Tag Archives: dessert

Treat House – Upper West Side, Manhattan

Treat House – Upper West Side, Manhattan – October 3, 2015

Ah, Unique Sweets on Cooking Channel! One of my resources for finding all of the latest and greatest dessert venues to review. Treat House is the latest place that I have discovered as a result of watching this show.

Treat House makes unique flavored rice cereal treats using their own homemade marshmallow. They also make breakfast treats. As per their website:

“Treats are always made with the customer’s health in mind. All Treats are certified Kosher Dairy; and unless specified otherwise, are gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free. Our Homemade Marshmallows are made using raw cane sugar — never corn syrup. Breakfast bars contain brown rice, oats, flax, dried fruits, and seeds (some contain nuts.)” http://treathouse.com/philosophy/, 2015

The rice cereal treats cost $2.50 each or you can get four treats for $9.00 or twelve for $26.00. I ordered a birthday cake rice cereal treat to eat in the shop. I also ordered four treats to bring home (chocolate pretzel, salted caramel, coconut, and butterscotch (seasonal flavor)). As of the writing of this post, I have not had the chance to try the treats I brought home. The treats are small. They are just two to three bites each.

I really enjoyed the homemade marshmallow in the treat. I was immediately able to taste the difference in quality between this treat made with homemade marshmallow and those made with store-bought ones. This treat did not have any artificial flavors or textures, which was great! The birthday cake treat was topped with blue marshmallow frosting and rainbow sprinkles. I was not able to detect was any birthday cake flavor. Additionally, the treat I had was a bit stale.

Clockwise From Top Left: Birthday Cake Rice Cereal Treat, Seasonal Flavor Butterscotch Rice Cereal Treats with Candy Pumpkins on Top, Treat House Bag, & Display Shelves with Rice Cereal Treats on Display

Clockwise From Top Left: Birthday Cake Rice Cereal Treat, Seasonal Flavor Butterscotch Rice Cereal Treats, Treat House Bag, & Display Shelves

Accessibility Rating for Treat House

I used my wheelchair to visit Treat House.

  • Entryway – 4: There is one somewhat narrow door at the entrance. I was able to get through the door itself without a problem. There is a ramp that is part of the sidewalk that goes up to the door. There are no stairs at the entrance.  The transition from the ramp to the inside of the shop is not smooth because the floor inside the shop is not flush with the end of the ramp. As a result, there is a large bump that actually tipped me backwards in my wheelchair as I entered. That was a bit frightening.

    Entrance

    Entrance

  • Bathroom – Not Applicable: The shop does not have a bathroom available for customers.
  • Walkways/Space – 3: The space between the service area, counter, and wall is narrow but passable. The seating area was only passable when the employee working there moved furniture out of my way. The space is brightly lit. The shop was silent when I was there. I was the only customer in the shop at the time I was there, and there was no music being played in the background. I was able to fit comfortably underneath the table with my feet resting on the footrests of my wheelchair.

    Left: Seating Area (with main area plus another area up three steps) Right: Service Area & Counter (Narrow space between display shelves and wall)

    Left: Seating Area      Right: Service Area & Counter

  • Staff – 5: The employee was helpful once she noticed me. She offered me a choice of tables to sit at, and she moved a bench and other furniture out of the way so I could access the table I chose. She offered me water to drink, which I politely declined. Upon leaving, she held the door open for me, and she answered my question about where I would be able to find a bathroom in the area. She went beyond normal service expectations.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


Treat House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Brooklyn Pie Day – August 26, 2015

Brooklyn Pie Day – August 26, 2015

As my summer vacation winds down, I created a fun theme day for myself: Brooklyn Pie Day! I visited two restaurants on either end of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park that serve different kinds of pies. As I went through my day, I took photos and videos that documented my journey. You can view those by visiting my Instagram account (click here to view).

DUB Pies – Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn

I began my adventure at DUB Pies. According to their website:

“Down Under Bakery (DUB) Pies, established 2003, is proud to be the first specialty bakery to bring the authentic New Zealand-Australian experience — the culturally iconic meat pie — to New York City.” (http://www.dubpies.com/, 2015)

Not only are the pies available at their storefront, but they also have a food truck that brings them to various parts of NYC, as well as delivery and catering services. What is great is that they serve both hot pies to eat right away as well as frozen pies to bring home to heat up later.

I ordered a mince (ground beef) and cheese pie that I brought to nearby Prospect Park to enjoy outside for lunch. It cost $5.75. The pie was nice and warm, but not too hot, which I appreciated since it made it easy to eat using my hands. The filling was savory and loaded with the flavor of beef followed by the sharp aftertaste of white cheddar cheese. It was really enjoyable! The cheese helped the filling stay together and not ooze out after I took bites of the pie. The crust was light and flaky, but my only complaint was that it was quite soft. There were no crispy parts on the pie I ate, so the pie was a bit wobbly as I held it, and it lacked varied texture due to not having crispy parts of the crust.

Foreground: Mince & Cheese Pie from DUB Pies Background: Wall Inside DUB Pies

Foreground: Mince & Cheese Pie from DUB Pies      Background: Wall Inside DUB Pies

Accessibility Rating for DUB Pies

I used my wheelchair to visit DUB Pies.

  • Entryway – 3: There is one wide door at the entrance. There is a slight ramp outside leading up to the door. There are no stairs, and the transition from outside to inside is decent. The problem was that in order for me to enter or exit while in my wheelchair a patron had to move a bunch of stools out of the way. This is due to the restaurant’s small interior space, as described further below.

    Entrance to DUB Pies

    Entrance to DUB Pies

  • Bathroom N/A: There is no bathroom available for public use. Patrons tend to grab and go, even though there are a few tables where they can sit.
  • Walkways/Space – 2: As described in the Entrance section, several stools had to be moved out of the way for me to enter and exit. Once inside, there was basically room for me in my wheelchair with very little extra space around it. Due to this, there was no room for me to sit at a table inside, should I have wanted to do that. If it were not for the windows on two sides of the restaurant, it would be quite dim inside. Beyond some soft background music, there was no noise at the time I was there.

    Background: Interior of DUB Pies Inset: Pies on Display

    Background: Interior of DUB Pies      Inset: Pies on Display

  • Staff – 1: The staff was not helpful in terms of assisting me with my needs as a person in a wheelchair. There were two staff members behind the counter, and it was only myself and another patron inside. Instead of one of the staff members helping me get into and out of the restaurant, they both watched as the other patron helped. While I appreciate the kindness from the other patron, the staff should have at least offered to step in to help.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.

Four & Twenty Blackbirds Café – Brooklyn Public Library, Grand Army Plaza

After my lunch, I made my way through Prospect Park (The paths are not great for wheelchairs, and none of this is noted on any maps of the park. There are paths that are made with cobblestone-like tiles, and paths that end in curbs without curb cuts. I had to do a lot of backtracking). I headed to the Central Library of the Brooklyn Public Library. My reason for going there was the Four & Twenty Blackbirds Café inside. I had been meaning to go to their main pie shop in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn, but upon calling ahead I learned that there is a step in the front of their shop with no available ramp. Fortunately, they have a café in the atrium of the Central Library.

For months, I heard nothing but rave reviews of Four & Twenty Blackbirds’ pies, particularly their salted caramel apple pie. So, I capped off Brooklyn Pie Day by indulging in two slices of pie. Slices cost $5.00 each. I ordered the salted caramel apple pie, but another pie piqued my curiosity, so I had to try both. This second slice was matcha green tea pie.

I started with the matcha green tea pie with low expectations, but, WOW! This pie blew my mind! The first thing I saw was what looked like a grass green pudding in a pie crust. My curiosity pushed me forward, and I was so glad it did. It was so creamy and luscious. It was sweet and a tiny bit salty.  There was an herbaceous note from the green tea, but not in an overpowering way. The crust was light and flaky with perfect texture. It had crispy parts. I could not get enough of this pie.

Afterwards, I ate the salted caramel apple pie. I should have reversed the order in which I ate the pies because this pie was really good, but after the matcha green tea pie, it was a bit of a let down. Again, it had excellent crust. The apples were perfectly cooked, not droopy or limp like they can sometimes be in an apple pie. I enjoyed this pie, but the former pie was definitely my favorite.

Left: Slice of Salted Caramel Apple Pie Right: Slice of Matcha Green Tea Pie

Left: Slice of Salted Caramel Apple Pie      Right: Slice of Matcha Green Tea Pie

Accessibility Rating for Four & Twenty Blackbirds Café

I used my wheelchair to visit Four & Twenty Blackbirds Café.

  • Entryway – 5: There is a set wide doors at the entrance that have a button that opens both the exterior and interior doors. There are two ramps outside leading from the sidewalk up to the door. There are steps, but the ramps help patrons using mobility assistive devices avoid these.  The transition from outside to inside is smooth.

    Background: Entrance to Brooklyn Public Library/ Four & Twenty Blackbirds Cafe Inset: Ramp at Entrance

    Background: Entrance to Brooklyn Public Library/ Four & Twenty Blackbirds Cafe      Inset: Ramp at Entrance

  • Bathroom 4 (Men’s): There is one grab bar that wraps around two sides of the toilet. The stall itself is small, and I struggled to be able to make a 180º turn inside. Wheelchairs lower than mine will be able to fit underneath the sink. There are two sinks, one of which has long faucet handles. The space is well lit.
  • Walkways/Space – 4: The interior space is great! It is spacious with many tables available. The furniture is easily moved to provide space for people who use various mobility assistive devices. It is brightly lit, and the only noise comes from the patrons sitting in the atrium café area and those passing through. My only problem was that I struggled to read the menu as various machines on the counter blocked my view.

    Interior of Four & Twenty Blackbirds Cafe at the Brooklyn Public Library

    Interior of Four & Twenty Blackbirds Cafe at the Brooklyn Public Library

  • Staff – 5: The staff member who assisted me read the menu to me since it was hard to see (as described earlier). She provided a bag for me to make carrying my slices of pie easier.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


Click to add a blog post for DUB Pies on Zomato

The Disabled Foodie’s New England Vacation – July 28 – August 2, 2015

The Disabled Foodie’s New England Vacation – July 28 – August 2, 2015

This past week, I vacationed with my husband in Rhode Island. We also took a side trip for his birthday to have dinner with friends in Dorchester, Massachusetts. It was lovely to get away and enjoy a change of scenery and some fresh ocean air. Naturally, I had to review a few places, including the introduction of a new type of venue as you will see.


Meritage – East Greenwich, Rhode Island – July 28, 2015

Meritage is a lovely restaurant in the suburbs of Providence, Rhode Island. They are known for their thin crust pizzas. We arrived there for dinner on the first night of our vacation.

Dinner started with the lobster macaroni and cheese. The creamy casserole was loaded with huge chunks of sweet, briny lobster. Some places skimp on the lobster in their lobster macaroni and cheese, but Meritage did not. It was perfectly creamy and cheesy, and crumbled crackers added just the right amount of crunchy texture.

Next came the portobello mushroom thin crust pizza and the house salad with bleu cheese dressing. The pizza had tiny cubes of sautéed portobello mushrooms, tomatoes, and caramelized onions. The crust was crisp. The earthiness of the mushrooms was lusciously balanced by the sweetness of the onions. While the salad was beautiful and filled with plenty of vegetables, I did not detect one bit of bleu cheese flavor in the dressing. That was disappointing since the other two dishes were so good.

Left: Lobster Macaroni and Cheese     Center: Portobello Mushroom Pizza     Right: House Salad

Left: Lobster Macaroni and Cheese      Center: Portobello Mushroom Pizza      Right: House Salad

Accessibility Rating for Meritage

I used my wheelchair to visit Meritage.

    • Entryway – 5: The entrance has one wide door with a slight bump. There are no stairs. The outside entry is covered, which is nice during inclement weather.

      Entrance

      Entrance

    • Bathroom (Men’s) 1: The accessible stall is not accessible at all. While I was able to enter the bathroom, I was completely unable to get my wheelchair into the accessible stall. There are two grab bars around the toilet, but there is a large piece of furniture inside the stall which blocks wheelchair access. Additionally, the stall door swings open toward the toilet, which blocked off any possible accessible pathway to the toilet. The bathroom was brightly lit. The faucet had long handles on it, and I was able to fit underneath the sink in my wheelchair.
    • Walkways/Space – 3: The pathways are easily passable when the restaurant is not crowded. The space was quite dark, and there was loud music and talking contributing to a noisier setting at the time we were there. I was unable to fit underneath the table while in my wheelchair, so I had to transfer to a chair.

      Left: Seating area Right: Bar area

      Left: Seating area      Right: Bar area

    • Staff – 5: The staff offered me the option of remaining in my wheelchair or transferring to a chair at the table. They waited patiently while I tried to fit underneath the table in my wheelchair. Upon finding that this did not work, they offered to help me transfer to a chair. Additionally, the hostess was very open to my complaints about the bathroom’s accessible stall not being accessible at all. She told me that she would inform the manager about the problems.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.

 Tavolo – Dorchester, Massachusetts – July 29, 2015

My husband chose Tavolo in Dorchester, Massachusetts for his birthday dinner with our friends who live there. The menu sounded very good, so we were excited to dine there.

To start the meal, we shared an antipasto plate. This came with Prosciutto di Parma, Genovese, cured olives, asiago cheese, mozzarella, marinated roasted peppers, and Tuscan beans. The meats were salty and savory while the cheeses were fresh and creamy. Everything on the plate was good, but nothing really blew me away.

I chose the seared potato gnocchi with applewood smoked duck, charred scallions, and pecorino. I always become excited over a dish with duck, and applewood smoked duck was particularly intriguing to me. Unfortunately, the dish was mediocre. The gnocchi were seared perfectly and had a delightful creamy texture. The duck lacked any duck flavor. I actually thought I was eating pork at one point, which indicated that the duck lacked its characteristic gamy flavor which is what I enjoy so much. For $22, this dish was disappointing and overpriced.

Left: Antipasto Plate Right: Seared Potato Gnocchi

Left: Antipasto Plate      Right: Seared Potato Gnocchi

I have to give credit to Sweet Tooth Bakery in Boston. I arranged for them to make a cake for my husband’s birthday, and deliver it to Tavolo. They made a scrumptious vanilla cake with lemon butter cream and cream cheese filling. The cake was so light, fluffy, and moist. The lemon flavor was bright, but not overpowering. I emailed them photos of our two dogs, and they created fondant sculptures of them for the cake. The sculptures looked just like them!

Birthday Cake with Fondant Sculptures of Our Dogs on Top

Birthday Cake with Fondant Sculptures of Our Dogs on Top

Accessibility Rating for Tavolo

I used my wheelchair to visit Tavolo.

    • Entryway – 5: The entrance has one set of wide doors on the outside, and then one wide door in the vestibule. There are no stairs.The transition from the sidewalk to the interior is smooth.

      Entrance

      Entrance

    • Bathroom 3: The designated accessible bathroom has two grab bars around the toilet. I was able to turn my wheelchair around easily within the bathroom. I was not able to get close to the sink while in my wheelchair, but it does have an automatic faucet. The bathroom is dimly lit.
    • Walkways/Space – 3: Some of the spaces within the restaurant were tight and took some effort to get through while using my wheelchair. I was able to fit comfortably underneath the table while in my wheelchair. The restaurant is dimly lit,andat the time we dined there they had low music playing in the background. Most of the sound came from talking patrons.

      Interior Space

      Interior Space

    • Staff – 3: The staff removed a chair for me at the table ahead of our arrival as I had told them I would be using my wheelchair when I made a reservation. They did not let me select where I sat, as they had already done that for me. They did choose an appropriate area with more space around it, but I would have preferred being allowed to make my own decision. Beyond that, they did not offer help to me in any way.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.

Culinary Arts Museum – Providence, Rhode Island – July 31, 2015

I was excited to learn that Johnson & Wales University has a Culinary Arts Museum on campus that is open to the public. Our tour book for Rhode Island made it sound like this is a tiny museum, but it turned out to be quite large, and it is incredibly interesting for those who love all things having to do with food.

Clockwise from Top Left: Old-style Frankfurter Cart, Sign for Stanley's, Student's Pastry and Chocolate Work, Old-style Bar, State Fair/Carnival Exhibit, and Ice Cream Soda Counter

Clockwise from Top Left: Old-style Frankfurter Cart, Sign for Stanley’s, Student’s Pastry and Chocolate Work, Old-style Bar, State Fair/Carnival Exhibit, and Ice Cream Soda Counter

The museum has a great deal of things on display including an exhibit about diners, which includes the Ever Ready Diner (You can view the actual diner, which is not accessible, though I was able to see inside from my wheelchair). They have exhibits about travel and food, food preparation throughout the ages, chefs, and the list goes on and on. An adult ticket costs $7.

Foreground from Left to Right: Front Entrance to Ever Ready Diner and Side Entrance to Ever Ready Diner Background: Moody's Diner sign

Foreground from Left to Right: Front Entrance to Ever Ready Diner and Side Entrance to Ever Ready Diner      Background: Moody’s Diner sign

Accessibility Rating for Culinary Arts Museum

I used my wheelchair to visit Culinary Arts Museum.

    • Entryway – 5: There is a ramp up to the entrance. There are designated accessible parking spots near the foot of the ramp. The wide doors have a button that can be used to open them automatically. There are no stairs. The transition from the outside to the interior is smooth. (I apologize that I do not have a photograph of the entrance.)
    • Bathroom (Men’s) 5: The designated accessible stall has two grab bars around the toilet. I was able to turn my wheelchair around within the stall. I was able to get close to the sink while in my wheelchair. The faucet has long handles. The bathroom is brightly lit.
    • Walkways/Space – 4: The museum is spacious and has wide pathways throughout. The museum is well lit for the most part, though there are some darker areas. It was almost silent when we visited. The only problems were that some exhibits are placed up high making them difficult to see from a wheelchair, and the Ever Ready Diner is not wheelchair accessible.

      Inset and Background: Interior of Culinary Arts Museum

      Inset and Background: Interior of Culinary Arts Museum

    • Staff – 3: The staff member (who appeared to be a student) pointed out that the entire museum is on one level. There was no offer to help beyond that should I have required any assistance.
  • Braille Documents: The staff member I spoke to at the time (who appeared to be a student) did not know if there is any information printed in Braille for blind visitors. She did not offer to find out.

Mediterraneo Caffe – Providence, Rhode Island – July 31, 2015

After visiting the Culinary Arts Museum, we were both really hungry, so we went to Federal Hill, an area of Providence known for its Italian restaurants. Our guide book suggested dining at Mediterraneo Caffe, so that is what we did. I am really glad we ate here, as the food was great!

We arrived in time for their prix fixe lunch. For $17.95, you get a choice of one of three salads, a choice of an entree, and either tiramisu, gelato, or sorbet. I started with a delicious Caprese salad with fresh mozzarella, ripe, red tomatoes, and floral basil. The balsamic vinegar drizzled on top was deliciously sweet. This was a Caprese salad done right.

I selected the penne al pesto as my entree. The al dente pasta came in a creamy pesto with sun-dried and grape tomatoes. This dish was so good. The bright basil flavor worked in harmony with the nutty pine nuts and the cream.

My husband and I shared a side of cold green beans. The beans were a beautiful bright green, and they were in a vinaigrette that brought an even brighter flavor to the dish.

The tiramisu was luscious and bursting with the flavor of espresso. The lady fingers were soft and nutty from soaking in amaretto liquer. What was a pleasant surprise was the complimentary shot of house made limoncello that came after dessert. The bright lemon flavor was a great palate cleanser after this fantastic meal.

Foreground Clockwise from Top Left: Caprese Salad, Penne Al Pesto, Tiramisu, and Cold String Beans Background: Exterior of Mediterraneo

Foreground Clockwise from Top Left: Caprese Salad, Penne Al Pesto, Tiramisu, and Cold String Beans      Background: Exterior of Mediterraneo Caffe

Accessibility Rating for Mediterraneo Caffe

I used my wheelchair to visit Mediterraneo Caffe.

    • Entryway – 5: There are wide exterior and interior doors at the entrance. There are no stairs. The transition from the sidewalk to the restaurant is smooth.

      Entrance

      Entrance

    • Bathroom (Women’s is the designated accessible bathroom) 2: The designated accessible stall has one grab bar next to the toilet. I was unable to turn my wheelchair around within the bathroom. I was not able to get close to the sink while in my wheelchair. The faucet has standard length handles. The bathroom is brightly lit.
    • Walkways/Space – 3: The main pathways within the restaurant are wide, though the spaces off of the pathways could be tight for some. I was able to fit comfortably underneath the table while in my wheelchair. The lighting is brighter near the windows than further inside the restaurant. They were playing light jazz quietly in the background at the time we dined there.

      Interior Views

      Interior Views

    • Staff – 4: A staff member removed a chair from the table so I could sit in my wheelchair at the table. Upon our arrival, I needed to use the bathroom, and the staff member sent me to an inaccessible bathroom off of the bar. When I brought this to her attention, she kept apologizing for not thinking about this. She immediately offered the use of the designated accessible women’s bathroom.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


Click to add a blog post for Meritage on Zomato

Click to add a blog post for Tavolo on Zomato

Click to add a blog post for Sweet Tooth on Zomato

Click to add a blog post for Mediterraneo Caffe on Zomato

Doughnut Making Class at The Brooklyn Kitchen – Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Doughnut Making Class at The Brooklyn Kitchen – Williamsburg, Brooklyn – July 26, 2015

Clockwise From Top Left: Gabi mixing doughnut dough, Frying doughnuts, Raw doughnuts, and Peeling apples for apple fritters Background: Wallpaper from The Brooklyn Kitchen with illustrations of produce

Clockwise From Top Left: Gabi mixing doughnut dough, Frying doughnuts, Raw doughnuts, and Peeling apples for apple fritters      Background: Wallpaper from The Brooklyn Kitchen

Doughnuts are one of the latest (and maybe I’m so behind that they are already passé) artisanal baked good trends. With my love for baking and desserts, I dove head first with my husband into a doughnut making class at The Brooklyn Kitchen.

The Brooklyn Kitchen (TBK) store sells food, cookware, utensils, cookbooks, and a range of small kitchen appliances. TBK offers many cooking classes ranging from doughnut making to knife skills to tomato canning to cooking Cambodian food. (Before you book a class, call ahead to ask which classroom will be used for the class as there is an upstairs room that is not accessible to wheelchairs or those with other mobility issues.)

Our class was led by Gabi who taught us how to make beer battered apple fritters, chai spiced cake doughnuts, and coffee glazed yeast doughnuts. The class consisted of 15 students, and the room has several tables for students to work. The instructor’s station has an adjustable mirror above it so students can watch what the instructor is doing. Gabi prepared the dough for the chai spiced cake doughnuts and the yeast doughnuts. We peeled, cored, and cut the apples, prepared the fritter batter, rolled out and cut the doughnuts, and fried the fritters and doughnuts.

The apple fritters were lightly battered and deep fried. They were delicious! Crispy, juicy, sweet,  with a slight malt flavor from the beer. The chai spiced cake doughnuts were dense and exploded with the flavor of cardamom, which is one of my favorite spices. The coffee glazed doughnuts were lighter and airy in consistency, but the glaze did not have a strong coffee flavor.

I enjoyed the class, but it felt a bit crowded. There were some accessibility issues, as I detail in the accessibility review below.

Top Left: Apple Fritters Bottom Right: In front - Two coffee glazed yeast doughnuts, In back - Chai spiced cake doughnut Background: Wallpaper from The Brooklyn Kitchen with illustrations of produce

Top Left: Apple Fritters      Bottom Right: In front – Two coffee glazed yeast doughnuts, In back – Chai spiced cake doughnut      Background: Wallpaper from The Brooklyn Kitchen

 

Accessibility Rating for The Brooklyn Kitchen

I used my wheelchair to visit The Brooklyn Kitchen.

    • Entryway – 5: The entrance has one set of wide doors with a smooth transition from the sidewalk outside. There are no stairs. Once inside, there is a large ramp that leads up into the store.

      Entrance

      Entrance

    • Bathroom 3: The accessible bathroom is small. There are two grab bars around the toilet. I could get close to the sink while in my wheelchair. The sink has a long handle on the faucet. It is a well-lit room with the light turned on. There is a changing table for infants in this room which takes up a good deal of space, so I was unable to turn my wheelchair around while in the bathroom. The staff had to remove the garbage can from the bathroom in order for me to get inside.
    • Walkways/Space – 3: The store is spacious, though some aisles are more difficult to negotiate than others. This is due to having items and baskets being displayed on the floor. The classroom is large and easy to negotiate, though when it had 15 students in it it became a little more difficult. The store and classroom are brightly lit. There was some soft music playing in the background. The classroom was not set up when we entered to accommodate me in my wheelchair. TBK had been given prior notice that I would be using my wheelchair during the class. Upon entering, I noticed that there were no tables that I would be able to fit underneath while in my wheelchair. As I will detail in the staff evaluation, they adjusted the room, and added tables in the back of the room that I was able to fit underneath. Once this was done, I could not see what Gabi was doing in the mirror above the instructor’s station. The staff adjusted the mirror to fix this problem right away.

      Clockwise From Top Left: Interior of The Brooklyn Kitchen (TBK), Interior of TBK, Produce Case, and Meat Case Background: Wallpaper from TBK with illustrations of produce

      Clockwise From Top Left: Interior of The Brooklyn Kitchen (TBK), Interior of TBK, Produce Case, and Meat Case      Background: Wallpaper from TBK

    • Staff – 4: The staff adjusted furniture in the classroom, fixed the mirror in the classroom, and helped take the garbage can out of the bathroom so I could get inside. They had to shift the tables in the room and brought another table inside. I did not fit underneath that one. So, they pulled some tables away from the rear wall, and I was able to fit underneath it. I need to take a point off of this area because they were not properly prepared for me in my wheelchair even though they were informed of this ahead of time.
    • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.

 


Delillo Pasticceria – Little Italy, Bronx

Delillo Pasticceria – Little Italy, Bronx – May 24, 2015

In my opinion, there are few things better than a decadent, creamy, luscious pastry. I am a huge fan of French and Italian pastries. Delillo Pasticceria in Little Italy in the Bronx gets it right. We have ordered their cakes with their mind-blowing cannoli filling many times for various celebrations. So, it was time to visit as The Disabled Foodie, and write a proper review. (Due to dim lighting inside, I had to lighten all photos taken inside Delillo Pasticceria.)

After visiting the lovely Frida Kahlo exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden, my husband and I walked to Delillo Pasticceria in the Bronx’s Little Italy. This area of the Bronx is a short walk from both the New York Botanical Garden and the Bronx Zoo.

I knew what I was going to order before I even arrived at Delillo Pasticceria: a cannoli. As I mentioned before, the cannoli filling is incredible. The cannoli shell was light and crispy, and the filling was creamy, sweet, and slightly tangy. I was in pastry heaven. Since we go there so infrequently, we decided to order gelato too. We ordered a scoop of chocolate and one of hazelnut. They were both perfectly dense and rich. The chocolate was dark and slightly bitter, while the hazelnut tasted just like eating a handful of hazelnuts. It was a luxurious treat.

    Left: Cannoli      Right: Chocolate (left) and Hazelnut (right) Gelato

Left: Cannoli      Right: Chocolate (left) and Hazelnut (right) Gelato

Accessibility Rating for Delillo Pasticceria

I used my wheelchair to visit Delillo Pasticceria.

  • Entryway – 5: The entrance has one wide door. There is a tiny bump at the door. During the warmer months, there is outdoor seating, but the path to the door is wide enough for anyone using a mobility assistive device to get to the door.

    Inset: Entrance     Background: Delillo's Sign and Outdoor Seating

    Inset: Entrance      Background: Delillo’s Sign and Outdoor Seating

  • Bathroom 4: The women’s bathroom is the accessible bathroom. There are three grab bars (one vertical and two horizontal) around the toilet. The sink has standard length faucet handles. I had no problem fitting my wheelchair in the bathroom, nor did I have any problem turning my wheelchair around inside. The bathroom is dimly lit, which could be problematic for those with visual impairments.
  • Walkways/Space – 2: The one and only aisle is wide and easy to navigate when the restaurant is not crowded. The furniture is easily moved and adjusted to accommodate people’s needs. I was able to sit at the table in my wheelchair once my footrests were folded up. The inside of the store was dimly lit, which could be problematic for those with visual impairments. The noise level inside at the time we were there was minimal, only coming from talking patrons. A problem I experienced was that there was a large metal set of shelves blocking the turn to the hallway to the bathroom. So, even though they have an accessible bathroom, they had effectively prevented me from accessing it. Fortunately, another patron was amazingly kind. He got out of his seat and pushed the shelving out of the way. In this way, I was able to access the bathroom. The low score in this area resulted from the restaurant’s lack of forethought regarding important details like this.

    Clockwise from Top Left: Tables, Main Walkway, Cakes on Display, and Various Pastries and Cakes on Display

    Clockwise from Top Left: Tables, Main Walkway, and Various Pastries and Cakes on Display

  • Staff – 1: The staff did not react to my being in a wheelchair one way or another. They brought our food to the table after ordering at the counter, but this was done for all patrons. A huge problem was that they did not react at all to my inability to access the bathroom, even when the aforementioned patron was pushing the shelving out of the way. In my opinion, the staff should have been the ones to fix the problem, not the kind patron who did it. The restaurant owner(s) should have had the forethought not to have created this problem in the first place.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.

 


De Lillo's Pastry Shop on Urbanspoon

Marseille – Hells Kitchen, Manhattan

Yesterday, my husband and I went to Marseille in Hells Kitchen, Manhattan to celebrate our wedding anniversary, which is happening this coming week. We decided to try this restaurant for brunch prior to going to see An American in Paris on Broadway. The show was very good. I am a fan of Gershwins’ music, which was used throughout. The dancing was incredible, and made excellent use of the casts’ ballet background.

To begin our meal, we shared an Acai Berry Cosmo. It was made with acai berry vodka, orange liquer, fresh berries, and lime juice. It tasted like berry fruit punch, and much to the bartender’s credit, it did not have the burn of alcohol.

We shared a Nutella croissant and a hummus plate for appetizers. The croissant was flaky and buttery, though slightly dry. Although, anything that has the chocolate hazelnut flavor of Nutella is delicious. The hummus was slightly green in color because it was made with fresh chickpeas. It had the earthy flavor of hummus, but it also had a hint of chlorophyll from the fact that the chickpeas were fresh and green in color.

Left: Acai Berry Cosmo Center: Nutella Croissant Right: Hummus Plate

Left: Acai Berry Cosmo    Center: Nutella Croissant    Right: Hummus Plate

I ordered chicken paillard as my entree, and my husband had the seafood burger. The chicken was grilled, and had a pleasant charred flavor. It was served under an arugula salad with shaved parmesan, pickled red onions, and extra virgin olive oil. The pickled onions’ tart flavor and the peppery arugula worked beautifully with the grilled chicken. The dish was simple yet perfect. I tasted my husband’s seafood burger. It was made with salmon, shrimp, and scallops with Moroccan spices, roasted peppers, and rouille (a sauce that consists of olive oil with breadcrumbs, garlic, saffron and chili peppers, Wikipedia). The salmon was the prominent flavor, along with flavor of the rouille, which added a spicy, garlicky touch. The only disappointment was that such a fancy burger came with iceberg lettuce and a sad slice of tomato. The french fries were fantastically crispy, and the portion was generous.

Left: Chicken Paillard Right: Seafood Burger

Left: Chicken Paillard      Right: Seafood Burger

Dessert was a big hit. We shared the fig bread pudding. It came with honey-thyme ice cream and fig toffee. The pudding had bread on the outside and fig on the inside. The soft, chewy bread exploded with the sweetness of fig and the pop of the fig’s seeds. The ice cream tasted mostly of honey, but I did not detect much thyme flavor. Still, it was a delectable treat.

Fig Bread Pudding

Fig Bread Pudding

Accessibility Rating for Marseille

I used my wheelchair to visit Marseille.

  • Entryway – 5: The accessible entrance is through the bar, just north of 44th Street on 9th Avenue. There were three doors: a seasonal door to shield the interior from cold air, the exterior door, and an interior door.The transition from the outside sidewalk to the exterior door is smooth. There are no stairs.

    Entrance

    Entrance

  • Bathroom – 2: I had difficulty entering the designated accessible bathroom because like other bathrooms, there was little space for the door to close once the wheelchair was inside. In fact, a restaurant staff member had to remove baskets they had on the floor to accommodate my wheelchair. Inside, there were two grab bars near the toilet. The faucet had long handles.
  • Walkways/Space – 3: The interior is spacious when the restaurant is not crowded. The furniture is easily adjusted, except for the booths. Once the restaurant became crowded, it was difficult to move around without having to have other customers get up out of their seats. The space is brightly lit due to large windows. Once the restaurant became crowded, it became quite noisy which could present a problem for those with hearing impairments.

    Three Interior Views

    Interior

  • Staff – 5: The staff was fantastic. Upon entering, they immediately approached me and offered me my choice of table. They openly acknowledged my need to be out of a high traffic area, and they gave me a choice of remaining in my chair or transferring out of my wheelchair into a regular seat. As stated before, a staff member helped me make space and get into the designated accessible bathroom.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


Marseille on Urbanspoon

Little Cupcake Bakeshop & Ample Hills Creamery – Prospect Heights, Brooklyn

Little Cupcake Bakeshop & Ample Hills Creamery- Prospect Heights, Brooklyn – March 1, 2015

After how horrible this winter has been, I was finally able to get out of the house to review a food venue after not being able to since Valentine’s Day. What was even better was that my husband and I were able to meet my old friend and former co-worker, Beth Ann, and her family at Little Cupcake Bakeshop. I have not seen her in years, and I was finally able to meet her adorable daughter. Unfortunately, the weather did not hold out, so our visit did not last as long as we would have liked. After they left, we had to wait for my Access-a-Ride (NYC Paratransit), so we visited Ample Hills Creamery across the street. It turned into an afternoon dessert extravaganza.

Little Cupcake Bakeshop was the winner of my poll about where I should review next. I learned about it from the Unique Sweets program on the Cooking Channel. The bakery has two locations in Brooklyn and one in Manhattan. My husband and I shared a Meyer Lemon Square and a Coconut Custard, and we brought home cupcakes to try later on. Both things that we ate at the bakery were fantastic. The lemon square was tart, but not to the point of mouth puckering, and it was sweet, but not overpowering. It all was on top of a thick, buttery shortbread crust. Delicious! The Coconut Custard was creamy, nutty, and delectable. The toasted coconut on top added the perfect complement in texture to the smooth custard. I am looking forward to trying the cupcakes later on when I come down from today’s sugar buzz.

Left: Meyer Lemon Bar Center: Cupcakes Right: Coconut Custard

Left: Meyer Lemon Bar   Center: Cupcakes   Right: Coconut Custard

Accessibility Rating for Little Cupcake Bakeshop – Prospect Heights

I used my wheelchair to visit Little Cupcake Bakeshop – Prospect Heights.

  • Entryway – 5: The main entrance is fully accessible.The transition from the outside sidewalk to the entrance is smooth. There are no stairs.

    Little Cupcake Bakeshop Entrance

    Little Cupcake Bakeshop Entrance

  • Bathroom – 4: There is a fully accessible unisex bathroom in the back of the bakery. It was a little difficult to get the door open and closed because the door is quite large in relation to the size of the bathroom and the position of the toilet and sink. The toilet has two grab bars around it. The faucet does not have long handles.
  • Walkways/Space – 5: The interior is spacious. The furniture is easily moved to accommodate all types of mobility assistive devices. The inside was brightly lit due to good lighting and large windows. The space to get to the bathroom from the dining area was a little tight.

