Outdoor Dining at Xilonen and Oxomoco in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Oxomoco, a Michelin star Mexican restaurant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, makes the best steak tacos in the city. When I ate my steak tacos, I was immediately floored. Everything about the taco was perfect–the sauce, the seasoning, the melty texture of the meat. Melt-in-your-mouth is an overused description when it comes to excellent meat, but in this case, it was totally appropriate.

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Outdoor Dining at Carbone in Soho

Carbone, despite its proximity to my apartment, is the antithesis of a neighborhood restaurant. It’s expensive, exclusive and reservations are hard to come by. But now with the pandemic, it’s become a lot more accessible. Reservations are easier to get now that they’ve expanded their outdoor dining areas to include the sidewalk near Sadelle’s. It used to be the case that you’d open Resy and hope that you’d get off the waitlist for a certain day you wanted, but now when I look at the app, I can usually see availability on any day I’m interested in. And obviously, since it is winter, they’re wide open. Now’s the time to make this the neighborhood spot, if I didn’t care about my wallet or my waistline.

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Eleven Madison Park EMP At Home Roast Duck Dinner

It’s been a very, very hard year for restaurants. Many have been able to pivot to a mostly take-out or a food/wine retail model, but what do you do when you’re a fine dining restaurant like Eleven Madison Park? You’re known for bringing out course after beautiful course in a gorgeous dining room, but executing this outdoors and in cold weather is impossible. Some places like Daniel have gone the outdoor route, which certainly has some issues, while EMP has remained closed during the pandemic and is instead offering “EMP At Home” dinner kits. These dinner kits are outrageously expensive–the EMP At Home holiday Roast Duck dinner kit for 4 cost $475 pre-tax, $518.16 all in. But what the hell, I was in a festive mood, I wanted to do something a little special for New Year’s, I probably saved a lot of money this year from not eating out, so I decided to treat myself with this Eleven Madison Park EMP At Home Roast Duck meal kit.

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Outdoor Dining at Glasserie in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

If you ever want to feel like you’re in LA for a day, spend an afternoon on the outdoor patio at Glasserie, a Middle Eastern restaurant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Glasserie is in a more up-and-coming part of Greenpoint, where you might walk by more construction sites and unmanicured lawns than you’re accustomed to, but it’s because of this open space that places like Glasserie can exist. Eating healthyish small plates mezze dishes outside in the sun is as LA as NYC can get.

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Outdoor Dining at Golden Diner in Chinatown

Growing up, our family would have breakfast on the weekends at our local diner. Some days that was Carrow’s, other days it was Denny’s. And if Golden Diner, a restaurant in NYC Chinatown that makes diner dishes with an Asian twist, had been in our neighborhood, it would have definitely been a part of the rotation. It’s nice getting an egg sandwich in the morning, but it’s even better when it comes in a scallion bun.

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