Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bits & Morsels dines at the Library

Oscar night at the Library at the Loews Regency Hotel.

Last Sunday night (Oscar night) I went to the Library at the Loews Regency Hotel. The library is in my backyard and I go there often. Just some of the many reasons why I'm a big fan:

1) Great location. Located at 540 Park Avenue at 61st Street, it’s a convenient place to meet, whether you work in midtown or are commuting from uptown.

2) Fully stocked bowls of M&M’s and slinkys for the kiddies.

3) A wide selection of newspapers and magazines to read while you dine. Besides the local papers like the Post, they have a wide and worldly selection of magazines. I feel comfortable going there alone because there is always something to read. It’s actually kind of recession friendly because you can read all of your favorite papers without having to buy them.

Library Manager, Greg Schappert and magician, David Schwartz.
4) Well-positioned televisions on the walls. On Sunday night, I did not have to rush through dinner and worry about missing the Oscars. Usually they broadcast the news, but they are accommodating about changing the channel.

5) The service is friendly. Manager Greg Schappert and his waitstaff make everyone feel at home. The clientele is a mix of hotel guests and those who  just happen to come in for a bite. Most hotel bars feel generic — the Library is genuinely comfy.

6) A menu to please almost everyone. They offer burgers, salads, grilled cheese sandwiches and pizza.  For dessert, the cookie plate is one of the best in town. The cookies are served warm and gooey.

7) The Library is located right next to Feinstein’s (nightclub). Almost every night they have something going on and you can always hear most of the show from the affordable luxury of the library. On Sunday nights at 7:30 they have a magic show and before the show begins, the magician walks around the library doing card tricks at the tables. I don’t understand how, but David Schwartz (the magician), managed to fuse together my playing card and my friend's card using a lighter that was held below our hands.

8) The Library is perfect any time of day and for any occasion. They always have a nice crowd, which makes for excellent people watching. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The room is designed very intelligently with nooks and tables for small and large parties. It's appropriate for  a quiet business meeting, casual cocktails, and even a blind date.

The Library, Loews Regency Hotel, 540 Park Avenue
Clockwise from top left: The Library Located in the Regency; Always fully stocked with papers and magazines; The menu; M&Ms on every table.
My guilty pleasure. Cheese cracker snacks.
More Library snacks. Thin crust pizza with mozzarella and fresh tomato.
Magic trick. Very kid friendly -- they give out toys.
Caesar salad. Grilled cheese (horseradish cheddar) with tomato.
The burger with all the fixings. The best cookie plate -- 2 chocolate chip and oatmeal and a peanut butter cookie.
New addition. Nanoosh, a hummus bar at 1273 First Avenue, just opened its doors on February 23rd. Nanoosh, which has another location on the West Side, serves up delicious homemade hummus in a lovely setting. Most places that serve hummus as its mainstay, don’t exactly have a hip atmosphere or offer real dining experiences. Nanoosh has waiter service and a sleek modern look. After all, the the light shades are stuffed with chickpeas.

They do offer takeout, but there is plenty of space between the takeout counter and the tables so as not to disturb your meal. Nanoosh is owned by David Kostman who ventured into the hummus business after seeing how popular hummus was in supermarkets. Hummus, a blend of chickpeas and spices, can be akin to mortar when done wrong. Thankfully, not at Nanoosh. I sampled the hummus with organic mushrooms and it was light, creamy, and fresh. Nanoosh also offers an assortment of salads and wraps. Good quality food in a nice setting for a reasonable price. Sounds recession friendly to me.

Nanoosh, 1273 First Avenue
Outside Nanoosh and its menu.
Inside Nanoosh. Nanoosh's owner, David Kostman.
Robot Coupe for making hummus.
Hummus tahini. Hummus with organic mushrooms.
Hummus wrap. Nanoosh green salad with citrus and walnut dressing.
Quinoa salad. Chickpeas under the lights.
The recession is hitting restaurants hard. People are going out to restaurants on fewer occassions (and when they do go out, are tipping less) and are cooking at home with verocity. I am all for cooking at home, but there should be a balance. So the next time you do go out for dinner, try to tip a little extra because the waiters are really hurting. [USA Today]

The Obamas are my kind of first family.
Before their first official formal dinner, Michelle Obama gave some culinary students a tour of the kitchen and spoke about her preference for local and seasonal food. It used to be that first ladies would only talk about linens and china. [The New York Times]

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Tropicana recently changed their logo to a more streamlined and modern look. Consumers were upset and perplexed about the choice, so much so that Tropicana is bringing the old look back only after a month. [Gothamist]

The newest hamburger restaurant
to open is Flip at Bloomingdales. Flip is located in the men’s department in the lower level of the store. I am excited about Flip because it will tide me over until it is warm enough to eat my favorite frozen yogurt at Forty Carrots, Bloomingdale’s other restaurant,. [A Hamburger Today]

Until we eat again,
Jordana Z.

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