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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Jungsik Seoul in Cheong-dam – 2 Michelin Star Lunch Tasting

Fine dining Korean restaurants are very much en vogue these days (pre-covid of course), but that wasn’t the case roughly a decade ago. Jungsik in Tribeca deserves a lot of credit for being one of the pioneers of this style of Korean cooking in New York, and it’s been very successful doing so, earning 2 Michelin stars in the process. Jungsik’s original location is in the Cheongdam neighborhood in Seoul, and when I booked my tickets to Korea I wanted to make a meal here a priority. I was absolutely blown away by the 5 course lunch tasting that I had here recently and could see how they deserve their 2 stars. If you have to splurge on one fancy meal in Korea, I would recommend the tasting menu at Jungsik. The lunch tasting is very reasonable at an all-inclusive 78,000 KRW (~$65) per person for four courses, 98,000 KRW (~$80) for the five course option.

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Oxalis in Prospect Heights

The resumes of these Brooklyn restaurants are starting to look the same. Chef trained at some fancy restaurant (Daniel, French Laundry, Alinea, etc) and wants to cook more casual, seasonally driven food, in a restaurant with an outdoor patio, of course. They all look the same, but it’s a formula that works. The latest addition to the pedigreed Brooklyn restaurant community is Oxalis in Prospect Heights. The chef Nico Russell trained at Daniel and Mirazur in Menton, France, and now it looks like people might be seeking him out for work, seeing as how Oxalis earned a Michelin star this year. The Oxalis tasting menu was quite impressive–and relatively affordable!–and was proof that the star was well deserved.

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The Wild Rabbit Tasting in Cotswolds, UK

The Cotswolds is your Downton Abbey dreams come to life. The picturesque villages with pretty cottages and beautiful estates look like the backdrops to the popular BBC series. Not surprisingly, it’s a popular secondary residence for any British celebrity you could possibly think of–Kate Moss, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant, etc. With lots of money to throw around, there are a number of posh restaurants in the area where you can eat fancy pub food in glamorous country dining halls. Normally high-end dining and young children don’t mix, but at The Wild Rabbit, a beautiful British inn owned by woman–a noblewoman, of course–named Lady Carole Bamford, “well-behaved children of any age” are welcome, and they even offered a children’s menu at the restaurant. I was beyond excited by the idea that I could bring my babies to a nice tasting meal at a Michelin caliber restaurant, because how often is that even possible or allowed? I immediately booked The Wild Rabbit lunch tasting for the 5 of us.

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Good Lunch Deal – Lunch Omakase at Sushi Ginza Onodera

When you are denied something delicious for nine months, it only makes sense that this deprivation will make you obsess about the forbidden food for days on end. My obsession in this case was sushi. It didn’t matter if it was a cheap supermarket tuna roll or a high end omakase, I always wanted it, and it pained me to have to turn it away. So of course, once my pregnancy was over, my goal was to reserve an excellent sushi meal asap. I wanted something extravagant at a relatively reasonable price, which is why I chose the lunch omakase at Sushi Ginza Onodera, a 2 Michelin star restaurant in Bryant Park. While the evening omakase will set you back $400, the lunch omakase is a relative bargain at just $150 a person.

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