Tag Archives: west village

A Fourth of July Treat From Imperial Woodpecker Sno-Balls

Imperial Woodpecker Sno-Balls, located at the corner of Charles Street and 7th Avenue in Manhattan's West Village, serves up New Orleans-style shaved ice..

As we were trying to beat the summer heat today, Laura and I were desperately seeking somewhere cool and refreshing.

Twitter came to our rescue when we saw that Imperial Woodpecker Sno-Balls—one of our neighborhood’s newest shops—was open today.

The interior at the West Village's Imperial Woodpecker Sno-Balls.

Located at the corner of Charles Street and 7th Avenue in the West Village, Imperial Woodpecker serves New Orleans-style shaved ice in almost 40 flavors. We tried tried the ultra-refreshing Mojito flavor, but old favorites like Tiger’s Blood and Dreamsicle are also on the menu.

The shop may be small, but it’s big on charm—floor-to-ceiling windows compliment a cheery color scheme and relaxed feel. It’s even run by two Southern gals, one from New Orleans, and one from Georgia. Perfect.

Serving up New Orleans-style shaved ice at the West Village's Imperial Woodpecker Sno-Balls.

We recommend stopping by tonight before going to watch fireworks. (At the High Line, perhaps?) If you stop by between 7-9 p.m., they’ll have live music and cool treats!

Hope you’re having a fantastic holiday!

– Ryan and Laura

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Pride in the Village

2011 NYC Gay Pride Celebration

Yesterday marked the 42nd Annual NYC Gay Pride March in New York City. This year’s festivities held an extra special significance for New Yorkers, thanks to the recently passage of same-sex marriage in the New York State Senate.

NYC Gay Pride 2011 Celebration

2011 NYC Gay Pride Celebration

Laura and I walked out to Bleecker Street to admire the costumes (or lack thereof) of the parade-goers. Many local businesses were hosting pride parties of their own, complete with speakers blasting music out into the streets.

We were particularly struck by A.O.C’s pride party—the normally tranquil French bistro had been taken over, as dancers filled the windows and queens struck poses in the doorway.

NYC Gay Pride 2011 Celebration

We continued to wind around police barricades and cutting through the seemingly endless crowds along Christopher Street until we made it to our destination of the evening.

Sheep's Milk Ricotta Gnudi at the Spotted Pig

The Spotted Pig held its annual pride party on the second and third floors of the restaurant, though diners on the cramped first floor were treated to the multiple glam entrances of the parade’s revelers.

"Don't Be a Drag, Be a Queen," at the Spotted Pig

Upstairs, guests were invited to try the “Don’t Be a Drag, Just Be a Queen” shot special, made with house-infused vanilla vodka with ginger syrup served from an anatomically-correct bust, sculpted from ice.

Ryan and Robinson at the Spotted Pig

Jenga at the Spotted Pig

Meanwhile, on the third floor, the celebrations continued. There was much singing. There was dancing. Many heated games of Jenga were played.

The Third Floor at the Spotted Pig

On our walk home the streets were still packed with people hugging and congratulating one another. The jubilation of the crowd was undying and continued long past our bedtime, I’m sure.

It was a day to not only be proud of who you are, but a great day to be a proud citizen of a brave state.

Happy Pride Weekend to all!

-Ryan

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Joseph Leonard: a Kitchen for Two

The Chef's Table at Joseph Leonard

One of our first “posts” in the life of this blog (not that long ago!) was a quick snippet about one of our favorite restaurants in our neighborhood, Joseph Leonard.

Well, Joseph Leonard is still our neighborhood golden child and even more so after another superb dinner last night.

Joseph Leonard

The Kitchen at Joseph Leonard

Like I mentioned in that first post above, we always opt to sit at the chef’s table—two seats directly in front of the kitchen’s pass.

We love sitting there, as it is the perfect vantage point to watch everything going on in the restaurant’s minuscule kitchen and an opportunity to chat with Chef Jim McDuffee and his crew. (Where else in the city is your chef actually your waiter, too?)

Chef Jim McDuffee at Joseph Leonard

Chefs at Work at Joseph Leonard

The entire restaurant is the size of a one-bedroom apartment, roughly 600 square feet, and is beautifully decorated.

Gabe Stulman, of Market Table and Little Owl fame, owns the place and it’s part of his West Village “Little Wisconsin”—composed of Joseph Leonard, Fedora, and Jeffrey’s Grocery.

Bread and Butter at Joseph Leonard

Stulman’s home state is the inspiration behind the relaxed atmosphere and friendly service at Joseph Leonard. And luckily, the food matches up.

Chilled Melon Soup at Joseph Leonard

Chilled Melon Soup at Joseph Leonard

We started off with a chilled melon soup, served with crab and a delicious drizzle of chile oil. The flavors of the soup were clean and rich, perfectly accentuated by the sweetness of the crab and the punch of the oil.

As you can see, this dish was also astoundingly beautiful—I could have spent much more time photographing it, but considering how tasty it was, I’m glad I didn’t.

Next we shared two other small dishes—an heirloom tomato salad and sepia (cuttlefish) with fresh snap peas.

Unfortunately, Ryan dug into the tomato salad before I could snap a photo—it was just that good. It was composed of gorgeous heirloom tomatoes cut in half, a few slices of crisp cucumber and some lettuce, all dressed with a basil mayonnaise. Very, very good, and extremely rich, but nevertheless, we emptied the bowl.

Sepia at Joseph Leonard

The sepia was meaty without being tough and, like its tomato counterpart, perfectly dressed. The snap peas were sweet and crisp. We had fantastic cuttlefish a few weeks ago at Roberta’s, so I loved having another (just as wonderful) take on it.

