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LGA/JFK/NYC (New York)

Travel: Hotwire , Orbitz , Orbitz (g a y t r av e l section) , Priceline Air: - Save up to 40% or more! , Priceline: , Priceline: Rental Car Itinerary Link , Priceline: Vacation Itinerary Link , Site59 (one of my best recent travel finds!), Enterprise

Misc. Stuff: , Dell Home Computers ( Dell Promotions ), American Express: Get 10,000 SkyMiles with the Gold Delta SkyMiles Card , Sierra Club , ( Free shipping - No Minimum Purchase or $15 off $200 or more (a favorite merchant of my friend Dirk), (odd assortment of stuff), FragranceNet , McAfee (antivirus software), Mission Orchards (dried fruit assortments, gifts),   International Male , Magazines , , , Vitacost ( Atkins Products 33-40% off ).

Subway service: Checking the Service Information page would probably be a good idea!
Transportation to EWR: Olympia Trails or a New Jersey Transit bus from Newark's Penn Station take the latter if you've got plenty of time and want to save $ - I think Olympia is up to $12 one-way).
Transportation to LGA: N to Astoria to the M60 (or cab it from there); also E /F /G /R train to Jackson Heights 74th Street or 7 to 74th or 82nd Street (74th Street is a little bit of a maze to find the departure point for the Q33), then the Q33 to LGA.  The Q33 is run by an independent bus company, and is somewhat crappy from what I've seen.
Transportation to JFK: Pain in the butt, whatever method. The A train to JFK (sort of; you have to take a 10-15 minute bus ride to get to the terminals). Also shuttle service available from GCS (Grand Central Station).
Transportation to ISP: Colonial Transportation , 516(631?).589.3500, from LIRR (516.822.LIRR) Ronkonkoma station; one-way $5 per person and $1 for each accompanying family member (I don't know how they define family). From Ronkonkoma station starting at 5:30AM; from ISP from 6:AM-10:30PM from curb in front of WN baggage claim.
From, an article for theater-goers: How to Buy Discount Theater Tickets in New York City

Sripraphai , near 65th Street & Roosevelt, Woodside, Queens.  Near the 65th St. stop on the R train or the 69th St. stop on the 7 .  Very yummy Thai food!  Run by a nice woman (Sripraphai).  Try the A-8 (meat (order beef) with fresh mint, dry chili & lemon juice), A-13 (broiled Thai catfish salad), N-8 (curried rice noodles (I had chicken instead of beef or pork)), O-13 (Combo of coconut rice, papaya salad & BBQ chicken), and S-8 (tom kha gai).  Since I have already been there three times in eleven days, I will be adding to the suggested food items list!  P.S.: Normally I'd write the Thai names of the dishes, but the take-out menu shows the names in Thai script!  Can't type that.  Cash only; closed Wednesdays.  JUL01: We now order the red curry coconut shrimp every time we go, and sometimes the pad prik king gai (I don't think it's on the menu but they'll make it for you; it's a chicken dish in a red curry paste with green beans).

Iron Chef House, 92 Clark Street, Brooklyn, 718.858.8517.  I had a delicious meal, one of the best Japanese meals I've had in a long time, here in April 2005.  They had a special appetizer of seared tuna slices that they had prepared with an interesting array of spices(/herbs?).  Wonderful stuff.

D'Artagnan. Closed (but still making wonderful luxury meat products out of NJ).

Beacon , 25 W. 56th Street (5th/6th), 212.332.0500. Near the 5th Ave. stop on the N /R /W or the 5th Ave. stop on the E /F .   I had one of the best (if not the best) pork chop in my life here; it's a Double Smoked Chop and tasted as rich as bacon (but was certainly not as fatty as that).  The Venison was the best venison I'd had in my entire life.  The caramelized-apple-something dessert went over very well; the caramel flavor was great, and Gloria liked it as well as her Trout.  The Bourbon Pecan Souffle which we had on our first visit here was great.  The breads are good.  It's just a wonderful place!  A bit pricey, but not obscenely so.  JAN01: I just called and found out there is a three-course prix-fixe dinner available during the week, but you must arrive between 5:30 and 6:15PM; can't remember the cost.  MAR01: Ask for Matthew - very pleasant server.

Mexicana Mama , 525 Hudson Street (10th/Charles), 924.4119, Tu-F, N-11:PM, Sa-Su, 1:PM-11:PM.  Near the 14th St. stop on the A /C /E and the Christopher St. stop on the 1 /2 (used to be 1/9).  Wonderful!  Chilaquiles, Taco de Puerco en Salsa Chile Cascabel, Enchilada Roja, and a chicken dish over some kind of nut puree (and many margaritas for most of the table) were all tasty dishes we (Janine, Terri, and I (all LGA)) ordered here in JAN01.  I plan to return many times - best Mexican I've had in many years (and quite possibly ever).  Keep in mind you're paying for good food - not comfy seats and space!  Say hi to Jay.

