Zavo Restaurant & Lounge New York

Okay… today’s the first day where I’m really feeling the cold. I’m a Midwest girl at heart, so the winter season doesn’t bother me much, but in New York, with the humidity AND the cold? It feels much more cold than normal. So what to do on a freezing day like today? I’d say just stay inside, but if you get cabin fever like me and need to get out of the house, you should go and check out ZAVŌ. A luxurious new Mediterranean restaurant that engages all of your senses, it’s the perfect location too after marathoning through a shopping spree. Got your holiday errands all checked off yet? If not, it’s cool. Me neither. Why not sit down and take a break in between with a glass of wine at my new favorite spot in Lenox Hill?

Zavo Restaurant & Lounge

Zavo Restaurant & Lounge

A stylish and seductive multi-level celebration of Mediterranean cuisine and culture, ZAVŌ elevates the dining experience. Amidst tastefully appointed decor and lighting, the menu is just as scrumptious. Savor a cocktail at the sleek marble bar or unwind on the outdoor terrace. We sat in the dining room section with a pleasant ambience and excellent service. The staff was so sweet to give us a complete tour of their almost 1-year old restaurant in Lenox Hill (UES). ZAVŌ’s second floor is accessed via a private entrance on East 60th Street. Ascend the sweeping staircase to the intimate piano lounge, bar and refined private dining rooms, they offer unparalleled, five-star catering services cultivated from their deep expertise with corporate and special events. The Chef’s special selected menu changes daily to reflect their fascinating and unique live entertainment such as 50 Shades and Venetian/Masquerade Nights and others. It’s a great space for holiday parties right now, and even a wedding reception! The second floor can accommodate roughly over 200 people, and the decor alone will have you swooning.

We tried the crab cakes and grilled octopus for our appetizers which were cooked to perfection. Literally soft as butter, with wonderful taste concoctions to go with the seafood such as hummus, yellow pepper, and more. For our main course, we tried the branzino fish with grilled squash and zucchini, and the braised short beef with mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus. The fish was excellent as well as the beef. The beef and asparagus were a tad dry and could have used more sauce, but the flavors were all there. Their sancerre wine was also quite good. But we were so full, we opted out on dessert. Gotta keep that holiday figure, somehow! ;) Overall, a wonderful dining experience. On the super plus side? It’s right across the street from Bloomingdale’s - the perfect spot to hang your hat and grab a bite after your holiday shopping!

LOVE & XX’S,

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Le Coq Rico – The Bistro of Beautiful Birds

This post is brought to you by Le Coq Rico, but all opinions are my own.


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Happy Wednesday, everyone! Yesterday I had the pleasure of experiencing the wonderful downtown restaurant, Le Coq Rico. The original Le Coq Rico (The Bistro of Beautiful Birds) is located on Monmartre's Rue Lepic in Paris. Each Le Coq Rico pays tribute to responsibly raised whole-animal poultry. This restaurant is Chef Antoine Westermann's ode to the local terroir, expressed through the flavors of wild and noble birds. Westermann spent more than a year traveling across the Northeast, particularly through the Hudson Valley and Pennsylvania, to meet farmers and learn their poultry raising philosophies. "Fowl is a world unto itself," noted Westermann. "The flavor and texture change depending on the region, breeder, age, and style of farming." The result of this exchange stands today as Le Coq Rico, NYC. Continue reading to learn more about my time at this attractive, chic bistro.

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Renowned French chef, Antoine Westermann was just 23 years old when he became the Chef and Owner of his first restaurant. In the twenty-five years that followed, he earned three Michelin stars. Then in 2006, he made the exceedingly rare decision to ask Michelin to remove his stars so his creativity would no longer be confined by the rules and regulations of the guide. Specializing in sophisticated poultry dishes, I was more than excited to try their Tuesday's plat du jour, coq au vin. One of my favorite French dishes of all time, they certainly did the bird justice. It was the best I have ever had!

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We started with lovely appetizers of deviled eggs in a bed of octopus, cabbage, and cumin salad along with a creamy mushroom soup with a confit of gizzards (YUM). For our main entrees, along with the coq au vin with egg tagliatelle, we also tried the succulent roasted chicken that is aged 120 days and is served with a side of seasonal salad. Delicious pairings of pinot grigio and pinot noir, we topped it off with dessert, their famous l'ile flotttante (Floating Island) which consists of soft meingue &  crême anglaise and three selections of ice cream: coconut lime sorbet, ginger, and vanilla ice cream. Even the espressos are spot on! A truly magnificent, fulfilling lunch! 

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The service was great, very friendly staff and super helpful when it came to making a selection. I'd recommend Le Coq Rico to anyone! But if you want to avoid the holiday crowds and nightlife scene, lunch is the way to go! And sit at the chef's counter, where you are able to watch the chefs cook for you up close and personal! The only problem with that is it might have your tummy rumbling as you wait! How many of you have experience Le Coq Rico? If you haven't yet, what are you waiting for?! ;)

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LOVE & XX'S,

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Favorite Place to Shoot Pool in New York City

WEARING: FOREVER 21 WHITE SHIRT | VAGABOND HONEY JAKARTA DENIM PANTS | 
POTROL FAUX LEATHER NEON YELLOW HOLSTER PURSE | GUCCI BELT | 
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HAIR & MAKEUP BY: BEAUTY DIRECTOR VALERIE STAR OF CARAVAN NYC.


This post is sponsored by ForRent.com but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

 

Well, ya got trouble, my friend, right here,
I say, trouble right here in River City.
Why sure I'm a billiard player,
Certainly mighty proud I say
I'm always mighty proud to say it.
I consider that the hours I spend
With a cue in my hand are golden.

Though I have called the East Village, home, for the past ten and a half years, (have been living in New York City for over 11) my new stomping grounds are now Union Square. This section's unmatched diversity brings together poets, professionals, protesters, and everyone in between. Anchored by its central plaza, Union Square extends into surrounding streets filled with a mix of corporate giants and neighborhood staples. Farmer’s markets and street performers add to Union Square’s cultural significance and popular appeal. A place where I can shake off the stress and get away from the day, Amsterdam Billiards is one of my favorite hangouts in New York City, and one of the many new perks of living in Union Square. In today's post, I'll be sharing with you guys reasons why Union Square is a great section in the city to live in along with why this is my favorite pool parlor in the entire city.

Now I'm not exactly, 'the Black Widow', but I've had my fair share in shooting pool. I've been playing since I was a kid, my uncle used to have a pool table in his 'man cave' and I think that's where the interest initially sparked. For whatever reason, I find the game relaxing and enjoyable with friends. And my favorite billiard to shoot pool in in New York City is this place in Union Square, Amsterdam Billiards. It's got 25 billiards tables plus Ping-Pong, darts, foosball, full bar & food but what stands out to me are the memories of this place with the people I love. My husband, my friends - we've had some good laughs and games in this joint. So now that it's the long holiday weekend and I'm staying in town, I thought it'd be nice to go back and play on top of sharing a place I hold dear to my heart. New York has a way of doing that to you.

Another favorite place in my new neighborhood would definitely be The Strand, a landmark bookshop that carries new, used & rare books that literally stretches for 18 miles. I stop in there at least a couple of times of week, whether it's searching in the half-off bins outside or checking out the photography section for inspiration and research, it is a really amazing book store. Union Square also has two great music venues, Webster Hall and Irving Plaza. I also enjoy the Greenmarket for its fresh flowers and herbs. When I have the time, I love to pick out fish or meat to cook and experiment a new recipe with, especially during the summer alongside some squash and corn.    

Other stores I don't live without are Adorama for all my camera/photography needs, New York Costumes for props, Sephora for makeup and skincare, and Food Emporium for groceries. When going out to eat around the neighborhood, I love L'Express for French, Barn Joo for Korean, Blue Water Grill for seafood and Maison Kayser for pastries. Recent new pasta discovery in Union Square? Vapiano, where their basil pesto with pine nuts and parmesan is TO. DIE. FOR. The famous Coffeeshop is where I have a lot of my meetings midday. It's a cool people-watching place while dining al fresco. And the staff's not too bad-looking either... ;)

Living somewhere like New York City is competitive let alone expensive, but with its amazing food, entertainment, culture, beautiful sights and so much to do, the highlights sort of outweigh all of the chaos that goes on in a city such as the one I love. It's definitely not the easiest place to live, but if you keep your eye on the ball, you can set out to do a lot more than you think. What are some of your favorite sections in New York City? If you could live in any one of them, which one would you like to live in? If you're considering moving to and living in New York City, check out ForRent.Com, an apartment rental listing service where potential renters can search for professionally managed apartments. Got questions about living here? I'd love to answer! Leave them in the comments down below or you can find me on one of my social media channels! Have a wonderful start to your week and Happy Fourth of July!

