Celebrate Easter with Magnolia Bakery’s Colorful Easter-Themed Cupcakes!

Once again Magnolia Bakery in my five blocks outshines the competition with creative and fun Easter-themed cupcakes. Each is unique and decorated with colorful sprinkles, eggs, bunnies and more. Don’t miss out on making them part of your Easter celebration.

And, if you are looking for a Passover treat, try the delicious Mandel Bread. Each slice is made with a cake meal flour and loaded with chopped almonds and chocolate chips. DELICIOUS! I wish they carried it year-round. $3.25 per bag. Magnolia Bakery is located at 200 Columbus Ave (corner of 69th street).

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NEW Vive la Crepe! Opens on Columbus Avenue on the Upper West Side

Vive la Crepe! has opened its fourth location in a tiny space between 68th and 69th streets on Columbus Ave. It’s a quaint setting with a few high stools and tables inside and a some tables outside as well — just in time for spring and summer. (The three other locations are all downtown on Bleeker, University Place and Spring Street.)

I was walking by and stopped in for a cappuccino. I had never heard of the place. I’d give the cappuccino a high rating and noticed they used an iPad for the transaction. It’s adorable and seems to be off to a strong start with many people checking it out.

The menu includes an array of savory and sweet crepe options, features Illy coffee and espresso drinks and healthy bottled beverages. Some crepe examples include: 1) Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil 2) Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese, Spinach and Capers 3) Mushrooms, Gruyère and Tomato sauce. On the sweet side, there is the simple Sugar and Butter, several types of chocolate treats including “Noir”, the dark chocolate option, and a traditional French favorite Nutella. Plus you can add “Sweet Toppings” like fresh fruit and nuts. All the ingredients looked extremely fresh.

As I had just eaten, I did not indulge in a crepe, but plan to go back. I’ve attached photos that showcase the chef in action, the menu, and the decor. Seems to be a great new neighborhood place for my five blocks.

Vive La Crepe!
189 Columbus Avenue
Ny, NY 10023

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Steve Guttenberg: Not just another handsome, talented actor….a friendly, neighborhood guy and the “mayor” of my five blocks.

I have had the pleasure of getting to know Steve Guttenberg, since we live in the same building on the upper west side. You may know the actor from among other things the “Three Men and a Baby” movie franchise, “Cocoon” and “Police Academy” or his fame on the live stage. Currently, he is starring on Broadway in Woody Allen’s “Relatively Speaking,” a play comprised of three one-act comedies. Plus, he received a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last month.

But within my five blocks, Steve is a fun-loving, friendly neighbor who runs in the park, takes yoga at Reebok, rides his bike around the upper west side and is personable to everyone. It’s hard to walk more than a few blocks without him knowing and shaking someone’s hand. And his charming, boyish good looks and smile leave everyone feeling terrific. I see him quite often, but we did yoga together the other day, after which he treated me to lunch at Reebok. Several people came up during lunch for a quick greeting.

So if you haven’t had a chance to secure a ticket to “Relatively Speaking” yet, hang around my five blocks and you’re sure to get a glimpse of Steve Guttenberg and maybe even a conversation. One more tip: there’s a good chance he will be a wearing a baseball cap….

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Time Warner Center Spruced for the Holidays

Front Entrance to Time Warner Center

The Time Warner Center is dressed and ready for the holidays! Glass snowflakes that change colors hang from the ceiling, the trees outside are lined with lights and the stores are filled with holiday-themed windows. The whole atmosphere is very festive.

View from the 2nd floor balcony of the Time Warner Center

Plus, hours are extended during the holiday season. See below for Thanksgiving hours, but also check the official website for more information regarding specific stores.
Thanksgiving Day Hours: 9am – 5pm
Day After Thanksgiving Hours: 9am – 10pm

There are a variety of shops and restaurants. Sephora, JCrew, Montmartre, Godiva, Samsung, BOSE, Landmarc and much more. Shop for holiday’s gifts. Take a cooking class at Williams & Sonoma. Stop for a hot chocolate or cappuccino at Bouchon Bakery. Try a sample of their mulled hot cider while you shop. And don’t forget the huge Whole Foods on the lower level.

Just be ready for the crowds. They seem to grow larger and larger as December 25th approaches.

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Magnolia Bakery Features Specialty Cupcakes with Meringue Icing

Flourless Chocolate Cupcake

Magnolia Bakery is featuring several specialty cupcakes, all with meringue in the icing.

The first is the Flourless Chocolate Cupcake with Vanilla Bean Meringue Buttercream frosting. What a unique and delicious combination. You can see the actual vanilla beans in the frosting (see photo). Each one costs $4.00.

Snickerdoodle Cupcake

The second is the Snickerdoodle Cupcake: Light cinnamon cake with meringue icing, dusted with cinnamon sugar. Snickerdoodle is one of Magnolia’s Fall specialties. Each costs $3.50.

The third is the Sno-Cap Cupcake: Devil’s Food Cake with Meringue Icing. The icing is stacked just like a snow-cap. Each costs $3.50.

Sno-Cap Cupcakes

All three are fun and delicious, and probably fewer calories due to the meringue. Enjoy, and let me know what you think.

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Gracious Home on the Upper West Side Adds L’Epicerie and Espresso Bar

Window Signage at Gracious Home on West 67th Street

Gracious Home on West 67th street between Broadway and Columbus has added a L’Epicerie and Espresso Bar to the street level entrance area. You will find high-end espresso/coffee makers, cookbooks, pastas, an array of olive oils, mustards and syrups, and a selection of Sarabeth’s goodies, including her jams and granola. Great gift items for the upcoming holiday season. Stop by for a sample of fresh-made Espresso or Cappuccino while you browse the new selections. It’s right in my five blocks.

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Fresh-Cut Fall Flowers and Delicious Fall and Pumpkin Desserts at Magnolia Bakery

The Fall season has arrived at Magnolia Bakery on Columbus Avenue at 69th street. Not only will you find a host of new Pumpkin and Fall-oriented desserts, but the bakery is decorated with fresh-cut flowers to match.

Among the many delicious Pumpkin dessert options are:
Pumpkin spice cake
Pumpkin pecan cupcakes with maple cream cheese icing
Pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap pecan crust
Pumpkin spice whoopie pie with maple cream cheese icing
Traditional pumpkin pie
Pumpkin chocolate brownies
Pumpkin muffins.

A pumpkin-lovers dream!

For the pie-lovers, try other traditional Fall delicacies like double crust apple pie, apple crumb, pecan or black bottom pecan pie.

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WABC-TV Channel 7 Promoting the Regis Farewell Celebration Season of “LIVE! With Regis & Kelly”

WABC-TV Channel 7 Promoting Regis Farewell Celebration Season for LIVE! With Regis and Kelly

Regis Philbin may live in my five blocks, but he is leaving “LIVE! With Regis and Kelly” on November 18, 2011. WABC-TV Channel 7 is promoting Regis’ final celebration season now thru November 18 via the “ticker” above the beautiful, new corner studio on Columbus Avenue at 66th street. Stay tuned for a great final “Regis” season. I’m sure there will be lots of action on the streets surrounding the WABC-TV offices with onlookers hoping to get a final glimpse of Regis or even tickets to the final show.

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Spectacular Day for the Pier i Cafe

NYC has been enjoying a wonderful Indian summer the last few days. Over the weekend, Central Park was mobbed and people were out and about walking in my five blocks. Another great place to enjoy a beautiful day is the Pier i Cafe, an outdoor cafe located along the Hudson River, in the newly constructed Riverside Park South at west 70th street. It was packed yesterday due to the pure sunshine and 80 degree weather.

Walk along the pier or just relax and enjoy the view…it’s a nice break from the fast-paced city life. The Pier i Cafe offers a casual menu including burgers (sirloin and veggie) , fries, salads, Maine Lobster Roll, desserts, soda, beer/wine and freshly squeezed blueberry lemonade. And, enjoy the coffee bar in the morning for lattes, coffee or espresso. There is lots of seating at tables with umbrellas facing the Hudson River.

Months of operation are from May 1st to mid-October (weather permitting), so take advantage of the unseasonably warm weather to enjoy the setting before the winter arrives. Check out the website http://www.piericafe.com for more details, including hours of operation and the full menu.

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Magnolia Bakery at Bloomingdale’s Supports The Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Just across Central Park from my five blocks, Magnolia Bakery has opened in Bloomingdale’s. The entrance is on 3rd Avenue, between 59th and 60th. For the month of October, this location is also supporting Breast Cancer research with the Pink Ribbon Cupcake. Fifty cents from the purchase of each $3.75 cupcake will benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Magnolia Bakery at Bloomingdale’s Hours:
Monday through Thursday 7am – 10pm
Friday 7am – Midnight
Saturday 8am – Midnight
Sunday 8am – 10pm
Note that Breakfast is served everyday with fresh-baked muffins, coffee and tea.

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