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Dining (5)

Thursday, 26 January 2023 20:49



Rumor has it that raw oysters and the like are sure fire aphrodisiacs. Dare we share some hot spots in which to indulge these cupid boosters? Indeed, we do.

Ed’s Lobster Bar

Enter and take in the raw bar at this popular seafood spot. The oysters are fresh and fragrant, a sensuous dining experience in and onto themselves as you tilt your head back and slurp them down, enjoying the distinct texture as it shimmies its way down your palette, complemented perfectly by a white wine vinaigrette, dressed with crushed peppercorns and a sassy cocktail sauce.


Next take things a step further and indulge in the little neck clams, while petite in stature, gigantic in flavor, along with the many other signature dishes on the menu.

Looking to bring things to an extra level?

Intertwine hands with your partner, oysters in each, and feed them to each other. Why not make it a dozen?



Exit the clamor of the city and enter Mollusca. From that moment on, you are drawn to this dining spot as its aesthetic exudes elegance and at the same time soothes your senses via subtle lighting casting shadows of ocean waves on the mirrored walls, resplendent with hand-blown glass light bulbs with shapes that liken jellyfish.


Here, the perfectly adorned Mollusca Signature Oyster with black caviar, fresh Uni and mignonette sauce, is almost too picture perfect to eat. Take a picture for posterity and just drink it down, allowing its velvety essence to entertain your palette.

For another raw treat, try the scallop ceviche; carpaccio-sliced scallops marinated in a Peruvian sauce and topped with aromatic black truffles and Ossetra caviar; a textural and savory treat to the palate. The raw bar also offers Hand Rolls in two varieties: Classic Rolls like Hamachi and Toro and Chef Rolls which allows original creations conjured by the chef.

Take your time as you have all night long. Yes, all night.



Enter the Park South Hotel and arrive at GG Tokyo, a small dining spot named after Tokyo’s famed Golden Gai district, known for its lively vibe, resplendent with musicians, artists, celebrities and the like. GG Tokyo’s menu showcases innovative Japanese-inspired dishes conceptualized for sharing with a group of friends but feel free tonight to make your way in as a party of two.

GGTokyo SpicySalmonRoll

Hit the raw bar here featuring Kumamoto Oysters dressed with a cucumber mignonette; Uni and Wagyu Sashimi or the small plates featuring Tuna Tartare, a spin made with tuna in tonnato sauce with fried capers and garlic bread. GG also offers sashimi, pressed sushi rolls and hand rolls, as well as a four-course tasting menu, available at the six-seat sushi counter at the end of the bar. The fluke sashimi, fluke over pieces of daikon in herb tahini,  garnished daintily with micro herbs is nothing short of divine.

And very strictly raw and naked.


Sunday, 23 October 2022 19:28

Deck the VENUE Halls

Deck the Venue Halls1Deck the
VENUE Halls!

By Karen Holly Berliner

Finally this year, my annual cookie cutter holiday plans get ditched and buried beneath my incoming pile of holiday postcards from family and friends. Lethargically they hibernate like hung over Christmas cards from bygone seasons forgotten.

I see my friends and family sipping nutmeg speckled eggnogs, warming up for the big holiday meal at home while I get ready to head over to the venue that I have so mindfully chosen, to celebrate in style and with abandon, if you please.  

And in fact--- I do please. 

Limani New York: Limani New York is a Greek-Mediterranean dining destination located in the heart of Rockefeller Center.

What better place to get into the holiday spirit then Rockefeller Center?

Helmed by Executive Chef-Partner M.J. Alam, Limani New York highlights clean Mediterranean flavors with an emphasis on whole fish flown in daily from the Mediterranean. Enter to find a sprawling white marble bar, an expansive dining room with high ceilings and white leather seating and a sparkling blue infinity pool.

Offering the perfect venue for holiday celebrations of various sizes, Limani New York has an elegant private room on the main floor for more intimate gatherings as well as an additional private room downstairs for larger events.  In the fall and winter months, individual heaters allows for watching skating rink activities and in December as always, the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.


