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We are getting ready for what can only be described as one of the best summers ever. Coming out of the shadow of the pandemic and looking forward to bright days ahead is a perfect reason to celebrate.

Here are some of favorite ways to say cheers.

For a gathering with friends at a casual park picnic try Campo Viejo. Everything about this brand is friendly and makes you want to just hug your gal pals when you see them after a year away. These are grapes with some sweet loving in them. Using the most advanced techniques available allow modern twists on traditional winemaking methods. Their rosé is just delightful. You cannot go wrong with this choice and it has a very hip price point that works for those last minute get togethers.

G.H Mumm Grand Cordon Rosé is intense and fruity. When you open this bottle you get a romantic vibe with rich aromas of wild red and black berries, typical of the Pinot Noir grape variety cultivated in Maison Mumm’s legendary vineyards in the Champagne region of France. This is a perfect selection for that romantic date on the Central Park lawn you have been waiting for all week. All this time on lockdown you may be coming out for a first date, or perhaps a re-connection with an old flame. Pandemic days have taught us to love again. Indulge in the powerful sips here with a perfect champagne to savour the moment.

And, for that incredibly special meeting you have with a family member you have not seen in person in a while we pick Blason Rosé. Hug your aunt again and kiss your grandmother as you picnic with this beautiful selection. Characteristic notes of red and black fruit retain a delicacy typical of Maison Perrier-Jouët. The Belle Epoque Rosé comes to life in each sip with a well-rounded aroma of red fruits combined with blood orange and grapefruit, followed by hints of nuts, brioche, honey, and caramel. Indulge in the moment and gave thanks for your loved ones as you drink a toast to brighter days ahead.

Cover art by Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

ElizaBeth Taylor is a journalist for Times Square Chronicles and is a frequent guest at film, fashion and art events throughout New York City and Los Angeles due to her stature as The Sensible Socialite.Passionate about people ElizaBeth spent many years working as a travel reporter and television producer after graduating with high honors from University of Southern California. The work has afforded her the opportunity to explore Europe, Russia, South America, Asia, Australia and the Middle East. It has greatly influenced the way in which ElizaBeth sees a story and has created a heightened awareness for the way people around the world live today.

Food and Drink

Blu On The Hudson The Destination For a Perfect Dinning Experience

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I first wrote about Blu On The Hudson 8 months ago. This perfect mini vacation, is one stop on the 158 bus or a ferry ride away. Located on the Hudson River, at 1200 Harbor Boulevard, in Weehawken, you will find breath taking views, a calming atmosphere and food that rivals  the best 4 – 5 star restaurants in Manhattan.This is the spot where Arron Burr shot Hamilton.

Blu on the Hudson is spacious with over 30,000 square foot, so far, but they are creating a space that I was lucky enough to see. This glass enclosed and outdoor upstairs will rival every wedding, event space within a 2 hour drive.  I am letting you know, now is the time to book your event before it is booked out.

Blu Hospitality Group, truly wants to impress you and goes out of their way to do so. You are greated by a specious luxurious space and a large fireplace.

Beautiful walls, several dining room with views, alcoves for a intimate dinning moments and bar that you will want everyone to know your name, awaits. High ceilings and modern decor makes everyone who enters forget their stress and just relax. You can feel your body ease.

From moment one, you are made to feel like Blu’s welcomed and invited guests.

Sarah

My server Sarah was a prime example of this.

Starting off the experience, my guest, writer and friend Craig and I decided to indulge with cocktails. I had the Oil On The Skin ($16) made with Aperol, Strawberry, Grapefruit and Prosecco. This was refreshing and the perfect summer drink. Craig, who was excited by the amount of Tuffle inspired food and drink choices ordered the Blu Seasonal Black Truffle Bloody Mary ($18) and was thrilled. Spicy, with garnishes that made this drink an appetizer in itself had sure this brunch was already a hit.

When looking at the menu I knew we had to try the Ricotta Stuffed Pancakes ($21). Topped with a Blueberry Compote and served with organic Maple Syrup, these surpassed my expectations. The ricotta had a lemon zest, the pancakes fluffy with crispy edges. I was already imitating Sally in the film “When Harry Met Sally” after my first bite. I will definitely be coming back, for this alone.

Already on a bacon kick thanks to David Burke, I also wanted to try the Thick Cut Wagyu “Bacon” ($26), that is slow cooked in a soy caramel glaze. This is only served at dinner, but luckily I got to try this. With a savory salty crunch, this was the perfect compliment to the pancakes. Sweet, then savory, crunchy, then tender, what Blu offers the dinning experience is a sensual layered, all senses dive, into carnal pleasures.

