Pasta On Demand by Chef Michael White via UberEATS Available Now in New York


Normally I wouldn’t get excited over any food-delivery related news. But after having the privilege of tasting the very dishes that Ristorante Morini’s Chef Michael White now offers via UberEATS, I felt compelled to spread the news. Earlier this month, Altamarea Group and UberEATS announced their partnership to launch a new delivery-only menu available exclusively on the meal delivery service.

The “Pasta on Demand” menu features the restaurant’s world-renowned pasta at affordable prices. The menu showcases a selection of six handmade pastas, as well as salad and dessert options. Highlights include Creste, a squid ink pasta, shrimp and calamari ragù, breadcrumbs; Gnocchetti, with roasted butternut squash, kale pesto, and pine nuts; the incredible Agnolotti, a dish with piemontese veal ravioli and brown butter and sage; classic rigatoni; Gramigna, a dish with macaroni, ragù bolognese, and parmigiano-reggiano; and the tortelli, a ricotta ravioli with Pomodoro and basil.

Desserts include an indulgent Tiramisu, with espresso soaked ladyfingers, mascarpone mousse, and amaretti; and freshly made Bomboloni ¾ cinnamon sugar doughnuts, apple butter, and a vanilla anglaise.

“We aimed to create a menu that captures some of Altamarea’s signature pastas,” said Chef Michael White according to a recently press release. “We curated dishes that can be delivered to users’ doorsteps in a timely manner, while still providing the same high-quality and consistency we offer in our restaurants.”

Feel like Pasta? Photo by Altamarea Group

Pasta on Demand by Chef Michael White will be available Sunday through Friday from 12-9:30pm and Saturday from 4-9:30pm and delivered solely through the UberEATS delivery platform. The pastas are handmade and perfectly al dente, while the sauces and flavors are rich and satisfying. I highly recommend taking a break from the world of Seamless and checking it out!

For more information on the new offerings, click here.

Discover Street Food in London Worth Travelling For

street food in london

Love NYC’s street food scene? Then you’ll love London’s!

With more and more street food markets popping up every day, London’s reputation for fine dining is diminishing, with Londoners and tourists alike hitting the…er, kerb, in search of the next best foodie trends.

Blurring the lines between comforting fast food and more luxury cuisine, street food markets are the place to be for budding foodies eager to test their palates. Travel firm Expedia’s new street food resource gives you the lowdown on the best places to grab street food in London, such as the bustling night market Dinerama in east London’s trendy Shoreditch. Known for its dynamic and ever-evolving foodie scene, which has birthed the likes of Mother Clucker & Yum Bun, here you can travel across the world in one bite – from the deep south, Louisiana, to Seoul in Korea!

Fancy a wander by the canal? Then head to Broadway Market! Possibly London’s quaintest street food spot, it’s host to a spectrum of stalls, including the meringue girls – known for their rainbow-themed desserts!

street food in london
Image by Jeff Easter

Providing not only the tastiest of treats in the south’s foodie scene, Model Market in Lewisham transforms into a destination not only for soul food but music too, with DJs spinning records late into the night.

Why not check out Anna Mae’s mac and cheese, famed for it’s authentic New York taste, or B.O.B’s lobster? And whilst there, pop along to Brockley’s award-winning market, serving up a mixture of hand baked bread, jams and Koookie bake cakes, or alternatively Brixton’s Pop for an eclectic take on the Caribbean.

Look no further than the Camden Market for street food on an epic scale. Camden is home to destination street food with its incredible mix of Asian, African, and Indian food stalls, boasting aromatic smells which will win over the most fussiest of eaters. Or want less hustle and bustle? Head to Exmouth Market with its boutique stalls and lunchtime treats. We recommend award-winning Spinach and Agushi for wholesome feel-good food!

street food in london
Image by George Rex

Known for its luxurious history, quaint boutiques, and rock and roll royalty, the west of London isn’t often seen as a street market destination; however, this just isn’t true. For a taste of the west, head down Portobello Road for its world-famous falafel and Turkish pastries. Or why not pop along on a Saturday and find some secret treasure in London’s longest-standing vintage fairs?

If vintage isn’t your bag, you could instead take a walk on the wild side at Partridges street food market in Sloane Square, where you can try out the local delicacies (Chelsea buns), or tuck into a slice of Crumbs and Doilies’ chocolate cake!

Among the busy hubbub of the city meanwhile is Leather Lane, nestled between the City district and Shoreditch, and just a moment’s walk from St Paul’s cathedral. Popular with lunchtime diners, this market provides a much-needed stop for grumbling tummies. Soho’s Berwick Market moreover is just a whistlestop away from London’s theatrical quarter, serving up fresh seasonal produce and Mexican morsels!

street food in london
Image by Berwick Street Market

However, the city’s most famed street food market has to be London’s Southbank, with its heady mix of ethical food. Transport yourself to India, Thailand, or Jamaica at the flick of a fork, and then walk off all that food with a brisk stroll down the Thames path.

Have we got your stomach rumbling yet? Why not head along and experience London’s ever-changing street food market scene, showcasing the foodies’ favorites!

Oso Restaurant Review: Are These The Tacos of Joy?

A delicious Review by Christina Maldonado

Nestled in the heart of Harlem, on Amsterdam Ave. is a little slice of Mexico City, wrapped in the effortlessly cool exterior that screams NYC (Watch the Video clip above!). Oso restaurant is the brain baby of Matthew Trebek and Nodar Mosiashvili, who wanted to bring not simply Mexican food, but authentic Mexican street food to the city. Breaking the stereotype of “traditional Mexican Food” ala Chipotle burritos, Oso has a traditional menu with a modern presentation.

Oso Restaurant
Authentic Mexican Street food..Photo by Christina Maldonado

The atmosphere is effortlessly cool, from the beautiful mural that dominated the dining room, to the original score by Coup de Khan that delivers a jazz funk and hip hop combination that graces the restaurants speakers. While effortless isn’t fitting for the way these decisions were made, Oso restaurant is definitely the place all hipster spots around the city would kill to be, a neighborhood hang out that sticks to its roots, a hotspot deserving of the title, with the food to back it up.

Oso owners ensured they were serving the best on their tables not only by having a kick ass Mexican chef, but by actually spending time in Mexico City, picking up cooking tricks, and getting exposed to the culture and architecture that influences the restaurant and make it such an original experience.

“The tamales are a staple”

The food is not only authentic, but so delicious I could guarantee it would make some abuelas that spent their lives in the kitchen eager to get their hands on the recipes. The tamales are a staple, and a must have. Filled with peppers and queso oaxaca, these tamales are made perfectly and serve as the perfect starter, to get your engines going for what’s yet to come. I had the pleasure of having it served with a cilantro and green pepper aioli that I would swim in if I could. But since I couldn’t, I just simply doused everything I ate in it. The flavors that mingle in your mouth for this dish establish an expectation that is exceeded as your dining adventure at Oso restaurant continues.

Oso Restaurant
Oso Owners Nodar Mosiashvili and Matthew Trebek with their head chef. Photo by Christina Maldonado

Before I got to indulge in the tacos, which were an event in themselves, another main component of Oso came into play. Their bar. Since it’s one of the focal points in the aesthetically pleasing room, the bar offers the triple threat you’d want with a delicious meal. Beauty, substance and mezcal. Their drinks pack the punch that their food deserves, while still being refined. Don’t be surprised if your pinky perks up when you’re sipping on the Coup de Khan.

But on to the more important things. Tacos.

It might be weird to call tacos attractive, but the carnitas and fish tacos at Oso deserve it. Just looking at the dishes, you can tell that the ingredients are fresh, but it’s when you take your first bite that you really get it. Basically Oso tacos are the tacos you get to treat yourself. The carnitas are succulent, and the soda pop marinade was surprising, but tasty. The fish tacos have a perfect pickle. These tasty meats are lovingly wrapped in freshly made tortillas. It would seem excessive to suggest that these tacos should be named bundles of joy instead, but it’s well warranted.

Oso Restaurant
Authentic Mexican Street food..Photo by Christina Maldonado

The Papas Rajas stole the show…

After tacos, and just when I was thinking things couldn’t get any better, the Pulpo was brought to the table and I was proven completely wrong. First of all, any place that can cook octopus well deserves praise, it was perfectly cooked and not at all the chewy mess that can be dangerously common with the eight legged entrée. But what stole the show for me was the papas rajas. How does one make a potato so well that it overshadows the main meat on a dish, I have no idea, but the combination of the two, and the surprising mandarin that made a striking appearance not only made a stunning plate, but a delicious meal. To call the Pulpo simply tasty would be an understatement, but the simple word captures the resonance of the dish completely.

While my self control and waist line was begging me to reconsider, I was lucky enough to have Oso dessert. The lightly undercooked churros literally have no words that do them justice. There have been about three drafts attempting to do so already. Just go get 12, and enjoy.

The review of Oso restaurant would not be complete without the praise of the chips and guac. While it might be painfully simple, to have a common starter that leaves quite the impression is not a simple feat Job well done Oso, because I was getting tired of avocados as a whole. And if a new level of chips and dip don’t do it for you, Oso is more than accommodating for the more wild at heart, with their beef tongue, and the fried crickets that could possibly make an appearance on their menu.

Oso gives traditional street food a stunning home in Harlem, from the establishment itself to the beautiful dishes it creates, and it was not only a pleasure to dine there, but I am nothing but excited to see what is to come of this place, because one dinner was enough to know that Oso is destined for nothing but greatness…. and five star yelp reviews.

The 5 Best Money Saving Food Hacks that Everyone Should Know

food hacks

In many households, food is a big expense that takes up a good chunk of the household budget. Unfortunately, a lot of the food that’s bought each week ends up being wasted. It’s like throwing money directly into the trash. When you think of it that way, it makes sense to find ways to save money on food and stop wasting. Keep reading to learn more about the 5 best money saving food hacks. These hacks can help you save a lot of money over time, and that money can be used for other things.

1) Use coupons

Use coupons each and every time you shop. You can Swap coupons with friends and relatives in order to get the ones you use most. Whether you grocery shop at Walmart, Whole Foods, Wegmans, or somewhere else, using coupons is a must if you want to save money. Look over store sale papers, if you can combine coupons with sale prices, you save even more money.

2) Learn to love your slow cooker

Not only does using a slow cooker make dinner preparation easier, but it can also save you some money at the grocery store. Buy less expensive cuts of meat when you’re going to use the slow cooker. Even cuts that are normally tough turn out tender when they are cooked in the slow cooker.

3) Fill your ice trays

If you’re not going to use all of the broth that you made, freeze the rest in the ice tray. Once they’re frozen pop the cubes out and store them in freezer bags. The next time you need broth, you’ll already have some in the freezer. You can do the same with leftover wine that you’ve used in a recipe. Don’t leave it in the bottle to spoil, freeze it so it’s always on hand for recipes.

4) Learn the proper way to store food

If you don’t know how to store produce that you buy it will go bad faster. For example, are you storing onions in the refrigerator? That’s a big no-no, onions need to breathe, they need air and should be kept out of the refrigerator. Potatoes should be kept in a cool, dark place to help them last longer. Do a quick search on how to store the produce you buy and you’ll see that it lasts much longer.

5) Freeze leftovers

If you’ve cooked more than you can possibly eat, don’t leave the leftovers in the refrigerator until it’s time to toss them out. Freeze the leftovers and you have dinner for another night. Pull out these frozen meal portions when you’re short on time, and you’ll have a quick, delicious home cooked meal in minutes. It will taste better than any frozen dinner you can buy in the store, and it will be better and less expensive than take out from the local fast food chain.

These 5 best money saving food hacks will keep your budget happy. You’ll be eating better, while spending less money, and that’s always great news for your bank account.

Enjoy Your Thanksgiving Feast Without Ditching Your Diet

Thanksgiving is the time to eat and be merry. Never mind about your diet. No? Actually, you can still eat and be merry on Thanksgiving without ditching your diet.

First, let’s look at the main components of a Thanksgiving feast. There’s the turkey. Can we skip the turkey? Some people do. They have something else called a tofurky. That’s a turkey lookalike made from tofu. Is the tofurky really better for your diet than the traditional turkey? According to some nutritionists, the difference is not significant.

Get the right turkey

In the first place, as a meat, turkey is good for you. It is lean meat with little fat. Turkey is the meat of choice for some bodybuilders because it gives them lots of protein without too much fat. There are actually two kinds of turkey meat – the white meat and the dark meat. The white meat is basically the meat from the breast. The dark meat is the meat from the thighs. Of the two, per serving, the white meat has fewer calories than the dark meat. You get something like ten percent fewer calories in the white meat. So, if you are counting calories, go for the white meat. Who’s going to eat all the dark meat then? Don’t worry, there will be lots of other people who don’t have to count calories. Like the kids. They would love to get the turkey drumsticks.

While we are on the subject of turkeys, take a look at where your turkey comes from. First, go for the whole bird. Processed turkey meat is very often full of salt. That’s bad for your health. Then check to see how the turkey is bred. Go for the pasture bred turkey. This is free range farming. The turkeys get to run in open fields and eat natural grass other than their staple food pellets. This type of turkey is also called heritage turkeys. The other type is turkeys bred in processing plant conditions. Such turkeys are force-fed to grow fast. So they are full of antibiotics and other chemicals which you don’t want to eat. When in doubt, always double-check.

That’s settled then. Buy a whole turkey from a free range farm. Eat your turkey. Just stick to the white meat.

Stuff with veggies

Thanksgiving feast
Stuff with veggies?

Now, what else is part of the Thanksgiving feast? The stuffing. Yes, that’s a great source of calories. Bread and pork make up a good part of the traditional stuffing. The bread is a carbohydrate. The pork is meat and lots of fat. Not exactly the best combination.

So what’s the healthier alternative? Try using fruits and herbs for the stuffing instead. There’s a tasty recipe combining apples with various herbs. There’s some bread in the recipe, too. You can improve that by using whole wheat bread. Whole wheat bread has got lots more fiber and vitamins than white bread which is actually a food stripped of a lot of nutrients for the sake of looks and taste.

Besides the turkey, there are side dishes. Some people load the table with side dishes made up of more meat dishes. Not a good idea for healthy eating. Cook side dishes made up of vegetables. There are many types of vegetables with different colors, tastes, and textures to add a lot of variety to the table fare. Think of ways to combine, say, green kale with white cauliflower and red carrots.

The Thanksgiving feast is essentially a dinner affair. So a good way to keep the calories down is to skip breakfast and lunch to save room for dinner. Right? No, that’s the worst thing you could do. By being too hungry at dinner, you will just end up binge eating, which means sayonara to your diet. Eat your normal breakfast and lunch. Before dinner, have a big glass of water or fruit juice. So when you sit down for the Thanksgiving dinner, you can eat slowly without gorging.

Some people advocate balancing your servings. One idea is to fill half your plate with vegetables. That’s the stuff which makes you feel full with a low calorie count. Then share the remaining space equally between the stuffing and the turkey. This will give you a satisfying meal without blowing your calorie budget for the day.

There’s actually another better idea. Just get a smaller plate. You cannot eat too much when you have less space to put your food. Of course, skip the second helping. Take a drink instead. Plain water would be harmless to your diet. Give the sweet drinks a miss or just a sip if you must.

Eat and be merry

After dinner, socialize. Don’t just sit there. Get up and enjoy the company of your family and friends. Dance, play games, whatever. Anything works better than just plain sitting down. It helps with your digestion and you get a head start with burning your calories.

There you are. You can have your turkey and all the yummy parts of Thanksgiving without saying bye-bye to your diet. Have fun.

Author Bio:

Veronica is an enthusiastic blogger that writes for Reviews Academy. At RA, she reviews entire categories of products and not individual models in order to offer you a complete picture of all options available on the market. Her mission is to provide the readers with comprehensive and trustworthy opinions to help them make the perfect buying decision.

Revisiting The New York Coffee Festival. How Tasty Was It?

In a caffeine induced haze, the New York Coffee Festival came and went, yet there are some special mentions that still have us buzzing, and longing for much more than the free samples that we were given. So here I present the top picks from the coffee festival that have the kick we crave, despite not being exclusively caffeinated.

New York Coffee
Caffeine induced haze. Photo by The New York Coffee Festival / Lassara Photography

Rebel Kitchen – If all the cool stickers and pins declaring “Rebel” wasn’t enough to attract you, the Mylks they served, Coconut milk drinks with coffee, chocolate and chai flavors, and the barista’s good vibes were enough to keep you hanging around their booth. The drinks were what one would hope to get from the store bought coffee drinks, only with less guilt of having a third coffee of the day. Since it’s coconut milk, only the coffee flavor

New york Coffee
Rebel Kitchen: Their story is passionate. Photo by Christina Maldanado

actually has any coffee, but they’re like adult chocolate milks. A tasty treat that you can pick up on the way out to the city, Rebel Kitchen is definitely on the up and coming with their flavors and creations, especially with the additional recipes they offer on their website. Their story is passionate, and that is obviously displayed from their personas at the festival. Huge bonus is all the loot you’d want to buy, they definitely had some of the coolest. Who doesn’t want any memorabilia proclaiming their rebellion? Check out their website here !

New York Coffee
Coffee Anyone? Photo by The New York Coffee Festival / Lassara Photography

Magnum CP2 – Magnum Creme Liquor not only scored major bonus points by having their staff decked out in kilts, but their wall of impressive canisters sealed the deal. Aesthetically they were onto with their simplistic look, letting the product speak volumes for them. The main speaker was energetic and well educated on the brand and honestly after that experience I have no idea why I didn’t know about them sooner. Learning about the Nitrogen process that was used to make the liquor was not only educational, but intriguing. The shots offered were delicious, but the coffee beverage offered what was so impressive. Move over Bailey’s you got some serious competition. Check out their website here !

New York Coffee
Magnum CP2. Photo by Christina Madlonado
New York Coffee
Blind coffee tasting. Photo by The New York Coffee Festival / Lassara Photography
New York Coffee
The Good Batch Bakery. Photo by Christina Maldonado

The Good Batch Bakery – Now I’m a woman who takes my baked goods very seriously, and nothing more so than cookies. It has to be done very well to get a second glance let alone an honorable mention. So obviously The Good Batch Bakery knows what they’re doing in order to get such a rave review. The chocolate chip cookie I indulged in was not only a moist piece of chocolatey heaven embraced in brown sugary goodness, but it was giant. The thick cookie was cruncher around the edges, and so soft in the middle, it was almost sinful and was most definitely an experience. It almost feels wrong to describe a snack in such a way, but if truly appreciating a well made cookie is wrong, I don’t want to be right. Check out their website here !

New York Coffee
Had a good time? Photo by The New York Coffee Festival / Lassara Photography

The Brew Hop: Cheers to a good run, good beers, and a good time!

brew hop
The run. Photo by Key Frame Photography

A new piece by Kate E. O’Hara

If you missed the Brew Hop 5K + Craft Beer Festival held at Randall’s Island Park on Sunday on September 18th, get your running shoes and beer palate ready, and mark your calendar for next year.

The bright sunshine and the scenic park set the stage for the 5K run (or walk) along the East River. Once runners finished the race they entered the festival area which included unlimited beer samples from participating breweries, food trucks, and live music. A nice touch was that the runners received the perfect combination of souvenirs: a finisher’s medal and a pint glass with a Brew Hop koozie.

But, I confess, I did not participate in the run. I merely ran from beer tent to beer tent in the festival area. And, the festival area was just that: festive. Runners, of all ages donning their medals, chatted, laughed, and sipped to the sounds of the High and Mighty Brass Band and Argonaut & Wasp. The only thing missing was signage. I love a good ol’ fashion display of banners and PR material—especially since this event benefited City Harvest, the world’s first food rescue organization, and one of my favorite charities. The Brew Hop organizers were donating 10% of the proceeds directly to City Harvest and it would have been great if the City Harvest logo, along with the striking Brew Hop logo, were amongst the beer tents.

brew hop
I ran from beer tent to beer tent…Photo by Key Frame Photography

My first major decision upon entering the festival was what beer tent to visit first. In honor of my Bronxite family (shout out to the McMahons and O’Haras!) I headed straight for Gun Hill Brewery and had myself a Haka, recommended by Hector. It was a blond ale, dry hopped with New Zealand hops, which translated to me as a real tasty beer with mild bitterness and fresh aroma. I then moved over to Bronx Brewery for their No Resolutions IPA, poured by Andrew. My immediate reaction, “Wow, this is so light and smooth.” Andrew’s fitting response, “Yeah, an all day kinda beer…or after a 5K run…” I agreed.

From the Bronx I traveled to Queens, home of SingleCut Beersmiths, to try out Billy 18-Watt IPA, which had a bitterness to it yet was nicely balanced with a citrus finish. So with my plastic tasting cups stacking up, I lined up for a beer at the Brooklyn Brewery tent for a Sorachi Ace. It was golden ale with a clean malty taste but also bright with a touch of spice. As she poured, Alexandra described it as “so unique.” I think she’s right about that.

brew hop
Unlimited beer samples…Photo by Key Frame Photography

At Alphabet City Brewing Company I had their flagship beer, Easy Blonde Ale–and that it was; smooth and light bodied. Next door (er, tent), I tried some Blood Orange Pale Ale from Great South Bay Brewery, which I thought was aptly named with a taste that complimented the fading summer weather. From there I wanted to try an ale from Captain Lawrence Brewing, but they were all out. I was disappointed but I suppose I now have a good reason to take a trip to Elmsford, New York.

So onward I went…

At the KelSo Beer Company I tried a Nut Brown Lager. I love all dark beers, so I really enjoyed the light chocolaty flavor and medium body. Over at the Six Point Brewery tent I tried Tesla Lager. It was crispy with a distinct citrus hop. At Blue Point Brewing, I tasted their Mosaic Session IPA, which I found to be light bodied, with a dry finish and a hint of tropical fruit. Over at the Rockaway Brewing I gave their ESB a try. It was smooth with a bitterness that was balanced with sweetness. And, I wrapped up my beer tasting escapades at Third Rail with a Farmhouse Ale, which was perfect for an outdoor event; hints of herbs, spices and earthiness.

brew hop
It was a bright sunny day at the scenic park. Photo by Key Frame Photography

But, in fairness, I had to try all beverages at the festival. I made a quick stop at Original Sin for a taste of their dry, crisp, refreshing hard cider. Then, off to Spiked Seltzer for Cape Cod Cranberry. I expected sweetness but there was truly a light Champagne taste instead. I then ended at Crabbie’s Ginger Beer. I really like their original with a slice of lime, but never had the Scottish Raspberry. After my first sip, I was equally impressed. The brightness of the berry was a great combination with the ginger.