Southampton Social Club: Located in the town of Southampton in the fabulous Hamptons South Fork, at this venue, the library is located directly adjacent to the main indoor bar, which is perfect for larger group dining affairs for up to 24 people. The space is also ideal for intimate cocktail parties for up to 30 people. In addition, the VIP Stage is located at the head of their old world dining room which also turns into a lively nightclub on weekends. With seating for 20 guests, this area is perfect for that larger holiday party that wants to enjoy an upscale dining experience and then linger for a late-night holiday bash. Multiple menus are offered in these two locations as this venue features a wide variety of customizable menus, thanks to their award winning Executive Chef Scott Kampf. Also, 3 Full Service Bars feature their mixologist crafted cocktails, indoor dining, a lavish outdoor patio and 3000 square foot garden, South Beach inspired cabanas and a vast array of entertainment options.  Your entire holiday event will be customized to your specifications..

The Oval: The Oval is nestled in the well-designed space within La Devozione at Chelsea Market showcasing a variety of dry pasta shapes paired with specific ingredients and flavor notes. As each dish is prepared in its own pan, as Executive Chef Alessio Rossetti has 750 pans at his disposal, creating inventive pasta courses in front of the guests. At La Devozione, General manager/wine director Max Tierno has curated a wine list focused on France and Italy from a blend of top notch producers in Champagne, Burgundy and Piedmont. The program features up and coming producers in addition, from developing wine regions like Campania, Calabria, and Sicily. Highlights from the cocktail menu include the Di Martini, a dry Martini made with Marconi 42 gin, dry and blanc vermouths, one infused with sun-dried tomatoes and Fino sherry presented in a separate glass with pickled green strawberry and cherry tomatoes compressed in tomato water.

Festive enough to plan a holiday party there?  I’d say so.

Deck the Venue Halls2LaMarchande LizClayman 0622 257La Marchande: Located in the Wall Street Hotel at 88 Wall St., La Marchande is Michelin-starred Chef John Fraser’s French brasserie with a hip neighborhood feel that modernizes classic French fare through global ingredients. Chef John’s vision is one that embraces vinaigrettes and broths instead of heavier traditional sauces, resulting in a lighter spin. Beverage Director/Advanced Sommelier Amy Racine has added to this an expertly curated predominantly French wine list, as well as vermouth-powered cocktails.

The Wall Street Hotel presents a stylish and cultural center in the heart of New York City’s Financial District. Housed in the landmark Tontine building, this hotel offers guests an elegant and gracious experience. With vibrant colors expressed in its lounges, luxurious rooms and a versatile event space, this can be the epicenter of your next holiday celebration!

Deck the Venue Halls4

Wednesday, 20 July 2022 19:19


mollusca heading

Exit the clamor of the city that in fact never does sleep, and enter Mollusca.
From that moment on, you are drawn to this brand new dining spot fast becoming a hit. Its aesthetic exudes elegance and at the same time soothes your senses via subtle lighting casting shadows of ocean waves on the mirrored walls, resplendent with hand-blown glass light bulbs with shapes that liken jellyfish. Custom seating in luxurious leather and velvet fabrics in earthy taupe shades are accented with navy blue and sand highlights. Natural wood and marble comprises the vast bar and floors which mix elements of water and land together in a perfect natural balance and fusion.
And oh the food….
If you love seafood, you are in good hands here and if more the carnivore, there are choices that accommodate just as well. While Mollusca is a seafood restaurant, there are strong influences from around the world thanks to the Brand Chef Gianmaria Sapia. Chef Sapia’s menu showcases 35 unique varieties of mussel sauces including such inventive flavors as salted caramel and popcorn, peanut butter and condensed milk and wasabi. Also offered is a raw bar with selections such as Italian crudos, ceviches and stand out choices like the perfectly adorned Mollusca signature oyster with black caviar, fresh Uni and mignonette sauce, almost too picture perfect to eat. Be sure to taste the scallop ceviche, carpaccio-sliced scallops marinated in a Peruvian sauce and topped with aromatic black truffles and Ossetra caviar; a textural and savory treat to the palate. The raw bar also offers Hand Rolls in two varieties: Classic Rolls like Hamachi and Toro; and Chef Rolls which allows original creations conjured by the chef. Appetizers include such signatures as empanadas loaded with crab, shrimp and artisanal cheese with a house-made spicy tomato sauce. Chefs Plateau Sashimi served with branzino, scallop, Hamachi, salmon, Toro, and tuna is fresh and piled high. Salads and Soups are tasty delights, such as the Brazilian fish stew shrimp, sea bass and corn mousse served with a wedge of garlic bread for dipping; a meal in itself. The pasta and risotto courses feature a variety of delicious options such as the Grande Ravioli living up to its name, a sizeable ravioli filled with herb ricotta and egg yolk, finished with royal black caviar and freshly shaved black truffles. Mains such as the grilled octopus with a Greek salad, feta mousse, sous vide leeks and leek purée is textural and satisfying. The menu also includes several vegan options such as the fried tofu with edamame, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumbers.
Desserts here are worth saving room for, such as the classic crème brûlée with seasonal berries. Brunch options are creative and satiate any palate such as the ricotta pancakes with blueberry sour cream.
The wine, cocktail, and beer program is helmed by the very seasoned and talented Beverage Director Kate Uglova. Treat yourself to a Mollusca Martini; Spring 44 gin, sweet vermouth and a dash of Benedictine presented under a smoked cloche on a real piece of acacia wood, surrounded by dry flowers and herbs or perhaps the Tea O’clock Martini; gin and Japanese vodka with Earl Grey infused vermouth and bergamot marmalade.
Cheers to the next best restaurant!
1 Little West 12th Street, New York, NY 10014




Bridgehampton features world-class restaurants helmed by talented chefs, upscale boutiques and venues, top notch wineries, and some of the most beautiful horse farms in the region. This is a great destina­tion for all, no matter where your interests or desires lie.

This visit we head out to the Hamptons on a Thursday and stop by Wolffer Estate Vineyards in Sagaponack enroute to Bridgehampton and right on time for its The Barstool Series where you can head over to the Tasting Room once each month for an interactive and informa­ tive hour with Suellen Tunney. Explore all things food and wine while sampling along the way. March offers To Age or Not to Age? The ul­timate question when it comes to wine. Guests will taste through and compare different styles and levels of wine and learn to identify key points that will help determine what to store and what to drink. This special class will use the 2015 and 2002 vintages our flagship wine, the Christian's Cuvee Merlot, among other varietals, to teach this subject. In April, look forward to their Pairing Cider course.

After Wolffer, we head over to The Bridgehampton Inn, which is within walking distance to Bridgehampton's boutiques, art galleries, and cafes. This inn, circa 1795, is a charming clapboard house, featur­ing six lovely rooms and an on-site cooking school, allowing for a great opportunity to brush up on skills in the kitchen. The following day, we enjoy a delightful English breakfast, served on the veranda. Then we head over to Mecox Beach, which has a volleyball set-up and dedicated court, ample facilities, and food stands. It is a glorious morning of fun, sun, and sand. For lunch we visit Almond, featur­ing contemporary French bistro fare served in a historic space. It has antique tin ceilings and a hand-carved bar, wood-topped tables, and dark wood wainscoting. We dine on delicious chicken and mussels paired with a cool and refreshing lemongrass Cosmo.

For dessert we take a ride over to the famous Candy Kitchen. This nostalgic luncheonette and soda fountain conjures up a simpler time by offering friendly service and basic and classic menu items. This is the perfect spot for a scoop of t homemade ice cream and a smooth cup of hot coffee. We learn that the seventh annual Great Food Truck Derby is returning to Bridgehampton this season when a caravan of New York City and Long Island food trucks park at the Hayground School. Some vendors have included Billie Jean's Grill, Blondie's Bake Shop, Chiddy's Cheesesteaks, and more. Look out for The Long Island Shucking Truck, ready to satisfy your raw bar cravings on the fly. Live music is provided often.

For dinner, we choose Calissa in Water Mill, one of the newest res­taurants in the Hamptons and inspired by the design and cuisine of the Greek island of Mykonos. The executive chef Dominic Rice crafts an extraordinary menu of shareable plates of Long Island seafood, local seasonal vegetables, and other Grecian specialties. Highlights include traditional Greek dishes like salt-baked striped bass or lamb, as well as modern interpretations of Greek standards such as corn croquettes with spicy feta, chilies, and cilantro yogurt or pickled octo­pus, celery, carrots and grilled ciabatta. Calissa also has the largest se­lection of large-format bottles on Long Island, the most by-the-glass options, and plenty of roses. Calissa features weekly winemaker din­ners throughout the summer months. New this year is Sunday brunch service for the summer; an aperol spritz bar; and Agora, an outdoor marketplace that will run through the season. Participating vendors include Pared Eyewear, Stephanie Gottlieb, and Tai Jewelry, among others. Calissa will continue to offer live music and hot DJs to pair live entertainment with great food. Another offering is Cellar Night, where you can bring in a special bottle from your very own collection and Calissa will open it at no charge, asking for a taste for their som­melier. This is offered from Sunday through Thursday nights. The policy is designed to allow guests to enjoy wines not readily available for purchase that come from their personal cellars or travels.


Another fabulous dining spot is Bistro Ete, featuring Chef Arie, whose preparations reflect his Cypriot heritage, formal training at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, and his years working under Michelin-starred chef Philippe Da Silva in Provence. This dining spot offers classics such as escargot and striped bass with champagne truffle sauce along with signature dishes such as wild-caught Spanish octopus with cher­ry tomato or duck wings confit with curry coleslaw, house bbq jerk, and roasted local Brussel sprouts with pomegranate seeds and tahini. Chef Arie's vegan and vegetarian dishes are tasty options as well. For seafood cravers, Hudson Blue Crab House features interesting seafood, including an array of crab-centric dishes such as Alaskan red king crab legs, Dungeness crab, snow crab, and Florida stone crab claws; East and West Coast oysters, including Kuma moto oysters; and dishes made with fresh local seafood. The bar menu includes 70 tequilas and 20 beers on draft, and a great selection of cocktails.


On our way home Saturday, we stop at Manna Restaurant in Water Mill to enjoy al fresco dining, which is available in both the courtyard terrace. On Sundays, Manna presents "Under the Stars;' live music for diners. This restaurant's celebrated chef, Marco Barrila, creates a multi-regional array of traditional, rustic dishes that change seasonally and focus on local farm-to-table, as well as imported Italian products. The menu in­cludes signature dishes such as the char grilled octopus with chimichurri and the truffied veal chops.


