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Try This – Traveling The Globe Without Leaving The Table

Posted on Jun 7, 2011 in Gourmet Gossip

I’m thrilled to share the news that my book hit bookstores this morning!  Try Thisis a modern guide to dining out in the 21st century — a cheat sheet to everything from British gastropubs to Italian, Thai, Vietnamese, and everything in between.  From banh mi to bocadillos, spotted dick to soup dumplings, meze to ma po tofu, travels the restaurant globe as it demystifies unfamiliar foods and makes you hungry for more.  If you’ve ever had a question about a menu or a plate put in front of you and wondered what you were about to eat, this book is for you.  As I write in my book, “It’s not rocket science.  It’s food.  Like everything else worth knowing, you have to learn the basics– the tricks of the trade, the dos and don’ts, the ways to get the...

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Meatopia Madness

Posted on May 25, 2011 in Gourmet Gossip

If you’re a hard-core carnivore, Meatopia is pretty much as good as it gets. This year, the event will feature an epic number of chefs – 45 to be exact.  The gluttony will take place on Thursday, July 23rd, at Brooklyn Bridge Park.  This is an all-star line-up of culinary talent and meat-inspired dishes, paired with free-flowing beer.  There will be live music, butchering and even ranching seminars.  Yes, really. Chefs include New York’s own, April Bloomfield (The Spotted Pig) and Michael White (Marea) as well as Sean Brock of Husk in South Carolina and Naomi Pomeroy from Beast in Portland, Oregon and this season’s Top Chef Masters.  And that’s just for starters.  It wouldn’t be Meatopia without some of the country’s best barbecue masters.   If you want to get it on the feast, you can buy your...

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Spring Fling – Ten To Try 2012

Posted on May 2, 2011 in Gourmet Gossip

After a long, harsh winter, New Yorkers finally have a chance to embrace a new dining season and, best of all, dine outdoors.  This spring, it’s time for all of us to get out and discover new ingredients, neighborhoods, restaurants, and potential spring flings.  The five boroughs offer plenty of both, though we can only guarantee the promise of food.  While Eataly readies a rooftop beer garden, David Bouley just unveiled Brushstroke, a long-awaited homage to traditional Japanese cooking.  On a warm night, you can take a field trip to Cafe Habana in Fort Greene and sip mojitos outdoors at shaded picnic tables with colorful umbrellas or have a romantic spring fling (and oven-baked pizzas) at Apizz on the Lower East Side.   That’s just a glimpse of the possibilites this season… Porsena Address: 21 E. Seventh St., btwn. Second...

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Trend Watch: The New Asian Fusion

Posted on Apr 24, 2011 in Trendwatch

There are few food words that hold a worse connotation than Asian Fusion.  Asian fusion evokes images of diners lounging on Chinoiserie red banquettes, while nibbling on Chinese chicken salads and desserts artfully garnished with chocolate sauce drawings.  But maybe it’s time to put this prejudice behind us because a new tide of  Asian Fusion cuisine seems to be upon us and frankly, it’s exciting.  Case in point: Los Angeles’ famed Kogi Bbq Trucks. In fact, you might say that chef Roy Choi and his Kogi Bbq trucks are largely responsible for this Asian fusion 2.0, particularly the mash-up of Latin and Asian cooking by way of Korean tacos. Their Korean tacos have launched hundreds of imitators across the country, including the Kimchi Taco Trucks and Korilla BBQ trucks on the other side of the country. Kimchi Taco hit...

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Sneak Peek – Coppelia

Posted on Apr 4, 2011 in Sneak Peek

Right around this time each year, as the weather finally begins to warm up, we start cravingLatin flavors and its vibrant spices. So we were excited to find out that Julian Medina, the chef behind both Yerba Buena outposts and Toloache, had plans to open a “Latino diner.” And we’re even more thrilled to learn that it’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Just this week, Chef Medina flung open the doors of his funky eatery in Chelsea.  Decked out in checkerboard floors and red and blue leather banquettes (meant to evoke the bench seat of your uncle’s old Chevy), the space has all the underpinnings of a classic diner. Bar stools, coffee service and a dessert display scream greasy spoon, but nothing is as conventional as it looks. The coffee is Cuban and consulting pastry chef Pichet Ong has stocked...

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Sneak Peek – Mr. Robata

Posted on Mar 29, 2011 in Sneak Peek

I love robata (open-fire grill) cooking.  I love yakitori, izakayas, and sushi, too.  In fact, I’m pretty much in love with the entire genre of Japanese food.  So when Mr. Robata opened it midtown just a few weeks ago, I was eager to there.  My only concern was the location.  Historically speaking, the theater district isn’t exactly a dining destination.  Most New Yorkers only eat in the theater district out of necessity, like when they’re seeing a show or work in the neighborhood.  From a restaurant perspective, it’s hard to survive unless you’re surviving heaping platters of spaghetti and meatballs (Carmine’s) or unlimited breadsticks (Olive Garden).   So I was a little skeptical about what I would find. The first thing you should know about Mr. Robata is that it’s right next door to Flash Dancers, “A Gentleman’s Club.” ...

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Sneak Peek At Alex Stupak's Empellon

Posted on Mar 22, 2011 in Sneak Peek

When pastry whiz Alex Stupak announced this fall that he was leaving WD-50 to open a taqueria, the food world at-large scratched its head.  Why would someone with Stupak’s pedigree leave the kingdom of molecular gastronomy (or modernist cuisine, or whatever the term du jour might be) to sling tacos in the West Village?    So we sat down with him to find out what inspired this sudden and unexpected move.  Stupak explains, “My goal was to open a restaurant of my own by the age of thirty.” He had worked not just in the kitchens of WD-50 and Alinea, but also staged at some of the finest restaurants in the world including, Copenhagen’s Noma.  While most assumed he’d continue along that path, he wasn’t convinced. While planning his wedding in East Los Angeles, where his wife was born, he...

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The Pop-Up Restaurant Trend

Posted on Mar 20, 2011 in Trendwatch

Does restaurant quality food need to be confined to the traditional restaurant model?  The answer is quickly becoming no.  With the influx of pop-up restaurants and roving supper clubs, the landscape of New York’s dining scene seems to be shifting.  Pop-ups give temporary homes to novel ideas and unique talent that may not have the resources to plunk down capital on a permanent home. A pop-up restaurant is a temporary restaurant installation. It could be a try out for a more permanent restaurant, something more like a “food exhibit”, or a one-night stand. A good example is What Happens When, a pop-up collaboration orchestrated by John Fraser (Dovetail). The project that started as a fund-raising effort on Kickstart, a website that generates funds for pet projects and startups, has taken residency downtown for 9-months and will cycle through four “movements” or...

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Tweet & You Shall Receive

Posted on Mar 16, 2011 in Gourmet Gossip

This morning the Village Voice and Grub Street delivered the excellent news that the Girl Scouts are ingeniously opening pop-up shops around the city.  Here’s what I have to say: Where were you girls when I was desperately begging for help locating Thin Mints on Twitter? Tweet and you shall receive.  That’s the lesson I learned last week when I received a UPS package from a complete stranger.  The package was filled with Girl Scout cookies – six boxes of Thin Mints and two boxes of Tagalongs to be exact.  (What a glorious sight!)  Just to be clear, I’ve neither met the sender nor is he a girl scout.  From what I gather, he’s a foodie who read my “Desperately Seeking Thin Mints” tweet and decided to help a fellow foodie in need.  It was a beautiful thing. I...

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Trend Watch: Gourmet Ice

Posted on Mar 2, 2011 in Trendwatch

Chefs are famous for being perfectionists and that includes cocktail chefs.  First, bartenders started serving homemade infusions, soon followed by housemade bitters, tonic water and even sodas crafted in-house. The latest fixation among barkeeps is ice.  They’re determined to serve your drink chilled not watered-down.  Small, square cubes don’t always cut it.  Different liquors work best with different sizes and shapes of ice.  Hand cut, artisanal, non-melting – this is the verbiage being thrown around in new, and serious, cocktail establishments nowadways.  There’s crushed ice for creating snow cone-style cocktails and swizzle stick ice cubes that run the length of your highball. While it’s anticipated that Grant Achatz’s forthcoming Chicago bar Aviary will be the forerunner in ice cube culture with 14 shapes and varieties available come opening, Forty Four at The Royalton comes pretty close.  This sleek, midtown...

