Bronxville, 19 local schools makes list of top high schools

May 23rd, 2012 by Randi Weiner

There are several of these that come out about this time of year, lists of local schools that have reached a benchmark for excellence according to a general interest publication.

Newsweek and The Daily Beast have released their top 1,000 public high schools, with New York scoring 118 of the slots, second only to California.

Among the top 10 from among the New York schools is Bronxville High School, number 40 on the list.

The others on the top 10 were City Honors School in Buffalo at 11; Jerico High School at 41; Hunter College High School at 44; Bronx High School of Science at 50; Locust Valley High School at 55; Great Neck South High School at 56; Pittsford Sutherland High School at 61; The Wheatley School in Old Westbury at 62; and Stuyvesant High School at 66.

A bunch of other area schools made the list as well. Here are those that made the top 1,000 even if they didn’t make the top 10 in New York: Rye, 77; Irvington, 79; Edgemont, 142; Rye Neck, 155; Pleasantville, 173; Hastings, 227; Clarkstown South, 348; Clarkstown North, 358; Tappan Zee, 403; Yonkers, 409;

Dobbs Ferry, 286; Croton Harmon, 311; Eastchester, 314; Pelham Memorial, 330; Mamaroneck, 532; Somers, 718; Hendrick Hudson, 747; Sleepy Hollow, 986; and Mahopac, 987.

The schools were chosen based on four-year on-time graduation rate, percentage of 2011 graduates accepted into college; percentage of students taking college-level courses and special examinations including Advanced Placement and their average scores; average SAT and ACT scores; college-level curriculum available at the school.

All of the New York schools can be seen here.

“The continued success of our public high schools is a direct result of the hard work by our outstanding teachers and other committed education professionals working in classrooms across News York state who dedicate themselves, day-in and day-out, to ensuring their students receive the best education possible,” said Richard C. Iannuzzi, president of New York State United Teachers.

Burgers, Anyone?

January 31st, 2012 by Mary Lynn Mitcham

Has anyone else noticed that there have been quite a few new burger joints opening around here. I don’t know if you saw my story about in Sunday’s Journal News, “The Burger’s Big Comeback,”— if not you can click here —but I found five places that opened in the last year. One of them was Cheeburger, Cheeburger in White Plains, where if you eat “The Pounder,” your photo gets put on the wall. Take a look at the size of that burger (these photos are by Journal News photographer Tania Savayan):



Can you imagine what you’d look like eating a burger that big? Here’s something to jumpstart your imagination:



So picture you in this photo—and then picture it hanging on the wall at Cheeburger, Cheeburger, so the whole world could see it! Nice, right? Does anyone know of any other places where they take pictures of you, just for eating so much? I’d be curious to know.

By the way for all of you Liz Johnson fans out there, I hear today (Wednesday) is her first day back at the office from maternity leave. Now, I don’t have to tell you how hard that first day back can be. So, if you’d like to drop her a welcome back comment, feel free to do so at the end of this post. And also, let me know about those food photo places.

In the meantime, here’s the link to my story again. If you love a good burger, you don’t want to miss it. And here’s the info on Cheeburger, Cheeburger.   Enjoy!




Park 143 Bistro Opens in Bronxville!

January 27th, 2012 by smallbitesguest

My friend, Jeanne, went to 143 Park Bistro in Bronxville yesterday. It’s just a week old! Here’s what she has to say about it:


“The former Village Cafe in Bronxville is now the sleekly redesigned Park 143 Bistro. And yes, you’ll be drawn in by the decor before you even sit down and order a drink (and oh what a cocktail list there is…more about that in a minute)

What you notice first: The Zebra print banquettes with red leather piping which lines the main dining room. There are also gorgeous silver-edged mirrors and shades of blue which mix with rows of box shade sconces.For a table with real privacy and panache ask for the elevated chef’s table in the back with its recessed seating and lipstick red stools. Very cool.

