The Latest Pines Picks — Updates and New Picks

I’m glad you have found my blog! The restaurant scene in New York City is always changing and I’ll be using this as a way to keep you up to date on the changes and share my new finds. I hope you’ll check back often or subscribe for updates through RSS feed or email so you can be kept up to date. After all, I don’t want you to have to wait until the next edition of Pines Picks to know about my discoveries!

Coconut Cloud Layer Cake

By The Way BakeryI just went to the newly opened By the Way Bakery and loved their coconut dream layer cake. Super moist, with four layers of sweet coconut cake and icing, the cake is a delicious treat. Topped with lots of shavings of coconut, the coconut dream cake is worth trying.



By the Way Bakery

2442 Broadway
New York, NY 10024
(212) 877-0806

1236 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10028
(212) 988-3300

Eating My Way Through Tokyo

This summer I had the chance to visit Tokyo, Japan. Since I love sushi and Japanese food in general, I had a great time sampling authentic Japanese cuisine. I reviewed several restaurants and was featured in an article on Betty Confidential. Visit their website here to see my article.


Eating My Way through Hudson Eats

I enjoyed exploring all the offerings at Hudson Eats to find the dishes I can recommend as my favorites. I wrote an article about it that was featured on Betty Confidential. Click here to check it out!

Cronut from Dominique Ansel Bakery

cronutsI have been waiting a long time, and after many attempts, I finally got some authentic cronuts. After waking up at 6 am and getting to the bakery at 7 am, I waited an hour until the opening of the bakery. The flavor of the month is peach with bourbon creme and some citrus sugar. The cronut is decently sized, crispy on the outside from being fried and covered in sugar, topped with some icing and filled with creme. Like a croissant, the cronut has numerous layers and like a doughnut it has a nice fry and some delicious flavors. After the first bite, the juiciness of the oil in the doughnut fills your mouth with delicious creme and sweet tasting sugar. The sweetness from the icing and sugar make the cronut delicious. I can clearly see why the cronut is so famous. I don’t think I could down more than one of these at a time, but it definitely a treat.

Dominique Ansel Bakery
189 Spring Street (between Sullivan and Thompson), New York, NY 10012
(212) 219-2773


Patrica gnocciI finally got to go to the Italian Restaurant, Patricia’s, in the Bronx. I heard that the family of the owner of famous Sushi Nakazawa are the owners of Patricia’s. That being said, I was expecting a perfect meal: that is exactly what I got. From the lightest, softest potato gnocchi to crispy chicken parm to the super thin crust pizzas, the entire meal was unreal.

First, I had the gnocchi, which was by far my favorite gnocchi of all time. The light, delicate and soft potato dumplings are sensational. And, with the addition of a ton of Patricia’s great, sweet tomato sauce and a lot of melted, creamy cheese, it was fantastic.

Patricia chicken parmThen, I had the chicken parm. The crispiness of the chicken was the highlight for me. With the tasty, tangy tomato sauce and fine mozzarella cheese, it was just delicious!

I also tried the margarita pizza, which was very thin and had a good amount of sauce. It had a nice flavor from the basil. An overall very good pie.



1082 Morris Park Avenue
Bronx, NY 10461
( 718) 409-9069

Most incredible beignets being served in NYC!

beignetsThis shop opened only one month ago and serves incredibly fluffy, giant beignets similar to the authentic beignets in New Orleans. These are not oily at all, with an appropriately heavy amount of powdered sugar: just unforgettable.

While they come only three to an order, they are pretty large beignets.


120 MacDougal Street, NYC
(212) 995-0400


I waited many months to go to Sushi Nakazawa. With reservations at the sushi bar nearly impossible to get, I finally got a reservation in the main room. Also a challenging reservation to get – my main dining room res was for 10 pm!

I have done lots of research on Sushi Nakazawa, a disciple of the famous Jiro Ono, and was outrageously excited and ecstatic to go there. Sushi has become one of my favorite foods, so I’ve been very interested in sushi lately, and the hype for Sushi Nakazawa was ridiculous, adding another layer of excitement.

The meal is a 20 piece nigiri omakase (chef’s choice) with the addition of sorbet and a cup of matcha tea for dessert. The 20 piece nigiri omakase is the only menu option, and the menu changes based on the availability of the fish.

When I got to Sushi Nakazawa, I walked past Chef Nakazawa on my way to the small back room. Then, in close time intervals, I received seven courses of a few pieces of nigiri and one course of sorbet and tea. A perfect evolution from one course to the next made this meal impeccable and exceeded my expectations.

The differences in textures and consistency of the fish and the different sauces and toppings gave each course a certain level of creativity and added some excitement in wondering what would come next.

The courses were:

1st course nakazawa1st Course
Cherry salmon with a few grains of sea salt. The thin slice of fish was really soft. Great start.
Coho salmon with some house made soy sauce.



2nd course nakazawa2nd Course
Whiting (kisu) which was similar to a sardine. It had a perfect amount of background saltiness and was super flavorful with a light spice. I thought this was incredible.
Citrus flavored cuttlefish which had a distinct higher level of chewiness and firmness than the other pieces. It had a slight fruitiness.
Chicken Grunt Fish which had a smoked flavor. It was a very smooth piece.
Pomfret Fish which was a tougher chewier piece.

