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What I love about New York

What I love about New York

What I love about New York is the drunken boozy culture.

They call New York the city that never sleeps for a reason, and even more proof of this lifestyle is the weekend brunch.

Weekend brunch is what I look forward to after 5 days of waking up at 6 am to go to the grind. I get party it up late Friday night (or Saturday morning), sleep in til whenever I want, roll out of bed and then stumble into one of the many fine NYC institutions to continue my liver destroying habit at an All You Can Drink brunch.

My place of choice is the Sunburnt Cow in Alphabet City.

Most AYCD brunch places only offer mimosas, bellinis and bloody marys, but I prefer the Sunburnt Cow because of their wide selections of BEvERages included with your boozy brunch. Did you really think I would come here for the food? Brunch food here is pretty standard fare: eggs prepared a bunch of ways, burgers, etc.

The drinks you can choose from include :

Foster's Beer

Bloody Marys

Greyhounds

Screwdrivers

Bellinis

What's even cooler is the waitstaff all have Australian accents (guess they're faking it or are really Aussies).

This boozy brunch allows me to drown my sorrows away and prepares me mentally for the coming week. Especially since I've decimated so many brain cells within a span of a couple hours.


11 of the Best Books Set in New York State

These great books all have one very special thing in common: New York State! From classic literature to page-turning nonfiction to accounts of major historical moments and figures, these books offer insights into what makes New York such a special place. Add these to your summer reading list, or enjoy them in any season, and even inspire a future visit to an attraction based on these 11 great books set in New York State! Remember to social distance and wear a mask as required by state guidelines. Call ahead and check websites and social media to make sure attractions are open and available. Be advised that New York hasਊ travel advisory in effect. 


Things I Ate in New York

After my daughter and I snorted and slothed around our hotel room all day Sunday, we actually got up and left the hotel in order to eat.

Here are some things I consumed in the Big Apple.

It&rsquos stuff I never eat in my everyday life.

We met up with my dad and Patsy and ate at La Bonne Soupe, a little French bistro on 55th Street.

Sorry for the lighting, but it was a cozy, dark little place. I had this beet-and-goat-cheese salad, which is one of my favorite salads in the world. I made one last summer with small roasted beets cut in half, but this one started with a layer of thinly sliced beets on the bottom, then topped with greens, big chunks of goat cheese, and candied pecans.

Beets. That&rsquos all I can say.

Beets with goat cheese? Fugghetaboutit.

My daughter had lasagna, but because it was a French place, the lasagna was made with crepes!

For dessert, I had tarte tatin, which is one of my favorite desserts.

It was so good, and not too sweet, which was really nice. Some of the tartness of the apples was still there. Divine!

The next evening, we went to Marea, a place my dad, Patsy, my sister Betsy, and I had eaten a year ago.

When my dad told me he and Patsy were going to join me in New York this week, the first thing he said was &ldquoHey, do you think we could eat at that one place again?&rdquo

I knew exactly what he meant.

A single chunk of trout, creme fraiche, and beet puree.

Marea comes around to the table and offers different varieties of bread.

I chose olive focaccia. I like bread with little surprises inside.

This was my salad, and it was ridiculous. Chunks of succulent lobster sitting on a bed of burrata, which is a special kind of creamy, fresh mozzarella cheese.

It was creamy and a little loose, but still stringy.

(Appetizing description, no? Ha.)

My dad got oysters. BORING!

I ordered this for my dad because he loves runny eggs like his daughter does. Slow-poached egg sprinkled with something truffle-ish, a scallop, and a couple of other things I&rsquove never heard of in my life.

Guess what I got for dinner? The exact same thing I got last time! The photo does not do it justice, but it&rsquos octopus and bone marrow pasta. Chunks of braised octopus (you could even see the little suckers on the arms) and soft pieces of bone marrow on top of homemade fusilli.

It is one of the five best things I&rsquove ever eaten.

Look at Patsy&rsquos dessert. Prickly Pear Sorbet is at the center of things, but the fruit presentation?

My dad ordered this. Doughnuts. Zabaglione. Chocolate sauce.

And I got something for dessert that was so good, I forgot to take a photo.

Brown butter ice cream in a stemless wine glass.
At the table, the waiter poured a shot of rum over the top, followed by a shot of espresso.

It turned into a buttered rum ice cream with a coffee flavor.

There&rsquos no way I could eat like this all the time. For one thing, it might lose its luster after awhile.


I made 6 easy Ina Garten pasta recipes, and ranked them by deliciousness

Ina Garten has published many pasta recipes, and so far I've made six from her repertoire.

Her five-cheese penne is creamy and comforting, and her lemon pasta is ready in 10 minutes.

But it was Garten's easy and rich weeknight bolognese that took my top spot.

Ina Garten has released dozens of pasta recipes.

From a comforting mac and cheese to the quick pasta, pesto, and peas, you'll find a variety of pasta recipes spread across Garten's 11 cookbooks and her Barefoot Contessa site.

I started cooking Garten's recipes after I spent a day following her quarantine routine back in May 2020. I found that Garten's dishes were easy and achievable for a new cook like me. At the height of the pandemic, it was often her pasta recipes that I turned to for dinners that were simple but comforting.

I've now made quite a few of Garten's pasta dishes. Some are vegetarian and take almost no prep, while others are loaded with meat or cheese and are a little more complex.

Here's how they all stack up.

In sixth place is Garten's broccoli and bow ties pasta.

Garten's broccoli and bow ties pasta was the first "Barefoot Contessa" pasta I ever made. It's also the very first recipe that Garten shared with her Instagram followers after much of the US went into lockdown in 2020.

The Food Network star promised that her broccoli and bow ties pasta was "crazy easy," and could be easily adapted with whatever was in your pantry.

The simple recipe includes garlic, lemon, butter, and Parmesan cheese, along with the pasta and broccoli (or, in my case, broccolini).

Garten's broccoli and bow ties recipe has a light sauce that makes it perfect for spring.

The sauce is made with just lemon zest, butter, olive oil, and minced garlic, which all work together to give the dish a burst of flavor. The sharp Parmesan cheese also adds a nice hint of richness.

While I loved how bright and healthy this dish tasted, I would soon discover other "Barefoot Contessa" pastas that were far more memorable.

Taking the fifth spot is Garten's simple three-ingredient lemon pasta.

Garten says her three-ingredient lemon pasta is "just about the fastest weeknight pasta meal you can make," and she's not wrong.

The recipe consists of just pasta, unsalted butter, and the juice and zest of two lemons.

Better yet? You'll have dinner on the table in 10 minutes or less.

Garten's lemon pasta has a lovely bright flavor, but it doesn't stand out enough to be the main course for dinner.

There's not much depth of flavor in Garten's three-ingredient pasta. I whipped up her dish for a dinner party recently, and my friends agreed that it worked better as a side.

"The pasta had me mad at myself for every time I've bought a $20 pasta limon from a restaurant when it's so simple to make," my friend Tyler said. "But if we were just having the pasta on its own I would have been a little disappointed because it wasn't anything too special."

I would definitely serve Garten's lemon pasta alongside her incredible "Outrageous" garlic bread, which goes well with just about everything — and would give this meal some more flavor and heft.

In fourth place is Garten's comforting baked rigatoni with lamb ragù.

Garten's baked rigatoni with lamb ragù is one of the newest recipes in her repertoire of pasta dishes, appearing in her new cookbook "Modern Comfort Food."

It's also one of Garten's more complex pasta dishes. The recipe is packed with a long list of ingredients — including two types of cheeses, red wine, and plenty of veggies — and takes almost two hours to make.

Garten's baked rigatoni with lamb ragù comes packed with incredible flavor - but it's a lot of work.

The rich sauce has that comforting, traditional Italian taste thanks to the carrots and other vegetables, and the rigatoni noodles are perfect for capturing a nice helping of ragù with every single bite.

I made this dish for a group of friends who definitely thought the pasta was worth the wait.

"The dish reminded me of a cross between bolognese and a baked ziti!" my friend Sara said. "Definitely a labor of love but, to someone not cooking, highly worth it!"

My sous chef Zach also loved the taste, although he didn't agree that it was worth the extra effort in the kitchen.

"As Prue would say on 'The Great British Bake-off,' it was worth the calories — but I wouldn't say it was worth the time," he said. "While it was definitely fun cooking it, I think you could genuinely make a dish that was 90% as good with just focusing on the ragù and broiling the pasta, versus fully baking it."

Next time I make this dish, I'll be taking Garten's tip to make the ragù a day in advance — which you can refrigerate before baking and serving.

Rounding out the top three is Garten's favorite summer pasta.

Garten's summer garden pasta is one of her simplest, and yet it has some of the richest flavors of any that I've tried.

While the "Barefoot Contessa" star's dish only has five main ingredients — angel hair, Parmesan cheese, cherry tomatoes, garlic, and basil — it has one very important step. You need to soak the tomatoes, garlic, and basil in olive oil for four hours.

That extra prep resulted in some of the most incredible tomatoes I've ever tasted.

I could honestly eat Garten's olive-oil tomatoes as a snack every day. And even though I usually love heavy red-sauce pastas, these tomatoes were able to carry the entire dish on just the strength of their intense and rich flavor.

You also can't beat how pantry-friendly this dish is. I almost always have tomatoes and basil in my kitchen, making Garten's summer garden pasta an incredibly easy dinner staple. This is one "Barefoot Contessa" dish I know I'll be returning to time and time again.

My second favorite Garten pasta is her creamy (and dreamy) five-cheese penne.

I first made Garten's five-cheese penne last year as temperatures started to dip in lockdown, and discovered that it's a perfect winter dish.

Garten's pasta includes Pecorino Romano, Italian fontina, Italian Gorgonzola, fresh mozzarella, and ricotta cheese, along with penne pasta, crushed tomatoes, basil, and heavy cream.

Garten's five-cheese penne ended up being one of the best recipes I made.

First of all, the dish is beautiful. The penne turns into a beautiful golden color after baking it in the oven for 17 minutes, and there are inviting chunks of mozzarella poking out from the top.

I initially expected that five different cheeses — along with all that butter and cream — would be way too heavy. But Garten's penne strikes the perfect balance of being rich and soothing without being overwhelming.

I can't wait to make this dish the next time I need a really comforting meal again.

But when it comes to my favorite "Barefoot Contessa" pasta dish, Garten's weeknight bolognese takes the top spot.

The weeknight bolognese is another recipe that Garten shared early on in the pandemic. She told her Instagram followers that the dish can be made with a variety of meats or veggies, making it especially pantry-friendly.

Plus, the rich and flavorful dish — which includes ground sirloin, orecchiette, and dry red wine — will only have you in the kitchen for 30 minutes.

Garten's weeknight bolognese is a quick and delicious twist on a classic recipe, and it's incredibly easy.

The weeknight bolognese has the comfort of Garten's five-cheese penne and the richness of her baked rigatoni, but with far less work in the kitchen.

It's a modern twist on a classic, and Garten's little tweaks all work perfectly together. The orecchiette shells catch some of the sauce in every bite, and the freshly-grated Parmesan cheese melts beautifully into Garten's warm sauce.

There's so much flavor in Garten's recipe, but it's also far less heavy than some of her other pastas on this list. I'd happily make the weeknight bolognese on any night of any season. And that's why it's my number one "Barefoot Contessa" pasta dish.

Stay tuned for more "Barefoot Contessa" pasta dishes to come.

Read the original article on Insider

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Cosmopolitan Cupcakes


5.00 stars (1 reviews)

Ingredients:

Cake
1 box Betty Crocker™ Super Moist® Vanilla Cake Mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 cup Cosmopolitan Drink Mix (without alcohol)

Frosting
1/2 cup shortening
1 stick, or 1/2 cup butter
1 lb. (about 4 cups) powdered sugar
2 - 3 tablespoons Cosmopolitan Drink Mix (without alcohol)
a few drops of red food coloring

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine Betty Crocker Super Moist® Vanilla Cake Mix, 1/2 cup oil and 1 cup Cosmopolitan Drink Mix in stand mixer or large mixing bowl. Add eggs. Use a hand mixer or stand mixer and beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Then turn mixer to medium speed for 1 minute.

Fill each cupcake liner in cupcake pan 2/3 full. Bake cupcakes at 350° for 21 - 26 minutes. Check cupcakes for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of one. Toothpick should be clean when pulled out if cupcakes are done.

Let cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

Combine butter and shortening in in stand mixer or large mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer or stand mixer to cream butter and shortening on high speed for 3 minutes or until light in color.

Add powdered sugar to mixing bowl. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Then turn to medium speed for 1 minute, or until sugar is incorporated.

Add 2 - 3 tablespoons Cosmopolitan Drink Mix to frosting. Mix on high until light and fluffy. Add a few drops of food coloring and mix on high again until the desired color is achieved.


101 things to love about New York City

Because loving where you live is just the beginning—it’s about making it better, too.

You know what people say about New York City: It’s a helluva town. It’s a concrete jungle where dreams are made of. And, as Billie Holiday once sang, its “glittering crowds and shimmering clouds in canyons of steel” make us feel like we’re home.

Millions of people have found inspiration in New York’s buildings, its energy, and its people—but there are also so many under-the-radar places, moments, and experiences in the five boroughs that go a long way toward cementing Gotham’s reputation as the greatest city in the world.

Let’s count the ways we love New York City.

1. The skyline. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve lived in New York City seeing the skyline from afar—with its cloud-piercing skyscrapers and array of architectural styles—is enough to take your breath away.

2. The I ❤️ NY logo. Among legendary designer Milton Glaser’s many contributions to the world is this cheerful logo, created in 1977 and now a much-imitated piece of New York’s history. Go ahead and wear that old tee you bought on a lark in Times Square with pride—we won’t judge.

3. Historic relics are everywhere.You never know when you’ll turn a corner and stumble on a spite triangle or one of the oldest buildings in the city.

4. Walking. This is a city best experienced on foot, if possible you truly absorb its energy, and better understand its nuances, when you meander through its neighborhoods. (Walt Whitman was a fan—enough so to mention his walks through New York in much of his work.)

5. The Roosevelt Island Tramway. The 42-year-old tram is the best way to take in scenic views of Midtown architecture—from the top of the Chrysler Building to the Queensboro Bridge—and all it requires is a swipe of a MetroCard.

6. Urban wildlife. And no, we don’t mean Pizza Rat New York is home to all manner of wild animals, from coyotes to a Hot Duck to a cluster of wild monk parakeets near Brooklyn College.

7. 24-hour everything. It’s not called “the city that never sleeps” for no reason practically anything you could ever want is available at all hours of the day.

8. Art Deco buildings. Everyone knows and loves the Empire State Building, but don’t sleep on unheralded Deco gems, from Ralph Walker’s elegant towers for telecom companies to the stately apartment buildings of Bronx’s Grand Concourse.

9. The Strand. Is there a better way to spend a rainy afternoon than browsing through this iconic shop’s 18 miles of books?

10. Seeing New York on the big screen. Whether it’s John Travolta strutting through Bay Ridge in Saturday Night Fever, gangs duking it out in the subway in The Warriors, or Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan finding love atop the Empire State Building in Sleepless in Seattle, the celluloid skyline never gets old.

11. Sunsets in Sunset Park. From its highest point, at 164 feet above sea level, Sunset Park offers one of the most phenomenal views of Manhattan there is—especially in the summer, when the city’s sunsets are particularly brilliant.

12. The ceiling at Grand Central Terminal. Don’t forget to look up.

13. Pocket parks. Because New Yorkers need all the green space that they can get—and because many of these minuscule parks are architectural gems rendered on a small scale. (See: Paley and Greenacre parks in Midtown, both quiet oases—with waterfalls!)

14. Anthora coffee cups. You don’t see these blue-and-white paper cups—popularized in the 1960s, and emblazoned with the winsome phrase “We are happy to serve you”—too often these days, so stumbling on one at a coffee cart or in a diner is a special treat.

15. Ignoring celebrities. Sure, you might share your story about sitting next to Lou Reed at a movie theater at parties, but in the moment? We treat celebrities like any other New Yorker—with polite indifference at best.

16. Central Park. It never gets old, and no matter how long you’ve lived here, there’s probably still some corner of this park you haven’t discovered yet.

17. The subway Yes, really—it may be old and constantly breaking down, but the fact that it’s existed for more than a century, ferries millions of passengers each day, and runs 24 hours? That’s something to appreciate.

18. …and bitching about the subway… Because nothing unites New Yorkers quite like the transit system’s constant meltdowns.

19. …and blaming the subway when you’re late. LA has traffic New York City has subway snafus.

20. People-watching. It’s one of New York’s most beloved pastimes, whether you’re checking out the summertime sunbathers in Central Park’s Sheep Meadow, stylish gallery-goers in Chelsea, or families picnicking in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

21. The wooden escalators at Macy’s. Even if you can’t handle the overwhelming crowds at Macy’s Herald Square, a trip up and down the building’s wooden escalators—a relic of 1920s New York—is a must. (Fans of the 98-year-old escalators have taken to calling their obsession “handrailfanning.”)

22. Manhattanhenge. The setting sun perfectly aligns with Manhattan’s east-west street grid, creating one of the city’s most beautiful (and most Instagrammed) natural phenomena.

23. The number of spoken languages in the city. Some estimates say it could be as many as 800, and Queens alone has more than 150—that’s more than anywhere else in the world.

24. The abundance of extremely cheap eats. NYC might be one of the top destinations for haute cuisine, but there are still plenty of places to fill up for little more than pocket change—dollar slices, falafel sandwiches, hot dogs, you name it.

25. Chinatown—all nine of ’em. Yes, nine of them. Each of New York’s diverse, bustling Chinatowns has its own distinct flavor. Get dim sum at Nom Wah Tea Parlor in Manhattan, load up on goodies at Food Mart on Sunset Park’s bustling Eighth Avenue, or sample the creative dumplings at Dumpling Galaxy in Flushing.

26. The birthplace of hip-hop still exists. Arguably the most important musical innovation of the past century came into being in a rec room in the Bronx, and the building where DJ Kool Herc first introduced an enthusiastic crowd to the breaks stands to this day.

27. Honey locust trees. You know those long, brown seed pods you see littering streets and parks when the seasons change? Those are from honey locusts, one of the most prevalent street trees and a beautiful addition to the urban landscape.

28. The Temple of Dendur. The chance to explore the remains of an over 2,000-year-old Egyptian Temple in one of the best museums in the world? Yes, please.

29. Random acts of kindness from strangers. New Yorkers have a reputation for being brash, abrasive, and, well, kind of assholes. But if you’ve lived here long enough, you know that’s not true—and you may get help from your fellow New Yorkers when you least expect it. (We’re just usually in a hurry, is all.)

30. Knowing exactly where to wait on a subway platform so you exit your train at the exact right spot. Bonus points for doing this without the help of an app.

31. The panoramic view from the top of the Wonder Wheel. It’s pure magic. (Be sure to take at least one ride in the nearly century-old Ferris wheel’s swinging cars.)

32. The Staten Island Ferry. It’s not just a mass transit option the Staten Island Ferry also happens to be one of the city’s top-notch date spots. (It’s free, it has beautiful views, and you can grab drinks on board—what more could you ask for?)

33. The eccentrics who make the city their home. The city has always drawn characters who didn’t fit in elsewhere—people like Jim “the Mosaic Man” Power, who covered East Village buildings and light poles in his trademark glass pieces or Elizabeth Sweetheart, the Green Lady of Carroll Gardens or Blackwolf the Dragonmaster, the unofficial wizard of Central Park. Their ranks may be thinning as the city becomes more upscale (and less tolerant of weirdness), but they’re an essential part of its DNA.

34. Times Square billboards. “They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway,” and what would New York City be without those iconic signs?

35. Bodega cats. Along with 24-hour service and hangover-busting bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches, bodega cats are one of the things that make New York’s corner stores so uniquely New York. Plus, they’re cute.

36. Victorian Flatbush. Wander through the neighborhoods of Ditmas Park and Fiske Terrace and you might forget you’re in Brooklyn at all, thanks to their bucolic streets lined with gorgeous, rambling Victorian homes.

37. The Rose Main Reading Room. It’s one of New York’s most majestic spaces, and you can take in its grand architecture, better than ever after a recent renovation, without paying a penny.

38. Dollar slices. Haters can hate all they want New Yorkers know that nothing beats a fresh-out-of-the-oven slice when you need a meal that’s quick, portable, cheap, and delicious.

39. Pat Kiernan. The longtime NY1 anchor, who curated the day’s most important news stories before blogging was even a thing, has been a soothing morning presence for more than 20 years.

40. The Bleacher Creatures. A game at Yankee Stadium without the Creatures’ signature roll call—a call-and-response with each player in the starting lineup—wouldn’t even be a Yankees game at all.

41. The city is a melting pot. Need proof of New York’s wonderful diversity, culinary and otherwise? Head to Richmond Hill’s Little Guyana or Staten Island’s Little Sri Lanka thousands of immigrants have settled in these neighborhoods, bringing the foods and traditions of their homelands to the five boroughs. (If you’ve ever sampled the roti in Richmond Hill, you’ll know we’re all the better for it.)

42. Sylvan Terrace. This charming, cobblestone street, lined with wood-frame houses from the 19th century, is a reminder of New York City before it became overrun by skyscrapers. See if you can spot it the next time you re-watch Boardwalk Empire.

