Pinkberry Adds Peanut Butter As New Seasonal Frozen Yogurt Flavor

Pinkberry: 2041 Broadway between 70th and 71st

Pinkberry recently launched Peanut Butter as the new seasonal flavor. It is being promoted as PB+J with a recommendation to order it topped with organic strawberry jam and toasted breadcrumbs.

I tried it without toppings and thought it was delicious and extremely creamy. The one downside is it tastes very salty, so I was not surprised to learn that it has 150 mg of sodium per serving versus most of the other flavors which have 45 mg (except chocolate which has 110 mg). The Peanut Butter flavor also has the highest calorie count with 170 calories for a 1/2 cup (100g), but much of that increase comes from the fact that it contains real peanut butter. It also has the highest amount of fat and protein — again due to the peanut butter. Check out the Pinkberry website for more details on the nutritional information of all the flavors. The Peanut Butter ingredients are as follows:

Nonfat milk, sugar, peanut butter (peanuts, sugar, peanut oil, salt), cultured pasteurized nonfat milk with live and active cultures, contains less than 2%: cultured nonfat milk powder, fructose, dextrose, natural flavors, citric acid, guar gum, maltodextrin, mono- and diglycerides, starch.

Overall, Peanut Butter is a great addition to the line-up. And with the popularity of PB+J among Americans of all ages, it’s sure to be a success. Perhaps it will be converted to a permanent flavor? What do you think?

The closest locations to my five blocks are 2041 Broadway, between 70th and 71st st. and 313 Columbus Ave between 74th and 75th st.

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Summertime Weekend Lunch and Tennis at SANTA FE

I typically am not a fan of Southwestern or Mexican cuisine and I rarely drink alcohol, so you may be surprised that I’m writing about SANTA FE restaurant on West 71st st between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West. SANTA FE has been in my five blocks for over 25 years. I’ve only recently re-discovered it and now have added it to my list of low-key favorites.

I went for a late lunch on Saturday afternoon and found that there were several regulars who knew the staff and sat at the bar. The atmosphere felt very friendly and easy. And being that I’m a big tennis fan, I was especially pleased to find tennis on the big screen TV above the bar. I was sitting in a booth facing the bar, so had a view of the great match between Andy Murray and Mardy Fish from the Western and Southern ATP Tennis Tournament.

The Host talking with a regular customer. Tennis match on the TV screen

Andy Murray close-up

SANTA FE’s southwestern-style decor is modern, warm, and appealing. The restaurant is extremely clean, and thus it is no surprise it has received an “A” Grade from the Department of Public Health.

"A" rating

The daytime weekend menu offers either lunch or brunch items. Brunch includes the typical fare with a Southwestern twist — Chipolte Benedict, Southwestern French Toast, Steak and Egg Burritos, etc. Personally, I was interested in the great salad options. My favorite is the Santa Fe salad with mixed greens, tomato, mushrooms, avocado, roasted red peppers, hard boiled egg, onion and cheddar cheese (though I 86 the last two items and add the Cotija cheese instead). You can also add Grilled chicken, skirt stake or shrimp to the salad. I also highly recommend the guacamole which is made with big chunks of avocado and tastes very fresh as if made at the table even though it’s not. Overall, there is a large lunch menu with appetizers, soups, salads, entrees and desserts. I did not indulge in a Margaritas, but according to the website, they are the “best in town”. In fact the website description of the restaurant as a comfortable, friendly and delicious dining experience is quite accurate.

So the next time you’re looking for a fun, low-key weekend lunch in my five blocks, stop by SANTA FE and let me know what you think.

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Upper West Side THEORY Store Moves One Block South

The theory store has moved a block south to 201 Columbus Ave in my five blocks. It is a bright, expanded space on the northeast corner of 69th street and Columbus Ave. I would expect this move to increase traffic and sales. Let me know what you think of the new store.

New theory Store

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Mornings at Magnolia Bakery: Fresh Muffins, Fresh Flowers and a New Coffee Club Card

Magnolia Bakery on Columbus Avenue at 69th street is a great place to start the day. Enjoy delicious fresh muffins while surrounded by fresh-cut flowers and the smell of cupcakes and brownies baking in the oven. It feels like being in a countryside kitchen.

