Riverpark Luncheon with Alison Sweeney and Arm & Hammer

When you’ve lived your entire life in one place, you begin to think you know it by heart. All its nooks and crannies, the best places for brunch, dinner, for taking a leisurely walk on Saturday afternoon. So naturally I was beyond surprised when I was invited down to the famed Riverpark restaurant for a farm-to-table luncheon hosted by Arm & Hammer and Alison Sweeney. I had no idea that the restaurant was home to a flourishing urban farm, amazing food, and breathtaking city views!

Riverpark Restaurant NYCArm & Hammer with Alison Sweeney

Farmer Sam and Alison (every time I see her I have to pinch myself, I spent so many years coming home from school to watch Alison as Days of Our Lives’ Sami Brady!) gave us the grand tour. Alison reflected on the importance of clean and authentic ingredients – from the plate to our toothpaste. Alison has partnered with Arm & Hammer for many years, she pointed out how with Arm & Hammer you can always tell it’s working because you can feel it.

Alison Sweeney Arm & Hammer Riverpark EventArm & Hammer Riverpark Event

Farmer Sam, who showed us around, shared that maintaining a garden comes with its own set of complications. The garden is rested on unfilled milk crates, which give it it’s mobility. That means in case of a storm or unpredictable weather, the garden can be transported in doors. The produce from the garden, naturally, end up on the plates served at Riverpark.

Riverpark Restaurant Urban Farm Edible FlowersRiverpark BasilEdible Flowers Urban Farm NYC

Riverpark, owned by Tom Colicchio, presented us with a lovely lunch designed and prepared by Executive Chef Andrew Smith. We started off with burrata served with heirloom tomatoes, stone fruit, charred breadcrumbs and basil. Riverparks urban farm boasts numerous varieties of basil, their fragrance sweetening the air outside the restaurant while adding fresh flavor to the dishes served inside.

Arm & Hammer Event NYCRiverpark BurrataRiverpark Basil Urban Farm

Did you know that cheese neutralizes acid and aids in preserving tooth enamel? As if I needed any more reason to eat more cheese! Meanwhile, stone fruit contains high levels of vitamin C, which is vital for gum tissue health. I’ve never had stone fruit with burrata and I absolutely loved the combination. The sweet fruit brought out the sun-warmed sweetness of the heirloom tomatoes and the creaminess of the burrata.

Riverpark Salmon

I chose the salmon as my main course, I once read that a restaurant that can cook salmon without drying it out is a good restaurant indeed. Riverpark’s salmon – served with heirloom peppers, zucchini, crispy fingerling potatoes, and rosemary – was perfectly cooked, as if it had been done sous vide. Salmon, a great source of vitamin D, also helps with calcium absorption.

Summer Fruit Trifle

Our lunch was ended on a sweet note with a Summer Fruit Trifle. Strawberries, blueberries, lemon verbena whipped cream, chiffon cake, and a pistachio sacristan rounded out my ideal summer dessert.

Thank you to the Arm & Hammer team for a lovely lunch!

Brunch with Gilt City: Catch NYC

I don’t think there are words that describe how relaxing and fun it is to have brunch with one of your closest friends (okay, my sister) on a rooftop surrounded by the city sights and sounds of the Meatpacking District. But I’ll try. This weekend, thanks to Gilt City and Catch – a trendy restaurant in the heart of the Meatpacking District – I was able to try Catch’s exclusive Gilty Menu.

Brunch in NYC with Gilt City | read more at nyctalon.comBrunch in NYC with Gilt City | read more at nyctalon.com

To start we both ordered the Catch Roll, which features tender crab, salmon, and miso-honey. My sister and I adored this roll – we eat a lot of sushi, and we could tell right off that the salmon and crab were fresh and we loved how they torched the roll whilst serving it. As a party of the Gilty Menu, you also get a glass of Chandon Delice – which is delicious by the way!

Brunch in NYC with Gilt City | read more at nyctalon.comBrunch in NYC with Gilt City | read more at nyctalon.com

You get about four options for your entree, and trust me it is hard to pick with tasty brunch opportunities like Blueberry Pancakes with orange segments and blueberry butter or Organic Chicken Breast salad with Tuscan kale and caraway seed vinaigrette. Alas, we both settled on the Lobster Roll, served with old bay chips. There’s something irresistibly decadent (and dare I say New York) about eating lobster while sipping bubbly on a roof downtown.

