39), grassfed New York Strip Steak which features roasted golden fingerling potatoes and a flavorful Calvados sauce made with Apples, Apple Brandy and Heavy Cream. This dish is usually prepared with bone-in filet mignon, which was sadly unavailable on the night of our visit, but the NY Strip was cooked perfectly, surprisingly tender and juicy.

Broccoli Rabe

We ordered a side of gorgeous Broccoli Rabe ($9) to go with the steak, and it was easily the best broccoli rabe I have ever eaten. Sautéed in extra virgin olive oil and a tiny bit of garlic, proprietor Max Burgio told us that they deliberately use very little garlic in B & Co’s kitchen so that the natural flavors of the food are just enhanced and not overwhelmed.

Imperial Cannolo

And this beautiful thing, (sigh) this is how we ended our meal, with B & Co’s special house made Imperial Cannolo ($12), a delicate, crispy fried pastry shell stuffed with divinely light sweetened Ricotta filling (the key: less sugar) and garnished with fragrant candied Orange Peel, that will ruin you for any other type of traditional cannoli (the plural of cannolo) pastry ever again in your life. It was so huge, the two of us could not even finish it. Seriously, I could talk about this dessert for the rest of my life.

I can’t wait to go back to B & Co. and take all of my Foodie Friends with me. Every dish we ordered was like the most delicious thing I’d ever eaten and the service was just amazing. It may be in what I would call a “Destination neighborhood,” but the trip is totally worth it.

B & Co. is Located at 18 East 58th Street (Between Fifth and Madison) New York, NY 10022. Call (212) 838-3200 for Reservations or visit B and Co NYC Dot Com.

Yes It Exists: Lookin’ Good For Jesus Fix It Kit

Looking Good For Jesus Kit

OK, someone’s hand is holding this, so it has to exist, right? I did a little Googling just to make sure and, yes, it is a real thing! The Lookin’ Good For Jesus Fix It Kit contains a mirrored Jesus statuette, vanilla nectar lip balm, Easter-Lily hand & body cream (with sparkle!) and a folding mirror compact. The top of the package, adorned with eerie looking cartoon women staring googly-eyed at the Lord, says “Get His Attention.” Clearly this treads a fine line between ‘Cool’ and ‘Oh So Wrong.’ All I can say is let your conscience be your guide. (Note: Item is Currently Unavailable at Amazon.com.

Food Fête Spring “Health & Wellness” Event Recap!

Food Fete LogoFood Fete Wine
Celebrate Food Fête!

With delicious memories of its Winter showcase still lingering in our minds and tummies, we excitedly made our way to Food Fête’s Spring 2014 Health & Wellness media event, held on April 8th, 2014 in New York City. Exhibitors included a few of our longtime favorite products as well as hot new discoveries. Check it out!

Krusteaz Flatbreads

Krusteaz was there, showcasing its newest products: a variety of Gluten Free Baking Mixes and Flatbread Mixes. Krusteaz’s Flatbread mixes are available in Italian Herb, Garlic & Onion and Whole Wheat flavors. These mixes are extremely versatile and are great for quick and easy pizza dinners, to serve with hummus or to make delicious appetizers, such as the fresh Caprese snack seen in the photo above.

Krusteaz Baking Mixes

Krusteaz’s Gluten Free Line includes: Buttermilk Pancake MixBlueberry Muffin Mix, Honey Cornbread and Muffin Mix and  Double Chocolate Brownie Mix. With extensive experience with so many baking categories, the brand wants to provide consumers with a variety of gluten free options that are easy to bake and taste just like their traditional counterparts. Both Mix lines will be available at most major grocery chains starting in August, 2014. Look for future reviews here on The Gig!

Hemp Hearts

Manitoba Harvest, makers of Hemp Hearts — the Hemp Seed kernel product with the delicious, nutty flavor and wide variety of uses — was on hand to promote their line of Hemp Protein Powders.

Hemp Protein Powder

Packed with nutrients, each Hemp Pro variety is not only high in plant-based protein (which makes them vegan friendly) but also rich in omegas, delicious, convenient and easily digestible. Find out more about Manitoba Harvest Hemp Food products at This Link.

Barbaras Cereals

I have been eating Barbara’s Cereals for years and their Peanut Butter Puffins Cereal is my absolute favorite! At Food Fête, Barbara’s was all about their Multigrain Squarefuls Maple Brown Sugar Cereal – heart healthy, whole grain squares sweetened with real Maple Syrup — and Organic Snackimals  – the first cereal in the natural and organic aisle with fun animal shapes, including lions, elephants and panda bears! Snackimals is an ideal healthy breakfast choice for children because it not only has a yummy chocolate taste and appealing crunch, but the little animals shapes are delightful. Even I wanted to play with them!

BelGioioso Cheese

BelGioioso Cheeses impressed me with a line of products that represent some of the most seriously delicious cheeses I’ve ever tasted – and I know my cheese! BelGioioso has just launched its 50 Ways to Leave Your Butter campaign – with 50 ideas on how to use Mascarpone cheese besides its traditional use in Tiramisu. I did sample the Mascarpone and will enthusiastically agree that with its creamy texture, mild, sweet taste and less than half the calories, this spreadable cheese is a tempting substitute for butter.

