Halstead Property

Welcome to the official Halstead Tumblr Blog, where our local agents are your local experts. Halstead Property is the largest privately owned real estate firm in the New York Metropolitan Area and we strive to innovate and modernize your real estate experience. Through this blog, we aim to act as your neighborhood and real estate ambassador. We have daily contributors whose primary goal is to investigate and produce daily commentary and rich content that will give you a taste of the areas we service and you live in. If you have any feedback we invite you to contact us at social@halstead.com.

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94 posts tagged Food

VINTAGE NEW YORK – MOM-AND-POP SHOPS

By: Danielle Middleton, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Halstead Property East Side Office.  

At one time, food was personal and quality didn’t have to be demanded because it was expected. When my father and his siblings were growing up, my grandmother would go to the butcher for her meats, the pork store for her sausages, the fish store for her fish, and the bakery for her bread. She knew each owner by name and her shopping routine was more of a social activity than a chore. These specialty stores were a way of life in New York City and they made up the identity of each neighborhood. 

Now,  many of these specialty stores have faded into a competitive jungle of supermarkets and internet delivery services. A well known grocery chain took over the old bank where my grandmother used to work, and many other storefronts were replaced by trendier shops The unique flavors that had once identified each neighborhood may be far and few and in between (RIP prosciutto balls from Joe’s Pork Superette), but thankfully, some still remain in a current sea of mass production. 

The old world butchers and specialty shops that still exist are kept alive by the loyalty of their aging customers. It is the younger generation that needs to help sustain their future and preserve the history of their craft. Since very few of us are going to butcher a cow just to make a hamburger, don’t you want to know who is doing this for you? Or, where the meat came from and what the animal is fed? I know that I sure do! 

I have many favorite specialty shops in Brooklyn and Queens, but here are the top five on my list:

1. K&T Quality Meats

This local butcher has serviced Astoria for over 30 years. I walked by their unassuming store front a zillion times before actually going in. I’m so upset that it took me so long to discover this neighborhood gem! Purchasing meat from K&T is more of an exciting experience than a boring chore. All of the on-site butchers take pride in being able to guide their customers and service their community.

Locate at 33-14 Ditmars BLVD, Astoria, NY 11105

2. Court Pastry Shop 

This small bakery has been in business for over 70 years. They have a little window facing the street where people can order an Italian ice to go. I have so many childhood memories of devouring their ices on hot, summer days. Another family staple is their delicious pignoli cookies. We never have a party without them!

Located at: 298 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231

3. Peter Pan Donut and Pastry Shop

This February, My mother, sister and I were casually walking down Manhattan Ave when we accidentally stumbled upon Peter Pan’s Donut and Pastry Shop; it was a very, very happy accident. This little store serves up some BIG desserts. There is a very small take-out counter and a breakfast bar. Whether you take-out or eat-in, you won’t be disappointed.  Located at 727 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222

4.  Fish Tales 

Staying true to Italian tradition, my family celebrates every Christmas Eve by feasting on the “seven fishes”. Every year my grandmother orders all of the fish a month in advance from Fish Tales. In all these years we have never had a bad experience. The service and fish are both well worth the trip to Brooklyn!

Located at 191 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201

5. Morscher’s Pork Store

Sausage making is an art form that the dedicated butchers of  Morscher’s Pork Store have perfected. Each piece is filled with the best meat and complimentary spices. Once you try a sausage from Morscher’s Pork Store, you will not be able to eat any other brand. Ridgewood, Queens is lucky to have them!  

Located at 58-44 Catalpa Ave, Ridgewood, NY 11385

Connect with Danielle on her agent website or find her on twitter to ask her a question of your own.

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Thoughts and opinions presented in this post are those of Danielle Middleton’s and do not reflect the opinions of Halstead Property, LLC.

NEIGHBORHOOD SPOTLIGHT: Silvana-NYC

By: Ann Deane, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Halstead Property Westside Office. 

Open since last June, Silvana in Harlem features live music 7 nights a week and is the sister club of Shrine that’s located further north on Adam Clayton Boulevard and 133rd Street. These two venues represent the last of a dying breed of night clubs featuring  live music in what used to be a rich culture. When I was at Silvana I had the treat of hearing Afro-pop music of Timbila that featured sounds from Mali and Madagascar. They jammed well and featured the Kora, a finger guitar-harp instrument from West Africa.  Afterwards, Feedel, an Ethiopian band that hails from Washington, DC took the stage and played a full hour and a half set. 

In addition to enjoying great music, we ate falafel with a creamy tahini sauce that was light and airy, and Sabich which is a traditional egg sandwich that features a fluffy potato chip as a Silvana touch (pictured above). Another must try is the lamb shawarma, every bite was tasty and juicy. The venue also  features a boutique and café upstairs. 

Connect with Ann on her agent website to learn more about her and the neighborhood. 

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 Find Halstead Property on Foursquare to learn more about the best of dining in Harlem, and for hundreds of other neighborhood tips. 

Thoughts and opinions presented in this post are those of Anne Deane and do not reflect the opinions of Halstead Property, LLC.

Around & About Riverdale

By Vicki Green, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Halstead Property Riverdale Office. 

