Dumplings To Die For

16 Apr
Monica DiNatale 365 Guide New York City NYC best dumplings

Shanghai Cafe

Best Dumplings in NYC.

I am a sucker for dumplings. I can easily make a meal of them and tend to burn my mouth before letting them cool due to my excitement. The real bonus is that dumplings are always a deal. They are inexpensive and completely satisfying. For me a great dumpling has a thin wrapper that is perfectly uniform, piping hot and full of the many varied fillings. These are some of my favorite places that are sure to make you a dumpling fan.

Shanghai Cuisine (89 Bayard Street) On the outskirts of Chinatown lives this tiny cash-only gem. The soup dumplings are perfectly juicy and full of soup. Beware not to burn your tongue. The pork are my favorite ($5 for 6) with a close second for the shrimp and pork dumplings ($6.25). If you’re a veggie fan try the steamed vegetable dumpling for $6.25. I usually get the chow fun noodles with chicken ($8.95) to compliment the dumplings.

Shanghai Cafe (100 Mott Street) Spicy, spicy, spicy. I can’t get enough of their wonton Szechuan-style filled with pork ($5.95). They offer 8 dumplings per order for your hungry friends. The sauce is very light yet a little nutty, deliciously spicy and slightly sweet. You will get hooked on these. The crab and pork soup dumplings are delicious as well ($6.25). To round out the spice fest, get the Singapore Mai Fun noodles with meat or vegetables.

Dumpling Man (100 St. Marks Place) The name says it all! The Dumpling Man makes homemade dumplings with every stuffing. They are my pick if you crave variety. I love the steamed pork dumplings ($4.95 for 6 or $3.55 for 4) and for something sweet, banana dumplings ($4.25 for 4). Spend the day and taste the chicken, soup, veggie and pumpkin dumplings. They also offer a few sauces like spicy green curry to make them even tastier. It’s fun to order the sampler ($3.95 for 4) first to figure out which dumpling is your new favorite.

365 Guide New York City is available on Amazon in paperback and ebook and full of restaurant deals and bar specials in NYC.

Easter Brunch in NYC

2 Apr
Fig & Olive

Fig & Olive

I know I’ll be knee deep in chocolate covered peanut butter eggs on Easter Sunday. They are my weakness. With all that extra energy, I’ll be craving a big brunch to wash it all down. Even if you’re not heading to the Easter Parade on Fifth Avenue, be sure to take advantage of the brunch specials throughout the city.

Fig & Olive (3 locations) Feel elegant and pampered at this $40 per person brunch on Easter Sunday. The menu includes three courses with delicious selections like lobster bisque, crab cake egg benedict and rosemary lamb. The rest of year from Sunday through Thursday they offer a $45 prix-fixe dinner as well. Meals usually start with a selection of three olive oils and freshly baked rosemary olive oil bread. Try a cucumber cosmo for an instant taste of Spring.

Orsay (1057 Lexington Avenue) I like that Orsay’s $42 per person brunch starts with something sweet. Temptations include a raisin and chocolate croissant, carrot muffin and house made bread. Next you’ll have your choice of an appetizer and main that includes vanilla scented french toast, New York steak and house smoked trout. The Spring Blossom cocktail is perfectly named bursting with grapefruit juice, cranberry and gin. They are a gem on the Upper East Side with quality food and white glove service.

La Cerveceria (65 Second Avenue) If a boozy brunch is in your Easter plans, check out La Cerveceria. $29.95 includes one entree and an hour and a half of open bar brunch drinks. I like the Mexican ceviche and the huevos rancheros. Visit during the week from 4-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday for half off the entire bar. The yuca fries and empanadas are great bar snacks. They offer an intimate setting and an extensive craft beer selection.

365 Guide New York City is available on Amazon in paperback and ebook and full of restaurant deals and bar specials in NYC.

High End Restaurants At a Great Price

27 Mar
Monica DiNatale 365 Guide New York City Barbounia NYC Restaurant Deals

Barbounia

Best High End Restaurants at a Great Price.

The main reason I wrote 365 Guide New York City was to save money on food and drinks while still being able to eat out eight days a week! Sometimes I’m in the mood for a cold beer at a sports bar and other times I want delicious opulent food at dive bar pricing. The restaurant deals below are some of my favorite upscale restaurants that offer tremendous discounts on incredible food.

Barbounia (250 Park Avenue South) They have the best hummus! Barbounia is sleek and sexy with an upscale Mediterranean menu but from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. daily you can sample half price appetizers and $6 cocktails.  Take advantage of the affordable options at the bar and don’t leave without an order of the iron skillet shrimp. Amazing. I usually have so many appetizers that I don’t have room for dinner.

ilili (236 Fifth Avenue) When you first walk in, you’ll think you’ve entered an exclusive club. Don’t let the high ceilings and modern décor scare you, the Mediterranean/Lebanese food at ilili is off the charts. Luckily from 4 p.m.-7:30 p.m. you can taste the menu at a discount. Specialty cocktails are $7 and appetizers start at $5. I like the fried chick pea and fava bean dumplings ($5) and the kafta taco ($8). This would be a nice choice for any special occasion.

Ed’s Chowder House (44 West 63rd Street) Located across the street from Lincoln Center inside The Empire Hotel lives this lovely upscale seafood restaurant. The food is wonderful and unlike some places, they handle the crowds well. The bar area is just as pleasing and offers two times to save. From 4 p.m.-6 p.m. and 9 p.m.-Close Sunday through Thursday you’ll find real deals. Clams are $1, oysters $1.50, soups $4 and appetizers like salmon sliders are $9. Bottled beers are $3, wines $7 and cocktails $8.

365 Guide New York City is available on Amazon in paperback and ebook and full of restaurant deals and bar specials in NYC.

Are You Craving A Steak in NYC?

20 Mar
Monica DiNatale 365 Guide New York City NYC NYY Steak

NYY Steak

Are you craving a steak in NYC.

This kind of in-between weather makes me crave a juicy steak with a full-bodied glass of cabernet. They warm the soul. We all know New York is full of “classic” steakhouses, but prime cuts can be found in many places. Yes, they are pricier than other entrees, but if you want to splurge, make sure it’s worth it!

NYY Steak (7 West 51st Street) Don’t let the pinstripes and tourists fool you, this Yankees-affiliated steakhouse delivers a home run for meat and seafood fans. My 8-ounce filet was cooked perfectly, tender and full of flavor. For seafood lovers, the ahi tuna tartare over avocado was amazing. Visit during Pinstripe Power Hour (weekdays from 4-6 p.m. and 9 p.m.-close, and Sunday from 5 p.m. onward) for $8 wines and cocktails, and half off the entire bar menu. Try the lamb lollipops or the tuna tacos.

Crispin’s (764 10th Avenue) I like Crispin’s for their homemade pastas but on my last visit I decided to try some new things. The 14 ounce ribeye with a Barolo reduction ($30) was outstanding. If you need a little meat with your carbs order the garganelli ossobucco. This small neighborhood gem delivers big flavors and great value. Perfect for a date night.

Sparks Steak House (210 East 46th Street) If you’re all about classic New York, Sparks is my pick. I always get the beef scaloppini, a sliced filet with peppers and mushrooms. It is heavenly. The lump crab meat appetizer is also wonderfully fresh. For dessert, order the fresh berries with homemade whipped cream. I don’t know how they get the freshest berries, but they are just delightful.

365 Guide New York City is available on Amazon in paperback and ebook and full of restaurant deals and bar specials in NYC.

Best St. Patrick’s Day Food in NYC

14 Mar

Monica DiNatale 365Guide New York City Restaurant Deals Bar Specials

Let’s face it, Irish Pubs will be packed on St. Patty’s Day. If you are heading out, follow my advice to find good food and cold beers. Great food will make the crowds melt away.

Molly’s Pub & Shebeen (287 Third Avenue) When I need a Guinness, I head to Molly’s. The sawdust on the floor, roaring fireplace and Irish staff keep this place packed. The burgers are huge and positively delicious. Definitely order the homemade mozzarella sticks or the onion rings. There is always a wait but it’s worth it. My mouth waters just thinking about it.

The Dead Rabbit (30 Water Street) The drink selections here are absolutely endless. The ground floor Taproom concentrates on craft beers and whiskeys of the world, while The Parlor offers specialty cocktails form the 19th century. I like “John The Baptist” with whiskey, green tea and apricot. There are so many choices it’s almost impossible to choose. The dining menu is more upscale with choices like seared tuna crostini and pork belly sliders. Yes, you can still get a burger.

Kinsale Tavern (1672 Third Avenue)  I love the hot buttered rum special for $5.75. There are tons of TVs and they serve a hearty full Irish breakfast all day. Kinsale is a neighborhood gem that is low key and offers twenty plus beers on tap. Appetizers start at $5 and sandwiches $9. The fish-n-chips is a winner.

365 Guide New York City is available on Amazon in paperback and ebook and full of restaurant deals and bar specials in NYC.

Get Lean with Sushi in NYC

13 Mar

Sushi NYC Monica DiNatale 365 Guide New York City

Get Lean with Sushi in NYC.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved eating out and going to parties non-stop for the last month, but at this point the train has to stop. With Speedo season just around the corner, it’s time to eat healthier and get back into shape. Sushi is the perfect way to start eating lighter while maintaining great taste and satisfaction. Yes, there are tons of sushi restaurants in NYC, but some don’t leave me craving more. These are the gems that make me dream about sushi for days.

Amber  There are 4 locations in New York City and are tops for consistently fresh fish at reasonable prices. Rolls start at $5. I recommend the spicy tuna and avocado salad ($8) which includes a huge helping of tuna and if you want to splurge, try the dragon roll ($17). The main dining room is modern and sleek and would impress a date or accommodate a group. From 5pm-7pm at the bar during the week you’ll find $6 cocktails.

Sushi Damo  They are my favorite high end sushi restaurant and are conveniently located at Columbus Circle. Take advantage of happy hour for drinks at the bar Monday through Friday from 5pm-7pm with $5-$7 wine and cocktails. Go for the lychee martini. The specialty rolls are all above $20 but they are glorious. Try the passion and neo rolls. Sushi Damo is a great for any special occasion.

Hane Sushi From the outside Hane Sushi looks like any old sushi joint. Not. They have a large selection of rolls and hot dishes. Everything is reasonably priced and the sushi is delicious. Rolls start at $4. I love the spicy yellowtail roll. Specialty rolls start at $11.95.

365 Guide New York City is available on Amazon in paperback and ebook and full of restaurant deals and bar specials in NYC.

Best Cupcakes in New York City

12 Mar

365 Guide New York City Book Restaurant Deals Bar Specials Cupcakes

Best Cupcakes in New York City.

I’m not a big “buy me a gift person.” Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t push away the gift bag, but when it comes to gifts, food is my friend. I would much rather go out and have a special treat. Nothing makes me smile more than a cupcake. My two best friends are peanut butter and chocolate. Seriously. A $5 piece of pastry or pint of ice cream is so much more enjoyable than most “things” to me. That must be why I wrote a book about food!

So if you’re stuck about what to get, try one of these places in NYC. They will make your sweetie smile. Buy one for yourself and the world will seem like a better place!

Sprinkles My favorite thing to do at Sprinkles is order a frosting shot. Yup. A generous helping of frosting in a cup with or without sprinkles. They have creative flavors like salty caramel, chai latte and ginger lemon.

Crumbs Bakery Crumbs are famous for colossal cupcakes stuffed with frosting and interesting flavors. I like the cookie dough, peanut butter cup and monkey business (banana again) cupcakes. They do offer minis that you can buy by the dozen and smaller cupcakes if you need just a little something sweet.

Billy’s Bakery  I prefer the vanilla cupcake to the chocolate here. They also have great flavors like pumpkin or banana nutella.

Magnolia Bakery  I lovvvveeee the plain chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting. My favorite in the city. If you are or aren’t a banana fan, try the banana pudding. I have converted many people with this dessert.

365 Guide New York City is available on Amazon in paperback and ebook and full of restaurant deals and bar specials in NYC.

High End Restaurants At a Great Price

12 Mar
Monica DiNatale 365 Guide New York City Barbounia NYC Restaurant Deals

Barbounia

Best High End Restaurants at a Great Price.

The main reason I wrote 365 Guide New York City was to save money on food and drinks while still being able to eat out eight days a week! Sometimes I’m in the mood for a cold beer at a sports bar and other times I want delicious opulent food at dive bar pricing. The restaurant deals below are some of my favorite upscale restaurants that offer tremendous discounts on incredible food.