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Why Men Should Bake

Posted on Feb 23, 2011 in Kitchen Musings

Valentine’s Day got me thinking about just how intimately connected dating and eating are.  There’s always seeing a movie or a concert, but the most traveled path to seduction is undoubtedly food and drink.  Some men hope to charm a girl with a sit-down dinner and plenty of wine, while others rack their brains for the perfect bar with, if things are going well, the option of small plates or making a move to a table.  Most have their go-to roster of restaurants where they know the lay of the land as well as the maitre d’, who pretends he hasn’t seen you in ages even though you brought another date there just a few nights ago.  It’s not a bad move: Take a date to a cozy, Italian spot like Peasant with candle light, a brick oven and a backlit open kitchen, or Balthazar...

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Posted on Feb 13, 2011 in Eating Events, Gourmet Gossip

There are so many worthy causes, but this one means a lot to me because it has raised over 31 million dollars for culinary scholarships for underprivileged children.   This Wednesday, February 16th, C-CAP will host its annual benefit at Pier Sixty on Chelsea Piers from 6:30-9:30 where guests can sample the delectable creations of some of the city’s best chefs, including Michael White, Marcus Samuelsson, Dan Barber, John Fraser, and Marc Murphy.  This year C-CAP is honoring Michael Lomonaco from Porter House at Pier Sixty.  This year, C-CAP is honoring chef Michael Lomonaco (Porterhouse) for his generous contributions. Where: Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers When: February 16th, 6:30-9:30 Tickets:...

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Jewish Food Redefined

Posted on Feb 8, 2011 in Trendwatch

Until just recently, Jewish cooking was far from fashionable or even flavorful, for that matter.  In the last year, new restaurants are featuring Jewish cuisine, everything from Montreal deli food to “New Jewish” cooking with a Mediterranean edge.  There’s even a rumor that Jeffrey Chodorow is teaming up with Kutschers, the Poconos’ most famous hotel-resorts, known forits Jewish foodstuffs, like borscht, smoked fish and potato latkes.  There’s everything from the very un-kosher Traif in Brooklyn to old school steakhouses like Sammy’s Roumanian or Octavia’s Porch in the East Village.  Here’s a few of our favorites: Old School: Katz’s Address: 205 E Houston between Ave. A & Essex St. Phone: (212) 254-2246 Website: When did Katz’s become a tourist destination? The out-of-towners seem to be outnumbering the New Yorkers these days.  You can’t blame them for wanting to taste the mythical pastrami or corned beef at this Lower East Side deli.  The sandwiches are stuffed to towering proportions if you...

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Superstitious New Year's Eats

Posted on Dec 29, 2010 in Gourmet Gossip

Ever wonder why Southerners eat black-eyed peas and collard greens on New Year’s Day?  This year, I thought it might be a good idea to find out.  Maybe I’ve been tempting fate all these years.  Maybe I’ll have a lucky 2011 if I eat black-eyed peas and collard greens, too. Like most century-old traditions, there seems to be more than one theory how this ritual originated.   Some say that when Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1st in 1863, the southern slaves celebrated with what they had on hand — black eyed peas, collard greens and ham hock.  Others believe it’s an adaptation of the Jewish tradition of eating black-eyed peas on Rosh Hashanah, which is the Jewish New Year.  Most likely, southerners ring in the New Year with collard greens and black-eyed peas because that’s...

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Restaurant Musings – Why Restaurant Calorie Counts Suck

Posted on Dec 26, 2010 in Kitchen Musings

I’m all for the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, but I wish we could reinstate it for restaurants (fast food chains excluded).  Don’t get me wrong, I’m better off knowing the cold, hard truth that a Big Mac is 540 calories, a Whopper is 670 calories, and a vanilla shake is 550 calories.  That’s what you expect from fast food joints with counter service, heat lamps, drive-thrus, and deep fryers.  Now when I find myself at a roadside McDonald’s, I abstain from ordering a milkshake and settle for a small french fries, which clocks in at 230 calories.  I can live with that.  I’m all for the new laws that force chains like Starbuck’s to post the calorie count of their 440-calorie java chip frappuccino and 460-calorie blueberry scone. But where dining out is concerned,...

