NYC’s Top Five Rainy Day Meals

Rainy days are a study in extremes. One day, you’re craving the comfort of a piping hot bowl of something buttery and cheesy, and the next, you’re seeking the cleansing refreshment of a vegetable juice and lentil salad. We humans are a complex bunch. In honor of the gloom outside, I’ve pulled together NYC’s top five rainy day meals. From heavenly to healthy, these dishes can warm even the most trodden spirit. Or at least distract you momentarily.

1.     A Burger and Bowl of Chili from Corner Bistro: Cozy yet boisterous NY institution. $8 cheese-bacon Bistro Burger. Robust chili.

2.     Mac & Cheese from Westville: Baked and crusty outside. Hot and gooey inside. Smoked bacon optional.

3.     The Classic Pork Noodle Ramen Soup from Ippudo. Moderately healthy. Sesame mushrooms. Thick, long noodles.

4.     Seitan in a Spicy Citrus Sauce from gobo. Arrives sizzling. Borderline healthy. Tastes like chicken.

5.     Homemade Bucatini Pasta with Crispy Garlic and Olive Oil from Bevacco. Heavenly. Coarse, fresh noodles. Toasted garlic. NY’s best.

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Where Celebs Go Out: Ed Norton, Tim Blake Nelson, Steve Earle

At the Leaves of Grass premiere: 1. Ed Norton: “Blue Hill — anything at Blue Hill. I like this little joint in the East Village called Joe Doe.” 2. Steve Earle: “Babbo is every bit as good as it’s cracked up to be. And A.O.C. is a favorite of ours, which is a French restaurant on Bleecker Street. The duck confit at A.O.C. is the best in the city.”

3. Allison Moorer: “We’ve been doing this like go out to dinner a lot lately, so we won’t think about, ‘When is the baby going to come?’ So we went to Union Square Café last night, which is fantastic. I’m vegetarian. I had this incredible ricotta gnocchi, which I think is a regular item on the menu.We just went to Babbo Monday night, which is great. Our neighborhood is ridiculously good for food.” 4. Josh Pais: “One of my favorite restaurants is called Westville. It’s on West 10th Street, between Bleecker and West 4th. The guy, Jay, is the owner. He’s a good friend of mine. It’s like so well priced. They have the best burger in the city. I’m not kidding. I am not kidding. The food is so fresh. It’s a great place.” 5. Lucy DeVito: “I really like Gobo which is on Sixth Avenue. It’s a vegetarian place. I like Milos. It’s like uptown. It’s Greek food, really nice fish, and I love feta cheese and the fresh vegetables and everything. What else? Oh, Frankies. I live in Brooklyn, so I go to Frankies. It’s on Court Street, and it’s really good Italian food. It’s so good.” 6. Melanie Lynskey: “I really got obsessed with that restaurant, Quality Meats, on 58th Street. It’s super good. I only eat fish. I don’t eat meat, so I don’t know why I love it so much. They have this amazing halibut there, and they have this crazy thing which is like a brulee’d corn dish, which is the most delicious thing you’ve ever eaten in your life.” 7. Tim Blake Nelson: “I like Nicola’s, and Medeo in L.A.”

At the Man-O-Manischewitz Cook-Off: 8. Jacques Pepin: “From the French Culinary Institute in New York, because it’s one of the greatest values, to Daniel’s new restaurant in Houston — I forget the name. The menu of the students at the French Culinary Institute is the best and quite inexpensive. Everything has to be fresh, morning and night. The morning crew and the night crew can’t use the same stock. We may have the best bread in New York — short of being in Paris, the best baguettes. Go there. They’ll give you one. DBGB has different sausage and peasant food — it’s a great spot. From this to the Union League Cafe in New Haven. I live in Connecticut. One of the best restaurants in Connecticut — that goes to Clam Castle in Madison, Connecticut, where you get the lobster roll — one of those joints on the road.”

Where Celebs Go Out: Wes Anderson, Emmy Rossum, Charlotte Ronson, & More

At Lucky magazine’s Lucky Shops:

● KATRINA BOWDEN – “I love Café Mogador in the East Village. It’s Moroccan, and they have these great fish and chicken kebabs and really cool dishes and olives and bread. It’s really good. And they have this fish soup that’s amazing, on special sometimes.”

