Great moments in border crossings 

“You drove from New York City to Quebec to get some cheese,” asked the obviously skeptical Canadian border guard. He allowed me to proceed after I gave the only right answer: “There are many outstanding cheeses made in Quebec, sir.”

And the next adventure begins.   

 
  

Annual Native American Festival Draws Hundreds to Inwood Hill Park

Native American Crafts for sale.
Native crafts for sale at annual Indian heritage festival in Inwood, NYC.

One of the highlights of summer in the city is the array of festivals each year. In northern Manhattan, Drums Along The Hudson is an annual Native American festival that has become an annual attraction, drawing hundreds from the local neighborhoods and beyond. Traditional foods like fry bread, storytelling, and face painting are among the highlights, along with performances and demonstrations of dances and chants passed on from generations of indigenous peoples.

Here’s a short video that captures the spirit:

Here's 45-seconds that I hope captures the spirit of today's Drums Along the Hudson festival of Native American culture, held in Inwood Hill Park. (Good shot of Luis Ramos dancing at the end.)

Posted by Doug Levy on Sunday, June 14, 2015

Inaugural Harlem Stroll Draws Hundreds #HarlemEatUp

Marcus Samuelsson and Bill Clinton greeted crowds of food fans to the first (and hopefully annual) Harlem Stroll, a festival of diversity, showing off Harlem’s restaurants, neighborhood organizations, and the work of local artists. 

Celebrity chefs, local restaurateurs, and their fans strolled around three tents of tastings.

Celebrity chefs Scott Conant, Marcus Samuelsson, Alex Guarnaschelli, and AaronSanchez were among the attendees.

Former President Clinton poses with workers as he exited the event.
 
 

Highlights so far include a sweet spring pea soup by the Sylvia Center, Jerk Chicken slider by Harlem Shake, and a tasting plate by Charles’ Country Fried Chicken. 

And a hilarious cooking demo by Aaron Sanchez with Samuelsson, as other TV star chefs egged them on. 

Samuelsson and Aaron Sanchez on stage.

On a mission to save the city’s Art Deco mailboxes | Crain’s New York Business

Karen Greene has a passion for preserving these receptacles, according to an article in Crain’s New York Business about her photography of Art Deco mailbox masterpieces.

So glad to see my neighbor Karen Greene doing good work like this — and getting recognized for it.

A clinical psychologist, she is also an amateur photographer with a passion for documenting the city’s Art Deco mailboxes. Last year, Art Deco Mailboxes, the book she co-wrote featuring her pictures, was published by W.W. Norton, and she’s now speaking to New York art aficionados about the cultural importance of century-old letter receptacles.

‘Karen has done a marvelous thing by focusing attention on something we see all the time but don’t really think about anymore,’ said Roberta Nusim, president of the Art Deco Society of New York.

Source: She’s got mail: On a mission to save the city’s Art Deco mailboxes | Crain’s New York Business

Also check out the book that includes Karen’s photographs:

New Orleans lunch, elevated at Butcher

 

Cochon Butcher restaurant, New Orleans Here’s a glimpse of one of the best meals I had in New Orleans recently. Cochon Butcher is the casual side of Chef Donald Link’s New Orleans restaurant family. Cold cuts made on the spot, sausages hanging all around, and house-made pickles result in a terrific place to enjoy high-quality interpretations of New Orleans style cuisine. http://www.cochonbutcher.com/

Posted by Doug Levy on Sunday, May 3, 2015

Here’s a glimpse of one of the best meals I had in New Orleans recently. Cochon Butcher is the casual side of Chef Donald Link’s New Orleans restaurant family. Cold cuts made on the spot, sausages hanging all around, and house-made pickles result in a terrific place to enjoy high-quality interpretations of New Orleans style cuisine. http://www.cochonbutcher.com/

Cochon Butcher on Urbanspoon

Celebrating New Zealand Wine #sauvblanc

The marketers of New Zealand wine took an idea started by St. Supery winery in California six years ago and helped turn Sauvignon Blanc Day into a global event, with tastings around the world on Friday, April 24, so that the day stretches into two on social media. Fair enough: Many New Zealand wines are worthy of such attention. Although some of my favorite NZ wines are pinot noir, more than two-thirds of all wine produced in New Zealand is Sauvignon Blanc.

