Latest Entries »

Most would agree that food and art go hand-in-hand. The same goes for bad boy chef, Chris Santos, who uses the pair to inspire his newly opened restaurant, Vandal. He may be a no-nonsense judge on the Food Network’s hit show ‘Chopped,’ but this restaurateur/chef has a soft side for global street food and the artistic influence of cultures.

Located on the historic Bowery in New York’s lower east side (LES), the bi-level urban, chic space houses two bars and lounges including one in the cellar, a garden dining area,  and private dining room. Chef Chris is a vet when it comes to the LES dining scene. With two successful and trendy dines, The Stanton Social and Beauty & Essex, Vandal is a welcomed new kid on the block.

The restaurant offers diners a world class experience of diverse small plates and tantalizing drinks while praising neighborhood and global art and architecture. When forming the concept, Chef says he wanted the “menu to be a culmination of inspiration from [his] life travels and includes nods to street fare from locations as varied as New York, Rome, Peru and Hong Kong.” As a result, dishes like snapper tostadas, lobster and sweet potato soup dumplings, Argentinian beef empanada and Chicken Katsu & Hong Kong egg waffles are served very evening to guests.

There’s a surge of buzz surrounding Vandal’s opening. No doubt the restaurant will see great success and yet, Chef Santos has more up his sleeves. Plans are slated for more restaurant project openings in Los Angeles and Las Vegas summer 2016.

Vandal

199 Bowery, New York, NY 100002

212-400-0199

image

Grilled Pork Chop Phó

‘Tis the season for comfort food. As always, it conjures up fond memories, awakens the taste buds and is super satisfying. We all have our go-to favs, but I’ve added different dish to my all-star list – phó – and Shanghi Shack serves up the real deal.

This shack is a local favorite among the NYU, Greenwhich Village crowds and phó lovers alike. No passport or long flight necessary to indulge in this pool of brothy love straight from the orient. Cozy up to a deep dish filled with noodles and grilled pork chop (or your choice of topping). Pick and choose from a spread of fresh lime, basil leaves and beansprouts to enhance the rich flavor of the phó. Or, settle down to the classic, plentiful báhn mì sandwich with Vietnamese ham, house bacon and paté. If you’re more of a vermicelli purist, pair it with tender grilled lemongrass chicken or seasoned soy. There’s a great selection of choices including vibrant salads and fresh juices, but don’t overlook the perfectly fried sweet potato fries with the addictive house mayo sauce – I promise you’ll want it sauce on everything!

As we turn to stews, casseroles, and roasted veggies this time of year, venture out and try a new type of home cooking. It may not be momma’s kind of fare but as long as it’s tasty and brings you to a happy place, she’ll approve.

 

114 MacDougle St.

212-228-0588

Open for dining, pick up and take out orders

**cash only**

1310 Broadway

Hewlette, NY 11557 (Long Island)

Phone: 516-569-2654

You’ve heard of southern comfort but at Hewlett’s best kept secret, Ciao Bella in Long Island, comfort Italiano is served as rich as their marinara sauce. Steeped in a long  (and rather notable) history in the kitchen, Chef and owner Freddy Sammarone puts forth his best five days a week at his debut, laid-back haute. Raised in his father’s legendary restaurant, Ennio and Michael’s (previously in the West Village), Chef Freddy practically fulfilled every position in the family operation. Teamed with his wife Dina, his expertise is modestly, yet exquisitely displayed on every plate, seducing diners as they anxiously dig-in.

Antipasto Trio

Antipasto Trio

The antipasto trio, for starters, isn’t your traditional antipasto but stems from tradition. Showcasing his mother’s famous roasted artichoke, Chef  Sammarone dresses it in breadcrumbs and dried cranberries. The artichoke is roasted to “buttah” perfection and melts in the mouth. Cranberries balance the creamy artichoke as the crumbs added great texture to each bite. Savory baked eggplant and clams rounded out the trio – a great backdrop for the next course.

There’s something to be said about simple flavors and textures. When the right ingredients meet and spices mingle pure magic happens. Such is the case with the stunning squid ink linguini topped with a shrimp filled marinara sauce. Sounds simple, but this winning dish thoughtfully highlights each main ingredient. The al dente pasta with the garlic, ink sauce complements the kick of the spicy shrimp marinara. Good luck resisting the urge to lick the plate once done!

Squid Ink Linguini

Squid Ink Linguini

And of course, a meal isn’t complete without ending on a sweet note. Hands down, the Italian ricotta cheesecake is the best dessert offering. Mastered by Dina Sammarone and inspired by Chef’s father, this awe-inspiring slice of heaven is wonderfully moist, has a light cake consistency and manages to have a dark, golden crust. This cheesecake rivals the best of ‘em.

