Catch It: Gramercy Tavern

The simplicity of friendship is a Christmas Story because during the holiday season what better time to make time for a friend you have not seen in a long time.

A week ago Thursday, my dearest friend Curtis and I met at Gramercy Tavern at 42 East 20th Street, New York, NY 10003. From longer days of being a student at Georgia State University and him at Morehouse College, we became great friends in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Flatiron District restaurant was bustling with customers, the hostess mentioned she could add our names to the waiting list, or we could sit at the bar. At the bar, they had a waiting list. We included our names, and stood by the window, catching up on the news of our families and holiday plans.

Gramercy Tavern reminded me of why I love living in New York City, with the vibe of cosmopolitan flair, like Fred Astaire entering and wearing a custom-made black tuxedo; Fedora hat by Flamekeepers; and dancing to the Bradford Marsalis Quartet. The restaurant is a mixture of casual sleek, spicy delicious, in the shape of an abstract painting.

Before long, we had seats among others neck-to-neck, at the mahogany bar. After which, on my right, were three friends celebrating. Then one of the fashionable ladies said, “My fiancé just broke off our engagement,” and a short silence. Quickly, chatter started up again.

On Curtis’ left, a courteous gentleman was standing with his new girlfriend. We all introduced ourselves, and then he orders his friend’s cocktail, and said, “Make mine a martini with gin and three olives.”

In between trading stories back and forth, the bartenders demonstrated their enchanting manners by presiding over a full house, of the fantastical aura of the holiday cheer. Such is the best gift of all—sharing, making time for family and friends and welcoming a new friendship.

Season’s Greetings!


Catch it if you can at

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Catch It: Proof Coffee Roasters

In a mood for coffee instead of cooking, yesterday, I entered Proof Coffee Roasters in the West Harlem neighborhood at 2286 7th Avenue, New York, NY 10030.

Right away, one immediately senses the warm and cozy atmosphere of bright lights, modern-styled design; along with a view of large windows overlooking gardens from nineteenth-century brownstones.

I ordered the Columbia-Rain Forest Alliance, and while I waited for my coffee, I spoke with the two Baristas, Rachel and Sheryl. They were a great team, welcoming in new customers, serving regulars, and showing such care in their craft.

I took my coffee to go; I strolled along the way, smelled my flavorful Columbia-Rain Forest, and stopped for a moment. It was delicious.

And then, I started walking again, thinking about preparing my southern-styled turnips for the Thanksgiving Holiday.

Catch it if you can at


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Catch It: Lafayette Street

I admit my greatest joy is working on a new manuscript. I treasure every step of creating characters, finding their voice, and bringing life to the page. For me, after I have done my work for the day, I walk and become inspired all over again.

Yesterday, the weather was sunny and bright with the crisp wind guiding me to Lafayette Street in Lower Manhattan. My traveling feet entered in some different doors of the brisk breeze from the Mediterranean, Scandinavian, Vietnamese and vegan cuisines in the SoHo neighborhood. The restaurants are casually sleek with much warm-hearted staff, amidst the cheerful faces and passersby.

My five gems are:

Jack’s Wife Freda


224 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012

Osteria Morini


218 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012

Café Select


212 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012



222 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012

by Chloe


240 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012


Catch it if you can in Lower Manhattan.


Posted in American Comfort Food, Contemporary American Cuisine, Italian Cuisine, Lower Manhattan, Scandinavian, SoHo, Vegan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Catch It: Inside Park at St. Barts

On Wednesday last, several friends and I met for dinner at Inside Park at St. Barts, located at 325 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10022. It is a popular place, especially on Wednesdays and Thursdays where people go to meet and mingle after work.

My friends Jill, Veronica and I sat in the terrace space. In the background a DJ played music; the servers swerved in between the patio area and the urbane crowd at the bar. Straightaway, Jill ordered the Chips and Dips (house-made chips, smoked onion dip) for us to share, and we each selected a glass of Rosé wine. I glanced at the dinner menu.

Moments later, a familiar eye strolled to our table. He is an acquaintance who works at Colgate-Palmolive Company. I thought, “What an unexpected surprise. He smiled and introduced himself to my friends.

And then there were four for dinner.

Catch it if you can at

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Catch It: Hungarian Pastry Shop

On Sundays after church service at The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, I usually saunter to the Hungarian Pastry Shop at 1030 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10025.

The Hungarian Pastry Shop is a little gem of the Morningside Heights community. And every morning, and every eveningone can receive a bit of happiness like the delightful smile on a child’s face.

