Cue music: “These are a few of my favorite things…”
This post is definitely inspired by one of my new favorite shows “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” where a bunch of everyone’s favorite chefs and Food Network food experts (Duff is my fave!) rave and practically salivate over their all time favorite dishes. They share stories seasoned with nostalgia, marinated with utter satisfaction and garnished with the individual pow that makes each of them our favorite food stars.
So I’d like to share a few of my all time favorite food spots right here in New York:
First stop, Cake Man Confectionary in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, which happens to be the home of the BEST red velvet cake I’ve ever tasted. The first time I stepped in there, the sweet smell of the cake filled the place, and combined with the warm of the summer air, I felt like I walked right into the oven. About three times a week that summer, my mother and I took a 30-minute trip for our quick fix. Now that the cakes are made off site, it’s not quite the same experience but it is still the best that I’ve tasted.
Next stop, Max Brenner in Union Square. You may have heard me talk about this one before. Even though this place is a chocolate heaven, they do offer real food, like the spicy chicken and black bean pizza that I’ve fallen in love with. But my reason for going to Max Brenner is the Tutti Frutti Waffles: Belgian Waffles, vanilla ice cream, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries (you can add the toffee bananas that it used to come with too), when all combined into one forkful and topped with chocolate crunchies and drizzled with the vial of chocolate hits you right in your gut (not in that part of your stomach that you feel when your full or hungry) but that part of your gut you feel when something strikes an emotional nerve. It takes your breath away for a second, the world around you stops, makes you close your eyes and let out an involuntary “mmmmmm.” Slowly savoring every bite is the only way to eat it.
Next, Flamingo Tropicale Restaurant in Rockaway, Queens. Everyone already knows that Trinidad and Tobago has held a special place in my heart since I fell truly in love with it in my last few trips (that’s a post for another day). Going to Flamingo gives me a little taste of T & T when I can’t be there. My favorite dish is the Trini style Chinese fried chicken and pepper shrimp dish served with fried rice. Sometimes it’s so spicy that I break out in a sweat while eating but never stop because it’s just too good. Surrounded by the new and old Trini tunes, Flamingo recreates a nostalgic experience.
Let’s take a trip up to the top floor for our last stop, 230-Fifth Penthouse Lounge and Rooftop Garden in the Flatiron District. For the purpose of this post, I’ll withhold my issues with the security at the door because I do love this place that much. When looking for a venue for the launch of Her Journey, 230-Fifth literally took my breath away and trumped every other venue I had in mind. Down to the detail of the heliconia flower (that I had fallen in love with in TnT) at the entrance, let me know that this place was for me. Beyond being the chic and swanky after-work hangout it’s known for, 230-Fifth also offers weekend brunches year-round. Sitting on top of the world with an up-close and personal view of the Empire State Building with Grand Marnier and Bailey’s soaked French toast and succulent sausage is a great way to start off any day.