A West Side Trek to Gotham West Market

When Gotham West Market opened a few months ago, I knew I had to get there soon. It has a lot of what I love about New York: great food and chefs, cool but under the radar location.

It's been referred to as a "food court" and with that, I picture Auntie Anne's soft pretzels, Chick-Fil-A, and the general scent of fried food in the air. This is no food court - it's a smorgasbord of incredible, many New York-centric, vendors, eight to be exact.

The Brooklyn KitchenYou'll want to browse at The Brooklyn Kitchen, an offshoot of their original store in Williamsburg. There are tons of made-in-Brooklyn items from pickles and peanut butter to salmon and cheese, but just tons of great products and a fun slate of cooking classes. 

Inside Brooklyn KitchenCourt Street Grocers, another Brooklyn implant, serves sandwiches. El Comado is fabulous for tapas from Chef Seamus Mullen, who does incredible tapas at one of my favorites, Tertulia in the West Village. And foodies are trekking here specifically for ramen from Ivan Ramen, his first opening in the U.S. (there are two in Japan).

It's an easy walk from Times Square on the far west side of Manhattan, technically in Hell's Kitchen. If you only have a limited time in New York, I'd skip it. But if you're on a return trip or interested in seeing what's new in NYC, it's definitely worth it!

Gotham West Market: 600 11th Avenue between 44th & 45th St

London: Daylesford Organic in Notting Hill

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I have to come to Daylesford every time I'm in London. It is a really special place especially if you care about where your food comes from. I've been working in travel media for almost five years now and we have the tendency to beat a trend into the ground, like farm-to-table and "local, seasonal, sustainable."

But it still rare for a company to truly live and breathe these philosophies and Daylesford is at the top of the heap, and have been for over 30 years. Their Cotswolds farm is magic, filled with happy, roaming animals, good eats, beautiful clothes and housewares, and happy people.

And a piece of that magic is here in Notting Hill. You leave feeling nourished, loved, inspired - all things that truly good food can do for you.

P.S. - It's hot-cross bun season!

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Hot cross bun!

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Breakfast!

The Little Owl is Still Perfect

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The Little Owl is still perfect! I've gone for brunch, lunch, and dinner (including my birthday dinner last year) over and over again - and it remains one of my top five favorites in all of New York. One of my brothers is here for six weeks from L.A. for work, and we met there today.

It. Is. Perfect. Tiny, cozy, homey, delicious, friendly, and one of the best corners in the city. Share the signature dish - meatball sliders on garlic buns - three to an order. It's one of the greatest bites you can have in the city. You can only get the whole wheat pancakes at brunch and they melt in your mouth as opposed to your normal doughy, heavy pancake.

Then wander the West Village - over to the Hudson River, on Bleecker, Hudson, and Christopher Streets - a Sunday that's hard to beat!

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L'Ami Jean, Paris

On a quiet street in Paris, close to the Eiffel Tower but not too close, is Chez L'Ami Jean. Out of our wonderful dinner here came one of my favorite action photos - the young apprentice in the kitchen, paused, not quite sure how to react yet, waiting earnestly to hear what the great chef Stéphane Jégo, his boss, will say next. That chef, by the way, is a totally charming rascal and to catch his gleaming eyes for a moment is one of the treats of dinner here.

Young chef The rascal Chef - just look at that face!It's rustic, it's loud (you won't want to spill too many secrets at your table as the next table over will be able to hear everything!), and it's French comfort food at its finest. Not a fan of rice pudding? Me neither. But the riz au lait here is a must. Come hungry - and build in some extra time for a long walk back to your hotel or apartment after dinner.

Pit Stop for Pie

I've been meaning to write about pie for a few weeks now. On our way back to NYC from the Syracuse area over New Year's (which took 4 days because we got stranded here) - we stopped for some killer pie, thanks to an insider tip from a long-time web friend (I love you Internet!). 

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This plays to my love of discovery all over the world, and I mean everywhere. Who knew there is adventure, great pie and a fun story to be found on I-81 in the middle of Pennsylvania?! 

From Binghamton (or Syracuse/Finger Lakes region), head down I-81 towards NYC. Bingham's Family Restaurant is just off Exit 211 on I-81. If presidential endorsements cause your heart to go aflutter, it has the stamp of approval from President Obama. It's diner-style so you can get a full meal. But you can also just pop in for pie at the counter - rows and rows of pies waiting for you to buy them. You can get slices or whole pies - and you can't go wrong with the caramel apple, with a "Crumb Topping of Brown Sugar & Pecans drizzled with Gooey Caramel." And let's be honest, if you're having pie at 1 p.m., it'd best be called lunch.

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If you're a fan of The Office, you'll have to stop in Scranton after your pie pilgrimage - the famous "SCRANTON welcomes you" sign is now on display in the Mall at Steamtown. Scranton has a reputation for being exceedingly boring (much of it thanks to The Office!) but I was pleasantly surprised - it is is very old-timey, nostalgic Americana, with a cute downtown and the remnants of a early 1900's industrial powerhouse. A fun stop!