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Best of Mother's Day Dining

Posted on May 2, 2009 in Best Of

Mother’s Day is less than a week away, so you might want to make a reservation.   We’ve scoped out the city’s best options for brunch, dinner, and even sweets to pick up for your mom…   Dell’anima 38 Eighth Ave. (btwn. Jane St. & W. 12th St.) (212) 366-6633 Dell’anima’s new brunch menu debuts Mother’s Day. If you’re a regular, you’ll recognize the ricotta pancakes and the arugula salad.  But newcomers include “uova in purgatorio” – baked eggs in a spicy tomato sauce with pancetta, shallots, rosemary, and parmesan cheese, and the crespelle di castagna – chestnut flour crepes filled with fresh ricotta and honey.  The Oak Room The Plaza Hotel 10 Central Park South (@ Fifth Ave.) (212) 758-7777 There’s a new chef in the kitchen at the Oak Room and Mother’s Day might be the perfect day to...

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NYC's Best Spring Desserts

Posted on Apr 19, 2009 in Spring Eats

After a never-ending winter, finally there are signs of spring.  We’re ready to come out of hibernation and take a break from heavy desserts, the likes of bread pudding and creamy custards.  Pastry chefs are embracing light citrusy desserts like  lemon and lime as well as rhubarb and tropical fruits.  Baked359 Van Brunt St. (btwn. Dikeman & Sullivan Sts.)(718) 222-0345www.bakednyc.comAnyone would fall for this Red Hook bakery filled with inventive American desserts.  Someone at Baked has a lemon fetish — lemon-lime bars, lemon meringue pies, and mini-lemon bundt cakes.  And, of course, an excellent grasshopper bar: A brownie-like bar filled with crème de menthe center and coated in a chocolate mint ganache. Bespoke Chocolates6 Extra Pl. (at First St.)(212) For a teeny shop on an unmarked alley called Extra Place, Bespoke gets a lot of attention.  The biggest draw...

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Bar Bites

Posted on Apr 12, 2009 in Best Of

Look on the bright side of the economy: jeans, sneakers and bargain-priced bar menus at some of the city’s best restaurants. That’s why we’ll be featuring a brand new Bar Bite every week. Allen & Delancey 115 Allen St., btwn. Delancey St. & Rivington St. (212) 253-5400 Allen & Delancey doesn’t do Happy Hour, but it does do Happy Night every Tuesday- that means half-priced cocktails and a brand new bar menu.  Each cocktail comes two ways- easy breezy and strong.  Take the Atlantic Ruin: the light version is made with tea-infused white rum, batavia arrack, lemon and maple.  The strong Atlantic Ruin’s made with aged rum, batavia arrack, demerara, angostura bitters, roast cocoa bean tincture and an orange twist.  Chef Kyle Bailey’s dressed a few dining room dishes down for the occassion- panko-battered sweetbread poppers with buttermilk dressing...

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Best of Easter Dining

Posted on Apr 3, 2009 in Best Of, Holiday Eats, Spring Eats

I love the signs of Easter — yellow, sugar-coated Peeps, hand-decorated eggs, and chocolate bunnies.  But the best part about Easter Sunday is the main course.  We scoured the city for the conventional and the out-of-the-ordinary to find out what some of New York’s best chefs and restaurants were planning for brunch, lunch and dinner on Sunday, April 12th.   Inside Park at St. Bart’s 109 E. 50th Street, at Park Ave. (212) 593-3333 I can’t think of a more ideal setting for Easter brunch than inside St. Bartholomew’s Church.  If Mimosas and Bloody Marys at church aren’t compelling enough, the chef’s resume will be.  Matthew Weingarten worked alongside Larry Forgione at An American Place, Katy Sparks at Quilty’s, and won a Blue Ribbon at the Institute for Culinary Education.  Brunch begins with a spring fruit ambrosia with...

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Best Matzoh Ball Soups in Town

Posted on Mar 16, 2009 in Best Of

It feels like the cold will be sticking around for just a little longer.  So instead of wishing it would just get warm already, perhaps we should just revel in its comfort foods, like a warm bowl of matzoh ball soup.  The Jews were onto something when they came up with the whole fluffy matzoh ball floating in rich chicken broth.  We’ve done a lot of due diligence over the years and rounded up a list of our favorites… Zabar’s Address: 2245 Broadway (at 80th St.) Phone: (212) 787-2000 If you’re the kind that doesn’t like your matzoh ball marinating in broth too long, Zabar’s offers the perfect solution.   At this Upper West Side fixture, you can buy a quart of chicken consommé or chicken noodle soup with a side of matzoh balls. Katz’s Delicatessen Address: 205 East Houston Street Phone: (212) 254-2246 This...

