A Weekend in Classic Vienna

street scenes

Vienna is a city known for its classical music, cafes and Christmas markets. As these associations might suggest, it’s a city that is steeped in tradition. The palaces of the Hapsburgs and the Vienna State Opera House stand in the same places as they have for centuries. Beautiful cafes once frequented by luminaries such as Freud and Klimt are still serving the classic dishes of wiener schnitzel and sachertorte. Mozart’s former apartment is somewhere around the corner. You come to Vienna to step back in time and live a life that you read about in great novels and old history books.

the historic buildings in the city center
public transit

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Steirereck in Vienna

steirereck in stadtpark

Steirereck¬†the restaurant exists as a world in itself, enclosed within steely glass walls on the grounds of Stadtpark, in isolation from the city center. As the only restaurant in Vienna on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, impressively cracking the top 10 at No. 9, and with two Michelin stars, it truly is in a league of its own. A meal here is a privilege, and it certainly feels that way as you walk into its magical Narnia like quarters.Read More

The Lucky Bee, Southeast Asian Cool

behind the bar at the lucky bee

Stylish Millennials are drawn to kitschy downtown restaurants with bright neon lights like bees to honey. So expect to be surrounded by lots of crop-top baring, selfie-taking people, 99% of them women, when you have dinner at The Lucky Bee, the new Southeast Asian restaurant in LES run by the former chef of The Fat Radish and The Leadbelly. The attractive crowd is pretty Instagrammable, and so is the inside, which look like it was furnished from Pearl River Mart. Bright paper lanterns and paper fans will show up so well in your social media feed.

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Lalo, Mexican-Inspired Bites in Chinatown

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the scene at lalo

Anyone who knows me knows that I was at one point absolutely obsessed with El Rey, a small cafe in LES that used to make my favorite bowl of kale salad in the city. I also loved their baked goods and would order the sweet potato bread any chance I could get. Even the small selection at dinner service was quite impressive. Gerardo Gonzalez was the mastermind chef behind all this, and it was clear that his talent would soon outgrow the tiny coffeeshop. It wasn’t surprising to see that he left to pursue those ambitions, and I also noticed that the quality of the kale salad and sweet potato bread at El Rey dropped¬†after his departure.Read More

Best New Restaurants of 2016 and the Top Dishes of 2016

2016 was the year of Pasquale Jones. This restaurant makes delicious, accessible food at a reasonable price point (gratuity included!) in a great downtown location. I bring friends here repeatedly so that they can try the clam pie and the pork shank, which are two of Pasquale’s outstanding signature dishes, and no one has ever been let down. The same applies to myself. I’ve been back multiple times because the food is always good.

2016 was also a great year for poke bowls. There’s been an explosion of poke restaurants in the city, and my favorite one is Chikarashi in Chinatown. Indian food is also having a great year with the openings of places like Paowalla, Pondicheri and Indian Accent. So are sexy French restaurants, which are dishing up luscious meats and seafood in all sorts of creamy, buttery sauces in the prettiest of places. Brooklyn shows no signs of slowing down, New Nordic is still a thing, and you can never have too many new sushi restaurants. 2016 for me was also noteworthy for a lot of new overhyped restaurants I didn’t quite understand–Lilia, Llama Inn and Superiority Burger come to mind–but the ones that lived up to expectations really stuck. Here’s my list of the best new eateries that I think will have staying power.Read More