Friday, April 18, 2014

Pinkies Up! - Mas Margaritas!

It's hardly a secret that I enjoy a frosty margarita from time to time--click here to peer into a recent post about my penchant for the frosty favorite. As we eagerly move into summer and plan our getaways, consider visiting these hot spots in Puerto Rico and naturally take the time to take a tipple--margarita recipes provided below for your enjoyment just at home as well with a festive group of friends. Right on time for Cinco de Mayo! 


Margarita Premium
From Hotel El Convento
Have a Margarita Premium just the way you like it at the Patio del Nispero restaurant in the Hotel El Convento, the historic AAA Four-Diamond property located in the heart of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.
2 oz Patron Silver
½ oz Cointreau
½ oz Grand Marnier
3 oz fresh lime juice
Simple syrup

Mix everything together in a shaker with ice. Shake for two minutes and serve in a chilled margarita glass or on the rocks. For the frozen margarita, haul out the blender and set to work. Garnish with lemon or lime.


From Isla Verde Resort
This family-friendly beachfront property in San Juan, Puerto Rico offers this tangily delicious treat.

¾ oz cream of coconut
1 ¼ oz tequila
1 ¼  oz triple sec
2 oz sour mix

Simply mix all ingredients in a shaker and then garnish with a slice of lime and orange!

Strawberry Mango Margarita
From Doubletree San Juan
Celebrate the summery season with a fruity adaptation with a Strawberry Mango Margarita available at the hotel’s Café Pierre.

1 1/2 oz Tequila Cuervo Gold
1/2 oz Cointreau
1 oz strawberry mix
1 oz mango mix

Mix all ingredients except the mango. Shake with ice or blend for a frozen margarita; serve first the mango for the color effect and follow the mixed ingredients in a cold margarita cup with brown sugar in the border. 


Coconut Margarita
From Copamarina Beach Resort
Go loco for coconuts at the Copamarina Beach Resort in Guanica, Puerto Rico and try their signature Coconut Margarita at the beach or poolside.

2 oz Patron Silver tequila
1 oz. Malibu coconut rum
1/2 oz St-Germaine
3 oz fresh coconut water
Drizzle of Coco Lopez
Fresh vanilla bean, scraped
1 fresh lime wedge, squeezed (to serve)
Mix Patron, Malibu, St. Germaine, coconut water and vanilla bean in a shaker. Pour into a glass rimmed with toasted coconut. Drizzle with Coco Lopez and squeeze in the lime wedge. Garnish with a lime peel.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

And What of Olives?

Castelvetrano is a town in Sicily that I recently discovered has the most marvelous, sumptuous olives. I first learned of these beauties pressed to make the olive oil at Tavola and then went in for the olives themselves, so perfect for a relish tray as my parents do, accompanied by celery, carrots, a cheese of your choosing and perhaps some crackers around cocktail time. You may cook with the Castelvetrano olives as well of course perhaps for a Mediterranean dish of chicken with preserved lemons, but they are so vibrantly green, chewy and full of fruit flavor that I feel cooking them would dampen their flight. But do what you will; certainly use the olive oil for special occasions such as enlivening a salad dressing or outfitting a chilled salad itself with these plucked orbs. Mind the pits! Above all--do enjoy!

Thanks to Murray's Cheese for the photo.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pinkies Up! - Let Us Begin With Gin!

Gin is in the air, er, rather spring is in the air! Bend an elbow, lift a glass or whatever you may. Above all, let's make a toast with these gin-fueled cocktails--and thanks to Martin Miller's gin for the memories!

Red Riding Hood
by Bar Director and Mixologist, Enzo Cangemi
Ovest, 513 W 27th St, New York, NY
* 5-6 chunks red bell pepper
* 2 bar spoons ginger marmalade
* 1/2 ounce lemon juice
* 1/2 ounce Combier pomplemousse rose
* 2 ounces of Martin Miller's Gin

Muddle the red bell pepper with the lemon juice and ginger marmalade; add the Martin Miller's Gin and pomplemousse rose and shake with ice; double strain into a coupe glass; cap it off with a sliver of red bell pepper and gird your loins.