Pearson's Texas Barbecue, Jackson Heights - CLOSED.  I tried their new outpost in Manhattan and did not like it.  So much for that.

Restaurant Arabelle , 212.606.4647, 37 E. 64th (Madison) (near the SE corner of Central Park).  Dale, Bernadette and I went here for a delicious ($20!) lunch in early 2002, I think.  (Well, it was more than $20 with wine, but it was still a good deal!)  One of the best prix-fixe lunch picks I found.

Veritas , 43 E. 20th Street (Park), 212.353.3700.  Near the 23rd St. stop on the N /R or the 23rd St. stop on the 6 or the 14th St./Union Square stop on the N /R /W /Q /L /4 /5 /6 (last time I came out of the 14th St. side of this station (DEC01) it was a mess).   One of the best meals of my life (if not the best) (DEC99). Our friends Maria and Tim were working the evening we were there.  (Maria tends bar and Tim rotates as Maitre ‘d).  Maria offered us some wonderful Riesling and 1988 Dom Perignon. Tim, our waiter Steven, and the sommelier Eric provided us with exemplary service and attention throughout the three-hour dinner.  Be sure to ask for Tim if you dine there, and you should.

Kathi chose the Warm Green & White Asparagus (with sauteed chanterelles and truffle fondue) for her appetizer (delicious) and the third in our party had the Peekytoe Crab Ravioli (fines herbs, tomato, lemon and shellfish emulsion).  I chose the Bluefin Tuna Tartare, but the other appetizers were much better (including the Roasted Sweetbreads (marinated shitakes, ginger and soy glaze)).  The best two entrees we had were Seared Maine Diver Scallops (truffle chive potato puree, pea shoots and perigord black truffle vinaigrette) (my choice) and the Tender Braised Veal (aromatic vegetables, porcini mushrooms, barolo wine and rosemary) (Kathi’s pick).  The Pepper Crusted Venison (braised red cabbage, chestnuts, baby beets and juniper) was good as well, although our third pick of the three.

My favorite dessert was the Maple Pot de Crème (with walnut biscotti).  I was moaning this was so perfect.  We also quite liked the Crème Fraiche Panna Cotta (with passion fruit soup).  The Banana and Pecan Financier (caramelized bananas and chocolate bourbon sauce) was pretty light on sweetness, and the Chocolate Soufflé was lovely, but the Maple Pot de Crème was still my favorite.  Maria suggested coming by on Sunday evenings since it’s usually not too busy.  I would recommend a glass of that delightful Riesling I mentioned earlier (I can’t remember the details on the name of the wine).

The prix-fixe is $68 (without wine (with tax, that comes to approx. $85-87)), although I would strongly recommend having wine with the meal.  Veritas has - in all likelihood - THE best wine list in New York City, and you could spend $40 for a bottle or $25,000.  I’m not joking!  You can view the entire wine list at their website.  Overall, a splurge, indeed, but my GODDESS it was great!  I preferred it to Jean Georges for a number of reasons (including the food).  NOV00 update: The chocolate-hazelnut dessert is FANTASTIC!  It has a little banana to it which I don't think it needs since it's such a perfect chocolate-hazelnut combo - to the Belgian degree of perfect.  JUL01: They're doing a different chocolate-hazelnut dessert now which isn't quite like the one from NOV.  NOV01: Just went here with Dirk (EWR) for the venison since it's fall and it's back on the menu.  Also had a wonderful Bittersweet Mocha Cake (I think the cake was chocolate and the ice cream on the side was mocha - wonderful).

Ocean Grill , 384 Columbus (78th/79th), 212.579.2300.  They have a prix-fixe lunch for $16.95 (prix-fixe dinner ($24.95? (lunch & dinner prices recently went up)) is VERY early; must be seated and order by 6:00PM (also must typically request the prix-fixe menu specifically since they DON'T bring it otherwise  : - |   )).  One of our nicest waitrons lately is Tim.  Try the Lobster Bisque , the Grilled Striped Bass, and the sorbets or ice creams for dessert, esp. the coconut and raspberry sorbets or the chocolate and cinnamon-honey ice creams (but not the lemon sorbet).  MMMmmm... The B.R. Guest Restaurants ' site contains info on their other places (Blue Water Grill, Ruby Foo's, etc.)

Jean Georges , One Central Park West, 212.299.1000, New French.  One of the best restaurants in New York!  27 out of 30 for the food rating in Zagat.  I went there twice; it was excellent, but if I had to eat at either Veritas or Jean Georges the rest of my life, I would pick Veritas .

L' Incontro .  718.721.3532, 21-76 31st Street, Astoria.  Take the N to the end of the line and walk about a block further.  Northern Italian.  Delicious pumpkin ravioli.  Many thanks to Michele (LGA) for the suggestion!

Max & Moritz , 426-A 7th Avenue, Brooklyn, 718.499.5557.  Our usual waiter is Carlos.  My favorite dish (one of the special appetizers that day) so far is a duck ravioli in a reduced port sauce.  Yummy!  (I believe the CitySearch link has the wrong address; I'll check that out later.)

Ariyoshi , 41-13 Queens Blvd. (41st St.), Sunnyside, Queens, 718.937.3288.  I used to live right near this place. I miss Sunnyside. (sigh...).  Good prices on a few dinner specials - Mon.-Wed.?

Destinée , 134 E. 61st St., 212.888.1220.  Chris (LGA) and I had a nice, $20, three-course prix-fixe lunch here in early NOV01.  VERY cute waiter.  Must go back.  Oh, and the food was pretty tasty - not as good as the Aureole lunch, but good.

Aureole , 34 E. 61st St.  Had a very nice lunch here with Catherine (LGA) in OCT01; excellent chocolate dessert.

La Flor, 53-02 Roosevelt Avenue (under the 7 train (next to the 52nd St. stop)).  Michele introduced me to this tasty, simple, and nice spot.  Easy, quick trip from Midtown makes this a weekday possibility for a long lunch.

Pio Pio , 84-13 Northern Blvd., Jackson Heights.  Peruvian chicken place.  Another tasty referral from Michele!

Tennessee Mountain , 121 W. 45th (6th Ave./B'way), 212.869.4545; also 143 Spring (Wooster), 212.431.3993.  Yummy barbecue AND they do their fried okra RIGHT!  (It's a rare thing to find.)  UPDATE: I took a group of people there on 5OCT99, and they've removed the okra from the menu, at least for now.  Express your desire for its reinstatement if you go here!

Ping's, 83-02 Queens Blvd., Elmhurst, Queens, 718.396.1238, .1221(F).  Scallops with Black Pepper Sauce were very good as were all the seafood dishes we ordered (I didn't like the beef; stick to the seafood).  The Steamed Shrimp Dumplings were the best I've ever had.

Jai Ya, 81-11 Broadway, Elmhurst, Queens, 718.651.1330.  Very tasty (although overly hot) Thai food near Jackson Heights.  I am usually very happy ordering medium, but this place's medium is just about anyone else's hot (in Thailand AND the U.S.!).

Pho Bang, 82-90 Broadway (Elmhurst Ave.), 718.205.1500 (also 41-07 Kissena Blvd. (Main St.), Queens, 718. 939.5520; and 3 locations in Manhattan: 6 Chatham Sq. (Mott St.), 212.587.0870; 157 Mott St. (Broome/Grand), 966.3797; and 3 Pike St. (Canal/Division), 233.3947).  VERY inexpensive AND BYOW/B!  Can't get much cheaper than that!  No credit cards.

Buttercup Bake Shop, Second Avenue near 52nd St.  I called these people the "Cake Nazis" for a while since they had not accepted an order I wanted to place for the next day at 2:15PM (their cut-off is 2:00), but then I discovered Magnolia wants a WEEK notice!  This is a sibling to Magnolia and has similarly wonderful classic American cakes.  I didn't think their Chocolate Pudding Pie was as extraordinary as their Coconut Cake.

Bagel 54, 265 W 54th (8th Ave.), 212.956.2284.  Carries H& H Bagels.  Yummm...  I think they're closed Sunday.

Magnolia Bakery, 401 Bleecker St., 212.462.2572.  Marvelous Coconut Cake (except once - it was off).  MAY01: Just had the chocolate cake with a white frosting.  Not so thrilled.  Had asked the guy behind the counter for his thoughts on this one vs. the coconut cake, and he said he didn't "eat this stuff."  How do these people get jobs in popular food places?!

New York Noodle House, 28 1/2 Bowery.  REALLY cheap Chinese place in Chinatown.  Tasty salt-fried calamari .