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St. Patrick's Day Dining (And Drinking!)

Posted on Mar 12, 2009 in Best Of

St. Patrick’s Day in New York is more than just pub crawls, bagpipes, men in plaid skirts and parades.  It’s also about Irish food and drink.  Start celebrating early with a traditional Irish breakfast, imported whiskey and cheese and Irish beer-battered fish & chips… JoeDoe45 E. First St., btwn. First Ave. & Second Ave.(212) 780-0262www.chefjoedoe.comThis newcomer already draws regulars because the food’s good and very affordable.   Chef Joe Dobias is whipping up a corned duck stuffed cabbage with bacon and mustard gravy to go alongside Irish classics like Guinness lamb stew and corned beef. St. Dymphna’s118 St. Marks Pl, btwn. Avenue A & First Ave.(212) 254 6636Skip work and start with a “green” breakfast.   There are rashers, sausages, black and white pudding, beans, home fries, mushrooms and tomatoes on the menu.  It may sound a little eager to take down all this food before...

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Sweetest Gifts for Valentine's Day

Posted on Jan 25, 2009 in Best Of, Spring Eats

As has become tradition, we’ve sorted through the tsunami of Valentine’s Day gifts and found a sweets for anyone and everyone.  If you’re bored of sending a box of chocolates, you might consider sending a box of burgers or cookies instead.  From body frosting for the bedroom to exotic truffles to classic chocolates… Roni-Sue’s ChocolatesEssex Street Market120 Essex St., at Delancey St.Stall #11/12212) 260-0421 www.roni-sue.comIf you thought you couldn’t stomach one more rose, you’ll happily submit to just one more.   Tucked into Essex Street Market is a gem of a shop that sells one white and one “red” rose chocolate truffle just for Valentine’s Day for $3 a piece.  Both fragrant chocolates are filled with ganache, rose petal jam, rose liqueur and powdered rose petals.  More importantly, you’re doing something good.  For every dozen rose truffles purchased, Roni-Sue’s...

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Valentine's Day on a Budget

Posted on Jan 19, 2009 in Best Of, Spring Eats

Just when the dust was starting to settle from New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day suddenly creeps in, in the not-so-distant future.  February 14th is less than a month away.  That means many prime tables and time slots have already been snatched up.  Not to fret.  New York’s got an endless selection of romantic and affordable restaurants with tables for two. Whether you’re looking to seal the deal, hopelessly romantic or something casual, there’s a restaurant that fits the part…“We just started dating”August359 Bleecker St. (btwn. 10th St. & Charles St.)(212) 929-8727www.augustny.comDinner at August is romantic any night of the week, never mind on Valentine’s Day.    It’s also a great spot for “new relationships” or the Valentine-phobic because it’s the kind of place that doesn’t look like you’re trying too hard.   Ooh, then there’s the wood oven factor in...

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Dining Out on Xmas

Posted on Dec 13, 2008 in Best Of, Winter Eats

Dining Out on Xmas Eve: Scarpetta355 West 14th Street (at 9th Ave)(212) 691-0555Scott Conant puts his stamp on Christmas Eve with his “Feast of the Seven Fishes”.   How many courses?  Seven of course.  Southern Italian specialties include a duo of crudo, roasted scallops, black maccheroni alla Chitarra, and roasted black cod.   If you’re not quite up for the feast, the regular menu is also available.   If you’re taking the a la carte route, it would be a shame to miss out on his trademark spaghetti with tomato and basil or the roasted capretto.     Buddakan75 Ninth Ave. (at 16th St.)(212) 989-6699It’s been a strange year to say the least.  So if you’re feeling like straying from tradition in style, Buddakan’s a great option.  This is haute Chinese served in a glossy brasserie located in the heart of the Meatpacking District....

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Best of – Christmas Sweets

Posted on Dec 7, 2008 in Best Of, Winter Eats

Momofuku Milk Bar207 2nd Ave (Corner of 13th St.)No Phone www.momofuku.comYou’d think David Chang would stumble or lose steam, but it doesn’t happen at Momomofuku Milk Bar.  I mean really, what can’t this chef do well?  Apparently, he knows his sweets as well as his bo ssam.  Momofuku Milk’s baking some seriously good custards, soft serves and milkshakes.  A Chang X-mas also means a towering chocolate chip cake (pictured right) — a giant mass of white cake, chocolate crumbs, coffee buttercream, and passion fruit curd.  And the pies here are just as decadent and impressive — we’re preoccupied with the pumpkin blondie pie. Imagine a cashew crust, topped with a thick blondie batter and a layer of spiced pumpkin.  Race you there.  Butter Lane 123 East 7th St.(btwn. 1st Ave & Ave A)(212) 677-2880www.butterlane.comThis new bake shop is becoming...

