Itís a wonderful town
By Linda Bauer
Sunday, February 2, 2001
York City's endless attractions afford visitors various entertainment, dining
and intellectual opportunities. If you have been to the Big Apple many times and
enjoyed the standards such as the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center
Statue of Liberty and museums, why not try some of the unusual excursions
offered in this major metropolis?
are literally dozens of tours available throughout the city from Central Park
biking, to seaplane adventures, to Harlem spirituals, to backstage at the
Lincoln Center and Radio City Music Hall. The real Kramer from the Seinfeld Show hosts
one of the, hottest tours, which is sold out each weekend. I had to meet him for
breakfast at a coffee shop, and when I asked how I would recognize him, he
laughed and said--"what do you mean I'm Kramer!"
Actually he is tall and slim. just like Cosmo Kramer, but has long curly
brown hair cascading to his shoulders instead of straight up, and he sports a
trademark backwards baseball cap.
was repeatedly recognized by friends and fans at the coffee shop and on the
street. His demeanor is a mix of happiness at his good fortune, amazement that
he ran for mayor, and down to earth smarts about what he wants from life. He has
been a stand-up comic for years and after the success of the show decided to
begin the Kramer's Reality Road Show. In fact the episode with Peterman and the
bus tour was based on Kenny Kramerís tour.
He takes over 40 guests each week in a bus to see key locations for the
show including the Soup Kitchen and Monk's Restaurant, sharing backstage
information during the entire trip. Rare video footage, pizza and a surprise
dessert are also included. For more information call 1(800) KRAMERS or visit
highlight of my week in New York was spent enjoying the Big Apple on several
Savory Sojourns, a company founded by actress Marisa Tomei's mother, Addie. As a
native New Yorker and a resident of Brooklyn for fifty years, Addie's knowledge
and love of the city provides an intensely interesting tour. Formerly an English
teacher with New York City Schools she traded in the three R's to spend time on
her three V's ‑ vim, vigor and vitality.
couple of years ago she made the delicious decision to capitalize on her love of
food (derived from her Sicilian mother and Tuscan father), a passion for New
York, and her teaching expertise to aid visitors in enjoying a culinary walking
tour. Some of the jaunts involve groups as small as six or as large as twenty.
They also offer hotel accommodations, airport greetings plus multi-lingual
guides. Wine tastings celebrity
chef demonstrations, market forays and meals at top restaurants provide numerous
opportunities to enjoy the New York food scene with Savory Sojourns.
sure to wear comfortable shoes and treat yourself and friends to a gustatory
delight. My favorite of the tours was Brooklyn, because of my interest in
exploring the borough and a visit to Rustic, a restaurant on Cobble Hill with a
Mediterranean flair and a wood-burning fireplace.
Kenneth Johnson delighted our group with an olive cheese and tomato tart, while
answering questions with infectious enthusiasm.
party reconvened to visit the hot new restaurants and shops along Smith Street.
Then we took a short walk to Sahadi's, with its fresh spices and barrels of all
types of food. The owner Charlie Sahadi spoke to our group about his origins and
the history of the emporium. Next a bus ride to the famous River Cafe allowed us
a chance to view New York's waterfront, sip iced tea, and contemplate our
following day a tour through Chinatown included a wonderful Dim Sum breakfast at
Sweet n' Tart, winner of the prestigious Jade Chopsticks Award. Don't miss the
paper baked fried rice with chicken, squid and scallops or the orange flavored
chili prawns and chicken, but remember that the menu is full of over one hundred
other interesting items to tempt your taste buds. The shops in Chinatown sell exotic teas, meats, lovely
porcelain and scarves, so we indulged ourselves while Addie pointed out the best
places to shop and gave us a bit of history,
Soon we found ourselves in Little Italy, where our
Italian tour guide noted famous sites, showed us the best bakery and treated us
to fantastic gelato. We continued to walk it off by visiting SoHo and window
shopping where the prices were far higher than all the calories we had consumed!
The next day Maury Rubin's famous muffins and fruit
tarts from City Bakery fueled us. He believes in only the freshest ingredients
and flours. This is an excellent philosophy that is shared by the purveyors at
our next stop ‑ the Greenmarket at Union Square. Four days each week
farmers from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania sell their fresh
herbs, crops, flowers and meats and cheeses.
prices, free recipes, and plenty of friendly farmers made this a must for any
gourmet or, city slicker. Next we took a walk to the T Salon and Emporium and a
visit to ABC Carpet and Home which houses six floors of every imaginable home
furnishing and accessory. Then we lingered downstairs at Chicama, the Latin
American style cuisine of Chef Douglas Rodriguez and his fantastic ceviche.
He concocts delicious dishes and drinks that will revitalize the worn out
of Addie Tomei's other tours to different areas had some spectacular
restaurants. Local, just off Broadway and Eighth serves some of the finest fare
of all. The Restaurant Above, where Chef Larry Forgione creates Asian influenced
dishes on the 21st floor of the Hilton , Times Square was also outstanding. My
favorite place for appetizers and to stay is The Drake, where attention to
detail and service is key.
Guastavino's is a new venue with two restaurants nestled under the Queensboro, Bridge. The spectacular architecture and adjacent market are worth the trip. If you would like to take one of the customized culinary tours call Savory Sojourns at 1-888-9SAVORY or visit www.savorysojourns.com. For more New York City information call (212) 484-1200 or check www.nycvisit.com.
The Houston Courier
Sunday, February 4, 2001.