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Spring Lamb dishes

Posted on Mar 24, 2011 in Best Of

Do you ever wonder why spring is synonymous with lamb? (These are the kind of things we think about it.)  Like any other fruit or vegetable, lamb has its peak season.  As with artichokes and asparagus, lamb has its peak season in the spring because it feeds on the first grass of the season’s. And seeing as Easter falls in the spring, it’s the perfect meat to celebrate the holiday.  Thus, the tradition was born. Well, spring is finally here (technically anyway) and some of the season’s newest menus feature some terrific lamb dishes.  This year, it seems like lamb is more popular than ever, popping up in tacos at the newly opened Empellon in the West Village, and decadently wrapped in foie gras at Michael White’s Ai Fiori.  But the new eateries aren’t the only ones embracing lamb...

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New York's Best Sausages

Posted on Mar 15, 2011 in Best Of

With spring less than a month away, we’ve started gearing up for baseball games and cook-outs with the quintessential outdoor food, the hot dog.  Or, as they call it in Germany, the saucisson frankfurt.  Though we wished winter would disappear, we’re already feeling nostalgic for its comfort foods, namely hearty sausages.   Sure, a basic frank has been around forever, but the city’s repertoire of sausages has boomed over the past few years.  From boudin blanc to Spanish chorizo and bratwurst, New Yorkers can sample encased, seasoned meats from all over the world.  If you’re looking for a one-stop shop, Daniel Boulud’s Bowery eatery offers an impressive selection of global sausages and that’s just one possibility.  There’s Vietnamese sausages at Baoguette, Thai sausages at Lotus of Siam and Malaysian-style sausages at Fette Sau in Williamsburg to name a few.   Check...

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Best Party Reservations

Posted on Mar 9, 2011 in Best Of

Deciding where to have dinner is hard enough, but finding the perfect restaurant for a large party or a special event is not an easy feat.  I can’t tell you how many times someone has asked me, “Where’s a good spot for a birthday dinner or engagement party?”   And really, how many times can you throw a bachelorette at Lucky Cheng’s, or fork over your paycheck with a table at an overpriced steakhouse?  So we’ve compiled a list of our favorites for all kinds of occasions. Luau Locale Hurricane Club Address: 360 Park Ave South at E 26th St Phone: (212) 951-7111 Website: Some restaurants focus all their attention on the food, while others, like The Hurricane Club, are built with a party atmosphere in mind.  At most restaurants, large groups tend to be a tight squeeze, but here the banquettes are...

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New York's Top Tortas

Posted on Feb 17, 2011 in Best Of, Sandwiches

New York is famous for many things, including sandwiches.  Think about the possibilities at lunchtime: There’s everything from heroes to pastrami on rye to a banh mi or even a Cubano. But one of our favorites is the Mexican torta, a sandwich that often gets overshadowed by burritos or chicken mole on a menu.  What makes tortas so great are the slew of ingredients stuffed inside.  There’s often not one, but two types of meat, cheese, veggies, sauce and beans. So next time you’re at El Mariachi in Astoria or just about any Mexican joint, skip over tacos and try a torta with breaded flank steak and chorizo, Or pick up lunch at Pampano Taqueria in Midtown, which serves one of the best shrimp tortas around.  The cities studded with torta shops worth visiting. This Astoria café has an extensive menu of traditional Mexican cooking,...

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New York's Best Chocolate Shops

Posted on Feb 6, 2011 in Best Of

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, we’ve got one thing on our mind: chocolate. Of course, we’re choco-holics year-round, but the holiday is a great excuse to stop at some of our favorite shops. What we’ve discovered this year is that chocolatiers keep raising the bar with terrifically imaginative flavor combinations, including Kee’s jasmine truffles and Thai-inspired dark chocolate.  If you’re feeling exotic, you might want to try La Maison Du Chocolat’s Arneguy truffle, flavored with cardamom and almond paste.  You could even make a date out of visiting one of the oldest shops in the city where they make the truffles right in front of you. If you’re single, it’s even better because you don’t have to share. In fact, some of the candy is so good that you may not even want to share a box. Kee’s Address: 452 Fifth Ave. (inside HSBC);  80 Thompson St., nr. Spring St. Phone: (212) 334-3285; (212) 525-6099 Kee Ling Tong is...