Brunch in NYC with Gilt City | read more at nyctalon.comCatch NYC Rooftop Brunch

The lobster roll was hands down the best lobster roll I’ve had in the city. I’m not kidding, and I’ve had quite a few rolls. There was a generous portion of meat (and ample claw meat at that), but not too much that it becomes overwhelming. The lobster salad had a delicate citrus flavor and benefited greatly from the presence of chives, a buttery potato roll, and a side of old bay potato chips.

Brunch in NYC with Gilt City | read more at nyctalon.com

For dessert we were served a chocolate cookie sundae with caramel chocolate sauce and the ice cream of the day – there definitely was a scoop of chocolate ice cream, and the green colored scoop tasted of either matcha or basil – it was literally the most perfect dessert for our brunch. Honestly, Catch served up one of my most favorite meals that I’ve had this summer – I definitely recommend that you pounce on their deal with Gilt City!

The Gilt City Catch offer is a part of Gilt City’s Best of Gilt City collection! Snap up your next NYC experience by checking out the entire collection here!

Best of Gilt City Collection | read more at nyctalon.com

Lunch at Bagatelle

Backstory; a couple of years ago I joined SearsStyle for a brunch at Bagatelle in the Meatpacking District where I had the most amazing black truffle scrambled eggs. Since then I always meant to return, if not for the truffled eggs than at least to try their other eating options. I recently spotted them on Gilt City* (a higher-end version of Groupon) and thought it was a no-brainer, of course I bought a voucher for lunch! Out we went on a blisteringly cold day, my sister, my voucher and I downtown to Bagatelle.


Our voucher included one appetizer, two entrees, and one dessert. We started with a Bagatelle Salad – hearts of lettuce, parmesan cheese, fresh garden herbs, and a mustard vinaigrette. The salad was crisp and fresh, the vinaigrette was a bit heavy for my sister, but I thought it was great.


As an entree, I ordered the Ahi Tuna Tartare Bagatelle – featuring a lime soy vinaigrette, avocado salad, and taro chips. The portion was massive. I always forget how filling tuna is, especially raw tuna. I loved the lime soy vinaigrette – which really added a much needed citrus flavor to cut through the clean and creamy flavors of the tuna and avocado salad. Now, I’m in no way a chef or culinary professional, but I feel like I would have enjoyed it far better if the portion was made smaller or served as individual bites. There was nothing wrong with it – the flavors were great – but it was just not something I really enjoyed eating, if that makes sense.


My sister ordered the Steak Frites Chimi-Choron Sauce – black angus sirloin steak, homemade pommes frites, and cilantro-chipotle bearnaise sauce. No stranger to heat, chipotles, or cilantro, we both deemed this sauce a dud. The fries were perfect, as in you could-not-make-them-in-any-way-better perfect. The steak was also perfectly cooked (medium/rare), but unfortunately Bagatelle seemed to be lacking in serrated steak knives. A quick trip to Bowery Kitchens next door in the Chelsea Market would have taken care of that. So in short, cutting the steak was a job. Such a job, it took away from the enjoyment of said steak. I felt like I was ‘tearin the beastie wit me bare hands’. Also, as fun as having steak for lunch sounds, unless you work on a ranch it’s definitely a safer bet to go for something lighter.


Our choice of dessert was the Creme Brulee aux Framboises. We actually picked this out while looking at their online menu before we even arrived at Bagatelle. It’s meant to be a raspberry creme brulee served with salted chocolate cookies and raspberry sorbet. What is was was a deliciously creamy creme brulee, perfectly torched, served with raspberry sorbet – whose tart flavor was the most ideal accompaniment to the sweet creaminess of the brulee. I was tempted to lick the plate. It was a perfect end to our otherwise so/so meal and a reminder of why Bagatelle had left such a lasting impression on me in the first place.


Ultimately, I feel like their entrees were a let-down from what had drawn me back. Could it be it was due to a slow afternoon or maybe the head chef wasn’t in? I don’t know. It is a beautiful restaurant, the dessert was delicious, and the service is definitely on point, and my sister and I had a lovely time just chatting and enjoying each others company – but the entrees, not so much.

