7/29/2013 03:07:00 PM

Discover the New Zagat! 11 comments

Big news! Today marks the launch of the all new Zagat.com and a new app for Android and iPhone. We've completely redesigned our website, which still features the latest news and video content from our expert local editors, curated lists, powerful search and map-based browsing to help you find the local gems. And for the first time, the trusted Zagat ratings and reviews are available for free with no registration required. Check out the sweet new features in the video above, and then be sure to try them out for yourself right here.

7/26/2013 05:20:00 PM

This Week's Top Restaurant and Food News 16 comments

Ice cream at Sbraga
Does rose go with ice cream? It did this week, as our primers on the two (delicious) edibles were among the most widely read stories. Also in the top ten - our burger survey - which you should take right now, preferably with a glass of rose. Fill it out here.

1. 31 Crazy Ice Cream Flavors from Around the World
2. Paula Deen Cancells NYCWFF Appearance 
3. Rose for Every Occasion: A Guide to Pink Wine
4. Take our 2013 Burger Survey
5. Tales of the Cocktail: 10 Bartenders Reveal Their Guilty Pleasures
6. The Ultimate Guide to NYC Restaurant Week 
7. Dominique Ansel: The Man, The Myth, The Cronut 
8. Live Blog and Video: San Francisco 30 Under 30 
9. Taste Tour: Can't Miss Top Chef Restaurants
10.  8 Watermelon Dishes and Drinks

7/26/2013 04:54:00 PM

Quote of the Day: Day Drinking Action Plan 5 comments

Photo: Gabi Porter 

“You can’t drink all day unless you start in the morning.”

-An invite handed out at last week's Tales of the Cocktail, the annual spirits world bacchanal that takes over New Orleans. The Post published a fine article about the spirited fest here, and you can see our roundup here. [NY Post]

7/26/2013 04:30:00 PM

Boston Summer Restaurant Week on Tap for August 18-23, 25-30 8 comments

Bronwyn in Somerville
Mark your calendars for Boston Summer Restaurant Week to take place August 18-23 and August 25-30. So far there’s a great lineup of over 200 restaurants offering prix-fixe menu deals. During this time, participating restaurants will offer two-course prix fixe lunches for $15.13 and $20.13, and three-course dinners for $38.13. So far 80 Thoreau, newbie Bronwyn, Cinquecento and many more are participating. Click here for a full list and to check out the menus!

7/26/2013 04:02:00 PM

First Look: Governor Space is Reborn as Atrium 4 comments

Last night, the DUMBO restaurant space that was destroyed in Hurricane Sandy reopened as Atrium, and we dropped by to snag a few pictures of the food and decor. The address previously housed Governor, one of our favorite openings of 2012. It was sadly shuttered post-hurricane due to extensive water damage, but fans will recognize many of the design elements from the former concept. The new team at the venue kept flourishes like the live plant wall and chef's counter, and an upstairs space (that was presumably above the water level) which contains stylish table seating.

We took a look at the food in a post yesterday, but after stopping in we can confirm that the baby green salad is as tasty as it is beautiful. Scope that out below (15 Main St.).

7/26/2013 02:57:00 PM

Tim Gunn: On Coffee, Dressing for Dinner and His Favorite NYC Restaurants 1 comments

Photo by Hernan F. Rodriguez 
The world of food and fashion recently collided when Nespresso named Tim Gunn as their new brand ambassador. The Project Runway host and style specialist says he “loves coffee and loves design,” so the partnership fits as well as a custom-made Italian suit. We sat down with Gunn to talk food and style over bites prepared by Iron Chef Marc Forgione…while sipping a few Nespresso coffee martinis, of course.

Zagat: In your role as Nespresso ambassador, have you had a chance to visit any of the big coffee producing countries around the world?

Tim Gunn: Not yet. What I love about the Nespresso brand is that they are sourcing beans from all over the world, but I think I’d love to go to South America, partially because I’ve never been there, and partially because it is such a rich source for coffee beans.

7/26/2013 02:40:00 PM

Five Guys in Boston Launch Breakfast Starting on Monday 1 comments

Five Guys on Summer Street in Boston
On Monday, July 29, Five Guys Burgers and Fries at 58 Summer Street in Boston will be dishing out more than burgers and fries. The quick-serve burger joint will offer breakfast, seven days, 7-11 AM. The menu includes an egg sandwich alone or with cheese, with bacon or both - and even with a burger patty ($2.99-$3.99, with an additional $1.50 for the burger patty). Coffee and OJ are also part of the offering. It's the first Five Guys in the Northeast to offer a good-morning meal! (617-482-2244)

7/26/2013 01:28:00 PM

Food Truck of the Week: Eastman Egg Company 5 comments

Photos by Nick Murway
Food Truck of the Week is our tribute to Chicago's booming food truck industry. We highlight the people putting the pedal to the metal in the street food scene.

The illusive breakfast of champions -- a beautiful thing invented, but not satisfied by, a bowl of Wheaties. By the time you hit the snooze button three times, throw the alarm on the floor altogether, roll out of bed, skip the shower and head to work there is hardly time for any breakfast at all. What if there was a way to get a filling breakfast without turning on the stove or taking out a bowl? Feast your sleepy eyes on the black breakfast-mobile Eastman Egg Company. It has the balanced breakfast thing covered with egg sandwiches, fresh juices and hot or cold coffee right outside the office.

7/26/2013 12:54:00 PM

Outdoor Dining Alert: Dag's Brings Alfresco Burgers to Midtown East 3 comments

There's a new burger joint in Midtown East near the UN, and it comes eqipped with plenty of outdoor seating. Perfect timing, since the heatwave just broke and we're about ready to sit outside and stuff our faces again. Dag's Patio Cafe is located in Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza on 47th Street and is now offering a menu of LaFrieda burgers and franks. The patty actually contains both short rib and chicken, a pretty unique blend, and you can enjoy it with vino, beer and soft serve ice cream.

The spot's patio, aka the real reason for stopping by, is spacious, fitting up to 125 diners. The space, which is open for breakfast at 7 AM and will serve until 10 PM, is run by the folks behind tony bars like The World Bar in Trump Towner and Campbell Apartment in Grand Central.

7/26/2013 12:11:00 PM

Watch: How to Make Sushi Pizza 0 comments

If you can't choose between sushi and pizza, why not have both? We went behind the scenes at Taka Taka in New York City to get a how-to lesson on its signature tuna sashimi tostada. While you won't be able to get this at your local slice shop, you can satisfy both cravings by making it at home. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube page for more insider tips:

7/26/2013 11:55:00 AM

New Rule Proposal Will Increase Food Import Safety 1 comments

There's been a slew of food-borne illness stories throughout the past couple months, and today the FDA announced a new set of rules that, if put into effect, should help reduce the danger in the global food chain. The NYTimes has a look at the new standards, which will apply the same safety requirements to both foreign and domestically produced ingredients. Right now it's the government's job to insure food safety of imports, but this would shift the onus to importers, who will have to insure safety standards are being met through their supply chains overseas. This affects a majority of the fruit and veggies consumed by Americans.

7/26/2013 11:38:00 AM

Ristorante Olivio Adds a More Modern Look, Lighter Fare to Menu 0 comments

The newly renovated Ristorante Olivio; photo courtesy of Brian Samuels Photography
Given that in recent years guests have been leaning on more casual digs and demanding lighter fare, Arlington's quaint Italian restaurant Ristorante Olivio has evolved.

The menu, along with Italian classics, now offers lighter fare such as small plates, a variety of antipasti, half orders of pasta, and paninis and burgers. Examples include an $11 order of gnocchi with mushrooms, butter, thyme and grated Romano, or $18 for a full portion. There’s a meatball panini with mozzarella ($9) and burger choices such as an Angus burger Caprese with buffalo mozzarella, tomato and basil ($12).

