Archive for September, 2011
POSTED: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 11:43 am
Besides a pretzel or hot dog from the vendor carts, the PERFECT slice of pizza is always a highly sought experience when someone visits the Big Apple. From Brooklyn to New Jersey, downtown to the Bronx – each pizzeria in each borough is different. Luckily, Distrikt Hotel is right next to a hidden treasure called Capizzi.
Serving authentic old-fashion wood burn pizza, as well as breads and salads – the restaurant is named after a small town in Sicily (Province of Messina), called Capizzi. This little town is where the owner’s, Joseph Calcagno, Mother and Grandparents are from. So, this gem of a pizzeria is a tribute to the family, and basically feels like you are eating a home-cooked meal at your Grandma’s table! The ambience of the restaurant is very cozy and inviting. Inside you see family photos, flowers in used wine bottles, an old rotary phone, an even older 1950’s refrigerator, a brick oven/wall, dried chili peppers and lavender. If you are a wine-connoisseur, you will be happy to learn that there is a fine wine selection available as well. The place is on the smaller more intimate side, but in the midst of Hell’s Kitchen, Capizzi feels like home.
Having worked within the restaurant business his whole life, Joe owns a few other Italian restaurants between Hell’s Kitchen and Staten Island. Joe keeps family tradition alive through authentic recipes passed down from his father and his father before that. They even let guests go behind and help make the pizza pies. Yup, it’s one of those cool pizzerias where the chefs make the pizza dough, toss it up into the air, and catch it with on hand behind their back. I want to learn how to do this!I recommend getting a slice of everything, because everything is SO good!
Capizzi turns one year old this October, but has the feel of a 50-year-old business that has weathered the changes within Hell’s Kitchen. In a city like New York, with the hundreds and hundreds of pizza parlors and Italian restaurants – Capizzi is winning the stomachs and attention of not only the locals but the critics. Trip Advisor awarded this newbie with the Certificate of Excellency only 6 months after opening! Impressive. So, if you are looking to enjoy a little slice of Italy in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen/Times Square area, I recommend Capizzi. Bellissimo!
POSTED: Thursday, September 8, 2011 9:32 am
Yesterday, despite the rainy weather, I walked over to Broadway on 40th Street for the Fashion Center Tour de Fashion bicycles event. The tents were crowded as if the weather was no issue. I proceeded through the velvet ropes, past security, and checked in.
The Fashion Center displayed thirty bicycles, each customized by New York’s leading designers to be available to the public during Fashion Week. Each bike shone and stood with their unique designs to be admired and photographed.
I walked throughout the tents more than it was necessary and looked at each bike more profoundly each time around. Every time was a new experience because I always missed a small detail that made them much cooler than before. Feathers, rhinestones, flowers, lace, bright colorful paints, and pretty baskets were very common among these fashion bicyclettes.
My favorites included Betsey Johnson, Amrita Singh, Nanette Lepore, Rebecca Minkoff and Gretchen Jones. Each bike caught my eyes a different way without having to look. It was refreshing to see Johnson’s playful approach since it followed her signature style through fashion. I love the way Amrita displayed her jewelry and Indian background. Lepore’s bright colors and wheels did it for me. I adored the tassels, purse and studs on Minkoff’s designs, it reminded me of the “downtown girl”. Gretchen Jones’ bike stood on a whole level by itself. The wooded wheels were a superb touch.
The terrific news is that each of these amazing bicycles is available to the general public free of charge during Fashion Week. Any person may borrow the bike with a valid credit card and driver’s license for one hour. Why don’t you cycle the city in style during New York City’s Fashion Week events?
Visit ride www.ridethecity.com for more information.
POSTED: Tuesday, September 6, 2011 1:15 pm
Like many New Yorkers, I love good coffee. Yes, I admit I do drink instant coffee sometimes – but that would be because I couldn’t find the proper cup-a-Joe at the nearby Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts. It wasn’t until I started working at Distrikt Hotel that I discovered the best coffee I have tasted…ever. Empire Coffee is a New York coffee shop/ business that is just two blocks up from Distrikt on 9th avenue. You can order a cup of coffee to go, or pickup a pound or two of fresh roasted coffee. If you don’t like coffee, then there is a huge variety of loose teas that Empire Coffee creates. If you feel snackish, there are a variety of gourmet, organic or international treats. From biscotti to Scottish biscuits to chocolate covered coffee beans, the flavors are INFINITE!