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Best of New York — Asian Sweets

Posted on Dec 1, 2008 in Best Of

 I’m not the only ones obsessed with Asian sweets. Just a few weeks ago — while we were scouting out the top pastry candidates– New York Magazine outlined their own guide to Asian candy.  But having spent some time in Japan, I’ve discovered the fresh-baked pastries here are every bit as good.  You just have to know where to find them… Katagiri224 E 59th Street, btwn. 3rd and 2nd Avenue(212) 755-3566This small Japanese market also stocks a selection of sweets “shipped straight from Japan.”  Sure, it’s a a somber-looking dessert, but the Ebisusama (pictured right) is delicious.  Filled with a dense black sesame paste, this manju pastry (think mochi in texture) resembles the Japanese God of Good Fortune. Panya Bakery10 Stuyvesant St, btwn. 11th and 12th Street(212) 777-1930Italian and Japanese have crossed paths before, but this bakery takes this...

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Thanksgiving Dining Out

Posted on Nov 13, 2008 in Best Of, Fall Foods, Holiday Eats

On Thanksgiving Day, you’re technically supposed to give thanks for the people in our lives and the food on our table.  In America, that translates to overeating, excessive drinking and lots of leftover turkey.  It also translates a lot of cooking.   If you can’t bare the thought of cooking this year, some of the city’s best restaurants are offering to take on the daunting task for you.  Thinking of dining out on Thanksgiving, there are lots of good options… Market Table54 Carmine Street (btwn. 7th Ave. & Bedford St.)(212) 255-2100www.markettablenyc.comIf you’re dining out this Thanksgiving, it doesn’t get much better than Market Table.  Or homier for that matter.  It’s hard to please everyone, but Mikey Price & Joey Campanaro have put together a menu that just might.  We took at a quick look at the menu to find...

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Best of – Ten Buck Bites

Posted on Nov 2, 2008 in Best Of

To say the economy has seen better days would be optimistic.  Expense account dinners are but a sweet, sweet memory.  Luckily, you don’t have to settle for fast food for fabulously cheap eats.  Especially in New York, where good food doesn’t have to be expensive.  I’ve scoured the boroughs and compiled a top ten list of my favorite “Ten Buck Bites.” Obika (212)355-2217 590 Madison Ave., (at  56h Street) Average price: $4-$8 This midtown lunch newcomer is imported straight from Italy.  And so is the homemade mozzarella— made from buffalo milk and shaped by hand.  Though I’m not a big fan on eating the on-the-run, Obika’s take-out menu is far too tempting.  Did I mention everything’s under ten dollars?  Order anything with mozzarella, especially the salted croissant stuffed with prosciutto or the ciabatta sandwich with basil and tomato.  And...

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Best of – A Taste of Fall at the Greenmarket

Posted on Oct 14, 2008 in Fall Foods

Autumn just might be the best time to shop at the Union Square Greenmarket.  How many more reasons do you need than pumpkins, chestnuts, concord grapes, and apples?  We took a stroll through the market to find out where to buy the best fruits and vegetables, how to pick them, and just which chefs you might run into along the way. Apples Where to Buy: Samascott Orchards at The Union Square Greenmarket, Inwood Greenmarket, Columbia Uni Greenmarket Who buys from them: Gramercy Tavern, Craft, Blue Hill and Eleven Madison Park How to Pick them: Good apples should have no soft spots. If you’re in the market for apples, head to the Union Square Greenmarket.  According to Sandy Murzin, who trains tour guides at the Union Square Greenmarket, “The New York City markets sell over 120 varieties of apples.”  And...

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New York City's Best Brownies

Posted on Oct 4, 2008 in Best Of, Dessert

As we eat our way through the city’s greatest sweets, we check on how brownies are stacking up these days.  As we learned, there’s more to life in the big city than just brownies… BEST BROWNIE – PERIOD Fat Witch BakeryChelsea Market75 9th Ave. (at 15th St.)1-888-41 WITCH Though they’re small, Fat Witch Babies (or mini brownies) pack a sweet punch, especially the blondie. Described as a chocolate chip cookie in brownie form, it’s a cube of chewy perfection  that doesn’t skimp on the chocolate ($1.40). The white chocolate Snow Witch, Red Witch (cherry), and Breakfast Witch (oatmeal, nuts and coffee) are other unusual takes on the classic brownie that come in larger sizes for $2.75 each. BEST BROWNIE INVENTION — THE BROWNIE ICE CREAM SANDWICH Bierkraft191 5th Ave. (btwn. Berkeley Place and Sackett St.)(718) Apparently, ice cold...

