Having Dinner With Immaculate Infatuation

Within 10 minutes of ordering a beer and munching on some introductory kale salad at Jack’s Wife Freda with Andrew Steinthal and Chris Stang, it was easy to forget just how well-known the two guys really are.

Perhaps it was their good-humored bickering over pork buns or their unbridled excitement over a really good mackerel sandwich from Momofuku Ssäm, but the effect that these music-execs-by-day and food-critics-by-night have on their fans wasn’t recalled until hours later, upon reading a tweet.

"Major #celebritysighting last night. One table away from @immaculateinfat at Jack’s Wife Freda and too starstruck to say hello."

As the forces behind Immaculate Infatuation, a website full of hundreds of national "restaurant reviews that don’t suck," Steinthal and Stang tell a story with their critiques. With their conversational quips, brutal honesty, and name-drop-free reviews, the guys have cultivated their own corner of the culinary scene, fulfilling a need that no one even knew existed. Since the site launched in 2009, Immaculate Infatuation has expanded from just reviews, to interviews with “Infatuation-approved personalities,” videos, an iPhone app, and a 65-page New York Summer Guide full of recommendations, round-ups, – and lots of pictures. 

Between our first forkful of vegetable curry, to our last bite of whole fish, Steinthal and Stang shared over dinner their first business ideas, the similarities between music and food, and why they never, ever could live together. 

You both met at a CMJ convention 11 years ago. When did you realize you could work together on something?
Steinthal: We were college music directors at our radio stations in our respective schools, and we hit it off really well. We both were super passionate about music, made sure to stay in touch, and when we moved to New York, were keen on doing something together. Did we know back then we would ever do food? Hell no. Eleven years ago, I didn’t eat anything compared to what I eat now. I was such a picky eater. But as you grow up and you’re in NYC, it all kind of comes together, and I started really liking restaurants and food. Four or five years ago, we got really sick of going to bars and started going to restaurants all the time.

And when did Immaculate Infatuation come into the picture? Was that your first business idea?
Stang:
At one point we were like, “let’s do a t-shirt company,” cause we knew we wanted to do something and we were creative and driven. But in going out to dinner with our friends, we realized this is an opportunity for us to provide a service for people that don’t go to The New York Times to find restaurant recommendations. Our buddies weren’t the kind of guys perusing the dining section to find out where to take their date on Saturday night; they’d call us for recommendations. That’s when it occurred to us that this is where we can focus our energy into.
Steinthal: They don’t care if the guy from Eataly is behind the counter. Most people out there don’t know anything about these restaurant people. They just want a good restaurant. 

Which neighborhood has some of the best food?
Stang:
Overall, Nolita and the West Village.
Steinthal: But at the moment, Williamsburg. I’d rather eat in Williamsburg right now for new restaurants than any other place. There are so many good restaurants there right now, it’s not even funny.

What’s your favorite?
Steinthal: 
There’s this place called Allswell.
(Both gasp.)
Steinthal: Just so good.
Stang: Really, really good.
(The food arrives.)
Stang: It’s really dark in here. This isn’t really conducive to taking photos.
Steinthal: Just do it.

When did you guys first realize, "Wow, our site has some power?"
Steinthal: When we reviewed Post Office, this little whiskey bar in South Williamsburg.
Stang: We spent our whole night there drinking and eating. It was one of the best meals we had in a long, long time. The kitchen is the size of a postage stamp.
Steinthal: We reviewed it on a Monday or Tuesday, and then that weekend, there were 10-15 tweets saying “at Post Office, thanks Immaculate Infatuation, this place is amazing.” That’s when we were like, “whoa, this is happening. We are driving people into that restaurant.”
Stang: And it’s cool because that place wasn’t going to get written up in New York Magazine any time soon. They were doing something cool and interesting and we could help.
Steinthal: Those are the places we love to find. Not the ones everyone is talking about, but yet they’re doing something really cool.

What restaurant just doesn’t get enough attention?
Steinthal: This place in the East Village called Prima. Big focus on fish. They’re not getting written about since there’s nothing really remarkable about the menu – the food is just really simple and good – but they deserve to be known.
Stang: They have this one dessert that’s a classic French puff pastry, it’s really good, but it doesn’t register on the foodie scale, for whatever reason.
Steinthal: L’Artusi also falls into that. It doesn’t really get written about.
Stang: It’s never in the conversation about must-visit restaurants in New York City. That might be my personal favorite restaurant in the city.
Steinthal: This sounds cliched, but mine is Momofuku Ssäm Bar.
Stang: That mackerel sandwich they do? Bananas.
Steinthal: I get so excited every time I eat there.
Stang: The Chinese sausage and rice cakes.
Steinthal: Yeah.

What’s the one dining experience you’ve both disagreed on?
Stang: The biggest beef we have with each other is that I think Ippudo pork buns are better than Momofuku’s porn buns. Ippudo is a Japanese chain of ramen restaurants. It’s so crazy now, there’s like a two-hour wait even at lunch.
Steinthal: I’m obsessed with pork buns. Momofuku’s are way better.
Stang: That is what we disagree on. There is nothing as divisive as the pork bun. That’ll be what ends this website one day. Like on Behind the Music, “where did it start?”

You’ve been working in the music industry for years. How does your work in that field compare with your work in the food world?
Steinthal: At our jobs, we sometimes break bands, and we nurture and develop artists. So, with this website we’re doing the same thing. We’re pulling out every stop, connecting with every person on Twitter, every person we meet, trying to make a connection with everyone.
Stang: We try to make a personal connection with the people who read our site because we’ve seen what a difference it makes when a recording artist has a personal connection with their fans.

So you two work in the music industry – in the same building – and work together in your off-hours. Have you ever lived together?
Steinthal: Oh God no.
Stang: One of us wouldn’t be alive.
Steinthal: You can only get so much.
Steinthal & Stang: Yeah.

David Chang to Join Toronto’s Hotel Shangri-La

The Shangri-La Toronto is slowly starting to flex its muscles as a major downtown attraction—and it’s still only skeletons and scaffolding. The 5-star, 66 story hotel and residence tower, which straddles the Financial and Entertainment districts, it’s already causing a stir amongst locals. Anticipation has been building on Urban Toronto‘s forum, where construction progress and rumormongering have been laboriously detailed by users. The latest to come out of the construction site (and perpetuated on Twitter): David Chang has plans to open a restaurant in the hotel, joining the property for its 2012 scheduled opening.

Chang is an incredibly busy dude: ruler of the Momofuku empire (which includes Momofuku Noodle Bar, Momofuku Ssäm Bar, Má Pêche, Momofuku Milk Bar and the Michelin-starred Momofuku Ko), celebrated cookbook author, culinary bad boy (a title earned after telling Anthony Bourdain that Cali chefs “don’t manipulate food, they just put figs on a plate”), and most recently, an iPad app publisher. While Chang has not made an official confirmation, he did cryptically Tweet something rather leading:

@DavidChang: hello southern ontario . . . late late 2012ish?

To which the Urban Torontoans exclaimed:

David Chang? Seriously? That’s a massive score. I’d had my fingers crossed for a Nobu, but I’ll take a Momofuku anyday.

Hopefully they don’t build up too much buzz about it, so that I’ll actually be able to get the odd reservation here and there. Major pain in the ass to get in to some of his NYC locations.

I think the other hotels are dead to me now. This is the one I’m waiting for.

This Toronto-based project would be the chef’s first restaurant outside of New York City—a major coup for Shangri-La. His restaurant is rumored to be three full levels, in construction next to the hotel’s pools on the northeast end side of the hotel.

The Dish: Má Pêche’s Bánh Mì Maison

What: Bánh Mì Maison, a three terrine sandwich, with daikon and cilantro. Where: Má Pêche. David Chang’s Momofuku Midtown outpost in the Chambers Hotel is French-Vietnamese at its best. Ideal meal: On-the-go amidst the midtown rat race, barside after work paired with a Dark and Stormy, mid-day snack just ’cause you can. Only available at the Balcony Bar (11:30 am through 11 pm). Because: Chef Tien Ho has been on board with Chang since ’06, when he jumped in as Chef de Cuisine at Ssäm Bar. Although the transition from lunch to limited dinner menu at Má Pêche has taken some time, the bar menu is accessible and, without argument, incredible. Tastes like: Pate and pork roll literally melting on your tongue, coupled with a crisp-around-the-edges, moist-in-the middle baguette. The pate is just fatty enough to make your taste buds swoon, but not greasy—and definitely memorable. Bottom line: $10. Not exorbitant, and it’s a filling sammie. Even more reasonable when you realize that most Midtowners will spend the same amount on a soggy deli roll sandwich or a meal deal at chain restaurants.

Super Bowl Catering: Bringing New York’s Best Bites Home

The Super Bowl is an event not just because of the football, but because of the food. It’s an excuse to get plastered and snack on unfashionably delicious bar food on a Sunday afternoon, football fan or not. The wonderful thing about this is that restaurants often “go deep” and present their offerings in a catering-friendly form, so you can either (A) come to the party with the best snacks or (B) host one at your own digs, and not have to worry about preparing oven-baked sheet after sheet of Pizza Rolls and Bagel Bites, or even worse, trying to get someone to deliver during the game. Of course, there’s always pizza, which you can order a few hours before the day of, but why go for the normal grub when you can hit something slightly more exotic. In other words: which restaurants are helping New Yorkers get one through the uprights, and bringing forth good grub to the game?

Momofuku Ssam Bar All those who place their bets on David Chang to deliver the goods will be pleased to know that he’s again offering the Bo Ssam — a motherlode of whole slow-roasted pork shoulder, with all the fixings: napa kimchi, ginger scallion sauce, caramelized onion, horseradish crème fraiche, bibb lettuce — along with some awesome sides–smoked chicken wings, red onion cole slaw, yukon gold potato salad, baked adzuki beans with bacon–and one of the best desserts the MomoEmpire has to offer–a dozen compost cookies–for $325 this year. Better get on it, though: today (February 4th) is the last day they’re going to be taking orders. Not exactly a hail mary, though: Momofuku’s a pretty surefire bet, year-to-year, Super Bowl or not.

BLT Burger The haute Village burger stand (whose burger received notable approval from us last year) rolls out their own special for four, eight, or 15 people (priced respectively at $60, $120, $225). They’re packing in burgers, fried snacks (onion rings, skinny fries, sweet potato fries, waffle fries, fried dill pickles), along with chicken wings and waffle bites. Even better, orders can be places and picked up the day of the game, but call ’em in early, unless you feel like missing the halftime show.

Kefi Upper West Siders going slightly more highbrow than the average fried fatfest can hit up star chef Michael Psilakis’ casual Greek digs for something a little more exotic than the typical Super Bowl spread. 6-8 people can get Psilakis’ homemade pita “chips” with tzatziki dip, hummus, Greek salad and Kefi’s meatballs — which are, by far and away, the restaurant’s standout dish — along with spinach mac and cheese, some Spetsofai pasta (rigatoni, sausage and peppers), and your choice of Souvlaki or Roasted Chicken, which also comes with a side of lemon potatoes. You can call in an order to the restaurant for $49.95 day of, and get it delivered in the neighborhood at no extra charge. That said, someone’s working on the Super Bowl, delivering your food, while you’re partying. Tip well, lest you get sacked by bad karma.

MacBar One of those party dishes nobody’s ever gone wrong with, ever — Mac and Cheese — can be brought to the table in a style naturally befitting New Yorkers, which is to say, a variety of flavors including truffle oil, lobster, any number of cheeses, among others. MacBar’s got 12 different flavors, and they’re putting the entire menu up for catering 16 to 20 people, priced anywhere from $40 – $70. Orders need to be placed at least by Saturday, and when you pick ’em up, make sure you get a cabbie who can keep the meter running, lest you get stuck on a Nolita corner with a massive tureen of hot, gooey noodles without a ride to move ’em.

