The Five Best Greenmarkets in NYC

green markets 1
(Image courtesy GrowNYC.org)

Sure, there are many greenmarkets open around the five boroughs throughout the year, even during the doldrums of winter. However, the return of spring is truly a time to enjoy some fresh air and browse the week’s selection of fresh, local produce. Thankfully, the non-profit GrowNYC organizes dozens of great greenmarkets, redoubling their efforts this time of year, as some of the dormant participants look to make appearances once again. Here are five of the best-rated NYC greenmarkets.

1. Union Square
    17th Street and Park Avenue South
   Open Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 8am – 6pm

Not only is the Union Square greenmarket a highly regarded source of fresh foods, it’s even become a sought-out tourist destination as well, as chef-lebrities from Top Chef and elsewhere have been known to seek out their ingredients here. There are various farmers that set up shop on the different days the market is open, so be sure to visit each of NYCGrow’s devoted webpages to find out who will be there and when. The Union Square market is particularly grandiose and incredibly easy to get to from pretty much anywhere in NYC. There’s everything from freshly baked breads and pies to artisanal cheeses and wines. Be on the look out for the cooking demonstrations too.

Featured farmer: Holy Schmitt, maker of a delicious, all-natural horseradish.

2. Fort Greene Park
    Washington Park between DeKalb and Willoughby Avenues, Brooklyn
    Open Saturdays from 8am – 4pm

Diverse and welcoming, the Fort Greene Park Greenmarket is smaller in size and not as overwhelming as some others. Enjoy a relaxing stroll and visit the handful of stands that include handmade bags, hats, and other locally-made craft products, as well as cider, beets, fermented krauts, kimchi and more.

Featured farmer: Ronnybook Dairy, maker of flavored drinkable yogurts.

3. Tribeca
    Greenwich Street between Chambers and Duane Streets
    Open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8am – 3pm

A neighborhood secret, the relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere at this greenmarket is as attractive a trait of the setup as the selection of fresh seafood, turkey, duck, herbs, honey, produce and more. Cooking demonstrations, raffles, and educational activities provide even more enjoyment for shoppers.

Featured farmer: Hudson Valley Duck, provider of cage-free ducks and duck products, including sausage and prosciutto.

4. 79th Street
    Columbus Avenue between 78th and 81st Streets
    Open Sundays from 9am – 5pm

Just behind the American Museum of Natural History on tree-lined Columbus Avenue, shoppers at this four-block long greenmarket will be treated to grass fed beef, fresh fish, duck, chicken, ostrich, goat cheese, fresh flowers, eggs, and a large variety of fruit and vegetables, just to name a handful of options. Foraged greens like ramps make an appearance in the spring, and an abundance of corn and berries arrive in the summer. Don’t be surprised if there’s a celebrity sighting or two during your visit.

Featured farmer: Ardith Mae Farmstead, makers of French-style cheeses, most notably their goat cheese.

 5. Forest Hills
    Queens Boulevard and 70th Avenue, Queens
    Open Sundays from 8am – 3pm

A surprise entry on our list, many Manhattanites may have never even been to Forest Hills—although that’s changing, as the real estate world discovers the attractive and affordable market here. Among the best things about living here is the lively Sunday market. Community activities, cooking demonstrations and recipe exchanges add to the enjoyment of a market that already features an eclectic mix of locally grown fresh products. Organizers stress the importance of getting to know one’s neighbors in Forest Hills as a function of the market, along with familiarizing oneself with the farmers themselves. However, all are welcome to try their fish, fruits, meats, mushrooms and much more.

Featured farmer: Divine Brine, maker of fine natural pickles, Italian specialties and chutneys.

 

The Five Best Places for Hot Chocolate in NYC

As winter rolls on and the tally of days spent below freezing continues to grow, drinking a cup of hot chocolate almost becomes more of a necessity than an indulgence. Some days, any burst of warm chocolaty goodness will do, but when it’s time to kick it up a notch, here are five NYC spots to ensure your hot chocolate experience goes far beyond functional, and is something much closer to bliss.

1. City Bakery
3 West 18th Street between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue

hot cocoa 1
(Photo: Shawn Rossi/Flickr)

The good folks at City Bakery are so serious about their hot chocolate that they hold their own festival devoted to the drink each year throughout the month of February. From caramel to banana peel to bourbon, HC fans can enjoy a new and unique flavor of hot chocolate available on special each day. City Bakery’s original hot cocoa is worth a trip to Union Square anytime though. It’s incredibly rich, made from an assortment of dark chocolate bars, and can be consumed with an optional gigantic homemade marshmallow.

2. La Maison du Chocolat
30 Rockefeller Plaza

hot cocoa 2
(Photo: Yelp.com/Zi-Heng Z.)

