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The ultimate list of Valentines Day dinner tables in NY

[Translate] Table 31 @ Blue Hill After President Obama took the First Lady here for dinner, she issued a statement that was just a recording of herself saying, “Mmmmm.” Away from the prying eyes of admirers and lobbyists, you’ll find this table’s the perfect place to learn your date’s stance...

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The Little Bird Bakery and Coffeehouse

Posted by Burak Ipekci | Posted in Food, New York City | Posted on 31-08-2010

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Yes, we know. You’re going to say “This is not a restaurant.”

You are sooo mistaken…

Stop by the recently opened East Village corridor for owner JoAnna Troccoli’s addictive vegan treats (must-put-down banana cacao macaroons) and iced Counter Culture java.

On a personal note; sliced banana, with apple butter and walnut crumbles, or sea salted cucumber, avocado, and lemon on multigrain is yum.

182 Ave. B (between 11th & 12th Sts.), New York, NY 10009 +1 (212) 677-4460

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BonChon Sports Bar

Posted by Burak Ipekci | Posted in Food, New York City | Posted on 30-08-2010

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Pushing their much-loved specially-sauced fried chicken wings and fueling pitchers from 10 taps, the Korean giant’s new locale’s arrived with a mod-sports bar vibe just in time for football, with numerous projectors and TVs filling out a space decked with memory foam banquettes, black lacquer tables, and wooden accents reclaimed from the Brooklyn Bridge, which unlike accents reclaimed from the Boston Bridge don’t think they sound wicked smaht.

325 5th Avenue (between 32nd and 33rd St.), New York, NY 10016 +1 (212) 686-8282 BonChon.com

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Gabbana (No Dolce, I promise)

Posted by Burak Ipekci | Posted in Food, New York City, Queens | Posted on 27-08-2010

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Go outerborough to get the full Dominuevo experience at this tropically flavored, neon lit, bi-level 120-seater, which’s pairing 50+ rums with bites like Cazuelitas (deep fried tortilla bowls) filled with ham-wrapped shrimp, rock shrimp & avocado-chardonnay cream tamales, traditional paellas and churrasco, and langosta pasta w/ truffle cream, asparagus, morels, and a poached egg, who was easily tempted away as he was down on his muffins.

107-11 Northern Blvd. (btw 107th and 108th St), Queens, NY +1 (718) 565-5479 GabbanaNY.com

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Koya

Posted by Burak Ipekci | Posted in Food, London | Posted on 26-08-2010

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Excellent, recently opened no-fuss Japanese restaurant in Soho serves authentic hot and cold udon noodles made on-site using imported Japanese wheat flour and served with toppings such as crispy tempura batter, thinly sliced beef or seaweed.

And, some people say getting good Japanese food in London is virtually impossible…

No reservation necessary.

49 Frith Street, London W1D 4SG

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Kyashii

Posted by Burak Ipekci | Posted in Food, London | Posted on 25-08-2010

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Keeping on an old name can be a good business move — you maintain customer recognition, and if you’re the Dalai Lama, you avoid getting carded for beer, because your ID says you’re like six-hundred and eighteen. Keeping the name, but changing everything else, the all-new Kyashii, opening today.

The upscale Japanese restaurant’s swinging open the doors with new management, a new chef, and a new, uber-chic look: white walled & black floored, with an upstairs champagne bar rocking DJ decks & 18 plasmas, a ground-floor brasserie where fresh fish is prepped before your eyes, and an underground rentable space encircled by seven tropical aquariums, so your sushi can serve as a warning to the others. Starters see crispy spicy squid with Japanese chilli pepper, a five-variety Pacific oyster platter (from spicy radish to a sake shooter), and honey-glazed baby-backs with a “caramel net”, which must be how they catch jelly fish. Signature rolls include the avo-wrapped tempura prawn Dragon, the seared salmon-wrapped crab & mustard seed-mayo Tataki, and a massive, seven-fish Rainbow, which is even tougher to stuff in your mouth when it’s been zipped up by that damn pink hippo.

Kyashii’s also serving up robata like a Japanese chilli-sauced lamb rack , peppercorn scallops with spinach & shimeji mushrooms, and a fillet slathered with a mustard sauce dubbed “dynamite” — a name you should recognize as signifying “reincarnation or not, this mustard is going to kill you”.

4a Upper Saint Martin’s Lane, London WC2H 9NY 0207 836 5211 Kyashii.co.uk

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Sushi Cafelicious

Posted by Burak Ipekci | Posted in Food, London | Posted on 24-08-2010

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It’s almost autumn, and your plan for a summer-perfect body has yet to take hold. But the prospect of salad, salad, salad makes you want to eat another cupcake.

Go Japanese. Specifically, go to the new Sushi Cafelicious — the Golders Green cafe from the owners of Cafe Japan. The food is so tasty (and beautiful), you’ll barely notice it’s healthy.

Order at the counter and takeaway, or perch on a stool overlooking the chefs and nibble on delicate temari — sushi balls topped with shiitake mushroom, prawn, salmon or tuna. Our favourite: ikura (salmon roe) and rice served in half a lime. Also on the menu: sushi cups filled with organic brown rice and served with a shot of collagen jelly (it’s big in Japan).

There’s no soya sauce (too much sodium), so dress your rolls with teriyaki, spicy sesame or basil sauce. Take home a sushi cake — a mix of rice, vegetables, egg and green seaweed flakes. It won’t replace dessert, but you will be able to zip your jeans.

2 North End Road, London NW11 7PH +44 20 8381 4704 or sushicafelicious.co.uk

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Sandy’s

Posted by Burak Ipekci | Posted in Food, London | Posted on 23-08-2010

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Towering accomplishments aside, there were two things Napoleon did not not achieve: invading England, and five foot seven. Now a Corsican’s storming our shores with the ultimate weapon: pizza, at Sandy’s.

