A San Francisco Institution Like There Used to Be

Buckle up, urban explorers, because we’re about to uncover a hidden gem in the heart of San Francisco that’s as edgy as the city itself. Enter the Bamboo Hut – a place that defies expectations, slaps ordinary in the face, and invites you to embrace the wild side of the Bay Area. Yes, not all the food and booze destinations in the “city by the bay” are for oenephiles and farm-to-table snobs. From Trader Sam’s to Trader Joe’s, Tiki bars have long been a fixture in the San Francisco nightlife scene and Bamboo Hut has helped carry that torch (no pun intended) into the 21st century.

Tucked away like a well-kept secret, the Bamboo Hut is anything but ordinary. This is no run-of-the-mill establishment; it’s a visceral experience that grabs you by the taste buds and throws you headfirst into a tiki-fueled adventure. Imagine stepping through its doors and being transported into a neon-lit jungle of bamboo, where every corner whispers of exotic mysteries waiting to be unraveled.

A Haymaker Happy Hour

But let’s talk about what really sets this place on fire – their unapologetically edgy happy hour. From 4:00 to 7:00 pm, the Bamboo Hut transforms into a den of daring concoctions and flavors that dare you to push your boundaries. This isn’t your grandma’s cocktail list; it’s a manifesto of mixology madness that flips tradition on its head.

Ever sipped on a twisted Mai Tai that’s like a tropical punch to the senses? Or how about a cocktail that combines whiskey rebellion with a hint of forbidden fruit? The Bamboo Hut’s bartenders aren’t just slinging drinks; they’re crafting liquid stories that dance on your palate and flip the bird to the ordinary.



And don’t even get us started on the bites. This isn’t your dainty finger food affair – it’s a culinary rock concert that blasts your taste buds into another dimension. Picture yourself sinking your teeth into coconut-crusted shrimp that’s like a flavor explosion in your mouth, or teriyaki skewers that flirt with your senses in the most tantalizing way possible.


Eclectic Environs

But here’s the thing that really gives the Bamboo Hut its edge – it’s not just a bar, it’s a rebellion against the mundane. It’s a place where rebels, misfits, and thrill-seekers come together to celebrate life with a side of cheeky irreverence. It’s where conversations flow as freely as the cocktails, where strangers become comrades, and where the city’s electric energy converges into one intoxicating cocktail of its own.

So, if you’re tired of the predictable and ready to dive into a world where ordinary goes to die, the Bamboo Hut is waiting. It’s not just a bar; it’s an invitation to live louder, taste bolder, and embrace the edginess that makes San Francisco the playground of the daring. The Bamboo Hut – where the wild things sip.

What It’s Like to Eat at Atomix—NYC’s Hottest New Restaurant

Walking into Atomix is like stepping into an artfully curated world, where every detail has been meticulously orchestrated to transport guests to the heart of Korean culture. The ambiance is an elegant fusion of minimalist design and warm hospitality, setting the stage for an evening of gastronomic discovery.


The menu at Atomix reads like a poetic narrative, with each dish a carefully composed stanza in the symphony of flavors. Led by Executive Chef Junghyun Park, a culinary visionary renowned for his innovative approach to Korean cuisine, the tasting menu unfolds as a series of exquisite courses, each thoughtfully highlighting a distinct aspect of Korean ingredients and culinary techniques.

From the delicate crunch of house-made kimchi to the nuanced dance of textures and flavors in traditional banchan, Atomix masterfully combines heritage with modernity. Dishes like the Eel and Glasswort, which pairs succulent eel with the vibrant crunch of sea beans, showcase the restaurant’s commitment to elevating classic Korean ingredients into works of art.

The art of Korean BBQ

The centerpiece of the Atomix experience is the Korean barbecue, a performance art that allows diners to savor the magic of grilling at their own table. Premium cuts of meat are presented alongside an array of accompaniments, encouraging a tactile engagement with the culinary process and fostering a deeper appreciation for the intricacies of Korean cuisine.


Astute Service

Service at Atomix is akin to a carefully choreographed ballet, with attentive staff guiding diners through each course with a blend of expertise and genuine enthusiasm. They offer insights into the origin of ingredients, the inspiration behind dishes, and the cultural significance of each culinary creation, adding layers of depth to the dining experience.

Atomix is not merely a place to eat; it’s a portal to a different world—a world where culinary traditions are reimagined, flavors harmonize in unexpected ways, and guests are invited to partake in a multisensory voyage of discovery. A meal at Atomix is a symphony of tastes, a canvas of colors, and a tapestry of textures, all woven together to create an unforgettable narrative that lingers in the memory long after the last bite has been savored.

In a city known for its diverse and dynamic dining scene, Atomix emerges as a true gem—a sanctuary for those seeking a dining experience that transcends the ordinary and embraces the extraordinary.

Raw Bar Hopping—8 Great Oyster Bars in NYC

In the book The Big Oyster, Mark Kurlansky writes “before the 20th century, when people thought of New York, they thought of oysters.”  Though that sentiment along with New York’s oyster population has diminished over the past two centuries with the city’s drastic growth, oysters are currently making a strong comeback in Mahattan via the Oyster Restoration Research Project. Continue reading

4 Italian Whites and a Red to Drink this Summer

During the summertime, it’s tempting to stick to the familiar choices of Sancerre and Rose due to their refreshing and reliable flavors. However, exploring Italy’s diverse selection of white varietals can lead to delightful, refreshing and perhaps more interesting choices that perfectly complement the season’s abundance of fresh foods. Italy also offers some light-bodied red varietals that beautifully harmonize with the bolder flavors of summer, particularly grilled dishes. This summer, I highly recommend trying out these 5 delightful whites and a red from Italy that are sure to enhance your dining experiences:



Porer is pure Pinot Grigio, but it is far from a simple wine. This is a winemaker’s wine, all about the joy of experimenting and bringing different techniques together to produce a fascinatingly complex product. Some of the grapes were pressed immediately after harvest to keep the fresh flavors and aromas. Others were kept on the skins for 15 hours while yet a third parcel was in contact with stems and skins for about one year, absorbing color, some tannin, and other rich flavor components.



A great example of Verdicchio, from the best-known wine area of Marche, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOC.

On the nose, the wine offers an enticing bouquet of ripe yellow apple, lemon zest, and hints of tropical fruits. There is a delicate floral character, with notes of white flowers and a touch of honey. These aromas come together to create a fresh and inviting olfactory experience.

The palate is vibrant and well-balanced showcasing the characteristic Verdicchio acidity, which provides a lively and refreshing mouthfeel dominated by green apple, lemon, grapefruit and  mineral undertones as well as a pleasant saline quality that adds complexity to the wine.



Vin Soave is the main production for the estate, an entry-level wine that nevertheless comes from vineyards farmed the same way as for Inama’s reserve wines—“.” The wine is made from 100% Garganega in stainless-steel tanks to stress the importance of freshness and Garganega’s floral notes. Along with the enhanced minerality from the vineyards’ volcanic soil, the result is a wine with great versatility in combination with food.

On the nose, this Soave immediately captivates with its aromatic profile revealing a beautiful bouquet of white flowers, peach, pear and lemon peel. The aromas are fresh, inviting, and well-balanced. This Soave has great structure with a combination of ripe fruit and vibrant acidity with the peach and pear aromas following through on the palate. It finishes  smooth and silky, balanced by ample acidity and lingering ripe fruit and subtle minerality.



Collio’s hilly terrain is well known for producing excellent white wines. The Mongris Pinot Grigio benefits from the mineral-rich but poor soils, producing a complex, well-structured example of this ubiquitous grape variety from northeastern Italy. The name Mongris comes from the contraction of“ Mono-variety Gris,” referring to Pinot Grigio aka Pinot Gris.

Similar to the Imana Soave, the Marco Felluga “Mongris” offers an enticing bouquet of ripe orchard fruits, including juicy pear, white peach, and hints of tropical pineapple. Delicate floral notes and a touch of citrus zest add to its inviting and vibrant aromatic profile. On the palate, the wine strikes a delightful balance between fruitiness and crispness, with ripe pear and white peach flavors taking center stage. Vibrant acidity brings freshness, while a subtle mineral undertone adds complexity.



Fondly known to many as a “baby Barolo,” Perbacco is always 100% Nebbiolo sourced from some of the fifteen different Grand Cru vineyards in Barolo. Recently the winery started using a small portion of grapes from its vineyards in Barbaresco as part of the blend as well.  An incredible value, Perbacco is essentially a Barolo without the official Barolo desgination—thus a highly rediuced price tag.

The wine exhibits a medium-deep ruby hue. Its aromatic profile is dominated by a generous burst of red berries, complemented by delightful floral and spicy undertones. On the palate, it presents as a medium-bodied wine, striking a fine balance between intensity and a gracefully mid-weight style. The well-integrated tannins blend seamlessly with the wine’s fruit structure. The finish lingers with impressive persistence, accentuated by a pleasant touch of freshness that leaves a lasting impression.

The Iconic Clarke Cooke House is a Must Visit Restaurant in Newport, RI

Situated in the heart of Newport, Rhode Island, the Clarke Cooke House stands as a revered establishment that intertwines history, elegance, and superb dining experiences. With its rich heritage and stunning waterfront location, this iconic venue has been an integral part of Newport’s social fabric for over a century. From its founding as a private residence to its transformation into a legendary dining destination, the Clarke Cooke House continues to captivate locals and visitors alike with its blend of timeless charm and culinary excellence.


The Clarke Cooke House, located on Bannister’s Wharf, traces its origins back to the early 18th century. Built as a private residence for Captain Clarke, a prosperous shipowner, the house later became a center for maritime trade during Newport’s golden age. Its prime location along the bustling waterfront added to its allure, attracting notable figures of the time, including Captain James Cook, who dined there during his voyages.


Culinary Excellence and Preservation

In the 1970s, the Clarke Cooke House underwent a transformation under the visionary guidance of the Cooke family. With meticulous attention to preserving the building’s historic charm, they converted it into an elegant restaurant, maintaining its classic architecture and adding nautical elements that pay homage to its maritime heritage. Today, the venue houses multiple dining spaces, each with its own distinct ambiance, including The Candy Store, The Porch, The Skybar, and The Boom Boom Room.



Renowned for its culinary prowess, the Clarke Cooke House offers a diverse menu that showcases the best of New England’s coastal cuisine. With a commitment to using locally sourced ingredients, the restaurant presents a wide array of fresh seafood dishes, from succulent lobster rolls to pan-seared Atlantic salmon. For meat lovers, there are mouthwatering steaks and chops, while vegetarians can delight in creative vegetarian and vegan options.




In addition to its exceptional cuisine, the Clarke Cooke House boasts an extensive wine list, featuring an impressive selection of vintages from around the world. The knowledgeable staff provides expert guidance in pairing the perfect wine with each dish, elevating the dining experience to new heights.


Service and Atmosphere

One of the key elements that sets the Clarke Cooke House apart is its unwavering commitment to providing exemplary service. The staff exudes professionalism and warmth, ensuring that guests feel welcomed and attended to throughout their visit. The restaurant’s timeless decor, featuring classic maritime accents, evokes a sense of elegance and relaxation, creating an atmosphere that is both refined and inviting.

Beyond the exquisite dining experience, the Clarke Cooke House also hosts an array of lively events, from live music performances to themed parties, ensuring that there is always something exciting happening within its walls. It has become a hub of social activity, attracting locals, tourists, and even celebrities, who seek to savor the combination of Newport’s vibrant spirit and the Clarke Cooke House’s unique charm.


The Many Rooms

Perhaps the most unique aspect of the Cooke House is the many rooms and, levels and “nooks and crannies” within. The Candy Store is a bustling main dining room that features a delightful blend of nautical-themed decor, including vintage maritime artifacts and colorful artwork adorning the walls. The Porch provides a relaxed outdoor setting with charming wicker furniture, hanging plants and wonderful views of Newport Harbor. Perched on the third floor, The Skybar offers contemporary decor, with a sleek bar, plush seating and panoramic views of Newport Harbor . Finally, the The Boom Boom Room, located on the lower level, is a lively venue for live music and dancing.




With its great service, exceptional cuisine, and breathtaking waterfront location, this historic establishment continues to leave an indelible mark on all who have the pleasure of dining within its hallowed walls. Whether you’re a Newport resident or a curious traveler, a visit to the Clarke Cooke House promises an enchanting journey through time, taste, and tradition.

Best Cheap Eats in Aspen

Aspen, Colorado, is renowned for its luxurious ski resorts, upscale boutiques, and world-class dining establishments. However, dining on a budget doesn’t mean compromising on flavor or quality in this mountain paradise. From cozy cafes to local favorites, Aspen offers a range of affordable culinary delights that are sure to satisfy both your taste buds and your wallet. Indulge in delicious cuisine without breaking the bank at one of these Aspen food stops.

Jour de Fête

Tucked away in the heart of Aspen’s downtown, Jour de Fête is a charming French-inspired café that delights visitors with its delectable menu and cozy atmosphere. Known for its affordable yet scrumptious sandwiches and crepes, this hidden gem offers a variety of options to suit all tastes. From the classic ham and cheese croissant to the mouthwatering Nutella-banana crepe, each dish is prepared with care and precision. Jour de Fête is a must-visit for budget-conscious food lovers seeking a taste of France in Aspen.

Big Wrap

For those seeking a quick and satisfying meal, Big Wrap is the go-to spot for affordable and flavorful wraps, salads, and burritos. Located just steps away from the Silver Queen Gondola, this casual eatery offers a variety of options to cater to different dietary preferences. Choose from a range of fillings, including grilled chicken, tofu, or falafel, and customize your wrap with an array of fresh and tasty ingredients. With generous portions and affordable prices, Big Wrap is a popular choice for those looking to refuel without breaking the bank.

New York Pizza

Craving a slice of classic New York-style pizza? Look no further than New York Pizza in downtown Aspen. This no-frills pizza joint offers mouthwatering slices and whole pies that are sure to satisfy your pizza cravings. With a wide selection of toppings and a friendly atmosphere, New York Pizza provides an affordable option for a quick and delicious meal. Grab a slice to go or enjoy a casual dine-in experience with friends—either way, this popular eatery won’t disappoint.

Hickory House Ribs

For barbecue enthusiasts, Hickory House Ribs is a must-visit destination in Aspen. While not the cheapest option on this list, its generous portions and finger-licking good ribs make it a worthwhile splurge for budget-conscious carnivores. Sink your teeth into tender and flavorful baby back ribs or opt for other barbecue favorites like pulled pork sandwiches and smoky chicken wings. With its casual and welcoming ambiance, Hickory House Ribs offers an unforgettable dining experience that won’t empty your wallet.

Poppycock’s Cafe

Poppycock’s Cafe, located just a short stroll from downtown Aspen, is a cozy and affordable breakfast and brunch spot. This local favorite serves up hearty and satisfying dishes that are perfect for starting your day on a budget. Indulge in fluffy pancakes, savory omelets, or their famous eggs Benedict—all made with love and quality ingredients. With friendly service and reasonable prices, Poppycock’s Cafe is a popular choice among locals and visitors seeking a wallet-friendly morning meal.

Aspen may be known for its luxurious offerings, but that doesn’t mean you can’t savor affordable and delicious meals in this alpine paradise. From French-inspired sandwiches to mouthwatering wraps, classic pizza slices to finger-licking ribs, and satisfying breakfast options, the best cheap eats in Aspen offer a range of flavors and culinary experiences that won’t strain your budget.

6 Easy Rooftop Bars in NYC

Like any good idea in New York City, once it’s out, everyone wants in. The proliferation of rooftop bars and restaurants in NYC has been a great thing, as many hotels, restaurants and building owners have realized just how valuable their rooftops really are. Continue reading

5 Hidden Gem Seafood Spots in The Hamtons

When it comes to seafood dining, the Hamptons—New York’s ritzy beach destination on Eastern Long Island—is renowned for its upscale restaurants and culinary scene. However, tucked away amidst the glitz and glamour, there are some hidden gems that offer exceptional dining experiences and mouthwatering dishes without the typical Hamptons’ price tag. These 5 lesser-known, good-value seafood restaurants in the Hamptons deserve a spot on every food foodie’s radar.

The Dockside Clam Bar & Grill


Located in Sag Harbor, The Dockside Clam Bar & Grill captures the essence of a classic seaside eatery. This unassuming gem offers a relaxed, casual atmosphere and a menu that showcases the freshest catches of the day. From succulent lobster rolls and crispy fried clams to perfectly grilled fish, every dish is a testament to the restaurant’s commitment to quality and flavor. Enjoy your meal while taking in picturesque views of the marina—truly a hidden paradise for seafood lovers.

The North Fork Shack

Nestled in Southold, The North Fork Shack is a charming seafood joint that has gained a loyal following among locals. While the focus at this unpretentious spot is not solely on local seafood there are many savory seafood dishes including lobster, buttery scallops and local oysters. The laid-back ambiance and the restaurant’s focus on locally sourced ingredients make it a true hidden treasure for seafood enthusiasts exploring the Hamptons.

Hampton Lady Beach Bar & Grill


For those seeking a beachfront seafood dining experience, Hampton Lady Beach Bar & Grill in Westhampton Beach is a must-visit. This hidden gem combines stunning ocean views with a diverse menu that caters to seafood aficionados. From their signature fish tacos bursting with freshness to their perfectly grilled swordfish steaks, every dish is crafted with care and showcases the flavors of the sea. With its relaxed beachside setting, Hampton Lady offers a delightful escape from the bustling Hamptons scene.

The Seafood Shop

Located in Wainscott, The Seafood Shop is a hidden culinary gem that specializes in providing the finest and freshest seafood products. While primarily a seafood market, they also offer a small seating area where guests can enjoy their meal. Feast on their raw bar delights, including briny oysters and plump clams, or savor their expertly prepared seafood dishes. From grilled fish to seafood paella, The Seafood Shop delivers an exceptional dining experience that will leave you craving for more.

Gosman’s Dock

Situated in Montauk, Gosman’s Dock is a legendary seafood restaurant that has stood the test of time. While it may not be entirely under the radar, its enduring charm and picturesque waterfront location make it worthy of mention. Sample their famous lobster bisque, savor the catch of the day, or indulge in their scrumptious seafood pasta. With panoramic views of the harbor, Gosman’s Dock provides a quintessential Hamptons seafood dining experience that captures the essence of this coastal paradise.

