Spend a Couple Hours »Eataly

200 5th Avenue

After months of speculation and anticipation, the Italian food market mecca Eataly from Mario Batali, Lidia and Joe Bastianich is finally open and it is awesome! Clean, bright, dazzling and massive, there is so much to see that it will require several visits to feel like I’ve done it all. There are after all, several restaurants, a beer garden, a coffee shop, a cooking school, and all the super market sections you could want. I was extremely tempted by the stunning variety at the fishmonger and am determined to get razor clams next time (when I will be headed straight home after shopping and not worried about fresh seafood + the heat).

I really could have gone any direction for an amazing meal, whether grabbing some sausage (as Mike did for an extremely yummy gnocchi sauce) or enjoying the brick oven pizza I jealously saw so many taking gooey bites of at the pizzeria. There are colorful pastries as well as a crowded counter with gelato for dessert. In the mood for something easy for lunch, I opted for a “Stella” squash ravioli, some fresh sun-dried tomatoes, and a wedge of Parmesan from a huge wheel that one strong armed man spent the day slowly chopping up for our consumption.

Mario was there, and I took a tentative quick shot after the jump (not really into paparazzi shooting) and it begs some explanation since it looks like he’s reaming out an employee. He was actually strutting around like a proud papa and seemed ecstatic about the place, as well he should have been. I am sure Eataly is bound to become both a destination as well as one of the perks of living in New York and a part of the fabric of the city.

Click here for the rest of Eataly

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Posted on September 5, 2010

Drinks »Stumptown Coffee Shop

At the Ace Hotel

Based in Portland OR, the home of quintessential American coffee companies, Stumptown Coffee is the freetrade brainchild of coffee conisseur, Duane Sorensen. Recently they opened a first cafe in the lovely Ace Hotel, which is also home to The Breslin.

I’m not as up on my coffee knowledge of some people I’ve met – but everyone swears by the drinks served here. Also, everything is made and served by adorable boys in old-timey hats and waistcoats, which is never a bad idea.

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Posted on March 28, 2010

Restaurants »Union Square Cafe

union square cafeI've walked by Union Square Caf? many, many times but paid it no mind; something about its pristine yet maroon exterior and tourist friendly location never gave it much curb appeal to me. But a recent trip with my parents landed it on the agenda as we met with one of their friends (who chose the location).

Completely ignorant of the restaurant's substantial pedigree (Danny Meyer and Michael Romano) and praise (lots of Beard, Zagat, and magazine awards), I had no idea I was in for such a yummy lunch. My pasta was topped with a perfectly poached egg and the sauce was really exceptional. It was a special dish that supported some local farm, but without taking notes, I'm afraid I can't tell you anymore than that.

It was a perfect setting for an upscale casual business lunch. It's a spot that lacks the trends of newer distinguished dining options betraying its late 80's roots in minor ways, but it's generally and simply pleasant too. Our little perch above the fray of the restaurant was actually a fun spot to eat and peek at the action below. We showed up not too long after a late breakfast, but I'd be eager to leave more room for dessert next time.?

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Posted on July 6, 2009

Restaurants »Hill Country

hill countryHill Country is, and I say this with all my heart and kindly, just a fat assed restaurant. Everything (with the exception of the cheery waitresses) is big and loud: two warehouse sized stories holding huge communal style picnic tables, a seemingly 15 foot TV (blaring sports), a band upstairs shouting countrified 80's tunes (they were actually quite fun), drinks with vodka, tequila, and everything else (mine, the 8 layer dip, also had jalapenos and was rimmed with BBQ rub salt) and portions of meat like you have never seen.

I really did feel like I was back in Austin for an evening (I would have even more so if some of it were outside and the diners were more rockabilly than NYU), which was fun. But all this would mean nothing if the food's not great and I have to say, it's the best I've had in the city.

The jalapeno sausage and moist brisket were phenomenal! Sides also delivered with the cornbread and chipotle deviled eggs standing out to me (my friends all raved about the slaw too, though I am never a fan, so I'll have to take their word). The ordering process can seem confusing. You have a meal ticket that you bring to the meat counter where you tell butchers how big a portion you want. I recommend no more than one pork rib, while nice and meaty, they were the least impressive meat dish we had, lacking in flavorful flair, but better slathered in the sauce provided at the tables.

You will feel your indulgences soon after dining and find yourself longing for big bowls of salad for days, but it's worth it – particularly the sausage and brisket.

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Posted on June 29, 2009

Restaurants »Shake Shack

shake shack The shack burger is the best burger I have had in the city yet.
They are still open until December.
Don't be afraid of the line during lunch, it goes fast.
And there's no line after work.

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Posted on November 14, 2005