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Best Super Bowl Bars

Posted on Feb 2, 2011 in Beer Bars, Best Of

The Super Bowl is the most anticipated sports event in the year, so why not skip your couch and watch it somewhere with a little more atmosphere and good cocktails? This year, you can watch the Steelers and the Packers go head-to-head in a venue that suits your tastes. For beer geeks, there’s  Beer Table in Brooklyn with  rare craft brews on tap. For those who wish this year’s game was a repeat of Super Bowl XLIV, Bourbon Street Cafe serves New Orleans cooking. And for hard-core Steelers fans, Cody’s Ale House  brings Pittsburgh to Park Slope, and that includes the city’s signature Iron City booze. The Hill Address: 416 Third Ave. bet. 29th and 30th streets Phone: (212) 481-1712 Like it’s name implies, The Hill is the sports bar in Murray Hill, a neighborhood filled with watering holes.   The...

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Best of NYC – Valentine's Day Dining

Posted on Jan 30, 2011 in Best Of

For some, the fourteenth of February brings fear.  Either the pressure of setting up the perfect date or the anxiety of not having one can throw the most confident diner into a tizzy.   Then, there’s the often dreaded Valentine’s prix fixe menu, which can feel forced.  Thankfully, restaurateurs are easing up on the prix-fixe and offering alternative ways for singles and coupled alike to celebrate.   Whether you’d like a full, sit-down dinner, a laid-back bite or a rowdy party, you’ll find plenty of great options in New York. Below are a few spots… A Great Place to get Lei’d1534Address: 20 Prince St., btwn. Elizabeth & Mott Sts.Phone: (212)966-5073Website: jacquesnyc.comGrab a bunch of girlfriends and head over to this alternative V-day party where everyone is guaranteed to get lei’d. From 8-11pm the uber-chill, unpretentious joint will be turned into a...

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Top Ten Peanut Butter Eats

Posted on Jan 23, 2011 in Best Of, Dessert

Happy National Peanut Butter Day! (Yes, really.) Today, January 24th, is a national holiday that ranks right up there with Christmas.   It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with peanut butter any way I can get it. Hell, I’ll eat it straight from the jar, preferably Skippy Super Chunk, but there’s so many more delicious and creative ways to get it.  There’s the peanut butter BLT sandwich at Peanut Butter & Co., the monster-size dark chocolate peanut butter chip cookies at LeVain Bakery, the peanut butter and grape jelly sundae at Oceana, and The Breslin’s fried peanut and banana sandwich to name just a few. Here’s my top ten… Peanut Butter & Co. – Peanut Butter BLT Address: 240 Sullivan St., btwn West 3rd & Bleecker Sts. Phone: (212)677-3995 This West Village spot makes their own peanut butter in lots...

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New Year's Resolution Dishes

Posted on Jan 17, 2011 in Best Of

We love holiday food, but we’re not too crazy about the consequences.  Oops.  But we can make up for our December food indiscretions with smarter choices in the New Year.  We usually have to lock ourselves at home for a few weeks to eat ho-hum healthy dishes.  (There goes our social life.)  Not this year.  Chefs at some of the city’s new restaurants are serving some deliciously healthy dishes that don’t sacrifice flavor.  If you’re in need of lean protein, you could head to Fish Tag on the Upper West Side for grilled sea bass and fig sorbet, or Marcus Samuelsson’s new Red Rooster in Harlem for grilled red snapper.  Okay, so plain old flour pizza’s not the best idea, but Jean-Georges’ whole wheat pizza at ABC Kitchen works or you could sample the modern Korean cooking at Danji...

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Best Northern European Eats

Posted on Jan 9, 2011 in Best Of, Summer, Winter Eats

Right about this frigid time of year every year, it gets hard to motivate out of the house.  Really, the only thing inspires me to brave the outdoors is hearty, warming foods, so this season I’ve turned to Northern Europe — experts at cold fronts and frigid winters, these cuisines really know how to get people through frigid winters.  There are some very compelling dishes and new restaurants, like Vandaag or Edi & The Wolf, to go out for dinner. Vandaag Address: 103 Second Ave., at 7th St Phone: (212) 253-0470 If you haven’t been to this Dutch newcomer in the East Village, you’ll want to put it on the top of your to-try list in 2011.  The setting is cozy, yet elegant, and the food is excellent.  So are the cocktails, which are thoughtfully imagined by Katie Stipe,...