The French “chocolate artists” of La Maison have a boutique in Rockefeller Plaza that features dozens of high-end exotic chocolates, as well as truffles and pastries. There’s coffee and tea too, but their hot chocolate is consistently among the highest rated in the city. La Maison offers their dashing drink with different levels of bitterness and sweetness. Try the incredibly thick dark chocolate, and make it extra bittersweet. There are five locations throughout the city, but given this one’s proximity to the ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center, it’s the perfect spot to plan a winter family day around a cup of hot chocolate.

3. Jacques Torres Chocolate
350 Hudson Street between King Street and Charlton Street

hot cocoa 3
(Photo : Jacques Torres,/ Facebook)

Pastry chef Jacques Torres has been fondly referred to as “Mr. Chocolate,” and has founded several chocolate “factories” across Manhattan and Brooklyn. At his Hudson Street retail location, you can indulge in his famous hot chocolate, which comes in several flavors, including the thick and creamy “classic,” peanut butter and “wicked,” which features allspice, cinnamon, ancho and chipotle chili peppers.

4. Le Churro
1236 Lexington Avenue between 83rd Street and 84th Street

hot cocoa 4
(Photo: Le Churro/Facebook)

Bring the kids to this must-visit Upper East Side locale. They’ll love the fun, chewy churros—a delectable fried-dough pastry from Spain—but they’ll also get to experience Spanish-style, creamy and molten hot chocolate in a variety of enticing flavors, including chili, sea salt, mint, Nutella, peanut butter cup, and cinnamon orange. Don’t be afraid to do some churro dunking!

5. Marie Belle
484 Broome Street between Wooster Street and West Broadway

hot cocoa 5
(Photo: Marie Belle/Facebook)

Made from extra-rich, über-pure Venezuelan cocoa powder, Marie Belle’s “Aztec” hot chocolate is one of the most famous in the city. It comes in a tiny teacup and, like the others on this list, is incredibly thick and rich. You can also try their brand of spicy hot chocolate with chipotle and ancho, while other hot cocoa flavors include white chocolate, hazelnut and vanilla bean.

 

Around TOWN: Chalk Point Kitchen

Chalk Point Kitchen
Photo courtesy of Chalk Point Kitchen

Matt Levine and Michelin-starred chef, Joe Isidori, bring a unique bi-level space to the SoHo dining scene.

Chalk Point Kitchen, a cozy farm-to-table restaurant, inhabits the main floor, featuring American nouveau and pan-Asian fare prepared from fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. The Long Island squid a la plancha with smoky nam pla sauce and scallions, a Luxury Attaché favorite, is definitely worth a try for the adventurous palate.

After dinner, head to the basement and enjoy the speakeasy vibe with a digestif or craft cocktail at leather-clad Handy Liquor Bar.

Contact your Attaché for reservations.

Chalk Point Kitchen, 527 Broome Street between Thompson and Sullivan Streets, 212.390.0327

Cinco De Mayo in NYC: The Best Margaritas around Manhattan

El Toro Blanco Margarita

Today calls for tequila, being that it’s a) a Monday and b) Cinco De Mayo. We’ve rounded up the best margaritas you can find in Manhattan. Create your own festive bar crawl through NYC to try them all. Let us know where your favorite fiesta cocktails are in the comments!

 

back-forty-west-bar-cinco-de-mayo

1) Not your average strawberry marg. The Red and Black at Back Forty is the perfect blend of sweet and savory. Locally-sourced greenmarket strawberries are generously muddled with black pepper infused simple syrup, Sauza tequila and a black pepper, salt and sugar rim to tie everything together.

Back Forty, 190 Avenue B at 12th St.212.388.1992.

 

la-esquina-cinco-de-mayo

2) Not-too-cool cucumber. Beneath the famed SoHo restaurant, La Esquina, is a subterranean bar channeling the lively vibes of Barcelona. Your tastebuds will also be transported to a far-away summer destination with their signature margarita, the Pepino Diablo. Mixed with Gran Centenario Jalapeño-infused Tequila, cucumber puree, fresh lime, agave and a Tajin Rim, this flavorful concoction is the closest thing to a beach resort this side of Houston Street.

La Esquina, 114 Kenmare Street at Lafayette, 646.613.1333.

 

salvation-taco-cinco-de-mayo

3) The classic. Enter the Salvation Taco Margarita found at April Bloomfield’s taco outpost Salvation Taco. This standard recipe is for those with a discerning palette and mixed for tequila lovers. Crafted with Pueblo Viejo Blanco, Combier, fresh limes and Guajilla Chili Salt, the recipe packs enough punch for a sassy kick but can easily be enjoyed for two or three rounds. Bonus: ask the bartender for a parrot glass for an instant ice breaker.

Salvation Taco, 145 East 39th Street between 3rd and Lexington Avenues, 212.865.5800.

