Tag Archives: NYC

Stick & Pop, “Cake on a Stick” Opens in Chelsea

12 Feb

Good news for those living in Chelsea…Stick & Pop just opened on 19th Street. This adorable, whimsical shop is home to the cake on a stick, a unique Valentine’s gift for the cake-lover in your life. Not only do these little morsels taste amazing, but they’re also almost too pretty to eat. ALMOST.

Fans of carrot cake should try the Nutty Bunny, carrot cake dipped in white chocolate and covered in walnuts, while  traditionalists will love Birthday Cake, vanilla cake dipped in dark chocolate, rolled in colorful sprinkles. I’m partial to the O’Hara, coconut cake coated in dark chocolate and rolled in coconut.

With 11 original flavors to try, I didn’t want to make a pig of myself, so I’ll be back for the Johnny Cake. Peanut butter cake, dipped in dark chocolate, covered in pretzels and sea salt sounds like the Chubby Hubby of the cake world. Oh my, is that food arousal I’m experiencing?

Stick & Pop also caters to special occasions, perfect for a wedding or baby shower favor, kid’s party, special events like birthdays or corporate events, as well as their creative seasonal and holiday varieties.

And boy do I love anything that’s small, and portioned out for me. These individual pops are decadent enough to satisfy that sweet craving without going overboard, unless of course you eat a dozen.

P.S. If you’re in the neighborhood, swing by Sugar Cookies the neighboring boutique lingerie shop, and pair those sweets with a little spice.

Birthday Cake: vanilla cake dipped in dark chocolate, rolled in colorful sprinkles

Pictured from left are: Johnny Cakes, Darling, Birthday Cake, O'Hara, Moonpop.

Stick & Pop

233 W. 19th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues)

Phone: 646.481.4767 Email: stickandpopnyc@gmail.com

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I Survived Barry’s Boot Camp

19 Jun

I started “food buff” to talk about my two loves: eating, and ironically, fitness/exercise. I figured it’s about time for a fitness post or I’ll have to change my blog to “food liar”.

What better way to kick things off than with the much-anticipated, newly opened LA transplant, Barry’s Boot Camp. Holy _______ (insert favorite profanity here). I’ve tried many different workouts over the years, and I think this is the hardest yet.

Barry’s Boot Camp, which opened June 4th in Chelsea, is not what we’re used to seeing from boot camps. The studio is not covered in camouflage like a base training camp. It’s a fairly large studio, able to accommodate about 40 people, brand new Woodway treadmills, in a “club-like” atmosphere. The music is rockin’, and the dark, red lighting is figure flattering (which helps since you’re staring at yourself in the mirror all class). My instructor wasn’t yelling at us, but I’ve heard others (especially Barry) use more of a pledging approach to get you motivated.

Classes are one hour, with a combination of 25 to 30 minutes of interval training on the treadmills (a.k.a. sprinting your $ss off) and the other half focusing on strength training with free weights and other equipment. Monday through Friday the strength training focuses on different body parts each day. For example, Monday is arms and abs, Tuesday is legs and butt, etc. Full schedule is here. In theory, if you go every day, by the end of the week you would have worked all muscle groups. But if you need it all in one class, they offer full body workouts Friday through Sunday, which is what I took. The instructor had us do (four) 15 minutes segments: 15 on the treadmill, 15 on the floor with weights, 15 back on the treadmill, 15 on strength. After the first 30 minutes, I thought I was done. You can imagine my disappointment when we were told to get back on the treadmill and I realized we were only halfway through.

The idea of “shocking” the body to get the best results isn’t new. I’ve had personal trainers at Equinox and NY Sports Club, and they used the same methodology of interval training with strength. It’s a proven method and I walked out of class feeling tighter almost immediately. I was sweaty, exhausted, and could see that with consistency, this class could get me leaner, toned, and stronger.

That said, I hated every minute of running. I detest running to begin with, and was nervous about the treadmill element. The intervals were hard…high speed sprints (7-12) and high inclines (over 6). Hitting those numbers was next to impossible sometimes, and sustaining them took a whole other level of warrior. Sure there are times when you’re jogging or at a lower incline, but the peaks were brutal and even being in decent shape, I struggled. I haven’t run in over a year, so I’m sure that didn’t help. Also, there are no breaks, it’s a constant, one-hour, beat down.

