About Jessica Tiare Bowen
Jessica Tiare Bowen lives in the juicy Big Apple with her adorable pink-nosed chihuahua, Gillman. He's the inspiration for her first published children's book, "Park Avenue Pound Puppy." The book is the combined result of her two greatest passions: pooches and penning stories.
Her passions include art, urban hikes through Manhattan, drinking coffee with 3 creams and 6 sugars, making extremely detailed itineraries and traveling to far away places, singing along to Broadway shows, Netflix movie nights, discovering incredible treasures at Goodwill and thrift stores, and listening to stories from little people under 7 and big people over 70.
She started her career as New York City Teaching Fellow, teaching elementary school and theater arts at a special education school in the South Bronx for 6 years. She is now a Special Education School Improvement Specialist working in public schools throughout New York City. She is the Editor-In-Chief of the online New York City travel magazine, Used York City. The magazine focuses on finding the best of New York...as used by New Yorkers. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and an ASPCA Ambassador.
Latest Posts by Jessica Tiare Bowen
When the bone-chilling cold winter weather hits, I’m all about the soups. The best thing about these huge pots is that you can fix one up on Sunday, and have plenty to nosh off of all week. Busy New Yorker’s best friend? I think yes.
Here’s a few favorites that circulate through my kitchen until the frost stops:
Ginger + Lime Carrot Soup (my very favorite from this list!)
Classic Lentil Soup
Slow Cooker Cheesy Potato Soup
Creamy Pumpkin Soup
Another perk: a whole pot of one of these costs about the same to throw together as buying an individual serving from our beloved NYC soup-centric restaurants (Hale and Hearty, I’m talking to you!) Kudos for saving money and staying warm, NYC!
I’m pretty loyal when it comes to my massages, but in all honesty, trekking down to New York City’s Chinatown in this bone-chilling cold just isn’t happening for me. A friend recommended Nina’s European Day Spa, centrally located on 35th and 5th, and promised it would live up to my high standards of DEEP-deep tissue. (I mean, I have a ridiculously tight back under normal circumstances, but the Polar Vortex conditions are magnifying that by a bijillion. Just saying.) Anyhow, Jess was impressed.
I started off with a facial, including cleansing, exfoliation, steaming, massage, AND a mask (when in a day spa, eh?), and particularly loved how the esthetician Natalie didn’t try to up-sell at all during the process. Any other place in the city I have tried has always done this (NO, I don’t want gold flakes rubbed into my face, thank you very much!), and I really feel it takes away from the whole relaxing experience. I was super pleased that there was none of this involved, along with the fact that I was left in my cozy cocoon to nap under the hot steam for a pleasant amount of time, warding off the chill from outside.
Next, I was off to the massage room! My high expectations were exceeded by the lovely therapist, Inga. I knew we’d get along when she started the massage with “Just tell me if I’m going too hard…” (No! It’s perfect!) The combo of the deep tissue, warming oils, hot towels, and strong, strong hands was the absolute best medicine to fight off the Polar Vortex. Not to mention, I didn’t have to trek all the way downtown to get it.WHERE: Nina’s European Day Spa 5 West 35th Street New York, New York 10001 212.594.9610
“Thank goodness we didn’t bring the guys, they would have broken something by now for sure.”
So speaks my mother-in-law at the Tea Salon. My response? ”Truth!”
(…in a British accent, of course…I mean, we are at a tea salon!)
With course after course of crumpets and finger sandwiches and the most precious tea pots you will ever see, Lady Mendl’s is clearly a place for folks with a deep appreciation of all things dainty and cute. Absolute perfection for Mommy-and-Me dates, showers for the girly-girl bride or mother-to-be, or a special place to catch up with your bff that’s just so much classier than the local watering hole. (Remember that New Year’s Resolution to swap cocktails for Chamomile?!) And despite the dainty menu, trust me, after 5 courses of sugar and spice and everything nice, you’ll be stuffed to the gills.
