A Cheap, Homey, Italian Date Night at Da Marcella in Greenwich Village

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Finding under-the-radar, cheap, quality Italian date night spots in NYC ain’t easy. I’ve got a couple places tucked away in my back pocket with delicious, reasonably priced pastas such as Batali’s Otto which I’ve already written about, but it doesn’t always fit the bill. The biggest issue with Otto is that their wine list is on the expensive side which can add up quick on a date. And then there’s Fiat Cafe which is awesome, but not always easy to grab a table at due to its compact size. That’s why I’m happy I’ve found the hidden in plain sight Greenwich Village gem Da Marcella.

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Real Roberta’s Brooklyn-Style Pizza, Cocktails, and More at Oak & Rye in Los Gatos
Real Roberta’s Brooklyn-Style Pizza & Cocktails at Oak & Rye in Los Gatos

Real Roberta’s Brooklyn-Style Pizza, Cocktails, and More at Oak & Rye in Los Gatos

Who’d a thought? A slice of Brooklyn right in the heart of Los Gatos, California. I’m not sure how it happened, but an alumni chef from the famed Roberta’s in Brooklyn relocated out to Silicon Valley and is making pizzas and pastas that live up to the Roberta’s name.

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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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Vero Is Where the Palo Alto Locals Go For A Homey Italian Meal
Vero Is Where the Palo Alto Locals Go For A Homey Italian Meal

Vero Is Where the Palo Alto Locals Go For A Homey Italian Meal

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Located only one block from Stanford’s the restaurant-lined Palo Alto main drag, University Avenue, you will find an unassuming Italian restaurant called Vero. With its tall, vaulted, wood beamed ceiling, candlelit dining room, and open kitchen, it’s quite an inviting restaurant to spot passing by. Though most guests were dining inside, we opted for one of their outdoor seats to take advantage of the miraculously warm early-March Californian weather.

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Flavorful Vegan Food that Even Carnivores will Love at Rockin’ Raw
Flavorful Vegan Food that Even Carnivores will Love at Rockin’ Raw

Flavorful Vegan Food that Even Carnivores will Love at Rockin’ Raw

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I am no vegan. Really, I’m the farthest thing from it. I am meat obsessed. Pork, lamb, beef, you name it, I love it. But, every now and then I want to eat something that’s actually good for me that’ll leave my body feeling great afterwards.

After moving to Greenwich Village I noticed a vegan sit-down restaurant just two blocks south of my apartment with a rather eye-catching name. With a name like Rockin’ Raw, I wondered how rockin’ raw vegan food could be? You’ll be pleased to hear that I this food was actually some of the most flavorful, vibrant vegan food I’d ever tasted.

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Authentic Italian Pizza that’s NOT Neapolitan at Susanna Pizzeria
Authentic Italian Pizza that’s NOT Neapolitan at Susanna Pizzeria

Authentic Italian Pizza that’s NOT Neapolitan at Susanna Pizzeria

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I have a bone to pick with Neapolitan style pizza. New Yorkers go apeshit for that stuff, but I honestly just don’t get it. They are ordinarily small, expensive, under-sauced, and under-topped. That’s why I get so excited when I find authentic Italian pizza that’s NOT Neapolitan style.

At the densely populated intersection of Greenwich Village where MacDougal meets Bleecker Street, Susanna Pizzeria is a relative newcomer. They’ve been open for a few months, but I’ve only now gotten around to checking them out for myself.

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Mike Winston’s Best Bites of 2013

Given the number of insanely delicious things I’ve eaten over the past year, selecting the best of the bunch is a very difficult task. Over on Foodspotting I’ve released a long version that’s over 200 items long which includes every single dish jaw-dropping dish from the last year. Here, instead, I’ve chosen the very best in select categories. In no particular order, let’s begin!
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Little Italy’s Annual Street Fair: The Feast of San Gennaro 2013

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One week a year (well really 10 days but who’s counting), Mulberry street transforms into a perpetual street fair to celebrate Italian culture and cuisine at The Feast of San Gennaro. I usually stumble my way over there to check out the madness and this year is no different. With a number of coworkers in tow, I head over on a leisurely Thursday, lunchtime stroll. The fair runs the entire seven block span from Canal Street to Houston Street up Mulberry. The usually vehicle-friendly street is turned into a pedestrian-only walkway with most of the restaurants installing al fresco dining areas in the street in front of their shops.

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Mario Batali’s Amazing Greenwich Village Pizza & Pasta Spot

I did it again. For the 9th consecutive year, I moved to a new apartment. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? It is, but this move was a little bit different. My girlfriend and I got an apartment together. We woke at 6:15 in the morning to move out of both of our previous apartments and spent the entire day unpacking, sorting, organizing, arranging, and purging our stuff only to realize at 9 PM that we desperately needed to have dinner.

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