Mercado Little Spain – Hudson Yards

On our way to the Vessel at Hudson Yards, we ran into the Mercado at Hudson Yards. It was morning and not yet crowded, which made it a great time to explore.

Spanish Market. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Offering “the best of Spanish food, drinks and culture from world-famous Chef José Andrés and the Adría Brothers,” the Mercado has 3 sit-down restaurants and around 18 kiosks and bars offering everything from cheese to churros.

Continue reading “Mercado Little Spain – Hudson Yards”

Review: Medieval Times with Kids

If you’ve been to the Renaissance Faire, you’ll love Medieval Times. I thought it was going to be a little bit hokey, but we had so much fun. My son can’t wait to go back.

Waiting to meet the king at Medieval Times. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

What is Medieval Times?
Medieval Times is a dinner show with tournament. It’s not just jousting, though there is jousting. It’s a show with horses, a falcon and a princess too. It takes place in a castle. Continue reading “Review: Medieval Times with Kids”

Review: Queens – A Culinary Passport

I admit I’ve only been to Queens once, on a trip to the New York Hall of Science. Before going, I asked for restaurant advice from my friend Alison Lowenstein, author of City Kid New York. She steered us to Tortilleria Nixtamel, a cozy spot not far away, where we had delicious tacos, tamales, agua fresca and some other items. We later hit the Lemon Ice King of Corona, which a Jersey Kids Treat of the Day, for a cold dessert.

Queens, a Culinary Passport by Andrea Lynn
Queens, a Culinary Passport by Andrea Lynn

While these were excellent dining spots, when I go in the future, I will consult my new book, Queens a Culinary Passport: Exploring Ethnic Cuisine in New York City’s Most Diverse Borough by food writer Andrea Lynn.

In the book which was just released this week, Andrea shares detailed info on more than 40 restaurants and food stands – including cuisines like Pakistani, Greek, Italian, Romanian, Hungarian, Korean, Thai, Mexican, Uzbekistanian, Kosher deli, Slovak Chech…you get the idea. And by the way, Tortilleria Nixtamel and Lemon Ice King of Corona are both included.

But this is not just a book of restaurants, though restaurants are featured in detail. In it, you’ll find interviews with the restaurant owners and historical background about some of the food items featured there. There’s also interviews with other foodies like Serious Eats editor Max Falkowitz, on Queens memories and favorite food spots, and Famous Fat Dave, NYC Food Tour guide.

You’ll find food stores like the U.S. Supermarket, an Asian emporium, and Titan Foods, the largest Greek specialty store in the country.

You’ll find a lot of recipes. First one I’m trying is the Greek Frappe, something I enjoyed during my Mediterranean excursions without good replication at home. Some recipes are inspired by the dishes that featured restaurants serve (not all restaurants want to share their secret sauce), and some are adapted. I appreciate that Andrea spells that out.

And you’ll find self-guided walking tours for each neighborhood (the book is divided by neighborhood) with specific food spots to hit.

The book is lovely, designed with a mosaic motif reminiscent of the MTA subway stops. And there are lots of color photos and maps to illustrate it.

Even if you’re not going to Queens any time soon, it’s a fascinating book to read, to get a diverse cultural and food history. And if you venture to Queens at all, you must buy it.

Philadelphia: Max Brenner and City Tavern

–This is part of our series on Philadelphia with kids. See all the posts in the series at the bottom.–

This post might easily be called a Tale of Two Restauants. Totally different vibes. Totally different menus. First let me say that it’s really hard to pick restaurants in Philly. There are a lot of good choices, and a lot depends on what part of the city you want to explore. Our first choice was something kid-friendly, and the second was something more historic.

Waffle cheese steak at Max Brenners

 Max Brenner is a chain. I went for an afternoon snack with a friend last summer in Boston. I had a frozen chocolate coffee drink in a really cute cup (see the Drink Me cup below) and my friend had a salad. Both were good. Since Max Brenner focuses on chocolate desserts and funky presentations, we thought the kids would enjoy it. And they did. Continue reading “Philadelphia: Max Brenner and City Tavern”

Review: Scott’s Pizza Tour in NYC

This dude loves his pizza.
This dude loves his pizza.

We were looking for something fun to do with the kids and my in-laws, the Friday after Thanksgiving. Having just “won” two tickets to Scott’s Pizza Tour in a silent auction, we signed up and bought four more tickets to bring my Chicago in-laws and our kids.

Let’s start off by saying that Scott is PASSIONATE about pizza. That comes through loud and clear. This is a man who loves pizza, loves sharing his information and learning everything he can. He’s also hilarious and great with adults and kids. For those reasons alone, the tour was a delight. It takes a special tour for my kids not to complain or fight with each other for three hours – especially when at least half of the tour time is outside. And it was in the 30s that day – brrrrr!!!!

A few fun pizza facts:

–There are 2,000 pizzerias in New York City Continue reading “Review: Scott’s Pizza Tour in NYC”

Treat of the Day: Rice to Riches

I have to admit, I did not actually eat at Rice to Riches. It wasn’t open yet (too early in the day), and we were on our way to Scott’s Pizza Tours, which meets nearby. But the Rice to Riches company signage was so funny and the concept so awesome, I have to believe it would be great. So if you’ve eaten there, please give us the scoop.


I‘m not a big rice pudding fan (I also don’t hate it), but I’m dying to try this place, which has been around since 2002. Check out some of their flavors: Sex, Drugs and Rocky Road, I’ll Take Eggnog for $200, Alex; Fluent in French Toast…I like a place with humor. You can get a bit of background about Rice to Riches, the concept development and its quirky founder in this New York Times story. Continue reading “Treat of the Day: Rice to Riches”

Treat of the Day: Doughnuttery

If you haven’t been to Chelsea Market, you’re missing out. It’s one place we bring almost all visitors who want to see New York City. But that’s a whole other post.

One section of Chelsea Market has a an open area with a bunch of small vendors, mostly selling food. The Doughnuttery was new from our previous visit, and we ordered a few of their little doughnuts.


Their schtick is that they make them fresh and you choose what kind of sugar you want on them. you can see the sugars on the shelf above (and the menu is below). Continue reading “Treat of the Day: Doughnuttery”

Treat of the Day: House of Cupcakes

French Toast cupcake - a winner!
French Toast cupcake – a winner!

We spent last Saturday in Princeton, picking up the race packet for the Princeton half-marathon for the next day No, I wasn’t running, hubby was. But we wanted to spend the gorgeous sunny day, bursting with fall leaf goodness, walking around the Princeton campus and downtown. Look for a post on that coming soon.

We’re always on the lookout for treats – to hold over the kids’ heads if they are good during the day. I spotted the House of Cupcakes after leaving the parking garage on Spring Street, near Witherspoon. I hadn’t done my research. I didn’t know that the House of Cupcakes won the 2011 Cupcake Wars competition on the Food Network (well, I didn’t know until I read their sign in the window). Continue reading “Treat of the Day: House of Cupcakes”

Treat of the Day: Sugar and Plumm, Purveyors of Yumm

Just a few days after Easter, I thought I’d tempt you with come Easter candy – and some that’s not specifically for the holiday. This treat of the day comes to you from Sugar and Plumm, with stores in Paramus, NJ and the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Pictures are from the latter location, just around the corner from the American Museum of Natural History, where ironically we were seeing an exhibit on whales.

This chocolate egg crate is all edible! And costs $45. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Ahhh the chocolates...Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan
Ahhh the chocolates…Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

These chocolates came in flavors like Continue reading “Treat of the Day: Sugar and Plumm, Purveyors of Yumm”