#FocusFridays: Dive In05.31.16
I can’t believe that week two is over. All I can say is that I feel so happy I started the #30DaysofFocus project. It has grounded me, given me the motivation that I needed, and the structure to jolt my creative self back to life. While before I used to aimlessly use up my energy, looking for stuff to keep me busy and fill my time, I feel like my days are now beautifully built around my writing time, which is as it should be; since it is, and hopefully will continue to be, one of my main sources of joy. It’s something that anchors my day, and even though there’s still a thousand things to do during the day, I’m becoming more efficient and versed at cutting corners and figuring out what really matters. It’s almost like I’m learning how to consciously do process with a capital P, and it’s literally rewiring my brain. more »
I had stalked Amada for months. After all, croquetas, tortilla, and jamón serrano were a special part of my own food history, regular party fare for many a celebration back home in the D.R. They would round out a festive spread laid out for baptisms, quinceañera parties and weddings. Nostalgia aside, I saw the restaurant as a welcome addition to the Mexican, Southern, and Italian family-friendly havens in Battery Park City in NYC, the neighborhood I currently call my own.
It was around six thirty when G and I walked into Amada on our way to catch a movie. Amada, which means beloved in Spanish, is part of the Think Food Group, a collection of over 15 properties owned by José Andrés, the renowned Spanish-American chef who has been dominating the DC food scene for over 10 years. This is the third U.S. location of Amada and his first foray into the NYC restaurant scene as he warms up to open a New York concept restaurant this summer. more »
On a spur of the moment trip last week, we flew west. We spent a couple of days in Hermosa Beach, an endless stretch of beach in the South Bay of Los Angeles flanked by swanky Manhattan Beach on one side and chilled out Redondo Beach on the other. By 7 a.m., this beach town paradise would greet me wide-eyed and bushy-tailed with friendly beach volleyball games already underway. A continuous parade of runners, bikers, and skaters rocked the sandy trail known as The Strand, with miles of pristine sand and a dark blue ocean to urge them on.
I had high hopes for NYC’s new bike-sharing program from the first day I laid eyes on that silver rack by my house. Thrilled by the possibility that NYC was becoming a little bit like Paris, instead of riding through the dreamy Jardin de Tuileries, I imagined getting lost in glorious Central Park. Who needed to bike to the Louvre when one could bike to The Met? Gone would be the days of standing in a crowded bus with an armpit on my face. Or sitting in the back of a cab fearing for my life. My vibrant, passionate, and at times brutal NYC life would be made just a teeny bit easier with this new mode of transport. Plus, $95 per year for unlimited use of bikes without having to worry about someone snatching it or where to park it? Sounded good to me!
This past weekend, we rode downtown from Hell’s Kitchen with the wind on our backs, via Hudson River Park to Greenwich Village, Tribeca, and eventually one of our favorite Vietnamese spots in Chinatown. We stopped for Earl Grey ice-cream, discovered Garson Yu’s T.I.N.Y. installation on Pier 57, and walked through Lispenard Street. During our four-hour bike tour, we only had one setback. We had to return the bikes every 30 minutes, which made it a bit of a race against time.
The Miami food scene is changing fast, and I witnessed it this past weekend with an unforgettable meal at Yardbird, chef Jeff McInnis’ ode to Southern cooking.
Since supper reservations were pretty impossible to get, we ended up going for a late Friday lunch. The restaurant was friendly and warm – picture a BBQ joint in a Brooklyn loft – with a high exposed ceiling and industrial light fixtures. Chalk art lined the wall above the open-style kitchen, the place where all the magic happened.
We settled into a great table by the window and ordered cocktails. With their extensive Bourbon list, I decided to try one of their signature drinks, the Blackberry Bourbon Lemonade. Made with bourbon, lemon juice, blackberries, cardamom, and sparkling wine, it was slightly sweet and refreshing, and transported me to summer in South Carolina. It turned out to be an ideal compliment to all of the dishes we ordered. The restaurant recommended that we order family-style, and that’s exactly what we did. more »
A Nuyorican at Better Being05.16.13
Whenever you fantasize about comida casera, now you can get the flavors of Puerto Rico in a killer sandwich at Better Being 940, the newest midtown outpost from the creative force behind downtown’s Better Being Underground.
The sunny spot, which opened November 2012, is energizing the area’s food scene with its colorful market-driven menu, funky art, and downtown vibe. But the real headliner, to this Latinfoodie at least, is The Nuyorican, inspired by the Puerto Rican flavors of the Lower East Side and one of the restaurant’s most addictive sandwiches. more »
The hot weather may be gone but that doesn’t mean that beach days are over. Grab your hoodie and head to Rockaway Beach to enjoy some Latin snacks by the water. Caracas Arepa Bar has extended its reach with a third outpost on the urban surfer’s paradise, offering their flavorful selection of Venezuelan arepas. With fillings like creamy chicken – avocado salad (Reina Pepiada) and my fave with stewed beef – rice – beans – plantains (Pabellón), they have all of the ingredients of seriously satisfying homey fare. The popular hipster haunt Rockaway Taco, known for its delectable fish tacos, is back until the end of September. But it is newcomer La Casa de Camba, specializing in Bolivian Salteñas, which recently caught our eye. more »
Spotlight: Lali Restaurant05.24.12
In this week’s Spotlight, we’re featuring Lali Restaurant, a family-run business Dominican restaurant located in Hell’s Kitchen. This is part of a longer story that Executive Editor Karina Taveras wrote as her thesis for graduate school (which she just completed last week, WOO-HOOOO!).
On an unusually clear and breezy June afternoon, Lestiel Lopez, her curvy silhouette crowding the doorway of Lali Restaurant in midtown Manhattan, declares her latest plan.
“We start selling frio-frio today,” she announces to her staff.
Dressed in a cotton t-shirt and skirt, Lestiel, 30, known as Les, swiftly enters the restaurant, hugging a green jug filled with fresh mint that hides half her face with its wild stems. She walks past the vinyl stools at the counter and plops the greenery down on a table. A gold headband keeps her dark curls in place. Her skin is the color of brown sugar. more »