Category Archives: Westchester Wanderer


Palomino restaurant: A Larchmont favorite

Palomino-4Few chefs can boast a different eatery for each day of the week, but Palomino Restaurant in Larchmont is just one of Colombian-born Rafael Palomino’s seven restaurants throughout the northeast.

It is hard to imagine juggling a couple of popular eateries—let alone seven—while simultaneously running a consulting company and a catering company as well, but Palomino does it and does it well.

Exactly one year old, Palomino Restaurant serves cuisine the owner characterizes as “southwestern modern fusion.” Offerings include tapas, both hot and cold, meats and cheeses, and additional main courses.

The restaurant is named for its chef, naturally, but you’ll find artwork on the walls honoring its secondary definition. Palomino indicates the bright color of certain horses of various breeds.

Sweet corn shrimp tamale with lemon grass-corn chardonnay sauce.

Sweet corn shrimp tamale with lemon grass-corn chardonnay sauce.

The dimly lit, relatively sm-all interior houses a bar I’ve heard gets pretty loud during peak hours.

As simple as it is, I really appreciated my first bite at Palomino, a piping hot, crispy-on-the-outside-soft-on-the-inside roll. The perfect piece of bread was elevated by its complement, a vibrant red, flavorful spread.


I detected sundried tomato, but inquired about the other ingredients, which I learned were ginger, garlic, honey and olive oil.

I also discovered I was far from the first to ask.

In fact, Palomino used to sell his sundried tomato chimichurri by the jar. He only stopped because it was not possible to maintain the quality, given the product should really be consumed on the day it’s made. I suppose I am left to experimenting in my kitchen in an attempt to produce something similar.

Throughout the meal, most admirable to me was the obvious attention to detail that goes into plating each dish. The plates were among some of the brightest and most colorful I have seen in my dining- out experience, which made everything look especially summery and fresh. Each dish was so artfully crafted, I had to pause in awe before digging in.

The first trio we received was served on a tiered stand, which further added to the overall presentation. Working our way from top to bottom, we enjoyed the Maine miniature cod tacos, Point Judith Rhode Island grilled calamari and the Coca Vaquero. With just a hint of spice, the tacos were crispy and light, prepared with grilled shiitake mushrooms, charred tomato and asparagus salsita. We overheard nearly every table ordering this menu staple. The calamari was drizzled with oil and served amidst a tasty bed of arugula, tomatoes, corn and white beans.

Our third bite, the coca, was taken from one of the daily special menus Palomino offers. Monday evenings feature a separate menu of cocas, which are essentially flatbreads with a Spanish twist. The waitress noted each contained cheese, even if it was absent from the dish description. In the Coca Vaquero, the marriage of steak and caramelized apples in a fig vinaigrette—with bleu cheese, of course—was on-point.

With additional daily specials throughout the week, locals can surely find a night to fit their palate. Taco Tuesdays allow patrons two tacos for $5, and Wednesdays feature creative paellas, ranging from the signature to squid ink, vegetarian and beyond. Thursday struck me as most interesting; this night showcases tacos from around the world via a menu updated monthly to reflect a different country. June is Argentina, so there is a little time left for locals to come experience this region.

After appetizers, we sampled the shrimp tamale with a lemongrass chardonnay sauce, wh-
ich is partly prepared while wrapped in plantain leaves. We enjoyed braised duck quesadillas and “Palomino Paella,” one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes, comprised of saffron rice, shrimp, clam, mussels, chorizo and scallops.

Despite the vast spread laid before me, I have to admit I was envious of the guacamole I watched being made tableside for a group of women. They also shared a large pitcher of red sangria and seemed to be thoroughly enjoying a girls’ night out. The sangria looked great, and Palomino’s cocktail menu in general has received much praise online.

Brunch at Palomino is also now on my radar as I have been made aware of their prix-fixe menu that includes unlimited sangria, two courses and passed hors d’oeuvres for less than $30.

Our night ended with a twist on traditional Spanish flan that stole my heart and quickly became my favorite of the night. The flan was garnished with strawberries and a mint leaf, but more notable was the oversized sugar cookie in the shape of a spoon.

While I have undoubtedly only scratched the surface of Chef Palomino’s extensive repertoire, I am already impressed.

“Paella Palomino” with saffron rice, shrimp, clams, mussels, chorizo and scallops.

“Paella Palomino” with saffron rice, shrimp, clams, mussels, chorizo and scallops.

Lisa Jardine

Column: Shanghai surprises

Students work together at the board.

Students work together at the board.

Every time I visit China, I’m reminded of what a country of contrasts it is.

As America is different from state to state, Chinese cities are each unique and can feel like different countries except for a few common threads like massive amounts of people and air pollution.

On a recent visit in March, I returned to Shanghai to visit an old friend. We only had three days to spend together, which, of course, in a city like Shanghai is not enough, but we made the most of it.

Over the course of my three days, I returned to my favorite soup dumpling restaurant, Ding Tai Fung in the Xin Tian Di neighborhood, a completely renovated and gentrified area of old Shikumen with traditional Chinese dwellings that could pass for SoHo in New York City.

Students gather around the laptop to watch “The Three Little Pigs.”

Students gather around the laptop to watch “The Three Little Pigs.”

We had custom clothes made for pennies at the South Bund Soft Spinning Material Market, walked and shopped the alleys of Tianzifang off the Taikang Road, twisting and turning with the day’s laundry strung up over our heads, and ate one of the best meals I’ve had in years at Mr. and Mrs. Bund, a completely modern restaurant with the most global diners.




We walked around the former international settlements in Shanghai, called concessions, and learned about the Shanghai of the 1920s and 30’s, when it was one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. I was surprised to learn about the history of the Jewish people in Shanghai and their migration from Nazi Germany during the 30’s to escape persecution.jardine-info

I purchased a Haggadah in time for Passover, which was written both in English and Chinese. We stopped at the Peace Hotel, an art deco landmark establishment so steeped in history it’s like staying in a museum. It has one of the most eclectic and wonderful gift shops I’ve ever visited.

We listened to jazz at the Jazz Bar in the hotel, where the cocktail menu is inspired by the 20’s and 30’s and the Old Jazz Band is made up of six veteran musicians whose average age is 80.

But one of the most interesting experiences I had during my time in Shanghai was teaching English to fifth graders in a migrant school outside of the city.