● ANA ORTIZ – “I’m a very local person right now because I don’t have a lot of time away. So there’s this really groovy little place across the street from me called the Speak Low bar and it’s in Dumbo in Brooklyn, and it’s just underneath Rice. It’s a really funky, hip little bar. And they have the most delicious cocktails. As soon as I was able to drink after giving birth, I went down there. They have the best martini I ever had!”

At The Fantastic Mr. Fox press day:

● WES ANDERSON – “There’s a place in Los Angeles called Nishimura that’s a sushi place. That’s a great place. I would recommend that one.”

At launch party for Yoga Wii by Dreamcatcher Interactive Inc.:

● ANJA RUBIK – “Right now — it changes, of course — right now, I’m addicted to Matsuri. It’s a Japanese restaurant in the Maritime Hotel. I just love the food there. It’s incredible and the atmosphere they create there is so beautiful. I love it there. I love the Cipriani’s uptown. I love it. The food is so great. And it also has an incredible atmosphere. Da Silvano is great. Bar Pitti is amazing. It has Italian food, which is fantastic. I love Gobo. It’s all this organic food, vegetarian. It’s on Sixth Avenue near Eighth Street or Seventh Street.”

At Fashion Group International’s Night of Stars:

● SIMON DOONAN – “I love Il Cantinori. It’s around the corner from my house. The risotto primavera is killer!”

● EMMY ROSSUM – “I really like David Burke Townhouse. I love that lollypop tree that comes out at the end. There’s like a cheesecake lollypop tree. It looks like a lollypop, but it’s a ball of cheesecake on the end of stick and it’s in this holder that makes it look like a tree. I really like eating sushi at Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, at like 4am.”

● TOMMY HILFIGER – “Rebecca’s in Greenwich, Connecticut. Incredibly delicious. It’s simple, but it’s really, really high-quality food and always well done — consistent. It’s prepared very well.”

● MARK RONSON – “My favorite restaurant in New York is, probably, Gino’s uptown on 60th and Lex. The angel hair with the secret sauce. They call it that. ‘Cause when you’re a kid, and anyone tells you something’s secret, of course, you like think it’s amazing. In the whole word, I don’t know. I wish — I’m really good at answering these questions, but not on the spot.”

● DITA VON TEESE – “I love going to London to eat. I love China Tang at the Dorchester because I love the Art Deco Chinese interior. I love the Wolseley in London. And I’m not familiar with New York restaurants. It seems like they’re ever changing, so …”

At Purgatorio pop-up club:

● JOSH LUCAS – “Oh, the old school — Raoul’s is one of my all-time favorites. And there’s a place right down in my neighborhood, called Broadway East, which is a really interesting new kind of organic, sexy restaurant I like a lot. Also, down by my place, Les Enfants Terribles, you know that place? A good, little fun one. Those are my three that come to mind immediately.”

● SIMON HAMMERSTEIN – “That’s a hard question. I kind of like the 18th floor of the Standard — the bar on the 18th floor. I think he’s done a really good job with that.”

● CHRISTIAN SIRIANO – “In New York, I love the Cooper Square Hotel. We have dinner there a lot, hang out there — really, really fun. But, like hang out, hang out spots — where do we go? Oh, Bagatelle, very fabulous. I’m pretty low key, so I feel like — my couch, that’s where we go to hang out and have a party.”

At Motorola’s party for Droid phone with Verizon service:

● PATRICK HEUSINGER – “I just went to Delicatessen for the first time. I really enjoyed that. We watch Sunday and Monday football at Brother Jimmy’s on the Upper West Side. Yeah, it’s great. We’ve been going there since I was in college because I went to college here in New York, too. And then, I go to the bar, Niagara, on the Lower East Side a lot. That’s one of my haunts. I probably go there once a week. One of my best friends works there, so — it’s on 7th and Avenue A.

● JUDAH FRIEDLANDER – “I don’t drink or anything. I’m a role model for children. But I do eat. The place I really crave is called Sarajevo. It’s in Astoria — Bosnian owners. It’s basically Yugoslavian food. Awesome. That’s the place I crave more than any place. Cevapcici is the main thing. It’s kind of like ground beef and lamb on skewers, and you serve it in this fresh, homemade bread. And there’s this spread called Kajmak. It’s kind of like a sour-cream spread, except a million times better. And then you put ajvar on it, also, which is a like a tomato, red pepper, eggplant spread. And then you put raw onions on it, and you’re in heaven, baby! And you got power! And you’re ready to kick ass! It’s good stuff. The other thing they have is stuffed cabbage with tomato sauce, which they call sarma. It’s in Astoria. It’s on 34th Avenue and 38th Street. It’s so good. That’s my favorite food. I like all the ethnic, little take-out type places. Those are my favorite places.”