I now needed the perfect Iced Coffee and again the simplest of needs had a taste sensation.

For entree’s more truffles for Craig with the Truffled Mushroom Omelette ($22) filled with White Cheddar, egg whites and one yolk served with a side salad. Craig was in heaven with his light as a feather, but flavorful dish.

 

Craig also ordered the Parmesan Truffle Fries ($12), and I am so glad he did. These were bite fulls of erotic delights.Loving artichokes, I ordered Eggs on Artichoke ($24), which consisted of poached eggs, pecorino, roasted tomatoes in a light béarnaise sauce. The piece de resistance of this dish, were the lightly fried artichokes that added texture, then melted into your mouth with a pop of flavor. Even the roasted tomatoes added an arousing impact to the tongue. When food is done well, sex definitely comes second.
The fabulous warm and inviting manager Andrew, wanted us to try his favorite dish, the Jumbo Lump Crabmeat and Shrimp Cobb Salad ($29). Topped with Deviled Eggs, Bacon, Tomatoes, Corn and Avocado, this was served over Market Greens and a feast to behold. The crabmeat was tender and the shrimp succulent, but the surprise here was the corn, which added so much to the dish. This is great luncheon entree when you want to indulge and also stay healthy.

Now I was so full, I was not going to do desserts, but feast or famine and feast it was. The adorable Sarah made sure we were given these beautiful dishes to indulge.

First up the Tiramisu ($14), which is one of the best I have ever had. Extra creamy and not overly sweet. An added layer of thin chocolate added to the decadence. This dessert also puts on a show.

The most luxurious, extravagant haven of food for the senses has to be the Chocolate S’Mores ($14). Served with a gluten free graham cracker crust, Chocolate Mouse and Marshmallow. Tiny chunks of sea salt make this decadent and sweet, with pops of indulgence.

A coffee ($6) ended our foray of culinary ecstasy. To quote myself from my last experience at Blu “Food and sex have always gone hand in hand and eating at Blu On The Hudson, will make all your senses take flight. This restaurant potions of food, drinks and presentation justify and make the whole experience worth the trip and the cost.”

To Executive Chef Juan Carols Ortega, you make my body sing with your creations. This is definitely one of my favorite places to eat. Blu is exquisite perfection.

You can follow Blu on The Hudson at @bluonthehudson.

 

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Food and Drink

Splendid Cocktails on St. Patrick’s Day with Bushmills Irish Whiskey

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St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner. The day is full of joy, but you don’t have to wait until March 17 to get lucky.  You will love these amazing cocktails to toast on the day of green and glory from Bushmills Irish Whiskey.

The Original variation is quite fascinating. It is bold with a peppery undertone, yet smooth in construction like velvet. It perfectly combines their pure single malt whiskey and a lighter grain whiskey. It warms your heart to sip, so makes for a perfect holiday mix. Try the love at home this St. Patrick’s Day.

The Gold Rush

Ingredients

1.5 parts Bushmills Original

1 part fresh lemon juice

1 part honey syrup

4 sprigs fresh mint

Lemon wheel

Method – Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake for 10 seconds and strain over fresh ice

 

The  Irish Coffee

Ingredients:

50ml Bushmills Black Bush

1 tsp demerara sugar

150ml black coffee

Lightly whipped fresh cream

Coffee beans to garnish

Method – Add all of the ingredients to an Irish coffee glass and stir, leaving space at the top for the fresh cream. Slowly pour the cream on top and garnish with coffee beans. Pour the cream over the spoon

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Events

Eli Marcus Brings His Networking Event to Fushimi Times Square

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Eli Marcus, Chief Marketing Officer of NYC’s largest circulation Visitor Magazine, City Guide, has done it again. On February 28th he organized a wonderful networking event for those in the hospitality and theater communities. And true to form he did so in a beautiful new restaurant on West 43rd Street off 8th Avenue – in the heart of Times Square. Fushimi Times Square is the latest outlet for the Japanese group who has had success in Staten Island, Bay Ridge and Williamsburg. Their restaurant at 311 West 43rd Street is a welcome entry to the area and now that the scaffolding is gone from that block it is a pleasant walk to the welcoming door of this beautiful space.

Fushimi Beautiful decorations

The decor has a beautiful sculpture of a fish hanging from the ceiling which depicts the delicious selections of sushi and sashimi prepared by the talented chefs.

The talented chefs are in view as they create these delicacies.

Guests at the evenings event were served appetizers of amazing tuna tartare and a variety of warm dishes of dumplings, and eggrolls – pork, shrimp and vegetarian.

Tuna tartare is a burst of flavor

Dumplings and Eggrolls were served

Barry Huang, manager of Fushimi Times Square is a silhouette in the long entry way to this beautifully designed restaurant.

