DAILY BITES
Mushroom Festival Takes Place at Paprika

The Northern Italian restaurant staple in St. Mark's, Paprika, is offering a deal that food-lovers won't be able to resist. Chef and owner Egidio Donagrandi has introduced a special Mushroom Festival menu that is available now until October 28th. The menu plays homage to Egidio's childhood in Valtellina, where he frequently would forage for fresh shrooms. The dishes will include fresh seasonal mushrooms in classic Italian dishes and can be order a la carte or as part of a four-course meal for $52. Best of all, these are the kind of shrooms you won't be in trouble for eating! Check out the dishes being served below.

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.

CULINARY OCCASIONS
Happy National Lobster Day!

National Lobster Day is here and summer is the perfect time to score the freshest shells. Check out these NYC restaurants and what delicious lobster dishes they will be serving, as well as a couple of recipes for Do-It-Yourself-ers!

Carmine's: Lobster Fra Diavolo

Vai: three-course National Lobster Day menu featuring dishes such as sauteed lobster fricasse

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
This Italian Stable Never Disappoints


You may have walked past it a thousand times and never noticed this little gem in the heart of East Village. Cucina Italiana Paprika, serving up Northern Italian stables for 11 years, checks a lot of boxes. Unique brunch menu? Check. Casual mid-week dinner? Check. Intimate date spot? Check. Something unexpected on the menu? Check.

Paprika's menu is thoughtfully split into salads, starters, pasta and grains, and entrées, with enough choices in each group but nothing to overwhelm the indecisive eater. The clear standout is the lamb meatballs in a thick tomato based sauce served with green lentils and butter-like red bliss potatoes. The meat is tender and the delicate meatballs are perfectly cooked.