Stepping Stones is a not-for-profit organization that brings expats and local Chinese volunteers together to teach English in Shanghai’s migrant schools. Currently, more than 200 volunteers teach 4,000 students in 20 migrant schools. My friend Stephanie, whom I was visiting, teaches the class on Wednesday afternoons and asked if I wanted to join.

As a writer, how could I pass up the opportunity?

Migrant workers who have come to the city looking for work now total more than nine million in the Shanghai area. When the workers move from the rural areas, they often bring their children, who, because of their parents’ low income and social status, cannot attend normal Chinese schools. These students are sent to migrant schools, which began in illegally overcrowded buildings with poor facilities; however, the situation is gradually improving.

There is still a lot lacking though, one of which is quality English instruction.

I was told we would teach three different classes for approximately 45 minutes and to make sure to dress warmly because the classrooms were cold. When we arrived, it was recess and the children were playing outside, all dressed in the most amazing array of colors as there are no required uniforms. We were greeted with both curiosity and happy smiles shouting “hello” in English.

I had been brought up to speed earlier on the lesson of the day that corresponded with the current chapter in their textbook. The subject was “Going To See A Film.” The textbooks come from England and many of the words the children learn are quite British, like the word film for movie, chips for French fries and biscuits for cookies, etc.

The lead volunteer brought the 1933 Disney cartoon “The Three Little Pigs” and after the lecture and practice we would show the film.

To begin class, Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” played over the scratchy loudspeakers and the fifth grade students, all 50 of them, filed quietly into the classroom and sat down. They took out their name tent and placed it in front of them. Each child had an English name they had chosen for themselves. Some were pretty traditional like Mark, James, and Susan. Some were more interpretive, like Ran. Their classroom teacher introduced us and the class began with a song. The students knew the words and sang along clearly and with confidence. After, there were eye exercises; the students rubbed their eyes and temples as a voice on the loud speaker counted to eight to prepare them for the work ahead.

The windy, twisty roads in Shanghai.

The windy, twisty roads in Shanghai.

The class proceeded with vocabulary lists and a Q & A about going to see films. One of the exercises was quite amazing. A sentence had been chopped up into words with each word written on a piece of construction paper. A group of students came to the front of the room and was given the stack of jumbled words. They had to quickly arrange them in the proper order using magnets on the board. I was struck by how well they worked in a group, how quickly they figured out the proper order and how there was no judgment or unkind words spoken.

The quality of the children’s English was interesting. They were excellent readers and their pronunciation was actually quite good. It was the comprehension that gave them the most trouble, which makes sense, as I’m sure they have very few opportunities to communicate with actual English speakers. Having the volunteers in the classroom, if only for a few hours a week, was a huge benefit for these kids and it seemed like they enjoyed having us there. The class ended with the cartoon, which we had to show on a laptop. It didn’t matter; all 50 students gathered around and were mesmerized by it. They laughed out loud and were completely focused and entertained. Even if it was only “The Three Little Pigs,” I think they got a lot out of the lesson and it certainly fostered a desire to speak English just a little bit better.

Stepping Stones welcomes volunteers throughout the year, even during the summer, when they run special summer programs. It’s a wonderful organization that is spreading the English word that much further around the globe.

Editor’s note: 
This marks the final entry for our Westchester Wanderer, Lisa Jardine. The entire staff at the Review would like to thank Lisa for her efforts over the past year in helping to build our Westchester brand and exposure for our newspapers. 

Lisa Jardine

Column: Neil Waldman dreams big

“Red Eye” a self-portrait by Nazaury Delgado, a graduate of the Fred Dolan Art Academy whose works will be offered at the auction.

“Red Eye” a self-portrait by Nazaury Delgado, a graduate of the Fred Dolan Art Academy whose works will be offered at the auction.

Neil Waldman has lived in Westchester County for more than 20 years but his heart belongs to the Bronx, the borough of his birth.

After a long and celebrated career as an artist and book illustrator, he had a dream to return to the Bronx to create a free Saturday art academy for young underprivileged artists. Waldman pulled together a team of noted illustrators, designers and art educators to teach young students the skills and tools necessary to create portfolios for college acceptance. He dreamt of discovering young artists who would go on to realize their dreams of being able to do something they loved as a career and, in turn, transform their lives and break the chains of poverty.

In September 2006, that dream became a reality when the Fred Dolan Art Academy opened its doors.

The school runs on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. out of P.S. 306, inside the public high school for which the art school is named.

“Fred Dolan was a dear friend of mine and one of the most remarkable educators I ever knew,” Waldman said. “When Fred became principal of P.S. 306, the school and the surrounding area were dangerous but, through his leadership and incredible programming that he brought into the school, he was able to affect change, which then spread throughout the neighborhood. He was the inspiration.”

Watercolor illustration by Cornelius Van Wright, a teacher at the academy and an illustrator of more than 50 children’s books. Photos courtesy Fred Dolan Art Academy

Watercolor illustration by Cornelius Van Wright, a teacher at the academy and an illustrator of more than 50 children’s books. Photos courtesy Fred Dolan Art Academy

The free Saturday school provides pizza, Metro Cards and art supplies, in addition to the priceless education, starting from 6th grade. The first year the school opened, its only senior was accepted to five colleges and chose to study architecture at the New York City Institute of Technology. Since then, 23 students have graduated from the art school and all 23 have received scholarships to schools like The Rhode Island School of Design, The Art Institute of Chicago, Dartmouth College, New York University, The School of Visual Arts, USC and many others.

There is no application or testing required to attend the art academy, but there are three covenants:



1. You must show up every Saturday.

2. You must work hard.

3. You must not cause any discipline problems.

“We accept all students who want to join regardless of level of talent or GPA in school,” Waldman said. “But what is remarkable is the effect this program has had on our students’ grades. We’ve had many students join with averages in the low 70’s and, by the time they apply to college, we’ve only had one student with less than a B average. And that is without a penny spent on academic tutoring. It’s amazing what the incentive of a free college education can do.”

“New York Night” by Neil Waldman, founder and teacher at the school, and illustrator of more than 50 children’s books.

“New York Night” by Neil Waldman, founder and teacher at the school, and illustrator of more than 50 children’s books.

The Saturday art school was initially funded by grants from The Children’s Aid Society and The DreamYard Project, but funding was recently pulled after budget cuts, and the art academy became a 501(c)(3) last year so the school could continue.