7/26/2013 11:10:00 AM

Rockaway's New Playland Motel: A Poor Man's Hamptons? 6 comments

Rocktauk? Monkaway? We're brainstorming new names for Far Rockaway, since the scruffy little beach enclave - despite devastating hurricane damage to its famous boardwalk - is fast becoming less down-at-the-heel. The latest upswing is the Playland Motel, which opened a few weeks ago not far from the beach, and is already jammed with in-the-know Brooklynites at its weekend patio parties.

The aesthetic is something like Surf Lodge-meets-Ruschmeyer's, all weathered or whitewashed boards, and a sprawling back deck strung with lights and outfitted with sandy areas for lounging, wading in an inflatable pool, or playing ping-pong or cornhole. (The games are appropriate since the motel is named for the Playland Amusement Park, which was razed in the 80s.) Each of the rooms upstairs - there are just 12 - has been decorated by a different artist. We heard rumors of astroturf, an ersatz murder scene, and a teepee.

7/25/2013 06:45:00 PM

Photo of the Day: The Brioughnut From Confexion Cupcakes 9 comments

Yep, more Cronut knock-offs. The originator, NYC's Dominique Ansel seems to be taking it all in stride, but they just won't stop. These little doo-dads come from Pasadena's Confexion Cupcakes, two-time Cupcake Wars champions that obviously do more than just cupcakes. As its brethren, the Brioughnut is a donut-brioche mash-up that's only available on Saturdays and Sundays. Look for new flavors every week via Confexion's Facebook page - this week you'll find lemon-blueberry-thyme, peanut butter cup and a simple glazed. Looks good. Anyone try them yet?

7/25/2013 06:09:00 PM

Photo of the Day: Summer’s Bounty at The Lobby 0 comments

Where to taste the peak of the season? The Lobby at The Peninsula, of course, where chef Lee Wolen has raided the farmers market for the freshest produce to use in two new menu items. First, blueberries were selected for a foie gras dish. Second, tomatoes were prepared with seared Spanish octopus, sea beans, salsa verde and chorizo. Both new dishes capture the flavors of the season and are now available in the elegant dining room of the Downtown hotel.

7/25/2013 05:48:00 PM

Ask the Austin Zagat Blog: Where Can I Find Poutine? 4 comments

Eating out in our fair city raises all sorts of burning questions. Is it okay to take a date to a food trailer? Yay or nay on cargo shorts at Uchiko? Then there are the more general questions we’ve always wondered but been too afraid to ask. Are you allowed to eat garnish? Who pays for that extra appetizer? 

That’s where the Austin Zagat blog comes in. Ask us anything your heart desires in the comments section below, and we'll give you our honest opinion.  

This week a reader asked us, I just moved from Canada, and I’m dying for poutine. Is there anywhere in Austin that serves it? 

7/25/2013 05:30:00 PM

Quote of the Day: Alex Guarnaschelli on Why She Chose Iron Chef Over Top Chef 0 comments

Image via Food Network

"I got asked to be on that show many times. But it didn't feel real. Iron Chef America is so real. Imagine putting on television the whole process of making that food, the technique. It's all about technique. It doesn't even matter if you show the faces sometimes. "

-Alex Guarnaschelli in a recent podcast interview with Alton Brown on why she chose to be on Next Iron Chef. [Nerdist via Eater]

7/25/2013 05:15:00 PM

New Summer Menu at Supper Has Pork Belly PB&J Skewers 0 comments

Mitch Prensky just introduced a new menu at South Street’s Supper, and the list is full of fresh fruit and vegetables from the restaurant’s bespoke farm Blue Elephant. However, before we discuss how awesome the pole beans are this year, or how well the summer squash goes with risotto, let’s start with the indulgences: two of the new dishes are “PB PB&J” and “Master Fat.”

7/25/2013 05:00:00 PM

Meat Fests: Lucques Ribfest Heads to Tavern, Dominick's Swine & Wine 0 comments

Stack o' ribs at Lucques
'Tis the season to eat a lot of meat. The annual Lucques Ribfest is so popular and so often sells out, Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne have decided to add an additional night at Tavern in Brentwood. Not only is it the first time the Ribfest gets two nights, but because it takes place on August 4, it happens a full two weeks before the one at Lucques (August 18). The menu is the same - St. Louis-style ribs, braised beef back ribs, spiced lamb ribs, chicken wings, all the sides and warm peach cobbler for dessert. The staff will be in their best hoe-down gear, too. $55 per person; you'll need a reservation (310-806-6464).

7/25/2013 04:47:00 PM

Royers Pie Haven to Open in Austin 0 comments

Pie man Bud Royer is famous for his mouthwatering pies in Round Top, Texas, at Royers Round Top Café, and very soon Austinites will be able to satiate their sweet tooth right here in town. Royer’s daughter, Tara Royer Steele, has announced plans to open Royers Pie Haven in the old Toy Joy location on Guadalupe and 29th Street in October.

The locale will feature sweet pies, savory pies, pie muffins and pastries driven in fresh from Round Top, as well as a full-service coffee bar. And to make it even more of an authentic Austin experience, you can top your slice with Amy’s ice cream. Plus, the café will serve up pie shakes, made with pie, ice cream and milk. Did you hear us? Pie shakes!

7/25/2013 04:41:00 PM

Charles Joly Bottles the Art of Bartending With Crafthouse Cocktails 0 comments

It started with a simple problem: the desire for craft cocktails at home but the inability to achieve the same balance as a bartender. Two years ago, Mixologist Charles Joly, James Beard Award winner for Outstanding Bar Program at The Aviary and recently named Bartender of the Year at Tales of the Cocktail, and Matt Lindner, partner in Three Headed Productions that owns The Drawing Room, decided to come up with a solution.

7/25/2013 04:00:00 PM

Sadie Retools in Hollywood, Adds DJs, Live Music, More 0 comments

After taking over the former Les Deux space in Hollywood a little more than a year and a half ago, Sadie Kitchen & Lounge is rebranding. Redoing everything, really: new design, chef, menu and setting up for DJs, live music and other forms of entertainment. The decor is more lounge-friendly, with a focus on the famed patio, and executive chef Jonathan Moulton (Lemon Moon Cafe) and Giovanni Martinez are in charge of food and drinks, respectively, with new additions like fried chicken and sweet potato waffles, ahi tuna taradito, Moroccan spiced grilled octopus and Negroni sours. Music will be more mellow during dinner hours but picks up later, in an effort to relive the Les Deux glory days. The kitchen is open late on weekends, which can't hurt.

7/25/2013 03:48:00 PM

Border Oak Hosts Kickstarter Launch at Bang Bang 4 comments

Underground supper club, Tuesday Night Dinner, is ready to surface with a brick-and-mortar restaurant surrounding the idea of Midwestern midland cuisine. On Tuesday, the group will launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund Border Oak Cafe. The historically inspired cuisine has already been tested at a series of dinners. Dishes included bison tenderloin with morels and dandelion chimichurri as well as crispy smelts with cured cabbage. For the first time, supporters can see the preview video about the concept while dining on a whole smoked hog and blackberry cobbler. Tickets to the event at the Bang Bang Pie Shop are on sale for $20, and a limited number of tickets will be sold at the door. In addition to food and the film, beverages include Ale Syndicate beer and Angel's Envy cocktails.

7/25/2013 03:30:00 PM

Ristorante Olivio Launches Special Menu This August 0 comments

Ristorante Olivio
Ristorante Olivio, a cozy Italian restaurant in Arlington, is rolling out a deal for those looking for a little romance. Beginning this August, every Friday night will offer a "Dinner and a Date" special, where couples can order two appetizers, two entrees and one dessert for only $40, excluding tax and gratuity. Menu items include an antipasti of baked eggplant torta; entrees like linguine fra diavolo with shrimp and calamari simmered in a spicy garlic sauce; and a classic tiramisu for dessert. With those savings, you may want to spring for a glass of vino or even a bottle. (Alcohol is not included in the deal). Reservations are highly recommended (781-648-2300).

7/25/2013 03:28:00 PM

Bizarre Bites: Backwards Menu With Carla Hall at Nitehawk in Brooklyn 0 comments

Zagat's Maureen Giannone joins The Taste's Carla Hall for dinner and a movie at Nitehawk Cinema in Williamsburg, Brooklyn - the only theater in the state of New York where you can eat and drink while you watch a movie. Watch Carla prepare her special "backwards" menu for the film, Memento in the clip above. For more Bizarre Bites videos, subscribe to our YouTube page below.

7/25/2013 03:10:00 PM

Now Open: EMC Seafood Brings $1 Oysters, More to Koreatown 1 comments

As if we didn't have enough new seafood spots for fish and chips, lobster rolls and fresh, briny oysters (read: Connie and Ted's, Fishing With Dynamite, Santa Monica's new Water Grill, etc.), here comes EMC Seafood & Raw Bar, which recently opened in the City Center on 6th complex in Koreatown. The space is fairly compact, with nice big windows out front, lots of blonde wood within, a few communal tables, and a bar - a full one, to be exact, with full-strength cocktails, beer and more.

7/25/2013 02:47:00 PM

Private Jet Owners Might Soon Get Private Runway Hotels 2 comments

Rendering courtesy of Margot Krasojevic
Why bother with the tedious helicopter ride from your private jet to your hotel suite when you could just have the hotel parked on the runway? That's the thinking behind a new project proposed for an airport in Qatar, Wired reports. A private client hired architect Margot Krasojevic to design a self-contained mini-hotel for short stays right off the runway. The space-agey design includes a small lounge, bathroom and sleeping area. It also has a rainwater filtration system, modular design for easy transport and trippy visuals courtesy of LED lights, laminated glass and photovoltaic cells. No words on when or if these swank digs will be come a reality. But we're pretty excited by the idea of jetting Jetsons-style.

7/25/2013 02:45:00 PM

Howl at the Moon Landing in Center City 0 comments

A new club is coming to Center City. Howl at the Moon has announced a September opening for a Philly outpost of the dueling piano bar. It’s going into the former Bucca di Beppo space at 258 South 15th Street (just above Spruce). The concept is audience-requested tunes hammered out on stage while guests dance and drink beer, inhale Jell-O “injector shots” and share 86-oz. “buckets of booze.”

If that’s your kind of thing, you can RSVP here to get on the guest list for the as-yet-undated grand opening party. Howl at the Moon currently has 14 locations across the country, the closest of which is in Baltimore.

7/25/2013 02:17:00 PM

Top Chef Masters Season 5 Episode 1: Such Great Heights 0 comments

Image via Bravo
Top Chef Masters is back and trying desperately to keep your attention. It's season five, and Bravo has assembled one of the better casts in recent memory, including heavy hitters like Sang Yoon, Bryan Voltaggio (first time a TC competitor has returned to do Masters), David Burke and Jenn Louis. They've pulled out all the stops on episode one, including one of the most insane challenges to date. From the picture above, you can deduce that sky-diving is involved. Yup. But let's start from the beginning.

As the cast slowly files in, we learn some tidbits about each chef. Doug Keane "doesn't mean to be cocky, but he's really good." Lynn Crawford is "a good old Canadian chef" and Sang Yoon of Father's Office describes Bryan Voltaggio as an "8.0 earthquake" and "a methodical stone cold killer." Subtle.

7/25/2013 02:05:00 PM

45 Dunkin' Donuts to Open Around LA: Should We Care? 0 comments

When Dunkin' Donuts announced plans to finally come west, we couldn't help but wonder how it would fit in. We already have so many great old-school donut shops and coffee roasters around LA, not to mention a mega coffee chain on just about every other corner. But there have been a lot of Dunkin' Donut TV commercials lately, which is odd considering there isn't one outpost here in Southern California, so we we had a feeling it's on the horizon. Sure enough, according to a press release from the donut empire, look for 45 new standalone Dunkin' Donuts shops in the area by 2015, with the first opening in Orange and Los Angeles Counties.

7/25/2013 02:03:00 PM

Good News: Franklin Barbecue to Expand; Bad News: No Extra Meat 0 comments

Today we heard that Franklin Barbecue has filed plans with the City of Austin to add on a real smokehouse. Exciting news! Aaron Franklin hinted at the expansion a few months ago when we talked with him. He said the new covered area will hold a total of six smokers but unfortunately will not mean more meat for hungry barbecue-goers.

7/25/2013 02:00:00 PM

Honey’s Sit ‘N Eat Coming to Old City 0 comments

Six months ago, Jeb Woody and Ellen Mogell launched a second outpost of longtime Northern Liberties brunch favorite Honey’s Sit ‘N Eat, and the South Street West location has been doing well: Craig LaBan gave the new Southern-Jewish comfort food bruncherie two bells, and lines regularly form on weekend mornings. It’s enough success that more expansion is in the cards.

7/25/2013 01:33:00 PM

Truro's Blackfish Chef Opens Crush Pad Food Truck 0 comments

Crush Pad food truck
If you’re down on the Cape, we’ve got a great tip: Truro’s Blackfish, a New American by chef/owner Eric Jansen, has rolled out a food truck featuring farm-to-fork goodies from local farms. Boston Chefs notes that Crush Pad serves up Niman Ranch burgers, hand-picked lobster on brioche, Snake River Farms Kobe hotdogs and daily specials, including veggie options. The truck is parked at Truro Vineyards, which is another hot spot to check out (daily, 11:30 AM-4:30 PM; prices for items range from $7-$15; 508-349-3399).

7/25/2013 01:15:00 PM

LA Weekend Planner: Heirloom LA at The Salon, Downtown Flea and More 0 comments

What the food court at the inaugural Downtown Flea will look like
Do This
Check out Good Food Fridays at in The Market at Santa Monica Place, where you'll find cooking demos, music, food sampling, beer and wine tastings, pop-up boutiques from food and fashion vendors, plus a special appearance by KCRW's "Good Food" host, Evan Kleiman. Get 10% off anything you buy in the marketplace, and the first 200 people will get a tote filled with goodies. 7-10 PM (395 Santa Monica Place, third floor).

7/25/2013 01:00:00 PM

Meet Hang Far Low, Chop Suey Cafe and Other 1950s Chinatown Relics 2 comments

Chinatown today (image via Wikimedia Commons/Toffel)
Buzzfeed has gathered a treasure trove of photos from San Francisco's Chinatown in the 1950s. The site presents the adventure with an appropriate disclaimer: "Prepare to be transported." Among the more intriguing images are the photos that show food action and Americanized names for Chinese restaurants that now feel borderline racist when refracted through the lens of time. Would a spot called Chop Suey Cafe or a banquet hall called Hang Far Low fly in the neighborhood today?

7/25/2013 12:45:00 PM

Hot Cars and Cool Eats on East Passyunk This Sunday 4 comments

The eighth annual East Passyunk Car Show and Street Festival goes down on Sunday, July 28, and in between more than 140 cars, trucks and motorcycles will be dozens of vendors offering food and drink. El Zarape is doing spit-carved tacos al pastor, Le Virtù is offering Abruzzese bites on the garden patio, Ms. Goody is bringing out her cupcake truck, and Lucky 13 and Sophia’s will set up outdoor craft beer taps. The fest runs from noon-5 PM and is free to attend (or $15 if you want to enter your car).

7/25/2013 12:42:00 PM

Atrium Opens in Dumbo Tonight 0 comments

Seasonal vegetables, buttermilk, wheat soil
In the site of the promising and tragically Sandy-destroyed Governor, in Dumbo, a phoenix called Atrium is opening tonight. The seasonal restaurant features the cooking of Provencal chef Laurent Kalkotour (a DB Bistro alum) in ingredient-focused, eclectic preparations including soft-cooked egg with crispy spelt, bacon, mache and Parmesan, or chicken with spiced eggplant, yogurt, harissa and pine nuts. Best Sommelier in America 2011 winner Alexander LaPratt (formerly of Jean Georges) is heading up the drinks program, so you know that will be good, and as a bonus, the contemporary two-story space has views of the Brooklyn Bridge. Check out Atrium for dinner seven nights a week.