While the Hamptons may be synonymous with high-end dining, the region also offers hidden treasures—under the that showcase the local seafood—you just need to look a little harder.

Flurry of New Celeb Chef Outposts in Las Vegas Shows How Hot Sin City Has Become

Sin City just got more decadently delicious. When in Las Vegas, make sure to hit the food jackpot by booking a table at the newest restaurants helmed by some of the most world’s most famous culinary stars.


Photo of Pastry Chef Dominique Ansel by Denise Truscello/Getty Images for Caesars Entertainment

Creative confectionaries, decadent desserts and, of course, the original Cronut have arrived at Dominique Ansel Las Vegas at Caesars Palace. James Beard Award-winning pastry chef Ansel has opened his bake shop and introduced his only-in-Vegas “Lucky 7” collection, Cookie Shots, Frozen S’mores, baked-to-order Mini Madeleines, the best-selling DKA (Dominique’s Kouign Amann), and the Cronut flavor of the month which never repeats. The first featured flavor is November’s Lucky Cherry Chambord and Caramelia Cronut filled with cherry Chambord jam and Valrhona Caramelia (caramelized milk chocolate) ganache. Treats are baked fresh daily, made with Beurre d’Isigny butter and Les Grands Moulins des Paris flour imported from France.

“I’m so thrilled to finally have a home here at Caesars Palace,” said Ansel. “For each of our shops, we strive to make each menu unique, and we hope our ‘Lucky 7’ pastry collection will bring some good fortune to everyone here. I can’t wait to share what we have planned for our future menu creations.”

The cafe-style bakery has seating for 20 people and is located next to Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill near the Caesars Palace Forum.


Vetri Cucina by Mac Vetri photo by Clint Jenkins/Courtesy of Palms Casino Resort

The return of the beloved Vetri Cucina at Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas is official, with the Palms Ivory Tower elevator now whisking guests to the 56th floor for panoramic city views and award-winning Italian cuisine by Chef Marc Vetri, Philadelphia’s shining culinary star for the past 25 years.

“I’m very excited and honored to be open in this amazing space and location once again,” says owner/chef Marc Vetri. “This space is magical and one that can only be found here at Palms. We love creating memories for our guests and simply celebrating life.”

Vetri Cucina’s menu features many of the favorite dishes and wines that first brought it acclaim, as well as new menu items. Highlights include Foie Gras Pastrami with Toasted Brioche and Mostarda, Sweet Onion Crepe with White Truffle Fondue, Spinach Gnocchi with Ricotta Salata and Brown Butter, Smoked Baby Goat with Fresh Milled Polenta au Jus.

The new Palms Casino Resort is making history as the first resort in Las Vegas fully owned and operated by a Native American Tribe. The off-Strip property features two towers with 766 hotel rooms and suites, a variety of bars, restaurants, and live entertainment venues across a 95,000-square-foot reimagined casino.




An authentic, immersive experience awaits at The Bedford by Martha Stewart, a replica of Martha’s 1925 farmhouse with culinary inspiration drawn from her legendary gardens and love of French cooking. Locally sourced ingredients round out a menu of Martha’s most celebrated dishes.

Developed by Martha and her team, The Bedford’s menu features flavorful dishes from fresh ingredients sourced as locally as possible. Transporting guests to an authentic dining experience at Martha Stewart’s famed country farmhouse, the restaurant boasts French-inspired cuisine and a combination of Martha’s favorite recipes for Oysters Rockefeller, Salmon en Croûte, Martha’s $30 Square Burger, a Whole Roast Chicken carved tableside, and, of course, a Martha-tini made with Zubrówka bison grass vodka.




With so many restaurants in Sin City – including Gordon Ramsay’s Steak, Pub & Grill, Fish & Chips, Burger, and Hell’s Kitchen – the world’s favorite potty-mouthed Michelin-starred chef is the unofficial culinary king of Las Vegas. Well, make room in your tummy for Ramsay’s sixth Vegas restaurant: Harrah’s Las Vegas has just opened Ramsay’s Kitchen by Gordon Ramsay. Foodies can tuck into many of Gordon’s classic dishes such as Beef Wellington and his irresistible Sticky Toffee Pudding, plus “new dishes not yet served anywhere else,” says Ramsay.

The 240-seat restaurant has a seven-seat seafood counter, a private booth, and a private dining room. This marks the iconic chef’s second Ramsay’s Kitchen location – the original Ramsay’s Kitchen first opened in Boston’s vibrant Back Bay neighborhood and features an expansive menu including a raw bar, soups, salads, sandwiches, and signature mains.

“I’ve had an amazing 10 years with Caesars Entertainment, and I couldn’t be more excited to expand the partnership in Las Vegas,” said Gordon Ramsay. “I’m really looking forward to introducing Ramsay’s Kitchen to the millions of guests that visit Harrah’s each year.”


Dragon Lounge—A Miami Vice Without the Price

Miami has recently earned an interesting yet somewhat unwelcome accolade: it now holds the distinction of having the highest inflation rate in the entire country. While the likes of New York or Los Angeles might appear as more probable candidates for such a title, the rampant inflation in Miami shouldn’t come as a shock.

This surge in inflation can be attributed to a confluence of recent trends such as the pent-up demand for travel and the rise of the “work from anywhere” culture. When coupled with longer-term trends like the substantial migration towards southern regions, the outcome is hardly surprising—a larger population vying for a limited supply of goods.

However, amidst the wave of escalating costs, it’s heartening to note that not every aspect of Miami living will dent your wallet by an exorbitant 25-50%. The key lies in knowing where to direct your attention, as hidden gems of affordability still exist, often right in plain view.

Nestled within the upscale confines of the SLS Hotel, the renowned Japanese restaurant, Katsuya, boasts a reputation for serving some of the most exquisite sushi and Japanese cuisine in Miami Beach. While this popular establishment—with additional branches in Los Angeles and New York—may not immediately strike one as a budget-friendly option, there’s a clever secret waiting to be unearthed, quite literally.


dishes of food on table
Assortment of dishes at Katsuya


Ascending to the second level of Katsuya reveals the enchanting Dragon Lounge, home to a happy hour deal that’s truly hard to rival. Every Monday through Friday, from 6 to 8 pm, an opportunity presents itself to satisfy both appetite and thirst with an array of top-tier sushi, delectable small bites, and a spectrum of beverages.


