Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Visit to Bedford Post Inn

Upstate New York is a beautiful land of working farms, horse ranches, small towns and narrow, winding roads.

Nestled in the side of a hill in Bedford, about an hour’s drive north from Manhattan, lies the quaint Bedford Post Inn, owned by Richard Gere and his wife Carey Lowell. The eight-room eco-friendly inn includes a casual dining restaurant called the Barn, a bakery, a more formal space known as the Farmhouse, and a gorgeous yoga studio.

As you pull up to the property on the gravel driveway, you first come up to the Barn, which is partially hidden behind tall shrubs. There is a patio with outdoor seating and overhead, a pergola with vines climbing up and slowly taking over.
The delicious contemporary American menu is full of seasonal, fresh farm fare – eggs, produce, beef, chicken – and the bread, desserts and pastries are made on location in the bakery. Guest favorites are the Banana Pancake and the Eggs Benedict. On the day I visited, there was also a special of Shrimp and Grits (pictured below).
Next door to the Barn is the yoga studio, which has classes daily in the mornings. The studio is a yogi dream: beautiful, dark hardwood floors, vaulted ceilings and lots of natural light.
And finally, there is the inn. On the first floor, there is the simple, unpretentious yet elegant dining room decorated in subdued neutrals and a tiny bar with a cozy sitting room. The guest rooms are on the second floor and the wine cellar in the basement.
The Bedford Post Inn is definitely worth a visit – inviting dining areas with delicious farm-to-table cuisine and well-maintained grounds. Perfect for a romantic getaway, a small brunch/dinner party or a special occasion. 

Visit for more information. Reservations for brunch and dinner are strongly recommended; reservations for yoga classes are accepted but not necessary. 
Bedford Post Inn
954 Old Post Road
Bedford, NY

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Great brunch spots in NYC

In my opinion, brunch may be the perfect meal. It’s the only meal where you can have pretty much anything off the menu. Sweet or savory. Omelet or hamburger. French toast or salad. Granola or pasta. Plus, brunch makes it socially acceptable to have a cocktail before noon! Really, who doesn’t love brunch?

Now that summer is almost here and it’s warmer outside, the sidewalk cafés in New York City are set up and full of brunchers chatting, tossing back mimosas, and people watching.

Brunch is an event in NYC. In fact it's a verb: brunching. And sometimes it takes all day. There are lots of great places in the city but here are just a few of my favorites.

Public in Nolita (210 Elizabeth between Prince and Spring): a GREAT brunch scene and a beautiful restaurant where all of the décor has been taken from places like libraries, warehouses, schools. Entrees include Coconut Pancakes and Grilled Venison Burger.

(Photos of food courtesy of
Market Table in the West Village (54 Carmine Street at Bedford Street): Opened by executive chefs Mikey Price and Joey Campanaro (both from Little Owl), this beautiful and simple restaurant features equally beautiful and simple entrees made of fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. Occasional elbow-rubbing with celebrities (literally as the tables are placed close to one another).

 (Inside Market Table)
Bar Boulud on the Upper West Side (1900 Broadway at 64th Street): Daniel Boulud’s more casual (and affordable) restaurant that features a lovely, tasty French menu like Croque Monsieur, Eggs Florentine and “Cuisse de Canard” – duck confit, potato and onion hash, soft boiled egg and watercress. Great wine menu as well.

Extra Virgin in the West Village (259 W. 4th Street between Perry and Charles): great people watching and the Banana French Toast with caramelized bananas and whipped mascarpone is to-die-for! Go early and worth the wait for an outdoor table.
 (Outdoor tables at Extra Virgin)
Freeman’s on the Lower East Side (Freeman Alley off Rivington between Bowery and Chrystie Streets): tucked away at the end of an alley, a bustling rustic restaurant with taxidermy as décor (very cool and interesting!). Plus great Bloody Marys and delicious food, like Smoked Trout or Asparagus, Cauliflower, Leek Hash, that focuses on wild game, sustainable seafood and local produce. 
 (photos of food, drink, inside courtesy of
Prune in the East Village (54 E. 1st Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues): good, innovative food like Sausages & Oysters, Egg “En Concotte” (coddled egg with savory chicken) and Dutch Style Pancake. 

Felix in SoHo (340 340 W. Broadway at Grand Street): an (all-day) experience in itself. Food is OK but the scene is unique! A mix of French transplants, Euros, and local New Yorkers. All socializing loudly and drinking heavily until the early evening when they clear the tables and start the dancing! A great place to watch soccer too!

Bar Marche in Nolita (14 Spring at Elizabeth Street): fun, cute little spot that is reasonably priced – all entrees are under $15.

Tell me: What's your favorite brunch spot??


I have been meaning to start a blog for a while – me and everyone else! For me, life kept getting in the way. But here I am writing the first post wondering how to introduce myself and this blog.

Simply put: my blog is about my recommendations for traveling, dining, entertaining, cooking and home decorating. And yet I’m not a trained chef. I’m not an interior designer. I don’t work for National Geographic. And I’m certainly no Martha Stewart (believe me – I know her personally, admire her greatly, and I can only be so lucky as to one day possess a fraction of her expertise on all of these matters!).

In this day and age, people want to make the most of their life and get the most for their money. When you start planning a vacation, start looking for a new piece of furniture, or even trying to figure out where to make dinner reservations, the research can be overwhelming. There are books, there is the internet, there are catalogs and a million different other sources. It’s at this exact moment, that many times, the easiest thing would be to simply get a recommendation from a good, trusted friend. This is where I hope to come in.

Some people say I have a good eye for detail, others say that I have good taste. I like to travel a lot, eat well, some times stray a bit off the beaten path and like everyone else, I like a good deal. And for many years, I have been creating lists upon lists (some written down, some stored in excel sheets, some in my head) of all the wonderful places I’ve eaten at, stayed at, and shopped at during my travels and in my everyday life.

I can appreciate a good hole-in-the-wall restaurant that only uses fresh, seasonal ingredients and has taken care into every detail from the beautiful plates to just the right ambience. Or an antique shop whose owner has hand-picked items from around the world that will provide its new owner with something completely unique for their home. Or a farmer that each week lays out his earthly gifts at a local market that will add more flavor to a home-cooked meal than anything you get at a conventional grocery store. Or a hotel that heeds every last detail to make your visit as comfortable and memorable as possible. I feel so fortunate to have been on so many adventures, big and small, that I’ve kept notes along the way in order to pass along the information to others. Any time my friends or family members need such a recommendation, I pull out my notes (or rack my mental file cabinet) and offer my most personal recommendation best suited for the request at hand. And over the years, they have come to trust me as their go-to source.

So I’m embarking on this blogging journey with the dream that maybe one day when you need a recommendation, you’ll say “I’d like to try this, Agnes said it was good.”

I hope you enjoy my list of hidden treasures, tips, thoughts, ideas and inspirations and most importantly, that you find them useful and insightful.