In addition to the delicious beer and beverage tastings, the festival had a section of “good eats.” Runners lined up for the delicacies of Bareburger, Blossom Ice Cream, and Ponti Rossi Italian Food Truck. I saw lots of grins and empty dishes. With my focus on the breweries, I know I have organic burgers, hand-rolled ice cream, and Spaghetti Pomodoro in my near future.

brew hop
The finish line…Photo by Key Frame Photography

So, as the day came to close the end, I realized in addition to learning about great beers, I learned about some great people. From the representatives at the breweries, to the runners, to the walkers, to the beer fest only attendees (which seemed to be just me!), and two lovely ladies in particular, Lani and Moni, who shared both stories of their beer festival adventures and their lives as sisters, the day was filled with smiles, warmth, and friendliness.

There’s nothing quite like beer to bring people together.

I’m looking forward to the second annual.

Vendy Awards: Eating Your Way Through NYC – Part 1

vendy awards

Any seasoned New Yorker knows exactly who and where their favorite food truck is and is naturally upset when they have found that their precious fairy foodmother (or father!) has packed up and gone elsewhere.

While I naturally have quite a few food truck favorites, last Saturday I received the opportunity to expand my horizons and get my fill of new and unique at the 2016 Vendy Awards.

The Vendy Awards were a foodies’ dream, boasting everything from vegan barbecue food to New Orleans style snoballs for dessert. The Vendy Awards represent the first street food event and competition series in America. It hosts some of the best sidewalk chefs that New York has to offer and trust me – they don’t disappoint!

When I wasn’t stuffing my face or oohing over vendors like Harlem Seafood Soul or Big Mozz, I was dancing along with the enthusiastic and energetic crowd to the DJ spinning tunes. But let’s get down to the nitty gritty and discuss who were the big winners at this drool-worthy festival.

vendy awards
Eating Your Way Through New York. Photo by Tiara Budd

The categories are as following: Best of Dessert, Best of Rookie, Best of Market, Best of Vegan, and the grand winner: The Vendy Cup. This celebration New York’s daring food culture is a melting pot (literally!) of the great things the city stands for.

During the festival, the judges made it clear that deciding who was walking home a winner in each category, was no easy feat. But without futher ado….

Stay tuned for part two!

Where To Find Cheap, Authentic Chinese Food In London

Chinese food

There are many people who’ll tell you that London is the food capital of the world.  OK, so they may be all Brits but the city does have a very impressive range of world cuisine of the highest order and if you’re looking for authentic Chinese food then you’ll find plenty.  Chinatown alone has over eighty restaurants, many of them offering home delivery.  So here’s a handful of reasonably priced restaurants serving authentic Chinese food.

Baozi Inn.  26 Newport Court. WC2H7JS

Not for everyone and if you’re looking for cheap and cheerful chow mein this is probably not for you. What’s on offer is authentic northern Chinese cuisine such as spare ribs, cold tripe dishes, pork lotus buns, ginger spinach and dan dan noodles plus a range of delicious soups.  The interior is a striking contrast of light walls and dark wooden tables and seats presided over by an enormous poster of Chairman Mao.  Not a golden dragon or red lantern in sight.  The waiters are brisk and austere, but who cares when the food is this good and arrives this quickly.  Cash only but very reasonably priced.

Café TPT. 21 Wardour Street, Chinatown.  W1D6PN

Midway between Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus this Chinatown venue offers a huge menu, not always a good sign but in this case the exception which proves the rule.  Standouts are the duck, sizzling tofu served in a hot stone bowl and kalian in garlic sauce with steamed chicken. There are also over fifty different seafood dishes to choose from.  The food is consistent and the service fast.

Hungs. 27 Wardour Street, Chinatown. W1D6PR

Open until the early hours of the morning this is good, cheap, basic Chinese food.  For under twenty pounds you can have a set menu with a drink of your choice.  A wide range of authentic Chinese dishes with great crispy duck and a good selection of beef, pork and chicken dishes.  Not sophisticated dining but good value for money, very popular with the Chinese.

Chinese Food
Authentic Chinese Food

New Mayflower. 68 Shaftsbury Avenue.  W1D6LY

Retro décor and Cantonese dishes. Consistently high quality food, among the standout dishes are salt and pepper spare ribs, Singapore vermicelli, crabmeat and sweetcorn and the mixed meat and seafood dish with Shahe Fen.  Can get very busy and the waiters can be a little short but worth putting up with for the food.

The Good Earth.  233 Brompton Road.  Sw32EP

One of a trio of established restaurants offering classic and modern dishes in an authentic traditional setting.  Despite its location in the heart of busy Knightsbridge, The Good Earth offers a haven of relaxed oriental splendour.   Dishes of note are the crispy fragrant duck, preserved and fresh vegetables cooked in a clay pot and the seabass and mixed seafood platter.  There are also plenty of vegetarian dishes to choose from.

My Old Place. 88 Middlesex Street. E17EZ

Not in Chinatown, but just four minutes away from Liverpool Street Tube Station.  This traditional Chinese restaurant, complete with wall hangings, serves excellent Szechuan cuisine.  The hot and sour soup is outstanding as are the fried beans and the spicy lamb kebab and for the adventurous the pigs’ trotters and fugi feipian, sliced offal in chilly oil, are an unusual experience.  This is authentic Chinese cuisine but not for the faint hearted.

The NY Cheesecake: A little History and a Yummy Recipe

Photo by kimberly-vardeman
By Neha Sharma

Isn’t cheesecake the best thing in the world? Of course it is! Just name it and we bet, you’ll be left craving for it.

Cheesecake is one of the most beloved desserts around the globe. While many of us are acquainted with the fact that this creamy dessert has its roots seated in New York, the fact is – it actually dates back much further.

How did the Cheesecake reach New York? 

The Cheesecake didn’t reach New York initially. The first cheesecake was probably produced on the Greek island of Samos. Back then, this delicious dessert was believed to be a powerful source of energy (not to say it isn’t today :)). Even during the first Olympic Games in Greece, in 776 BC, cheesecakes were served to the athletes! Wedding couples were also served and cherished with this amazing dessert.

White Chocolate Rasberry NY Cheesecake. Photo by Sanctum Solitude

During the 18th century, the cheesecake slowly started to look like something we could have recognized today in New York. And today, there are hundreds of amazing recipes available for all sorts of cheesecakes.

The nice thing about cheesecakes, is that it’s simple to bake, with no fancy or complex ingredients, and it can all be done at a reasonable cost. Every restaurant has its own version of the popular New York cheesecake.

Another New York styled Cheesecake. Photo by Pilauricey

The New Yorkers fell in love with cheesecakes back in the 1900s. The credit for the creation of the NY cheesecake is bestowed upon Arnold Reuben, who was also known for his signature sandwiches. Reuben was born in Germany but shifted to America at a young age. The NY styled cheesecake was actually an experiment that Reuben did with a cheese pie. He was invited to a party where he was served with a cheese pie, and he was so dodged by the dish – that he started experimenting with it and came up with what we know today, as the NY Cheesecake.

What makes the New York cheesecake different from other cheesecakes, are the ingredients, so let’s start baking!

Kitchen Time! Let’s Prepare a Delicious Cake Today!

Here is a wonderful NY Cheesecake recipe that you can easily bake at home…

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 large eggs at room temperature
  • 4 8-ounce packages of cream cheese
  • 1.5 cups of sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of grated lemon zest
  • 2 cups of sour cream
  • 8 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 1-teaspoon of fresh lemon juice

Get Ready to Prepare

  1. Take a 10-inch spring form pan and butter the inside of the pan. Around the sides of the pan, wrap a double layer of high-quality aluminum foil tightly and make it conform to the pan. This double layer of aluminum foil helps to prevent water seeping into the pan while you put it into the bani-marie. Preheat the oven to 300°F while placing the baking rack in the center of the oven.
  1. In a large mixing bowl, put the eggs and the sour cream and with an electric mixer blend the mixture well. On the other side, beat the cream cheese in medium-sized bowl until the cheese becomes creamy and smooth. Then, add creamy cheese to the egg-sour cream mixture and beat until smooth.
  1. Now, add cornstarch, vanilla, lemon juice, lemon zest, and sugar into the mixture and beat them all thoroughly for 2 minutes. Put the mixture onto the prepared spring form pan and place it in a roasting pan. The roasting pan should be large enough to prevent the sides from touching. Place the roasting pan in an oven and pour in very hot tap water to reach halfway up the sides of the spring form pan.
  1. Bake the cake for around 2 hours and 15 minutes, or until the cake is very lightly colored and once the knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Take out from the water bath and very carefully peel the aluminum foil from around the pan. Let it cool at the room temperature for about 4 hours.

Cover and refrigerate until chilled. For best taste chill it overnight.

That’s it! You’ve baked a delicious original NY cheesecake!

About the writer: Neha Sharma runs a successful Bakery in India, called Arena Cakes, and Cheesecakes are among their best-selling delights.

Okiway Review: Ever Tasted a Japanese Pancake?

A Fresh Review by Anthony McGovern

Okiway sits on the corner of Morgan and Flushing Aves (check in our map – click the “Japanese” category), only a block or two from Momo Sushi Shack and King Noodle (of spam noodles fusion fame). It is the latest addition to the areas edgy asian eateries.

Okiway Inside. Picture by Anthony McGovern

The space has a playful atmosphere, balancing a Japanese pop culture aesthetic with Bushwick’s obligatory toned-down cool. The primary-colored magnetic letters you remember from pre-K cover a stainless steel hood above an open kitchen, occasionally spelling out words like ponzu, and a vinyl toy collection lines the top of the wall, cast in the vivid pink glow of the neon ’Okiway’ sign that greets you as you step inside.

Their signature dish is Okonomiyaki, a type of savory japanese pancake — think of the comfortingly mushy, ginger-spiked filling you find in a veggie dumpling lightly fried into a mayo-topped patty. The dish is relatively unfamiliar in the US so it’s prominently featured and explained on their website. You might understandably think it’s meant to be the focus of the meal, but rather, look at it as a kind of a side dish; filling, with a mild, palate-cleansing flavor. Resist the urge to each order one of the several varieties on offer, and instead get one to share or you’ll miss out on the full experience.

Okonomiyaki. Picture by Okiway

Sharing is the essence of Okiway, which could be described as Japanese fusion tapas, and the eclectic offering will hopefully serve as its own topic of conversation during your meal.

A great example is the Edamame, its ubiquitous steamed-and-sea-salted presentation eschewed in favor of a saute and toss in a soy brown-butter sauce; the smokiness of the lightly-charred bean pod and the richness of the butter cast the familiar dish in a new light. Or the Wasabi Guacamole, which seems unremarkable until you squeeze the lime over top and the distinctive flavor of the wasabi comes alive. The okonomiyaki are interesting and enjoyable, but this kind of subtle fusion twist is Okiway’s real draw.

Wasabi Guacamole: Seems unremarkable until you squeeze the lime over top…Photo by Anthony McGovern

The Beef and Cheese Yaki, a dish served by Japanese places in France, is like a fried cheese stick that wraps the hunk of Swiss in a thin layer of beef rather than breadcrumbs. It’s unavoidably delicious and will make you momentarily wish it wasn’t a small plate restaurant.

The same could be said for the Corn Tempura, another unusual but welcome take on a staple. The loose corn kernels fried together in fritter-like balls does everything tempura should, highlighting the crisp sweetness of the corn, and really shines when topped with seasoned salt and a squeeze of lemon.

Corn Tempura. Picture by Anthony McGovern

Those who enjoy more traditional Japanese fare, have no fear, they are equally well-represented. Standouts are the paper-thin slices of the Octopus Carpaccio in a light citrus vinegar sauce; and the Shinaji, small white mushrooms and shredded fried tofu in a light soy sauce. They’re both served cold and are delightfully citrusy and refreshing.

Octopus Carpaccio, and the window view. Picture by Anthony McGovern

Okiway features an equally interesting selection of beer and sake to complement the food. For those who don’t typically enjoy Asian beers, try the Asahi Black, stout-like but smoother; for those who do, the Wasabi Nigata elevates the mild, bitter flatness of a typical japanese beer with a spicy note. Or opt out of Asia altogether and go for Columba, a white beer from the owner’s hometown in France.

Okiway is deeper than it seem at first glance, and demands more time and attention than a quick stop for ramen. Highly recommended for couples or groups that are in the mood to spend a little bit more, both in time and money, in exchange for a unique and eclectic meal.

Streamy Awards: Is This The #1 Most Social Non-Sports Program on TV?

Did you know? The 5th Annual Streamy Awards, which honor the best in online video and the creators behind it, were the #1 most social non-sports program on TV on the day the show aired, last year. More than 97,000 people wrote almost 475,000 Tweets about the show and 2.3 million people saw those Tweets a total of 9.3 million times.

In case you haven’t heard yet, the Dick Clark Productions and Tubefilter recently announced the nominees for the 6th Annual Streamy Awards taking place on October 4th at the iconic Beverly Hilton.

The Streamy awards feature a FOOD category as well, and this year’s nominees include YouTube sensations like “Feast of Fiction”, who will teach you How to Make PAWPSICLES from Zootopia! Or How to Make ECTO COOLER from Ghostbusters.

There’s also the How to Cake it” YouTube channel, where creator and baker Yolanda Gampp will teach you how to make a Pokemon cake, as well as hundreds of other cool and yummy designs.

“Laura in The Kitchen” is an interactive cooking show hosted by Laura Vitale, who focuses on Italian cuisine.

And there’s “Tiny Kitchen” as well – a beautiful food channel showcasing tiny designed food – you have to watch it to understand.

Online video is definitely becoming the language of this generation and video creators in the culinary world are helping to bring new excitement and attention to the world of food.

“This year’s Streamy Nominees represent the most diverse range of creators the Streamy Awards have ever seen, with stars on new and emerging platforms,” said Streamy Awards founder Drew Baldwin. “Creators have reached new heights in how they captivate, inspire, educate, and entertain us—with new technologies, new formats and new ways to engage with their communities. We’re honored to be celebrating these achievements with such a brilliant class of creative people.”

The 6th Annual Streamy Awards is Executive Produced by dick clark productions’, who are the world’s largest producer of televised live event entertainment programing, with the “Golden Globe Awards”, “Academy of Country Music Awards”, and many more.

Are You Ready? The NEW YORK COFFEE FESTIVAL is Back!


The New York Coffee Festival is returning for the 2nd year in a row to the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Ave from September 16-18. What’s better than last year? Even more vendors, new lab sessions, latte art demonstrations, and more.