    Various Shots of Little Cupcake Bakeshop Interior Center Inset: Bakery Case

    Various Photos of Little Cupcake Bakeshop Interior   Center Inset: Bakery Case

  • Staff – 4: The staff was good. They moved a chair from the table to allow me to sit at the table using my wheelchair. The only thing they did not do was ask if there was any other way to help me.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.

After Beth Ann and her family left, we decided to enjoy some of the best ice cream in New York City at Ample Hills Creamery across the street. I had been to this location (the original location with the other two being in Brooklyn and the newest opening recently in Manhattan) before, and my husband bought my birthday cake last year from Ample Hills Creamery. They make all the ice cream in small batches in house. The flavors are very creative, and today, I had butterscotch pudding ice cream with rainbow sprinkles and my husband had coconut fudge sorbet. The butterscotch pudding ice cream was rich, buttery, and had the bite of bourbon. The coconut fudge sorbet was delicious, but all I could taste was rich chocolate flavor and no coconut.

Left: Butterscotch Pudding Ice Cream with Rainbow Sprinkles Right: Coconut Fudge Sorbet

Left: Butterscotch Pudding Ice Cream with Rainbow Sprinkles   Right: Coconut Fudge Sorbet

Accessibility Rating for Ample Hills Creamery – Prospect Heights

I used my wheelchair to visit Ample Hills Creamery – Prospect Heights.

  • Entryway – 5: The main entrance is not the accessible entrance. There is an accessible entrance a few feet down the block with a ramp.The transition from the outside sidewalk to this entrance is smooth. There are no stairs.

    Main Entrance to Ample Hills Creamery (Accessible Entrance Down the Block)

    Main Entrance to Ample Hills Creamery (Accessible Entrance Down the Block)

  • Bathroom – 2: I had difficulty entering the bathroom. Even though there is a small ramp at the entrance, it was not flush with the floor, and I could not enter forwards. Instead, I had to enter backwards. Inside, there are no grab bars around the toilet. The faucet does not have long handles.
  • Walkways/Space – 5: The interior is roomy. The furniture is easily moved to accommodate any type of mobility assistive device. The space is brightly lit.

    Left and Right: Interior of Ample Hills Creamery Center: Ice Cream Case

    Left and Right: Interior of Ample Hills Creamery   Center: Ice Cream Case

  • Staff – 1: The staff did not ask if there was any way to help me, nor did they move any furniture out of the way to help me access a table.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus, though when I asked they were the first place to say they would happily read everything to blind patrons and provide them with taste samples.


Little Cupcake Bakeshop on Urbanspoon

Ample Hills Creamery on Urbanspoon

Where Would You Like Me to Review?

Voting on this poll closed on Wednesday, February 25. Thank you for participating. Congratulations to Little Cupcake Bakeshop. I will be visiting soon!

I want my readers to be able to interact with me and contribute more to The Disabled Foodie. As a result, I want your opinion about where you would like me to review. I am including links to five places that I want to review, so please look at each website, and then choose your favorite in the poll below.

Sockerbit (Scandinavian candy store)

Four & Twenty Blackbirds (Pie shop)

Royce (Japanese chocolate)

Co. (Artisanal pizza)

Little Cupcake Bakeshop (Bakery with locally sourced ingredients)

Sockerbit
2 Vote
Four & Twenty Blackbirds
3 Vote
Royce
2 Vote
Co.
1 Vote
Little Cupcake Bakeshop
3 Vote

Thank you for your vote!

 

Jackson Hole & Teaspoon Bake Shop – Bayside, Queens

Jackson Hole & Teaspoon Bake Shop – Bayside, Queens – February 7, 2015

Yesterday, I went on a trip by myself to Bell Boulevard in Bayside, Queens. The primary reason for my trip was to visit Teaspoon Bake Shop. I saw an episode of Unique Sweets on Cooking Channel that featured the bakery, and I needed to check it out. What I thought was going to be an added bonus was that Jackson Hole was only one block from the bakery, so, I turned the trip into an expedition to find a good burger and delicious baked goods.

Jackson Hole has eight locations across Manhattan, Queens, and New Jersey. I had good memories from childhood of eating enormous burgers at one of the Manhattan locations, so I was happy to return.

Sadly, my childhood memories were better than the food I received. I ordered the Akaboura Burger platter. It comes topped with fried onions, green peppers, mushrooms, and American cheese on a hard roll. The platter came with steak fries, lettuce, and tomato. The burger was as enormous as I remembered it. It was loaded with all of the sauteed vegetables, which were the best part of the dish. I ordered the burger to be cooked medium, but it came well done. It was way too much for me to eat. The tomatoes that came with it were mealy and barely had any flavor. I did not touch the iceberg lettuce that it came with. I also got pickles and cole slaw on the side. The cole slaw had too much mayonnaise for my taste, and the pickles were saltier than they should have been. The fries were OK. They were your standard diner-style steak fries.

Akaboura Burger (fried onions, green peppers, mushrooms, American cheese on a hard roll) with French fries on left (yes, there's a burger under there) and pickles and cole slaw on right

Left: Akaboura Burger (fried onions, green peppers, mushrooms, American cheese on a hard roll) with French fries (yes, there’s a burger under there) Right: pickles and cole slaw

Accessibility Rating for Jackson Hole

I used my wheelchair to visit Jackson Hole in Bayside.

  • Entryway – 5: The entrance door is wide. There is an exterior door, an inside vestibule, and then another interior door.The transition from the outside sidewalk is smooth. There are no stairs. There is an accessible parking spot available in the parking lot.

