RESTAURANT 101
Off the Beaten Path: 4 Dining Gems in NYC

La Nacional: Although this place may look a little dumpy on the outside, it's what's on your plate that really matters here. The tapas here are the most authentic I've tasted since living in Spain (no joke), and they even carry the elusive tinto de verano ($6). Spaniards - you know what I'm talking about (red wine w/ sparkling lemonade for those who don't). Order up a bunch of small plates or splurge on paella...either way, you'll go home happy.

Luzzo's: Venture into the cozy confines of chef Michele Iuliano's first of three NYC restaurants for some divine snacking. His Neapolitan pizza is deliciously light and won't leave you three sizes bigger post-meal. The joint is small, but gives off a warm vibe as if you were in a small, friendly Italian village. You know this place is the bee's knees when a long time customer thought the food was so good he had to become a part-owner (true story!).

RESTAURANT 101
Grab the Bull by the Horns at El Parador

El Parador is one of the oldest names on the block...but that's no reason to write it off, it's stuck around for a reason! This joint opened up in 1959 and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Owner Jose "Alex" Alejandro took the reins from his father, who acquired the restaurant in 1990. Blockheads loyals will start singing a different tune once they step into this quaint and cozy Mexican hub. They have all your favorite dishes and some more unique selections, including Jalapenos Rellenos (jalapenos stuffed with anejo cheese or chunky peanut butter) and Mexican Fried Ice Cream. The staff is friendly and the customers are always enjoying themselves and coming back for more. It's best to make a reservation because even in the middle of the week, this place is hopping.

HOW-TO
Spooktacular Cocktails

Scrap the vodka cran this year and whip up some of your own chillingly delicious cocktails, all suited to the costume of your choice this Hallow's Eve. Even if you aren't a cocktail guru, no need to scream...just head to one of the hot spots listed below to try some of these dangerous concoctions.

The Bloody Shine

Ingredients
2 oz Original Moonshine
3 oz tomato juice
1/2 oz fresh lemon
3 dashes worcestershire sauce
2 drops tabasco
Salt and pepper to taste
Preparation
Mix all ingredients and shake. Pour into glass and add ice if you prefer. For all you victims of foul play this Halloween, this will be the perfect pre-game cocktail to try out with your deadly friends. You might not see it on the menu, but you can ask for this hauntingly delicious drink at Lure, Hill Country, Macalleria and Cafe Luxembourg.