The Disabled Foodie http://www.thedisabledfoodie.com Are you a foodie who happens to be disabled? Do you have trouble eating at a restaurant or shopping for food due to issues of accessibility? I provide ratings and reviews of food venues in terms of accessibility to help open up the food world to you. Sat, 17 Dec 2016 15:43:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.2 https://i0.wp.com/www.thedisabledfoodie.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/cropped-Disabled-Foodie-Logo-1.jpg?fit=32%2C32 The Disabled Foodie http://www.thedisabledfoodie.com 32 32 Mojave – Astoria, Queens http://www.thedisabledfoodie.com/?p=10273 http://www.thedisabledfoodie.com/?p=10273#respond Sat, 17 Dec 2016 15:42:48 +0000 http://www.thedisabledfoodie.com/?p=10273 Mojave – Astoria, Queens – December 15, 2016

Happy Holidays! This year, my coworkers and I had our annual holiday party at Mojave (pronounced Moh-hah-veh http://www.mojaveny.com/, 2016) in Astoria, Queens. This restaurant serves Southwestern cuisine in the heart of the popular Astoria food scene.

The meal began with family-style appetizers: Guacamole in a molcajete (pronounced mole-cah-heh-teh, a coarse stone bowl on legs), blue corn crusted calamari, Mojave’s chicken wings, and steak quesadillas. The guacamole came with blue corn chips and salsa. The guacamole was smooth in texture and while it tasted fresh, it lacked something to give it punch. It was a bit bland to my taste.

The blue corn crusted calamari was fried to the perfect level of crispness and came with a delicious smoky chipotle sauce. The calamari was a bit salty and slightly rubbery. I am a sucker for smoky flavor, so I kept eating this appetizer because I loved the sauce.

Mojave’s chicken wings were covered in a chipotle sauce (Again, smoky! Yum!) with a bleu cheese dipping sauce. The wings were tender, and the chipotle sauce was smoky and spicy. This was a decent appetizer.

The steak quesadillas had soft tortillas filled with cheese and steak. They were good, but unremarkable on the whole.

As opposed to the largely underwhelming appetizers, my entree was great! I ordered the beer braised short ribs. They came with mashed potatoes, broccoli (though the menu said pan seared string beans), and garlic and sherry tomatoes. The short ribs were savory in flavor and buttery in texture. While I did not detect much in the way of beer flavor, they were perfectly seasoned and had meaty, beefy flavor. I tried to exchange the broccoli (I am not a fan.) for the listed string beans, but I was told that the broccoli was the only vegetable they had for our group (since we ordered off of their special event menu). The mashed potatoes were velvety smooth and luscious. The drippings from the short ribs soaked into them and boosted their flavor. The sweet tomatoes added the perfect acidic pop to cut through the rich flavors. With the exception of the broccoli, I really enjoyed this dish.

Food (Clockwise from Top): Short Ribs on round, white plate, Fried Calamari on white round plate with orange cup filled with dipping sauce and lemon wedges on left side, and Guacamole in black stone molcajete Background: Digital illustration of a repeated pattern of a Saguaro cactus and a terracotta clay pot at the base of the cactus to the left on a light orange background
Food (Clockwise from Top): Short Ribs, Fried Calamari, and Guacamole

Accessibility Rating for Mojave

I used my wheelchair to visit Mojave.

  • Entryway – 3: There are two doors. There is an exterior door before a vestibule and an interior door. There is a slight bump at the entrance. Both doors were challenging for me to open from my wheelchair, especially the interior door since the vestibule is small. There are no stairs.
    Entrance showing black metal framed door with central glass panel surrounded by orange walls to the left and above and windows to the right Background: Digital illustration of a repeated pattern of a Saguaro cactus and a terracotta clay pot at the base of the cactus to the left on a light orange background
    Entrance
  • Bathroom (Unisex) – 4: There are three unisex bathrooms, but the one furthest back has a large door and lots of room inside. There are two grab bars around the toilet in the brightly lit space. The sink is mounted extremely low on the wall in this room. It has a tall faucet and standard length handles. I was able to make a 180° turn in the room with ease. The garbage bin is unusually tall which could be difficult for some users of mobility assistive devices to reach.
  • Walkways/Space – 3: The dimly lit space has one wide central aisle flanked by moveable furniture throughout. Once the restaurant became crowded navigating parts of the aisle became somewhat difficult. There are tables of various types and heights throughout. Some tables are lower than others. Some have central pedestals while others have bars at ankle height which could make it challenging for some to get close to the table while in their wheelchair or scooter. There was loud background music being played while we were there.

Video Description: Interior of Mojave in Astoria, Queens on December 15, 2016 showing dimly lit interior with empty dining tables set with white, round plates and napkins. Toward the rear past a waist height wall is a brightly lit area with a stone wall behind. The restaurant has wreaths on the walls and white lights strung around the perimeter for the holidays.

Interior: Top Left - Looking toward front of Mojave with main aisle along the right and tables flanking it on either side and front windows can be seen in the rear of the photo Bottom Right - Looking toward rear of Mojave with main aisle running on the left and tables along the right Background: Digital illustration of a repeated pattern of a Saguaro cactus and a terracotta clay pot at the base of the cactus to the left on a light orange background
Interior: Top Left – Looking toward front of Mojave Bottom Right – Looking toward rear of Mojave
  • Staff – 5: The staff was very accommodating. They allowed me to try various tables to see what worked best for me. They even rearranged the tables along with one of my colleagues so I could sit at a taller table that I could fit my legs comfortably underneath.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


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Barriles – Jackson Heights, Queens http://www.thedisabledfoodie.com/?p=10253 http://www.thedisabledfoodie.com/?p=10253#respond Sat, 10 Dec 2016 14:49:58 +0000 http://www.thedisabledfoodie.com/?p=10253 Barriles – Jackson Heights, Queens – December 2, 2016

I was skeptical about visiting Barriles (pronounced bahr-reel-ess, meaning barrels in Spanish). This sports bar / restaurant is a newer addition to Jackson Heights serving Colombian style food. Jackson Heights has so many Colombian restaurants that I was unsure if it would be any good.

Let me say that I am pleased to say that I was mistaken. I have been to Barriles twice now, and it has good food and decent accessibility. This time we were there with our friend, Tony, who kindly treated me to dinner for my birthday. Thank you, Tony!

I need to begin with the statement that the portions at Barriles are gigantic! We shared an appetizer of four beef empanadas (pronounced em-pah-nod-ahs, “An empanada is a stuffed bread or pastry baked or fried in many countries in Spain and Latin America. The name comes from the Spanish verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empanada, 2016). The dough was crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The ground beef was tender, and I loved the addition of the soft, earthy chunks of potatoes to the filling.

Our waitress was very kind, and she brought me a house salad even though it did not come with my entree. The house salad has iceberg lettuce, shredded carrots, and sliced cucumbers and tomatoes. It comes with a side of the house dressing. The dressing is both sweet and sour. I appreciated that I was given the salad very much. That being said, it was your standard restaurant house salad, and it was unremarkable.

Then came my enormous entree, the carne asada y arepa con queso (pronounced car-nay ah-sah-dah ee ah-ray-pah con kay-soh, meaning grilled steak and corn cake with cheese). The steak was tender, and perfectly seasoned. While I am not a big steak eater, I really enjoyed this one. The arepa was thin and slightly tough and chewy, but I loved the addition of the salty cheese on top. The portion was so big that I brought food home to eat the next day.