On Tuesday, May 6, at 6:30 p.m., the school will hold its first charity art auction at 750 Lexington Ave. in New York City. Art from current students as well as their acclaimed teachers will be auctioned off. The opening bids will be low to encourage as much participation as possible. On hand will be the artists themselves and their families, providing a unique opportunity to see how clearly this school has made a difference in so many lives.

“We believe there is not another school like this in the country. We start in middle school and expose the students to the highest level of professional art instruction, the type of training that most young artists are not exposed to until they get to college,” Waldman said. “Our school is literally taking kids who live in homeless shelters and the housing projects in the South Bronx—kids whose parents didn’t go to college, let alone anyone in their neighborhood—and get them into great schools, with scholarships.”

“The Pink Trees” by Neil Waldman.

“The Pink Trees” by Neil Waldman.

“One of our recent students just received a $260,000 scholarship to Dartmouth. As soon as our students realize we are telling the truth about their future, they start working harder in school. We believe that, from the time they enter our school until the time they graduate, their GPAs have gone up by an average of 14 points.”

Innate talent isn’t a requirement; they accept all kids, regardless of ability.

“If they work hard, they will build their technical skills and go on to be successful artists” Waldman said. “The number one thing art schools are looking for, across all majors, is fine draftsmanship, without exception. Can a student sit down in front of a Coke bottle and copy it identically?”

Catch The Rising Stars is the name of the auction and it will feature more than 40 works of art with minimum bids around $100. There will be champagne and hors d’oeuvres and plenty of opportunity to meet the artists themselves. A
suggested donation of $75 is requested to attend the event.

Why not come and drink champagne and see beautiful art and help some pretty special kids reach their dreams?

You never know, you just might meet the next Picasso.

For more information
on the school and the
upcoming auction or to
reserve your space:

“I’m always on the lookout for a great story, an amazing restaurant, an unusual
day trip or a must-see cultural event in Westchester County.”

To contact Lisa, email
And you can follow her on Twitter, @westchesterwand

Lisa Jardine

Column: SK8R girl from Rye takes on the world

Netta Schreiber is more than your average teen. At the age of 12, she became a member of the Israeli Ice Skating Federation. Contributed photos

Netta Schreiber is more than your average teen. At the age of 12, she became a member of the Israeli Ice Skating Federation. Contributed photos

Netta Schreiber is your typical 15-year-old girl from Rye. She likes hanging out with her friends on the weekend, eating hamburgers at Ruby’s, listening to classic rock like The Who and shopping for clothes at lululemon and American Apparel.

But the similarities end there.

From the time she was seven years old and her grandmother thought it might be a good idea to learn how to skate—in case she had a birthday party or something—Netta has spent most of her waking hours on 3/16-inch-thick carbon steel blades. She’s a skater girl.

Netta was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, in 1998. She spent the first four years of her life there before moving to Rye. She started skating at Playland in weekly group lessons. It was love at first skate.

Group lessons became private lessons and soon, Netta’s coach informed her parents she had the potential to be a seriously good skater. In middle school, she skated daily while attending school, but found it challenging to find rink time when it wasn’t overcrowded and dangerous.

It became obvious something needed to change.

After her first month of eighth grade, Netta’s coach suggested “distance learning” with Laurel Springs, allowing her to spend most of her day skating.

“At first, my parents were totally against it, but my coach said, if I was going to go anywhere in skating, I had to home school,” Netta said.

There were two other skaters at her rink who were doing it, so it made the transition easier.

“I was really happy with my decision,” she said.

Rye’s Netta Schreiber, 15, has her sights set on the 2018 Olympics in Korea. She recently competed in the Junior World Championships.

Rye’s Netta Schreiber, 15, has her sights set on the 2018 Olympics in Korea. She recently competed in the Junior World Championships.

Netta went from doing novice-level local competitions in the tri-state area to junior international competitions.

In 2011, at the age of 12, Netta became a member of the Israeli Ice Skating Federation, an organization started 17 years ago with one skater that now has more than 30.

“Netta is a hard-working, dedicated athlete. She sets a good example for youngsters. With hard work and patience, good things will happen,” Boris Chait, president of the federation, said.

The membership brought Netta the international exposure to move her to the next level of competition. In the summer of 2012, she had her first Junior Grand Prix. Then, in 2013, at the Mentor Nestle Nesquik Torun Cup, in Torun, Poland, she won the Bronze medal and her scores qualified her for the upcoming World Championships in Japan in 2014.

“When the score came through, I knew what it meant immediately,” Netta said. “It’s the best news of your life as a skater. I didn’t cry. I just stood there in shock. I had so many mixed feelings. And my phone was dead! When I finally got to speak to my parents back in Rye, it was 2 a.m. and we were all screaming on the phone.”

On March 10, Netta left Rye with her mom Danit, a yoga instructor in Greenwich, Conn., and Harrison, for the World Junior Championship in Bulgaria, which alone would be a huge accomplishment, but it served as a warm-up for what came the following week, the World Championships in Saitama, Japan.

“I never thought about not competing at Junior Worlds—I thought the best thing was to go to both. Yes, it’s very demanding physically, but it’s what athletes live for.”

Netta arrived on the world stage at the age of 15, the youngest skater, male or female, in the competition.

“The first day I arrived, I was so intimidated—these were the skaters I had been watching my entire life—skaters like Mao Asada, Yuzuru Hanyu and Carolina Kostner,” Netta said. “I was so nervous I couldn’t even eat!”

And she had to skate first.

“I was the only skater without a world ranking—I had to go first. But my mom gave me great advice. She said, ‘No one knows you, no one cares.’ That helped me relax a lot. It was my dream to get to the world stage and I had no expectations. I just wanted to enjoy every minute. I let the nerves go in practice,” Netta said.

Did she learn anything from her big experience?

“I learned a lot, especially that, behind the scenes, everyone is crazy—even the best skaters,” Netta said.

And sitting in the “kiss and cry” for her first world championship?

“It’s terrifying,” she said. “You don’t know what to expect, even when you’ve had a good skate. The judges are all so different and, with an unranked skater, they can have mixed opinions. There is no set range when you go first.”

When it was all over and the numbers were announced, Netta “felt a big sense of relief. And then my first thought was—I can eat.”

Netta has her sights set on Korea for the 2018 Olympics. She believes hard work beats talent and anyone who works hard enough can be an Olympian.

