NYC Tastes Holiday Gift Guide

The holiday season is upon us so let's eat, drink and be merry while supporting the fantastic artisans, bakers and restaurateurs that make up this incredible city.  We've compiled a local food and drink gift guide for just about any New Yorker on your list.  Happy Shopping!

For the Humanitarian Vodka Lover- Zirkova Vodka

This is the one gift that isn't actually from NYC.  It's made in the birthplace of vodka Cherkasy, Ukraine, but we love their mission statement so much we're adopting it.  "Budmo" is a traditional Ukraine toast which translates to "Just Be".  That is the foundation behind Zirkova; that every human being is a unique and important part of this beautiful tapestry we call life and we should celebrate each other.  Zirkova showcases this commitment through their vodkas One+Together.

One is a vodka meant for sipping; it has a long, smooth velvet finish perfect for enjoying on its own.  Together is meant to be enjoyed in cocktails.  Its di…

Rizzo's Fine Pizza Co.

New York City has always been a pizza town.  Back in the day there were dollar slice joints on just about every corner with some sort of "Ray" attached to the name. Today the pizza scene is much different; restaurants like Pasquale Jones and Roberta's are the norm with toppings like arugula, artichoke are egg replacing the classic pepperoni.  It's just not as easy to find a classic NY slice anymore, but they DO exist!  And some of the best can be found in Astoria at Rizzo's Fine Pizza.

This tiny little pizza shop on Steinway Street opened in 1959 by two brothers and is exactly what a NY pizzeria should be.  A few seats up front with a small selection of pies and incredibly friendly staff, so friendly they gave me a slice of their signature square pie for free.

The pizza here is thin- not quite as thin as the Vezzo/Posto empire but definitely skinny with crispy brown crusts, a hearty sauce and a great blend of parmigiana and mozzarella cheese.

Everything about this p…

New Brew Friday- Equilibrium DHop2

Staying local once again this New Brew Friday with an absolutely fantastic brew from Equilibrium Brewing in Middletown New York.  

Equilibrium uses a Mass Brewing Balance system which researches how to balance and maximize the flavors in beer.  The DHop2 was an exploration into the symmetry of their ale strain with a strong dose of Mosaic and Citra hops.  The result is a hazy frothy Double IPA that tastes like fresh squeezed orange juice with a hint of pine bitterness. This was an incredible brew that I enjoyed at one of my favorite Brooklyn beer spots Gold Star Beer Counter.  Cheers to the weekend!

Equilibrium Brewing
22 Henry Street
Middletown, NY 10940

The Dish at Bar Pitti

Bar Pitti is certainly no secret.  This tiny little spot on 7th Avenue South draws huge crowds for its affordable pasta, great al fesco dining and the possibility of a celeb sighting from its A-list of regular customers.  But when people finally get that coveted table many times they have no idea what to actually order.  This is NOT the time to ask the waiter for recommendations.  The Bar Pitti wait staff are notoriously rude trying to deal with so many customers at once.  In order to have the best experience possible look at the menu prior or just follow my advice and order the best thing on the menu- the Pappardelle a la Fiesolana.

Big, thick stands of homemade pasta studded with smoked pancetta, tomato and parmigiana cheese in a wonderful cream tomato sauce.  It's not overly creative but it's so damn delicious you'll find your entire plate clean within seconds.   Which is good, because then you have plenty of time to run downstairs to the ATM when you realize this spot i…

Riso e Risotto at Eataly

There are so many reasons to be thankful this year.  I'm honestly always thankful to have Eataly in my neighborhood but this year I'm even more thankful because they're hosting a pop up called Riso e Risotto.  Located in the Le Verdure restaurant this pop up is all about the rice based dishes of Northern Italy and the king of Italian rices Carnarali.  

The menu includes five different Risottos with various toppings like mixed mushroom & thyme, Bartlett pear & mascarpone or simply the classic with butter and parmigiana cheese.  Alongside the rice dishes are a slew of new Le Verdure specialties including these pillowy Pumpkin Gnocchi's topped with cheese, melted butter and crispy sage.

It's also truffle season at Eataly so every dish is available with white or burgundy truffles for an extra price.  There's never been a better time to Eataly.

Riso e Risotto
At Le Verdure- Eataly
200 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10010

Beating the Cold at Beechers Handmade Cheese

I've been battling a terrible cold the past few days and in serious need of some comfort food.  Of course nothing says "comfort" more than a thick, creamy bowl of tomato soup and a melty Grilled Cheese Sandwich.

Beechers Handmade Cheese is only four blocks from my apartment and a total lifesaver in this situation of illness.

Their tomato soup is super chunky with shreds of melted Parmesan cheese inside and loaded with crunchy croutons. 

Of course I always ask for my croutons on the side in favor of dipping my sandwich directly into the bowl instead.  It's not exactly proper dining etiquette but honestly when you have a bad cold who really cares.  

Beechers Handmade Cheese
900 Broadway at 20th Street
New York, NY 10003

A Little D.C.Dining

The last two months of my life has been absolutely insane.  So insane that I never even got around to talking about my quick trip to D.C. where we ordered just about everything on the brunch menu at Kyirisan.  To begin their amazing pastry platter.

Doughnuts Holes glazed with red miso, strawberry and Bavarian creme alongside flaky croissants, buttery biscuits and two wondrous pastry delights; the Molly's Pocket, a chocolate and coconut caramel glazed square stuffed with cream cheese and the Vanilla Custard Bao; a delightful spin on that doughy dim sum staple topped with a crackly creme brulee glaze and stuffed with creamy vanilla bean custard. 

Continuing on with the sweet portion of the meal with a stack of thick, fluffy Blueberry Pancakes topped with a huge square of Yuzu Butter...

...before moving into more savory dishes like this towering Panko Crusted Chicken Sandwich with cheddar cheese, lettuce, pickles and avocado all topped with a truffle aioli on a brioche bun.

Of course my …