Posts Tagged ‘champagne’

Still Haven’t Found a Place for NYE in NYC? The Big Apple Has Lots of Choices

The Big Apple is a place to celebrate diversity of people, diversity of cultures and diversity of experiences.  Keeping that in mind, New York City offers a panoply of evening experiences so you can choose the type of New Year’s Eve to call your own: staying at home in your apartment or hotel room, attending an elaborate party, enjoying a luxe dinner, or finding a venue that puts you in the center of NYC’s proprietary grand fête, the Ball Drop in Times Square. If you’ve found yourself without a place to go, it’s not too late to book these wonderful options that will get you out and about as you start the new decade. Remember, New Year’s Eve lore says that where you are and who you meet first on New Year’s Eve set the stage for the year ahead. So, if you’ve already gotten rid of those bad memories at Good Riddance Day in Times Square and you’re prepared to put your New Year’s resolutions into play, kick off the future with a special night to say goodbye to the past and move forward with wonderful memories.

Good Riddance Day

New York City is Never Lacking When it Comes to Parties

Plado Tasting Bar

Lively Plado Tasting Bar in the East Village is perfect for a friends-and-family gathering with its shared plates menu. The new Mediterranean-focused tapas restaurant invites you to a Festo de Tapas, brought to you by charming Chef German Rizzo. Come hungry as you’ll enjoy a set menu of 10 selections including wagyu carpaccio with truffles and pecorino,  taro gnocchi and lobster ravioli. The two three-hour seatings also include unlimited beer, wine and sangria. If you’re there when the clock strikes twelve, there’s a midnight toast and party favors.  https://www.pladonyc.com/

Zuma

If a Midtown location is easier for a meet-up with your friends, Zuma has a New Year’s Eve soirée that will keep everyone dancing.  . Set in the restaurant’s swanky second-floor lounge, adorned for NYE with a flashy red carpet and balloon-covered ceiling, the party kicks off with a welcome glass of Champagne and geisha dancers to get you moving. Then the creativity is up to you as you pose for pictures in the NYE-themed photobooth and dance the night away to Zuma’s resident DJ. Handcrafted seasonal cocktails, a midnight Champagne toast and viewing of the ball drop are part of the festivities. You can choose to have dinner, too, with omakase menu choices in the main dining room before the party. Contemporary Japanese dishes like lobster tempura with spicy ponzu and wasabi; thinly sliced sea bass sashimi with yuzu, truffle and salmon roe; and wagyu tataki with ponzu and fresh white truffles are special choices for the evening. https://zumarestaurant.com/locations/new-york/

Cote - Credit: Gary He

For New Year’s Eve, Michelin-starred Korean steakhouse Cote has a prix fixe dinner starting with caviar-adorned “steak and eggs,” followed by seven different cuts of steak, noodles with A5 Japanese wagyu and other festive dishes prepared by Chef David Shim. The meal includes a Champagne toast as well as a giant Champagne tower pour at midnight.  The party continues downstairs at Cote’s cocktail lounge Undercote. There, it’s a throwback to the 80s with a Miami’s Vice-themed event. The evening includes a premium open bar with themed cocktails by Sondre Kasin, an array of special snacks, a Champagne toast at midnight and a DJ set. Dress your Miami Vice best with pastels, structured shoulders, sequins, cutout dresses, white suits and belted waistlines and get ready to dance to DJ music.  https://www.cotenyc.com/

NIGHT MUSIC

Vegans aren’t left out on New Year’s Eve at NIGHT MUSIC in the East Village with all-vegan Indian-inspired cuisine by Ravi DeRossi. From 6pm-10pm guests can enjoy a four-course dinner with a Champagne toast. After that, the restaurant transforms into a cocktail party with an open bar.  www.nightmusicny.com/

HUSO - Marky’s Caviar

For a luxe celebration where caviar is synonymous with New Year’s Eve rather than with party hats and noisemakers, you’ll want to reserve a seat at HUSO, the caviar bar hidden behind a velvet curtain at Marky’s Caviar retail store on Madison Avenue. New Year’s Eve diners will be treated to caviar service of Beluga di Venezia, Russian Royal Osetra and private stock Sevruga; canapés; a demi bottle of Champagne; and an eight-course caviar-filled tasting menu from Eleven Madison Park alumnus Chef Buddha Lo. https://www.markyscaviar.com/

I Want to Be Somewhere Where I Can See the Ball Drop, or Maybe the Fireworks

If the thought of joining the millions of people who fill the outdoor corrals around Times Square  makes you recoil in horror, there are ways to see the ball drop in comfort, albeit for a price.

W New York-Times Square

W New York-Times Square has a NYE-dedicated space to keep you warm and comfy. In the hotel’s neon-lit Living Room Bar you can cuddle up in a private indoor cabana with bottle service, an open bar, midnight Champagne toast, live screening of the ball drop and live DJ music. The festivities start at 6pm continuing well into the new decade. You can still step outside to watch the ball drop in the cold air, or just stay inside and enjoy the privileged setting. The price is $2,250 to reserve a cabana for up to six guests. General admission tickets are available for less and include the four-hour open bar, party favors and a Champagne toast at midnight. Stay inside – you’ll be able to pick up leftover confetti on the streets when you leave.  https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/nycwh-w-new-york-times-square/

701 West - Credit Liz Clayman

For superlative views of the ball drop this New Year’s Eve, check out the extravagant celebration at 701 West, Michelin-starred Chef John Fraser’s fine dining jewel at The Times Square EDITION Hotel. The restaurant on the hotel’s eleventh floor is hosting a glamorous, black-tie bash unlike any other in town. Most of the details are a mystery so prepare for anything! Welcome cocktails and canapés in the Salon cocktail lounge set the tone before a six-course dinner, with selections such as eel with upland cress and foie pressé with kumquat mostarda and brioche. A wine pairing by Advanced Sommelier Amy Racine accompanies each course. There’s also a five-hour open bar with a curated wine and cocktail list. But, here’s the best part: you’ll get an exclusive view of the Ball Drop from the heart of the action – the location and specific details will only be revealed to guests that evening.  And, of course, there’s a Champagne toast. Throughout the evening, you can look upon Duffy Square, the northern part of Times Square, from your lofty perch on the outdoor terrace.  Your ticket also includes entry to the hotel’s Paradise Club dance party starting at 8pm. Tickets are $1200 per guest.  https://www.701westnyc.com

For something more casual but still with views of the city’s New Year’s Eve celebrations, check out the celebrations at these two Times Square restaurants and one within sight of the city’s fireworks.

Dos Caminos Times Square

Ring in 2020 in the heart of Times Square with a special fiesta at Dos Caminos Times Square with an open bar, live DJ, party favors and a Mexican dinner menu. The margarita-filled party goes from 7pm to 1am with delicious desserts to add a sweet touch before New Year’s including mini churro ice cream sandwiches, Mexican hot chocolate shooters, mini tres leches cake and mini coconut key lime pie. Yum! https://www.doscaminos.com/nye-timessquare/

Blue Fin

Seafood lovers should head to Blue Fin in Times Square where the restaurant’s New Year’s Eve bash includes an open bar, a menu of Blue Fin favorites, raw bar and sushi, live entertainment and party favors. Arrive starting at 7pm and stay until 2am. To celebrate 2020 in style, VIP tickets are also available which include bottle service, private servers and more.  Tickets:  https://www.bluefinnyc.com

Estuary

If you’d rather be in Brooklyn, Estuary in Brooklyn Bridge Park brings you a fireworks-filled celebration with live music. Michelin-starred chef Danny Brown will offer the likes of chestnut ravioli, foie gras terrine, duck breast à l’orange and tournedos Rossini as part of the dreamy New Year’s Eve menu. As midnight approaches, resident pastry chef Christophe Toury will serve his version of a ball drop, a chocolate dome accompanied by a Grand Finale surprise. From the waterfront eatery, you’ll have a view of the New York Harbor fireworks while you listen to live music.  https://www.estuarybrooklyn.com/

The 2020 Year Celebration Means a Look Back to the Parties of the Roaring 20s

Brooklyn Cider House - Taproom

Get your flapper dresses and newsboy hats ready for the last night of 2019 at Brooklyn Cider House where the Taproom transforms into a 1920s speakeasy. While it coincides with the 100th anniversary of Prohibition (which started in January of 1920), this Roaring 20s celebration will NOT be dry. From 10pm to 2am, guests will enjoy an open bar with the Cider House’s signature ciders, beers on tap, well drinks and specialty cocktails. There will also be open barrels for unlimited cider catching, three DJs, screening of the ball drop, and a Champagne tower toast. You can nibble your way through the evening with party bites or book a dinner-and-party combination. https://www.brooklynciderhouse.com