Many people may recognize New Zealand wines among some of the lowest price wines sold in the United States — it’s not hard to find respectable bottles for around $10. Some of this results from efficient bottling and transport (some wines are bulk shipped to California for bottling and distribution.) And, New Zealand benefits from the relatively recent development of its wine industry — mostly within the past  30 years or so.

This week, I tasted two sample bottles from Nobilo. Both were good; one I look forward to enjoying again. Other enjoyable NZ Sauvignon Blancs I’ve had include  ones by Ata Rangi (the 2011 was velvety soft); Wairau River and Cloudy Bay.

New Zealand wine
Nobilo Regional Collection Sauvignon Blanc is a good value at around $12.
The better of the two bottles was 2014 Nobilo Regional Sauvignon Blanc. Pale straw hues, pronounced grapefruit flavor, and a long, mineral finish, this dry wine worked well with spicy foods and strong cheese, and it would match many seafood dishes perfectly. At around $14 a bottle, this represents a very good wine for the price.

The other sample was 2014 Nobilo Icon Sauvignon Blanc. Definitely more complex, this wine’s high acidity and light body belies the expected silky balance. The nose had notes of gasoline (petrol if I follow the standard wine flavor glossaries,) flowers, apricot and bell pepper. Grapefruit dominates the flavor, with some white and black pepper. Still a good value for around $17, the balance of the $14 Nobilo Regional still wins for me.

These are only two of hundreds of good New. Zealand wines available in the United States. One advantage of the Global Economy is greater opportunity to enjoy products from around the world. New Zealand wines fit that category quite nicely.

This post was based in part on sample wines provided by the producers.

 

Directory: Where to find organic and healthy foods in Washington Heights and Inwood

After a neighbor complained that she could only find “five or six” organic foods in Washington Heights or Inwood, I started collecting data that shows otherwise. In fact, the selection of organic, local and natural items available in northern Manhattan has increased significantly just in the four months since started compiling this directory. Now, healthy and organic options continue to expand — throughout our diverse community. Please contribute to my list, below.

Update May 12, 2016: In addition to the stores on the list below, nearly every corner store or bodega in the area now has some organic items, and many have fresh fruits for sale.

Organic food and natural products in Washington Heights and Inwood

Fresh carrots and radishes by Hawthorne Valley Farm.

Fresh carrots and radishes by Hawthorne Valley Farm.

Hawthorne Valley Farms sells organics at Inwood Greenmarket.

Hawthorne Valley Farms sells organics at Inwood Greenmarket.

Organic canned goods.

Organic canned goods.

Organic goods at Frank's Market.

Organic goods at Frank's Market.

C-Town has a growing organic produce section.

C-Town has a growing organic produce section.

Organic beverages at Antillana.

Organic beverages at Antillana.

Shelves Filled With Organics At Fine Fare.

Shelves Filled With Organics At Fine Fare.

Fine Fare recently expanded organic produce.

Fine Fare recently expanded organic produce.

Inwood Greenmarket In Summer.

Inwood Greenmarket In Summer.

Natural Household Products At Dichter Pharmacy.

Natural Household Products At Dichter Pharmacy.

Purple Cauliflower At Inwood Greenmarket.

Purple Cauliflower At Inwood Greenmarket.

Organic Pasta Sauces At Pathmark.

Organic Pasta Sauces At Pathmark.

Organic Dairy Products At Pathmark.

Organic Dairy Products At Pathmark.

C-Town Has Signs That Guide To Healthier Choices.

C-Town Has Signs That Guide To Healthier Choices.

Organic Grains At Pathmark

Organic Grains At Pathmark

Organic Spices.

Organic Spices.

Frozen Organics At Pathmark.

Frozen Organics At Pathmark.


While much of the growth is spurred by customer requests, City Harvest’s Healthy Neighborhood Program works with corner stores and supermarkets in Washington Heights and Inwood to increase the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables. City Harvest aims to expand to more stores this year.

Here is a list of places that sell organic or natural products in our community. If you have information to add, please enter a comment, and the page will be updated periodically.

