First Course

Ovest Pizzoteca Fires Up On The West Side
Little Skips: "Unadulterated Fun"

Little Skips
941 Willoughby Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11221
(corner of Charles and Willoughby)
(718) 484-0980

In a city as caffeine-affluent as New York, literally every street, block and corner has a coffee shop that professes its superiority above the rest. Daily, we are bombarded with advertisements for this new blend or that extra-shot-something-or-other, when, really, coffee is coffee and we're too apathetic/rushed/frazzled to care.

Or are we?

Nuzzled in Bushwick, Little Skips, a newborn coffee shop that also operates as a music and art venue, offers the un-phased coffee gurus of New York another option for their morning brew. With peculiar, yet tastefully charming original creations, this place is sure to jostle the jaded.

5 & Diamond: Will Pressure Turn Out Treasure?

Hamptons Restaurant Week, Worth The Trip

At the start of the summer season, the migration to the Hamptons' beaches begins. If you are looking for an excuse to start the journey down the L.I.E. sooner, the answer may be in Hamptons Restaurant Week. Commencing this Sunday, Hamptons Restaurant Week is not only offering dining deals, but discounts on accommodations and vineyard visits.

Dine on a three course prix fixe meal for $19.95 or $24.95 or both. With prices so low, why not splurge on a bottle of wine? It may not even be a splurge, as some restaurants are offering bottles of wine for $19.95 or $24.95. Restaurants included in this fabulously discounted week include Nick & Toni's Restaurant, 1770 House, East by Northwest, Pierre's, Almond, Annona, The North Fork Table & Inn, and numerous others around this breathtakingly beautiful summer vacation destination.

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Great Pulino's

Pulino's Bar and Pizzeria
Cuisine: Pizza, Italian
Price: Inexpensive

282 Bowery
(at E. Houston Street)
New York, NY 10012
212-226-1966 A

After all the hype and anticipation, Pulino's finally opened its doors for breakfast and lunch to the public. This is the latest venture by Keith McNally, who has reached new heights in the celebrity restaurateur category, and chef Nate Appleman, winner of this year's James Beard Rising Star award.

At first glance, it seems as if you've walked into Schiller's on steroids. Staff wore matching shirts and walls were white tiled and covered with bottles of alcohol. We saw McNally lurking about on his cell phone and greeting other guests, including celebrities Jude Law, Bill Murray, Ken Friedman of Spotted Pig, and chef Michael White of Marea. If the company we were surrounded by was any indication of the food to come, I was brimming with excitement.

D'Amore's Pizza: A Difference You Can Taste

What could possibly make a Benefit beauty bash any better? Pizza! But not just any pizza. Delicious, good-for-you pizza that tastes like it came out of a New York City pie shop. D'Amore's Pizza on Third St. is just that. All of their pies are made from fresh, natural, organic ingredients - a difference you can taste. No greasy pies at our beauty bash. Right before I had my eyebrows threaded by a Benefit expert, I was lucky enough to meet D'Amore's Pizza owner Christie D'Amore and taste three of their very best: The Bianco (their signature pizza!), the Cheese (why mess with a classic), and the Tomato & Basil (light, fresh, crispy, and delicious). While all three were incredibly flavorful and delicious, my favorite pizza of the night was...the Bianco! It is near perfection: sans tomato sauce, it boasts fresh spinach and roasted red peppers sautéed in olive oil and fresh garlic and is topped with parmesan, mozzarella and ricotta cheese. All on a perfectly crusty crust. It is so good I didn't even notice the absence of tomato sauce, which happens to be my favorite thing in the world. The Bianco (whose recipe came from Christie's great grandmother!) is guaranteed to turn even the most finicky eaters into spinach eaters.

Tria Is Sure to Please

1137 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA

Tria is a beer, wine, and cheese place that's got it going on. There's an undercurrent of elegance in this cafe, from the sophisticated fare selections, to the doting, knowledgeable wait-staff, to the cool, carefully-selected indie rock that ebbs and flows with the clientele's vibes.

At first glance a visitor would think Tria was on the fancy side, another wine bistro with the expensive glasses of wine and the tiny, over-priced plates of tapas. But Tria is different. It turns out to be a comfy, neighborhood nook that has exhibits elegance through simplicity and practicality. The well-mannered, attentive wait-staff adds to this, as does their price-conscious menu.

COCHON 555 - Chefs, Pigs, & Wine

Sunday, March 21, Chelsea Piers will host the mother of all pork competitions-COCHON 555. Five chefs, five pigs, and five wineries will meet and compete at Pier 60. A compilation of worthy judges will decide who is the "Prince or Princess of Porc."

Mark Ladner of Del Posto, Corwin Kave of Fatty "Cue, Marco Canora of Hearth, Adam Kay of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and Gavin Kaysen of Café Boulud will prepare a whole heritage-breed pig, from head-to-toe, and the winner will be declared the "Prince or Princess of Porc." An as attendee, 750 pounds of heritage pork will be available for your dining pleasure. Wash down your swine with wine from five wineries-Gamble Family Vineyards, Buty Winery, Elk Cove Vineyards, Wind Gap Wine, and K Vintners.

Give A 'Hoot' For Brooklyn Star

After being damaged by a fire, The Brooklyn Star's doors have remained closed since last month. With the help and donations of fellow industry professionals, Brooklyn Kitchen Lab is able to host The Brooklyn Star Hootenanny, a party to benefit the damaged Williamsburg treasure.

Through the charitable donations of food and beverages from fellow hospitality establishments, this hootenanny will bring The Brooklyn Star one step closer to a swift reopening. Beer, donated from Brooklyn Brewery, and whiskey, from Wilfie & Nell and Whiskey Town, will bring a tipsy fun to the party. Smoked meats come from the Brooklyn Lab Kitchens' partner, The Meat Hook. Chef and owner Joaquin Baca, formally partnered with Momofuku Milk Bar, is also having the famed bakery donate sweets for the event.

New Level of Organic at ABC Kitchen

Jean-Georges Vongerichten finally jumped on the organic bandwagon when he opened his organic, locally-sourced themed restaurant ABC Kitchen, inside the ABC Carpet & Home store. ABC Kitchen is a "farm-to-table" restaurant, using only sustainable and organic seasonal produce and pasture-fed animals to produce only the finest quality dishes, not to mention incredibly flavored.