Valerie

Midtown West’s Gatsby-Golden Era restaurant Valerie will go all out with their Prohibition-themed Roaring Twenties Centennial party with dining, four hours of bottomless cocktails and a midnight Champagne toast. Entertainment by magician Devonte Rosero and a live six-piece jazz band will keep you in the mood from 9:30pm-1:30am and set the stage for posing  in front of a vintage car with a cocktail from the restaurant’s signature Gin & Tonic cart. All guests will leave the party with a bag of favors to ring in the 2020 new year!  https://www.valerienewyorkcity.com/

Where to Eat Now in New York City: Healthy and Not So Much

Hawaiian poke is a newish trend in New York City – it’s healthy, fresh, and relatively inexpensive.  Try Pokeworks on 37th and 6th, next to a restaurant that’s anything but healthy, Chick-fil-a. You start by picking your fish – tuna, salmon, shrimp (or even chicken), add toppings like seaweed, pineapple, and garlic flakes, and create a personalized bowl that’s far superior to those quinoa or salad bar things.
Sushi Nakazawa and O-Ya – two splurge-y restaurants for sushi and fish.  You can request no meat dishes and have an outrageous omakase (chef’s choice) meal.  Sushi Nakazawa is on Barrow Street in the Village.  O-Ya is in Murray Hill. Both feature superstar food talents, Chef Daisuke Nakazawa, a protégé of Japan’s acclaimed Jiro Ono and the O-Ya team from Boston,  Tim and Nancy Cushman.
Chicken is high on everyone’s list for healthy foods.  Le Coq Rico in the Flatiron District is Antoine Westermann’s tribute to the bird.  He brings his French-Alsatian expertise from Paris to NYC with chicken sourced from the farms of New York.  Roasted, it’s a healthy alternative to that breaded or fried version. I’d save my calories for Chef’s wonderful Ile Flôtante. For pure, unadulterated rotisserie chicken in a luxe setting, visit Rotisserie  Georgette on East 60th Street, where the owner’s many years of experience working with Daniel Boulud is in play at this sophisticated midtown restaurant.
When I’m craving something decadent, I love ordering fried chicken. It’s not something I do every day, and I realize that’s it less-than-healthy, but it’s always wonderful. My go-to is the tiny, quirky Birds and Bubbles on the Lower East Side. You go down a narrow metal stairway to a very narrow restaurant where Southern food is the star. Sarah Simmons, most recently of City Grit fame, has brought her North Carolina upbringing to NYC and paired her amazing dry-brined, fried chicken with Champagne. Who would have thought? It’s pure brilliance.

I always like finding the small bistros that really make you feel at home.  Little Frog sits quietly on busy East 86th Street, an authentic French bistro from people you should know from their time at Balthazar, and also from Minetta Tavern.  Order all seafood – try their amazing oysters — or splurge on the fab coq au vin, and you’ll have a wonderful cozy meal. It’s a quick walk from the new Second Avenue subway stop, too.

Indian cuisine has always been notable for offering wondrous vegetarian dishes, and NYC has a Michelin-starred one that takes Indian cooking to a new level.  Tulsi, on East 46th Street, brings cooking from Goa, mixes it up with street food, resulting in a showcase of unusual takes on somewhat familiar dishes.  Here, it’s worth saving room (and calories) for dessert as well. The creations from Chef Eric McCarthy (yes, that’s really his name and he IS from Goa) are anything but ordinary.

Finding a good restaurant after going to Carnegie Hall just got a little bit easier with the return of Jams to New York City. The original California cuisine restaurant of the 1980s, Jonathan Waxman’s Jams is now on the West Side walkable from the Theater District as well as Carnegie Hall. The airy room is a great choice for sampling their signature Jams chicken and pancakes with caviar and smoked salmon, both from the menu of the original restaurant.

For that special-occasion, serene but sensational dinner, book a table at Gabriel Kreuther.  The former chef at The Modern, Chef Kreuther serves up a meticulous menu of Alsatian dishes that are as beautiful as they are delicious. If you don’t want to have the full set menu every night, there’s a separate bar with its own menu where you can order the tarte flambée, a pizza-like creation with sweet onions, smoked bacon and fromage blanc that put this chef on the map.  The restaurant is an oasis across from Bryant Park and has an extraordinary wine list, too. Walk next door to the amazing new handcrafted chocolate shop.

And speaking about wine, how about a wine bar and a tapas bar that’s so small that you’re advised to arrive by 5:30?  Desnuda on the Lower East Side on East 7th Street will thrill you with its tiny space and its chef’s prowess and creativity. Tea-smoked oysters are sensational — it looks like they’re being cooked in a bong — as are the ceviches.

Photo By: Daniel Krieger

If a scene is more your speed, head to the back of the NoMad, to the NoMad Bar in the city’s newly coined NoMad district (north of Madison Park), where the bar is lively and the menu is pure comfort.  In cold weather, the perfectly indulgent chicken pot pie with foie gras and truffles is a knockout, as is Chef Daniel Humm’s Humm dog, a hot dog unlike any you’ve had before. Trying to eat healthy?  The carrot tartare, originally on the menu at sister restaurant Eleven Madison Park, is an exceptional vegetarian dish, with the consistency and ingredients of its meat-based counterparts sans the meat.  Add a touch of caraway seeds, horseradish, apples and … because we’re talking about carrots after all.  It’s pretty and delicious.

And, finally, one of the newest “hot” restaurants on the Manhattan scene is in Midtown, just behind Bryant Park. Coffeemania is NOT a coffee shop.  Rather it’s a Euro-Russian-American eatery that’s chic and has unusual choices in both beverages and food. The menu is so creative that you can eat healthy (or not, as you wish).  I love the hamachi tartare (very healthy) but also the bone marrow (definitely not healthy) and the warm borscht. Teas from around the world are as creatively curated as the wine list.

Happy eating!

Enjoy Bitters and Champagne? Try These Specialty NYC Bars

With summer in full swing, kick back and relax with your favorite drink of choice at some of NYC’s finest specialty spots. Start your journey with the lighter offerings from these single-liquor venues, where you can indulge in the current craze for bitters or toast the night away with all the bubbly you’d ever want.

Bitters

Amor y Amargo: Welcome New York City’s first bitters-centered bar, the brainchild of the famous bitters company Bittermens and Ravi DeRossi, father of other great liquor bars Mayahuel, Cienfuegos, and Death & Co. The intimate space features popular favorites like the 8 Amaro Sazerac and bespoke cocktails such as Negronis, Manhattans and Old Fashioneds, served dealer’s choice (they decide on the ingredients) or drinker’s choice (you decide). An indulgent tapas menu is served as well.

443 East 6th St; 212-614-6818; http://amoryamargony.com/

Amor y Amargo

Champagne

The Champagne Bar at The Plaza: Overlook the Pulitzer Fountain and Fifth Avenue as you enjoy your favorite champagne, caviar, and wines at The Champagne Bar. The bar, set in the lobby of the legendary Plaza Hotel, evokes the same old-time elegance and pristine as the original Champagne Porch opened in 1907. Order by the glass or the bottle, or sip one of the bar’s distinctive champagne cocktails including the Imperial Plaza, Rose Club Sparkle, and Imperial Tea Blossom.

Fifth Avenue at Central Park South; 212-759-3000; http://www.theplaza.com/dining/champagne-bar/

The Champagne Bar at The Plaza

Flûte: Flûte Gramercy and Flûte Midtown bring the same glamour to Manhattan as their counterpart in Paris. The sexy champagne bars sparkle with champagne bottles as a backdrop behind the bar as well as with candle-lit tables, fireplaces and original artwork. Enjoy popular favorites such as Veuve Clicquot by the flute or any of the triple flight selections. Flûte also takes a spin on other classic drinks with its cocktail menu including the Bellini-tini, white champagne sangria, champagne pisco sour, Dark and Stormy, and champagne mojito.

40 East 20th Street; 212-529-7870; http://www.flutebar.com/location/new-york-gramercy/ and 205 West 54th Street; 212-265-5269; http://www.flutebar.com/location/new-york/

Christmas and New Year’s Dining: Delivered Straight to Your Home (No Cooking Involved)

Thanksgiving and Hanukkah are over but Christmas and New Year’s loom ahead.  While New Yorkers love to explore the restaurant offerings of the city, these holidays, in particular, represent times to stay at home away from the crowds.  And that means creating the perfect dinner or party for friends and family.  Fortunately, if you’re not as talented at the Iron Chef or you just don’t have the space or desire to cook up yet another mega-meal, you can pretty much have anything you’d like delivered to you from around the corner or around the globe. From Manhattan dessert treats and traditional ethnic dishes to the finest Alaskan seafood to Spanish wines and oils, you’ll enjoy global treats that will make your Christmas and New Year’s galas a “meal to remember.”

