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City Bakery’s Hot-Chocolate Festival

Posted on Jan 31, 2008 in Gourmet Gossip

On February 1st, City Bakery launches a month-long celebration of hot chocolate in all of its glorious variations. Though this Flatiron shop is praised year-round for its rich melted chocolate topped off with a homemade marshmallow, the 16th annual festival offers a rotating roster of additional flavors, from Caramel or Banana Peel to the Chili Pepper or even Beer varieties. Maury Rubin, owner of the City Bakery and Birdbath, admits he’s partial to the bourbon hot chocolate, even issuing this rather curious and passionate statement: “The bourbon [hot chocolate] tastes like what a vintage Jaguar looks like going very fast.”  Alrighty then.  More importantly, we’ve received confirmation that there is indeed bourbon in this warm elixir, which begs the question: Will City Bakery be carding diners at the register? Flavors can be ordered by the 4-ounce shot or the...

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Q & A with Fabio Trabocchi

Posted on Jan 30, 2008 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

Fabio Trabocchi grew up in Italy, where his father and grandparents taught him the basics of Italian cooking from growing fresh ingredients to buying meat from the local butcher.  Comfortable in the kitchen by age 8, Fabio excelled in multiple Michelin-star restaurants throughout his teenage years.  He then traveled the world learning regional cuisines and kitchen styles, eventually standing still in Washington, DC to create the concept and open Maestro, located in Tyson’s Corner, VA.  Here, he received 4-star reviews and the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic in 2006.  Despite his success in DC, New York City called.  Fabio recently joined the team of B.R. Guest Restaurants as executive chef of the newly face lifted Fiamma in SoHo.  He has received momentous acclaim for the fine dining he has implemented.  Signature dishes offered in his...

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Best Valentine's Day Restaurants 2008

Posted on Jan 29, 2008 in Best Of, Spring Eats

Where Valentine’s Day is concerned, there’s nothing more romantic than dining out in New York City. While veterans at the reservation game may have already secured some of the most coveted tables, there’s still a handsome selection of enchanting venues. Here are 10 of the city’s most romantic spots. RAOUL’S 180 Prince St., between Sullivan & Thompson Sts., (212) 966-3518. This quintessential SoHo bistro and its classic French fare make for an effortlessly romantic evening. The three-course meal ($75) features chestnut and foie gras ravioli as well as sea bass with Maine mussel fondue. Request the cozy enclosed garden, then retreat to the upstairs loft for an after-dinner reading from the resident fortune teller. ELEVEN MADISON PARK 11 Madison Ave., at 24th St., (212) 889-0905.  Serious food lovers can feast on acclaimed chef Daniel Humm’s outstanding French fare and...

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Introducing: Gizmo Girl

Posted on Jan 27, 2008 in Gizmo Girl

This week we introduce Gizmo Girl: your guide to the latest gastronomical gadgets and gizmos.  Every Thursday we will reveal our new favorite gadget to stir up your kitchen, a new accessory to doll up your tabletop, or a cooking accessory that we can’t live without. We begin this week with Anthropologie’s Measuring Gaggle.  This gaggle of geese are nesting measuring cups, providing a little amusement when baking cookies, making soup, or just measuring out your morning granola. Measuring Gaggle Want to share your favorite kitchen gizmo? Email Us. Photo Credit: Until we eat again, Restaurant Girl **Don’t forget to subscribe for Restaurant Girl’s Weekly...

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Anne Burrell’s Truffled Deviled Eggs

Posted on Jan 25, 2008 in Chef Q&A Recipes, Recipes

From Centro Vinoteca 6 eggs 1 ½ cups mayonnaise 1 tablespoon truffle oil Pinch of cayenne pepper 2 tablespoons black truffle peelings, finely chopped (optional) Chopped chives for garnish Place the eggs in a pot and cover with tap water. The level of water should be about 1 inch above the eggs. Bring the pot to a boil. Turn off the heat, cover and let sit for exactly 13 minutes. Uncover and run the eggs under cold water to cool if using immediately or refrigerate until ready to use. Peel the eggs and cut in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks from the whites. Place the yolks in a mixer bowl or mash with a fork. Add the mayo, truffle oil, cayenne and peelings if using. Whip until very light and fluffy. *If you want a little more truffle flavor...