Eli and Ramon

Eli invited some interesting people to the event. Publicist to megastars, Ramon Hervey II, has an interesting podcast  and is the author of The Fame Game.

Eli and Hugh Hysell

Hugh Hysell is a major force in the New York social circles and it was great to see him at the event.

Errol, Quinn and Eli

Errol Rappaport, promoter, and singer, actress, Quinn Lemley, who just returned from London where she performed her one woman show about Rita Hayworth joined Eli at the event.

Rocksax gave out merch to lucky winners

Rocksax, purveyor of officially licensed music merchandise was in attendance and gave out some of their product to some lucky attendees.

The beautiful bar

In addition to the wonderful food, Fushimi’s beautiful bar is a welcome spot to relax.

The crowd

As usual the attendees had an excellent time meeting, chatting and enjoying the food

Barry and Eli

Eli looks on as the Fushimi manager, Barry Huang thanks the guests for coming

Barry and the DJ

Barry and the DJ kept the food, drinks and music going through the event

I look forward to returning to Fushimi at 311 West 43rd Street for a full dinner of their excellent visionary Japanese-fusion dishes.

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Food and Drink

How to Spot High-Quality Mushrooms: Your Ultimate Guide

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How to Spot High-Quality Mushrooms: Your Ultimate Guide

When it comes to the culinary world, mushrooms hold a unique place. They’re not just another ingredient but a delicacy that can elevate dishes with their distinct flavors and textures. However, not all mushrooms are created equal. Recognizing high-quality mushrooms can significantly impact your cooking and dining experience. Here’s your ultimate guide to identifying the crème de la crème of fungi, ensuring every bite is a journey to gastronomic bliss.

Appearance: The First Impression

The initial tell-tale sign of a high-quality mushroom, including Magic Mushroom Gummies, is its appearance. Look for mushrooms and mushroom products with a fresh, vibrant look. They should possess a smooth, unblemished surface. Any signs of bruising or discoloration often indicate mishandling or age. The color should be consistent with the variety of the mushroom; for example, a Shiitake should have a rich, brown hue, while a Portobello should boast a deep, dark brown complexion. Similarly, Magic Mushroom Gummies should have a uniform color that reflects their natural ingredients, without any irregular spots or fading, ensuring their quality and potency.

Firmness: The Touch Test

After visual inspection, gently squeeze the mushroom. It should feel firm to the touch, not slimy or mushy. A high-quality mushroom will have a certain resilience, bouncing back after you apply slight pressure. This firmness is a good indicator of freshness and proper storage. Mushrooms that feel too soft or start to disintegrate under gentle pressure are past their prime.

Aroma: The Scent of Freshness

A fresh, high-quality mushroom will have a mild, earthy smell. This aroma should be pleasant and subtle, not overpowering or unpleasant. Any hint of sourness or an ammonia-like smell is a red flag, signaling that the mushroom is beginning to spoil. Trust your nose; it can be one of your greatest allies in determining the quality of mushrooms.

Dryness: The Moisture Balance

While mushrooms naturally contain moisture, they should not appear wet or slimy. Excessive moisture can indicate improper storage, leading to faster degradation of the mushroom. On the flip side, you want mushrooms that are dry enough, as this can mean they’re old and have lost their natural juiciness. The goal is to find mushrooms that strike the perfect balance, looking plump and hydrated without any wetness on the surface.

Stem and Cap: The Integrity Check

High-quality mushrooms should have caps and stems that are intact. The cap should be securely attached to the stem, indicating that the mushroom was harvested correctly and handled carefully. Any signs of separation between the cap and stem could suggest aging or rough handling. Additionally, the gills (located under the cap) should be intact and not overly exposed, which is another sign of freshness.

Size and Shape: The Uniformity Aspect

While mushrooms naturally vary in size and shape, a batch of high-quality mushrooms should have some uniformity. This doesn’t mean they need to be identical; rather, their size and shape should be appropriate for their variety. This uniformity is often a sign of careful selection and handling, ensuring that each mushroom meets a certain quality standard.

Storage: The Environment Factor

Lastly, where and how the mushrooms are stored can give clues about their quality. High-quality mushrooms are typically stored in a cool, dry place. If you’re purchasing mushrooms, look for those stored in a refrigerated section or displayed in a cool area, away from direct sunlight. This ensures they remain fresh for longer.