Barbounia (250 Park Avenue South) They have the best hummus! Barbounia is sleek and sexy with an upscale Mediterranean menu but from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. daily you can sample half price appetizers and $6 cocktails.  Take advantage of the affordable options at the bar and don’t leave without an order of the iron skillet shrimp. Amazing. I usually have so many appetizers that I don’t have room for dinner.

ilili (236 Fifth Avenue) When you first walk in, you’ll think you’ve entered an exclusive club. Don’t let the high ceilings and modern décor scare you, the Mediterranean/Lebanese food at ilili is off the charts. Luckily from 4 p.m.-7:30 p.m. you can taste the menu at a discount. Specialty cocktails are $7 and appetizers start at $5. I like the fried chick pea and fava bean dumplings ($5) and the kafta taco ($8). This would be a nice choice for any special occasion.

Ed’s Chowder House (44 West 63rd Street) Located across the street from Lincoln Center inside The Empire Hotel lives this lovely upscale seafood restaurant. The food is wonderful and unlike some places, they handle the crowds well. The bar area is just as pleasing and offers two times to save. From 4 p.m.-6 p.m. and 9 p.m.-Close Sunday through Thursday you’ll find real deals. Clams are $1, oysters $1.50, soups $4 and appetizers like salmon sliders are $9. Bottled beers are $3, wines $7 and cocktails $8.

365 Guide New York City is available on Amazon in paperback and ebook and full of restaurant deals and bar specials in NYC.

Best St. Patrick’s Day Food in NYC

11 Mar

Monica DiNatale 365Guide New York City Restaurant Deals Bar Specials

Let’s face it, Irish Pubs will be packed on St. Patty’s Day. If you are heading out, follow my advice to find good food and cold beers. Great food will help make the crowds melt away.

Molly’s Pub & Shebeen (287 Third Avenue) When I need a Guinness, I head to Molly’s. The sawdust on the floor, roaring fireplace and Irish staff keep this place packed. The burgers are huge and positively delicious. Definitely order the homemade mozzarella sticks or the onion rings. There is always a wait but it’s worth it. My mouth waters just thinking about it.

The Dead Rabbit (30 Water Street) The drink selections at Dead Rabbit are absolutely endless. The ground floor Taproom concentrates on craft beers and whiskeys of the world, while The Parlor offers specialty cocktails form the 19th century. I like “John The Baptist” with whiskey, green tea and apricot. There are so many choices it’s almost impossible to choose. The dining menu is more upscale with choices like seared tuna crostini and pork belly sliders. Yes, you can still get a burger.

Kinsale Tavern (1672 Third Avenue)  I love the hot buttered rum special for $5.75. There are tons of TVs and they serve a hearty full Irish breakfast all day. Kinsale is a neighborhood gem that is low key and offers twenty plus beers on tap. Appetizers start at $5 and sandwiches $9. The fish-n-chips are a winner.

365 Guide New York City is available on Amazon in paperback and ebook and full of restaurant deals and bar specials in NYC.

Be Lean in 2015

10 Mar

Monica DiNatale 365 Guide New York City NYC Haru Sushi

Get Lean with Sushi in NYC.

It seems I’m not the only one trying to get back into shape after the Holidays this year. Since everyone is craving advice of the healthy variety, I decided to give you a few more sushi places to keep you lean and happy.

Ageha Sushi (767 Ninth Avenue) Ageha offers an excellent lunch special. Daily from 11:30am-4pm take advantage of the two roll ($10) or three roll ($13.50) specials. Both include miso soup and a green salad with ginger dressing. I like their yellowtail scallion roll ($6) or splurge on the spicy heaven specialty roll with white tuna and spicy salmon ($14). The rolls are packed with fresh fish and a great bank for your buck.

Haru Sushi (5 locations) Haru is located throughout the city making it easy to find a location and start eating better today. The yellowtail jalapeno roll ($6.50) was so good I had to order another one. Specialty rolls start at $13 and they always offer creative additions to the menu nightly. While the décor is modern, the pricing is reasonable and the seafood very fresh. Be sure to sign up with your email address on their website to get $20 off on your birthday.

Sushi Yu 2 (827 West 181st Street) The tuna avocado mango roll ($7) is delicious and worth the trip uptown. Rolls start at $6 and specialty rolls $11. The $13 lunch special includes two rolls, miso soup and salad ($13). It’s a small place that would be perfect for a quite casual date. They actually make the rolls so big, you can barely fit the lobster roll in your mouth. Not a bad problem to have!

365 Guide New York City is available on Amazon in paperback and ebook and full of restaurant deals and bar specials in NYC.

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