Tag Archives: East Village

Do This!: Dine with a Banker Turned Monk

Dine with a Banker Turned Monk

Dine with a Banker Turned Monk

Yes, you heard me correctly. When most people aim for Wall Street, they don’t typically land in a Monastery. But for Rasanath Dasa, this journey started early in life as a search for deeper understanding of what we’re all here for. While he pursued one path of societal-defined success, earning an engineering degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, an MBA from Cornell University, working as a strategy consultant at Deloitte and as an investment banker at Bank of America, he was simultaneously learning from the renowned spiritual leader Radhanath Swami and starting his lifelong practice of Bhakti Yoga.

Intrigued? So was I. I had the pleasure of dining with this banker turned monk and count it as one of the most unexpected evenings I’ve stumbled upon in NYC. With an enlightening story to share, Rasanath is hosting several small dinners a month as an opportunity to invite you into his world while enjoying a vegetarian meal cooked by monks and eaten in the traditional style at the monastery {think coconut curried vegetables with ginger, sweet potatoes and cauliflower, served over jasmine rice with cumin seeds}. You might have to get on the waitlist as these evenings are selling out weeks in advance, but you can book or add your name to the SideTour list HERE.


Coconut Curried Vegetables and Jasmine Rice with Cumin Seeds

Coconut Curried Vegetables and Jasmine Rice with Cumin Seeds

Can’t wait to add a monastic dining experience to your calendar? 

The Bhakti center is launching a summer lineup of other classes and events that sound just as cool as free opera in the park or a private supper club on the UWS.

Cooking Classes with a Monk

You’ve heard the expression, “you are what you eat.” We are indeed that, and so much more. Moods, attitudes, and energy levels are all intricately linked to our daily diet. Gita Wellness is a cooking class and dining experience, which explores the dynamic world of food and health, as unfurled by the culture of the Bhagavad-Gita.

Date and Time: Friday, June 1st, 7-9pm
Location: Bhakti Center (25 1st Ave.), 1st fl.
Course Fee: $25 (includes class and full-course meal)
Register: Click here and select ‘Gita Wellness’ under offerings of interest

A Monastic Twist on Dinner and a Movie

GS Summer Film Series is a special monthly event during the summer of 2012 that will take you on a unique cinematic tour of the human condition as seen through the eyes of the Bhagavad-Gita and three of its teachers. The Bhakti will be hosting  an evening movie, which will be followed by dinner and a discussion.

When: June 16th at 5:00 p.m. at the Bhakti Center {and July 21, Aug 18}
What: Memento, directed by Christopher Nolan, starring Guy Pearce. An entirely new foray into the realm of cinema and consciousness.
Register: Click here and select Summer Film Series under offerings of interest

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Extra Extra! Oaxaca Revolucion de Taco

Oaxaca Taqueria Delciousness

Oaxaca Taqueria Delciousness

Everyone loves a good taco. But not everyone makes a GOOD taco. And by good I mean one that uses ingredients sourced from local, organic and sustainable sources. Oaxaca Taqueria is a recent discovery and a delightful one at that. Tucked down a small alley called Extra Place, somewhere in the vicinity of Bowery and 1st street, is a taco counter that depends on taco revolution geeks to seek out their special selections {read: no foot traffic at this hideout}. It’s authentic Mexican street food at its best.

At $6.95 for two tacos, rice and beans, the lunch special is a steal. I went with the Korean special of the day which included a topping of crunchy kimchi over the korean-spiced steak {highly recommended by my new friend behind the counter} and the braised pork carnitas with pickled onions that can be found on the regular menu. Each were topped with their own special sauce and a squeeze of refreshing lime that contributed to a drip-down-your-arms excitable experience. After alternating bites to decide which should be saved for the last, the Korean special slightly inched out its pork competitor, but it was a close battle.

The Skim: With another 60-degree February day upon us, go out scavenging for a quick authentic mexican bite. The beauty of this tucked-away taco treasure is not only the food, but the abnormal silence that you can relish in sitting at the outdoor cafe tables.

Map: 16 Extra Place {off 1st street between Bowery and 2nd Ave}
Other Locations:

Park Slope, Brooklyn: 250 Fourth Ave {Between Carrol & President}
Cobble Hill, Brooklyn: 251 Smith Street {Between Douglass & Degraw} 

Other Mexican Hideouts:
La Esquina Still Has the Taco Market Cornered
Weekend Brunch: Eat Eggs @ Edward’s

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Goat Town’s Non-*Goat* ‘Scream

Goat Town Treat-Trailer

After reading my previous Victory Garden post, if I told you I was now going to write about Goat Town’s ice cream, you’re probably going to assume I’m on a serious frozen goat’s milk bender. But alas, do not let the name fool you — Goat Town’s ‘scream is your traditional cow’s milk churn, though their flavors are anything but traditional. And THAT is why it is worthy of a few good licks and a write-up.

Imagine a scorching hot day in the East Village — sun is beating down, trash is rotting on the sidewalk and you are strategically crossing to the far shaded-side of the street because you’re afraid your arm hair may spontaneously combust otherwise. You’re dripping in sweat, dreaming of a thirst-quenching treat that will provide a moment of sweet cooling relief. And then — you turn the corner and come upon a cute little trailer that is the frozen mobile home to five stellar handmade ice cream selections, courtesy of Goat Town.

Well now, it would not have taken much for me to sample a scoop on this particular day. But upon reviewing the chalkboard listing each unique flavor — Salted Caramel Pretzel, Drunken Chunky Monkey, Peanut Butter Wolf, Espresso Hershey’s Swirl, Cookie Monster and Mango Sorbet — I knew this fortuitous frozen find could not be passed up.

Goat Town Chunky Monkey + Peanut Butter Wolf

Having just had Salted Caramel Pretzel at Victory Garden, and knowing I would lose one scoop to super-sonic meltage, I opted for sampling two other interesting flavors. The Drunken Chunky Monkey, a happy marriage of bourbon, bananas and walnuts, was well-suited for its Peanut Butter Wolf companion. I don’t think I have to do much convincing via the written word for any of you to agree all those flavors just belong together. Enough said. Lick. Drip. Crunch. Gone.

The Skim: If you happen to be wandering the streets of the East Village in search of cone-worthy treat, look no further than Goat Town’s ice cream treat-trailer — of course, they have also sold me on a swift return to check out their farm-to-table focused dining menu as well.

Map: 511 East 5th Street {Between Avenue A&B)

I Scream, You Scream:
SF Best: Bi-Rite Ice Cream Done Right
recipe goodness :: Alton Brown Does Bourbon in the Morning
Under the Bridge, Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory Treat
I Scream, You Scream For MilkMade Handcrafted Ice Cream
Victory Garden: A Victorious Frozen Yogurt Twist {Actual Goat’s Milk ‘Scream}





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The Beagle: A Restaurant You Should Be Loyal To

Fresh Baby Corn with Mayo, Lime and Cilantro

Sorry for the hiatus — sometimes life just gets in the way. But there have been no shortage of delicious eats since the last post and if you’re on the hunt for some doggone good chow, then sniff away at The Beagle — the latest addition to my Favor8 list.

The Beagle opened only two short months ago, but has already established itself as a dining and drinking establishment to be loyal to. The space is small, but spacious, and its decor is inspired by the servants’ working quarters of a grand country house. I half expected to see a roaring hearth with some spit-roasted chicken and a sleepy dog {obviously a Beagle} curled up in front of the fire. But while the atmosphere has the throwback comfort of a country home, both drink and dinner menus are inspired lists of exciting and innovative fare.

There is something for every appetite — from small “tidbits” to full-on “pairing boards,” which feature smartly paired dishes of creative kitchen wizardry, with superb cocktails that will have your head spinning {especially if you order up the barrel-aged White Dog Manhattan!!}

It didn’t take much to be impressed by the clever baby corn on a stick with a lick-able dipping mayo that had me panting for more. But that was just a taste of what was to come with the Sweetbread & Calvados and Lamb Neck & Rye pairing boards. The lusciously tender sweetbreads with a perfectly crispy outer edge were served with raisins, caramelized fennel, capers and delightfully etched glass of Drouin Calvados.  It was rich, sweet, salty and perfect. Sadly I was sharing with a table of other hungry hounds, but I could have easily devoured the entire dish on my own. The Lamb Neck & Rye competed for a second fav — served with anchovy relish, cucumber and a mini preakness cocktail — it too showcased the brilliant appeal of hitting on all your tastebuds.

Sweetbread & Calvados Pairing Board

While they say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, I may beg to differ when it comes to The Beagle’s roast chicken. We’ve all had our fair share of roast chicken over the years, but when I heard theirs had cheddar and roasted fennel stuffed under the crispy skin, my ears perked up and I quickly sat at attention. There was something about that simple twist that just made sense. If you can improve on apple pie with a few slices of cheddar cheese, why not a roast chicken? The sharpness of the cheese, with the sweetness of the fennel had us all jumping through hoops and begging for seconds — and seconds we did order. It was that good.

