Tag Archives: lauren ezersky. warren schultz

Red Rooster Gets It Right

 A Hamburger in Harlem

photo(15) photo(14) photo(16)What is it about hamburgers? What’s all the fuss? Come back from trying any new restaurant in town and someone will invariably ask: “How are the burgers there?” Every food-centric magazine, web site, and blog does a best hamburger list at least once a year. Like any other carnivore, i like my burgers. And Shake Shack is at the top of the list. But today i decided to try someplace new. A restaurant not particularly known for its burgers: the Red Rooster in Harlem.

I had just finished a very trying visit to St. Luke’s Hospital uptown and needed to treat myself to a burger. i realized i was within walking distance of Harlem and the Red Rooster, so i took a chance. Now, the Red Rooster is more known for its soul food such as catfish, fried chicken, shrimp and grits and the like. I had a hunch the burger was pretty damn good too.

I arrived late in the afternoon when there were plenty of open tables in the streetside patio on Lenox Ave. So i got myself a table and ordered at Dogfish Head draft to quench my thirst and chill my nerves.  Ah! I gave the menu a cursory go-over, but i knew what i wanted: The Triple Double Burger with bacon, jarlsberg, and rooster sauce, medium rare please with fries and an order of pickled vegetables to start.

The carrots, onions, radish, and cauliflower were lightly pickled and came with two zesty dipping sauces. By the time i finished, the burger and fries had arrived, and it seemed a suitable time for another beer. Let me talk about the fries first. They were shoestring style, and everything that a McDonald’s fry aspired to be when and if it ever grew up. They were crisp on the outside, pillowy on the inside and generously covered with sea salt. Great fries! The burger was equal to them. Two delicious patties, perfectly done, criss-crossed with bacon and seasoned with a subtle sauce. Delicious!

Now, my best burger list begins and ends with the Red Rooster Triple Double.

 

Refined Italian at Villageo

Lauren enjoys dinner on Central Park South

The 4th Annual ARF Showhouse and Sale

Everything Must Go from the Designers’ Vignettes

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Illustration by Carolyn Fanelli

ARF, you look fabulous for 40. You only get better with age. Your shop in Sagaponack has never looked better than this Memorial Day weekend, all decked out from a makeover by seven top designers.  In each room a designer created a vignette  from thrift store donations, as well as his or her own personal collections. All the items in the room were for sale. Paintings, rugs, chairs, sofas, lamps, you name it, it had a tag. And they were going fast as soon as the show opened. In fact, while we were there, someone bought an entire suite of wicker furniture right out from under us!

The occasion was the fourth annual Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons Thriftshop Designer Showhouse and Sale, held to raise money to support the good work done by ARF in rescuing pets. It coincided with ARF’s 40th anniversary.

Fern Mallis was the Honorary Chair of the event, while Gordon Hoppe, Gigi Mahon and Sandra McConnell were chairs, and Peter Hallock and Lisa McCarthy were vice chairs.

The Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons actively rescues cats and dogs, provides quality care and offers sanctuary until loving homes can be found. If would like like to make a donation, follow this link.

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One of the furry beneficiaries of ARF.

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Lauren Ezersky relaxing in one of the showrooms.

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This dog came to see what all the fuss was about.

 

Articles for sale in one of the display rooms.

Articles for sale in one of the display rooms.

Getting Social

1st Floor Back 1 The Ultimate Pub Experience in Hell’s Kitchen

There are plenty of bars, restaurants, and pubs along Manhattan’s 9th Avenue, But Social, 795 Eighth Avenue, is the pub of all pubs, the platonic ideal of pubs. It has a well stocked bar with plenty of beers on tap, and exactly the kind of food you’re looking for in such a place.

The menu is deep, broad, and inexpensive. The night we were there we went a little crazy, sampling as many of the dishes as possible from the starter, salad, and sandwich sections. The pulled pork slider (with just the right amount of barbecue flavor)  were a big hit with both of us, as was the chicken naan—juicy chunks of chicken wrapped in charred naan bread with sweet chile sauce and avocado. But we were just getting started. We also tried the crispy and refreshing iceberg stack, a fresh twist on the classic wedge salad as well as hummus with pita bread and vegetable crudite. We couldn’t quit without trying something from their extensive burger menu, so we ordered the Big Blue. It’s a hefty hamburger, stacked with onion rings and bacon and covered in blue cheese dressing. Hard to imagine that anyone could stack any more good tasting things on top of a bun. We washed it all down with a strong bloody Mary and a couple bottles of Dogfish Head

Before we left, a trivia game broke out and we joined in and learned how little we know about Pop Culture. Oh well, the food and drinks were good. Service was fast and friendly.

