Friday, December 17, 2010

My Recipe in’s Christmas Cookbook


If you need some unique and delicious recipes for the Holidays, check out all the recipes from’s Christmas cookbook. My favorite is on Page 15, Cranberry Apple Sauce Bowls…because it’s mine! I make it several times at this time of the year for myself and to bring to Holiday dinners. Everyone loves homemade cranberry sauce. All the recipes come from food lovers like me which makes it special. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

posted by funfoodwithmonica at 10:36 am  

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Forty Four Bar & The Cocktail Collective

monica_dinatale_forty_four.jpg  Just the name “Cocktail Collective” peaked my interest but I could not have imagined how unique the cocktails were. Forty Four at the Royalton Hotel is above and beyond the scope of your average hotel bar. First, the cocktails. The “Cocktail Collective” is a group of the best bartenders in the country each suggesting their favorite cocktail for The Royalton. The drinks are a throwback to a time when drinking a cocktail was an experience. Think Mad Men meets NYC midtown. Willy Shine of Contemporary Cocktails mixes drinks like a scientist complete with house made grenadine and simple sugar syrups. Even the ice and glasses are customized to the beverage! My favorite was the Stone Place; aged Jamaican rum, fresh squeezed organic lemon and orange juice, house made grenadine, shaken and served up with a dusting of nutmeg. You’ll also find standards like The Singapore Sling from The Raffles Hotel and a Champagne Cobbler. Chef Scott Ekstrom, formerly of Daniel and Oceana, has created a tapas style menu with equal intensity. Meant to be shared, each dish has layers of flavors that continue to explode in your mouth with each bite. I can tell you to place 2 orders of the Pork Belly Tacos with pickled garlic and fresh lime because 1 just isn’t enough! If you are a seafood fan, the Warm Shrimp Cocktail with blood orange curry and black lime is also a winner. While the menu boasts New York prices (Items start at $15), I can tell you that it is worth the splurge! It’s midtown location make it perfect for locals and impressive for visitors. My advice, put the Blackberry away, sip a cocktail and enjoy the moment…Chef Ekstrom shared his recipe for Warm Shrimp Cocktail with my readers. warm_shrimp_cocktail.doc Enjoy! For more information go to 

posted by funfoodwithmonica at 4:07 pm  

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Monica DiNatale at Mel’s Burger Bar


Mel’s Burger Bar at 110th and Broadway in New York City is no ordinary burger joint. With the fun combinations of Sandwich and Burgers, plain lettuce and tomato would just be too boring here, although you can have your burger anyway you want it! I preferred the Broadway Burger with melted swiss, onions, thick Neuske’s bacon and jalapenos on sliced, toasted sourdough. If you like a little spice with your food, you’re going to love it!  The Chili was delicious and the Atomic Fries, were fun and unique.  Seriously, topped with a Buffalo-like sauce over real cut potatoes, these were excellent fries!  Thirsty???  There are always 18 draft beers and the tap lined back bar make trying each one very tempting!  Which is why this is a perfect time to stop by. . . Mel’s is participating in the New York Craft Beer Week by offering a fixed price $40 beer and food pairing.  This offer can’t be beat and is a fun way to enjoy good food and great craft beer specialties in one visit!  Like what you drink??  Mel’s sells each beer by the ‘growler’ to take home and enjoy later!  But, I must be honest, and, true to form, my favorite part of the menu is the “spiked” milkshakes. Excellent frozen concoctions like the “Beer & Cookies” shake made with Stout ice cream was so unique I wanted to taste all 12 flavors immediately, and I will, all in due time.  The “Shot of Joe” with mocha chip ice cream and Kahlua and Bailey’s is a chocolate lover’s dream. Mel’s uses Max & Mina’s homemade ice cream from Queens to develop the special flavors.  The in-crowd, families, burger and beer fanatics, and Columbia students all have something to love at this cool and busy Upper West Side newcomer. For more information go to

posted by funfoodwithmonica at 11:08 am  

Friday, September 10, 2010

NY Craft Beer Week Exclusive Press Preview


Beer enthusiasts and foodies alike are united in the 3rd Annual NY Craft Beer Week, September 24 to October 3. The kickoff event was sponsored by Brooklyn Brewery and provided a sneak peek at some of the beers being offered this year. The citywide event covers all five boroughs and offers the opportunity to enjoy over 100 craft beers as well as Zagat’s “Beer Pairing Menus.” I can tell you, from first hand experience, that these craft beers are truly unique and leave you wanting more! Just purchase your NYC Beer Passport 2010 for $10 for a full list of participating bars and restaurants. The passport allows you to sample craft beers for $3 at participating merchants. That’s right, $3!  Quite a beer deal for the big city!  

Among my favorites sampled were Brooklyn Brewery’s Cookie Jar Porter, a delicious blend of Oatmeal Cookies and dark malty liquid gold. Not too sweet but just enough flavor to get my attention. Victory Brewing Company offers a wide range of Belgian and German style beers including Saison du BUFF, a blend of rosemary, sage and thyme. It was like drinking Thanksgiving in a glass. Ommegang Brewery form Cooperstown, NY offers one of the smoothest Pale Ales I’ve tasted and Goose Island Brewery makes 50 craft beers including Madame Rose that ages in wine barrels with whole cherries. I sampled Sofie, a dry sparkling ale with a hint of orange peel and vanilla. All of these beers were fantastic!  Craft beers are here to stay!

I know some of you are purists and just want to drink a Bud and be happy, but for a $10 passport you might just discover a world of enjoyment you never knew existed. Trust me, it’s worth it!

To purchase your Beer Passport and get more information go to  CHEERS!!!

posted by funfoodwithmonica at 9:59 am  

Friday, June 25, 2010

Casimir Restaurant


In Alphabet City, there is an abundance of cozy restaurants, cafes, bistros, each more inviting than the next. A steady stream of foreigners confirm the international flavor of the area, and opportunity to find some authentic French cuisine. Casimir, on Avenue B between 6th & 7th will not only meet your expectations but exceed them! One word…mussels. To me the best mark of a French restaurant is a bowl of steaming mussels steeped in a delicious broth. I want to have juice dripping down my chin and several baskets of bread to soak up the goodness. Let’s just say the bowl was empty and my soul was happy. Light and flavorful with a bite of garlic, these mussels are among the best I’ve tasted. Other things to try include the Grilled Pork Chop, homemade Soups and, of course, Steak Frites. Casimir is very reasonable for the quality of food as well with entrees between $12 and $25 and several bottles of wine under $30. Saturday and Sunday brunch is only $9.95. The atmosphere reminds me of the time I spent in Paris. Tin ceilings, brick walls, ceiling fans and dim lighting instantly relax you. The outdoor patio is also a bonus for those that spend most of the day indoors. I liked their signature espresso with Pistachio Ice Cream but the real star dessert was the Tarte Tatin served warm with vanilla ice cream. Casimir is good for groups and romantic evenings. Casimir, 103 Avenue B 212-358-9683

posted by funfoodwithmonica at 12:07 pm  

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