Clementine , 1 Fifth Avenue (8th Street - enter on 8th), 212.253.0003.  I had a wonderful pork loin dish with mustard greens, a cheddar-coriander custard, and BBQ onions ($20) when I went with my friend Jill and her work cohort, Charlie (both from LHR).  Jill had the braised lamb shank with cauliflower gratin, stewed zucchini, and marjoram ($21) and was quite happy as well.  For desserts, the Lemon Caramel Icebox Cake ($8) was good, and the Cocoa Crusted Peanut Butter Mousse went over very well.  Medium-pricey (entrees $19-27).  The meat items turned out better than the seafood items EXCEPT for the King Crab appetizer which our waitress Heather suggested (I also owe her credit for the pork suggestion!).

Risotteria, 270 Bleecker St. (6th/7th Aves.), 212.924.6664.  Reasonable little Italian place focusing on (obviously) risotto.  I liked my "Shrimp, Shiitake & Spring Onions" risotto, and Stephanie (BNA) quite liked her "Asparagus, Roasted Tomato & Mozzarella" salad. (MAY01)

Happy Kitchen , 80-12 37th Avenue (80th/81st Streets), Jackson Heights, Queens, 718.803.1600.  Sushi, teriyaki, etc.  They can do sushi with brown rice (I've heard it's better for diabetics - not as simple a carbohydrate).

Stamatis , 29-12 23rd Avenue, Astoria, Queens, 718.932.8596.  Best Grilled Octopus according to the Village Voice and my friend Elena!

French Roast , 78 W. 11th St. (Sixth Ave.); also 2340 B'way (85th).  I've seen mixed ratings, but I enjoyed it, esp. the Chocolate Mousse Bombe .

Cinque Terre , 22 E. 38th St. (5th Ave.), 212.213.0910.  I've been a couple of times.  Quite good; moderate-to-moderately expensive.  Cuisinenet's review .

Pantry, Avenue B & 11th St., 212.529.6493, open 8-8 daily.  My sister in BNA suggested we try this place which we almost passed on the way to (once again) Mexicana Mama or Tartine.  It was a tasty, clean, light lunch and very reasonably-priced for the quality (Stephanie said the Gazpacho was very good - she's more of a gazpacho connoisseur than I).  Friday (the woman behind the counter) was very friendly; forgot to ask where she was raised (not in NYC, I'm pretty sure).

La Boulangere , 49 East 21st St., 212.475.8582.  I went here with Aaron and a few other people in late '98.  One of my LGA people went there more recently (APR2000?), and got an attitude from one (or more) of the servers.  They served a complimentary glass of wine (at least when I went there).  Apparently they can do this without a liquor license and it's okay since they aren't charging for it.  You can BYOW/B.

Yodo, 13 E. 47th (5th Ave.), 212.751.8775.  I think Catherine (LGA) and I went here for a $20 (?) dinner special.

Fagiolini , 334 Lex (39th?), near Grand Central Station, 212.883.9555.  I liked the Tenderloin of Pork and the Penne Arrabbiata; the Chicken Fiorentina and the Pagliafino pasta were recommended by the waitress, but I did not taste them.

Nem, Grand Central Dining Concourse, 212.338.6810, F: 883.9487.  Lili (HPN (nearest airport to Greenwich, I think)) mentioned this place to me.  They make Vietnamese sandwiches, which in SFO are usually on French bread, but the bread they use is equally tasty.  I had the marinated grilled pork sandwich, which is adorned with butter, pate, cucumber, carrot, daikon, & cilantro.  MMM!

Thailand Restaurant (AKA Pongsri Thai Restaurant), 106 Bayard St., 212.349.3132, 766.0939, daily 11:30-11:30. One of my favorite Thai restaurants in New York. There are also locations in the Theater District (I think that location is a little better) and the East Village (2nd Ave./18th St. according to the map on their site).

Wondee Siam , 792 Ninth Avenue (52nd/53rd), 212.459.9057.  Tasty little Thai place with low prices.  I'll have to try it a few more times before I decide whether I prefer it to Thailand Restaurant .  I've enjoyed everything here except the duck salad with pineapple, etc.  Although the Avocado Curry was reasonably tasty, it had very little avocado.  '01 update: I don't go anywhere in NYC for Thai anymore EXCEPT Sripraphai (2nd restaurant in this section).

Poblano Restaurant , 75-13 Roosevelt (75th St.), Jackson Heights, Queens, .  Yummy (South American?) chicken sandwiches on grilled bread with a bit of cheese (and I think a little pickle as well).  Cheap.

Khyber Pass , 34 St. Mark's Place (2nd/3rd), 212.473.0989.  Pleasant little place.  Service can be a little slow, but I like the place anyway.

Shiki's (Japanese), 69 Seventh Avenue S. (Bleecker), 212.206.7024, M-Th, 2:PM-Midnight; F-Su, 3:PM-1:AM.  All you can eat sushi for $17.95.  Lunch specials are $4.95-7.50, dinner entrees $7.25-13.50.

The Jackson Diner , 37-47 74th Street, Jackson Heights, Queens, 718.672.1232.  I had THE best curry dish of my life here two-and-a-half years ago: the Murgh Korma , chicken in cashew nut curry.  It has changed, but is still fairly good.  The Navrattan Korma and Tandoori Mixed Grill are also delicious.  Masala Dosa is kind of a fun appetizer. No credit cards. BYOB/W (Gewurtztraminer is nice with this food).  UPDATE (11SEP00): The Tandoori Mixed Grill arrived at our table, and I said, "It shrank." AND they got a liquor license.  I guess they're getting too popular.  I believe Manohar recommended Cafe Spice; I'll try it soon.  NOV01:  Tried Cafe Spice; was not into it.

Ciccio & Tony's (Toni's?) , Third Ave.  Kathi took me here.  The risotto cake with wild mushrooms was delicious!  The water tasted rank, however; I think restaurants in NYC should serve decent tap water (if the tap water doesn't taste right, it is in all likelihood a problem with their pipes, because one of the few really clean aspects of NYC life is the tap water).

Cafeteria ,119 Seventh Avenue (17th St.).  Dirk took me here for brunch in JUN01.  Reasonably-priced, particularly for Chelsea.  Friendly service from a guy who said his name was "G" (?!) (well he is an Aquarius, but he seems nice).

Baluchi's, 361 Sixth Avenue, 212.929.0456; 283 Columbus Avenue, 212.579.3900; et al.  This is one of my favorite Manhattan Indian restaurants, but the Jackson Diner (above) is still my favorite.

Acacia, 57th St (3rd Ave.).  Catherine (LGA) highly recommended this place; their prix-fixe lunch has become a bit pricey, but, as Zagat said, they do indeed have wonderful burgers (ostrich, buffalo, or beef).  JUL01: Heard this place is closed; will check on their status soon.

La Vela, Upper West Side.  Decent Italian place; reasonably-priced.

F & B Chelsea, 269 W. 23rd St. (7th/8th), 646.486.4441, 11-11 daily.  Stands for Frites and Beignets.  Also has hot dogs... but tasty combos!  Really!  I had the great Dane (I'll add the detail on this one later, but I remember remoulade, marinated cucumber slices on top, et al.).  My favorite fries are still at Tartine; I think these are double-fried.

Gray's Papaya , 2090 Broadway (72nd). Also 402 Sixth Ave (8th St.). Gourmet? No, but dirt cheap and fun, good (if air-filled) fruit drinks: Papaya, Coconut, Banana, etc.

Go Sushi , 3 Greenwich Avenue, corner of 6th Avenue & 8th Street, 212.366.9272, 11:30AM-Midnight daily.  Quite reasonably-priced and a pretty good spot from which to watch people.  Their Honey Iced Green Tea is yummy.

Petite Abeille , 466 Hudson St (Barrow); also locations at W. 14th & W. 18th Sts. Aaron introduced me to this tiny chain. Some locations are BYOB(or W), some take credit cards; call ahead.  I'll add the details to the site later.

Les Halles , 411 Park Ave. S. (28th/29th), 212.679.4111. Noisy French place where I had a delicious seafood sausage dish during some sort of annual festival (don't remember the details).

Delhi Palace, 37-33 74th St., Jackson Heights, Queens, 718.507.0666. Good alternate to the Jackson Diner if it's too packed.  I don't think this place is BYOB/W like the Jackson Diner.

La Boina Roja Steak House , 80-22 37th Ave. (80th St.), Jackson Heights, 718.424.6711, 7 train to Jackson Heights, M-Th, 11A-11A, F 11A-12M, Sa-Su, 9A-12M.  Will and I liked their meaty breakfast, but I don't think anyone was into the corn cake (like a frisbee of grits).

Brasserie Centrale , 1700 B'way (53rd/7th Ave), 212.757.2233. Decent place for a pre-theater prix-fixe, but the last time I went (with my friend Jill from LHR), we had an incredibly spaced-out waitress.

Chez Ma Tante, 189 W. 10th Street (Bleecker/W. 4th St.). I've tried this place twice, and well may go again if the line at Tartine is too long.

Jo Jo , 160 E. 64th (Lex/3rd), 212.223.5656.  Fancy Upper East Side restaurant where I had lunch once.  I still prefer Ocean Grill (although I should try it again one of these days).

Vietnam Restaurant , 11 Doyers St., Chinatown, 212.693.0725.  SEP01: Just had soft-shell crab with a black pepper sauce.  Tasty!  Also had a good "caramel" fish dish.  Cuisinenet's review .

Black Hound Bakery , 170 Second Avenue, 212.979.9505.  I had the Mud Cake Ball and Chocolate Caramel Nut Tart.

Marquet Patisserie, 15 E. 12th Street (east of 5th Avenue), 212.229.9313.  Donnie (ATL) and I had a tasty lunch here; the Quiche Lorraine was pleasant, but the desserts were more outstanding.  I liked their Opera Cake, and the Trianon was every bit as tasty as the waiter said.  The Dacquoise and a fourth dessert (we were hungry!), a not-overly-sweet chocolate cake, had been affected by the odor in their refrigerator case, but we alerted Celeste to it.  I preferred the chocolatey tendencies of the Dacquoise from Tartine.

Masturbakers , 511 E. 12th Street, 212.475.0476.  Cakes for nasty boys and girls.

Sam's Noodle Shop, Third Avenue (29th St.(?)).  Decent little noodle shop that's very reasonable priced - and it delivers.  I think it was the King Pao Chicken that was WAY too breaded; avoid it.

Le Beaujolais, 364 W. 46th (8th/9th), 212.974.7464. Around $20 for the pre-theater dinner. Our waitress was Betsy; we liked her. The "chocolate cake" is basically a nice chocolate mousse with a thin layer of cake around it. I thought my bouef bourguignon was delicious.

Sweet Mama's, 7th Avenue in Brooklyn. I liked my pulled pork dish, but the fried okra were overcooked as I thought they might be. We both thought the chocolate cake was average (at best), but I'd be willing to try another of their desserts. Our waitress Jennifer was delightful.

Trois Canards (changed name to LaBelle Vie), 184 Eighth Avenue, 212.929.4320.  On my last visit here, we had a nice waitress named Sue, but apparently the management/ownership of the restaurant doesn't think it's a good idea to have their waitstaff taste the food, which I think is asinine.  I ordered bay scallops, which were okay; the dessert (chocolate cake) was okay as well.  My friend Peter (HPN) had the chocolate mousse, which was quite good.

Peanut Butter & Co. , 240 Sullivan St. (Bleecker/W. 3rd St.), 212.677.3995. I took a group of people here in celebration of Janine's return to the U.S. (specifically New York).  I shared the chicken sandwich with peanut sauce and the variety plate of celery sticks, crackers, and apple slices with six peanut butter options: smooth, spicy (chilis), cinnamon-raisin-sugar (brown?), chocolate, white chocolate, and chunky.  Janine had a BLT with… peanut butter.  Fun, very casual place.  Citysearch's profile of PB & Co.  TimeOut New York's profile .

La Marjolaine, 50-17 Skillman Avenue, Woodside, Queens, NYC, 718.651.0495, closed on Mondays I think.  Michelle in LGA introduced us to this place via a fruit (apple?) tart from there.  It was quite tasty, so I went back and tried the chocolate mousse and a hazelnut concoction whose name I can't remember; their fruit tart was tastier.  Once you've had the best of Belgian chocolatiers' products and the Dacquoise from Tartine, it's tough to find other equally satisfying hazelnutty things!

Sandobe Sushi , 330 E. 11th St. (1st/2nd Avenues), 212.780.0328, L to 1st Avenue or 6 to Astor Place, 5:30pm–12:30am.  I've read good things about this place but have yet to try it.

Recommendation from David from PHL: Had dinner at a great Parisian bistro behind the Shelburne Murray Hill, at the corner of 37 & 3rd, called Left Bank. Very reasonable prices, very authentic food and atmosphere, except that the waiters weren't rude.

I ate at Cafe Loup once; it was okay, but there are better values in the neighborhood (W. Village), such as Tartine and Go Sushi.

