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Bar Eats: Cocktail Bodega

The fresh-pressed juice and smoothie cocktails at the recently opened Cocktail Bodega are meals in and of themselves, but its eclectic menu of international street eats is also worth a look. Designed by Roblé Ali of Bravo fame, the short menu is a whimsical melting pot of flavors from the Americas, the Caribbean, and Asia, all served up cafeteria-style in checkered paper and red baskets. More

Bar Eats: Barraca, Late Night Spanish Menu in the West Village

Barraca, a newcomer to the West Village and sister restaurant to taperías Rayuela and Mocando, boasts late-night Spanish tapas and sangria until 3 a.m. daily. Chef Jesús Nuñez, formerly of the modern Spanish restaurant Gastroarte, takes a traditional approach to the cuisine here, offering items popular on most tapas menus such as Patatas Bravioli, Croquetas, Pan con Tomate, and Gambas al Ajillo. More

Bar Eats: Some Great Small Plates (and an Uneven Burger) at Prospect

Opened just a few months ago in the heart of Fort Greene, Prospect already feels like it's been around for years, a familiar face in a neighborhood that's rapidly growing in the wake of the Barclay Center opening. The place has all the makings of the modern Brooklyn restaurant—reclaimed wood, local art, artisanal cocktails, plenty of locally sourced ingredients—but any presumption of pretentiousness is quickly wiped away with the warm greetings of a very friendly staff. More

Bar Eats: Waterfront Ale House

With its huge barbecue platters, hefty burgers, and meal-sized appetizers, Waterfront Ale House unabashedly serves up the style of "go big or go home" classic American pub fare not suited for dainty eaters. Still, it's not the size of the plate, but the little touches that make good food great—and this longstanding bar has perfected just that. More

Bar Eats: Huckleberry Bar in Williamsburg

One of the first cocktail dens on a stretch of Grand Street now flush with bars and gastropubs opening left and right, Huckleberry Bar has stood the test of time as a neighborhood favorite. Open since 2007, the bar has seen many incarnations of its drink and food menus, but the focus has always remained the same: seasonal libations and simple eats with a classic Americana flair. More

Bar Eats: Sake Bar Satsko

The tiny Sake Bar Satsko, arguably the de facto sake-bombing scene of the East Village, serves up a pan-Asian menu with bar bites ranging from the typical spicy tuna rolls to gyoza to edamame. Dig a little deeper and you'll find some unusually great gems, dishes that serve the anecdote to one-too-many sake bombs. More

Bar Eats: Raw Bar and Charcuterie at Hotel Delmano in Williamsburg

Otherwise your prototypical speakeasy-style bar—weathered wood, marble bar, antique mirrors, suspenders—the warm summer evenings have made Hotel Delmano's coveted front patio one of the prime spots for the best people watching and cocktail imbibing in Williamsburg. The bar menu is simple: seafood from the raw bar, charcuterie, cheese and a few small plates. More

Bar Eats: Tequileria Maya

Richard Sandoval's flagship, Maya, a longtime staple for upscale Mexican on the Upper East Side, recently rung in its 15th anniversary with an interior redesign and bar/lounge expansion called Tequileria Maya. ueled by their wide selection of tequilas and fresh fruit margaritas, Tequileria Maya is a loud and lively space, a casual atmosphere perfect for happy hour snacking. More

Bar Eats: Thirstbaravin

In an industrial corner of the far edge of Crown Heights, where the drinks are cheap and the food is fast, one wine bar has dared to go the opposite direction. Promising "slow wine, scratch food," Thirstbaravin stands as a French-style wine bar in a neighborhood mostly occupied by repair shops and auto-parts stores. More

Bar Eats: Cornelius

Prospect Heights bar Cornelius has made a name for itself with its famous $1 oyster happy hour, offered on weekdays until 8 PM and weekends until 6 PM. But given that sustenance can't be had on Blue Point oysters and wine specials alone, Cornelius has a number of other dishes to satisfy post-work cravings. More

Bar Eats: Graffiti Food & Wine Bar

It's been nearly five years since pastry-trained chef Jehangir Mehta blurred the lines between sweet and savory with the opening of Graffiti, a closet-sized East Village food and wine bar serving up eclectic small-plate fare. The space is still as small as ever, but that hasn't stopped Mehta from serving up dishes with big, bold flavors. More

Bar Eats: Oceana

If you find yourself in Midtown in need of a dressed-up bar bite, Oceana—with not one, but two expansive bar areas (a regular and raw bar)—suits the purpose quite well. Though the full menu is available anywhere in the restaurant, Oceana offers a curated selection of finger foods for its bar menu, a more budget-friendly option for those who want to enjoy the trappings of a Michelin-starred restaurant without the typical price tag. More

Bar Eats: The Wayland

The innovative and sometimes quirky drinks of The Wayland have catapulted the renovated dive bar into the latest cocktail mecca of the East Village. Chef/co-owner Robert Ceraso has come up with a great selection of shareable plates for his partner Jason Mendenhall's libations. More

Bar Eats: Silver Lining

Silver Lining, the Tribeca jazz bar opened by the owners of Little Branch, has all the expected characteristics of a Sasha Petraske-run cocktail den—meticulously crafted libations, swank style, and a gentlemen's code of propriety. The overall food offerings are a bit clumsy, lacking the same panache as their cocktail counterparts. But there is some quality food to be found. More

Bar Eats: Bourgeois Pig Brooklyn

Bar impresario Ravi DeRossi (Death and Company, Mayahuel) comes to Carroll Gardens with Bourgeois Pig Brooklyn, the second outpost of the East Village original. The bordello chic trappings—think gilded ceilings and velvet throne chairs—complement an Old World-style drink menu inspired by spirits from Western Europe. More

Bar Eats: Pera Soho

Pera Soho, the sister restaurant to Burak Karacem's original Pera Mediterranean Brasserie in Midtown, opened recently with some fanfare about its 2000-square-foot garden—a teasing reminder that spring is not quite around the corner. Luckily for us, Pera's well-lit (and well-heated) lounge provides a great setting for winter cocktails and bar bites. The bar menu (also offered as small plates and mezes on the dinner menu) by chef team Ryan Skeen and Sezai Celikbas differs slightly from the original location, though the Eastern Mediterranean flavors remain the same. More

Bar Eats: Barraca, Late Night Spanish Menu in the West Village

@katzimmer - I wish I could say! Didn't order sangria this time around, but people have told me it's pretty good.

Bar Eats: Macao Trading Co.

@absolutebrent: Loved the PCB in Macau as well... did you also try African Chicken? I had the one at Cafe Litoral - effing fantastic.

Bar Eats: Macao Trading Co.

@mreng220: Very carefully... in Macau the pork chop is usually thin enough that it's only a minor inconvenience. Here at Macao we had to deconstruct the pork chop to work around that huge bone.

Bar Eats: Madam Geneva

@ksalg - It tasted fine, but it wasn't particularly exciting or fitting with the dish.

Bar Eats: Thirstbaravin

@supercres - HA! Yes, I had completely forgot about that scene. Love it.

Bar Eats: Spring Vegetables at Flatbush Farm & Bar(n)

Thanks for the catch on the location! We've marked it as Park Slope.

@EazyB -- I don't want to imply that the bar menu items reviewed here are seasonal, just that it's a great time to enjoy produce that is particularly good this time of the year.

How Do You Pay the Bill at Restaurants?

I've made a lot of international friends over the years, and one thing they all agree on is this ridiculous American custom of large birthday dinners where the guests all chip in extra for the birthday boy/girl. In my past experience it's always been those group b-day dinners where people start bickering about who should pay what, especially because not all of the guests are necessarily close friends with one another. Someone always leaves angry or annoyed.

In my friends' respective cultures, if it's YOUR birthday and YOU invited your friends, then YOU (or the party host) should pay for it all. (Or if it's not within your budget, do a cash bar shindig instead of group dinner.) Your friends can then generously provide gifts, cake, party hats, whatever... everyone leaves full and happy.

Bar Eats: 169 Bar

Yeah, it's definitely not a place where you expect to fill up, but the value for what you're getting is darn good.

My Latest Obsession: Pork Floss, Chinese Cotton Candy-esque Dried Pork

LOVE this stuff. This plus those wrinkly Chinese sausages were probably my favorite meats as a child.

Bar Eats: McSorley's Old Ale House

@seriousb - The beer is decent for what it is, though I admit I couldn't tell the difference between dark and light. But stout it is not unfortunately. The biggest draw of this place really is the atmosphere.

How Do You Split the Restaurant Tab with a Big Group?

I'm all for splitting the tab evenly, but because I don't drink, I often find myself subsidizing others' alcohol. It easily adds up to about $10-20 extra! If it's a friend's birthday, the extra money is just a part of the birthday present. If it's a regular meal with friends, I ask that the alcohol be split among the drinkers and the food among the eaters.

Alternatively, I'm really good at math and usually don't mind heading the split check committee...

Bar Eats: Sweet Afton

@thesteveroller @tarahtot - These weren't the same pickles I was expecting either; I'm used to the thin ones with a very light coating of batter. But I'm such a carb fiend, and I gotta admit these grew on me.

Bar Eats: Little Cheese Pub

@Frink: Hmm, you're right about that. I was just going off of what was listed on the menu, but now that I think about it, I should ask them whether it's really from Vermont. I promise it still tastes as good though.

Bar Eats: Little Cheese Pub

@vegetarianfoodie: It just so happened that my dining partner happened to luuuuv the Cheddar and Gruyere, so everything we had was some sort of iteration. And yes, it was scrumptious.

What I really wanted to try was the French Man Mac with Morbier and duck meatballs -- but I think that was a little too "adventurous" for her to handle. I think you should go and report back :-)

Flushing: Sannakji (Live Octopus) at Sik Gaek

I tried this when I was still living in LA, albeit without the chiles and garlic. I was super surprised at how chewy it is -- those tentacles are kind of tough! How much is the sannakji at this place?

