I-BRAKE-for-BAKES: BREAD IS NOT DEAD, BLACK SEED NEW YORK

Hand-Rolled and Wood-Fired -- not sushi  and not pizza. Bagels. Montreal meets New York.  Bagels that look back to baking as an artisanal craft,  achieving perfection in crispness, density and flavor.  At Black Seed the art of bread is not dead -- these may be...

I-Brake-for-Bakes: Torta al Cioccolato

Yes, you can have an amazing plate of pasta and, if it's season a bright and angular salad of escarole, fava beans, pecorino, mint and basil, and leave Via Carota completely sated.  But if you did you'd be missing out on what could be the...

NOT A GOOD TIME TO BE A COW, SHAKE SHACK

The Double Shack Lot's of nostalgia to these burgers of 100% all-natural Angus beef griddle friend patties are topped with cheese, tomato and lettuce splashed with ShackSauce (who knows, but think of some sort of seasoned mayo, ketchup and mustard blend) on a Martin's Potato Roll...

I-BRAKE-for-BAKES: BREAD IS NOT DEAD, LARMOR PLAGE, BRITTANY

A kouign-amann, not to be confused with former United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, is perhaps the most buttery of bakes ever concocted.  While Mr. Annan arrives by way of Ghana, this round breaded wonder traces its origin to the French Bretagne coast.   No one's exactly...

The MAPPETITE MILE: On the Cape….

Their approach slowed as tourists beckoned them for photo-ops to which the hat-clad duo agreed.  I was new to these environs but my friend, a resident for years, turned from the table and said "oh, here come the Hat Sisters" and minutes later two towering...

And, in the Hamptons…..

"It is a beautiful ocean today, isn't it? What would you say that is, sort of sapphire? I've never seen anything like that ocean!" The Late Edie Beale, the former mistress of Grey Gardens and cousin to Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. Ah, Long Island beaches. In East Hampton...

The MAPPETITE MILE: XMAS, FIFTH AVENUE STYLE

Ah, Fifth Avenue in December: all the beautiful decorations, the shopping, the holiday cheer. Oh, and, don't forget the tourist crowds - lots and lots of them. Welcome to Christmastime in New York City. No doubts about it, with so much hustle-bustle you'll work up a...

NOT A GOOD TIME TO BE A COW, UMAMI BURGER

All hamburgers are not created equal. From the meat spectrum of juicy reds to dry dull grays, patties proliferate fast food joints, greasy spoons, pedigreed dines and catering halls across America. Factor in some really amazing burgers and, by all means, now is not a good...

The MAPPETITE MILE: BOROUGH MARKET

Any doubts on how a localvore will make do in cosmopolitan London will quickly disappear at the food extravaganza that is BOROUGH MARKET. Along with a handful of restaurants and shops nestled under the archways of this centuries old market there's an amazing array of food,...

VIVA LA FRANCE: LAFAYETTE, NYC

THE LAFAYETTE BURGER The problem with a period restaurant - think France early 20th Century - is that it takes a lot for it to feel authentically old.  With its lighting, furnishings and signage, LAFAYETTE is no exception to this restaurant design conundrum. This is...

BAO IN MY BASKET: BAOHAUS, NYC

A bike basket of bao from BAOHAUS, NYC is absolute bun yum!!! Amazing taste and texture come together with these Taiwanese-edged street food eats. The BirdHaus Bao's got 24 hours of brining and the Waygu Haus beef is from Snake River Farms at this hole...

The MAPPETITE MILE: HUDSON STREET

When thinking about small town USA, New York City is not the first place that comes to mind. However, if you go a bit beyond its main grid and squint ever so slightly, the stretch of Hudson Street running through the West Village is more...

I HAD A BALL: KUTSHER’S, NYC

Like the Borscht Belt of the 20th century KUTSHER'S TRIBECA is gone.  You'll need to use your imagination and, perhaps a reference to a bit of Dirty Dancing at this throwback, if in essence name only, to the Catskills of yore. http://vva.org/blog/?p=3163 This Kutsher's was all about up-to-date culinary takes...

HAVING A BALL: OTAFUKU, NYC

Sounds off-putting, a liquid paste of wheat flour and boiled oct0pus but, really, there's something to these Japanese "takoyaki" balls. At OTAFUKU, NYC, the glutinous mixture of the takoyaki is grilled in special spherical pans to create a wonderfully crunchy skin. Once done they are finished...

WHEN THE BAR IS THE STAR: OTTO, NYC

At OTTO, the restaurant at One Fifth Avenue, a 1927 Art Deco apartment house at the corner of 8th Street in Greenwich Village, you're in for some rustic Italian eats courtesy of the media-meal-man of Food Network fame, Mario Batali.  He's often in residence and easy...

WHEN YOUR VALENTINE IS A TART: ERIC KAYSER, NYC

This year for Valentine's Day I skipped over the chocolates and passed on the flowers.  Was a time these would be top items in the romance offerings but alas they seem pointless while my love remains unrequited. Nope, this year I will have to make do...

WHEN THE BAR IS THE STAR: UNION SQUARE CAFE, NYC

The hostess, dwarfed by mural-sized art and double-height ceilings, asked if I had a reservation for a table.  I happily smiled and said no as I eyed my friend with the seat next to him occupied by his briefcase at the soon-to-be-packed bar at the...