Italian Ricotta Cheesecake

Italian Ricotta Cheesecake

Although, considered a charming neighborhood spot, it’s definitely on the rise. Genuine, inviting people, scrumptious fare, and family influence equals comfort in my book. Ciao Bella is more than a phrase, more than a restaurant – it’s a way of life.

Tid-bits:

  • Open Wednesday evening – Sunday evening
  • Made to order meals
  • Mindful of food allergies and gluten free requests (with advance notice)
  • Can bring wine but there’s a corking fee
  • No website, just call or walk in!

Don’t Doubt Downtown

No longer is the World Trade Center area considered NYCs ghost town, but instead a revival of life, gourmand presence and promise. There has been a huge increase in residents due to an influx of new eateries, mega-foodie markets and notable chef restaurants flocking to the scene. Not to mention, major media power house Condé Nast, set up shop at 1 World Trade Center.

A prominent example of revitalization is Le District – a bustling French cuisine centered marketplace offering coveted pastries, charcuterie, indigenous ingredients, and other provincial gems from the city of lights. Housed in Brookfield Place, guests can plan an all-inclusive visit by tasting Parisian delicacies, or try bites from the Blue Ribbon sushi and Mighty Quinn’s Barbeque outposts (among others) in Hudson Eats. Then treat his or herself to retail treats at Saks or better yet, DVF.

But this is just the beginning. Veterans such as the Odeon and North End Grill, are the catalysts since they have claimed stake in the area far ahead of the curve. Now names such as Mario Batali, Starr Restaurant group, April Bloomfield, and beloved Wylie Dufresne plan to get in on the action within the next 12 months. And the list keeps growing!

Anticipating more patrons, surrounding dines have changed their menus, entrées, and hours to meet the interests of the people: the Odeon added a breakfast service, newcomer Racines NY (Chambers St.) incorporated a refined lunch selection, highlighting flavorful yet light selections to attract local Condé Nast editors, and Warren 77 has recently noticed more customers during happy hour.

With a child-like hope and excitement for the near future, chefs, restaurateurs, and epicureans salivate for what’s to come. At such potential, Battery Park City explodes with life and culinary wonder. At such a time as this, it’s worth the journey and discovery to be downtown bound.

Many people know the Upper West Side, U.W.S. for short, for it’s exquisite museums – MOMA, The Museum of Natural History, the Planetarium and of course Central Park. But remember, this is New York City, one of the world’s food mecca’s and so ANY NEIGHBORHOOD in this city is known for it’s food – The Upper West Side included. I’ve had the pleasure of sampling some new dines and known favorites in this neighborhood.

New to me, but well established to locals is Canteen 82. This superb sushi and Shanghai-centric joint offers fresh, organic ingredients. So many imaginative sushi rolls in this eatery – there’s the Mango Fly Roll filled with spicy tuna and yellowtail fish topped with mango and also the Green Dragon Roll stuffed with sweet potato, shitake mushrooms and cucumber draped with avocado.

Green Dragon and Mango Fly Rolls, Canteen82

Green Dragon and Mango Fly Rolls, Canteen82

I cannot say enough about their succulent pork soup dumplings. These babies are similar to traditional dumplings but include a helping of pork broth inside, so your bite bursts with flavor to seduce your taste buds! You must try it at least once in your life. Unforgettable!

Address: 467 Columbus Ave. (bet. 82nd and 83rd )

Another popular place is Gabriela’s Restaurant & Tequila Bar. No passport necessary, but once your walk under the front trellis your are instantly transported to Gabriel’s back patio in Mexico. Authenticity is taken very seriously here. Especially in the coveted moles served – Poblano (pepper and chocolate based sauce) and Pipian(pumpkin seed and almond sauce). I recommend notable dishes: Empanada de Pollo Organico, a turnover filled with organic chicken, sautéed tomatoes and onions and the Pork Al Pastor tacos.

Empanadas de Pollo Organico, Al Pastor Tacos, Shrimp Chimichanga, and Suizas

Empanadas de Pollo Organico, Al Pastor Tacos, Shrimp Chimichanga, and Suizas

And you cannot miss the shrimp chimichanga filled with beans, cheese and tomato sauce (pictured) nor the Suizas enchilada packed with chicken topped with Pico de Gallo, sour cream and Green Salsa or you can opted for a mole sauce instead (pictured). No matter what you order you won’t be disappointed. Be adventurous and accompany your option with their delicious sangria or a fantastic margarita. Looking for a brunch option? Gabriela’s offers an unbeatable $13 spread of dishes every weekend and holiday!

Address: 688 Columbus Ave. (at 93rd st.)

