Jeanne Muchnick, a food reporter for LoHud, took time off her busy schedule for an interview with Suburbs 101. She reveals her favorite restaurants in Westchester County and New York City. She also talked about why she loves living in White Plains, NY and how she got started as a food writer.
Read on to discover where the best restaurants are in Westchester County (she knows all the best spots!) For foodies out there, don’t forget to bookmark this page! (Trust me, it will come in handy!)
Describe your move to White Plains, NY. Why did you decide to move to White Plains?
I lived in Larchmont for 22 years and raised my kids there. We sold our house four years ago – just before COVID – and downsized to an apartment in White Plains.
I love the central location of White Plains – it’s so close to the Rivertowns which are my fave – and to Rockland County (I also love Nyack!) which is an easy drive across the Tappan Zee (Mario Cuomo bridge).
What Part of White Plains Do You Live in?
I live in an area called Battle Hill where many of the streets are named after Presidents. The neighborhood is named for the Battle of White Plains which played a key part in the Revolutionary War.
It’s a proud neighborhood with well-tended flowers, parks and playgrounds. I appreciate my neighbors behind the Battle Hill Association who work hard to make it look so nice (they even decorate it with lights during the holidays!)
11 Reasons to Move to White Plains, NY
- Central location
- The Westchester Mall (hello to Nordstroms, the new Venchi chocolate shop and the Apple store!)
- Home to two of the country’s best hot dog spots: Walter’s and The Dog Den
- Always lots going on – the White Plains Business Improvement District (BID) is big into events, from Oktoberfest to a Winter Holiday Market to a Chicken Wing Walk.
- Home to the county’s only Bonchon Korean fried chicken.
- Close to Wegmans, my favorite food store.
- It’s close to H-Mart where you can cry if you want to
- There’s beer brewed here – check out Wolf & Warrior
- Lots of trains to the City so you never have to wait long
- Great library with a cafe and an awesome area for kids
What are your Favorite Restaurants in Westchester?
OMG. This is too hard to answer as I have many favorite restaurants in Westchester. A few off the top of my head:
Favorite New Rochelle Restaurants
Maria in New Rochelle where Chef/Owner Giovanni Cucullo has recreated his mother’s recipes (Maria was his mom) while also fusing flavors for a more modern touch. His pasta and other Italian specialties are hands-down winners but so, too, are his truffle green beans – a must, if you go.
I also love Pizzeria La Rosa in New Rochelle with its amazingly delish pizza (made on a 100+ year-old woodfired oven), arugula salad (with roasted chickpeas, plump yellow raisins, pickled fennel, lemon confit vinaigrette and shaved pecorino) and Thursday special smashburger.
Pop’s Espresso is also another go-to in New Rochelle.
Favorite Larchmont Restaurants
Encore Bistro in Larchmont as it’s a piece of Paris in the suburbs. On the same street is forever fave Stan’z which I’ve been going to for years for breakfast, brunch and lunch (the shrimp salad is my go-to but so are the sandwiches) and Alondra’s which also has great pizza (including one of the best gluten-free pizza’s I’ve ever had) along with other delish dishes.
Favorite Rivertown Restaurants
I mentioned the Rivertowns being a favorite spot for me and part of that is due to its amazing restaurants – Boro6 in Hastings, Harvest on Hudson in Hastings, Half Moon in Dobbs Ferry, Hudson Social in Dobbs Ferry, The Cookery in Dobbs Ferry, The Parlor in Dobbs Ferry, Bellacosa in Dobbs Ferry (great wine bar with great food!) and Piccola Trattoria, also in Dobbs Ferry where the branzino is divine (seriously nothing here is bad. I also love their oversized meatball! Plus, definitely try the pasta).
Favorite White Plains Restaurants
Favorite Ossining Restaurants
The Tasty Table in Ossining is another go-to brunch spot for me; they’re forever innovative with their food and drinks and have the most creative mimosa, coffee and hot chocolate flights.
Favorite Yorktown Heights Restaurants
Anything and everything at Pappous Greek Kitchen in Yorktown Heights.
Favorite Restaurant in Mamaroneck, NY
I love everything at Augustine’s Salumeria in Mamaroneck.
Favorite Restaurants in Pleasantville, NY
I’m also currently obsessed with the shrimp po’boys at the newly opened Crawdaddy’s in Pleasantville which offers a great taste of New Orleans. I’m also a big fan of Freddy’s in Pleasantville, Pub Street (if you can get in! always crowded!), The Raconteur, Root2Rise (THE best vegan and gluten-free and plant-based food hands-down in Westchester!) and Falafel Taco (all in Pleasantville).
Favorite Restaurants in Mount Kisco and Armonk
Favorite Restaurant in Port Chester, NY
The list goes on… can’t forget Telly’s Taverna in Port Chester which has amazing fish.
Favorite Restaurant in Pelham, NY
Pizza Fenice in Pelham has fantastic pizza.
Favorite Restaurants in Yonkers, NY
Favorite Restaurant in Purchase, NY
Tredici North in Purchase is a favorite.
Favorite Restaurants in Bronxville, NY
Ladle of Love in Bronxville has the best soups. When in Bronxville, you’ll also find me at Rosie’s Bistro for their chicken parm which comes on a bed of spinach instead of pasta or at Henry’s Bar & Grill which surprisingly has great food.
Favorite Spot for Avocado Toasts in Katonah, NY
I’m also a huge fan of the avocado toast (and other toasts!) at the Katonah Reading Room in Katonah, NY.
SOO many great spots. Just more reasons to love Westchester.
According to your Bio, you are Obsessed with Brussels Sprouts, Latte Art and Lobster Rolls. Where can we find the Best Brussels Sprouts, Lobster Rolls and Latte Art in Westchester?
I hate to admit this — I’m probably going to change my Instagram bio after this interview — as I’ve had SOOO many Brussels Sprouts I’m honestly getting a bit tired of them. I do still tend to order them – I’m forever curious how folks prepare them — my new go-to is either something with chickpeas or broccoli. I can also never say no to sweet potato fries. And yes, lobster rolls are my spirit animal as is just plain lobster. So best places?
Best Lobster in Westchester
For the best lobster in Westchester, I go to Saltaire in Port Chester where, during the week you can get three courses for $40 as part of their Saltaire Suppers every Tuesday/Wednesday and Thursday (that includes a delish lobster!)
Best Lobster Rolls in Westchester
Best Brussels Sprouts in Westchester
Best Latte Art in Westchester
I LOVE LOVE coffee shops and am forever taking Insta photos of latte art. There are SOO many coffee shops here – and more opening (follow me for up to date news!).
For the best latte art, I like Peekskill Coffee House in Peekskill; Coffee Lab Roasters with locations in Tarrytown and Eastchester; Climbing Wolf in Dobbs Ferry; Cafetero and R Café and Patisserie, both in New Rochelle; Matters Coffee in Croton-on-Hudson; also The Black Cow in both Pleasantville and Croton.
I’m also loving the newly opened Mandy Bean in Yonkers; Likha Art Café in Hawthorne (not big on latte art but big on art in general!) and LOVE LOVE Laughing Horse in Harrison which is all about community and hanging out. It’s husband and wife owned as is another coffee fave The Pamplemousse Project in White Plains.
Also have to include Roaster Café in Mamaroneck which, along with great coffee (and latte art!) does solid salads, falafel, pancakes and more.
What are your Favorite Restaurants in New York City?
Again, too hard a question as I love so much and am always trying to go somewhere new. If you had to pin me down, I’d say Raoul’s in the West Village. Best Steak Frites ever. Also love Skirt Steak where there’s a set menu of just steak frites (including unlimited fries!) (can you tell I love steak?).
Since I love coffee, I’m a fan of Citizens of Chelsea and Two Hands (great latte art there). And since I’m also a huge Mediterranean food person and love the Upper West Side, Dagon is one of my go-to’s. Shout outs also go to Oceana and Molyvos, owned by a Westchester family (who also own City Limits Diner in White Plains and Moderne Barn in Armonk).
You are a Food Reporter for LoHud. How did you get started as a Food Reporter?
From a young age I knew I wanted to be a writer. I studied journalism at Syracuse University with the goal of working for magazines (any “old timers” remember them?).
Features and lifestyle stories were – and still are – my passion and for many years I wrote and edited features for publications such as Woman’s Day, Woman’s World, Ladies’ Home Journal, Parents and more. As the publishing world changed, so, too did I, segueing to online writing, blogging and Instagram.
All of which is a long winded way of saying I’ve written about food, along with travel, business, shopping and real estate for many years and for many different avenues. When I was laid off from Daily Voice and a job opened up at The Journal News/lohud close to six years ago I applied – and I’m still here.
What’s your Advice for Aspiring Food Reporters?
Publishing is a hard business; look elsewhere. Seriously, you’ll make a better salary doing PR. But if you love it – and want to write – start working on your own brand. And never say no: just publish anywhere you can to build up a solid portfolio.
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