As fairly new residents of Manhattan's Upper West Side, Jay and I have been trying to sample as many of the local restaurants as we can. So what better way to try a lot of restaurants in one place than by attending the New Taste of the Upper West Side?
If you haven't heard of Txakoli (sometimes, confusingly, known as Txakolina or Chacoli), or the grape hondarrabi zuri, you're not alone. But this tangy, low-alcohol wine that's popular in Spain's Basque regions (especially in and around San Sebastian) is gaining popularity in the U.S.
Just 50 years ago, some of the only things growing on Long Island’s North Fork were potatoes. But now this area just north of the Hamptons and only an-hour-and-a-half east of New York City is home to more than 40 wineries, some producing very high-quality wines.
On our 11th anniversary weekend in Long Island’s North Fork, Jay and I wanted to try somewhere new for dinner. Luce & Hawkins, at the historic Jedediah Hawkins Inn in Jamesport, seemed like a promising choice. This new restaurant focuses on seasonal, local cuisine, with many herbs and some veggies coming straight from the gardens outside the inn.
After Sam Sifton of the NY Times wrote that Motorino "serves the city's best pizza" on February 17, I had to give it a try to see for myself. I'd been to a couple of the other trendy New York pizza places – Company, Keste and, of course, Franny's, which is just down the block from our Brooklyn apartment – so while I'm by no means a pizza expert, I at least had some basis for comparison.
I had expected the Mermaid Oyster Bar, on the edge of Greenwich Village, to look more like a ramshackle fish shack. Instead, it reminded me of an upscale Nantucket restaurant, its white walls covered with pictures of beachy-looking scenes and a specials board announcing the day's oyster selections.
Jay and I are a little obsessed with uni. So we were really excited when we first went to Soto a couple of years ago for my birthday: The chef, Sotohiro Kosugi, ran a successful sushi restaurant in Atlanta before opening this intimate place in the West Village that specializes in uni in many guises.
Jay and I have never been that happy with Manhattan Chinatown dim sum. In our experience, it tends to be greasy, heavy on the fried items and not as fresh tasting as meals we've had in San Francisco, Vancouver and Hong Kong.
The restaurant is named after the crunchy, slightly caramelized rice that sticks to the bottom of the paella pan. Your server comes back at the end to scrap off the socarrat for everyone to enjoy -- and it truly is the best part, crispy with a yummy nutty flavor.
I hadn't eaten at En Japanese Brasserie in several years, during a New York Restaurant Week where all I remember is that we were served tastes in a Bento box and we saw Zac Posen. This time around, Jay had just eaten at En the week before and raved about the yumminess of the food, saying we needed to go back – and soon!
I think this bottle is from one of our first visits to Shinn in Mattituck on the North Fork of Long Island. We were lucky enough to arrive on a slow day and Barbara walked with just Liz and me out into the vineyard to chat about the types of grapes planted and planned and the biodynamic grape farming processes they employ (She does this as a paid tour now and so worth it)