NYC Outdoor Dining – Kimika in Nolita

The restaurant space at The Nolitan hotel in Nolita seems to be a death-knell. The prior two occupants–the Usual from Eggslut chef Alvin Cailan and before that, a forgettable Italian restaurant–did not survive. But with the arrival of Kimika, the new Japanese-Italian restaurant from the Wayla team, the veil of bad feng shui seems to have been lifted. Kimika is undeniably a hit. The comfort food fusion dishes combining the best of carbs and creamy, meaty sauces from two cultures are quite impressive. It’s also fantastic that Kimika is a female-led restaurant with great cocktails and an interesting, nerdy wine list. Outdoor dining at Kimika is a fantastic experience, and I’m looking forward to the days when it’s safe enough to eat these meals in the beautiful space inside.

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Dim Sum at Rice and Gold

rice and gold in chinatown

Asian fusion of the recent kind, not the crab rangoons of yesteryear, reflects the trend of second generation Asian chefs reinterpreting traditional dishes by incorporating them with a multitude of multi-cultural flavors. They were just as at ease eating sisig at home and burgers at a takeout joint, so why not somehow mix the two together? Dale Talde of Top Chef fame reimagines the dim sum experience in this manner at his new restaurant Rice and Gold, located on the ground floor of Hotel 50 Bowery in Chinatown. The items on the dim sum cart might look familiar at first glance, but peel back the rice rolls and you’ll find bacon alongside lobster, and bite into that sesame ball to be surprised by a pb&j filling.Read More

Cassia in Santa Monica

“Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful” is probably what Cassia, the gorgeous and buzzy restaurant in Santa Monica, would say to its haters. When you look this good in an elegant industrial loft setting, turning out glamorous and exotic Southeast Asian creations, people will try to find fault with you. “It’s so expensive” or “it’s interesting but not as good as the authentic stuff” will be some commonly heard feedback. But pay them no mind.Read More

Bessou, A Charming Japanese Eatery

the kabocha shakshuka – curried roasted kabocha, baked egg, miso tofu labne with thick-cut milk toast

At first glance, it might be easy to dismiss Bessou as just another cute Japanese restaurant. The brunch menu reads like the whimsical thoughts of a young schoolgirl with visions of Seuss and sugarplums in her head, whipping up concoctions like a green eggs and chaashuu sandwich or a matcha black sesame babka. It all sounds very fun, but maybe not all that substantial, like reading your way through the pages of a lightweight gossip mag. Highly instagrammable, but highly edible? I was a little skeptical.Read More

Can’t get into El Celler de Can Roca in Girona? Go to Restaurant Nu instead

the streets in old town, girona

maybe arya from game of thrones ran down these stairs…

Girona, Spain is a picturesque medieval town in the coastal region of Costa Brava. The well-preserved buildings in the Barri Vell or Old Quarter are perfect backdrops for some sort of a knight’s tale or a merry band of thieves, which makes the city a very popular filming location for movies and TV shows. In fact, you might recognize some of the narrow alleyways and stone roads in scenes from Game of Thrones when a blind Arya was running from The Waif, only to destroy her in total darkness.Read More