Thursday, 31 January 2019 14:33

A Fancy Fork in the Road

Written by

A Fancy Fork in the Road pic

ARTISAN West Hartford- Executive Chef Frederic Kieffer

This sublime dining spot located in the Delamar West Hartford hotel captures you visually, even before you have a bite to eat from its menu, with its distinctly rich atmosphere---- both easy on the eyes and over the top loaded with history. ARTISAN West Hartford pays tribute to Hartford, expressed through thought­fully curated decor such as the hallway leading to its dining space, lined with authentic red planks reminiscent of the region's tobacco farms of yesterday. Add to this a larger than life mural of flowering tobacco fields with not a detail missed, along with a charming country-chic vibe featuring a colorful and fragrant garden/outdoor dining space. Enter the garden and take in the whimsical decor such as Mason jar pendant lights and natural wil­low branch hanging lanterns strung from the trees, making for a truly enchanting feel of a secluded sanctuary. Breathe in the fresh scent of the restaurant's herb garden as it mingles with the aroma of tasty dishes served; take in the sound of relaxed conversation, along with strains of soft music playing. Enter the main dining room and view the striking hand painted fig mural along the back wall, along with a dark wooden bookcase holding a collection of eighteenth-century Swedish books, brass and glassware. Notice the two-story ceilings, light wide-plank pine flooring and Gustavi­an furniture, all lending an inviting feel. The pewter Parisian bar top surrounded by 9,000 hand-laid bricks in a herringbone design tie everything together with finesse. Sofas and chairs grouped for casual conversation around the handcrafted traditional Swedish farmhouse tile fireplace create great appeal.

.... And oh, the cuisine ...

The New England-inspired menu is continuously changing and influenced by the four seasons in capturing New England together with the French heritage of its own Chef Kieffer. For example, the signture Artisan Seafood Chowder is loaded with tasty oysters, clams and shrimp served with freshly baked fennel crackers as op­posed to the typical clams and potatoes standard versions.Those little touches here and there give beloved traditional dishes a nip and tuck via unique interpretation, maintaining that which we as diners have come to expect, but taking it notches above the ordinary. Another popular choice on the menu is their signature prime han­gar steak served with watercress, shallot sauce and a generous pile of crispy pommes frites in classic bistro mode, but again with a signature twist. Desserts such as their lemon olive oil cake with Maine blue­berry compote or perhaps a collection of local artisanal cheese with a perfectly paired glass of wine conclude the meal beautifully.

Chic and Unique:

For those looking for a more intimate space, the Private Dining Room at Artisan (often referred to as the "Copper Room" ), features custom copper string chandeliers suspended from a gold-leaf patina barreled ceiling. Keeping with the 18th century theme throughout Artisan, a Gustavian dining table, grand armoire and roomy chairs with farm­house upholstery enhance the vibe. An intricate plastering technique that dates back to Roman times adorns the walls. What a memorable dinner party could be had here.

Executive Chef, Frederic Kieffer

When you chat with Chef Frederic, you get an immediate sense of his passion and drive, that drives him way beyond his love for food, farming, creating and cooking. Kieffer shares his life history with me, meaningful and impressive from a very young age to the present; and we linger deliberately when we touch upon something of significance and passion. Kieffer grew up in France and attended culinary school there in the late 1980s; first visiting America when he participated in a culinary exchange program with Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. Following this, Kieffer began working in Greenwich, ultimately spending over a decade in restaurants both there and in New York City. He humbly mentions that he was one of three chefs involved in the 1996 reopening of Windows on the World after the first bombing of the World Trade Center. (The restau­rant would ultimately be taken down during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001). Chef describes getting" there" Windows of the World) each morning, looking out of those famous windows and spend­ing his mornings "peeking out above the clouds". This is who he is in es­sence-the passion and the great losses that followed.

As a distinguished chef, he gets to express this through cooking, dining and teaching his staff. "Passion is expressed through making things your own" he explains. He offers the example of his Yankee Pot Roast, steeped in New England tradition as well it should be but instead of using typi­cal cuts of beef, he uses tender beef cheeks. "I remain true to the idea of the classics but with my own approach. As a chef, your dishes need to have a story behind them or they're just standard versions of the same thing:' Kieffer sources fresh, sustainably grown local ingredients, and is dedicated to highlighting Connecticut-grown produce in his menu. For him Farm-to-Fork isn't a trend or a business model; it's a lifestyle for him and his family.

About The DELAMAR West Hartford:

Situated in the heart of the Blue Back Square neighborhood, DELAMAR West Hartford is the area's newest boutique luxury hotel. Styled with a contemporary take on traditional elegance, this six-floor mid-rise with 114 rooms and suites, features an open plan lobby resplendent with mar­ble, big windows overlooking the lawn, professional displayed artwork, a beautiful piano in the lobby accompanied by a spiraling seat made with 2,500 quarter coins which lends great character. All guests visiting here toast with a complimentary welcome glass of champagne at check in enjoy a lovely breakfast buffet spread; can take advantage of a courtesy vehicle within a 5-mile radius as well as valet parking. With high-speed internet access, access to their fitness center with Peloton bikes, a class at The Yoga Shop and complimentary admission to the New Britain Mu­seum of American Art.

The spa invites all to relax and rejuvenate.
Not a trick missed. 

A Fancy Fork in the Road pic2Porron & Pina
Restaurant Porron

Opened in the spring of 2018, this signature Spanish style dining spot is located in the Goodwin Hotel. Helmed by celebrity Chef Tyler Anderson and his loyal professional team, Restaurant Porron brings local fare to a globally-inspired menu which features a Ham Bar and a Wine Tasting Room making for an authentic Spanish dining experience, while main­taining the traditions of New England. The Ham Bar features an assort­ment of ham with such tasty choices as Iberico de Bellota (Spain), Ben­ton's Smoked Ham (Kentucky) and Coppa (Italy) among others. Skewer of octopus, pickled peppers and onion, smoked duck legs with a sherry glaze and spiced yogurt introduces exotic flavors and for a heartier appe­tite, a full sized course such as the delicious grilled quail with chimichurri hits the spot.

The Wine Tasting Room boasts an Iberian-style tiled floor with ceiling­high shelving wines from around the world. Together, the Ham Bar, the Wine Room and extensive and creative Tapas-style menu all lend to shar­ing, tasting and relaxing making for not just a delicious meal but a dining destination experience. The professional servers and their team enhance your dining pleasure with great suggestions offered, never insisted.

Bar Pina

This craft cocktail bar pays homage to the iconic history of the Goodwin building starting with the library, which gives a deliberate nod to the pub­lishing hub that the city of Hartford once was to the craft-cocktail menu with its classic twist, at the same time updated by the fun gin-and-tonic selection and other classics, many of the ingredients from local purveyors. Pina which is Spanish for pineapple was a symbol of hospitality in colonial America. Visitors are able to meander from the bar to the dining room, and back again should they desire, enjoying the Spanish-style tapas from Res­taurant Porron just down the hall. Bar Director Tim Cabral has developed an extensive list of classic, modern and Spanish-inspired drinks.

Chic and Unique:

For the quelling of your daytime sweet tooth, Pastry Chef Kristin Eddy has designed an artisan donut menu. Hotel guests and passers-by can stop in for some coffee and a sweet treat as they relax in the circular "library" nook of the restaurant.

Celebrity Chef Tyler Anderson

Nationally renowned Chef Tyler Anderson has been nominated for The Best Chef Northeast award from The James Beard Foundation for the past five years. A former TOP CHEF
contestant from Season 15 of Bravo's hit show; he has also appeared on several Food Network shows. Chef was just 16 years old when he dis­covered his affinity with food preparation in restaurant kitchens. Each experience helped him develop his culinary skills, his palate and his sea­soned signature style. Anderson is embracing what many poo pooed - appreciating the magic in maintaining Hartford's character in the name of revitalization. His concepts and menus are fresh and unique while he manages to maintain tradition. When asked what his favorite spice is, he responds "fennel pollen".
I believe that this says it all!

The Goodwin Hotel:

The Goodwin was originally developed in 1881, as an upscale apartment building and later converted to a hotel hosting prestigious guests such as J.P. Morgan, who resided at the hotel during visits to his hometown. To­day it is touted as an iconic Hartford landmark, with a vibrant urban feel while staying true to elements of its heritage and tradition. The Goodwin is a one-of-a-kind boutique hotel in Hartford, known for its impeccable attention to detail. Its downtown location puts visitors in the heart of Hartford's very best in shopping, dining, art and culture.


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