Archive for the ‘Top Five’ Category

Planning Your Next Date

September 14, 2010

Urban Daddy’s post last week on “Better Dating Through Sonar,” featured a new app that may be the future of online dating.

According to Urban Daddy:  Introducing StreetSpark, a brand-new dating app that scans your immediate surroundings for… romantic opportunities—and sets off a vibration every time one enters striking distance… Should someone resembling Your Perfect Match (even just semi-pro volleyball players) appear nearby, your phone will engage DEFCON 1 protocols and arm the warheads of love. You’ll casually peruse their profile and pic (and see their Facebook “likes”) and then choose whether to “ignite” this particular spark and send a message to the person, or to “extinguish” it and nip the bloom of romance in mid-blossom. Of course, the other person also has the option to ignite or extinguish you. Luckily you are highly flammable.

But what happened to good old-fashioned dating?!  Remember the days when you went on a date with someone that you didn’t know much about and had not seen a picture of yet, but your friend thought you two would be “perfect” together?  Do you really want to know everything about a person before you meet them?   

Instead, plan a perfect date at a cozy restaurant without preconceived notions and enjoy the company and the food –- no checking out his/her Facebook/Twitter/Google search page or scanning the menu first.  Just take a chance.


 9 Jones St. nr. W. 4th St. NYC

Grab a quiet corner table in the back and order the duck meatballs.  Sitting near the kitchen, you may get a chance to see/meet the owner/chef, Harold Dieterle, Top Chef‘s inaugural winner.


Blue Ribbon Brasserie

97 Sullivan St nr. Spring St. NYC

Go early, sit at the bar, share a dozen oysters and try the martinis while you wait for a table (no reservations). Start with the platter of honey BBQ-glazed ribs and chicken wings.  The lobster and fried chicken for dinner will not disappoint. Take your time and enjoy a bottle of wine.  Don’t want to wait for a table?  Then head over to Blue Ribbon Sushi a few doors down. 



88 Second Ave. nr. 5th St. NYC

Are you on a budget or not sure if you want to spend dough on your date?  Check out this budget-friendly Italian joint in the East Village and order Grandma Carmela’s slow-cooked ragu.



117 Perry St. at Greenwich St. NYC

This restaurant reminds me of Nantucket meets a Vermont ski lodge.  The menu items are seasonal and fresh and the ambiance is cozy but not crowded.  Ask about the daily specials.  On Sunday, they feature a roasted chicken dinner for two.  You can also use this as your fallback plan if the wait at the Spotted Pig is too long.



228 E. 10th St. nr. First Ave. 

This tiny 25-seat subterranean restaurant features Japanese Italian tapas. Yes, you read that correctly. The Japanese chef creates some amazing combinations of flavors and presents them in small portions so they are perfect for dates. Order a bunch of plates and share. You won’t want to miss the Spicy Yellowtail Tartar Crostini, Homemade Meatball, Saikyo Miso Marinated Black Cod and the duck. The menu changes so go back again.



Bon Appétit!


I’ve Got the Scoop

July 23, 2010

We are coming to the end of National Ice Cream Month… sigh.  With temperatures of 85 degrees and rising each day, I will do anything to stay cool and I use this weather as an excuse to eat unlimited amounts of ice cream.  There is nothing better than that first bite of ice cream – that cool, creamy goodness – on a super hot day. Don’t waste a tasty treat on those non-fat frozen yogurt options.  Go right for a large scoop of New York’s finest ice cream… or try gelato!    

What is the difference between gelato and ice cream?  According to the experts at Wikipedia:  

Gelato is Italy’s regional variant of ice cream. As such, gelato is made with some of the same ingredients as most other frozen dairy desserts. Milk, cream, various sugars, flavoring including fruit and nut purees are the main ingredients. Gelato differs from ice cream in that it has a lower butterfat content, typically gelato contains 4-8% versus 14% for ice cream. Gelato generally has slightly lower sugar content, averaging between 16-22% versus approximately 21% for ice cream and non-fat milk is added as a solid.  

So I read that to mean gelato = healthier than ice cream.  Mmm… Even more reason to eat it, as if I needed one.    

Here are the Top 5 Gelato Spots in NYC.  Do you agree?    

1)   Grom    

Grom uses only organic fruits, no artificial additives and is eco-friendly. The first location opened in Torino, Italy and now you can sample the gelato at Grom at any of the three NYC locations.    

Why you should go: the Tiramisù Gelato.    

Courtesy of


2)   Otto Enoteca Pizzeria   

Mario Batali is a food genius.  Otto not only serves amazing pizza but also has some of the best gelato in the city… and at reasonable prices!  The unique gelato flavors are a perfect end to a perfect meal.  The gelato flavors include Salty Peanut, Dark Chocolate, Creme Fraiche, Ricotta, Caramel and Milk Chocolate Chip, to name a few.   (Can’t wait for Eataly to open this summer!  I will be first in line.)

 Why you should go: the Olive Oil Gelato   

Courtesy of NY Serious Eats


3)   Il Laboratorio del Gelato   

This gourmet gelato shop is located next door to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. With a rotating selection of more than 200 flavors, it’s no surprise that this place is a NY favorite.  Some of the more creative flavors include Maple Walnut, Lavender Honey, Guinness, Chocolate Thai Chili and Vanilla Saffron.  

 Why you should go: the Dark Chocolate gelato (with any topping)  

Courtesy of Grub Street New York (


4)   L’Arte del Gelato

L’Arte’s website states:  We make it, you eat it. Simple. Using natural ingredients and in-season fruits, L’Arte creates delicious summer treats. They feature an Olive Oil flavor similar to Otto’s, as well as Pistachio,  Coconut, Crème Brulée, Rum Raisin, and many more.  

Why you should go:  the Rice Pudding gelato!

Courtesy of L'Arte del Gelato


5)   Popbar  

I love the creative “pop” words they use like Popologists, Popaholic, PopLab and Poparazzi (check out their site for more).   

I think Popbar describes its concept best:  PopGelato on a stick is a handcrafted and customizable treat. They are made daily from fresh fruit and ingredients shipped directly from Italy with no artificial coloring or preservatives. Do you love our popGelatos and want to add a personal touch? No problem! With myPop you can create your own unique popGelato… from the stick up!  Choose your Poppings, choose a signature dip and enjoy!  

Why you should go:  It’s gelato on a stick… with toppings!  

Courtesy of Grub Street New York (


If your summer travels take you to Chapel Hill, NC, make sure you stop by Sugarland for a gelato martini!  The shop has been featured on Good Morning America and the Food Network’s new show, Kid in a Candy Store.  The martini flavors include a pina colada, Nutty Irishman (a mix of hazelnut gelato, Bailey’s Irish cream and vodka), the Kiwi Kamikazi (a mix of kiwi gelato, a splash of lime, Midori and vodka) and the signature Tartini, named for the college town’s Tar Heels, to name a few.  


I declare today National Gelato Day!