Welcome to Riverdale as we eagerly prepare for exciting weekend celebrations in honor of two occasions. Saturday March 15th marks the start to the Holidays of Purim commonly celebrated by both the Jewish and non-Hebrew community, followed by St. Patrick’s Day on Monday, March 17th. Festivities abound so put on your dancing shoes and your Queen Esther tiaras, turn towards Spring, shake those Winter blues and come together to share the music, the songs, the food and traditions of these two beloved holidays. And who knows, you may even spot a Leprechaun or two!

Hebrew Institute of Riverdale will be celebrating Purim with a reading of the Megillah (the story of Purim) on Saturday evening at 8:30 PM followed by a gala performance by the famed comedy group, Chicago City Limits. Pizza, drinks and snacks will be served. For more details on tickets and for reservations contact (718) 796-4730 or visit the event website.  

All are invited to join the The Riverdale Y on Sunday, March 14th from 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM for the best Purim Carnival in town. It promises loads of fun for everyone with activities like a Purim costume parade, live music, food and much more.

Join the crowd at  Kelly Ryan’s Bar and Restaurant located at 5790 Mosholu Avenue for a weekend of St. Paddy’s Day celebrations beginning with Karaoke and an open mic on Friday evening, plus live music on Saturday (March 14th). Families are invited to partake in the fun on Sunday from 4 PM – 10 PM when kids under 7 eat for free, and there will also be free face painting, music, and song. Stop by on your way to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, or visit afterward to enjoy a treat from the traditional Irish menu served daily.

Get your Irish on at  An Beal Bocht Café  located at 445 West 238th Street. Beginning at 8:00 PM on St. Patrick’s Day with live music performances by the Irish band, Morning Star and for the Worlds’ Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Parade participants are asked to contribute a $25 donation with proceeds benefiting The Aisling Community Center in Yonkers to help feed the homeless. 

Enjoy the ambiance of a traditional Irish Pub at Riverdale Steak House  located at 5700 Riverdale Avenue. Feast on authentic Irish fare like corned beef and cabbage, Dingle Fish pie and Shepherd’s Pie. Thrill to the sounds of the Pipers and Irish DJ, Good Time Willie. Don’t forget to visit the charming and delightful Mary-Anne’s Irish gift shop for one-of-a-kind handmade items.

Connect with me over email or visit my agent website to learn more about the neighborhood, and for all of your Riverdale real estate needs.

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Thoughts and opinions presented in this post are those of Vicki Green and do not reflect the opinions of Halstead Property Riverdale, LLC.

Your Guide to Valentine’s Day 2014 

New York City might not be universally known as the city of Love, but the Big Apple certainly doesn’t fall short on offering an endless number world-class activities to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Many spots throughout the city have served as a backdrop to the most iconic romance films in American history - and you have the chance to recreate these storied scenes; Or if you choose to create your own memories, let our Neighborhood Expert Agents do all the planning. Whether you’re a hopeless romantic who’s content with a walk through Central Park, or you prefer a more avant-garde approach like a costume affair to show your love and affection - the city that never sleeps offers something suited for virtually everyone.

We’re here to make sure you and your sweetheart don’t find yourselves stuck with mediocre take-out and a bad Netflix marathon for the big occasion. We’ve got you covered with our Valentine’s Day 2014 Guide with plans for both kindred souls and singles alike. 

Neighborhood Dining Guide - Midtown East and Upper East Side 

Fresco by Scotto - Don’t let a prix fixe menu frighten you any longer. Fresco by Scotto on the border of Midtown and the Upper East Side will have you drooling not just over your date, but over their heart-shaped Margherita pizza accompanied by, what else, a Love salad. What exactly does a love salad entail, you ask? Made of baby arugula, frisée greens, goat cheese fondue served at just the right temperature, fresh strawberries and champagne vinaigrette. We promise you’ll never judge heart-shaped food the same way again. 

Sarabeth’s - Put on something dapper and head to one of the most respected restaurants in Manhattan. And why not build up the suspense with a little pampering from a Madison Ave Shopping spree before you indulge in a very special Valentine’s Day cocktail menu featuring Cupids Arrow or a glass of Chocolate Lovers. After an entree of osso bucco or Chilean sea bass, Sarabeth’s recognizes the value in keeping things simple so enjoy the delicate chocolate covered strawberries and each other’s conversation for dessert. 

Ristorante Morini - Gentlemen, beware, Michael White will have your date swooning over his famous pasta medley’s for the rest of the evening. Known among the who’s-who of foodies for his legendary dishes at Osteria Morini, Ai Fiori and Marea - he’s done it again, and created a Valentine’s Day feast fit for a King (and his Queen). Your palate is in for a refined treat with marsala-braised snails and porcini mushrooms with fresh black truffles complimented by pressed white sturgeon Caviar seasoned with chives and lemon creme fraiche. If you’re still salivating for more, go ahead and make a res already to find out what’s for dessert. 

Villard Mansion -  As if anymore attention needs to be given to make sure your loved one feels extra special tonight, the intimate (read: exclusive) newly opened saloon inside the historic Villard Mansion boasts a limited number of 25 seats and is reservation only. So you can imagine the sky high demand for landing a table at this legendary restaurant inside The Palace New York Hotel. An evening of French American cuisine sounds regal enough, but add a gilded age setting like this for an unforgettable special occasion. 

Juni - The adventurous duo will fall weak in the knees at first sight of this eclectic 5 course menu. It all sounds like fun and games, but we know the chef means business despite his use of dainty ingredients that sound like an ancient herbal remedy, like Foie Gras sprinkled with Hibiscus Almond Dust, Feather Ridge Farm Egg cloaked in ethereal Sunchoke Espuma and New York Squab strewn with Rose Petals and drizzled with Lovage Oil. 

Enduro - A complimentary bottle of Brut is a great start to the evening. One bite of the Lobster Bisque or New York Strip with shallot marmalade drizzled with black truffle sauce and you will already be scheduling your next reservation.

Visit Halstead Property on Foursquare to learn more about the best of dining in NYC, and for hundreds of other neighborhood tips. 

Stay tuned for more recommendations from our neighborhood expert agents with Your Guide to Valentine’s Day 2014. 

(Pictured above are Sarabeth’s Baked Sweet Heart Cookies and Profiteroles from Villard)

LAURA RUBIN ON….TRIBECA

TriBeCa is my favorite neighborhood in Manhattan.  If you decide to become a regular follower of my blog (as you should)  Tribeca will come up often about places to be seen and to live.  Why do I love Tribeca so much ?  Tribeca has many landmarked buildings which aren’t very tall giving the neighborhood an open and airy feel that you are not used to in most Manhattan neighborhoods.  It is also not over commercialized and many of the store and restaurants are owned by local Manhattan residents.  The other thing I love about this nabe are the restaurants.  Not only because of how good the food is (arguably best in the world) but because of the many different ambiances and how many of the best spots, don’t even have a sign on the front of the restaurant. 

Here are two of my favorites that you have to try as soon as possible, enjoy!

Girello

11 Varick/North Moore

If  the warm, candlelit ambiance doesn’t make you feel at home, the friendly service will.  Girello is nestled next to its sister restaurant and 30 year Tribeca staple, Walker’s.  Girello provides tasty comfort food and sizable portions at a reasonable price.  They also offer a too good to be true happy hour special.  Their homemade Neapolitan style thin crust pizza comes is complimentary at the bar between 4pm-7pm M-F. 

Laura’s Must Haves:

* Meatball Pomodoro

* Neapolitan style thin crust pizza

Smith and Mills

If you’re not paying attention you may miss this hidden treasure disguised as what looks like a rusty old garage.  Once inside, you’ll feel the rustic charm that is, Smith and Mills.  This unique and cozy space is great to catch up with friends or even for a first (or second!) date.  The bartenders will be happy to serve you a signature cocktail or one of your old favorites.  The food is light and delicious.  Oh, and be sure to check out the most interesting bathroom you have ever been in … J

Laura’s Must Haves:

* Warm Lentil and Squash Salad

* Mussels

Connect with Laura on twitter or on your agent website.

Made in NYC

Shopping regionally and supporting the local economy is important anytime of the year. The holiday season is an especially opportune time to draw attention to the countless number of creative, talented and artistic entrepreneurs who design and make their goods in one of the five boroughs of New York City. Supporting all things Made in NYC helps generate revenue, promotes small business, and fosters a never ending talent pool; so why not treat yourself and graciously spend any green you received during the holidays on the best products made in Gotham City? From food to fashion, our well-heeled neighborhood expert agents list their favorite Made in NYC items: 

For the fashion mavens out there, you can get one (or a few…) original frocks from NYC based designer Emily Saunder, who’s eclectic clothing line called Saunder has been featured multiple times on the industry proclaimed Fashion Bible – WWD.com, and was even given a nod during Mercedes-Benz New York City Fashion Week. Noted for her commitment to supporting homegrown industry, her latest collection exudes edgy femininity with an eclectic twist.

Halstead pick: Emerald Geometric Dress -  setting a trend for the season with mixes of washed silk and metallic jacquard and modern lines. 

If you have an eye for design with an eco-friendly nod, you’ll adore Urban Green’s home furnishing products. The Brooklyn based company has been a go-to source for over 70 years for their Eco-friendly, sustainable wood furniture finished with low-VOC, toxin-free stains and paints to promote a healthier environment either in your home, the office, or the outdoors. All of their wood is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The originality and delicacy of their products earned them a profile in the New York Post as a go-to spot for any non-Brooklyn resident seeking the borough’s signature look.  

Foodies and purveyors of anything homemade should head to Broadway Baker. Everything they churn out is baked from scratch and custom to order from their hand-crafted cookies (pictured above), brownies, cupcakes and granola. Best of all – it doesn’t get any more guilt free than their  proud commitment to donating a portion of all sales to multiple NYC charities including Alzheimer’s Association NYC Chapter, ASPCA and Broadway Cares/EFA. 

Discover more items from local designers and artists at MadeinNYC.org.  

(Image Courtesy: Broadway Baker)

Your Guide to Holiday Treats in NYC

Among the many reasons to be thankful during this time of year, the encouragement to over indulge in savory sweets is one of our favorites. The holiday season is a rare time of year where get-out-of-jail-free cards for ditching your diet are handed out on the daily, so why not make the most of it and try the best holiday desserts you can find in New York City. We rounded up our top 10 listed below, with so many more included in our Foursquare lists with hundreds of tips from our neighborhood expert agents.

Melt Bakery - You’ll say anything but ‘ba humbug’ to the Fezziwig - 2 of their famous sticky toffee “meltcakes” wrapped around hot buttered rum ice cream, so decadent and rich even Scrooge would be pleased.

 Treat House - You’d never guess these delicious confectionery pieces of heaven were created accidentally. Gourmet rice krispy treats sans holiday touch is great but the Sugar Cookie-Snowflake rendition is priceless.

Magnolia Bakery – They might be the reigning King of Desserts regardless of the season, but a holiday favorite is the sno-cap cupcake- devils food cake topped w/peaks of savory meringue icing dusted with coconut flakes.

Doughnut Plant – Give us a donut any time of the year and we’ll be happy, but our expectations were exceeded when we tasted the roasted chestnut cake holiday special. It was almost a welcomed sensory overload.

Three Tarts – We were pleading for s’ more of the savory spin on salty and sweet with a gourmet s’more oozing with rosemary marshmallow melted between 2 chocolate chip graham cookies.

My Sweet Brigadeiro -  You can thank us later for introducing you to a traditional Brazilian dessert, think of it as the lovechild from a piece of fudge and a chocolate truffle into a bite sized treat. With a base made from dark chocolate then smothered with crunchy toppings like coconut and pistachio, try eating just one of these. 

Spot Dessert Bar – When you crave an innovative and unique dessert, this place is like a tapas bar filled with innovative creations such as the Green tea lava cake. We’ve never seen an explosion of green tea like it, and we loved it.

Arlington Club – Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol comes to life with the best figgy pudding you can find stateside; rich, sticky date pudding is served warm with buttery-sweet toffee and ginger ice cream.

The Dutch – A true foodie is no stranger to the Dutch, and we’re happy to report we were pleased yet again. This time we opted for the mouthwatering Peanut butter ice box pie with salted caramel ice cream.

ABC Kitchen – Talk about dessert porn, a slice of the rich chocolate layer cake with malted chocolate ganache and toasted marshmallow icing to add texture is as heavenly as it sounds. It’s not at all overindulgent. 

Meet our agents to learn more about them, and their endless neighborhood Foursquare tips

THE BEST FROM THE BEST

 By Louise Phillips Forbes - One of Wall Street Journal/Real Trend’s Top 250 Agent Teams by Sales Volume in the US for 2013 

Part 3 of 4 of our Q&A with four of the Top Agents in the Country that work at Halstead Property on their Best Hidden Secret in the Neighborhoods they work in.

Here is what Louise had to say.

“Dr. J Y Yan Acupuncturist & Herbalist is the best! With 40+ years of experience, he’s got the magic touch! I’m convinced there is nothing he can’t treat. My chi has never been freer and more balanced. When you’re finished there, head to RedFarm Restaurant for some outstanding, creative Chinese cuisine. It’s clean and greenmarket fresh with farm-to-table creations from chef Joe Ng and Chinese food expert Ed Schoenfeld. I love the dumplings and steamed sea bass! The 1828 townhouse space is authentically charming, warm and comfortable.”

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To Connect with Louise and her team, visit their website.

NYC MUST DO: Cooking Class at Sur La Table

Fall is the perfect time to indulge with your loved one in delicious comfort food and to cozy up by the fire. This Friday, join Sur La Table in creating an updated version of the timeless picnic favorite, deviled eggs, a new twist on the classic Wellington in a rich, pastry-wrapped pork tenderloin, rustic root veggies, and a creamy, tangy and delectable dessert.

Great cooking isn’t just about recipes—it’s about techniques. In this class you will work together with other students in a fun, hands-on environment led by professional chef instructors. You will learn fundamental skills for a lifetime of great cooking! Many of our agents have tried and absolutely loved the experience.

The class will last for 2 ½ hours and you can purchase your $69 ticket online ahead of time. For more information view the events about page.

While you are in the Hell’s Kitchen area why not extend the evening and go out for wine or a cocktail at one of the area’s best nightlife locations?

THIS WEEK IN PARK SLOPE 

Week of August 16th

by Scott Olsen, Licensed Associate Broker in our Park Slope Office & Neighborhood Expert

This week marked the opening of a new foodie establishement in Park Slope!  It is called The Walk-In Cookbook located at 72 Seventh Avenue, Between Berkeley and Lincoln Place in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

What separates The Walk-In Cookbook and caught my eye versus other establishments is that they supply you with a colorful recipe card, supply the ingredients in measured portions to fit the recipe and sell it as a package!

They also let you know what you need from your basic pantry at home.

The Walk-In Cookbook also sells infused olive oils, which you bottle yourself, along with other gourmet and organic foods, spices and tools in a simple clean format that encourages creative cooking for the experienced and novice, both!

Right next door to our 76 Seventh Avenue office, we have no excuse to go home empty handed at dinnertime thanks to our new neighbors!

Moving forward in weeks ahead I look forward to sharing my hidden treasures of the neighborhood I live and breathe.  

To network with Scott, visit his website here or email him at solsen@halstead.com.

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Thoughts of This Week in Park Slope are those of Scott Olsen and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Halstead Brooklyn, LLC 

BEST MINIATURE RESTAURANT TREASURES IN NEW YORK CITY

Blink twice and you might miss the objects of NYC’s latest foodie craze. Somewhere in-between a bona fide full-service restaurant and the now famous food truck lies these “small wonders” as Crain’s New York recently put it which are miniature restaurant spaces where the only thing bite-sized is the square feet, specifically less than 200 square feet of interior space. Think of it as the next component to the micro-apartment, places like Meatball Obsession in Greenwich Village and Screme Gelato Bar on the Upper West Side offer some of the best food in New York City. We’re sure there are more spots hidden throughout the Big Apple’s nooks and crannies yet to be discovered, but our neighborhood expert agents recommend the following places to try right now: 

Meatball Obsession –What  looks like a doorway right next to Urban Outfitters in Greenwich Village is actually the home of the original meatball in a cup, and a to-go cup at that. A favorite with the lunch crowd, you can order a perfectly portioned serving of delicious meatballs, homemade sauce and bread at the window and be on your way in no time. We love the pork sausage meatballs, and if your taste buds are not part of the plain-Jane kind then add their cauliflower topping for extra flavor.

Bisous, Ciao. – When you think Macaroons your mind immediately reverts to world-renowned bakery Laduree. But our agents with a penchant for delicate and sweet Parisian pastries swear by Bisous, Ciao with 2 pocket sized Manhattan outposts located on the Lower East Side and Greenwich Village. There aren’t any tables but creator Tanya Ngangan purposely designed it to be reminiscent of her favorite old-world European patisserie’s. Table or no table –we’re obsessed with the Salted Caramel flavor and recommend it as a must try to everyone. A classic chocolate macaroon (pictured above) is also as good as it gets.

Screme Gelato Bar – The name itself reveals everything you need to know –a gelato bar. What’s better than that? Well their wholesome ingredients up the ante even further with original, unique gelato flavors produced daily and on the spot. Our eyes glazed over with one tastes of options like Whiskey Chocolate, Fig & Tequila, and Peanut Butter Pretzel. The ingredients don’t include any eggs or preservatives either and are Kosher Parve and Dairy. Manhattan boasts multiple such gelato bars all conveniently located near our Upper West Side office.

Simply Sliders – How fitting that these mouthwatering sliders are cooked up in a closet-sized space in Midtown East? Located on 43rd between Lexington and 3rd Ave is a no frills joint to satiate you midday burger craving. As you can imagine the lunch time/work crowd lines can get long, but once you try variations on the classic slider like a Black and Blue burger dressed with Gorgonzola cheese, sautéed onions that are so fragrant, turkey bacon and tomato you won’t care about any lines. 

(Image Courtesy: Bisous Ciao)

BEST THINGS TO DO AROUND OUR CONNECTICUT OFFICES IN AUGUST

August has now arrived, and the Connecticut towns are sure living up their last month of summer. With the plethora of food, exercise, music, and art events occurring, you will certainly be kept busy. Check out these exciting summer events happening near our offices in Connecticut.

Exercise/Active Events

New Canaan Summer Cross Country Series

Waveny Park, 677 South Avenue, New Canaan CT

Get your exercise in every August Tuesday in the 34th annual series of fun and friendly races in Waveny Park. Each week has a new trail within the park for you to conquer. Bring the entire family along because kids can take part in their own shorter race before you get started. The fun continues as prizes are given to the top 3 overall runners, first place runner who is 18 & younger and first place runner who is 40 & over!

Farewell to Summer Night Hike

144 Oenoke Ridge, New Canaan CT

Test out your nature ties on Friday, August 23rd on a New Canaan community night-hike. You will be exploring the grounds of New Canaan using only 3 of the 5 senses - smelling, hearing, and touching, as flashlights are not permitted on the hike. It will be an opportunity to use your night vision when taking on the dark. Sign up soon because space is limited.

New Balance New Canaan All out for Autism

128 Main Street, New Canaan CT

Open to all, come check out the 4th annual All out for Autism 5k run hosted by New Balance in New Canaan on Saturday, August 24th. Whether you’re a sprinter, runner, jogger, or walker – register for this Main Street run to honor and raise money for the continuation of changing the lives of many. Nothing is more rewarding than raising awareness for an organization while promoting health and fitness.

Art/Music Events

Silvermine Art’s Center ArtsFest

1037 Silvermine Road, New Canaan CT

This Saturday, August 10, the 3rd Annual ArtsFest will be taking place in New Canaan. Here you can experience a festival full of music, parades, art, and workshops you don’t want to miss. Enjoy the outdoor concert of Maracatu Nação Estrela Brilhante’s Tale of Two Nations followed by an exciting parade featuring workshop participants. Hands-on activities are available for people of all ages as well. Enjoy this full afternoon of fun at the Silvermine Arts Center.

Litchfield Jazz Festival

Goshen Fairgrounds, Goshen CT

This weekend Goshen Fairgrounds is hosting the 18th annual Litchfield Jazz Festival from Friday August 9th to Sunday August 11th. This 3 day weekend is filled with some of the best jazz musicians, food and drink vendors, and art shows around. Not only that, you will have the chance to attend “Friends of the Festival” Opening Night Gala to help raise money for Litchfield Jazz Camp to continue providing camper scholarships.  Bring the kids along because there’s a Kids Zone where children 12 and under enter free and have a fun day filled with art, music, circus activities, magicians, and more ahead of them. Don’t miss out on one of the biggest summer weekends!

