Apple Bites | Loring Place

This month’s culinary attraction is none other than Chef Dan Kluger’s Loring Place, located at 21 W. 8th Street in the heart of Greenwich Village. The restaurant represents the culmination of a lifelong dream for the chef who has cooked in some of New York’s most beloved restaurants for the city’s very best.  Chef Kluger is best known for leading the teams at ABC Kitchen and ABC Cocina as their Executive Chef, the latter of which was famously named Best New Restaurant 2011 by the James Beard Foundation.  No small feat.

Chef Kluger’s skill for creating delicious market-driven dishes marked by unusual flavor combinations has a new home and is on full display at Loring Place via its menu.  Comprised of small and large plates, alike, the dishes feature farms and farmers whom Kluger has gotten to know intimately over his two decades frequenting the Union Square Greenmarket.

The restaurant’s name was inspired by the street that Kluger’s father grew up on in the Bronx.  This beautiful homage to Arthur Kluger is just one of the many ways in which the spirit of the city is so deeply rooted in the restaurant, itself:  from the energy of passersby seeping through its front windows, to the original beams of the late 1800’s building reincarnated as the restaurant’s refurbished tables.  The style of warm, effusive hospitality that’s a centerpiece at Danny Meyer’s establishments, Kluger’s original introduction to the industry, is palpable, as is the culinary craft of years’ worth of experience passed down to the current generation.

Loring Place, simply put, is a celebration of New York and all things local.

Apple Bites | Becky’s Bites

Some people love bacon, others adore ice cream, and others still can’t get enough of cream cheese, one of the main NYC food groups.

If you are one of these cream cheese lovers, we’re about to make your day: Becky’s Bites has just opened in the East Village to much fanfare. A friend of our team is responsible for bringing her love of cream cheese to the masses via her cream cheese bakery, featuring Beckaroos (think dunkaroos but even more addictive), various mini bagels and scrumptious cream cheese flavors (we recommend the bacon, egg & cheese cream cheese) as well as tiny tarts too . And that’s not all: the venue offers a spread of sweet and savory treats, alike.  If this doesn’t excite you, Becky’s Bites can also be found on Seamless – a sweet bite of perfection from your couch.

Her vision is making NYC as famous for its cream cheese as it is for its bagels. Let’s help make her vision a reality … ‘Meet you there!

Date Your City | Restaurant Week Returns

NYC Restaurant Week is back!  That’s right boys and girls, it’s time to experience the best of the city’s culinary scene, partake in its incredible offerings, at a fraction of the price:  3 courses – $29 Lunches – $42 dinners (insert cheers and clinking glasses here).  There are a bunch of new restaurants joining in the fun from July 24th – August 18th!

This time around, we’d love to learn from you rather than suggest to you. You heard it right: we want you to tell us where you go and what you liked about your restaurant week treat.  There are so many more of you than there are of us, so we figured “why not tap into some crowd sourced wisdom for a change, and share the take-aways?”  If we get enough critical mass, we can create a little top 10 list that we can share with you all – for readers, by readers.  Further still, if you’re feeling particularly social, send us a pic or two of you delighting in your meal, and we may send you one back of our doing the same. We’d love to see you!

Apple Bites | We Scream For Ice Cream

I scream, you scream, we all scream for … hot soup!!   Just kidding, of course : )  It’s that time of the year when temperatures rise, skin gets toasty and ice-cream melts in your mouth, not in your hand (wait, that was M&Ms).

We’ve put together a list of new and “hottest” ice cream shops to melt for:

  • 10Below Ice Cream: “New York’s original rolled ice cream” … we didn’t even realize it was a thing, but apparently this made-to-order, low-temp way of serving ice cream makes it, creamier and smoother with less fat. Hah!
  • Dominique Ansel Kitchen: who said that burrata is only for lunch? With their soft-serve ice cream, we can now enjoy our favorite cheese … sweetened and frozen!
  • Maman’s: so typical NY – there are only 50 ridiculously delicious “craft” ice cream sandwiches available and only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Go get’em!
  • Van Leeuwen: If you believe less is more, and that the simple creamy texture of a pure flavor is heaven, then walk through Van Leeuwen’s pearly gates.
  • Odd Fellows: However, if you want crazy ingredients, unique toppings and some courageous combos to wake up your taste buds, Odd Fellows will do the trick.

Still haven’t had your ice cream fill?  Then check out this list, as well!  If you happen to visit any of these, take a pic, send it over and let us know what you thought!  We’re happy to share our ice-cream critics’ picks next month, as there will still be plenty of time to share and enjoy!

