NYC Outdoor Dining: Naked Dog in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Naked Dog is a misleading restaurant. It looks like a pretty low-key, unassuming neighborhood restaurant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, the type you go to when you get turned down by Oxomoco or Paulie Gee’s. And it also doesn’t help that the name is a little strange–is this some sort of British pub you’re walking into? But when you get settled here, all those initial doubts you had about Naked Dog quickly disappear, because the caliber of its homestyle Italian cooking will impress you. The aspirations and skill level are way beyond humble hole-in-the-wall. By the end of the meal, you’ll wish you lived in Greenpoint so that you can take advantage of the better street parking and eat at Naked Dog every night.

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NYC Outdoor Dining: King in Soho

There’s something very elegant and thoughtful about the way the restaurant King in Soho does things. For some reason, I can picture a woman, perhaps an English major, carefully crafting the menu and making sure that each word really counts. This is why she would use the word onglet as opposed to hanger steak, giving this usually masculine sounding dish a daintier feel. And this is why the drinks on the cocktail menu never veer towards the overly dark and smoky. They are citrus-y and herbal, the antithesis of the Don Draper whisky. In fact, the attention to detail is paid even to the operational stuff, like payment processing. King is the only NYC restaurant with outdoor dining I’ve been to that has implemented a truly contactless checkout system.

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A Weekend in Boston 2020 (with Kids)

If you’re from New York / New Jersey / Connecticut looking for weekend getaway ideas that are kid-friendly, consider taking a trip to Boston. At the moment, you wouldn’t be subject to quarantine either in Boston or back at home, which is obviously important, and many of the tourist attractions and restaurants in Boston are open. Some restaurants are even open for indoor dining, although since the weather is still nice you might as well take advantage of the outdoors. Boston also has a ton of great playgrounds, which is key when traveling with kids. I do have to say the city does feel very empty, probably even emptier than New York, but with the current covid situation, that probably isn’t the worst thing. The following two-day outdoor weekend Boston itinerary focuses on locations close to Downtown, the Seaport District and Harvard Yard in Cambridge.

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NYC Outdoor Dining: Di An Di in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Reinventing the banh mi sandwich is nothing new. Even in Cape Cod now you can get a new fangled banh mi made with cod meat. While all these reintrepretations of the banh mi are pretty good, the banh mi sandwiches at Di An Di in Greenpoint, Brooklyn are in a class of their own. They are offered during the restaurant’s lunch service and are tailor-made for these days of casual, take-out dining.

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Sticky Buns (Partybus Bakeshop)

I have a soft spot for sticky buns. Maybe it’s because of those childhood memories of going to the mall and eating the ooey gooey Cinnabon in the cafeteria. There’s nothing better than having one with a cup of coffee in the morning. Several bakeries in the city excel at this pastry, particularly my beloved Balthazar Bakery in Soho, which is now closed indefinitely, but others like Cafe Altro Paradiso, Roberta’s and Mah Ze Dahr (when it is available) make good ones too. Another one to add to the sticky bun list is Partybus Bakeshop, a small bakery in the Lower East Side that I discovered during the early days of NYC quarantine. Their yummy sticky bun reminds me the most of the Cinnabon roll of my youth in that the roll is soft and doughy, but it’s topped with a maple glaze, not frosting. I noticed that Partybus Bakeshop posts several of their baked good recipes on their Instagram. Of course the image of the sticky buns with all the cinnamon swirls caught my eye and I had to make them this week.

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