Taste of the Bronx to Launch New Subscription Box

Taste of the Bronx, a monthly pop-up market featuring local Bronx vendors, is set to launch a brand new quarterly subscription box featuring products from locally sourced Bronx-focuses products. All products have to meet strict requirements to earn the Taste of the Bronx seal of quality. The Spring box features merchandise from Sustainable Snacks, From the Bronx, the New York Botanical Garden, Cards by De, and more!

A partnership between Sustainable Snacks and From the Bronx,  Taste of the Bronx ‘s markets highlight local businesses and give them an opportunity to sell the wares and connect with others in the community.  I love that the market and new subscription box are focused on uplifting and spotlighting Bronx entrepreneurs.

Taste of The Bronx gathers Bronx entrepreneurs in a celebration of everything that makes our borough unique. Our subscription box and monthly markets are a true Bronx experience. The Bronx has so much to offer that there will always be something new to see!” says Anthony Ramirez II, Taste of The Bronx partner.

To find out how you can be featured in the Taste of the Bronx subscription box or to sign up, click here. PLUS! you can visit the market and get a taste for yourself (pun obviously intended) at the market at Bronx Cookspace (50 E. 168th St, Bronx, NY, 10452) tomorrow, April 14 1-6pm.

 

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Life Updates

So…it’s been a few months…let me catch you up on what’s been going on with me. I’ve been working on a few different projects, which meant that I had to sacrifice blogging for a bit to make things work/not burn out. The most important development (if you follow me on IG, this will be old news. And if not, it’s okay, I’ll wait…) is that I finished the first draft of my novel at the end of December. When I came back from Prague last year and was all depressed and having an existential crisis and whatnot, I made up my mind to rededicate all my time and effort to my original passion, writing. I had been writing the whole time, but I needed to make it my number one priority, which looked like sitting down every single day and writing, meeting my (very strict!) word count – even after a night of going out and drinking (-_-)- and reading in abundance.

When I was in grad school, I remember one of my professors saying to a stressed out classmate “You can either be a really good teacher and an okay student or a really good student and an okay teacher.” So applied that advice to my own situation – I could either be a really good blogger or a really good writer. When it came down to it, writing my novel was definitely way more important. So here we are.

I have some very cool writing news that I can’t give too many details about just yet, but it’s very exciting!

Last month, I got to check off my SIXTH continent by visiting Australia and New Zealand, the post for that will be coming your way soon.

In the mean time, here’s a lovely picture of the Bronx River that I took during a quaint stroll this past Sunday.

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Visiting The Coffee Break Company

Last week, I got the chance to visit Throggs Neck’s newest addition – The Coffee Break Company.

Located in the spot where Brew Coffee House once was, The Coffee Break Company is a joint endeavor by owners Bruce “Blue” Rivera and Brian Martinez who have given the space a total revamp. My favorite feature was the clock walls – a collection of vintage and modern clocks that line the wall during your very own “coffee break.” Another unique feature are the custom tables in the center of the coffeeshop that are made out of doors filled in with coffee beans. Another feature I thought was pretty cool was the jars of coffee beans on the wall behind the counter, which featured the top ten coffee distributors around the world.

Serving up La Colombe coffee, lattes, and tea the coffeeshop also makes all of its desserts in house. I got to try a pumpkin pie bite and a coconut cupcake. Both were so delicious. First of all, I’ve never had a pumpkin pie bite before, but I could definitely eat a 100 of them in one sitting; it’s a perfect fall snack. Second, as a person who doesn’t even really like coconut, that cupcake was fantastic. The icing was light, the cake itself was light as well, so you really got to taste the flavors instead of just straight sugar.

Though still in its soft opening stage, The Coffee Break has a number of events in the pipeline. This Friday, Oct 19, they’ll be hosting a paint and sip event. On Halloween, kids will be invited to help the coffeeshop “dress up” as a barn and around Christmas, there are plans for a cookie decorating event.

While the grand opening isn’t until November, you can keep up with the latest by following them on Instagram or Facebook.

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Pizza, Pizza

When it comes to pizza, I guess you’d say I’m a bit of a purist. I rarely ever get any toppings and if I do, it’s mushrooms. (Obv. seasonings are a must. Pass the garlic powder, oregano, and red pepper flakes.)  How exciting. But, on a recent trip to Kingsbridge Social Club, I was challenged to step out of my comfort zone. Okay, I’m lying, it was not challenging at all. There were honestly so many delicious options that it was hard to pick just one.

My friend and I opted to sit outside in their patio area. It’s only a few tables, but a cute space nonetheless. She ordered the brussel sprouts as an appetizer and they were fantastic. I’m not particularly drawn to brussel sprouts when I see them on a menu, but I’m really glad she ordered them because they delicious. They were slightly charred, which gave them a slight crunch. Do yourself a favor and try them.

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Now, to the pizza. I ordered The Wrecking Ball , which is topped with mozzarella, onions, garlic, and basil and served atop a large, tomato sauce can for an added touch. The crust had that excellent charred taste from the wood fire oven and all of the ingredients tasted so fresh. The crust was thin with the perfect balance between being appropriately crispy, but still soft enough that you can eat the crust and not worry about chipping a tooth.

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Paired with a chilled glass of wine, it was the perfect way to spend one of the last days of summer.

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From the Bronx to Boston on Catch a Ride

Is there anything worse than coming from a lovely, relaxing trip and then getting off the bus in Port Authority and having to schlep all the way back up to the Bronx? Or finagling your way back up from 11th Ave? Finally, there’s an easier way.

A new bus company, Catch a Ride, is here to save the day. With a stop conveniently just outside of Pelham Bay Park, (on the same side as the buses to the beach) it’s never been easier to, well, catch a ride. The service runs from Brooklyn to the Bronx straight to Boston. Seriously, from here in Bedford Park it took me like 25 minutes to get to the stop on the BX12 (that’s including the walk to Fordham.) Plus, the bus has outlets so you can charge your devices while you search for things to add to your itinerary.

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With college starting up (has it started already? It’s been so long. *dramatically places hand on forehead*) it’s the perfect solution for Bronxites that need to get back and forth between here and Boston. Or, simply to go on a quick, weekend trip, which is what Nicole from Bronx Mama and I chose to do.

Neither of us had ever been to Boston, so it was cool for us to embark on this adventure together. We stayed at the Aloft Seaport District hotel, which served as our chic headquarters for the weekend.

The Aloft has a really great view of the city and is a quick Uber ride from the city’s main sights. The staff was really friendly and gave us some great recommendations. They also hosted paint and sip nights, which I’ve never seen at a hotel (in addition to live music events too) so while we didn’t get to try it since we were only in Boston for a short amount of time, it’s definitely something I’d try on a longer stay.

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Just across the street is this really dope public space, the Lawn on D. Featuring glow in the dark swings, lawn games, a bar, and stage for live music, it’s like a giant playground. On Saturday, they even had a movie night.

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On our first night, we checked out the Skywalk Observatory where we got a birds’ eye view of the city. I honestly had no idea Boston had such great architecture. Pro tip: Make sure you look up when sunset is before you visit so you can watch the sun set over the city, it’s gorgeous.

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We also stopped by the Barking Crab for some drinks. Its a popular place, so it gets a little chaotic, but it was nice to have a refreshing drink by the water.

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Saturday, we went on the Boston Harbor Cruises. Fun fact: I am terrified of whales. I’m happy to report that while we did see whales, they were at a reasonable distance and did not eat me. The guide was informative and I actually learned some new things. Did you know that whales breathe through their blowholes? It’s basically their nose.

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We then walked around Little Italy, where we happened upon the Feast of St. Anthony. It was like we stepped into a time machine with all of the winding streets and some old-time storefronts.

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Sunday, after we checked out of the Aloft (which was a breeze, we just dropped off our keys and were on our way!)  we went to the SoWa Open Market for some breakfast and “window” shopping. It was so nice to check out the wares of local farmers, artists, and chefs. I even brought back some muhamara from Samira’s Homemade, which I’d never had before, but now want to put on everything.

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It was easy to get to the Catch a Ride bus stop and then we were off to Bronx. I can’t stress enough how wonderful it was to not have to take the train another hour uptown after my trip. Be sure to check them out the next time (or first time like us!) you want to go to Boston.  And if you need a comfy, modern home base, be sure to check out the Aloft Seaport District.

