Posts Tagged 'whole foods'

Good Eats in Manhattan – Part One

This past week, my friend Dana and I stayed at my cousin Megan’s house for a week. Over the course of the week, we had some really good eats around Manhattan. In this two-part post, I plan on just casually overviewing and sharing them.

Think Coffee: On our first day, we grabbed a quick breakfast / lunch at Think Coffee on Mercer St. in the Village before an afternoon of shopping in NoHo. In a word, Think Coffee can be described to Buffalonians as SPoT. It’s a quasi-chain with a few locations around downtown Manhattan, the vibe is artsy and eclectic, and the food and coffee are both above average.

We ordered a round of cold-brewed iced coffees; they were truly good – smooth and slightly acidic without any lurid bitterness. The food was good too: Dana’s prosciutto and tomato sandwich was the most impressive and loaded with flavor while the quiche Megan and I split was just average. Overall, we weren’t blown away by anything we had. The atmosphere was both comfortable and energetic though – this coffeehouse is mostly frequented by NYU students – and was a great way to the start the day.

Etcetera Etcetera: After we’d shopped for hours and spent a bit too much money, we took the yellow line back uptown and met Megan’s cousin for dinner in Hell’s Kitchen. I’d picked Etcetera Etcetera after doing a bit of reading online: it seemed like this was an upscale and innovative, modern-yet-authentic Italian restaurant – it was. We sat down in the modernly decorated dim dining room and, after perusing the menu for quite some time, decided on our entrees (some of which are entree sized at $20-ish, and others which are appetizer sized at $13).

What arrived first was a basket of delicious garlic bread soldiers with a really tasty olive tapenade. After that, our entrees came: Dana’s tagliatelle with mini lamb meatballs, oven dried tomatoes, arugula, and Pecorino Romano; Megan’s (vegetarian) gnocchi with grilled portobello mushrooms, roasted red onions, crispy ricotta salata, and parsley; Kayla’s (gluten-free) risotto with roasted artichokes and smoked mozzarella; and my casoncelli alla bergamasca, or veal-raisin-amaretto ravioli in a sage and butter sauce, topped with crispy pancetta. As we ate, we came to the conclusion that these were some of the best pastas we’d ever had. Each homemade pasta paired beautifully with the chef’s choice of flavors. Mine in particular was outstanding – unabashedly rich and flavorful; without a doubt, it’s the best pasta dish I’ve had in my life.

The dinner never took a downturn. Our entrees were followed with complimentary biscotti and a chocolate crunch-type cookie and the dessert that we ordered, a pistachio semifreddo with blueberry sauce. It too was exemplary: the texture was velvety, the flavor was of pure pistachio, and the sauce was both tart and sweet – it complimented the semifreddo dome perfectly. As we walked out of the restaurant, we were all thoroughly impressed; we’d been hoping to have a dinner of such a high quality while in Manhattan and we’d certainly received it.

Continue reading ‘Good Eats in Manhattan – Part One’

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Day One: Whole Foods and Italian in Piermont, NY

So, I’m not exactly in NYC (yet). I’m staying with family in New Jersey, about half an hour from Manhattan Island. We spent the day in New Jersey today, and I had two unexpected foodie experiences. On the way to a lake where we would spend the hottest part of the day, we stopped at Whole Foods. Being from Buffalo, I’ve obviously grown up going to Wegmans.


Before the trip, my cousin and I had held faux-arguments over Whole Foods vs. Wegmans. I was sure that I’d remain a fan of Wegmans no matter how much Whole Foods impressed me. I’ve come to the decision that the two stores are just ultimately different. From what I can gather (today was just a preliminary visit… we’re going again later this week and actually shopping there) Whole Foods is has a decidedly larger prepared foods section. While Wegmans carries a pizza shop, Asian buffet, sub shop, etc., Whole Foods seems to make sure that the prepared foods section is not just an after-thought. In fact, Whole Foods’ prepared foods was beyond impressive: there exists sushi, pizza, panini, baked goods, gelato, espresso bar, and various buffets of different foods. While Wegmans carries some or most of these services, the entire experience seemed more impressive at Whole Foods. More to come later this week on how things at Whole Foods actually taste. (The pretzel I had today was extremely fresh and tasty: nothing like what you’d get from a typical mall. And for reference, a bit on Wegmans’ prepared food: the pizza is NY-style and very good, the subs are above-average and based on a Buffalo sub-company, and the gelato is extremely tasty. However, the Asian buffet is nothing more than average while expensive, and the coffee leaves much to be desired.)

Continue reading ‘Day One: Whole Foods and Italian in Piermont, NY’


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