The offerings include an array of classic and contemporary cocktails, an assortment of beers and wines, and of course, world-class sushi, all of which can be relished within a chic ambiance adorned with murals crafted by local Miami artists.


mural of japanese girl
Mural by local artist displayed in Draon Lounge


The undeniable highlight of this experience lies in the affordability factor. With sushi rolls priced at a mere $8 and an array of other delicious culinary delights available at decidedly reasonable rates, this concealed corner within Katsuya stands as an oasis of affordability in the midst of an inflationary desert. In your quest for value, the Dragon Lounge undoubtedly emerges as a destination well worth exploring.


Currently on the Dragon Lounge happy hour menu:


Salmon Lemon Roll Scallion—scallion, asparagus, salmon, masago ($8)


salmon sushi roll on plate
Salmon Lemon Roll Scallion


Spicy Tuna Roll—tuna, cucumber, scallion, masago ($8)


Katsuya Veggie Roll— avocado, asparagus, cucumber, tofu, ponzu sauce ($8)


Asparagus Fries— tofu, yuzu aioli, sesame, furikake, togarashi ($8)


Truffle Fatty Tuna and Spicy Salmon Crispy Rice— Nikiri soy, shaved truffle, furikake spicy mayo ($19)


Sushi on rice
Truffle Fatty Tuna and Spicey Salmom Crispy Rice


Short Rib Fried Rice— jidori egg, leeks, mixed veggies, cilantro ($18)


Crispy Brussel Sprouts—balsamic tsume, toasted almonds, scallions, sriracha, toasted coconut shaving ($8)


Short Rib Bao Bun—steamed bum, ponzu mayo, BBQ sauce, black sesame ($11)




The Other Red Pinot

Spring and fall is a perfect time to try new wine varietals. While the hot summer months can lull us into a strict diet of rose and Sancerre and the colder months beg for bigger reds to pair with our winter comfort foods, the shoulder season lends itself to virtually anything. If you have been wanting to expand your wine horizons and try new varietals, now is the time to do so.


I recently tried a varietal that I have only had a few times—Pinot Meunier. If you haven’t heard of this varietal—a cousin to Pinot Noir—don’t fret. Not many people have. Pinot Meunier can taste very similar to Pinot Noir, with classic strawberries on the nose, medium body and earthiness, however it typically has higher acid levels and can be a bit meatier.


Pinot Meunier enjoys the same cool microclimates that Pinot Noir does, thriving in the fog and limited sunshine that make areas like Burgundy and Carneros so ideal. If done right, Pinot Meunier has layers of bright red fruits, spice and an earthy elegance, yet with more savory notes than Pinot Noir.


Similar toGamay, Pinot Meunier is often overlooked by consumers. Most wine lovers are probably not even aware of the varietal, yet sommeliers are well aware of it and its versatility with food. While it has plenty of fruit, it also has savory mushroom notes that can work well with rustic chicken dishes and richer pasta dishes.


Pairs with many foods

I recently tried the Bouchaine Pinot Meunier from Carneros at a restaurant in New York with “Gnocchi di Semolino alla Romana”—a classic, simple Gnocchi with Gorgonzola cream sauce dish—and it paired beautifully. While Pinot Meunier does not have quite the tannins that Pinot Noir does, it has just as much, if not more acidity, making it a great choice for higher fat content dishes. If you like your reds with plenty of acidity but do not always yearn for a Cabernet of Bordeaux style wine, try Pinot Meunier and you may be pleasantly surprised.





Tasting Notes:

Bouchaine’s 100-acre estate vineyard lies on the southern border of Napa Valley’s Carneros district, overlooking the San Francisco Bay with the city visible in the distance on clear days. Fog, wind, and the cold night time temperatures of this unique geographical area lend a distinctive regional identity to this Pinot Meunier.


According to Bouchaine, The 2019 growing season was a “Goldilocks” vintage—not too cold, not too hot. Late rains in May and some storms threatened the vines, however sunshine eventually won that battle resulting in a very consistent growing season.


Bright red fruits—strawberries, raspberries, cranberries and even pomegranate—waft out of the glass, leading to more earthy and savory notes of mushrooms, roasted meats and leather. Light tannins and ample acidity on the palate result in a very approachable wine that can pair with many foods. The Bouchaine Pinot Meunier—with it’s bright fruit and ample acidity—will go very nicely with a rich pasta dish (cream sauce over red sauce) or a classic French Roast Chicken Jus.


Coq au Vin

A Hot French Classic for a Cool Night

Some say that Coq au Vin dates all the way back to the times of Julius Caesar, whereas others are quick to point out that the earliest known recipe was found in a cookbook from the 1860s. This classic dish—often served during the colder months—is the very definition of French comfort food. Continue reading

These Holiday Wines and Sparkling Wines Won’t Break the Bank

In the hyper- inflationary world we live in, value has never been more important when considering your wine purchases. Value, however, does not necessarily mean “cheap.” It simply means you are getting something at a better price relative to its peer group—in this case, wines of similar quality.


Here are 8 wines we love, ranging from $12-$60, that I consider a good value.



La Forge Estate Syrah 2018 (SRP $12)

The Languedoc region is located in Southern France, along a Mediterranean coastal area known as “The Occitanie” that stretches from the Spanish border to Provence.


First-generation winemaker (fourth generation grape grower) Jean-Claude Mas is one of the leading new winemakers in this area of Southern France that is making some really exciting wines at great prices.


This wine has an intense nose, with notes of crushed flowers and blueberry combined with white pepper and licorice, supported by a hint of oak. Full-bodied with plush tannins, this Syrah has a smooth mouthful, with notes of grilled meats, tobacco, leather and blackberry current on the finish.


Chapoutier ‘Bila-Haut’ Cotes du Roussillon Blanc 2020 (SRP $15)


Chapoutier is a perfect example of “value does not necessarily mean cheap.” In fact, Chapoutier’s upper echelon wines are some of the most expensive in the Rhone Valley, yet still a good value. Their wines from the Languedoc region, however, come in at much lower points. And their ‘Bila Haut’ Cotes du Roussillon Blanc is downright cheap. Cheap and really good. You can’t find a better value than that.


