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Newfangled Finger Foods

Posted on Feb 14, 2010 in Best Of

By RG Writer: Agatha Khishchenko Who doesn’t love eating with their hands?   How fun would it be to share an utensil-free dinner with someone?  It’s not as hard as you think.  We’re not talking about fast food.   Several great restaurants and chefs are putting a refined spin on finger foods in every genre of cooking.   If you’re craving Indian, Tabla’s got tandoori-fired black pepper prawns   There’s southern hush puppies at Tipsy Parson, fried pork scratchings at Breslin, and shrimp corn dogs at Blue Smoke.   We’ve scouted out some of the city’s best gourmet finger foods…   Blue Smoke      Address: 116 East 27th Street, btwn. Park & Lexington Aves. Phone: (212) 447-7733 Danny Meyer’s barbeque joint takes classic finger foods to a new level.  Case in point:  Shrimp corn dogs with avocado- lime dip, deviled eggs...

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Best of – NYC's Bodegas & Beyond

Posted on Jan 24, 2010 in Best Of

RG Writer – Agatha Khishchenko We take our bodegas just as seriously as we take our restaurants.  No one wants to waste time or money on a mediocre meal.  There are a lot of great finds, but these are our favorites and they all meet our three requirements: 1.  Spice and flavor, regardless of region. 2. Operate out of a bodega or small, relatively unimaginative space. 3. An entire meal costs less than $10. Punjabi Deli Address: 114 East 1st Street, near 1st Avenue Phone: (212) 533-9048 This East Village deli is my absolute favorite place to get inexpensive Indian food any time of the day. If you doubt their authenticity, check out all the taxis parked outside while the drivers run inside for a quick bite and a taste of home.  You can get yours to go or...

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Your Guide To Valentine's Day

Posted on Jan 17, 2010 in Holiday Eats, Spring Eats

If you haven’t done so already, you might want to nail down your Valentine’s Day plans. ( Ladies, don’t depend on your significant other to plan ahead.)  Whether you’re looking for a romantic night out, a low key evening, or a cocktail and dessert, there are lots of creative options that won’t make either of you cringe.  Since Valentine’s Day falls on Sunday this year, you can celebrate your love over brunch. Prune (DIY Valentine’s Day) Address: 54 East 1st Street, nr. First Ave. Phone: (212) 677-6221 This East Village gem is known for its eclectic brunch menu, but Gabrielle Hamilton has outdone herself this year with a do-it-yourself themed meal.  Take your pick, guests can be transported to Istanbul with nibbles like fried whitebait, or you can head to CapeCod with grilled hard-shell lobster and anchovy butter.  Want...

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Brooklyn Brewed

Posted on Jan 13, 2010 in Best Of

Brooklyn has come a long way over the last few years.  Nowadays when you visit New York, you ought to explore Brooklyn too.  Especially when it comes to food. food.  If you want homemade sausage, there’s Faicco’s.  If you want local mozzarella, there’s Caputo’s or organic ice cream, there’s Blue Marble Ice Cream.  Brooklyn’s also responsible for producing distinguished beers and wines.  Yes, even wine and you don’t have to be in Brooklyn to drink them either… Six Point Craft Ales                              40 Van Dyke Street                                    This a seriously well-crafted beer and not just by locavore standards.  Just look for the symbol stamped on the label — a hybrid of the nautical Star reflecting Red Hook’s maritime roots and the hexagram once...

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Best of – Holiday Cocktails

Posted on Dec 13, 2009 in Best Of

Winter doesn’t officially start until December 21, but the temperatures outside suggest otherwise.  What’s the point in fighting the inevitable?  We thought we’d embrace the season with this holiday’s best cocktails.   By RG Writer – Agatha Khishchenko   Char No. 4 Address: 196 Smith Street Brooklyn, NY 11201 Phone: (718)643-2106 There are a lot of destination restaurants, but this is what I like to call a destination bar.  If you live in Carroll Gardens, consider yourself lucky.  If you don’t, you’re really missing out.  The bar is a glowing shrine to whiskies from all over the world with a 400-bottle selection.  This is the perfect season for the Noreaster, a whiskey-based cocktail featuring Old Crow, ginger beer, lime and Canadian maple syrup.  The  Bourbon Insider is set to debut just in time for the holidays.  This warm, fragrant...

