Friday, August 28, 2015

Good Eats: el Rico Tinto Bakery, NYC--Queens--Jackson Heights


el Rico Tinto Bakery  76-07 37th Ave., (718) 424-1324.  This simple cafe produces particularly good breakfasts.  Portions are large, and presentations are pretty.  The menu includes a flaky croissant with eggs, hot cakes with strawberry sauce and coffee whipped cream, French toast, chilaquiles, an assortment of omelettes—even eggs Benedict—and pastry cases are filled with tempting items.  Custom-made fresh fruit juices are also available.  Lunch and dinner are heavy with Mexican items—burritos, tacos, flautas—as well as empanadas, pastas, fish, and steak.

interior of el Rico Tinto Bakery in Jackson Heights, Queens, NYC

cookies at el Rico Tinto Bakery in Jackson Heights, Queens, NYC
  
hot cakes with strawberry sauce at el Rico Tinto Bakery in Jackson Heights, Queens, NYC
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images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Good Eats: SriPraPhai, NYC--Queens--Jackson Heights/Woodside


SriPraPhai  6413 39th Ave., in Woodside, (718) 899-9599.  L-D Thur-Tu.  Cash only.  In a no-frills atmosphere, this popular Thai restaurant features two dining rooms plus outdoor seating.  The menu is extensive.  Among the many items on the special vegetarian menu, are:  

exterior of SriPraPhai in Woodside, Queens, NYC

crispy Chinese watercress salad at SriPraPhai in Woodside, Queens, NYC
crispy Chinese watercress salad

drunken noodles at SriPraPhai in Woodside, Queens, NYC
drunken noodles

Pad Prik King with green beans at SriPraPhai in Woodside, Queens, NYC
Pad Prik King with green beans

Penang curry at SriPraPhai in Woodside, Queens, NYC
Penang curry

black beans in coconut milk at SriPraPhai in Woodside, Queens, NYC
black beans in coconut milk

mango sticky rice at SriPraPhai in Woodside, Queens, NYC
mango sticky rice
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Monday, August 24, 2015

Good Eats: Jacques Torres Chocolate Haven, NYC


Jacques Torres Chocolate Haven  350 Hudson St., Soho, (212) 414-2462.  Though not too long ago the inventory was made right here, production has now moved to the Brooklyn Army Terminal factory and everything is distributed from there.  Though most famous for their thick and spicy hot chocolate and chocolate bonbons, the company’s more than 100 items—all made without preservatives or additives--include marzipan and marshmallows as well as chocolate-covered fruits and nuts.  There are many more outlets around town and in Brooklyn, where the actual factory is located. 

interior of Jacques Torres Chocolate Haven in NYC

cookies and candies at Jacques Torres Chocolate Haven in NYC

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images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, August 21, 2015

Great Sleeps: Paradise Taveuni, Taveuni Island, Fiji


Paradise Taveuni  Waiyevo, 679 888 0125.  10 bures and 1 apartment; maximum capacity is 22 guests.  Pool; full-service spa.  Restaurant; bar; tour desk; full-service dive shop; gift shop.  Located 25 miles from the Matei Airport, this remote resort is reached via a scenic 1-hour drive through rainforest and coconut plantations and over a long stretch of unpaved (or “unsealed”) road.  It is beautifully situated on the Taveuni’s flat south end behind a 2,000-foot-high ridge of mountains formed by 28 extinct volcanoes that protects it from the wind, which ensures calm, clear waters here year-round.  Oceanfront on 5 acres and with a deep-water drop-off, the resort was remodeled from a backpackers resort in 2007.  This property was originally used for growing cotton, and Fiji’s first sugar cane field was nearby.  And though it really does feel like paradise, it is on the dry side of the volcano--the other side is even more lush!  Most guests are American, and all are welcomed with a refreshing coconut milk drink followed by a foot massage on their bure patio. 
welcome coconut milk drink at Paradise Taveuni in Fiji

Your name is chalked on a board outside your bure, and the staff addresses you by name within hours, adding “welcome home” to the greeting.  Bures are separated from the ocean’s edge by a large expanse of well-manicured grass, and each is positioned for a water view. 
bures at Paradise Taveuni in Fiji

