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  • Air’s Champagne Parlor is All About the Bubbly

    Air’s Champagne Parlor is All About the Bubbly

    Beer, wine and even cider bars abound in NYC, but Air’s Champagne Parlor is one of the few area drinkeries devoted to bubbly. To be fair, the Riddling Widow briefly preceded it, but owner Ariel Arce was actually beverage director during its tenure, as well as Birds & Bubbles before that, and Chicago’s Pops for Champagne (not to mention Grant Achatz’s exclusive, original The Office) before that.  Meaning her reputation as queen of Cuvèe absolutely proceeds her.

  • Where to Celebrate Oktoberfest 2017

    Where to Celebrate Oktoberfest 2017

    If you’re already mourning the loss of summer, Oktoberfest is a reliable way to get you over the hump. Essentially spanning the duration of fall (kicking off on September 16th this year & extending all the way to October 31st, allowing revelers to seamlessly transition to Halloween), the 16 to 18-day festival is a giddy saturnalia of German culture…

  • Spotlight on the Finalists for the 2017 Vendy Awards

    Spotlight on the Finalists for the 2017 Vendy Awards

    As a fun challenge to the James Beard Awards, the Vendy ceremony — now in its 13th year — is dedicated to honoring the very best in street food.  So here’s who’s in the running during the September 16th event at Governors Island; from an artisanal twinkie baker to an upstart french toast sandwich maker, to a Chinese meat skewer purveyor, whose been tapped for the Vendy Cup…

Most Recent Dish

DIY Drinking

Posted on Jun 29, 2006 in Gizmo Girl

Top it Off The world as we know it is about to change – seriously (at least the world of liquids).  Just screw a (coming soon to a store near you in 2007) Flavor Tops cap on a bottle of water and design your own beverage on the spot.  Having just developed the technology to store powders or liquids in bottle tops, the Innovation Fund can turn water into juice, tea, soda or even a cocktail!  Think of the...

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Cheese 101 – Accompanied

Posted on Jun 28, 2006 in Gourmet Gossip

Just as I was about to snack on cheese straight up, Cheese Girl returned to give us a quick lesson in cheese condiments… With the rapidly increasing popularity of all things cheese, it can be difficult to sort through the maze of accompaniments out there. So here are some words to shop by: Bread is a no-brainer – a fresh French baguette is my first choice.  Bread should always play the supporting role, so festive breads, over-laden with dried...

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The Laundry

Posted on Jun 27, 2006 in Reviews

341 Pantiago Road East Hampton, NY 631-324-3199 TYPE: Contemporary American VIBE: The city takes the Hamptons. OCCASION: A family outing. GO WITH: Grownups (parents or family). DON’T MISS DISH: BBQ baby back ribs DON’T BOTHER DISH: Laundry chowder PRICE: $45 & up RESERVATIONS: Recommended (It’s the Hamptons). HOURS: Dinner, Monday-Sunday, 5:30-11 PM. INSIDE SCOOP: Walk-in dining at the bar. RESTAURANT GIRL RATES (1-10): 5 FINAL WORD: New & not-so improved Losing its lease after twenty-five years, The Laundry, practically...

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Enoteca Barbone

Posted on Jun 27, 2006 in Reviews

Enoteca Barbone 186 Ave B, between 11th & 12th Sts. 212.254.6047 CODE.TV Video (With Restaurant Girl) TYPE: Modern Italian VIBE: Backyard garden party OCCASION: Summer in the city GO WITH: A dine-by-moonlight date or group (the patio’s big enough for everyone!) DON’T MISS DISH: Short Rib pappardelle DON’T BOTHER DISH: Porcini-crusted halibut PRICE: $30 & up HOURS: Tuesday-Saturday, dinner 6-11:30, Sunday, 5:30-10:30.  Closed Mondays. INSIDE SCOOP: Get Alberto to rattle off his impressive & lengthy resume (he’s worked everywhere...