A blend of Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Macabeu, Vermentino and Marsanne, this Cotes du Roussillon Blanc from world-class Rhone producer M. Chapoutier, is round and rich, yet balanced with good minerality, ample acidity and tons of bright flavors. Alluring white peach, quince and lemon zest give way to saline and limestone notes on the finish.



2019 Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec (SRP $20)

I have always liked Malbec as a plush, soft tannin, mellow alternative to bigger Bordeaux varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon. However, I have always felt there was a ceiling to its quality. That is before I met Germán di Cesare, chief winemaker at Mendoza Valley’s Bodega Trivento and tried two of their reserve Malbecs.


At $20, their “Golden Reserve” is a terrific wine and a great value. This wine reminds me of a Napa Valley red blend, with bright red fruits wafting out of the glass. The soft tannins and complex fruit-forward flavors make it a great match for a range of foods including filet of beef, hearty pasta dishes, hard cheeses and rich hors deurves.



2018 Carmel “Appellation” Cabernet Sauvignon, Galilee, Israel


Israel is one of the world’s most underappreciated wine regions and the quality of their wines is only getting better. From the Upper Galilee region, this Cabernet is fruit forward with red currents, holiday spices, anise and tobacco. The tannins are soft and plush allowing this wine to pair nicely with a lot of dishes, both simple and hearty.


2019 Benovia Sonoma Mountain Grenache ($45)

Benovia is known for their Russian River Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, which are also a relative value compared to some of the lofty prices coming out of Russian River these days. Rhone varietals often command much lower price points in Sonoma than the Burgundian varietals which the region is known for. This means they can be great values and at $45 a bottle, this Grenache is a steal.


Cherry, raspberry and crushed flowers are followed by pepper, spice, grilling meats and subtle oak notes. The soft but adequate tannins make this a nice wine to have with cheeses and passed appetizers, or as a cocktail wine.



2020 Drouhin Oregon Roserock Amity-Eola Amity Hills


If you’re into points, then this wine will definitely get your attention. With 95 points from James Suckling and 94 points from Wine Spectator (and on their Top 100 Wines list) you might think this wine would cost north of $100. It does not. At $35, with many accolades, your only problem is getting your hands on it.


Pear, white peach and lemon zest vibrate on the palate and linger for minutes. This wine is rich and opulent with great minerality and acidity making it a great match for many of your dishes this holiday season.



2016 Frank Family Blanc de Blancs (SRP $55)

Frank Family is one of the more expensive names in Napa Valley, yet they have some relative values when considering price-to-quality. Their sparkling wines are particulary good values in my opinion. Napa will never be able to compete with “Champagne,” nor do they try to. As a result, Napa producers are realistic about the demand for their sparkling wines and thus realistic on pricing. This presents an opportunity for consumers who are willing to trade vanity for value.


The 2016 Blanc de Blancs displays wonderful finesse, lightness, and elegance. A classic bouquet of lemon peel, green apple, and honeyed nuts persist to a pristinely fresh palate. Delicate beads of bubbles intermingle with hints of browned butter cut by crystalline acidity that converge with a long, tangy finish.



2018 Priest Ranch Brut Rose (SRP $60)

This luxurious méthode Champenoise sparkling wine is made entirely from estate-grown Syrah grapes from the Somerston Estate in the eastern hills of the Napa Valley. Aged 24 months on its lees, with an additional 24 months in bottle, this Napa Valley sparkler is smooth and complex with mouth watering flavors of tangerine and peach upfront and “strawberries and cream,” and macadamia nut on the finish.


Want to add some more flavor and pizzazz to your party using some of your red wine and champagne (or sparkling wine)?  Here is a great punch recipe—with a festive hue—from our resident mixologist, A.J. Rathbun.


Cardinal Punch

This is kind of a curious punch, at first glance, with its two liquors, two kinds of bubbles, English drawing room favorite claret (but no ascots to be found), and then (as if that weren’t enough), a curious coalescence of sweet vermouth, orange, pineapple, and a bit of simple syrup (well, maybe a touch more than a bit–a sweet bite, let’s call it). It almost seems, at that first glance, doomed to fail. But to use a metaphor that matches the title, it actually flies like a bird, with every flavor slipping here and there to the forefront (like birds in a flock as they fly, if I may be so bold), and with a serious enough undertone hiding within that it can both charm and fortify. As a bonus, it looks lovely, with a deep rich coloring. All in all, it’s so darn swell that I nominated it for Punch of the Year, 2008. And, you know what? It won. Of course, I was the only judge, but hey, that’s how the contest went.


Serves 10 to 12


12 ounces brandy

12 ounces dark rum

16 ounces claret red wine (Merlot or Cabernet will suffice)

12 ounces Simple Syrup

4 ounces sweet vermouth

1 ice round, or cracked ice

1 orange, cut into slices

5 pineapple rounds, cut into chunks

One 2-liter bottle chilled club soda

One 750-milliliter bottle brut sparkling wine


1. Pour the brandy, rum, claret, simply syrup, and vermouth into a large punch bowl. Stir slightly with a long spoon.

2. Add the ice round to the punch, or add enough cracked ice that the bowl is almost halfway full.

3. Add the orange slices and pineapple chunks, and slowly add the club soda. Stir again, but not frantically.

4. Gently add the sparkling wine and stir–but just once more. Serve in white wine glasses or punch cups.



Small Bites in a Big City

From authentic raw bars, to rooftop dining, to the cozy confines of Grand Central’s favorite speakeasy, here are some GLR articles dedicated to fun and easy NYC spots to grab small bites and great drinks in cool places.

Raw Bar Hopping – 8 Great Oyster Bars in NYC

The most coveted oyster varieties from both North American coasts are appearing on the menus of Manhattan eateries in fresher, tastier and more robust selections than ever before. Here’s our list of top eateries in NYC shucking these delicious and ecologically powerful bivalves, and more.