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Best Farm-To-Table Restaurants

Posted on Sep 12, 2010 in Trendwatch

Seasonal menus used to be the exception.  Now, they’re the rule.  These days, chefs showcase seasonal ingredients from small, local farmers.  Diners would rather eat domestic wagyu than Japanese wagyu and American caviar than Beluga caviar.   Farm-to-table dining’s become trendy, but some restaurants take it more seriously than others.  There’s Greenmarket pioneers that have been around for years, like Dan Barber’sBlue Hill, and some terrific newcomers, like The Local Store.  Here’s a few of our favorites: The Local Store Address:316 E 49th St., btwn. Second & First Aves. Phone:(212) 935-4266      It’s rare to find small-town charm in midtown Manhattan, but that’s exactly what Chef Richele Benway’s Local Store brings to this neighborhood.  Part restaurant, part bakery and part wine bar, this new spot is a haven for locally sourced, farm-fresh ingredients.  For lunch, try the prosciutto, apple and brie...

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Rouge Tomate 2.0 – A Concept & Menu Change

Posted on Sep 6, 2010 in Sneak Peek

While everyone was lounging on the beach and seizing the last days of summer, Rouge Tomate was busy revamping its menu and its dining room.  It was always an original concept: There aren’t many, if any, restaurants with a pedigreed chef, locally sourced ingredients, an in-house nutritionist that clocks calories, and a S.P.E. charter  devoted to Health Through Food.  The result is a Michelin-starred meal that you don’t have to feel guilty about.  Really, the only drawback was the formality of the menu and the size of the plates.  Nowadays, no one likes to commit to one dish, so they tossed that concept and started from scratch.   Rouge Tomate 2.0 has newly installed an upstairs lounge and a small plates menu for casual, grazing endeavors that’s available anywhere you sit.  It’s a smart move.  Now, you can nibble on...

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Fried Pickles on The Rise

Posted on Aug 22, 2010 in Gourmet Gossip

You always hear about pregnant woman craving strange food combinations, like pickles and ice cream.  We ‘ve been craving fried pickles and we’ve discovered quite a few places to get our fix.   Mara’s Homemade342 East 6th St., btwn. First & Second Aves.(212)598-1110One of our favorites are the fried pickles at Mara’s Homemade, a small, southern spot in the East Village.  Mara’s pickles are dusted in cornmeal and served with a creamy remoulade dipping sauce.  The fried green tomatoes rank pretty high on our greasy fix list, too. Whiskey Tavern                                         79 Baxter St., Bayard & Walker Sts.                               (212)374-9119 An unexpected find in Chinatown, Whiskey Tavern is known as much for its vast whiskey selection as for its pickle offerings.  Supplied by The Pickle Guys,...

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2010 Great Chefs Dinner

Posted on Aug 2, 2010 in Eating Events, Gourmet Gossip

Calling all beachbound foodies: Some of the city’s most celebrated chefs will be on hand to celebrate the 2010 Great Chefs Dinner this Sunday, August 8th in Bridgehampton, New York.   The evening will begin at 5 pm with a cocktail party where Craft’s Tom Colicchio, Surf Lodge’s Sam Talbot, Lure’s Josh Capon,  Nick & Toni’s Joseph Realmuto will be serving hors d’oeuvres.  At 7pm, there will be a more formal, sit-down dinner prepared by such luminaries as Le Bernardin’s Eric Ripert, Laurent Tourondel & Marc Meyer.   All proceeds will benefit Hayground School’s Jeff’s Kitchen and the Jeff Salaway Scholarship Fund.  When: Sunday, August 8thWhere: Hayground School151 Mitchells Lane, Bridgehampton, NYTickets: Cocktails at 5-7 pm for $150; Cocktails & Dinner 7-9 pm for $750 Info:  (631)537-7068 or...

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New Orleans Grub on The Rise

Posted on May 2, 2010 in Trendwatch

While we didn’t make it down to New Orleans’ Jazz Fest this year, we certainly ate like we did this weekend  right here in New York.   NoHo (short for New Orleans) grub has suddenly come into fashion this spring, and it’s about time crawfish, gumbo and Po’ Boys get their due.   The Redhead, located in the East Village, and its flawless fried chicken first caught the attention of foodies last spring.  Since then, we’ve eaten oyster po boys at Choptank, Cajun fried shrimp at Cowgirl Hall of Fame, and muffalatas at Mara’s Homemade.  More importantly, we’ve noticed a lot more Southern cooking on the dining scene as newcomers and neighborhood standbys alike have been making some creative Cajun and Creole dishes around town. The Redhead Address: 349 East 13th Street Phone: (212) 533-6212 The buttermilk fried chicken may...

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