The strength training portion wasn’t as brutal. They recommended 5 lb light weights and 8 lb heavy weights for women so being a little afraid of what was in store, I went with the suggestion. Perhaps I could have gone heavier now that I’ve been through it, but first class is always hard not knowing what you’re up against.

It was fun to try a new class that was challenging and totally different from anything I have in my current routine. I was completely out of my comfort zone and getting through it gave me a huge sense of accomplishment. I can’t say that this will become part of my routine, but I’d like to try it a couple more times to see. This is also a great workout to go with a buddy. Misery loves company, right?

Pros:

  • You sweat. A lot. And probably burn a ton of calories (my heart rate monitor battery died so I couldn’t calculate my workout).
  • The 50/50 cardio/strength mix makes efficient use of an hour.
  • The instructor, and being in a class setting, pushes you beyond what you think you can do
  • My class had an even number of men and women
  • New studio in convenient location. They also have electronic lockers so you enter your own 4 digit code and that’s it. No need to bring a lock.
  • If you’re a runner, you’ll probably drool over the cardio segments.
  • They also have a juice bar which is rumored to be developed by one of the folks from Greenleaf .*
I tried this Chocolate Peanut Butter smoothie. Initially it tasted good, but after a couple sips it had a little chalky aftertaste. I like my smoothies thick!! The consistency was way too thin for my taste, almost like chocolate milk. They also use “Better’n Peanut Butter” which probably appeals to people who are focused on low-fat/low-calorie. (I can picture men who can’t put their arms down, really into these). I’m more concerned with eating whole, natural foods, and would rather they use a small amount of pure, real, organic peanut butter instead of something processed.

Chocolate "Peanut Butter" Smoothie at Barry's Boot Camp

Cons:

  • As a first timer, I was shocked I didn’t receive any training on the treadmill, and no welcome, etc. When I checked in, the front desk didn’t even offer me a tour or any information on class packages. Luckily, I’d stopped in a few days prior and received one from their GM who is an absolute doll. I left class with no incentive to buy a package (i.e. discount on future package?) which was disappointing.
  • The instructor asked if anyone was new. Despite raising and waving both hands, he didn’t see me (in a class of 10 people). He seemed focused on a few “regulars”. Yes the treadmill isn’t rocket science to master, but the Woodway is a bit different, so a quick demo/tutorial would have been beneficial as there were times when I couldn’t get the stupid speed to change, and one time when it just shut off for no reason.
  • The waiver I signed before class didn’t ask if there were any injuries. In small print it says “All injuries must be reported before class.” But no one asked if there were injuries, including the instructor, so I’m not sure when this reporting should have taken place.
  • Instructor gave a couple adjustments, but guidance was minimal.
  • This is a HIGH-impact workout. In addition to running, there are lots of squats and lunges which aggravate my joints. I had surgery years ago for a torn meniscus. The day after Barry’s workout, my knee was pretty inflamed.
  • RUNNING. Did I mention, I hate it?
*I reached out to Barry’s to check details about the Juice bar. At time of posting, I had not received feedback. I’ll update the post with any other info if applicable.

TECHmunchNYC 2011: Informing and Inspiring Food Bloggers

16 Jun

I love blogging, but as with most things in life, there are times when we all need a little encouragement and inspiration.

A few weeks ago, I was exchanging emails with BakeSpace.com founder, Babette Pepaj. She asked if I’d considered attending TECHmunch NYC. It hadn’t been on my radar, but the second she mentioned it, I knew I couldn’t miss it.

TECHmunch is a series of food blogger conferences held across the US. Founded by Babette in 2010, the NYC conference was held Saturday, June 11, part of Internet Week. TECHmunch was started to give bloggers like me the tools to create great content and build loyal audiences (like you). I really enjoyed listening to all the panel discussions, particularly Chris Pearson of DIYThemes (and creator of Thesis), who shared useful tips on great website design.

Although the SEO panel discussion was overwhelming and gave me a little agita, it was eye-opening and educational. The only disappointment was not having more time to focus on the subject. I kind of wanted to kidnap the panel and host a private Q&A in my apartment.

