Tea & Fromage Tasting

On the evening of Wednesday, October 4th, Ravi Kroesen and Maxwell Pollock of Royal Tea New York joined Charles Duque of The French Dairy Board to provide a “most unusual but exquisite pairing” of premier tea and cheeses. The tasting took place at The French Cheese Board (La Maison de Fromage), a bright and ornate cheese shop located in the heart of SoHo. As guests arrived at the tasting, they were warmly welcomed with greetings from the hosts and crisp, chilled white wine. Roughly sixteen guests total found themselves seated at a long and rustic wooden table with a breathtaking presentation of cheeses, baguette rounds, quiches, garnishes, and actual tea leaves.   


As the formal tasting took place, three distinct cheeses were paired with three unique types of tea. While the cheeses were already positioned on the table, the different teas were freshly brewed at the “tea bar” counter. From there, Maxwell Pollock described in great detail his pairing choices. Rich Matcha tea was paired with tangy, buttery cantal cheese. Qu Lan Phoenix Oolong tea, a tea rich in honey and pear flavors, was paired with Secret de Scey (Morbier) cheese, a creamy and mature cheese. Finally, Golden Yunnan tea, which has hints of sweet potato and caramel, was paired with Fourme D’Ambert cheese, a creamy, delicate, and fruity blue cheese. Throughout the tasting, guests enjoyed discussing the various flavors and aromas of the cheeses and teas.


The French Cheese Board is the perfect stop for all cheese connoisseurs of New York as well as for those looking to learn more. Since it is considered a “concept store,” The French Cheese Board serves as an educational space on the cheeses of France. Additionally, Royal Tea New York is a tea importer that provides tea drinkers with an abundant variety of teas to take home. Overall, the two businesses forged together splendidly, as the Tea & Fromage tasting was both informative and a complete delight.


Special thanks to @frenchcheeseboard

Photos courtesy of Teddy Adolphe

Serafina Launches in Tribeca

Last week, Serafina welcomed its tenth New York City location in the trendy neighborhood of Tribeca. Its launch coincided with the celebration of Serafina’s 20th anniversary. The location is the largest yet, taking up a luxurious space of 6,500 square feet across three levels. To bring life to its interior, Pato Paez’s paintings decorate the walls throughout the building.

Serafina serves authentic Italian fare in a family-like setting. It was founded by Vittorio Assaf and Fabio Granato, who came up with the idea for the restaurant while lost at sea. The two friends were stranded on a small sailboat, suffering from brutal weather and severe hunger pains. They fantasized about creating the perfect pizza and swore to bring the idea to life if they survived. While the dream started with only one restaurant in mind, Serafina now boasts 29 locations worldwide, including outposts in Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, and Dubai. 

At the opening party, guests were treated to an abundance of Italian foods including pizza and pasta paired with signature drinks. The restaurant’s famous pizza includes a thin-crust made with extra virgin olive oil imported from Italy. Handmade personal pizzas were prepared in front of guests before getting fired into a Marra Forni brick oven.

To complement the hearty food, Serafina served delicious passion fruit margarita shooters, along with imported Italian beers and select wines. Patrons will be able to order drinks in an XL “By The Magnum” format at the Tribeca location. 

Notable guests included founders Assaf and Granato, joined by Francesco Genuardi, Consul General of Italy. Genuardi officiated the pasta ribbon cutting ceremony of the night.


“We know what our customers expect, whether you visited the first location or one that’s only been open for a short time, you will experience the same fabulous food we introduced over 20 years ago,” said Assaf.

The founders have many plans for the future, including launching breakfast options at their restaurants and opening a hotel in Puerto Rico later this year.


Since its opening, the restaurant has attracted celebrity diners including NYCFC star athlete Andrea Pirlo, actress Michelle Pfeiffer, and television producer David E. Kelly. To make a reservation, call (212) 766-2700.

Taste of Home 2017

On the evening of Wednesday, June 14th, Housing Works hosted “Taste of Home,” its annual culinary benefit that fully supports those living with HIV/AIDS in the New York City area. Taste of Home took place at Housing Works’ own Bookstore Cafe, a cozy destination that is a downtown staple for tourists and locals alike. However, for the event, the charming bookstore transformed into a hospitable and upscale dining venue, where guests enjoyed tasting the craft of some of NYC’s supreme chefs.

Upon arrival, guests checked in and were greeted by amiable hosts with a menu of tasting options for the night. Throughout the bookstore were numerous tables adorned with a wide array of cuisines. VIP hour, which was accessible to those who purchased VIP admission tickets, consisted of a reception with hors d'oeuvres from Comparti New York and an intimate “meet and greet” with the chefs and co-host Alex Guarnaschelli, a highly acclaimed chef who has made appearances on both Chopped and Iron Chef.

General admission, which began at 7:00 p.m., provided guests with foods from Shopsin’s Tamara Shopsin, Mission Chinese Food’s Angela Dimayuga, Bread & Salt’s Rick Easton, Superiority Burger’s Brooks Headley, and Comparti New York’s Felipe Donnelly. Dessert was presented by Butter’s Kevin O’Brien. Each of the various foods, from ceviche to cheddar cheese pancakes, were served and described by the chefs at their own decorative tables dispersed throughout the bookstore. Additionally, Greenport Harbor Brewing Company beer and Nomikai Fizzy Rosé were served as refreshments.

Overall, hosts Alex Guarnaschelli, Sam Sifton, Geoff Bartakovics, and Francis Lam, in addition to honorary chairs Ruth Reichl, Mo Rocca, and Jessica Seinfeld were remarkable in organizing this delightful evening celebrating the art of food, as well as Housing Works’ mission of providing services and displaying political advocacy for those living with HIV/AIDS. Housing Works, which accounts for not only Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, but also Housing Works Thrift Shops and The Works Catering, is based on the three pillars of advocacy, service, and entrepreneurial businesses, all of which center around fighting both AIDS and homelessness in New York City. 100% of the proceeds raised through “Taste of Home” went towards ending HIV/AIDS.

Photos courtesy of Astrid Stawiarz for Getty Images

For more information or donate to Housing Works visit: http://www.housingworks.org/