3rd course nakazawa3rd Course
Horse Mackerel which was a little denser chew and a light nice citrus flavor.
Spanish Mackerel which was really soft and at perfect room temperature. It had a smooth texture.
Spot Prawn has the greatest consistency. It seemed like a lightly poached shrimp that was warm with a bit of caviar on top. The prawn was one of my favorite pieces. Snow Crab which was incredibly thin pulled apart pieces of sweet crab with a little spice.

4th course nakazawa4th Course
Smoked Bonito which was amazing. It had a smoked wasabi flavor.
Toro (Akami – which is a side cut)
Toro that was soy marinated. Little salty denseness that is indescribable.
Toro (Otoro – Fatty Tuna) which was good. Fatiness added a layer of flavor.


5th course nakazawa

5th Course (My favorite course overall)
Uni (Sea Urchin) which was unbelievably creamy with a nice sweetness. It had some bonito flakes.
Ikura (Fish Roe) which was very fresh. All of the roe were firm and popped when in my mouth. AMAZING!


handroll nakazawa6th Course
Hand Roll (it’s a choice differing by day – I chose Uni) which had some bonito flakes. I didn’t love it as much as the regular uni piece because there was an extra bonito flavor I didn’t like as much but it still was very good. It was a small three bite tightened roll of warm rice and cold uni.



eel and tamago nakazawa7th Course
Saltwater Eel which was so soft and pleasingly mushy with a brush of sweet eel sauce. It was a little warmer than most other pieces.
Tamago (Egg Custard) which was the star of the meal. A delicate sweet egg cake-like piece that was so delicious I could probably have eaten a hundred pieces of Tamago.


yuzu sorbet nakazawa8th Course
Yuzu sorbet which was a sweet refreshing great tasting conclusion.
Matcha Tea which was hot and a great end to the meal.




All I can say is what an incredible experience it was to eat sushi at Nakazawa. I would highly recommend it to any serious sushi lover.

Sushi Nakazawa
23 Commerce Street, New York,  10014
(212) 924-2212

The Polo Bar New York City

Polo Bar BurgerRalph Lauren’s restaurant in New York City is a very challenging reservation to get. After multiple tries, I finally
reserved a table at this club-like restaurant. A bouncer-like man stands at the entrance with a list, only allowing people with reservations to enter. I had heard great things about the restaurant, and was super excited to try all the food. But, one dish stood out from all the rest. This impeccably refined dish was: “The Polo Burger.” The perfect bacon cheeseburger arrives with a cone of French fries, a silver bucket of ketchup, and a deli pickle. The burger is picture perfect: from the large fluffy sesame seed bun to clean crisp whitish-green lettuce to super thinly sliced pickles, tomato and red onions to the thin square of cheddar cheese and the deep red chewy, yet crunchy bacon. But, in the end, the taste of this good-looking burger outdoes its good looks and the juiciness of the soft medium-cooked meat is the real runway star. Accompanied by the saltiness of the bacon and the refreshing veggies, with the addition of a little ketchup, the blend of all of its fresh ingredients creates one incredibly good, special-occasion burger.

1 E 55th St, New York, NY 10022
(212) 207-8562
The Polo Bar


Pommes Frites: Victim of East Village Fire

A few days ago, there was a tragic 7-alarm fire in NYC’s East Village. I learned last night that one of the four buildings that burned to the ground was the home of Pommes Frites!  The Pommes Frites web site said none of its workers or patrons were injured. That is certainly good news. But, very sadly, at least for now, Pommes Frites – the New York City french fry institution – is closed. It will be sorely missed; we hope for its return someday soon.

Pommes Frites
123 2nd Ave,
New York, NY 10003
(212) 674-1234


Burger and Beer Joint

After hearing a lot about the Burger and Beer Joint in Miami, I went to try it out. The restaurant is not a beer place and kids are very welcome. I had a ridiculously good meal there – every course was better than the previous one. To drink, I got a root beer which came is a frosty glass. I ordered the hot “Octane Wings,” the onion rings and a custom burger. The hot wings are crispy, have a light coating, and a pleasingly hot thick buffalo-style sauce. Next, I had the onion rings which are the biggest onion rings I have ever seen in my life. They are “colossal Vidalia Onions” which have a whitish yellow batter, and after dipped in a little ketchup or the jalapeno-cheddar sauce served with them, are truly incredible. After the onion rings, I had a burger on a brioche bun with bleu cheese, red onion marmalade, guacamole, lettuce, onion, and tomato. The brioche bun was soft and buttery, and with the bleu cheese and sweet red onion marmalade, it was a great burger. Also, I got my burger cooked medium which was very juicy and tender and was cooked to perfection.

Although the meal was overall one of the best I have had, it wasn’t fulfilled without the outrageous dessert that I had called the “sweet emotion” with Oreos, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and best-of-all fresh, warm house-made brownies. It came in a goblet-type glass and was a memorable ending to a meal I will never forget.

Burger and Beer Joint
900 South Miami Avenue
Suite 130
Miami, Florida 33130
(305) 523-2244