For now, with the season officially over, she’s taking a week off to catch her breath and refresh, do some restorative yoga and try to return to being a normal kid.

Then it starts all over again.

“I’m at the rink by 6 a.m. and I’m there all day with a break to eat and do homework. I also take ballet and stretching classes,” Netta said. “I take the weekends off and try to have a normal weekend just like any other 15 year old. Being on the road so much, it’s hard being away from my family. They don’t like it when I’m gone. But when we are together, we appreciate it more. We don’t take anything for granted.”


To learn more about Netta,
check out her webpage on
The Israeli Skating Federation

“I’m always on the lookout for a
great story, an amazing restaurant,
an unusual day trip or a must-see
cultural event in Westchester County.”
To contact Lisa, email
And you can follow her on Twitter,

Lisa Jardine

Column: Rye Arts Center picks up STEAM

You would be hard pressed in 2014 to not have heard the acronym STEM—Science, Technology, Lisa-JardineEngineering and Math. The acronym has been bandied about for years and is a vital part of the model for educational policy and curriculum in the United States. Its goals are to create and maintain a citizenry well versed in these four fields.

Recently, thanks to former Rhode Island School of Design president John Maeda, a new letter has been added and is changing the way we look at education. It’s the letter A, which squeezes the arts right in the middle of all that science and math to create a new term: STEAM.

The Rye Arts Center wasted no time jumping into this new movement by adding leading-edge programming that will appeal to innovators, creators and artists of all ages.

Jardine-Steam-2“Arts integrated with science and math. That’s where innovation and creativity come together,” Helen Gates, executive director of the center, said. “By offering STEAM programming, we’ll capture the traditional artists in the front door and the engineering and science kids through the back.”

On Jan. 11, the center did a test run to get a feel for the interest in the community by offering a Free Family Day, which included demos, workshops, a musical concert and refreshments. A hands-on afternoon was designed to provide fun while creating art and music using the latest in technology. The center put tool kits and a few borrowed 3-D printers out, hoping it’d get about 50 participants.

More than 200 people came, boys and girls, all ages, parents, people from all over Westchester County as well as Rockland and New York City. This unbelievable response has created an entirely new program at the RAC that will prepare future artists for the 21st century.

Blue Tulip Chocolates in Rye is a supporter of the Rye Arts Center’s STEAM program. Photo courtesy Diane Holland

Blue Tulip Chocolates in Rye is a supporter of the Rye Arts Center’s STEAM program. Photo courtesy Diane Holland

Some of the new classes on offer this spring include MakeyMakey Piano, a computerized invention kit that turns ordinary objects into musical instruments aimed at children from 8 to 10 years old. Also on offer is SCRATCH, a visually-based programming system that creates interactive animated stories set to music for ages 6 to 8. And coming soon will be classes that offer 3-D printing.

All of these new programs require money and now, with budget cuts in the arts, they are becoming more important than ever. Funds are needed to purchase 3-D MakerBot printers, hire and train instructors in STEAM curriculum, buy materials and software for 3-D classes and help provide classes for children who otherwise would not be able to participate.

“Most of our funding comes from the one gala we host each spring. Everyone in the community comes together and has a great time celebrating the arts,” Gates said. “The money raised goes towards outreach, arts education, scholarships and our mission as well as to help fund our new programming. This year’s honorees, Peter Sinnott—owner of Homeworks in Port Chester—and Laurie Platek, a long-term arts patron and board member, are the true intersection of art and design. Laurie and Peter have played a significant role in bringing the beauty of the arts to our community. They’ve each devoted their considerable talents, energies and passions to The Rye Arts Center for many years and share a commitment to providing opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy the arts.

Jardine-Steam-1“We’re also honored to be celebrating Famous Artists, which, at 28 years old, is one of the RAC’s oldest arts-in-education programs. It’ll be a terrific evening of fun
and celebration.”

The event this year will take place on Saturday, May 3, at the Shenorock Shore Club. The evening will include cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, a light supper and a live and silent auction.

Donations and support to RAC come in many forms, some of them deliciously rich.

A local supporter of the STEAM objectives at the Rye Arts Center is Diane Holland, owner of Blue Tulip Chocolates in Rye. Blue Tulip Chocolates will contribute a portion of its revenue from April 8 to May 8, 2014, during the very busy Easter and Passover season, to the new programming at the Rye Arts Center.

“Nurturing creativity, innovation and imagination are at the foundation of STEAM, as well as at the heart of a small business like ours,” Holland said. “Watching children create new technology through this program is exciting and extremely important to the future of our culture and our community.”

Edwin Land, the founder of Polaroid, once told Steve Jobs “those people who can stand at the intersection of the humanities and science, the liberal arts and technology, that intersection, are the people who can change the world.”

The Rye Arts Center is doing its part, affecting change beautifully.

Sitting Pretty

Honoring Laurie Platek & Peter Sinnott

Rye Arts Center Spring Gala

Saturday May 3, 2014,  7 p.m. 

Shenorock Shore Club

475 Stuyvesant Ave., Rye

For more information:


“I’m always on the lookout for a great story, an amazing restaurant, an unusual day trip or a must-see cultural event in Westchester County.”

To contact Lisa, email And you can follow her on Twitter, @westchesterwand

Lisa Jardine

Column: Recologie fills a need in New Rochelle

Owners Judith Weber, left, and Maria Cisneros.

Owners Judith Weber, left, and Maria Cisneros.

Recologie is hard to define, because it’s so many things.

It began as a friendship between Judith Weber, a ceramic artist and patron saint of all things artistic in New Rochelle, and Maria Cisneros, an artist whose life’s work has been focused on repurposing and saving nature.

Their friendship goes back more than 20 years and, after two long and fruitful careers, their paths came together to create Recologie, a multifunctional environment that combines style and taste with social responsibility.

The small storefront on a side street in downtown New Rochelle belies what you will unearth inside. When you enter, you’ll find a retail section unlike any other in Westchester. Each item for sale has a story and in some way represents Cisneros and Weber’s vision.

The vegetable curry with cashews over jasmine rice.

The vegetable curry with cashews over jasmine rice.

Everything in Recologie is recycled or repurposed. The two friends believe when you buy something it has impact, which is why you will find only eco-conscious local and global fair trade products on display.

It’s that special kind of place you know you can visit to find the perfect, thoughtful gift for just the right person.

