Tag Archives: shopping

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’s First Anniversary Celebration at the Queens Night Market

The Disabled Foodie’s First Anniversary Celebration at the Queens Night Market – August 15, 2015

The Disabled Foodie is one year old! Thank you for a great first year and your unflagging support. To celebrate, I went with my husband and our friend, Matthew, to the Queens Night Market (QNM). The market is New York’s first Asian-style night market featuring vendors selling food from around the world, art, and merchandise.

I have to thank John, the founder of the QNM, for working with me to make this a successful celebration. He was kind enough to allow us to skip the line to enter the event earlier than the rest of the crowd. I also need to thank Karl and Tammy, from Karl’s Balls, for their hospitality, and taking some of their valuable preparation time to speak to me about their food.

Karl, from Karl's Balls, with David, The Disabled Foodie     Photo Taken by Tammy from Karl's Balls

Karl, from Karl’s Balls, with David, The Disabled Foodie      Photo Taken by Tammy from Karl’s Balls

Additionally, I want to thank my friend Matthew for joining my husband and I at this incredible event. Finally, thank you to my husband for his never ending support on this amazing journey through food and disability.

I must begin by stating that QNM quickly became one of my favorite food venues because it is highly accessible, and the variety of food from around the world is a foodie’s dream come true. John, the founder of QNM, has curated an incredible selection of foods from around the world to rival the selection found at Smorgasburg. John told us that he hopes the QNM serves as a place where the community comes together, and it showed last night through the hundreds of people, including entire families, who came out. John and his team provide activities at the QNM for all ages: music and dance performances for adults, and games and temporary tattoo artists for children. Furthermore, there is no entrance fee, and most food items that we tried cost between $2.00 and $5.00 each. We shared almost everything we ate.

Karl’s Balls makes takoyaki.

Takoyaki is a ball-shaped Japanese snack made of a wheat flour-based batter and cooked in a special takoyaki pan. It is typically filled with minced or diced octopus (tako), tempura scraps (tenkasu), pickled ginger, and green onion. Takoyaki are brushed with takoyaki sauce (similar to Worcestershire sauce) and mayonnaise, and then sprinkled with green laver (aonori) and shavings of dried bonito (katsuobushi). (Wikipedia, 2015)

Karl prepares all of the octopi himself to be “sashimi-ready”. He and his team prepare all of the ingredients by hand, and the takoyaki are served in Karl’s “Man Mayo” and his “Ball Sauce,” which is smoky, fruity, spicy, and sweet. Forget any thoughts of rubbery octopus. Karl’s octopi are tender. The takoyaki were vibrant in flavor, wonderfully gooey on the inside, and were a fun way to start a great evening.

Takoyaki from Karl's Balls

Takoyaki from Karl’s Balls

Our next stop was the Burmese Bites booth where we tried the Burmese shaved ice dessert. This was another completely new experience for me! The shaved ice was combined with grass jelly, palm seeds, agar agar (gelatin made from seaweed), crushed peanuts, sweet syrup, and condensed milk. My friend, Matthew, said it best when he described the dessert as tasting, “like a frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwich.” Not only did it taste delicious, but it was visually impressive.

Burmese Shaved Ice Dessert

Burmese Shaved Ice Dessert

The eating just kept going, as there were so many great things to try. At the Pancake Rolls booth, we tried both braised beef and honey pork pancake rolls. Both came on a freshly made scallion pancake with scallions, cucumber, cilantro (I asked for that to be left out of the honey pork roll), hoisin mayo, and pickled carrots. The pancake was perfectly flaky and had a great toothsome bite! There is a video on my Instagram account of the pancakes being prepared. (Click here to view that video.) I preferred the beef roll to the pork. While the sweetness of the pork was nice, the beef’s savory notes against the vegetables provided a satisfying contrast.

Inset: Pancake Roll with Beef Background: Pancake Roll Booth

Inset: Pancake Roll with Beef      Background: Pancake Roll Booth

At the Chiflez (pronounced Chee-flayz) booth, we had roasted, grilled corn with Peruvian sauce and seasonings. The corn was sweet and smoky from being charred on the grilled, The sauce was piquant and just slightly spicy. Finally, it was sprinkled with cheese and salt to add savory and salty notes. It was the best corn I have had so far this summer.

Inset: Chiflez Booth Background: Peruvian Corn from Chiflez

Inset: Chiflez Booth      Background: Peruvian Corn from Chiflez

And it just kept coming. At the Flauteria (pronounced Flau-teh-ree-ah) booth, they prepare Mexican food and drink. I had a cup of tart, sweet hibiscus tea, and we shared flautas (pronounced flau-tahs) filled with chicken. Flautas are similar to tacos, but they are formed into  cigar-like rolls. The chicken was so tasty and moist!

Top Inset: Jar of Hisbiscus Tea at Flauteria Bottom Inset: Chicken Flautas at Flauteria Background: Flauteria Booth

Top Inset: Jar of Hisbiscus Tea      Bottom Inset: Chicken Flautas      Background: Flauteria Booth

I am a huge fan of duck, and CBao did not disappoint with their mind-blowing Peking Duck Bao.

A baozi or simply known as bao, bau, humbow, nunu, bakpao (Hokkien), bausak, pow, pau or pao (Hakka) is a type of steamed, filled, bun or bread-like (i.e. made with yeast) item in various Chinese cuisines, as there is much variation as to the fillings and the preparations. In its bun-like aspect it is very similar to the traditional Chinese mantou. It can be filled with meat and/or vegetarian fillings. (Wikipedia, 2015)

The bao was fluffy and light. This worked beautifully with the tender, gamy duck that was carved at CBao’s booth right in front of me. The scallions and cucumbers added crunch, and the house sauce added a touch of umami flavor.

Inset: Peking Duck Bao Background: Cook at CBao Carving Duck

Inset: Peking Duck Bao      Background: Cook at CBao Carving Duck

The savory duck bao was followed up with a delectable Portuguese treat, Pastel de Nata (pronounced pah-stehl day nah-tah) from the MoNata booth. This small egg custard filled puff pastry tart packed luscious, creamy, sweet flavor into a bite-sized dessert. My friend, Matthew, who has been to Portugal twice, told us that he was able to find these all over his travels there.

Inset: Pastel de Nata Background: Sign at MoNata Booth

Inset: Pastel de Nata      Background: Sign at MoNata Booth

Finally, we tried a mango and raspberry crêpe from T-Swirl Crêpe. These rice flour crêpes are served with fruit and pastry creme. The fruit was fresh and juicy, and they did not overload the crêpe with the creme. (Click here to watch a short video of crêpes being made.)

Mango and Raspberry T-Swirl Crepe

Mango and Raspberry T-Swirl Crepe

Accessibility Rating for Queens Night Market

I used my wheelchair to visit QNM. This was the QNM’s last night at this location near the New York Hall of Science in Corona, Queens. QNM will be moving to Jamaica, Queens starting on September 5 for the remainder of this season.

  • Entryway – 5: The QNM is held in a parking lot. Since this is the case, the entry is smooth, and there are no stairs. It is the most accessible entrance a person with a disability could desire.

    Inset: QNM Welcome Banner Background: Aisle with Booths at QNM

    Inset: QNM Welcome Banner      Background: Aisle with Booths at QNM

  • Bathroom 4: There are wheelchair accessible port-a-potties in two locations at the QNM. There is a grab bar that wraps around the toilet. QNM provides stand-alone sinks with faucets that operate by using a foot pump. The foot pump is difficult for those who have limited or no use of their feet, but the fact that there are sinks at an outdoor venue is great! I was fortunate enough to have my husband help me with the sink.
  • Walkways/Space – 5: The aisles are wide and spacious. Even with hundreds of people all around, I had plenty of room to move around. During the daylight hours, the QNM was well lit, and due to humongous flood lamps, the same could be said for the night hours. The closer we were to the musicians and performers, the louder it was. But, overall, the noise level was not loud considering the size of the event and the number of attendees. (For a short video of the QNM click here.)

    Views of Booths and Aisles at QNM

    Views of Booths and Aisles at QNM

  • Staff – 5: The staff was welcoming and I encountered no issues. John was kind enough to allow us to enter the QNM a few minutes early to explore and meet with Karl and Tammy. Staff and security were available throughout the event to help people with any questions or concerns they might have.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


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.

 


The Disabled Foodie’s Port Morris Distillery Event

The Disabled Foodie’s Port Morris Distillery Event – July 18, 2015

Group Photo

Group Photo

Pitorro (pronounced pee-torr-oh)? What’s pitorro? Well, today was the day to find out. For July’s monthly food and drink event, The Disabled Foodie and friends took part in a tour and tasting at Port Morris Distillery (PMD). I am grateful to my event attendees, Ralph (one of the co-owners), and his PMD family for making today’s event fun and successful.

“Pitorro is a distilled spirit from Puerto Rico, referred to as “moonshine rum.” Pitorro is usually much stronger than commercial rum. At times, its alcohol content surpasses 100 proof. It is often homemade, and a part of traditional Puerto Rican holiday celebrations…Pitorro is an integral part of Puerto Rican culture, and musical odes to it or its production are part of local folklore.” (Wikipedia, 2015)

While I have been fortunate enough to sample fantastic pitorro made by my husband’s family while we visited them in Puerto Rico, PMD is the first and only licensed pitorro distillery in the United States. As per PMD’s website:

“Originally from Manhattan’s upper Westside and residents of the Douglass Housing Project, childhood friends Ralph Barbosa & Billy Valentin decided to take a plunge into the moonshine business. What better way was there to do it but legally and with the help of a one time moonshiner and now the master distiller behind PMD, their uncle “Tio” Rafael, from Guayama, Puerto Rico. Without a business plan or any idea on how to get started they decided the first piece of the plan was to convince Tio to make the move from Puerto Rico to NYC.” (http://www.portmorrisdistillery.com/about.html, 2015)

Ralph thoroughly explained the entire process involved in making pitorro at PMD. He proudly informed us that they use New York State apples and honey to make their pitorro. We were shown their original distillation machine and their new copper machine. The room has oak barrels where PMD is aging pitorro añejo (pronounced ahn-yay-ho), which means aged pitorro.

Left: New Copper Distillation Machine Right: Original Distillation Machine

Left: New Copper Distillation Machine      Right: Original Distillation Machine (Near the Window)

We sampled three types of pitorro: Shine, Añejo, and Coquito (pronounced coh-key-toh). All three were delicious and smooth. The Shine is their clear, 92-proof liquor with a sweet and pleasant flavor. The Añejo had an oak-infused flavor due to the liquor being aged for one year in oak barrels. The Coquito, like the namesake holiday Puerto Rican eggnog-type drink, was infused with cinnamon and coconut flavors, and it was absolutely delectable.

Many people stopped in for a drink and to purchase bottles in the tasting room while we were there. We stayed for a drink after the tour and tasting. I enjoyed an “I Love Coco,” which was made with Coquito and pineapple juice. It was a taste of Puerto Rico in the Bronx. I could definitely write a lot more about the tour and the process of making pitorro, but if you are in the New York City area you should go visit PMD for your own tour and tasting. It was a fun and enriching experience.

Left: I Love Coco Drink Center: PMD NY Logo Right: Bottles of Coquito

Left: I Love Coco Drink      Center: PMD NY Logo      Right: Bottles of Coquito

Accessibility Rating for Port Morris Distillery

I used my wheelchair to visit PMD.

  • Entryway – 4: The entrance has one wide door. There are no stairs, and while there is a ramp at the door, the transition from the sidewalk onto the ramp is rough. I needed help getting my chair onto the ramp from the sidewalk.

    Entrance with Photographer inserted text indicating lip at the base of the ramp to the entrance

    Entrance

  • Bathroom 5: The bathroom was very spacious. Ralph informed me that they purposely made it 7 feet by 7 feet, instead of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) size of 6 feet by 6 feet. I was able to turn my wheelchair around in it without bumping into anything. There are two grab bars around the toilet. The sink has a long faucet handle, and I was able to get close to the sink while in my wheelchair due to all of the space in the room. It is a brightly lit room.
  • Walkways/Space – 3: The distillery is spacious, and there is plenty of room to move around in no matter what kind of mobility assistive device one uses. All but one door is wide enough to fit a wheelchair through, but Ralph immediately acknowledged this, and he told us how they will be widening that door. The tasting area space is dimly lit, and there was loud background music to help create a celebratory atmosphere. I imagine they would adjust the music, if requested. The distillation room is brightly lit. The bar itself is standard bar height, so I was able to reach it being that I use a higher wheelchair. Those in lower wheelchairs might find this to be difficult. There are other seating areas in the tasting room.

    Clockwise from Top Left: Tasting Room Wall Done to Resemble Color Buildings in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, Entrance to Distillation and Bottling Room, Bar in Tasting Room, and Oak Barrels for Aging PMD Pitorro Anejo     Center: Bottle of PMD Pitorro Shine

    Clockwise from Top Left: Tasting Room Wall Done to Resemble Colorful Buildings in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, Entrance to Distillation and Bottling Room, Bar in Tasting Room, and Oak Barrels for Aging PMD Pitorro Anejo Center: Bottle of PMD Pitorro Shine

  • Staff – 5: The staff was incredibly considerate and helpful. They were welcoming, and what was very positive was Ralph’s aforementioned proactive attitude toward making sure the space is not only ADA compliant, but comfortable for people with disabilities. This attitude is to be commended because I have not come across it often.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus, but Ralph was open to having a conversation about possibly getting one.


Sockerbit – West Village, Manhattan

Sockerbit – West Village, Manhattan – June 29, 2015

A Scandinavian candy land! That is the best way to describe Sockerbit in the West Village. (And yes, they do have delicious Swedish fish.) I wanted to visit their store for a while, and I was finally able to yesterday. I thank my friend, Fred, for treating me to a bag of candy. They state their mission best on their website:

“Our mission and desire is to share the Scandinavian candy culture and the amazing selection of “smågodis”, which translates into little candies.

For any Scandinavian person (Swedish, Danish, Finnish or Norwegian) smågodis is part of their everyday life; and most of the Swedes grew up with the tradition of “lördagsgodis”, meaning Saturday sweets. Every Saturday children are allowed to buy their favorite smågodis as a weekend treat and it is usually the highlight of the week…

Sockerbit, literally means “sugar cube” and it is also the name of the one of our candies, a white-cubed marshmallow, which is also the original inspiration for our design.

Another trait of these tasty candies is that Scandinavian candy is made with high quality ingredients; free of trans fats, colors from nature, free of genetically modified ingredients (GMO). All things combined make these candies delicious.” (https://www.sockerbit.com/inspiration.html, 2015)

Closeup of Candy Bins

Closeup of Candy Bins

The clean, white interior of the store allows the candy in the bins to be the star. Not only is it visually appealing, but the candy is incredibly delicious. The flavors are intense, and it is clear that they are natural flavors. The banana caramel candy (Banana Bubs) has the smooth flavor of banana, not the sting that comes with artificial banana flavor. I also tried the salty licorice (I am a fan of licorice, and was curious to try the salty version). It is called Salta Pengar, and the combination of salt with the lightly sweet bite of licorice worked well. Other scrumptious candies I tried included their fruity Swedish fish, lemon licorice with rhubarb coating, sour peach lips, and sweet licorice covered in coconut. I cannot state how delicious this candy is. I love that all the flavors and colors are natural and from non-GMOs.

Accessibility Rating for Sockerbit

I used my wheelchair to visit Sockerbit.

  • Entryway – 1: The entrance has old French doors. There is a high step at the door. Though there is a step, in the Staff section I review and discuss how I was able to get inside.

    Entrance with arrow marking step at front door

    Entrance

  • Bathroom – Not Applicable
  • Walkways/Space – 5: The space is easy to get around using any type of mobility assistive device as the only obstruction is the checkout counter. I was fortunate to have a friend help me get the candy I wanted out of the higher bins. The space is brightly lit due to good lighting and the white walls and flooring. There was very soft music playing in the background, but the noise level was minimal.

    Left: Interior view looking inward from front door Right: Interior view looking outward from rear of store

    Left: Interior view looking inward from front door      Right: Interior view looking outward from rear of store

  • Staff – 5: The staff was incredibly attentive. Even though there was a step at the front of the store and a half-closed French door, the staff member went to great lengths to make sure I could get inside. She had to use a rubber mallet to release the locks on the closed door. Once this was done, she brought out a narrow wooden board to use as a ramp. When I told her that it was too narrow for my wheelchair she went and got a wider board. As she held that in place, I was able to get access to the store. She did the same as we left. While this type of service was exceptional on her part, it still needs to be kept in mind that this is not fully in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act since the wooden board was not an actual ramp made for the purpose of wheelchair access and could potentially be unsafe.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus. The staff member I addressed this with did think that it is a good idea to have that, though I do not know what will result from our conversation.


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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

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

Carlo’s Bake Shop – Hoboken, New Jersey

Carlo’s Bake Shop – Hoboken, New Jersey – December 27, 2014

Today, my husband, some of our friends visiting from Puerto Rico, and I went on an excursion to Hoboken, New Jersey to Carlo’s Bake Shop. Yes, this is Buddy Valastro’s bakery featured on the show Cake Boss. The bakery has a vast selection of cookies, cakes, cupcakes, and pastries.

Carlo's Bakery Box

Carlo’s Bakery Box

We arrived before our friends, and you must know this should you attempt to go: The earlier you go, the better. A line forms outside starting at opening time, and it just gets longer throughout the day. We arrived around 10:45 AM, and got there before the line extended across the street to the next block.

Cakes on Display

Cakes on Display

The space inside is relatively small, and many people get packed inside at once. When you are called into the bakery from the outside line they give your party a number. Once your number is called, you can place your order.

Bakery Case

Bakery Case

We bought an assortment of traditional Italian bakery cookies including pignoli cookies, sesame cookies, and chocolate pistachio biscotti. The cookies were sublime! Well worth the schlep to Hoboken and standing on line for over one-half hour.

Cookie Assortment We Bought

Cookie Assortment We Bought

My one problem, which I will detail further below, was the behavior of the customers inside of the bakery.

Since it is a bakery, and not a sit down restaurant, the Accessibility Rating section includes most of the details of my review.

Cakes on Display

Cakes on Display

Accessibility Rating

I used my wheelchair to visit Carlo’s Bakery.

  • Entryway – 5: The entrance door is wide. There is a step at the entrance. Before taking this trip, I looked up the bakery on Google Maps Street View, and I saw the step. I immediately called the bakery. They told me that they have a ramp they bring out to help customers who use wheelchairs and other mobility assistive devices. That is exactly what they did. Once that was done, I had no problem entering or exiting the bakery. Should you go, it is a good idea to call ahead to let them know you will be coming and what help you will require.

    Entrance to Carlo's Bakery

    Entrance to Carlo’s Bakery (Before They Put the Ramp for Me to Enter)

  • Bathroom – Not Applicable

    Bakery Case

    Bakery Case

  • Walkways/Space – 2: The interior space is small. Due to the popularity of the Cake Boss show, the bakery is a tourist destination. People were snapping tons of photos in front and inside of the bakery. As a result, the crowd inside was quite unpleasant and rude. They behaved so poorly, all crowding into one small area. The problem was that when it came time for us to place our order, I could not see the pastries, cookies, and cakes available, and the other customers did not want to move even when I repeatedly said, “Excuse me.” While I was there, many acted as if I did not exist. When it came time to leave, they also proceeded to ignore my polite requests to be let through. Fortunately, the staff made up for this poor experience.

    Interior of Carlo's Bakery

    Interior of Carlo’s Bakery (For the few seconds when it was somewhat empty)

  • Staff – 5: The staff was very considerate and helpful. The woman at the entrance put the ramp in place upon my entering and exiting the bakery. Once our number was called, I brought it to the staff’s attention that no one would let me approach the cases to see what was available. The woman serving us cleared the other customers out of the way so I could see. She also let us move to the emptier part of the bakery near the entrance where she finished our transaction. I applaud that service. In the future, it would help the staff to be more aware of this problem should other people in wheelchairs visit the bakery. It would make for a better overall experience.


Gansevoort Market – Meatpacking District, Manhattan

Gansevoort Market – Meatpacking District, Manhattan – December 14, 2014

This afternoon, my husband, our friend Tony, and I visited one of NYC’s newest foodie destinations, Gansevoort Market. I was excited to explore this new venue, and I must say, it is worth the trip. Right now, it is not as well known as Chelsea Market, so it was not crowded, and the food quality and selection was great. That being said, we did indulge in a lot of great food.

Gansevoort Market has a large interior space with individual food vendors at booths along several aisles. We sampled food from: Ed’s Lobster Bar, Tacombi, Pig Guy NYC, and Aunt Butchie’s Cheesecake Cones. There were too many booths to try it all in one visit with choices ranging from pizza to French macarons to tea.

At Ed’s Lobster Bar, I ordered the lobster bisque, and my husband ordered the lobster roll. I enjoyed both items. The lobster bisque was rich and exploding with the sweet ocean flavor of lobster. It was the perfect warm up on this cold day in NYC. The lobster roll was stuffed with buttery lobster chunks, and it came with potato chips and homemade pickles on the side.

Ed's Lobster Bar with Lobster Bisque in Center and Lobster Roll on Right

Ed’s Lobster Bar with Lobster Bisque in Center and Lobster Roll on Right

The Tacombi taco stand is set up in a VW van. My husband ordered three tacos: Carnitas (Pork), Picadillo (Beef), and Pollo (Chicken). I really enjoyed how the meats were not overly seasoned, so that each individual ingredient was able to shine, especially the meats themselves. I found the vinegary flavor of the carnitas taco to be a pleasantly surprising touch.

Tacombi Taco Stand on Left Tacos on Right (Clockwise from Top: Carnitas, Beef, and Chicken)

Tacombi Taco Stand on Left
Tacos on Right (Clockwise from Top: Pork, Beef, and Chicken)

I had been tweeting with the people from Pig Guy NYC, and they encouraged me to visit. We ordered a half rack of their pork ribs and an order of their four cheese mashed potatoes. The ribs were so tender that the  meat fell off of the bone. Perfect! The barbeque sauce was sweet and smoky, just the way it should be. Finally, the mashed potatoes were addictive. They were silky in texture and creamy and cheesy in flavor. I had to force myself to stop and share them.

Pig Guy NYC Stand Inset: Half Rack of Ribs and Four Cheese Mashed Potatoes

Pig Guy NYC Stand
Inset: Half Rack of Ribs and Four Cheese Mashed Potatoes

Finally, our dessert came from Aunt Butchie’s Cheesecake Cones cart. A cheesecake cone is a homemade caramel almond cone filled with frozen cheesecake. It was incredible! I adore cheesecake, and this was cheesecake heaven. The luscious filling was creamy, tart, and sweet. The cone was crispy and nutty. A simple dessert that was a great ending to this food odyssey.

Aunt Butchie's Cheesecake Cone (Cart on Left and Cheesecake Cone on Right)

Aunt Butchie’s Cheesecake Cone (Cart on Left and Cheesecake Cone on Right)

Accessibility Rating

I used my wheelchair to visit Gansevoort Market.

  • Entryway – 5: The entrance is wide and barrier free. There are several doors you can use, and when we left they had opened one of the front garage-type doors making entering and exiting even easier. There are no stairs.

    Entrance to Gansevoort Market

    Entrance to Gansevoort Market

  • Bathroom – 5: The bathroom (Men’s) is large enough for a wheelchair to turn around in. The toilet has two grab bars around it. The sink has long handles on the faucet. The door to the bathroom was wide, and it made for easy entry and exit.
  • Walkways/Space – 5: There is plenty of room to get around using any kind of mobility assistive device. There are few obstructions, and the aisles are wide. The chairs were easily removed from the table to accommodate a wheelchair or other device.

    Interior Aisle (Left) Seating Area (Right)

    Interior Aisle (Left)
    Seating Area (Right)

  • Staff – 5: The staff was very nice. This is different than a sit-down restaurant, as you go from booth to booth to get your food. The only vendor who was not great was at Aunt Butchie’s. He ignored me when I approached the booth for a sample. Every other vendor was excellent to me, and the overall experience was phenomenal. I enjoyed my time there very much.

 


Gansevoort Market on Urbanspoon