FOOD & DRINK

Insatiable criticism

Insatiable criticism

In New York, it’s often said that “everyone’s a critic.” The phrase may have had its origins in the theater world but these days is best applied to the city’s thriving restaurant industry. Every New Yorker seems to have a favorite neighborhood dining spot or an opinion on the hottest new place in town. So imagine the chance to try dozens of restaurants in one evening, all in the same location! Last night my wife and I attended “Best of the West”, the fifth annual edition of a culinary tasting event showcasing the finest restaurants on Manhattan’s Upper West Side….

Peel slowly and see

Peel slowly and see

When I was a child I used to sometimes watch an after-school cartoon series on the BBC called Bananaman. The absurdist premise of this superhero parody concerned Eric, an ordinary schoolboy who, for reasons unknown, would transform into the titular character each time he ate a banana. I mention this because recently I too have undergone an unexpected transformation of the musa acuminata variety. Yes, I’ve started eating bananas. I know what you’re thinking: big deal. Perhaps, but not for someone who had hitherto enjoyed his entire life banana-free. For the last thirty-two years I have steadfastly shunned this popular…

Empire State of Mind

Empire State of Mind

New York said goodbye to an icon this weekend. On May 14 the Empire Diner closed its doors for the last time — or rather, the first time, since this Chelsea landmark had until last Saturday night been serving locals and tourists, artists and cops, partygoers and insomniacs 24 hours a day since it opened in its current incarnation thirty-four years ago. In 1976, the diner lay closed and abandoned when it was purchased by three young New Yorkers — Jack Doenias, Carl Laanes, and Richard Ruskay — who transformed the Tenth Avenue eatery into the self-proclaimed “Hippest Diner on…

Scenes from an Italian restaurant

Scenes from an Italian restaurant

Though I try to keep this website up-to-date with what’s going on in my New York life, there is one tale I have yet to tell. In fact, the subject matter is of such a dark and depressing nature I have had to wait until the onset of Spring to even discuss it. And after I write this, I hope to erase the entire experience from my memory. Here goes. Around mid-January, I found myself to my surprise, still in New York, but also jobless and soon-to-be-homeless. Having exhausted all other avenues of potential employment I became desperate, and began…

Raising the bar

Raising the bar

The life of a young writer is a hectic and stressful existence, often involving long hours of frantic typing as a deadline fast approaches, time which could be better spent sleeping or enjoying a proper dinner. However, occasionally we must abandon the iBook (or 1960 Lettera 32 Olivetti typewriter) and venture into the real world, all in the name of “research”. This usually means checking out a new bar or club, a task which has the added incentive of perhaps getting a free drink and/or meeting some girls. Thanks to their brief mention in Elle Decor magazine, I had recently…

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