  READ AUG01 NOTE   Tartine , 253 W. 11th St (4th St. (yes, Street), 212.229.2611.  Quite reasonable, BYOW/BYOB, and no reservations, so GO EARLY, and try to bring a party of two or four, since a party of three will be placed (crammed ) into a table made for two.  Try the Spicy Chicken (believe it or not, their guacamole is some of the best I've had) and theDacquoise Cake as well as the other pastries (Matthew (RIC) called the Chocolate Macaroon a Chocolate Big Mac!). Steve (LGA), Dale (LGA), Soo-Jin (LGA), and Ellen (PHX) all seemed to like this place.  I used to introduce many people to this place until AUG01 (see note below).  Update (MAR01): The Dacquoise is shrinking and the price is increasing, but our friendly waitress Jessica still works there, so I'll keep going.  MAY01: Okay, now they've raised the price of the shrunken Dacquoise again!  Now it's $5.50. AUG01:   Had a BAD experience with a nasty, apathetic waitress who was wearing too little clothing.  My sister and I tasted the Dacquoise, and I immediately tasted "fridge".  My sister suggested we taste it again, and apparently the whole edge of the cake tasted like fridge.  I sent it back, and when I got the tab, she had taken off the coffee, not the Dacquoise.  I pointed it out, and she said she "felt" that it shouldn't be taken off since we "had eaten half of it".  Bitch!  I have been so loyal to that place.  I asked to speak to a coworker of hers (the woman who got me started on that dessert so many tastes ago!), and she said that she felt the same (that has not been confirmed with her; if it is, I won't ever have her wait on us again, either).  I will see if the manager takes care of this problem.  AUG01: I talked to the manager, and he said he'd replace the piece of Dacquoise for which I paid.  When we were ordering dessert, I mentioned there was a note in the office about my replacement piece, and that same apathetic thing said something like, "Oh, you get a piece free?"  No, you witch, the piece I paid for and sent back, I thought later.  The appeal of that place is much diminished in my eyes.  NOV01: Haven't been back since the "free" comment.

Food Shops/Various Shops/Hotels:

Health Food Stores: About once a month, I check out the sale items at a string of stores from 96th & B'way down to about 7_th St.  Working my way south, it would be: West Side Health Food , 2569 B'way (96th/97th), 212.316.2993, M-Su, 9-9; Gourmet Garage (okay, not exactly a health food store, but the variety is pretty good (except that alleged French ice cream which is NOT made in France!) and the help is the nicest I've experienced in 4 years in NYC), 2567 B'way (next to West Side Health Food), 212.663.0656 (also: Soho: 453 Broome St (Mercer), 212.941.5850; UES: 301 E. 64th St. (1st/2nd Aves.), 212.535.6271; W. Village: 117 Seventh Ave. S. (Christopher), 212.699.5980); Wild Oats , 2421 B'way (89th St.), 212.874.4000; LifeThyme, 2277 B'way (82nd St.), 212.721.9000, M-F 8A-10P, Sa-Su 9A-10P (also W. Village: 410 6th Ave. (8th/9th Sts.)); Health Nuts, 2141 B'way (75th St.), 212.724.1972 (NOTE: Different locations of this chain have different owners and you CANNOT return/exchange anything at a location other than the one where you made the purchase (I had a nightmarish Ester-C sequence - damaged bottle).).

Gourmet Fantasy Foods, 718.446.4169, 75-28 37th Ave., Jackson Heights, Queens ( E /F /G / V / R / 7 trains).  My source for Russian butter .

Westerly Natual Market is in Midtown at 911 Eighth Ave., 212.586.5262, M-F 8-9:30, Sa-Su 9-9:30.  Highly recommended by a coworker.  Further downtown: Integral Yoga Natural Foods, 229 West 13th St., 800.343.1735, M-F 9A-9:30P, Sa-Su 9:A-8:30P.  And yet further: Healthy Pleasures , 489 Broome St. & 93 University Place.  They offer 50% off their salad bar after 10:PM at the Univ. pl. location and after 8:PM on Broome St.

Zabar's , B'way & 80th Street.  I dreamed of visiting Zabar's since I was around twelve.  Marvelous food store with very good prices on cheeses (and fair prices on quite a few other items as well).  They carry The Doughnut Plant donuts; the leftovers of the day go almost half-price some time in the evening (time varies, but I sure as hell wouldn't pay $1.79 (full price) for a donut which had been there since 8:AM).

Neuhaus, Grand Central Terminal, 42nd Street (near Vanderbilt), Manager: Eva, 212.972.3740. Also at 922 Madison (73rd/74th Streets), 212.861.2800, and on the Upper West Side at 2151 Broadway, 212.712.2112.

Fairway, 2127 Broadway (Upper West Side).  My sister Stephanie and I went here in MAY98 and found Tahini bread.  Trippy stuff!  A good gourmet place that isn't astronomical (e.g. , Dean & DeLuca(sp?)).

Trader Joe's , 5010 Jericho Turnpike, Commack; other locations in NY & NJ.  A down-to-earth gourmet store I first got to know in California.  Yummy spicy black bean dip and blue corn chips.  Reasonable prices.

The Doughnut Plant , 379 Grand Street (Essex/Norfolk), F train to Delancey Street, 212.505.3700. Good donuts!  I've tried their Vanilla, Coconut and Chocolate flavors so far; the Coconut won!  The Chocolate wasn't strong enough.

Takashimaya (Japanese department store), 693 Fifth Avenue (56th Street?), 212.350.0100, 800.753.2038.  Drool-worthy: 1930's French lacquered antiques (e.g., $9,000 dining room table).  They also had some beautiful linens and a tea shop in the basement with (somewhat) more affordable treats.

Gotta Getta A Bagel, 107-09 71st Ave., Forest Hills, Queens.  Michele and I swung by here and had some tasty bagels.  Good alterante to H&H on the Upper West Side.

Pickwick Arms Hotel , 230 E. 51st Street, 212.355.0300.  A very reasonably-priced hotel in Midtown with basic rooms.  If you want the cheapest room, you'll have to choose the single bed with bathroom down the hall option.  (It's not that bad.)

Park View Hotel, 55 Central Park, 212.369.3340, North corner of 110th and Lenox Ave.  According to this Frommer's article , this place
has rooms for $65 plus tax.

Kate's Paper, 13th Street (5th Avenue).  Nifty paper shop, but I don't recall it being cheap.

Chatsii, Expert Cut 7 Color, Exquisite Lampshades & Indian Art, 122 E. 7th Street (1st Ave./Ave. A) (next door to Roettele), 212.529.6925.  This woman buys used lampshades and paints them... and cuts hair!  And has postcards!

Welcome Home Real Estate, Carmela Massimo, 46-15 Skillman Avenue, Sunnyside Gardens, Queens, New York 11104, 718.706.0957, -0979(F). I flew into LGA around mid-day on 28FEB and took the first apartment I saw (early afternoon) because I felt so comfortable in the building.  So it cost a month's rent for the broker fee - that's pretty much life in New York.  Still not bad considering I found it less than four hours after landing (in one of those horrible little MD-80s that AA flies so frequently).

International Taste, 150 7th Ave., 718.768.7217. Bulk foods/spices, good selection of Belgian beer, cheeses, and olives.

Liste de merde:

Monk, E. 5th Street (in the East Village). OBNOXIOUS service followed by the OWNER trying to tack on a 20% tip since we were a group of 8 (there was no mention of an autmatic tip on the menu). They had some good dishes; it's a shame the service was so fiercely bad.
Florent, on Gansevoort.  The service was distinctly chilly, my entree was quite average, and the lighting was fluorescent.  And for the chilly, apathetic service we paid an 18% gratuity since we were a large group.  AND there was someone smoking in the dining area - what is this - Tennessee?  Janine did like her blood sausage (although it gave her a stomach ache afterwards) and salad endive.  And the pecan pie was VERY good - a rare thing indeed.
La Portena, 74-25 37th Avenue, Jackson Heights, Queens.  Quite forgettable Argentinian (but a couple of cute waiters). We were later told by someone that it's a place for plain steaks (no adornments).
Brookfish Market, 709 2nd Avenue (38th/39th).  Sickeningly greasy.
Cucina Della Fontana, in the West Village. I tried their brunch and was not impressed.
Abyssinia (Ethiopian), 35 Grand Street, 212.226.5959.  Pretty good food once or twice, then mediocre another time.  VERY slow service and small quantities for the money result in virtually no desire to return to this restaurant. AmEx only.
Afghan Kebab House, 155 W. 46th Street.  Greasy and overrated.  Go to Khyber Pass.
Village Mingala (allegedly Burmese), 21-23 E. 7th St.  SUCKED.  Not eloquently put, but hey!  Sums it up.  Try Mingala West, 325 Amsterdam Avenue, listed above.
Veniero's, 342 E. 11th St.  Italian bakery; I thought their brandied fruitcake thing was somewhat nasty (and yes, there is such a thing as good fruitcake).
Park Slope Typing & Copy Center, 123 7th Ave. I tried to use this place once, but dealt with two idiots in a row and walked out the door.
Economy Candy.  Heard a report that the service was nasty from the guy behind the counter, and who needs that when they want a treat?!
Delmonico Gourmet, 59th Street (Mad/Park).  The one time I bought Neuhaus from them it was NOT fresh - bad surprise at $40/pound.
Indian Tanpura, UWS.  APR01: Had rather mediocre food and lame service.
Lifethyme, 6th Avenue.  I try not to shop here since they pack granola from bulk boxes into their own packaging and then don't put the nutrition information on it.  I pointed this out to the manager, and months later, nothing had changed.

Flags courtesy of ITA 's Flags of All Countries .


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