Tag Archives: shopping

Flip Burger @ Bloomingdales 59th Street NYC

5 Feb

It was the first snow storm of 2014… We wanted to get out of the house, but did not want to manage the snow and cold outside. I suggested: “Let’s just take the subway and it can take us right underneath the belly of one of my favorite department stores in NYC – Bloomingdale’s. Deal??“ They all agreed…


The day BEFORE the storm… but the same cast of characters.

When we arrived it was already 3PM and we were HUNGRY!!! Who can shop while hungry?? I sure can’t. So we looked at the store directory but there were many options to choose from. Let’s just go checking them out floor by floor as we encounter them and we’ll decide what works best, OK?

Flip was the first option available… right up the stairs from the level where the 4-5-6 subway leaves you. When we discovered it was a burger joint, Tere and my mom were discouraged as, more often than not, burgers means meat burgers only. But we were in NYC after all and I said to myself… “Madelyn, read thru all the burger options before dismissing this restaurant”. And there they were!!!! VARIOUS, not just one, various vegetarian options!!!!


I wish I had taken a picture of the menu for you… I was sure I was going to find it online, but unfortunately that is not the case. The menu presented a veggie burger and a Portobello Mushroom burger option, my favorite. We sat down and ordered… You could have your pic of bread, burger, and toppings. The vegetarian options come with 2 toppings included beyond the lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle. My burger was a Portobello mushroom burger on a whole wheat/multigrain roll with goat cheese and avocados. YUM!!!


They also have fries to accompany your burger… we went for the thin crispy fries and the sweet potato fries. They were both superb… But I should warn you, those thin fries don’t seem to ever end. The more you eat, the more they seem to be in your plate. I ate and ate and we still brought the leftovers back home with us.


Even though Flip @ Bloomingdale’s is not a vegetarian place… in true NYC fashion they have meat-free options for us vegetarian gals. Who wants to go shopping on an empty stomach?? Not me for sure… and the next time I visit Bloomie’s, I know I’ll have a craving for a burger.


The Spice and Tea Exchange in Boca Ratón

2 Nov

Gotta love social networks… many people complain that FaceBook is the tattle-book, or as we would say in Puerto Rican, the “chota-book” because it informs people everything you’re doing. I guess that’s true if you are one of those that like to share your stuff with your friends.

I try to use FaceBook judiciously, but I’ll admit I like to check-in to places sometimes to “brag” a little about where I am and what am I doing. Sometimes it’s just because I know (or would like to know) the reaction I’ll get from people knowing what I am doing. This is exactly what happened last week when I was in Boca Raton…

I mentioned I was in Boca Raton training for a ½ marathon and I was running 13 miles… the longest distance I have ever done ever. That was my point – to share with my running mates that I was running with them from a distance. But FaceBook does not discriminate who sees your posts, so my friend Jill in NYC saw the post and, being the foodie she is, her comment to me was not “Go Madelyn” or “OMG 13 miles!!!”, it was more, “Hey you need to go over to Mizner Park and visit the Tea and Spice Store”. It was a very refreshing comment amongst the sea of cheerleading comments beneath my post.

I believe all things happen for a reason… so after my 13 mile run, I went out with my sister to do some shopping and, where do we end up??? At Mizner Park indeed… no plans for it whatsoever. We went looking for another store which actually has closed and moved a few years ago. And to not let the trip be a complete waste of time, we went into The Spice and Tea Exchange to see what Jill was so excited to recommend…

OMG!!! This store is AMAZING!!!! The smells are intoxicating in the best way possible…

They have sections of Herbs and Spices, Salts, Sugars and Teas.

The manager, Mary Lou, helped me navigate the store. It’s not difficult, but she opened up her favorite condiments and would tell me what they’re good with. I could not help myself and did a little retail therapy. I bought:

Brown and Yellow Mustard Seeds

to try and make my own grain mustard

Chardonnay Smoked Salt

to roast vegetables or mushrooms with a smoky flavor

Black Truffle Salt

to season mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, popcorn and just about anything…

Raspberry Sugar

Recommended with plain yogurt, over cookies, over oatmeal, to decorate the rim of a glass à la margarita, but with champagne or sparkling wine.