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Brasserie 44

Posted on Jan 23, 2008 in Reviews

Address: 44 W. 44th St., between Fifth & Sixth Aves.  Phone: (212) 944-8844 Hours: Dinner, Sun.-Thur., 5:30 p.m.-11 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 5:30 p.m.-midnight. Breakfast & lunch service. Cuisine: Modern American. Vibe: Yacht adrift. Occasion: Under-the-radar dinner; hotel dining. Don’t Miss Dish: Sweet onion tart; olive oil poached salmon. Price: Appetizers, $14-24; entrees, $24-44; desserts, $12-15. Reservations: Accepted. Capsule: The nautically themed Brasserie 44 feels like a restaurant adrift in the Royalton Hotel. A $17.5 million facelift and a newly minted restaurant were meant to reignite the once iconic Royalton Hotel. So where is everybody? Media moguls once flocked to the Philippe Starck-designed boutique hotel. Its futuristic lobby looked like a runway leading to its restaurant, 44, the city’s most fashionable cafeteria. But even the best of trends fall out of fashion. After a dramatic renovation, the Royalton Hotel’s lobby now...

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South Gate Readies – Now Taking Reservations

Posted on Jan 23, 2008 in Gourmet Gossip

Chef Kerry Heffernan’s (Eleven Madison Park, Mondrian) much-anticipated South Gate is readying for its mid-February debut.  Perhaps the flashiest thing to happen to Central Park South, the mirror-decked front bar with exposed glass bar shelves overlooks the park.  Formerly Cafe Botanica, South Gate will be a swanky showcase for Heffernan’s American fusion cuisine.  A sneak peek at the menu reveals fanciful appetizers, featuring seared foie gras with pears, muscat and pear wafers as well as fatty albacore with eucalyptus, lemon zest and crisp garlic.  As for entrees, they’ll include a roasted rack of monkfish with warm romano bean salad, and chianti vinaigrette and pork with cider, star anise, yellow leeks and kohlrabi bacon puree.  With the recent opening of Bar Boulud and Dovetail, dining uptown is getting more exciting by the minute. Address: 154 Central Park South btwn. 6th...

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Posted on Jan 22, 2008 in Reviews

Address: 109 South Sixth St., near Bedford Ave., Williamsburg (718) 782-2333 Dinner: Sun.-Thur., 5 p.m.-11 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 5 p.m.-midnight. Closed Sundays. Cuisine: Contemporary Latin. Vibe: Vibrant Spanish villa. Occasion: Neighborhood dinner; Group dinner. Don’t miss dish:   Pinchos de res (cubed filet mignon); escolar in blood orange sauce. Price: Appetizers, $7-12; entrees, $15-21; desserts, $7-8. Reservations: Accepted. These days, there are many temptations in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I learned this en route to Viñas, a new Latin American restaurant in this burgeoning neighborhood. First, there’s Peter Luger. The aroma of its butter-sopped porterhouses wafts out onto the streets. Literally. If you can resist this seduction, there’s yet another: the lure of Dressler, with its romantic portrait window and sophisticated American fare. Though nearly impossible to refuse both temptations on my first visit, I persevered toward a quiet street with few signs...

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Alex Urena’s Paella

Posted on Jan 18, 2008 in Chef Q&A Recipes, Recipes

From Pamplona (Serves 2) Ingredients ½ lb of rice ½ onion small diced 1 red pepper, small diced 3 cloves of garlic, brunoise 1 ½ tbsp of Paprika 3 grams Saffron ¾ qt of chicken stock 1 fresh chorizo link 1 chicken leg cut in small pieces 5 oz of rib eye steak 10 cockles 10 mussels 6 shrimp 4 tbsp olive oil Salt and pepper to taste Make a sofrito with onions, peppers, garlic, paprika. Season with salt and pepper Add chicken, steak and chorizo. Add rice. Cook the mussels and cockles in a separate pot just till open. Reserve Drain liquid, add liquid to the rice. When rice is almost cooked, add shrimp. When paella is almost cooked, if you want to remove cockles and mussels from shell, add to rice to warm. Then serve. Photo Credit:...

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Q & A With Jehangir Mehta

Posted on Jan 16, 2008 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

After working in some of NYC’s finest restaurants, including Jean Georges and Compass, chef Jehangir Mehta has recently opened a humble, 18-seat savory/sweet eatery of his own.  Located in the East Village, Graffiti is a visual scrapbook of his life; the menu a culinary scrapbook of both his Mumbai upbringing and expansive training.  His unique cuisine subtly marries contemporary Asian cuisine with Indian seasonings. At Graffiti, his signature dishes include the foie gras raspberry crostini with walnut salad and the chili shrimp with a curry steamed rice cake.  Of course, don’t skip this pastry chef’s desserts, such as the hazelnut chocolate caviar cupcake with chocolate chip ice cream. Status: Single/Married/Divorced Married What did you want to be when you grew up? Honestly, I would say I wanted to do something with people – more so in terms of not complete...