Miller's Crossing
Hundred Acres, 38 Macdougal St, New York, NY

* 2 1/2 ounces Martin Miller's Gin
* 2 basil leaves
* 1 slice jalapeno
* 1 ounce simple syrup
* 1/4 ounce lime juice

Lightly muddle the basil, jalapeno and simple syrup; add the gin and ice a stir thoroughly; strain and serve in a martini glass; garnish with a slice of jalapeno and casually traipse across.

Basil B. Bennett
by Mixologist Michael Manjon
Brannon's, 119 Essex St, New York, NY

* 2 ounces Martin Miller's Gin
* 3/4 ounce Mike Manjon's basil syrup (recipe follows)
* 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
* 3 dashes Bitterman's Celery Shrub Bitters

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake, strain and serve up in a martini glass; garnish with micro-basil and enjoy the sentiment of spring.

Ingredients for Mike Manjon's basil syrup:
* 4 cups of basil
* 3 cups of water
* 2 cups of sugar

Directions for syrup prep:
Add the basil to the water and boil at medium heat until the liquid is reduced to two cups; strain out the leaves and mix the basil water with two cups of sugar; bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved; allow the mixture time to chill and store in refrigerator.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Pete's Dish - April 15

What's going on in and about town!

One of my favorite restaurants, Bea (formerly Le Madeleine), is now serving weekend brunch with a menu by Chef Anunya Clarke. Dine in the charming atrium or sidle up to a banquette in the restaurant proper. Among the other tempties, have your pick of pancakes with rosemary honey and berries or a smoked salmon sandwich with ricotta cheese, tomato, dill, and capers. Drinking at brunch is practically a necessity so knock back a bubbly Aide Memoir with prosecco, sweet vermouth, yellow chartreuse liqueur and orange bitters to further fulfill your fare. For a fuller picture, read my review of Bea here. Bea is located at 403 W 43rd St, New York, NY, 212-602-1910,   

Why not head east (Manhattan's Upper East Side, that is) on the eve of Easter Sunday? Greek restaurant Nerai will be open from midnight to 2:30am with a menu of traditional Greek Easter dishes, as well as other dishes from their regular menu, served up by Executive Chef Chris Christou.  Read my review of Nerai here. Otherwise, get a taste of the eggs-ellent specials such as traditional
soups--Mageritsa soup made from lamb offal and classic lemony Avgolemono soup; traditional Dolmades, stuffed grape leaves; Roasted Lamb; and Pork Tenderloin with stewed gigantes beans and feta. Finish it off with Tsoureki, a sweet Easter bread. Nerai is located at 55 E 54th St, New York, NY, 212-759-5554,


Chef Milton Enriquez' spring menu at Crescent Grill in Long Island City is busting out all over with locally sourced ingredients from farms in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. English pea risotto rhapsodizes with duck confit and blue foot mushrooms; lobster is poached with butter; and wild striped bass is served with artichokes, olives, fingerling potatoes and hon-shimeji mushrooms. An Easter Day Prix-Fixe brunch menu is $35, available from 11am-4pm and includes a main course and savory and sweet selections for the table. Mushroom tartlets, hanger steaks and a green tea financier sound pretty good to me! Crescent Grill is located at 38-40 Crescent Street @ 39th Avenue, 718-729-4040,

A Murdery Delicious Interview

My first podcast interview talking about my books the pale of memory and The Murdery Delicious Hamwich Gumm Mystery! And my blog Evenings With Peter! Click here to lend an ear. Thanks to the folks at! Also go to for more info.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

DriveThru - Cagen NYC

 A quick stop into where to eat with Pete!  

Cagen (414 East 9th St, 212-358-8800, New York, NY, an elegantly understated Kappo Ryori 30-seater restaurant (10 also fit in at an imported Japanese Keyaki wood counter), brings formidable Chef Toshio Tomita's upscale, traditional Japanese cuisine to the East Village in Manhattan. His considerable credits include managing Nobu New York, Nobu Next Door and Nobu 57 and serving as a corporate chef for Nobu Restaurants. Cagen translates to “adjusting,” which is fitting as this is the first time kaiseki Chef Tomita has taken center stage. 

Quick Bites: 
Seven-course tasting menu with a seasonal vegetable dish before sashimi (with chimichurri sauce!); handmade soba follows, as does a steamed, grilled, fried fish or shellfish course; rounds of sushi placed on U.S.-exclusive black and saltwater green sushi (nori); sweet ice cream or fruit dessert
Six-piece plate of sushi or three handrolls, a three-course tasting menu, or Osusume (a la carte items)
Tailored sake and wine menu 

Until Next Time:
When can we go next? 


Friday, April 11, 2014

Pete's Dish - April 11

What's going on in and about town!

Juni (12 E 31st St, New York, NY, 212-995-8599, jumps into a fresh-as-spring menu with Executive Chef Shaun Hergatt’s new dishes that pay homage to childhood favorites and  lessons learned in culinary school before he became the Chef/Owner of Michelin-starred SHO Shaun Hergatt. I love this restaurant—read my review here as evidence! The new menu reflects Japanese kaiseki cuisine but also look for the beet tuile canapé and the rhapsodic riff on the Cherry Ripe chocolate-cherry candy bar Hergatt grew up eating in Australia (a foie gras bombe, anyone?). Black bass with English pea shoots, fennel, Crystal lettuce, and white balsamic sauce; a rabbit loin roulade with carrots presented six ways, radishes and green-peppercorn cream sauce; gnocchi with sea urchin and crab sauce; frogs' legs with fava beans and white balsamic gelee…ooh, such a caution!

DARUMA-YA (428 Greenwich St, New York, NY, 212-274-0428,, a cozy Japanese izakaya and soba noodle house debuted this week in Tribeca. The long lounge casually conspires to feature an elegant, wood-paneled dining room with wooden floors and cushiony dark wood chairs embraced by a splash of burgundy. Soba Master Shuichi Kotani (who has taught everyone from legendary Chef Joel Robuchon to Top Chef’s Gail Simmons to make soba) hand-cuts and hand-rolls the delicate noodles, made from Japanese buckwheat, into hot and cold soba dishes such as duck soba, Japanese bottarga soba and sashimi soba. Chef Nobuhito Dosei prepares the izakaya menu. There are fish dishes such as sashimi, tartar and carpaccio and hot dishes include grilled lobster with sea urchin and mayonnaise sauce. The full bar offers a selection of sake, beer, Japanese whiskies, and specially crafted cocktails.

Classic French cuisine has settled into downtown Manhattan as Jacques Ouari, entrepreneur and leader of the Jacques Restaurant Group, takes Jacques 1534 (20 Prince St, 212-966-8886, New York, NY, into its next decade with a new menu featuring approachable comfort food with cavorting cuisine and a carefully curated selection of handcrafted cocktails. Signature dishes initially found at the original Jacques Brasseries on the UES (mussels, steak frites, organic roasted chicken and warm chocolate soufflé) are still available at Jacques 1534, but there is also a new, mostly French-UK element at play (as well as other international influences); a little bit French bistro, a little bit English pub. Starters include black kale salad, and speck and Napa cabbage with tart-sweet dried cherries a drizzle of olive oil. Mains include Chatham cod fish ‘n’ chips; pan-seared Nile perch, served with basil couscous and harissa vinaigrette and braised short ribs with smoked-paprika mashed potatoes. Desserts include French classics such as crème brulèe and tartes aux pommes. Seasonally inspired cocktails incorporate fresh squeezed juices, house made purees and syrups with the hooch. Cheers to the Jacques 1534 crafted with Hendrick's Gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, fresh mint and cucumber. A votre sante, mate!