From its location (a perfect townhouse in Gramercy), to its waiting room (clearly, just not a tea salon without a proper waiting room!), to its unique collection of antique furniture and china dishes, Mendl’s will charm the pants off of you from beginning to end.
That being said, let the foodporn begin…
WHERE: Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon 56 Irving Place New York, New York 10003
If there was ever a month to snuggle at home with Seamless and Netflix, February is it. But there are some pretty cool happenings going on throughout the next few weeks in New York City, so layer up and show that Polar Vortex who’s boss. Here’s a few of our February faves:
Ladies and Gentlemen…The Beatles!: February 6-May 10, 2014
It’s been 50 years since the Fab Four flew from Liverpool to J.F.K, landing to the screams of millions of teenyboppers countrywide. To celebrate the enduring legacy of John, Ringo, Paul and George, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts is hosting an exhibition covering Beatlemania’s early years, complete with pop culture artifacts, posters, photographs, interviews and other memorabilia stemming from 1964-1966.
Get Married (or renew your vows!) in Times Square: February 14, 2014
On the most romantic day of the year, head to the crossroads of the world where you can meet, marry, and make your love last forever, all in a New York minute.
Hot Chocolate Festival: February 1-28, 2014
For the entire month of February, City Bakery features a different flavor of hot chocolate a day, every day. With flavors like malted milk, peanut butter barge, and bourbon hot chocolate, this is a delicious must-do.
Westminster Kennel Club’s 138th Annual Dog Show: February 10-11, 2014
Watch your favorite furry friends prance around, shaking their tales in hopes to win best-in-show.
Off-Broadway Week: February 17-March 2, 2014
Score 2 for 1 tickets during this year’s Off-Broadway Theater week.
1930′s and 40′s Music Revue: February 20-23, 2014
For four evenings this month, the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem will transform into a vintage nightclub, capturing the neighborhood’s rich musical legacy. Expect plenty of dancing and crooning.
Love Bites: A Valentine’s Dinner Celebrating Classic Literary Lovers: February 13, 2014.
Valentine’s Day can be stressful for us demanding New Yorkers, especially if we don’t plan ahead. Getting reservations at the perfect restaurant is not ideal on this day. But with these cold winter nights, it may be a good idea to try some of the places in the city that take a different approach at keeping their guests warm through their meals.
Not looking for anything too serious or pressuring? Maybe, just a nice night to get away from the NYC hype? The Black Mountain Wine House, located in Brooklyn, is the place for you.
Geared toward our wine lovers, this is a great place to bring your new mate; test the waters with conversation as smooth as the wine. The relaxing atmosphere is created with the countryside décor: wooden tables and chairs with low lights to set the simplistic, charming mood of the countryside that we can’t always find in this lavish city. Curl up next to the fireplace with your date and choose a meal from the short food menu, which is extensive in taste all for $10! Talk about a cheap get-away!
Alewife, located in the Long Island City area of Queens, is a local new beer bar for the couple that shares a passion for crafted beers. Their selections of beer are constantly rotating but the staff if always up-to-date in knowledge about each selection. Although the beer is phenomenal, the menu makes Alewife an appropriate spot for anytime of day with weekend brunch specials, late-night pizza and even house-made ice cream specials. Sit by the gas-powered fireplace and indulge in a new beer with your favorite person for a night filled with good vibes.
The Black Duck restaurant is located in the Flatiron neighborhood in NYC. With a fireplace located in the front lounge of the restaurant to set the warm ambiance, locals describe this place as “an undiscovered gem”. They offer live jazz music on the weekends with various vocalists and musicians keeping the straight-ahead jazz standards alive and soulful in the NYC area. Sundays have a more relaxed tone with classic James Bond screenings topped with complimentary gourmet popcorn. The intimate atmosphere and friendly waiters create the quintessential place for an easy-going and affective date.
For all my whiskey lovers in the place tonight! With over 750 variants, the staff at The Flatiron Room is well educated on each bottle of whiskey available to you. If you are looking to try something new, you can surely ask for a small sample to tease the palette. The exquisite décor gives off a “sense of aristocratic wealth”. Vintage Italian wallpaper paired with 100-year-old floorboards and extravagant chandeliers work wonderfully to create this lavish, dim setting. The live music is just as special as the whiskey. All performers are hand selected to ensure your satisfaction. The Flatiron Room is a timeless and classic restaurant surely to impress any date on any given night.
If you want to make her heart smile, bring her over to Tiny’s on West Broardway. It’s a cute, romantic spot housed in a three-story townhouse dated back to 1810. The cozy ambiance and the family roots create a peaceful energy throughout the space. The owners have stayed true to its classic American features and adorned it with original materials. The wood-burning fireplace and dimmed lights topped with a glass of your favorite American wine will create a memorable first date. Tiny’s is exactly where she wants to go on this special date, so she can tell her friends all about it the next day.
No matter your style, or what kind of mood you want to set on this Valentine’s Day, any of these places are a wonderful setting to show your appreciation to your dear friend or precious lover.
By: Denise Pina
I hit the Trifecta! Win… Place… and on with the Show!
“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder” is a delicious musical comedy that opened in October 2013 to a steady stream of excellent reviews. This is that rare, perfect combination and coordination of the big three – music, lyrics and book. Quadruple this with some remarkable performances – notably one particularly outstanding performance – and you have a heck of a smart, sassy show. Who knew murder could be so jolly?
This is a piece that should stay open not only because of its worthy, fine critiques, but because the word of mouth from those in the know – the ultimate people’s Tony award and the one that deservedly sells tickets - is so exceedingly strong. You just can’t beat a personal recommendation nor a strong buzz from those you trust. Truly the best form of advertising. Once that distinctly important melody starts you humming, and word starts catching on…well, you simply have to see for yourself and find out why all the fuss. I would never steer you wrong…you’ll be glad you listened!
Yes, of course, it’s fun to see bona fide movie stars on stage – up close, and personal – yet the “Great White Way” is way more then marquee names. Theater is still the ultimate collaborative art form, it takes more then famous names to make it a worthy night out, and justify ticket costs. Nothing worse then a big name in a bad show … indeed. ALL the elements must align. Don’t forget to see the forest thru the trees.
This scrumptious show is set in proper Edwardian England, and based on the classic British film “Kind Hearts and Coronets” starring the late, great Alec Guinness. This is witty, iconic, dry British humor- albeit black comedy – at its zenith. It involves a poor young man, Monty Navarro (exceedingly well portrayed and sung by Bryce Pinkham) who discovers as he comes of age that he is indeed of noble blood, to the manor born, and ninth in line to the title of “Earl of Highhurst” and the accompanying ancestral estate of the rich D’Ysquith family.
But therein lies the rub …odds are quite small that those way ahead of him in the line of succession will pass away on a timely basis, and eventual leave Monty as Lord of the D’Ysquith Manor while he’s young enough to reap the rewards of such an estate and esteemed title. Mmmm… stranger things have happened! You get the picture. And so a dishy delightful romp unfolds as Monty plots his wily route to the D’Ysquith throne.
Naturally there are some juicy love interests and colorful, flavor filled characters to help him along the way or add to the obvious obstacles along this thorny road to Highhurst. Royal blood will be shed, but you will be too happily laughing to mourn anyone! This is not necessarily murder most foul. But of course, the ultimate question…can he actually ascend this throne and stay there?
The zinger here is that the great stage actor (and Tony winner for “I Am My Own Wife”) Jefferson Mays, takes his cue from the film version and amazingly plays all eight parts – including the female roles – involving the D’Ysquith family. This is a true tour de force for Mays, and he is pure theatrical magic. How he steps off/on stage and perfectly inhabits another character – vocally, dramatically, with great comedic flare and in record curtain time - stuns the audience. Sometimes he is totally unrecognizable, such a chameleon! But check the casting list – it’s him all right! His performance alone is worth your ticket price. You’ll be hard pressed to decide which part you like him in best, but I am personally partial to his spins on the scooter – hysterical!