One of my favorite places, The Meatball Shop, is one of the new kids on the block (literally). Recently making their claim to the UWS, Owners, Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow have opened their fifth location in Manhattan (sixth overall) which is all the buzz in town. This time, I tried the mysterious yet legendary Kitchen Sink Salad with a quinoas, turkey meatball topped with homemade pesto and vinaigrette dressing. The salad is made up of the chef’s choice of

Kitchen Sink Salad with Quinoas Turkey meatballs and pesto sauce

Kitchen Sink Salad with Quinoas Turkey meatballs and pesto sauce

greens and veggies. Mine included sliced apples, shredded carrots with raisins, sautéed cauliflower, mushrooms, and beets. All topped with extra mozzarella cheese. Absolutely tantalizing! I’ve reviewed The Meatball Shop in a previous post… if you’re hungry for more, read the full review here.

Address: 477 Amsterdam Ave.

Shakeshak, a glorious burger joint to New Yorkers. Known for it’s heavenly milkshakes, juicy burgers, dogs and addictive fries, this shack is a grill-grub home for museum tourists and natives alike. Cannot miss the DogMeister- a dog topped with Shack cheddar and American cheese sauce and crispy ShackMeister Ale-marinated shallots. Umm-hmm, sounds great, right? Wash it down with a Caramel shake or a featured beer. P.S. Congrats to ShakeShak for it’s newest location in Flatbush, Brooklyn!

Address: 366 Columbus Ave. ( at 77th st.)

There’s nothing like wholesome, local produce! During the July 4th weekend, I decided to visit the weekly market in downtown Silver Spring and boy was it a treat!

20140710-203406-74046282.jpg

20140710-203800-74280895.jpg

20140710-203943-74383724.jpg
Not only were there food purveyors there, some vendors were more of the crafty type, like Banner Bee – an all natural, sustainable honey harvesting company which sells infused honey and bee wax candles. Such infusions include lavender, chili pepper, and a lemon & thyme mix.

20140710-204024-74424254.jpg

20140710-204126-74486720.jpg

As if being surrounded by the colorful bounty of fruit and veggies wasn’t satisfying enough, there was even a live jazz band for a relaxed browsing experience.

Hosted by FRESHFARM Markets (the largest farmers market organization in the DMV with 13 locations overall) this outdoor experience not only makes sense for your wallet, it makes sense for your health too. Supporting local never tasted and looked so good!

20140325-213510.jpg

Dinning in a small town doesn’t mean a dull dining experience. Such is the case when it comes to The County Cork Wine Pub. Nestled in a modest area of Eldersburg, (a suburb of Baltimore) this chic family owned wine bar has truly made its mark with locals. With an impressive selection of wines ranging from sparkling to the favored J. Lohr Chardonnay, delicious ports, and flirty rosés, this pub is well stocked for a great time. And let’s not forget vino from around the world like the Austrian Grooner Grüner Veltliner (a white wine with citrus and green apple notes) and the Argentine Alamos Melbec (a full bodied red with dark cherry flavors) is on hand – no passport necessary. Don’t worry if you’re not sure what to choose; you can sample up to three wines for $10. No too shabby! The cocktails are great to boot, too!

There are so many great reasons to come visit with friends or to end a work day. On Tuesdays bottles of wine are half price and Wednesdays are free apps! My favorite appetizer is the bountiful Crab and Brie fondue- a cheesy pool of fresh, lump crab meat adorned with diced tomato and scallions. You can’t go wrong with the Shaved Lamb French Dip with swiss and caramelized onions along with a velvety au jus. Or even the glorious Grilled Eggplant Flatbread decorated with tomato, basil, and mozzarella cheese.

The County Cork Pub has so much to offer; it’s not just another wine bar. The Cork’s library of wine, specialty cocktails, and craft beer paired with no-nonsense dishes provides a top shelf experience for guests. Throw in its superb service, warm atmosphere and affordable prices, there’s no wonder why this pub is an up-and-coming neighborhood favorite.

Location: 1716 Liberty Road, Eldersburg, MD

Tid- bits:
OpenTable Diner’s Choice 2014 Winner, Happy Hours, Monthly Wine Events, and fantastic weekly specials
Hours: Tue- Sat 11am -1 am
Sunday brunch: 10am -3pm
Closed Mondays

20140325-213458.jpg

20140325-214706.jpg

Just got back from an enchanting trip to Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. This suburb outside of Puerto Vallarta boasts the deeply rooted traditions of Mayan Indian traditions which are beautifully shown through its vibrant culture, food and people. Since a picture says a thousand words here is a feast from my foodie experience while abroad. Enjoy!!

Juicy Cuban Sandwich (turkey ham, roasted pork, gouda cheese, and crispy potato wedges) Restaurant: Havana Moon

Juicy Cuban Sandwich (turkey ham, roasted pork, gouda cheese, and crispy potato wedges) Restaurant: Havana Moon in Nuevo Vallarta

Mexican Platter: Chili Relleno (tortilla wrapped green chili stuffed with cheese) , succulent skirt steak, roasted veggies and a chicken taquito.

Mexican Platter: Chili Relleno (tortilla wrapped green chili stuffed with cheese), succulent skirt steak, roasted veggies and a chicken taquito. Restaurant: Rumba! in Nuevo Vallarta

Doña Chanita Tequila Distillery: 5 varieties: Silver, Reposado, Anejo, Amaretto, & chocolate/Coffee

Doña Chanita Tequila Distillery: 5 varieties: Silver, Reposado, Anejo, Amaretto, & chocolate/Coffee. Distillery located on the island of Baja off the coast of Nuevo Vallarta

Classic Nachos... I couldn't resist!

Classic Nachos… I couldn’t resist

One of my favorite displays, La Plaza

One of my favorite displays, La Plaza

Macaroon Pyramid in the gourmet bakery, La Plaza

Macaroon Pyramid in the gourmet bakery, La Plaza

Hazelnut Molten Cake in the gourmet bakery, La Plaza

Hazelnut Molten Cake in the gourmet bakery, La Plaza

Queso Fondue with chorizo Restauant: Calle Encinco in Puerto Vallarta

Queso Fondue with Chorizo
Restaurant: Calle Encinco in Puerto Vallarta

Back in Business!

Hello all! I know it’s been quite a while. CannyCandi is under some reconstruction. I’ve moved to the Washington, DC metro area, so my posts will feature the fantastic eateries in and near the nation’s capital! So get ready for scrumptious features full of fun, foodie finds spanning neighborhoods from Chocolate City all the way to Charm City!

Follow me on instagram and you’ll know what I’m dishin’ up. 🙂

 

7121 Bethesda Lane

(301) 656-5515

 www.redwoodbethesda.com

Image

Chicken Sliders

You’re probably like me. I love being surprised, especially when it comes to a restaurant like Redwood in Bethesda, Maryland. Located in an upscale area near DC, it’s highly touted and was chosen as the venue for Bravo’s Top Chef season 7 “restaurant wars” – a legendary event and honor in itself. Needless to say, I was slightly intimidated by its score card. Yet, when I was invited to dine there, I jumped at the opportunity. Surprisingly, my nerves were quickly eased. The food and exceptional service lives up to the reputation but it is unpretentious. Although chic and modern, Redwood focuses on wholesome comfort food and doesn’t take itself too seriously. With delicious appetizers like whimsy fried chicken sliders with a chipotle aioli and lightly fried macaroni balls, I knew I was in good hands. This local favorite renewed my faith in fried calamari as well. In the past, I’ve been highly disappointed by calamari if I order it anywhere else other than an Italian eatery.  But I was more than pleased here. The flavorful, plump “O’s” are crispy and well-seasoned with the perfect thickness – it didn’t stand a chance for survival!

Image

Shrimp and Grits with braised greens

Known for its commitment to serving the best of traditional and contemporary dishes with local ingredients, the kitchen takes homey favorites such as chicken pot pie or shrimp and grits and refines them while evoking memories of  our first bites of these classic entrées. Executive Sous Chef, Sedrick Crawley’s take on custom and modern American cuisine is the perfect balance between familiar and new tastes while leaving diners wanting more. And with an ever-changing menu, it excites me to see what else he has up his sleeve. Chef Sed’s passion for his craft radiates from each plate. Such is the case with the steamed muscle with chorizo and roasted garlic and even the bucatini (a thick pasta dressed with a pork and beef meat sauce finished with the Italian grana padano cheese); both appropriately served in a rustic “mama’s favorite” skillet.

Image

Bucatini

photo 3

Steamed Muscles

Now, when indulging in such great fare, the occasion begs for a 21+ libation. It’s hard to go wrong with any of the impressive, hand crafted drinks and wine list. (A comfort to know.)  I’m a gin girl and my favorite drink was the brilliant Chartreusian 75 which includes yellow chartreuse, simple syrup, and sparkling wine. A tantalizing mixture of sweet and tart…basically it was seduction in a glass.

photo 2

Chartreusian 75

With delicious happy hours, weekly live entertainment and a menu that’ll thrill your taste buds, Redwood is more than a restaurant… it’s an experience for all senses.

Style Eye D

Frugal Finds of a Foodie Discovering New York's Neighborboods, Cuisines and Cultures

Eater NY - All

Frugal Finds of a Foodie Discovering New York's Neighborboods, Cuisines and Cultures

Eater - All

Frugal Finds of a Foodie Discovering New York's Neighborboods, Cuisines and Cultures

grubstreet

Frugal Finds of a Foodie Discovering New York's Neighborboods, Cuisines and Cultures

Canny Candi

Frugal Finds of a Foodie Discovering New York's Neighborboods, Cuisines and Cultures

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.