Click here to check out the agenda from this year’s TECHmunch NYC, and here to find out if TECHmunch is coming to your city this year! And to read some of the handouts from the event…click here.

But I know all you food hounds are only interested in one thing…. a conference for food bloggers hosted by BakeSpace.com?? That’s gotta mean good eats!!! And you’re right, it did. Here’s a peek:

New Chobani Yogurt Flavors

Chobani Champions for kids - I had no idea they even had a kids line!

Banana basket at breakfast. Nice to have a vegan option.

Thank you 'Wichcraft for providing a ridiculous spread of sandwiches and salads for lunch!

And for providing a vegetarian option! The chickpea sandwich was delish.

'Wichcraft chickpea arugula salad

HUGE shout out to @KitchenAidUSA for all the product donations. There were giveaways throughout the day and consequently, a lot of smiling bloggers.

KitchenAid Appliances for Giveaways

Oh and I neglected to mention that I won this KitchenAid convection bake countertop oven during one of the giveaways! WAHOO. Now, I just have to figure out how to make room for it in my kitchen.

KitchenAid Countertop Oven

Snack time was ridiculous. There was everything from fresh made smoothies by Chobani, tons of sandwiches and salads from ‘Wichcraft, plus crudite, chips, and desserts further than the eye could see.

Ridiculous buffet for snack time

This was one of the most ridic crudite platters I’ve ever seen. It had everything from traditional carrots, cucumbers to brussel sprouts! All the vegetables were fresh, vibrant, and beautifully arranged. I absolutely loved it.

Crudite

I know there are many theories here but I grew up in Maine and thus believe, New England is where Whoopie pies were born. Growing up, I had my share of these heavenly sandwiches and Rubicelli’s were divine. I liked that they didn’t have an obscene amount of filling which many often do.

Robicellis Dessert Menu

Cupcakes & Whoopie Pies by Robicelli's

Cookies by Tasty Morsels Bakery

We were all disappointed that Mr. Chocolate, Jacques Torres, had a last minute engagement, preventing him from appearing at TECHmunch, but he was kind enough to do a video interview. And oh man, that guy is pure spunk. He really is absolutely hilarious.

Cookies by Jacques Torres

Amazingly fresh mixed berries with mint (I think in simple syrup sauce)

Four Roses Bourbon Cocktail

Four Roses Bourbon was kind enough to post the recipe to this cocktail.

Four Roses Bourbon Cocktail from TECHmunch NYC 2011

 3 Cups of Four Roses Bourbon

6 cups Water

2 cups strong tea

1 cup sugar

1 6-ounce container frozen orange juice, thawed

1 12-ounce lemon juice container, thawed

Mix and serve. They garnished with a lovely mint sprig.

Thank you to all of the following companies for making this day happen. It was truly a great learning experience and I’m so pleased to have met so many creative and inspiring people. Can’t wait until next year…or I may need to travel to another city.

BakeSpace.com

Cupcakes Take the Cake (Also co-produced TECHmunch NYC)

Chobani

KitchenAid

The Harvard Common Press

Driscoll’s

Brooklyn Brewery

Robicelli’s

Four Roses Bourbon

‘Wichcraft

Excel PR Group

Vegan-Friendly Wedding Weekend

7 Jun

What an amazing weekend Husband and I had! Our good friends Blake and Rob got married on Saturday. Congratulations B & R! What a gorgeous wedding!!!! Judging by the way I felt yesterday, we had a ton of fun. It may be a few days until I’ve fully recuperated, but it was worth it.

Our incredibly thoughtful hosts arranged to have vegan options available throughout the weekend…how cute are they? Everything from the cocktail hour to dessert offered something for vegetarians and vegans.  I’m really not going to do this justice because I didn’t take as many pics as I should have. Blame it on the al-al-al-al-al-alco-hol. I think I have more pics at home, but I didn’t want to wait all week to share this post so these will have to do for now.

We started with the rehearsal dinner on Friday at The Modern. Guests received tickets to visit the MoMA before dinner. We arrived about a half hour early and had just enough time to breeze through Contemporary Art, then Painting and Sculpture. We saw some impressive pieces like this Jackson Pollack. (AMAZZZINNNGGGG).