43. Christmastime. Because it’s magical, dammit. (And who doesn’t love “Fairytale of New York”?)

44. The secret hidden in Central Park’s street lamps. If you’re ever lost in Central Park, look to the lamp posts one of New York’s coolest navigational tricks is found on them. (They indicate the closest cross streets and what side of town you’re on.)

45. Design gems hidden throughout the subway system. See: Barbara Stauffacher Solomon’s “sleazy Helvetica” at 68th Street, Chermayeff & Geismar’s colorful wayfinding system at Lexington Avenue-53rd Street, and Sol LeWitt’s playful neon mural at 59th Street-Columbus Circle.

46. Surfers at Rockaway Beach. It’s no Pipeline, but the sight of surfers off the coast of Queens is always a welcome surprise.

47. Radio City Music Hall’s bathrooms. The Art Deco design of Radio City’s loos is among the best in the city. They also have foot-operated hand dryers, which is something you don’t see every day.

48. The Mister Softee jingle. There’s no surer sign that summer is on its way in New York than hearing ice cream trucks making the rounds once the weather gets warm. (Did you know the jingle has lyrics? You’re welcome.)

49. Seeing iconic architecture from the NYC Ferry. Among NYC Ferry’s charms is the fact that it does double duty as one of the city’s best—and cheapest—architectural boat tours. With the ferry now operating six routes throughout the city, it’s the best way to gaze at some of NYC’s most iconic architecture, like the Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building, and the U.N. Building.

50. Little India. Much like its Chinatowns, NYC is also home to two vibrant Little Indias, in Murray Hill and Jackson Heights. For a truly meta experience, check out a store named Little India in Manhattan, and shop for spices and South Asian treats to your heart’s content.

51. Modernist buildings. New York’s collection of modern architecture—from the stunning green glass of SOM’s Lever House to Marcel Bruer’s concrete creations at the Bronx Community College—is a unparalleled. (Let’s try to keep it that way.)

52. That feeling when you finally master the subway. There’s no predetermined amount of time that you must live here to count as a New Yorker, but for non-natives, getting to the point where the subway is no longer a confusing mess of different-colored lines and weird transfers is certainly a qualifier. (Understanding convoluted weekend schedules takes you to a whole other level.)

53. Nuyorican Poets Cafe. Places like the this East Village mainstay—founded in 1973, and a refuge for musicians, comedians, and other performers typically underrepresented on larger platforms—preserve the artistic legacy of the neighborhood, even amid constant change.

54. Street trees… It may be a concrete jungle, but New York also has a thriving urban tree canopy—over 44,000 acres in all, with more added every year. (And you can request one for your block!)

55. …and that moment in spring when all of the street trees start to bloom. Is there a more welcome sight after a long, cold winter than a magnolia or cherry tree exploding with color, with a brownstone as its backdrop?

56. Chowing down at Nathan’s at Coney Island. Nathan’s may be a nationwide fast-food chain now, but nothing beats the taste of the original, found only at Coney Island.

57. Riding the Metro-North upstate. It’s one of the prettiest views of the Hudson River we ever did see.

58. “Showtime” subway dancers. Before you dismiss this one, think about it: Subway dancers are a quintessential part of the commuting experience, and they’re often actually really talented. Plus, they’re hustling to make an honest buck—and isn’t that what New York is all about?

59. Shakespeare in the Park. Only in New York can you see some of the best names in show business perform Shakespeare for free (assuming you get tickets, anyway). Make a day of it: Lines for free tickets start forming as early as 6 a.m., so bring a blanket, some food, and some board games, and have a lovely little picnic as you wait.

60. Street art. New York is where graffiti became a bona-fide phenomenon, and while you won’t see subway cars covered in colorful tags these days, there are still plenty of places to appreciate street art. The Bowery Wall, the Bushwick Collective’s outdoor gallery, and the Graffiti Hall of Fame in Harlem are all good places to start.

61. New York has inspired some of the best art. From Do the Right Thing to Transformer to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn to “Native New Yorker” to … well, we could go on forever. Point is: The countless musicians, authors, artists, performers, and other creative types who’ve flocked to NYC since forever have created an abundance of mesmerizing, important art—more than any other city can lay claim to.

62. Weeksville Heritage Center. One of the city’s oldest buildings is also a testament to one of its oldest African-American communities. Weeksville—which is also home to a stunning modern visitors’ center by Caples Jefferson Architects—is a portal to the past with important lessons for the present.

63. MetroCards. The floppy plastic cards will soon be phased out, so now is as good a time as ever to appreciate them. We’ll especially miss the ones festooned with artwork by Barbara Kruger or images of David Bowie, among other things.

64. Brooklyn brownstones. Owning one of these historic beauties—especially prevalent in neighborhoods like Park Slope and Bed-Stuy—is the New York version of the American dream.

65. Watching movies outdoors while the sun sets. There isn’t a better backdrop to catch an outdoor movie during the warmer months than the city’s skyline, and with free screenings at places like Hudson River Park and Waterside Plaza, there are plenty of options to choose from.

66. Finding nature amid the chaos. Manhattan may be fast-paced, but there are plenty of places off the island to get away from it all—the New York Botanical Garden, the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Center, or Staten Island’s myriad parks—and where you can stop and smell the roses (literally).

67. Jeremiah Moss. Moss has chronicled the city’s disappearing mom and pops for more than a decade, and is an essential check on the rampant development that’s overtaking New York’s neighborhoods.