Half-way Around the World in 14 Days

An Epic Trip to New Zealand

Two weeks of hiking, dining, drinking, exploring below the equator

Auckland, New Zealand

Downtown Auckland from the Bay

It was a dream trip 25 years in the making. It has been that long since my sister, Marianne, moved to Auckland, New Zealand  And for 25 years i kept promising i would visit. But you know how it is. But in February i finally bit the bullet and hopped a looooong flight to Kiwi land on Hawaiian Air. I got a very good price with an overnight stop over in Honolulu. Perfect! that meant i could spend a night with my oldest friend, Joe Ferraro and his wife Nadine. Joe picked me up at the airport around 5:00 and brought me back to their bungalow-style home in Manoa. After a shower and a change into the appropriate shorts and flowered shirt we had a beer on the patio and headed out for dinner on the beach. i have to say, the minute my feet touched ground in Hawaii i could feel the tension seeping out of my body. And it continued into New Zealand. Even the prospect of a nine  hour flight hard on the heels ao a 11 1/2 hour flight and an hour and half delay in taking off from Honolulu due to an equipment problem, couldn’t raise my temperature.

Touchdown in Kiwiland

I arrived in New Zealand late Tuesday night. Marianne was there to meet with at the airport.And i really didn’t feel that bad after the 20 hour trip. Here’s the key: I laid out an extra 75 bucks each leg for exit row/bulkhead seating. well worth it? no knees jammed into the seat back in front of me. no getting pissed off at the person in front of me. There was no person in front of me!

Day 1: Exploring downtown Auckland

Wednesday i got my first look at Auckland. I threw on a t-shirt and a pair a shorts and set out. Yes, it is hilly! My sister’s house is in the Eden Terrace neighborhood of Auckland, just a 20 minutes walk from downtown. I just kind of nosed around downtown. You know how when you go to Boston and you’re walking around and suddenly you wonder, Hey where are all the people? well, it’s not like that in Auckland. not in downtown Auckland anyway. Lots of people walking around. I stopped at the Crown on Custom St. for a pint. It’s a brewpub where i enjoyed a pilsner. Though i thought the $12 price for a pint was a bit steep. But stop to figure it out. The exchange makes that $12 $10.20 American. Also, note that there is no tipping in New Zealand, so knock another 2 bucks off of that and you have an $8 pint. that seems about right. Later Marianne and i went out for dinner at, YUZU,  a Japanese place in Mt. Eden. the miso orange roughy was fantastic.

Day 2: Discovering the Auckland Domain

I took a commuter train to Grafton and walked a few steps to the Domain. Wow! What a place. i entered it from behind a small grandstand that sat at the edge of a depression or bowl. it wasn’t until later that i learned it was one of the many volcano craters dotting the city. Athletes were running, stretching, playing cricket. (Well, maybe calling the cricketeers athletes is a bit of a stretch.) i was there to visit the winter garden but had to hunt a bit to find it in the vastness of the Domain.

The Wintergarden in the Auckland Domain

The Wintergarden

The winter garden is a smallish conservatory with a beautiful annual house, and a tropical room with a lovely courtyard. I found the lovely Wintergarden Cafe outside the courtyard and enjoyed a delicious lunch of a warm salad and a Steingarden beer.

More to come…

24 Hours in Beantown

A Short Post-Christmas Trip to Boston

Last year, my wife and i spent the week between Christmas and New Year’s in Boston, visiting family, sampling restaurants, getting some culture at the Gardener Museum, getting some History at Paul Revere’s House.  We stayed at the Boston Park Plaza in one of the biggest hotel rooms i ever saw. This year, i went solo and booked a “petite” room at the same Park Plaza—with some trepidation. I like this hotel though. great location, just a few blocks from the Boston Common, Boylston st, Newbury street. what i don’t like is the $12 surcharge PER DAY for WiFi.photo(1)

But the petite room turned out to be fine and after i dumped my stuff off, Emme and i drove off to pick up Zea at South Station. She was coming in from Maine, where she spent Christmas with her in-laws. Where to eat? that was the question on everyone’s lips. The answer? The Gallows. I had been there once, for brunch and didn’t require any arm-twisting. At the Gallows, we started with their pulled pork stuffed corn muffin to share. Well, i use the term share loosely. Zea pretty much claimed it. Fabulous! then it was on to the main course.

Earlier, we had decided we would “eat light” after the excesses of Christmas. But by now we had worked up an appetite and when confronted with the menu, i knew it was burger time. I opted for the Carpetbagger with fired oysters atop. Zea chose the Maleson Melt with chanterelle, and porcini-morel butter. Emme, though, zeroed in on the poutine. specifically the daily Out of Control poutine, tonight made with bone marrow gravy. Wow!

