New York City

Manhattan Special / Espresso Soda Float

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A few weeks ago while on my way home from Manhattan, I texted Jim and asked him if he wanted me to pick him up anything before I came home.

His response: "Swing by Anthony and Son's and get me a Manhattan Special".

I had no clue what the hell is a Manhattan Special was.  I thought it was a sandwich.

Ends up being it's this really amazing espresso soda carried at the Italian grocers in our neighborhood.  It's actually made and bottled in a small factory in our very neighborhood, only a few short blocks away from our apartment.

Jim explained this all to me and I stopped quick to pick some up for him.  Then I proceeded to drink half the bottle when I got home, it was so tasty!  It also was so caffeinated, it's made with real espresso after all.

"Oh my god, you know what this needs?!" my caffeinated self told him while buzzing around the apartment, finishing off the bottle.  "It totally needs ice cream!  This would make the best float ever!"

So the next time I picked up some Manhattan Special I also picked up a tub of my favorite vegan vanilla ice cream and made myself a float.  Easiest recipe ever.

First, buy yo'self some Manhattan Special.

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Then in a large glass, scoop two to three scoops of your favorite vanilla or chocolate ice cream.  Vegan or non-vegan ice creams all work here folks.  Then top off with the Manhattan Special.

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Just like a traditional float, you'll have to add the soda little by little to avoid it from spilling over.

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Once the glass if full and the ice cream has floated to the top, insert your straw, grab a spoon and enjoy!

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Have you ever had a Manhattan Special?

Brunch at The Butcher’s Daughter

IMG_5485.jpg This weekend I met some friends at the Butcher's Daughter in the Lower East Side to catch up and have some brunch.  The place had been on all of our "must try but my husband won't go" lists so we figured it was the perfect choice for a girl's outing. IMG_5481.jpg IMG_5487.jpg While The Butcher's Daughter is by their own definition a vegetarian establishment, it's fully dairy-free and has lots of  vegan and gluten-free options. According to their website:

The Butcher’s Daughter is a new juice bar, cafe and “vegetable slaughter house”.

As a human race, it is becoming more and more obvious that our diet – and the way we eat – is changing: Meat is moving off center-stage and the spotlight is turning to fresh fruits and vegetables. At The Butcher’s Daughter, we treat fruits and vegetables as a butcher would meat: We chop, fillet and carve fresh produce into heathy vegetarian dishes and press them into pretty juices. ...We take pride in our daily-changing menu, which is 100% vegetarian and non-dairy. Most of our menu items are vegan and gluten-free, and we can always prepare substitutions for most dietary restrictions.  
We couldn't have had a better day weather wise to try it. The temperature actually hit 80 that day and sidewalk seating was available, making it my first sidewalk cafe meal of the spring and summer season.  Spring is finally officially here!   IMG_5488.jpg The menu had so many items I could actually have!  It was like heaven for me. IMG_5495.jpg To drink I settled on their Strawberry Blond juice spritzer.  It had strawberry and blood orange juices paired with basil and topped off with soda.  It was so refreshing and I'm probably going to try to concoct a copycat version at home. IMG_5497.jpg As my entrée, I had no choice but to try their Spicy Kale Caesar Salad.  A friend of mine on Instagram posted a photo of it the day prior and it looked so delicious it was all I could think about until I arrived at the restaurant that day.  The kale was dressed with a creamy vegan caesar dressing and topped with croutons, avocado, almond parmesan, and the most amazing crispy shallots ever.  I'm kind of obsessed with crispy shallots now, I want to put them on everything! IMG_5501.jpg Not shown but equally yummy was a side of their gluten-free toast and cashew cheddar cheese.  I'm counting the days until I can head back and try some additional items on the menu. Have you ever been to the Butcher's Daughter?  If so what was your favorite dish?  I need some ideas to try for next time I go!

How to Impress Your Vegan Valentine

How to Impress Your Vegan Valentine Valentine's Day is right around the corner. This year don't wait until the last minute to plan something special for your vegan sweetie. If you want to impress your vegan valentine, here's some of my top picks on vegan friendly romantic date and gift ideas in the New York City area.

Date Ideas

Pure Food and Wine

Pure Food and Wine Say you don't like raw food? Pure Food & Wine will impress die-hard carnivores as well as vegans like me who usually like their food cooked. With their stellar cuisine, extensive wine list and candle-lit ambiance, it's the perfect location to bring your valentine for a romantic dinner out.

Candle 79

Candle 79Photo: Mimi Giboin A vegan fine dining establishment in the Upper East Side, Candle 79's creative dishes and numerous wine choices make this spot a must visit for a date night, valentine's day or any day.