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Posted on Jan 15, 2008 in Reviews

Address: 920 Broadway, at 21 St.  Phone: (212) 533-3663 Dinner: Mon.-Thurs., 5-11 p.m.; Fri. & Sat., 5 p.m.-midnight; Sun., 5-11 p.m. Cuisine: Italian-American Vibe: Retro glamour Occasion: Group dinner, casual date Don’t Miss Dish: Ricotta bruschetta, pumpkin mezzaluna Price: Appetizers, $6-$18; entrees, $15-$23; desserts, $7-$9 Reservations: Recommended Capsule: Manhattanified Lunetta is but a pale reflection of the original. Manhattan has seen its share of Brooklyn-Italian imports over the past two years. Frankies Spuntino set up an outpost on the lower East Side, Aurora surfaced in SoHo and Lunetta just recently cropped up in the Flatiron District. But Lunetta’s journey across the bridge was by far the most untraditional and storied of them all. Partners Adam Shepard and Jim Heckler launched the Boerum Hill eatery as a modern Japanese restaurant named Taku. Though Shepard received critical acclaim as a chef,...

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Grown Up Jell-O Shots

Posted on Jan 14, 2008 in Gourmet Gossip

Though chef-owner John Fraser seems to be bucking the trend toward uber-casual dining at his new UWS American, Dovetail, his amuse-bouche is an unexpectedly playful gesture.  A haute spin on a Jell-O shot, a spoonful of vodka gelee arrives topped with salmon roe, fried capers and a dab of sour cream.  It’s the perfect ice breaker and nearly frisky teaser of the meal to come.  It’s too soon to tell whether the UWS neighborhood will appreciate Fraser’s sense of humor, but it reflects the constantly evolving tradition of the amuse-bouche: originated in France, it literally translates to “mouth amusement.” While it can often be a tool of showmanship, even a Frenchman like chef Laurent Tourondel takes a whimsical approach at BLT Market, which I formally reviewed toward the end of last year.  It may inhabit the Ritz-Carlton, but that...

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Astor Center Launch

Posted on Jan 13, 2008 in Gourmet Gossip

A unique hub devoted to all things food and wine, Astor Center officially opens its doors Monday, January 14th.  It’s one thing to sit in Gramercy Tavern’s dining room and marvel over what Michael Anthony does behind kitchen doors, but now the gastronomically-obsessed can learn from the chef himself over a five-course dinner with other experts on sustainable and Greenmarket affairs. Astor Center offers a bounty of classes from top sommeliers, mixologists and chefs from around the country on everything from scotch & chocolate pairing to pig parts with Zak Pelaccio and Josh Ozersky, Cutlets in the flesh.  Spotted Pig fanatics can even learn the secret to April Bloomfield’s burger from the woman herself. Address: 399 Lafayette St., at 4th St. Phone: (212)674-7501 Until we eat again, Restaurant Girl **Don’t forget to subscribe for Restaurant Girl’s Weekly...

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Michael Anthony’s Blackfish with Spaghetti Squash

Posted on Jan 10, 2008 in Chef Q&A Recipes, Recipes

From Gramercy Tavern (Yield:  8 servings) Blackfish is a common by-catch on the east coast. For blackfish: Blackfish, boneless and skinless    8 – 5 ounce filets Olive oil  2 Tbsp Garlic, peeled and smashed  1 clove Thyme 1 sprig Salt to taste Pepper to taste 1.    Season fish with salt and pepper on both sides. 2.    Heat olive oil in sauté pan with garlic and thyme. 3.    Add fish and sauté, basting with olive oil. For spaghetti squash: Spaghetti squash, cut in ½ lengthwise 1 each Olive oil 3 Tbsp Salt to taste Pepper to taste Walnut pieces 3 Tbsp Wildflower honey (preferably Hampton’s) 1 tsp Lemon juice 1 tsp 1.    Preheat oven to 375° F. 2.    Season squash with salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. 3.    Place squash, cut...

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Q & A with Donatella Arpaia

Posted on Jan 9, 2008 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

Though Donatella Arpaia spent much of her childhood in her father’s restaurant, she herself was groomed to become a lawyer.  But after filling in for a hostess at Scarlatti (her brother’s midtown restaurant), Arpaia discovered her passion for the dining world.  She opened her first restaurant, Bellini, and quit law the next day.  Soon after, she teamed up with David Burke to launch davidburke & donatella, garnering much attention for whimsical modern fare and a loyal midtown clientele. With chef-partner Michael Psilakis, the two successfully reinvented Bellini as southern-European dona, following up with modern Greek at Anthos.  Though they were forced to close dona after only nine months, it will soon reopen in its new midtown location with rustic, Greek-inflected Italian cuisine. A cook herself, Arpaia has also recently developed a line of artisanal Italian products, including tomato sauce,...

