food

Casa Mono

It only took 10 years to get a reservation at Casa Mono.

This little Spanish restaurant has been perpetually jammed since Mario Batali and Andy Nusser opened it on a pretty corner of Gramercy in 2003. Just mention the words “Mario Batali,” and suddenly a line of 20 people will form at the door of any restaurant. Though you can put your name in and wait for a table at Bar Jamon next door, numerous failed experiments to do so led D. and me to hold out for an Open Table reservation in that prime slot between 7 and 9pm, which mysteriously never appeared even weeks ahead of time. In the meantime, Casa Mono inspired a host of other tapas places in the city and a mini Spanish food revolution, as flavors like pimenton and the whole small-plates dining concept spread like a contagion.  (more…)

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Neta

There are a couple places near my apartment where I would eat once a week if money were no object. One is Blue Hill, another is Neta, the sliver of a sushi restaurant opened on an unlikely block of 8th street populated by defunct shoe shops and a Gray’s Papaya. The omakase, made by Masa alums Nik Kim and Jimmy Lau, will set you back $95, but it is money so well spent that, as at Blue Hill, you will start plotting your next meal here before you even walk out the door.  (more…)

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Pearl & Ash

As restaurants go, Pearl & Ash has all the makings of a super trendy one. It opened in a one-block area of Chrystie and the Bowery where four other concept restaurants (the Bowery Diner, the General, Cata, Cocktail Bodega) and two cocktail bars (Bantam, Experimental Cocktail Club) have opened in the past year. It has the currently favored __ + __ name scheme, and chef Richard Kuo used to be one half of the popular pop-up restaurant Frej, which was – of course! – Scandinavian.  (more…)

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Mighty Quinn’s Barbecue

“The best barbecue comes from someone’s backyard,” D. said, recounting childhood times in Georgia when he and his dad would track down the local guy with an outdoor pit, ring the front bell and exchange money for a styrofoam container of pulled pork or ribs. This might be a little too Texas Chainsaw Massacre for me, but the point still stands. I have been in the big backyard that is Smorgasburg on the banks of the East River, waiting in line with dozens of other people for a taste of Mighty Quinn’s barbecue there. Follow the scent of wafting smoke and queue up for some very good ‘cue.  (more…)

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Maysville

First and foremost, Maysville is a great business idea. A bar and restaurant dedicated to bourbon, the fastest growing spirit category in the U.S., situated in the up-and-coming neighborhood of NoMad (the Breslin, the John Dory Oyster Bar, and of course the NoMad), is just the right concept in just the right location. Maysville just opened a couple of months ago, but it’s already a popular after-work destination for a grown up crowd – the sort who can afford to pay $16 for two ounces of bourbon. If you can secure a seat at the bar here (go early), the glowing wall of backlit bourbon bottles that give off the same psychological warmth as a roaring fire.  (more…)

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The Copycat Chef: Slow Cooker Green Turkey Chili

It’s not always a restaurant I’m copying as the Copycat Chef – sometimes it’s a friend. One Sunday afternoon over a Ravens game, fellow Baltimoron Twann described a delicious green chicken chili he was going to make later that day. I immediately thought of it on the day after Thanksgiving when faced with pounds and pounds of leftover turkey. The recipe, adapted here for a slow cooker from Spark Recipes, works well with many types of leftover roasts, so keep it in mind when faced with your own holiday leftovers. They can be transformed into a spicy tomatillo chili and frozen for dinner throughout the winter.  (more…)

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Foodie Gift Guide 2012

Baffled by everything that goes on in the kitchen? Here are 20 gifts for the foodie in your life. Whether it’s the latest culinary gadget or an (online) gift certificate to the hot new restaurant in your city, there’s something delicious in here for everyone – and as with our Fashionista Gift Guide, most gifts are under $100.

