Monday, June 18, 2018

Ignoring Most of the Menu: Gems at Quality Italian

Quality Italian's baby kale salad 

When I was invited to lunch at Quality Italian, I was not expecting a great meal. Techlicious held its annual CTATravel Lunch & Learn at this Italian steakhouse and, well, vegetarian.

Shrimp cocktail 
But I was pleasantly surprised. There was plenty for a non-steak eater to savor at this lovely restaurant.

Each table got a huge shrimp cocktail platter. The jumbo shrimp had cocktail sauce, chipotle mayo or lemon and the shrimp were utterly fresh and perfectly cooked.
Corn gnocchi

There was also a lovely baby kale salad, with pickled red onions. The colorful salad was devoured by all the meat eaters and vegetarians at my table.

Brussels Sprouts
We also had warm bread, with fruity olive oil for dipping. The pretty sausage and pepper garlic toast was not for me, but the others enjoyed it.

For my entree, I had corn gnocchi with pistachios. The sweet corn tasted of mid-summer, even though it is still technically late spring.
Steak fries

We had Brussels Sprouts Calabrese, roasted till crispy. And the Tuscan fries were really steak fries, properly salty and crunchy. I'm not a ketchup person, but I appreciated the Sir Kensington ketchup served with the fries.

Chocolate cannoli for dessert
Dessert was a chocolate cannoli with pistachio gelato. Yum!

Note: I was a guest of Techlicious at its #CTATravel Lunch & Learn event. I was not compensated for this post, but I was sated.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Travel Essentials: Headphones & Videos

Sony True Wireless Sports Headphones

Back in the not so distant past, travel entertainment meant an assortment of DVDs, a portable player and clunky headphones. My kids had cute pink DVD players, which then morphed into DVD slots on laptops.
Look at all the content you can access from the Roku streaming stick
Now, my Mac doesn't even have a DVD player and sometimes I want to watch a movie or binge a TV show on a long layover or airport delay.

At the CTA Travel Lunch & Learn Event, hosted by Techlicious, I got a first look at a portable Roku streaming stick. It lets you access content from your Netflix, Amazon Prime or Hulu account when you travel. You can also use it at home, but this little stick is perfect for travel.

The Ashley Chloe Helix Cuff (and my bracelet)

Fashion AND Function

Ashley Chloe showed off fashionable bracelets with Bluetooth headphones hidden inside. The Helix Cuff is a fashionable way to carry headphones. And the cuff comes in different color combos - black on black, for the inveterate New Yorker.

There is also black with gold, black with silver, white with gold or white with silver (for the Hamptons, of course). The cuffs are about $99.

Fashionable running

I rarely run with headphones because they always pop out. Sony has new wireless earbuds that stay in. And they are sweat resistant. They come in black, white, pink and yellow. The pink coordinates well with  the rose gold of an iPhone.

Best of all, the Sony True Wireless Sports Headphones are noise canceling, with an ambient sound mode. So at the gym, you can eliminate extraneous noise from, say, your husband grunting on the next mat.
Sony noise canceling headphones

But on a long run, you can keep the ambient sound so you hear a car or bike approaching.

The Sony buds retail for $179.99.

Discloser: I received a Roku stick courtesy of the Consumer Technology Association. I was not compensated for this post.

Friday, June 1, 2018

NY Early Riser Brunch with Kids: Gallow Green

Green street signage for Gallow Green

Sleep No More could be a description of parenting. It also, of course, the name of the immersive theatrical experience at The McKittrick Hotel.

This site specific rendition of Macbeth moves throughout the hotel, much like parents chasing kids at the playground.

But if you are one of those beleaguered, sleep-deprived parents, you can have some fun at Gallow Green, the rooftop garden at The McKittrick

Magical setting

Planting at the kid friendly event
Potions & Planting, held on several Saturdays during the spring and summer, is for families who aspire to hip child friendly experiences.

In addition to the ‘High Tea’ (which is served at 10am) kids learn about both potions and planting. We saw happy children leaving with their plants. Officially, the event ends at 11:30am, but there is some lingering. [Note: grown up brunch starts at noon].

Each kid can bring a doll or teddy bear, which gets its own place setting.

Magical garden setting for brunch
The food includes mini sandwiches: melted cheese, jelly, cucumber and cream cheese for the adventurous.

Have you read The Secret Garden with your kids?
There are plenty of sweets, from chocolate croissants to cupcakes and jam tarts. And pink lemonade to drink.

Potions & Planting is designed for kids ages 5-10, and each adult can bring no more than 3 young guests. So no surreptitiously holding your kid’s birthday party.

Quinoa salad for a healthy brunch

Grown up brunch

Though my kids are too old for Potions & Planting, we did go to the regular Saturday brunch. This vegetarian friendly buffet includes unlimited food and live music.

The buffet includes fresh fruit, Greek yogurt and granola, croissants, cinnamon buns and bread. There was shrimp cocktail, quinoa and kale salad, marinated beets and tomato with teeny mozzarella balls. Plus another tomato salad with pomegranate and a bulgur and greens salad.
The band

Hot foods included meat and baked salmon. Coffee and tea are included; brunch cocktails are extra.

Fresh berries and granola

After the summer

Gallow Green remains open even in rain. There is a canopy, and the sides drop down. The rooftop becomes The Lodge at Gallow Green in colder weather. There are heat lamps and blankets, but dress for the weather.

For both Potions & Planting, you have to buy tickets in advance, and check in before getting on the elevator. There is one flight of stairs up to the roof.

The next Potions & Planting is June 8.

Note: Gallow Green offered me a complimentary brunch. Opinions expressed are my own.