Outdoor Dining at The Tyger in Soho

Someone (famous) said that NYC is a ghost town, but have they been downtown? There are no ghosts there, but lots and lots of people. People are eating outside in droves, masks and puffy jackets and all. In fact, there’s a bit of a scene again, with people being turned away by a host holding an iPad. The sceniest new entrant is the Southeast Asian restaurant The Tyger in Soho. As the name suggests, The Tyger is a stylish and bold restaurant, where the colors are bright and the flavors pack a lot of ferocious heat. It’s no kitty cat that purrs, The Tyger is a beast that roars.

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Outdoor Dining at Rule of Thirds in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

There’s something called the rule of thirds in photography that serves as a guide for taking a visually interesting and balanced picture. It’s also the name of a Japanese restaurant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and while I’m not quite clear on why it was named Rule of Thirds, it is very clear to me that this is a visually beautiful restaurant where things like presentation and balance are carefully adhered to.

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Outdoor Dining at Daniel (The Terrace)

There are certain chefs in New York who are so acclaimed that they need only go by their first names. Daniel of Daniel Boulud is one of those lucky few. His two Michelin star restaurant Daniel on the Upper East Side is a famous fine-dining destination that’s typically reserved for special occasions. Or perhaps if you’re a fabulous wealthy UES local, it’s just your local neighborhood spot. The pandemic has been especially rough on the fine dining segment. Coordinating multiple plates of a meticulous tasting just doesn’t work when you’re outdoors. So Daniel has momentarily put the tasting on hold and has pivoted to a more casual bistro format–The Terrace at Daniel–although the prices remain sky high. Now Daniel has resumed indoor dining, something I am not quite ready for, but The Terrace remains open.

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Easiest Chocolate Birthday Cake from Bon Appetit

This Easiest Chocolate Birthday Cake recipe from Bon Appetit initially caught my eye because of the word easy in the title, the promise that this chocolate cake recipe would be a cinch to make. To me, easy means dumping the wet ingredients in one bowl, the dry ingredients in another, combining the two, and then throwing into the oven. But it wasn’t quite that easy. In fact, there were quite a lot of steps involved in what was supposed to be a simple recipe. I had to carefully melt a lot of chocolate, I had to take care to warm but not boil milk, I had to refrigerate some ganache for 25 minutes…not that these are necessarily hard things to do, but it requires some time and patience that you wouldn’t guess from the somewhat misleading title. BUT I do have to admit that this was a damn good chocolate cake. Out of all the cakes I’ve made recently, this probably tasted the most professional. It’s rich and dense (you’ll need to drink a lot of milk with your slice), and the tangy chocolate ganache frosting is so delicious. Easiest is a misnomer, despite all the declarations of simplicity in the recipe on the Bon Appetit website, but best chocolate cake wouldn’t be too far off.

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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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