Bures are built mostly with wood from local coconut and rain trees, and each has a king-size bed in a separate bedroom as well as a spacious lounge room with a stocked beverage area, but you’ll find no phones, TVs, or clocks.  “We’re on rooster time,” says personable Australian owner Allan Gortan, and chickens run freely throughout the property.  
bedroom at Paradise Taveuni in Fiji

Bathrooms have a shower-tub and access to a lava-rock-fence-enclosed courtyard with flowers and ferns tucked in here and there and a refreshing outdoors shower and Jacuzzi.  The showers can be iffy with hot water, which comes and goes, but there is simply nothing like a cool-off in an outdoor shower.  Throughout the bure are cool white-tile floors, some covered by locally made woven-fiber rugs, and a high woven-fiber ceiling with huge support logs has two fans.  Traditional thatching combined with wood louvers keeps air flowing throughout.  Air conditioning is not available or missed.  Glass French doors open to a spacious front patio with daybed.  In the morning, roosters announce the new day followed by the sound of the generator being started up by owner Allen, and often a soft rain falls to help keep the sumptuous landscaping green.  The owner is an award-winning chef, though he now mostly oversees the tasty menu featuring many Fijian delicacies and local organic produce.  Breakfast specialties include lovely sunny-yolk eggs, delicious spicy lamb sausage, and fresh papaya-banana juice.  The addictive house cocktail, a Yellow Bird of Paradise, is made with local white rum, coconut liquor, and fresh papaya and banana.  Meals that are included in the room rate:  a full cooked breakfast, one-course lunch, and two-course dinner.  
dining room at Paradise Taveuni in Fiji

Guests may choose to upgrade to a two-course lunch and/or a four-course dinner.  Beverages included in the daily room rate are tea, coffee, and iced tea.  Several drinks package upgrades are also available.  The resort’s tap water is from a local spring in the volcano, so no need to spend big bucks on bottled Fiji Water.  On the night of the Fijian Lovo Feast, guests can watch the traditional preparation of foods for cooking in a lovo pit next to the ocean--including braiding coconut leaves around the chicken, fish, beef, and cassava.  After indulging in an appetizer of really good Fijian popcorn (deep-fried coconut strips), the feast is enjoyed at a long communal table out under the stars.  
setting table for Fijian Lovo Feast at Paradise Taveuni in Fiji

Later, villagers arrive to sing and to perform the sacred kava ceremony.  Flashlight fish come out in the evening and are worth the short trek from the dining room to observe.  Free on-site activities include coconut tree climbing lessons and a sulu (sarong)-tying demonstration.  
sulu-tying demonstration at Paradise Taveuni in Fiji

Optional off-site activities include horseback riding, kayaking, jet skiing, hiking, guided tours to waterfalls and rainforests and to villages and Sunday church services, as well as swimming in the ocean-side horizon-edge pool and relaxing in a hammock.  Snorkeling and diving is excellent right off the resort pier, but trips are also scheduled to the famous Rainbow Reef and other world-class dive sites.  The water is crystal clear and warm.  An oceanfront spa offers massage, facials, and pedicures--Fiji Fuscia anyone?--which are especially enjoyable since you get to look out at the ocean.  Guests who get engaged at Paradise get a free Sunset Wedding if they return.  
massage room at Paradise Taveuni in Fiji



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video and images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers
 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Things to Do: Dash and Shop MoMA, NYC


Dash  119 Spring St./Greene St., Soho, (212) 226-2646.  Well, I never would have known that this little boutique was owned by Kim Kardashian unless someone told me.  My adult daughter was that someone.  So we popped inside to get a look.  There were several pods of teens swarming over the goods, and a herd of Dash Dolls (clerks) taking care of business.  We looked, we left.  But I’m glad we stopped in.
display window at Kim Kardashian West's Dash shop in NYC

interior of Kim Kardashian West's Dash shop in NYC


ShopMoMA Design Store  81 Spring St., Soho.  This really big shop is filled with all the wonderful well-designed items this museum store is known for.  I wish I’d bought the Keith Haring umbrella, but it’s a good thing I didn’t buy the limited edition Andy Warhol sideways heart sunglasses because they looked really horrible on me.  Fortunately, some round cut-out sunglasses looked great on one of the customers.  Items make fabulous souvenirs, and purchases benefit the museum. 
dazzling customer in Andy Warhol round sunglasses at ShopMoMa in NYC

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images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers