Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bits & Morsels chills out

Outside Mon Petit Cafe.

Here are two places that are great any time of day to hide out and escape the heat for a while. Mon Petit Cafe, which is located at 801 Lexington Avenue, has been in business for 25 years. It’s in my neighborhood, but for some strange reason I had never been there before this weekend.

They have an elegant outdoor seating area and when the weather is sunny the café looks extra inviting. They offer all the French classics on their menu and the prices are reasonable, bordering on inexpensive. You really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu and they are open throughout the day for lunch, brunch and dinner. The food isn’t outstanding but it does the trick when you're looking for that relaxing lunch spot with some friends.

Mon Petit Cafe
801 Lexington Avenue

Eggs florentine. Calves liver.
French toast. Spanish omelette.
Clockwise from above: Eggs benedict with artichoke hearts and swiss cheese; Chocolate mousse; And they even tell you how much to tip!
Another place to escape from the heat is Alice’s Tea Cup, which is located at 156 east 64th street. They have two other locations, one on the Upper West Side (73rd between Amsterdam and Columbus) and the other on the Upper East (81st between 2nd and 3rd). Alice’s is a very upbeat and friendly place, perfect for kids. It is especially fun to go with a group of girls because they have cutesy tchotkes like fairy wings (for sale) which little girls go absolutely crazy for.

The vibe is casual, making it a favorite spot for celebrities. You feel like you are stepping into a fantastic tea party out of Alice in Wonderland. All of their baked items are delicious, made fresh every day. I don’t love scones because they tend to be dry and flavorless. These are moist and delicious. And you must try the pumpkin scones — no need for jelly or clotted cream. It tastes like pumpkin pie and the sweet glaze on top only makes it more indulgent. A counter is set up in the front of the restaurant and you can get toys, tea and scones to go.

Everything at Alice’s from the pleasant staff to the food to the vibe will put you in the right kind of mood. So next time you're in the area, click your heels three times and head over to Alice's.

Alice’s Tea Cup Chapter II
156 East 64th Street
(212) 486-9200
Clockwise from top left: Cute tea cups and saucers; Iced tea; Table is ready for tea; Alice's Tea cup manager Matt Reed.
A great place to go with kids -- where girls can be fairies and princesses.
Tuna sandwich and salad. Ham and Cheese scones.
Pumpkin scones. Pumpkin scone up close.
White chocolate lemon coconut cookies. Blueberry almond scones.
Ice cream cone cookies. Cupcakes.
When you go out, especially in this economy, you should be extra careful when you order. Many restaurants are starting to charge for items that you would normally get for free. Everything from delivery, water, ice, and bread charges are being added to the bill. Safe to say it's putting customers in an awkward position when they have to pay for water. [The New York Post]

I am a big fan of David Burke.
In this economy his restaurants are faring better than other high end restaurants. Why, you ask? Because he is offering major discounts on his food. And he is not being subtle about it. He is utilizing pricing practices that you would see in fast food chains. Normally, restaurants in this class try to be discreet about offering lower prices, but Mr. Burke is being aggressive about it. At Fishtail and David Burke Townhouse, he is offering a 3-course dinner for $20 on Sunday nights, among his many other promotions. [The Wall Street Journal]

Contrary to what you would think ...
in this economic environment more people are opening restaurants than the same time last year. According to the Department of Health, there are 25% more applications for food related businesses than last year. This data is surprising especially since the restaurant industry in New York is so volatile right now. [Crain’s]

Until we eat again,
Jordana Z.

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