Wrapping Up

Identifying high-quality mushrooms is an art that combines visual inspection, tactile examination, and a bit of olfactory investigation. By looking for these essential signs—appearance, firmness, aroma, dryness, stem and cap integrity, size and shape, and storage conditions—you’ll be well-equipped to select the finest for your culinary adventures. Remember, the quality of the ingredients can transform a good dish into an extraordinary one. So, the next time you find yourself in the produce aisle or at a local farmers’ market, use these tips to pick the best mushrooms out there and elevate your cooking to the next level.

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Broadway

Iconic New York City Restaurant Serendipity3 Celebrates The City and “The Notebook”on Broadway, Opening in March

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Though I’ve lived in New York for many years, a stop at Serendipity3, the decades-old restaurant on East 60th Street, eluded me. Until now. Thanks to a recent connection with the romantic musical The Notebook — in previews on Broadway — a new dessert specially designed to celebrate Valentine’s Day and the show was unveiled. And I got to sample it in all its super sweet glory.

The Notebook Hot Chocolate Affogato Sundae features a marshmallow rimmed Serendipity goblet filled with two towering scoops of vanilla ice cream, a giant pillow of creamy whipped cream, romantic Valentine’s sprinkles. Once the server pours a carafe of super-rich and thick hot chocolate (made with semisweet and bitter-sweet chocolates, rich cocoas, heavy cream, Maldon sea salt and Madagascar vanilla paste) over the ice cream, it’s ready for consumption. The dessert is also topped off with a dusting of iridescent edible glitter, an edible frosting-sheet with The Notebook logo, as well as a field of edible butterflies and flowers. Available at the restaurant for $24.95, it became my introduction to this glittery and iridescent palace of pop culture.

Like The Notebook — first experienced as Nicholas Sparks debut novel and then as feature film starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams —  Serendipity3 is a quintessential piece of 21st century pop culture. Not only does it offer classic restaurant fare such as sumptuous hamburgers and salads but many, many desserts especially sundaes.

When Serendipity3 added The Notebook to their list of Broadway collaborations, it was hardly the first. The restaurant is known for bringing extravagant desserts and world-record-breaking menu items to the table. These menu items have captivated a worldwide audience and a celebrity following for decades.

Founded in 1954, it is one of the city’s unique dining experiences. The home of decadent desserts such as the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate, Serendipity has been captivating millions of patrons since its inception. It’s a quirky place where artists got their inspiration and actors fulfilled their cravings. Beginning with Marilyn Monroe, Andy Warhol, Grace Kelly and Cary Grant in the ‘50s, continuing with a celebrity following that includes Cher, Candice Bergen, Melanie Griffith and Ron Howard, the restaurant continues to attract celebrities such as Beyoncé, Ryan Reynolds, Selena Gomez and Kim Kardashian. In addition, the restaurant has been the setting of three major Hollywood productions, “One Fine Day” (1996) with George Clooney and Michelle Pfeiffer, Serendipity (2001) with John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale, and Trust The Man (2005) with Julianne Moore and David Duchovny.

Produced by Kevin McCollum and Kurt Deutsch, “The Notebook” features music and lyrics by multi-platinum singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson and a book by playwright Bekah Brunstetter (writer and producer on NBC’s “This Is Us,” The Cake). The production is directed by Michael Greif (Dear Evan Hansen, Next to Normal) and Schele Williams (Aida, The Wiz), with choreography by Katie Spelman (Associate Choreographer on Moulin Rouge! The Musical).

The show tells of Allie and Noah, both from different worlds, sharing a lifetime of love despite the forces that threaten to pull them apart, in a deeply moving portrait of love’s enduring power. The cast features Tony Award®-winner Maryann Plunkett as Older Allie, Dorian Harewood as Older Noah, Joy Woods as Middle Allie, Ryan Vasquez as Middle Noah, Jordan Tyson as Younger Allie, John Cardoza as Younger Noah, Andréa Burns as Mother/Nurse Lori. Playing various roles are Yassmin Alers, Alex Benoit, Chase Del Rey, Hillary Fisher, Jerome Harmann-Hardeman, Dorcas Leung, Happy McPartlin, Juliette Ojeda, Kim Onah, Carson Stewart, Charles E. Wallace and Charlie Webb.

With a book that has sold millions of copies worldwide and a film that’s one of the highest-grossing romantic dramas of all-time, the musical adaptation of The Notebook comes to Broadway following a critically acclaimed world premiere engagement at Chicago Shakespeare Theater in the fall of 2022.

As for Broadway’s The Notebook, it’s now in previews at the Schoenfeld Theatre (236 W. 45th Street, NYC) and opens Thursday, March 14th.

For tickets and more info, visit www.NotebookMusical.com.

Serendipity3

225 E 60th Street

Open seven days a week from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. EST

For more information or to book a reservation, visit www.serendipity3.com

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