Blossom

Blossom NYC

One of my favorite restaurants in NYC, you can't go wrong with Blossom. With four locations ranging from the West Village all the way up to the Upper East Side, not only is the food to die for, the ambiance is quiet and candle lit. The Chelsea location is in the most romantic turn-of the century building, and if you reserve your table in advance you may have a chance to get one of their private, blocked off tables for two in their window. I can't think of a more romantic way to spend the evening than watching over the wintry NYC street scene while enjoying a romantic meal with your valentine.

Gift and Treat Ideas

Sweet & Sara Sweet & Sara

Marshmallows are not very vegan friendly, which makes me sad. Luckily Sweet & Sara, based in Long Island City, figured out how to veganize them and they make a variety of marshmallow based treats, from s'mores to rice crispy treats! You can find them in various stores throughout the city, or can order them direct from their website.

Dunwell Donuts

Dunwell Donuts

Dunwell Donuts has some of the best donuts in the city, nevermind vegan donuts. With fancy pants flavors like Chai Tea and Creme Brule, these sweet treats will bring a smile to your valentine's face, especially if you get him or her a dozen.

Babycakes

Babycakes Bakery Photo by Rachel Heller

Does your vegan valentine have any food allergies? If so, thanks to Babycakes that's no excuse why they shouldn't be allowed to have a sweet valentine's day treat! Babycakes Bakery on the Lower East Side offers gluten, dairy, egg and refined sugar-free cupcakes, cookies, donuts and even a Valentine's Day Candy Gram. Oh, and their icing is to die for!

Vaute Couture Apparel and Accessories

Vaute Couture

Thinking of getting your vegan valentine some jewelry? Vaute Couture in Williamsburg offers necklaces, sunglasses, and tees fit for the animal activist in your life. This V Necklace is currently at the top of my valentine's day wish list. Whatever you decide to do for your vegan valentine this year, don't forget... kisses are free! Free Kisses Pit Bull On another note, congratulations to Terry for winning the Anjolee Gemstone Pendant Giveaway!

Martin Scorsese is a Fran Lebowitz Fan and So am I

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On January 19th, Jim and I headed over to the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) for one of the most unique experiences I've participated in as of recent.  We were there to see Martin Scorsese interview Fran Lebowitz.
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Unless you're living under a rock, I think most people around the world nowadays knows who Marty Scorsese is.  Believe it or not, Marty wasn't the draw at this event, it was Fran.  If you've never heard of Fran Lebowitz and you are from New York, you are in for a treat.  I'll leave summing up who she is to this on-point description from Wikipedia.
"Frances Ann "Fran" Lebowitz is an American author and public speaker. Lebowitz is known for her sardonic social commentary on American life as filtered through her New York City sensibilities."
She's mostly known for her public speaking skills, and she is absolutely hilarious.  If you are from New York City and want a good chuckle, try searching YouTube for any of her talks regarding NYU or Michael Bloomburg.  She's so on point you'll be falling out of your chair crying. P1050816.jpg P1050817.jpg There was no better person to interview her for the event than Scorsese, considering the two of them have been friends for so long they can't even remember how they met.  In response to the question of how they met during the Q&A, the both of them, stumped, assumed they must have met at a party a long time ago. Scorsese has also featured Fran in his films, including the HBO Documentary about her called Public Speaking, and most recently the Wolf of Wall Street where she played the judge.  Funny enough, she also had a recurring role on Law & Order as Judge Janice Goldberg, though she doesn't describe herself as an actor. Just listening to her discuss her experience on filming Wolf of Wall Street was one of my favorite parts of the evening.  For example, she described her first encounter with Leonardo DiCaprio in a scene they were shooting, and thought he was overrated because he kept missing his lines (per her cue card) and they kept having to re-shoot.  Ends up being his lines were noted as being an overdubbed narrative, so she was missing her lines and that's why they had to keep re-shooting.  I'm not doing the story any justice, the way she told it was just too funny. The discussion didn't just include the movie, but subjects as varied from e-cigarettes to New York City's new mayor, Bill De Blasio.  I haven't laughed this hard in a long time! In Conversation with Fran Lebovitz.jpg Even though I was pretty exhausted due to catching a flight home earlier that day from a work trip, I'm really glad Jim and I made the time to attend.  I'm going to try to make it a point to attend more events like this in the upcoming year.  It sure beats watching TV! Oh, and I have to mention the Peter Jay Sharp building where this event was held had one of the most beautiful theaters I had seen in quite some time.  I mean, look at the detail on the ceiling!  Gorgeous.

