Food | A Continuous Lean.

The Polo Bar | A Fifth Ave Time Capsule

Feb 3rd, 2015 | Categories: Drinking, Food, Jake Gallagher, New York City | by Jake Gallagher

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“There’s no photos allowed, sir.” At first I’m insulted, and then I realize that I’m the one that has crossed the line. Of course, there wouldn’t be photos allowed at The Polo Bar. Not because the restaurant has anything to hide, but because the mere sight of a cell phone might upset the meticulous atmosphere at Ralph Lauren’s time warp in the form of a Fifth Avenue dining room.


A Campaign to Save the Disappearing Diner.

Jan 28th, 2015 | Categories: Brooklyn, Food, Important Shit, Jake Gallagher, New York City | by Jake Gallagher


“Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”

It’s been forty-five years since Joni Mitchell first sang that fateful line on her hit track Big Yellow Taxi, but her words continue to ring out to this day. That line has been repeated, and repeated, and repeated over the years but for as straightforward as her sentiment may be, we’re still struggling to grasp the song’s message. This is especially true here in New York, where more and more so-called institutions of the city seem to be disappearing by the day. And no industry seems to be both more at risk, and more revered than restaurants.

At this point, it seems as if any restaurant that’s been around for more than five years, doesn’t serve some blogger approved, Instagram-ready menu of avant garde delicacies, and/or hasn’t found their niche food fad yet, is endanger of shuttering at a moments notice. And in turn, each “we’re closing” announcement is met by a chorus of complaints, and groans, and claims that New York is over. Inevitably though a week passes, and we all forget about it. We bounce back to whatever “hot new restaurant” is peaking that week, or to our favorite dollar slice spot, depending on our particular palette preferences. And honestly, when was the last time any of us ate at Soup Burg, or Cafe Edison, or El Greco or Odessa?

Russ & Daughters Returns To Orchard Street.

Jun 19th, 2014 | Categories: Food, Jake Gallagher, New York City | by Jake Gallagher


“That’s the thing, to eat Nova, drink seltzer, and talk about life.”

Larry, the jovial waiter in command of the front half of Russ & Daughters Cafe on Orchard Street seems to have it all figured out. As he glides from table to table dispensing not just heaping plates of smoked salmon, but his own unique brand of fish-centric philosophy, Larry does so with an easy smile which indicates that there’s no other place he’d rather be. This is his home, and he wants nothing more than to welcome you right on in.

The effortless, unironic hospitality that Larry and the rest of the Russ & Daughters team convey is so hard to find these days, especially in New York, that it’s almost jarring at first. Having opened this past month to much fanfare, the Cafe is bustling with people and there’s a wait at all hours of the day, but once I’m seated, the R&D team implores me to simply relax and smell the Nova. After all it took Russ & Daughters almost a century to return to Orchard Street, so why would they start rushing now?

The Lowcountry Oyster Roast.

Apr 21st, 2014 | Categories: Food | by John Peabody


South Carolina’s Lowcountry seems to sit just about six inches above sea level. It’s the flat coastal marshland area that stretches north from the Georgia border. Tall pines, oak trees draped in spanish moss and old plantations mark the landscape. It’s a gorgeous place to find one’s self in the spring.

And it’s then that I try and go every year to see family and take part in a purely southern tradition: the oyster roast.

The oysters that grow in the Lowcountry are long and flat with barely any undulations along the shell, far different from the deep scooped mollusks in the Northwest or even those in New England. They grow in the endless river and creek beds near Bluffton and Hilton Head and the surrounding area, where banks of them are exposed at low tide, waiting to be picked.


A Guide to New York’s Least Pretentious Coffee Shops.

Apr 3rd, 2014 | Categories: Food, Jake Gallagher, New York City | by Jake Gallagher


When it comes to a quality cup of coffee, we’ll admit that New York City has been traditionally late to the game. Unlike our West Coast counterparts, who have always been armed with a more acute understanding of how beans and brews work; we don’t have a long history of destination coffee shops, and rare roasts. It’s not that coffee has not played a significant role in daily life here in New York, rather it’s that coffee has been historically been known as more a functional fuel, rather than a culinary pursuit. Like gas to a car, coffee has literally powered New York for as long as anyone can remember, but until the past couple decades, there hasn’t been a very visible coffee culture here in the city.

All that began to change with the inescapable onslaught of Starbucks, followed shortly by the steady rise of independent coffee shops which has now propelled New York into an age where you could quite literally step outside your front door and find a great cup of coffee just a few blocks away. Unfortunately, the by-product of this dark-roasted, slow-pressed, high-ticket coffee mania has been the ever-present sense of pretension that surrounds New York coffee. Snobbery abounds on both sides of the counter in many of New York’s most popular shops, and so for all of you that enjoy a great cup coffee with a splash of milk not arrogance, we give you the five least pretentious quality coffee shops in New York. It’s a shame a list like this would even need to exist.

The Butcher.

Nov 26th, 2013 | Categories: Food, Italy, Wine | by Michael Williams


Dario Cecchini is not a butcher, he’s the butcher. He’s unlike anyone I have ever encountered. As part of our whirlwind one-day adventure in Tuscany, Fontodi owner Giovanni Manetti took us for lunch in Panzano at Dario’s place, a lunch on a warm Italian afternoon which ended up being a life changing event. The butcher shop is forever changed after an afternoon with Dario Cecchini.

Dario’s shop is actually three places in one: a butcher shop on the ground floor, a steakhouse upstairs and a casual terrace restaurant out back. The whole place has to be Panzano’s most significant tourist attraction. It’s a destination for hospitality, a dose of Dario’s legendary energy, and of course, a temple for red meat. If ever you find yourself in Chianti, your presence is required at Dario’s table. Trust me, you’ve never seen anything like this before.

Upon arrival Dario —who is probably the world’s most famous butcher thanks in part to his appearance in Bill Buford’s Heat— proceeded to instantaneously grab (read: pick up into his arms) Giovanni like he was a long-lost friend. It looked like they hadn’t seen each other in years, but it had only actually been a few days since they celebrated Giovanni’s 50th birthday together. I know this because they were talking about the massive steaks that Dario butchered and cooked for the party. A second later an iPad mini appeared with Dario holding two of the most massive chunks of beef that I have ever seen.

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Feeling Super Tuscan | A Visit to Fontodi.

Oct 24th, 2013 | Categories: Food, Italy, Wine | by Michael Williams


When people think about the food in Italy, it’s probably safe to say that steak is not the first thing people would call out. Though, the pleasure of Bistecca Fiorentina and a bottle of Super Tuscan are rarely out shined.

The massively thick chunk of rare meat paired with a delicious wine is a meal that I enjoy roughly twice a year in Florence if I am lucky. And while I only get to enjoy this meal a handful of times, it’s something I constantly crave it throughout the year. Every New York steak house is blunted by my desire for super thick and rare beef with crispy edges. No matter how good the steakhouse, no matter how delicious the bottle, nothing compares to having the real thing in Italy.

On my most recent trip to Italy, I decided that the best way to spend my last day would be to make the roughly hour drive from Florence to Chianti Classico near the town of Panzano to spend the day at the Fontodi winery with its owner Giovanni Manetti. A visit to Fontodi was a recommendation by the respected Italy-based food writer Faith Willinger. She extolled Fontodi as both an excellent producer and also an estate that is known to be extremely beautiful. Both of these facts were quickly confirmed. Looking back, Faith couldn’t have suggested a better place to visit and it would be difficult to find a vineyard that is more hospitable.

Situated in some of the best grape growing land in Tuscany, the area is referred to as “Conca d’Oro” (the golden shell), due to the way it is situated to receive extended exposure to the sun. Fontodi is best known for Flaccianello, its excellent Super Tuscan. The flagship wine is made using a delicate process that has been refined and masted over several generations by the Manetti family. The family is also a long-time maker of terra cotta and many of the orange tiled roofs of Florence have been made by the family for hundreds of years.