One: Number 31, 1950

We headed back to The Modern promptly at 7pm. Everyone mingled over cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres. I was so shocked when one of the restaurant managers brought over a special platter of vegan hors d’oeuvres just for me that included mini bruschetta cups and veggie spring rolls. How special!

For dinner, I received a beautiful tofu, quinoa, vegetable plate. The presentation was bright and colorful, and aroused curiosity in the other diners at table six.  In typical Danny Meyer style, the service was hospitable and the food did not disappoint.

A HUGE bowl of mixed berries arrived for dessert. They were so fresh I ate the entire bowl with a little help from Husband who kept sneaking nibbles when he thought I wasn’t looking.

On Saturday, we headed to the fabulous Mandarin Oriental Hotel in the Time Warner Center for the main event. Cocktail hour had a vast spread including passed hors d’oeuvres, a sushi, and a mediterranean bar. I was psyched when the server with the veggie spring rolls parked next to us so I had easy access to those little morsels all night. I never made it to the carving station. I was too busy making sammies out of the mediterranean bar ingredients. I stuffed the pita pockets with hummus, falafel, and olives. They were soooooo good. Sorry, no pics of these because I have no flash on my iPhone. Yes I know, I need to upgrade.

At dinner, I asked for the vegan option despite the fact that I was nearly stuffed from cocktail hour. I received a lovely plate of quinoa with haricots vert, asparagus, and sorel mushrooms (my favorite). Sorry, pic sucks. Use your imagination on this one.

Dessert was a fruit platter with a mixture of melons and berries that a few of us shared.

The next morning we were on a 9am flight to LA for the MTV Movie Awards. First stop, Native Foods Cafe. I made Husband go there before we even checked into the hotel. I had my Scorpion Burger down before the luggage arrived in the room.

After a brief snooze, we were off to the Movie Awards at the Gibson Ampitheatre. Click here for a clip from the Foo Fighters performing last night. It started pouring when it was time for the After-Party (which was completely outside) so we bailed and came back to the hotel. Rain? In LA? WTF?

We arrived back at the W starving (at least I was) and immediately ordered room service. There were limited vegan options and I was feeling a little nauseous. We got edamame, greek salad, grilled salmon salad, and a fruit plate for dessert. The food was pretty standard hotel quality, but at this point I was grateful to be eating anything at all. I’d probably avoid the fruit plate in the future. Mine had a couple moldy blueberries, and the melon was sprinkled with salt to preserve the color. Simon liked the watermelon though.

It was a whirlwind weekend and I’m totally exhausted. Looking forward to more good eats while I’m in LA and hoping to check out a couple new studios. Tomorrow, I’m testing out Winsor Pilates. I’m so looking forward to a solid workout!

Dinner at Blossom Restaurant

14 Apr

Hello friends!

I had a delicioso dinner at Blossom last week with vegetarian pal Blake Brody, and just had to share some pics. I finally sucked it up and brought the “real” camera. I usually rely on my iPhone, but the camera SUCKS in low lighting. (Apple, please hurry. I need the iPhone 5 like… yesterday). I hate bringing the big camera because the enormous flash illuminates the entire room, not exactly inconspicuous.

Blossom is a vegan restaurant in Chelsea that focuses on local, organic ingredients. “Voted Best Vegetarian Restaurant 2008 & 2009” by Time Out magazine. They also have sister restaurants Cafe Blossom, Blossom Du Jour and Cocoa V.

We started with a lovely bottle of Don David malbec, perfect for a frigid rainy/haily night. Then we dove in…

We tried numerous appies because well… we’re pigs and wanted to sample a ton of dishes. The capelleti was hands-down my favorite, followed by the empanadas, and the seitan. Seitan and I have come a long way. I used to think it was disgusting; I’m slowly coming around. The sweet potato rolls were probably my least favorite. They just tasted like a rolled up salad and it happened to be freaking hailing so I wasn’t really in the mood for anything cold.

Parsnip Cappelletti ~ $10

Fresh hand-rolled ravioli stuffed with savory whipped parsnip and crushed potatoes, finished with shiitake and truffle oil. I LOVE this dish so much that we had a second round. My husband got this the first time we ate at Blossom and loved it…he’s not vegan.

Parsnip Cappelletti

Sweet Potato Rolls (raw) ~ $12

Stuffed with shredded coconut, jicama, carrot, red and yellow peppers, scallions, and avocado, with an almond ginger dipping sauce.

Sweet Potato Rolls

Porcini Flutes ~ $11

Hand-rolled phyllo filled with porcini mushrooms, almonds, and ground tempeh, served over a cashew pesto, finished with pomegranate seeds.

Porcini Flutes

Seitan Empanadas ~ $11

Served with saffron aioli and a salad of avocado and hearts of palm. They call it salad, I call it guacamole. Yup we had two rounds of this one too.

Seitan Empanadas

Whipped Sweet Potatoes ~ $6

These were unbelievably smooth. I actually could have used a little texture in them, but they were very sweet with spicy hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. I would have loved to smear it on some hot, crusty bread. (Ew – two words I’ve always vowed not to use together).

Whipped Sweet Potatoes

Port Wine Seitan ~ $22

Seitan cutlets pan-seared in a sauce of port wine and mushrooms, accompanied by creamy mashed potatoes, tempura onion, and sautéed garlic spinach. The potatoes tricked me. Their texture didn’t look smooth, but were surprisingly buttery and perfectly seasoned. It was definitely reminiscent of mashed potatoes, but with a lighter, seemingly healthier, texture.

Port Wine Seitan

Phyllo Roulade ~$18

French lentils and root vegetables baked in a phyllo crust, served over a carrot-cream sauce. Caramelized onions and swiss chard accompaniment.

Phyllo Roulade

For dessert, we opted for a glass of cava and I was so freaking stuffed I forgot to take a pic. Sorry!!

Have you tried seitan? What do you think – is seitan too processed or is it “healthy”? Do you make your own seitan? Have a favorite recipe? Please share!!!

Highlights from 1st Annual NYC Vegetarian Food Festival

7 Apr

Sunday, April 3rd, was the first NYC Vegetarian Food Festival. What a zoo!!!  Turnout was good with herds of people crammed into a small space at the Altman building. I was psyched I bought VIP tickets in advance through Living Social because the line for general admission was half-way down the block. I heard some people didn’t even get in? And that next year it will be at Javitz? One can only hope because we could have used the space!

I was thrilled to meet so many like-minded people, brought together by a love of food, and interest in healthy/sustainable lifestyles. Although I was disappointed that most vendors focused heavily on desserts, cookies, and numerous vegan mac & cheeses, I was very happy to see some brands that I love, and to find unique/innovative products that I hadn’t tried before. And there were samples galore! I do hope next year there are more vendors that focus on clean foods like vegetables, beans, nuts, and fruits.

Here are a few highlights. I’ll have some further product reviews in the weeks to come. Stay tuned!

Peeled Snacks

One of my favorite snacks, just came out with new variety packs like Pineapple, Mango & Banana. My three favorites together in one bag? Hip, hip, hooray!

New Varieties of Peeled Snacks

Peeled Snacks Team

Gnosis Chocolate

A vegan chocolate that’s 100% handmade. I’ve seen it at Whole Foods and never tried it until the Festival. I was skeptical at first, but that Super Choc was so delicious I bought a few bars to test out! I’ll have a full review in the weeks to come.

Super Choc

Beyond Sushi

All vegetarian, organic sushi rolls use black rice with fresh veggies, fruits and tofu based sauces like chilli & mango and tofu & miso. I was sad I didn’t get to try it. They were completely out of samples when I was there but conceptually sounded really interesting. I mean, come on!!! Look at how gorgeous these are; almost too pretty to eat.  They’d be great for pregnant moms who can’t have shellfish, or those with shellfish allergies or of course, vegetarians/vegans!

Beyond Sushi

Splitz Snacks

Organic, healthy snacks made primarily from yellow split peas, this delicious snack has 140 calories, 6 grams fat and a whopping 9 grams of protein in a 2 oz bag!

Splitz snacks

Splitz Table

Raw Ice Cream Company

I’ve tried quite a few raw, vegan ice creams and this one was exceptional. It had a very creamy, smooth consistency. And I love their tagline, “Gorge yourself responsibly!” Why thank you, I will!

Although the samples don’t look that appetizing here, the mint chip was fabulous! They have very limited distribution at the moment, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before this spreads like wildfire. Their website is the cutest ever, and has a store locator if you’re looking to purchase.

Raw Ice Cream Table

Raw Ice Cream Samples

SHEFFA snacks

Loved these little snacks from Sheffa. It would be a great beer snack; kind of like a healthy version of party mix. I guess that’s kind of redundant right? A healthy snack to go with a beer is like having a diet coke with a big mac. Still, they were tasty. I liked the Spicy snack mix made with ground chickpeas, roasted corn, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sunflower oil, spices and sea salt.

Sheffa Snacks

Wholesome Creations

Although I usually make my own salad dressing, I did enjoy these all natural, gluten-free, vegan, dressings by Wholesome Creations. No additives, no preservatives, no added colors or chemicals. Flavors include: Lemon Paradise, Pomegranate Cranberry, Ginger/Green Tea, Mediterranean.

Wholesome Creations Mediterranean Flavor

How cute are they?

Wholesome Creations Team

Last Day to Check Out Martha Stewart’s Pie Pop-Up Shop NYC

27 Mar

The “pop-up” store/stand/restaurant is the buzzy marketing tactic of the moment. We’re seeing them all over Manhattan so it was only a matter of time until Martha Stewart had one. To launch her latest book, Martha Stewart’s New Pies & Tarts, Martha Stewart’s Pie Pop-Up Shop opened Saturday in the Little Owl’s event venue. This weekend only, from 10am-6pm, people can flock to the shop to stuff their pie-holes. Kind of ironic that it’s right next to Equinox.

Martha Stewart's Pie Pop-Up Shop Entrance

Close-Up of Entrance

I’m not the biggest pie/tart fan, and this obvi was not vegan paradise, but I’m a sucker for foodie events so had to check it out so I could share with all of you!!

I spent a total of MAYBE 15 minutes there. It was small and crowded. I went straight for the pies and was disappointed to see there wasn’t much left at 1pm.

Depleted Pie Case

Saturday's Pie Menu (at 1pm)

All the fruit pies were gone. I got the last coconut cream pie and snagged a vegetable tart, and a spinach feta turnover.

The coconut pie was I-N-S-A-N-E. Toasted coconut on whipped cream…mmmm soooo coconuty, rich, and creamy. The chocolate cookie pie crust was delicious, think it had some coconut in it, but the sandy texture didn’t hold together at all. Luckily, I could use the thick filling to pick up any crust stragglers. I was still so surprised how much I loved this one, I’m considering going back for another.

Coconut Cream Pie

I intended to only have two bites. Ooops.

Leftover Coconut Cream Pie

The Vegetable Tart with zucchini, tomato and red onion looked gorgeous, but was disappointing. It was bland and when I bit into it, the vegetables completely deserted the tart, leaving the crust naked. I had no problem only having a bite of this one.

Vegetable Tart

I thought the Spinach Feta Turnover was going to be boring, but I was blown away by the soft, pillowy, dough. The large salt crystals on the outside reminded me of a pretzel croissant which I adore.

Spinach Feta Turnover

The filling itself was not memorable. I really didn’t taste any feta in here so they either missed this one or there just wasn’t much there to begin with. I could have eaten a basket full of just the turnover dough.

Inside of Spinach Feta Turnover

In the back they have a demo kitchen where they’re making fresh batches of pies and answering questions. [No, there weren’t any Ms. Stewart sightings while I was there]. We were informed that the eggs in the bowl were of course, fresh-picked from Martha’s farm.

Putting Egg Wash on the Rhubarb Pie

Explaining Use of Beans as Weights in Pie Crust Baking

If you’re in the neighborhood today, it’s worth swinging by to grab a snack. They’re mini, personal pie size at $3.00 each. Yesterday they limited to one pie per person (I interpreted that as one FLAVOR per person). The pie shop is open until 6pm today so take advantage of this beautifully sunny day and make it a pietastic Sunday!

If you get a chance to go, please share your experience here. What did you think? I’d love to hear about any other flavors I didn’t try, or thoughts on those I did.

MS Pie Pop-Up Shop, photo from MarthaStewart.com

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