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Monday, October 20, 2014
Moreish Polish
Business/Location: Autograf Grill
Address: 499 Green Lanes
City: London
State: England
Zip Code: N4 1AL
Phone: 020 8347 7788
Website: www.autografgrill.com

Posted by:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow
   Autograf Grill
There is a character in Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch called Boris whose mother was Polish and father is Ukrainian, while he was born in Siberia. Whichever dingy bar he's in, wherever it is in the world, whether it's New York or Amsterdam, he manages to conjure up a selection of side plates which appeal to his Slavic palate. I think Boris would like eating in this place. Before our starters arrive we are offered some Polish bread, gherkins, and a spread made up of fat and pork scratchings. Sounds possibly unappetising to our anti-fat Western sensibilities but I assure you it's delicious. I knew I may be in trouble ordering pierogi to start, these pillowy yet filling dumplings are hard to resist though. My partner in crime had bacon wrapped potatoes and I stole his garlicky sour cream dip to douse the pierogi in. My pork loin was fine but the boy's honey pork ribs were to die for. Beautifully tender, despite being full, we couldn't stop eating them. Needless to say, the food came with lots of cabbage--pickled red cabbage, white cabbage, browned cabbage (with more pork crackling) all of which were tasty and moreish. They have an impressive number of flavoured vodkas too but it being Wednesday, we decided to call it a night. How very un-Polish.


Friday, October 17, 2014
Think Italian, Buy Local
Business/Location: Raffetto's
Address: 144 W Houston St
City: New York
State: NY
Zip Code: 10012
Phone: 212-777-1261
Website: raffettospasta.com/

Posted by:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Craig Nelson
   Raffetto's
I love all food, but if I had to pick one type of cuisine, Italian would be near the top of the list. Luckily, New York still has plenty of excellent Italian food stores to help me stock up on everything I need for nightly feasts of pasta, sausages, cheese, sparkling water, olive oil...you get the picture. Buon Italia, Di Palo, Alleva, Todaro Bros., heck even tourist mecca Eataly, all get the job done. But there's one tiny place in Greenwich Village that has a special place in my heart: Raffetto's. They make their very own ravioli which you can buy fresh or frozen and entering their shop brings you back to when the city was all mom & pop shops, before chain stores took over. So go pay them a visit and show your support, just like New Yorkers have been doing since 1904.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Soup Counter with a Side of Challah
Business/Location: B&H Dairy
Address: 127 2nd Ave
City: New York
State: NY
Zip Code: 10003
Phone: 212-505-8065

Posted by:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Craig Nelson
   B&H Dairy
B&H is one of the last cozy, old-school diners in Manhattan (think Cup & Saucer or Eisenberg's). Every time I sit down here, I'm thankful it's still going strong. They say good things come in threes, and here, in no particular order, you can always rely on: a seat at the counter, a filling bowl of mushroom barley soup and a huge slice of homemade challah bread. I wish I could branch out on the menu, but after years of trying, I just keep going back to the very same meal. Plus, there's no need to stop at the ATM across the street, because the experience won't cost you much more than a fiver. For those interested in diner culture of yesteryear, here's a little history from Vanishing New York.


Thursday, October 9, 2014
Masonic Rock
Business/Location: Brooklyn Masonic Temple
Address: 317 Clermont Ave
City: Brooklyn
State: NY
Zip Code: 11205
Phone: 718-638-1256
Website: www.masonicboom.com

Posted by:  Rob Tallia
Photo: 
   Brooklyn Masonic Temple
The Brooklyn Masonic Temple just has so much going for it - filming location for Boardwalk Empire, backdrop to the weekly Fort Greene Flea, site of the occasional killer concert, and - of course - lots and lots of Masons! But it's the concert series, curated by Masonic Boom, that really gets us. It's only a handful of shows a year, but what a history--Jose Gonzales, Godspeed You Black Emperor, Cat Power, Queens of the Stone Age, Big Star--the list goes on. Who knew Masons could rock out? Probably our founding fathers. Photo by Awlbutler/Flickr.com.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Post-BAM Glam
Business/Location: Lulu & Po
Address: 154 Carlton Ave
City: Brooklyn
State: NY
Zip Code: 11205
Phone: 917-435-3745
Website: www.luluandpo.com

Posted by:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia
   Lulu & Po
This is one of my favorite places to send people--lots of fun small plates to share, including such delicacies as bone marrow tacos and chicken liver pate with bread so delicious it’s got to be from Sullivan Street Bakery. It’s also a great post-BAM venue, as it’s far enough away that most people won’t know it exists. Only one beer is available at the moment…let’s hope they up their game in that area!


Tuesday, October 7, 2014
New York Lunch of Champions
Business/Location: Papaya King
Address: 179 E 86th St
City: New York
State: NY
Zip Code: 10028
Phone: 212-369-0648
Website: www.papayaking.com

Posted by:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Craig Nelson
   Papaya King
It seems like every cool place in New York is closing for a juice bar (RIP Gray's Papaya). Here's a solution: If you really do crave a juice, why not chomp on a juicy frankfurter with it? May I submit Papaya King, where you can feast on perfectly grilled dogs topped with sauerkraut or onions washed down with papaya, mango or even a "coconut Champagne" drink. It's the perfect lunch on the go for New Yorkers. Take a look at the menu beforehand, because New Yorkers won't want to wait why you decide on your combo, and the line can get long fast. And unlike, that juice bar down the street that will close in 6 months, this hot dog joint has been cranking out all-beef dogs since 1932 in the very same Upper East Side spot. Long live the king!


