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
Click to add a blog post for El Rico Tinto Bakery on Zomato

More things to do in Queens.

More things to do in NYC.  

More travel articles to inspire you and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

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
Click to add a blog post for Sripraphai on Zomato

More things to do in Queens.

More things to do in NYC.  

More travel articles to inspire you and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

 

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

More things to do in NYC.

More travel articles to inspire you and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

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



Travel articles to inspire and help you plan trips. 

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

More things to do in NYC.

More travel articles to inspire you and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Sights to See: High Line, Section #1, NYC


High Line, Section #1  Gansevoort St. to 20th St., along 10th Ave., (enter/exit by stairways and elevator at 10th Ave. & Gansevoort; also at 14th, 16th, 18th, 20th sts.), Chelsea-Meatpacking Districts, (212) 500-6035.  Daily 7am-11pm.  Free.  Make a beeline to the High Line.  In the 1930s, trains chugged along this elevated steel trestle.  It was abandoned in the 1980s, and a few years ago the track was repurposed as a three-story-high park.  It features attractive plantings, wooden benches, and great views of the Hudson River.



High Line park seen from below in NYC




High Line park in NYC



 High Line park in NYC

More things to do in NYC.

More travel articles to inspire you and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, August 14, 2015

Good Eats: Phayul Restaurant, NYC--Queens--Jackson Heights


Phayul Restaurant  37-65 74th St., 2nd floor, (718) 424-1869.  L-D daily; $.  No reservations.  Located up a steep stairwell, past a beauty shop that does “Himalayan Eyebrow Threading,” this tiny Tibetan restaurant would be easily missed if you weren’t aware it is there.  There isn’t usually a wait for one of the few tables, and I like that they are by windows.  I was brought here by someone who raved about the momos, which are good and made even better with the addition of the house-made hot sauce available on the table, but it turns out that I thought the noodles were the prize dish.  I also liked the spicy fried potatoes and the mango lassi, though Tibetan butter tea was also an option.  We ordered all vegetarian, but many other meat-oriented dishes are also available.  

dining room at Phayul Restaurant in Jackson Heights, NY

kitchen at Phayul Restaurant in Jackson Heights, NY


vegetable momos at Phayul Restaurant in Jackson Heights, NY

fried noodles at Phayul Restaurant in Jackson Heights, NY

spicy fried potatoes at Phayul Restaurant in Jackson Heights, NY

seasonal greens at Phayul Restaurant in Jackson Heights, NY
 Click to add a blog post for Phayul on Zomato

More things to do in Queens.

More things to do in NYC.  

More travel articles to inspire you and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Good Eats: Cafe Borgia II and Birdbath Neighborhood Green Bakery, NYC


Cafe Borgia II  161 Prince St./Thompson St., Soho, (212) 677-1850.  This is the perfect place to sit down and while away the time over a sweet and a cold or hot drink--depending on the weather--especially if you can nab one of the tables open to the sidewalk.  Being so small, it is surprising to find they have an extensive menu, with breakfast items, sandwiches and burgers, and ice cream concoctions. 
exterior of Cafe Borgia II in NYC

trio celebrating a birthday at Cafe Borgia II in NYC

Birdbath Neighborhood Green Bakery is directly across the street at 190 Prince St.  Operating within the old-time building that once was home to the Vesuvio Bakery, this bakery delivers bread by bicycle-powered rickshaws and gives customers who arrive by bike a discount.  People line up to purchase giant chocolate-chip cookies (a vegan version is available) stacked in the window, pretzel croissants, and other delicious items from City Bakery.  Grab-and-go light lunch items are also available; seating is limited.
line out the door at Birdbath Neighborhood Green Bakery in NYC
Click to add a blog post for Cafe Borgia II on Zomato 

More things to do in NYC.

More travel articles to inspire you and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


Monday, August 10, 2015

Things to Do: Sabon, NYC


Sabon  123 Prince St., Soho, (212) 982-0968.  The first Sabon in America—it is an Israeli business--is in Greenwich Village and more are located all around the town, but the one I prefer is this tiny one in Soho.  Most visits begin with the hand-washing ritual at a basin in the center of the shop.
hand-washing ritual at Sabon shop in NYC

Then you can stroll the store and enjoy your smooth hands while your decide what to purchase.
interior of Sabon shop in NYC

My favorite fragrance is their signature patchouli-lavender-vanilla.  I have this in body lotion, hand cream, foot cream, and a bath bomb that discreetly emits its fragrance throughout the bathroom as it waits to be used.
products at Sabon shop in NYC

soaps at Sabon shop in NYC

In addition, I received from my children a gift of the salt scrub—which leaves some oil behind that is a great moisturizer and barrier for skin—and a mineral powder soak that absorbs into the skin.  Happy birthday to me!  C’est bon!
my birthday gift, from Sabon shop in NYC

More things to do in NYC.