68. The diversity of residential architecture. Look to Queens—the city’s largest borough, and one with a plethora of interesting low-rise homes—for proof.

69. Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. The 137-year-old icon doesn’t look a day over 100, and a stroll across its mile-long span is always a thrill. (But try and do it early in the morning, or late at night, so you can avoid the throngs of tourists who’ve all had the same thought.)

70. City Island. It’s a small, seaside town the middle of the Bronx.

71. World’s Fair relics. There may not be too many of them left, but the structures that do remain—the Unisphere, or Philip Johnson’s New York State Pavilion—are stunning midcentury marvels, and reminders of a time when optimism about the future was the name of the game. (We also love when they’re repurposed the former New York City Building from the 1939 fair is now the Queens Museum.)

72. Belgian block streets. While asphalt is now used for most of the city’s streets, head to places like the Meatpacking District or Dumbo and you’ll find plenty of vintage Belgian block streets that instantly evoke old New York.

73. Museums in unexpected places. The Met is great and all, but New York is also chock full of offbeat cultural hotspots where you’d least expect them: The Fire Museum is located in a former Soho firehouse, or there’s Mmuseumm, ensconced in a former freight elevator in Tribeca.

75. Eating at old-old-school restaurants. There’s something comforting about going to Totonno’s on Coney Island, or Peter Luger’s in Williamsburg, or the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden in Astoria, and sampling dishes that haven’t changed too much since those establishments opened—in some cases over a century ago.

76. Fire escapes. As essential to the urban landscape of New York City as hot-dog carts, pigeons, and yellow taxis.

77. Green-Wood Cemetery. One of New York City’s most serene, beautiful green spaces also happens to be a nearly 500-acre cemetery in Brooklyn. Here, you can also pay tribute to a bevy of famous New Yorkers that include Leonard Bernstein, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Louis Comfort Tiffany, and Henry Ward Beecher.

78. Taking the subway to the beach. Let other people go to the Hamptons or the Jersey Shore New Yorkers know that a day at Rockaway or Orchard Beach is just as fun, and only a MetroCard swipe away.

79. Guastavino tile. Rafael Gusatavino’s stunning tile work is one of the things that makes the old City Hall subway station so majestic, but you don’t need to tour that hidden relic to see his designs in action. The Whispering Gallery at Grand Central Terminal and the south arcade at the Manhattan Municipal Building are both glorious examples of the form.

80. The subway is an underground art museum. Museum-quality works by Roy Lichtenstein, Romare Bearden, and more can be found throughout the subway system, and the Second Avenue subway’s new stations—with work by Chuck Close and Vik Muniz—actually feel a bit like galleries.

81. Parades. Pride, the West Indian American Day Carnival, the Mermaid Parade—these events bring communities and neighborhoods together for joyous celebrations (and spectacles that outsiders can enjoy, too).

82. Our parks aren’t just green space. They’re the nexus of everything that makes this city glorious. They’re where the theater world mounts incredible productions like Shakespeare in the Park where artists showcase inspiring work where structures like the Belvedere Castle and the Prospect Park boathouse transport us back in time and where people from all walks of life come together.

83. Indie cinema lives on. Though some of New York’s beloved movie houses have fallen by the wayside, a handful of its best ones—including Film Forum, the Angelika, and the IFC Center—have persevered.

84. You can time travel (sort of) at the Tenement Museum. Guided tours will transport you back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries beyond being super informative, they’re also a testament to the indelible contribution immigrants have made to the city’s social fabric.

85. Our superior tap water. Straight from one of three reservoirs upstate, New York’s tap water is cleaner, tastier, and better for bagel-making than the water in other cities.

86. The High Line. Yes, it’s become one of the city’s biggest tourist traps (don’t go on the weekends if you’re trying to walk without interruption), but the High Line’s unique mix of artwork, nature, and architecture justifies its popularity.

(@yvoloi) on Apr 30, 2018 at 11:05pm PDT

87. Dog parks. In a city where it’s often extremely difficult to have pets—either your apartment is too small, or your landlord is too worried about the havoc they may wreak—dog parks are an excellent way to sate your needing-to-look-at-adorable-pups urges. (The Tompkins Square Park one is especially excellent.)

88. Old Central Park West apartment buildings. The San Remo, the Dakota, the Beresford—these are some of New York’s most iconic residences, revered not just for their elegant architecture (several were designed by Emery Roth), but for the fact that they were like catnip for celebs and New York’s monied set. (Demi Moore, John Lennon, Helen Gurley Brown, Marilyn Monroe, and Diana Ross are among the big names who once called these buildings home.)

89. Pomander Walk. This utterly beguiling neighborhood within a neighborhood on the Upper West Side comprises 27 Tudor-style buildings—but, alas, you can only get inside with an invitation. (It’s still worth strolling by and pressing your face against the gates at its entryway.)

90. Washington Street in Dumbo. This picturesque block is probably the most Instagrammed spot in Brooklyn, and for good reason: Stand at the intersection of Washington and Front streets, and you’ll have a clear view of the Manhattan Bridge framed perfectly by the neighborhood’s former warehouses.

91. The Gowanus Canal. It’s stinky, and you definitely don’t want to get any of your body parts in it, and more than one wild animal has gotten lost there (RIP, Sludgie the Whale). But there’s an odd beauty to this Brooklyn body of water, once you look past the trash and oil slicks.

