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Governor’s Island, in a different world.

11 Jun

This past weekend I went to Governor’s Island for a Jazz Age Picnic. It was out of this world. I took a complimentary ferry ride from Battery Park across to the usually-deserted island. Then found myself in an open campus-like space with free rein to venture anywhere, even to parts that are absolutely cloistered.

I love that there is a place to go in this city and you could be completely alone if you wanted to be. I took a tram-thing around the island and caught some cool sights. An old Theatre, some barracks, and nameless other old but well-maintained buildings. The views are very unique because you are sandwiched between the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island. It looks like a cross between a college campus and an old Army base.

We went to a large open area where people were picnicking and dancing. Many were dressed up in Jazz Age summer dresses and seersucker suits, doing the Charleston and holding sun umbrellas. The band that played was Michael Aranella and the Dreamland Orchestra. It was beautiful, but way too hot (The high was in the mid 90s)! See the pictures below to get a feel for the atmosphere. They even had a half dozen old automobiles amazingly restored.

Later this summer they are going to continue with some great weekend events, one of which I will surely return to; a performance from the Battery Dance Company (August 16-17). The island is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for its longest season ever. 

Click here to read a brief history of the island. It served a fascinating military purpose for the British and Americans for over 200 years, the Coast Guard being its last inhabitants, before it was turned over the the people of New York in 2003.

Urban Organic: Home Delivery of Local Produce.

4 Jun

I have to admit, this is a very tempting service. Home delivery of local organic produce and groceries. A nice complement to my delivery from Fresh Direct of the heavy stuff I could never carry home on the train. An explanation from their site:

URBAN ORGANIC, sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Fresh organic produce, smack in the middle of the city, at an incomparable value. We know it sounds too good to be true – sometimes we find it hard to believe ourselves.

Over the past 10 years, though, we’ve become the country’s largest home delivery service of organic produce and groceries, and we’re still one of the best-kept secrets around.” 

First off, I love the idea of fresh food being delivered, and second you aren’t wasting energy and resources buying product that is shipped from god knows where. I think the perfect order for a single New York would be The Little Box, at $24.99 weekly you get 11-13 items. A typical box might include Carrots, Tomatoes, Mangoes, Grapefruit, Arugula, etc. Happy eating!

The Miracle Fruit, and where to get it.

30 May

This is amazing. I had not heard of this until today, when my mother sent me an email linking to a Slashfood and NYT article. There is a miracle fruit (berry) that can totally change the way your taste buds register sour foods.

According to Wikipedia, “”when the fleshy part of the fruit is eaten, this molecule [miraculin] binds to the tongue’s taste buds, causing bitter and sour foods (such as lemons and limes) consumed later to taste sweet. This effect lasts between thirty minutes and two hours.”

A dinner party in Queens used this fruit to “flavor trip” into drinking beer that tasted like chocolate, tabasco sauce like doughnut glaze, and lemons like candy! (check out the video here) The host of the party, Franz Aliquo, gave each guest one berry in exchange for a $15 entrance fee. Then the guests proceeded to test dozens of foods and beverages to see what kind of change the berry had on their taste buds.

The NYT article goes on to explain, “The miracle fruit, Synsepalum dulcificum, is native to West Africa and has been known to Westerners since the 18th century. During the 1970s, a ruling by the Food and Drug Administration dashed hopes that an extract of miraculin could be sold as a sugar substitute. In the absence of any plausible commercial application, the miracle fruit has acquired a bit of a cult following.”

And there is good news, you can purchase the miracle berries and try them for yourself! They are a bit expensive, but I think it is a must to at least experience this natural phenomenon. Here is some advice from Franz on how to enjoy:

“He believes that the best way to encounter the fruit is in a group. ‘You need other people to benchmark the experience,’ he said. At his first party, a small gathering at his apartment in January, guests murmured with delight as they tasted citrus wedges and goat cheese. Then things got trippy.

‘You kept hearing ‘oh, oh, oh,’ ‘ he said, and then the guests became ‘literally like wild animals, tearing apart everything on the table.’

‘It was like no holds barred in terms of what people would try to eat, so they opened my fridge and started downing Tabasco and maple syrup,’ he said.”

You can buy them from Franz here. 

And you can also buy them here. And here from a Florida grower.

My favorite spot, a great pasttime.

30 May

I have just found a picnic club in Manhattan, and they meet in Sheeps Meadow! For those of you who don’t know, Sheeps Meadow is a gorgeous part of Central Park that you need to spend at least one Sunday this summer at to take in its serenity. I have picnicked there many a time with friends, but neve with strangers. This is a great opportunity to meet new people, enjoy being outdoors, and maybe eat some fine finger foods. 

They have a blog, so you can read their Picnic Rules and such. It looks like they are on for the beautiful day this Sunday:

“Dear Members,
Its 10:08 a.m. on Thursday, May 29, and as of now the weather reports state that Sunday, June 1 will be mostly sunny and have high temperatures of 78.

So without any further hesitation, we would like to invite you all, dear members, to the picnic.

Sunday, June 1
1 p.m.
Sheep Meadow, Central Park
Southeast corner of Sheep Meadow
Look for Allison and Michael, they will be standing with clipboards.

This is going to be a picnic of epic proportions. Hope to see you all there. In the meantime, check back here for any updates.


Your Hosts,

Allison and Michael, Founding Members of The Picnic Club”

For Kori…

15 May

Here is a look at some of Kori Sciortino’s (formally Pittman) wedding photos. I thought some of them turned out fabulous, and I definitely had a wonderful time with my family over the course of the wedding. I cannot tell you how great of a moment it was for all of us to be together. I am very blessed. Congratulations to Kori and her new husband, Jason, I wish you millions of happy moments and kisses.

Update. Abigail Wine Bar.

8 May

Open for friends and family only tonight, I stopped by the new wine bar on Classon Ave. I met Jason, one of the owners (and his mother) and explained how thankful I was for a place like his to go to in the neighborhood. So nice! The place has a huge center low-tabled bar that is very open and friendly. Candlelight, and dark wooded tables, exposed bricks walls. Open till midnight, and serving all three meals. This girl is excited.


A friend of mine works there! Last week, I stopped by to eat and chat a bit with one of my favorite people. I had the goat-cheese-stuffed South African Pepper, Pappadew, and it was delicious. Also, they have nice bread, great lighting, and great music. The owner is always available for a conversation or two, and it is so relaxed I probably stayed there two hours. Great time.

I beat Thrillist.

7 May

Check it out, Abigail made The List on Thrillist today.

Food: Abigail Café and Wine Bar

Opens Friday at 807 Classon Ave, at St. John’s Place; 718.399.3200
From the gal behind the WV’s Camaje, this wifi’d-up cafe w/ basement live music lounge is serving breakfast and small-plate lunch/dinner like kobe beef burgers, smoked mac ‘n cheese, and herbed-chèvre-stuffed Peppadew — a recently discovered, spicy/sweet South African delicacy whose raging success only furthers our crippling dependence on foreign fruit.”

Abigail Cafe and Wine.

5 May

Abigail cafe and wine barMan, how lucky am I? Twice in one week! Yet another new place to go within three blocks of my apartment, usually only surrounded by bodegas of the classiest kind. It is apparently called Abigail Cafe and Wine Bar. Stay tuned to see what develops with this quaint little spot, that looks to be built in a modern style with a satin aluminum exterior.

UPDATE: The original restaurant is located in Greenwich Village, which has been open since 1997. (a long time in New York years) Camaje, 85 MacDougal Street.