This Cocktail In NYC Is Smokin’ — Literally (Photo)


By Cooking Panda

It’s that time of year again, folks.

The weather’s warming up, people are emerging from their cozy apartment cocoons and greeting the sunny skies with a sense of rebirth and reinvigoration — summer is just around the corner.

As a child, there was nothing I loved more than chasing ice cream trucks as they drove, bells jingling through the streets to truly ring in the end of the school year. As an adult, however, I often find myself chasing shots more than ice pops when I’m in the mood to celebrate.

For those on the hunt for a happy medium between whimsy and booze, you’re in luck: The Tuck Room in Fulton Market at the South Street Seaport in New York City offers a drink that both delights the senses and the child within us all. It’s called the “Bandera Flight,” and it is straight up fire. Like, literally. 

When I first heard of the Bandera Flight, I was told that it was a deconstructed trio of drinks that combine to make one seriously scintillating cocktail, which was enough information for me to make the 40-minute commute from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to try it out.

The drink, which is the brainchild of acclaimed Mixologist Adam Seger, features a flight each of tequila, lime juice, and sangrita. The idea, as my server explained to me before the flights came out, is to drink each component one-by-one.

Nobody told me it would arrive looking as if it were on fire, though.

When the drink was delivered, smoking like a cauldron, to the table, I knew I was in for a treat. You can choose to begin tasting the flights while they’re still emitting fumes, or do as I did and quickly whip out your phone for a quick social media post. (Did you catch the smoking Bandera Flight on Cooking Panda’s Instagram story?)

First, I sampled the subtly spicy non-alcoholic sangrita, which in turn highlighted the acidic notes in the tequila. The peppery bite of the lime juice added a balanced finish, and acted as a refreshing palate cleanser so I was ready for round two.

The Tuck Room in New York offers a variety of different cocktails to sample, so don’t miss this place (and ask about their liquid nitrogen bottle service if you, too, want to experience the magic of downing a smoking cocktail. Who needs a Dragon Frappuccino?).

Featured photo credit: Nik Frey via Wikimedia Commons

Tags: New York City, sangrita, tequila, the bandera flight, the tuck room
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This Avocado Bar Is A Dream Come True!


By Cooking Panda

If you can never get enough avocados, head to New York City to get your fix. There’s an avocado bar there, and it sounds pretty appealing.

Delish reports that the new avocado bar is officially opening in Brooklyn, New York. The place is called Avocaderia (I guess kind of like pupuseria, except with avocados?). Every item on the menu features avocados in some aspect. Think avocado toast, salad, bowls and smoothies. Yum!

The owner, Francesco Brachetti, is a native of Italy, and he went crazy for avocados when he tasted them in Mexico. According to the New York Times, Brachetti said, “They’re tasty and healthy, and I ate them every day. We didn’t have them in Italy.” Imagine knowing about avocados and not having them available in your country! Terrible.

The food is all served to go, and the bar is decorated with Moroccan tiles and has a nice green look. Have to be in the avocado spirit! What I’m really wondering is how the Avocaderia will thrive considering the current avocado shortage. Brachetti and crew claim that they source from Mexican farmers who are “respectful to the environment and the rights of their employees,” according to Eater. I hope that’s enough to be unaffected by the shortage. Seems to me that running this bar could get pretty pricey.

As of now, the Avocaderia’s social media networks are promising an April 10 opening date. I expect lots of people to flock to a place that calls itself “the world’s first avocado bar,” although that may not necessarily be true. There may be an avocado-themed restaurant already in Amsterdam … but it could be the first avocado bar in the U.S. I would say that’s still pretty awesome, wouldn’t you?

You can find the Avocaderia in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park’s Industry City. I can’t imagine anyone will be disappointed.

Sources: Delish, New York Times, Eater / Photo Credit: Avocaderia

Tags: Avocaderia, Avocados, brooklyn, Health Food Trends, New York City
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We Need To Try The Spaghetti Donut! (Photos)


By Cooking Panda

New York City is home to a weekend food market called Smorgasburg Williamsburg, and some of the new foods to look forward to this spring are absolute must-haves!

According to the Smorgasburg website, the food market will be open on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the Williamsburg waterfront at East River State Park. The food market will open on April 1 in Williamsburg, and will be open on April 2 in Prospect Park.

The market features packaged and prepared foods from the New York City region from 100 different vendors. Those 100 vendors were carefully selected, and 26 of them are new to the market this year. They were chosen from about 300 initial applicants, according to Gothamist, which means what they’re bringing to the table must be pretty special. Here’s a list of some of the new additions:

Spaghetti Donuts from Pop Pasta — This donut-shaped pasta goodness doesn’t need more of an explanation than the picture above. Who wouldn’t want to try it?