  • C-Town 4918 Broadway  sells a growing variety of organic fresh vegetables and fruits, Bob’s Red Mill grain products, household products by Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyers, and others, and meats and poultry raised without antibiotics, including some organic meats (check the freezer case.) Carries large selection of organic spices and packaged foods, including multiple brands of organic beans and other staples. Very good about ordering items on request.
  • Bravo 4261 Broadway carries organic dairy products, frozen vegetables and some organic produce.
  • Food Universe (formerly Associated) 5069 Broadway has a selection of organic produce and multiple brands of dairy, natural and antibiotic-free meats, and environmentally sensitive household products. Has organic baby food, spices and both canned and frozen foods, and organic grains. Major brands carried include: Amy’s, Kashi, Bob’s Red Mill, Cascadian Farms, Stonyfield Farms, Spice Hunter.
  • Associated 592 Fort Washington Ave., has multiple brands of organic dairy products, some organic produce, and natural household items. Store is scheduled for renovation and upgrade in 2016.
  • Frank’s Market 807 W. 187th St.,  has an extensive selection of organic produce, canned and other packaged food items, organic meats and poultry, frozen foods, and dairy. Wide selection of organic groceries, including Bob’s Red Mill and other brands of grains and baking products.
  • Jin’s Superette, 804 W. 181st St., has organic produce, dairy, frozen foods and canned goods, plus an array of organic snacks.
  • Dichter Pharmacy, 4953 Broadway, , has variety of organic and natural health and beauty products and some household items, including cleaning products. Very good about ordering items on request. Also sells Ronnybrook dairy products, including milk and ice cream.
  • All About Green, Sherman Ave between 10th Ave. and Isham St., has hundreds of organic and natural cleaning and household products, primarily in large sizes for commercial use. Store hours seem somewhat unpredictable.
  • Saturdays: Most of the products sold at the Inwood Greenmarket are raised naturally and some are certified organic. All are local. See http://www.grownyc.org/greenmarket/manhattan/inwood for details and a list of the vendors. Hawthorne Valley Farm is a year-round vendor of vegetables, fruit, cheese, yogurt, pastries and sauerkraut that is certified organic. Bread Alone sells organic breads and pastries.
  • Tuesdays: Fort Washington Greenmarket on Fort Washington Ave., at 168th Street (Columbia University Medical Center) has several organic vendors. See  http://www.grownyc.org/greenmarket/manhattan/fort-washington. (Market closed during winter months.)
  • Thursdays: The 175th Street Greenmarket has natural products and farmers selling specialty produce of Mexican and other Latino origins, all from local growers. See http://www.grownyc.org/greenmarket/manhattan/175th-street
  • Park Terrace Deli, 510 W. 218th St., has more than 200 organic products, including frozen vegetables and prepared foods, canned groceries, snacks, multiple brands of organic dairy and beverages, and a limited selection of organic fresh fruits.
  • Fine Fare, 4776 Broadway near Dyckman, has over 300 organic grocery items, including spices, grains, cereals, multiple brands of organic dairy, and produce. No organic meats or chicken.

The following stores (supermarkets and “corner stores” or bodegas) participate in City Harvest’s Healthy Neighborhood Program to increase produce availability and offer healthy shopping tours and in-store cooking demonstrations:

  • Bravo supermarkets at 1331 St. Nicholas Ave., 4138 Broadway, and 4261 Broadway.
  • C-Town, 1016 St. Nicholas Ave.
  • C-Town, 4918 Broadway
  • La Mina Supermarket, 553 W. 157th St.
  • 119 AR Grocery Corp., 119 Ellwood St.
  • 128 P&L Grocery Corp., 128 Audubon Ave.
  • Bello Deli Food, 5009 Broadway.
  • Diaz Deli Grocery, 2143 Amsterdam Ave.
  • Frutera El Buen Camino, 3888 Broadway.
  • M.D.K. Grocery Corp., 100 Audubon Ave.
  • My Deli Grocery, 670 W. Academy St.
  • My Sweet Deli, 187 Sherman Ave.
  • Red Apple Deli Market Corp., 134 Hamilton Pl.
  • The New Generation, 242 Sherman Ave.