I enjoyed both experiences I have had at Barriles, and I look forward to my next visit. This is especially true when you consider how well they treated me as it pertained to accommodating me in my wheelchair.

Food (Clockwise from the Top): Steak and arepa with cheese on a round white plate, house salad on a round white plate with a small cup of dressing on the side, and beef empanadas on oval white plate with tiny cups of pink and green sauces Background: Digital illustration of a wooden barrel with two brass colored metal bars going across the top and bottom of the wooden panels. Each metal bar has four round brass colored nails in it.
Food (Clockwise from the Top): Steak and arepa with cheese, house salad, and beef empanadas

Accessibility Rating for Barriles

I used my wheelchair to visit Barriles.

  • Entryway – 4: There are two sets of wide, side-by-side doors. There is a set of exterior doors before a vestibule and a set of interior doors. There is a slight bump at the entrance. There are no stairs.
    Entrance two side-by-side glass doors framed in dull silver colored metal surrounded by windows on the top and sides Background: Digital illustration of a wooden barrel with two brass colored metal bars going across the top and bottom of the wooden panels. Each metal bar has four round brass colored nails in it.
    Entrance
  • Bathroom (Unisex designated accessible) – 4: They have a designated accessible bathroom which I really appreciate. I love that the owners had the foresight to have this bathroom installed to accommodate the disability community. The brightly lit, large bathroom has two grab bars around the toilet. I was easily able to make a 180° turn in the bathroom. The sink is up high enough that I was able to fit my legs comfortably under the sink which has a tall faucet and long handles. The only concern I had was that the paper towel dispenser is up very high on the wall.
  • Walkways/Space – 3: The dimly lit space has three wide aisles flanked with moveable furniture throughout. Even though it was busy when we visited, I had no difficulty negotiating the space. Many of the tables have bars running across their length at ankle height. This made getting close to these tables challenging, but as you will read in my review of the staff, they were very accommodating. The smaller tables have central pedestals, and they do not have the bars underneath. It took some maneuvering, to be able to get close enough to our table. Since it is a sports bar and a restaurant, it was quite noisy from music and talking while we dined there.

Video Description: Interior of Barriles in Jackson Heights, Queens on December 2, 2016. The main aisle is shown with moveable tables and chairs in various group sizes shown on either side. People are dining throughout. The restaurant is dimly lit and loud. The bar is to the right, and huge flat screen televisions are hung up high around the perimeter showing various sporting events.

Interior The main aisle is shown with moveable tables and chairs in various group sizes shown on either side. People are dining throughout. The restaurant is dimly lit. The bar is to the right, and huge flat screen televisions are hung up high around the perimeter showing various sporting events. Background: Digital illustration of a wooden barrel with two brass colored metal bars going across the top and bottom of the wooden panels. Each metal bar has four round brass colored nails in it.
Interior
  • Staff – 5: The staff was extremely accommodating. They allowed me to try three different tables to find the one that works best for me. They were very patient, and I was very impressed by this. They put two central pedestal tables together, and I was able to fit comfortably in the space between the two pedestals. They held the doors open for me upon our arrival and leaving. Since they were so good about meeting my needs, I will definitely keep Barriles on my short list of restaurants to return to.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


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Milkflower – Astoria, Queens http://www.thedisabledfoodie.com/?p=10223 http://www.thedisabledfoodie.com/?p=10223#respond Sun, 04 Dec 2016 18:25:09 +0000 http://www.thedisabledfoodie.com/?p=10223 Milkflower – Astoria, Queens – November 26, 2016

Wood-fired pizza. The smoky, charred bits. The crispy crust. It just makes pizza better. That is what Milkflower is known for. My husband went to Milkflower a while ago, and I have been eager to try it ever since he told me how good it is.

We started our lunch with two appetizers: Smoked Eggplant Caponata and the Ricotta appetizer. The smoky soft eggplant came with burrata (a cheese made with mozzarella and cream), pinenuts, and balsamic vinegar all on top of thick, crispy pieces of toast. The mixtures of textures (crunchy, crispy, smooth, and creamy) and flavors (smoky, nutty, creamy, sweet, and acidic) made for a great start to the meal.

The Ricotta appetizer came with ricotta, black mission figs, honeycomb, thyme, sea salt, and fruit nut bread. Again, this appetizer had a wonderful mixture of textures and flavors. The creamy ricotta had the sweet figs, lemony thyme, and salt mixed through it. The toasted fruit nut bread was crunchy, sweet, and nutty. Another delicious appetizer!

The String Bean Salad was filled with crisp, bright green string beans, radicchio, orange, ricotta salata, almonds, and sun dried tomatoes. The sweet oranges and tomatoes, bitter radicchio, salty ricotta salata, and nutty almonds all tasted lovely with the string beans. The lightly acidic dressing brought all of the other flavors out.

Then came the star of the meal. The pizza! We chose the S. T. the Ghost pizza. This wood-fired, thin crust pizza came topped with coastal cheddar, mozzarella, parmigiano reggiano, and burnt honey. This white pizza had lovely charred parts that complemented the crispy crust and sharp, nutty, creamy, salty flavors from the cheeses. There was a tiny hint of spicy heat, which I suspect came from red pepper, and also a hint of caramel sweetness from the burnt honey. It was fantastic!

Having said all of this, there are some accessibility issues that cannot be overlooked.

Food (Clockwise from Top Left): S. T. the Ghost pizza, String Bean Salad in a round wooden bowl, Smoked Eggplant Caponata on a round white plate, and Ricotta Appetizer on a round white plate with a pink flower border Background: Digital illustration of a repeated pattern of a hand-drawn, white flower with four white petals and a yellow center against an off-white background
Food (Clockwise from Top Left): S. T. the Ghost pizza, String Bean Salad, Smoked Eggplant Caponata, and Ricotta Appetizer

Accessibility Rating for Milkflower

I used my wheelchair to visit Milkflower.

  • Entryway – 1: There is one wide door. There is one step up into the restaurant. The first time my husband had been to Milkflower, the staff told him they would get a ramp to make the entrance accessible. Upon our return (more than one month later), they still had yet to get a ramp. My husband insisted on lifting me up into the restaurant. Throughout our dining experience he kept saying, “Why shouldn’t people who use wheelchairs be able to enjoy good pizza like this?” The hostess held the door open for us while he did this. We asked a waiter to address this with the manager/owner, and he said he would. A little later on, the owner (as we were told after) showed up, stared at me, and left before I could address this concern with him. As far as I could tell, the issue of getting a ramp was not raised by the waiter to the owner while he was there. Instead of staring, it would have been better for him to come over and address me directly. Then, I would have answered the question that was written all over his face (“How did he get in?), and addressed the importance of getting an ADA compliant portable ramp or making the entrance permanently accessible. Most restaurateurs do not realize that the comparatively small cost involved in making their restaurant 100% ADA compliant could result in the disability community rewarding them with their repeat business. In my review of the bathroom (below), you will learn why the fact that Milkflower not having an ADA compliant entrance is a contradiction.
    Entrance (Six inch step can be seen in the photo) showing one wide, wooden door with rectangular window in center. To the left is a large window with a fabric awning over it. Above is a neon sign that says "Wood fired pizza" Background: Digital illustration of a repeated pattern of a hand-drawn, white flower with four white petals and a yellow center against an off-white background
    Entrance (Photo Taken by Marie Ragona) – Six inch step can be seen in the photo
  • Bathroom (Unisex) – 2: There are two bars around the toilet, though one is pretty far away from the toilet. At the time we were there this bar was being used to store extra toilet paper rolls. This is an all too common practice, and restaurant staffs need to learn that these bars are not for storing any items. The contradiction I found was that they have grab bars around the toilet (an ADA compliance requirement) while the entrance is not compliant. I could not wrap my head around this, and I would have loved to have been able to question the owner about this. The space is dimly lit and moderately sized. But, it was made even smaller by the placement of a small chest of drawers and having the garbage can right near the door. I struggled to open and close the door once I was inside with my wheelchair. This made making a 180° turn inside challenging. The sink was at an average height with one long faucet handle and a standard height faucet.
  • Walkways/Space – 3: The brightly lit space has front and rear dining areas with moveable furniture throughout. The main aisle is wide, but if it is crowded I could see the entire space being difficult to negotiate for users of mobility assistive devices. I was able to fit underneath the central pedestal table with my footrests raised up. The only noise we heard while dining there was moderate volume background music being played.
    Video Description: Interior of Milkflower in Astoria, Queens, NYC on November 26, 2016. The front seating area is shown with many tightly packed tables and chairs. As the camera pans, the wood for the wood fire oven can be briefly seen and then the rear dining area is shown with tables to the right of the main aisle.

    Interior: Top - Front dining area with tightly packed wooden topped tables and chairs Bottom - Looking at main aisle toward rear dining area with wood fired oven area and left and host station on right with tables and chairs for dining just past this Background: Digital illustration of a repeated pattern of a hand-drawn, white flower with four white petals and a yellow center against an off-white background
    Interior: Top – Front dining area   Bottom – Looking at main aisle toward rear dining area
  • Staff – 2: The hostess held the door open when we arrived, and our waiter offered to help lift me when we left.  My husband declined his help, but he held the door while we exited. Our waiter looked visibly embarrassed when we asked him about getting a ramp. Beyond this, and what I described earlier, there were no offers of help nor any questions about how my experience as a wheelchair user could have been improved. The owner staring at me, and then, avoiding approaching me spoke volumes. I think if the disability community requested Milkflower become 100% ADA compliant, they would. Please complete the anonymous poll below to show Milkflower you support them becoming 100% compliant.
Would you patronize Milkflower if they became 100% ADA compliant?  
I would dine there whether or not it is ADA compliant
0 Vote
Yes, but only if it is made 100% ADA compliant
5 Vote
No
0 Vote
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


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Holey Cream – Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan http://www.thedisabledfoodie.com/?p=10197 http://www.thedisabledfoodie.com/?p=10197#respond Fri, 25 Nov 2016 23:07:13 +0000 http://www.thedisabledfoodie.com/?p=10197 Holey Cream – Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan – November 25, 2016

I’ve had ice cream sandwiches made with cookies. I’ve had them made with macarons. But, a donut ice cream sandwich was something I had to try. After seeing Holey Cream (http://holeycreamnyc.com, 2016) make them on Cooking Channel’s Unique Sweets (http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/shows/unique-sweets.html, 2016), I made my way there to get one of these treats.

The donut ice cream sandwiches are made-to-order. You choose up to two flavors of ice cream, the icing flavor for the donut (I was offered vanilla or chocolate), and toppings for the donut. I selected the seasonal pumpkin ice cream, vanilla ice cream, rainbow sprinkles, and crushed peanut butter cups.

The pumpkin ice cream was much more subtle than other pumpkin ice creams I have tried. The warming pumpkin spice flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg were present, but they were not overbearing.

The donut was fluffy and airy. It was almost more of a sweetened bread than a donut. This was fine by me since this was a lot to eat, and a deeply fried, dense donut could make it too heavy.

Having said that, I found this dessert to be underwhelming. I was hoping that the dessert would knock my socks off, and unfortunately, it did not. While it was decent, I would not go out of my way to have this again.

Donut Ice Cream Sandwich in an open, clear, plastic clam shell container Background: An illustrated blue and pink round rectangular frame surrounds a white background with giant pink, blue, yellow, green, orange, and purple sprinkles on it
Donut Ice Cream Sandwich

Accessibility Rating for Holey Cream

I used my wheelchair to visit Holey Cream

  • Entryway – 2: There is one door that my wheelchair was just able to fit through. The transition from outside to inside is very bumpy. The threshold is not flush with the sidewalk, and I had to make a few attempts before my wheelchair was able to get over it. Just inside the door is a garbage can. This made entering and exiting even more difficult. There are no stairs.
    A propped open lavender colored door next to a lavender wall on the right with a window in it Background: An illustrated blue and pink round rectangular frame surrounds a white background with giant pink, blue, yellow, green, orange, and purple sprinkles on it
    Entrance
  • Bathroom: There is no bathroom available for customers to use.
  • Walkways/Space – 2: The front third has metal stools for customers. I sat in this small area to eat my donut ice cream sandwich. The ledge where others could eat while seated on the stools was too tall for me to use. The rest of the shop consists of an aisle along the display cases. The display cases are quite tall, but fortunately there is a break in the middle of them where customers can order, pay, and pick up their food. This counter is an appropriate height for those who use wheelchairs or scooters. There is no room along this aisle to turn, so after I ordered and got my food I had to back up to the seating area. The space is brightly lit, and it was quiet when I was there.

    Video Description: Interior of Holey Cream in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan on November 25, 2016. Along length of wall on the left is a cartoon-style landscape mural in bright colors. Rear wall is purple. Along the right for 2/3 of the store’s length is the counter with tall glass cases with ice cream, donuts, brownies, and cupcakes inside. The front third of the store has some square metal stools, and some people are sitting on them and eating.

    Along length of wall on the left is a cartoon-style landscape mural in bright colors. Rear wall is purple. Along the left for 2/3 of the store's length is the counter with tall glass cases with ice cream, donuts, brownies, and cupcakes inside. Background: An illustrated blue and pink round rectangular frame surrounds a white background with giant pink, blue, yellow, green, orange, and purple sprinkles on it
    Interior
  • Staff – 1: The staff member who was working at the time I was there did not offer me any assistance. He did not even offer me a spoon after he handed me my food. He just walked away, and I had to ask him for one. Considering that the donut ice cream sandwiches are messy, one would think staff would at least offer spoons to customers, but this did not happen for me.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


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Milestone in the New York Finger Lakes Region – November 12 – 15, 2016 http://www.thedisabledfoodie.com/?p=10155 http://www.thedisabledfoodie.com/?p=10155#respond Sun, 20 Nov 2016 13:50:49 +0000 http://www.thedisabledfoodie.com/?p=10155 Milestone in the New York Finger Lakes Region – November 12 – 15, 2016

This month, I reached a major milestone in my life. I turned 40! To celebrate, my husband and I spent a long weekend in New York State’s gorgeous Finger Lakes Region (http://www.fingerlakes.com/, 2016).

This area of New York State is meaningful to me, not only because of its beauty, but because I went to college in the region. So, it brings me back to that joyful time in my life. This region has the right to boast because it produces some of the best wine and produce in the United States.