At launch of fashion game Style Savvy for the Nintendo DS and DSi:

● CHARLOTTE RONSON – “I love Bar Pitti on 6th Avenue. It’s nice and easy. You can sit outside when the weather is nice. You always run into someone you know. For movies, the Anjelika is nice. It’s clean. I’m drawn to movies that play there. In London, I love Holland Park, Kensington High Street — great area with lots of good shops and walking distance from my parents’ home. La Famiglia is a great restaurant.”

At launch party for Scupltz shapewear and legwear:

● ROBERT VERDI –Le Singe Vert on 7th Avenue. It means the Green Monkey. I was born in ’68, the year of the monkey. I love it. Novita, on 22nd Street, off of Park Avenue. It feels very insider; the food is fabulous. There’s a scene, but it’s not sceney. Da Silvano, because I feel like a big schmaltz when I go there ’cause I’m treated better than I really am. He’s really sweet. I’m very good friends with his wife, Marisa, who treats me like family. Since I grew up in a restaurant family, it’s a feeling I like to have when I go out to eat.

Industry Insiders: Summer Rayne Oakes, Green Goddess

Writer/model/educator/activist/greener Summer Rayne Oakes is a correspondent for Discovery Channel’s Planet Green and author of Style, Naturally: The Savvy Shopping Guide to Sustainable Fashion and Beauty. She opens up about global green initiatives, balancing her plate of greenness, and collecting bugs.

What do you do? If I got stuck in an elevator and had to run down my life, I’d have to say that I run a strategic communications and marketing brand management firm, and I do sustainable products. I align myself with environmental and socially conscious products and programs. I’m doing a program with Payless and their new line of sustainable shoes, called Zoe and Zac, and I’m their sustainability rep. I’ll help green the company along the way to launch a shoe that permeates the lifestyle of the people it appeals to. I’m an on-air correspondent for Planet Green, and I’m on their board of advisors. It’s all under the umbrella of sustainability.

How’d you fall into all of this? My background is in environmental science, entomology, and geographic information systems. At university, I was heavily involved in all sorts of things: rainforest studies, aquatic entomology, climate issues, sewage sludge. I was always interested in environmental solutions and constantly struggling with how to find real change. You’re required to publish papers, and for me, I always wanted to create a larger change for things flying below the radar and have an impact upon peoples lives. I eventually fell into fashion and media. In New York, I met the photographer John F. Cooper, who was doing organic photographs with natural elements, and he wanted to put them in a book about rainforest conservation. So we tapped into designers and partnered with nonprofits and did an educational program with it. Later, through networking with designers and schools, I launched Ecofashion 101, and then the green media began to pop, and the blogosphere saw democratization of writing on green issues. My career became the focus for alignment with the environment. I never saw it as a career while I was in college, but here I am, trailblazing.

Where do you go out? Gobo on Sixth Avenue is one of my favorites. It’s vegetarian junk food that’s divine. One favorite place to shop is Kaight, an incredible sustainable place; and in Brooklyn where I live, I love Fabiane’s. The owner is Brazilian but makes the best French pastries you’ve ever tasted. Near Green Point, Urban Rustic is great. In San Francisco, I love Rosa’s Café for fresh fish after a visit to the Green Market. In London, we had a great book party at Beach Blanket Babylon, in Shoreditch and Notting Hill. Sketch is amazing. It’s an art gallery and restaurant.

Who do you look up to? I’ve been working with Stella McCartney and throwing my book parties at her places. A lot of us think of her with high-end design, and she’s probably the biggest icon in her sphere. Also Manish Arora, who does amazing, intricate work and is known widely in India, Paris, and London. His color is fierce. What are some positive trends in green initiatives? Transparency is the new real trend: I just became an ambassador for Made By, which started in the Netherlands and has just permeated in the U.K. to track and trace the supply chain. Some of the labels — like Kuyichi — have a button that tells you who made your clothes, a little about them, where the dyes come from, and is invisibility and transparency, which is important and powerful.

Anything negative? A negative trend is people moving where the cheapest product is.

What is something that people might not know about you? Most people don’t realize that I’ve been raising exotic insects since I was nine years old. The Hercules beetle, the assassin bugs, and the black African millipede, for instance.