Sweet Onion Sugar

to be used to caramelize with roasted vegetables

Florida Citrus Salt Blend

a  blend of rock salt and citrus peels that comes in a grinder. I was told it’s great to season asparagus and spinach.

My sister also got into the action… she bought a tea assortment and tea steeper.

If you live in Boca Raton or near the area, you should visit this store. They have a website so you can peruse all their products and if you want, Mary Lou will ship whatever you want your way.

I know that I will make it a point to visit the The Spice and Tea Exchange more often during my travels to Florida. Thanks Jill for the recommendation and thanks FaceBook for connecting me and my friends in real time. This is a wonderful world we live in…

Vegetarian Grocery Shopping in NYC

28 Nov

When I travel, I love to shop for stuff I can’t find in Puerto Rico. Even if things are really, really cheap, I will not purchase it during a trip if I can find it back home. Suitcase space is too precious to invest in things I do not have to carry back home in a suitcase and risk spoilage or spillage.

But during my recent trip to NYC, 90% of what I bought was food items!!!! When I took everything out of my suitcase, I felt as if what I had done in NYC was grocery shopping. Here is a sampler of what I purchased:

Le Pain Quotidien – Brunette Praline Butter and 4 Red Fruits Preserves

I love eating these when I visit Le Pain Quotidien restaurants. And they’re organic too!!!

Union Square Street Market – Raw Milk Goat Cheese

We bought this cheese from Ardith Mae. She sells all things GOAT MILK – goat’s milk, goat’s milk yogurt, raw milk cheeses and pasteurized milk cheeses too. She has a great website and I totally love the pictures of her happy goats. They’re super duper cute…

Sorry, no pictures available for this raw milk cheese… we were so hungry that my mom opened up the wrapper one night and we snacked and snacked away. My bad that I forgot about all of YOU during our hunger attack. We bought a Colby style cheese that was truly delicious. We enjoyed it with spelt bread, organic butter and slices of avocado in an open-faced sandwich. Divine!!!!

Union Square Street Market – Raw Whipped Honey

I learned on this trip that honey is generally cooked before bottling… never imagined that. I always thought bottled honey came straight from the bee hive. According to Andrew, the raw honey guy over at Union Square Market, raw honey has more nutrients and beneficial qualities because it has not been tampered with. He has been featured in a variety of media, including the Martha Stewart Show. I bought the whipped version because it seemed like it would last me longer than the regular liquid kind… we’ll see about that!!!

Union Square Street Market – Beth’s Farm Kitchen Jellies

I have looooved their Garlic and Rosemary Jelly for years now. And this time around I also bought their Sour Cherry Preserves. I wanted to try one of their sugar-free spreads, but they have an expiration date and I can’t be rushed into eating anything…

Yummy Earth – Pomegranate Pucker Candy

This is my favorite flavor of lollipops from Yummy Earth… and to know I do not have to “weed” out all the other flavors I don’t enjoy as much is a real treat…

Whole Foods – Maple Almond Butter and Honey Almond Butter

I still have not tried these, but I loved the sampling packaging. They are also available in jars, but I wanted to try them first before committing to a whole jar. Besides, I knew I was going to purchase the Le Pain Quotidien Praline Butter already… so I was careful not to overload on the same type of product.

Whole Foods – Fig and Almond Cake

This was something my friend Rudy requested… or more that he mentioned he likes and I tried to please him with a little treat from NYC. We are now waiting for the right piece of manchego cheese to enjoy this with… YUM!!!

Grand Central Market – Sun-dried tomatoes

I have bought sulfite-free sun-dried tomatoes elsewhere, but as you can see from the label, these sun-dried tomatoes do not contain any sulfites either and stay softer than any of the other sulfite-free tomatoes I have bought in the past. They do offer other goods there and they list sulfites in the ingredient list, such as dried apricots or dried pineapples. So I trust them when they only list tomatoes and salt as their ingredients.

May Wah Vegetarian Market – Chicken Nuggets and Spare Ribs

I do not make these much at all… but they are great when you want a quick snack. And I will try to share Tania’s recipe for rice with vegetarian spare ribs. It’s a tad greasy, but that’s what makes it so similar to traditional cooking. I had it the other day and it was “finger-licking good”.

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