If you suspect that we are getting a little bit desperate to find Pink Things for featuring in this weekly space, you would be correct. Thankfully, the Pink Drinks of summer are not only keeping us refreshed, hydrated, and slightly buzzed, but they also make a nice post, don’t they? This tall cool one is the Watermelon Daiquiri offered at Bottino Restaurant in Chelsea. Bottino specializes in delicious homemade pastas and other Italian favorites, and it has the most insanely lush backyard garden / covered patio for a safe and relaxed dining experience. At this time in our lives when little things mean so much, we look forward to a future visit!
I recently enjoyed my first official cocktail-in-a-bar of the Covid summer and, fittingly, it was a Pink Drink! Pictured above is an enticing, frosty glass of Frosé (frozen rosé wine), which I procured at Versa; a cool ‘rooftop’ restaurant located on the fifth floor of the Renaissance hotel in midtown. While Versa is not literally on the hotel’s roof, which is maybe 20 stories higher up, its spacious patio emulates a rooftop experience, while also allowing for pandemic-compliant social distancing and other important safety guidelines. While enjoying the restaurant’s chill vibe, I happily discovered that if Frosé melts before you can suck it all down, it simply turns into chilled rose wine, as there is no diluting from added ice! Win win!
I’ve been hearing about Pietro Nolita since it opened (a few years ago at this point), because it is an Italian Restaurant downtown that’s Pink on the exterior and interior. I’ve always meant to visit, of course — because: Pink Restaurant — but it’s not in my neighborhood and I’m lazy, so I’ve never see the pinkness before in person, until now.
The fact that Pietro Nolita had completely fallen off my radar made it that much sweeter to literally stumble upon it last week, as I walked home to the East Village from a doctor’s appointment in the Financial District and decided to shake up my route. Isn’t it adorable? Who wouldn’t want stop in and check it out?
I love the details they put into it, including flower boxes bursting with Pink Silk Chrysanthemums.
Popular street artist Hektad has even contributed a flourish of his signature heart art.
And you might remember these little guys from a previous post! Ah, the Pinkness.
Located at 174 Elizabeth Street, Pietro Nolito is open during lockdown from Thursday through Sunday, Noon to 8 PM for Take Out and Delivery. I Promise that once it Reopens I Will Eat There and File a Full Report!
As citizens of NYC (and the globe) struggle to find a groove of normalcy in the Covid-19 Shelter-in-Place reality, it is not just isolated walks in the park that will help to get us through with our sanity intact, but also home delivery — specifically home delivery of food and booze. Here in Manhattan, filmmaker Steven Soderbergh’s branded spirit Singani 63 (also known as the national drink of Bolivia) and NYC cocktail den The Garret have teamed up to comfort you. Next time you place a Seamless order, take note that The Garrett is offering 750ml (approximately 25 ounces) “Staff Support” bottled cocktails available for Delivery throughout Manhattan. All proceeds will benefit the bar’s out-of-work staff. The Garret also offers lunch and dinner menu items.
In addition to the Singani 63 bottled cocktail, The Garret offers a ready-to-sip Old Fashioned, Negroni, Donkey Horse, Margarita and other favorites. Each of the eight available cocktails, priced at $50 per bottle, simply need to be poured over ice and are ready to serve. The featured Singani 63 “Staff Support” Bottled Cocktail is a take on the classic Vesper Rouge, containing Singani 63, Gin, and Lillet Rouge (a lightly spiced, bitter aperitif wine). Order now via Seamless! Cheers!
Do you dig comfort foods like loaded potato skins or loaded baked potatoes? If so, then you might be intrigued to know that the Loaded Potato Pancake is a thing that exists. I discovered this decadent fried delight when I visited Junior’s Restaurant in Times Square with my friend Jamie last week for a post-theater snack, and I was blown away by its extreme tastiness. Seriously; I am going to be talking about it for the rest of my life.
If you are not fortunate enough to live near a Junior’s, and you would like to try and emulate the Loaded Potato Pancake at home, here is what I believe you must do. First, make a huge potato pancake with shredded potato and onions, and fry it until it is golden and crisp. For your potato pancake to taste as insanely delish as Junior’s, the onions will need to get very crispy, so that they add a sweet crunch when you bit into it. Next, top the pancake with a generous portion of cheddar cheese (guideline: there is no such thing as too much cheese), and, if needed, melt the cheese with a brief pass under a broiler. After that, you can sprinkle the cheesey goodness with crispy bacon, and top with a dollop sour cream and fresh chives. Et Voilà! Enjoy!
In a city that loves to eat, Chinese is among the most popular cuisines in Manhattan. From Chinatown to Midtown, I frequent a handful of Chinese restaurants that consistently serve my favorite dishes with no disappointments, but there is always room to add one more to that list. Open since late August 2019, Red Peony, located in the heart of midtown’s upscale shopping district, is an elegant Chinese restaurant that feels like a secret oasis within the congested urban landscape. Specializing in both Cantonese and Szechuan-style dishes, Red Peony aims to be fully inclusive of every palate; with an extensive menu featuring both familiar favorites and exotic-sounding, visually tempting dishes I’ve not seen on other menus. Judging by the number of Chinese families gathered at its large round tables on the night of my visit, Red Peony offers a truly authentic dining experience.
The peony is the unofficial Chinese National Flower. It stands as a symbol of spring and female beauty, and it also represents richness, honor and high social class. A Red Peony specifically represents life and celebration, and you will find all of these values reflected in the restaurant’s opulent interior decor. The first floor dining area features the above pictured, tufted seating in vibrant red fabric, flanking ample-sized tables for two. Larger round tables in the center of the room can accommodate families and larger parties, and there is also a second floor, which is ideal for events and special occasions.
You’ll see lovely Asian artworks throughout the restaurant, as well as huge, painted red peony blooms adorning the walls at the entrance. The feeling is one of being immersed in an atmosphere of luxury and comfort — but just wait until you taste the food!
My dining companion had already visited Red Peony several times and, while she is an adventurous eater, she suggested we stick to shared favorites on my first visit, so that I could set a baseline for comparing Red Peony’s cuisine to my favorite establishments — a great idea! Who doesn’t love starting out a traditional Chinese meal with a crispy Scallion Pancake ($5.95)? This one was delivered to our table piping hot, flaky, golden and loaded with fresh scallions.
Here’s a closer look: you can almost taste it with your eyes. So good! This appetizer is served with a sweet and savory sauce on the side for dipping.
With so many items to choose from, we could not resist also ordering the Pan Fried Vegetable Dumplings ($7.95), with their delectable wrapper that gets nice and crispy from the pan while staying tender and easy to bite into on the top. These plump morsels are stuffed with finely minced carrots, cabbage and onions, and the mild flavor really perked up with just a dash of the sauce left over from our scallion pancake!
One unique appetizer that I will be ordering on my next visit is this mouthwatering Crispy Bacon and Shrimp Roll ($6.95). Doesn’t that look amazing?
Sesame Chicken ($20.95) is one of my favorite main dishes, and I am not fronting when I say that the sesame chicken served at Red Peony is the best I’ve tasted anywhere. Each bite is perfectly tender and juicy white meat chicken, tossed lightly in flour before being quick-fried to a non-greasy presentation, with a sauce that’s not-too sweet, and a flavorful dusting of toasted season seeds. It’s flawless, and the generous serving can easily satisfy three hungry people (or, you can just take the leftovers home)!
Red Peony’s special Shanghai Fried Rice ($9.95) with scallions and egg, was a perfect accompaniment to our delicious chicken entree. How they make fried rice that is not greasy at all is a mystery to me.
This looks like a fresh and tasty meal that you would be proud to serve to your family at home, but it tastes even better at Red Peony, because they made it for you (and, let’s be honest; their secret recipes make it taste better than you or I could).
For those who want to make any meal feel like a special occasion, Red Peony does a whole Peking Duck served with all of the traditional accompaniments for just $58! Bring a few friends along and discover what everyone loves about the delicacy (reservations recommended if you plan to order this dish)!
