RESTAURANT 101
Out with the Old, In with the New: Paprika Revamps Their Menu

Don't be fooled by the name, Paprika, located in the East Village, stems from Valtellina, a region in Northern Italy bordering Switzerland where the food is more Alpine and Austro-Hungarian empire than sun-drenched Italian. Chef and owner Egidio Donagrandi has been serving up non-regional Italian food for over ten years at his resto, but has now decided to shift his focus to his home and its unique cuisine.

The new menu focuses on the flavors and traditions of Valtellina, which is heavily influenced by neighbors Switzerland and Austria. Unique regional specialties and ingredients include buckwheat polenta, cheeses like bitto, crescenza, and casera --all of which are rare in New York. Another preparation Paprika uses is pickling, which is a technique used in Valtellina. Egidio pickles everything from red onions, beets and radishes to oyster mushrooms. Included on the menu are delicious appetizers like Dandelion Salad with pickled red radishes, soft crescenza, and spring onions and Bresaola Carpaccio with pickled oyster mushrooms and red radishes. Delicious pastas include Pizzoccheri Valtellinesi with buckwheat tagliatelle, savoy cabbage, casera cheese, potatoes and garlic, unbelievable Homemade Spaetzle with brussels sprouts and fava beans, and Buckwheat Lasagna with braised leeks and casera cheese fonduta.

DELICIOUS DEBUTS
Rosemary's Debuts in the West Village

Carlos Suarez of BOBO opened up Rosemary's in the West Village last Friday with executive chef Wade Moses (Eataly, Babbo). The restaurant, named for Suarez's mama, is inspired by her home in Lucca, Italy. The menu will feature produce from the rooftop farm, which was designed by Dekar to evoke an elegant Tuscan home. Seasonal Italian dishes from the menu include fresh pastas and a selection of focacce. Rosemary's will also offer take-out in the form of focacce, salads, panini, charcuterie, cheese, and roasted meats and the venue will be open for dinner, with breakfast, lunch, and take-out coming soon. The new joint features an impressive Italian wine list with 40 bottles, all priced at $40, as well as a reserve wine list and a broad selection of wines by the glass, including Prosecco on tap (awesome!).

CULINARY OCCASIONS
This Monday: France vs. Italy

Long before our eyes and palates turned away from our ethnocentric ideals and began to embrace the cultures and cuisines of Asia, Africa, Latin America, and elsewhere, it was all about Europe. France has had the stronghold on cuisine for over a century, being one of the first to formally establish a school of thought on the matter, as well as rules, formal techniques, and regulations. However, as many food historians would point out, if it were not for the Italian nobility (Catherine de' Medici comes to mind) that brought its dishes and techiques to france, as well as Italian explorers who brought exotic seasonings ands foods to Europe, French cuisine would not be what it is today. Both cuisines are rich, diverse, expansive, and quite different from each other, and the argument over which is better is one that has inflamed the passions of even the most casual eaters.

ALL ACCESS PASS
Hitting Up the Hitmakers: Steve Forest & Nicola Fasano

Steve Forest and Nicola Fasano, the duo behind Pitbull’s smash hit, “I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)” are quite the production couple. The Italian pair with a Latin flair started creating music together at a young age and have succeeded both as solo artists and collaborators. Their resume includes managing their own record label and production company (Jolly Roger - Sound of Pirates); collecting ASCAP awards (the pair won Ascap Latin Award for ‘Best Urban Latin song’, Ascap Pop Award for ‘Best Pop song’ and an Ascap Rhythm & Soul Music Award for ‘Best R&B/Hip-Hop, Rap and Gospel Music song’ in 2009) and remixing the likes of Armin Van Buuren, Alex Guadino, Bob Sinclair, Eric Morillo and Roger Sanchez. On the production end they've worked with stars such as Chris Willis, Kat DeLuna and Pitbull and have collaborated with singers like Max C and Katherine Ellis.

THRILLS & DEALS
Merlot Monday: Half Off Wine Tonight!

That's right folks, Paprika, the northern Italy eatery in the East Village is taking half off bottles of vino, every Monday night, all night. Now instead of dreading Mondays, you can at least have something to look forward to once the work day is over! The concise but adventurous wine list features wines from all over Italy, with the majority from northern Italy, including Piedmont, Alto Adige, Friuli, Veneto, and Lombardy, with a special focus on Valtellina, where the chef and owner Egidio Donagrandi hails from. Regularly prices bottles are between $28 and $91. Talk about a deal! Get over those Monday blues and turn them into mad Mondays!

RESTAURANT 101
PizzArte Serves Up Italian Like No Other

Most New Yorkers claim they know the best pizza joint in town. But tell your fave hub to move on over because recently opened PizzArte will surely give it a run for its money.

Step into this modern Italian resto unlike any other. Forget the red checkered table cloths, forget the dim lighting and noisy children -- this hot new spot is not clinging on to the same ol' Italian restaurant theme. Instead, owners Bruno Cilio and Dario Cipollaro de l'Ero (first time restaraunteurs) opted to decorate with mod tables and lights and walls covered in great Italian artwork (perfect, since it's situated just footsteps away from the MoMA). The artists that are currently being displayed there are Lello Esposito, Luciano Scateni, Giuseppe Falconi and Francesco Manes, all of whom are from Naples. The artwork will rotate every four to six months.

CULTURE CLUB
A chat with 'The Street Is In The House' artist Carlos Sampietro

Carlos Sampietro, born in Lake Como, Italy, moved from the advertising industry to the arts. Don't worry about getting bored while looking at his collection, "The Street Is In The House," is truly unique. Sampietro's motto for the exhibit is "There is beauty in something that has been in the street for so long."

Pictured above, is one of Sampietro's police barrier tables. The artist wanted to bring something that is normally scary and used to separate people, and turn it into something that will bring people together. Many of his works use similar elements -- transforming an item from the street into something beautiful and something that makes a statement about society.

INDUSTRY NEWS
Season 5 the Last for 'Jersey Shore' Stars

Snooki, the Situation, Pauly D and the rest of the tanned trainwrecks of the Jersey Shore are going to be replaced!

After wrapping up shooting for Season 4 in Italy - and is scheduled to premiere on MTV 08/04/11 - US Weekly reports the Guidos & Guidettes are getting ready to shoot their final season next month back in Seaside Heights, NJ.

Reason for the recasting? Perhaps the gang has gotten too classy after their adventures overseas...ha. By bringing in a new cast, the show would be much cheaper to produce.

FOOD + DRINK
A Carnival Called Eataly

The renowned Broadway has been famous for theatre, its inclusion in songs, Time’s Square and well, just being Broadway. Now it seems it has a whole new claim to fame with the opening of Eataly in the flatiron district. The 50,000 square foot (yes. fifty thousand!) market includes multiple eateries, each with a different focus and a surplus of Italian groceries, produce, and wines.

The architectural details alone are a marvel in their own right, but the inclusion of a fishmonger, a butcher, and an oyster bar really push this place over the top. Eataly seems to be similar in concept to the Chelsea market with the benefit of being new.

It can be a challenge to accomplish much, however, due to the sheer volume of people that hurtle through the doors every day (parallels have been drawn with the subway at rush hour.) Nevertheless Eataly is a great new place to grab lunch, a bottle of wine, or groceries!

BEST OF
The Pizza Craze