It is very Easy to enjoy The Big Easy

I fell in love with New Orleans during my first visit in 1984 for the World’s Fair. My next visit, which was 5 years later, showed me that New Orleans does not need to be hosting a special event to be buzzing with amazing energy…the city IS special.

As I write this post from the French Quarter, I had to pare down the content since there is so much to DISH!  Let’s start with my first day which was chock-full of “only in New Orleans” experiences.

The day kicked off with a delicious veggie Mufaletta and an Abita Amber at Café Maspero on Decatur followed by a salted caramel tortue from Southern Candymakers.  A post-lunch walk led me to the Warehouse District, which is an area I do not know well and tends to not be frequented by visitors.  When you are in NOLA, there are two poignant and important things to view at the entrance plaza of Mississippi River Heritage Park on Convention Center Boulevard: a sculpture made from Hurricane Katrina debris entitled “Scrap House” by Sally Heller and a touching memorial plaque. I was very moved.

"Scrap House" by Sally Heller

“Scrap House” by Sally Heller




My next destination was Louis Armstrong Park via the French Quarter, which was temporarily put on hold after I stumbled upon a fantastic find for wine lovers: W.I.N.O (Wine Institute of New Orleans) on Tchoupitoulas Street.  It is a tasting bar/shop/wine school that has a hi-tech self-service wine machine that allows you to choose what wines and how much of each you wish to taste. Very cool! Jackpot!

Back on track, I meandered through the streets of the Vieux Carré (keeping in mind that it was Halloween, so the people-watching was prime)!!

Louis Armstrong Park/Congo Square/New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park is made up of 31 acres bound by St. Philip Street, Rampart Street, Basin Street, St. Peter Street, and N. Villere Street in the Tremé. My timing was terrific as I was able to catch the last day of the Jazz in the Park Fall 2013 Season, which is a festival of food, drink and craft vendors but the main attraction for me was the JAZZ!  I had never seen the Rebirth Brass Band and Kermit Ruffins live before and was blown away (brass pun intended)! The scene was colorful, lively and the sounds were delicious.  Being enveloped by the music, being with the people of New Orleans and being in a park that symbolizes survival in a multitude of ways, I was once again very moved and so very happy to be there.

Jazz in Louis Armstrong Park

Jazz in Louis Armstrong Park


I will summarize the rest of the evening in one sentence:  the French Quarter on Halloween is tremendous!

So, that was Day 1 in NOLA!  Stay tuned for more dishing….

Celebrating Downtown Manhattan’s Recovery

Facing South at Pier 11 on the

It is an odd feeling sitting in a spot that was completely submerged with river and rain water exactly a year ago. I do not spend a lot of time near the Seaport or in the Financial District but decided to acknowledge (and contribute to the economy of) one of the areas that is still recovering from Hurricane Sandy’s wrath.

The diversity of the island of Manhattan never ceases to amaze me. As I sit on a wooden stool at Pier 11 literally a few feet above the east river (next to a seagull who is giving me the side-eye), I watch the Seastreak Ferry (one of its journeys is between Manhattan and Martha’s Vineyard) docking, vehicles racing on the FDR above and behind me, the nearby heliport is humming with landing and disembarking helicopters and the autumn sun is reflecting off of the wake caused by the NY Waterway vessel.

My heart is full of empathy for those affected by any type of tragedy. I do not compare one person’s loss to that of another; one hurricane to another; one flood to another or one fire to another as each deserves its own attention, its own mourning period, its own community coming together to care for its neighbors, its own opportunity to receive anonymous assistance from strangers and of course, its own recovery. I do, however, relish in the strength people possess to overcome. This is what I celebrate, with the utmost respect, today.

There are many people and businesses in need after a disaster strikes but if you would like a suggestion on how to easily stimulate the post-Sandy economy in Manhattan, visit the South Street Seaport area. As I write this, I am enjoying a Barbera d’Asti at the very friendly Bin No. 220 which just reopened a year after the storm. I took a photo of the water mark on an interior column (approx. 9 feet above sea level).