BelGioioso also offered samples of its Fresh Mozzarella Snacking Cheese – convenient 1 oz. packages of Fresh Mozzarella cheese, perfect for a convenient, light snack at only 70 calories per ounce. Good stuff!

BelGioioso Cheese

Step One Foods Display

Making its debut at Food Fête, Step One Foods impressed with a line of heart healthy mixes and snack bars. Step One Foods is the first-of-its-kind line of physician-formulated foods specifically designed to solve the dietary side of heart care. Developed by practicing cardiologist, Dr. Elizabeth Klodas, all Step One Foods contain scientifically-proven levels of the four critical nutritional building blocks for heart health: phytosterols, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.

The Step One Foods product line includes dark chocolate bars, cranberry nut bars, oatmeal, a smoothie mix, a pancake mix and an anytime sprinkle — and samples of each were given out at the show. Every product is pre-portioned and comes in a single-serve package requiring minimal to no preparation. The Cranberry Nut Bars have a surprisingly tangy, fruity taste that other, granola-based snack bars don’t have, so that was a great surprise. Also, I made the pancakes for my breakfast this morning and they were easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. I would like to add that both Dr. Elizabeth and her associate, Barb, were super nice ladies. I wish them the best of luck with this line of excellent products.

SO Dairy Free Foods

So Delicious Dairy Free Foods — their name says it all — returned to Food Fête with some exciting new products, including a coconut milk based whipped topping and two new varieties of their flavored coconut milk beverage.

Coco WhipSO Pumpkin and Nog Coconut Milk

Read more about the So Delicious Dairy Free line of products — and download money saving coupons — at This Link.

Enjoy Life Foods Display

It’s always great to see the folks at Enjoy Life Foods, whose Crunchy Flax Cereal and Soft Baked Bars have previously received much love from The Gig. Enjoy Life Foods has added Dark Chocolate Baking Morsels to its’ #1 selling Allergy Friendly Baking Chocolate line. Featuring 69% cacao and clean ingredients of unsweetened chocolate and natural cane sugar, it is the only gluten-free dark chocolate morsel on the market that is also dairy, nut and soy free. See what else Enjoy Life Foods has to offer at This Link!

Arnold Bakery

Arnold®, Brownberry® and Oroweat® Premium Breads won the hearts of all the vegetarians at the show with their tiny vegetable sandwiches made on Arnold Whole Wheat Bread and Sandwich Thins. Cholesterol free with zero grams of Trans fat and no high fructose corn syrup, Arnold Whole Wheat Bread is fresh and soft with a delicious whole grain taste, while the Sandwich Thins are super versatile and very low in calories while not skimping on great taste!

Vegetable Sandwiches

Dr. Praeger Veggie Burgers

Celebrating 20 Years in Business, Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods has a line of Veggie Burgers that will tempt even a devoted meat lover like myself. I was able to sample the Asian, Black Bean and Kale varieties and despite an admitted “fear of Kale,” I must admit it was quite tasty and not scary at all! There are no fillers or egg products in these burgers, just a fresh vegetable taste “where you recognize all the ingredients.” The California, Bombay, Tex Mex & Italian Veggie Burgers are also certified Vegan.

Dr Praeger's Black Bean Burger

Thanks for reading and be sure to visit all of these great companies online!

FAO Schwartz Friendly Face Clock

FAO Schwartz Clock
Photo By Gail

This friendly face greeted FAO Schwartz Fifth Avenue visitors as the main fixture on the two-story clock tower, which was located inside of the store’s main entrance from 1986 to 2004. It now overlooks the escalators that take customers to and from the store’s lower shopping floors.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Marcel Duchamp’s Fresh Widow

Marcel Duchamp Fresh Widow
Photo By Gail

I first became acquainted with Marcel Duchamp’s very famous sculpture, Fresh Widow (1920), when I was studying art in college. Constructed by a carpenter in accordance with Duchamp’s instructions, Fresh Widow is a small version of the double doors commonly called a French window. Duchamp was fascinated by themes of sight and perception; here, the expectation of a view through windowpanes is thwarted by opaque black leather, which Duchamp insisted “be shined everyday like shoes.”

Fresh Widow is also reference to the recent abundance of widows of World War I fighters.

An inscription at the sculpture’s base reads COPYRIGHT ROSE SELAVY 1920, making it the first work to be signed by Duchamp’s female alter ego Rose Sélavy (later spelled Rrose). Duchamp derived the name from the French saying: “éros, c’est la vie”, which means “the sex drive is life.”

Fresh Widow is part of the permanent collection at NYC’s Museum of Modern Art.

Bacon Thing of the Day: Bacon Peeps

Bacon Peeps
Image Courtesy of Anne Raso

As amazing as it would be to think that a real Bacon Flavored Marshmallow Peep exists, these faux Bacon Peeps were created as part of a Peeps Diorama Contest back in 2010.