Spring fever

It’s that time of year! Are you infected with spring fever and preparing for March Madness? This is one of my favorite months — and not just because it’s my birthday month! I love it because spring in the city is the most FabuLyss time! We start to see the most incredible display of early flowering pastels in Central Park.

You can savor springtime at a very sweet new ice cream parlour on the Upper East Side: Cool Mess. The upstairs of Burger Heaven has been transformed into a full-blown, make-it-yourself ice cream cafe. The entrance is on 62nd Street, complete with a hot-pink velvet rope. Even the ceilings are covered in decorative sprinkles.

My older son was excited to make and eat his very own cool mess. Each table is equipped with a small ice cream maker, and customers start the creation process by choosing an ice cream base — vanilla or chocolate.

Then you select a baked good to add to the mix (pound cake, brownie, cookie, or the treat of the day), and finally, pick three toppings from the menu of 25, which includes everything under the sun from candy to sweet treats!

You can also book birthday parties and rent out the space for private events. I have a feeling lots of kids are going to think this new ice cream shoppe is sweet!

Cool Mess [137 E. 62nd St. between Park and Lexington avenues on the Upper East Side, (212) 355–9834]

I am sure you have been seeing all the TV segments about the most amazing, deLysscious $15 milkshakes from Black Tap NYC, which has two locations: one in SoHo and one in the Meatpacking district. The three-hour wait is really worth it. Your kids will say, “Wow!” These magical milkshakes are amazing! Can you believe they are selling more than 1,000 milkshakes a day? My personal favorite is the Cotton Candy Strawberry Shake with a vanilla-frosted rim with blue, pink, and pearl chocolates, topped with a pink lollipop, rock candy, whipped cream, and yes, cotton candy.

My boys loved the “Sweet N’ Salty,” it’s chock full of M&Ms and peanut butter cups topped with a Sugar Daddy, pretzel rod, a chocolate-covered pretzel, whipped cream, and a chocolate drizzle.

Black Tap NYC [529 Broome St. between Thompson and Sullivan streets in SOHO, (917) 639–3089, blacktapnyc.com]

If you have 90 minutes of free time, a must see is “Tappin’ Thru Life.” Tickets to see the extraordinary show will leave you dancing and smiling for days! Broadway legend Maurice Hines pulls out all the stops in this song and dance celebration of his brother, Gregory, and the performers who inspired him — from Frank Sinatra to Lena Horne. He’s tapping with the Manzari Brothers and singing standards like “Luck Be A Lady,” “Smile,” and “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” all backed by The Diva Jazz Orchestra, an all-female big band. You will not be disappointed!

“Tappin’ Through Life” at New World Stages–Stage 1 (340 W. 50th St. between Eighth and Ninth avenues in Midtown, www.telecharge.com/Off-Broadway/Tappin-Thru-Life/Overview). Until March 13.

Lyss Stern is the founder of DivaLysscious Moms (www.divamoms.com).

Nutella-stuffed s’mores French toast


2 slices Texas toast

2 eggs

3/4 cup half-and-half

1/2 tsp. cinnamon


4 graham crackers, crushed

1 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. Nutella

2 tbsp. marshmallow fluff

Mini-marshmallows, for garnish

Mini chocolate chips, for garnish

Chocolate syrup, for garnish

DIRECTIONS: In a shallow bowl large enough to dip the bread into, whisk together eggs and half-and-half. Add cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Crush graham crackers and add to another shallow bowl. Dip each slice of bread into the egg mixture, letting it soak up the egg and the cream for about 10 seconds on each side. Then dip it into the graham cracker crumbs, pressing to adhere the crumbs to the bread.

Melt the butter in a skillet set over medium-low heat. Add both slices of bread to the skillet and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on one side before flipping them over. Once you flip them over, add marshmallow fluff to one slice of bread and Nutella to the other. Let the bread cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove the slices of French toast from the pan, and press them together, making a Nutella-marshmallow sandwich. Transfer to a plate and garnish with mini marshmallows. Use a kitchen torch to toast the marshmallows until golden brown. Alternatively, use your oven’s broiler setting to toast the marshmallows for a few minutes. (Make sure to keep a close eye on the marshmallows, as they’ll go from toasted to burned quickly.) Sprinkle with a handful of mini chocolate chips, drizzle with chocolate syrup, and enjoy!