We stayed in Geneva, New York (http://www.geneva.ny.us/, 2016) on the northern shore of Seneca Lake.

Video Description: View of Seneca Lake in Geneva, NY on November 13, 2016. Camera pans from the northern shore of the lake to the eastern shore, and then, it pans to the south. The views show the tree-lined shores and ripples on the water.

During our time, we visited some fun and surprising places. These included the Corning Museum of Glass (http://www.cmog.org/, 2016), which was inspiring and fascinating, and Wagner Vineyards (https://wagnervineyards.com/, 2016) and Wagner Valley Brewing Co. (http://wagnerbrewing.com/, 2016). My husband did a wine tasting (six wines for $5.00), and I did a beer tasting (five beers for $4.00). I enjoyed the malty, sweet flavor of the Dockside Vienna Lager and the distinct caramel and molasses notes in the Sled Dog Doppelbock. Out of everything we did the thing made me happiest was reuniting with some dear friends from college. Seeing them made me feel like I had come home again.

My husband and I had some great meals to celebrate this milestone. Please enjoy reading about them.


Kindred Fare, Geneva, NY

We enjoyed our first meal at Kindred Fare (http://kindredfare.com/, 2016).

From butchering our own meats to baking our own bread we focus on creating our own recipes in house, but are happy to source from our friends who do it better. Our menus change at the whim of each season and with our own urge to make new things.” (http://kindredfare.com/our-story/, 2016)

We started the meal with the Kindred Fare Bread plate (rustic, house made whole wheat sourdough and gluten-free almond-thyme crackers with cultured butter and Seneca Lake salt) and a bowl of butternut squash hummus. Everything about this starter was incredible! The bread and crackers were so flavorful, and they tasted freshly baked. The butter was creamy and rich, and the butternut squash hummus had the perfect balance of sweetness and spice.

Our next course was the Kale Salad (kale with delicata squash, apricot, feta, seeds, and apple cider vinaigrette). The kale was crisp and deep green. The squash was tender and slightly sweet. The seeds (flax and pumpkin) added crunch to the dish. The dressing was underwhelming, and it did not bring much flavor.

We split two specials for our entrees: the Braised Meat Sauce and Polenta and the Mushroom Bucatini. The Braised Meat Sauce and Polenta (pork, beef short rib, oxtail, red wine, and tomato) was a hearty dish perfect for a cold night. The meats were rich and savory with the mouth-filling flavor of the wine. The polenta was creamy, and it soaked up the juices so nothing went to waste. The only way this dish could have been improved would have been to have had a touch less salt.

The Mushroom Bucatini (a long spaghetti-like pasta with a hole in the middle) was made with oyster, shiitake, and trumpet mushrooms, walnuts, balsamic vinegar, cream, and parmesan cheese. It had earthy flavors from the mushrooms, nuttiness from the walnuts, surprising sweetness from the vinegar, and salt from the cheese. The pasta itself was chewy, and it seemed to be slightly under cooked.

Food (Clockwise from Top Left): Braised Meat Sauce and Polenta in a round white bowl, Mushroom Bucatini in a round white bowl, Bread Plate with Butternut Squash Hummus the bread is inside a rectangular wooden basket and the hummus is in a small, clear, glass bowl, and Kale Salad on a round white plate Background: Illustrated background consists of repeated pattern of bunches of purple grapes in front of beige burlap
Food (Clockwise from Top Left): Braised Meat Sauce and Polenta, Mushroom Bucatini, Bread Plate with Butternut Squash Hummus, and Kale Salad

Accessibility Rating for Kindred Fare.

I used my wheelchair to visit Kindred Fare.

  • Entryway – 4: There is one wide door at the outside entrance. Then, there is a vestibule before an interior door. There are slight bumps at each door. There are no stairs.
    Entrance to Kindred Fare showing large wooden door made of dark horizontal planks of wood. There are metal framed windows on either side of the door Background: Illustrated background consists of repeated pattern of bunches of purple grapes in front of beige burlap
    Entrance to Kindred Fare
  • Bathroom (Men’s) – 3: The spacious, brightly lit bathroom has three grab bars around the toilet. I was able to make a 180° turn within the bathroom with ease. I was not able to fit underneath the sink. The sink has standard length faucet handles and a tall faucet.
  • Walkways/Space – 4: The moderately lit space has both standard height tables and a high counter (at the bar) and tall tables where customers can eat. The counter and tall tables have tall stools and the standard height tables have standard height chairs. I had no problems negotiating the aisles in my wheelchair, even when the restaurant was crowded. I was able to fit comfortably underneath the central pedestal table with my footrests raised up. All of the furniture is moveable. There was background music playing at a moderate volume while we dined there.

    Video Description: Interior of Kindred Fare in Geneva, NY on November 12, 2016. Camera pans through restaurant showing bar in central area with ceiling height shelving for liquor, and the bartender is working behind the bar serving patrons. There are wooden tables around the perimeter of the restaurant and windows along the far wall and the wall to the right. People are dining throughout.

    Interior of Kindred Fare showing bar in central area with ceiling height shelving for liquor, and the bartender is working behind the bar serving patrons. There are wooden tables around the perimeter of the restaurant and windows along the far wall and the wall to the right. People are dining throughout. Background: Illustrated background consists of repeated pattern of bunches of purple grapes in front of beige burlap
    Interior of Kindred Fare
  • Staff – 5: The held the exterior and interior entrance doors open for us upon our arrival and leaving. They removed a chair from our table so I could access it, and they asked if the table met my needs. They hung our coats for us, which was nice. That way I did not have to sit with it while dining.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.

Veraisons Restaurant at The Inn at Glenora Wine Cellars, Dundee, NY

My husband and I had a romantic dinner for my birthday at Veraisons Restaurant at The Inn at Glenora Wine Cellars (http://www.glenora.com/Restaurant/Veraisons-Restaurant, 2016). This restaurant is at a winery overlooking the southern end of Seneca Lake.

“With menus that change with the seasons, Executive Chef Orlando and Sous Chef Sarah consistently factor in quality, sustainability, food-miles, and flavor into their cuisine. Where the food comes from, the farmers, and the environment that creates it are of utmost importance.” (http://www.glenora.com/Restaurant/Veraisons-Restaurant, 2016)

We began the celebratory meal with the Local Cheese Sampler (First Light – Rye Cheddar, Old Chatham – Black Mule Bleu, Meadowood Farms – Strawbridge, and East Hill Creamery – Underpass). All of the cheeses were rich and creamy, but the standout was the pungent, tangy, funky Black Mule Bleu. The highlight of the sampler was the local red grapes. They were so plump, juicy, and sweet. The fact that they were grown locally really showed in their flavor.

We split a large Veraisons Green Salad (Lucky Dog (farm) greens, candied walnuts, Ithaca Jersey Bleu cheese, apple chips, and cider vinaigrette). The greens were so tender and fresh, and were the star of this dish. Again, the quality of the local produce shone through.

For my entree, I had the chicken (local chicken breast, cider glazed, roasted apples, spaghetti squash, sage, maple, potatoes dauphine, and brown butter broth). Our waitress poured the brown butter broth over the dish after placing it in front of me. The chicken had a bit of luscious gamy flavor to it. I think this is from the chicken being from a local farm. The potatoes dauphine were fried balls of creamy, smooth, mashed potatoes. The apples and maple brought sweetness to the dish. The spaghetti squash was a bit crunchy, but this added a pleasant texture. The brown butter broth was nutty and earthy. It was a delicious indulgence for my birthday.

