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Ending the Pizza Debate: Star Tavern, Orange NJ

Guess Again, New Yorkers. There was never any question about where the best pizza comes from. It’s not Manhattan. And it’s not Brooklyn either. It’s New Jersey. New Jersey lay claim to many of the greatest things: Bagels (no questions asked), Italian subs, wings, breakfast sandwiches, and pizza. Not to mention James Gandolfini, Frank Sinatra, Bruce…

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Nothing But Love for Desnuda, Williamsburg

Dollar oysters at happy hour, truffle popcorn, cocktails and ceviche. What more could a girl ask for? New York City changes right before your eyes, even when you walk the same streets day after day. I left Brooklyn almost nine months ago. I’ve been back twice since. I’ve seen massive development, some good and some…

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MIUSA Wine Bar, Williamsburg Brooklyn

Hello again, Brooklyn. It’s funny, because for years I lived next door to what is now MIUSA (Made in USA) Wine Bar in Williamsburg. What was just an old, worn-down abandoned garage did little more than exist for the entire time. My father always said it would be a good business venture to stick a…

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New Reviews

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Tazza D’Oro, Rome’s Best Coffee

What's great about Rome is that the streets are so small, that you can't possibly see a landmark coming from a mile away. You simply turn the tiniest of corners and then there is this monumentally large and incredibly old sight to see right in front ...

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Lost My Cool in Lafayette Gourmet

Dangerously located on the way home every day, Lafayette Gourmet is essentially too convenient, too good, and even a little too expensive... too. What I'm saying is, I can't stop spending money here. Galeries Lafayette is a huge department store on ...

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So, just what is it that so entices us about good food, good drinks, and good times with good friends? I suppose it’s a culmination of things; some more sentimental, like memories of family dinners or the certain way your great-grandma prepared her meatballs. Perhaps others more self-indulgent, like a good stiff drink to ease the chaos of every day life or to avoid delving into deeper matters of the heart. Or--maybe--it's just present-day comfort, a big bowl of mac and cheese to process the busy weeks ahead, the 9 to 5's, the pleasure of fleeting weekends. Beyond our primal instinct to put food in our stomachs; food is a beautiful thing.

All I know is that food--a good meal--is our home away from home. From the times of New Amsterdam and Old Gotham to current day N-Y-C, one thing has remained consistent. Here in New York City, many of us are far, far away from where we began our journey; some from Jakarta, Guangzhou or Ercolano, Stockholm or Conakry. Others, like myself, from just a quick train-ride’s away. Remarkably, we all bring the recipes and meals and flavors of our homes, our families, our cultures and traditions right here to this very place. We live in a major gathering point, a cultural hub. Queens is the most diverse place on the planet; every country is represented here in New York. At a time where differences are so prevalent--no matter where we are, no matter who we are or what we believe--at the end of the day, we all end up in the same place…at our table. We all end up sitting around a meal or whatever we can manage with our family, our friends, our roommates or loved ones.

So I suppose it’s food and cooking that can remind us of the common ground we can all stand on, of what's ultimately most important to each and every one of us. It's not just about the food, but it's what the food stands for; it's what happens while we cook or eat. It's when we talk about our day, it’s when we catch up with those we have not seen in a while, its how we celebrate any number of milestones or just the start of one more weekend. That… and it tastes so damn good.