When Palermo’s Bakery opened nearly three decades ago, it was a small storefront affair. Husband and wife team, Joanne and Jerry Bruno, baked small-scale confections at first, but over the years, Jerry became adventurous, constructing elaborate designer cakes that grew more intricate over the years. Twenty-five years later, thanks in part to those same creations, the small Italian bakery has grown into two custom cake shops with more than 50 staff members.
Still helmed by the Bruno family, Palermo's Bakery creates lavish wedding cakes bursting with fondant flowers, and specialty cakes sculpted into an array of improbable shapes, such as 3D champagne bottles. Though baked goods and pastries vary by location, they often include more than 20 flavors of cookies, Italian treats such as cannoli, and kosher desserts such as rugalech. All of the duo’s whimsical creations are available for pick-up or delivery.
El Conuco is named for an indigenous term that refers to the locus of the Dominican Republic's planting and harvest. The restaurant's chefs live up to the name's bountiful connotation and specialize in both seafood and steak, which they prepare seven different ways. Bowls of paella overflow with shellfish and sausage, and lobster or shrimp come augmented with creole and garlic sauces. The kitchen also serves mofongos, fried green plantains that are sculpted into a tower and filled with shrimp, spanish sausage, or fried cheese. On weekend nights, live music fills the air as diners tuck into their meals.
Spirit Cruises specializes in showing off New York Harbor with its luxurious, three-deck cruise ship. With a 600-person capacity, this Coast Guard–approved vessel lets passengers relax and engage in the convivial delights of a dinner cruise. Delicious comestibles, an interactive DJ, live performances, and dancing spicy up evenings that might otherwise be spent on a couch or petting Pat Boone's hamsters.
Instead of relying on a tour bus, the licensed guides at Food On Foot Tours lead groups through New York's neighborhoods in a relaxed manner as locals: by taking the subway and by traveling, of course, on foot. The four-time Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence award-winning tour leads more than 15 specialty tours, each tailored to specific neighborhoods, culinary items such as a meat tour with vegetarian options, or aspects of local culture. Guides may lead groups to the East Village, Hell's Kitchen, or Union Square, to the diverse ethnic eateries of Queens, or to the waterfront streets of Sheepshead Bay, Brighton Beach, and Coney Island. Food On Foot's Tours always include 4 to 6 stops for food, including at least one sweet stop. Each stop offers multiple options, from a snack to a large meal, but guests are not obligated to make purchases; the average costs for all tour stops range from $15 to $20. Food On Foot Tours also offer self-guided On Your Own Experiences and Feasts & Finds special events.