Thanksgiving Out, Where To Have Your Turkey and Eat It Too

With Thanksgiving less than a week away, it’s probably a good time to pin down what you are going to do for the holiday. While some people go home for this iconic feast, many of us choose to avoid that, and the kitchen all together. So where can you get your Thanksgiving on? There are plenty of options.

In Midtown, Del Frisco’s is giving steak a break, and instead, letting turkey take the main stage. They will also serve butternut squash soup, apple sage stuffing, potatoes au gratin, and pumpkin cheesecake; all for $80 starting at noon. 

For an Austrian twist, hit up Edi & the Wolf or their sister restaurant Seasonal Restaurant & Weinbar for a three-course prix fixe menu. At the more laidback Edi & the Wolf they offer dinner for $45, from 3pm to 12am, with dishes like roasted duck with sweet potato, spatzle with wild mushrooms and Brussels sprouts, and fluke tartare. At the other eatery, they serve pork belly with kale, grapefruit and sweet potato, rainbow trout, and Austrian caramelized pancakes with seasonal fruit, all for $65.

If you want to do two Thanksgivings in one day, you can go to Landmarc for Thanksgiving brunch. This feast of pumpkin pancakes, hash browns, and cheesy egg sandwiches comes with a $45 price tag. Follow that up with a three-course traditional turkey dinner at Back Forty in the East Village. There, for $60 you can get your fill of Brussels sprouts, roasted sunchokes, and pecan tarts. They will also be offering this feast at their SoHo location for $65, with the bonus of a fireplace.

Chef James Corona of Bocca Restaurant & Bar will whip up four courses for your Thanksgiving pleasure, for $49.95 starting at noon. The menu includes pumpkin risotto, turkey breast with chestnuts, and butternut squash soup with candied walnuts. You can also get this to go, or delivered to you.

Perilla chef Harold Dieterle has a lovely feast of brown butter sweet potato soup, roasted local turkey, braised ginger-sassafras short ribs, and pumpkin-chestnut bread pudding for guest starting at 2pm, until 9pm, for $75 a person. A great feast can also be had at The Little Owl in the West Village. There, chef and owner Joey Campanaro’s $85 prix fixe menu features Riesling roasted turkey with fig and root vegetable dressing, roasted scallops with truffled parsnip mousse, and Italian holiday cookies. Reservations start at 1pm and go until 10pm, and, it’s half off for kids under the age of 12. 

For charitable folk, il Buco Alimentari & Vineria is donating all proceeds from their Thanksgiving dinner to post-Sandy relief efforts. That means when you pay $85 for their family-style meal of antipasti, oysters, risotto, heritage turkey, roast suckling pig, and pumpkin gelato, you may not be doing your waistline any favors, but you are helping others. 

Finally, why sit down for a meal when you can get one to go in a flash at Pie Face. That’s right, this Australian pie shop has a Thanksgiving pie to go, which consists of turkey, stuffing and gravy in a buttery shell that gets topped with sweet potato mash and cranberry sauce. They also have pumpkin, pecan, and apple pies for dessert. Take home one or 12, they cost between $2.66 and $7.90, and taste just like Thanksgiving. 

4 Out of 5: Jake & Amir on New York

Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld are better and more informally known simply as Jake and Amir, and they are two best friends. (You gotta stop saying that.) (No.) They also have a Webby-award winning web series called "Jake and Amir." This is their take on four places they like, and one place they don’t.

RECOMMENDED

The Little Owl
Jake: Really adorable, really delicious, but doesn’t take reservations. The meatball sliders are worth the wait.
Amir: Overrated.
Jake: Have you ever been there?
Amir: I’m quoting a blog, relax.
Jake: Which blog.
Amir: This one.

Alma
Jake: Good food and best view of the Manhattan skyline in the entire city.
Amir: Two words, EMPIRE STATE BUILDING.
Jake: Wrong.

Momofuku Milk Bar
Jake: Delicious Cookies.
Amir: Thank you.
Jake: Wasn’t complimenting you.
Amir: I appreciate it.
Jake: Cool, you’re not listening to me.
Amir: Absolutely.

Uniqlo
Jake: One-stop fedora shop for all you stylish cats and dogs. They have other clothes too but it don’t matter when you’re rockin that doh-doh.
Amir: You’re not stylish.
Jake: YOU’RE NOT STYLISH. YOU’RE NOT STYLISH.
Amir: Put me down.

NOT SO MUCH

Sbarro Times Square
Jake: Overcrowded nightmare, terrible food.
Amir: Plus they won’t let me back in because I tried to steal a garbage bag filled with day-old tomato sauce.
Jake: Why?
Amir: BECAUSE I COULD.
Jake: Obviously not.

Top 10 Spots for a First Date

Variety is key when you are testing the waters of love and lust. To some, love is motivated by how fat one’s pocketbook is. To others, it’s based on where one is able to get a reservation at peak time on a Friday night. Whether your leading lady is a tastemaker with a tiny appetite, or your gent is a sucker for the sauce, there’s a hotspot that’s all the bang for your buck, and a watering hole that may just lead to a bang.

The Little Owl (New York) – Small hotspot where you can view the West Village through rose-colored window panes. A savvy choice for a date in the know, but let your date know you chose it for the greenmarket menu. Swoon. ● Mistral (Los Angeles) – Intimate space, low lighting, the smell of French cuisine, and love is in the air. Couples relish the dark corners. A vast wine list and pared-down menu means easy first date decision-making. Opt for fries over the spinach side; the soft light helps you seem sexy, but it will do nothing for a green tooth.

Nemo (Miami) – Don’t waste this space on someone you’re lukewarm for. Rack up first-impression points with the serious atmosphere at work here. Not too pretentious, but tasty and hip: She just might find a way to thank you after the meal. ● The Bourgeois Pig (New York) – A jump-off point for daters to test the waters before committing to a bite to eat, though perfect as a post-dinner stop when things are going well. Champers, chocolate, cheese make eating sexy as hell. ● Smith & Wollensky (Miami) – Fab first date spot even if your date isn’t a carnivore. For light fare, opt for the cocktail/oyster combo — though the view is the only aphrodisiac needed. Great food, stiff drinks, and unrivaled panoramas of the ocean and the Miami skyline. ● Casa Tua (Miami) -There’s the intimate speakeasy feel that helps to make an impression, especially if your date is young and impressionable. Lamps hang from banyan trees in the garden, inviting atmosphere is conductive to great conversation and even better make-out sessions. Plead your first-date case to the members-only bouncer and see if you can’t stretch out the evening. ● Casa La Femme (New York) – If you’re the dating type that needs a few props, this all-inclusive date spot is loaded with shiny distractions. Tent city flaunts belly-dancing beauties and unbeatable signature cocktails to spice things up. Décor is richly detailed, bearing a genuine elegance to mask the cliché sexiness of it all. ● Little Door (Los Angeles) – Deserving of its reputation as THE place to go on a date — whether you speak fluent or just cinematic French, mais oui. The courtyard will help you fall in love, the sexy candlelight will make you fall in lust, and the extensive drink list will take care of anything in between. ● Mayahuel (New York) – The goddess of agave may be on your side for a modern-day Spanish inquisition. Speakeasy vibe with serious, sexy decor, and food to match. Creative cocktails will impress mixology minors; opt for small, shareable plates and cozy up in a carved-out booth. ● August (New York) – For a date of the handholding variety, turn to this claustrophobic cave restaurant. In the fall, intimate garden and sweater weather inspire premature cuddling, which could lead to other things more mature. ● Bowery Hotel (New York) – Pretend you’re somebody as you whisk your date through the golden doors propped open by smiling bellhops. Good for blind dates, it’s a cozy spot where you can get closer, or direct your attention to Cameron Diaz getting blitzed at the bar. Swill red wine on vintage chairs, surrounded by downtown “it” people. It’s all very very, even if your date is very boring.

Unbeatable Meat: Pat La Frieda’s Burgers at Home

It’s no secret that many of the city’s best burgers share a common, juicy thread. Pat La Frieda and his Wholesale Meats are responsible for the patty prowess of places like Shake Shack, The Little Owl, Market Table, and of course Minetta Tavern, where the Keith McNally-exclusive Black Label blend manages to justify its $26 price tag. So it should be no surprise that my heart practically leapt forth from betwixt my gigantic, fantastically toned pecs (hey, everyone needs a hobby, right?) when I learned via A Hamburger Today that NYC’s overlords of delivered groceries, FreshDirect, would be selling La Frieda burgers for the remaining days of summer and beyond. Better yet, they come vacuum-sealed in a mixture of oxygen and carbon dioxide which keeps the patties fresh almost thrice as long. La Frieda burgers in my own home? A whirl had to be given.

The La Frieda burgers come in three varieties: Original (chuck, brisket, and short rib, $5.99/lb), Brisket (chuck and brisket, $5.99/lb) and Short Rib (chuck and short rib, $6.99/lb). Since it was my first time handling such prized meat, and because square one seemed like as good a place to start as any, I went with the Original. The patties are thick and beautifully formed thanks to a low-pressure chopping machine, a careful step which results in a texture that borders on chunky. Seasoning the meat with a Quebecois black pepper spice blend from Les Epices Gourmandes, I set my grill pan to medium-high and gently placed my burgers in the searing cookware. Meat temperature is a debatable preference, but I tend to go for medium-rare. After a nice crust had formed, I flipped the patties and topped them with slices of pepper-jack cheese, doming them with a turned-over soup pot to help the cheese melt faster. I aspire to modest levels of burger purism, so I topped the decadent manwich with thin slices of half-sour pickles and a dollop of country ketchup from Stonewall Kitchen, which has a nice vinegary bite to it that bolstered the half-sours perfectly.

image

Consensus? These are the best burgers I’ve ever cooked at home. They’re well worth the cost, being on par price-wise with other FreshDirect burger offerings. Cooked medium-rare, they developed an excellent crust in my grill pan, with the flavor and texture of buttery chopped steak. It was everything a burger should be, with all the elements — tang from the pickles and ketchup, unctuousness from the cheese and beef — in complete harmony. Sometimes when industry brands try to make the jump to grocery items their efforts fall flat, but La Frieda and FreshDirect have nailed this one. Clara Peller, it’s over. We know where the beef is.

NYC Nightlife Report: Loving Where You’ve Never Been

Dining might be the new nightlife, so then where does that leave nightlife? Could nightlife be the new shopping? Could it be still alive and well, and hiding behind a bandolier of dusty velvet ropes? Our dear Foster’s existential breakdown and subsequent pocketbook damage got me to thinking about what everyone else (re: people with jobs other than chronicling New York nightlife) is doing with their free time in Manhattan. I cornered a Wall Street Dude, a New York Newbie, a Hipster DJ, a girl-about-town Socialite, a Fashion Intern, and a Lawyer to see what’s going on behind our editorial backs. Turns out actually going someplace isn’t a precursor for strong opinions, pro or con. For example:

WALL STREET DUDE So, what do you think is hot these days in nightlife? Minetta Tavern.

Minetta Tavern. Have you ever been? No. Then how do you know it’s hot? Because it’s impossible to get a reservation. Have you tried? No. Where else do you go? Listen, I’m really busy right now. My choice is Minetta Tavern.

FASHION INTERN Fashion interns always seem to know what the coolest place is before anyone else does; why do you think this is? I don’t know. Most of us are still in college, so we have that network going for us. Otherwise we’re furthering our careers by being fashion whores. Meaning you sleep around a lot? No, like we’re furthering our careers with other people in the industry, so we go where people in the industry go. They’re usually just places where people look cool and interesting, and where no one else really goes, until a bunch of people figure it out and ruin it like they did with Chloe 81. So where are you going these days? The Box has suddenly gotten a second chance at life. Chloe is totally over. The Gates kind of sucks, but everyone else goes there, so why not? Collective Hardware is pretty much the only place I can say I actually like. What about eating? What are the best new restaurants? [Laughs] Um, I’m broke as shit. I eat for a dollar on St. Marks. Otherwise I follow around this promoter, Monroe. He’s a model promoter. We go to STK for free dinner. And on Thursdays The Box has free dinners. Shhh.

LAWYER So what do you think of when you think of cool places to go to in Manhattan? [Wide-eyed] Is this a test of some sort? No, I just want your opinion! Um, okay well when I think of what’s cool in New York I think of downtown? Is that a question or a statement? Oh I don’t know! I’m so far behind. Well, Scarpetta. I like that place a lot. I think dell’anima was really fun and good, and the sister place L’artusi? Otherwise I have my go-to places: Little Owl, Spotted Pig. I can never get away from Freemans. When it comes to bars or clubs, do you think it’s important to spend your dimes on what people would consider a popular spot? Well, I have a screaming infant at home, so I don’t like to go to places like Bungalow 8, or the Eldridge. There’s this place in my neighborhood, Dutch Kills. Have you heard of it? The cocktails are so amazing. They are like designing potions behind the bar. They have like, four different kinds of ice cubes. What do you perceive to be a happening place? The last place I’ve heard of is the Eldridge. And 1Oak.

NEW YORK NEWBIE What do you think is “hot” right now in food and nightlife? I’ve been going to mostly divey places, but I would say Buddakan. Have you eaten or had a drink there?? Have not. Then why do you think they’re so popular? It’s a place I’ve heard talked about the most by my friends who live in the city. What do you think has been the “trendiest” place you’ve been to? Probably more classic than trendy, but the Union Square Cafe is the best restaurant I’ve been to in New York. What is the best meal you’ve eaten? Cuban food at Café Habana on Prince & Elizabeth. It sounds odd, but they have this insanely good corn on the cob grilled with cayenne pepper, spices, and cheese. Where are you from? San Francisco. But I just came here from Canada.

HIPSTER DJ Where are you going these days? I mostly go to BEast. Surprisingly I’m out in the Hamptons a lot, Sole East has gotten to be MAJOR. Webster Hall is great when they have good DJs. What places can’t you stand? I loathe typical places. I loathe the Jane Hotel. I loathe Avenue. I loathe The Gates. Have you been to Avenue? No. What about food? Where are your go-to places for grub? Les Enfants Terribles. The owner is amazing … when you call he answers with you first name, “Hello So-and-so.” He has his little dog running around, so it’s very laid back. I like Emporio — the food is great and they have a great patio. You seem to keep it in the Lower East Side a lot. Why? It’s basically where all of my friends are, and it’s where you hear all the good music.

SOCIALITE So, food. Do you eat it? Yes. I don’t care what people say about Monkey Bar — I love it. And Waverly will always be good; the truffle macaroni and cheese is still to die for. Gilt is good, and Sant Ambroeus for morning tea. I like Charles, Montenapo, and Macao Trading too. Why do you like these places? Well, the atmosphere is fantastic! It’s really personal, all of my friends go there, so there’s always a bunch of table-hopping going on. And if you are feeling mischievous, you get a lot of privacy, since celebrities usually go to these places too. So you feel like you can let loose without worrying. What about drinks? Unfortunately, my favorite places have shut down. I loved Socialista and the Beatrice Inn. I guess 1Oak is good sometimes, but when Scott is there it’s best. And Ronnie. Soho House is getting pedestrian, but it’s still quite nice during the week days. I still like Above Allen, and Raines Law Room.

Industry Insiders: Sandra Ardito, Giving the OK to KO

Sandra Ardito heads sales, marketing and special events for KO Hospitality Management (Cooper Square Hotel, Empire Hotel, Hotel on Rivington, and Chelsea Hotel in Atlantic City). We met the hospitality connoisseur at the Cooper Square Hotel to get the scoop on the Hamptons Memorial Day hotspot, the Reform Club Inn (suites and private cottages in Amagansett), working for Ian Schrager, and why we should stay at Cooper Square (besides the fact that it’s the location of the Bjork’s afterparty tonight).

Is this the first hotel KO has developed? No, we did the Empire Hotel on 63rd Street, and we did the Chelsea Hotel in Atlantic City for Paul Sevigny and Matt Abramcyk. For those hotels, I would describe us as the hired guns.

Who are the other members of the KO team? Klaus Ortlieb, Yana Yevinson, Meg Burnie, Manuela Kolb, and Annie Ohayon.

How’d you get here? I was the director of special events at Chanterelle. Budgets were $250,000 to a million back then. And while there, I moonlighted by helping people open their restaurants. I opened the Harrison with owner Jimmy Bradley. I met some amazing people, like Joey Campanaro from Little Owl. I was Jason and Jen’s investor at ‘ino on Bedford street. Eventually, Meg Burnie brought me into meet Klaus at the Hotel on Rivington. That’s when I left Chanterelle. My first event at the Rivington was Timothy Greenfield Sander’s XXX Book. Bill Dye called me to be part of Gramercy Park Hotel with Ian Schrager. We opened with the Marc Jacobs party on September 11, 2006, after working for months nonstop. I shadowed Ian for the two nights before we opened the hotel. He had receptions for all of his friends and was surprised at how I knew them. He said, “You are the girl, you are going to do this.” It was like a love letter. And he trained me and nurtured me into this role. Finally, Klaus started KO Hospitality Management about a year and a half ago and asked me if I wanted to be a partner. It was very hard to leave Ian. At KO, we work with owners and developers from ground-up construction. We attaché the restaurant, the architect, the interior designer, and conceptualize the entire project.

Something unique about Cooper Square Hotel? Every book in the Cooper Square hotel was picked through Housing Works, which is a charity for AIDS victims. People can purchase the books and the money will go to the charity. Klaus is a seasoned professional who only takes on projects he believes in. He worked with Andre Balazs and Ian Schrager for years. He wanted the experience at Cooper Square to be completely different, that’s why there’s no reception desk. There’s a lobby host who shows you to your room. It’s about personal attention. Klaus sat on 575 chairs until he choose what he felt was the right one. We’re also building a screening room on the second floor. There’s an indoor/outdoor bar on the second floor as well, and a 3,000-square-foot terrace.

What is your specific contribution? The total experience here. I hand-picked the staff. What Ian and Klaus have given me, I hope to give to someone else.

What’s the next project? We are helicoptering to the Reform Club Inn in Amagansett to get ready to open for Memorial Day weekend.

What music do you listen to? Rock ‘n roll — Iggy Pop, The Raconteurs, Jane’s Addiction.

Favorite artist? Radek Szczesny.

Favorite restaurants? ‘inoteca, Little Owl, and James in Brooklyn

Favorite bar? Royal Oak in Williamsburg, Madame Geneva in the Double Crown and Bowery Electric.

Favorite hotel? East Deck in Montauk for a retro motel and The Crillion in Paris for high-end.

Who do you admire in the business? I grew up reading about Ian Schrager and then had the pleasure of working for him. He hired me to be his director of special events. The man who started the party is looking at me and letting me see his vision. It’s an honor and the best compliment. I also admire Klaus Ortlieb for his loyalty, compassion, and integrity, and Nur Khan for the incredible way he takes care of people

Who do you feel does it right? Joe and Jason Denton of ‘inoteca and Lupa

What’s something people don’t know about you? I’m an avid gardener and spend all my money on plants for my roof deck that I made totally grassroots style with my boyfriend.

What are you doing tonight? Going to Bjork’s concert at Housing Works and then to her after party at Cooper Square Hotel.

Photo: Mike Mabes

Industry Insiders: Danny Abrams, Average Diner

We’ve all got recession fever, but no other business is feeling the heat quite like the service industry. While most restaurateurs are agonizing at empty tables and fleeting sales, Danny Abrams — co-owner of Smith’s and head honcho at The Mermaid Inn — has been enjoying the perks of a flourishing eatery with a new executive chef (Doug Psaltis, formerly of Country, The French Laundry, and Mix) and a creative menu with comfort-foodie fare. Abrams tells us how he started out in the business, the ways in which the landscape of New York restaurants is changing, and why being a nice guy and an “average diner” have put him at the top of his game.

Smith’s is now in its second year; you recently installed Doug Psaltis as executive chef. What’s that been like? I’ve never had this kind of radical change. Bringing in somebody who has pedigree and has experience is something new for me. I just like working with a professional chef. Sometimes, you know, finding a good chef, or finding a good partner, is like finding a girlfriend — you’ve got to kiss a lot of frogs. Sometimes you go through a few people, and you meet a bunch of people, and they all speak well, they speak a good game, but when it comes down to producing a great product and running a professional kitchen … it’s rare.

Doug’s only been there for a few short weeks. How’s it going? It’s a process. We’ve definitely seen progress on our end. Our regulars have enjoyed the changes that we’ve made. Bringing Doug certainly has gotten some interest for Smith’s. We’ve made a lot of progress and some great strides in a short amount of time, and I just expect it to get better and better.

What are some of your favorite things off the new menu? I love the beef tartare. A lot of the times you get beef tartare and it’s a little bit mushy, and I think the way Doug cuts it, it’s a little bit chewy and chunky, which I like. I love the chicken and grits.

You’ve done really well with serving comfort food classics in New York. Starting out as a restaurateur, was this the kind of food you wanted to serve? Well, I will say that I try and build restaurants, and I try to work with food that I like to eat, and I’m a pretty average diner. So if I like it, other people will like it. I don’t really like to reinvent the wheel.

And how did you get started wanting to be a restaurateur and working in the service industry? I was a bartender for years, and I opened my first bar in 1991, and that did well. Then, I opened a dance club, and that did well. Then, we opened a place called Prohibition on the Upper West Side; I opened a restaurant called Citrus, and luckily, that did well. So, I went from bars and clubs and kind of jazz lounge environments to wanting to be in the restaurant business. The first real restaurant that I opened was the Red Cat, on 10th Avenue. I got a taste for being able to provide an environment that people enjoyed and a product that people enjoyed.

When you started out with that first bartending gig, did you know you wanted to be in the service industry? No, I just wanted to make some money and have enough to go out and have fun.

It seems like a lot of people who end up in a career in the service industry, besides chefs and restaurateurs, don’t always start out with that goal in mind. What about this line of work’s so appealing to so many people? That’s a great observation because a lot of people that wound up in the restaurant business didn’t really plan on it. They didn’t go to college for it, they didn’t think when they were a kid, “I can’t wait to grow up and be a restaurateur,” or, you know, run a hotel or something like that. There’s something about the romantic aspect of it, where you’re kind of the host of the party every night, and there’s something really interesting about providing an environment where, at the end of a long, stressful day in one of the most difficult cities on the planet, people can come and let their hair down and enjoy what you’re providing.

You’ve worked in the service industry since 1986. What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen, especially in the New York restaurant landscape? The biggest change is peoples’ expectations, which have been heightened, and there’s so much more competition for your dollar. In the past, if you provided one or two of those elements, they could still kind of have a good experience.

And now? Right now, everything has to gel: The service has to be great, the environment has to be great, the product has to be great.

Is this kind of economically and fiscally conservative dining continuing as a trend? We’re going to get through this. I think that it’s cyclical, and I think that the first quarter of ’09 is going to be the most difficult quarter for the recession. It’ll shake out some of the operators that got in for the wrong reasons, or thought they could get by without providing the service that people were expecting.

What’s exciting that’s going on in food right now, to you, in New York? The big trend I see is the fruition of very small, chef-driven restaurants. The days of opening a $5 million, 200-seat extravaganza have certainly fallen by the wayside. If you see the success of restaurants like Perilla and Market Table, and places like that — Franny’s, in Brooklyn — there’s been a lot of owner-operated, chef-operated restaurants, as opposed to restaurateur-operated restaurants, and that’s really cool.

Examples? You get a chef like Joey Campanaro from The Little Owl, who is at that restaurant all the time trying to make it better, and coming up with great food and great ideas, and Mikey Price from Market Table, who’s putting in 16 hours a day, really watching over his business, and that’s great; that’s getting back to the spirit of opening a restaurant.

