A Professional Foodie’s Guide to Dining in NYC
by Alisa Gould-Simon (L.A.)
In addition to being my best friend, Amanda Kludt is the editor of Eater, a renowned digital destination for food industry gossip, launches and restaurant roundups. So for years, whenever I’ve needed a recommendation for a woohoo-my-parents-are-in-town restaurant or an it’s-my-birthday-and-I-need-to-fit-15-people place or a talk-of-the-town new hot spot, she’s always the first one I call. Since there’s no better time to indulge in delicious meals than the winter (when multiple layers easily hide the effects of less strict eating habits), I asked Amanda to bestow some of her foodie wisdom upon me (and you). Here she gives us some insider intel on NYC’s finest, as adorably illustrated by Madewell’s own Christie Young.
A penny-pincher’s best friend: “The subway! Take the 7 out to Flushing and get fantastic Korean BBQ, great Indian (my fave is Jackson Diner), superfresh Chinese (seafood, hand-pulled noodles, dumplings) and all kinds of street food. There’s an Indian cafeteria called Ganesh Temple Canteen—actually located in the basement of the temple—where the food is just dirt cheap and crazy delicious.”
Staple I can never resist: “Eating out five or six nights a week, I try to avoid carby, cheesy or generally unhealthy things as often as I can—and yet, I can’t turn down a bowl of spaetzle (Prime Meats and Edi & The Wolf do an especially good version) or pan con tomate (try Tertulia or Socarrat).”
Best place to impress someone: “A man—Keens Steakhouse. Parents—Maialino. Girlfriends—Frankies never fails. Foodies—Taste Good out in Elmhurst. Sweet freaks—Momofuku Milk Bar. Anyone—The bar at Grand Central Oyster Bar.”
NYC’s best-kept secret: “La Nacional, my favorite somewhat-known but under-the-radar Spanish place right off 14th Street. Great paella, delicious tapas, romantic vibe and low prices. It’s my go-to for almost anyone. Also, Nom Wah Tea Parlor in Chinatown is fantastic for dim sum at any time of day. It opened over 80 years ago and has an amazing old-school feel to it.”
Recent opening I’m most excited about: “There’s a high-end Spanish place that opened in the Dream Hotel called Romera, where they only serve an 11-course $245 prix fixe. It’s way too much, but it’s fun to have someone open up a restaurant that’s so obscenely ambitious and that sparks debate in the food community. On a more accessible note, I’m in love with a tiny new meat-centric restaurant called The Cannibal. They serve all kinds of obscure beer and have delicious cheeses, Southern hams, tartares and sausages. (Insider tip: Single gals should bookmark it as a great place to pick up guys!)”
Get to Know This Band: Love Inks
by Christie Young (Madewell)
Photo: Jackie Lee Young
After recently moving from Austin to NYC, I thought I’d take a break from the live-music thing. Two shows a week for six years was enough (that’s 624 shows, not including festivals). But then I stumbled upon Love Inks and, just like that, my resolution was broken. Their music is rock ’n’ roll with a soft underbelly—catchy and haunting and bluesy and subtle, all at the same time. If you’re not familiar, give them a whirl. Me? I’ll be listening to every song on their first album, E.S.P., until the new record breaks.
Once you’re done falling in love with that song, check out what lead singer Sherry LeBlanc had to say when I got the chance to ask her a few questions.
Where do you call home?
We’re from Austin, Texas. I didn’t realize until we’d toured so extensively that an artist’s location can have such a profound effect on their art. We focus a lot on the power of silence and space in our songs and I don’t think that would have happened if we lived in any other city. When I hear our music now, it’s reflective of the pace of Austin: long, lazy days lying next to water, sitting on porches waiting for the sun to go down.
Dream collaboration with an artist/band:
Yoko Ono, no contest. She inspires me to be a better human and a more innovative artist. Derek’s dream collaboration would be New Order, and Kevin’s sleeping right now, but I’m going to guess he’d say ZZ Top.
Favorite album/artist right now:
I’m geeking out about Magic Spells and Wild Beasts. Also been digging on Dee Dee Warwick.
Song you want to cover:
I think we’re about to learn Ace’s song “How Long,” which is one of my all-time favorites. We covered Cass McComb’s “County Line” on our last tour and that helped me connect more emotionally during our live set. With our minimal setup there’s a restriction to what covers we can do and actually add or bring a new perspective to. We wanted to cover ELO’s “Telephone Line,” but we would have murdered that song (in a bad way). I think the charm is in the intense production.
Band you’d want to cover you:
Ooh, good question! I might die if Patti Smith covered one of our songs. Or Morrissey. Actually, I’d be completely flattered if any other musician connected enough with our songs to want to cover one of them.
Every tour is different. I sit with my best friend, Jackie Young, and we have style inspiration sessions. For this tour, I looked to the movie Urban Cowboy, ’60s female motorcycle gangs and Tina Turner. Last tour was Anita Pallenberg and Stevie Nicks. Being on stage is awesome because it lends the opportunity to be a little more bold with fashion choices.
Plans for 2012:
We’re already working on our new album and hope to record and release it in 2012. And touring, touring, touring. We’ll definitely be all over North America, and I hope we have the opportunity to go back to Europe.