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Where To Ring in The New Year in NYC

Posted on Dec 27, 2010 in Best Of

With New Year’s right around the corner, you might want to start thinking about where to celebrate. Luckily, there are so many terrific and different options.  You could use the evening as an excuse to try the popular new offshoot of The Stantion Social, Beauty & Essex, or head to the The Darby where you can get a scene and great food in one.  If that’s not your speed, you could go old school and ring in 2011 with steak and creamed spinach at Keen’s or gnaw on spare ribs and a grown up slushie at Congee Village.   We’ve highlighted our favorite new and timeless spots to celebrate New Year’s Eve… Beauty and EssexAddress: 146 Essex St., near Stanton StreetPhone: (212) 614-0146This Lower East Side lounge has been open less than a month and it’s already a favorite...

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New York City's Best Dumplings

Posted on Dec 19, 2010 in Best Of

  What makes food so exciting is the enormous diversity of flavors, textures and dishes from all over the world.  But there is one dish that almost every culture shares and that’s dumpllings.  Dumplings are a universal language we all speak and nearly every society has its own version of this stuffed invention.  China has its pot stickers, Japan has its gyoza, the Ukraine its pierogi, and Italy its ravioli. And in New York, you can sample every dumpling imaginable.  You can grab a take-out lunch of pork & chive dumplings at Prosperity Dumplings in Chinatown, Korean kimchi dumplings in Queens, or, after a night of bar-hopping in the East Village, Veselka’s potato pierogi.  We’ve highlighted our favorites as well as some under-the-radar dumplings and eateries you’ll want to sample for yourself. Prosperity Dumplings – Pork & Chive Dumplings...

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Where To Shop: Holiday Food Edition

Posted on Dec 14, 2010 in Best Of

Hosting a holiday party this year?  Or better yet, a guest in need of a gift for the host?  Whether you’re entertaining or being entertained, New York boasts some unique and terrific gourmet stores to shop for  everything from artisanal cheeses and charcuterie from all over the world, chocolates, smoked fish,  pastas, and imported Italian panettone. You could even theme your party and throw a global charcuterie and cheese tasting or an Italian feast of seven fishes this year.  Instead of spending hours in the grocery store settling for so-so goods or the same old ones, make a few, smart stops and try something different this year.  Here’s a few of our favorite shops: Murray’s Cheese Address: 254 Bleecker St. btwn. Cornelia & Leroy Sts Phone: (212) 243-3289 From fabulously stinky blue cheeses to fig paste and fresh pasta,...

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New York's Best Soups

Posted on Dec 5, 2010 in Best Of

It’s beginning to feel like winter and we’re ready to embrace this season’s comfort foods.  There’s nothing as quintessentially winter as warm, soothing soup, like time-tested chicken noodle, minestrone, and miso soup.  And, of course, there’s newcomers and ethnic creations, and a million different ways to make the classics unique. This winter, New York has more than enough soups to satisfy our warm, liquid cravings. Tortilleria Nixtamal in Queens is serving bowls of hangover medicine called pozole, Ippudo has pork belly-filled ramen and there’s even a sweet pumpkin coconut concoction at MexiQ in Astoria. We definitely won’t get cold and hungry with this rich selection in the area. Modern Ramen, Ippudo Address: 65 Fourth Ave., nr. 10th Street Phone: (212) 388-0088 In Japan, Ippudo is like Applebee’s, as there seems to be one in every town. But in New...

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Last Minute Thanksgiving Reservations

Posted on Nov 17, 2010 in Best Of, Fall Foods, Holiday Eats

Thanksgiving was never supposed to be a stressful holiday.  So if it’s starting to feel overwhelming, you might want to reconsider cooking and eat out.  You could even seize the occasion to dine somewhere you’ve been dying to try and let someone else slave over the stove. Here are some of our last-minute recommendations for Thanksgiving  reservations. Cornelia Street Café Address: 29 Cornelia St Phone: (212.989.9319) Website: The charming, homey setting at this West Village fixture is great for holiday like this one. If you ask me, the Thanksgiving menu is the real draw with offerings of cornbread stuffing, sweet potato puree, string beans, cranberry-orange relish, mashed potatoes, gravy—oh!—and turkey too.  Eggnog crème brulee is a festive French-inflected end to the evening. The Farm on Adderley Address: 1108 Cortelyou Rd, Brooklyn Phone: (718.287.3101) Website: If you live...