I had a glass of Trestlecreek cider (hard cider) made at the Glenora Wine Cellars. It was crisp, light, and just sweet enough to not be dry. A very refreshing drink to go with the lovely meal.

Food (Clockwise from Top Left): Local Cheese Sampler Board on top of wooden boards, Chicken entree in a round, white bowl, Trestlecreek Cider in a clear, pint-size chalice style glass, and Veraisons Green Salad on a round white plate topped with a round slice of dried apple Background: Illustrated background consists of repeated pattern of bunches of purple grapes in front of beige burlap
Food (Clockwise from Top Left): Local Cheese Sampler Board, Chicken entree, Trestlecreek Cider, and Veraisons Green Salad

Accessibility Rating for Veraisons Restaurant at The Inn at Glenora Wine Cellars

I used my wheelchair to visit Veraisons Restaurant at The Inn at Glenora Wine Cellars.

  • Entryway – 5: There are two, wide, side-by-side doors at the exterior entrance. Then, there is a vestibule before another set of wide side-by-side doors. The transition from outside to inside is smooth. There are no stairs.
    Entrance to Veraisons Restaurant showing side-by-side wooden doors with small, round windows at the top of each door and a large, rectangular window above the doors Background: Illustrated background consists of repeated pattern of bunches of purple grapes in front of beige burlap
    Entrance to Veraisons Restaurant
  • Bathroom (Men’s) – 1: The brightly lit bathroom has two grab bars around the toilet in the accessible stall. The problem is that between the way the stall door opened and the small size of the stall, I was unable to get into the stall and close the door. When the stall door is open, it blocks one of the grab bars. As a result, I had to use the stall with the door open. I was able to make a 180° turn within the bathroom with ease, but not within the stall. I was able to fit underneath the sink. The sink has a faucet that needs to be pressed down to be turned on and a standard height faucet.
  • Walkways/Space – 3: The entrance from the lobby into the dining room has a huge bump from a tall wooden threshold. The moderately lit space has standard height tables. When crowded, I could see the entire space being tight. Even with my footrests raised up, it was a tight fit for me to sit close to the central pedestal table. All of the furniture is moveable. There was background music playing at a louder volume while we dined there. This was surprising considering how few people were dining there at the time.

    Video Description: Interior of Veraisons Restaurant in Dundee, NY  (November 2016) showing high ceilings in restaurant space with white tablecloth topped tables throughout. Each table has light colored wooden chairs around it. There are floor-to-ceiling windows along the length of the wall on the left. There were very few people dining in the restaurant when this was recorded.

    Interior of Veraisons Restaurant with white tablecloth topped tables surrounded by light colored wooden chairs throughout. There are floor-to-ceiling windows along the entire length of the wall on the left. There are high ceilings, and very few people dining. Background: Illustrated background consists of repeated pattern of bunches of purple grapes in front of beige burlap
    Interior of Veraisons Restaurant
  • Staff – 3: A staff member removed a chair from the table they selected for us so I could access it. The table was at the far end of the dining room, and there were a few tight spaces I had to negotiate to get there. Considering how few customers were dining there at the time, it would have been easier for me if they had chosen a table closer to the restaurant’s entrance. Upon leaving, a staff member held the interior and exterior doors open for us.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


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The Disabled Foodie on Amy Oestreicher’s “Why Not Wednesday” – November 16, 2016 http://www.thedisabledfoodie.com/?p=10164 http://www.thedisabledfoodie.com/?p=10164#respond Wed, 16 Nov 2016 22:46:28 +0000 http://www.thedisabledfoodie.com/?p=10164 The Disabled Foodie on Amy Oestreicher’s “Why Not Wednesday” – November 16, 2016

An article I wrote is part of the Why Not Wednesday feature for Amy Oestreicher’s #LoveMyDetour movement, celebrating the “beautiful detours” that unite us all.  Read my article, and learn how I feel about my detour.

Click here (https://amyoes.com/2016/11/16/david-detour/) to read the article.

Are you a Detourist?  Learn what a Detourist is here (https://www.amyoes.com/whats-a-detourist/), and share your story here (https://www.amyoes.com/lovemydetour/share/).  Together we’re stronger!


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Today’s Update to The Disabled Foodie: Guest Post by Amy Oestreicher http://www.thedisabledfoodie.com/?p=10147 http://www.thedisabledfoodie.com/?p=10147#comments Sat, 05 Nov 2016 14:09:42 +0000 http://www.thedisabledfoodie.com/?p=10147 Today’s Update to The Disabled Foodie: Guest Post by Amy Oestreicher

Just like I don’t let my disability hold me back from enjoying food and restaurants, my guest blogger, Amy Oestreicher, writes about how she does not let her disability hold her back from enjoying theater.

An Open Letter to the Usher at the Theatre Who Asked Me if “I Was the Sick Girl”

Dear Miss,

First of all, for being an usher tonight. I’ve always had admiration for what you do, and for the whole world of the Great White Way. Tonight, I was really excited to see one of my favorite musicals being revived on Broadway. I used to live for this stuff, and after being estranged from the theatre scene for a while, I still do love it. However, it’s been hard to get back to that world to after a few “medical detours.” Physically and emotionally.

Artwork by Amy Oestreicher a painting of a woman with long blue hair against a background of transparent red and yellow
Artwork by Amy Oestreicher

I came to the theatre with an equal mix of nerves and dread. In my old life, I would have just hustled right to my seat 20 minutes before show time, devouring every last page of my Playbill, maybe running down to the orchestra to see if I could sneak a look at the musicians, and eagerly hurried back to my seat with elated anticipation as the first booming sounds of the orchestra flooded the building with astounding resonance.

But tonight, like every night I go to see theatre now, I felt like I was intruding on a world I didn’t feel quite as at home in. I tentatively walked towards the ticket stand, with equal parts adrenaline and anxiety, as I anticipated explaining my unique medical situation to the house manager, taking in their stupefied look, and keeping my composure as I tried to answer their baffled questions as calmly as I could.

I get it, though – I would be confused too. It sounds weird that because of all of my surgeries, I can’t sit down. I have two bags on my body – an ostomy bag taped to my side, and a large bag in the middle of my stomach – where my bellybutton should be, over an open wound that hasn’t healed for five years. It makes life a bit more effort, but it’s worth it, because I love living. But, the bags prevent me from sitting comfortably. I don’t mind if I don’t have a great view – I can just stay in the back, where I won’t disturb anyone for the many times I’ll be in and out of the bathroom throughout the show. No, I don’t get tired standing, and yes, I’m used to it, and double-yes, I know it’s weird. It’s not a preference, it’s a necessity. And I know it feels ridiculous that I can’t wait until the end of a song to use a bathroom – I hate it too, and I certainly don’t want to be a distraction.

And the food – I get it. Nine bottled drinks in my backpack may seem excessive for a two-hour show. As do the six blocks of cheese stuffed in the side-pockets. But no, I can’t wait until the end of the show. I only absorb 20% of what I eat, so it means I have to always be eating something. And because I malabsorb so much, it means for that 80% leftover, I’ll need the bathroom – a lot. I don’t have a stomach and it takes a lot of work and constant calories to keep up my weight – which I’m still trying to gain more of.