The New York Coffee Festival is also the official launch event of charitable Coffee Week NYC™, which promotes the vibrancy of the coffee industry while also raising money for clean water and sanitation projects in coffee producing communities. For more information, please visit:

Who are the exhibitors this year? Bluestone Lane Coffee, Devoción, La Marzocco, Ally Coffee, Califia Farms, and more will be among over 70 innovative exhibitors. The three-day coffee festival will also include the Coffee Masters NYC barista championship, The Lab program featuring an exciting line-up of interactive demonstrations, workshops, talks and tastings, the Coffee Music Project, and the Coffee Art Project, as well as a number of new features including:

  • New York Coffee
    Latte Art Live…

    The Latte Art Live, where visitors will be able to learn first-hand how to make beautiful latte art in demonstrations given by some of the best baristas New York City has to offer, as well as guest baristas from around the world.

  • The Village will feature small innovative brands and many new coffee products that have not yet been seen elsewhere.
  • The Espresso Martini Bar, which will provide an exciting range of coffee cocktails that will excite even the most casual coffee drinker, let alone coffee diehards.
  • The New York Coffee Festival will also be running the Coffee With New York campaign to find out which New York celebrities coffee-loving New Yorkers would most like to have coffee with.
More vendors, new lab sessions, latte art demonstrations, and more.

If the promise of hundreds of free samples from the highest quality specialty coffee and food brands is not enough of an incentive, The New York Coffee Festival is donating 50% of ticket proceeds to charity: water via the Allegra Group’s Project Waterfall initiative. Through these donations, Project Waterfall will be able to continue bringing clean water to coffee countries such as Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Rwanda.

On this year’s festival, Allegra Group CEO, Jeffrey Young shares, “We are delighted that The New York Coffee Festival this year will be building on the tremendous success of the launch event in 2015.  This September, we are expecting more than 12,000 highly caffeinate trade and consumer visitors (nearly double of last year). New York is such a thriving city with an immense coffee culture that is rising by the day.  We are proud to welcome a host of new coffee roasters and brands as vendors this year which all makes for a truly exciting event.  We also aim to raise more than $100,000 charitable funds to provide clean drinking water in coffee countries via our local partner charity: water.”

Tickets for The New York Coffee Festival are now on sale at:, and like always – they are expected to sell out quickly.


WHAT: The New York Coffee Festival

WHEN: Fri., Sept. 16th – Sun, Sept. 18th

  • Friday, Sept 16th | Afternoon Trade-Only Session (2pm-7:30pm)
  • Saturday, Sept. 17th | Morning Session (10am-1pm)
  • Saturday, Sept. 17th | Afternoon Session (1pm-4pm)
  • Saturday, Sept. 17th | Late Session (4-7:30pm)
  • Sunday, Sept. 18th | Morning Session (10am-1:30pm)
  • Sunday, Sept. 18th | Afternoon Session (1:30pm-5pm)

WHERE: 69th Regiment Armory | Lexington Ave & 26th St | New York, NY 10010




Official Hashtag: #newyorkcoffeefestival


We’ve Been Featured on The Sunday Times Interactive Food Map!

Interactive Food Map

We are extremely proud to announce our unique and exciting collaboration with The Times and The Sunday Times Insider City Guides, on The Taste of New York interactive food map. What’s it all about? Well, The Times wanted their readers to get lowdown on the best places to taste NYC’s iconic food, so they asked the experts…NYSF! (

The Sunday Times Insider City Guides was launched back in March 2016, and it combines the expertise of the travel teams and city break experts at The Times and The Sunday Times Travel Magazine.

The project included the launch of a new interactive Food Map for New York, to which our team at contributed most of the food tips. We provided The Times with NYSF’s first hand experience of the top places to eat steaks, Tacos, Pizza, Burgers, Sweet treats and some of our favorite Street Food vendors.

How Did It All Start?

When they were looking at New York, The Times decided to focus on the food scene, since eating out is so intrinsically special to New York. With the most unique food spots around every corner, from the tastiest Taco vans to the poshest pizza in town, we all know that New York is surrounded by an abundance of great spots for even the fussiest of foodies. Because of this, content surrounding restaurants and street food spots also returns the most searches (The Times research showed that over 15,000 users in the UK search for New York related food content every month!).

This led The Times to collectively decide that an interactive tool showing all of New York’s favorites in one place would be a perfect way to conquer the breakfast/lunch/dinner and snack dilemma of where to eat! To make this interactive map feel as authentic as possible, The Times consulted New York’s top foodie influencers, NYSF included.

Interactive Food map
NYSF’s Food Tips on The Sunday Times Interactive Food Map

The Process

  • After identifying the best of the best New York foodies, The Times then asked for their first hand recommendations for the top spots to eat, plus their absolute must-try dish for each.
  • The influencers have spanned their tips across what they consider New York’s top 7 cuisines: Burgers, Pizza/Italian, Street Food, Sweet Treats, Tacos, Steakhouses and Trending spots.
  • With that unique insight, The Times compiled these into a newly launched interactive map to be featured on The Times and The Sunday Times Travel Insider’s interactive food map.

This beautifully designed Food Map is also extremely user-friendly. Click here to view the interactive food map, then just select your preferred food category from the drop-box menu, let’s say “Pizza” – and the colorful map with pop up orange pizza slices representing the best tips for Pizza spots in NYC, recommended by us and other prominent bloggers and food critics.

By being featured on one of the top publications in the UK (with over 8.7M visits per month), this interactive map has been created to aid both those traveling to New York and New York natives alike.

Here are some useful links:

The Taste of New York Map

The Times and The Sunday Times Insider City Guide to New York

The Sunday Times Travel Facebook

The Sunday Times Travel Twitter

This Greek Food Truck Makes The Most Incredible Fries

Greek Food truck

I recently had some friends in from out of town, and in addition to showing them the sights of New York City, we made our way through the streets sampling the multitude of cuisines Manhattan has to offer. In our travels, we stopped by Uncle Gussy’s Greek Food Truck for some traditional Greek fare.

Uncle Gussy’s has been a neighborhood fixture at 345 Park Avenue and East 51st since 1971. It started as their uncle’s food cart which vended hot dogs and pretzels, but now co-owners Nicko and Frank have been vending from their distinctive bright blue truck, complete with a line of customers, for the past 8 years.

We arrived at Uncle Gussy’s after the lunch rush, but there was still a steady flow of regular customers getting their fix. I say fix because our meal was nothing short of addicting.

At the suggestion of Nicko we had the souvlaki– and what a good suggestion it was. Inside a doughy, lightly toasted pita, and under fresh lettuce and tomato, sits the most delectable treat: marinated pork shoulder, which has been grilled, not a flat grill as Nico noted, but on a barbeque which enhances the flavor, leaving each bite to melt in your mouth. Really, it did. And, since it was prepared by Nicko’s mother Katerina, it truly captured the Uncle Gussy spirit of fresh and homemade.

Greek Food truck
Co-Owner Nicko. Photo by Kate E. O’Hara

What brought this dish together was what Nicko and Frank consider their “specialty”—the tzatziki sauce. I agree. It was traditional Greek, with a creamy yogurt base, but there was something else included– a “secret ingredient” which they say is “our Greek mother’s love and passion.” Given that, there truly isn’t another sauce like it.

Greek Food Truck
Marinated pork shoulder inside a doughy, lightly toasted pita. Photo by Kate E. O’Hara

As if all of this wasn’t tasty enough, our souvlaki was accompanied by an order of fries. But these were not just any fries, these were seasoned fries—Gussy style; cut potatoes, deep fried then tossed with Greek oregano—both the taste and the aroma were incredible.