1 Little West 12th Street
New York, NY 10014
(212) 488 – 2110


Cape May: Cape Orient Review

So earlier this summer, my sister and I went on a week long vacation to the Jersey shore – no, not that Jersey shore – we hit up classic seaside destination Cape May. We had a blast – and minus a car we definitely had our fair share of adventures. I’ll be sharing all the deets of our vacay, including where we played and stayed as well as our picks for the best places to eat, sleep, and tan!

One of the places we ate at was the Cape Orient – located right off of Washington Square Mall, and a few paces away from Acme supermarket, Cape Orient is an established Cape May eatery. It’s obviously a favorite of the locals, many of the customers were familiar with the staff and would actually call in to pre-order the fish they planned on eating before coming in for dinner. One of the walls in the entrance is lined with awards and reviews, and despite their apparent culinary klout we found the hostess that greeted us to be very warm and friendly – but not in that weird overbearing way that makes you feel like you’re about to get fleeced.

Now, the two times that we went were for takeout. The first time we shared Chicken Pad Thai and Wonton Soup Deluxe – it came out to about $14.

The description for the Wonton Soup Deluxe said it had chicken and shrimp, but ours also had shreds of pork, as well as snow peas, carrots, and of course, wonton. The pork, chicken, and shrimp were tender, the snow peas and carrots were bright and tasty, while the wonton literally melted in my mouth. It was simply delicious, flavorful, and one order of the small ($3.95) was enough for both of us to share.

The Chicken Pad Thai was my favorite item that we tried from Cape Oriental. The noodles were perfectly cooked and packed with flavor! It’s not overwhelmingly spicy (keep in mind, we love spice/heat in my house and often eat such foods), and definitely rates as one of the top Pad Thai’s that I’ve ever had. It contained peanuts, scallions, basil, onion, red chili pepper, and other spices. While it was enough to fill us, it was so good that we could’ve eaten more just for the flavor.

Ours came with white rice and a sweet & sour (?) sauce. We actually didn’t use the sauce – I didn’t like it, I know some people are big fans but the smell just turns my stomach. But we liked the Pad Thai noodles so much that we’re determined to find good Thai in the city now!

The second time we ordered Peking Duck Rolls, and Chicken Lo Mein. The Lo Mein looked like standard NYC fare, but was surprisingly tasty. And unlike standard NYC fare, it wasn’t drenched in oil and had a nice amount of veggies – which I thoroughly appreciated.

The Peking Duck Rolls however, were more of a disappointment. There was far to much hoisin sauce in our rolls – and ruined the perfectly tender and otherwise delicious mahogany roast duck. If there had been less hoisin I’m sure the rolls would have been amazing, but our rolls pretty much had equal parts hoisin and equal parts duck – which isn’t the most desirable combo.

Altogether, Cape Orient was definitely a great find for us. We would go back in a heartbeat. In fact in hindsight I wish we had had another round of their Pad Thai during our stay. Their menu is definitely worth exploring – and I do hope I get another chance to do so!

Momofuku Ramen – it’s what’s for lunch

It was years ago when I first read about momofuku on my favorite foodie site Serious Eats, and it wasn’t until recently during a lunch with my friends Cinny and Dana that I actually had a chance to try it.


We were there at the 1st Avenue noodle bar location during lunchtime hours and sat next to the window (glass storefront) at the bar/counter area, it has a really nice atmosphere – although it can get really hot in there.

First of all, if I could change anything, it would be the seating. The bar stool and picnic table-like seating seems overly structured and not comfortable at all. But this is a small insignificant gripe, when what we’re really talking about here is the noodles – so here they are:


We all three ordered the Momofuku Ramen, which features pork belly, pork shoulder, and a poached egg. Simply put, I loved it. The noodles were perfect and had a great springy consistency, the broth was tasty – if not a little salty, the egg was poached flawlessly, and the pork – I can’t say enough about the pork – it was insanely yummy, I would’ve been happy with a plate of that alone it was so good.



The prices are a little steep – but the service was great, and the quality of food was worth it. I know there’s this raging debate among foodies about whether or not momofuku’s noodle bar is worth its weight in noodles, but I didn’t go there expecting fireworks or a luxury gourmet experience, I was just looking for a good lunch to have with friends and that’s exactly what I had. I definitely plan on returning, this time with my brother Shawn who is more of a ramen connoisseur than I am – and I have every intention of trying their famous pork buns.

Do you know of any good ramen places in NYC? Let me know in the comments below!