Acme Bar & Grill and Great Jones Cafe We couldn’t make a list without giving due diligence to New Orleans fans, who have some of the best native food in the country. Good Cajun food’s hard to find in the city, but Acme does delivery via Seamless Web, and they have an entire menu of PoBoys and a kitchen that could pull oof a party of ’em. It certainly isn’t the “fanciest” of the options here, but it’ll get the trick done. For superior Cajun grub, Great Jones (as the smaller restaurant) might merit a little more advance notice and a little more convincing, but will definitely bring tasty game to the table for New York’s dedicated, displaced WHO DAT nation who can’t (and shouldn’t) be bothered to cook that day.

Finally, Bar-B-Que‘s a sport in and of itself in New York, so it deserves a few options. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que doesn’t have a specific Super Bowl catering menu, per se, but they do have some of the best meat in town, and as they’re located all the way uptown, they’re not going to be as slammed as some of the other places you might end up at. South Brooklyn should head to the Smoke Joint, arguable the best in the borough, though North Brooklyn’s meat-on-meat destination Fette Sau in Williamsburg would beg to differ. Smoke Joint will come correct on the sides, while Fette Sau comes correct with all kinds of meat, though their side selection is limited. For Manhattanites, Danny Meyer’s Blue Smoke is a wee bit pricy, but solid, and Indy fans will appreciate their care for the midwest’s BBQ stylings; Wildwood‘s located a few blocks south, is cheaper, and has a bigger menu for those who want to reach outside the realm of more typical offerings, but Hill Country has the best of all worlds: good meat, great sides, reasonable prices, and most importantly, will deliver Sweet Tea in a mason jar for you. If that’s not Southern Hospitality, what is? Well, Upper East Siders can find out: the Justin Timberlake-associated Southern Hospitality does take-out, too.

Industry Insiders: David Chang, Chef Afire

A few years ago, a little restaurant called Momofuku Noodle Bar tucked itself into an East Village storefront. There was buzz over noodles, pork buns, a consistent gaggle of wait-listed patrons out front, and an of-the-minute, Pitchfork-grade music selection. The proprietor? This David Chang guy, this chef who couldn’t complete an interview without being self-depreciating to a fault, or throwing in an expletive or nine. Cut to present: Chang’s interview style hasn’t changed. His business has.

He conquered the East Village via a Ssäm Bar, a Milk Bar, and Ko—one of the hottest reservations in town, moved to the old Noodle Bar space—with his next mission being midtown, he’s gone from chef to full-on restaurateur. He recently took part in the “Four Fucking Dinners,” hosting some of the world’s most acclaimed chefs in his kitchens. He’s got a cookbook coming out, co-written by former New York Times $25 and Under critic Peter Meehan. And he’s participating in French food movement/magazine Le Fooding’s takeover of New York next week. We caught him for a few minutes to wax poetic on Le Fooding, fried chicken, the cookbook, cooking critics, and how Chang’s holding up between it all.

How’d you get involved with Le Fooding? I heard about Le Fooding through my friend Mauro Colagreco, who is a chef at Mirazur in France. He’d done some events with them and they approached me in New York last summer. I was pretty amazed that [Le Fooding’s] Alexander Cammas had moved his entire family here to make sure that it would take off.

How will this food festival will differ from others in New York? It’s a different spin. I hate doing events where you basically just serve something, and then people get drunk. They’re almost all the same. This one’s a collaboration of artists, musicians. It has a lot going on for it. Food’s the afterthought, but not really. It’s more of an event to get together and do something cool. On our end, it’s been organized very well.

What will you prepare? We’re trying to keep it simple. We’ll probably do a pulled pork, put it on some lettuce, and figure it out from there. Some type of variation of a Bo Ssäm. There needs to be some ease to what we do, but it still has to be delicious.

Tell us about the Four Fucking Dinners. In French, it translated to something like, ‘to eat fucking dinner.’ That was how it happened. It was a literal translation. It was all set up by Omnivore. We just figured out where was best to put who. Wylie has the beautiful kitchen, so at wd-50, they’re getting the Godfather, Michel Bras. We thought Ko is small, so it was perfect for Pascal Barbot. It really wasn’t that hard for us to decide. It’s exciting to have these chefs; I just hope we don’t fuck up their food.