Catch it if you can at



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Catch It: Magnolia Bakery

For me, the joy of watching my Mom bake a pie, a cake, or cornbread was the best things in life. The aroma of sweetness flowed throughout our house in Georgia. I am reminded of those days whenever I come across Magnolia Bakery.

Last week, I sauntered into Magnolia Bakery located in Rockefeller Center at 1240 6th Avenue, New York, NY 10020. I stood in line to buy a slice of German Chocolate Cake with Coconut Caramel Pecan Icing.

I enjoyed my cake while I trekked uptown, and at the same time, I spoke to my Mom on the telephone. She laughed. I smiled…just like we always do.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Catch it if you can at

Posted in Brownies, Cakes & Cupcakes, Midtown, Mother's Day, Southern Baked Goods, Wedding Cakes | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Catch It: Alice’s Tea Cup

From time to time after my walks in Central Park, I treat myself to a yummy oatmeal cookie at Alice’s Tea Cup (102 West 73rd St., New York, NY 10023). It is like being in your own secret garden in The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Alice’s Tea Cup is a pretty little place with teas, sandwiches, and scones. It is a mixture of families from the neighborhood; tourists’ stopping by in between shopping on Columbus Avenue, and passersby discovering something new.

Catch it if you can at




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Catch It: Chopped Parsley

Chasing the night wind after an event in Harlem, my friend Kelli and I wandered into Chopped Parsley at 500 West 146th Street, New York, NY 10031. The restaurant’s motto is “Japanese Food & Beyond.” The food was exceptional; the ambiance was a mixture of the 1960s openness and today’s urbane place to be. The family-owned restaurant is small and charming with a bountiful reservoir of smiles.

We sat at the communal table drinking a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, as we conversed with a couple who had purchased their home in the neighborhood in the 1950s. He was Irish American, she was Asian American, and they both were professors in Manhattan. In the background was a soundtrack of Jazz; and while we all ate our scrumptious meal, our delightful waiter would stop by to make sure all was well.

It was an enchanting evening.

Chopped Parsley has a homey sense of preparing good food, relaxing with special friends in a Japanese room in the heart of Harlem.

Catch it if you can on Facebook: ChoppedParsley146.

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Catch It: Wear Sunscreen: A Primer for Real Life

Every time I pick up Wear Sunscreen: A Primer for Real Life by Mary Schmich, I have a smile on my face. Ms. Schmich’s lovely book is a treasure trove of wisdom and fun anecdotes for living in a hectic world in the 21st century.

What a joyful book to share with a loved one on Valentine’s Day.


Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Catch It: Gotham 2018: Meredith’s Astoria

One afternoon, as I was on my way to Kaufman Studios in Astoria, Queens, my head was filled with the beat of Duke’s Ellington’s “Such Sweet Thunder”. While strolling the streets of Astoria, I peered at trendy restaurants and old-fashioned shops blending with new tall buildings. I remembered I knew someone who lived in Astoria: Ms. Meredith.

A runner who often speeds throughout her vibrant neighborhood, Ms. Meredith epitomizes the radiance of the community. So here is my interview with the very nice lady, Ms. Meredith.

What are you favorite restaurants in Astoria?

VIA TRENTA – Amazing Italian and a lovely staff. Great feelathome type of place. Great food, a warm welcoming environment. Yummy brunch and outdoor seating in the summer. They have the type of staff who knows their regulars and shows their excitement when you enter the restaurant.

LUNERA – It is newer restaurant in the neighborhood. Amazing Mexican, also great service and specials.

WATAWASUSHI It has that city lounging vibe and the sushi is excellent.

TAVERNA KYCLADES – Greek and delicious seafood.

JUJUBE TREE – Vegan and healthy treats.

ANTIKA – Italian and the pizzas are sumptuous.

SUGAR FREAK (Louisiana) – It’s our comfort-food, Southern-style restaurant.

What do you like about living in Astoria?

After working all day in Manhattan, there is a sense of calm once I am get off at the subway station and walk to my home. Though I’m active and on the go, I feel as if I slow down in Astoria.

The food and entertainment options are great and evolving. Even with the changes, the locals are loyal to the small businesses, and the neighborhood feeling has been preserved.

Astoria is very accessible and it operates pretty much 24 hours/day. The passion in the owners and their employees behind the local businesses is why there is a strong culture here.

Thank you, Ms. Meredith.

The weather in New York may get cold, but there is light and warmth in the unexpected joy of discovering something new while strolling in and around the city.



Posted in American Comfort Food, Cafes, Gotham 2018, Italian Cuisine, Juice Bar, Queens, Restaurants, Sushi, Vegan, Vegan Cafe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment