My 5 picks for Thanksgiving Dining in NYC

turkey-city_450We’re New Yorkers. We can order anything from Lebanese to lasagna at 2am and have it delivered right to our door. While we know culinary brilliance when we taste it, our stove hasn’t been ignited since that night we tried to heat the apartment by turing the oven on. Let’s face it, we could cook but it’s SO much easier just to eat out. Thanksgiving is no exception.

During my seven years in the Big Apple, I haven’t traveled home for the holidays once. Since all my kin live on the west coast, I find it much easier just to make a reservation instead of making a turkey. Here are my picks for those of you who find yourself in NYC this Thanksgiving and feel the same….

Jane
Jane has been my go-to destination for my holiday feast for 4 years now. A casual American bistro smack dab between SoHo and Greenwich Village, it’s classic NYC fare. The space is comforting and warm (kinda like Grandma’s kitchen, only chicer) and the menu has all the components you’d want on your plate. T-day menu consists of a prix fix, three course with various options. You can’t go wrong with turkey and the trimmings but you could go with short ribs, risotto, or salmon if the bird isn’t your thang.

20081027-igobblenyFreeman’s
One of my all-time foodie favs is definitely Freeman’s. Located at the back of an alley, its charm doesn’t stop just at the decor. The food and design is rugged, rustic, and has a certain old world charm. Their holiday menu consists of turkey and the usual suspects, as well as their signature (almost better-than-sex) artichoke dip. Believe me the dip alone is worth the trek to the LES. Oh, and did I mention they have pie? Homemade pie.

Maialino
A little pricier than the two above, Maialino is one of the FINEST NYC restaurants you can pay a visit. Their Thanksgiving bill of fare has an Italian flare since it’s what they do best. Start with the zuppa di castagne (or chestnut soup), then get your roasted bird with Polenta instead of stuffing, and finish with their expertly executed Zabaione or Italian custard. They also have a special menu just for the wee ones that doesn’t require they sit at the “kids” table.

Red Rooster
I included Red Rooster simply because I’ve heard such amazing things about this uptown gem. You’re pretty much gonna get a typical Thanksgiving dinner here but chef Marcus Samuel is bound to throw in a couple culinary surprises here and there. They also have live jazz so prepare to be serenaded by some of the good stuff in the heart of Harlem.

Il Buco
I used to teach a couple in their home (with equipment and all) right across the cobblestoned street from Il Buco. Finally, I had salivated long enough and one day decided to visit their feast of the pig. OMG! THE BEST suckling pig I’ve ever had. Thanksgiving dinner here has your choice of that or traditional turkey. Part Italian, part Spanish, all delicious. A holiday feast here will change your life.

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3 Fall Hangouts You Shouldn’t Miss

Two is always better than one. Such is the case with exploring NYC. Here’s my pick for three things you can do with your bestie here in the big apple:

1- Go High and Go Low

New York is always on the cutting edge of making the most out of what we got, like the High Line, the above ground park built on an elevated historic freight rail line. So, it’s no wonder that we would go below to have the Low Line too. The master plan of local lower east side architects and engineers to bring green space to an area lacking in both space and foliage. Nestled in the former Williamsburg trolley terminal, untouched for decades, these innovators have designed a remote skylight to deliver sunlight from the surface and actually provide enough natural light to allow plant life to flourish. Although it is in its early stages they are offering a glimpse into the potential of the future park. Visit the exhibition anytime between September 15-27 for its inaugural “day” fair with pop-ups from some of the LES’s best tasting goodies.

2- Go cheap

Our fair city is a museum mecca and Saturday September 29th, the Smithsonian is sponsoring Museum Day. It’s free, yes that’s FREE, to visit one of 28 museums. My pick is the little known Museum of Arts and Design. MAD (as they lovingly call themselves) is nestled kitty corner from the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle. Take a free (yup, there’s that word again) docent tour of the museum while inside and when you’ve taken in all your eyes can muster, wander upstairs to one of the area’s greatest kept secrets, Robert. Robert is a sexy little gem with one of the best views of Central park. Go for brunch, lunch, dinner, or late night snack but make sure to splurge on one of their specialty libations. You might even see a famous ballerina from Lincoln Center sipping one right in the booth next to you….

3- Go eat

New Yorkers know how to eat, and we celebrate the fact that we have some of THE best food in the world with the annual NYC Food and Wine Festival. October 17th-20th, it is a long weekend of cuisine infused activities that range anywhere from $20-$400. You can taste, listen, and party with some of the industries hottest chefs like Racheal Ray, Anita Lo, and Giada De Laurentiis. Stuff your face at one of the Grand Tastings and maybe bad boy Anthony Bourdain will be there to sign your t-shirt, eh I mean book.

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