How would that happen? Anytime you’re cooking in someone else’s kitchen, it’s tough on both parties. We’ve never worked together and I think everyone’s bringing their sous chefs, which is a challenge, logistically. Everyone wants to serve the best product possible. You have five chefs coming, that all have incredibly high standards, so we’re going to try to be of assistance to them and not a hindrance.

Are you surprised at the way the fried chicken dinners took off? Very much.

Locanda Verde now has a fried chicken dinner, did you ignite a trend? No, I know that they were all doing it independently. I had no idea that Andrew Carmellini was going to do it. I didn’t think that the other chicken we wanted would be an Old Bay spiced chicken. I knew that it would draw inevitable comparisons to Andrew’s chicken that he cooked at Café, which was amazing.

You told Alan Richman, GQ Food Critic, to ‘open up his own fucking restaurant’. Do you think he could? No, it was more just to be like, “I love you, Alan, but shut the fuck up.”

How did you get set up with Peter Meehan for your cookbook? Pete and I became friends over the years. I never knew who he was when he started coming into the restaurant, until Mark Bittman accidentally told me. Then I was like: “You’re the motherfucker who reviews restaurants.” He’d always come in for lunch on Saturdays and Sundays. He looked familiar, but I never knew that he was the Peter Meehan. I don’t know if we’d actually be friends if it weren’t for Mark Bittman, but we might have bumped into each other at a concert because we have similar musical taste. That’s how I met Peter Meehan, or at least figured out who the hell he was. Most things I do get a lot of attention, the less I do, the better it turns out. Pete really took charge (with the cookbook). Everyone helped, and Pete had a tremendous amount of work and he put it all together. If it’s a great book, it’s all Peter. If it’s a dud, it’s all my fault.

What’s up with Momofuku Midtown? We’re trying to get it ready and still trying to find a name. It’ll open late-Fall or early-Winter.

Are you over-extended? I do feel over-extended. We have a great staff, I’m not working the line every night. The midtown show is really Tien Ho’s project. I’m just going to be there in a supporting role for whatever he needs. I’m not necessarily bored, I’m just constantly trying something new with the rest of the restaurants. This year’s particularly trying in terms of events and scheduling, but that’s just how it goes sometimes. I don’t plan on having this hectic of a schedule again. Ideally, I’d like to not do so many events. But this might be how it is for the rest of the time, no one’s told me how things are supposed to be. I don’t know if it’s over-extended, but we want success, and I didn’t realize the baggage that came with that. It’s certainly surreal and weird.

What’s the key to keeping the dynasty afloat? I think that we need to hold ourselves to a high accountability, don’t believe the press, and we’re only as good as our last dish. We just need to keep pushing to get better everyday, and stay as humble.

What’s your fall drink? When fall and winter come around, I hit the brown stuff. Bourbon, usually Pappy Van Winkle‘s. 15 year and if I’m lucky, 20 year.

Where are you going out? I go to bars less and less these days. I always try to keep up to date with what Wylie is doing at wd. 15 East is great for sushi. I’d go to Sushi Yasuda all the time if it wasn’t in midtown, and Oriental Garden.

BlackBook Staff Picks: Dining, Drinking, Shopping, & Staying

Here at BlackBook, we pay a lot of attention to where cool customers go out — bars, clubs, restaurants, shops, hotels, you name it. So why not flip the frame and let you see where we go out? Here’s a periodically updated, exhaustive list of hotspots currently favored by everyone at BlackBook, from the mighty bosses down to the humble interns, from the charming local lounges around the corner to the jet-setting temples of luxe living.

EDITORIAL ● Editorial Director/Editor-in-Chief – Ray Rogers, Café Mogador (NYC) – Hummus, crack-caliber coffee, and outdoor patio for primo people-judging and “novel writing.” ● Creative Director – Jason Daniels, Babettes (East Hampton) – Don’t let the word “organic” turn you off . ● Executive Editor – Chris Mohney, Pegu Club (NYC) – OCD cocktail heaven. Pith helmet and ivory cane optional. ● Senior Editor – Nick Haramis, The Jane Hotel and Ballroom (NYC) – Latest smash from Sean MacPherson and Eric Goode gets all Edwardian on the WVill.

