France at Your Fingertips: Interview with Lyon Owner, Francois Latapie

Lyon Bouchon Moderne warmly beckons diners from the corner of Greenwich Ave and 13th Street with its soft, antique lighting and oak-paneled walls bordered by Michelin Guide road maps that suggest the original train-car bouchon of old. The walls boast traditional Lyonnaise luggage racks and blackboards covered with tantalizing food and wine specials that once accommodated French traveler's belongings and penchants for a taste of home.

A Vlada Fun

Everything about Vlada Bar—fittingly located on West 51st Street in Hell's Kitchen—guarantees kitschy, fabulous, fun times. With over twenty different in-house infused vodkas, New York's only 30-foot ice bar, tasty get-the-job-done food offerings and a list of always entertaining, oftentimes weird events that'll make your head spin as fast as the bartenders' tailor-made martinis, Vlada is a must-see for New Yorkers looking for a decidedly different bar experience.

The Souper Bowl

Menchanko Tei is the solution. Just a quick subway trip to one of two midtown locations—one on 45th between Lex and 3rd, the other on 53rd between 5th and 6th—will solve all three dilemmas at once. These two cozy, bustling noodle houses provide diners with a variety of soul-warming, affordable soup options sumptuous enough to make anyone smile (if giggling isn't your style).

The Little Cheese Hut that Could
Brian: As for the van, while I was working on the plan for what became Casellula, I bought a 1987 VW Vanagon and drove around the West Coast for a few months visiting cheese makers, wineries, breweries, farms and restaurants. It was a great way to do research. I love living out of a van [sic: he still has it] and would do it more often if I could get away. After learning a great deal about cheese while working as a waiter at Chanterelle and then running the cheese program at The Modern I decided that I wanted to open a small, casual, cheese-focused restaurant. I bought "Small Businesses For Dummies" and spent two and a half years learning, writing a business plan, raising money, finding a space and researching before getting Casellula built.
The Gem of Park Avenue “West”

Bright, inviting lights and the hum of happy, partying drinkers and diners beckon from a three-story brick period building on the corner of Park Avenue and 35th street in Union City. Inside, much like the restaurant's surroundings, there is something for everyone.

The first floor of the Park Avenue Bar and Grill holds a Manhattan-worthy, casual bar which extends onto the back patio where you'll find a second, “outdoor” bar sheltered from the rain in the spring and summer and warmed by conveniently-placed heating vents in the fall and winter. Here, happy hour runs from 3-7pm Monday through Friday with $3 beer and $5 wine specials. Or, you can sample one of many inventive cocktails (like the Blueberry Juniper) or sample a dish from the “Comfort Food” section of the bar menu (like the sumptuous Mac and Cheese or the pubbish Shepherd's Pie).

Gourmet On-the-Go

The New York food truck business is absolutely booming nowadays. This is not your great-great grandmother’s Civil War-era chuckwagon or Central Park dirty water hot dog vendor (we love them too, but there's a time and a place).

With the warm weather still upon us, you won't mind waiting in the occasional outdoor line for your next meal. It's a good thing too, because, beyond the trucks that appear outside your office daily, September is the go-to month for food truck events.

The Staten Island Foodie Truck-athon is being held at the St. George Esplanade this Saturday, September 17th, from 11am-5pm in celebration of the borough’s 350th birthday. Here fourteen of New York’s finest vendors will converge, offering a plethora of snacks and meals from lobster to cupcakes to souvlaki. Entrance to the festival is free of charge.

If you can’t make it on Saturday, Prospect Park is holding its second-to-last, every-third-Sunday Food Truck Rally from 11am to 5pm on September 18th, and again on Sunday, October 16th. Here you’ll be able to sample fresh, excellent food from sixteen trucks (many of the same from the Truck-athon). Event organizers will also be raffling off an iPad.

Say Kimchi!