Catskills 2022 (Kingston and Woodstock)

Alleyway Ice Cream in Saugerties

My summer season in the Catskills has come to an end. We spent most of it in the mid-Hudson area, first near Saugerties and then near Kingston. And I didn’t do any hiking whatsoever. It was so hot and there were so many mosquitoes outside, and did I mention the possibility of ticks? How do people find this type of thing enjoyable? I did occasionally pick some fruits and vegetables, and I did eat out a decent amount. I also did go out to the Ashokan trail once, walked far enough to see the cute sheep on the right and the lake on the left, and then I had had enough.

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Mokyo in East Village

I was blown away by the food at Mokyo, a Korean / Asian small plates restaurant in the East Village. I wasn’t prepared to like it so much. In fact, I was ready to write it off as one of those dime-a-dozen East Village bars that cater to the young drinking crowd, where trendy Instagrammable drinks take priority over really good food. I was so wrong. I loved everything I ate–flavor AND style are prioritized here–and I can truly say it is one of my favorite restaurants in the city.

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Saito, the Sake Bar from Nakazawa, in Nolita

Saito is so nondescript that you would be surprised to hear that Chef Daisuke Nakazawa of Sushi Nakazawa and Jiro Dreams of Sushi fame is one of the backers behind this project. There are really no signs of him at all, other than the small selection of sushi available on the very edited menu. A chef, not Nakazawa, works quietly behind the tiny bar, and he is not making egg custard. A server with a bit of a harried demeanor takes orders and not much more. It all felt a little rushed and unfinished, as if Nakazawa and his business partners had to scramble quickly to meet an opening date and some of the details got lost. Saito bills itself as a sake bar, but it’s not really obvious that this is their strong suit, as no one is really talking up their sake selections or encouraging you to pair this with that.

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Hamptons With Kids in the Offseason

Coopers Beach in Southampton, courtesy of www.discoverlongisland.com

People may think that the Hamptons is dead during the non-summer offseason, but it’s actually very lovely to visit during the more quiet times. There are enough restaurants, cultural activities and stores that are open to give you something to do, and you don’t have to deal with the horrible traffic driving in from the city. The beach is always open, and while you may not be able to swim in the water, sunsets are beautiful any time of year. It’s a lovely place to bring children since there’s a great infrastructure of museums, restaurants, playgrounds and wide open spaces set up all times of the year. If you’re going to the Hamptons in December, April or an offseason month and are wondering what you can do with your kids, here’s a list of recommended places that will make your offseason vacation awesome.

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Omakase Room by Maaser

wagyu beef and truffle (very good)

Those of you who know me know that I love a good omakase, especially when it is under $100. While the price points of omakase meals keep creeping north of $300+, I do stumble on new sub $100 places every few months. Omakase Room by Maaser is my latest find, a sushi restaurant in the West Village that was opened by Sushi Seki and Sushi by Bou vets in 2019. The 12 course omakase will run you $95 per person, while 17 courses will run you $135. I would advise you to stick with the $95 option and then order any extra pieces you like a la carte at the end. You can essentially tailor your own 17 course omakase with pieces that you would actually like, which is important, because not everything is created equal here.

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