Milford Oyster Festival

Westfield Connecticut Post Mall, Milford CT

If a variety of 20,000 oysters isn’t already enough, this Milford festival is filled with live music performances, car shows, art projects, food, drinks, amusement rides, schooner cruises, and plenty more. For 39 years people have gathered to celebrate music, art, and community in all of these various activities. This summer the music group, Blues Traveler, will provide entertainment and classic music covering all different genres for everyone. The festival is held Saturday, August 17th, but don’t miss out on Oyster Eve to get the party started on the Friday before!

65th Annual Blues, Views, and BBQ Festival

Levitt Pavilion and the Westport Public Library, 40 Jesup Road, Westport CT

Southern tradition comes to Westport with an exciting weekend filled with music, food, and activities. On August 31and September 1, you can be part of pie and rib eating contests, experience live cooking demos, become a kid again when enjoying inflatable activities, and eat at a food court full of great BBQ. All of this is accompanied by live outside performances played throughout the day.  Tickets are on sale now.

Food

2013 Summer Restaurants Week

It’s not only in New York City where we like to celebrate a few weeks of fine dining at our favorite restaurants. From August 19th- September 2nd, Stamford will be having their Summer Restaurant Week where some of our desired restaurants will be providing great lunch and dinner specials for 2 weeks. Make reservations soon because these places will fill up!

Blind Wine Tasting Class

Barcelona Stamford, 222 Summer St, Stamford CT

This Wednesday, August 7, you have the chance to take part in a wine tasting class unlike other ones you may have done in the past. This time, you won’t know what you’re drinking. You will get to have an experience of trying an assortment of mystery wines with the assistance of Gretchen Thomas. If you’re open-minded and enjoy trying new tastes, this is just the evening activity for you.

French Market

Bedford Street at Forest, Stamford CT

Be sure to come by Stamford’s Farmer’s Market on any Saturday where you can get some of the freshest vegetables and baked goods straight from the farm.  It’s just the place to stock up on delicious, quality foods for the week.

50 Best Things to Eat and Drink Near Halstead Property Offices

Restaurant Week has just begun here in New York City, and there sure is no better time to show our appreciation for delicious foods. Our local expert agents have directed us to go and try some of these dishes that are known to be the best in the country according to GQ Magazine’s list of The 50 Best Things to Eat and Drink Right Now. Be adventurous and see what all the hype is about when dining on these offerings located near our offices.

Deviled Eggs from The Whelk - Delicately prepared, the golden-brown, crispy fried oyster is the start to this scrumptious dish. The shellfish flavor and fried coating is perfectly balanced as it is placed on top of the surface of a cut egg white filled with a dressed up yolk. The yolk’s dressing gives it a creamy flavor and smoother texture. We especially enjoy the sweetness in the dish from the crunchy pickled onions placed on top.

575 Riverside Avenue, Westport, CT 06880 

Howard Pickerell’s Hog’s Neck Oysters from the American Hotel Restaurant -There’s nothing that sets apart the flavor of oysters more than the freshness of the shellfish itself. At the American Hotel’s fine restaurant, freshness is a guarantee, as you eat oysters that are picked just a few hours before by Pickerell himself. Fully appreciate the quality taste by not adding any sauces or sides – we promise they will not leave you disappointed. 

45 Main Street, Sag Harbor, NY 11963 

Brisket Taco from Briskettown - We had just the right start to the morning by ordering this divine breakfast taco. The flour tortilla captures the juiciness from the soft brisket and the spiciness from the hot sauce that is drizzled perfectly over the fluffy scrambled eggs and red-onion. Don’t miss out on one of the best BBQs in NYC.

359 Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY 11211 

Alcachofa from La Vara - Alcachofa, the Spanish word for artichoke, does not come close to describing what you’re about to get in the dish. Yes, the dish is made of artichoke, but the preparation is pure brilliance. The garlic-filled, creamy anchovy sauce is the best compliment to the thick artichoke chunks made tender and fried. By starting your meal with the Alcachofa, you will guarantee an enjoyable experience at this Spanish gem in Cobble Hill. (pictured above)

268 Clinton Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 

Rye Bread from Runner & Stone - For us, excellence in the bread is the first step towards a quality, noteworthy sandwich. Our first bite into this rye bread gave us that smooth and chewy texture with tastes of coriander and fennel. The outer layer was perfectly prepared to a dark crunchy crust that made the bread even more tasteful. We were ready to indulge in the bread alone, but we decided to go ahead and add fresh grilled cheddar to the rye, having all warm flavors melting in our mouths at once.

285 Third Avenue, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, NY 11215 

Whole Roasted Branzino from Talde -The banana leaf seals in the moisture as it lies underneath the fully stuffed, freshly roasted branzino topped with a juicy tomato jam. Put some of the lightly textured branzino in a rice-flour pancake to create an Asian inspired taco unlike any other.

369 7th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215 

Ramen from Ivan Ramen - Ivan Orkin is coming to town and bringing his specialty to the city all the way from Tokyo. As a born New Yorker, Orkin is ready to show NYC what his noodles are all about at his new Lower East Side establishment. His trick is preparing his noodles slowly so that they approach the perfect thickness and texture and then proceeding to add tremendously flavorful sauces to the mix. Try the spicy sesame cold noodle dish that captures a peanut flavored spice that is incredibly refreshing on a summer day.

25 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002 

Cronut from Dominique Ansel Bakery - You better believe in the Cronut Craze because it has become an authentic NYC experience for visitors and residents. One bite of the fried, crunchy outside into a lightly layered inside filled with frosting and you will know why people line up 3 hours before opening to make sure they get one of these decadent half doughnut, half croissant pastries. Check out the creamy blackberry filling that is offered until the end of July! 

189 Spring Street, SoHo, New York, NY 10012 

Open-Faced Beef-Cheek Sandwich from Perla - Over the crunchy, thick slice of fresh filone bread lays a succulent slab of juicy tenderness from the beef cheek. That sounds tasty enough, but they also add a layer of two prepared eggs to include a salt and pepper flavor to the meat sandwich. We love the unique combination and how the open-faced sandwich allows for the bread to not overpower the great beef flavor of the dish.

24 Minetta Lane, West Village, New York, NY 10012 

Candy from Sockerbit - One step into Sockerbit, and you will see that this isn’t your normal candy shop. In its chic white store, the pop of color comes from the abundance of sweet Scandinavian and Swedish candies that are uniquely named and flavored. Try our favorite, the Chokladnallar, which is a vanilla marshmallow gummy bear coated with a layer of delicious smooth milk chocolate that instantly melted in our mouths. We will definitely be back to try some of the original gummies and licorice.

89 Christopher Street, New York, NY 10014 

The Shandy at Atera - This is one of the tastiest drinks to order in the city this summer. The crispy, cold Belgian beer is mixed with Meyer lemons to get a high quality, fruity tang. The mixed drink poured on top of the glass of crushed ice makes for a flavorful and cool refreshment to enjoy at any time of the day.

77 Worth Street, TriBeCa, New York, NY 10013 

Grilled Scallops from Neta - Although Neta, which means the fresh ingredients of sushi, does live up to its name, we are suggesting you go beyond the sushi menu and try some of the tastiest grilled scallops you may ever have. The grilled shellfish went flawlessly with the fresh uni and seared foie gras and was topped impeccably with the smooth garlicky lime butter. Each bite was filled with a blast of melted goodness that had us coming back for more.

61 West 8th Street, New York, NY 10011 

Looking for more recommendations from our local expert agents? Check out our Foursquare Page filled with their favorite meals and desserts to enjoy this summer. 

(Image Courtesy: GQ)

THE BIG APPLE’S BEST SLICE OF PIZZA

We have all grown to love that foldable, classic New York-style slice of pizza. No matter what time of day, it can always be there to satisfy your hunger or craving. Not only have we gathered a list of some of the best slices around, but we have also looked into places where you can consume great pizza while having an intimate meal with friends and family. Check out these places our local expert agents have picked as their favorite pizza places located near our offices! 

Lombardi’s Pizza

It comes to no surprise that the legendary Lombardi’s would be making the list of one of the must have pizza places in the city. The white pizza is a combination of mozzarella, ricotta, and romano cheese and is prepared to have that thin, crunchy crust we all love. Don’t just stop at the white pizza, though, because there are a variety of toppings to choose from that adds that extra something to the pizza. We loved combining two of our favorite Italian foods– pizza and meatballs – into one delicious bite. The meatballs were homemade and just the right thickness and juiciness to add to the cheesy slice. 

32 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012 

Grimaldi’s

Ranked New York City’s #1 Pizza, believe the hype. Since they don’t sell by the slice, we went with a group to taste the large regular pizza. With the first bite, anyone could see it in our faces that we were in heaven. It was all about the freshness and quality of the ingredients. The homemade dough was so perfectly chewy with a crust that was crispy, but not in the slightest burnt. The sauce was delicious and was accompanied by the perfect amount of the freshest mozzarella on top. We will be back to add some of their toppings to the pie!

1 Front Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 

Artichoke Basille’s Pizza & Brewery

Whether some of us were or were not artichoke lovers, we all knew it was a must to order a legendary slice of artichoke pizza. The bread was so incredibly doughy and topped with a mind blowing creamy sauce that had a garlic artichoke flavor. On top of the thick sauce was a bed of cheese perfectly melted to balance out the sauce and thick crust. If you’re ever in East Village, Greenwich Village, or Chelsea make sure to go and taste the magic.

328 E 14th St. New York, NY 10003

 Pulino’s

With high energy and a cool atmosphere, we can always guarantee a great dining experience at Pulino’s. Once awarded New York Best Pizza, we knew exactly what type of food we were going to order when coming. We decided to go with the Prosciutto Arugula – a pizza topped with fresh arugula, prosciutto, mozzarella, and garlic. We loved this classic combination and the garlicky flavor on the melted mozzarella and prosciutto. A trip to try one of their breakfast pizzas will definitely be happening in the future. 

282 Bowery, New York, NY 10012

Posto

As you enter the front of the pizza place, it screams loud and clear on the window what you’re about to get – some delicious thin crust pizza. We went for the shroomtown pizza, which was absolutely scrumptious. The variety of mushrooms was covered by a white truffle oil, marinara sauce, and cheese that all went flawlessly together. We loved the guilt-free feeling we had after eating the tremendously thin pizza almost as much as we loved the taste.

310 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10003 

Joe’s Pizza

We love our traditional New York slice from Joe’s, now offered in both the East and West Village. In just one hot, crunchy bite you can see that this is one of the freshest pies around. There aren’t crazy topping combinations, like many other pizza places like to create, but that’s why we love it – it is a simple slice of pizza prepared to perfection.

150 East 14th Street, New York, NY 10003

 Luzzo’s

When eating pizza at Luzzo’s, it’s definitely easy to believe that you’re on vacation in Italy. This pizza is not the classic type we are familiar with because it is the most authentic Italian pie you will get in the city. With an incredible selection of great toppings to accompany the thin crust, we went for the Diavola which had the perfect ratio of fresh mozzarella, sweet tomato sauce, and spicy salami. We’re ready to return soon to try the other 20 creative pizza concoctions.

 211 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10003

Motorino

Ask anyone who goes, and they will all tell you the same thing – you must order the brussels sprouts pizza from Motorino because it is heaven. Be adventurous with your friends and try that garlic flavor that goes great with the cheese, brussels sprouts and smoked pancetta. All the pizzas are a brick-oven style, so enjoy these awesome toppings with the bubbling, yet thin crust.

349 East 12th Street, New York, NY 10003

Want more expert recommendations for “the Best” of New York City? Visit our Foursquare page for hundreds of neighborhood tips according to our expert agents. 

NOT YOUR AVERAGE FROZEN DESSERTS

The middle of summer is here, making it the perfect time to go out and taste some delicious New York City treats that will help you keep cool in the summer heat. We love the idea of being adventurous and trying new places and the latest refreshing sweets. So when a few scoops of ice cream or a freeze-pop won’t cut it, we found these unique frozen desserts to provide the perfect amount of chill to our day: 

Eataly Gelateria – New York City’s own version of an Italian market has done it right with its gelato. The authentic sweet gelato is made of the freshest local ingredients and flavors that you can only try here. The seasonal flavor is Dolce di Primavera, which is a silky blend topped with crumbs of cake.  Also try one of their signature flavors, such as Pistachio, which is made of pistachios cultivated in Sicilia.

ABC Cocina Popsicles – Started by one of our expert agents’ favorite chefs, Jean-Georges, these $3 popsicles have been the hit of the summer. With three seasonal flavors offered at a time, the herbal flavor is our indulgence of choice, with its refreshing minty yet sweet flavor.

Ample Hills Creamery – We all know and love our favorite Brooklyn shop that serves the richest and most decadent ice cream around. Our favorite is the Pistachio Squared, with its brown sugary pistachios. If it’s sold out, we like to go for our runner up, Salted Crack Caramel. It’s just the right concoction of chocolate, sweet, and salty components.

Pearl & Ash’s Fernet Branca Ice Cream Sandwich – We all grew up with those classic gooey ice cream sandwiches filled with melting, delicious vanilla ice cream inside of the two soft chocolate cookies. Pearl & Ash has taken this childhood dessert to the adult level, with an ice cream that’s a little more bitterly flavored to balance out the liqueur added to the mix. The smiley face on the wax wrapping on the sandwich adds on to the nostalgic experience.

Itizy Ice Cream Pop – This food truck has taken the famous cake pop idea to create a new memorable summer dessert for us to enjoy. One bite into the chocolaty shelled ball on the stick, and you will taste a filling of creamy and smooth ice cream goodness. Time Out New York has suggested we try the Smore’s flavor with a dark chocolate shell covered with those classic Smore’s ingredients, graham cracker and marshmallow. Our local agents also love the simple Coffee Nutella flavor – a refreshing coffee ice cream closed in by a chocolate hazelnut shell – just the perfect combination!

Evergreen Ice Cream Co. – Weekend morning brunches are always a fun summer activity in the city, so why not turn it into a dessert as well? We love to indulge in the Sundae Morning, filled with a blueberry and lemon fruity ice cream topped with velvety cream, sweet breakfast honey and oats. Sure it may not replace our Sunday brunch meals, but it’s a refreshing treat after one!

Handsome Dan’s Snocones – This fun and cozy candy shop has more than just your favorite classic gummies and chocolates. It is home of the most refreshing snow cones that are perfectly shaven and covered evenly throughout by homemade syrup. We enjoyed the Thai iced tea flavor, which tasted like the real thing! Whatever flavor you choose, all cones are topped with condensed milk to add a creamier texture and taste, making it even more delicious.

Hybird’s Loveslush– Eat some juicy fried chicken and end the meal with a slushy? It sounds like an interesting combination, but you’d be surprised. The loveslushes from this food stand are reviving as a midday drink and compliment the chicken very well. Try the honey ginger lemonade – the pleasant ginger flavor and lemon zest blend together to make one tasty drink.

Forbidden Fruit – An assortment of the freshest fruit is coated with a variety of high quality chocolate and sprinkled toppings at this one-year-old shop. We love the juiciness of the pineapple that was dipped in the milk chocolate and coated with coconut flakes. Make sure to take home a package so you can try all of the unique chocolaty fruit combinations!

Casimir & Co’s Summer Sorbet– This new French, Upper East Side restaurant is serving fruity, cold sorbet to go with that hot, sunny summer day. The sorbet is light, yet still has that creamy decadent taste we love. We especially like the coconut with its enriching flavor that is not overpoweringly sweet. We’ll be back this season to taste the other fruity, low calorie options!

Want more tips and recommendations on where to find the tastiest treats in New York City? Visit our Foursqaure page where our neighborhood expert agents have shared hundreds of local tips. 

(Image Courtesy: TimeOut New York)

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