Just opened in Marble Arch, Sandy’s proudly touts itself as the UK’s first and only emissary of Corsican ‘zza, which it serves in a nook made cozy with low-hung lights, red leather banquettes, multitudinous Mediterranean window shutters, and old b/w pictures depicting traditional family life in the founder’s hometown — from a time when people still had traditional families, and window shutters. Generously bequeathed by the island’s ancient stalwart Pizza Chez Nadine, the basic recipe uses gruyere instead of mozz, plus a secret flour blend that results in a bubbly, “neither thin nor thick” crust; further piling on produces the likes of the chorizo, green chilli & red pepper Piccante, the lamb & beef sausage Habibi, and the deli-meat frenzy (coppa, figatellu, lonzu) that is the Pascal Paoli — perhaps an inappropriate tribute for the first president of Corsica’s “Executive Council of the General Diet”. Less meat-mad are the smoked salmon/persillade (parsley sauce) St Erasme, the gruyere/ mozz/ goat/ roquefort 4 Fromages, and the cheese-free anchovy, caper, & olive “Sicilliene” — order it on this, the day of its daughter’s wedding , and ask it the favor of not making your breath smell.

Sweetness is provided by pistachio macaroons w/ cherry sorbet, as well as Fiadone (Corsican crustless cheesecake) w/ honey & rosemary ice cream. There’re also rare Corsican beers like the chestnut flour-brewed Pietra, and the herb-brewed wheat beer Colomba — you’ll like it so much, you’ll try to sneak it out with your hand stuffed deep in your jacket.

14 Seymour Place, London W1H 7NF +44 207 723 8833 Sandys.uk.com

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Silkstone Rooftop

Posted by Burak Ipekci | Posted in Food, New York City | Posted on 20-08-2010

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Unmarked doors are dangerous propositions, best often avoided.

But from time to time, an unremarkable-looking door opens onto a world of untold riches, barely legal soirees and the kind of company that just doesn’t congregate in known locations.

And sometimes, they just lead you… up.

Introducing the Silkstone Rooftop, a secret rooftop garden open now for the stream of open-air dates and anything-goes private parties you usually refer to as August.

To access the roof, you’ll have to look for a single light burning above a black metal door. Identify yourself, and a kindly butler will show you into a dark hallway, through a bustling kitchen and into an elevator bound for the sky. And then…

Arriving on the seventh floor is like stepping into a postcard of unobstructed views and flickering candlelight, where you’ll host the kind of date that will likely crack your all-time top five (right after the great Niagara Falls sashimi incident of ’08), or else entertain friends around a communal table with an herb garden growing in the center. (Should your pasta require more basil, just grab some.)

And if you’re less interested in dining at altitude and more interested in alfresco fetes, the roof can also accommodate movie screenings, Arabian rug-festooned hookah parties, co-ed naked Twister tournaments, karaoke marathons and the kind of photo shoots that will get your account blacklisted by Facebook.

At the very least, Ms. Klum will have to de-tag herself.

17 Orchard St (at Canal St), New York, NY +1-646-861-1545 silkstonenyc.com

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Shaka Zulu

Posted by Burak Ipekci | Posted in Food, London | Posted on 19-08-2010

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Back in the nineteenth century, Shaka Zulu used revolutionary, sometimes brutal techniques to create two seemingly unstoppable, but ultimately crippled institutions: The Zulu Kingdom, and Michael Caine’s career. Paying the great leader homage by uniting eating, drinking, and shopping: Shaka Zulu.

Shaka’s officially the world’s largest South African venue, encompassing two restos, a lounge, and an exotic purchasing opportunity across two floors of a huge Camden Stables space that’s been filled with African-inspired artworks, masks and colourfully tribal chairs & tables, as well as hand-carved murals and mosaics covering 60-foot-high walls, thereby “capturing the essence of the great King Shaka” — because according to the biographer who survived, he really was that tall. Ambitiously executed fare starts with the Oyster Bar, where you’ll find everything from Rooibos smoked salmon to Mozambican langoustines; for a fuller meal, head to the Baraii (Afrikaans for “roasted meat”) restaurant, serving up such bushmeat stylings as ostrich fillet, kudu steak, and marinaded springbok, all available in one South African Game Skewer, now more commonly known as a Vuvuzela. Drinks from the Lounge Bar include a huge range of classic cocktails, plus “Zulu Innovations” such as the tequila, thyme, papaya & lime “Pappayed”, the raspberry vodka, pomegranate, rosemary & lemon “Shark Alley”, and the white grape, raisin, scotch, lemon chestnut, egg white “Simba”, whose boozy regalness will make you a Lying King.

True royalty can abscond to the members-only King’s Club with its VIP hospitality and preferential access to the Chef’s Table for multi-course, wine-matched tasting menus hosted by the head chef himself. As for shopping, there’s everything from to-go bushmeat and South African wine to “artefacts” like tribal shields and masks — a fitting gift for yourself, The man who would be King.

The Stables Market, Camden, London NW1 8AH +44-203-376-9911 Shaka-Zulu.com

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Kung Fu Bing

Posted by Burak Ipekci | Posted in Food, New York City | Posted on 18-08-2010

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Reopening in the East Village after shuttering their Chinatown location only months ago, this yellow, mirrored sleeve’s pumping out their signature greasy Bing’s: your choice of meat (beef/pork patty, sausage, ham, bacon…) and optional fried egg, all wrapped up in a dense Asian pancake, aka William Hung.

189 E Houston (between Orchard and Ludlow St.), New York, NY +1-212-777-3188  KungFuBing.net

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