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Best of – Brooklyn Diners

Posted on Dec 8, 2009 in Best Of

So a girl walks into a diner… Brooklyn, I’ve recently discovered, does a lot of things well.  Even diners.  There are a wealth of wonderful spots with excellent pancakes, eggs, French toast, oversized, late-night sandwiches, and a great bottomless cup of coffee.  By RG writer – Caitlin Decker Tom’s Diner Address: 782 Washington Ave (corner of Sterling Place and Washington Ave) Phone: (718) 636-9738 My first visit to Tom’s Diner (pictured right) was anything but eventful.  TV cameras were swarming the entrance.  The Mayor was eating at a nearby table.  Say what you till about the Bloomberg’s politics, but the man has great taste in diners.              But Tom’s is prepared for big crowds, whether the mayor’s there or locals.  On the weekends,  they set up chairs outside and bring table plates of cookies, sausages, toast, and orange slices...

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Thanksgiving – Dining Out & Take-Out

Posted on Nov 16, 2009 in Best Of, Fall Foods, Holiday Eats

Thanksgiving is a challenge even for the most gifted chef.  We all need a little help or the entire night off.   When you consider that some of the finest chefs in New York are cooking, it’s tempting to dine out.  Whether you’re cooking, going to a friend’s, or dining out, there are tons of options…  Dining Out: Back Forty Phone: (212)388-1990 Address: 190 Avenue B (Photo Credit: Tina Rupp) Comfort and hospitality are essential to Thanksgiving and this East Village eatery is wonderful at both.  Chef Peter Hoffman has created a 3-course dinner that sounds delicious: cornmeal-dusted oysters, roasted heritage turkey with chestnut turkey sausage stuffing and pumpkin fregola risotto.  Everything’s served family style, so you’ll really feel at home.  Market Table Phone:(212)255-2100 Address: 54 Carmine St. Chef Mikey Price is great at putting creative twists on...

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Tasty Faux Meats (Yes, really)

Posted on Nov 15, 2009 in Best Of

We’ve decided to expand our coverage, so we’ve invited talented writers & eaters to contribute along the way.  Enjoy… By RG writer – Jess DelBalzo My boyfriend considers himself a “fake-meat vegetarian.” What he really means is that he prefers texturized soy and gluten products to nuts, beans, raw tofu and the like. Basically, he likes to eat vegan things prepared and shaped like real meat. One of his favorite things is so-called “chicken” parmesan.  (I eat chicken, so I know the difference.)  I have to admit the  breaded imitation tastes exactly like the real thing.  Our freezer is full of veggie burgers,  ground “beef,” and barbecued riblets (yes, they make vegetarian riblets.)  And in the cabinets, you’ll find cans of vegetarian duck and braised gluten that we picked up at New Kam Man on Canal Street, along with...

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Halloween Treats & Eats

Posted on Oct 18, 2009 in Best Of, Fall Foods

Liddabit Sweets Saturdays at the Fort Greene Brooklyn Flea Market (In the schoolyard at the corner of Lafayette & Clermont.) Ever had a handmade candy bar?  Neither had I until I stopped by the Brooklyn Flea Market.  Liddabit’s candy bars make ordinary Halloween candy seem like child’s play. Nobody’s debating the merits of a Snickers or Milky Way Bar, but they’re not the healthiest or most original snacks.  Liddabit’s gourmet bars are all made by hand with local ingredients.   For Halloween, they’ve created a stellar Pecan bar and Pumpkin Pie bar.   The pecan bar has a pie crust bottom topped with pecan dulce de leche, bourbon ganache, and a coating of dark chocolate. It’s intense.  The pumpkin pie is made with spiced pumpkin caramel ganache, marshmallow fluff, a pie crust base, and enrobed in dark chocolate.   Grown...

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Best of — Freezer Aisle Ice Creams

Posted on Sep 13, 2009 in Best Of, Summer

There are lots of reasons to get depressed about the end of summer, like all of the ice cream carts disappear from the streets til next spring.   Thank god for the freezer aisle.   Even when the Van Leeuwen truck goes into hibernation, you’ll be able to find their ginger, red currant and pepper mint & chip ice cream in the supermarket.  These days, it seems like everyone has upped their game with some terrific and imaginative flavors, which also happen to be a lot less expensive than going out for a scoop of ice cream.  Sometimes, it’s nice to eat a bowl of ice cream at home in your pajamas, especially when you’re craving ice cream in the middle of the night.  Forget the usual suspects like vanilla and Chunky Monkey, there’s everything from champagne sorbet to coconut crunch....