And, the bakery has added The Magnolia Coffee Club Loyalty card: Purchase any 10 Magnolia coffees and get the 11th one free!

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Central Park: Beautiful Sites Mid-Park Near 72nd Street

The weather in New York has been stunning the past few days — blue skies, lower humidity, sunny with puffy clouds. The pleasant atmosphere helps showcase the many beautiful areas of Central Park. I’ve attached just a few photos of some popular sites mid-Park near 72nd street, adjacent to my five blocks.


Bathesda Fountain: Mid-Park near 72nd st

View of Bathesda Fountain: Mid-Park at 72nd st

Path between the Boathouse and the East Side entrance at 76th st

Bow Bridge

Central Park Lake

Boat Basin - East Side near 72nd st

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Francesco’s Pizzeria: So Much More Than A Pizza Joint

You may walk by Francesco’s Pizzeria and think it’s just another NYC pizza joint. But don’t be fooled. It is so much more….

The owner Vito Rappa is Sicilian and comes from a long line of Italian chefs, who are passionate about cooking. Most items on the menu are prepared from recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation. Vito started working in his Uncle’s pizzeria in New Jersey when he was twelve and has carried the tradition ever since. He takes great pride in the restaurant, treats his employees well and is a “mayor” figure on the block (Columbus Ave, between 68th and 69th).

Vito Rappa

Now, let’s get to the food. First, it’s known for its pizza. The crust is made fresh daily with Italian virgin olive oil, imported from Italy. You will find everything from the traditional cheese to pepperoni to veggie options with and without cheese. And, of course, you can custom order. But as I mentioned, Francesco’s offers much more than pizza. Fresh salads, soups, pasta, heros, fish/seafood and meat. Everything is fresh, nothing is frozen. In fact, I walk by most mornings when the delivery of fresh ingredients arrives. Each day, the chef prepares specials, including soups, salad, seafood and meat dishes. And they offer whole wheat pasta as an option. My favorite dishes (besides the pizza) include:

– Spaghetti Mare Monte: Mushroom, Shrimp, Calamari & Garlic in a Plum tomato sauce. (I add spinach and substitute whole wheat spaghetti)
– Whole Wheat spaghetti with garlic and olive oil Mushroom Sauce, add broccoli
– Minestrone soup
– Chicken Soup
– House Salad
– Grilled Calamari
– Arugula and shrimp salad
I tend to be a creature of habit, so I recommend you check out the full menu. There are options for every palette.

What’s great is that all types of people seem to like eating at Francesco’s (or ordering in). From families to those who work in the neighborhood to the late night crowd hungry for a slice on the way home from a night out. Also, many celebrities frequent the restaurant, as evidenced by the photos on the wall. Some of the neighborhood favorites are Steve Guttenberg, Regis Philbin and Harry Belafonte.

Francesco’s is a personal favorite of mine in my five blocks. I also order in frequently. I love the food, but it has also become like “family” for me. I know most everyone who works there and am treated like a celebrity…or should I say a member of the Francesco family.

Bon Appetito!

Free Delivery (Minimum Order $15.00)

Additional locations: Greenwich Village and Burlington, NJ

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Food Cart Craze Goes Organic: “Good To Go Organics” Adds Healthy, Fun Foods to Central Park

Who says summer fun with hot dogs and chips can’t be healthy…or even organic? Just inside Central Park from my five blocks, you will find two Good To Go Organics carts. One is closer to the eastside on East drive near 61st/fifth ave entrance and the other is further west right near Center Drive, around 60th st. Wolman rink is in between the two.

I stopped by the one closer to Center Drive and learned a lot about it from one of the very enthusiastic and knowledgeable partners in the business. (see photo to the left)

Good to Go Organics offers an organic menu of Hot Dogs, Sausage and Vegetarian dogs, Snacks, Sweets, Fruit, and cold and hot drinks. All hot dogs and sausages are from APPLEGATE, known for its organic foods (eg. APPLEGATE brand sells products in Whole Foods). The Vegetarian options include a Jumbo Veggie Soy Dog with only 80 calories and 15 grams of protein, as well as an Italian Style Veggie Soy Sausage with 140 calories and 13 grams of protein. Toppings include Organic Local Sauerkraut, Onions, Sweet radish. I tried the Spinach and Feta Sausage on a multigrain bun pictured below. I’m not a big hot dog fan personally, but this was delicious.

Organic Spinach and Feta sausage on Ozery MultiGrain One Bun topped with Spicy Brown Mustard

Good to Go Organics also makes its own All-natural Veggie Chili and All-natural Grass-fed Beef Chili. Instead of traditional potato chips, select from Pop Chips, Pirate’s Booty, and other healthy chip alternatives. My favorite are the multigrain chips from Food Should Taste Good. And lastly, prices are reasonable. See the full menu below (note that the menu on the cart lists calories, prices and in some cases protein grams too).

HOTDOGS (All hotdogs from Applegate)
Organic Beef Hot Dog (7g protein, 110 cals)
Organic Turkey Hot Dog (7g protein, 60 cals)

SAUSAGES (All sausages from Applegate)
Organic Spinach and Feta (13g protein, 120 cals)
Organic Chicken and Apple (14g protein, 140 cals)
Organic Andouille (13g protein, 140 cals)

Smart Dogs® Jumbo (15g protein, 80 cals)
Smart Sausages® Italian Style (13g protein, 140 cals)

Organic Local Sauerkraut (from Hawthorne Valley Farm, Hudson Valley)
Organic Onions, Diced – Grilled or Raw
Organic Sweet Relish
All-natural Veggie Chili
All-natural Grass-fed Beef Chili (from Kinderhook Farm, Hudson Valley)

Whole Wheat Flat Bread – Ozery MultiGrain OneBun (130 cals)
Traditional roll – Martin’s Potato Roll (130 cals)

NO 1 THE NEW YORKER – Beef hotdog on traditional bun with sauerkraut,  onions, and spicy brown mustard
NO 2 CHILI DOG – Beef hotdog on whole wheat flat bread with all-naturalgrass-fed beef chili
NO 3 HERBIVORE – Veggie soy dog on whole wheat flat bread with all-naturalveggie chili
NO 4 OLD STYLE – Spinach and feta sausage on whole wheat flat bread  with sauerkraut, onions, and spicy brown mustard
NO 5 SAUSAGE SLAM – Any sausage, snack, and drink
NO 6 DOUBLE DOG DEAL – Any two hotdogs, snack, and drink

Annie’s Homegrown
Pirate’s Booty
Late July Organic Snacks
Smart Puffs
Food Should Taste Good

Organic Bananas
Local Hudson Valley Apples
Kopali Organic Dried Fruit

Honest Tea® and Honest Ade®
Organic Valley 1% Milk – Regular and Chocolate
Honest Kids® Juice Pouch
Iced Organic Coffee
Bottled Water

Organic Coffee
Tazo Teas

Check out the website for more information, including other locations.

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Nanoosh: Simple, Healthy, and Organic Mediterranean Hummus Bar

One of my favorite standbys in my five blocks is Nanoosh, located on Broadway between 68th and 69th streets.  It is a small, no-nonsense place but uses the space well and has outdoor seating during the good weather seasons. The staff is friendly, down-to-earth and efficient. The food is organic. And, the prices are reasonable. That must be why it is packed nightly during dinner time.

The menu consists of soups, salads, hummus plates, wraps, sides and desserts, and recently, they added beer and wine. Personally, I’m addicted to the Quinoa Salad to which I add a side of sauteed mushrooms. Also the seasonal butternut squash soup is delicious. The salads and hummus plates seem to be the most popular.

I recommend Nanoosh for a snack or a meal. They deliver but length of time is inconsistent. When it gets too busy, it can take quite a while. Catering is also available.

Nanoosh mediterranean hummus bar
2012 Broadway
212 362 7922

Other locations on East Side, Union Square and Murray Hill

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Magnolia Bakery 15th Anniversary Celebration: Samples and Games til 4:00pm Today

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Magnolia Bakery Celebrates 15th Anniversary

Magnolia Bakery is celebrating its 15th Anniversary this month with its classic vanilla and chocolate buttercream cupcakes, featuring festive anniversary-themed decorations.
$3.25 each.
Come to the Columbus Avenue location on July 16th from 1 – 4pm for more festivities….

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