Roast Chicken with Cheddar and Fennel

The Skim: If you’re trying to track down an evening of fantasticly innovative dining and imbibing, while feeling like you’re enjoying everything from the comfort of someone’s dining room, then The Beagle is your new home. Go hungry or with a sharing-friendly pack and taste your way through all the goodness.

Map: 162 Avenue A {@ east 10th}
Reservations: Taken!
Phone: 212-228-6900

8.ate@eight Favor8
Seal of Approval

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Getting Local, Personal {and Naked} with Jimmy Carbone of Jimmy’s No. 43

Local Naked Cowboy Oysters from the Long Island Sound

Local Naked Cowboy Oysters from the Long Island Sound

When I co-founded Freshocracy with my partners, we set out with the primary mission of making it easier for busy New Yorkers to get back in the kitchen and cook from scratch. But our secondary mission was to delight our customers with the simple and intense flavor of locally harvested and seasonal ingredients that taste like real food is supposed to taste. You can’t argue with a sweet, juicy field red tomato when it’s picked at its peak and comes straight from the farm to our customers’ tables.

Eating local or calling yourself a locavore may seem like a new trend or matter of awareness to most of you, but there are a few trailblazers in the New York food scene who have been upholding this food philosophy since before it was a coined phrase. Jimmy Carbone, owner of Jimmy’s No. 43 {an East Village locavore-centric artisanal beer and food den} and founder of The Good Beer Seal, is a man everyone should know. He is an avid supporter of local farmers {check out his menu or join a small-farm CSA with pick-ups at Jimmy’s}, an innovator in planning fantastically fun food fests {Cook Out NYC, Meatopia, Taste of Tribeca, The Great New York City Shuck ‘N Suck} and an educator in what it means to enjoy good food and good beer {local oysters and beer tastings every Wed/Thurs + other local-centric events}

In honor of Edible Manhattan’s Eat Drink Local Week, I chatted with Jimmy to understand what inspired his love and respect for all things local…and then slurped down a few Long Island Naked Cowboy Oysters and cold brews at the Jimmy’s No. 43 Eat Drink Local Oyster Event to fully appreciate how he spreads the local love.

While Jimmy grew up with a sensibility that food from local farms is the freshest, getting access to it wasn’t always as easy as going to Union Square on the weekend with your resuable bags. It wasn’t until Jimmy opened his first restaurant, Mugsy’s Chow Chow, in 1994 that he started going to the greenmarket to shop, but even then the market was smaller and his menu wasn’t entirely dedicated to local ingredients. In 2002, with his lease running out he renamed the restaurant to Patio Bar and reinvented the menu to be more focused on the market. The result was amazing food, but there was still a disconnect between his diners’ undeniably positive reactions and their understanding of the local influence on their meals. In Jimmy’s words, “people thought it was weird.” The seminal moment in Jimmy’s locavore timeline came after he opened Jimmy’s No. 43 in 2005. Jimmy hired a new chef to go to the market five days a week to source their dairy, produce and meat from local purveyors. After setting a number of standards for their menu, Jimmy’s No. 43 was awarded Slow Food NYC’s Snail of Approval seal {an award recognizing quality, authenticity and sustainability of the food supply of the City of New York.} Six years later, Jimmy’s continues to serve up an inspired menu that could only be made better by enjoying one of the many fine microbrews on his bar list. His local philosophy and New Yorker’s reception of it finally converged.

But just because Jimmy uses high quality, local ingredients, doesn’t mean his menu will put a large hole in your wallet. Jimmy very smartly works with farmers to select cuts they have excess supply of, keeping his costs low while helping these small producers sell their inventory. If his regular good food menu and good prices aren’t enticement enough to spend some time sipping beers and noshing at No. 43, then swing by on Wednesday or Thursday for $2 local oyster night. If you’re lucky, Eddie Oysters, the fastest shucker in the land, will be on hand to entertain and feed you. Oyster Trivia: don’t be afraid to slurp one too many of those slippery little suckers — they are only 10 calories a piece!

The thing I love about Jimmy is the casualness of the world he has created. It’s not about didactic local teachings, but enticing a community of diners and sippers with a consistently good local food and beer atmosphere. Lure them in with a stellar menu and fantastic food events and perhaps they will leave with a better understanding of what it means to Eat Drink Local. We at Freshocracy certainly hope so too!

