Restaurants »Peanut Butter & Co.

240 Sullivan St

I’ve had cravings throughout my pregnancy: rainbow sprinkles, strawberries, granola, milk, watermelon and Arnold Palmers to name a few, but the strangest is the most recent – peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It may not seem odd but you have to understand that I would never eat one of my own accord and barely even managed eating them as a young kid (which was probably the last time I ate one). Now I am making them for breakfast. So, I thought I’d take advantage of the phenomena and visit Peanut Butter and Co. while I can.

The family friendly spot offers many versions of the childhood fave but I couldn’t see anything except for the Fluffernutter – a simple and genius paring of marshmallow Fluff and creamy peanut butter (crunchy also available). Like all sandwiches, it comes with potato chips and carrot sticks and I went all out by also ordering a syrupy cherry coke.

While it was quite good, it’s a little pricey considering the fair and the bread could have been a tad softer for my taste (though, full disclosure, I am a Wonder Bread fan). Making this at home, I probably would have gone overboard on the innards too, piling one about double the amount of each.

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Posted on August 15, 2010

Desserts »Will Cotton at Partners and Spade

will cotton partners and spade40 Great Jones Street

As a fan of Will Cotton’s scrumptious and almost creepily saccharine paintings as well as fun things secret and rare, I was thrilled to make it to his two day only bake shop hidden inside the usually appointment only Partners and Spade space.

The epicenter of the bakery/installation was the towering stack of pastel cakes, of which I could hardly get enough of and took many photos. One of his paintings hung in the back as a team of little helpers rushed around with fresh baked birthday cakes and macaroons.

I spoke to the artist himself to say I was a fan of his work and he was totally adorably embarrassed and hoped we liked his baking as well before scimpering off to his frosting and flour.

The treats were tasty, though having just come from the New Amsterdam Market, I was stuffed almost too full to truly appreciate more than a bite (Jim chowed the rest). The entire experience left me feeling almost like one of the nymphs in his paintings, surrounded by a tempting, sugary landscape.

Click here for the rest of Will Cotton at Partners and Spade

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Posted on November 29, 2009

Restaurants »Il Buco

il buco47 Bond Street

Il Buco would be worth the price of admission just for the cozy and romantic décor. We were tucked away in the much quieter cellar (upstairs is vibrant and noisy) next to racks of wine, dried wildflowers, copper and brick. It was so dark that it was next to impossible to capture many photos, but I grabbed a few from their site to give you a better idea.

Fortunately, the food rivals the atmosphere. No wonder this family run hot spot is perpetually packed and has remained a local favorite and staple for romantic meals for over a decade.

While I’m sure you can hardly go wrong with the menu, we made excellent selections by sharing the beef carpaccio, the octopus with potatoes, and the beets. We also shared a tasty wide pasta and mushroom special entree. Caramel gelato and pineapple sorbet finished the meal perfectly.

The staff is friendly and accommodating, making us feel especially taken care of. And our bus boy was excited to inform me that they are now open for lunch with great paninis. Can’t wait to try them.

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Posted on November 22, 2009

Drinks »The Elements of Sake Part 1

elements of sake astor centerwith Timothy Sullivan, at Astor Center (399 Lafayette)

The one class/tasting I’ve had my eye out for for a while has been a sake class. While I love the stuff, I’ve found that aside from adoring Wakatake, I know next the nothing about it. Well, I couldn’t find a more charming teacher than the effortlessly dapper sake samurai Timothy Sullivan: a blogger (, educator and the all-around Tim Gunn of sake (his advice on soju in midtown karaoke parlors: Don’t do it!).

His class is called The Elements of Sake Part One (part two pairs the beverage with food) and the next one is scheduled for January 13th. It’s an informative two hour introduction to premium (and super premium) sakes and Tim makes understanding the different classifications easy. I can now, with authority, tell you the difference between junmai and junmai daiginjo (it’s all got to do with the mill of the rice).

All of the sakes we tasted were top notch and, along with the great education we received, we got pleasantly tipsy and we got to use an America’s Funniest Videos-type controller to vote on our favorites. There were three (out of the 7 we tasted) that I loved the most: Dassai 50 Junmai Ginjo Nigori (actually my top pick, a cloudy, coarsely filtered sake), Kurosawa Junmai Daiginjo (a close second, really a tie – similar in smoothness and elegance to Wakatake), and the Ohyama Tokubetsu Junmai (crisp, cucumbery and easy to drink) with an honorable mention to the complex (I wrote down my impression as “like being in an earthen basement”) and rare Nama (unpasteurized sake), Narutotai Junmai Ginjo Nama Genshu.

The setting for the class is a sparkling arena with courteous staff and an easy going crowd of students. Go!

Click here for the rest of The Elements of Sake Part 1

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Posted on November 15, 2009

Spend a Couple Minutes »Japan Premium Beef

japan premium waygu beefNews of the wagyu butcher Japan Premium Beef coming to NoHo brought smiles to all the city’s meat loving home-chefs. Thrilled to see the offerings myself, I headed over after work intent on bringing home something special. The space itself is absolutely pristine and the very helpful staff even wears perfectly tailored suits as they walk you through the meat freezers.

I kind of expected to walk out with a much lighter wallet – and believe me, if I’d chosen a tenderloin, I would have – but shockingly, a pound of their juicy marbled ground cost me only five dollars. The butcher recommended I cook the beef with nothing more than salt, pepper, and (his own personal special recipe) a pinch of nutmeg. The resulting burger was fantastic and I will be returning to try other cuts.

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Posted on July 13, 2009

Spend a Couple Hours »Sleepwalk With Me by Mike Birbiglia

sleepwalk with me mike birbigliaI can probably just address this post directly to Mike Birbiglia since I know that he'll get a Google alert soon enough, and Mike (whose last name, even with concentrated effort, I have difficulty pronouncing correctly) let me assure you that this brief recommendation will not include any insults of your physique. In the hipster comedic universe, where the relatively unskinny Zack Galifinakis is the hottest man ever, I don't think you have anything to worry about anyways.

The one man show, Sleepwalk with Me, which many of you might recognize from the ubiquitous subway poster, is extremely charming and funny. Focusing on his own experiences with illness and an extreme sleep disorder that once had him jumping out of motel window in the middle of the night, the personal anecdotes speak to larger truths. I was laughing to the point of shaking several times, but be warned that the show is peppered with sudden emotionally poignant pitfalls that can even bring one to tears if, say you've had a few margaritas before entering the theater.

Playing at the intimate Bleeker Street Theater, we were able to get obstructed tickets for under $30 from Theater Mania but truthfully, the performance is well worth full price admission. Portions of the show have appeared on This American Life, but there's plenty of stuff you haven't heard on WBEZ.

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Posted on April 27, 2009