92. Lincoln Center. Come for the myriad cultural offerings—from the Metropolitan Opera to the New York City Ballet—but stay for the architecture, with buildings by Eero Saarinen, Philip Johnson, and Wallace K. Harrison all part of the complex.

93. Chelsea Market. Food halls are no longer a novelty, but there’s still something special about the one that started it all in NYC. The building that now houses the Chelsea Market was formerly a Nabisco factory—the Oreo was born there!—but its rich history is just one part of its charm. Grab a bite (don’t miss the namesake dish at Los Tacos No. 1), and for an extra-nice experience, take it to go and have a picnic on the High Line.

94. Getting lost in the Prospect Park Ravine. Sometimes you need to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city where better to do it than Brooklyn’s only forest? Nestled in the heart of Prospect Park, the Ravine is modeled on the landscape of the Adirondacks, with waterfalls, rustic bridges, and winding trails.

95. Little Italy. This lower Manhattan enclave has shrunk in size and become more of a tourist trap over the years, but there are still solid spots where you can sample an authentic cannoli (Ferrara Bakery) or pizza (Lombardi’s).

96. Governors Island. The former military base’s transformation into one of New York City’s best public spaces is nothing short of spectacular.

97. Broadway (and off-Broadway). Some of the most iconic cultural touchstones of the past century—from “Ol’ Man River” and West Side Story to “Seasons of Love” and Hamilton—are the products of New York’s theater scene, as crucial to the city’s artistic identity today as it was at the turn of the 20th century.

98. We have verystrong opinions about pretty much everything. New Yorkers love to argue—about the right way to eat a bagel, or the best subway seat, or the best way to get from point A to point B—and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

99. Feeling your heart swell when you hear the first notes of Rhapsody in Blue.”

100. Because, as John Steinbeck once said, “Once you have lived in New York and it has become your home, no place else is good enough.”


NYC Vegan

I could not be more thrilled for my friends and this new book! It is a comprehensive collection of vegan versions of iconic foods from my favorite city – I have already made several recipes. In addition to fantastic recipes and stunning photography from Jackie Sobon, this book is wonderfully readable, with personal stories and informational tidbits about New York City. It really is a joy of a book.

The first recipe I made was Matzoh Brei. I have not had this favorite in forever, and this version is close to what I remember. This can be made sweet or savory, and like Michael and Ethan, I prefer a sweet version.

The next recipe I had to make was Phoebe’s Salad. Not for the quirky favorite from Friends, but for Michael and Ethan’s rescue pup, Phoebe. This salad is made up of the stomach soothing foods Phoebe could eat, and I made it in honor how much Michael and Ethan love their dogs, and for rescue pups everywhere.

I cheated and made the Street Fair Corn with canned, because it is too early in the season for fresh on the cob, but I had to try this one. and now I am here to say you need to try this one. So good. I made their Latkes, which are deliciously crispy and perfect with applesauce. Mmm. I have plans to make the Street Cart Pretzels and Manhattan Glam Chowder, and their Tempeh Reuben looks incredible.

and these Black and White Cookies. Perfectly cakey and soft, just as I fondly remember.

from Michael and Ethan: Thanks to a famous episode of Seinfeld, the black and white cookie, once only known to New Yorkers, garnered national attention. In that episode, Jerry used the black and white as a metaphor for racial harmony. Although called a cookie, these treats are actually made from a stiff cake batter and baked free-form on a cookie sheet. Once found only in bakeries, today the black and white can be found in almost every grocery store and bodega in New York.

note: the recipe below is reprinted exactly as it appears in the book I used gluten free all purpose flour + 2 tablespoons cornstarch and these cookies came out perfectly fluffy!

Black and White Cookie recipe reprinted with permission from NYC Vegan, copyright © 2017 by Michael Suchman and Ethan Ciment.


Bodega-style egg and cheese sandwich

Like many New Yorkers, I have strong feelings about bodegas (adoration born of dependence) that go from the bodega cats to the stuffed shelves (mine appears to carry more items than our Trader Joe’s), to the griddles. I am in awe of the people who cook at them. I am constitutionally incapable of multitasking, I can barely handle simultaneously cooking a dinner and a side dish without setting fire to one or the other, but they make half a dozen different egg sandwiches at a time like it’s nothing.


I know the BEC (bacon egg and cheese) is the gold standard of bodega breakfast sandwiches, but I like my bacon crisp and on the side, thank you very much, and rarely on a Monday morning. My order is always an egg-and-cheese on rye toast, and truly one of the most blessed things about NYC is that is rye bread is often considered a standard bread option. My only quibble with them is that often the cheese isn’t melted enough either because the cheese was not engineered with melting in mind (ghastly) or because it wasn’t given long enough to heat up. I am not giving cooking tips (please cancel me immediately if I do) to someone making me an egg sandwich for $5 so instead try to make them at home as often as possible where I have my own little method that ensures that the cheese is always melty.

I shared this with Cup of Jo seven years ago, when I’d sometimes make them for my son’s after-preschool lunch. At the time, there was a bit of commotion over the fact that I’d used cheese singles “engineered with melting in mind.” At the grocery store this week, it appears that cheese slice options have come a long way, there were multiple cheddars and more to choose from with relatively unscary ingredient lists, although I still shamelessly defaulted to that which provokes the most outrage applause. Of course you can use any cheese that makes you happy, be it crumbled, grated, or sliced you can add minced scallions, chives, or crumbled bacon too. The awesome thing about this is that it’s so easy, it requires no planning (especially if you’re not crazy enough to make the deli rye english muffins from Smitten Kitchen Every Day first, as I did) and you can be eating these in approximately 3 minutes, which is exactly what I want to hear at 9am on a Saturday.