When it’s time for dessert, Red Peony offers a selection of sweet treats that you won’t find anywhere else, and I loved the vibrant photographs that show you just what to expect when the dish arrives at your table — because presentation is everything. These Sweet Egg Custard Bun ($6.95) — which look like three little pigs!– have me intrigued for a future visit!
This tasty looking dessert is called Stew Peach Gum Tremella Soup ($10.95), a sweet, gelatinous dish featuring the resin from peach and Chinese wild peach trees. The nutritional content of peach gum is off the charts, so you might want to ask your server about this on your next visit.
We were so stuffed, but wanted to add a little something to top off such a great meal, and these Red Bean Short Cakes ($4.95) were the perfect finishing touch. These little fried turnovers feature a flaky crust stuffed with sweet red bean paste, and garnished with toasted black sesame seeds. We enjoyed them with the pot of green tea which accompanies your meal free of charge.
You can see by the prices included here that Red Peony is very reasonably priced, making it one of the best dining out values in midtown, by far. At press time the restaurant does not yet have its liquor license, but they welcome you to bring your own bottle of wine. I’m looking forward to a return visit!
Red Peony Chinese Restaurant is Located at 24 West 56 Street Between 5th and 6th Avenues in Manhattan. Check Out Their Extensive Menu, Make a Reservation, or Order Online at Red Peony Restaurant Dot Com !
New York City knows how to do food. No matter what type of cuisine you’re craving, finding a great restaurant is easy. But when you’re vegan or vegetarian, you might end up settling for a place that offers just a few meatless choices, rather than walking into a restaurant where you can enjoy every dish on the menu. And while there’s a Sweet Green or Chop’t on nearly every block, it’s challenging to find a healthy, quick lunch alternative when you are tired of eating salad. This is why the NYC arrival of vegan restaurant chain Copper Branch is cause for genuine excitement!
Copper Branch was founded in 2014 and currently has 50 locations across Canada (and six in Europe), but the chain’s new store in NYC marks its first US location. In mid-September, just a few days after the store opened, I was invited to a private tasting at Copper Branch where guests had the chance to taste not only bite-size samples of many popular menu items, but were also invited to order anything on the menu that we wanted to try. As a confirmed meat-eater myself, what I discovered is that Copper Branch is about so much more than veggie burgers and tofu: this is vegan food that even a die-hard carnivore can get enthusiastic about. Check out just a few of the items offered on Copper Branch‘s very extensive, all plant-based menu.
The satisfying Mushroom Galaxy Burger starts with an oven-roasted portobello mushroom, which is topped with zucchini slices, carmelized onions, vegan provolone cheese, lettuce and aioli sauce. All burgers and sandwiches are served on your choice of organic kamut (an ancient variety of wheat) or gluten-free bun, collard green wrap or organic spelt wrap.
Copper Branch also offers a delicious Spicy Black Bean Burger (which I tasted but neglected to photograph) and a Beet Burger, bites of which are pictured above. I love beets, so I really enjoyed this item, which is served as a patty comprised of beets, organic brown rice, pea protein, sesame seeds organic hemp seeds, sunflowers seeds and lemon juice. These sample bites were dressed as the burger is, with sprouts, caramelized onions, shredded lettuce and Dijon and maple ‘vegenaise.’ I would definitely go back for this burger alone!
Beet fans can also enjoy organic Beet Hummus served with house-made Blue Corn Chips!
I know there’s a lot of greenery here but underneath fresh lettuce, sprouts and tomatoes is one of Copper Branch‘s tasty specialties: Shiitake Teriyaki Mushrooms, which can be served as a Sandwich or a Burger. The taste and texture is comparable to teriyaki chicken.
Pictured above is a bite-size tasting of the Zucchini Noodles with Italian-inspired ‘Coppernata‘, a take on Caponata, the delicious Sicilian eggplant dish. This combination is available in one of the Signature Bowls for a hearty, healthy vegan meal that you won’t find anywhere else in the city!
Do you like Nachos? Who doesn’t! Featuring black beans, vegan cheese, jalapeños, olives, tomatoes, vegan sour cream and guacamole piled onto organic blue corn chips, at Copper Branch, you can enjoy this Mexican favorite guilt-free!
Soy-based Spicy Buffalo Wings (served with sriracha cole slaw and a choice of dipping sauces) could please the most discerning palate. They taste just like your favorite spicy wings and they even look like chicken on the inside.
Also on the menu are oven-baked Copper Cubes (made with white potatoes) and Sweet Potato Copper Cubes as a popular and health-conscious alternative to french fries.
You can make you own bowl or choose from a selection of Copper Branch‘s own creations, such as the Asian Fusion Bowl seen above, which features edamame salad, organic kimchi, lettuce, beets, spiced chickpeas, carrots, broccoli and non-GMO General Tao sauce. The bowl above was customized with the addition of Tofu Scramble.
A breakfast menu, featuring Copper Branch Blueberry Cocoa Waffles, is served all day!
Copper Branch will cater your next event or office party!
There’s also a selection of house-made vegan desserts, like this most and decadent Chocolate Zucchini Brownie!
And now, dear readers a Special Offer: To further celebrate Copper Branch‘s New York City location, the restaurant is offering a FREE General Copper Bowl or a Black Bean Burger — two of their most popular menu items — to both new and repeat customers at the Greenwich Village location for one day only! The General Copper Bowl is a specialty that features General Tao tofu, fresh avocado, sriracha coleslaw, steamed broccoli and organic brown rice. The Black Bean Burger is a classic, featuring a black bean and sweet potato patty, tomato, lettuce, vegan Southwest sauce, all on an organic Kamut bun. This special promotion will be held all day on Friday, October 25th, 2019. Store hours are 8:00 AM to 11:00 PM. The offer is valid for one item per customer and it cannot be combined with any other offer or promotion. Tell them Worleygig.com sent you!
Copper Branch NYC is Located at 195 Bleecker Street (Between 6th Avenue and Macdougal), in New York’s Greenwich Village. For More Locations, Menus and Other Details, Visit Eat Copper Branch Dot Com.
Watch a Video from the Opening Night Event!
Pinky’s Space is an adorable little French / Southern Comfort Food restaurant that always has something fantastically Pink and eye-catching displayed in its front window. When I passed by on a recent Saturday afternoon, I had to cross the street to get a snap of this adorable Pink Gorilla and his little Japanese friend, Domo. I want to eat there.
Pinky’s Space is Located at 70 East 1st Street (Just West of First Avenue), East Village New York City
Here’s A Second Photo Without The To-Go Coffee Cup!
One of the best things about the expansion of uptown Q Train service is that it’s now so much easier for downtown foodies to escape their dining comfort zone and visit great restaurants on the upper east side, such as TBar Steak & Lounge! At TBar, you’ll encounter the same high quality steaks served at classic, old-school establishments like Morton’s or Bobby Van’s, but TBar’s sleek, contemporary decor elevates the atmosphere to something a bit more festive, while they also offer a broader menu. Despite the word Steak being prominently displayed in its name, TBar’s also serves expertly-prepared fish, chicken and duck dishes as well as burgers, pasta, and huge fresh salads, so there really is something on the menu for every palate.
You will feel welcome right away in the the well-lit, open space of the main dining area, though it can get a bit lively when the room is full. If you are looking for a quieter, more intimate dining experience, you can ask for seating in the back room, which has a cozy feel with its recessed, red lighting.
TBar also has lovely modern decorative touches, such as these lush flower arrangements displayed in brightly-colored, oversized vases, which help to divide the space.
While you peruse the menu, be sure to indulge in a slice (or two) of the freshly baked Olive Bread, which is studded with moist, ripe olives and served hot to your table with a selection of other fresh breads.
Set the stage for a relaxed meal a with refreshing and potent TBar Cosmo!
As an appetizer, my dining companion and I chose to split the Beet & Endive Salad ($17.00) which includes both red and golden beats as well as slivers of crisp apple, creamy goat cheese rounds, and a sprinkling of toasted, lightly candied pumpkin seeds, all tossed with an emulsified vinaigrette.
I never met a beet salad that I didn’t love, and this one is a palate-pleasing mix of textures, where the hint of sweet nuttiness from the pumpkin seeds really compliments the tang of the apples. This salad is perfectly portioned for sharing.
We came to eat steak, and steak is what we ordered, in the form of a thick, 8-ounce Certified Black Angus Filet Mignon ($39), prepared with butter and seasoned simply with kosher salt and black pepper. There are steak lovers who will try to convince you that any cut of beef not served on-the-bone means sacrificing flavor for tenderness, but I do not subscribe to this school of thought. TBar’s filet mignon was absolutely delicious, being tender, pink and juicy on the inside with a flavorful, crispy sear on the outside — perfection! Meat cravings: officially satisfied!
A roasted half-bulb of garlic accompanies the steak, should you feel compelled to dip the tip of your knife into one of the cloves and apply a dab of its mellow goodness to your meat (or try mixing a bit into one of your side dishes). A trio of complementary sauces will also arrive at your table, including the house Steak Sauce, classic Béarnaise, and Au Poivre sauce, that let you change it up to your liking!
For our sides, we went with the Mashed Potatoes ($10), which were creamy, buttery bliss, and the Crispy Brussel Sprouts ($10) with thick cut bacon and a balsamic reduction. You can choose to omit the bacon if you prefer. Portions are generous and both sides could serve three people, depending on much food you have ordered.
Finally, despite being completely full and satisfied from a delicious steakhouse meal, we could not say no to TBar’s decadent desserts — the Banana Parfait Mille Feuilles, which serves a party of four ($24), is especially legendary — and our selections did not disappoint! For easy sharing, a great choice is the warm Apple Crisp ($15) drizzled generously with caramel sauce and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This dessert is loaded with tender apples, and so huge it could easily serve three people. (Confession: I took half of it home to eat the next day!)
There was also a special dessert that we could not resists: Lemon Cheesecake ($12) with a sauce of tart lemon curd and fresh raspberries, which was so light it nearly floated off the plate. It tasted just as good as it looks!
As an aside, TBar Steak & Lounge happens to be located right next door my favorite import/gift/ housewares store, Flying Tiger (really, go there, you’ll thank me). I noticed when we were seated that the restaurant had placed a selection of Flying Tiger’s navy-and pink-polka dot round storage boxes in the front window as part of their display. The boxes not only looked great, but this action ups the neighborhood-gem vibe that you get from TBar, while saying so much about how this restaurant supports local commerce. Just another reason why I’ll be looking forward to future visits.
TBar Steak & Lounge is Located at 1278 Third Avenue near the Northwest Corner of 73rd Street, NYC. Visit their Website at TBar NYC.
Heavyweight Champion Mohammed Ali once said, “It’s not bragging if you can back it up.” Promoting itself as a Taste of Istanbul in the Heart of New York City, Uskudar Turkish restaurant’s 30-year dedication to authentic and delicious dishes has earned them a reputation for serving the very best Turkish cuisine in the City. Stop in for a visit and you will soon discover that the food speaks for itself.
Uskudar’s Chef/Owner Ibrahim Ozdemir began his 40-year career in the restaurant industry baking bread in one of Istanbul’s biggest hotels. When he opened Uskudar on the upper East side in 1987, his objective was to serve dishes whose flavors could transport diners to his homeland, if only for a few hours.
Ozdemir still bakes the fluffy, chewy bread that arrives at your table hot from the oven, and he takes care that every dish he serves is as fresh and authentic as possible. Even the lamb they serve is butchered on site. Uskudar’s extensive menu offers something for every palate, including chicken, seafood, lamb and an array of vegetarian dishes. The narrow space is warm and cosy, with exposed brick, and back & white photographs of Istanbul landmarks adorning the walls. With the attentive, friendly service, you will feel at home right away.
I dined at Uskudar with a friend who had been there many times before, and she had been talking to me about the restaurant for weeks before we were able to finally a make date. There were so many dishes that she wanted me to try that we ended up ordering way more food than two people could possibly eat, but it was worth it.
Two must-try appetizers are the Mucver — shredded zucchini fritters fried to a golden brown crispiness on the outside, but moist on the inside — and Borek — crispy pan-fried phyllo rolls, stuffed with crumbled feta and spinach. Both taste great topped with a little dollop of tangy homemade yogurt.
An excellent way to sample many different tastes is to opt for the Mediterranean Meze Platter, featuring generous portions of assorted vegetarian appetizers including Yalanci Dolma (Grape leaves stuffed with rice, black currants, onions, pine nuts), Spinach Tarator (Spinach dip made with labne — a strained-yogurt cheese — with garlic, and minced walnuts), Hummus (traditional Chickpea dip with tahini, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice), Fasulye Pilaki (White Kidney Beans with scallions, tomato, garlic), Ezme (Tomato, onion, parsley, and walnut spread), and Patlican (Smoky eggplant dip with garlic, yogurt, herbs). Two hungry diners could easily make a satisfying meal from this selection of exotic and flavorful dips, accompanied by a basket (or two) of fresh bread and a generous pour from the wine list. If you are dining with a group, the Meze Platter can easily serve as an appetizer for three to four people. It’s huge!
For an entree, I wanted to try a dish that I had not tasted before, but which had familiar ingredients, so I chose the Chicken Yogurt, which is chunks of chicken breast baked with sautéed pita and yogurt in a little casserole dish. Like all entrees, it comes with a side of your choice of rice or vegetables, and I chose the fluffy rice pilaf.
Here’s a close-up shot, where you see that a few colorful peppers and tomatoes have been added for flavor and texture. The chicken in this dish is absolutely succulent, and perfectly season. The sautéed pita maintained the consistency of a firm noodle, and the yogurt blended with the natural juice of the chicken to create a light sauce. This dish was excellent, and it would also be a good choice for a non-adventurous diner (we all know them) who had not tried Turkish food before.
My dining companion wanted to try the Vegetable Casserole, because although she eats meat, it was one of the few dishes she had not tried before. This dish is very simple, comprised of a variety of vegetables such as carrots zucchini, potatoes and onions stewed in a tomato sauce, and served with a side of rice or vegetables. My friend asked if she could have a bit of both rice and vegetables as her side, and they were happy to accommodate her.
I will admit that after enjoying so many delicious appetizers, I purposely ate only about half my entree (taking the leftovers home), because I knew what was coming up next: Dessert!
Uskudar makes all of their authentic Turkish desserts on premises, and while they may have unfamiliar names, you will surely recognize Baklava, a pastry made with many layers of flakey filo dough, baked with nuts and honey syrup. There are also Turkish versions of Flan, Chocolate Pudding, and Rice Pudding on the menu.
Since my friend is a regular customer, she asked our server if the kitchen could put together smaller servings of three of her favorite desserts for us to share. Again, they were happy to do so. Here’s what we ate.
This is the Baklava, which is studded with chopped pistachio nuts, gooey with honey, and very rich. One tiny piece was plenty after such a large meal.
This dessert is called Kadayif, which is a pastry that’s very similar to Baklava, except is it make with shredded wheat.
Last but not least, you must try the Kayisi: Pouched Apricots stuffed with a whole Almond, and topped with sweet Whipped Cream and finely chopped Pistachios. This sweet treat is simply divine, and I will order it every time I come back to Uskudar. Amazing.
While menu prices are very reasonable, Uskudar also offers a three-course price fixe lunch for just $19, and a three-course ‘early bird’ dinner (served 4 – 7 PM) for a mere $27 — which are unbelievable bargain prices for Manhattan restaurant dining. Whether Turkish cuisine is your favorite, or you’re just in the mood for trying something new, be sure to put Uskudar on your radar to enjoy an unforgettable culinary experience.
Uskudar is Located at 1405 2nd Avenue (Between 73rd & 74th Streets), Just One Block from the 72nd Street Q Stop, In NYC. Uskudar also offers outside catering, and they can host private parties, or small corporate events. Visit Their Website at This Link for More Information!