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The Little Owl

Posted on Jun 22, 2006 in Reviews

90 Bedford St. (at Grove) (212)741-4695 TYPE: American-Mediterranean VIBE: Quaint quarters OCCASION: Scene-scape GO WITH: It’s got date place written all over it. DON’T MISS DISH: Broiled tile fish DON’T BOTHER DISH: Hamachi appetizer PRICE: $35 & up RESERVATIONS: Recommended (A week in advance). HOURS: Dinner, Tuesday-Sunday, 5:30-11 PM, Closed Mondays.  Lunch/brunch, Saturday & Sunday, 11:00-3:00 PM (starts this Sunday). INSIDE SCOOP: Brunch starts this Sunday, 11-3. RESTAURANT GIRL RATES (1-10): 7 FINAL WORD: Perfect summer block party QUICK...

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Cheese Girl

Posted on Jun 21, 2006 in Gourmet Gossip

Even a Restaurant Girl can’t possibly dine out every single time hunger strikes.  On that rare occassion when I entertain at home or get hungry during a snowstorm, I have a friend with a cheese addiction, who’s eager and willing to share her shopping secrets and teach us Cheese 101 every Thursday.  So without further ado… My name is Nadia and I’m a cheesaholic.  Thankfully, I live in New York City – home to some of the best cheese...

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Cafe D’Alsace

Posted on Jun 17, 2006 in Reviews

1695 Second Avenue (at 88th Street) (212)722-5133 TYPE: French with a German twist VIBE: Breezy neighborhood bistro OCCASION: Summer is here & outdoor seating’s aplenty GO WITH: Friends or family – it’s a casual affair DON’T MISS DISH: Baeckeoffe (a meaty Alsatian stew) DON’T BOTHER DISH: Asian or Americanized fare PRICE: $30 & up HOURS: Dinner, Monday-Thursday, 5:30-11 PM, Friday & Sat. 5:30-12, Sunday 5:30-10:30.  Lunch/brunch Monday-Friday, 11:30-3:30 PM, Saturday & Sunday, 10:30-3:30 PM  INSIDE SCOOP: Take Beer...

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Food Trend Watch

Posted on Jun 9, 2006 in Gourmet Gossip

Some of us just aren’t morning people: now you can say it with toast, using one of six interchangeable kitschy design plates from Pop Art Toaster.  So whether you want to toast Happy Birthday or the phrase “Luv U”, you can communicate via bread and you don’t even have to put two syllables together. Don’t beat around the bush with the Stupid Art Toaster ($24.95), which comes with four interchangeable design plates that declare, “I’m toast”, “Chicks Rule”, “Boys...

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Chinatown Brasserie

Posted on Jun 6, 2006 in Reviews

380 Lafayette (at Great Jones St.) New York, NY 10003 (212)533-7000 Chinatown Brasserie TYPE: Cantonese-style Chinese VIBE: China chic OCCASION:  Any – Besides, dim sum’s the new brunch GO WITH: A date or a group (Chinese is Chinese for sharing) DON’T MISS DISH: Mushroom dumplings with sweet corn DON’T BOTHER DISH: Ginger Dragon cocktail PRICE: $35 & up (Dim sum is less expensive) HOURS: Monday-Friday, lunch 11 AM-5 PM, Dinner 5 PM-1 AM Saturday & Sunday, dim sum, 10...

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Burgers & Cupcakes

Posted on Jun 2, 2006 in Dessert, Reviews

458 Ninth Ave. (btwn. 35th & 36th Sts.) (212)643-1200 VIBE: Cafeteria cool OCCASION: Breakfast or your lunch break GO WITH: Co-workers or go it alone DON’T MISS DISH: Beef Burger DON’T BOTHER DISH: Fresh squeezed lemon Fizz PRICE: under $ 10 INSIDE SCOOP: Will deliver anywhere in the city if you pay the cab fare HOURS: Monday-Saturday, 8-9 PM, Sat. & Sun. 10-9 PM RESTAURANT GIRL RATES (1-10): 6 FINAL WORD: What could be better? You’ll think you’ve died...

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Posted on May 30, 2006 in Reviews

250 Park Avenue South (at 20th St.) (212)995-0242 TYPE: Mediterranean VIBE: Festive oasis OCCASION: Take a Mediterranean vacation GO WITH: A group (birthday) or date DON’T MISS DISH: Octopus meze DON’T BOTHER DISH: Dessert PRICE: $50 HOURS: Lunch & Dinner, Sun & Mon 5:30-11:30; Tu-Th 5:30-12; Fri-Sat. 5:30-12:30 PM RESTAURANT GIRL RATES (1-10): 6 FINAL WORD: Sink into a pillow & go fish. Even a gourmet junkie, like myself, can get tired of eating foie gras foam and other...