● Editor-at-Large – James Servin, The Raleigh (Miami) – The local equivalent of LA’s Chateau Marmont. ● Staff Writer – Ryan Adams, Republic (NYC) – Minimalist fave and only vaguely communist, which is more fun than the full-bore thing. ● Writer-at-Large – Alison Powell, Wurstküche (LA) – Hey, sausages! Downtown hipsters with a secret inner-manly-man are pleased. ● West Coast Editor – Matt Diehl, Cole’s (LA) – The 100-year-old buffet-style cafeteria comes back as something new (but the French dip stays). ● Nightlife Correspondent – Steve Lewis, La Esquina (NYC) – Day and night, eating, meeting and playing. ● Paris Correspondent – Dana Thomas, Hemingway Bar at the Ritz Hotel (Paris) – Posh sips & historic ambiance at the Ritz. ● Assistant Editors – Ben Barna, Tokyo (Montreal) – Buy one for the buff bartender while you’re at it—he’s a starving actor. Cayte GrieveCafé Asean (NYC) Foster Ethan KamerLa Superior (NYC) – Quite possibly the best little taqueria this side of town. ● Editorial Assistant – Eiseley Tauginas, Alta (NYC) – Alta, as in “high,” as in “haute,” at this sexy Village tapas spot. ● Copy Editor – Michèle Filon, Sripraphai (NYC) ● Editorial Interns – Annie Clinton Moto (NYC) – High-flavor food with dungeon loos. Sure, Moto’s for metros, but it’s hot anyway. Delia Paunescu Schiller’s Liquor Bar (NYC) – McNally’s successful entrée into the LES mess. Desiree Pais, Lit (NYC) – Rock bar du jour for hos and bros of the ain’t we the shit? set. Alexandra Vickers, Colette (Paris) – Art, style, music, sex and water.

ART ● Art Director – Amy Steinhauser, Five Leaves (NYC) – Café posthumously funded by Heath Ledger does justice to the work and hype put into it. ● Photography Assistant – Stephanie Swanicke, Brandy Library (NYC) – Highbrow mixology, let us know when it’s time to dust off the antique bottles on the upper shelf. ● Design/Photo Interns – Angela Chen, Dinosaur BBQ (NYC) – Roadhouse bringing southerners to Northern Manhattan. Krista Quick – Ottobar (Baltimore) – What can we say, this place rocks.Jeremy Jones – Tokyo Bar, (NYC) – Schizo décor and food, but decently done all the same.

FASHION & BEAUTY ● Fashion Director-at-Large – Elizabeth Sulcer, China Grill (NYC) -Heaping plates of Asian fusion amid fashionable environs. ● Market Editor – Bryan Levandowski, Bondi Road (NYC) – Wizards of Aus in NYC, we like your style. ● Fashion Assistant – Wilson Mathews III, Per Se (NYC) – Advanced gastronomy at the Time Warner Center. Thomas Keller pulls out all the stops. ● Fashion Interns – Samantha Shaw, Chez Janou (Paris) – Boisterous southern bistro near the Place des Vosges. Julien Blanc, La Esquina (NYC) – Fairly authentic Mexican and one of the city’s best-known “secret” bars. Laura Watters, Café Habana (NYC) – Scarfing roast pork is so much better when Mary-Kate is watching, longingly. Lindsay Abrams, Sketch: Gallery (London) – Quirky soho hot spot. BlackBook magazine Founder – Evanly Schindler, The Smile (NYC) – Earnest Sewn owners take over abandoned Double Crown space for Med-inspired cafe/boutique.

BLACKBOOK MEDIA CORP ● Chairman – Bob Hoff, Guys & Dolls (LA) – Sophisticated sexy in West Hollywood. 7 nights a week. ● CEO – Ari Horowitz, L’Ecole (NYC) – Get schooled in fine French cuisine at this tasty training center. ● Associate Publisher – Brett Wagner, Café Select (NYC) – SoHo café marries Swiss Alpine to downtown design, garners Next Brunch Place status. ● Director of Finance and Operations – Joe Friedman, Lucky Strike Lanes (NYC) – Scenester bowling from the dudes behind Marquee and Tao. ● Corporate Counsel – Drew Patrick of Drew Patrick Law, Dutch Kills (NYC) – Modern-day antique saloon from New York’s cocktail kings. ● Executive Assistant – Bridgette Bek, Motorino (NYC) – Belgian-bred Mathieu Palombino’s Billyburg pizza joint serves up personal pan-sized genius, one pie at a time.