Apple Bites | Eat Your Heart Out NYC

Mmmm … brunch. Our favorite meal of the week! If the snow or rain was your excuse for skipping brunch as a staple weekend experience, it’s time to bring it back into the fold.

  • Let’s start with Augustine: This Fidi brunch spot is the latest addition to Keith McNally’s food empire, and it does not disappoint. People are already smacking their lips over the brunch items on its menu: from its Egg-in-a-Hole with Smoked Salmon and Heirloom Beet Tartine, to its Huckleberry topped Ricotta Pancakes and its bounty of a bread and pastry basket (who else has canelés and Nutella madeleines in there?).   Its hangover drinks are a perfect remedy for a long Saturday night out.
  • Moving on to De Maria: Too trendy for most of us, mortals, this Nolita restaurant has some truly unique picks, which you can savor on its patio. From its Toast with Avocado and lavender salt-cured salmon and its Chocolate-chestnut Waffle, to its House-made Tahini yogurt with sumac and apricot (yum) and Rooster Bowl (grains, seaweed, cured fish, and vegetables), its All-Day-Breakfast menu lives up to its name.
  • Closing out with Sunday in Brooklyn: This Williamsburg all-day restaurant is already making headlines with its hedonistic brunch options. Its Malted Pancakes are sheer decadence with hazel maple praline and brown butter, while its Egg & Sausage sandwich is lavished with gochujang aioli and cheddar on a brioche. Its drinks are also to die for, particularly its Sunday, Bloody Sunday Mezcal Bloody Mary and Sambal mix (and no…that is not a typo).

These are at least three good reasons to wake up a little earlier on Sunday mornings, even though they might warrant an indulgent nap thereafter.

Apple Bites | Eleven Madison Park

Eleven Madison Park … yes, you knew it was high-end. Yes, you heard that it’s delicious, and likely have fond memories of your taste-buds getting tickled. But did you know that it was just named the World’s Best Restaurant? Let’s say that again: it was just named the best, most amazing restaurant in the entire world, the second ever American Restaurant to hold this high honor. And it’s in our backyard! How can we not spotlight it this month!

Back in 1998, Danny Meyer was its original owner but he handed the reins over to Daniel Humm and Will Guidara. Since then, continuing in the delectable tradition, nothing but accolades have followed. The 8-course dinner menu costs $300/person or a mere $145 for the 5-course bar menu … a pittance compared to other restaurants that have not been graced with such a title. If you haven’t been of late, maybe it’s time you refresh your memory. If you do, let us know what you think, and how it feels to sit in a chair where hundreds of foodies from all around the world have come to experience what is otherwise a local stop for all of us.

Apple Bites | Ichimura & Pig Bleecker

Since we are passionate foodies, we are super excited to share our Apple Bites for this month.

The first is Ichimura, a 10-set sushi den on Leonard Street in Tribeca. At a sizeable cost of $300 per person, the highly exclusive amakase menu creates an experience that’s 2 hours long … 2 hours of delectable, mouth melting, sushi extravaganza. With yelp reviews boasting “you won’t find better in the US” and “the best night of my life”, it’s hard to not be at least intrigued. Ready to splurge?

On the opposite end of the culinary spectrum, we have a barbecue meats fine dining, with a heavy focus of smoked meats at Pig Bleecker in the Greenwich Village. This is the follow-up restaurant to Chef Matt Abdoo’s Brooklyn barbecue restaurant, Pig Beach. No fear: they also serve vegetable and fish dishes, so you can be sure that there’s something for everyone!

Apple Bites | Daily Provisions

Danny Meyer debuted a new restaurant this month, and it’s already gaining a huge following. Daily Provisions was envisioned as a “take-home” version of the key conceptual ingredients behind Union Square Café … a distilled version, if you will, of the much famed eatery. Located at 103 East 19th Street, it offers items that one would consider eating every day (ergo its name). While the pastries, sandwiches and in-house breads it offers can all be eaten at its bar seats and tables, the idea is to meet the culinary needs of those who live and work in Gramercy … a local stop for provisions. According to the “experts” here are the must-try items on the menu: the Cruellers, Breakfast Gougeres, Sprezzatura Loaf, Rotisserie Chicken and (the show-stealer) Chicken Milanese Sandwich. If you stop by, send us a note to let us know which is your favorite!

Apple Bites | Alternatives For Thanksgiving Day Cooking

Just in case you’re not in the cooking mood for that special day, here are some Thanksgiving destinations to enjoy both for the experience and the food:

Rotisserie Georgette – Zagat says: Gracious” owner Georgette Farkas is a “charmer” at her UES namesake, known for “impressive” rotisserie chicken and other “home-inspired” French cooking from an “attentive” staff; the “comfortable” atmosphere is “always a pleasure”, “but you do pay for it.If this sounds delicious to you, get the menu here.

Le Coq Rico – Zagat says: It’s “whole chicken heaven” at acclaimed chef Antoine Westermann’s Flatiron offshoot of a Paris standout where “French country–style” dishes featuring responsibly farmed birds (including hens, duck and squab) are “seriously delicious” (as are the egg starters); tabs run “pricey”, but “lovely” service is another reason this newcomer is “taking off.If you are saying, “yes and yes”, check out their savory menu.

Craft – Zagat says: “Still inventive, still exciting”, this “grown-up” Flatiron American from Top Chef star Tom Colicchio offers “simply yet expertly prepared” food that’s “perfect for group sharing”, served in “warm, modern” digs by a “terrific” team; though the “one-percenter” pricing suggests “special occasions”, it’s a “worthy splurge” at any time. If this is the restaurant for you, click here to begin salivating.

Apple Bites | Outdoor Dining Spots

Nothing screams summer like the great outdoors. Even in this concrete jungle of ours, there are still plenty of ways to frolic and dine in a green, lush space. Here are 5 outdoor dining spots creating buzz this summer.

La Sirena is Mario Batali’s latest creation in the Maritime Building in West Chelsea.  As per the NY Post:  Batali’s first new restaurant here in 10 years offers Italian cuisine for almost  everyone — even for the “wellness-aware” who don’t share the chef’s famous taste for lardo and meaty sauces. And, the scene’s up to the cuisine. A rollicking, mosaic-tiled lounge anchored by a 38-foot-long bar holds two very adult dining rooms at arms’ length. An outdoor terrace, to open in a few weeks, will swell the seat total to 300. The democratically diverse crowd ranges from young families, to snuggling couples, to Jerry Seinfeld hunkered down with two business guys, all three of them in suits and ties.”

Service Station NYC is another Italian restaurant whose patio can seat more than 100.  As per its own website:  “Opened in the Fall of 2015, the Service Station is now serving up an Italian-inspired menu for diners on the Upper East Side. Tucked alongside the Bentley Hotel on York Ave and East 62nd Street, the new Manhattan restaurant is just what the neighborhood needed. The smell of the specialty pizzas in the brick oven and the spacious tree-lined patio will beckon you in from the sidewalk. If satisfied taste buds and a full belly are what you’re looking for, the Service Station is exactly where you need to be. Fusing imagination and delectable ingredients together, you can’t walk away from this place without being impressed.”

Kingsley’s East Village farm to table offering opened in February and serves French and American dishes, alike.  Named #1 Fit for Foodies on Open Table, here’s what Time Out says about this newcomer:  “Entering the culinary world as a high-school teen, Roxanne Spruance apprenticed under top Chicago chefs Paul Kahan, Koren Grieveson and Dale Levitski, all before she left for college. After moving to New York, the ambitious young chef landed high-profile gigs at wd~50, Cafe Tallulah and eventually Alison Eighteen, where she received acclaim (and a Slow Food Snail of Approval) for her nose-to-tail cooking. That sustainable ethos carries over to her first solo venture, this 65-seat French-American spot in the East Village, where Spruance flexes her globally influenced training with dishes such as delicate chawanmushi (a Japanese steamed egg custard) nestling escargot and black garlic, and scallops served with sunchoke, walnut and chicharrones.”

Social Drink and Food boasts the greatest outdoor space of these pics, taking over 7,000 square feet via the rooftop at Hell’s Kitchen’s Yotel hotel. Movie screenings and weekly board-game nights keep the scene, well … social! As Urban Daddy puts it:  “It’s part indoor and part outdoor, in case water-bearing clouds arrive. Among the foodstuffs are various pizzas, chicken shashlik and a global street fair special that’ll change at the whim of the chefs (menu here). In a hollowed-out pineapple, you’ll find three straws granting access to a blend of rum, pineapple and coconut syrups, and their own special tiki tincture. It’s all called the Tropical Triple. You can look at that and the whole damn place here. The roof is still the spot for the Rooftop Cinema Club, which now features beach chairs.” Llama Inn was launched in November to much fanfare. According to the NY Post: “Former Eleven Madison Park chef Erik Ramirez wanted to put a sleek spin on Peruvian cuisine when he launched Llama Inn. Look for specialities like tuna tiradito laced with avocado, cashew-topped quinoa and the Dolly Llama cocktail (pisco, red wine, strawberries). “We wanted to marry the traditions of Creole dishes with NYC dining,” Ramirez explains.  Not only can the rooftop accommodate more than 25 guests, but he’s putting a slushie machine up there to churn out frozen pisco sours. We’ll drink to that!”