More travel articles to inspire you and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Sights to See: Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC


Whitney Museum of American Art  99 Gansevoort St., Meatpacking District, (212) 570-3600.  M&W 10:30am-6pm, Thur-Sat 10-30-10, Sun 10:30-6, closed Tu.  $22, seniors/students $18, under 18 Free.  This major museum specializing in American art has closed its Madison Avenue location and moved into the trendy Meatpacking area by the southern tip of the High Line.  The new building is sharply angled, with polished gray stone and plenty of glass.
exterior of new Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC

The recommended way to view exhibits is to take the elevator to Floor Eight, where 1910-1940 is represented by colorful Georgia O’Keeffes, streamlined Machine Age works, and more.  On Floor Seven, 1925-1960 covers Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism, my favorite being Alexander Calder’s large three-dimensional Circus and an accompanying video that shows some of the pieces in action.  I joined one of the popular free tours here, but it was so crowded that I dropped out part-way through.
Floor 7 of new Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC

Floor Six covers 1950-1975 and Pop Art,
Floor 6 of new Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC

and Floor Five covers 1965-Present.  Each floor has an outdoor space with stairways, sculpture, and city views that are themselves worth the price of admission.
view from balcony at new Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC

view from balcony at new Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC

Both museum restaurants are operated by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group.  On Floor One, Untitled at the Whitney Museum of American Art provides fine dining, and on Floor Eight, Studio Cafe provides light snacks and meals with inside and outdoor seating and great views.
Studio Cafe at new Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC


More things to do in NYC.

More travel articles to inspire you and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Good Eats: Schnippers Quality Kitchen and Shake Shack and Madison Square Park, NYC


Schnippers Quality Kitchen  23 East 23rd St., Flatiron District, (212) 233-1025.  We wanted to eat outside at Shake Shack, but the line was way long.  So, luckily being with a savvy local, we headed here.  I liked the high ceiling and view of the sidewalk activity, and since it is an order-at-the-counter kind of place the price is certainly right.
interior view out from Schnippers Quality Kitchen in NYC's Flatiron District

Burgers are the menu mainstay.  I ordered the basic but made the mistake of calling it “plain” and so got no toppings.  This was quickly remedied by a roaming server, who delivered lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles to me with a big smile.  Also on the basically American-food menu are fried chicken, sandwiches (including a BLAT--bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato), hot dogs, mac and cheese, sloppy joe, fish & chips, and salads as well as very good chicken tacos.  Sides include as assortment of fries—the sweet potato fries with the maple syrup dip is very popular--as well as thick onion rings.  Complimentary chilled lemon-water is available, but I opted for a delicious black & white shake consisting of vanilla ice cream swirled with chocolate sauce.
burger and shake at Schnippers Quality Kitchen in NYC's Flatiron District
Click to add a blog post for Schnipper's Quality Kitchen on Zomato

Shake Shack  23rd St., betw. Fifth & Madison aves., in Madison Square Park, (212) 889-6600.  Rain or shine there seems always to be a line here.  There are several other locations, but this one has the best rep.
Shake Shack dining area in Madison Square Park in NYC's Flatiron District
 order line at Shake Shack in Madison Square Park in NYC's Flatiron District
Though I passed on lunch here because of that line, I then wound up enjoying a juicy burger and shake at JFK in the Delta terminal where I endured a minimal line. 
order counter at Shake Shack in Delta terminal at JFK

burger and shake at Shake Shack in Delta terminal at JFK
Click to add a blog post for Shake Shack on Zomato

Madison Square Park  Named after President James Madison, this small park has been a public space since 1686 and a city park since 1847.  In the late 19th century it was surrounded by mansions and fancy hotels and relatively unused by the public.  Today it features art displays and concerts and is often crowded with people.

More things to do in NYC.

More travel articles to inspire you and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers