Travel Notes: New York City Top 6

How cruel to ask Tracey Ceurvels to pick six foodie favorites for New York City. Only six??? Tracey loves sniffing out the best places to eat in NYC as well as cooking and creating her own recipes with the incredible ingredients she finds in local specialty shops. In fact, she created an App: NYC iFoodShop—A food lover’s guide to shopping in NYC, which helps food lovers find markets and ingredients. You can find Tracey’s food recommendations and recipes on her blog, The Busy Hedonist.


Tracey Ceurvels worked at several top Boston and NYC restaurants before she hung up her apron over 10 years ago to devote herself to her twin loves of food and travel. Her articles have appeared in many publications, including The Boston Globe, The New York Times City Section, The New York Daily News, Dean & Deluca’s Gourmet Food Blog,, The New York Sun, Relish, Time Out,,, among other publications.

My 6 favorite food destinations in New York City
by Tracey Ceurvels

What I love about New York City is that I can find nearly any ingredient I desire, whether I want a rare Indian spice or a unique cheese made locally at a nearby farm. I also love the dining scene here, from casual Asian bistros to high-end temples of seafood and everything in between. Whatever you like, I’m certain you’ll find it here, which makes New York City my favorite food destination in the world.

The Meadow (also pictured above), I enjoy using different types of salt and discovering how they can enhance a dish. The Meadow’s owner wrote an award-winning book, Salted, and his passion for the subject shines through at his gorgeous store that sells hundreds of salts (and chocolate, too).

Murray’s Cheese, Blue or goat, stinky or smoked…cheese, in all its glory, is the specialty here. Stop by the store and the knowledgeable cheesemongers will help you decide on which cheese to take home.

Kalustyans, This gem of a store is the go-to specialty ingredient and spice shop for many local NYC chefs and home cooks. And no wonder: they sell nearly every spice under the sun, from Peruvian hot peppers to sour pomegranate seeds—and everything in between.

The Roasting Plant, My coffee addiction began at The Roasting Plant, where beans are roasted on site, shot through a pipe overhead and brewed to order. I stock up on their Block Party Blend, a mix of nutty Brazilian and fruity African beans, which is great hot or over ice.

Talde, My latest favorite neighborhood restaurant is Talde, where Top Chef alum Dale Talde, has created a menu to swoon over, that is if you like creative Asian dishes like Pad Thai with oysters and bacon or Wok charred ribeye with black pepper caramel and holy basil.

Le Bernardin, When I’m celebrating, I head to Le Bernardin, Chef Eric Ripert’s midtown masterpiece. From the service to the food, this is a stellar experience worthy of a celebration or a special lunch with a loved one.

Travel Notes: Santa Fe Top Picks

The Chile Trail is back home in Santa Fe this week. And what better guide to all things foodie than C. Whitney-Ward. She moved to Santa Fe eight years ago (she already had the cowboy boots and the pawn jewelry) and with the addition of a few vintage fringed jackets she settled right in. Originally from Boston, she worked back east as a journalist, food editor/stylist and PR Director of the Four Seasons Hotel, Boston. She created Chasing Santa Fe two years ago and has been photographing and celebrating Santa Fe ever since. She now gets more than 9,000 hits a month and will be opening a Chasing e-store in January showcasing Santa Fe artists’ work. Check her out at

“Chasing Santa Fe” Restaurant Picks

Whenever I meet someone new in Santa Fe the first thing they ask me is “What’s your favorite restaurant.” The answer can be daunting because I have my favorites for atmosphere, desserts, breakfast, afternoon tea/coffee, lunch and dinner; and I keep adding new favorites. But, here goes…

CHEZ MAMOU, a French bakery and cafe, opened a month ago and what a delight! It’s quite charming and when you step inside, you feel as if you’ve been transported to a cafe on the Left Bank. Sun pours through the large front window and delightful seating vignettes beg you to sit and enjoy breakfast, lunch or a late afternoon coffee and pastry. I loved the Eggs Benedict, Butterfly Palmiers and the amazing Meringue with Ganache. (CHEZ MAMOU, 317 E. Palace, next to Noëlla Jewelry, Santa Fe, 505-216-1845)
Chasing Santa Fe

THE BEESTRO is a nifty and delicious curbside take-out eatery on Marcy Street—next to the Design Warehouse. Owner/Chef Greg Menke opened The Beestro in October and whips up dazzling entrée salads, cold and hot sandwiches, hearty soups that you can order and drive by to pick up. The menu changes daily and everything is fresh, locally sourced and delicious. I love the Ruben Panini and the Lamb Salad.  (THE BEESTRO, 101 W. Marcy Street, Santa Fe, 505.629.8786, or check the daily menu at

Chasing Santa FeRESTAURANT MARTIN: I had lunch the other day at this lovely restaurant. It was delicious, but dessert was even more wonderful. Owner/Chef Martin Rios does all his own pasty and what was presented at table—a Hazlenut/Chocolate Pot de Crème—was pure theatre for the taste buds. There were bit-sized pistachio daquoise; caramel bananas, milk chocolate and Earl Grey tea ice cream; paper thin chocolate meringue wafers; and lovely fruit and herb purees. (RESTAURANT MARTIN, 526 Galisteo St., Santa Fe, 505-820-0919,

Chasing Santa Fe

JINJA BAR AND BISTRO: a chick Pan Asian restaurant is a favorite both for the food and crisp and friendly service. I’m a creature of habit and seem to order the same thing for lunch every time I visit—Lettuce Wraps, Tempura Shrimp and Vietnamese Spring Rolls—but they’re wonderful as is everything else on the menu. Their warm Chocolate Silk Cake with Caramel Sauce is amazing… (JINJA BAR & BISTRO, 510 N. Guadalupe, Santa Fe, 505.982.4321,

Chasing Santa Fe

And, if you have a hankering for wonderful Brioche French Toast, LA PLAZUELA at La Fonda Hotel serves up the best! Santa Fe’s legendary CAFE PASQUAL’S has fifty million wonderful things on their menu, but their Mexican Hot Chocolate is the perfect way to begin the day.

Chasing Santa Fe

One of my favorite hangouts is CLAFOUTIS. I love their pastries, especially their Lemon Cake and Sugar Brioche, and every Saturday morning they have divine Beignets.

Chasing Santa Fe

And my latest favorite—PICCOLINO—an off-the-beaten-path Italian dine-in and take-out restaurant on Agua Fria St. The menu is huge—wonderful veal, seafood, chicken, and pasta dishes. But if you have a hankering for Italian with a New Mexico twist, I suggest the “Pasta Polloco”—sautéed chicken, red crushed pepper, garlic, butter parmesan cheese, cream, and green chile. Sensational!