That buddae jiggae looks amazing, but $30? It better feed six.

Bar Eats: Ladylike Bites from Beauty & Essex

If you're willing to pay for ambiance, it's a pretty good meatball. But yes, better priced 'balls can be had elsewhere!

Street Food: Red Hook Lobster Pound

I too ate the shrimp roll in isolation. It was pretty flippin' divine. Will need to try the lobster roll soon.

Bar Eats: From Homemade Spam to Poi Doughnuts at Lani Kai

@kokeshi: I know, right? I would have loved to see Chef Rivard do a "bar food" take on Spam Musubi.

Game Day Recipe Roundup: Guacamole

The essential guacamole ingredient is salt. I've discovered that many a guacamole that was "ok" magically transforms into "oh-my!" after a few generous pinches of salt.

And the traditional guac recipe is avocados, lime/lemon, minced onion, minced jalepenos and salt. Maybe cilantro if you want to get fancy.

I add diced mango to my guacamole... that touch of sweet really takes it to the next level.

Pop-up Restaurant Installs In-House Lighting Studio for Food Bloggers

I'm glad estarla mentioned Ludo's relationship with the local bloggers. Too many chefs are willing to dismiss bloggers as nobodies trying to critique food, when most of them are just eager eaters who want to express their love of food.

Ludo has introduced to them a style of cuisine that most of them could not afford in a normal fine dining restaurant. Not only that, but he has also reached out them to LEARN from them. One of the best dishes on the LudoBites menu is an authentic Mexican mole he learned from local LA blogger Teenage Glutster.

Truff and Squeezebottle, I feel like you are too quick to judge. Pray tell, what is "everything that is wrong with a.) L.A. b.) food bloggers."

Peta, are you kidding me?

Sure this breast-milk thing is intended to be humorous and cynical, but when you try to stir controversy over facetious subjects, then it detracts from the original mission, which for intents and purposes, is a good one.

PETA lost any respect of mine when it ran a horrific ad comparing a Canadian man's murder and beheading to animal abuse. See: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2008/08/06/international/i101302D40.DTL

Thailand prime minister forced to resign over cooking show

Well, I don't want to make a political statement since I know absolutely nothing about the Thai government. Just thought it was neat that he was a gastronome.

Curious thought: since a large number of conservatives seem to dislike arugula, would it be a hindrance to a political leader if he/she considered himself/herself a "foodie"?

By foodie, I mean foodies like SE'rs who obsess over cheese and collect wine and celebrate heirloom vegetables and revere the well-crafted carne asada taco as much as a Michelin-starred restaurant.

History has shown that Americans like to elect the leader that they would "quaff a beer with." But what if that beer happens to be an artisanal microbrew like Leffe or Unibroue or Ommegang....?

Bacon+Chocolate+Sugar= Heaven

Not quite enough bacon in the Vosges bacon bar. Only hints of it. But THIS... wow.

Ruhlman, forgive me: I really disliked The French Laundry

Annie, you're entitled to your opinion and you're entitled to blog about it. BUUUUT I must note:

In your blog, you rave about the food, how it is perfectly cooked and the menu itself was "admirably constructed" and "thoughtful" and that one course prepped you for the next. But then you get upset about how the Captain was flustered when you asked to substitute veggie dishes into the Chef's Menu.

And asking for a Virgin Mary (essentially spicy tomato juice) is not exactly a common request. You think a busy kitchen like FL's is going to stop everything and juice some tomatoes for a rookie diner? Is not having tomato juice really going to ruin your meal?

If you felt rushed through your dessert courses, the remedy is easy as speaking up: "I'm still working on this, thank you."

The only legitimate excuse you have for being indignant is the Captain's hesitation with the beef allergy. The appropriate response is always, "Yes ma'am, of course we'll make a substitute."

All in all, I'm not convinced that you really disliked French Laundry so much as you liked disliking French Laundry. But that's just my opinion, and I'm entitled to post it.

Bar Eats: $1 Oysters at Maison Premiere

Through the slim celadon doors of Josh Boissy's Maison Premiere, the call of the French Quarter beckons from the Napoleon-adorned absinthe tower standing guard from the bar. Sharply dressed bartenders shake up Sazeracs as the bluesy wail of Son House croons in the background. Find yourself a corner seat, and settle in for a long night of New Orleans wining and dining at this newly opened oyster and cocktail bar. More

Bar Eats: From Homemade Spam to Poi Doughnuts at Lani Kai

If any place can make you forget about the frigid winter for a few hours, it's Lani Kai, the "modern tropical" bar recently opened by cocktail impresario Julie Reiner (Clover Club, Flatiron Lounge). Simply order up a Liquid Luau of Gold Coast Punch--aged rum, pineapple, lime, allspice and Champagne--for the group ($65) and embark on a nice long tour of the island-inspired menu by chef Craig Rivard. More