I get it, I do. It’s a lot of weird accommodations I’m asking for. Not your usual “I need wheelchair access” or “I can’t handle loud noises” or something like that. And I know I’m asking you for a lot of favors, and then you have to get a manager of the house to approve, or a supervisor, and I really feel bad that you have to do all that for me, in addition to the hundreds of people that are still waiting to be seated, staring at this skinny little girl trying to manage a backpack twice her size. I try to be as chameleon-like as possible – just tell me where to stand, and I’ll fade into the background, really. Whatever I can get out of the show, I will, although I’ll probably miss half of it in the bathroom. I know in some ways, it’s easier to stay at home, but I really am looking for quality of life here, and I don’t want to spend the rest of my life saying, “Well, maybe I should just be thankful I’m alive.” I’m living, but theatre is what makes me feel alive. And I really want to see this show – I’m actually an actress, although you may never guess that from all of my requests right now.

Tonight was a bit complicated, I know. This theatre was super-strict about any food or liquid in the building, and I’m sorry, but my body doesn’t make exceptions, even if a theatre has completely legit reasons and great intentions. So, there was a little back-and-forth between my needs and the “powers that be” of the theatre, and the staff member was very understanding and was really trying her best to work things out. Maybe it’s difficult to understand how rigidly I have to stick to my constant eating, standing and bathroom access. So, I went downstairs to the general ladies’ bathroom, and just hung out there while the show started. I didn’t know what else to do, and I felt like I was causing more commotion than I wanted. So, I just waited there trying to hear what was going on in the show through the speakers.

I’m not upset about how hard it was for that usher to make these accommodations.

I get that it’s hard to appreciate exactly how extreme my crazy situation is. My stomach exploded, but that’s another story – actually, I wrote a musical about it. See? I’m not just a sick girl with a disability, I do theatre too! I belong here!

There is only one thing that made me upset. It’s how I met you. You asked me a question when trying to work things out, which I really do appreciate. You came down, saw me in the bathroom, and before even introducing yourself, said, “Are you the sick girl?”

I hate that word. I really do. I immediately snapped back (and I’m sorry if that came across the wrong way, but it struck a nerve), “No, I’m not the sick girl. I have medical circumstances.

You didn’t seem to be bothered by the difference in phrasing, and went on with your well-intentioned attempt to make my necessary accommodations. Eventually, it worked out, and thank you for helping me find a nice place to stand in the back and eat my cheese, while enjoying the show.

But I really hope you heard me when I said “I’m not the sick girl.”

Believe it or not, I’m an actress. An actress that has a few extra…props and stage directions, I guess.

What I really wanted to tell you is yes, I have crazy medical circumstances. And I hate them. I absolutely hate them and sometimes I want to scream like hell how unfair it is, that I can’t even sit in a cozy velvet theatre seat, relax, and just enjoy the show. And more than that – I used to be just like those actors you’re seeing up there now. I used to be SO in this world! Auditioning in New York, with an agent and everything. I knew all the latest composers, what the Broadway trends were, the most overdone audition songs to avoid at the time…that was me! I’m not just this skinny thing that should be in bed at a hospital, barricaded from the outside world. I have those moments sometimes, in and out of hospitals, but I’m strong, I’m vital, and I’m an actress, whether I also happen to be a patient or not.

Artwork by Amy Oestreicher with a painted human-like form in white against a yellowed paper background with black text on it
Artwork by Amy Oestreicher

I want to tell you that I still do what I love, but in a different form, and hopefully inspiring people. I may not be up there with my Equity card, but I’m sharing my story through the magic of theatre – my addiction since the time I could remember. And maybe one day, I will audition again.

I know right now I look thin as a rail, I’m hunched over, embarrassed, insecure and trying not to feel ashamed that I can’t behave like everyone else and not make a scene wherever I go. But, for five years, I’ve been “making scenes” touring theatres, even some just a few streets down, singing, dancing and laughing about all of this medical nonsense.

Image of Amy Oestreicher in a red dress with arms outstretched with yellow and blue lights above and a black, purple, and magenta background
Amy Oestreicher

So you can call me whatever you want – weird, high-maintenance, difficult – although I really do appreciate all of the accommodations you are willing to make.

But please, do not call me sick. I have medical circumstances. Circumstances that I cope with through the power of theatre. Circumstances that I won’t let determine the course of my life.

After the show was over, I went back into my life – with those same medical circumstances, as I frantically searched for a bathroom on the way back to my place. Whatever it was, I was going back to my life. A life that is so much larger than sitting or standing.

So, the next time you meet someone that needs special accommodations, please, don’t call them the “sick girl.” Hundreds of people mill in and out of a theatre every day. What if we judged all of them with the first label that comes to our minds? What if we judged all the actors on stage with the costumes they wore?

Theatre is about opening up our preconceived notions. I hope I was able to do that for you. Even though all I said was, “I’m not the sick girl.” Maybe one day, you’ll see my show, and meet the person behind the patient.

And I really did enjoy the show, by the way. So thank you. I had a great view.

Wishing you the best,

Amy

Amy Oestreicher is a PTSD peer-to-peer specialist, artist, author, writer for Huffington Post, speaker for TEDx and RAINN, health advocate, survivor, award-winning actress, and playwright, currently starring in her one-woman musical Gutless & Grateful. To fight mental health stigma, she created the #LoveMyDetour Campaign, and is currently touring theatres nationwide, along with a program combining mental health advocacy, sexual assault awareness and Broadway Theatre for college campuses and international conferences. Her original, full-length drama, Imprints, premiered at the NYC Producer’s Club in May 2016, exploring how trauma affects the family as well as the individual. “Detourism” is also the subject of her TEDx and upcoming book, My Beautiful Detour, available December 2017. As Eastern Regional Recipient of Convatec’s Great Comebacks Award, she’s contributed to over 70 notable online and print publications, and her story has appeared on NBC’s TODAY, CBS, Cosmopolitan, among others.   

Subscribe to her newsletter at www.amyoes.com for updates and excerpts from her upcoming book, My Beautiful Detour, available December 2017. Get a free creativity e-book at amyoes.com/create and a free guide to getting a TEDx Talk at amyoes.com/discover.

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Carla Hall’s Southern Kitchen – Cobble Hill, Brooklyn http://www.thedisabledfoodie.com/?p=10111 http://www.thedisabledfoodie.com/?p=10111#respond Sun, 30 Oct 2016 14:41:16 +0000 http://www.thedisabledfoodie.com/?p=10111 Carla Hall’s Southern Kitchen – Cobble Hill, Brooklyn – October 29, 2016

Nashville Hot Chicken is one of the biggest food trends now. It is,

“…a type of fried chicken that is a local specialty of Nashville, Tennessee, in the United States. In its typical preparation, it is a portion of breast, thigh, or wing that has been marinated in a water-based blend of seasoning, floured, fried, and finally sauced using a paste that has been spiced with cayenne pepper. It is served atop slices of white bread with pickle chips.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_chicken, 2016)

Carla Hall, of Top Chef and The Chew fame, has opened Carla Hall’s Southern Kitchen serving Nashville Hot Chicken in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. The chicken is served with varying degrees of heat ranging from no sauce (no heat) to Boomshakalaka (stinging heat). Our friends, Tony and Deanna, joined us for lunch at the restaurant.

