Friday, April 13, 2007

A Cure for The Cold

Ahh! The Orchids

Dear Postcard from New York Reader,

A tropical rain forest will do it every time.

I finally made it back to the New York Botanical Garden to see the Orchid Show the last day before it closed. This time, although there were crowds, there was no blanket of untouched snow to distract me (see March 23).

Stepping into the Conservatory, a grand Victorian glass palace, was a Star Trek moment come true. You know the scene where the crew of the Enterprise beams down to a foreign planet and stand mesmerized before they set off on their mission? Before my eyes, orchids in every size shape and color clung to the bark and thick foliage of magnificent trees in a steamy humid rain forest.

Their astonishing beauty was nothing less than bewildering. The scene recreated a world millions of years before humans existed, when orchids, lush vegetation and strange animals were the dominant forms of life. More than 85% of almost 30,000 orchid species live high in the air, hanging from majestic tropical trees with their roots exposed!

Of course, I wanted to read all the detailed descriptions for every flower on display; for instance, I discovered Vanilla, a familiar flavor we all love, comes from an orchid! But, time and again the flower textures, colors, sizes and incredible shapes were too compelling to ignore. I forgot about reading and just looked.

Would you believe, some orchids have spots like leopards; some have long hollow tubes, spindles, and pouches like kangaroos. Others have furry spines, hairs, bumps, tails, slippers, and bubbles. Theirs is a fascinating world to engage the imagination for a lifetime. One can easily see why scientist spent many years studying just one species.

Don’t despair if you missed the show, there will still be a few orchids in the rain forest to amaze you. Better yet, you can actually take one or more home to enjoy. Shop in the Garden has hundreds of extraordinary orchids available for sale with experts on hand to offer advice on how to care for and grow them. And, it won't be long before the magnolias, daffodils and peonies are in bloom.

Just for Kids:

Even more than the zoo, Spring is the best time to visit the Botanical Garden. There are hands-on programs for children as young as two years old, where they can explore, discover, and experience nature at its most vibrant. Let them get their hands dirty; they can dig, plant and grow vegetables and flowers, feed worms, and create interesting things like compost and bark rubbings.

Finally, click on Ahhh! The Orchids…and select View as slide show. If the pictures leave you itching to see more, The International Orchid Show opens April 18th at Rockefeller Center thru April 22.

Jacqueline Cable
For Postcards from New York

Address to remember New York Botanical Garden, 200th Street at Kazimiroff Blvd, Bronx, NY 10458,

Hours: Tues-Sun 10 AM – 6 PM.

Directions: Metro North from Grand Central Station twenty minutes to Botanical Garden Station.

Photos by Joseph Knight

© Copyright 2007 The Cable Group

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

With Marshmallows or Without

Piping Hot Chocolate sprinkled with dark chocolate powder

Dear Postcards from New York Reader,

Asks the beaming attendant behind the counter? The choice is a lip biting difficult one.

On bone chilling days like we have had since being teased with 70 degree temperatures a couple of weeks ago, the only possible way to survive until Spring final does arrive is to indulge in a decadent cup or mini mug of City Bakery's delectable hot chocolate. Not too sweet, you will feel its thrilling warmth down to your toes.

Every time I come here I drawl over the mouth watering desserts, but never order one because a little voice warns it would just be too much. This hot chocolate is so filling that after a few sips, you feel as if you've eaten an entire meal.

So rich, so thick, it is prepared in vats like a hearty winter soup. Don't sit at a table and wait to be served. It's a treat for the eyes to stand at the counter where you can watch the velvety textured hot creamy chocolate as it swirls around in the vat. Notice the glass bowl filled with hefty chunks of just made marshmallows; so meaty, you can eat them with a fork.

The rich liquid is first poured into a small pitcher then whipped with an electric whisk before it is poured into...

A mini bowl or demitasse cup, with marshmallows or without, what will it be?

However you take it, don't allow yourself to miss out on this lick your upper lip good experience.

You'll find The City Bakery just off Fifth Avenue at 18th Street.

Jacqueline Cable
For Postcards from New York

Address to remember: The City Bakery, 3 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011,, 212-386-1414.

Directions: MTA from 42nd Street Times Square, N, R or W to 23rd Street. Bus M2, M3, M5.

Photo by Joseph Knight

©Copyright 2007 The Cable Group