 

 

We received some accommodations to facilitate this review. As always, all opinions are our own.

 

3 Places to Buy Groceries Online Instead of Fresh Direct

Yesterday was the ribbon-cutting for the new Fresh Direct facility down in Port Morris despite protests from community members regarding environmental and health in an area already plagued by high asthma rates. Never mind the fact that Fresh Direct only delivered to Riverdale prior to this deal, despite having to drive through out borough to deliver to Westchester from their location in Queens. South Bronx Unite, who has been fighting against this since Day 1, has all of the details of why the opening of this facility is bad for the borough. Welcome2theBronx also wrote up an excellent article about the opening yesterday.

But Lisa, isn’t the Bronx a food desert? What about #Not62? Don’t we deserve access to fresh groceries?

100% We absolutely do. But we can’t allow businesses and the politicians who support them to ignore the legitimate concerns of the community by using outdated environmental reports and disregarding the health risks that will be exacerbated by the additional traffic.

But Lisa, I hate grocery shopping. I just want to order online and have it be done with. 

Word. Me too. Have you lugged a grandma cart and reusable bag filled to the brim with groceries a half hour on the bus because the supermarkets closest to you are absolute garbage? (Here’s looking at you, Met) I have and it’s awful, so allow me to show you some other places you can order from.

  1. Peapod

Run by Stop & Shop, you have access to their Nature’s Promise brand which offers an array of organic goods. True story: once, I was throwing a party at my place and didn’t have time to go shopping beforehand (because of my poor time management skills) and I just plugged everything in online and schedule my delivery for that morning at 7 am and my grocery shopping was done and I wasn’t even out of my pajamas yet.

2.  Shoprite 

 

A new Shoprite opened up recently in Bruckner Plaza. Bronx Mama did a write up on it and it looks absolutely amazing. (Adulthood is being excited about how cool a supermarket is, right?)  If like me, it’s too far to get to in person, you’re in luck. You can order from them online. Shoprite stays having sales, so you’re bound to save some coins while you’re at it.

3. Jet

The best mango I ever had was sent to me by Jet. It was amazing. I still think about it to this day. The cool thing about Jet is that they deliver your groceries in these insulated cooler type things so your groceries are just as cold as if you had gotten them yourself (unless you’re taking that half hour bus ride). I’ll be honest that I don’t like being stuck with the insulating material, so it’s the least environmentally friendly of these options (but you know, probably still better than diesel trucks driving through your neighborhood). You can also buy an abundance of other things like clothing and household items from them.

Honorable mentions: 

For groceries that aren’t produce.

Boxed – like Costco or BJ’s except without the membership fees.

Thrive Market – Like WholeFoods except with a membership fee.

It’s worth noting that it’s farmers’ market season, so stop by one and support some local farmers. Or you can check out a CSA, which I am a member of and the quality is unparalleled.

Also worth noting is that this is not a sponsored post. I just want us to make informed decisions that are in our best interest. We should be holding our elected officials accountable when they rally for these companies, while choosing to ignore or disregard serious issues raised by our communities.

 

A Day at the Opera

Until Saturday, I’d never been to an opera. It was something I always thought I should do eventually, but made no real effort to go. So when I learned that the Metropolitan Opera Summer Series was happening in Williambridge Oval Park as part of SummerStage, I knew I had to check it out. Plus, it was the first time that they’ve ever performed in this park, which is pretty cool.

We’ve all seen some kind of opera on tv at some point in our lives (I am specifically thinking of this episode of Hey Arnold) but let me tell you that seeing it in person is something totally different.

Performing a variety of songs from Verdi, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and Wagner (among others!)  Gabriella Reyes de Ramirez (soprano), Gerard Schneider (tenor), and Adrian Timpau (baritone)  did such an amazing job conveying the passion and conviction of each song that it didn’t matter that I didn’t actually understand what they were saying. It’s really moving and captivating, not to mention that their vocal abilities are insane.

While this was their only show in the Bronx, they have two more shows coming up in Jackie Robinson Park in Manhattan and Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens. I highly recommend checking it out if you can.

 

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