I ordered The Jefferson, a chicken leg and thigh, which comes with a choice of two side dishes and one of three types of bread (buttermilk biscuits, cornbread, and sweet potato rolls). I chose candied yams and baked mac and cheese along with a buttermilk biscuit. I also sampled the cornbread, collard greens, and sweet and Yukon gold potato salad from my husband’s plate. We both ordered our chicken with Hoot ‘n Honey (sweet and spicy) sauce. The chicken was juicy, flavorful, and tender, and while my chicken leg lacked enough sauce the chicken thigh was adequately covered. The sauce was lightly sweet and spicy. The sides were all good, but the standout was the candied yams. They were tender, bursting with flavor, and just sweet enough. The mac and cheese was a little too grainy and dripping with liquid for my taste. The collard greens were slightly tough and under cooked. I liked the sweet and Yukon gold potato salad because it was sweet, savory, and creamy. The cornbread was a little too dry, but the buttermilk biscuit was fresh from the oven. It was buttery, flaky, and altogether delicious.

I enjoyed a lemonade with my meal. It was sweet and tart tasting like it was made with freshly squeezed lemons rather than being made from a mix. It was a nice complement to my meal.

Food (Clockwise from Top Left): Chicken Thigh and Leg with Baked Mac and Cheese, Candied Yams, and a Buttermilk Biscuit on a white plate, Cup of Lemonade in a clear plastic cup, Chicken Breast and Thigh with Collard Greens, Sweet Potato and Yukon Gold Potato Salad, and Corn Bread on a white plate Background has an illustrated yellow wallpaper with coral, white, and blue daisies on it. Each picture is inside an illustrated wooden frame
Food (Clockwise from Top Left): Chicken Thigh and Leg with Baked Mac and Cheese, Candied Yams, and a Buttermilk Biscuit, Cup of Lemonade, Chicken Breast and Thigh with Collard Greens, Sweet Potato and Yukon Gold Potato Salad, and Corn Bread

Accessibility Rating for Carla Hall’s Southern Kitchen

I used my wheelchair to visit Carla Hall’s Southern Kitchen.

  • Entryway – 4: There is one wide door at the entrance. There is a step up to the entrance, but the restaurant has a proper, portable, long, metal ramp for customers who require it to enter and exit. There is a bump at the threshold.
    Entrance shows black metal framed door around a glass panel with a tall step up to the door and red brick around all four sides of the door Background has an illustrated yellow wallpaper with coral, white, and blue daisies on it. Each picture is inside an illustrated wooden frame
    Entrance
  • Bathroom (Unisex) – 3: The spacious, moderately lit bathroom has two grab bars around the toilet. I was able to make a 180° turn within the bathroom with ease. I was not able to fit underneath the sink. The sink has standard length faucet handles and a standard height faucet.
  • Walkways/Space – 3: The brightly lit space has both low tables and high counters where customers can eat. The counter has tall stools and the tables has standard height chairs. The entire space is tight, including the hallway to the bathroom. In fact, the bathroom is the most spacious part of the restaurant. All of the furniture is moveable, but the tables are picnic tables that have long wooden bars that run underneath them at ankle height. This bar prevented me from getting close to the table, even with my footrests raised up. Considering the small size of the restaurant as a whole, I think that the restaurant was arranged in the best possible format. Still, I believe there is room for improvement, including getting tables that do not have bars underneath them. There was background music playing at a moderate volume while we dined there.

    Video Description: Interior of Carla Hall’s Southern Kitchen in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn on October 29, 2016 showing counter to order food in the rear in front of a wall of windows. In the foreground is the dining area with a U shape of wooden picnic style tables with people dining at them. The walls are covered with patterned white wallpaper with framed pictures hung all over them.

    Interior Top: Dining Area with wooden topped picnic style tables in a U shape and metal counters to sit and eat at in background Bottom: Drink Fountain and Entrance Area with fountains on left along and dining area on right Background has an illustrated yellow wallpaper with coral, white, and blue daisies on it. Each picture is inside an illustrated wooden frame
    Interior Top: Dining Area Bottom: Drink Fountain and Entrance Area
  • Staff – 4: The staff noticed me before I entered, and they immediately set up the portable ramp without having to ask for it. They did the same when we left. They were very conscious of what was required for me to enter and leave. The woman who greeted us at the counter handed each customer a paper menu. Beyond this, they did not ask me how else they could help me and improve my visit. I would have appreciated their help moving furniture out of my way as I negotiated the dining room and hallway to the bathroom. Instead, my husband and friends did this.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


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969 NYC Coffee – Jackson Heights, Queens http://www.thedisabledfoodie.com/?p=10071 http://www.thedisabledfoodie.com/?p=10071#respond Tue, 25 Oct 2016 20:56:51 +0000 http://www.thedisabledfoodie.com/?p=10071 969 NYC Coffee – Jackson Heights, Queens – October 15, 2016

969 NYC Coffee is one of the newest additions to the burgeoning Jackson Heights food scene. This is not your standard coffee shop though. This is a Japanese coffee shop. 969 NYC Coffee not only sells coffee, but matcha (pronounced mah-cha, Japanese style green tea), miso soup (pronounced mee-soh, a soup made with miso paste, which is made from fermented soy), and onigiri (pronounced oh-nee-jee-ree). Onigiri,

“…is a Japanese food made from white rice formed into triangular or cylinder shapes and often wrapped in nori (seaweed). Traditionally, an onigiri is filled with pickled ume (a type of plum), salted salmon, katsuobushi (dried, fermented, smoked tuna), kombu (kelp), tarako (salted fish roe), or any other salty or sour ingredient as a natural preservative.”(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onigiri, 2016)

This new twist on the standard coffee shop is a great addition to this neighborhood. So, on a bright Saturday my husband and I ventured there to have some onigiri for lunch.

We split three onigiri: chicken, pork, and shrimp tempura (battered and deep fried). None of the three had nori (seaweed) wrapping. The white rice was glutenous and just chewy enough to bring a bit of texture to each dish. Unfortunately, the shrimp tempura was soggy, and I found it to be lacking in flavor. On the other hand, the other two onigiri were quite good. The pork was both sweet and slightly sour. The chicken was my favorite. It tasted like a delicious, creamy chicken salad wrapped in rice. It was wonderfully savory.

I hope 969 NYC Coffee does well because it brings something different to the food scene. That being said there are some accessibility issues to be aware of before you visit.

Food (Clockwise from Top Left): Chicken Onigiri in a clear plastic clamshell container, Pork Onigiri in a clear plastic clamshell container, and Shrimp Tempura Onigiri wrapped in clear plastic wrap all on top of a white table Background: Repeating Pattern of Green and Yellow Floral Motif
Food (Clockwise from Top Left): Chicken Onigiri, Pork Onigiri, and Shrimp Tempura Onigiri

Accessibility Rating for 969 NYC Coffee

I used my wheelchair to visit 969 NYC Coffee.