Eddie Oysters Gettin' Naked

More Local Goodness:
Freshocracy {and yours truly} Featured on Good Food Jobs
Summer Lovin’ Me Some Oysters @Mermaid Oyster Bar
NYC Best: Purely Good Food & Wine

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Gone Fishin’ :: Back in a Week…

Farewell Bachelorhood!

As I referenced in a previous post, I’m off in San Francisco to be the best groom’s girl I can be in my brother’s wedding this weekend. Jackie, my soon-to-be sister-in-law, works for Ghirardelli. She’s pretty darn sweet as a person, but it also doesn’t hurt that she brings a dowry consisting of a lifetime supply of chocolate. Welcome to the family!

I’m sure I will have no shortage of things to blog about upon my return — I promise it will be more interesting than a post about rice and will include musings from Napa. In the meantime, visit some old favorites…

Make A Delicious Dinner For Friends:
Kickin’ Ancho Chili Fresh Citrus Margarita
Avocado & Tropical Fruit Salsa
Orzo, Spinach & Feta Summer Salad
Whole-Grain Mustard & Rosemary Pork Chops
Grilled Thyme-Cumin Vegetable Kabobs
Violet’s Lemon Cheesecake with BBQ’d Summer Berries {bottom of post}
More Recipes >>> EAT@HOME

Keep Busy in the City:
Do This!: Artisanal Premium Cheese & Wine Classes w/ Jessica Wurwarg
Greenmarket: Put Smarter, Cheaper & More Scrumptious Food on Your Table
NYC Best: Summer Sausage & Other Seriously Good Eats @ Summerstage
NYC Best: Take the Dull Out Of Cooking {Knives} with Samurai Sharpening @ Chelsea Market

Enjoy a Cold One in the Garden:
Not so Standard Biergarten
Mission Dolores {Accomplished}: Great New Brooklyn Beer Garden
Nothing says Warm Weather Like a “Gut Biergarten”

And in the Spirit of Weddings, Go on a Date!:
Summer Lovin’ Me Some Oysters @Mermaid Oyster Bar
Highlands Highlights: Scottish Plaids, Pub Fare and Hand Crafted Cocktails
The Red Cat: Comfortable Quarters & Cuisine
Love, Love Shabu Shabu: Fun to Say and Eat
August in April
Bocca di Bacco: I say PotaTO, You say PoTATo
barmarche: Some Clever Crudites

Eat Up!

Sibling Fun in Tokyo


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Momofuku That Pork Butt is Good!

It’s summer and that generally means getting a reservation at the hottest NYC restaurants is slightly easier to come by. So when my friend said she scored a table at momofuku ssäm bar for eight lucky friends to join in celebration of her birthday, I made room in my calendar and my stomach for the famous bo ssäm.

Momofuku, which means “lucky peach” in Japanese, may not represent chef David Chang’s infamous temperament and may sound more along the lines of a certain expletive said with one’s mouth full, but both its literal and derivative meaning is symbolic of what made this chef and his quickly growing empire a success. Say what you want about David Chang, the man knows a thing or two about putting gratifying grub on the table. After a love of ramen led him to live in Japan in search of the secrets behind centuries-old Japanese noodle technique, Chang opened Momofuku Noodle Bar in a small frills-free nook in the East Village. Accepting nothing less than perfection {and letting anyone who worked for him know it}, what started as a simple nod to a food most people turn to late-night or when the wallet is running low, Chang launched a movement fusing Japanese cuisine with his Korean background and always respecting the importance of putting high-quality, greenmarket ingredients in his dishes. And thus, the Momofuku empire was born.

Tongs and Butt

So back to this wonderful thing called bo ssäm served at noodle bar’s sister restaurant momofuku ssäm bar. Sit down, wear stretchy whatevers and be prepared for some pork butt goodness. bo ssäm is served for a party 6-10 and must be reserved ahead of time — that, of course, is because the whole pork butt gets slathered in brown sugar goodness and slow roasted for hours to create a deliciously crispy outer shell and meat tenderized so much that it falls off the bone if you just look in its direction.

So here’s what happens: a bowl of beautifully leafy bibb lettuce, kimchi, rice and a dozen oysters arrive at your table…but be patient, these are not appetizers, but the makings of a perfect momofuku flavor marriage. And then the butt — warm, crispy, sweet and tender — is delivered with several tongs, so you and your crew can go to town pulling away at the perfectly cooked meat to create a pork wrap. There are no rules, only chopsticks. Start stacking and wrapping and creating an interesting roll of flavors — salty, vinegary, sweet and savory. Don’t get overexcited or violent with the tongs, there will be plenty of pork to go around and probably even some to take home.