15 Main St., Brooklyn; 718-858-1095

7/25/2013 12:24:00 PM

Is Lunch the New Brunch? 0 comments

Despite the popularity of the late morning or early afternoon weekend meal, many restaurants are opting to serve the meal intended for noon. That’s right, lunch is taking back the spotlight from brunch. Restaurants including Embeya, Carriage House and Katherine Anne Confections announced the addition of lunchtime menus. The latest to join the trend is La Sirena Clandestina.

The Fulton Market restaurant started serving weekend brunch a few weeks ago, but that went over so well that it will now open earlier during the week as well. Starting at 11 AM, lunch items include a selection of small plates and sandwiches. Start by sharing the ceviche with mojo rojo, arugula and housemade saltines and then move on to a grilled beef tenderloin or roasted pork sandwich.

7/25/2013 12:00:00 PM

Wise Sons Deli #2 Opens on Friday 0 comments

Image via Flickr/thepeach
Urban Daddy has the lowdown on Wise Sons Deli's Contemporary Jewish Museum location, which opens to the public on July 26. The menu slightly differs from the original Mission location, skewing towards sandwiches, including brisket and smoked turkey, which aren't served on 24th Street. The operation also includes a takeout window, which sounds like a great convenience for calling ahead to order, not to mention eating when the museum is closed.

7/25/2013 11:51:00 AM

Eastern Standard Hosts The Big Party This Sunday 0 comments

This Sunday, July 28, Eastern Standard hosts The Big Party, which will feature a circus/1920's garden-party theme with intellectual, creative conversation, food and drink. The party is sponsored by Opus Affair, a nonprofit whose members gather monthly to support the local art scene. Eastern Standard will provide circus-themed bites and cocktails. There will be door prizes, entertainment and gift bags to round out the fun (1-5 PM; $125 per person; click here for tickets; 617-532-9110).

7/25/2013 11:51:00 AM

Hops and Grain Brewing Wants You to Vote for Its Next Beer 0 comments

The local sustainable brewery in East Austin has picked four finalists in its Open Greenhouse Recipe Contest, and they want you to vote for your favorite on their Facebook page. The options are Belgian Black IPA with blood oranges, Fredericksburg peach ale with mint, Hill Country honey porter and Texas honey IPA.

7/25/2013 11:37:00 AM

Best Thing We Ate Last Night: Shrimp With White Gazpacho at La Vara 0 comments

There were quite a few highlights during last night's meal at La Vara (sweet and gooey fried eggplant with honey and cheese, perfect little wedges of pan tomate), but the dish that stuck out most was a special of tender, sweet shrimp over noodle-like ribbons of squid, topped with an almond-based white gazpacho. The cooling, delicate dish cleverly mimicked a creamy shrimp pasta, but with a much more appropriate-for-summer spin.

7/25/2013 11:35:00 AM

Best Thing We Ate This Week: Spinach at Library Bar at The Rittenhouse 0 comments

“No one ever orders the spinach,” chef Jon Cichon tells us, laughing eyes betraying the wounded indignation in his voice. Given the temptations on Cichon’s menu for the new Library Bar at The Rittenhouse Hotel, we probably wouldn’t have chosen it either. With options like raw oysters nestled in carved-out cherry tomatoes or candied pork-belly skewers with crackling skin, it’s easy to see how the simply-named “grilled spinach” could get overlooked. However, after tasting these greens, we’d definitely order them again.

7/25/2013 10:43:00 AM

Weekend Planner: Free Popsicles, Polka Dancing and Beer Basics 0 comments

Desserters Truck
Free popsicle alert! Keep an eye out for the Desserters truck, a rogue menace on wheels handing out complimentary fruit bars, at Whole Foods. The truck will be at the Lakeview and Andersonville location on Thursday, Lincoln Park and South Loop on Friday and the Newberry Library Book Fair on Saturday.

Pierogi Fest
Venture down to the little town of Whiting, Indiana this weekend and fest on three-days of Polish goodness including a Polka dance-off, lots of fried potato dumplings and an appearance by Mr. Pierogi and Ms. Paczki. Only in the Midwest, folks.

7/25/2013 10:41:00 AM

NYC-Based Startup GiveHalf Fights Food Waste and Hunger 0 comments

Business travelers, chronic over-orderers (cough), leftovers-eschewers and the portion-conscious: there will soon be an app for you that benefits a good cause. Dubbed GiveHalf, the non-profit will partner with NYC restaurants (Pierre Loti and Sichuan spot Land of Plenty are two) to present diners the option of ordering a smaller portion at the listed menu price, and "giving half" as a donation to a hunger-fighting charity instead.

7/25/2013 10:24:00 AM

Photo of the Day: Octopus Dancer Cake From Delish 0 comments

Yes, that’s an octopus nurse with a "dancer’s" pole cake from Delish Bakery. We’re as confused as you are, but we bet it tasted great.

7/25/2013 10:22:00 AM

Hotel Costs and Fees Have Increased, But Guests Are Happy 1 comments

Photo courtesy of Phulay Bay, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve
Hotel guests are a happy bunch these days. After years of decline, customer satisfaction rates have reached a seven-year high, according to a study released this week by J.D. Power. Travelers reported increased satisfaction across all seven areas of the hotel experience (reservations, check-in/check-out, rooms, food/beverages, services, facilities and costs/fees). So what floats travelers' boats? Service. The study found that the greater the number of interactions guests have with staff, the more satisfied they generally are. Chains like the Ritz-Carlton, Kimpton and Hyatt Place led the way in their respective price categories.

The study also found that travelers can be masters of their own hotel happiness by putting in some legwork. Satisfaction is significantly lower for guests that book primarily based on price and is much higher for savvy types that research stays online before booking. So where are hotels still disappointing guests? Connectivity. Thirty-one percent of people who reported having a problem during their stay said the problem was related to Internet service, making it the top gripe in the survey. What have been your biggest issues with hotel stays? Do you agree that hotels have stepped up their game?

7/25/2013 10:21:00 AM

A Sneak Peek at Max Brenner in Bethesda 0 comments

Photos: Lorraine Fitzsimmons
Chocoholic’s will soon be able to get their fix at NYC Max Brenner’s outlet in Bethesda Row. It’s slated to open any day now. The sleek shop, done up in chocolate brown, will solely serve sweets - no need to waste calories on savory preludes. We dropped by while construction was underway earlier this week and here’s what we found.

7/25/2013 10:15:00 AM

1,500 Pounds of Heritage Pork at Epic by Cochon This Weekend 0 comments

Photo: Brad Spence
There will be nearly a literal ton of heritage pork served at the Ritz-Carlton this Sunday, when over 20 of Philly’s most meat-facile chefs descend on 10 Arts for Epic by Cochon. The tasting event is a spinoff of the infamous Cochon 555 traveling cook-off, and even though the Philly gathering is not a competition, you can be sure each chef will be bringing their “A” game (or is that “P” game?). Tickets are still available here.

7/25/2013 10:00:00 AM

Dominique Ansel: The Man, The Myth, The Cronut 0 comments

For the past two months, the proprietor of New York's Dominique Ansel Bakery has been at the center of an extraordinary international whirlwind of public excitement and media buzz. Dominique Ansel perfected and released his croissant-donut hybrid cronut in May, spawning persistent lines, scalper services, endless knockoffs and celebrity endorsements (see Jerry Seinfeld, Kelly Ripa, et al). If you don't get in line with the 100-150 other people waiting by 6:55 AM, you're probably not getting one. But that may soon change.

We spoke with the wonderfully genial Ansel about the meteoric rise of the cronut, the romantic relationships it has facilitated and the other evil genius ideas he has up his sleeve, including possible national delivery.