Two New Vegan Eateries from Blossom

Good news for vegans: The Blossom family of vegan eateries is expanding.

Earlier this month, Blossom Bakery opened in Chelsea, featuring vegan, organic and gluten-free baked goods. The bakery is a bright, small space with a few tables and views of an open kitchen. In addition to sweets, the menu includes savory items like quiches ($5.50) as well as croissants ($3).

Also this month, Café Blossom opened its doors on Carmine Street in the West Village. The original Café Blossom is located on the Upper West Side; for the uninitiated, there’s also Blossom in Chelsea, plus its take-out-only adjunct, Blossom Du Jour.

So many Blossoms, so little time!

Photo courtesy of Blossom Bakery

Back Forty West Comes to Soho

We here at Clean Plates were thrilled when Peter Hoffman’s Back Forty restaurant (a favorite of ours in the East Village) recently opened a new location, Back Forty West, at the corner of Prince and Crosby Streets in Soho.

If the address sounds familiar, it’s because it’s where Hoffman’s popular Savoy restaurant once lived, before closing its doors in 2011. Continue reading

How is the Warm Weather Affecting Local Greenmarkets?

By Astrid Cook

It’s been the winter that wasn’t, and unprecedented warm temperatures are affecting local farms — and, in turn, the produce available at local greenmarkets.

Farmers are  struggling to keep up with their supply; workers are busy transferring lettuces from greenhouses to outdoors, for example, while fully blossoming orchards are being prepped for an early fruit season.

The result is a boon for greenmarket shoppers accustomed to rooting through root vegetables in March. But this bounty comes at a price. Continue reading

Social Dining Experiences with SoupNextDoor

“Farmers travel early and far to sell their produce to New Yorkers, and we are extremely lucky to have them,” said Chef Sung Kim, standing at the chopping board. She was slicing cucumber for the first course of an elaborate Japanese Izakaya themed dinner – only we weren’t in a restaurant. We were seated around the large island in her Brooklyn kitchen.

This intimate next-level chef’s table experience was organized by SoupNextDoor, a new online community that connects hungry strangers with talented chefs and hosts. Continue reading

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week

Why not take a drive upstate to enjoy the spring blooms, and enjoy a delicious, discounted meal, to boot?

The 6th annual Hudson Valley Restaurant Week kicked off on March 18th and continues through March 31st. This year, over 200 restaurants from seven counties are participating, offering lunch for $20.95 or dinner for $29.95 (beverages, tax, and tip not included).

View a full list of participating restaurants, including A Tavola in New Paltz (co-owner Nathan Snow is the former chef at Al Di La in Brooklyn), Aroma Osteria in Wappingers Falls, and Brasserie 292 in Poughkeepsie (proprietor and manager Chris Crocco used to work at Rouge Tomate). When making reservations, be sure to read the fine print, as some restaurants don’t participate on Friday or Saturday, and some only offer the lunch deal.

Reservations tend to go quickly, so don’t delay!

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Farm-to-Table Dinner with Chef David Bouley and Ray Bradley

What: Farm-to-Table Dinner with Chef David Bouley and Ray Bradley

Where:  David Bouley Test Kitchen, 88 West Broadway, 5th Floor

When: Wednesday, March 28 – 6:30pm reception, 7pm dinner

How much: $205/person, plus $75/person for the optional wine pairing (includes a welcome aperitif during the reception); prices include tax and service. Reservations are required. Buy tickets.

Ray Bradley and David Bouley Bouley and Bradley are childhood friends who worked together in the ’80s building the original Bouley restaurant (see photo at left). Attendees can expect some kitchen theater, with the open kitchen setting offering a full view of culinary genius in action. And of course, a bounty of food will come out of that kitchen all night long: the four-course meal will use proteins and produce from Bradley Farm in New Paltz, fresh day-boat fish from the Cape and a selection of spring’s early harvest. Dessert will be served with organic Costa Rican coffee from the Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation and Inn, a nod to Bradley’s stint overseeing the kitchen at a friend’s Costa Rican bed and breakfast.

This is likely to be a popular event, so buy your tickets soon!

Photo of Ray Bradley’s popular garlic at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket by Flickr user sawad. Photo of Bradley and Bouley courtesy of Bradley Farm.

On Our Radar: Foragers City Market Restaurant

Coming soon to Chelsea: Foragers City Market…the restaurant.

The market opened at its original location in DUMBO, Brooklyn six years ago with a mission to bring people the freshest, cleanest food possible. Recently, Foragers opened a new market and wine store in Chelsea, and a new full-service restaurant is slated to open next door in a couple of weeks. Continue reading

Free Screening of “The Apple Pushers,” Narrated by Edward Norton

Written and directed by Mary Mazzio, and narrated by Academy Award nominee Edward Norton, “The Apple Pushers” is an inspiring and emotional film that follows five immigrant pushcart vendors who are rolling fresh fruits and vegetables into the so-called “food deserts” of New York City. (Bardo, one of the vendors featured in the film, is pictured above.)

The Apple PushersA food desert is a low-income neighborhood where finding a fresh apple or head of broccoli is extremely difficult; the vendors in “The Apple Pushers” are part of New York City’s Green Carts Initiative, a project designed to bring inexpensive, fresh produce to these areas.

Attend a free screening of “The Apple Pushers” on March 20 at the City University of New York’s School of Public Health at Hunter College. A reception will begin at 6:00pm, followed by the screening at 6:30pm; a panel discussion will follow. To RSVP email or call 212-772-4007.


A Conversation With Chef Abigail Hitchcock

“The locavore movement has always made perfect sense to me,” says Abigail Hitchcock, chef at Camaje in Greenwich Village and the newer Abigail in Prospect Heights. We’re sitting on a slouchy couch overlooking the foot traffic on MacDougal Street, sipping wine, as conversation turns to the science of cooking, Hitchcock’s ever-popular cooking classes, and more.

Tell me about one of your favorite dishes on the Camaje menu at the moment.

In the winter, soups are so comforting… we have a market seafood soup that I love. We use a fragrant saffron broth and gently poach whatever fish we have in the kitchen that day. It’s sort of a mock bouillabaisse and so delicious.

How did your cooking classes at Camaje get started? What are people interested in learning?

I was teaching at Williams-Sonoma and during that time, people kept requesting hands-on classes instead of demonstration-only classes. About 3 years into Camaje we launched the cooking classes. The weeknight dinner class is always a hit. People want healthy, quick, go-to dishes where they can easily interchange ingredients. We also teach people how to get started cooking with unfamiliar ingredients. We introduce them to cooking with items like fish sauce, and then the intimidation of using these ingredients at home is gone. Continue reading