A Higher End Happy Hour at These Popular NYC Restaurants

From $2 Osyters at The Standard East Village to Buratta Toast at Great Jones Distilling Co, You Can’t Go Wrong at These Top Spots

With the weather slowly cooling down, it’s about time for New Yorkers to enjoy the after-work hours, easily sipping libations with co-workers or friends. Sometimes, what you need is something exceptional, yet uncomplicated. Here are 5 of our favorite happy hours that will be sure to please:


Oysters on the half shell with mignette sauce and cocktail sauce at The Standard East Village
Standard East Village


The Campbell At Grand Central—Still A Treasure Sans The Apartment

If you travel through Grand Central Terminal every day and find yourself scratching your head right now, don’t worry—that was sort of the point. Touted as one of Grand Central’s top hidden secrets by Travel + Leisure, this opulent space has never needed trickery to retain its speakeasy status.


Dimmly lit bar with leather high chairs facing large obscure window with dividers at The Campbell Bar at Grand Central
The Campbell at Grand Central


6 Easy Rooftop Bars in NYC

Like any good idea in New York City, once it’s out, everyone wants in. The proliferation of rooftop bars and restaurants in NYC has been a great thing, as many hotels, restaurants and building owners have realized just how valuable their rooftops really are.


Rooftop bar with wood floor and red charis overlooking midtown New York at The Refinery Hotel
The Refinery Hotel Rooftop

Qatar is Home to a Stunning 26,000-foot Restaurant From This Famed Sushi Empire

The stunning 26,000-square-foot Nobu, the famed sushi empire from Michelin-starred chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, is part of the Doha Four Seasons and floats on its own mini-island in the Qatar Gulf, rising like a coiled shell crossed with a starship from the future.


Stunning Design

Inside, seven separate glamorously designed dining areas comprise a 134-seat main room, two private dining rooms, two bar lounges, and a 38-seat rooftop venue. Chef Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa’s recipe for success combines his formal sushi training with a love of travel and global cuisine.


Nobu restaurant outside at night in Qatar



Man holding up sushi plate


World-class Cuisine

The architectural masterpiece, designed by the NYC-based Rockwell Group, showcases the very best in fine dining, featuring Nobu’s world-famous cuisine matched by panoramic views of the alluring Arabian Gulf.

A practitioner of new-style Japanese cuisine, the Nobu menu includes innovative flavor pairings, such as yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño, lobster with wasabi pepper sauce, and perhaps Chef Matsuhisa’s most notorious recipe – the black cod miso.


Miso glazed sea bass on plate with drops of sauce displayed










Nobu Doha does nothing but impress. A destination as a whole; the world’s largest Nobu is not just a restaurant, its the venue for an entire evening.

Offering a truly exclusive culinary experience, found nowhere else, the tri-level Nobu Doha boasts the largest of its kind in the world and is the only Nobu at a Four Seasons in the Middle East.

America’s Most Coveted Shellfish is Back

Move over Maine lobsters. An even more revered, more sought after New England shellfish has stolen the culinary spotlight for a few fleeting months. Fresh-caught Nantucket Bay scallops – arguably the best and most coveted seafood in America – are now arriving at select restaurants and seafood shops throughout the country, and they won’t be here for long. Continue reading

The Sleepy Hollow Cocktail

Don’t be fooled (and don’t, for gosh sakes, lose your head over it) by the fact that the first two items in this ingredient list are fresh products and not spirited liquids, or by the fact that the ingredient directly following them is a sweetening device. The hefty helping of gin in this drink does indeed give it quite a kick. Continue reading

Fried Chicken & Champagne at Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc

If dining at a Keller establishment is a must, two other options exist in Yountville. Ad Hoc is much less expensive than the Laundry but still gets stellar reviews for its four-course menu of ever-changing selections featuring local ingredients.



Keller opened Ad Hoc in 2006 as a casual dining venue to showcase the American comfort food of his childhood. The name Ad Hoc literally means “for this purpose,” and derives from Keller’s original purpose for the restaurant—to temporarily fill a space while his team developed a different restaurant concept. Yet from the start, Ad Hoc was loved so much by the locals and visitors to the wine country alike that it stuck around and is now one of the most popular restaurants in the valley.




The daily-changing four-course menu, featuring classic American dishes like fried chicken, pot roast and barbeque, is handwritten nightly on chalkboards throughout the restaurant. All courses are served family-style to increase both the conviviality of the Ad Hoc experience and to further recreate the casual comfort of home. The wine list also features many of the local vintners—many of whom can be seen frequently dining at the low key restaurant.




Ad Hoc
6476 Washington St.
Yountville, Calif. 94599
(707) 944-2487

28 Beautiful Bars Across the Country

Looking to explore your favorite restaurant from a new vantage point, or maybe ease your way into a spot you’d like to try? Pull up a bar stool and experience all the atmosphere has to offer with a delicious drink in hand. Whether you’re ordering cocktails, snacks or going all out with a full meal, these beautiful bars are a great spot to take a seat and enjoy. Continue reading

8 Versatile Wines to Pair With Your Thanksgiving Feast

“Thanksgiving Wines” has become an annual favorite of mine to write. I enjoy the challenge of trying to find wines that pair well with a Thanksgiving meal—not as easy of a task as one might think.


I definitely favor white wines over red wines for this once-a-year meal, but the type of white wine you choose is key. The amount of oak is always something I wrestle with. On the one hand, the wine needs to be “big” enough to stand up to the richer aspects of the meal. Dark meat turkey, gravy and even a green bean caserole all call for bigger style whites. This usually means white wines with ample oak that have gone through some malolactic fermentation. As such, California Chardonnays can be a wonderful pairing for this meal, however I lean towards the less oaky ones with ample acidity to cut through the fattiness of the meal. For 2022, I have two Chardonnays listed (both from California).


Versatility and minerality are equally if not more important. Thanksgiving is a motley group of foods with a lot of different dishes serving as supporting cast to the main actor, turkey with gravy. This means you need a wine that can go with myriad flavors (sweet, salty, savory), with plenty of minerality and acidity to pair with the fattier apsects of the meal.


Alas, here are my 2022 “Thanksgiving Wines” selections, with a variety of price points (ordered by least – most expensive) from a variety of regions.


Chapoutier ‘Bila-Haut’ Cotes du Roussillon Blanc 2020 (SRP $15)



A blend of Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Macabeu, Vermentino and Marsanne, this Cotes du Roussillon Blanc from world-class Rhone Valley producer M. Chapoutier, is round and rich, yet balanced with good minerality, ample acidity and tons of bright flavors. Alluring white peach, quince and lemon zest give way to saline and limestone notes on the finish.