Momofuku Bibb Lettuce and Kimchi

The makings of the Momofuku bo ssam

Momofuku Milk Bar Ice Cream

If you have actually saved room for dessert, head next door to Momofuku Milk Bar for a real treat. Here’s just a taste of what we tried — Cereal Milk Ice Cream {yep, tastes like your leftover cereal milk}, Compost Cookie {chock full of pretzels, potato chips, coffee, oats,  butterscotch, chocolate chips}, Confetti Cookie {rainbow sprinkles, rainbow cake crumble} and my favorite the Blueberry & Cream Cookie {dried blueberries, milk crumbs}.

Momofuku Milk Bar Cookies

The Skim: Go hungry and ready for the unexpected. David Chang has brought us a level of quality and flavor that is what we should come to expect in a memorable dining experience — perhaps that is why there are newMomofuku locations popping up every few months — that is news as sweet as a peach!

Map: {207 2nd Avenue @ 13th Street}
Phone: (212) 254-3500


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Soft & Salty Snack @Sigmund Pretzelshop

Sigmund Pretzelshop Selection

In New York it’s not very hard to find a soft pretzel to satisfy your snack craving — they’re sold street-side at practically every corner cart. But it’s also not very hard to be disappointed by those salty twists that are often stale and taste of the strange burnt smell that wafts disturbingly from the pushcart. But if you head down to the East Village you will discover a whole new world of soft pretzels, far beyond the standard twist you may be used to. At Sigmunds Pretzelshop you can choose from an array of fat, crusty soft pretzels topped with the standard white salt crystals or more creative toppings such as jalapeno cheddar or caramel pecan to satisfy your sweet tooth. If you’re not already excited by souped up softy, you can also choose from their FREE selection of dips to accompany your snack. I had the pumpkin seed pretzel with whole-grain mustard {of course} and loved the nutty twist. And if you’re hungry for more than just a bite, Sigmunds has gone beyond the simple twist, offering soft pretzel sandwiches stuffed with such goodies as mozzarella, tomato & pesto or ham & fontina. Delicious!

Sigmund Sweet Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel

$3.00 – 3.50
jalapeno cheddar
gruyere paprika
seven chile
garlic parsley
cinnamon raisin
caramel pecan

Sigmund Pumpkin Seed Soft Pretzel

whipped butter
wholegrain mustard
honey mustard
beet-horseradish mayo
herb goat cheese
cream cheese


Sigmund Soft Pretzel Sandwiches


roast turkey with gouda and apple
roast beef with horseradish and red onion
smoked salmon with dill cream cheese
mozzarella, tomato and pesto

The Skim: Soft pretzels — salty, sweet or as a sammy, but a satisfying snack from Sigmund Pretzelshop no matter how you select.
Map: {29 Avenue B, btw 2nd & 3rd}
Reservations: Not needed!
Phone: 646.410.0333

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Love, Love Shabu Shabu: Fun to Say and Eat

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I relived my trip to Japan last night with a visit to Shabu Tatsu, one of the most authentic Japanese meals I have had in NYC. For those who think only of sushi or ramen when you hear the words Japanese cuisine, it’s time to expand your horizons to the wonderful world of Shabu Shabu — aka Japanese fondue {x10}. At the center of your table you get a pot of boiling clear broth in which you cook paper thin slices of beautifully marbled premium rib eye, a mound of fresh veg and hand pulled noodles. Everything cooks rather quickly, so it’s best to add a few things at a time and when they’re done dip them in one or both of the soy and sesame sauces served on the side. I like to to dip each piece and lay it on top of my bowl of rice before eating it. The result: beefy, brothy, veggie, saucy goodness soaked up by each white fluffy grain — the well deserved reward after all that hard work slaving over a hot pot with your chops. The upside to all this is that for $24/peep you get all the fixins’, plus that Japanese salad that we all love {you know, the one with the carrot-ginger dressing}, ice cream and hot tea. And if you’re really lucky, like we were, and show up on Japanese Boys Day, you get some lucky red beans and rice cakes. mmmm.

The Skim: Forget the california roll and venture out for some of the finer features of Japanese cuisine at Shabu Tatsu. Whether you go with the Shabu Shabu, Sukiyaki {Shabu Shabu ingredients pan-seared in a sweet soy sauce} or Yakiniku {Japanese BBQ}, you will not be disappointed. It’s great for a group or a hands-on date {I’m talkin’ about the food}, but like many Japanese things it’s small, so go early or willing to wait. {216 E. 10th Street, btw 1st/2nd Aves.}

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