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National Taco Day

National Taco Day w/ Taco Dumbo Midtown West Grand Opening

Today is National Taco Day, what better day than that day to celebrate the grand opening of the new Taco Dumbo Midtown West. Granted, the grand opening was late last month but as we said, what better day than the day to celebrate all things tacos than to celebrate this taco heaven.

National Taco DayNational Taco Day

Taco Dumbo is no ordinary taco spot; this market fresh taqueria and cold-pressed juice margarita bar are inspired by the healthy lifestyle where the beach, surf, and sun are synonymous with fresh local food. The goal of Taco Dumbo is to not only provide delicious, healthy food but they also strive to cultivate positives vibes. They’ve created a space where you can relax and escape from the outside world while enjoying a curated selection of eats and drinks. It’s almost like escaping for a quick tropical beach trip (the “flight attendant, and airport body and baggage scanners that greeted you at the door were a great addition).

Taco Dumbo Grand OpeningTaco Dumbo Grand Opening

Walking into Taco Dumbo felt like no other. The vibe was an incredible party atmosphere; the music was pumping and you instantly felt transported from the hustle and bustle of NYC to the beaches of Southern California.

Taco Dumbo Grand Opening Taco Dumbo Grand Opening

When it came to the food, rest assured, all-time classics are recreated. Using responsibly sourced ingredients. Taco Dumbo has curated a delicious menu that compliments all eating lifestyles. Inclusive food is woven into Taco Dumbo’s DNA, providing options for the meat-lover, vegan, vegetarian, kosher, dairy-free, or gluten-free eater.

Menu highlights range from a truffle shroom and rotisserie chicken “tinga” to beef short-rib and nori spicy tuna tacos. The chef’s special plant-based “impossible” taco pairs perfectly as a side to the grain bowls and salads. Market fresh ingredients are locally sourced and are an essential element in elevating the drink selection. Taco Dumbo allows you to create your perfect margaritas; with six types of pressed juice options and nine different salts for the rim, you can customize your margarita.

National Taco Day

The entire team, kitchen, register and bar staff, are made up of people who genuinely care about putting good energy into the food. They aim to make your experience as enjoyable as possible. We enjoyed several rounds of “guess the song” with one of the servers as the DJ played hit after hit. That personal experience only added to the great service we were already enjoying.

Current Taco Dumbo Locations:

56 Prospect St., Dumbo Heights
2 Pennsylvania Plaza, Penn Station
1385 Broadway, Garment District
111 W 32nd St., Rosé Mansion
56 Spring St., SoHo

Chinese Food Photography

Restaurant Review: Chef Yang 46 Tasting Dinner Menu

Several weeks ago, we enjoyed a wonderful meal at a quiet, but visually delightful restaurant in New Jersey. Nestled just off Highway 46 in Clifton, New Jersey is Chef Yang 46, a gourmet Chinese restaurant specializing in Sichuan food. We rarely dine out in New Jersey but we promise you will love what Chef Yang 46 has to offer. At almost a year old, we delighted in lots of Sichuan favorites at this creation of Dinggen Wang and Jiaqing Yang. Let’s dig right in, shall we?

Chef Yang 46 Chinese Restaurant

You feel immediately welcomed by the very informative and attentive staff as soon as you step inside. We may be a bit biased seeing as these are our colors, but we love the chic black and white decor with touches of red. As you may or may not know, red is a popular color in Chinese culture, symbolizing luck, joy, and happiness. We promise you won’t get bored with this menu as Chef Yang diligently dishes out seasonal items every three months.

Chef Yang 46 Chinese Restaurant

As we perused the menu of elegant and versatile Sichuan cuisine, we noted the restaurant and menu bosted a modern setting with traditional Chinese highlights. Visions of dumplings, noodles, and Peking duck (a Chef Yang specialty) danced through our heads as we took it all in. The staff makes it a point to share what makes each dish wonderful and are ever ready to make recommendations. We started our culinary journey through the contemporary Chinese menu with some light and tropical cocktails.