LOVE & XX'S,

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Engagement Shoot – Hilja & Tom

TOM & HILJA – PORTRAITS BY SUZANNE SPIEGOSKI

I've known Hilja for nearly 25 years. We met as young kids at a track meet both competing in the chin-up/pull-up category. But it wasn't until six months later where we crossed paths once more  - this time at a skating rink and became inseparable. Growing up together she has always been like a sister to me and is one of my closest and dearest friends. So, when she told me was coming to New York with her fiancé, Tom, I wanted to do an engagement shoot as their wedding present.

While growing up in Detroit like myself, Hilja met Tom while in grade school. But a romance didn't brew until way later when they reconnected as adults. I'm a firm believer in all the twists & turns that life will lead you to, like moments such as this, where sometimes you don't even know what's been under your nose the entire time. Love ain't easy and I think one has to go through a lot in order to know who and what they want. And with these two, I haven't seen such a happy couple in so many years.

One of the reasons for their visit to New York was for Tom's birthday and part of his gift was a trip to Madison Square Garden to watch his favorite college basketball team, Duke, play. And being that they are both from the Motor City, I wanted to embody their laid-back but gritty attitude. So the first part of the shoot, I took them to Alphabet City and shot in an empty basketball court. This was an easy-breezy moment before the second part of the photo shoot.

I was adamant in shooting part of their engagement series on Top of the Rock during their visit here in New York around the holidays. But on that particular day, there was so much fog there was literally zero visibility. The staff even forewarned us – suggesting we exchange our tickets to another day. My stubborn streak never ceases to shine through and because it was the last day of their visit, I pushed for it anyway. 

"Maybe we'll get lucky," I thought. 

Going up I had anxiety. You can't control Mother Nature and I was concerned we may be going up but with no NYC skyline. However, when shooting you got to go with the flow. As we started to warm up for our shoot and ease into our environment, the clouds parted and a beautiful incandescent light emerged from above. Much like the weather, you cannot control love and all that comes with it. A definite blessing from the universe. What a day. Are you a believer in spiritual energies as such?

Hilja and Tom will be married In Michigan come this fall. I feel so honored to be a part of her wedding and for our friendship. Life has thrown us many curveballs (even really bad airballs if you will) but we have been there for each other through the thick and thin. Seeing her full of life and joy brings me much happiness. I can't wait to see what the future has in store for all of us! To many more years of love & laughter, adventures and more. I love you guys!

P.S. Want to see more lovey-dovey couple photos? Click here.  

LOVE & XX'S,

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Source: http://www.suzannespiegoski.com/love/

When Bloggers Do Dumbo

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ARTIFACT NECKLACE | EXPRESS DENIM VEST | ALDO BUGIANO STUDDED ANKLE BOOTIES | 
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Photo by:  Style Tomes

Photo by: Style Tomes

Photo by:  Style Tomes

Photo by: Style Tomes

Photo by:  Suzanne Spiegoski
Photo by:  Style Tomes

Photo by: Style Tomes

Photo by:  Style Tomes

Photo by: Style Tomes

Happy Friday! Last weekend, I met up with two other New York bloggers, Nataliya from Style Tomes & Andrea from Pretty Proper Quaint, to venture a day in Brooklyn. I love to meet like-minded bloggers from the city and do photo shoots. It's a great way to interact and engage with fellow bloggers. And, I'm all about learning and growing, which nevertheless will take place when getting to know others in your field and spending the day with them. Can you believe that I've never visited the Brooklyn Bridge Park since living here for over a decade?! It just goes to show that New York City is filled with endless amounts of adventure and fun.

We stopped at Jane's Carousel for a youthful outing. For $2, you can feel l like a kid again. Besides, you're never too old to go for a spin! And it's a great location for a photo shoot. Whether it's for your kids or a casual photo-op, I find this place to be whimsical and full of laughter and smiles. My kind of energy! We also visited Brooklyn-based artist Deborah Kass's Yo/Oy sculpture, which is a wonderful addition to New York's public art. I love to see anything that has to do with art, especially street art and graffiti. On the way back to the city, I suggest we take the East River Ferry, as this is also something I've never done! What's great about this form of transportation is you hop from Brooklyn, to Queens, to Manhattan, and even Governor's Island when in season. And bonus... you can take your dog with you! Can't wait to do it again with MaQ next time!

Coming up on the blog this week, a fusion recipe of a popular summer cocktail from the tropics (getting excited for me and my hubby's 10-yr dating anniversary trip!!!), a newfound love for a skincare product (with a giveaway so keep an eye out!), and a favorite quiche recipe, perfect for the weekend brunch! Stay tuned! :)

 

LOVE & XX'S

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