Tag Archives: disabled

The Grand Tasting, NYC Wine & Food Festival – Pier 94, Manhattan

The Grand Tasting, NYC Wine & Food Festival – Pier 94, Manhattan – October 17, 2015

Inset Photos Clockwise from Top Left: Thai Taco and Pork Belly Slider from Barcade, Pralines from Bernard's Pralines of New Orleans, Eggplant and Pepper Puree from Between the Bread, Lamb Slider from Pergola, and Shrimp Ceviche with Cricket Salt from Ofrenda Background: Grand Tasting Banner with Shop Rite Logo

Inset Photos Clockwise from Top Left: Thai Taco and Pork Belly Slider from Barcade, Pralines from Bernard’s Pralines of New Orleans, Eggplant and Pepper Puree from Between the Bread, Lamb Slider from Pergola, and Shrimp Ceviche with Cricket Salt from Ofrenda      Background: Grand Tasting Banner

Today was a very exciting day for me, and I got out of bed with a great deal of enthusiasm! My husband and I were fortunate enough to attend The Grand Tasting at the New York City Wine & Food Festival (NYCWFF). This was our first time attending the NYCWFF. The NYCWFF website described this event best:

NYCWFF invites you to spend the day exploring our signature Grand Tasting presented by ShopRite – our 130,000-square-foot culinary wonderland and the centerpiece of our Culinary Campus.

Nowhere else can you meet the greatest food stars in the country, sample food from local NYC restaurants representing cuisines from around the world, taste the most sought-after wines and spirits alongside up-and-coming labels from the Southern Wine & Spirits of New York portfolio and take part in exciting interactive experiences with your favorite brands and foodie products – it is truly a food and wine lover’s dream!” (http://nycwff.org/mcgtsat, 2015)

(To view more videos and photos of the NYCWFF beyond those featured here, including two short videos of chefs Aarón Sánchez and John Besh cooking together, visit my Instagram.)

The event had a plethora of food and drink to try, and try we did. We ate everything from lamb sliders to quinoa salad to grasshopper cotton candy. Yes, grasshopper as in the insect. Since we sampled so many things, I will feature the highlights here.

Barcade offered two phenomenal samples: Thai Tacos and Pork Belly Sliders with Beer Cheese. The tacos (seen in the photo below) were on tiny flour tortillas. The standout flavor was the nutty peanut sauce which made these a great departure from traditional tacos. I removed the cilantro before eating the taco. The sliders were so rich and unctuous from the pork belly and beer cheese, that the flavors filled my mouth instantly. These sliders would be a hit at any event.

Thai Tacos from Barcade

Thai Tacos from Barcade

Magnolia’s booth offered their Southern Sundae, and this was a decadent masterpiece. It consisted of dark chocolate buttermilk cake, pecan pie ice cream, bittersweet fudge sauce, salted caramel sauce, bourbon brown sugar chantilly cream, and pecan brittle. This sundae had salty, sweet, and bitter flavors along with a mixture of textures: creamy, smooth, crunchy, fluffy, and crispy. It did live up to its name by bringing southern flavors to the forefront: pecan, bourbon, and buttermilk.

Magnolia's Southern Sundae

Magnolia’s Southern Sundae

Hank’s Oyster Bar offered a magnificent smoked oyster spoonbread. The buttery spoonbread melted instantly on the tongue giving up the briny, smoky flavor from the oysters. While I am not one who loves raw oysters, I could eat this dish for days.

Main: Hank's Oyster Bar Logo Inset: Smoked Oyster Spoonbread

Main: Hank’s Oyster Bar Logo      Inset: Smoked Oyster Spoonbread

Chopin Vodka gave samples of Dorda Double Chocolate Liquer. They infused their Chopin rye vodka with dark chocolate to produce this luscious liquer. To me, it tasted like I was drinking a perfectly rich chocolate pudding. Completely delightful and indulgent!

Dorda Chocolate Liquer Bottles

Dorda Double Chocolate Liquer

We had to sample the grasshopper cotton candy from Black Ant. The cotton candy was sweet, as expected. The whole grasshopper inside the cotton candy was crunchy, similar to eating soft crab shells. While many describe the flavor as nutty, I found it to be more acidic. I can now say that I have tried it, but it was not a flavor I would seek out again.

Grasshopper Cotton Candy from Black Ant

Grasshopper Cotton Candy from Black Ant

As my regular readers know, I have a huge sweet tooth. So coming across the MarieBelle Chocolates table made me happy. Their packaging was colorful and gorgeous! They gave us samples of their chocolate chips, truffles, caramels, and ganaches. The chips packed a chocolate punch. While it was the simplest thing they gave out as a sample, it really was wonderful! When a chocolatier is able to make their simplest thing great, you know all of their other products will be fantastic! This was the case for the truffle, the caramel, and the ganache. Each succeeded in balancing the sweet notes with the chocolate’s bitter flavor.

Left: MarieBelle's Chocolates and Ganaches Right: MarieBelle's Chocolate Bars

Left: MarieBelle’s Chocolates and Ganaches      Right: MarieBelle’s Chocolate Bars

Finally, who knew that chocolates from Japan could be mind blowing? Royce’ Chocolate from Hokkaido, Japan makes exceptional chocolates. Their ganaches melt smoothly in your mouth, coating it with indulgent chocolate flavor. I adored their green tea ganache. The white chocolate base is blended with grassy green tea to produce a vibrant and creamy ganache that is decadent. I cannot wait to visit one of their stores here in New York City.

Left: Royce's Nama Chocolate Ganache Right: Royce's Green Tea Ganache

Left: Royce’s Nama Chocolate Ganache      Right: Royce’s Green Tea Ganache

I left the Grand Tasting stuffed and satisfied. Thank you to Shop Rite, Food Network, Cooking Channel, and all of the other sponsors for putting on such a marvelous event.

Accessibility Rating for The Grand Tasting, NYC Wine & Food Festival

I used my wheelchair to visit The Grand Tasting, NYCWFF.

  • Entryway – 3: First, I must apologize that I did not get a better photograph of the entrance. In my excitement, it completely escaped me. The entrance and exit doors were wide. There were no stairs. The only problem I encountered was that the transition upon exiting was so bumpy that it actually jostled my wheelchair wheel out of proper alignment to the point where it would not work correctly. We had to remove the wheel, and put it back into proper alignment.

    Pier 94 Pavillion

    Pier 94 Pavilion

  • Bathroom – 4 (Men’s): There are two grab bars around the toilet. I was able to get close to the sink. The faucet was tall, and it had an automatic sensor. The accessible stall was quite dark due to the overhead bulb being out. I was able to make a 180º turn within the space while in my wheelchair.
  • Walkways/Space – 4: The space is enormous. I was able to navigate quite easily, with the exception of the crowds which were to be expected at an event like this. Almost every booth had tables that I was able to easily reach over. The event space was brightly lit. It was very noisy due to loud background music and a great deal of talking.

    Scenes from The Grand Tasting (Clockwise from Top Left): Wine Gems Room, Mexico Booth, Walkways through Grand Tasting, and Colorful Mural with NYC Street Scenesat the North Stage

    Scenes from The Grand Tasting (Clockwise from Top Left): Wine Gems Room, Mexico Booth, Walkways through Grand Tasting, and Mural at the North Stage

  • Staff – 3: Upon our arrival, a staff member was very kind. He escorted us to the front of the line so we could enter before it became too crowded. He left us to the side of the front of the line, and instructed a volunteer to make sure we got in ahead of the crowd. The volunteer appeared to have forgotten about us as they began to let people in. We spoke up to another staff member, and we were immediately allowed inside. Beyond this experience, we had no interactions with staff from the group running the event. People at most tables were nice enough to me, but no one went out of their way to help me or ask if there was a way to improve my experience or assist me.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


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

Atlantic Antic – Brooklyn, NY

Atlantic Antic – Brooklyn, NY – September 27, 2015

The Atlantic Antic:

“is (the) oldest and largest street festival in New York City!…

The Atlantic Antic™ is a living tribute to the myriad of heritages that coexist in Brooklyn. Spanning four neighborhoods (Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill and Downtown Brooklyn) from Hicks Street to Fourth Avenue, the Atlantic Antic™ brings together people from all ages and diverse backgrounds to celebrate in the heart of Brooklyn!…

Comprised of local Atlantic Avenue Merchant’s trendy restaurants and boutiques and vendors from all over the country, the Atlantic Antic™ features live music stages that showcase free outdoor performances from various cultural genres. Families can enjoy an entire block dedicated to kids! …Best known for its eclectic delicacies up and down the 10 blocks, the Atlantic Antic™ has been given the saying “Eat it at the Antic, Walk it off on Atlantic!” (http://atlanticave.org/atlantic-antic/about-the-antic/, 2015)

And eat and explore is exactly what my husband and I did. We started off with three tacos and rice and beans from the Palo Santo stand. They were making their tortillas fresh at the event, and we ordered chicken, lamb barbacoa (pronounced bar-bah-coh-ah), and pork. Each one was delicious, but I really loved the gamy lamb flavor. The chicken had a vinegary bite to it, while the pork was definitely “porky”, but not my favorite. The rice and beans were mildly seasoned and flavorful, and they were not salty as rice and beans can be, especially in this type of setting. Of course, the freshly made tortillas were delicious. This platter cost $12.00. To see a video on my Instagram account of the tacos and tortillas being made click here.

Palo Santo Tacos Clockwise From Top Left: Chicken, Lamb Barbacoa, and Pork with Rice and Beans

Palo Santo Tacos Clockwise From Top Left: Chicken, Lamb Barbacoa, and Pork with Rice and Beans

After tacos, we stopped by a Brooklyn Soda Works stand for a Blueberry Lemon soda. For $5.00, for a small cup of soda, albeit artisanal and natural, I felt cheated. The cup could not have been much more than eight ounces, though I did not measure the volume exactly. The soda had a vegetable-type flavor to it, which I did not enjoy. This was a disappointing experience.

Foreground: Cup of Blueberry Lemon Soda Background: Brooklyn Soda Works Stand

Foreground: Cup of Blueberry Lemon Soda      Background: Brooklyn Soda Works Stand

Next, we stumbled upon the Red Star Sandwich Shop stand. We split their Korean fried chicken sandwich with twice fried chicken, gochujang (pronounced go-chew-jang) sauce, pickled daikon (type of radish) and dill, lettuce, and mayo. According to Wikipedia 2015, gochujang is:

“a savory, spicy, and pungent fermented Korean condiment made from red chili, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans and salt.”

This was a great sandwich! Spicy, sour, sweet, crunchy, crispy, and savory. The chicken was crunchy and crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. The roll was wonderful: it had the perfect texture – fluffy and with just the right amount of chew to it. All in all, this was a really enjoyable sandwich. It cost $9.00.

Foreground: Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich Background: Red Star Sandwich Shop Stand

Foreground: Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich      Background: Red Star Sandwich Shop Stand

Finally, I was very excited when I spotted the Cannoli Queen stand. What was even more exciting was what they listed as “exotic flavors.” Let me write a disclosure before continuing that yes, I do jump on the pumpkin flavor bandwagon every autumn. I really enjoy the warm, spicy flavor. That was the “exotic flavor” that immediately jumped out and grabbed my attention.

For $6.00, I got three mini cannoli: plain with lemon zest, pumpkin, and almond joy. I am sad to say that I was disappointed by all three. The plain cannoli was unremarkable, and I have had plain cannoli that have blown my mind, but this was just not one of those. The pumpkin cannoli had hints of autumn spices and pumpkin, but it was not enough. Finally, the almond joy cannoli came in a chocolate covered cannoli shell. The almond and coconut flavors tasted artificial.

Foreground: Cannoli Background: Cannoli Queen Stand

Foreground: Almond Joy Cannoli on top, Pumpkin Cannoli underneath in front, and Plain Cannoli with Lemon Zest underneath in back      Background: Cannoli Queen Stand

Accessibility Rating for Atlantic Antic

I used my wheelchair to visit Atlantic Antic. We walked from Atlantic Avenue and Court Street to Atlantic Avenue and Fourth Avenue. Due to time constraints, we were only able to walk these seven out of the ten blocks that the event encompassed.

Various Street Scenes from Atlantic Antic showing street, tents, vendors, and crowd

Various Scenes from Atlantic Antic

  • Entryway – 5: As the event is a street fair extending from Hicks Street to Fourth Avenue on Atlantic Avenue, and there is no official entrance, they scored well because it was accessible from many points along the entire route.

    Atlantic Antic Map showing Atlantic Avenue and how the Atlantic Antic goes from Hicks Avenue to 4th Avenue and how The Disabled Foodie went from Atlantic Avenue and Court Street to Atlantic Avenue and 4th Avenue

    Atlantic Antic Map with The Disabled Foodie’s Route

  • Bathroom 3: Along the route we traveled, we found port-a-potties along one sidewalk, but none of them were wheelchair accessible. I am unsure whether these were provided by Atlantic Antic or another organization. (September 29, 2015 – I received a Tweet from the Atlantic Antic organizers stating, “ADA portable restrooms were located at Smith/Atlantic.”)
  • Walkways/Space – 4: The outdoor street setting made for an easily passable space. Beyond the crowds, I had no problem getting around. At points, the event was quite noisy due to the crowds and music being played and amplified through speakers. The lighting was natural outdoor lighting.
  • Staff – 3: None of the staff members I encountered, either from Atlantic Antic or at vendor’s tents, reacted to me at all. I did not receive any offers of help at this event, but I did not have many expectations that I would.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


The Disabled Foodie and Words I Wheel By’s Wafels & Dinges Factory Tour Event & Ample Hills Creamery (Gowanus, Brooklyn)

The Disabled Foodie and Words I Wheel By’s Wafels & Dinges Factory Tour Event & Ample Hills Creamery (Gowanus, Brooklyn) – September 19, 2015

September’s exciting event involved teaming up with Emily Ladau from the popular blog, Words I Wheel By, to tour the Wafels & Dinges factory in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Wafels & Dinges are the popular food trucks around New York City that serve phenomenal authentic waffles in true Belgian style. I want to thank Emily for co-planning this event with me. I also want to thank everyone who attended. It was great to finally meet Ron from the drool-worthy food blog, Gratuitous Foodity, and Taylor from Zomato, a restaurant review website. I appreciate Stephanie from Wafels & Dinges for arranging everything for our tour. Thank you to Tyler for taking us on the tour of Wafels & Dinges, and for making the delectable Liège (pronounced lee-ehzh) waffles for us.

David and Emily

David and Emily

Prior to hearing an episode on The Sporkful about Belgian waffles, I, like most Americans, did not know that there is no true Belgian waffle, as each town in Belgium has its own waffle made in its own way. Wafels & Dinges (W&D) makes Brussels waffles (made from batter) and Liège waffles (made from dough filled with pearl sugar). After listening to that episode, I immediately visited the W&D website, and I learned that for $10.00 a person you can tour the factory and enjoy a freshly made waffle with unlimited toppings.

The W&D factory is in their food truck garage. In the rear of the garage is the kitchen where employees make both Brussels waffle batter and Liège waffle dough. Check out videos (including Liège waffle dough being made and Tyler making Liège waffles) from the tour on my Instagram (Click here to visit Instagram).

After the tour, Tyler made each member of the group a Liège waffle. I topped my waffle with spekuloos (pronounced speck-you-lohs) spread on one half of the waffle. This is a spread made from caramelized gingerbread cookies. Emily described the spekuloos spread accurately when she said, “It tastes like magic!” It’s spicy and sweet, and is exactly what it sounds like, spreadable gingerbread cookies. On the other half of my waffle, I asked for their seasonal pumpkin pie topping, walnuts, strawberries, whipped cream, and crumbled spekuloos cookies. The waffle itself was light, fluffy, and sweet from the pearl sugar in the dough, which caramelized beautifully. The entire thing was a decadent treat and the perfect indulgence.

Liege Waffle with Spekuloos Spread on Front and Pumpkin Pie Spread, Walnuts, Strawberries, Whipped Cream, and Spekuloos Cookie Crumble on Back

Liege Waffle with Spekuloos Spread on the Front Half and Pumpkin Pie Spread, Walnuts, Strawberries, Whipped Cream, and Spekuloos Cookie Crumble on the Back Half

Accessibility Rating for Wafels & Dinges Factory

I used my wheelchair to visit the Wafels & Dinges Factory.

  • Entryway – 5: There is one large garage door, which was open while we were there. There are no stairs at the entrance.  The transition from the sidewalk to the inside of the factory is smooth.

    Entrance to Wafels & Dinges Factory

    Entrance to Wafels & Dinges Factory

  • Bathroom – 2: The doorway to the bathroom is narrow. It took some maneuvering on my part to get inside. The toilet does not have any grab bars around it. I was unable to get close to the sink in my wheelchair as the sink had a cabinet underneath it. The faucet has short handles. I was able to make a 180º turn while in my wheelchair inside the bathroom. The bathroom is well lit with outside light from windows. I was unable to find the light switch while inside, but the ambient light was adequate for me, but I could imagine this being difficult for a person with a visual impairment.
  • Walkways/Space – 4: The interior is spacious and passable, with the exception of the bathroom door and some cracks and divots in the floor. The space is moderately lit, with the kitchen being the most brightly lit part. Most of the noise came from vehicles passing outside since the garage door was open.

    Interior Photos from Wafels & Dinges Factory (Clockwise from Top Left): Pearl Sugar, Entrance to Kitchen, Wafels & Dinges Cart, Waffle Making Station, Breakfast Special Sign, and Tyler, Our Tour Guide Center: Wafels & Dinges Guiding Principles (We Aspire, We Take Pride in our craftsmanship, we own our actions through integrity, responsibility, & accountability)

    Interior Photos from Wafels & Dinges Factory (Clockwise from Top Left): Pearl Sugar, Entrance to Kitchen, Wafels & Dinges Cart, Waffle Making Station, Breakfast Special Sign, and Tyler, Our Tour Guide      Center: Wafels & Dinges Guiding Principles

  • Staff – 4: Upon our arrival, the staff that was there was unaware that we had a tour scheduled for that afternoon. After describing that I had spoken with Stephanie to arrange the tour, everything was sorted out. Our tour was scheduled for 1:00 PM, but Tyler did not show up until almost 1:30 PM. This made our time schedule tighter, as I had Access-a-Ride scheduled for our return trip at a specific time from the Ample Hills Creamery Gowanus location. This made the experience feel a little more rushed, but it all worked out in the end. The staff did not react to the users of mobility assistive devices at all, which is great to be treated equally, but we also were not asked if there was any way to meet our needs to make for the best visit possible.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus at the factory, but Tyler described everything in detail to the entire group.

Following our visit to the Wafels & Dinges factory, I could not resist visiting the nearby location of Ample Hills Creamery in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Having been to their Prospect Heights location (Click here to read the review of that location), I am a huge fan of their ice cream. I, personally, believe it is some of the best ice cream that I have had in New York City. I had not been to this location before, but my husband had ordered and picked up a cake for my birthday (It was divine!) from this location last year. Ron joined us on this part of our visit to Gowanus.

I ordered one scoop in a cup of a flavor they only offer at this location: It Came From Gowanus. It is a salty dark chocolate ice cream with hazelnut crack cookies, white chocolate pearls, and orange-scented brownies. Naturally, I had to have rainbow sprinkles on top. After all, I am an overgrown five year old when it comes to ice cream. The flavor was deep and complex with bitter and salty flavors from the ice cream itself. The other components added chewy texture and the flavors of nuts and oranges. It was a unique flavor experience that I completely enjoyed.

Cup of It Came From Gowanus with Rainbow Sprinkles

Cup of It Came From Gowanus with Rainbow Sprinkles

 

Accessibility Rating for Ample Hills Creamery (Gowanus)

I used my wheelchair to visit Ample Hills Creamery (Gowanus).

  • Entryway – 5: There are two wide doors at the entrance. There is a ramp that goes up to the doors. There are stairs at the entrance.  The transition from the ramp to the inside of the ice cream parlor is smooth.

    Foreground: Top Right - Entrance Doors, Bottom Right- Entrance Ramp Background: Ample Hills Creamery Building

    Foreground: Top Right – Entrance Doors, Bottom Right- Entrance Ramp      Background: Ample Hills Creamery Building

  • Bathroom – 3: There are two grab bars around the toilet. I was able to get underneath the sink with ease. There are short handles on the faucet. The bathroom is dimly lit. I was able to make a 180º turn while in my wheelchair inside the bathroom.
  • Walkways/Space – 3: The interior space is largely passable, but the area at the ice cream case where orders are placed was quite crowded while we were there. The space is brightly lit. There was loud music playing while we ate. The table area is tight for someone using a wheelchair because there is no convenient area where I would have been able to sit at a table (They were all banquettes) and not have been sitting in the middle of people walking past.

    Interior of Ample Hills Creamery (Clockwise from Top Left): Ice Cream Case, Kitchen Where Ice Cream is Made, Ice Cream Case, and Interior Seating Area

    Interior of Ample Hills Creamery (Clockwise from Top Left): Ice Cream Case, Kitchen Where Ice Cream is Made, Ice Cream Case, and Interior Seating Area

  • Staff – 1: The staff did not acknowledge me at all. There was no offer of help, nor was there anyone who asked how they could accommodate me to make my visit better.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


Ample Hills Creamery-Gowanus Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Disabled Foodie on The Sporkful

The Disabled Foodie on The Sporkful

From Left to Right: John Hockenberry, Dan Pashman, and David Friedman (Photo by Anne Saini)

From Left to Right: John Hockenberry, Dan Pashman, and David Friedman (Photo by Anne Saini)

This past July, I was fortunate enough to be asked to speak about my experiences as The Disabled Foodie on the always entertaining, hunger-inducing, and informative The Sporkful podcast with Dan Pashman (the host of The Sporkful) and John Hockenberry of The Takeaway podcast. I am very honored and excited to have been included in this episode of The Sporkful, and I thank Dan and Anne Saini (The Sporkful producer) for having me there, and I am especially excited to share it with all of the readers of The Disabled Foodie.

During a great meal at The Good Fork in Brooklyn (They make an amazing burger, as an aside.) John and I talked with Dan about our experiences in restaurants as people who use wheelchairs.

To listen to the episode click here. Enjoy!


Pig ‘N’ Whistle Third Avenue – Midtown East, Manhattan

Pig ‘N’ Whistle Third Avenue – Midtown East, Manhattan – September 13, 2015

This afternoon my husband and I met our friend, Tony, at the Third Avenue location of Pig ‘N’ Whistle in Midtown East. This is one of several locations in Manhattan. These restaurants are all Irish pubs. We chose this location because it was easy for us to reach from our home in Queens and for Tony from his home.

As is customary in restaurants on Sundays in New York City, the restaurant offered a brunch menu. I ordered a Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale to start. While the beer had a lovely caramel color, and was flavorful, I was unable to detect any actual pumpkin flavor. Quite disappointing. I was in the mood for a salad, so I ordered the Blackened Chicken Taco Salad. My husband ordered the Irish Breakfast.

The salad came with romaine lettuce, avocado, cheddar, red onion, kidney beans, plum tomatoes, crispy tortillas, and chipotle ranch dressing. I am not a fan of ranch dressing in any form, so I substituted salsa and sour cream. I had hoped the salad would come in a tortilla shell bowl. Instead, it was topped with tortilla strips. The salad was good, and I was pleased that they used romaine lettuce rather than iceberg. Beyond that, I found the salad to be filling but unremarkable.

I tasted things from my husband’s Irish breakfast. It came with eggs, Irish sausage, Irish bacon, black and white pudding, grilled tomato, baked beans, and a side of toast. I tasted a little bit of everything, and it was all very good. All of the meats were quite savory and flavorful. The beans were tender and the sauce did not overwhelm their flavor.

With tax and tip, the meal came to approximately $25.00 a person split between the three of us.

Foreground (Clockwise from Top Left): Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale, Blackened Chicken Taco Salad, and Irish Breakfast Background: Glass Partition and Table

Foreground (Clockwise from Top Left): Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale, Blackened Chicken Taco Salad, and Irish Breakfast Background: Glass Partition and Table

Accessibility Rating for Pig ‘N’ Whistle Third Avenue

I used my wheelchair to visit Pig ‘N’ Whistle Third Avenue.

  • Entryway – 5: There are two doors: one outside and one interior door just past the vestibule. They appeared to be narrow, but I was able to pass through without a problem. Both doors were open when we arrived due to warm weather. There are no stairs at the entrance.  The transition from the sidewalk to the inside of the restaurant was smooth.

    Entrance showing narrow door

    Entrance

  • Bathroom (Men’s) 0: The door frame was too narrow for me to pass through to use the bathroom. What made this worse was that when I called the day before, I specifically asked the staff member who answered the phone if the restaurant, its entrance, and the bathroom are wheelchair accessible. Twice she responded in the affirmative. This demonstrates a lack of understanding on her part of what wheelchair accessibility means and looks like. She told me that she has seen people in wheelchairs in the restaurant before, but this does not necessarily mean the entire space is accessible, which she did not understand. While I was there I addressed these issues with the manager, who said that he will address them.
  • Walkways/Space – 3: The interior space was largely passable, with the exception of the bathroom door. The space is moderately lit. There was loud music playing while we ate. I was unable to fit underneath the table even with my footrests lifted up. I had to transfer to a chair to be able to sit comfortably at the table.

    Left: Dining Area Right: Bar Area with wooden bar and liquor bottles on display behind the bar

    Left: Dining Area      Right: Bar Area

  • Staff – 2: Upon our arrival, the hostess moved a chair from the table so I could attempt to fit underneath the table in my wheelchair. This was helpful. The reason for the lower score is due to the aforementioned experience where I asked a staff member over the phone about accessibility and was told the bathroom was wheelchair accessible. She was so sure that it is accessible solely on the basis of previously seeing someone who used a wheelchair in the restaurant. This is no way to make a determination of accessibility.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


Pig 'N' Whistle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Shake Shack – Upper West Side, Manhattan

Shake Shack – Upper West Side, Manhattan – September 12, 2015

Shake Shack started as an outdoor stand selling burgers and frozen custard in Madison
Square Park in Manhattan. Since then, they have expanded to many locations across New York City and through other states, and the original location has become a tourist destination. One  location is on the Upper West Side behind the American Museum of Natural History and near the New York Historical Society Museum and Library.

My husband and I went to see the Al Hirschfeld exhibit at the New York Historical Society Museum, so this was an opportunity to eat lunch at Shake Shack. I have eaten at the original Shake Shack location numerous times, but I have only been to this one a few times. We each had a single Shackburger, and we shared a large order of french fries.

A ShackBurger is a cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, and ShackSauce. The burger was meaty and flavorful. The lettuce was fresh, and a huge plus was that it was actual green lettuce and not iceberg lettuce. The tomatoes were juicy. The ShackSauce seems to be a mayonnaise based sauce that added creaminess to the burger, but not much in the way of flavor. The bun was your standard hamburger bun, which added nothing to the burger other than providing a way to get the burger from the tray to my mouth. It was good, but not my favorite burger in New York City. While I really liked that the fries were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, I found them to be too salty.

Two ShackBurgers with tomatoes and lettuce on buns and a paper boat of french fries on a tray

ShackBurgers and French Fries

Accessibility Rating for Shake Shack – Upper West Side

I used my wheelchair to visit Shake Shack – Upper West Side.

  • Entryway – 4: There are two wide doors. Both doors were open when we arrived due to warm weather. There are no stairs at the entrance.  The transition was bumpy due to an uneven transition from outside to inside.

    Entrance

    Entrance

  • Bathroom 4: Getting to the accessible bathroom (which is also the staff bathroom) was an odyssey. I had to be escorted by a staff member downstairs using the elevator. The staff member walked me through an area where many staff members were congregated to the elevator. Several staff members had to move out of the way so I could get to the elevator. While the door to the bathroom was wide, the area outside the bathroom was packed with boxes and kegs of beer that needed to be moved so I could enter and exit. There are two grab bars around the toilet. I could partially fit underneath the sink while in my wheelchair. The sink has long faucet handles. I was able to make a 180º turn in the bathroom in my wheelchair. The bathroom was brightly lit.
  • Walkways/Space – 3: The interior space has some tight spaces, particularly when going to and coming from the accessible/staff bathroom, but most areas were easily passable. The space is brightly lit in the dining area, but much darker in the lobby/waiting area where you order food. There was loud music playing while we ate. I was able to fit underneath the table with my footrests lifted up.

    Left: Lobby and Waiting Area Right: Seating Area in Atrium area with Glass Ceiling and Wall

    Left: Lobby and Waiting Area       Right: Seating Area

  • Staff – 3: Until I asked to use the bathroom, no staff member acknowledged me or asked me how they might help me. Once I asked to use the bathroom, a staff member escorted me to and from the bathroom. He helped moved boxes that blocked the entrance to the bathroom. I am only giving a three for the score for this area because until I asked for help I was not even acknowledged.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


Shake Shack Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Aroma Brazil – Jackson Heights, Queens

Aroma Brazil – Jackson Heights, Queens – September 3, 2015

Aroma Brazil is a welcome addition to the Jackson Heights food scene. Brazilian food is a new cuisine to an area dominated by restaurants serving either South Asian food or food from Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.

The food is served buffet style. In addition to the buffet table, there is a window where patrons can order from a list of barbecued meats. If you only take food from the buffet table, it costs $5.99 a pound. Barbecued meats are $6.99 a pound. There are also options available for dessert, including a passion fruit mousse for $4.00. I did not try it this time, but I may have to go back for it in the future. You can dine in or take food to go. We picked up food to bring home, but I still did a full review as if we dined in.

I only took food from the buffet table: shredded greens, roasted vegetables, quinoa, roast chicken, breaded fish, sausage, and black beans. It came to just over $8.00 for all of that food. Overall, the food was quite tasty. The greens were bright green, and had a pleasant garlic flavor. They were a bit tough to chew. The roasted vegetables were cooked just right. The quinoa had the surprising addition of raisins, which I thought I would not like, but I did. The beans were a hearty and savory complement to the sweet quinoa. The chicken was a bit dry, probably from sitting in the warmers on the buffet. What I liked very much was that the food was not too salty, as food from a buffet can sometimes be.

Background: Window with Aroma Brazil Logo Top Left Inset: My Meal Bottom Right Inset: Buffet

Background: Window with Aroma Brazil Logo      Top Left Inset: My Meal      Bottom Right Inset: Buffet

Accessibility Rating for Aroma Brazil

I used my wheelchair to visit Aroma Brazil.

  • Entryway – 5: There are two wide doors. There are no stairs at the entrance.  The transition from outside to inside is smooth.

    Entrance

    Entrance

  • Bathroom 3: The bathroom was difficult to enter and exit at the time we were at Aroma Brazil. The reason for this was that there was a table and chairs for four placed directly in front of the door. While the door was quite wide, the table and chairs had to be moved quite a bit to allow me to enter and exit. There are two grab bars around the toilet. I could not fit underneath the sink while in my wheelchair. The sink has short faucet handles. I was able to make a full 360º turn in the bathroom in my wheelchair. The bathroom was brightly lit.
  • Walkways/Space – 3: The interior space has some tight spaces where I had to be very careful not to bump into objects. I almost burned my elbow on the buffet counter because it was quite hot and at the height of my elbow while in my wheelchair. I got too close to it, and I immediately felt the heat and quickly pulled my elbow away. This is something the owner(s)/manager(s) need to consider to prevent injuries. Additionally, had my husband not been with me, it would have posed an additional challenge in terms of serving myself from the buffet. The space is brightly lit, and while there was some background music, it was relatively quiet at the time we were there. I was unable to fit underneath the tables, even with my footrests lifted up.

    Left: Looking Toward Rear of the Restaurant Right: Looking Outside From Dining Room

    Left: Looking Toward Rear of the Restaurant      Right: Looking Outside From Dining Room

  • Staff – 2: There were no offers of help from any identified staff members. I hoped that the staff would have offered to help me get food from the buffet table, but this did not happen. The gentleman who helped my husband move tables and chairs so I could access the bathroom appeared to be either a manager or owner, but we were not sure. That is why I gave a rating of a 2 instead of a 1.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


Click to add a blog post for Aroma Brazil Restaurant on Zomato

The Disabled Foodie and Words I Wheel By September 2015 Event

The Disabled Foodie and Words I Wheel By September 2015 Event

This event is a collaboration with Words I Wheel By, a blog I admire. It features a visit to the Wafels & Dinges factory. Wafels & Dinges food trucks sell Belgian waffles around NYC. On the tour, we will tour the factory and eat fresh waffles afterwards. The tour and waffle cost $10 (Paid in cash at the factory on the day of the tour).

Wafels & Dinges Event Digital Flyer with Illustrated Waffles & logos from The Disabled Foodie & Words I Wheel By

When: Saturday, September 19, 2015 from 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM (2:30 to allow enough time for Access-a-Ride users to schedule)

Where: 264 Butler Street, Brooklyn, NY

RSVP to thedisabledfoodie@gmail.com with “W&D RSVP” in the Subject Line by Wednesday, September 16, 2015Please note in your email if there are any accommodations you require, and include a phone number should the event be canceled. Make sure to RSVP so we do not start without you.

 

100th Post – Burnside Biscuits – Astoria, Queens

100th Post – Burnside Biscuits – Astoria, Queens – August 28, 2015Yellow and orange starburst against dark blue background with text stating "The Disabled Foodie's 100th Post" and The Disabled Foodie logo of cartoon man in wheelchair holding a sandwich

Thank you for helping me reach my 100th post! Without you, I would not have gotten this far.

There has been quite a bit of talk about Burnside Biscuits, the fried chicken and biscuits restaurant recently opened by the creators of Bareburger. This includes a mention on Eater in the article, “The Hottest Restaurants in Queens Right Now, August 2015. ” There is always intense competition in the NYC food scene to see who makes the best fried chicken, and now Burnside Biscuits is entering theirs into the arena. According to their website:

“While the excitement and diligence continues for Bareburger with global expansion, they have decided to roll up their sleeves and dip their hands into the world of southern comfort… [Burnside Biscuits] focuses on giving back to the community that raised its founders while celebrating local, organic sourcing. Burnside offers a new twist on the classic comfort foods. Fried chicken, biscuit sandwiches and wood-fired vegetables, all from a scratch-kitchen…” (http://www.burnsidebiscuit.com/about-momentum/, 2015)

Fried chicken and biscuits! What a great way to kick off a weekend! Especially since we had three friends join us to try this restaurant. We dined outside, which was nice, but was also due to accessibility issues that you will read about below. The food turned out to be quite good, but the accessibility left quite a bit to be desired.

Upon being seated, appetizers immediately and unexpectedly started to arrive at the table (You will learn why in the Accessibility Rating below). The staff brought us Sticky Black Jack Carrots, cornbread, and a pickle plate. The carrots were roasted to the point of being charred and glazed, and came with a carrot sauce, fresh pickled Persian cucumber, and fennel. I have never had carrots cooked this way, and they were excellent! The carrots were smoky and sweet. The pickled cucumber and fennel cut through the charred flavors with their bright tastes. The cornbread is made with local cornmeal, and it came with maple cultured butter and chives. I am a big fan of cornbread, and this was a good one. It was lightly sweet from the corn, and while it was not too dense it  retained the typical grainy texture that a good cornbread has. The pickle plate had cucumbers, fennel, okra, and beets. The vegetables were lightly sour and crisp.

My husband and I ordered drinks. The drinks came in tiny champagne bowls, and for $12.00 each, that was quite expensive for the small size of the drinks. I got a Tea Thyme: house-made sweet tea with vodka, lemon, and thyme. It was a “high-octane” tea, and the flavors of the black tea and the thyme came to the forefront. He ordered a Crusta: brandy with maraschino, lemon, and a sugar rim. I did not like his drink, but I am not a fan of brandy.

As a table, we ordered two more appetizers. The first was the baked and crispy potatoes. These were very crispy on the outside, but still soft on the inside. They came topped with parmesan, smoked salt, and a side of green goddess dressing. The dressing had a pronounced licorice flavor from what tasted like anise seed. I did not find it necessary to add the dressing to the potatoes, as they were great on their own. The second appetizer we shared was the pimento crack mac & cheese. It had sharp cheddar, gouda, pimento, cornbread crumbs, and a pile of scallions. The pimento flavor was really present in this dish, and I really enjoyed the peppery punch alongside the taste of the cheeses.

Appetizers Clockwise from Top Left: Sticky Black Jack Carrots, Pickle Plate, Baked & Crispy Potatoes, & Pimento Crack Mac & Cheese Center: Neon Sign for Burnside Biscuits

Appetizers Clockwise from Top Left: Sticky Black Jack Carrots, Pickle Plate, Baked & Crispy Potatoes, & Pimento Crack Mac & Cheese      Center: Neon Sign for Burnside Biscuits

Finally, we got to the fried chicken and biscuits. The chicken was juicy and moist on the inside, and the outside had absolutely no grease and was crunchy and crispy. That being said, I found that the batter lacked any pronounced flavor, so while it was good, it was not my favorite fried chicken in NYC. The biscuits, on the other, hand were delicious. They are made with duck fat (YES!). Each biscuit was about four inches in diameter. They were flaky, luscious from the duck fat, and just the slightest bit salty.

Background: Fried Chicken and Biscuits Lower Left Inset: Tea Thyme Upper Right Inset: Crusta

Background: Fried Chicken and Biscuits      Lower Left Inset: Tea Thyme      Upper Right Inset: Crusta

Accessibility Rating for Burnside Biscuits

I used my wheelchair to visit Burnside Biscuits. I need to preface this rating with the fact that I called the restaurant ahead of time twice to ask specifically if the restaurant and the bathroom are fully wheelchair accessible. Both times I was told that they are. It seems that due to the loose language in parts of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), they are able to say the restaurant is fully accessible because a person using a mobility-assisitve device could enter the main entrance and eat at one of the tables right there.

  • Entryway – 1: There is a somewhat narrow door at the main entrance. There is a slight ramp leading from the sidewalk up to the main door. There are no stairs at this entrance.  The transition from outside to inside is smooth. As our table was going to be in the main dining room, we were asked to exit via the main entrance and reenter through a side entrance. The reason for this was that there is a step down to the dining room from the bar area. Upon arriving at the side entrance, we found that there is a step, and they did not have a ramp. They termed it a “small step.” In the photo below, the side entrance has a step that is approximately six inches high, which is not small. I explained to them that according to ADA 1) any newly renovated business must be made 100% accessible and 2) any step greater than one-half inch requires some form of ramp to allow for passage of all types of mobility devices. Naturally, I, and many other users of mobility-assistive devices, prefer a permanent ramp, but portable ones are easy to find and purchase (click here to see many options). One of the managers offered to create a makeshift ramp out of shelving, but I declined due to safety concerns. This was also when they stated that the restaurant is technically accessible due to what I mentioned earlier about being able to access the small front area near the main entrance.

    Left: Main Entrance Right: Side Entrance (Caption on photo stating "Large Step without Ramp"

    Left: Main Entrance      Right: Side Entrance

  • Bathroom 0: The bathroom is off of the main dining room. Since I was unable to access this area, I have no choice but to give it a low rating. Twice during the evening, I had to use an accessible bathroom at a restaurant two blocks away.
  • Walkways/Space – 2: From the little that I was able to experience when we arrived and entered the main entrance, the waiting/bar area was tight and difficult to negotiate. Immediately upon entering, there is a host(ess) station within feet of the door. I bumped into this trying to get around it, and then my wheelchair took up almost the entire waiting area. As described earlier, the main dining area is inaccessible to many users of mobility-assistive devices due to the step down from the bar/waiting area and the step up from the outside. Again, this made the bathrooms inaccessible. From what I was able to ascertain from looking inside through the windows, the lighting in the main dining area appeared to be somewhat dim, and I was not able to assess the noise level in the dining area. I was barely able to fit underneath the table while sitting in my wheelchair.

    View of Bar/Waiting Area from Entrance with caption stating "Step down to dining room"

    View of Bar/Waiting Area from Entrance

  • Staff – 3: Two managers assisted us with our concerns about the restaurant’s lack of full accessibility. They did appear to be quite embarrassed by this. Particularly because I brought it to their attention that I called twice to ask about accessibility, and I was told that it is fully accessible both times. While they tried to be helpful, yet again, there seems to be a lack of education as to what full accessibility is and what it looks like. In my opinion, if you cannot access the bathroom in a restaurant, then it is not fully accessible. Upon being seated at our table outside, the managers did give us several unsolicited, free appetizers to compensate for the situation. While that was very nice, the restaurant needs to provide a ramp immediately to remedy this problem.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


Click to add a blog post for Burnside Biscuits on Zomato