Classic Halo Halo from Ube Kitchen — Halo Halo is a classic Filipino dessert, but this one strikes us as being a bit more bold than usual. A dragon fruit shell is filled with ice cream, blackberries, mango and dragon fruit chunks, tapioca, jackfruit, red mung beans, coconut flakes and coconut milk sauce. Not one single ingredient in that dessert sounds bad … besides, look at it!

Raclette Sandwich from Baked Cheese Haus — These cheese connoisseurs bring their cheese all the way from Wisconsin, and make the Raclette sandwich to-order, with melted cheese, prosciutto, cornichons and scallions on a roll. Hungry yet?

Dragon Fruit Juice from John’s Juice — The dragon fruit is making another appearance at this market, this time in juice form! John’s Juice is “All Juice, No Cups,” and that means sticking a pulverizer into a whole piece of fruit and using it to mush up the insides. Add a little sugar, agave or ginger syrup and voila! You have yourself a very fresh and pulpy fruit juice.

If you’re going to be in New York City in the warmer months, be sure to stop by the market and try some of these beautiful concoctions! You’d be remiss not to.

Sources: Gothamist, Smorgasburg / Photo Credit: Gothamist

Tags: Food Markets, New York City, Smorgasburg, Smorgasburg Williamsburg
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Pizza Place Is Making Pizza In Africa With NYC Water


By Cooking Panda

New York City’s Famous Famiglia has been growing and expanding thanks to its famously good pizza and pasta dishes. Now that the chain is expanding into Ghana, it’s taking some extreme measures to ensure delivery of a consistent menu taste.

The restaurant’s co-founder says that Famous Famiglia is “very excited” for its arrival in Ghana. “This marks the first location for the brand in the continent of Africa,” he said in a press release. The new location will be the Christian Village of Accra, the capital of Ghana.

According to the New York Post, in an effort to provide a menu that reflects the taste of their original NYC food items, the chain’s owners wish to use water sourced from the same reservoir in Sullivan County, New York, to make their pizzas in Ghana. This sounds a little strange to me, but maybe that’s because I’m not an expert at pizza making. The idea is that all of the same ingredients must be used; even the tap water must be exactly the same. Otherwise, the taste is compromised.

“I want to make this as authentic as possible,” said one of the co-owners. “I want to have the exact same pizza as in New York City. New York City water has a very unique chemical composition and taste to it. I’m a purist — I wouldn’t want anything less than the original.”

Other ingredients, such as yeast and toppings, will be locally sourced, but sauces, cheese, flour, olive oil and an expected 100 gallons of water will be sourced from the New York City location. The restaurant is expecting to make 1,000 pies per week. Apparently, people in Ghana “love pizza and have a great affinity for the United States.”

Hopes are that a bite of the Famous Famiglia pizza in Ghana will taste just like a bite of Famous Famiglia pizza in New York City, and everywhere else! The chain has 16 shops in NYC alone, and 100 spread along other locations, so these owners must know what they’re talking about. New York City tap water just might be the secret ingredient.

Sources: Famous Famiglia, New York Post / Photo Credit: Famous Famiglia/Instagram

Tags: Famous Famiglia, Ghana, New York City, New York pizza, Pizza
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Are You Excited About NYC’s Fermented Food Festival?


By Cooking Panda

New York City is having its first ever Fermentation Festival and I bet the city’s residents are stoked! If you aren’t sure which enjoyable foods are fermented, think kombucha, beer and pickles. Exciting, right?

Tasting Table reports that the festival will feature more than 30 vendors, including local businesses such as Brooklyn Brewery, Kombrewcha and Mama O’s Kimchi. Samples will be available of all kinds of fermented goods, from boozy to family-friendly. There’s something in it for everyone!

The tickets are on sale now and the Festival is on Feb. 25, so go ahead and register if you’re close by, or if you’re willing to travel for tasty fermented foods. The Festival website has a ton of good information about what will be available during the event, and tells us what fermentation actually is (honestly, I just knew it produced good food). In case you’re curious, it’s “the chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeasts, or other microorganisms, typically involving effervescence and the giving off of heat,” says the website.

Okay, that didn’t sound very appetizing, so I’ll stick with thinking about pickles and brews. Not only is this a great way to support local businesses, but some nonprofits will be getting involved as well. Just Food is one of them; it’s an organization that works with the community to increase access to healthy and locally grown foods. Another nonprofit getting involved is the New York City Brewers Guild, which is an organization dedicated to promoting and protecting the NYC brewers and craft beer industry. It’s always good to have someone looking out!

There will be vegetable pop-up workshops for the kids and beer-by-the-glass for the adults. How much more fun can you make veggie eating for kids? Even I’m interested. There will be live music, as if everything else wasn’t enough to spark your interest. The acoustic music will be provided by Homebrewsicians. I couldn’t think of a more appropriate-sounding band for such an occasion. There are even DIY homebrew meetups! Get involved brewing your own fermented beverages!