As you move further back, past the retail area, you enter Vistro Café, their vegan/vegetarian café.



I’m always looking for the next best thing when it comes to food, but, as of a few days ago, I had let the vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free movement pass me by.

Carrot ginger soup with pumpkin seeds served on Judith’s pottery.

Carrot ginger soup with pumpkin seeds served on Judith’s pottery.

I like protein in my meals, the kind that had parents.

I find many vegetarian and vegan restaurants spend too much time trying to make fake food taste real. If a menu has the words faux or mock, I’m moving on. But Vistro Café is nothing like that.

Weber and Cisneros pride themselves on serving food that has strong flavor profiles with a farm-to-table menu. Each day there is a fresh soup, like the carrot ginger with pumpkin seeds soup I tried, which was full of flavor and extremely fresh.

Their soups are vegan and change with what’s in season.

They always have salads with a choice of various grains on the side. The menu offers a black bean burger with chipotle cream, which can come on a gluten-free roll if requested, as well as savory empanadas. Their paninis are delicious and I thoroughly enjoyed the goat cheese with balsamic red onions and fig compote.

They also serve a fresh roasted eggplant with roasted red peppers and arugula pesto.

There is nothing fake about any of these items.

Retail repurposing at Recologie. Photos/Lisa Jardine

Retail repurposing at Recologie. Photos/Lisa Jardine

The day I was there, the special of the day was vegetable curry with cashews over jasmine rice, which was divine.

Recologie carries a nice assortment of vegan and gluten-free baked goods, from cakes to muffins to cupcakes, as well as dessert paninis made with dark chocolate and sliced strawberries or peanut butter with Nutella and bananas.

All of the meals are served on the ceramics Weber herself creates, making your food not only delicious but photo-worthy.



The dinnerware is available for sale at the store, but if you buy the ones from which you ate, there is a 20 percent discount.

Moving back behind the café is the new event space, which brings an entirely different dimension to the enterprise community.

“Our inspiration for the space was Busboys and Poets, the restaurant, bookstore, lounge and theater in Washington, D.C. We’re interested in art and business growing together to enrich the community,” Weber said. “New Rochelle needed a space like this, a networking spot where people with common interests could come together. We envision hosting exhibitions, lectures, book signings, readings, fundraisers, private parties and meetings here. The space will be ready in June.”

Weber has a lot of experience with artists and the spaces in which they work.

In 1983, she was one of the co-founders of Media Loft, the first loft established for artists in Westchester County. In 2003, along with her partners, she was responsible for converting the site to a thriving mixed-use, live/work artists-in-residence condominium that created affordable and secure workspace for its artist community.

Recologie is also an art gallery and, although they’ve only been open for six months, they’ve had three different shows.

Each artist must represent their philosophy of exhibiting fine, applied and decorative arts that incorporate recycled, repurposed and sustainable materials in the creation of the work.

There are guidelines on their website,, for interested artists.

One of the artists currently on display is a self-proclaimed dumpster diver who incorporates things she finds in garbage dumpsters into her art.

The shows change about every two-and-a-half months. Each show kicks-off with a premiere, at which charter members of Recologie are invited, and then quickly follows with a gallery opening for the public at -large.

The Lawton Street storefront of Recologie in New Rochelle.

The Lawton Street storefront of Recologie in New Rochelle.

The name Recologie may be familiar to many Westchester residents. Before teaming up with Weber, Cisneros owned the recycled and repurposed retail store of the same name in Larchmont for five years. When the two women opened the new space together, they decided to keep the name as it worked perfectly for what they were trying
to accomplish.

“I want to inspire people to take something ordinary and make it extraordinary,” Cisneros said.

That applies to everything at Recologie.

49 Lawton St., New Rochelle,

Tuesday through Saturday,
10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Open evenings for
scheduled events.

Upcoming events, free
and open to the public.

April 10, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.,
Ode to the Bard
Sponsored by the
New Rochelle
Council on the Arts

A gathering to celebrate Shakespeare and a call
to poets everywhere.

April 17, 7 p.m.,
a film presentation.

A 2011 American
documentary that
explores the challenges
of converting to a vegan diet.

To stay informed about
upcoming events, sign-up
for the email list at the
bottom right corner of
the homepage.

“I’m always on the lookout for a great story, an amazing restaurant, an
unusual day trip or a must-see cultural event in Westchester County.”

To contact Lisa, email
And you can follow her on Twitter, @westchesterwand

Lisa Jardine

Column: Parents need test prep, too

owlSpring break means the official start to standardized testing season.

If you have a high school student, you may have some of the same questions I do: Whom should I use to help my kids prepare and, with so many options on the market, which one is the right one for my child?

When I was in high school, I remember one or two test preparation companies, but not everyone used one. And when I sat down to type my college application, I was lucky if one of my parents read the essay before I mailed it in.

These days, getting into college is big business. Kaplan and Princeton Review are the market leaders in a $1 billion industry, but there are so many other choices it’s best to do your research before plunking down what could be thousands of dollars.

I did a very unscientific survey on Facebook and came away with a list of service providers friends in our area have used in the past. These ranged from the new and groundbreaking companies that use technology instead of tutors to the smaller, hands-on companies that feel the quality of their teachers makes them the obvious choice.

After my research, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no right answer for everyone, but there could be better ones depending on what type of child you are dealing with.

Here is a very brief synopsis of some of the more popular choices in our area:

Carnegie Pollak is celebrating its 30th year serving Westchester and Fairfield counties. Starting out with one SAT class taught by a verbal teacher, Bud Pollak, and a math teacher, Lynn Carnegie, it has grown into a full-service test prep and tutoring company that continues to grow larger every year.

“People choose to work with us because our students are not just names; we work closely with each student to determine the most successful and most efficient course of action. The classes and tutors shouldn’t add stress to the student’s life, they should help alleviate it,” Carnegie said.

Carnegie Pollak credits their teachers who make subject matter come to life, bringing energy and excitement to something most students and their parents’ dread. They offer courses to prepare for the PSAT, the SAT, the SAT Subject Tests, the ACT and AP exams. They also offer private in-home tutoring for many academic subjects, reading and writing skills and the private school admission tests, ISEE and SSAT.