Sandy's Mark at Bin No 220

Visiting Greenwich Village as if it was the first time

Keith Haring Mural at James J Walker Park

Keith Haring Mural at James J Walker Park

The Candi Dish is a huge fan of taking tours to get to know cities.  Manhattan included, even for residents. The City’s 380+ year history provides for much to see, do and learn so naturally there are many tour opportunities that cater to both visitors and locals.  I made a clever last minute decision to join a “Free Tours by Foot” Greenwich Village walking tour led by Renée on a chilly and sunny autumn day last week and it was fantastic.  Learning new things about the place that I call home felt great.  I detail my two favorite parts of the tour here.

I joined the group at stop #2 (because I was running a bit late) in front of The Northern Dispensary, a now defunct medical facility that was built in 1827 and is located at an interesting intersection in which one side of the building faces two streets: Grove and Christopher while the other two sides face Waverly. I have passed that building tons of times but never knew its interesting story (please look it up for more info).

Northern Dispensary - Empty but Full of History

Northern Dispensary – Empty but Full of History

I previously posted about how one should look out and up when walking around the City so please allow me to contradict myself because examining the pavement beneath your feet can be very rewarding. One such example is the small triangular mosaic imbedded on the southwest corner of Christopher and 7th Avenue South in front of Village Cigars that reads “Property of the Hess Estate Which Has Never Been Dedicated for Public Purposes.”  In a nutshell, David Hess once owned a five-story building at this location and it was seized by the City since it obstructed construction plans to widen 7th Avenue South. In 1914, Mr. Hess fought the city but lost and was left with only a 500-square inch piece of land, which he was expected to donate to the City to become part of the thoroughfare “for public purposes”. Mr. Hess refused and to symbolize his defiance, implanted the mosaic to remind people of his plight. In 1938, Mr. Hess sold the triangle to Village Cigars and the shop has left the mosaic message, a west village treasure, untouched. Again, I have walked by Village Cigars (a NY institution in its own right) countless times and never noticed this priceless piece of NY history.

David Hess' Tiny Plot of Private Property

David Hess’ Tiny Plot of Private Property

Being escorted around Greenwich Village by someone who knows much more than I was a joy.  I observed architecture (smallest house in Manhattan), special spots (the alleged origin of the term “86 that guy”) and street art (Keith Haring, anyone?) for the first time. An experience like this for a local is remarkable.  If you have 2.5 hours to spend exploring, consider a Free Tours by Foot, you will be glad that you did.

Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park

Please note that I was not compensated by Free Tours by Foot for this post.  My hope is to simply spread the word about a great tour company. 

Fall into Autumn in New York

Leaf at my Feet

It is invigorating when the crisp autumn air fills the open spaces of Manhattan. I have been pointedly observing the extra spring in people’s steps as we welcome the fall weather.

In each season there are important places to visit in NY so that your senses may experience the changes. Strolling along The High Line when the weather is brisk is one such joy.

For those who do not know about The High Line, it is an elevated pubic park built on an historic freight rail line that runs 1.45 miles on the West Side of the City (parallel to the Hudson River) between Gansevoort Street and West 34th Street.

The rail line was used to transport goods between factories, warehouses and Penn Station between 1934 and 1980 at which point it lay dormant for 25 years (except for the grass, trees and plants that grew on the tracks) and was saved from demolition in 1999 by two dedicated neighbors who partnered with the City to preserve the area. Reconstruction began in 2006 to create a sustainable public green space and it opened to all in 2009. The High Line, which is owned by the City of New York, offers its visitors terrific views, history, plant life, a resting spot (particularly if you nab a chaise lounge) and local NYC food vendors. For complete information on its history, tours and maps, check out the official website:

Plants and Rail Tracks

Manhattan Moment Monday

Manhattan is a borough chock full of uniqueness.  I am a proponent of looking out and up when walking around the city. There are too many interesting faces, places and spaces to miss if you are looking down.

