Cooking Glorious Tajines with Levana

Levana is almost always referred to by her first name.
Like another favorite, extroverted star, her name rhymes with Madonna. No connection.
Levana is a legend in the kosher food world. She co-owned Levana Restaurant on the Upper West Side of Manhattan for 32 years where she introduced upscale, innovative kosher dining to a public that had previously settled for mediocre kosher experiences when eating in restaurants.
Her multicultural, boldly seasoned creations exposed, educated, and elevated our expectations. After 32 years, the restaurant closed and now Levana spends most of her professional time as a cooking teacher, cookbook author and traveling the country giving cooking demosContinue reading

Kosher Under the Tropical Sun

Last week, our close friends joined us for a week at a beautiful home perched on the cliffs overlooking a generous curve of beach on the French side of St. Martin.
The only condition we had was that they commit to keeping our vacation kitchen free of non-kosher items. Plenty of interesting conversations about Kashrut ocurred over iced Presidente and long lunches while we retreated from the midday sun.

Mondays at Dovetail in NYC

Mondays are the perfect night to visit Dovetail in NYC.


Chef/Owner John Fraser has carved a meatless Monday niche for vegetarians and those who are kosher like me.


Options are plentiful and preparations are elegantly plated in this contemporary dining room with a casual but grown up vibe. No need to settle for just any ol’ salad or vegetable laden pasta here.

The Monday night vegetarian menu is prix fixe at $46. which includes three generous courses and dessert. There are three options in each of these categories and a list of eight desserts made by pastry chef Michal Selkowitz.

If you relish great vegetarian preparations that celebrate the bounty of each season, plan ahead in order to reserve your Monday night table. I waited two weeks for a res at a decent dinner hour.

Continue reading

A Jammin’ Family Business

I’ve spent the last couple of days immersed in Kosherfest 2011. This trade show in Secaucus, NJ. gathers the largest group of professionals associated with kosher food. While my haunts are usually farmers’ markets, innovative vegetarian and locavore restaurants and boutique wineries, I wanted to explore the deep and broad world of kosher branding and see what products struck a chord for me.
I did my homework and set out to explore a couple of products in particular, including the Best Overall New Product, the top award at the expo. The prize was granted to Tishbi, Fine Foods by Oshra Tishbi, for her Champagne Collection of fruit preserves.
I set my GPS, donned my most comfy footwear and braved my way through the Lincoln Tunnel to head to NJ. Luckily, I had a new friend in tow, a fellow blogger and twitter pal I have bonded with over our mutual love for Italian food and shared notes on kosher finds in NYC.
When I read that Tishbi Wineries in Zichron Ya’acov won the coveted award for Best Overall New Product, I felt a flutter of excitement. Continue reading

Rouge Tomate for Healthy and Delicious Eats on the UES, NYC

When a friend called from just outside of Aspen to see if we could meet him for dinner in NYC, I sprung into action to find the ideal place.   P. had entertained us in July by sharing the magnificent and exclusive golf course and dining area at the  Roaring Fork Club. How to reciprocate and hit the right vibe and great menu choices in our neck of the woods?

Rouge Tomate, just one block east of Central Park on the Upper East Side, was the perfect choice. It has a breezy and bright interior which strikes a sophisticated chord with plenty of blond woods and red accents ( yup, it is rouge). There is lots of breathing room between tables and best of all, there are private booths in the back of the generous dining room.
When I mentioned to Rachel, the Maitre d’, that we were entertaining a guest from out of town, she gladly guided us to my favorite area in the back. Continue reading

Pop-Up Restaurant in Long Island City

Pop-up restaurants and roving supper clubs have changed the dining scene in NYC but with so many of them being centered around non-kosher meat, I haven’t attended.
 So I jumped at the opportunity when my good friend A. sent me an e-mail with an invitation to a kosher pop-up hosted by Manna Catering.  I checked out the menu, liked what I read and called in my reservation with my credit card.
While supper clubs are mostly run out of people’s homes and are invite only or word- of -mouth events, pop-ups are easier to find.  Pop-ups give temporary homes to novel ideas without the set up costs of establishing a permanent restaurant.  It could be a try-out for a concept or a way to showcase talented chefs who don’t have permanent space yet. A pop- up can be a one night event or can land for multiple days, weeks or months.
Temporary is the key element of the concept. Continue reading

Kosher Revolution

I continue to collect cookbooks despite the seduction of those powerful search engines that can bring up 75 recipes for chocolate chip cookies in two secs. My kosher cookbook collection is impressive.  I also have my share of vegetarian, Italian and Israeli volumes mixed in.
In the last few years I have purchased great reads by chefs and writers I have gotten to know. These are becoming my favorites because I know these chefs’ voices through reading their blogs or through my interviews with them. Continue reading

The Boathouse Moves Inland to Millstone Farm for the Evening

Whenever possible, I jump at the opportunity to attend farm to table events.  Not only is the setting guaranteed to be magnificent but the menu is always designed around items picked from the field on the same day. The flavors burst with freshness and there is plenty to eat for those who are vegetarian or lean in that direction.

John Holzwarth, Chef and Owner of the Boathouse Restaurant in Westport, moved his operation to Millstone Farm, Wilton, on October 11, illustrating  his deep connection and commitment  to CT. farms.    He designed the menu around available crops providing lucky diners with a feast of the seasons.  The menu was posted in advance, making this a great opportunity for vegetarians to check out the scene.  In my experience, chefs are willing to switch out a dish for those with dietary restrictions,  so be sure to ask, in advance,  if something doesn’t suit your preferences. Continue reading

Visit the Stand for Juice and More

The Stand Juice Company opened a second location in Fairfield , CT five weeks ago and they are rockin’ already.  Carissa Dellicicchi and Mike Hrizdo, the dynamic husband and wife duo behind the Stand in Norwalk (opened in 2006), complement each other perfectly.

Carissa is the cook and creative force and Mike is the organizer and funny man. They first met in Miami at a raw foods market and bonded over their love for organic veg eats and their passion for exploring the connection between better eating and healing the body.

In their Fairfield location,  they have created a sunny and inviting space from an industrial outbuilding that was once part of a rubber factory complex.  The brick walls, generous windows, painted ducts and cement floor speak to the history of this group of buildings which now form a campus of athletic and recreational facilities called the Sports Plex. Continue reading

Sukkot and the Seasonal Shift

It happens like clockwork.  Here in Connecticut, Rosh Hashanah is generally warm and sunny and by Yom Kippur the nights are downright chilly.

Sukkot comes just five days after and the foliage is suddenly tinged with vibrant oranges and happy yellows of Autumn.  The festival of Sukkot requires us to shift our moods suddenly also, from the days of contemplation and solemnity to a spirit of joyful thanksgiving and celebration. Our menus quickly transition to warming foods and for many of us,  that means soup.

In order to not overwhelm the cook with complicated recipes as we head into yet, another holiday, I share this super easy recipe by one of my blogging gal pals, Hannah Kaminsky. Continue reading