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Food News

Posted on May 30, 2006 in Gourmet Gossip

The French may just start a revolution on American soil with their innovative new wine packaging that renders a cork obsolete.   French Rabbit packages their vintage-dated French wine (it actually tastes good) in Tetra Packs which will change the way we drink: Lighter than glass Holds 2 more glasses than a normal bottle of wine Easily screws shut Squeeze air out after every use & reseal Lasts up to seven days in the refrigerator 100% recycleable packaging 50 cents...

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The Future of Food

Posted on May 24, 2006 in Gourmet Gossip

Stove Top Table After standing in painfully fashionable footwear all day, the last thing I want to do is hover over a stove and pretend I know how to make dinner.  Now I can kick off my shoes and cook right at my Cook N Dine table.  It’s like your own Korean barbecue, only the center of this futuristic stainless steel table conveniently sinks into a concave bowl to catch simmering sauces when heated (goes up to 430 degrees). ...

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Mr. Chow – Tribeca

Posted on May 19, 2006 in Reviews

Mr. Chow Tribeca 121 Hudson Street (at North Moore) (212)965-9500 VIBE: Downtown Swank OCCASION: Stargazing GO WITH: A group – Dishes served family style DON’T MISS DISH: Signature Chicken Satay DON’T BOTHER DISH: Beijing Duck PRICE: $ 60 & up (But 10% cheaper than midtown outpost) INSIDE SCOOP: Pricey takeout before 7 pm HOURS: Monday-Sunday, 6-11:30 PM RESTAURANT GIRL RATES (1-10): 5 FINAL WORD: Go for the show, stay for the satay There’s no place like Tribeca for Mr....

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Pimp My Snack

Posted on May 18, 2006 in Gourmet Gossip

Forget about pimping your car, the latest craze is pimping America’s favorite junk foods. From Doritos to Hot Dogs to Snickers bars, these homemade and gi-normous calorie-ridden snacks will make your pocket-sized candy bar pale in comparison. Pimped out snacks can even square off against each other for the “Title Snack” at Pimp My Snack, where America’s Next Top Chef or Junk Food Addict can swap recipes for their favorite colossal snacks. I took a stab at the oreo....

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Posted on May 12, 2006 in Reviews

85 Tenth Avenue (at 15th Street) (212)400-6699 RESTAURANT: CRAFTSTEAK VIBE:  MEATPACKING ELEGANCE OCCASSION: CLOSING A DEAL (BUSINESS OR PLEASURE) DON’T MISS DISH:  WAGYU BEEF (ANY CUT WILL DO!) DON’T BOTHER DISH:   ROASTED JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE PRICE: EXPENSIVE RESTAURANT GIRL RATES (1-10): 6.5 As the dirt continues to settle from the onslaught of mega-restaurants fashioned with sky high ceilings, super-sized Buddhas and Asian fusion fancies, the Meatpacking District has overnight become a Vegas-like restaurant row.  A disappointing visit to the much-anticipated...

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Quality Meats

Posted on May 3, 2006 in Reviews

  In a midtown littered with pre-theater menus and mega-delicatessans (Carnegie Hall), Quality Meats emerges as an unlikely dining destination that may just revolutionize the concept of The American steakhouse.  After an impressive 22 year seafood-stint as the Manhattan Ocean Club, Alan Stillman, legendary restaurateur of The Smith & Wollensky group, has decided to do what he does best — steak.   He’s even handed the restaurant’s reigns over to his son, Michael Stillman, who has magnificentally transformed the space...

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Posted on Apr 28, 2006 in Reviews

RESTAURANT: Chanto CUISINE:     International Japanese WINE LIST:  30 sakes & 40 wines (8 Japanese wines) VIBE: moody elegance DON’T MISS DISH: King of Kimchee DON’T BOTHER: Snapper sashimi OCCASION: When you want to dine uptown, downtown. Take your Japanese clients. HOURS: M-Th dinner 6-12,  Fri. & Sat. dinner 6-3; Sun. dinner 6-11. RESERVATIONS:     Recommended PRICE: $50 & up RESTAURANT GIRL RATED: (1-10) 6 Already well-loved for its 49 restaurants in Japan, the Chanto dynasty is determined to...

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