Greek food truck
Incredible Fries, Gussy style…Photo by Kate E. O’Hara

If souvlaki and fries aren’t what you’re craving, Uncle Gussy’s also has daily specials, as well as sandwiches and burgers in addition to their regular menu selections of Greek dishes. And, Uncle Gussy’s Greek food truck has made their mark in the digital age: on their website ( you can skip standing in line and order online through Grubhub or Seamless. You can also signup for updates and specials, or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Oh yes, one more thing—they cater for parties big and small. (Contact us for more details!) With all those options, now there’s no excuse for not to giving their “fresh, home cooked, Greek cuisine” a try.

Is This The Tastiest Cheesesteak on the Streets of NYC?

A Review by Christina Maldonado

Nestled next to the JP Morgan & Chase building, during the bustling lunch hour, I found Phil’s Steaks food truck, an easy lunch choice for this complex city. Despite everyone trying to beat the heat, I received a warm welcome from Kevin McConnell, Phil’s Steaks Co-Owner, who let me know a bit about the background of Phil’s and how it came to be a truck that graces the New York City Streets.

I learned how this was the brain baby of a few friends over some beers, and done because it was too much of a good idea not to. The simple reason Phill’s started really honed in the overall vibe of the truck and the food itself. There’s nothing about Phil’s that doesn’t seem like a good idea. Although most of their customers were stuffed in suits, the Jawn offers a laid back, feel good sort of atmosphere. This was evident in how even the most stern-faced looking suit walked away with a wide grin, and a cheesesteak. Even the intimidating and looming buildings that surrounded the truck couldn’t mess with the easygoing nature of Phil’s.

I managed to just miss the lunch rush, call it good timing or pure luck, so as I approached the truck I was immediately greeted. We chatted briefly, and Kevin’s passion for food, specifically the cheesesteaks he’s shelling out, convinced me that I was in good hands. He helped me dive right in with the Shroom Steak. Being totally honest, Phil’s steaks aren’t the most glamorous sandwiches known to mankind, but what they lack in looks, they make up for in taste.

Phil’s Steaks. Photo by Christina Maldonado

Phil’s priority is giving their customers authentic Philly Cheesesteaks, and while I might not be an expert, if Phil’s is an example of a cheesesteak done right, I need to get to Philadelphia this second. The mushrooms were huge and cooked to perfection, really emphasizing the juiciness of the steak itself. And can we take a moment to appreciate juicy steak from a food truck, instead of the dried out meats that I have frequently run into. While I was confused as to where the cheese was (Kevin is a self proclaimed cheesy kind of guy) I was surprised to have it under all the meat, the placement making not only the meat a cheesy delight, but the bread as well.

Let’s take a minute to really talk about this bread, because it’s probably the most important thing to me in this food truck experience. Usually breads on food truck sandwiches tend to be too hard but not only were their authentic Philly Amoroso rolls soft, they were the type of rolls you stuff your face with five of by themselves. Imagine that greatness, filled with cheese and steak. I was swooning. Unfortunately the greatness of the sandwich led the fries to pale in comparison, but I have a feeling that the “Route 11” potato chips that they offer would have been a better companion for my sandwich. Lesson learned for next time.

It’s probably the most important thing to me in this food truck experience…Photo by Christina Maldonado

Although I typically pride myself on my gluttonous tendencies, I could only handle one sandwich, and that was only after a half 6” serving. Next time I’ll have to prepare to take down the Whiz Steak, a popular menu item that brags about the amount of cheese whiz it brings to the table, as it seems that I’m missing out on a great Philly Cheesesteak staple by not indulging in the canned goodness.

Ultimately, Phil’s Steaks aims to give you a simple cheesesteak that also happens to be one of the best things you’ve ever put in your mouth, and I believe that they succeed. With menu options that appeal to a variety of taste buds (they even offer the vegetarian option Wilson sandwich), and prices that lean more to the reasonable side where city lunch is involved (I’d go with the full 10” for more bang for my buck), I don’t see why this food truck isn’t the lunch option for everyone on Park Ave.

You can find Phil’s truck all over midtown, especially with the use of their handy “Find Phil” link on their website. You might also run into them at festivals and parties, as they cater events as well.

Need to get away? Take a Food Vacation to 9W Market and Filling Station! – Part 2

By Kate E. O’Hara

Although I was close to having my waist-band bust from all the indulging at the 9W Market (if you haven’t yet – read Part 1 here!), I couldn’t leave without trying a burger and fries from the Filling Station. The meal is touted as “the best hamburger and fries in the world ever!!!” And, I agree.

The burger, made from organic brisket, hanger steak and short rib, is ground fresh daily. Charlie, a long time employee, explained that the burgers are seared on a flat top grill so they maintain their natural juices. They literally melt in your mouth. And, the fries…oh the fries…hand cut, with a choice of regular or sweet potato, are fried to perfection and dusted with salt. Veering from my traditional route, I opted for truffle aioli instead of ketchup. It was an excellent choice; the combination of tastes blended into a mouthwatering treat.

I’d have to say that it is a must try for any burger lover. And, paired with one of their local craft beers, it just might be the perfect meal.

filling station
Fried to perfection. Photo by Kate E. O’Hara

So, with a waistband now officially busting, I allowed Agata to talk me into having dessert. I sampled artisanal ice cream (yes, you guessed it; fresh and local). It was dense and creamy and flavorful. Then the array of breads, pastries, and sweet treats is just too much to take in. From the warm chocolate chip cookie (made with…are you ready for this?…Jacque Torres chocolate!) t o the fresh berry pies, to the hand dipped macaroons, one would never run out of sweet tooth options. And, all of which can be ordered with herbal tea, cappuccino or espresso.

filling station
chocolate chip cookie made with…Jacque Torres chocolate! Photo by Kate E. O’Hara

On a related note, I must add that Agata is a delightful l person—she is welcoming and energetic, and also passionate about what she does and what her establishments represent. Her presence mirrors that of the friendly staff and the clear philosophy of everything fresh. In fact, in addition to consistent items, the menu changes daily, based on availability of products from local farms and even selections from their own garden.

Depending on the day, or the weather, or the season, you can find bikers, hikers, celebrities, families and friends lining up for their favorite meal or treat at either the 9W Market and Filling Station, with a line of cars known to stretch over a mile long.

As Charlie explained, “It’s a destination.”

It certainly is. Be sure to take a trip there soon.

Need to get away? Take a Food Vacation to 9W Market and Filling Station! – Part 1

The artisan pizza and Kate
By Kate E. O’Hara


Just outside NYC, about 12 miles north of the George Washington Bridge, sits an incredible food oasis—or actually two. As a former gas station (said to be built in 1939), the Filling Station is aptly named. Adjacent is the 9W Market, an open-air natural wood building bustling with energy. Both properties have an unmistakable vacation feel; outside the Filling Station there is white gravel and picnic tables with brightly colored umbrellas, all flanked by clusters of tall grass and potted palm plants. Outside the 9W Market are bistro tables, Adirondack chairs, herbs and flowers, and even a fire-pit. Inside, plenty of delicious food.

An open-air natural wood building bustling with energy…Photo: Kate E. O’Hara

The 9W Market is self serve, with a focus on preparing natural and organic foods, artisan pizza, home baked pastries, cakes, and bread. It is a family run business, and owner Agata Ostrowska suggested I try the egg sandwich. I usually like pepper and ketchup on my egg sandwiches but no additional seasoning was needed for this delectable treat. The flavor was incredible; organic eggs, local cheeses consisting of cheddar, Swiss, and smoked mozzarella. Yum, three cheeses– what more could you want? Well, there was more. The sandwich is topped with the thick cut double smoked bacon, that added a layer of saltiness—all tucked in a crunchy crusted, doughy homemade ciabatta bread. Apparently I’m not the only one who loves the eggs sandwich. Weekend mornings they sell over 300 of them!