I derive great joy from the many connections that I make with those faces, places and spaces and had “one of those moments” over the weekend.  I was strolling south on Tenth Avenue in Chelsea when I caught eyes with a stranger who was sitting on the steps of The Church of The Guardian Angel with a notebook on her lap.  The woman asked me if she could borrow a pen for her prayer list that she needed to compile before Mass.  I obliged and handed her a ballpoint pen. She thanked me. I told her it was my pleasure.  As I walked away, I turned back around and asked her if she would add a name for me to her prayer list.  She said it would be her pleasure.

Manhattan is a Life Saver  (I took this photo on a NY Harbor Line Cruise)

Manhattan is a Life Saver
(I took this photo on an architecture tour that circumnavigated Manhattan)


“My favorite thing about New York is the people, because I think they’re misunderstood. I don’t think people realize how kind New York people are.”  –Bill Murray


It is ALL ABOUT YOU…in the Big Apple! The Candi Dish is offering handcrafted guides just for you!


“Fortitude” is one of two marble lions that has “lived” in front of the landmark New York Public Library, greeting visitors on Fifth Avenue, since 1911.

“Fortitude” is one of two marble lions that has “lived” in front of the landmark New York Public Library, greeting visitors on Fifth Avenue, since 1911.

Are you visiting New York for the 1st time? 10th time?  Having a customized plan based on your specific interests and preferences will make your upcoming visit even more memorable.

Have you recently moved to Manhattan or are thinking about it?  An individually designed “Living in Manhattan Guide” written to meet your personal requirements can be yours!

Contact me so that we can discuss details and fees. Let the personalized dishing begin!

Please note that while The Candi Dish dishes out excellent suggestions,  booking services for transportation, shows, hotels or dining reservations is not part of the dishing experience!

Wine Wednesday!

I love wine.  Red, white and rosé (in that order). I keep it simple at home: wine fridge, decanter, aerator and the occasional use of an airtight wine stopper.

About a year ago at a wine tasting room in Napa Valley, I discovered a multi-functional gadget that looked like a stopper but claimed to aerate, filter, pour and re-cork as well.  I gave it a whirl and eureka! The Haley’s Corker is an effective and durable tool invented  by J.E. Haley in the USA.

Haley's Corker

Haley’s Corker

If your local wine shop does not carry Haley’s Corker, you can purchase it online. Check it out – I am sure that you will love it!

Please note that I was not compensated by Haley’s Corker for this post.  My hope is to simply spread the gadget invention love! 

There is nothing common about Boston Common

I luckily just had the opportunity to stroll around Boston Common and The Public Garden (the oldest park in the United States) to admire the fall foliage. The photo of the equestrian bronze statue of George Washington under a crystal blue sky was taken from the Arlington Street entrance to the Garden.  The second photo captures the view looking out onto the lake and Arlington Street Church.

Being welcomed to the Public Garden by George Washington

Being welcomed to the Public Garden by George Washington


Boston's Arlington Street Church, Lake & Foliage

Boston’s Arlington Street Church, Lake & Foliage

As we approach the six-month mark since April 15, 2013, I wish continued peace and healing to one of the dearest cities in America.

Welcome to “The Candi Dish”!

Welcome to “The Candi Dish”!

I contemplated writing a blog for a while and was encouraged to do so by a plethora of people. One dear friend (you know who you are) created a domain for me hoping that this would push me into putting my thoughts and words onto “electronic paper” but I did not take the bait. After a lull, the time has arrived and I am ready to dish!

“The Candi Dish” is a platform for me to share stories, snapshots and suggestions about Manhattan, locales to which I have traveled and array of things that I deem to be remarkable.

I have exceptional experiences, meet phenomenal people, observe the out of the ordinary, dine on marvelous meals, imbibe wondrous wines, witness incredible acts of kindness and LOVE sharing and connecting.   That is “The Candi Dish”…enjoy your stay and please dish back as you wish!

One of my all-time favorite actual DISHES is: Tajarin al Tartufo Bianco. I took this photo in Piemonte, Italy during White Truffle Season.


Delish Dish at Osteria dell Arco in Alba, Italy (during White Truffle Season in Piemonte)

Delish Dish at Osteria dell Arco in Alba, Italy (during White Truffle Season in Piemonte)

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