Tuesday, March 2, 2010

NYC Favorites

Sorry for the blog delay today, I'm getting the hang of the whole thing. From now on I'll try to put up the post in the morning so all you people who are reading at work while you should be working have something to read! :)
My friend's always come to me for suggestions of where to go out to eat. They know I love food and researching restaurants, so they come to me. I'm pretty much like a walking citysearch. Here's a list of some of my go-to restaurants around NYC...I'll tell you what I eat at each place so you have an idea of what to order.
For pizza I like to go to Otto Pizzeria, Mario Batali's place on 5th Avenue. It's great for a large group of friends or just a few. They have round tables that can seat 8-10 people, which is always nice! The pizzas and salads are good, the wine is flowing, and the price for what you get is great! Somehow every time I go there when the bill is split it comes to around $40 a person. I'd say that's a pretty sweet deal for a dinner out on the town.
For tapas I love Sala or Sala One Nine, owned by the same person, but two different locations. One on Great Jones Street and the other on West 19th street. I love their grilled calamari, fried goat cheese with honey, my favorite bacon wrapped dates, their tostas are good, and their seafood paella is big enough to feed 4 people (they say its for 2!). Another tapas option is Boqueria. I guess you can say it's more of a hip place to eat, however they do not take reservations and there's usually a wait during normal dinner hours. They actually have bigger and better bacon wrapped dates, but their menu is not as large and the vegetarian friendly options are limited.
For mussels I suggest going to either B Cafe or Flex Mussles, both on the Upper East Side. At B Cafe you will have a full menu, I usually get their Moule Frites provencal. I don't know about you but I like a mussel with a good sauce, no white wine sauce for me. Their fries and Belgian beers are excellent as well. Flex Mussels has the best Thai Mussels. The sauce is drinkable and great for dipping fries and bread into. In addition they serve these immaculate filled doughnuts (with your choice of filling) that come to the table warm along side a vanilla bean sauce for dipping. I have tried the blueberry and the caramel fillings, of which I ate up both in under 5 minutes.
For mexican i am a huge fan of El Rio Grande in the Murray Hill area. The Margaritas are killer and you only need 1 or 2 to get you way more than just a little tipsy. Now I don't know about you but I ONLY eat fajitas that come out to the table on a SIZZLING platter. If it's not sizzling I will not eat it. So at Rio you'll find that the fajitas sizzle. They also have this amazing salsa verde, for all you language challenged readers, thats a green salsa. It is simply amazing and when you get a fresh basket of tortillas you'll be in heaven! The typical red salsa is pretty good as well! BUT, if you head to Rio on the off-season (whenever that is) be prepared for them to tell you that there is no salsa verde.
For noodle bars I will only eat at Momofuku. Period. I stick to the noodle bar, but you can visit David Chang's other 4 locations. It's fresh, it's cool, it's growing, it's freakin' delicious, and I love it! And so do my siblings...thanks Ofer for even introducing me to it! The menu is seasonal and from the green market so it's always changing. If you are a vegetarian don't go there, simply put! I don't eat pork unless its in the form of bacon, but I still enjoy the Momofuku experience. I usually get the shitake mushroom steamed buns or the chicken steamed buns to start. And then I see what's on the menu that day and take it from there. Be sure to stop by Milk Bar to get the most yummiest rich in flavor cookies you have ever tasted!!!! My fave is the chocolate-chocolate cookie.
Here's a list of restaurants I have on my list to try right now:
Locanda Verde


Sushi Yasuda

Keste Pizza and Vino





Graffiti Food and Wine Bar

I'll leave you with this photo of me eating my first bacon wrapped date at Sala One Nine after having tried being a vegetarian for 6 months. Clearly, I was excited and enjoying the moment. I think I ate like 8 bacon wrapped dates that night....


  1. Really?! You a veggie? Im impressed you made it that long!!! Bacon wrapped dates from your kitchen are always yummy too!! I would like the squash soup recipe please. I made your donuts the other night, they were a hit! Along with a new attempt on my part... Chocolate Croissant (came out yum!). Keep recipes coming!!

  2. elia, i am loving your blog...i hear about your cooking all the time and i know all of your friends love brunch,dinner and holidays at your apt.everything always sound delich....
    keep the recipes coming...
    xoxo, ilene

  3. Elia, your blog is great. I look forward to reading it with my morning coffee! What a great idea. Don't give up on the quinoa so fast; I heard it is kosher for Passover. Can't wait to try your recipes.




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