While the Gala is the centerpiece of the Manhattan Cocktail Classic, the five-day conference is filled with events, tastings, seminars, and party after party. Here are more of our favorite sips.
We've all got memories of a favorite bar from long ago. Maybe there was a legendary karaoke night, or a great burger to soak up the $2 drafts, or quirky regulars. We asked 26 bartenders about the first bar they ever loved. Here are their answers—from Miami to Missolua, Seattle to South Carolina. What's the first bar you ever loved?
Slathering pimento cheese on a sandwich is such a brilliant idea. At Van Horn Sandwich Shop on Court Street in Cobble Hill, it makes an appearance on the "BLP."
This week, we're chatting about two group dinner questions: a birthday party with guests who are vegan or gluten-free, and a book club dinner with guests of variously adventurous tastes.
It's hard to even conceive of a cocktail party more elaborate than the Gala at the Manhattan Cocktail Classic. The kickoff event of the five-day conference, at the New York Public Library on Friday night, spread over three floors of the majestic space, with something different around every corner: multiple dance floors and live bands, photobooths and entertainers, cocktails tucked away in lounges and around corridors. Here's a look at some of the best cocktails, from rum "Re-fashioneds" to canned Campari.
Breaking glass into the ice well. Mangling the classics. Blender explosions. Serving a "virgin" cocktail to an eight-year-old and figuring out—it isn't. When orders are coming in fast, any number of things can go wrong behind the bar. We asked 24 bartenders about the worst mistakes they've ever made behind the bar.
Where do you eat in Downtown Brooklyn? What's the best pizza in New York? We chat about these questions on Ask the Critic this week.
I can't say I ever expected to find a particularly forward-thinking cocktail program in the Meatpacking District. But I also can't say I ever expected to find Aaron Polsky in the Meatpacking District. Polsky, who you may recognize from his work at Neta or Amor y Amargo, was brought in to develop a cocktail program that was "cutting-edge and delicious," he told us, "but could also handle the volume of a 200-seat restaurant."
Just as menus at restaurants are seasonal, many cocktail menus are, too. This time of the year, many cocktail lists start lightening up, with white spirits coming back into focus, summer sippers added to the menu, and certain fruits and herbs coming into peak form. We asked 26 bartenders: What spring ingredients are you excited about? Here's what they had to say.
This week on Ask the Critic, we're talking about Clinton Hill and low-carb diets.
My first impression of Chavela's in Crown Heights was that, more than any other spot I've been to in the city, it reminded me of the casual Mexican restaurants I grew up with in California. Loud Latin music. Splashes of color everywhere. Affordable beer. Friendly, crazy-efficient service. And more-than-serviceable food.
When you make cocktails for a living, you end up with pretty definite opinions as to which you like more than others. And you end up with some least favorites. What cocktail should disappear forever? We asked 24 bartenders; here's what they had to say.
This week on Ask the Critic, we're talking about the best restaurant for a "Classic NYC"–themed bachelorette party, and a semi-fancy lunch for an out-of-town couple.
If I have one favorite classic cocktail, it's the Negroni—refreshingly bitter, just sweet enough to round out the edges, with complex botanicals and a bright burst of orange oil to set it off. But once you start considering the Negroni as a template, you'll find variations on the theme just about everywhere.
Here are eleven in New York I've loved of late, with spirits ranging from mezcal to genever to bourbon, with every amaro you can think of, and with coffee, beets, dried figs, and roasted oranges all making appearances.
At the bar, you might expect a customer to order something off the drink list, or a classic cocktail, or just a beer. But sometimes orders get a little more... involved than that. We asked 24 bartenders: what's the most ridiculous drink order you've ever gotten? Here's what they had to say.
Ask the Critic: Where to Have an Anniversary Dinner, Food Walking Tour Near the Empire State Building
This week on Ask the Critic, we find a fancy (but not too fancy) restaurant for an anniversary dinner, and put together an eating-and-sightseeing tour with both in equal proportion.
Xixa, in Brooklyn's Williamsburg, strikes me as a very good restaurant in need of an editor, an excellent restaurant hiding inside the body of a less-excellent larger one. Any one of the best dishes here is worth a return trip; but occasional missteps mean it's hard to give a blanket recommendation.
White Russians, frozen margaritas, Bud Light Lime—all drinks that most "serious" cocktail bars won't serve you. But let's be real: We all have our guilty pleasures. I asked 22 bartenders about what drinks they're secretly fond of. Here's what they had to say.
This week on Ask the Critic: Dinner near Barclays Center and throwing a British bash.
Bartenders work with plenty of spirits you're familiar with, but also make drinks with other booze that you might not recognize. We asked 28 bartenders about which liquors many people don't know about, but should. Here's what they had to say.
This week on Ask the Critic: a day eating and drinking in Williamsburg, and an affordable lunch in Midtown.
The deli's name notwithstanding, I generally prefer the pastrami or corned beef to the brisket at David's Brisket House. (I mean, in general, I prefer pastrami or corned beef to brisket, too.) Unless the brisket is turned into a "Brooklyn Cheesesteak" ($8).
Having visited Mayfield only three times I can't say whether it's always as lively and friendly as I've seen it. But if my experiences have been any indication, this is a neighborhood spot that's filling a void—it's as successful a bar as a restaurant, gathering place as eatery, with a menu I'd eat from any day of the week.
Stabbing someone with a salad fork, falling onto a candle, throwing a shot back right into your eye... all probably signs you've had a drink too many. We asked 18 bartenders about a time they realized that they really shouldn't have given someone one last drink. Here's what they had to say.
This week on Ask the Critic: Taking Mom out for brunch on Mother's Day, and eating alone around New York City.
If you've ordered takeout from a Chinese restaurant in your life, you've probably either seen or tasted Kung Pao chicken. And I'll admit that it's a dish I've loved and still enjoy. But the Westernized version is missing the key ingredient that is the star of the authentic Sichuan version, known more commonly as Gong Bao chicken: Sichuan peppercorns. It's their unique, mouth-numbing effect that gives the dish its spicy, warming quality.
When you saw the S'mOreos in our roundup of 14 Things To Make with Oreos, did you think, "Man, if only I could watch an animated gif of a S'mOreos being squished down over and over again for eternity..."? Well, so did we. So did we.
The fine editors at Serious Eats asked me, a 15+ year Dublin bartender, to opine on the best ways to imbibe in my city. This guide is intended for newcomers to Dublin and should give you a very rough idea of where to go and what to drink (whilst simultaneously preventing you from coming to harm on your first night). What happens after that is your own business: I take no responsibility for your safety, wellbeing, personal finances, romantic entanglements, hangovers, the stock market or anything else that happens while you're here. If you go home with stories to tell, well, then you've got the idea.
Let's talk about Restaurant Week. If you don't dine out often, or if you're used to thinking of New York restaurants as prohibitively expensive, it can seem like a great deal. But in the New York of 2012, it's possible to get an excellent 3-course meal for $35 (the Restaurant Week rate) any day of the year. Here are 20 suggestions.
This list rounds up some of the most traditional, classically Brazilian dishes. They are basic dishes that hail from all over: the Northeastern area of the country, the Amazonian jungles, the quick take-away shops in Sao Paulo.
My original plan was ratatouille, one of my absolute favorite seasonal meals. I picked up eggplant, zucchini, tomato, and set about finding a recipe. The problem is, I'm already quite fond of this one and couldn't find another that excited me in the same way. Luckily, I came across a recipe that uses all of the above vegetables, then adds some chickpeas and bell peppers. How could that be bad?
On the Serious Eats calendar, you'll see a big, fat star on November 1st. Why? That's when the Serious Eats book comes out—and we can't wait to share it with all of you.
Few have attempted to try all 33 different flavors of cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory; fewer have succeeded without medical assistance. But we've boldly gone where no others have gone before.
When it comes to the Bronx, everyone talks about Arthur Avenue. But few know that there are some tasty options for munching near the Bronx Zoo—aside from the standard, often underwhelming Italian-American sit-downs over in Fordham-Belmont. From roti in Allerton to Albanian burek on Arthur Avenue and Yemeni food in Van Nest, there are plenty of interesting options. So if you're heading up to the Bronx to hang with the gorillas and the giraffes this summer, make sure to check out our guide to what's worth eating close by first.
A first look at the vendors at the Brooklyn Flea's new food market, Smorgasburg.
When I heard that work was taking me to Dallas, I put out a note on various social networking sites, asking for a recommendation for a good burger. Several chains were mentioned, but just one local joint came to the surface: Twisted Root Burger Company.