 

wayland-cinco-de-mayo

3) Juicing with a twist. This Garden Variety Margarita found at The Wayland is anything but. Packed with ginger and kale, your tequila go-to gets a major vitamin upgrade. Sip on your Blue Agave Blanco Tequila with a little less guilt tonight.

The Wayland, 700 East 9th St. at Avenue C, 212.777.7022.

 

la-cenita-cinco-de-mayo

4) This drink requires steak. Meatpacking’s latin steak house La Cenita serves up adult frozen beverages you’ll want to sip on all night. From their watermelon frozen margarita to the Bailando con el Diablo you’ll be in fine party form before your Tomahawk Ribeye gets to the table.

La Cenita, 409 West 14th St. at 9th Avenue, 646.289.3930.

 

el-toro-blanco-cinco-de-mayo

5) Sippable snacks. This mango-cilantro-habanero iteration of the margarita is found at El Toro Blanco. The only thing missing from this recipe is some avocado but luckily for you that can be found on the menu in multiple places. We recommend the classic guacamole.

El Toro Blanco, 257 Avenue of the Americas between West Houston and Bleecker Streets, 212.645.0193.

 

cafe-el-presidente-cinco-de-mayo

6) Not Coca-Cola Lite. Cafe El Presidente is the latest Flatiron venture from the folks behind Tacombi. We already know their tacos are the real deal, so let’s skip right to beverages. This Smoked Coke is mixed with Coke Classico, the Coca-Cola straight from Mexico made with cane sugar, mezcal and bitters.

Cafe El Presidente, 30 West 24th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues, 646.429.8284.

oficina-latina-cinco-de-mayo

7) One tequila, two tequila, three tequila…if you’ve made it this far congratulate yourself with a flight of Passion and Love Shots from Oficina Latina. This Nolita outpost lines up shots of tequila with lines of sugar, coffee and cinnamon to dip citrus slices in for an intense post-shot rush.

Oficina Latina, 24 Prince Street between Elizabeth and Mott Streets, 646.381.2555.

 

 

 

Around TOWN: Bar Bolonat

Bar Bolonat Poussin
Bar Bolonat’s Poussin entree featuring crispy rice, potatoes, walnuts and pomegranates.

Chef Einat Admony brings us a fresh, modern Israeli restaurant serving up innovative fusion dishes from an open kitchen in an ever-so-intimate milieu. The eight-seat bar boasts a meticulously composed wine list, featuring bottles from underrepresented regions as well as a cocktail list that appeals to any palate.

bar bolonat nyc's new israeli west village restaurant
Bar Bolonat’s intimate ambience

For main courses, Luxury Attaché recommends the Poussin with Persian rice, walnuts, potatoes and pomegranate, and be sure to save room for dessert…we wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on the tahini-topped crème brulée.

Contact your Attaché for reservations.

Bar Baolonat, 611 Hudson Street, at West 12th Street, 212.390.1545, barbolonatny.com

Around TOWN: Cocotte

 

Photos of food and interiors at Cocotte restaurant in New York City

Bis·tro·nom·ique

noun

1. The art of marrying refined gastronomic cuisine with the simplicity of a bistro atmosphere.

Cocotte mastermind, Sébastien Pourrat, has pioneered the bistro-meets-gastronomy movement in New York City, bringing us his breathtakingly intimate 35-seat restaurant in the heart of SoHo. Basque tiles adorn low ceilings, and menu items are illustrated in white chalk across matte black walls, housing a fleet of perfectly petite plates served by Pourrat’s expertly trained team of 20.

“My cuisine is meticulous,” breathes Monsieur Pourrat, whose inspiration for both his menu and ambiance lies in his childhood memories and personal feelings. “I wanted to create a restaurant that I would like to go to.”

This is the kind of passion that carries through to the finished product.

Cocotte’s small dishes are designed to be shared, transforming date night or girls night out into an interactive dining experience. One Club personally recommends the chef’s specialty, marbré de poireaux au foie gras.

 

Cocotte is located at 110 Thompson Street, between Prince and Spring Streets.

Around TOWN: Gato

gato

Meet Gato, the Mediterranean reincarnation of Bobby Flay’s 15-year-old Flatiron spot, Bolo.

Flay and partner, Laurence Kretchmer, recently opened the 147-seat downtown brasserie on Lafayette Street, in the heart of NoHo/East Village. It’s a welcomed addition to the Flay enterprise that includes Bar Americain and Mesa Grill in New York, Connecticut, Las Vegas and Paradise Island in the Bahamas.

The goal with Gato is to use simple, fresh ingredients from all over the Mediterranean. Influences from Spain, Italy and Greece make their way into new creations, and a few Bolo-esque revivals.

