Rosemary’s: Not Worth the Trip

Dedicated to eating at farm-to-table, fresh, and organic restaurants, I just had to visit Rosemary’s. It is one of the places to go to for healthy and quality food in Manhattan. When I searched for new restaurants of the sort, Rosemary’s kept popping up. TimeOut, Culture Trip, Guest of a Guest: they all feature Rosemary’s among the best such locales in the City. But, I did not see it. It was just, well, ok.

I walked into the restaurant very excited, of course. At first, I was not disappointed. There was an inviting environment to it. Very naturally  lit, very open, very low-key. Located in the West Village (I have a bias towards the Downtown-ish neighborhoods for restaurants),  I expected it to be very authentic and thought the food would be delicious. It even has its own rooftop garden: how cool!

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I ordered a caprese focaccia, which comes with tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella; a carbonara pasta; and an orange juice, which came with exotic ingredients. I know: orange juice and an Italian lunch are not the best mix. But I was at this hip restaurant that had its own private garden, so I wanted to be healthy. I said to myself: take a chance; order the juice.

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I should have stuck with a pinot grigio. It was a regular orange juice. I did not feel that natural texture and taste to it or any of those other quirky ingredients. Whatever.

The focaccia was very fluffy and bready, and the pasta was very creamy and oily. I even just started eating separately the bits of bacon in the end: the pasta just bored me.

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Honestly, I did not feel that the food was masterful at all. It was just very standard and regular. It was not truly Italian, and I do not know if it was truly farm-to-table. If I had not been told, I would have thought that the ingredients were bought at a supermarket. And that juice could perfectly pass for a Tropicana product. They definitely do have a good marketing team, so kudos for that. And maybe it was just that in wintertime their garden is not in use. But I would not recommend this place to anyone. To me, it is the Times Square of farm-to-table restaurants.

Sorry for this negative review or for this rant, but I feel it necessary to report the good and the bad. The main takeaway to Rosemary’s is: just don’t.

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Eggloo: Your Waffle Cone Doesn’t Get Much Fresher

Can I just say, you have to check this place out!

I had friends who had told me about this place, but I never realized it was in Chinatown until I Google mapped the location. Upon arrival, I realized I had passed by this little gem many times before. I was glad to finally be checking it out now though.

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I went on a Saturday afternoon, so it was pretty busy inside. It is a small space, with only really “seating” (really just standing) by the window.

They have their menu posted on the entrance wall, and I was surprised by the assortment of options they had. The best part is, when you order a cone or sundae, you get unlimited toppings! This alone makes this ice cream stop great since most places will charge you around 75¢ for toppings.

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I ordered at the register and since there were so many people there, I had to wait a while for my order. They make everything as it is ordered, including the waffles which are shaped either for the sundae cup or made into a cone. The waffles themselves even come in 3 different flavors; I went with the Original for my first time.

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It was a lot of fun to watch them make every order and see what creations other people requested. I did end up having to wait maybe 10-15 minutes for my ice cream to finally be made, but it was worth the short delay.

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They did an amazing job decorating my cone and placing my large number of toppings on top. I love how they made it into a spectrum of rainbowed colors, something I had not expected when ordering.

The waffle was warm and freshly baked, making the combination of it all a heavenly gift. I saw many people sharing the cone with friends and families, but I really recommend getting your own to enjoy because while it may look like a lot, the Eggloo treat disappears fast.

I really look forward to my next visit! I plan on trying the sundae version next time!

Café Viva: The Unexpected Vegan Haven

With midterms coming around, I didn’t have time for a sit-down meal, but still wanted to indulge in a tasty, healthy, meal. That’s when I found Café Viva. I was struck by the variety of items they had, from vegan pizza and gluten free pizzas on spelt, corn, or whole wheat crust to salads to pasta and calzones. I finally settled on a slice of Zen Pizza (vegan) and a vegan Pasta Bolognese.

The order arrived within twenty minutes, thirty minutes earlier than Seamless had predicted.

Café Viva: Broadway Avenue (between 93rd and 94th Street)

Zen Pizza (Vegan):

Green tea herb, miso-tofu, green tea basil pesto, shiitake mushrooms, caramelized onions, sun-dried tomato, and roasted garlic on a green tea herb spelt crust.

I didn’t expect much since I had never tried green tea and tofu on pizza, and had never really considered pizza as “healthy,” but I was pleasantly surprised.

2017-04-07 18.08.59-2The pizza had an overall herby scent, and the shiitake mushrooms and green tea worked surprisingly well together. The sun-dried tomatoes were rather acidic, however, and overpowered the other flavors. The miso-tofu was also rather dry and flimsy – by the end, I was just eating the tofu and mushrooms alone (san-crust). Despite the flimsiness, however, the flavors blended very well in a zen-like manner.

Pasta Bolognese (Vegan)

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Café Viva offers both Linguini and Penne Pasta options, and I ordered the Linguini option. The meat sauce was extremely fresh, and the pasta was the perfect texture.

The 2017-04-07 18.09.48portion is extremely large (especially so after finishing a whole slice of pizza), and there was ample sauce. Although the pasta did not look particularly appetizing, it tasted heavenly.

The pasta came with bread, but it was overly salted on the inside and under-seasoned on the crust.

I will definitely go to the Café Viva store next time to sample some more of their other vegan pizzas and pastas.

The Best Pancakes in Le Monde

Last Saturday around noon, I went to Community craving some pancakes, but upon arriving I realized that there was no way I was going to get in any time soon. There were so many people waiting around to get a table, and I was quite sad. But I decided to go next door to Le Monde and try it out, and I ended up having an amazing dining experience.

Le Monde is a cute French restaurant that’s just a short walk from campus. From the outside, you can’t tell just how cute it really is; the inside is paradoxically spacious and cozy at the same time. There are decorations that infuse some Frenchness into the atmosphere, and the tables are tiny and adorable. My table was by the window looking out on Broadway. I ordered pancakes and snacked on warm, delicious bread while I waited.

The interior of Le Monde.

When the pancakes arrived, I was blown away by how amazing they looked. The order consisted of a stack of three pancakes, all of which were slightly different sizes, making the stack resemble a tiered cake. The pancakes were round and golden, and there were blueberries and strawberries on top and cascading down the sides. There was a perfect amount of powdered sugar sprinkled on top, as well as a sprig of mint to finish it off. I could immediately tell that I was in for some high quality pancakes.

The buttermilk pancakes.
The buttermilk pancakes.

I drizzled some maple syrup on my pancakes and dug in. It was love at first bite. These pancakes were full of flavor and were perfectly balanced: not too sweet, not too savory. The fruit, the syrup, and the touch of powdered sugar really brought it all together. There’s not much to say except that these fluffy and flavorful pancakes were some of the best pancakes I’ve ever had. And combined with the charming atmosphere of the restaurant itself, this pancake experience was absolutely perfect.

Le Monde is certainly a pancake gem in Morningside Heights. Their pancakes are not that cheap ($12.75), but they leave you incredibly satisfied. Any pancake aficionado will thoroughly enjoy a stack at Le Monde.

Location: 2885 Broadway, New York, NY

Lunch: Monday – Friday from 11am to 5pm

Dinner: Sunday – Thursday from 5pm to 11pm, Friday and Saturday from 5pm to 11:30pm

Brunch: Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 5pm