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Summer's Best Mocktails & Booze-Free Beverages

Posted on Aug 23, 2009 in Best Of

August —  It’s hot, humid, and anyone who can swing it, has skipped town in favor of the beach, a lake, or any available body of water.  And, of course, drinking lots of cold, icy cocktails, chilled rose, and cold beers.  Sometimes, it’s good to take a night off.  That usually means depriving yourself and settling on a coke or lemonade or fizzy water.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but everyone’s getting creative with beverages these days, non-alcoholic drinks included.  In fact, some of the drinks on menus are the mocktails. From the simple to the exotic, sweet to the savory, I scouted some of the most imaginative, booze-free beverages around. The Standard Grill 848 Washington St., at W. 13th St. (212) 645-4100 The Standard Grill’s a great spot for dining al fresco beneath the city’s new High...

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Best Summer Ceviches

Posted on Aug 9, 2009 in Best Of

Certain foods seem to define summer — rose, lobster rolls, gazpacho, and ceviche.   There are few better ways to capture the freshness of just-caught seafood than soaking it in a little citrus and spices.   Whether you like your ceviche brightened with just lime juice or more creative preparations, we’ve found this summer’s best ceviches. Toloache251 W. 50th St., btwn. Broadway & Eighth Ave.(212) 581-1818www.toloachenyc.comIf you can’t get a seat at the five person ceviche bar, Chef Julian Medina offers the El Acapulco tasting of three ceviches in the main dining room as well. The tasting includes the Camaron (shrimp, spicy roasted tomato salsa, lime and pico de gallo), the Átun (spicy yellowfin tuna, key lime, vidalia onion, radish and watermelon), and the hamachi (yellowtail, Meyer lemon, cucumber, huichol salsa and crispy avocado). The John Dory85 Tenth Ave., btwn. W. 15th & W....

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NYC's Best Summer Soups

Posted on Jul 26, 2009 in Best Of, Holiday Eats, Soups, Summer

Summertime’s perfect for chilled soups.  Not only are they the perfect respite from the city’s heat, but tomatoes, zucchini, and the like are all ripe and ready to be made into soup.  We still love a classic gazpacho, but we’ve also found some unique newcomers on summer menus this year. Pierre Loti West 258 W. 15th St.(212) 645 This cozy Chelsea sister of the Iriving Place wine bar serves a full menu, including Tomato-Strawberry Chilled Soup topped with homemade Turkish cream.  Both owner Orhan Cakir and chef Habib Kargin are Turkish, which explains the seamless blending of Mediterranean and French. Gramercy Tavern42 E. 20th St.(212) 477-0777www.gramercytavern.comZucchini is in season and Chef Michael Anthony takes advantage of this with Gramercy Tavern’s Chilled Zucchini Soup with Island Creek Oysters.  It’s garnished with squash blossoms- the bright orange edible flowers that...

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Best of Unique Summer Treats

Posted on Jul 19, 2009 in Best Of, Holiday Eats, Summer

Summer’s in full swing.  There’s a Mister Softee truck on almost every corner, Italian ice carts in front of almost every pizza parlor, and berries at every market.   There’s no need to fall into the same vanilla cone or lemon ice habit because there’s too many refreshing, new drinks and desserts this year. Counter105 First Ave.,  btwn. E. Sixth St. & E. Seventh St.(212) 982-5870www.counternyc.comCounter has one of the city’s largest organic spirits selections, but their new cocktail popsicles are much more interesting.  It’s a cocktail on a stick, and the blueberry-lemon thyme flavor infused with Square One organic vodka is a decidedly adult treat. Gramercy Tavern 42 E. 20th St., btwn. Broadway & Park Ave. S.(212) 477-0777www.gramercytavern.comLemonade’s a summertime classic, but it also makes a great mixer.  Gramercy Tavern ups the ante with their Pineapple Painkiller, a pineapple-infused...

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Off-the-the-Beaten Path Frozen Desserts

Posted on Jul 5, 2009 in Best Of, Dessert

Pesso’s Italian Ices20320 35th Ave., at 203rd St.Bayside, Queens(718) 224-9130You can spend a day trying to eat your way through Pesso’s extensive selection of ices, ice creams and gelatos, easily worth a day trip out to Queens.  If you’re dining in the neighborhood, it’s a great last stop.  On a recent visit I had the dulce de leche and the zabaione gelato, both of which were super dense and true to their names.  A lighter menu item is the “miscela,” an authentic Italian blend of ices and frozen yogurt. Timmy O’s49-07 104th St., at 49th Ave.Corona, Queens(516) 242-1843Timmty O practically lives at his warm, vibrant frozen custard shop where he spins his wonderfully fresh custards daily.  He’s more than happy to give you a sample of vanilla, chocolate, and the special of the day (blueberry, peanut butter, coconut, dulce de...