Enough about the decor, you say, what about the food? The restaurant, which incidentally just opened a week ago, is just as impressive. My friend and I sampled the soup to start: A very light, very fresh tomato soup and an uber-tasty mushroom truffle. (FYI: The smell of the truffle oil is enough to get you swooning and spooning).

My friend tried the Arugula salad with roasted beets, goat cheese, shallot vinaigrette and candied pecans. A nice mixture that again, felt like the right amount: not too big and not too small.”

“Craving the taste of summer, I opted for the lobster roll with drawn butter, chive, lemon and frisee. it didn’t disappoint though I did feel like it was a lot of bun.

For dessert, our server Chris “twisted our arm” for what he called “the showstopper: Chocolate chip cookie dough binded with a little cream cheese, served with waffle cookies and a caramel drizzle. if you want the grown up version of childhood, this is it.”


“Owner Wayne Chessler, the former general manager of Harry’s of Hartsdale and Underhill’s Crossing Restaurant, told me I have to come back for dinner. The pride of the restaurant, he says, is the small plates menu meant for sampling and sharing. Among the favorites so far: the gourmet crepes including duck confit, truffle Hollandaise; sweet shrimp, pesto, mango cucumber salsa; and wild mushroom, chive, creme fraiche and pecorino cheese. And oh yeah, about those cocktails: how about a Park Chipolte Margarita (mezel, chipolte syrup, fresh lime and zest) or a Park Peach Bellini with champagne and peach puree.

I’ll be back.”

Park 143 Bistro is open 7 days a week; 143 Parkway Road. Bronxville; 914-337-5100.





Taste in Buchanan

January 25th, 2012 by Mary Lynn Mitcham

So, has anyone been to Taste in Buchanan yet? Ok, yet may not be fair—the restaurant did open last July. Still, it has taken a lot of people a while to try it just because it’s so hard to get a table on the weekend. That’s what we hear anyway. I did manage to get a table on a recent weekday night—Thursday night, Ladies Night, when the drinks are half-price. That was a nice surprise. And the food was terrific!

The decor is kind of funky. Take a look at these curtains…




But there are a lot of wines to choose from. On Wednesdays, the owners prepare a special wine list and offer bottles at half-price!




But most importantly, the food is really good. The menu is New American “with global influences,” and you can see the chef’s creativity just by a quick look at the menu. I opted for the chicken, which came with this sweet potato puree with vanilla that tasted more like a dessert than a vegetable!


Colorful isn’t it??? My husband had the salmon, which was great, too. So definitely give Taste a try. Just maybe not on a weekend.


Taste, 265 Tate Ave., Buchanan; 914-930-7866. The website is still under construction, but here’s where to look for it:



And We’re Back…

January 22nd, 2012 by Mary Lynn Mitcham

Sorry for the delay on posts recently. Looks like Liz Johnson won’t be back until the beginning of February, so I’m going to continue on linking you to great restaurant news and other fun foodie stuff.

My first thought for this week—it’s Sunday right now, but this certainly pertains to Monday, too—is COFFEE. Lots of it. Most restaurants aren’t open on Mondays anyway (though if you are looking for some places to go tonight try Fig & Olive in Scarsdale, Taste in Buchanan, or Birdsall in Peekskill), so this is when I like to kick back at a cafe and my favorite is Black Cow in Croton-on-Hudson. Though, they do have a Black Cow sister in Pleasantville.

The Black Cow is everything a cafe should be: laidback, easygoing, casual. You’re almost guaranteed to run into someone from the neighborhood if you go. I love it. Here’s a recent photo:


You can see the old-time coffe roaster (I believe) and all of the community postings on the wall.


But most importantly on a Monday morning is the coffee—and the coffee here is strong! I stop in for a cup now and then, but more often than not, I stop in to pick up a few pounds of coffee. And they have plenty. Take a look:



See all of those bins, they’re full of different types of coffee from various parts of the world. Personally, I like the Black Cow blend (though the cafe could do a better job of stocking it, often it’s out!) and I buy two pounds when they have it because they tend to run out a lot.

Recently, I bought a ground pound of the Mingus Java, which is “half Colombian Supremo French roasted, half Panama full City roasted beans.” And if you don’t know what that means, I’ll sum it up: It tastes really good.

Do you have a favorite cafe in your neighborhood? What is it? I’d be curious to try it. In the meantime, if you want to give mine a try, here’s the info:

Black Cow Coffee Company, 51 Maple St., Croton-on-Hudson; 914-271-7544;

and here’s info on the newish Black Cow in Pleasantville.

Must Try: Massa in Scarsdale

December 28th, 2011 by Mary Lynn Mitcham

Since this is the last week of filling in on this blog, I want to make great use of it and introduce you to some pretty exceptional places. The first is Massa in Scarsdale. It opened about a year ago in the Five Corners building—formerly occupied by Heathecote Tavern, Bachals, and Citron Bistro. The building has been gutted and looks like an Italian farmhouse: You’ll find huge rustic beams, a gigantic stone fireplace, and wood floors, tables, and chairs. It’s really stunning. Plus, the owners—the Coli family—are from La Villeta, a cozy Italian restaurant in Larchmont. When they outgrew their space, they opened in Scarsdale.

They say fish is the specialty, but everything from the pasta to the soup to the vegetables is delicious.

Here’s the artichoke appetizer. It’s braised in white wine and herbs. So good.





The root vegetable soup has every vegetable you can think of.



But yes, it’s true: Don’t miss the fish. Here, my dorado was topped with an olive, caper, tomato sauce and serve wiht spinach. It was outstanding. I’ll be back to give Massa’ another try. Will you?

Massa’ is at 2 Weaver St, Scarsdale; 914-472-4600;


Christmas Morning Cinnamon Buns

December 20th, 2011 by smallbitesguest

If you’re hosting Christmas, then let’s face it: This is going to be a crazy, crazy week. I know I’ll be going through my recipes trying to find the perfect stuff for brunch, dinner, Christmas Eve dinner. Sigh. Here’s a little help. Lauren Groveman, of Larchmont, is coming out with her own cooking show. Journal News reporter Heather Salerno caught up with her a few weeks ago for her best Christmas morning recipes, and these cinnamon buns fit the bill. Take a look:



There’s a picture of Lauren in her Larchmont kitchen with lots of homemade goodies.



Here she is again with her cinnamon rolls in the background.

These photos, by the way, are by Tania Savayan, a Journal News photographer.

The great thing about baking cinnamon buns on Christmas—or anytime—is that your house smells so good! Here’s the recipe. Enjoy!


Christmas Morning

Cinnamon Buns

Yield: 14 cinnamon buns

Ingredients for the dough

Up to 3 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1 envelope rapid rise yeast

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 cup water

½ cup milk

¼ cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter

1 extra-large egg, at room temperature

For the cinnamon-raisin filling

¼ cup butter, melted

1 cup raisins (mix light and dark)

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon.

For the maple egg glaze

1 extra large egg

2 teaspoons water

1 tablespoon maple syrup

For the powdered sugar glaze

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4 tablespoons milk, or as needed

To assemble the dough

In a large bowl, combine 2 ½ cups flour, sugar, undissolved yeast, and salt. Heat water, milk, and butter until very warm (120 to 130 degrees). Gradually add to flour mixture. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer (with the paddle attachment), scraping the bowl occasionally. Add the egg and 1 more cup of flour; beat 2 minutes at a moderately high speed. Using a wooden spoon, stir in just enough remaining flour to make the dough leave the sides of the bowl. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 2 minutes. Cover with a towel and; let rest 15 minutes.

Gather the fillings: In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon with a whisk. Put raisins in another bowl.

To assemble cinnamon buns: Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions; roll each portion to approximately 12 by 8-inch rectangle. Brush each liberally with melted butter; sprinkle with cinnamon sugar (use fingers to help coat dough evenly), then scatter the raisins on top (use half of each for each half of dough).