  • Entryway – 3: There is a steep ramp leading up to the outdoor patio and the main entrance. While the ramp is wide, long, and stable, it felt very steep to me. My husband had to stand behind my wheelchair to make sure it would not tip backwards upon our arrival, and he had to stabilize it upon our leaving so my wheelchair would not slide down the ramp. While I appreciate the fact that there is a ramp, the angle of the ramp is concerning, and it could possibly indicate that whoever built it does not fully understand the ADA regulations for ramp construction. I could be mistaken here, but this could be the case. The transition from the patio into the shop’s interior is smooth.  There are no stairs.
    Entrance Top Left: Ramp up to Patio and Front Door with yellow metal railings on either side Bottom Right: Patio and Front Door with yellow metal railing around elevated cement patio and glass and metal entrance door in the background Background: Repeating Pattern of Green and Yellow Floral Motif
    Entrance Top Left: Ramp up to Patio and Front Door Bottom Right: Patio and Front Door
  • Bathroom: There is no bathroom available for customers.
  • Walkways/Space – 4: The dimly lit space has both low and high tables around an open central area. The counter and refrigerator case are in the shop’s rear. There are benches and stools at which customers can sit. I was able to fit underneath the central pedestal table with my footrests raised up. There was moderately loud music playing at the time we visited.

    Video Description: Video shows tables with chairs on the left side, counter with refrigerated food case in front, and bench with stools on the right. Some customers are at the counter ordering.

    Interior showing counter with refrigerator case in rear where people are standing and large potted plant on floor on the right side Background: Repeating Pattern of Green and Yellow Floral Motif
    Interior
  • Staff – 1: Even though I was with my husband, the one staff member who was working did not make any offer of help to me. It seems to me that this happens often when I am with my husband or a friend. The staff do not make any offer of help because they may be thinking that I may not need or want it since I am with someone. But, even if I do not require help, I always appreciate the gesture, and it demonstrates that the staff willing to help members of the disability community.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


969 NYC Coffee Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Harvest Fest at the Queens Botanical Garden – Flushing, Queens http://www.thedisabledfoodie.com/?p=10033 http://www.thedisabledfoodie.com/?p=10033#respond Wed, 19 Oct 2016 21:45:49 +0000 http://www.thedisabledfoodie.com/?p=10033 Harvest Fest at the Queens Botanical Garden – Flushing, Queens – October 16, 2016

Autumn is my favorite season. I thoroughly enjoy butternut and spaghetti squash, apples and cider, and yes, all things pumpkin. I love the vibrant colors of the changing leaves. So, I was excited to attend the Harvest Fest at the Queens Botanical Garden this past weekend. This small, but lovely, garden is in Flushing, and it is part of the Flushing Meadows Corona Park complex.

One of the many interesting activities at the Harvest Fest was learning about beekeeping from the Garden’s head beekeeper. She talked about every aspect of beekeeping imaginable, and beekeeping runs in her family! Her father kept bees as well. She gave the entire demonstration without any protective gear on to show that bees are nothing to fear. The presentation was quite interesting, and the only disappointing part was there was no honey tasting since the event was so large.

Beekeeping Demonstration showing head beekeeper standing behind a table with two yellow boxes from a hive in front of her and a yellow hive on her right. She is holding a section of the hive showing the cells made by the bees that are filled with honey. Background: Cartoon pumpkin with brown and yellow pennants strung across it on a dark green circular background which is in front of an alternating and repeating beige and green chevron pattern
Beekeeping Demonstration

While it was a large event, there were only a handful of food vendors. Unfortunately, the Beer and Wine Garden was in the middle of a grassy field, so I was unable to get to it in my wheelchair. This shows that the planners may not have completely considered the interests of attendees with disabilities.

My husband and I ate bao (pronounced bow like cow, Chinese buns) from C Bao (I have had their food once before at the Queens Night Market). We shared a Peking duck bao and a beef bao. The buns were light and fluffy, and both came with crispy sliced scallions. The duck was perfectly gamy, but this time, as compared to my last taste at the Queens Night Market, the majority of the flavor came from the sauce. It was salty, savory, and sweet. While it was good, I would have liked for more of the duck’s flavor to shine. The beef was tender, and as opposed to the duck, its flavor was more than present.

C Bao Food (Clockwise from Top Left): Peking Duck Bao in a white clamshell cardboard container, Beef Bao in a white clamshell cardboard container, Man carving duck at C Bao stand, and C Bao Stand with items listed on papers hanging from the top, people working behind the stand and others ordering in front Background: Cartoon pumpkin with brown and yellow pennants strung across it on a dark green circular background which is in front of an alternating and repeating beige and green chevron pattern
C Bao Food (Clockwise from Top Left): Peking Duck Bao, Beef Bao, Man carving duck at C Bao stand, and C Bao Stand

Nyota’s Ting offered vegetarian and vegan options, along with fish tacos with a twist. We had a fish taco and a green salad. The fish was tender, flaky, and fried beautifully. It had bright crunchy vegetables along with a white sauce and a salsa. The salsa was surprising. It was sweet from pineapple. This touch brought an unexpected level of flavor and balance to the taco. The salad had all kinds of fresh greens, red cabbage, and tomatoes in a sweet onion dressing. The dressing was just sweet enough to balance the flavors from the vegetables without overpowering them.

Nyota's Ting Food (Clockwise from Top Left): Fish Taco on white paper, Salad in a white cardboard clamshell container, Nyota's Ting Stand with huge banner above stating, "Nyota's Ting" and listing fish tacos Background: Cartoon pumpkin with brown and yellow pennants strung across it on a dark green circular background which is in front of an alternating and repeating beige and green chevron pattern
Nyota’s Ting Food (Clockwise from Top Left): Fish Taco, Salad, Nyota’s Ting Stand

Accessibility Rating for Harvest Fest at the Queens Botanical Garden

I used my wheelchair to visit Harvest Fest at the Queens Botanical Garden.

  • Entryway – 5: We entered the garden through the main gate on Main Street. The transition from the sidewalk into the garden was smooth as we passed through the wide gate. There are no stairs.
    Entrance showing stone wall to the right of the gate and people waiting on line to pass under the metal tree gate into the garden Background: Cartoon pumpkin with brown and yellow pennants strung across it on a dark green circular background which is in front of an alternating and repeating beige and green chevron pattern
    Entrance
  • Bathroom (Men’s bathrooms at the Visitor’s Center) – 5: There are two sets of bathrooms at the Visitor’s Center (ground level and downstairs). There is a ramp to the lower bathrooms. Each bathroom has one large accessible stall. The lock on the door of the stall in the downstairs Men’s room was not working during my visit. There are long grab bars that wrap around two sides of the toilets in each stall. The bathrooms are brightly lit, and I was easily able to make a 180° turn inside the stalls and the bathrooms. I was able to fit underneath the sink in each bathroom, which have automatic sensors on the faucets.
  • Walkways/Space – 2: All of the main pathways in the garden are paved and smooth. That being said, for this event many things, like the Beer and Wine Garden, were put in places that were inaccessible to many users of mobility assistive devices. As mentioned earlier, this may show a lack of consideration and forethought for members of the disability community. The event was brightly lit since it was outside, and it was noisy from loud talking and loud music.


    Video Description: Video shows expansive field where much of the Harvest Fest took place. There are several food stands, a stage with a band performing in the distance, some tall trees around the field’s perimeter, and people walking, sitting, talking, and eating throughout.

  • Staff – 1: Not one staff member of the garden nor any of the vendors made any offers of help to me as it pertained to my disability. This may be indicative that the staff may require more training as it relates to meeting the needs of visitors with disabilities.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


C Bao Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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