New York: Top 10 Spots for Booze Flights

imageNo matter your poison, level of expertise, or income bracket — there’s no beating comparison shopping. So line up the wine, beer, whiskey, tequila, and even the house-infused vodka for the purpose of weeding out the bad so you can order up more of the good.

10. European Union (East Village) – When you don’t feel like burning your throat with the 5-for-$10 shot-deal at Continental, hit this spot where, for the same price, you’ll get a flight of five hand-crafted artisan beers. 9. I Trulli (Murray Hill) – Always seasonally appropriate with both a garden and a fireplace, the wine flights here go for $14, $15, and $26. 8. La Esquina (Nolita) – Prove wrong all those from Cali who say that NYC can’t master Mexican as you top off your meal with one of three tequila flights — the Blanco ($35), Respado ($40), or Anejo ($45).

7. Eighty One (Upper West Side) – Appropriately posh, the flight here comes with 1-oz. pours of Macallan’s Sherry Oak 12 Year Old, Fine Oak 15 Year Old, and Sherry Oak 18 Year Old — each paired with a changing bite menu that includes dishes like yellowtail tuna tartare with orange honey and yuzu ($30). 6. Artisanal (Kips Bay) – Nosh and kibitz as you enjoy one of 12 beer/wine flights ($27) paired with hand-crafted cheeses. 5. Flatiron Lounge (Flatiron) – There’s nothing simple about this spot’s trio of mini-martini flights ($22) concocted around themes like “a flight to Hawaii” (tropical fruits and rum) and “flight back in time” (Sazerac, Sidecar, Aviation cocktails). 4. Russian Vodka Room (Midtown West) – It will set you back a cool $45 for a flight of six, but for those into house-infused vodkas, there’s nothing quiet like this selection spanning the gamut from garlic to horseradish to peach. 3. Beer Table (Park Slope) – For those looking for a little education with their sampling, Beer Table hosts an informal tasting of five beers — each paired with cheese — every Monday at 7 p.m. ($30). 2. Dos Caminos (Kips Bay) – Give B.R. Guest some much-needed love and order Lick-the-Brick ($45) tequila flight served on a brick of Himalayan rock salt and paired with three flavor-infused salts — habanero champagne, lime sugar, and smoked. 1. Divine Bar West (Midtown West) – A funky décor, a menu full of exclamation points, nearly 20 flight options, and wine-tasting classes offered through their “vino-versity” make this a spot perfect for non-oenophile and connoisseurs alike.

New York: Balloons & Bites at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

You’re a New Yorker. You like the hubbub around the Thanksgiving parade, the bright, big balloons and the cheery tourists gawking around the parade route, but you don’t actually want to get up at 6 a.m. to get a good (standing) spot on Broadway and shiver your way through the day. No. No you don’t. So like any good New Yorker, you’ll find another way. A way that will allow you to see the parade without the crowds and still sit around and eat turkey and watch football on the day of thanks. Here’s your other way. Starting around 3pm this Wednesday, stroll on over to 79th and Central Park West to watch the balloons getting blown up. Take photos. Feel superior to the crowds that will show up the next day. Then go grab a bite to eat at one of these fine neighborhood establishments. Enjoy not cooking.

1. ‘Cesca – Old school southern Italian. Order the entire antipasti menu … it’s that good. 2. Bello Sguardo – Tapas by candlelight will get you in the mood. 3. Calle Ocho – Eight kinds of Mojitos, bright colors on the walls, and you’ll be dancing on the ones before you know it.

4. Citrus – Sushi and margaritas — the perfect cultural fusion. 5. Dovetail – Proper, tasty Anglophile dishes. Bread puddings and lamb meatloaf done right. 6. Eighty One – Locally sourced, melt-in-your-mouth lamb. It’s good enough to order twice. 7. Haru – One of the only Japanese joints in the ‘hood. 8. Isabella’s – Polo shirts abound at this UWS standby; order the pear salad and talk about your swing, and you’ll fit right in. 9. Land – Thai food with a skirt steak and snapper twist. Usurp the long line — put your name in, and go grab a beer next door while you wait. 10. Nice Matin – A crowded Pastis clone, uptown. French menu makes for great desserts.

New York: Top 10 Restaurant Recession Specials

imageIf there’s one upside to the tanking economy, it’s that transcendental culinary experiences are finally accessible to the foodie cheapskates. Here’s a rundown of 10 particular pleasures of the palate and wallet, offered for the moment at a discount. Of course, “discount” is a very relative term …

10. Two-pound Lobster at Strip House, $58. Replaces their $116 four-pounder with a critter that’s half the size and half the price.

9. 2005 Lacryma Christi Del Vesuvio, Mastroberardino at Union Square Cafe, $25. Wedged between the four-figure bottles on their 30-plus-page wine list are 100 new selections under $75 — Why this particular Italian wine? Because when an eatery prices a Plain-Jane Belgium beer at $9, $25 for a bottle of wine is a steal.

8. Organic corn dogs at Hundred Acres, $2. For this price we’ll not only eat a corn dog, we’ll wash it down with their $3 ice cream float — offered 5-7 p.m.

7. Wok-seared filet mignon with mixed vegetables in peanut sauce at Ruby Foos, $10. At long last, a worthy excuse to be caught in one of the irritably kitschy Pan Asian tourist magnets.

6. Free Monday panini with glass of wine at Vero Wine Bar, around $10. Booze plus carbs equals happiness — especially if part of the equation is free.

5. Lunch entrée and a glass of wine Fridays at La Grenouille, $35. So you’ll have some extra cash to put towards that $20,000 panther ring from Cartier, conveniently located across the street from the posh eatery.

4. Chicken and rice at Republic, $8. Because dammit, when the going gets rough, that’s what you eat! Luckily this is Manhattan, so the chicken comes with tasty Vietnamese rice, shiitake and wood-ear mushrooms, Asian basil, and bean paste.

3. Three-course Sunday dinner at Apiary, $35. Groaning because it’s almost Monday isn’t attractive, so treat yourself to this new prix-fixe that includes a chocolate cashew brownie tart with cashew ice cream.

2. Two-course dinner menu at Eighty One, $42. We don’t know what foie gras royale is, but we had it, and it was not only good — it was worth the heartburn.

1. Three-course prix fixe at Le Cirque’s Wine Lounge, $48. Now the only question is: Do we pair our meal with the $50 glass of 1993 Barolo, or do we go for the more affordable $48 glass of 1996 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin “la Grande dame?”

New York: Top 5 Spendy Restaurants Worth Every Penny

imageSometimes you’ve got the urge to splurge …

1. The Grocery Innovative farmfresh cuisine in a tiny, elegant setting: as transcendent as NYC gets. 2. Chanterelle The city’s best spot for foodgasms, with elegance done to perfection. 3. Eighty One Creativity saved on the name is channeled into impeccable locally sourced menu.

4. Gramercy Tavern Danny Meyer’s pride and joy is classy but not crabby, and soaring on its second wind courtesy of laid-back chef Michael Anthony. 5. Momofuku Ko David Chang’s East Village answer to Per Se, loaded with wit, flair, and originality.