May 14, 2010

Columbus Square event (or Preview of New Taste of the Upper West Side)

Once in a while, we like attending open houses.  In NYC, it's a great way to see how other people live as well as gain a decor tip or two.  But food-wise, open houses tend to disappoint.

So when we heard that a handful of restaurants (including Shake Shack!) from the upcoming New Taste of the Upper West Side would be catering Curbed's open house event, we were eager to check out the luxury rentals at Columbus Square.
The space was beautiful.  We loved the indoor salt-water pool with open floor-to-ceiling windows.  The rentals themselves were sleek, but pricey.  (We saw a small two-bedroom renting for almost $5800/month).
But we were here for the food!  Calle Ocho featured these clam shells filled with ceviche and topped with popcorn.  They were beautifully presented.
Rosa Mexicano featured their famous table-side guacamole, chips and salsa, and frozen margaritas. 
When we think of Smoke, we always think about its live jazz performances.  It's one of the best jazz clubs in the city.  So it was refreshing to try the food from Smoke - and surprising to find such a healthy option (White and Green Asparagus salad with Green Goddess dressing). 
We've heard favorable reviews about Soutine Bakery so we were eager to try their min BLTs.  My bite was tough and chewy, though my husband had one that was fresher and softer.  We'll still check out the bakery to see what else they offer.  Cafe 76 (located in the JCC) is a kosher cafe and featured a variety of small bites.
The shortest Shake Shack line ever!  We enjoyed half servings of Shackburgers many times over...
Discovering a new restaurant or two is the reason why we love frequenting food fairs.  We loved the offerings by Cafe du Soleil. The escargot was garlicky and buttery (my hubby had multiple plates of this dish!) while the chilled organic corn soup with crab was subtly sweet.  
Graffit strawberry gazpacho and pop rocks octopus tapas
The other nice surprise was the food offering by soon-to-be opening restaurant Graffit.  Scheduled to open this summer at W69th/Broadway, Graffit will feature inventive Spanish fare by Chef Jesus Nunez.  I loved the fresh octopus tapas with marinated vegetables and olive oil powder.  What was my favorite part?  The bright pink topping of explosive Pop Rocks! The strawberry gazpacho was fruity but not syrupy sweet.  It was a refreshing summery soup.  With this inventive fare, we cannot wait until this restaurant opens!
Desserts Cheesecake lollipops blondies brunettes
Finally for dessert we tried the pretty kosher cheesecake lollipops from Cafe 76 and a few brunettes (Nutella Hazelnut and S'mores) from online shop Hot Blondies Bakery.

Overall, it looks like the upcoming New Taste of the Upper West Side will be full of great food.


  1. This is a great recap, and your photos are beautiful! I especially like collages. Thanks for all the tips of Upper West Side. We tend to stay there a lot since my aunt lives there, so this list is really useful. :)

  2. oh my... Not jealous of many people compared to where I live right now, but I would sure trade for this day

  3. @TUK: Thanks! We probably live really close to your aunt so next time you visit, we can take you on a tour of the UWS!

    @Dave: I would totally switch locations with you for a day! Tropical beaches...fresh fruit...sigh...

  4. What a great event. I am salivating... loved every photo.

  5. Cevice and popcorn???!!!??? Octopus and pop rocks?!?!?! Instinctively I'm recoiling right now... BUT I'm always open to ideas, especially intriguing ones, so I'm going to have to give these a whirl at some point. Did they work?
    Greetings from Gibraltar,

  6. @Valerie - Thanks!

    @Brian - Thanks for visiting our site! The popcorn didn't really add anything to the ceviche (it was more of a fun idea) but the octopus and pop rocks worked for me (mainly because the pop rocks were a surprise)


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