It's hard work, but someone had to do it: hunt down the best falafel sandwich in New York. What makes it the best? Falafel with crispy shells and tender interiors, not too dry, with a good internal balance of chickpea, parsley, and spice; pita that's fresh-tasting and delicious; sauces and toppings that add to the total package. Here's the Top 7, ending with our winner—the best falafel in New York.
Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone, chef-owners of the proudly Italian-American Torrisi Italian Specialties, prove in their recently-launched dinner service that their understanding of serious food extends far beyond red sauce. Having eaten the insanely good sandwiches and side dishes at Torrisi for lunch a number of times, I thought that when we walked through the door at Torrisi for dinner, we were going to find elevated southern Italian red-sauce specialties—something like what the Frankies, Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli, do so very well at Frankie's 457 and their other ventures. That would have been good enough for me. But dinner at Torrisi Italian Specialties is a culinary and gustatory tour de force.
New York's never been a great pie town. We have lots of great baked goods and lots of talented pastry chefs, but somehow our pies have never made it onto my nationwide pie honor roll. But with artisanally inspired handmade food in Brooklyn appearing at every corner and market, and the borough's do-it-yourself food culture growing ever-larger, we knew that a pie culture couldn't be far behind. Pies 'N Thighs started it, and now to pie lover's rescue come two pie companies—Four and Twenty Blackbirds and First Prize Pies.
Bread baskets are one of the greatest pleasures of dining out. Have you ever eaten a bread basket that was so delicious you couldn't stop eating it? Or one that even out-shined your actual meal? We have—and since New York City is a bastion of the impressive bread basket, we set out to determine our favorites.
If you asked me ten years ago if I would ever consider becoming a vegetarian, my answer would have been, "Hell no," followed by a string of surprisingly vicious obscenities. You might have cried. And I wouldn't have felt bad about it afterward. But dishes like this West African Vegetable Stew are just as filling and flavorful as meaty ones. Healthy as hell and simple to make, it possesses a wonderful sweet heat and heartiness.
[Photos: Carey Jones, Patrick Gorman] Every now and then, when we write about a place that's managed to stay on the edge of the media spotlight, we get a few angry emails. Well, we get the appreciative ones first—"This...
After my first fast-food foray, the Mac Snack Wrap, Serious Eats asked me to compare Burger King's new XT sandwich and McDonald's Angus Burger. I was ecstatic about a second chance to review products from two of our nation's iconic chains. But how do you taste a freshly, um, manufactured Burger King burger next to a McDonald's Angus and not have the contest be biased towards the home restaurant? Solution: home and away games, Champion's League-style.
Any food lover traveling to Paris could easily spend weeks, months, or years gobbling up all the serious eats the City of Lights has to offer. From the brasseries, boulangeries, the bistros, and beyond, it's almost too much to take in. So we decided to turn to our friend David Lebovitz to get a handle on a manageable bite of the France's capital city — its baked goods.
Rendang are dishes that are as integral to Malaysian cookery as laksas or satays. A rendang is a dish of meat stewed slowly in a coconut-curry liquid. Aromatic pastes are added in the beginning. As the meat stews in the paste and coconut milk mixture, the liquid reduces until only the oils of the coconut milk remain. To finish, the meat is lightly browned in the remaining coconut oil. The resulting dish is intensely flavorful and tender yet crisp and sticky on the outside with bits of browned aromatics.
Bowls received thumbs-up all around, thanks to the saffron-infused broth and bursts of fresh lemon and cilantro in this Moroccan-Style Chickpea Soup. It's similar to Harira soup, a Moroccan dish traditionally served during Ramadan, which I would eat on any holiday.
Not to be confused with the other two inferior Ali's Roti Shops in Brooklyn, Ali's Trinidad & Tobago Roti Deli Grocery in Bed-Stuy serves what are probably the best doubles ($1.25) this side of Trinidad. For a quarter of the cost of a Di Fara slice, you get a sweet and spicy chickpea curry that's flavored with tamarind and sandwiched between two disks of turmeric-scented deep-fried, naan-like bread known as "bara."
There are few food smells quite as hypnotic as the Cinnabon smell. You know it. At just about any mall food court, airport, or train station, it's there lingering, taunting you. But after 25 years, the Cinnabon counter is making room for a new dessert—and it doesn't even have an addictive aroma. The cupcake.
What makes a really good roasted chicken sandwich? Really good roasted chicken. That's what you'll find in the pollo hero ($6.50) at Milanes, a Dominician lunch counter in Chelsea.