Friday night, we hit another, small, beer-centric pub of the type that seems to characterize Boston. This time it was The Five Horses Tavern in the South End. Our mantra again was
“Eat Light!,” but that didn’t happen. not after i got a look at the menu.As son as i spotted it i knew i would have the k.f.c.g.h. With Kentucky fired Cornish game hen, jalapeno mashed potatoes and pork belly mac and cheese, it was comfort food times three. And it did not disappoint.

Fried Cornish Game Hen, Jalapeno Mashed Potatoes and Mac & Cheese

Dinner at Five Horses in Boston

Both of these fine establishments had amazing beer menus–bottled and on tap. And Five Horses happily seated our party when only  four of  six were present. When’s the last time something like that happened in New York?

 

 

Holiday Magic at the NYBG Train Show

An Amazing Display of Miniatures

Must-sees in New York for the Holidays include the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, and the Rockettes Christmas Show, the store windows on 5th Avenue—all enduring New York Christmas traditions. But none of them outshine the annual Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden.

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The George Washington Bridge reaches toward the Conservatory ceiling at the NYBG Holiday Train Show

 

For those who don’t know, the Holiday Train Show takes over the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory during the holiday season. Throughout the exhibit, model trains zip around New York landmark replicas made of plant parts such as nuts, bark, and leaves, There’s the George Washing Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, and of course, the Brooklyn Bridge. Want buildings? Rockefeller Center, the Flatiron Building, City Hall, Macy’s, even Yankee Stadium (!) —all painstakingly constructed of nuts, seeds, twigs, leaves, roots. Each structure is more marvelous than the next. Even the most hardened Scrooge is bound to be swept into the holiday spirit by the experience of viewing this remarkable buildings as model trains wind past them. The New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show runs through January 12.

Macy's at NYBG
Lauren shopping at Macy’s. There is even a Christmas Display in the tiny windows!
Warren Schultz at New York Botanical Garden Train Show.
Batter up at Yankee Stadium!
JFK airport
Yes, it is the TWA Building at JFK, complete with “plant-based” airplanes on the runway.
This incredible display is the work of Paul Busse. And Paul is not one to rest on his laurels. Every year, he creates new buildings for the show. And this year, “The Artist’s Studio” exhibit reveals his step-by-step process for creating the exhibit.
You can purchase tickets here.

Chefs & Champagne

A Great Night for Food and Fun in the Hamptons

lauren is feelin’ the love at wofflers

Andrew Zimmern does not think Lauren is Weird.

Andrew Zimmern does not think Lauren is bizarre. All photos by Gemma Kahng.

 

Today I was so feelin’ the love on Long Island. I’m talking about the passion displayed at the James Beard Foundation Chefs and Champagne New York event at Wolffer estate in da Hamptons. The chefs so tenderly presented their creations. They were lovingly displayed and prepared with care. Many “hot” chefs were represented their from the tri state area including Masaharu Morimoto with his tuna trio, Eric Miller from Madison & Main with his grilled Montauk pearl oysters, and Stefan Karlsson from Sweden with his salmon tartare.  I had a hard time working because it was difficult not to spend all my time stuffing my face with all the goodies available. I also got to take a photo with the JBF award winner Andrew Zimmern star of the Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods

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Masaharu Morimoto lovingly created and served a Tuna Trio to appreciative guests at Chefs & Champagne.

Besides feeding me—and hundreds of others— the Foundation does stellar work giving students scholarships that honor and nurture America’s diverse culinary heritage.  They educate and inspire the young to be creative and learn their craft whether it’s food, wine, champagne, or whatever. They also had very cool items and travel opportunities to bid on both online and in person. All and all it was a fun time had by me —and all. I think everybody gained at least five pounds!  The only problem is I have to wait a whole year for such fine food grazing. In the meantime, I’ve just have to visit some of the restaurants that were represented there.

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Wofflers in Sagaponnick was the scene for Chefs like Stefan Karlsson

Chef Stefan Karlsson from Fond restaurant in Sweden served Tuna Tartare.

B. Smith and her man enjoy the evening.

B. Smith and her man enjoy the evening.

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Rosa Ross from Scrimshaw in Greenport.

Rosa Ross from Scrimshaw in Greenport.

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For the Love of Ivy

Yum yum gimme some…..more Ivy restaurant! What a feast I just had. Lobster tacos layered shrimp and avocado sautéed Brussels sprouts with bacon and onion covered in cheese. Generous appetizer portions with fair prices. It’s mostly bar food but a bit more upscale than most. My friend had a pomegranate drink and was feeling no pain. I highly recommend this restaurant on 56 and 8th if you are ever in the hood!

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