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Cafe Notte – Wifi meets Wine

Posted on Jan 8, 2008 in Gourmet Gossip

What was formerly DTUT has been radically transformed into this sleek wifi cafe meets wine bar on the Upper East Side.  Owners Steven Salsberg and Nikola Camaj (who also owns Erminia on the UES) have partnered up to launch this “socially and environmentally” correct lounge this Monday, January 14th. Cafe Notte’s casual menu will feature organic coffees as well as greenmarket and artisanally-bent fare, including a harvest salad, handmade granola, salmon carpaccio and housemade mozzarella.  There will also be a lengthy selection of wines, charcuterie and cheeses available throughout the day. An interesting venture to say the least, it’s anyone’s guess how the neighborhood will take to emailing over swiss cheese fondue and a bottle of Merlot. Address: 1626 Second Ave., btwn 84th & 85th Sts. Phone: (212)288-5203 Hours: 7 days a week, 7 a.m.-2p.m. Until we eat again,...

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NYC’s Best Dishes of 2007

Posted on Jan 6, 2008 in Best Of

In keeping with our annual tradition, we fondly remember the best dishes of 2007… Top Ten Dishes of 2007 Soto’s steamed lobster with uni mousse – Chef Kosugi made a dazzling first impression on New York with an ethereal lobster layered with uni mousse: Sweet bits of lobster received a briny rush of uni and a salmon caviar garnish. Address: 357 Sixth Ave., at Washington Place Phone: (212)414-3088 Allen & Delancey’s Sweetbread Raviolo – After being released from Gordon Ramsay’s upscale inferno, chef Neil Ferguson made an unexpected move downtown to the cozy quarters of Allen & Delancey, where he imagined this savory appetizer: Tender sweetbreads get tucked into a raviolo atop braised cabbage and a vigorous Bolognese sauce. Address: 115 Allen St., nr Delancey St. Phone: (212)253-5400 Gramercy Tavern’s Crab Raviolo – Chef Michael Anthony proved himself more than...

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21 Club

Posted on Jan 2, 2008 in Reviews

Address: 21 W. 52nd St., near Fifth Ave.Phone: (212) 582-7200Dinner: Mon.-Thur., 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 5:30 p.m.-11:30  p.m; lunch, Mon.-Fri., 12 p.m.- 2:30 p.m. Closed Sundays.Cuisine: AmericanVibe: Midtown country clubOccassion: Power-lunch spot; time-warp dinnerDon’t Miss Dish: Mixed grill of game, pommes souffles, apple crisp.Drink Specialty:Exemplary global wine selection.Price: Appetizers, $12-23; entrees, $30-45; desserts, $10.50. $35 prix fixe lunch menu; $40 dinner prix fixe menu.Reservations: Recommended; dress code strictly enforced. A changing of the guard in the kitchen demands a revisit to this NYC classic. There is nothing subtle about the dress code inspection at the ’21’ Club. It is an unapologetic once-over by hosts, who vigilantly deny entrance to guests in jeans or sneakers. Though this midtown institution may have surrendered ties at lunch, it strictly enforces an old-school jacket policy. It’s ironic that a former speakeasy with bar...

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Shorty’s.32 Codfish with Gruyere Broth

Posted on Jan 2, 2008 in Chef Q&A Recipes, Recipes

By Josh Eden Owner & Chef of Shorty’s.32 For The Cod 1 6oz portion of Cod skinless Roast Cod in oven skin side down in a sauté pan When finished reserve and assemble as described For the Broth 1 medium size Spanish onion rough chop  2 stalks of celery rough chop  1 head of Garlic cut in half  1 sprig of thyme 2 lb of Gruyere cheese wrapped in Cheese Cloth Bring all items to a boil and allow simmering for 2 hours, making sure you stir or cheese cloth will stick to the bottom of the pot. After simmering for two hours strain and reserve. For the Onions 2 onions cut in half and sliced thin. Sauté Onions with 2 tb. of whole butter. Cook on low flame slowly until caramelized. Do not rush this process or your...

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Posted on Jan 1, 2008 in Reviews

Address: 79 MacDougal St., between Bleecker & Houston Sts. Phone: (212) 260-0100 Hours: Dinner, Mon.-Thu., 5-11 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 5-11:30 p.m. Cuisine: Modern American Vibe: Glamorous dining car Occasion: Romantic date; see and be seen dinner Don’t Miss Dish: Portuguese sardines, steamed egg with polenta, roast lamb saddle Price: Appetizers, $6-16; entrées, $21-26; desserts, $8-11 Reservations: Highly recommended Capsule: Smith’s is not just another pretty face Step into Smith’s main dining room and you’ll feel like you just stepped aboard a luxury railroad that’s made its final stop in the West Village. It’s appointed with black-leather booths, chandelier sconces and a mirrored ceiling – a stylish setting that’s attracting nearly as stylish a crowd. Smith’s rests in a long, narrow storefront in a neighborhood populated by dive bars, coffee shops and NYU students. It’s an unlikely destination for a glamorous...

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