Catch It: See’s Candies, Chocolate & Candy Gifts

Wandamoorepix2I had another adventure in downtown Manhattan last week. I was walking on West 8th Street when I came upon See’s Candies. It is the kind of unexpected delight I adore, a chocolate castle of sweets.

After long hours of working on the book I’m writing, it’s always a dark chocolate treat I give myself.

See’s Candies is new in New York City, located at 60 West 8th Street, NYC, 10011. The American-made high quality chocolates got their beginning in Los Angeles and South San Francisco. Three of my favorites are:

  • Almond Royal
  • Premium Extra Dark Chocolate Bars
  • Dark Peppermint

The space is small and cozy, the staff is extraordinarily nice, and the ambience is like a sunny day in Georgia. Of course, gazing at the many varieties of super delicious chocolates at See’s Candies is sure to make me smile no matter the weather outside.

Catch it if you can at http://www.sees.com

Posted in American-Made, Candies, Chocolatier, Lower Manhattan, West Village | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Catch It: Coffeemania Restaurant

After weathering the Sixth Avenue traffic and a long meeting in Midtown’s Bryant Park neighborhood, I came upon Coffeemania (1065 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10018). I thought I would chill out over a warm cup of coffee, and yet as soon as I walked inI felt like I’d stepped into an Alfred Hitchcock movie. The outside décor gives the appearance of a coffee shop. The inside is another story. The mystery is the restaurant’s simple elegance, where the experience is grand in small details. It’s not just the friendliness of the hostess, the gracious servers, or the beautiful flowers on the tables. It’s the confluence of all three, cocooned within the smooth chimes of melodies from the soundtrack and the contemporary, warm-oak style of the spacious restaurant.

Even observing the motion of the barista making my coffee was relaxing, and it was worth the wait. Coffeemania’s coffee was rich and supremely delicious. I ordered my dessert and imagined that the poet and playwright Alexander Pushkin could have sat in the leather booth, talking to admirers in the 21st century.

My sweet Pannochka (hazelnut cake with butter coca cream) arrived and jolted me from my reverie. I savored each bite enjoying a taste of Coffeemania’s cuisine, which surely will become a classic in Manhattan.

Catch it if you can at www.coffeemaniaNYC.com

Posted in Contemporary American Cuisine, Midtown, Restaurants | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Catch It: Gotham Scoop 2017

Sarah Grimaud is on a mission. And when you meet her, a young lady in her thirties, with a bright and sunny smile, one is not surprised to hear of her profession. “I am a personal trainer and I care about health—the gifts from health,” she said cheerfully.

Before long, we sat down at a coffee shop, and I interviewed Ms. Grimaud. Her positive and poised way in sharing her gifts from health is the gifts of wisdom.

How did you become a personal trainer?

I have always been active and I love fitness. I first came into fitness as a profession through teaching group fitness classes, teaching Zumba fitness dance classes, and then also teaching some strength and weights classes. And that just piqued my interest and I wanted to learn even more and become more knowledgeable to help clients with their personal goals.

What do you like about being a personal trainer?

I love it. It’s great. I get to do something I am passionate about. And so, I am passionate about being healthy myself, and inspiring, empowering and encouraging others to also be healthy so they can best enjoy their lives. I think that health gives us so many gifts, and I want everyone to be able to understand and enjoy these gifts.

Where did you receive your training?

The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) has a Personal Trainer Certification program. You can actually do it yourself online and with a book, but I wanted to do it in person to get hands-on experience. There is this great program that is done through the Crunch gym called PTEC. It is a six-week intensive, three days per week, and all day. It’s great to learn with a Master Trainer, someone who has been doing it a long time. He taught us so much, answered our questions and made sure we totally understood everything.

What is your most popular routine for a client who is overweight?

What is your special connection with your clients?

I think people love my positivity, my positive energy. My energy as a whole is very sunny, optimistic and encouraging. People can connect with that and I think people appreciate that.

Is there a particular healthcare message you want to share?

My father died from colon cancer when I was seven years old and that has taught me a lot of things, including to enjoy your life, and also giving me the passion for health and fitness. I want to keep myself healthy to prevent disease down the line. So, it is important to me to spread that message to others. And I want others to understand that working out has a great mental aspect. With the endorphins, you are feeling great as well as keeping your body healthy.

My cause is that I am most interested in people joining wellness, joining fitness to stay healthy inside. I know some people are focused on the physique and looking a certain way. But, what is really important to me is to encourage people to workout for keeping their heart healthy, preventing disease, keeping their muscles strong (and all of that), etc.

Lastly, Valentine’s Day is coming up soon; do you have any tips on what you should do before the chocolates?

I would say enjoy Valentine’s Day. Eat the chocolate or don’t. Do what feels right to you and your body on that day. To get in the mood for Valentine’s Day, you could take some type of flirty, sexy, and sassy exercise class. You could take, for example, Zumba dance classes, hula hoop classes or another type of dance class. You and your significant other could take a partner dance class together on Valentine’s Day to both celebrate your health, and to turn up the heat with each other, and have fun on Valentine’s Day.