However, the rest of the ensemble cast is also remarkable, and I cite the two female leads, Lisa O’Hare as Sibella and Lauren Worsham as Phoebe for their glowing, gorgeous vocals and dramatic presence. Of course, the sets and costumes are of a rich, luxurious quality and add another level of delight to this already quality production.
I urge you to discover on your own this hilarious guide to love and murder…but I’ll give you all a “heads up” before you take your seat…thoroughly read your Playbill and listen carefully to the opening number.
Don’t say you weren’t warned!
WHAT: A Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder WHERE: The Walter Kerr Theater 219 West 48th Street New York, New York
By: Joanne Theodorou
“Where Brooklyn at?!”
We heard this, oh, 87 times at the Jay-Z concert…responding every time with a “Wooo!”, waving our hands in the air like we just don’t care. (Although we clearly SO did.)
Anyhow, YES, we were in Brooklyn so my 17 year old self could get her fill of Jay-to-the-Izzo. But perhaps more importantly, we ate. And oh, how we ate.
Convivium Osteria is a rustic little gem within walking distance of Barclays Center, so if you live in the area or are there to relive YOUR teenage fantasies via song, stop by for some old world cuisine that will transport you to the countryside of Italy before heading back to the streets of Brooklyn. And trust me, even if you got 99 problems going in there, by the time you leave, being hungry ain’t one.
Let the foodporn begin…
WHERE: Convivium Osteria 68 5th Avenue Brooklyn, New York 11217
What’s the most memorable dish you’ve eaten this week?
In a city that lays claim to not one but TWO Little Italy’s, weeding through Italian restaurants for the city’s most noteworthy veggie-friendly pasta is no easy feat. However, over eight years in New York City, these are the dishes that continuously have me going back for more.
1. Goat Cheese Ravioli, $22*
Nestled in the basement of The Plaza Hotel, The Todd English Food Hall is home to probably my FAVORITE dish in all of NYC. The ravioli is paired with baby beets and a basil pesto sauce, packing an incredible flavor.
2. Corn Gnudi, $19*
Newcomer on the block, Quality Italian Steakhouse, boasts a dish that is rare in the world of pasta…(well, at least pasta that tastes good!)…vegan friendly corn gnudi. A soft dumpling of sorts, topped with pistachio, basil and black pepper, it’s certainly the best dish I’ve ever ordered at a steakhouse.
3. Zucchini and Heirloom Tomato Lasagna, $24
Gramercy Park’s raw, organic restaurant has another one for the vegans: Pure Food and Wine’s zucchini pasta is so good, it will have your meat eating counterparts throwing out compliments left and right, proclaiming, “I never thought rabbit food could taste this good!” (Or at least that’s what my dining companions were saying!) Nestled in a basil pistachio pesto with sun-dried tomato marinara, and stuffed with a macadamia pumpkin seed ricotta, it’s truly a pasta worth experiencing.
4. Granny Smith Apple Ravioli, $22
One of my favorite restaurants in the Meat Packing District offers not only a stunning indoor garden dining experience, but a pasta dish infused with fruit that is simply to die for. Revel’s apple ravioli is set in a beef ragout, but they’re very accommodating with making it sans meat. I first tried this dish back in 2009, and have been ordering it every time we go here ever since.
5. Pumpkin and Sage Ravioli, $14
My best foodie memory of living up in Inwood comes from trips to The Garden Cafe, where I would order pumpkin ravioli in a garlic cream sauce be it fall, winter, spring or summer…a dish so titillating to the tastebuds, it knows no seasonal boundaries. Seriously so tasty, that since moving downtown I’ve actually made the trek on the A train to the very last stop (207th Street!), to reunite with this beloved dish. (Please note: the below photo is not the dish from the Garden Cafe, but looks similar!)