For our mains, Ryan had the chicken with a summer succotash, and I had the Montauk fluke.

Chicken at Joseph Leonard

His portion of chicken was a huge drumstick and thigh, perfectly moist, served on a mountain of crisp corn and bell pepper. It was a true welcome to summer. Ryan said it was his favorite main course that he’s had at Joseph Leonard, which is saying a lot.

(By the way, the sign in the photo above is a perfect representation of the fun atmosphere at Joseph Leonard. Where else can you eat food like this with Jay Z’s Big Pimpin’ blasting in the background?)

Montauk Fluke at Joseph Leonard

The fluke has been on the menu for awhile, but I had neglected to try it until last night. It was another generous portion, as the large filet of the flaky white fish was topped with fresh spinach and served alongside a light, summery take on a rice pilaf.

Carrot Cake at Joseph Leonard

For dessert, we enjoyed a slice of moist carrot cake, complete with a perfectly sweet cream cheese frosting, to finish our meal.

We rounded out our evening with a lovely walk around the Village, which is currently adorned in rainbow for this weekend’s pride celebration. (And, with the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York, what a celebration it will be!)

– Laura

Joseph Leonard on Urbanspoon

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Salty, Bitter, Flowery and Sweet

Congratulations to Amy Green of New Jersey, the winner of our giveaway! Amy wins a copy of Mark Bitterman’s James Beard award-winning book Salted! Thanks to all who entered, and be sure to keep reading—we have a few more fun giveaways planned for this summer!

While walking down the West Village’s Hudson Street one day last fall, a new shop caught our eye.

A formerly vacant space was once again full of life—bursting forth with brightly-colored flowers and tall shelves filled with, of all things, chocolate and salt. Once we actually entered The Meadow, we discovered that it was even better than we had initially thought!

The Meadow sells more than 100 (yes, a hundred!) varieties of salt, some of the most beautiful and unique flowers I’ve ever seen, an amazing variety of chocolates, and, in the back, an extensive collection of cocktail bitters. We were instantly in love.

The store, owned by Mark Bitterman and his wife, Jennifer, is the younger sibling to their Portland, Oregon, outpost that they founded in 2006. With its reclaimed wood shelves, vintage vases, and simple, but elegant displays, customers are invited to touch, taste, and simply enjoy everything within.

The salts range from the simple, like fleur de sel, to the unique and rare, such as maboroshi plum from Japan or lemon flake from Cyprus. And, yes, lemon flake salt does actually taste like lemons!

The chocolate and bitters selections are equally diverse, so if you are in the mood for some ramen noodle chocolate or Bittercube cherry bark vanilla bitters, you won’t leave empty-handed.

Mark traveled the world far and wide to discover all he could about the salt he carries—he is immensely knowledgeable about every product he sells, whether you are looking for regular table salt or how to perfectly season your steak tartare.

His travels and vast knowledge came together last year with the publication of his recent James Beard award-winning book, Salted: A Manifesto on the World’s Most Essential Mineral.

The book, a massive hard-covered volume, is an encyclopedia of salt, complete with recipes, beautiful photography (all photographed by Mark and his wife!), and tales from around the world.

It remains approachable to the home cook—learn just how salt can push your roasted chicken over the edge—without being dull or uninteresting.

Did you know that cucumbers are the perfect vehicle to taste salt with, or that Kala namak, an ancient Indian salt, was used in 300 BCE by Maharishi Charak, the father of Ayurvedic medicine?

Like I just told Ryan, the book has all the style and panache of Anthony Bourdain’s writing, but with beautiful seriousness to it, complemented by the recipes and lush photos.

Now that you’re clamoring for your own copy (as you should be), I bring you the good news: Ryan and I have a signed copy of Salted that we’re going to give away to one of our lucky readers. We’ve been so flattered by every comment, view, and click, that we thought we would share something that we love with you.

You can have up to two chances to win. For one entry, you can simply leave a comment below. If you really, really, want to win, you can enter a second time by following us on Twitter and retweeting our contest tweet.

The contest will be open until Sunday, June 5, 12 a.m. EST, at which time we will randomly choose a winner from both our comments and retweets. Make sure that you leave your e-mail in your comment or leave us some way to get in touch.

Enjoy, and good luck!

– Laura

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Morning Tea At Bosie

Recently, while out walking Iggy, we noticed that the butcher paper had come down from a previously empty Morton Street strorefront. To our surprise and delight, the new tenant is Bosie, a tea parlor with a charming French influence.

The shop itself is very small, with a few tables in the front and a couple of cozier chairs towards the back. The space is perfect for settling in for an hour or so with a pot of their perfectly brewed tea—all from their in-house line, l’Âge de Thé. Edison bulbs and dark wood tables contrast nicely with the white pressed tin ceiling, and rows of apothecary-style copper tea canisters line the shelves along the exposed brick wall.

The pastries are all made in-house by Damien Herrgott, who worked previously at Ladurée in Paris and the now-defunct Bouley Bakery here in the city. Macaroons, scones (with clotted cream and jam!), tea cakes and cookies are just some of the amazing things Damien makes for your morning (or afternoon) tea. The tea-flavored macaroons are made from the same loose leaf they sell in the shop.

So far we’ve only been in for pots of tea and pastries, but we’re dying to come in for the deluxe tea service for two, which includes savory tea sandwiches in addition to the sweet selections.

-Ryan

Have you ever seen a choking sign this charming?

Bosie Tea Parlor on Urbanspoon

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