A Day at Brooklyn Brewery

  Brooklyn Brewery-15.jpg Earlier this fall when Rebecca was in town to visit, her sister came to Brooklyn all the way from Boston to spend the day with us in Williamsburg.  We spent part of the morning shopping, but by the afternoon we were ready to grab a few drinks and catch up. Everyone wanted to grab a beer, and even though it's in my neighborhood I had never been to Brooklyn Brewery, so we decided to head there.  It ended up being a really fun afternoon.  You not only get to sample all their beers, but they also run tours every hour so you can see how the beers are made. Brooklyn Brewery-1.jpg Brooklyn Brewery-11.jpg Brooklyn Brewery-12.jpg Brooklyn Brewery-10.jpg After our tour, we were ready to drink!  While Brooklyn Brewery is vegan friendly, if you go there know not all their beers are vegan.  According to their website:
All of our beers are vegan friendly, with just a few exceptions: Brooklyn Local 2, Brooklyn BAMboozle, our past Brewmaster’s Reserve beers Buzz Bomb and The Concoction, Highline Elevated Wheat, and AMA Bionda, all of which contain honey. Our cask beers are filtered with the vegan-friendly Biofine Clear.
It still leaves plenty of beers to choose from! Brooklyn Brewery-3.jpgBrooklyn Brewery-6.jpg All in all it was totally worth me cheating and having gluten.  The beers were delicious, and totally worth the stop.  Also, though I didn't see any while I was there I hear they are dog friendly.

A Brooklyn Bridal Shower

Nikki's Bridal Shower

My bestie Nikki is getting married! I am over the moon happy for her. The wedding is coming up in the next two weeks and we all can't wait for her big day. Being her Maid of Honor, I was tasked with planning both her bridal shower and bachelorette party.  One of Nikki and my favorite places to meet up for drinks is Williamsburg's own Brooklyn Winery, so I figured it would make a very suitable bridal shower venue. Nikki loves bright colors, especially yellow.  Her husband-to-be is a big fan of orange.  So for decorations I created these giant fluffy flower pom-poms out of tissue paper in their favorite colors.  They are super easy to make, and you can learn how to make your own here. Nikki's Bridal Shower Since Nikki lives in a typical, super tiny Manhattan apartment and most of our guests were coming via mass transit, we had to get creative as far as the gifts go.  It's not fun cramming all those boxes into the subway.  To solve this problem, we included a note card for the guests to complete with what they got Nikki for her shower, and all the gifts were shipped to her address on the registry.  Nikki still got to open gifts at the shower, they were just envelopes instead of packages. Nikki's Bridal Shower In addition to Brooklyn Wineries fantastic wines, we also chowed down on a great Italian antipasto spread.  When playing the host you want to make sure everyone is happy, so there were lots of omni, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. Nikki's Bridal Shower For dessert, Nikki's sister-in-law (and my fellow bridesmaid) made these adorable mason jar desserts.  She's a professional pastry chef, and they were amazing.  I helped out by making the flowers for the jar decorations. Nikki's Bridal Shower I had so much fun planning this event and it couldn't be for a person more deserving.  I'm so excited for you Nikki!! Nikki's Bridal Shower

Museum of the Moving Image

 

Museum of the Moving Image

A few weeks back, Jim and I went for a quick bike ride from Williamsburg to Long Island City, Queens to check out the Museum of the Moving Image.  We're both self-professed movie and television buffs, and I can't believe it took us this many years of living in NYC to finally check it out.

Museum of the Moving Image

One thing I was really impressed with is how modern and clean the design of the museum is.  Jim and I LOVE white interiors, and from the second we set foot in the museum we wanted to set up camp and just live there.  The decor was fantastic.

Museum of the Moving Image

So the main reason we decided to check out the museum that day is they had a special exhibit dedicated to our most favorite TV show ever, Breaking Bad.  If you're not familiar with the show, you should be.  Probably the best show on television EVER.

So it's safe to say we were both in absolute heaven getting to see a lot of the props used on the actual show.  They even had the pink teddy bear!

Museum of the Moving Image

Museum of the Moving Image

Museum of the Moving Image

Museum of the Moving Image

The rest of the museum is set up with a few permanent exhibitions, including one great one that actually explains what each person on set does, and walks you through a movies production start to finish.  They had tons of sketches and props, from Chewbacca's makeup to Mork from Ork's costume.

Museum of the Moving Image

Museum of the Moving Image

Museum of the Moving Image

They also had a fair amount of vintage memorabilia.  These magazines were fantastic.  It was a film industry publication.

Museum of the Moving Image

Museum of the Moving Image

You can't talk about moving images without addressing gaming.  They had some vintage arcade games on display, including Pong!  Many of them you could actually play granted you had quarters.