Setting: There’s a downtown cool and eclectic Mediterranean aesthetic at Gato. The fact that Flay is back in the kitchen helps to create an unmistakable energy that trickles down through the service and onto plates.

Décor: Suspended light fixtures make the place glow. The exposed brick and blue and white tiles add to the Mediterranean vibe. The bar is the main attraction; It’s perfect for guests ready to take after-work drinks to the dinner level.

Drinks: Order the Paco with Ketel One Vodka, blood orange juice and cava, or the Angelo with Old Overholt Rye, Dolin Sweet Vermouth, Campari and Aperol.

Menu: Try the Kale and Wild Mushroom Paella, the Porterhouse Pork Chop or the Fresh Fettuccine with squid ink.

 

Gato is located at 324 Lafayette Street, between Bleecker and East Houston Streets

Powered by Luxury Attache: NYC’s Best Thanksgiving Desserts

four and twenty blackbirds pie

We’ve scoured the city for the best seasonal treats to serve this year. From pies, to macaroons, to cakes, be sure to save room after the big feast for these decadent treats.

four and twenty blackbirds pie

The sister duo at Four & Twenty Blackbirds added a pinch of salt to this traditional favorite to create their Salted Caramel Apple Pie.

zucker bakery doughnut

Zucker Bakery is serving up Thanksgivukkah Donuts this year with a limited-series of flavor varieties: Cranberry Turkey, Turkey Gravy, Jelly and Sweet Potato.

lady m pumpkin nuage cake

Lady M Cake Boutique‘s Pumpkin Nuage is only available one season every year. This dessert is a combination of pumpkin pie and pumpkin cheesecake with the perfect touches of cinnamon, cream cheese and graham crackers.

momofuku milk bar pie

The sweet geniuses at Momofuku Milk Bar turned blondies into an entire pie. This concoction features white chocolate brownies, Granny Smith apples and gingersnap crust for a new kind of apple pie.

dana's bakery macarons

This month, Dana’s Bakery is serving up a holiday menu of pecan pie, jelly doughnut and pumpkin pie macaroons.

momofuku thanksgiving croissant

The month of November marks the return of our favorite seasonal pastry, the Thanksgiving Croissant. While not a true dessert, this flaky cornucopia of flavor is a fourth-meal we support indulging in. Momofuku Milk Bar packs in white and dark meat turkey with cranberry sauce and gravy for a handy Thanksgiving meal regardless of the day.

Powered by Luxury Attache: NYC Restaurant Week 2013

The Capital Grille NYC

TOWN Residential Concierge Lauren Eisenberg

Over 294 restaurants around New York City crafted menus for NYC Restaurant Week this year. TOWN Concierge Lauren Eisenberg curates the reservations you need to make before August 16.

The Capital Grille NYC

1) The Capital Grille is unlocking a decadent lunch and dinner menu during Restaurant Week. As far as we’re concerned, lunch doesn’t get better than The Grille’s Signature Cheeseburger with a side of truffle fries.

Osteria Morini

2) Michael White’s SoHo ode to Italian comfort cuisine, Osteria Morini is serving a lunch menu featuring their renowned homemade pastas.

LURE Fishbar

3) Transport yourself to St. Tropez at this yacht-themed restaurant tucked away on the corner of Mercer and Prince. Lure is serving up lunch and dinner menus with a half dozen oysters sweeten the deal.

Empellon Taqueria

4) Spice up your usual lunch with a visit to Empellon Taqueria. Pair together taco choices like Lamb Barbacoa, Lobster, Fish Tempura, or Short Rib Pastrami for the perfect combination.

Il Mulino

5) Diners can expect a truly authentic Italian experience with impeccable service at a Greenwich Village favorite, Il Mulino. Order the Chicken Parmesan for lunch to taste one of the best in New York City.

Perilla

6) Perilla is truly a Greenwich Village neighborhood staple, with only 18 tables and 10 seats at the bar these are reservations you’ll want to make immediately. Dine on refreshing cucumber soup, roasted all natural chicken and finish with a seasonal nectarine and blueberry financier.

DBGB Kitchen and Bar

7) DBGB Kitchen and Bar has a hearty lunch and dinner menu. Go for the Frenchie Burger, wash it down with a beer and order another round from a selection of over 95 brews.

ilili Restaurant

8) Enjoy a complimentary rosé tasting with your Restaurant Week dinner at ilili Restaurant. The featured winery rotates weekly through August 16.

Blue Smoke

9) Go for the food, stay for the jazz at Blue Smoke. One of our favorite clubs, Jazz Standard is located in the basement of Danny Meyer’s barbecue outpost.

NORMA at Le Parker Meridien

10) Power lunch for a fraction of the cost at NORMA’S at Le Parker Meridien as the entire menu makes the cut for this year’s Restaurant Week, with the exception of The Zillion Dollar Lobster Frittata that is.