ADVERTISING ● Senior Account Executive – Dina Matar, Gascogne (NYC) – Southern French cooking without the Southern French ‘tude. ● Account Executive – Brian Kantor, Botanica (NYC) – Dive that must be working some kind of Santeria to keep prices down in this excessive nabe. ● Executive Director, BlackBook Access – Gregg Berger, La Piaggia (Miami) – Keep your feet in the sand and your hand on the rosé glass at this waterfront café francaise. ● Detroit Account Executives – Jeff Hannigan, Blind Tiger Ale House (NYC) – Beer bar institution finds new home, devoted crowd. Kristen von Bernthal, Pure Food and Wine (NYC) – Say goodbye to a future of pacemakers and a gut the shape of China. Raw food is real food. ● Midwest Account Executives – Susan Welter, Perennial (Chicago) – This could easily become Chicago’s summer hotspot for years to come. ● Andrea Forrester, Mirai (Chicago) – Thumpin’ music and bumpin’ elbows don’t deter crowds from gathering for some of the city’s finest sushi. ● Southwest Account Executive – Molly Ballantine, Gjelina (LA) – New Venice, new American hotspot takes on Hollywood posturing and tude. ● Northwest Account Executives – Catherine Hurley, 15 Romolo (San Francisco) – Bourbon & Branch without the passwords and financial types. Shawn O’Meara, Suppenküche (San Francisco) – Fun place, hearty food. Check the diet at the door. Sales Coordinator – Claire Pujol, Fat Baby (NYC) – Dank in a clean way. Do not enter without skinny jeans.

MARKETING ● Marketing Manager – Julie Fabricant, Kingswood (NYC) – Creative Aussie eats. Feel like king of the W. Vill woods. ● Partnerships & Promotions Manager – Andrew Berman, Bozu (NYC) – Sunken Japanese paradise. Delectable sushi, incredible drinks. ● Interns – Rebecca Hill, Chicago Brauhaus (Chicago) – One of the last of Chicago’s great German restaurants with live oompah bands and an Oktoberfest menu year-round. Delna Joshi, Hudson Terrace (NYC) – Rooftop pleaser for drunk summer afternoons. Brianne Murphy, Beauty Bar (NYC) – Kitschy theme bar serving up mani/drink combos under a row of hair dryers. Elizabeth Pirozzi, Pink Elephant (NYC) – Gangsters, models, and house. Where one goes, the others must follow. Monica Dybuncio, Cha Cha Cha (San Francisco) – The Haight’s never-ending Caribbean party where Santerias and sangria rule. Emily Pflug Presidio, Delfina (San Francisco) – Overly moussed males, technophiles, and high-class hipsters collide in this local fine dining favorite. Lea Abeyta, The Annex (NYC) – Grown-up newcomer from Dark Room boys. Tiswas Saturday, Interpol’s Paul B holding down Wednesday. Joanna Rubinstein, Bar Breton (NYC) – Fleur de Sel’s tastes of Brittany now available in brasserie form. Marie Baginski, East Andrews Cafe & Bar (Atlanta) – Label toters run amok at Buckhead restaurant-bar and pack the place on Thursdays and Fridays. Megan Kunecki, Blender Theater at Gramercy (NYC) -New indie rocker hosting artists you put on your iPod for show while you’re really listening to “Since U Been Gone” again. Jay Kassirer, The Smile (NYC) – Earnest Sewn owners take over abandoned Double Crown space for Med-inspired cafe/boutique. Suhee Eom, Momofuku Ssäm Bar (NYC) – Chef-of-the-minute David Chang fancies up Korean burritos and gets avant-garde after 6pm. Jaime Marie, Sueños (NYC) – Sweet dreams of organic tequila and make-your-own-tacos really can come true! Rana Razavi, Sanctuary (Miami) – Swank rooftop bar and the promise of hanky panky in the pool.