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Summer Treats

Posted on Jul 2, 2009 in Best Of, Holiday Eats, Summer

Considering the economy, this might not be the season for lots of leisure, but summer in the city’s not such a bad thing. You can still delight in lobster rolls and hot dogs and ice cream on sweltering days. Here are my five favorites for each of these three classic summertime eats:   HOT DOGS Nathan’s, 1310 Surf Ave., at Stillwell Ave., Coney Island, or Citi Field No other hot dog defines New York like 90-year-old Nathan’s does. Katz’s Delicatessen, 205 E. Houston St., at Ludlow St. The secret to Katz’s killer hot dogs is that they’re thrown on the grill, thus the crusty casing. Gray’s Papaya, 2090 Broadway, at 72nd St. Perfect package – a snappy hot dog with spicy mustard and Gray’s signature papaya drink. Shake Shack, Madison Ave. at 23rd St. If you’re craving a Chicago-style...

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Last Breakfast in NYC…

Posted on Jun 17, 2009 in Best Of

During dinner last night, a woman I’d just met announced she was moving to Thailand in four days and wanted to know where to eat her last breakfast in New York.  “That depends,” I said.  “What do you like to eat for breakfast?  Pancakes, eggs, croissants, oatmeal? ”  “Eggs,” she answered. These are the things that keep me up at night.  Not the political chaos in the New York Senate or the 59.4 million dollar budget agreed on this Monday.   Where can you get the best eggs in the city on any given weekday?  If she’d said pancakes, I would’ve sent her to Clinton Street Baking Company or Shopsin’s.  But eggs. My first inclination was Friend of a Farmer or Barney Greengrass, but I know there’s much more interesting answer, so I’m posing it to all of you.  Do...

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Best of Father's Day Dining in NYC

Posted on Jun 8, 2009 in Best Of

It’s nearly Father’s Day, which means taking your dad out for dinner or an edible token of your affection.  We’ve rounded up a few creative options… Havana Central 151 W 46th St. (btwn. 7th Ave. & Ave. of the Americas) (212) 398-7440 If your father’s an occasional cigar smoker, Havana Central’s a great place to take him.  $39 will get you the special “Celebration Package” at this classic Cuban restaurant.  It includes a bottomless Presidente beer, dinner, a hand-rolled cigar, and a portrait taken with the rest of the family.  And $5 mojitos all day. The Oak Room Plaza Hotel 10 Central Park South (212) 758-7777 If you’re looking for something a little more classic, try the Oak Room.  Chef Hara is cooking a Father’s Day brunch feast.   For $55, guests can get unlimited raw bar offerings,...

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Chef's Steals & Deals Picks

Posted on May 24, 2009 in Best Of

Almost every restaurant is running a recession special these days.  The key is figuring out the best steals or asking the chef’s what they’d order.  So we did just that…  Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto283 Amsterdam Ave., btwn. W. 73rd St. & W. 74th St.(212) entire menu at newish UWS restaurant is affordable.  Chef Cesare Casella features an extensive selection of cured meats, cheeses and small plates.  But the dish to order is the lasagna and not because it’s only $8.  It’s also the best on the menu.  Casella makes his lasagna with a pork and beef ragu topped with béchamel sauce. Tabla11 Madison Ave., at E. 25th St.(212) 889-0667www.tablany.comTabla’s answer to the economy is Tabla’s 10.  Every Wednesday, you can sample Floyd Cardoz creative spin on Indian cooking, every dish is under $10, including a $5 spicy tandoori chicken,...

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NYC's Best Whoopie Pies

Posted on May 10, 2009 in Best Of

I’m a little sick of cupcakes.  The idea of mini-frosted cakes, but cupcakes require patience.  First, you’ve got to to peel off the baking cup, then come up with a strategy to maximize the cake-to-frosting ratio of every bite.  Ultimately, it ends in sticky fingers or unequal bites.  Which is I’m thrilled the whoopie pie is making a big comeback.  The whoopie pie is pretty much a hybrid of desserts — a cupcake, a cookie, and a cake.   New York Times writer, Michele Maynard, recently wrote, “The closest description may be a cake-like sandwich or sandwich-like cake.”   Here’s a rundown of our New York City favorites… One Girl Cookies68 Dean St. (btwn. Boerum Pl. & Smith St.)(212) There’s so many charming things about this Brooklyn Bakery — the family photos on the boxes, the family-named desserts, the...

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