The NYC Fermentation Festival will be held at the Brooklyn Expo Center from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 25. Click here to purchase tickets.

Sources: Tasting Table, NYC Fermentation Festival Website / Photo Credit: NYC Fermentation Festival Website

Tags: Fermentation Festival, Fermented Foods, Food Festival, New York City
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Ramen Ice Cream Is Real, And It Is Absolutely Gorgeous


By Cooking Panda

I don’t know what it is about ramen that inspires so much culinary creativity, but I hope it doesn’t stop anytime soon.

While most of us are still reeling over the wild creation that is the ramen burger, the folks over at The Dessert Kitchen in New York have created ice cream ramen — and it actually looks delicious.

Per Metro, the dessert contains neither ice cream nor ramen; rather, the dessert is made with crushed ice mixed with condensed milk, which gives it a sort of ice cream-like consistency, and then jelly noodles, which look enough like ramen noodles (albeit neon blue ones) that the name gets a pass.

New dinner(dessert) spot tonight??? pc:@feedyourgirlfriend #spoonfeed #spoonbaruch

A photo posted by Spoon University at Baruch (@spoon_baruch) on

Additionally, ice cream ramen features mochi, balled melon, cubed mango and white peach syrup.

Does that make it healthy? No? Who cares when it’s this pretty to look at.

Source: Metro / Photo credits: queenkwon/Instagram, Angeliki Jackson/Today

Tags: food trend, ice cream, New York City, ramen
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Saying Goodbye: New York’s Famed Carnegie Deli Is Closing


By Cooking Panda

It’s hard to believe, but after serving up iconic dishes since 1937, New York’s famed Carnegie Deli will close its doors forever on Dec. 31.

Per The Post, the beloved New York Institution’s owner, Marian Harper Levine, tearfully confirmed the news to her 60 heartbroken employees on Sept. 30.

“At this stage of my life, the early mornings to late nights have taken a toll, along with my sleepless nights and grueling hours that come with operating a restaurant business,” Levine, who is now 65 years old, said. Her family has owned Carnegie since 1976.

“I’m very sad to close the Carnegie Deli but I’ve reached the time of my life when I need to take a step back.”

While many popular New York City restaurants have been forced to close their doors due to issues with the landlord, that is actually not the case for Carnegie; in fact, Levine owns the six-story building.

However, Levine lost her lease on annex space in a building close by several years ago, and also went through what the Post reports was a nasty divorce from her ex-husband, who allegedly stole Levine’s famous pastrami and cheesecake recipes.

Next, the restaurant was ordered by a federal court to hand over $2.6 million in back wages to employees, and finally, the city shut down the Carnegie Deli for nine months over an illegal gas hookup back in April 2015. Levine has blamed most of these misfortunes on her ex-husband.

While this news is likely to devastate many New Yorkers, the legacy of Carnegie Deli is sure to live on.

Per The Post, Levine’s spokesperson, Cristyne Nicholas, said: “Moving forward, Marian Harper hopes to keep her father’s legacy alive by focusing on licensing the iconic Carnegie Deli brand and selling their world-famous products for wholesale distribution.”

Source: New York Post / Photo credit: Helayne Seidman via New York Post

Tags: carnegie deli, closing, iconic restaurants, New York City
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Tim Burton-Inspired Restaurant Opening In New York City!


By Cooking Panda

A restaurant inspired by director Tim Burton is set to open soon in New York City.

Beetle House was founded by the owners of the Will Ferrell-themed restaurant, Stay Classy. As their first venture was quite successful, owners Zach Neil and Brian Link have created a locale that will please Halloween lovers of all ages, as the menu, drinks, and venue have been inspired by the work of Tim Burton. 

The restaurant will launch its preview week on April 27 in the East Village at 308 East Sixth Street, as stated by the establishment official Facebook page. According to Beetle House NYC, the food menu consists of a fusion of American, Italian, European, and Latin dishes that will pay tribute to various characters in Tim Burton’s repertoire. 

For those who wish to dine in the Halloween-inspired establishment, reservations are required and can be made through the official website and Facebook page. Nevertheless, certain main course dishes and other items will also be available for delivery. 

Including dishes with names such as Edward Burger Hands and Eggs Skellington, the menu will surely appeal to Halloween lovers of all ages. A variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks will be available, also known as “poisons, potions, & elixirs,” as reported by Gothamist.

According to the Facebook page, the restaurant may also include a theater and theme park. To find out more details as they are revealed, text “preview” to 646-510-4786


Sources: Beetle House NYC, Beetle House NYC/Facebook, Gothamist / Photo Credit: Beetle House NYC/Facebook

Tags: Beetle House, Halloween, New York City, Restaurant Grand Opening, Tim Burton
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