Here are some of my favorites:

Premier Cru

Premier Cru

For all your champagne and other alcoholic beverage needs, the super-knowledgeable folks at Premier Cru will help you decide on the best pairings for your meal.  Buy a case and get a discount.  Can’t decide between red and white wines?  No worries — you can create a mixed case that will satisfy everyone.  Champagnes, cavas, proseccos and other bubblys are also available. 1163 Madison Avenue, 212.534.6709. www.premiercruwine.com

Yura

Yura

Lovely Yura has been cooking up a storm ever since I can remember at her wonderful takeout food and coffee shop on the Upper East Side.  The good news is that her prepared foods can be ordered in advance and delivered directly to your door to create a fine dining meal from soup to dessert.  The kids will love the turkey pinwheels, finger food that makes eating turkey fun, and the mini cupcakes that come in a variety of flavors. Personally, I am addicted to Yura’s butternut squash soup, her chicken soup with matzoh balls, her brisket and roast chicken, and her many side dishes.   Try the Brussels sprouts with chipped garlic, or the French green beans prepared with slivered almonds.  Forget about calories and order a pile of the richest mashed potatoes you’ll find anywhere.  Add a delicious cake or a pile of black and white cookies for dessert, and you have a classic New York City meal to warm your soul.  1292 Madison Avenue, 212.860.1707, www.yuraonmadison.com.

Zabar’s

Zabar's

Anyone who visits Manhattan knows that Zabar’s is a must-visit, one-stop shop for all deli items.  And now’s the perfect time to order goodies for Christmas, from main courses like roasted turkeys and sides such as honey roasted yams, to typical Zabar’s treats like rugelach, herring in sour cream, smoked salmon and bagels (for your post-Christmas brunch), or their famous coffee beans.  For New Year’s Eve, you’ll find a wonderful selection of caviar as well.  You can pore through their many holiday baskets at their site at www.zabars.com, visit at 2245 Broadway, or call 800-697-6301 for help in selecting the perfect individualized menu.

Cookie Panache

Cookie Panache

For sweeter treats to indulge yourself or your friends & family, Cookie Panache is a solid go-to.  Its bestsellers include the likes of Dulce de Leche and Red Velvet Vanilla chewy cookies, as well as Brownie and Blondie bites.  Perfect for special occasion planning, the website filters results based on the event theme.  From birthday gifts, to thank you acknowledgements, to get-well-soon packages, a wide range of sweet snacks are available.  Located in Manhattan, this gourmet bakery hits all the right sweet-tooth chords. Order at www.cookiepanache.com.

DeliShop

DeliShop

If you salivate over tapas from Barcelona or olive oils that are some of the freshest in the world (my favorite is the very grassy Arbequina), you’ll want to know about DeliShop.  This Spanish food shop features everything from the finest of Spanish cooking oils to essential pastas, sauces, spices and more.  Not only does Delishop deliver to your door after just a few online clicks, but it also has an extensive list of traditional recipes for make-it-yourself world cuisine.  Some Spanish favorites include a classic paella entrée, típico cocktails and the ever-delicious tres leche cake.  Although not limited to those found in Spanish meals, selections largely draw upon an Iberian-based diet of oil, seafood, starch and more oil.  DeliShop also offers cooking classes at its four Barcelona locations, a potential vacation activity for the foodies and cravers of a bit of onsite Spanish culture.  Check out recipes, locations and food order options at www.delishop.es.

Figi’s

One of Figi's signature cakes

There are no false promises when it comes to Wisconsin’s delivering as the Dairy State, especially when it comes to its selections of meat and cheeses.  Figi’s has specialized in this combination of smokehouse favorites since 1944.  The variety packs are a definite win if you’re looking for a mix of new and old tastes, combining the best of all flavors into an assortment of snack-sized cuts of Colby-Jack and Cheddar cheeses, Smokehouse Summer Sausages, and buttery Cashew and Mixed Nut Add-ins among others.  Try the salami- or bacon-flavored cheese if you’re feeling daring.  Order at www.figis.com.

Coal Point Seafood Co.

Coal Point Seafood Co.

Sick of the grocery store’s mediocre seafood section of same-old, sad hunks of fish?  Alaska wants to change all that.  From Halibut to King Crab, Snow Crab, Shrimp, Scallops, Smoked Salmon, Rockfish, Sablefish, Black Cod and more, you’ll love the choices Coal Point Seafood offers.  Fare is purchased directly from Alaskan fishermen and shipped to your door.  Coal Point even has a same-day-caught-blast-frozen policy!  You can choose from individual samplers to variety packs, and different ounce options are available.  Halibut is the Alaskan fish of choice, so that is always a good start if you’re not sure what to buy.  Order at www.welovefish.com or call 1-800-325-3877 to order direct.

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