Old-World Formality & High-End Cajun Cooking at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans
Formality & High-End Cajun at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans

Old-World Formality & High-End Cajun Cooking at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans

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When’s the last time you put on a suit to go to dinner? I can’t really remember the last time, but I think it may have been my sister’s Bat Mitzvah 10 years ago? And yeah, I was probably wearing the same suit. In my experience, I’ve found that New Orleans is an amazing place to visit whether you’re looking for great music, great dining, or great drinking. But, if you’re looking for a really special meal, there’s one very famous restaurant that seems to keep on living in a completely different, older era.

This restaurant, Commander’s Palace, is housed in a Victorian mansion right in the middle of the primarily residential Garden District neighborhood and has been a staple of the New Orleans fine dining scene since 1880. As you could imagine, many famed chefs have passed through these kitchen doors including the esteemed New Orleans celebrity chef, Emeril Lagasse.

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Classic Indian & Pakistani Curry at Shezan in Mountain View
Classic Indian & Pakistani Curry at Shezan in Mountain View, CA

Classic Indian & Pakistani Curry at Shezan in Mountain View

Sometimes I get a craving. A craving that can only be quenched by curry. On this particular evening, after finishing up work in Sunnyvale, I knew it had to be an Indian night. I searched the nearby radius and came across a highly rated Indian and Pakistani restaurant on the main drag in Mountain View called Shezan. Sold.

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A Whimsical Edible Danish Date Night at The Copenhagen in NYC
A Whimsical Edible Danish Date Night at Aamanns-Copenhagen NYC

A Whimsical Edible Danish Date Night at The Copenhagen in NYC

*Editor’s Note 11/13/14: This restaurant used to be called Aamanns-Copenhagen NYC but is now simply referred to as The Copenhagen.

*Editor’s Note 10/15/15: I’m sad to report that The Copenhagen has permanently closed.

When you hear Danish food, what comes to mind? Maybe that eponymous jam filled pastry? Maybe you literally have absolutely no clue what Danish people eat. I know I sure didn’t. That is before I checked out the New York outpost of the Scandinavian imported restaurant Aammanns-Copenhagen, known as The Copenhagen.

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An Exciting, Sexy, and Modern Italian & American Date Night at Perla

*Editor’s Note 6/4/15: Perla has completely overhauled their menu, decor, and have lowered the price point substantially since posting

Drop everything, I’ve got a new favorite restaurant in NYC. On the day we visited, Amy and I were in a celebrating mood. She had just started a new job and I’ve was just about to begin a new job of my own. On this occasion we were looking to treat ourselves right, to splurge on something extra special.

After seeing numerous end-of-2013 lists that included the nearby and recently opened Perla, I knew I wanted to try it out and figured this would be the perfect opportunity to do it. We made a reservation only a few days in advance and were able to snag seats at the chef’s counter for a Sunday evening at 6:30. It was a bit earlier than we usually dine, but what the hell, it was a Sunday night anyway.

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A Real Cheesesteak without the Drive to Philly at Phil’s Steaks in NYC
A Real Cheesesteak without the Drive to Philly at Phil’s Steaks in NYC

A Real Cheesesteak without the Drive to Philly at Phil’s Steaks in NYC

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I’ve spent a good chunk of time in Philly during my four years of college. Over this time, I ate my fair share of cheesesteak. No surprise there. So, when it comes to cheesesteaks, I have really high standards. I’ve eaten most of the big names in Philly and I know what makes a good cheesesteak great.

Now, I get it. Cheesesteaks are not going to be as cheap in New York as they are in Philly. And that’s a shame since it is street food and is supposed to be cheap. It’s a blue collar sandwich for the common man, but I’ve come to terms with it. However, there are still a few aspects of a cheesesteak that are musts and only a few of the cheesesteak shops in NYC have met my requirements. On the many visits I’ve taken to the mobile Phil’s Steaks trucks, they have passed my tests with flying colors.

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Unusual Persian Comfort Food at Cafe Nadery in Greenwich Village

When I first spotted Cafe Nadery on this quickly growing, but still quiet section of 8th street, my interest was piqued. It appeared to have a quiet and leisurely vibe and really seemed more like a cafe for coffee and tea than a restaurant. Functionally, it is a coffee shop in every respect with many of people plugged into their laptops working silently. The biggest difference between it and your usual coffee shop is that their kitchen prepares homestyle Persian comfort food. I don’t know much about Persian food, but I certainly wanted to try this very underrepresented cuisine in NYC.

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What to Eat When the Cronuts Run Out at Dominique Ansel Bakery
What to Eat When the Cronuts Run Out at Dominique Ansel Bakery

What to Eat When the Cronuts Run Out at Dominique Ansel Bakery

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I went to Dominique Ansel Bakery at 9:00 in the morning and didn’t get a Cronut. I wasn’t coming for a Cronut though. I don’t have the patience to wait in lines.

I don’t think this place needs much of an introduction after the absolute fervor that swept across New York, the nation, and the world over the past year with the Cronut craze. What many people might not know or perhaps will continue to ignore is the fact that there are many other items served at this bakery just as worthy of your attention and without the crazy lines.

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Come for the Hot Dogs, Stay for the Mac & Cheese at Dogmatic
Come for the Hot Dogs, Stay for the Mac & Cheese at Dogmatic

Come for the Hot Dogs, Stay for the Mac & Cheese at Dogmatic

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*Editor’s Note: I’m sad to report that this restaurant is not longer open.

Along the Greenwich Village strip of MacDougal between Bleecker and 3rd Street, there is an extraordinary density of fast, cheap eateries and college-focused sports bars. This probably developed as a direct result of its proximity to the heart of NYU.

Even with so many choices, I still always get excited when new additions arrive. For instance, this week I was treated to the opening of Dogmatic, a diminutive, pristine, bright white, glowing shop with a small and unique menu that recently relocated from the Union Square area. The menu consists mostly of hot dogs and hamburgers and claims to make “naturally good fast food”.

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Molecular Gastronomy Magic from Wylie Dufresne at WD~50
Molecular Gastronomy Magic from Wylie Dufresne at WD~50

Molecular Gastronomy Magic from Wylie Dufresne at WD~50

*Editor’s Note: I’m sad to report that this restaurant is not longer open.

Recently, I wrote about a particularly crazy meal I ate at Los Perros Locos. They delivered a kind of craziness through the sheer brashness of piling as many wacky pedestrian ingredients on top of one another as humanly possible. But, like I’ve said before, there are many kinds of crazy when it comes to food.

To celebrate my 26th birthday, my girlfriend took me to a restaurant that’s been high up on my worldwide to-do list for a long time, WD~50. The restaurant is the brain-child of Wylie Dufresne who established the molecular gastronomy dining scene in NYC. The kind of craziness that Wylie delivers is less like that of a psychopath, but more like that of a mad scientist through his use of complex, technical, processes and methodologies usually reserved for a chemistry lab. Every dish and drink at WD~50 has some sort of complicated twist whereby an ingredient is transformed or presented in a way you’ve probably never experienced before.

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Michael Goes West (Texas): Cochineal Marfa
Michael Goes West (Texas): Cochineal Marfa

Michael Goes West (Texas): Cochineal Marfa

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At this point, I’m deep in the midst of a long road trip that’s taken me across the entire state of Texas for a night in Marfa. Previously, I told you all about the bizarre art yuppie and art hippie crowds that are drawn to Marfa as well as the weirdos looking for signs of extraterrestrial life. Then what am I doing here? Well, I’m not sure that I really fall directly into any of those three but I think I have the art yuppies to thank for the existence of Cochineal.

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