But, if breakfast isn’t for you, there is no shortage of options. There was an incredible array of salads which truly exemplified their concept of farm fresh. I tried several salads: fava bean, tossed in a tomato puree, onion and olive oil. It was light and flavorful; juicy orange and red heirloom tomatoes with a touch of olive oil, basil, and shaved parmesan (Yum, more cheese); sautéed spinach that was so appetizing, without even a hint of bitterness; quinoa with kale, sunflower seeds and cranberries; wheat berry with cranberry, celery, lemon raspberry vinaigrette enhanced by the inclusion of apricots—it was so light and refreshing. The wheat berry salad was my favorite second to an unexpected surprise—roasted potatoes, served as warm wedges tossed in lemon, olive oil and rosemary. There was a mouth-watering zest to them—perfect to eat as a side or all on their own.

An unmistakable vacation feel…Photo by Kate E. O’Hara

After trying the salads and sides, I knew I had to try the pizza since the aroma was wafting through the air. The 9W Market makes a variety of artisan pizzas, from sausage to cauliflower, but I decided on a traditional margherita. It was fabulous. Sweet tanginess of the tomatoes with the creaminess of the cheese was so flavorful, and some bites even more so with the sprinkling of fresh basil.

The aroma was wafting through the air…Photo by Kate E. O’Hara

I switched from my morning coffee, and ordered a glass of pinot noir wine to accompany my pizza. As I sipped my wine I couldn’t help to notice the uniqueness of the crust; crisp, but yet a soft dough, with a sublet tang to it. I later learned it was homemade sourdough which took several months to perfect. It was well worth the wait—and something I’ll be returning for!

9W Market’s traditional margherita. Photo by Kate E. O’Hara

But, before I left I had to try one more Market fan favorites: the lobster roll. Since I went the traditional route for my pizza, I opted for the same for my lobster roll. It is made with the meat of a 1.25 pound lobster nestled on a buttered and sea salted roll. (non-traditionalists can order the Connecticut lobster roll which is prepared warm, poached in clarified butter, with celery salt and lemon). What I loved best about the lobster roll was the simple purity of it—no filler of celery, or lettuce, just the succulent meat and homemade mayo. If for some reason your lobster roll wasn’t satisfying enough, your roll is served with homemade chips and a roasted corn salad. The entire dish takes you right to the coast of New England…

Keep posted for Part 2 of this culinary trip just outside NYC, where Kate tastes “the best hamburger and fries in the world ever!!!”…

Festivals in NYC: The First Annual Brew Hop 5K + Craft Beer Festival


Love to run and drink? Then this one of the most exciting Festivals in NYC that you definitely do not want to miss! The first annual Brew Hop 5K + Craft Beer Festival is coming to Randall’s Island Park on Sunday, September 18th. This fun-packed event will feature complimentary tastings from craft breweries around the Greater New York Area, such as: Bronx Brewery, Brooklyn Brewery, Alphabet City Brewing, and many more to be announced.

The Brew Hop is actually one of the latest brand new Festivals in NYC. It gives attendees the chance to mix their love for running and beer, aiming to build a bridge between two seemingly unrelated yet perfectly compatible pastimes. This awesome day starts off with a 5K race, followed by a Beer Festival from 12:30pm – 4pm. Runners will even receive a congratulatory medal at the end of the race! For those of you interested only in the post-race festivities, or in other words – drinking, there is a ‘Beer Fest Only’ ticket available for purchase. VIP tickets are also available for purchase, which will grant access to a private lounge area with wait staff to get beers for you, free massages, private bathrooms, exclusive food and beer offerings.

All attendees will also enjoy complimentary beer samples, along with a tasting glass, koozie, and other exciting surprises from all participating breweries. The post-race festival will feature live music, lawn games, brewery row, art installations, local food trucks, vendor village, and seating areas.

As the excitement towards the upcoming festival grows, Co-Founder of Peak Projects, Joey Garofalo explains, “We’re honored to be able to contribute to New York City’s craft beer and running scenes and hope this event will become a staple in both communities for years to come.”

Check out this video from NYC’s 2015 Craft Beer Festival:

On top of all the fun, run and beer, this exciting event will benefit City Harvest, the world’s first food rescue organization. The festival organizers will be donating 10% of the proceeds directly to the City Harvest charity, who this year alone, will collect 55 million pounds of excess food to help feed 1.4 million New Yorkers who are struggling to put a meal on their tables. Through its powerful relationships with farms, restaurants, grocers, and manufacturers, City Harvest collects nutritious food that would otherwise go to waste and delivers it free of charge to 500 soup kitchens, food pantries, and other community food programs across the city. For more information, please visit

We are sending one of our bloggers to cover the event, so we’ll update you soon, if this Festival is about to rank on our top list of best Festivals in NYC…:)))

Here are the EVENT DETAILS:

The Brew Hop – 5K + Craft Beer Festival

DATE: Sunday, September 18th

TIME:  Registration Opens: 10:00 AM

Race Starts: 12:00 PM

Festival: 12:30 PM – 4:00 PM

VENUE: Randall’s Island Park, NYC

TICKET INFO: 5K + Beer Fest: VIP – $100, Early Bird – $45, Advanced – $60, Same Day – $75

Beer Fest Only: VIP – $90, Early Bird – $35, Advanced – $50, Same Day – $65


For the latest on The Brew Hop please visit:


Eileen’s Special Cheesecake Review: Bite-Sized Pieces of Love

Eileen's Special Cheesecake
Photo by Tiara Budd

By Tiara Budd

This ain’t your grandma’s cheesecake. In fact, rid your mind of all your past experiences when it comes to chowing down this dessert and free yourself of expectations because Eileen’s Special Cheesecake will blow them away each and every time.

Eileen’s Special Cheesecake
This place has been baking for 41 sweet years. Photo by Tiara Budd

Located at 17 Cleveland Place in SoHo, Eileen’s Special cheesecakes are made, filled and packaged with love. This cute and cozy shop is usually packed from door to register with eager patrons ready to get their portion of finger-licking cheesecake. In the back of the shop, you can find Eileen joking with her employees and overseeing to make sure each and every cheesecake is in tip-top shape. Eileen has been baking for 41 sweet years and has enjoyed it to the very last drop. She admits that her favorite part of working in the beautiful store is exceeding expectations of what a cheesecake should taste like. She loves the look of surprise and delight on a customer’s face when they take their very first bite into one of her scrumptious concoctions.

While customers go crazy over the Strawberry Cheesecake, Eileen’s personal favorite is the Banana. As I stuffed my face with these mini cheesecakes prized at $3.80 each, I had to agree with Eileen – the banana-flavored dessert was superb. A few of my other favorites were the Red Velvet (it melts in your mouth) and the Mango Cheesecake. If you’re dreaming of a tropical vacation but can’t quite get away, then you should check out the Piña Colada, which will make you feel like you’re enjoying a cool breeze.

Eileen’s Special Cheesecake
Filled and Packaged with Love: Eileen’s Special Cheesecakes

If you’re still not quite sold yet, did I mention that tomorrow is National Cheesecake Day (who knew?!) and ALL of Eileen’s cheesecakes will be half off in-store. Make sure you head to SoHo before 7pm, since I’m sure there will be a line halfway around the corner when you arrive. Grab a friend, get a spot, and prepare to experience the best cheesecakes New York has to offer. See you there!

For more details about Eileen’s Special Cheesecake’s visit their website at this link here.




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