For more information, visit

TestRocker says they are the best of both worlds—private tutoring and technology. was created by Suniti Mathur, an SAT and ACT tutor with more than a decade of experience tutoring thousands of students around the world. She has adapted her simple and intuitive approach for the online space. After a one-time payment, students begin by taking a diagnostic online test to assess their strengths and weaknesses and gain access to a customized study plan, which they can follow to study smarter, not longer.

“Having a personalized game plan reduces students’ anxiety and gives them the confidence to attempt any question because they feel adequately prepared,” Mathur said.

Every question on the TestRocker program comes with a video explanation done by Suniti. It’s the private tutor experience at a more affordable price.

“Students today are extremely busy with extra-curricular activities, academics, leadership positions, etc. Most of them don’t have time in their day to schedule private or group tutoring. The reality is that they usually have a few spare moments at night, when in-person solutions are closed. Most of our students, no matter where in the world they are, log-on to TestRocker after 9 p.m.,” said Urvashi Mathur, co-founder and chief operating officer of TestRocker.

For more information, check out

Regents Review is a teacher-owned-and-operated company that provides test preparation for middle and high school students for Regents, AP and SAT II exams.

“Regents Review is unique because our programs are set up as one-day courses. Students arrive in the morning, spend the day with us as we review the entire curriculum and then practice with actual past exams. We show them tricks and give them tips and strategies for excelling on their tests. Our programs provide a comprehensive review at a fraction of the cost of a private tutor,” said Michelle Zakarin, director.

With the introduction of the Common Core curriculum in math, Regents Review is seeing increased demand for its algebra 1 review and its global history review, which covers two years of material.

For more information, visit

Private Prep has served Westchester families since 2009 and works with hundreds of students each year.

They offer personalized one-on-one programs for a full range of K-12 subjects, standardized exams like the SAT, ACT, SAT Subject Tests, private school admissions exams such as the ISEE and SSAT, New York State Regents and AP Exams as well as college admissions. The program’s philosophy recognizes all students learn differently and have varying strengths and challenges, so it takes the time to truly get to know families, allowing the program to craft personalized plans for each individual student.

“We are not only invested in helping students achieve their academic goals, but also teaching them how to learn and develop study skills that they can take with them beyond a particular course or test,” Stephanie Loeb, director, said.

Private Prep prides itself on lending personalized, professional support, not only for their students but also for parents and tutors.

For more information:

Educational experts debate whether you can study for a standardized test like the SAT or ACT, so why spend all the time, energy and money?

“Every test in life needs preparation, otherwise it is just an IQ test. In the case of the SAT/ACT, it means strengthening topics of weakness and clearing up hazy concepts. It also means increasing speed and reducing the tendency to make careless mistakes. Preparation also increases confidence, which is a big factor in performance on such tests,” Mathur said.

Carnegie feels very strongly about taking the time to prepare.

“Based on decades of experience, I can say confidently that dedicating time and energy to test preparation makes all the difference. We, as teachers, focus on the ‘three Cs,’ learning the content, improving concentration and building confidence,” she said.prep


“I’m always on the lookout for a great story, an amazing restaurant,
an unusual day trip or a must-see cultural event in Westchester County.”
To contact Lisa, email
And you can follow her on Twitter, @westchesterwand

Lisa Jardine

Column: The sweet smell of success

Maria Velente, owner of Chocolations and member of WEN.

Maria Velente, owner of Chocolations and member of WEN.

Women don’t have it easy when it comes to juggling career and family. I can count on one hand the women I know who have been able to accomplish this task seamlessly from the birth of their children to high school graduation.

I left the workplace after my third child was born and, when it came time for me to return, the landscape had changed dramatically. My degree in computer applications—based on mainframe architecture—was obsolete. I had to redefine who I was and what I wanted to do, which for me meant going back to school to get another degree in a completely different field.

But not everyone chooses to go back to school—some have chosen the brave path to entrepreneurship. A road paved with very exciting, yet quite terrifying, tasks.

Starting your own business can be daunting and can also create feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt, but not if you find the right people to lend support.

The WEN group in mid-discussion. Photos/Lisa Jardine

The WEN group in mid-discussion. Photos/Lisa Jardine

Luckily for the women entrepreneurs in Westchester County, they have WEN, Women Entrepreneur’s Network, a group founded in Mamaroneck in 2010 by Susan Danziger, now headed-up by Kathy Perkal.

“I started the group to gather women entrepreneurs and business leaders so we could inspire each other, share stories, learn from experts through the monthly speaker series, and cheer each other on,” Danzinger said. “I’m thrilled that Kathy and the others have taken the help and that the group continues to grow.”
WEN currently has 68 members and meets on the first Friday of every month at Chocolations, 607 E. Boston Post Road in Mamaroneck, a chocolate factory with an open kitchen. Owner Maria Valente is also a member of WEN. She provides coffee, tea and delicious baked goods for each meeting and the organization asks each member for a $5 donation to cover the costs. The meetings are held in her very cozy, inviting space, which happens to smell divine as well. There are almost always set topics with coordinated speakers and the meetings last for about 90 minutes.

“WEN provides speakers and networking opportunities to female community entrepreneurs.

Chocolations in Mamaroneck, the meet up spot for WEN.

Chocolations in Mamaroneck, the meet up spot for WEN.

Sharing resources and business ideas in a relaxed and supportive setting makes us all better at what we do,” Perkal said. She’s the founder of Cartoon Cuts, a 17-store chain of children’s hair salons she started in 1991.

This is a very talented and diverse group of women.

Carol Wolfe, the owner of CSJ Consultants, is a computer technician working in homes and small businesses across Westchester County and surrounding areas. Her services run the gamut from Wi-Fi and syncing issues to data backup and recovery, to data transfer and organization of files and will even give you hands-on how-to lessons.

“I’ve been attending the WEN meetings for several years now. I started my business five years ago and am always seeking new ideas on how to expand and better promote my business,” Wolfe said. “The speakers Kathy has organized have been excellent, as [have] been the discussions that follow. What I have learned from this group of women has been critical to the success and growth of my business as I try and push forward and maximize the number of clients I service in the area.”

Maria Genovesi, principal of MCG Communications, an integrated marketing and promotional consulting company specializing in consumer media, had this to say about WEN.

“WEN has been a wonderful experience,” Genovesi said. “The group is filled with smart, creative and supportive women. Through the years, I’ve been both inspired and energized following each of our meetings.”

Avra Blieden recently expanded The Yoga Sanctuary, 951 E. Boston Post Road in Mamaroneck, to include the Sanctuary Boutique, a retail space for yoga, holistic and wellness accessories with a focus on environmentally conscientious, fair trade and locally crafted products from companies that support a variety of charities. The store’s products include funky yoga shirts, mats and handmade jewelry.

“Meeting with the Women’s Entrepreneurial Network was a motivating experience. I was inspired to hear a variety of local women speak about the challenges involved in building their own businesses,” Blieden said. “I would recommend other women entrepreneurs to attend these meetings to get concrete advice and expand their contacts through networking.”

Elizabeth Dowling runs Sw-eet Marketing Associates, a boutique marketing consulting firm. She also blogs at

“The WEN has helped my business grow and increased its overall awareness in Westchester County,” Dowling said. “I think having your own business can sometimes be challenging and WEN is a great support network for women entrepreneurs. Not only are there like-minded women in the group, but they also have fabulous speakers each month. I always learn something in the meetings, whether it is the latest trends in social media, business networking tips, how to calculate what to charge clients and so on.”

Women’s Entrepreneur Network invites women entrepreneurs, in any stage of their business, to join the group and share ideas. If you are interested in joining, or for more information:

WEN Monthly Meetings
First Friday of each
month at 9 a.m.
607 E. Boston Post Road
in Mamaroneck

“I’m always on the lookout for a great story, an amazing
restaurant, an unusual day trip or a must-see cultural
event in Westchester County.”

To contact Lisa, email
And you can follow her on Twitter, @westchesterwand

Lisa Jardine

Column: Sharing my recent obsession

The crispy eggplant chips with wildflower honey and sea salt. Photos courtesy Silvana DeFrancis Photography

The crispy eggplant chips with wildflower honey and sea salt. Photos courtesy Silvana DeFrancis Photography

There are dishes I’ve eaten in my life that resonate with me and that I think about sometimes to the point of obsession. I love food and I’m always looking for the next best thing while harkening back to the good old glory days of my past eating experiences.

There was the red thai chicken curry I ate on a weekly basis from 1995 to 1997 at a six-table spot in Marunouchi, Tokyo—where the taxi fare cost twice what the meal did—or the New England clam chowder at the Black Pearl in Newport, Rhode Island, the ten ten men spicy ramen in the Juban in Tokyo or the avocado margaritas at Curra’s Grill in Austin, Texas.

I could go on, believe me, but I’ve found a new obsession and I’m happy to say it’s much closer to home: the crispy eggplant chips with wildflower honey and sea salt at Polpettina in Larchmont.

Yes, the name Polpettina translates to little meatballs; they have those too and they are really good, especially the spicy pork version. They have a lot of other menu options that I could speak about, and will, but the eggplant chips are seriously to die for. And the best part is, they were a happy accident.

Bacon and egg sea salt fries.

Bacon and egg sea salt fries.

Kyle Inserra, one of the co-founders of Polpettina, explains.

“Many of the suppliers we do business with are small farms and, one day, we received five cases of eggplant instead of just the one that we ordered. What were we to do with all of these extra eggplants? We served fried eggplant chips at a previous restaurant I worked at and, at first, we thought to serve them with a tomato sauce but we came up with something different using the wildflower honey with sea salt,” Inserra said. “And now it’s our second-best seller after the Neapolitan pie. If we took it off the menu, there would be a lot of complaints. Almost every table orders them.”

I’m not alone in my addiction.

The rest of the menu doesn’t disappoint. Although the name Polpettina conjures up thoughts of meatballs and Italian food, they don’t limit their menu to this genre.

“We enjoy going off the rails,” Inserra said. “Michael [Abruzese] and I opened up our first place in Eastchester kicking around the concept of making food that people wanted to eat and serving beer that people really wanted to drink. We give our chefs freedom of expression to cook their own food, which allows us to attract great chefs. We just hired Chris Brogan, the executive chef from MP Taverna, as our executive chef in our Eastchester location.”

And off the rails they go.

A few favorites of mine are the bacon and egg sea salt fries and the braised beef sandwich
with house-made giardiniera with a bit of chicken liver mousse. It’s one of the best sandwiches I’ve had in a long time.

We celebrated a birthday there last month and asked our waiter to bring a fun dessert to the table to share. What arrived was their version of a melty chocolate cake sitting on a swish of dulce du leche with a perfectly crisped piece of bacon cutting a swath through the cake.

Kale, ricotta, roasted garlic and spicy chorizo pizza. Photo courtesy Christopher Tucci

Kale, ricotta, roasted garlic and spicy chorizo pizza. Photo courtesy Christopher Tucci

“We put the dessert on our menu in February and we’ve sold 80 of them in just the first few days,” Inserra said.

The Eastchester location opened in March 2011 and the Larchmont location followed in December 2013. In 2012, Westchester Magazine voted them “Best New Restaurant.” Both restaurants have their own distinctive look and feel. The original, in the Crestwood section of Eastchester, has a small, homey atmosphere, with exposed brick and the pizza oven front and central; more like a pizzeria than a restaurant but the food defies that description.

The new location in Larchmont was completely gutted to create a warehouse feel surrounded by exposed brick and reclaimed barn wood with a long, steel bar that splits the restaurant down the middle between tables and the semi-open kitchen, giving you a rustic, industrial feeling.

Both locations are always crowded and you can almost guarantee there will be a wait due to the very strict reservation policy—only for eight or more, only in Larchmont. This is one of my only complaints as I don’t like to wait, especially in crowded entries during winter.


Lunch is a much better bet if you want to sit down

They recently started serving Sunday brunch with a few delicious additions to their already stellar menu like banana caramel French toast, ricotta skillet pancakes and pork belly eggs benedict with unlimited mimosas for $25.

“We’re ecstatic about the new location. It took us two years to find the perfect spot. We are getting a feel for the new neighborhood—Larchmont is great. It’s been fun connecting to the community, starting new again. It’s been a blessing,” Inserra said.

Lisa Jardine

Column: Seventy-two hours in The Big Easy

Had it with the relentless snow and endless shoveling? Looking for a direct flight to warmer climes? Florida just isn’t cutting it anymore? I have the perfect solution.jardine

The famous beignets and chicory coffee at Cafe Du Monde.

The famous beignets and chicory coffee at Cafe Du Monde.

Three days in New Orleans will make you forget about the winter, and just about anything else about which you might be worrying. This city knows how to have a good time, hence their motto: Laissez le bon temps rouler.


1. Take a taxi, for $33, from the airport to your French Quarter hotel. I chose Hotel Royal, 1006 Rue Royal, which is on the edge of the action, perfect for walking to everything, but you’ll still be able to sleep at night. We dropped our bags and headed straight for Café Du Monde, 800 Decatur St., for beignets—the small squares of fried dough covered in powdered sugar—and a chicory coffee. Mid-morning there was no line and we snuck right in.

One of the numerous French Quarter impromptu live bands. Photos/Lisa Jardine

One of the numerous French Quarter impromptu live bands. Photos/Lisa Jardine

2. Fortified with sugar and caffeine, we spent the next few hours wandering the French Quarter, which is laid out in a grid and is very easily navigated. There is so much going on at all times, you just don’t know where to look first. There is live music, street artists, historical walking tours, horse drawn carriages, antique shops, spiritual readings and voodoo shops. It’s a true feast for the senses. Our first stop was Rev. Zombie’s House of Voodoo, 723 St. Peter St., for a palm and tarot card reading, $40, an “only in New Orleans” type of activity.

3. Lunch at Acme Oyster House, 724 Iberville St. It was difficult choosing just one thing from the extensive menu at this institution, so we ordered several: a dozen oysters, a fried fish po-boy and jambalaya. Too stuffed to walk very far, we jumped on a horse drawn carriage, $50, in front of Jackson Square and took a tour of the quarter from a different perspective. The ride lasts about 30 minutes and points out many historical, architectural and pop culture icons, like where Brad Pitt filmed “Interview With a Vampire.”

The various to-go cups on offer.

The various to-go cups on offer.

I especially appreciated the pit stop at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Bar, 941 Bourbon St., where a waiter ran out to the carriage to take my order for a hurricane in a “to-go” cup. The hurricane became popular at Pat O’Briens bar in the 1940s in New Orleans after debuting at the 1939 World’s Fair. It’s a mix of light and dark rum, fruit juices and simple syrup with an orange slice and cherry on top.

Speaking of to-go cups, it’s perfectly legal to drink alcohol from a plastic cup on the street in New Orleans. In fact, it’s encouraged. I was travelling with my 14-year-old daughter but, due to this festive rule, I didn’t have to miss cocktail hour. You can walk into any bar and order a drink to go. This makes for a very fun atmosphere as to-go cups come in all sizes—including fishbowls—and make great souvenirs.

Rev. Zombie’s Voodoo Shop; tarot card readings and so much more.

Rev. Zombie’s Voodoo Shop; tarot card readings and so much more.

4. The food in New Orleans is so delicious you can’t help but plan out your next meal as you are still digesting the one you’ve just eaten. Dinner that night was at Sylvain, 625 Chartres St., housed in a three-story carriage house in the French Quarter with a menu that runs the gamut from pan-fried pork shoulder to country fried steak to their famous burgers.


5. An early start at The Old Coffee Pot, 714 St. Peter St., est. 1894, where the service is brusque, but the food is authentic. You can’t get any more real than eggs creole with a side of grits and biscuits.

6. From there, we walked through the French Quarter to Canal Street, where we hopped on the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar. For $1.25 in exact change, you can ride the oldest continuously operating streetcar in the world. Throw open the windows and watch the scenery reverse in time from 2014 downtown skyscrapers to the 1800s in an area called The Garden District, considered one of the best preserved collections of southern mansions in the United States. Our destination was Lafayette Cemetery, the oldest of the seven city-operated cemeteries in New Orleans and the backdrop for many works of fiction, including many of Anne Rice’s vampire novels.

After our visit, we walked a few blocks to Magazine Street, a mix of funky restaurants, clothing boutiques and antique/junk shops. If I had a bigger suitcase, I could have spent a lot of time at The Magazine Antique Mall, 3017 Magazine St., rummaging through aisle after aisle of New Orleans’ cast-offs.

7. A visit to New Orleans without a tour of the Ninth Ward would leave the trip incomplete. Hurricane Katrina is a big part of this city’s history now and the experience has changed it forever.

I read great things about Ninth Ward Rebirth Bike Tours,, and wanted to take the four-hour tour. Unfortunately, for insurance purposes, they can’t take anyone under 15, but they offered a tour by car instead. Derrick, our guide and a masters student at Tulane, picked us up at our hotel at 3 p.m. and, over the course of the next two hours, he brought to life what happened during the hurricane and how it affected the landscape and the people who lived there. The tale he told had villains and heroes and left us with a feeling of hope and optimism.

In the middle of the tour, we stopped at Ronald Lewis’ home. Ronald is a Mardi Gras Indian and an iconic figure in the Ninth Ward. In the backyard of his home is his “House of Dance and Feathers,” 1317 Tupelo St., a tin-roofed shed filled with memorabilia. It’s a fun stop on the tour and gives you a real taste for New Orleans and its people.

8. A late dinner at Herbsaint, 701 St. Charles Ave.


9. Having a high school freshman in tow means a stop at any potential colleges nearby. We started the day with breakfast at The Camellia Grill, 626 S. Carrollton Ave., a place at which I ate 30 years ago when I visited my cousin for Mardi Gras when she was a student at Tulane. It hasn’t changed a bit. I ordered the chili cheese omelet, which made my daughter question my sanity as she said, “that’s not something you would ever eat.” But I’m all for nostalgia and so I ordered the same thing I ate all those years ago. It was amazing.

10. Tulane University, 6823 St. Charles Ave., is an extremely diverse campus. Seventy-five percent of its students come from more than 500 miles away. Located six miles from the French Quarter, Tulane holds four ratings from The Princeton Review: Great College Towns, Best in the Southeast, College With a Conscience and Happiest Students.

11. More po-boys at Mother’s. Get the famous Ferdi special with debris. Don’t be intimated by the line—it moves fast.

12. Too tired and full to walk another minute? Get in one of the NOLA pedicabs, 504-274-1300. The pricing is flexible and the service is friendly.

13. Last meal in New Orleans? Under the stars at Café Amelie, 912 Royal St.


“I’m always on the lookout for a great story, an amazing restaurant, an unusual day trip or a must-see cultural event in Westchester County.”

To contact Lisa, email And you can follow her on Twitter, @westchesterwand