COCKTAILS 

Chef Yang 46 Cocktails

While tonight was all about the wonderful food, we delighted in the most famous Tiki cocktail, the Mai Tai; and Strawberry Margarita; both of which went down quickly. Both cocktails were refreshing and sweet and paired wonderfully with the variety of flavors we were about to indulge in.

STARTERS

SCALLION PANCAKES

Chef Yang 46 Scallion Pancakes

Scallion Pancakes are much-loved favorite Chinese starter or snack. The Chef Yang 46 flaky and savory pan-fried flatbread boasts a crisp edge and was delicious with the dipping sauce; the pancakes were light and not too oily. Of course, we prefer to drizzle the sauce over the Scallion pancakes it so every piece of the pancakes soaks up every drop.

ROAST PORK BUNS

Chinese Food Photography

We encourage you to make these Pork Buns your first order after your cocktails. You’ll love the flavorful and hearty chunks of roasted pork and the slight sweetness of these unbelievable delicacies. They take a while to make but once you taste them, you’ll see why they are worth it. We suggest you order two.

BBQ PORK RIBS

Chinese Food Photography

Get ready for delicious, some-fall-off-the-bone bbq ribs. These were so wonderfully prepared, it’ll be difficult to share with anyone else, so if you love ribs, we recommend you order more than one or get individual orders as you won’t want to share.

MAIN COURSES

BEEF WITH BROCCOLI

Chinese Food Photography: Beef and Broccoli

Succulent, tender cuts of shredded beef and semi-crunchy broccoli is why this dish remains a traditional favorite. It’s a great option for those who like non-spicy choices.

PRAWNS WITH GARLIC SAUCE

Chinese Food Photography

Much like the Beef and Broccoli, this entree is another favorite. It boasts the perfect amount of garlicky flavor, with the earthiness of mushrooms and steamed broccoli adding great texture to it.

PORK BELLY WITH LEEKS

Chinese Food Photography

We love spicy dishes and this pork belly and leeks dish from Chef Yang 46’s new style Sichuan food section of their menu really hit the mark. It was the perfect level of peppery spiciness. Its flavorful spices keep your palate wanting more.

DRAGON & PHOENIX

Chinese Food Photography: dragon & phoenix (surf & turf)

Another of Chef Yang 46’s specialties, the Dragon & Phoenix dish is the Chinese version of surf and turf. In this instance, it is one half sauteed Prawns and half General Tso chicken. Both were mouthwateringly delectable and we loved mixing the two flavor profiles as they enhanced each other.

We highly recommend you try some of their other noted dishes, rarely seen on any Chinese menus: Grand Marnier Prawn, dressed with a homemade sauce combining the golden ratio of mango and pineapple; and iconic dishes like Peking Duck and Tea-Smoked Duck.

DESSERTS

Chinese Food Photography: Desserts

Although our well-sated stomachs almost didn’t allow, we had to make room for dessert. Going for decadent chocolate, and a key lime pie desserts. Both were the ideal end to our evening of savory traditional Chinese and Sichuan delights. Light and airy, these desserts left us with the right amount of indulgence.

Chef Yang 46 is divided into three distinctive areas, a private room in darker tones perfect for parties and gatherings, a full bar in the middle, and a large dining room in brighter tones and white tablecloths. Chef Yang 46 is located at 1105 Route 46 E, Clifton, NJ 07013. Call 973-777-8855 to make your reservation or walk right in to indulge.

Demarchelier Restaurant in New York

Restaurant Review: Demarchelier Summer 2019 Menu

Summer is sadly slowly coming to an end but there is still some time left to enjoy a few of what makes summertime a wonderful season. The fall season is still a month away, so there’s plenty of time left to partake in a fantastic summer menu. We had the pleasure of doing just that when we journeyed back to experience the Demarchelier Summer 2019 menu. We were once again welcomed by Emily Demarchelier, for an evening of gourmet dining that captured the essence of authentic French cuisine.

Demarchelier Restaurant in New York

For the summer season, Demarchelier features many signature dishes including Pate De Campagne, Filet of Herring with Potato Salad and Moules Mariniere (which we enjoyed on our last visit), for an appetizing start to a full course dinner. Delicious entrees transporting you to France include the succulent Duck Confit with white beans (another favorite from our last visit), Rainbow Trout Meuniere and Filet Mignon. The dessert menu boasts an assortment of sweet treats including the Crème Caramel (Flan), Profiteroles with chocolate sauce and Crepes Suzette with Grand Marnier. While there were dishes were already familiar to our palates, we opted for the Demarchelier summer 2019 menu items we hadn’t experienced before. Here is our summer menu journey.

Demarchelier Restaurant in New York

Surrounded by the paintings of Eric Demarchelier, we were ready to traverse the Demarchelier Summer 2019 menu and surrender ourselves to the wonderful French flavors.

COCKTAILS

Demarchelier Restaurant in New York

We started our review with a bang of a cocktail, a drink to remind us that the fall season is approaching. The second cocktail was more along the refreshing and sweet side, thanks to its unconventional flavor. Check them both out below:

Le Normandie – vodka and Père Jules Pommeau shaken with a dried apple garnish. Bold and potent, this cocktail is perfect for brandy lovers.

Kumquat Margarita – Casamigos Tequila Blanco, fresh lime juice, and Kumquat liqueur. If you’re a fan of Limoncello, you will love this cocktail; it’s refreshing, vibrant, and sweet.

STARTERS

QUICHE OF THE DAY – GOAT CHEESE & ARUGULA

Demarchelier Restaurant in New York

GLASGOW:  We love a good savory pastry and Dermarchelier’s the daily Quiche offering hits the spot every time. Tonight we dined on a Goat Cheese and Arugula Quiche sitting on a bed of fresh greens. It’s a meal in pie form but not too filing that it would prevent you from enjoying your full course.

PATE DE CAMPAGNE

Demarchelier Restaurant in New York

LUCIANA: Its combination of pork and beef, rustic texture and rich flavors were sublime. Every bite melts in your mouth. It forces you to pause a few times to appreciate the beautiful assault on your palette. Served with a fresh salad and creamy sauce, I found myself eating slowly hoping this culinary experience would last forever. This tender, French country style pate is a definite must to try.

MAIN COURSES

BISON BURGER ON A BAGUETTE

Demarchelier Restaurant in New York

LUCIANA: I’ve wanted to experience the bison burger, and this was my first time doing so; and what an introduction I received! I was not at all disappointed with this distinct cheeseburger. What I discovered was a delicious, succulent burger charred to perfection. Served on a crispy baguette (a lovely change from the traditional bun), and topped with fresh tomatoes, lettuce, onions and your choice of cheese. I especially love the fact that this meat is lower in fat than traditional beef but still tastes so incredibly good. I would recommend this dish over and over.

WHOLE BRANZINO WITH MEUNIERE SAUCE

Demarchelier Restaurant in New York

GLASGOW: Great food is my weakness and this superbly prepared whole Branzino with an amazing Meunière  (lemon butter) sauce hit every tastebud with strategic levels of mindblowing flavor. Whether you’re a seafood lover or not, this cooked-to-perfection mild-tasting and versatile fish is an absolute win.

SIDES

POMMES FRITES

Demarchelier Restaurant in New York

GLASGOW: I was in the mood for a bit of British influence, so naturally needed these Pomme Frites to go with my branzino. The fresh-cut Frites were wonderfully crisp and soft at the same time, and there was a very faint sweetness to the flavor. The result was an empty plate.

MIXED VEGETABLES – BEETS & GRILLED POLENTA

Demarchelier Restaurant in New York

GLASGOW: Since we paired a carb side with our Branzino, we opted for an equally rustic side of vegetables. In this case, beets and grilled Polenta. The beauty of polenta is its mild enough to mix beautifully with stronger-flavored foods; perfect for my branzino.

DESSERTS

PROFITEROLLES w/ Chocolate Sauce

Demarchelier Restaurant in New York

LUCIANA: I love chocolate but melted chocolate drizzled over ice cream sandwiched between French choux pastry balls are heavenly. The semi-sweet puffs, vanilla ice cream and warm chocolate sauce made for a decadent combination of texture and taste. Every bite to the last was exquisite.

TARTE TATIN w/ Vanilla Ice Cream

Demarchelier Restaurant in New York

GLASGOW: Some may say there’s nothing like a warm slice of apple pie but one bite of Demarchelier’s Tarte Tatin would change their minds. It may be a simple dessert but its flavors are anything but. This is definitely one of the most hedonistic a la mode desserts I’ve enjoyed.

Emily Demarchelier at Demarchelier Restaurant in New York

There’s also about Demarchelier to love besides the art and wonderful summer 2019 menu.  The wonderful hospitality from Emily Demarchelier is unsurpassed. You really feel the family warmth, tradition, and generational pride as soon as you step foot into its homey ambiance. Whether it’s your first, second, or fifty-first visit to the Demarchelier French Bistro, you’ll always want to come back.

Demarchelier Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

‘Check, Please!’ Restaurants Including Fee In Bills To Cover Employee Healthcare

Healthcare has been a part of the national conversation in the United States for some time. Different solutions have been a part of trying to figure things out, but one thing remains certain: not everyone has access to the healthcare they need.

It’s common for people to think of their own healthcare without much considering what others are going through. Many Americans receive health insurance through their employers, but this isn’t the case for all American workers. This is especially true of the service industry. Your servers, bussers, bartenders, barbacks, cooks, etc. don’t often receive healthcare benefits through their jobs. Obviously, this doesn’t make them need it any less, yet they remain in a difficult situation when it comes to accessing affordable healthcare. This can be particularly taxing when workers in these industries work peculiar hours or multiple different service jobs.

Group of Happy friends having breakfast in the restaurant

A little perspective: people can bill a 45 to 60 minute acupuncture session to their insurance company in the name of wellness, but large groups of service industry workers lack any insurance to cover even the cost of an annual checkup. Some restaurants are attempting to rectify this issue by passing a percentage of the cost onto the customers. As you can imagine, restaurants that have decided to do this receive all manner of mixed feelings, opinions, and comments. Let’s explore.

To explain how it works in the most basic sense, let’s say you’re out to eat with friends. The four of you have dinner, a couple of bottles of wine, and dessert. When it comes time to pay the bill and leave, your receipt breaks down the cost and you’ll see the typical things, but among them is one you haven’t seen before: healthcare tax, for instance. It’s not much, maybe even a few dollars compared to the rest of your bill. This extra tax is being added to your bill to help the restaurant pay for health insurance for their service staff. Some like the idea, others don’t.

With the average age of retirement at age 63, health insurance becomes an increasingly important consideration for everyone. By 2030, more than 20% of the population will be above age 65, and as age and time increase, so does the need for proper and affordable healthcare options. As such, closer attention is being paid to the healthcare access of the historically underserved restaurant industry. We mentioned the people who were adverse toward spending an extra percentage on an added health insurance tax at a restaurant, but there are many who support and champion the idea.

This isn’t a new thing, with restaurants across the country adding these provisions to their guest checks. Some help cover health insurance costs, others supply service industry workers with higher wages, paid time off, and the like. While some restaurants make this fee optional and give guests the freedom to remove such fees from their bill, others announce them as non-optional. A simple, small cost for the service provided and an investment into the community that serves. The move has been largely accepted by diners who, for the most part, aren’t going to cease frequenting a favorite restaurant for reason of paying a small percentage toward the waitstaff. Still, others aren’t so keen, saying that such fees rob guests while negatively impacting the tips that make a bulk of service worker wages.

Millions of Americans donate to charities every year, which are contributions that receive tax kickbacks. Nobody bats an eye at such things, but the same isn’t true for adding a small percentage to a restaurant guest check to help pay for an establishment’s waitstaff health insurance. There seems to be a disconnect there, thus the issue remains split. One thing, however, remains the same: people aren’t going to stop going out to eat and the service industry isn’t going anywhere. Where this brings us down the road remains to be seen.

As always, tip your servers and bartenders.

Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

The Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass is Back and Better Than Ever

It’s back again pasta lovers and this time, it’s bigger than ever. We’re talking about the annual Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass of course. Once again Olive Garden fans and pasta lovers will get the opportunity to enjoy eight weeks of unlimited pasta, homemade sauces, and toppings, and of course soup or salad and Olive Garden’s famous breadsticks. This time around the revered Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass comes with a bigger and better option. Read on to find out more.

Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

The available pasta varieties include Fettuccine, Spaghetti, Rigatoni, Angel Hair, Cavatappi, Gluten-Free Rotini, and Whole Grain Linguine. The homemade sauces include the New! Creamy Spinach & Artichoke, Creamy Mushroom, Traditional Marinara, Five Cheese Marinara, Traditional Meat Sauce, and Alfredo Sauce. The toppings include the New! Garden Veggies, Meatballs, Italian Sausage, Crispy Chicken Fritta, Grilled Chicken, and Crispy Shrimp Fritta.

Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

This year, 23,000 $100 Never Ending Pasta Passes will be available for purchase, 1,000 more than last year, but as we’ve all seen in the past, the Never Ending Pasta Passes sell out as FAST! For the first time ever, Olive Garden offers an opportunity to enjoy unlimited pasta for an entire year. That’s right, in addition to the regular 8 weeks of never ending pasta, Olive Garden has introduced the new Annual Pasta Pass. The first-of-its-kind Annual Pasta Pass includes all of the benefits of Never Ending Pasta Pass for all 52 weeks of the year, which is less than $1.00 a day. 1,000 superfans will get the opportunity to buy the exclusive Annual Pasta Pass for only $300.00.

The countdown is on so make sure your clicking finger is properly prepared. The Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass and the NEW Annual Pasta Pass go on sale Thursday, Aug. 23 at 2 pm. If you’re not lucky enough to get one of these pasta passes, you can still enjoy the Never Ending Pasta Bowl with unlimited pasta starting at $10.99.

For more information about the Annual Pasta Pass, Never Ending Pasta Pass, and details, visit www.PastaPass.com now.

Cafe Centro Welcomes New Executive Chef and Launches Wine Bar

New seasons always welcome fresh, new things. What better way to end the summer season than to welcome a new chef and experience her debut menu. We had the very wonderful pleasure of helping French brasserie-style restaurant, Cafe Centro, welcome Chef Christina Towers, their new Executive Chef, and to celebrate the launch of Cafe Centro’s new outdoor wine bar located at a new fresh air space on East 45th Street in NYC. The delightful end of summer féte boasted a tantalizing array of  food and plenty of French champagne cocktails.

For her Cafe Centro debut, Chef Christina Towers welcomed guests with a delicious range of French favorites with a Mediterranean twist. The offerings featured many of Chef Towers’ culinary specialties. The bustling bistro Fresh seafood and raw bar specialties, grill selections and seasonal plats du jour. Passed hors d’oeuvres at the event included Gougéres (Gruyere and Parmesan), Lobster Rolls, Beef Tartare Crostini, Smoked Salmon Bites, and a Sunchoke Soup Shooter. Available to grab from the table included a Plateau de Fuits de Mer (lobster, clams, mussels, oysters, and shrimp), Scallop Crudo, Fluke Ceviche, Deviled Eggs, Radicchio Cups, and a Crudite Basket.

Desserts were disappearing faster than we could capture. We did manage to score three of the available variety, which consisted of a sinfully decadent Chocolate Mousse, Lemon Tart, and Mini Eclairs.

Since you can’t be at a French Brasserie without enjoying one or two french drinks, and of course in honor of the new Wine Bar, we enjoyed a few glasses of the classic French 45 cocktail and the Jean-Pierre Vacher 2015 Sancerre. Also on hand was the St. Emilion Chateau Fayan 2011 Bordeaux and Stella Artois.

Cafe Centro is located in the lobby of the MetLife Building at Grand Central Terminal – 200 Park Avenue at 45th Street. Visit them for drinks, lunch, or dinner anytime. If you have you been to this richly elegant and grand cafe, please share your experience with us.

 

Cafe Centro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

All Sold Out: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass and Pasta Passports

Just like the must-see concert, latest gadget, or Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty products, the Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass and Pasta Passports were made available and sold out just as quickly. We’re not surprised at all, as many were waiting with breathless anticipation (and hungry bellies) for the announcement and availability of the pass that allows the bearer to enjoy eight weeks of unlimited servings of pasta, sauces, and toppings from the Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Bowl menu.