When you’re not at your restaurants, where do you like to grab a bite? You know, I’m lucky — between my girlfriend and I, we have four restaurants, and we often go to the restaurants that we own. I do like Market Table, Mikey does a great job. I like Little Owl, I love Perilla.

And again, I had such an amazing meal at Smith’s, I can’t even tell you. Everything was on point, just proficient on all levels. I’m really glad you enjoyed it, you know, that makes me feel great, and it just reaffirms that working with Doug has been the right choice. That’s great, I appreciate that, really. Be sure to tell all your friends.

The Best Sliders in New York

How does one honor Burger King’s historic unveiling of their new Breakfast Burger Shots? Why, with a listicle of the best slider burgers in New York, of course. To hell with White Castle.

Aspen (Union Square) – Tender bison sliders are fitting for this urban ski lodge complete with fireplace, plastic deer heads, and a heavy accumulation of neighborhood cube slaves drinking dinner. Polenta fries are nothing short of kick-ass. ● Pop Burger (Meatpacking District) – Late-night fast-food counter pushes killer burgers, dogs, onion rings, fries, and shakes in slick, designy digs featuring famed Basquiat Crayola lithos. Sliders with perfectly melted cheese and secret sauce are so lil’ you can almost hear them beg for mercy upon first bite.

The Little Owl (West Village) – Tucked away intimate 28-seater whose marquee dish are the meatball sliders. The plump ball is a marriage of veal, beef, and pork, all living happily under the same rustic garlic bun. It’s your job to tear that marriage apart with your teeth. ● The Stanton Social (Lower East Side) – Lofty tri-level space tries to be all things to all yupsters. A magnet for Yorkville types looking to experiment with “ethnic” food. Replacing the original slider with original sliders: Kobe beef, Rhode Island lobster, BBQ pulled pork, and Philly steak sliders. ● Rare in the Shelburne Hotel (Murray Hill) – The best burger on the Hill and perhaps in all of the known universe, i.e. NYC. Pampered patties not limited to beef: ahi, crab and bison join the gamut. We dare you to grace your beef burger with truffle butter, foie gras, smoked cheddar, and a fried egg. Helpfully, emergency room’s right around the corner.

New York Food & Wine Festival Tour

imageThe Food Network is throwing a three-day party, and you’re invited. The first ever New York Food & Wine Festival debuts this weekend in the city. Held mostly in the Meatpacking District and DUMBO, this foodie festival will have mouths watering all weekend. Get your tickets here, and check out our selected three-day itinerary to figure out how and when to get in on the action.

Friday 10 p.m.-midnight: Highline Ballroom for Midnight Music & Munchies (hosted by Daily Candy). Top Chefs featured on Daily Candy make late-night treats, hot-spot bartenders make drinks, and Tom Colicchio makes music (really) with Milton.

Chefs: Govind Armstrong from Table 8, Anne Burrell of Centro Vinoteca, Scott Conant of Scarpetta, Michael Psilakis of Anthos, Harold Dieterle of Perilla, Jimmy Bradley of The Red Cat, Akhtar Nawab of Elettaria, John Frasaer of Dovetail, and Joey Campanaro of Little Owl.

Bartenders: Jim Meehan of PDT, Audrey Saunders of Pegu Club, Jason Kosmas and Dushan Zaric of Employees Only, and Julie Reiner of Flatiron Lounge and Clover Club.

Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.: Del Posto wine tasting seminars. … or … 10 a.m.-4 p.m.: Hotel Gansevoort wine tasting seminars. … or … 3 p.m.: Una Pizza Napoletano, pizza, pizza, and more pizza. Talk about it, learn about it, eat it. … and then … 7 p.m.: Adour, dinner hosted by Alain Ducasse. … or … 7 p.m.: Craftsteak, dinner hosted by Tom Colicchio, Jess Jackson and Alfred Portale.

Sunday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.: More Del Posto wine tasting seminars. … or … 10 a.m.-4 p.m.: And yet more Hotel Gansevoort wine tasting seminars. … then … 6-9 p.m.: Hotel Gansevoort wrap party.