Beginning at short end, roll up tightly as for jelly roll. Pinch seam to seal. With a sharp serrated knife, cut each roll into 7 pieces. Place, cut sides up, on prepared baking sheet(s). Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Or, for morning buns, cover the buns with a clean kitchen towel, and then again with plastic wrap. Refrigerate. In the morning, preheat the oven to between 350 and 375 degrees and allow the buns to sit out of refrigeration for 1 to 1 ½ hours before glazing.

To glaze and bake: Mix the egg with the water and maple syrup. Strain into another bowl. Brush the buns with the glaze and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and cooked through (rotate the sheet front to back once during baking and, if becoming overly brown, cover loosely with aluminum foil (shiny side up). Remove from the oven and let buns sit on the sheet for 5 minutes.

While the buns bake, assemble the powdered sugar glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and enough milk to make a glaze that’s thick but able to be drizzled luxuriously. Remove to a wire rack that sits over wax paper. Drizzle with powdered sugar glaze. (Alternatively, you can spoon and then spread the glaze over the warm buns.)


This Weekend: Birdall House in Peekskill

December 16th, 2011 by Mary Lynn Mitcham

So this time of the day on Fridays, I’m thinking…where should we eat this weekend. And there’s no better Friday night hotspot than Birdsall House in Peekskill. The place is known for amazing craft beers and unconventional Southern inspired menu. Chef Matt Hutchinson was leading the charge in the kitchen until recently when he left to pursue his own entrepreneural endeavors. Now March Walker, another CIA hotshot who has worked in many of Manhattan’s renowned restaurants (the Grammercy Tavern among them), has taken over the reigns. So, is Birdsall still worth a Friday night?

You bet. I stopped in recently and had a pumpkin beer (how seasonal!) that hit the spot. My friend had something darker.




Does that look like Friday night material or what?


Next, I tried my favorite thing on the Birdsall menu: the pulled pork nachos. They comes with black beans, barbeque pulled pork, and apple salsa. I love the roasted jalapenos they add, too. And I always ask for sour cream on the side.



They were just as good as I’ve ever had them at Birdsall. We also tried the corned beef sandwich, which was good but I loved the fries—fresh cut and delicious—even more.




So if you’re up for an interesting night out—one that includes a great beer and an off-beat menu—Birdsall is the place to head tonight. And if you miss it this weekend, no worries: Birdsall is one of the few places in the area that’s open on Mondays.


Here’s more on Birdsall.



Flying Pig to Close in Mount Kisco

December 4th, 2011 by Mary Lynn Mitcham


The Flying Pig has a been a staple in Mount Kisco for 13 years. But it will close its doors on December 31. So if you’re interested in a farm-to-table meal—many of the meats and other ingredients are supplied by nearby Cabbage Hill Farm—at this Mount Kisco staple, you have til the end of the month.



The good news is that we hear that Leslie Sutter, The Flying Pig’s chef, will be running a new restaurant in the near future. And of course, we’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, treat yourself to a meal at The Flying Pig this month. We love the pizzas for lunch.

Want to know more about The Flying Pig? Here’s the 411.

Have Thanksgiving Dinner at the Raddison New Rochelle

November 20th, 2011 by Mary Lynn Mitcham


Haven’t made your Thanksgiving dinner plans yet? No worries. The Raddison New Rochelle is offering a great buffet—for a great price! For $36 per person ($21 for kids under the age of 10), you get a buffet full of soups (butternut squash or cauliflower), salad, and a string of  traditional entrees. They’ll have organic turkey with giblet gravy and  baked pineapple ham, with sausage and mushroom stuffing. Then there’s baked ziti, sweet potatoes, roasted garlic potatoes, haricot verts, creamed sauteed onions, and a whole lot more. And of course, there will be plenty of pie for dessert.



The Thanksgiving buffet will be served in the Empire Ballroom, near the hotel’s lower lobby. Call for reservations: 914-576-3700.