    Entrance to Jackson Hole

    Entrance to Jackson Hole

  • Bathroom – 1: The bathroom (Men’s) is not accessible. It is a tiny bathroom with no grab bars around the toilet. I was not able to get my wheelchair into the toilet stall. I could only wheel forward into the bathroom due to it being set up like a hallway. Upon exiting, I had to back out the entire length of the bathroom, and someone had to hold the door for me to get out.
  • Walkways/Space – 3: The inside is spacious, and has enough room for a wheelchair or other mobility assistive device to  get around most of the restaurant. It’s set up in a long diner-style format. The space right behind where people can sit at the counter is tight, and I was unable to get my wheelchair through there.Thelargewindowsonthreesidesprovide a great deal of light. There is a lot of background noise due to the open kitchen, so this may pose some difficulty for those with hearing difficulties.

    Interior of Jackson Hole

    Interior of Jackson Hole (Right: Tight space between counter seating and booths)

  • Staff – 5: The staff was very good. They rearranged an entire table area, removing chairs and shifting the table so I could sit comfortably. Additionally, a staff member held the bathroom door open for me so I could exit.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.

After my visit to Jackson Hole, I made my way to Teaspoon Bake Shop. As an aside, the curb cuts in this area were not well shoveled, and I got stuck in the snow and ice a few times. Fortunately, some nice passersby helped me each time.

Teaspoon Bake Shop is a traditional bake shop featuring cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and cake balls amongst many other baked goods. I ordered the Sweet French Puff to eat at the restaurant, and I brought home the Oatmeal Cake with Maple Glaze and Pull-Apart Croissant Muffin (both featured on Unique Sweets on Cooking Channel).

The Sweet French Puff is a sweet dough pastry coated with sugar. It was so simple, and yet so delicious. The fluffy, moist pastry melted in my mouth.

Sweet French Puff at Teaspoon Bake Shop

Sweet French Puff at Teaspoon Bake Shop

While I did not get photos of the Oatmeal Cake with Maple Glaze or the Pull-Apart Croissant Muffin, they were both delicious. The cake was dense, and its consistency was different than a traditional wheat flour cake. It had a nutty flavor and a crunch to it. It was just sweet enough from the maple glaze, which worked perfectly with the oatmeal. The muffin combined the light flaky texture of a croissant with the dense texture of a muffin. It was slightly sweet, and it pulled apart easily, as its name implies. I agree with Unique Sweets’ review that these pastries are worth the trip.

Accessibility Rating for Teaspoon Bake Shop

I used my wheelchair to visit Teaspoon Bake Shop.

  • Entryway – 4: The entrance door is wide.The transition from the outside sidewalk is not smooth. There is a bit of a bump due to a raised threshold. I was able to enter with some effort. There are no stairs.

    Entrance to Teaspoon Bake Shop

    Entrance to Teaspoon Bake Shop

  • Bathroom – Not applicable. There is no bathroom available for customers.
  • Walkways/Space – 5: For a relatively small bakery, it is surprisingly spacious inside. There are only three tables inside with two chairs at each. Bakery cases, a garbage can, a coffee prep station, and another display table take up the rest of the space.

    Interior of Teaspoon Bake Shop

    Interior of Teaspoon Bake Shop

  • Staff – 3: The staff was average compared to other food venues I have reviewed. The staff member held the door for me to enter, but not to exit. She also did not help me bring my purchases to the table while I ate there.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


Jackson Hole on Urbanspoon

Teaspoon Bake Shop on Urbanspoon

The Chocolate Room – Cobble Hill, Brooklyn

The Chocolate Room – Cobble Hill, Brooklyn – November 28, 2014

Since I was off from work today I decided to treat myself to dessert at The Chocolate Room. It is located on Court Street, and is surrounded by many cute little restaurants and shops. This is one of two locations they have in Brooklyn.

I was given a complimentary chocolate almond financier when I was seated at my table. It melted in my mouth, and exploded with chocolate flavor. I was not able to detect much in the way of almond flavor.

As it was a chilly day, I decided to warm up with the Spiced Dark Hot Chocolate. It is their house made dark hot chocolate with Ancho and Chipotle chilis, cinnamon and cloves. The texture was thick and luxurious, almost like a liquid pudding. The chocolate was rich, and it was punctuated by the perfect bit of spice from the chilis, cinnamon, and cloves. The whipped cream and light-as-air marshmallow were the perfect toppings.

I could not stop there. I had to indulge in one of their signature desserts. I had the Black Bottom
Butterscotch. It had a layer of bittersweet chocolate beneath butterscotch custard, topped with fresh coconut whipped cream, and a chocolate wafer. It was bowl-licking-delicious! The creamy butterscotch custard played beautifully against the nutty coconut whipped cream and bittersweet chocolate. I finished it, and had to restrain myself from ordering another.

They also sell baked goods and chocolates of all kinds at the front counter. I definitely want to come back here for multiple follow-up visits.

Food and Drink at The Chocolate Room

Food and Drink at The Chocolate Room

Accessibility Rating

I used my wheelchair to visit The Chocolate Room.

  • Entryway – 2: The entrance is wide. There is a high threshold at the door. I called ahead to ask if the restaurant is accessible, and I was told that it is. Again, this is an example where restaurateurs and their staff need to be educated as to what true accessibility means. A staff member had to help me get my wheelchair over the threshold upon entry. There are no stairs.

    Entrance to The Chocolate Room

    Entrance to The Chocolate Room

  • Bathroom – 4: The bathroom (Unisex) is large enough for a wheelchair to turn around in. The toilet has two grab bars around it. The sink has a long handle, and it is high enough for even my very tall wheelchair to get underneath it. The garbage can inside the bathroom was a bit of an obstruction, and I had to move it to be able to maneuver properly. The hallway at the entry to the bathroom is tight, which made for a bit of difficulty upon entering it.
  • Walkways/Space – 3: When not crowded, there is plenty of room to get around inside the restaurant using any kind of mobility assistive device. If more crowded, it could become difficult. The tables are difficult to get close to in a wheelchair due to their wide base and lower tops.

    Interior of The Chocolate Room

    Interior of The Chocolate Room

  • Staff – 5: The staff was very nice. They moved chairs out of my way, so I could get to the table. They also helped me enter and leave the restaurant by holding the door and helping me get over the threshold.

 


The Chocolate Room on Urbanspoon