Brunch in New York: Bubby's

I am forever looking for fun brunch places, either for business meetings or getting together with friends. New York City has no shortage of interesting spots, but I only recently discovered this gem in an adorable corner of Tribeca.

Bubby's - which actually has two locations - has been around for awhile, but since it's a little out of the way from my usual breakfast stomping grounds, I only recently discovered it.

How cute is this corner? It makes you want to get there early, just to relax on the sunny yellow benches before heading inside.

While this is a great spot for carb addicts (cheddar grits! banana bread!), there are plenty of yummy options for people like me who prefer eggs for breakfast. My brunch companion the other day proclaimed the blueberry sourdough pancakes to be worth coming back for.

If you're visiting New York City, seeing flaky buttermilk biscuits on a menu may be no big deal. But for southern transplants in the city, make note that this a good place to get your biscuit fix.

Brunch photo courtesy of Bubby's.

Brunch photo courtesy of Bubby's.

Bubby's Tribeca, 120 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10013.

Sunday Stories: "Golden Girls" Cafe, Oscars, and Weird Weather

Yes, this "Golden Girls" themed cafe in NYC is real. I have soooo many friends who will want to go there.

Photo from the New York Times.

Photo from the New York Times.

I love our apartment - but wouldn't mind one of these Frank Lloyd Wright homes. You can actually tour this one.

And speaking of real estate: beware of tall tales.

As someone who hates to drive, it's nice to see more cities developing public transit that enables you to have a car-free or cab-free vacation (or business trip).

Seven more Earth-sized planets out there? I don't know about you, but it's always hard to get my head around this sort of thing.

I spent much of this week in Arkansas, which like New York, is having weirdly unseasonable warm weather. This has me wanting to do a closet changeover to spring, but I suspect we still have at least a month of winter weather ahead.

It's Hollywood's biggest night. I confess that I have seen hardly any of the nominated films and actors this year, so perhaps tonight's ceremony will motivate us to catch up.

Can we agree these twins will be simply adorable?

Have a lovely week!

Watermelon with Smoked Sea Salt & Cayenne

Several summers ago, Scott and I had a date night at a little restaurant in the East Village called The Redhead.

On the appetizer menu that hot summer evening was Watermelon with Smoked Sea Salt & Cayenne Pepper.

It sounded just weird enough that we had to try it.

And wow - are we glad we did.

Watermelon

It was so amazing, we asked the chef what all was on it.  He assured us it was simply watermelon slices sprinkled with smoked sea salt and cayenne pepper.

Once watermelon season rolls around each year, this is one of our favorite treats.  If you come to our apartment during the summer, we will probably serve it to you.

No complicated recipe here.  Start with thick slices of watermelon - preferably at room temperature.  Sprinkle them with a bit of smoked sea salt and cayenne pepper.  Let the watermelon sit for 15 to 30 minutes to let the flavors meld.

A few notes about the seasonings.  Not to get all fancy here, but your standard table salt does not deliver the complex flavors that smoked varieties will.  My favorite for this particular recipe is Maldon Smoked Sea Salt Flakes.  Check local stores to see what they have, or if you like to Amazon things, they have a wide selection.

Also - be very light-handed with the pepper, because a little bit goes a long way.  If you have an old jar of cayenne that has lost some of its punch, you can use a bit more.  But if you have a new one - watch out - unless you really want some heat.

While I don't see this dish on the restaurant's current menu, for New Yorkers with Southern roots who might crave a bit of low-country shrimp and grits, bacon-braised collard greens, or their signature buttermilk fried chicken - this is your place.  If you're not in NYC, you can order their famous bacon peanut brittles.

So - give this a shot, and let me know what you think!

What other restaurant dishes have you tried that sounded strange at first - but you ended up loving it?

Brunch at the Museum

Mother's Day is not a day we typically dine out, since restaurants and cafes are even more crowded than usual.  But since we had a mid-afternoon event on the Upper West Side yesterday, we decided to have brunch after church at Caffè Storico, a charming Italian restaurant housed in the New-York Historical Society.

While people around us treated their moms and grandmas to brunch, we celebrated our moms in this gorgeous setting.  (Those chandeliers!  The mile-high ceilings!)

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 Photo from  Caffè Storico

Photo from Caffè Storico

I ate (every bite of) this (perfectly) crisp potato and horseradish cake topped with yogurt, a small mountain of smoked salmon and thinly-sliced cucumbers.  Scott's pasta with slow-cooked pork and sage had a light dusting of lemon zest that made all of the flavors explode.

We capped off our meal by trying two desserts.  Scott got a thick slice of banana bread, covered with a creamy layer of walnut and espresso mascarpone.  My Nutella crepe of chocolate and hazelnut was topped with orange syrup and preserved oranges.  While Scott gave a thumbs up to the banana bread (I am allergic to bananas, so rely on his review), the crepe was the definitely winner.  Each was big enough to share, especially if you want just a little something sweet with your coffee after a meal.

And speaking of coffee, from our table, I could see the busy baristas constantly grinding coffee beans, making some of the best coffee I have ever had.  Strong, dark and flavorful - and that was the decaf. 

Whether you are visiting the Historical Society - or seeing the dinosaurs at the Museum of Natural History across the street - this place is worth the stop just for the coffee and crepe.

Caffè Storico, 170 Central Park West (at 77th Street)

Diner and a Movie

I have a thing for New York City diners (as in the restaurant kind).

While the city has thousands of amazing restaurants, lingering over simple poached eggs or an omelet at a diner while someone else continually refills your coffee cup is a relaxing way to start the day.  

Yesterday, between appointments in the Flatiron area and Midtown, I wandered through our old stomping grounds around Gramercy Park.  Scott and I lived in the neighborhood the first five years we were married.   

I dropped by the Sunflower Diner on Third Avenue at 26th Street, where we often enjoyed breakfast before our Saturday morning movie dates. Their sunny, mosaic tile décor and colorful Fiestaware dishes were always a cheerful and cozy way to greet the day.  Many weekend brunch specials were large enough to share, so we would sometimes order one breakfast with two coffees.  (Not quite "Lady and the Tramp" - but still romantic!)

Coffee at Sunflower Diner