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NYC's Best Black & White Cookies

Posted on Sep 28, 2008 in Best Of

The beauty of a black & white cookie is that you don’t have to take sides.  It’s genius, really.  After countless calories of due diligence, we’ve rounded up our top picks… William Greenberg Desserts 1100 Madison Ave., btwn. 82nd & 83rd Sts.(212)861-1340 $3.50 may seem a little steep for a cookie, but Greenberg’s Black & White is worth every penny.  Perhaps, it’s the silky vanilla or chocolate fondant.  Then again, it could be the cake-like cookie.  It’s the best black & white in the city.  End of story. Mother’s Bakery548 W. 235th St., Bronx, NY at Johnson Ave.(718)796-5676 If you’re not a neighborhood local, you may have a hard time finding this off-the-beaten path shop in the Bronx.  But the journey here is uncontestably worth it.  What sets this cookie apart is the unusual lemon flavor of the cake...

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New York’s Finest French Fries

Posted on Jul 31, 2008 in Best Of

Pommes Frites 123 2nd Avenue Btwn.  7th Street and St Mark’s Place (212) 674-1234  Piled in paper cones, these twice-fried potatoes serve as the foundation for twenty-five different sauces, ranging from Vietnamese Pineapple Mayo to Irish Curry.  Leave your calorie counter at the door and indulge in the frites with poutine. Topped with Canadian-cured cheddar and doused in rich chicken gravy, it requires a fork and a brave soul to down an order in one sitting. Rare Bar & Grill 303 Lexington Avenue Btwn. 37th & 38th  Streets (212) 481-1999 Though this Murray Hill restaurant is better known for its burgers and steaks, take advantage of their $10 basket of fries with dipping sauces. Shoestring fries come in a crispy tangle, alongside thick and round cottage fries (with the skin on of course,) but it’s the pencil-thin...

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NYC's Best Breakfast Treats

Posted on Jul 27, 2008 in Best Of

Doughnut Plant 379 Grand Street Btwn. Essex and Grand St. (212) 505-3700 The “Blackout” doughnut is a tasting experience that I liken to a chocolate-induced state of Nirvana.  Imagine an exceedingly rich chocolate doughnut oozing with smooth chocolate pudding.  It’s not only in a chocolate crumb-spackled glaze.  It’s devious and messy, but completely worth the sugar rush. Russ and Daughters 179 East Houston Street Btwn. 2nd Ave. and Chrystie Street (212) 475-4880 This classic Lower East Side shop has been serving smoked fish and other Kosher specialties for several decades, nearly perfecting the bagel sandwich in the process.  Our favorite combination is lox with the caviar cream cheese.  This lush cream cheese with bursts of black caviar plays the perfect complement to the lox. Buon Pane Union Square Greenmarket, nr. the corner of 15th St. Every Monday at the...

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Hamptons feast! Best new restaurants on the East End

Posted on Jul 22, 2008 in Best Of, Reviews

  Going to the Hamptons used to mean grilling at home. One good reason was local produce, local fish and local meats. But it was also nearly impossible to get a reservation at the best restaurants in the area. Now everything’s changed. Suddenly there are a lot of restaurants worth leaving home for. Some of them will become fixtures (with impossible reservations) before long. These restaurants share a real pride in what Long Island grows – fresh sweet corn from the farm stand just down the street, flounder straight from the dock, rosé from a neighboring vineyard, sweet strawberries hiding under their leaves in a nearby field. For young chefs here, it’s a perfect opportunity. There’s a captive audience of diners who are accustomed to eating in the best restaurants in Manhattan and around the world. Read more: Classic...

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Restaurant Girl's fave Hamptons spots

Posted on Jul 21, 2008 in Best Of, Reviews

  The classic lobster roll is what’s for lunch at Lunch, off the Montauk Highway. BABETTE’S Marvelous breakfast. Get the whole grain pancakes. 66 Newton Lane, East Hampton, (631) 329-5377 BLUE DUCK BAKERY & CAFE French baguettes and sunflower bread. 30 Hampton Road, Southampton, (631) 204-1701 BRIDGEHAMPTON CANDY KITCHEN Old-school soda fountain with great milk shakes, malts and lime rickeys. Main St., Bridgehampton, (631) 537-9885 DURYEA LOBSTER DECK Best barefoot outdoor dining on clams and lobsters. 65 Tuthill Road, Montauk, (631) 668-2410 DAVE’S BAR & GRILL Locals want to keep the wonderfully fresh fish here all to themselves. 468 West Lake Drive, (631) 668-9190 GOSMAN’S Chefs buy their seafood here. Enough said. 500 West Lake Drive, Montauk, (631) 668-5645 LUNCH A dynamite lobster roll. 1980 Montauk Highway on Napeague, (631) 267-3740 ROUND SWAMP FARM Fantastic fresh-baked blueberry and strawberry...

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