DIGITAL ● Director of Development – Daniel Murphy, Yerba Buena (NYC) – Petite hot zone with wide range of Pan-Latino small plates. ● Lead Architect – Matt Hackett, Beast (Brooklyn) – Small plates and top brunch, come get lost in Prospect Heights. Developer – Bastian Kuberek, Motor City Bar (NYC) – Front like you remember how to drive and these 8 Milers might let you hang. ● Developer – Dan Simon, B.B. King Blues Club & Grill (NYC) ● Designer – Matt Strmiska, Manuel’s (Austin) – Immaculate cleanliness, smart design, and Wine Spectator-designated mole don’t come cheap even for the downtown lunch crowd. ● Developer – Sam Withrow, Pacific Standard (NYC) – Mellow, big-hearted Slope pub keepin’ it pacific. ● Quality Assurance Engineer – Sunde Johnson, Stone Park Café (NYC) – White on white, Williams-Sonoma, Maclarens, fish sandwiches, and burgers. ● Mobile Developer – Otto Toth, Centolire (NYC) – Mangia, mangia, and then ride up and down in the funny glass elevator until the hostess kicks you out.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS ● Bob Hoff, Guys & Dolls (LA) – Sophisticated sexy in West Hollywood. 7 nights a week. ● Ari Horowitz, L’Ecole (NYC) – Get schooled in fine French cuisine at this tasty training center. ● Eric Gertler, SoHo House (NYC) – Members-only decadent den where you may find scruffy English rockers or snaggle-toothed English bankers. Guess which is more likely. ● Joe Landry, Local (LA) – Anything goes, as long as it’s not beef. ● Irwin Lieber, Fishtail by David Burke (NYC) – Fresh seafood in the UES by celeb chef David Burke. ● Dan Pelson, Marea (NYC) – Hopes for a high tide abound at Michael White’s temple to Italian seafood. ● Barry Rubenstein, Shun Lee Café (NYC) – Haute Chinese and dim sum on a glossy, ’80s-fabulous set. ● Jack Sullivan, Blue Ribbon (NYC) – Bromberg bros brasserie takes care of Soho’s after-midnight crowd.
Brian Wilson Tickets Capital One Bank Theatre at Westbury Tickets Westbury Tickets

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Favorite NYC Spots, Done Right

As if winning an Oscar and having an Apple wasn’t enough, Gwyneth Paltrow is trying to steal our thunder by listing her favorite New York restaurants in her latest GOOP newsletter. That’s what we do, Gwyneth! How would you like it if we started doing yoga? When she did it for L.A., we let it slide as a mid-life crisis/nervous breakdown, but now she strikes again. Problem is, she’s not very good at it. After the jump, a list of Gwyneth’s favorite NYC restaurants, followed by her vague reasons why. Luckily, you can click on each restaurant to find out what it’s really about.

Babbo – “One of the city’s best.” ● Cookshop – “It is abuzz with foodies who come to taste the ever-changing menu.” ● Balthazar – “I love this place.” ● Gramercy Tavern – “One of New York’s most popular restaurants for a reason.” ● HanGawi – “HanGawi is a vegetarian Korean place that I have been going to for years.” ● Kelley and Ping SoHo – “Another SoHo spot that has been there for ages.” ● Lupa – “I love to go for spaghetti aglio e olio.” ● Omen – “Omen has been there since long before SoHo was trendy.” ● Sushi Yasuda – “Best sushi in NYC, hands down.” ● Tartine – “A very quaint, tiny French café on a perfect West Village corner.” ● Market Table – “I just recently discovered Market Table and I adore it.” ● BLT Fish Shack – “This is one of my most frequented spots.” ● 15 East – “One of my faves.” ● Pearl Oyster Bar – “Oh, how I love Pearl Oyster Bar.” ● Angelica Kitchen – “East Village granola heaven.” ● Momofuku Ssam and Noodle Bar – “These places became two of NYC’s hottest spots in a very short time. ” ● Aquagrill – “One of my regular spots.” ● Otto – ” A great place to bring kids.”