Wednesday, October 1, 2014
I Haz Cheeseburger?
Business/Location: Bun & Bar
Address: 553 Green Lanes
City: London
State: England
Zip Code: N8 0RL

Posted by:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow
   Bun & Bar
Bun & Bar sells itself primarily as a gastropub yet rather cannily they've jumped on the burger bandwagon. Just when you thought the trend had reached saturation point along comes this Johnny-come-lately. Well, I'm glad because on a Friday night I don't have to wrestle the crowds at Meat Liquor or Patty + Bun. I say that but last week at 9 pm, this little joint was hopping and we could only get a seat outside. A shame because a major draw seems to be the live music, something the bar is committed to with bookings filling every weekend. Luckily we could still hear from our al fresco perch on this balmy September night indeed, slightly unnervingly we were sat right next to the drummer with a mere pane of glass between us. Fine for us although I imagine he may have been put off his rhythm somewhat by the sight of my messy eating. Because I love me a beer and a cheeseburger. My burger was pleasingly rare--something that many places overshoot despite their claims otherwise. The brioche bun melded nicely with the cheesiness and soaked up all the saucy goodness. The chips were okay--string fries seasoned with rosemary. They did the job but for the real deal, head to Eat 17's burger bar for thrice-cooked chips. And lager from Crate Brewery. I could get used to this.


Friday, September 26, 2014
King of Convenience
Business/Location: Eat 17
Address: 64-66 Brooksby's Walk
City: London
State: England
Zip Code: E9 9DA
Phone: 020 8986 6242
Website: www.eat17.co.uk

Posted by:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow
   Eat 17
Not so long ago, there was a definition being bandied about by the press: "Andism." It was being applied to the likes of cafes which were also bike repair shops, and boutiques that were also bars. Well, Eat 17 is beyond Andism: it's a convenience store, burger bar, restaurant, florist, bakery, off licence, and many other things due to the ingenious housing of numerous local brands and suppliers under one roof. A bit like a farmers' market but you don't have to wait for the weekend and you can also enjoy the Art Deco-influenced dining room upstairs. It's brilliant and that's from someone who doesn't easily buy things. That's right, despite my forays into marketing (or maybe because of them), I am very hard to convince. No Jordan Belfort, I do not want your pen, I would rather carve words into my forearm with my housekey than allow a cretin like you the satisfaction of a sale. Anyway. The original Eat 17 is in Walthamstow and off the back of its success, this one opened in the summer. Oh, and the people behind it also created Bacon Jam--yes, Bacon Jam. And I guarantee you'll have an East 17 song in your head as you wander the aisles (mine was Deep) and perhaps chuckle to yourself as you remember Brian Harvey's baked potato accident. Just go.


Thursday, September 25, 2014
The Modern Antiquarian
Business/Location: Cafe Antiquari
Address: 5 Carrer Arabi
City: Palma
State: Mallorca
Zip Code: 07003
Phone: 34 871 572 313

Posted by:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow
   Cafe Antiquari
I hate to say it folks but we're in the last week of September, the dying embers of summer are just about still glowing but October is around the corner. So of course, your roving reporter ran away to Mallorca for a bit. I love this island. It's no longer about package holidays and lager louts (although, you can still find that if that's what you want) and I find the street culture in Palma very interesting. The graffiti is almost painterly and on a par with anything you see in East London and there's a healthy enthusiasm for vintage. Perhaps because it's an island, the quality of antiques is particularly good and if you're a geek for cameras or clocks, you're likely to find something here. Café Antiquari (as its name suggests) epitomizes this antiquarian aesthetic and serves the best drinks in town. Every day we enjoyed one (or two) of their generous mojitos or sangrias (or both) and it became one of those lovely holiday rituals to sit on the steps of Carrer Arabi and people-watch. Owner Francois is on to a winner with this place so drop in and say hello if you happen to be on the island.


Thursday, September 4, 2014
The Holy Trinity
Business/Location: O'Neill's
Address: 87 Muswell Hill Broadway
City: London
State: England
Zip Code: N10 3HA
Phone: 020 8883 7382
Website: www.oneills.co.uk

Posted by:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow
   O'Neill's
Why would I be recommending an O'Neill's pub if you are, "not a tourist," in Muswell Hill? Or indeed if you are a tourist in Muswell Hill? Well because this one is a ruddy great converted church, that's why. Dating back to somewhere between 1899 and 1903 this flint and terracotta Presbyterian Church is quite a sight to behold. The only worship going on here though is at the altars of Sports, Music, and Booze. On a Saturday, there's big screen premiership action, plus there's a program of regular live music from Blues to Irish to Rock to Swing. Oh and they have a table tennis table--extra points for that. Not a bad stop-off for a plate of nachos and a cider (they serve South African favourite Savannah--extra points again) after doing your grocery shopping in Planet Organic, getting kitted out at Sweaty Betty, or whatever it is people do in Muswell Hill.