Museum of the Moving Image

Another permanent exhibit included the history of both movie and television cameras, as well as television sets.  I find this stuff fascinating especially considering I work in the TV hardware business.  They had several TV sets on display I remembered from my childhood.

Museum of the Moving Image

Museum of the Moving Image

All in all it was a fantastic day.  I'd especially recommend it for kids.  We both agreed if we visited as a child we would have been even more blown away by it.

Have you been to the Museum of the Moving Image? If so what was your favorite exhibit?

Chicago Meets Brooklyn

The weekend before last not only was it absolutely gorgeous outside, but my college BFF Bex came to visit us in Brooklyn all the way from Chicago! Last year I made the trip out to see her, and this year, both her as well as her sister came out to the better borough to see what it's all about. With the exception of a day trip into Manhattan to see the Met, we spent the entire time in my neighborhood in Williamsburg.  There's so much to do!  One thing I learned is I seriously need to get out more. Here's some of my favorite snaps from Bex's visit.

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Us on the roof at the Met.

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Bex giving NYC style bagels a giant thumbs up!

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Exploring the Met.

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Bex being silly (per usual).

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Grabbing sushi and cocktails at Bozu.

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Just part of my haul while thrifting.

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I've lived in Williamsburg for over 8 years and had never, ever been to Brooklyn Brewery.  No better time than now!  I made an exception for gluten obviously.

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Learning about beerz.

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Farewell brunch including vegan "Eggs" Benedict at Champs.

Summer Streets

This past Saturday, Jim and I woke up super early at 6 am to participate in Summer Streets. For select weekend dates this summer, NYC is opening up Park Avenue from the Brooklyn Bridge, all the way up to Central Park to pedestrian and bike traffic only. It was perfect timing being I had just gotten a bike and wanted to take it for a long ride. We rode from our apartment in Brooklyn over the Williamsburg Bridge, up Park Ave to Central Park where we took a quick break at the Pool prior to looping around the park.  On the way back to Brooklyn we stopped to have a quick glass of wine at a sidewalk cafe in Soho, which we enjoyed outside in the rain.  It was surprisingly refreshing. Although it was raining, we had so much fun! Can't wait to do it again another weekend this month. My Photo Stream-998 Camera Roll-1547 Camera Roll-1548 Camera Roll-1546 Camera Roll-1550 Camera Roll-1043 Camera Roll-1549 Camera Roll-1551

Suite Three Oh Six

Suite Three Oh Six Press Event 2 A few weeks back, Jim and I had the opportunity to attend a press only,  food and wine tasting event at Suite Three Oh Six. Suite Three Oh Six is a vegan supper club and cooking academy run by Chef  Daphne Cheng.  I've had the opportunity to try Chef Cheng's creations at several vegan fundraisers she had catered in the past, so needless to say I was really excited leading up to this event.  Her food is phenomenal. Suite Three Oh Six Press Event 11 Chef Cheng is classically trained, though considers herself mostly self-taught.  After attending UC Berkley for a year, she later decided to pursue her culinary dreams and instead move to New York, where she enrolled in the Natural Gourmet Institute.  She is also certified in Plant Based Nutrition through Cornell University. Suite Three Oh Six Press Event 1 Attending an event at Suite Three Oh Six is a very unique experience.  It's a gorgeous, pristine loft space in Tribeca that's been optimized to hold supper club events and culinary classes.  The kitchen really stood out to me.  You could watch everything being made right before your eyes through its glass wall, separating it from the main dining and event space. Suite Three Oh Six Press Event 3 Suite Three Oh Six Press Event 7 Supper clubs take place on select Saturdays each month, and feature entirely different and unannounced menus.  Seating is limited to 16 guests, which makes for an intimate group dining experience. The event I attended was not a supper club demo, but instead a tasting with passed hors d'oeuvres, which were all delicious!  I'm not used to attending an event and getting to try all the passed hor d'oeuvres.  Usually nothing is ever vegan! It was such a pleasure to not have to worry whatever I tried wasn't veg-friendly. I'll most likely be checking out the calendar in the next few months to attend a formal dinner event, I enjoyed it that much. Suite Three Oh Six Press Event 9 Suite Three Oh Six Press Event 8 Suite Three Oh Six Press Event 6 Suite Three Oh Six Press Event 5 Suite Three Oh Six Press Event 12 Suite Three Oh Six Press Event 4 Suite Three Oh Six Press Event 13 Suite Three Oh Six Press Event 14 Suite Three Oh Six is not just available for their own supper clubs and culinary classes, but it's also available to rent as an event space.  For more information on rentals, you can click here. Suite Three Oh Six Press Event 16 Suite Three Oh Six Press Event 15

Chef Daphne Cheng

Have you attended a Suite Three Oh Six event?

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