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New York's Best New Wine Bars

Posted on Nov 15, 2010 in All Things Wine, Best Of

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a grape plebian or a master sommelier, there’s nothing like a great glass of wine.  Wine bars understand exactly that.  Whether you’re in the mood for a fruity white, a big red or a celebratory champagne toast, they’ll point you to the right selection.  Lucky for us, the city is flush with wine bars serving unusual or interesting bottles by the glass, and new ones opening every day.  Which means you don’t have to make a habit of the same spot or the same glass.  Here’s a few of our favorite new entries to the wine bar scene… Brooklyn Oenology Address: 209 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn Phone: (718.599.1259) Website: Barely open a week and this wine bar is already generating buzz for its one-of-a-kind menu.  The wines being served at this Brooklyn newcomer are...

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New York's Best Turkey Dishes

Posted on Nov 9, 2010 in Best Of

Thanksgiving is really one of the best holidays invented.  You don’t have to shop for the perfect present for every single person you know or fork out tons of cash.  Thanksgiving is about one thing: Eating ’til you’re stuffed and giving thanks for the feast.  The dish we most look forward to is roast turkey.  Aside from indistinct lunch sandwiches and this once a year holiday, roast turkey is hard to come by on the restaurant scene. This year you don’t have to wait until the 25th to get your turkey fix. There are plenty of stand-out turkey dishes being served all over the city.  Some are part of a pre-Thanksgiving feast leading up to the big day, while others can be enjoyed year-round. For lunch, we head to Torrisi Italian Specialties and Henry Public for two of the...

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Best Of – New York's Fall Dishes

Posted on Nov 3, 2010 in Best Of, Fall Foods, Summer

My favorite eating season is fall.  It doesn’t get much better than autumnal fruits, like concord grapes, pumpkins, pears, plums, and apples.  And there’s loads of fragrant truffles (for a price, of course), duck, wild game and brussel sprouts. This year, some of New York’s best and newest restaurants have come up with some delicious ways to celebrate the season.  There’s an outstanding concord grape tart at ABC Kitchen, pumpkin ravioli and a brioche-like pastry studded with concord grapes at Babbo, and apple cider doughnuts at Hearth, to name a few.  We’ve picked our favorite savory and sweet nods to fall from a few of New York’s finest restaurants, so you can start and finish in season.  BabboPhone: (212)777-0303Address:  110 Waverly Place, nr. 6th Ave.It’s hard to go wrong at Babbo, especially if you linger in the pasta section...

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Grown Up Halloween Treats

Posted on Oct 25, 2010 in Fall Foods, Holiday Eats

You never really outgrow Halloween.  You may not feel like dressing up or going to door to door for treats, but you still want to seize the opportunity to eat candy.  I never turn down sour patch kids or a bag of M & M’s (especially peanut or the new pretzel variety, which happen to be very good), but sometimes you want something a little more interesting and sophisticated. We scouted out this year’s best treats for grown ups and grown up kids alike… Not Your Average Ring Pop Papabubble Address: 380 Broome St. Phone: (212.966.2599) Website: Ring pops were a favorite of mine as a kid; I loved the idea of wearing my food.  Barcelona-based candy company, Papabubble, makes a version (pictured right) I wouldn’t mind wearing out at night or to the office. Funky and fun,...

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New York's Best Izakayas

Posted on Oct 20, 2010 in Best Of

What’s better then a good bar? A good Japanese bar with scores of sake, shochu and Asian beer!  Just like any Spanish tapas bar, Japanese izakayas offer plenty of traditional small plates to nibble on.  Most fly under the radar, but there are some terrific izakayas hidden all over Manhattan.  Venture into any one of them and you’ll discover natives nostalgic for a taste of home, foodies and chefs seizing the opportunity to snack on  grilled chicken meatballs, fried oysters, homemade tofu, and cold, spiced octopus.  My favorite is Yakitori Totto in midtown.  I love their shochu cocktails with lemon or lime juice you squeeze fresh right at the table, along with chicken delicacies, seaweed salad, and some surprisingly great desserts.  But there’s izakayas all over the city — a taste of Japan without hopping a plane to Tokyo....

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