During the never-ending pasta promotion, you can enjoy more than 200 possible combinations of specialty portions of pasta, homemade sauces, and craveable toppings, plus all the soup, salad and breadsticks you want. The available pasta varieties include Fettuccine, Spaghetti, Rigatoni, Angel Hair, Cavatappi, Gluten-Free Rotini, and Whole Grain Linguine. The homemade sauces include Traditional Marinara, Five Cheese Marinara, Traditional Meat Sauce, Alfredo, Asiago Garlic Alfredo and a NEW Creamy Mushroom. Toppings include Meatballs, Italian Sausage, Crispy Chicken Fritta, Grilled Chicken, and Crispy Shrimp Fritta. But be hopeful pasta lovers, just because you missed out on the pass, doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the neverending pasta. Guests without Pasta Passes can still enjoy the Never Ending Pasta Bowl with unlimited pasta starting at $9.99.

This year Olive Garden has taken their Never Ending Pasta Pass to extreme heights by giving 50 of their biggest fans the opportunity to buy an all-inclusive eight-day/seven-night trip to Italy (with stops in Florence, Assisi, Siena, Rome, and Pisa) for themselves and a friend for only $200. The first-of-its-kind, the Olive Garden Pasta Passport to Italy includes all the benefits of Never Ending Pasta Pass plus airfare, hotel accommodations, tours and meals on the trip of a lifetime for two to Italy. This unprecedented pass was made available to purchase alongside the 22,000, $100 Never Ending Pasta Passes (1,000 more than last year), giving more fans than ever a chance to gain unlimited access to the fan-favorite Never Ending Pasta Bowl promotion. The Never Ending Pasta Bowl promotion begins September 25th and runs until November 19th.

Were you one of the lucky ones to snag an Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass and Pasta Passports? What’s your favorite Olive garden pasta dish?

IHOP Premieres French Toasted Donuts for a Limited Time

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. At IHOP, it can also be the most delicious. IHOP continues to break the rules of breakfast with three distinctive dishes hot off the test kitchen griddles. Elevating the breakfast treat that is french toast by combining it with donuts, IHOP is taking breakfast to another level of delicious. The IHOP French Toasted Donuts feature classic donuts dipped in sweet vanilla batter and then French toasted. The new lineup is available in three decadent, mouthwatering flavors ranging from savory to sweet.

“At IHOP, we’re always looking for fresh new ways to excite our guests and bring unexpected flavors together,” said Chef Nevielle Panthaky, Vice President, Culinary at IHOP. “This is a delicious mash-up of the classic donut everyone knows and loves, dipped in a creamy vanilla batter, French toasted to a light golden brown and topped off with flavors such as maple glaze and hickory-smoked bacon. And who better to do it than IHOP, the brand that has owned all-day breakfast for almost six decades?”

Bacon & Maple French Toasted Donut

The Bacon & Maple French Toasted Donut is a Bavarian cream filled donut, dipped in vanilla French toast batter, griddled, then topped with rich maple glaze and savory hickory-smoked bacon crumbles.

Strawberries & Cream French Toasted Donut

The Strawberries & Cream French Toasted Donut is a Bavarian cream filled donut, dipped in vanilla French toast batter, griddled, then topped with strawberries in a juicy glaze and powdered sugar.

Apple Fritter French Toasted Donut

The Apple Fritter French Toasted Donut is a warm apple fritter dipped in vanilla French toast batter, griddled, then topped with sweet cinnamon apples, powdered sugar and whipped topping.

We had the pleasure of getting an exclusive first taste of all three of these decadent breakfast donuts at an event with Chef Nevielle Panthaky, VP of Culinary at IHOP. It was an evening of ultimate decadence as we satisfied our almost insatiable appetite for these sinful breakfast treats. We also had the opportunity to recreate or create our own French Toasted Donut, thanks to the wide variety of available toppings made available to us.

The French Toasted Donuts are available from July 31st through September 24th at participating IHOP restaurants nationwide. The new menu items can be enjoyed on their own or as part of a combo meal with the choice of eggs, bacon, sausage or ham, and more.