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L’Apicio

It’s hard to believe that Gabe Thompson and Joe Campanale’s new southern Italian restaurant L’Apicio, on the ground floor of a sleek new luxury condo building, is just two doors down from what was once the ultimate dive, Mars Bar (demolished to make room for another luxury condo). Somewhere the ghosts of Mars Bar drunks are spinning in their graves as the new visitors plunk down $13 for a cocktail, but that hasn’t stopped oodles of New Yorkers from descending on L’Apicio. Pretty attracts pretty, and the lofty ceilings, candlelight and rough hewn wood paneling of this restaurant’s interior have drawn a well-heeled crowd – some of whom may happen to live in the luxury condo above.  (more…)

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Antica Pesa

You know Brooklyn dining has really come into its own when a celeb-friendly restaurant touted in Page Six opens not in Manhattan, but in Williamsburg. Antica Pesa, the new Italian spot on Berry Street, already has a loyal fan base in the Travestere neighborhood in Rome, where the original restaurant has been serving up Roman classics like chitarra alla carbonara for generations. Its American sister restaurant is no brightly-lit family trattoria but a modernist boîte filled with well-heeled scenesters. This is Antica Pesa 2.0.  (more…)

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The Copycat Chef: Toffee Macadamia Nut Cookies

This recipe came about after I ate a particularly memorable cookie made with toffee chips and macadamia nuts a long time ago at City Bakery, where they have the most amazing chocolate chip cookies. The recipe is easy – it’s basically a riff on the classic Nestle Tollhouse recipe, which you can alter to include all kinds of things instead of just chocolate chips. The hardest part is finding the key ingredient, Skor bars, crazy popular in the ’80s but now limited to just a few drugstores. I found some at CVS. (more…)

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Colonie

The owners of Colonie, a continental restaurant on the border of Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill, have been getting a lot of press recently for their most recent openings Gran Electrica and Governor. But before we tried the latest incarnations, D. and I wanted to sample the original, which opened right after D. moved out of the neighborhood and I therefore lost my Brooklyn pied-a-terre. Too bad, because we would have benefitted from this place: Colonie brings a new level of dining sophistication to an area that really needed it. (more…)

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The Rum House

In New York, when the going gets tough, the tough get drinking. Despite – or perhaps because of – the many obstacles posed by Hurricane Sandy, New Yorkers have been flocking to bars and restaurants wherever they are open. Unlike restaurants, all a bar really needs to open is ice, drinks, candles and a working bathroom, so some bars have stayed open downtown, beacons of light and a promise of community in the eerily dark streets.  (more…)

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Don Antonio

Don Antonio was the first Italian restaurant I visited in New York after returning from Italy, so I wasn’t expecting much. But it has gotten a lot of buzz from pizza aficionados, and the owners are Italians Roberto Caporuscio of Kesté Pizza & Vino and Antonio Starita of Naples’ renowned Pizza Starita. It’s also located just north of Times Square – perfect for an after-theater dinner in a neighborhood that’s otherwise a culinary wasteland.  (more…)

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SAME Restaurant, Milan

One good thing about being a stranger in a strange land: discoveries can be made by happy accident. On my first night in Milan, I’d planned to go to Dongiò or Pasta Madre near Porta Romana, but both were full at 9pm. Instead I wandered, somewhat lost, and ended up on nearby Via Crema, a relatively quiet street lined with cafes with outdoor seating. One that seemed particularly popular with the locals was SAME, a pizza place with a huge wood burning oven visible through the open doors.  (more…)

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Dongio, Milan

During Paris fashion week, there’s always at least one person who wants to tag along with me to the City of Light, but when I float the idea of Milan fashion week, most friends and family hem and haw and suddenly remember something important they have to do.

Which is too bad, because Milan has a lot to offer food-wise, and it’s a lot cheaper than Paris. In the charming neighborhood south of Porta Romana, Dongiò is a lovely trattoria with a very specific Calabrian bent. Many of the dishes get slow-building heat from a spicy type of Calabrian sausage, n’duja, which is rarely seen stateside (but is apparently making an appearance at Blanca). (more…)

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