First Course

Easter, Done Greek

After 40 days of fasting for Lent, Greeks, like myself, are eager to "break the fast," and sooner is better than later. Celebrated at midnight, the very break of Easter Sunday, Greeks will attend church and then rush home for an Easter feast with family and friends that will last until the wee hours of the sacred morning. A time for bonding and celebration, a Greek Orthodox Easter meal is not just about feasting, but tradition.

Molyvos, a nouveau-style Greek restaurant, is honoring the holiday with a traditional midnight Easter dinner, a chance to return to the cooking of the customary Greek food that is not just made to fill our fasting bellies, but to celebrate culture and rebirth.

Peaches Hothouse: Southern Cookin' For the Yankee Who's Lookin'

Peaches Hothouse
Cuisine: New Southern
Price: Average

415 Tompkins Avenue
(at Hancock Street)
Brooklyn, NY 11216
(718) 483-9111

Howdy, ya'll! It's with warm southern affection that owners Craig Samuel and Ben Grossman open their country-styled eatery to the masses. Peaches Hothouse, the duo's third Brooklyn installment (the first two being Peaches and Smoke Joint), comes to the neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant offering authentic southern cuisine from the northern side of the Mason-Dixon Line.

A Gourmet Latino Festival Hits NYC in June

Something very big is coming to New York City, something that has never been done before in America. Hint: if it smells like Latin flavors, sounds like Latin music, and tastes like Latin wine, it must be a Gourmet Latino Festival taking place from June 4-12, 2010. (Tickets for the event are available at www.gourmetlatinofestival.com). Taking place at the Astor Center, the festival aims to showcase Latin gastronomy, through which a deeper awareness of the culture and soul of Latin America can be understood and appreciated.

Blue Bottle Coffee Expands to the 'Burg

You wake up...too much fun last night, and desperately in need of a caffeine fix. You want instant gratification, but DD just ain't gonna cut it anymore.

Head over to the newly opened Blue Bottle coffee in Williamsburg. Momofuku design team DCR resurrected this beautiful simplistic space in what used to be an old glass-blowing factory. Two weeks in, and already word of mouth has put this San Francisco gem of an import on the map. Originally started in Oakland, CA by someone sick of the same old coffee, the name comes from Franz Kolshitsky's first coffee house in Vienna "The Blue Bottle" which revolutionized the industry.

A Family-Style Sunday Supper, Crowned

Double Crown
316 Bowery
(Near Bleecker St)
New York, NY 10012
(212) 254-0350
(Nonya Nights: Every Sunday; 6pm to10:30pm; $35 per person)

In most homes, Sunday night dinner is not so much a dinner, but a feast. Filled with family and friends, Sunday dinners are a time for enjoying life, good food-in ample amounts-and conversation. Inspired by Singaporean and Malaysian family-style banquet dining, Double Crown has developed their own family-style Sunday dinner. Dubbed Nonya Nights, the menu (which changes weekly) offers 8-12 courses for a measly $35 per person. Talk about a dining deal!

In 'Good Spirits'

After a very successful first-run, Good Spirits, produced by Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan, is preparing for their second installment, set to occur April 6th. Hosted at the increasingly popular Bell House, Good Spirits will match seven Brooklyn chefs with seven spirits, all for your tasting pleasure.

The restaurants showcased in this intoxicatingly merry affair include The Vanderbilt, No.7, Fette Sau, Walter Foods, Mile End, Fort Defiance, The Farm on Adderly, and Palo Santo. Paired with them are seven New York produced spirits-Tuthilltown Spirits, Warwick Valley Winery and Distillery, Rhum J.M., Death's Door, Compass Box, Vertical Vodka, Chartreuse, and Illegal Mezcal.

Cosmopolitan Announces Restaurant Lineup

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, which has the tough job of being located between the Bellagio and CityCenter, may have just found it's edge against the neighboring competitors.

The two 50-story towers, holding almost 3,000 hotel rooms and condo-style accommodations, feature three pools and over 100,000 square-feet of gaming floor-but Cosmopolitan's real draw will be the restaurants.

Zengo: A Zing On Your Plate and In Your Glass

Cuisine: Latin American/Asian
Price: Moderate

On March 24th, Mexican-born chef and owner Richard Sandoval unveiled Zengo, his Latin-Asian creation in Midtown. While this Zengo is the latest addition to the two that already exist in D.C. and Denver, the New York rendition has a slightly different menu. To execute the updated selection, Sandoval (of Maya and Pampano) recruited Akhtar Nawab (of the fallen Ellettaria) to be his chef de cuisine. Joining two different cultures that both command their own distinct tastes, Sandoval and his team set out to create dishes that employ this union through varying intensities of sauces, spices and seasoning.

"Chocolate, A Love Story." Starring Max Brenner

One whiff of the intoxicating chocolate aroma and you're instantly aware this is not your average sweet shop. Emphasizing the emotional, sensual side of chocolate, at Max Brenner: Chocolate by the Bald Man you can participate in the ultimate chocolate experience as you "see, smell, listen, taste, and touch chocolate" in every imaginable form. My visit began with browsing the chocolate merchandise at the in-store giftshop, which made me even more eager to sit down and start sampling.

The menu is overwhelmed with items including Waffles and Crepes, Fondue, Melting chocolate hearts (think molten chocolate cake), Sweet Icons (chocolate pizzas and soups), and Max I Scream (ice cream). Mesmerized by words like "chocolate chunks" and "crunchy wafer balls," when it came time to actually order we panicked and randomly selected the Urban S'mores for Two ($20.25), complete with a personal grill for ‘mallow toasting, and the Gooey Marshmallow Fudge Brownie Fluffernutter Ice Cream Sandwich with the famous Max Brenner "Oh My God" cookies ($9.95). Seriously, with a name like that, could it possibly taste anything short of amazing?