Originally based in New Jersey, this business has been open for years, offering customers fresh gourmet coffee. The organic coffee is roasted upstate and sold both in-store and online. I think what makes Empire Coffee so amazing is the variety and selection of coffee. They created some very unique blends and names to go with it. For example, The Obama Blend or Blueberry Crumb Cake – each roast has such a unique taste and quality. The coffee beans sit in canvas sacks along the wall with these unique blend names and descriptions. If you are a tea drinker, there are jars upon jars of home-made blends and mixes to choose from. Be it Green Tea or something spicier like South African Chai, the options are endless.
Coffee-wise, I think my favorite name/description would be the “Irish Cream” blend which states “Just the thing for a hangover, Hoboken!” Then you have the Jamaican Blue Mountain blend, the most expensive roast at $50 per pound. Definitely worth it. Personally, my favorite blends are the Continental Blend and the French Mocha Roast. YUUUMMM!!! I always get one pound and the Empire employees are always happy to help grind the beans. This is basically the only place you can get such amazing quality of coffee without spending too much. In New York, this is precious!
My recommendation to all coffee lovers who are staying with us at Distrikt – stop by Empire Coffee and enjoy one of their amazing blends. If you don’t want a cappuccino, try their hot chocolate or yummy ice tea, very good! If you don’t feel like walking out to their shop, then enjoy Empire Coffee in Distrikt’s lobby or restaurant during breakfast. That’s right – we brew and serve Empire Coffee and are happy to support. This local business is definitely a treasure in this Empire we call New York.
Written by Lauren Macé
POSTED: Thursday, September 1, 2011 9:06 am
There are some amazing restaurants on 9th avenue just west of Distrikt Hotel. From Thai to Argentinean, the options are endless! I think this is one of my favorite features of working in the Hell’s Kitchen district – I can enjoy any genre of food on any day just steps away! I always appreciate a good meal with a creative and unique twist. This, I found at Elsewhere on 43rd and 9th ave. Supposedly known for their pulled pork, rare cheese and wine selection, Elsewhere was definitely on the top of my list to check out.
With its simplistic exterior design and décor, Elsewhere is anything but simple. Originally the delicious French bistro La Madeleine, this new hot spot feels like another world outside of Times Square which is just blocks away. Chef Megan Johnson switches it up in the ol’ Big Apple by rewriting the standard menu. Elsewhere’s sister, Casselula, represents the same farm-to-table quality as a wine and cheese specialty restaurant. The two locations share a similar menu with the farm-fresh cheese, home-made ice cream and exclusive wine selection.
You step into this quaint restaurant and see beautiful wood tables and brick walls all the while hearing Billy Holiday and Louie Armstrong fill the room. A living tree grows within the dining space, while small pots of fresh herbs and plants surround the room. The menu is quite impressive with a variety of items I have never seen nor fathomed could exist. Things like House-made crackers with dancing ewe ricotta or Breast of Bo Bo chicken over rye berries with baby fennel and cider gastrique . YUM! The waitress was very attentive and gave us a basket of the home-made crackers with rosemary and salt while we browsed the menu. I ordered a ginger ale for the time being, and I was amazed that instead of Canada Dry or Seagram’s – this was home-made ginger ale with fresh ginger and some lemon. Home-made soda… amazing. I ordered the tomato soup and crackers for an appetizer, and was presented with a nice bowl of tomato soup with a form of crunchy baked cheese as the cracker.
Very clever. For the entrée, I ordered the Elsewhere skillet Mac and Cheese (with Chorizo crust topping). This was so tasty and I absolutely adored the home-made quality and taste of this dish. Despite the fact that I was full from such a rich meal, I decided to enjoy a variety of the homemade ice cream that I couldn’t resist. My favorite was the Verbena ice cream – so much flavor that it left a fresh taste in my mouth.
All in all, Elsewhere is definitely a new favorite that I will enjoy again in the near future. I think this spot is perfect for an intimate dinner celebrating an anniversary, birthday, or special occasion as well as perfect for a nice lunch with the coworkers. Elsewhere is a unique restaurant with quality meals and experience. So next time you are seeking for a little escape from Times Square, just say “Elsewhere, where else?”.
Written by Lauren Macé