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Marea NYC

A cousin was caught in a photo of Marea when it was named #1 Best Restaurant in America in GQ, which is where we heard of it for the first time. That cousin, the creator of the Avanzato Feast of Seven Fishes, raved about it as his latest favorite restaurant, so we knew it would be good. But in the way things go by the wayside in NYC, we still never made it out there until a work perk forced us to.

And it was divine. The server was friendly and tolerated my wife’s question on whether the beautiful dish on the website was in the menu. (It was not. It was merely an image from their photo shoot.) We ordered what we thought was a modest selection of two appetizers, a pasta dish and an entree, and ended up stuffed anyway.

Ricci - Sea Urchin, Lardo, Sea Salt Crostinis

Ricci – Sea Urchin, Lardo, Sea Salt Crostinis

The sea urchin wrapped with lardo could very well be your last meal at deathrow. I could do without the lardo as the urchins were meaty and melted in your mouth, the lardo upping the whole combination to another level of indulgence. What is lardo anyway? To me it just sounds like cured fat. Continue reading

Woodland, Brooklyn

Back in the day this restaurant was Royal Video, a VHS and DVD rental store where we spent time in the ancient practice of choosing a movie and renting it for a dollar and change. The store was old but it had the largest selection of movies in the neighborhood, including a secluded adult section in the back I was always scared to enter because of any creeps that might keep my company.

The Daily Meat Smokebox – Pork Belly

As in all large, too-good-to-be-true real estate locations in Park Slope, all good things come to an end, and Royal Video moved across the street to a tiny location to cater to their small but still existent clientele. Along came a large construction project in that old area that aroused “the Brooklyn crazies” and their petitions to which we owe the dulled down Woodland restaurant that was originally rumored to be a three-level gentelman’s club. Thank god for the noisemakers! Continue reading

Phoenicia Diner – A Rebirth in Upstate New York

After my heart was broken when a sign at Sweet Sue’s said they were closed for the winter (something about losing their kitchen staff – what happened there?), we warily headed over to Phoenicia Diner as an alternative. I was worried because I stopped there to use their bathroom when I was last in the area, and back then it seemed like one of those outdated empty diners by the highway that have been forgotten by the world.

Corned beef hash skillet.

I was pleasantly surprised that a new energy had taken over the diner, turning it into a hip new joint boasting local meat and produce, promoting nearby artisanal companies, and giving away cool magazines on green, responsible living. A granola-infused wind quickly warmed my heart ūüėÄ Continue reading

Giuseppina’s is the Lucali’s Alternative – South Slope, Brooklyn

I told you about Lucali’s right? And I believe I also told you about all my other pizza loves –¬†Grimaldi‚Äôs¬†and¬†Patsy‚Äôs¬†and¬†DiFara‚Äôs. Lucali’s is definitely my new love (Beyonce and Jay-Z agree), but sometimes the 1-2 hour wait is not convenient. In that case, you should head over to Giuseppina’s over in South Slope, for something just as nice. The owners of the two restaurants are brothers after all.

Large mushroom pie. Extra garlic please!

Our Lucali fanatic friends insist that they can taste a difference between the two restaurants, but I surely don’t. Their calzones are just as crisp and light. The pies are thin, brick oven-baked, and not watery like Grimaldi’s often gets after a few minutes. The downside to Giuseppina’s is that they are not BYOB, so you don’t save on the booze, but our favorite Montepulciano is about $30, not bad divided by four or six. Being able to sit upon entry and even make reservations (What? In New York?) makes Giuseppina a convenient and more predictable pizza joint without the hassle.

Giuseppina’s
691 Sixth Avenue (20th Street)
South Slope, Brooklyn
(718) 499-5052

Chasing an Andalucia High at Ventanas, New York City

We were chasing the high we got during our week in the Andalucia region of Spain, where we had the best churros, paella, tapas, and the best trip with my sister and her husband. The closest we could get to replicating our time in Spain was to make our own paella, or to find a close enough comparison.

Fortunately we had a Gilt City deal waiting when we got back and although we were skeptical that Ventanas would satisfy our Spanish cravings, we were happy to not be so disappointed.

Sardinas Fresca - Ventanas NYC

Sardinas Fresca – The sardines were fresh and delivered in a big portion.

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