A versatile wine for food pairing, you can serve this with your Thanksgiving meal or with hors d’oeuvres before. With an average SRP of $15 (even lower at some discount stores) this is also a wine you should consider buying a case of for Thanksgiving and the Holiday season.


 2021 Garofoli Supèra Verdicchio Di Matelica DOC (SRP $16)



Dating back to 1871, Garofoli is the oldest family-owned winery in the Marche region of Italy. While Garofoli may be an old winery, the Supèra is relatively new and the winery’s first foray into Verdicchio di Matelica.


The grapes for this Verdicchio are from the higher elevation Matelica Valley where the Garofoli family is working with a young and innovative grape grower. Referred to as a “mountain wine” by Garofoli, this Verdicchio teams bright and tangy notes of lemon peel and tangerine with mellower notes of pine nuts and bread pudding.


 2021 La Valentina Pecorino Colline Pescaresi IGT (SRP $18)


Established in 1990, La Valentina is a good example of the modern winemaking renaissance happening in Abruzzo, a region long undervalued for its quality wine production. A true believer in sustainability, the winery avoids the use of artificial or chemical products and estate vineyards are farmed organically (or in transition towards organic).


The Pecorino grape thrives in the rocky slopes and maritime climate of Abruzzo—the areas clay, limestone, and gravel soils and microclimates a great mix for a grape that is known for being difficult. but more than worth the effort.


The light hue of this wine (very pale yellow) is misleading. Citrus, stone fruits, minerals and acidity literally explode out of the glass, with very little oak presence—which I love. Like the ‘Bila-Haut,’ this is a versatile wine that will match with your smorgasbord of Thanksgiving spoils, but can also be served as a cocktail wine beforehand.


2020 Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec (SRP $20)


I have always liked Malbec as a plush, soft tannin, mellow alternative to bigger Bordeaux varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon. However, I have always felt there was a ceiling to its quality. That is before I met Germán di Cesare, chief winemaker at Bodega Trivento—one of Argentina’s top Malbec producers, in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. Both of the reserve Malbecs I tried were extrememly approachable, complex and paired beautifully with our lunch at mid-town Manhattan’s L’ Amico restaurant.


Their Eolo Malbec is the best Malbec I have ever tried, but at $100 it is very expensive for a Malbec—especially for Americans who typically think of Malbec as a relative value. At $20 though, their “Golden Reserve” is VERY good and a great value. This wine reminds me of a Napa Valley Boardeaux-style blend, with dark red fruits, anise, tobacco and spice box wafting out of the glass. This wine is very structured for a Malbec, with soft, yet prevalent tannins and complex flavors shaping it the whole way through.


2020 Inama “Carbonare” Soave DOC Classico (SRP $30)

Inama’s vineyards cover 70 acres throughout Soave Classico, mainly on and around the dormant Monte Foscarino volcano.


The region’s soil owes its characteristic to a stream of water that flows underground in the region. According to Inama, “the basalt, which characterizes the ground in most of the Soave Classico area, has great chromatic complexity…the strong character of the vineyard is evident in the grapes.”


Aromas of citrus and fresh cut flowers greet you with this Soave, followed by effervescent acidity, strong minerality and a little bit of limestone salinity on the finish—which I love! This Soave can easily stand up to your turkey and gravy while also complimenting your sides, from sweet potatoes to green bean casserole.


2021 Frank Family Carneros Chardonnay (SRP $40)


I’ve written about Frank Family wines before and for good reason—they are very good, VERY consistent and generally available Napa Valley wines at reasonable prices.


The grapes for this wine were sourced from some very reputable vineyards—primarily their estate Lewis Vineyard as well as neighboring Beckstoffer Vineyards (Napa-Carneros) and Sangiacomo Vineyards (Sonoma-Carneros).


This wine has a rich bouquet of baking spices, apple pie and Meyer lemon upfront. While only seeing partial malolactic fermentation, this prototypical Carneros chardonnay is full bodied, with pineapple, peach, and brioche bread notes upfront. Plenty of bright acidity and subtle hints of oak are revealed on the long finish. Frank Family’s “Lewis Vineyard” Chardonnay is also worth seeking out if you can find it and don’t mind the higher price point. Pineapple, pear, tangerine and vanilla custard notes are shaped by impeccable structure, ample acidity and a super long finish.  This is one of the better California Chardonnays I have tried but you might need to order it directly from the winery.


 Fiddlehead “Oldsville” Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (SRP $54)



Founded in 1989 by winemaker Kathy Joseph, Fiddlehead Cellars stands out as one of California’s pioneering producers dedicated to terror-driven and age-worthy wines tied to great vineyard sites. Running the winery 30-plus years, Kathy is one of Santa Barbara County’s first leading female winemakers to own both her own winery and vineyard, with a hands-on role in the farming, winemaking, and other aspects of the business.


While Fiddlehead is famous for their Santa Barbra County wines, they have also been producing outstanding Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley for nearly 30 years. Their Oldsville Pinot Noir is indicative of Kathy’s attention to making wines that are an expression of their vineyard sites—in this case terrior driven, Burgundian-style Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.


This classic Willamette Valley Pinot is packed full of blueberries and pomegranates with undercurrents of strawberries and lavender and complimented by earth, leather and smoked meat notes. The wine finishes with tobacco, spice box and just a hint of vanilla oak—with great structure and a long, lingering finish. This Pinot Noir is a perfect match for lamb chops but will also work well with your Thanksgiving feast.


Lynmar 2018 Quail Hill Vineyard Chardonnay (SRP $63)



At the heart of Lynmar Estate is its original site, the 47-acre Quail Hill Vineyard, one of the foremost vineyard sites within the Russian River Valley. Planted in 1974, proprietor Lynn Fritz acquired the site in 1980 as a rural retreat from running an international corporation in San Francisco. Upon tasting some of the original wines sourced from Quail Hill, made by Merry Edwards at Matanzas Creek and Tony Soter at Étude, Lynn began to fully understand the site’s rare qualities. Today it remains one of the top vineyards in Russian River for world-class Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.


This wine is quintessential, top-tier, Russian River Chardonnay. Tropical and citrus fruits give way to peach, pear and crème brulee, with bright acidity and limestone minerality on the finish.