Category Archives: AFB: Where to Go

John Dory’s Here!

The new John Dory opened in the ACE Hotel.  Cannot WAIT to try it.

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Weekend Bites

Tis the season for those excellent, sweet, crunchy, HONEYCRISP apples at the farmers market.

My new favorite shoe line, DIEPPA RESTREPO, and their collection of boldly awesome oxfords and loafers, which are perfect for lazy Sunday walks from one cafe to another.

Sunday roast will be PORCHETTA, you can check out Sara Jenkin’s recipe that I’ll be following, or just go visit Jenkin’s PORCHETTA in the East Village.

Rent BABETTE’S FEAST, curl with with a SIDECAR, and watch what is supposed to be one of the best food movies of all time.

 

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Dell’Anima Still Rocks

Dell’ Anima is a small place along a portion of 8th Ave right before 8th Ave gets ugly.  It’s always busy, which might be why it opened a wine bar next door.  There is a high-top counter along the open kitchen which is a great place to ponder why you can’t eat pasta every night.  This place was the subject of my first blog post, so it’s been around awhile, but is still doing fantastic, swerving simple but slightly upscale Italian food with a solid wine list and KILLER cocktails.. Try the roasted orange negroni. On this particular night, we sampled a seafood stew (continuing my obsession) and split the pasta carbonara.  See the egg yolk, just waiting to be broken?  So good.

Dell’Anima, 38 8th Ave, West Village.  For more info visit their website.

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AFB: Where to Go

HEY NEW YORKERS!  Need some restaurant inspiration this week?  Here are 5 spots to try.

Just Opened, Casual: the fried chicken and apple pie at Hill Country Chicken, 1123 Broadway nr 25th, in Flatiron.

Sexy Small Plates/Bar that You Haven’t Been to Yet: L’Oubli for a brandy smash, steak tartare, a glass of wine, croque monsieur, a country pate, more wine.  From Eric Demarchelier’s son Benjamine.

Well-Reviewed Asian ‘cue: Fatty ‘Cue for Heritage pork ribs slathered in smoked fish sauce and Indonesian long pepper sounds cool. As does Red Curry duck with sweet pickled daikon, washed down with a cold bottle of Tiger.  91 South 6th St, Brooklyn

The Sweet Little Favorite that Never Disappoints and is Cheap: Lovely Day. 196 Prince nr Elizabeth, Nolita.  This lovely little vintage-Asian-gamine Thai spot was closed for the longest time due to a fire, and is now BACK. Ginger-fried chicken and chow fung noodles, yesssss.  And it has a brand new downstairs level with more seats so now you don’t have to wait so damn long.

The Upscale but Pretty Farm to Table Restaurant: ABC Kitchen. Love roasted squash with parmesan and lemon, roasted carrot and avocado salad, spaghettini with shrimp and red chili flakes,  and am crazy for the Sundae: salt caramel ice cream, candied peanuts and popcorn, whipped cream and chocolate sauce.

Inside Hill Country Chicken


Inside L'Oubli

Fatty 'Cue

I love Lovely Day

ABC Kitchen's Kitchen

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Quick Bite: Peel’s

outside Peel's

Peel’s is the brand new, surprisingly polished, very white, comfortable sister to taxidermied hipster restaurant Freeman’s. It’s a slightly more upscale diner with a takeout counter and a big long bar.

The savvy Freeman’s people know that cocktails attract customers like bees to honey, so even though it’s diner food, you can get a pretty damn involved cocktail.  That’s why  a cocktail is $13 and a cheeseburger is $12.  Must be those hand-muddled juices.

a peek at the menu

The wide, high-top wood communal tables on the first floor are my favorite.  Peel’s is totally casual, a place you can drop in with pals for an unfussy dinner, cheap beer and a fine Sazerac.

Peel’s,  325 Bowery at E. 2nd St.  No website as far as I can tell.

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Eating Afar: Bobo’s Barn Dinner

The biggest draw of the Catskills is also its biggest drawback: there is absolutely nothing going on up there.  So we were pretty psyched to hear that Carlos Suarez, proprietor of Bobo in the West Village, was up in our neck of the woods hosting an “autumnal barn dinner.”  Good food!  People! Farm!  Yee-hawwwww!

The food was fantastic.  The Bobo chef Patrick Connolly cooked all day over an open fire in a clearing on the farm, and after the sun sank (and the temperature along with it) we stood around the still going fire with glasses of wine, warming our hands.  I’m still in awe that Patrick cooked so much food for us, and every dish was So. Good.  The crowd was a mix of city, weekend Catskillers and locals, including the family of Neversink.  Carlos set a gorgeous table with linens and fresh wildflowers, and strung lights above the rafters.  It was beautiful.

Dinners like these are pretty special, because it takes everyone out of their element and into something different (like, a rustic old barn covered in hay in the middle of a field in upstate New York).  You get to connect with the farmers, with the chef, and with people you may not meet otherwise.

Bobo is planning another of these dinners, so I suggest you email them and get on their mailing list because seats fill up fast.  Visit their awesome blog at: bobonyc.tumblr.com

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Love That Dutch Design

photo from vandaagnyc.com

For the first time, I thought I could live in a restaurant.  Vandaag is light and airy, clean lines, modern, the loudest details being subtle textures like wood slab ceilings and tiled walls.  There are big windows looking out onto the East Village Streets.  An old Lynyrd Skynyrd song plays.  The servers wear cute printed aprons and converse.  The restaurant has a clear focus: food from Denmark and Holland, genever (gin) and aqvavit.  Not a bad focus.

I know nothing about Dutch food, but I do know I was in the mood for simple comfort food, whatever that may be.  We tried a romaine salad with crumbled sausage, bitterballen (braised oxtail croquettes), and gravlax.  They sent out an amuse bouche of hen pate, which was lovely, but made me feel like I was due to have a fancier meal than expected (or desired).  The food is super creative and thoughtful.  The owners come from Mayahuel, an expertly conceived tequila restaurant, so it’s no surprise they left no Dutch detail untouched.  It’s a niche restaurant in fine form.

Will I return?  Yes.  I really want to try their Ham Burger, with gouda and charred onion, and maybe one of their beer cocktails.  I might come with a group, as they have nice big booths to squeeze into, and the airiness of the restaurant is such a refreshing change to the usual table-upon-table setup of most New York restaurants.  You almost feel like you left the city altogether.

Vandaag, 2nd Ave bet 6th and 7th Sts, East Village.  For more information visit vandaagnyc.com

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Hello, Paris. I’ve Been Missing You.

photo by the legendary Henri Cartier-Bresson

AFB breathlessly, passionately, excitedly, jubilantly announces that from October 11-22nd it will be dispatching from Paris.  Au my goodness.

Truthfully, it’s about freaking time I returned.  Paris gets under my skin and into my bones and fills up my heart.  I adore it whether it’s raining, snowing, windy or sunny.  I actually like cloudy days in Paris. But I’ve never spent more than a few days in Paris.  This time, I mean serious bordeaux-filled business.

My top priorities are to find new places to eat, a quiet cafe to drink a latte, the top ten best pain au chocolat in the city, where to find good Vietnamese, and the usual: shopping, art, music, food, markets, but I want to find the new and unexpected, the hidden jewels.  On the flip side, I fully intend to revisit my favorites.

SO, I’m giving you a big heads up because my readers are cool, and I want to know where you’ve been, where to eat, drink, shop, etc.  Let me know.  Feel free to comment here so everyone can listen in.  Enjoy the pics of below.  Photo truffles will be a part of the program for the next few weeks.

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Family Style at Torrisi

Photo via Flickr, by Eating in Translation

It’s remarkably freeing to be able to sit down at a table and know the only decision you have to make is red or white, and meat or fish.  By day, Torrisi, a slice of a spot on Mulberry Street, just a few blocks north of the red-sauce haven that is Little Italy, does classic hero sandwiches and food by the pound.  By night, the sub shop/takeout place turns into a family style restaurant, serving up dinners for a prix fixe price ($50 per person).  You make your choice and the food starts coming.

Photo from Lunch Studio

It might be fresh burratta, lightly fried artichokes, some antipasti and a salad, followed by a pasta course (Frank’s linguine with clams and tabasco) and the main, which might be a BBQ lamb shoulder with beans and molasses or a striped bass with pickled green tomatoes.  It Italian food stripped of pretense and totally fulfilling.  The downsides: they don’t take ressies, they don’t have a lot of tables, and they don’t do more tables larger than six.  They have a thing for the Beastie Boys, which for me, doesn’t really fly with the atmosphere.  And sometimes the hostess can be a tad elitist, which is weird for a Beastie Boy-playing, chicken parm sub-serving family-style restaurant.  Then again, it’s Nolita, a place where anti-elitism elitism flourishes.

Overall, eating in a psuedo market/sub shop is fun.  I think it’s a great place for four people who know and love each other and love to share good food.

Torrisi Italian Specialties, 250 Multberry St., between Spring and Prince, Nolita.  Visit their website at piginhat.com

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My Oh Maialino

Left, fettucine with favas and mint; right, good ol cacio e pepe.

I mean, really, WHAT IS BETTER THAN A BOWL OF PASTA?

Two bowls of pasta?

One being a fettucine tossed with fresh fava beans and mint, the other a classic spaghetti tossed with tons of black pepper and pecorino?

Maybe two bowls of said pasta, plus some smoky grilled asparagus topped with cheese and a runny egg, and hell, some lightly fried artichokes. Balance out that indulgence with a crisp market salad of mizuna, peas and pine nuts.  Wash it down with a clean glass (er, bottle) of Canus tocai.

That was my last lunch at Maialino, on a rainy Thursday in May (sad, I know), curled up in a corner booth with two of my best friends while the rest of the world hurried by under umbrellas, probably to a less flexible job than the one I hold now.  The Harry Potter dude sat two tables down, obvs with a job as flex as mine.

People shrug their shoulders at Maialino, saying it’s not as good as Danny Meyer’s other restaurants, to which scoff and say, oh you mean Union Square Cafe and 11 Madison, the top restaurants in the city?  It’s hard to blow anybody’s socks off doing Italian food these days, so saturated is the market, so I get the disillusion, but come on, Maialino is fantastic and the service is so damn nice.  And you gotta love a guy that isn’t afraid to do homey blue-checkered tablecloths in Schnabel’s boho glam hotel.

And btw that cacio e pepe is $15.  Bargain!

Maialino, in the Gramercy Park Hotel, 212.777.2410.  Visit maialinonyc.com for menus and info.

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