Archive for May, 2009


A sign outside Westville East (173 Avenue A at 11th Street) lists the daily specials — fresh vegetables.  But the sign doesn’t do justice to the unique and tasty preparations of vegetables that make this and its sister restaurant New York City hot spots. The menu features select cuts of grilled fish and meats over organic mixed greens as well as dressed-up burgers, sandwiches and hot dogs. The best part about Westville, however, is its list of “Market” sides (or choose four and make a full plate!):

Lemon Grilled Asparagus; Beets with Goat cheese or Walnuts; Sauteed Broccoli with Roasted Peppers; Cauliflower Dijonaisse; Brussel Sprouts with Honey Dijon; Soy Glazed Green Beans; Green Beans with Almonds; Asian Style Bok Choy; Green Peas with Shallots and Bacon; Sweet Potato Fries; Sauteed Tofu with Spinach and Roasted Peppers; Roasted Zucchini with Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella cheese; Broccoli Rabe with Cherry Tomatoes and Parmesan; Hearts of Palm Salad; Classic Collard Greens; Sauteed Kale with Shallots and White Wine; Artichoke Hearts with Parmesan; Mushrooms with Leeks and Herbs; Sauteed Cherry Tomatoes; Garlic Or Pesto Mashed Potatoes; Snowpeas with Sesame and Ginger; Grilled Fennel with Parmesan; Fried Plantains with Cotija cheese; Cucumber Dill Salad!!


In the picture at top, our market plate boasts grilled fennel with parmesan, lemon grilled asparagus, broccoli with garlic and roasted red peppers, and fresh peas with shallots and bacon.  None of the veggies were overcooked and all were incredibly fresh — including the homemade roasted red peppers. Westville is very reasonably priced and with it’s open windows/doors which spill out onto the street, it offers great ambiance for a date.



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With the abundance of cupcake bakeries in New York City, popular debate continues over who bakes and frosts the “best.”  Butter Lane Bakery (123 East Seventh Street in the East Village) claims it makes “the better cupcake.”  And, frankly, this fan of Magnolia cupcakes could argue Butter Lane is actually best.


Owned and operated by Pam Nelson — a former Wall Street banker and cousin of a good friend of mine from Atlanta — Butter Lane prides itself in its raw materials: organic dairy and flavorings.  They also create some unique flavors that break the city’s cupcake mold (figuratively speaking).  Flavors like peanut butter banana, espresso, coconut, blueberry, and key lime.  Who doesn’t like choices other than vanilla and chocolate, right?!


What makes Butter Lane cupcakes most distinctive is the consistency of the frosting. They make two types: American butter cream (butter and confectioners sugar) and French butter cream (butter, egg yolks, granular sugar). Again, yay for choices!  The American version is slightly sweeter, but both are much less sugary than Magnolia’s cupcake toppings.  The light, fluffy, whipped texture of the Butter Lane frosts make that first bite moist, gooey and flavorful — much more enjoyable than the overpowering, thick, shortening-based frostings you find atop others.


My favorite is the cupcake on the far left (with marshmellows):  banana bread cake with a light peanutbutter frosting!  To die for. Yum.

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I’m usually not a big fan of pasta once the warmer weather rolls around, but even when it was almost 90 degrees in New York City a couple weeks ago, this dish won me over. The cherry tomato, fresh basil, fresh mozzarella combo stands out among the ear-shaped pasta tossed in a light and simple olive oil/chicken broth “sauce.”


But it’s the mini chicken meatballs that put this dish over the top. They are tender and delicious!

Mix one pound of ground white meat chicken or turkey with:  1/4 cup bread crumbs, 1/4 chopped parsley, 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon milk, 1 tablespoon ketchup, 3/4 cup grated romano cheese, and salt/pepper to taste. Brown the little balls in olive oil over high heat, 9-10 minutes.

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