Posted in Fitness, Gifts from Health, Gotham Scoop 2017, Valentine's Day | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Catch It: Max Brenner’s Hot Chocolate

Friday after Thanksgiving, friends and I went to The Rink at Bryant Park. Judy and Joey and their children, ages 10, 14 and 5.

I did not skate, but instead strolled over to Max Brenner’s kiosk for some hot chocolate. The cozy Bryant Park shop is a seasonal outpost of the legendary Max Brenner Chocolate Bar and Restaurant in Union Square.

While the very nice sales associate made my orders, I sipped a sample taste of their classic hot chocolate with whipped cream. It was divine, and for a chocolate lover like meheaven supreme.

A minute later, my orders in hand, I returned towards The Rink, meandering while relishing my own rich and deeply satisfying dark chocolate experience.

Right away, ten eager eyes spotted me and raced my way. Except the little one, who fell but hurriedly got back up again.

Catch it if you can at www.maxbrenner.com and www.bryantpark.org.

Posted in Bryant Park, Chocolatier, Coffee & Tea, Gift Shops, Hot Chocolate, Midtown, The Rink | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Catch It: Firenze Ristorante

A few years ago, I dined with an old boyfriend at Firenze Ristorante on the Upper East Side of Manhattan (1594 2nd Avenue between 82nd and 83rd Streets, New York, NY 10028).

And, last month, with a new friend, everything was as it should be. That is, the ambiance, the friendly service and our appetizing meal. I ordered Swordfish Piccata (sautéed with white wine, extra virgin olive oil and capers served over spinach) and Nicholas ordered Vitello Fiorentina (medallions of veal & prosciutto sautéed in white wine & saga on a bed of spinach).

As we enjoyed our romantic meal under candlelight, a couple at the next table mentioned it was their silver wedding anniversary.

We congratulated the elegant couple, and they smiled and smiled at us.

Catch it as you can at www.firenzeny.com

Posted in Italian Cuisine, Mediterranean, Upper East Side | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Catch It: Ninth Avenue Restaurants

It often happens that on the way to visit my friend Crystal and her daughter Jade in the Hell’s Kitchen, Midtown West and Theater District neighborhood, I stroll past the Ninth Avenue restaurants with my big brown eyes wide-opened.  I take in the bountiful bundle and boundless choices for satisfying one’s appetite.

And just like in Beethoven, The Universal Composer by Edmund Morris—universal cuisine unfolds before me along Ninth Avenue between 57th and 42nd Streets.

From that colorful, multiethnic palette of eating places, I want to highlight eight establishments for pleasing your palate:

Aaheli

South & North Indian Cuisine

www.aaheli.nyc

Blue Bar & Eatery

Mediterranean Seafood & Tapas

www.blueseafoodbar.com

Bocca Di Bacco Hell’s Kitchen

Classic Italian

http://www.nycrg.com/bocca-di-bacco

Der Krung

Thai Cuisine

http://www.derkrung.net

El Centro Cocina y Cantina Mexicana

Mexican Street Foods

www.elcentro-nyc.com

K Rico

South American Steakhouse

www.kriconyc.com

Noodies Thai Kitchen

Modern Interpretation of Classic Thai

http://www.noodiesthaikitchennyc.com

Route 66 Grill

Contemporary American “Comfort Food”

www.route66nyc.com

Catch it if you can at www.aaheli.nyc, www.blueseafoodbar.com, http://nycrg.com/bocca-di-bacco, http://www.derkrung.net, www.elcentro-nyc.com, www.kriconyc.com, http://www.noodiesthaikitchennyc.com, www.route66nyc.com

Posted in American Comfort Food, Books, Hell's Kitchen, Indian Cuisine, Italian Cuisine, Mediterranean, Ninth Avenue, Seafood Restaurants, Steakhouse, Thai Cuisine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Catch It: Merchants NY

The aura of love. First it was her smile. Then his smile—and our smiles at them. 

Several Sundays ago, friends and family members of the couple were celebrating at Merchants NY (112 7th Avenue, between 16 & 17th Street) in the Chelsea neighborhood.

Angela and Scott were visiting from Washington, DC, for the weekend. I had not seen my friend Angela in many years, and in between hugs and hearty cheers we were drinking Champagne Cocktails, Specialty Cocktails and Sangria. 

Merchants NY is a charming local restaurant with a mixture of old school and contemporary flair. Where for decades regulars have come to dine at their favorite community place, drink spirits at the nostalgic mahogany oak bar or lounge outside with an appetizing meal in a dream state of a summer’s breeze.

It was my first visit to the downtown hamlet and the home-style restaurant. There was chatter among the party of ten, and soon we settled down with our menus. Right away, Scott said, “Raised your glasses. Angela and I are celebrating our oneyear anniversary and wedding bells are near.

Catch it if you can at http://www.merchantsny.com

Posted in American Comfort Food, Chelsea, Classic Burger, Sangria | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment