Tag Archives: New York City

From Roof to Table: Garden Inspired Creations at The SoHo Grand

11 Jan

richard farnabe, executive chef Soho Grand

Local, fresh, sustainable cooking have been the buzzwords in New York’s restaurant scene and around the country lately, but Chef Richard Farnabe, the newly appointed Executive Chef for GrandLife hotels (SoHo and Tribeca Grand), has taken this concept to a whole new level. Farnabe is bringing farm-fresh closer than ever by growing a garden in his own backyard—on the rooftop of the 17-story SoHo Grand.

Classically trained in France at Ecole Hoteliere Beliard Paris under Jacques Maximin, Chef Farnabe launched his culinary career at Le Theatre in Nice and then at Le Diamont Rose on the Cote d’Azur. Soon after, he followed his dream and moved to New York City working his way up from Sous Chef at Daniel and then Jean Georges, into notable positions as Chef de Cuisine at Soho’s Mercer Kitchen, Personal Chef for Tommy Hilfiger, and then moving on to several Executive Chef positions at Montrachet, Picholine and Cavo. He is now the Executive Chef at both Soho Grand and Tribeca Grand, tweaking the original menus with fresh, artistic creations of New American cuisine with French influences.

Chef Farnabe has been gardening for quite a long time, but he only recently combined gardening and cooking to produce the fresh, sustainable cooking at the GrandLife hotels. He decided to start the rooftop garden because the hotel had been cooking with a lot of micro-greens in the kitchen, and by growing their own herbs and vegetables, the kitchen could both cut costs and keep the ingredients fresh, local and sustainable.

The 3-month old garden covers the entire rooftop of the hotel, which has an amazing view of the New York skyline. In the garden and a connected greenhouse, there is a wide variety of tomatoes (16 cultivars of heirlooms) and vegetables like avocado, carrots, onions, French beans, jalapenos, habeneros, bok choy, broccoli, cucumber, asparagus, butternut squash, pumpkin, red beets, eggplant, mesclun, arugula, romaine, zucchini flower and peppers. There is also a variety of fresh grown herbs such as mint, basil, sage, chive, cilantro and parsley.

Chef Farnabe visits the rooftop daily to handpick fresh items for the restaurant’s menu and the specials of the day for all the hotels’ restaurants including the Grand Bar and Lounge and The Club Room at Soho Grand and Church Lounge and The Salon at Tribeca Grand. His creations have included delicious appetizers like Tuna Tartare, Lump Crab Cakes and Grilled Octopus Salad. Entrees are enticing, organic and cooked to perfection with classic items such as Roasted Salmon, Wild Mushroom Risotto, Grilled Lamb Chops and Steaks. Vegetable sides are freshly cooked from the rooftop garden

The hotel’s outdoor patio bar and restaurant, The Yard, is a casual relaxing place in a sandstone courtyard. Here, imbibers will find signature cocktails created with fresh herbs and veggies such as the Strawberry Smash made with Bulldog gin, fresh basil, sugar and fresh strawberries or the Spa, made with Hendrick’s gin, fresh cucumber puree, fresh lime and fresh mint. One can also enjoy fresh summer fare including appetizers and salads, seafood from the raw bar, BBQ shrimp, ribs and pork, as well as a variety of grilled sliders and lobster rolls.

arugula salad

I sampled some of Chef Farnabe’s dishes that were made with fresh garden produce. An arugula salad with toasted almonds, preserved lemon and shaved parmesan, tuna tartare with avocado and potato gaufrette, and a gorgeous zucchini flower, lightly tempura battered, stuffed with goat cheese and freshly cut herbs from the garden – the epitome of fresh, local, sustainable food, all right here from a rooftop garden in New York City.

Visit online: www.grandlifenyc.com

SOHO Grand: 310 W Broadway, NYC 10013 | 212.965.3588

Tribeca Grand: 2 Avenue of the Americas, NYC 10013 | 212.519.6664

—By Kristen Hess, The Artful Gourmet

Favorite Food Finds in NYC

13 Feb

By Kristen Hess, The Artful Gourmet

I am so lucky to live in the heart of Manhattan and to wake up every day with excitement just walking down the street and discovering a new restaurant, food artisan, or market on every corner. To meet a culinary genius and entrepreneur who is as passionate about food as I am. An ordinary dish or menu item made new. An atmosphere with a buzz you can’t resist. Customer service that makes you feel like a local and welcomes you with a smile and a hello by name when you walk in the door.  A unique dish that is so delicious you dream about when you can go back and get more.  I salute the following restaurants and food artisans for all of the above, and most of all their passion and dedication to making delicious food and making me realize once again why I live in this wonderful city with all the culinary delights it has to offer. SALUT!

Stuffed Artisan Cannolis

I first discovered these guys at Madison Square Park food market this Fall and ran into them again at the Union Square Holiday market. A small shop in the Lower East Side that specializes in over 20 different flavors of homemade artisan flavored cannolis such as Almond Joy, Salted Caramel, Peanut Butter Cup, Cookies and Crème, Chocolate Mint and more. They even sell “make-your-own” cannoli kits with all the tools and ingredients so you can have a cannoli party and impress your mates with these delicious little sweets.

176 Stanton St. (between Clinton & Attorney St) |  212.995.2266


Spices and Tease

Meet Bruno and Francois from Spices and Tease – the Italian-French 
native exotic tea and spice vendor duo in Madison Square Park, New
York City. Animated and full of life, cousins Bruno and Francois greet
 each customer with a smile and a warm invitation to enter their tent and 
experience the delightful sights and smells of their euphoric selection of 
hand-crafted and fragrant top-of-the-line tea, herbs and spice concoctions 
that they have imported from Europe and around the world. Try the Smoked
 Paprika, the Provence French Sea Salt, Kir Royale Tea and the Salad Spice Mix – fresh,
fantastic and flavorful! These guys are truly spicing things up in the New York 
City food scene. If you’re ever in New York City, you can find them at the local
 street markets all over the city. They are also launching their online store soon so you can buy these goodies all year around. A MUST try, MUST see!


Bar Suzette: World Crepe Bar

Located in the Chelsea Market, Bar Suzette makes the most amazingly delicious crepes that are highly addictive. They offer both sweet and savory crepes – Nutella and Spicy Coconut crepes, Ricotta, Fig and Honey crepes, French Onion Soup made with sweet onions and melted Gruyere cheese, Chicken Curry crepes, and Ham and Cheese crepes are just a few of their classic and innovative flavor combinations that will knock your socks off! I also discovered these guys at the food markets in Madison Square Park and Union Square – friendly, laid back and fun – they’ll make you a fresh crepe on their hot crepe irons right before your eyes and you’ll never be the same!

524 W. 15th St, Manhattan NY 10014  |  917.207.7552


Schnitzel & Things

Food trucks have become a hot new item in NYC and LA. There are at least 10 of them that hang out on different days of the week near my office on Park Ave South and Schnitzel & Things is definitely one of my favs! These guys make three different types of schnitzel: Chicken, Pork and Cod along with a variety of different sides to accompany such as Braised Red Cabbage, Austrian Potato Salad and Chickpea Salad. The schnitzels are pounded thin, lightly breaded and fried golden to perfection served with a lemon wedge. They also serve unique condiments such as Pesto Mayo, Chipolte Sour Cream and Ginger, Scallion and Garlic to add another layer of delicious flavor to the dish. Keep an eye out for the truck around town – you’ll be a devoted fan with just one bite!


Bar Stuzzicini

Bar Stuzzichini is a fine Italian dining excursion in the Flatiron District with a gorgeous interior and authentic Italian dishes and small plates. My friend and I discovered this place earlier this year because of their Happy Hour special from 4:30-6:30 Monday through Friday: order a drink and you get a complimentary small plate of your choice off the menu. My favorites are the Arancini Rice Balls filled with loads of melted parmesan cheese, the small plate of Spicy Meatballs and Sauce and a glass of bubbly Prosecco. They also serve Brunch on Sunday with an Italian Jazz trio from 12:30-3:30 for only $18 a person which includes your choice of 1 “Stuzzi”, 1 Entrée and a Glass of Prosecco. Totally worth the visit!

928 Broadway, New York City |  212.780.5100



I recently moved to Murray Hill last Summer on 34th and 2nd Ave and discovered this Turkish Moroccan gem the day I moved. My friend and I sat outside on the patio with their adorable tiled tables and enormous palm trees and order a glass of vino and fresh made hummous and pita to take a break from the moving madness and fell in love with the atmosphere, the food and the service. The owner came by and greeted us personally and welcomed me to the neighborhood with a complimentary round of drinks on the house. They offer a unique menu of hot and cold Tapas and Small Plates including Steak and Frites, Chicken and Mushroom Croquettes, Moules Frites and Citronelle,  Cheese Plates, Moroccan Soup, Couscous, Garlic Shrimp and more. Their Tagines are their signature dish, chicken, salmon, lamb shank or mixed seafood baked with vegetables and sauce in a Moroccan Clay Pot. Their Paella and fresh Sangria is to die for! On weekends, the bar is buzzing, the music fills the streets, and you can even enjoy live bellydancing for some extra entertainment. One of my favorite finds so far this year! (And yes, I am a regular patron and do receive a warm welcome one every visit!)

633 2nd Avenue, NYC 10016 | 212.685.8558


La Esquina

A unique little joint located in Noho, La Esquina is the best Mexican food in town, at least in my opinion. They have a Taqueria (takeout), Brasserie and a Café and food to die for. Their fresh and authentic tacos and burritos are bursting with flavor all made with fresh corn tortillas, homemade salsa verde and macha, and topped with queso fresco, onions, avocado and cilantro. Their grilled Mexican corn and quesadillas are delicious too and they have a variety of frozen and fruit margaritas to cool off your mouth on fire! Word of warning: the Taqueria is tiny but cozy with bar stools and a line out the door, so be prepared for a wait that is definitely worth the experience and tasty treat!

106 Kenmare St, NYC 10012 | 646.613.7100


Cask Bar + Kitchen

This Classic Vintage Bar is a unique place in Murray Hill that has a 100-year-old restored wood floor and antique bar. They offer hand drawn cask conditioned beers and craft beers and an extensive wine list. They also have a Cellar Bar downstairs for private parties and events. The dinner menu includes a variety of Small Plates, Burgers, Flatbreads, Salads and Big Plates and they also offer Cheese Plates and Charcuterie if you just want some delicious munchies at the bar. I fell in love with their Truffle Mac ‘n Cheese – made with black truffles, aged white cheddar and Reggiano cheese. This dish literally melts in your mouth with a creamy mixture of flavors and perfectly crunchy breadcrumb topping. The Meatball Sampler is a must-try served with Beef, Lamb and Pork meatballs and Marinara, Wholegrain Mustard and Tomato Chipolte dipping sauces to accompany. Stop by for a drink and some delicious small plates or for Brunch or Traditional Roast Dinner every Sunday.

167 E. 33rd St (Btw 3rd & Lex) |  212.300.4924


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