Smashed potatoes with sweet corn relish

One of the reasons it’s been relatively quiet here is because as meaningful (okay I’m being sarcastic) as it was when a shampoo brand I ordered from five years ago sent me an email last week about their support of the Black Lives Matter movement, I’m wary of using my platform in a way that places more value on the performance of allyship than the practice of it. If you’re concerned about what my values are, I spoke about them in greater detail in last week’s newsletter. It would ring hollow to pivot away from what I love the most in June — grilled vegetables, summer salads, icy drinks, and birthday cake — for a detailed look at, say, bail funds only to pivot back two days later because I wanted to make lemon bars. But it would have been disingenuous to feign interest in berry shortcakes as usual while my head was everywhere else. So, I’ve been taking some time offline to process, learn, plan, and parent, until I could find a way to move forward in a way that feels authentic to my values and where I’m at, and to what this site has always been, a place where I hope you’ll find your new favorite thing to cook.

I created a new reference page, too. A few people had messaged me asking for cookbook and food memoir suggestions by Black writers and so I went to my bookshelves and I pulled out several — plus a few more I don’t have or have lent out but highly recommend — and shared a little about each. This is not, of course, an exhaustive list and I’m sure I’ve missed some great ones. This is simply what I’ve read and enjoyed over the years. Perhaps you’ll find a few new favorites, too.

It was in flipping through a relatively new book — Vegetable Kingdom, by Bryant Terry, out in February — that I stopped short on these potatoes with corn for several reasons: it’s a gorgeous dish. I love smash-fried potatoes (much quicker than smash-roasted, ignore any recipe that tells you otherwise) potatoes. The sweet corn relish looked amazing and I’ve apparently written “pickled corn” four different times on my spiraling To Cook list and hadn’t gotten to it yet. Terry’s spin — with minced hot and sweet pepper, sliced tomatoes, and cumin seeds — is far more nuanced than I could have dreamed up and I enjoyed the story of his maternal grandmother making this traditional dish eaten throughout the South, and storing in the larder for the winter. The spicy spring pea sauce provides a delicious contrast, and I love the way cooking for his little girls is woven into his recipes. The slow-cooked onion rings (not breaded, just caramelized) are very much my thing. Does this add up to a lot of cooking steps? Yes it does. Are they worth it? Absolutely. If you make nothing else, make the corn relish because you’re going to want to put it on everything this summer, from toasts to tacos to salads. This recipe, like the entirety of the book, is real ingredient-focused vegan cooking with Afro-Asian flavors. It’s vivid and unrestrictive and it even comes with a playlist I bet you will enjoy it as much as I am.

Previously

Smashed Potatoes with Sweet Corn Relish

  • Servings: 4 to 6
  • Time: 2 hours plus an overnight brine
  • Source:Vegetable Kingdom, by Bryant Terry
Sweet corn relish
Spring green pea sauce
Smashed potatoes, onions, and assembly

Make the Spicy Spring Pea Sauce: Remove your peas from their pods. In a medium pot or saucepan, bring 1 quart water to boil over high heat. Add 2 teaspoons of the salt and gently pour the peas into the pot. Blanch until just tender, about 3 minutes, or up to 4 minutes if they were frozen. Drain the peas in a colander and rinse with cold water. Transfer the peas to a blender. Add 1/4 water to start, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, the jalapeño, and the lemon juice and puree until smooth, adding remaining 1/4 cup water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary (the mixture should be viscous but pour fairly easily from the blender). Pour the pureed peas into a serving bowl. Season more salt, white pepper, and lemon juice to taste.

Make the Smashed Potatoes and Caramelized Onion Rings: Fit a large pot with a steamer insert and fill with 2 inches of water. Put the potatoes and in the steamer, cover, and cook over medium heat until fork-tender, about 35 to 45 minutes, adding more water to the pot if necessary. Remove the potatoes from the steam and let cool for 5 minutes.

While the potatoes are steaming, warm 1/4 cup of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Reduce the heat to low and add the onion slices, keeping them intact. Cook, gently stirring and flipping as needed for even cooking, until just starting to caramelize, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and set aside. Leave any extra oil behind in the pan.

On a clean work surface, gently press each potato with the palm of your hand to flatten it to about 1/2-inch-thick. Set aside. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. In the same large skillet where you cooked the onion slices, add the remaining 1/4 cup oil over medium-high heat. Add half the potatoes in a single layer and cook until crispy and browning, about 5 minutes. Salt the potatoes, gently flip them, and fry for 4 to 5 minutes more. Salt the second side and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining potatoes.

To serve: arrange the potatoes on a serving platter, top with the onions and sweet corn relish, and season with pepper. Put the pea sauce in a medium bowl and serve it alongside the potatoes.


Stella's Sunny Lemon Bars

Another "what do I do with all this fruit?" moment inspired me to make Stella's Sunny Lemon Bars using the Meyer lemons I've got growing out back (yes, this is a Northern California #humblebrag). As advertised, they come out soft and rich, with a bright flavor as refreshing as a cold glass of lemonade. Not only that, but they take just about half an hour of actual work, start to finish (excluding the time it takes to pick the lemons you all have growing on the side of your house, that is).


Watch the video: WE LOVE NYC: The Homecoming Concert Full Performance (January 2022).