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.

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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:


South & North Indian Cuisine

Blue Bar & Eatery

Mediterranean Seafood & Tapas

Bocca Di Bacco Hell’s Kitchen

Classic Italian

Der Krung

Thai Cuisine

El Centro Cocina y Cantina Mexicana

Mexican Street Foods

K Rico

South American Steakhouse

Noodies Thai Kitchen

Modern Interpretation of Classic Thai

Route 66 Grill

Contemporary American “Comfort Food”

Catch it if you can at,,,,,,,

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.

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

Catch It: Madam Zhu’s Kitchen

There I was in Greenwich Village, trekking to the Jefferson Market Library. I felt a cool breeze on a sunny afternoon, and a pretty local establishment caught my attention. I turned and entered Madam Zhu’s Kitchen at 401 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10014.

Madam Zhu’s Kitchen is a Chinese restaurant in Lower Manhattan. It has an inviting ambience of ocean light and cream décor, the smell of vibrant flowers, and flavors from an old tradition as well as the new.

Right away, one can sense Madam Zhu’s Kitchen will be a divine culinary experience with that perfect ingredienta bowl full of love.

Catch it if you can at Instagram: Madamzhuskitchen and at Facebook: Hao Noodle and Tea by Madam Zhu’s Kitchen.

Posted in Avenue of the Americas, Chinese Restaurant, Hao Noodle, Lower Manhattan, West Village | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Catch It: FUMO

In a few words, FUMO is like an arpeggio chord of authentic Italian cuisine in Hamilton Heights. FUMO restaurant is located at 1600 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10031/Corner of 139th Street.

On Sunday, June 12th, my friend Kelli treated her sister Kimberly and me to dinner at FUMO restaurant. Earlier, they had taken a Samba class at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. I had a splendid day in the Sheep Meadow in Central Park. As we settled at our table, we ordered our wines: Sauvignon Blanc, Tohu, 2014 New Zealand; and Cabernet, Carnivor, 2013 California.

Kelli ordered Margherita Pizza (fresh mozzarella, basil, tomato, EVOO); Kim, the FUMO Burger (lettuce, tomato, bacon, cheddar, chipotle mayo, truffle fries), and I ordered Meatballs (pomodoro, grilled garlic bread, and basil).

We have been friends for over a decade, and we had a joyful time at the homey and scrumptious restaurant. It was such a gorgeous day and the evening reminded me of why I love living in New York City.

Happy Father’s Day.

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Posted in Bars, Harlem, Italian Cuisine, Margherita Pizza, Mediterranean, Restaurants, Upper West Side | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Catch It: Eli’s Essentials

Embracing the spirit of nature is simple for me. Like last Saturday, walking in the splendor of The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) with my dear friend Marie. Later, we took a break to catch up at the American Wing Café. We shared our own good news while sitting at the park side of the court, and even with the misty rain, runners, cyclists, and walkers in Central Park moved in and out of view.

That Sunday at noon, I rambled leisurely for six miles in Central Park. I was reminded of its richness and regal beauty. After a deserved rest, I trekked to my next cherished place: Eli’s market and restaurant at 120 Madison Avenue. I sat in a French bistro chair, drinking strong coffee, and eating a delicious breakfast: Amagansett Egg & Cheddar Cheese Sandwich on a Brioche Roll. For my second cup of coffee, I sat on the bench outside of Eli’s and looked at families with baby carriages, and friends sauntering on the old-world street of the Upper East Side.

And so the glory of walking in and around New York’s unique nature preserve brews unexpected pleasures around every corner.

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Posted in Amagansett Egg & Cheese Sandwich, American Comfort Food, Bakeries, Bars, Cafes, Central Park, Lox & Bagel With Cream Cheese, Madison Avenue, Marketplace, Restaurants, Upper East Side, Wine Bar | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Catch It: Tribeca Treats

Three Sundays ago, I pulled out my favorite recipe book: The French Chef Cookbook by Julia Child. I had decided to bake a cake for an event at my home. I turned to page 96: Cake for Company and read, “You will note that there is no baking powder; the lightness of the cake depends entirely on beautifully beaten egg whites which are folded into batter with such speed and delicacy that they retain their volume and the maximum of their puffy abilities.”

Regrettably, my cake did not live up to The French Chef promise—at least not well enough for guests. So I decided to rely on Tribeca Treats instead. The bakery and gift shop is located at 94 Reade Street, New York, NY 10013. It is a fairyland of cake heaven in Lower Manhattan. They have wonderful delectables, and with Mother’s Day approaching, it is a treasure-house of gifts.

My cupcakes were yummy delicious, inspiring me to do my own survey with my dearest friends’ children to find out what they like best about cupcakes.

Mom: Karel

Daughter: Kendall, nine-years-old (to be 10 in June)

“I like cupcakes because they are sweet.”

Mom: Crystal

Daughter: Jade, nine-years-old (to be 10 in July)

“I just love cupcakes because they’re sweet, soft and make me feel like aha!

Mom: Lisa

Son: Cross, thirteen-years-old (to be 14 next week)

“I like eating them because you can have more than one.”


Son: Luke, nine-years-old

“I like the icing.”

In summary: cupcakes are small enough to eat more than one, sweet, soft, topped off with yummy icing–and they make us feel “aha!”

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Posted in Bakeries, Books, Brownies, Cakes & Cupcakes, Gift Shops, Lower Manhattan, Mother's Day, Tribeca | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment