Author Archives: Laura Weiss

Upper West Side: Neighborhood Restaurants RIP

One more condo, one less neighborhood eatery.

The Strand diner, which has been operating for 16 years on 96th Street just east of Broadway, has shut its doors. Not that the place was some great temple of gastronomy, but it served a function–cheap diner food for those times when you just wanted to fill your stomach.

Another casualty of the gentrification that’s transforming what’s left of the old Upper West Side is Mary Ann’s, the Mexican place on Broadway at 91st. What’s going in there? Who knows. But a good guess is a cell phone store or chain pharmacy.

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Upper West Side: Cauliflower and Pizza? Yes!

Yesterday, I was looking for a light lunch. I strolled into Grandaisy Bakery, a tiny storefront on 72nd and Broadway, right next to Grey’s Papaya, the hot dog joint.

A steady stream of customers was shuffling in and out of the diminutive eatery. I caught sight of a slice of cauliflower pizza. It could be great…or it could be awful.

This sumptuous slice was fantastic. Laced with Gruyere cheese and lightly topped with olive oil, the pizza was surprisingly flavorful and the crust was exceptionally tender. The taste of the cauliflower came through but was rendered mellow by the addition of the cheese.

The place, which also has an outpost on Sullivan Street (No. 73), has cakes and cookies if you need something sweet to finish your meal.

Grandaisy Bakery
176 W. 72nd St.
New York, NY
212 334 8412

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Passover: Can Restaurants Take the Place of Home?

The Times today featured a story about how the number of restaurants offering seders is mushrooming. Some don’t get it right. They serve rugelach, which because they’re made with wheat, are a definite no-no.

I’m not so appalled by what seems to be a mini-trend. Maybe that’s because for years my family has celebrated Passover with a seder at the country club. It’s a Jewish country club, so they get all the food right. But does it feel warm and personal? Absolutely not. Is it better to have some seder–even one with a view of the first hole– than no seder at all? Absolutely yes.

I’m going to my sister-in-law’s seder, held the traditional way in her dining room. For those who prefer a restaurant environment, check out the Times story.

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New York Chocolate Map

MUG, otherwise known as Manhattan User’s Guide, has performed an important public service. In today’s feature on noteworthy new and historic NY maps, it provides a link to a map of a New York’s chocolate emporiums.

Chocoholics–this one’s for you:


New York City Chocolate Guide
Robert K. Chin has thoughtfully tracked notable chocolates uptown and down. His website gives comprehensive chocolate info from the five boroughs plus Long Island and Westchester.

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Southold, LI: Seafood Barge Performs Swimmingly

There aren’t a lot of exceptional places to eat on Long Island’s North Fork. Most people come out to the area to cruise the wineries, but we like it for its low key, laid back, still mostly-rural atmosphere.

The place with the best prepared seafood is the unassuming Seafood Barge in Southold. It harks back to the kinds of family restaurants I remember as a kid. The only thing that’s missing is the relish tray. Tables are spread apart far enough so that you have lots of privacy. The decor is seafood kitsch and a large window looks out at a marina. The only jarring note is the persistent hum of canned music in the background. But that’s made up for in part by the friendly but very efficient wait staff.

We ordered locally caught cod and swordfish that wasn’t reeled in by local fishermen. Both were superb though on Chowhound there have been some dissatisfied customers. Unlike many swordfish preparations, this one was moist, flavorful and fork tender. My cod was delicious and accompanied by nicely prepared green beans and potatoes. For starters, we ordered Manhattan clam chowder that was chock full of clams. It was simply some of the best chowder I’ve ever eaten.

Despite its homey atmosphere, the Seafood Barge isn’t cheap. Main courses run just under $30 so by the time you’re done with wine and dessert, this can be an expensive night out.

Seafood Barge
Main Road
at Port of Egypt
Southold, NY

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