Posts Tagged ‘gelato’

Ice Pop Renaissance

July 29, 2010

Ice cream might be facing its old rival: ice pops. These frozen treats-on-a-stick aren’t what they used to be and they are popping up all over the city (pardon the pun). Gone are the days of sticky, artificial flavorings and neon colors. The first of what might become a new trend includes People’s Pops and Popbar. People’s Pops, located in Chelsea Market and with stands at the Highline and the Brooklyn Flea Market, produces a grown up version of the original. It offers fruity flavors made from organic, local produce combined with sophisticated accents such as jasmine, basil and tarragon.  While I enjoyed the rhubarb and jasmine pop, I wasn’t sure about the fibrous texture created from using whole ingredients. The stringiness of the rhubarb wasn’t exactly pleasant. And a taste of a blueberry and cream bar left blueberry skins in my teeth. However, it might have been a small price to pay knowing that these ice pops were a far more nutritious choice than one from an ice cream truck. But if texture is a deal-breaker for you, than head over to Popbar for one of their gelato, yogurt or sorbetto bars.

Made from 100% natural ingredients (with no preservatives or artificial flavorings), Popbar’s gelato passes my flavor test.  Each bar has a smooth, creamy consistency that leaves a brightness and intenseness on the palate that can only be found in really good gelato.  The sorbetto, which is made from real fruit, is also amazingly refreshing. All of their daily-made bars can be customized with chocolate dips and toppings like coconut, biscotti crumbles, almonds and many more. The only warning I would give is that if the weather is insanely hot, eat your gelato inside Popbar because it will melt quickly. The sorbetto holds up much better against the heat.

People’s Pops
Chelsea Market – Arcade
425 W. 15th Street (between 9th & 10th)

click here for other location and times

Popbar
5 Carmine Street (near 6th Ave.)
212-255-4874

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How to Deal in Midtown East (Part 1)

April 28, 2010

For me, Midtown East might be the Sahara of Manhattan when it comes to getting a decent vegetarian lunch (or dinner for that matter). But when my company changed offices from Soho to Midtown East, I was forced to hunt the barren blocks for some decent fare. Below is the best of what I’ve found…

Pampano Taquería
The vegetarian burrito at Pampano Taquería could quite possibly the best vegetarian Midtown lunch. It’s filled with Mexican rice*, black beans*, chile poblanos, and sautéed onions, zucchini and mushrooms. Enjoy the side of warm tortilla chips with four kinds of fresh salsa. Give Pampano a try and I promise you will never head to Chipotle again.

*A phone call assures me these are 100% vegetarian

805 Third Ave between 49th and 50th
(Take the escalator down to the basement food court)
212-751-5257

Dishes
Though Dishes has an array of vegetarian and vegan items in their buffet (think eggless Cesar salad, pasta, quinoa, and no-mayo coleslaw), my favorite thing about Dishes is the array of clearly labeled vegetarian soups – many of which are dairy free. Among my favorites are the pumpkin corn bisque, chilled gazpacho, the vegetarian tom yum and the Indonesian noodle soup. When the weather gets cold, head to Dishes for the comfort soup you are craving. Just get there early to beat the chaotic lunch scene.

6 E. 45th St. between Madison and 5th
212-687-5511

Pop Burger
Everyone, including meat-eaters, agrees that the invisible burger is the best thing on the menu at Pop Burger. Two cute little portobello mushroom sliders with lettuce, cheese, tomato are dressed with a Russian dressing type sauce – it’s the closest an East Coast burger comes, flavor-wise, to something from In-N-Out. If you work close by or are just taking a shopping trip to Bloomingdale’s or Bergdorf’s, remember to pop in for a bite.

14 E. 58th Street between Madison and 5th
212-991-6644

Melt Café and Gelato Bar
I’m a gelato snob. There. I’ve said it. The first time I tried gelato, I was in Italy and it opened my tastes buds to a whole new world of possibility. I tried two flavors: grapefruit and strawberry. I am generally not a fan of the whole strawberries and cream thing. But the fruitiness of these two scoops was so vivid and bright, that I found them irresistible. That strawberry gelato tasted like an actual strawberry, but better! I’ve never found a gelato in New York that has that same quality: bursting with flavor in your mouth. But, Melt’s gelato comes pretty close. And as an added bonus, they serve both sweet and savory crêpes (one of the only places in Midtown East that has crêpes) and have very good paninis (and I mean real paninis  – not the deli kind that look like pita bread with stuffing inside). With it’s pleasantly sleek, modern interior, you might be enticed to take a long lunch here during the summer.

1053 Second Ave. between 55th and 56th
646-344-1287

Grill 44
While Grill 44 has a random mix of foods like falafel, curry, kati rolls, dosas, and biriyanis – all of which are decent – the real reason I go here is for the chai.  This isn’t your typical, extra-sweet, overly creamy Starbucks chai. It’s real chai, like the kind made in South Asian homes across the world. The kind where you can actually taste all the spices. And at $1.25, it’s about a third of the price of what you’ll get at a Starbucks, too.

160 E. 44th St. between 3rd and Lexington
212-949-0245