Welcome to The Lunch Belle, a NYC based food, travel, and hospitality consulting services website!  I'm glad you're here.



Search this site
My delicious calendar
  • 10/18-10/20: Austin
Contributions & affiliations

Tabelog Reviewer TheLunchBelle




Need more streamlined advice?  Shoot me an email with your specific requests:  Lindsay@TheLunchBelle.com.

Entries in Round-ups & restaurant-hopping (26)


Round-up: Four days of gluttony, bubbly, and adventure with Mom & Pop

Dear Readers,

From an elegant Spring gala, to lunch on the farm at Blue Hill Stone Barns, I had quite a delicious and adventurous long-weekend. 

Thanks, in advance, to my dear folks, who deserve a round of applause for being so energetic and enthusiastic about running all over the city - and state.  You definitely have enviable amounts of stamina and great attitudes, to boot.

So without further ado, please enjoy my summary of photos and blurbs.  Read it and eat!


The Lunch Belle

A week ago today, my folks and I enjoyed 3-hours' worth of strolling-and eating our way-through Hell's Kitchen, via Rum and Blackbird's Tasting Tour, led by my dear friend, and fellow foodie, Moira Campbell.

Rum and Blackbird Tasting ToursRum and Blackbird Tasting Tours: first stop on the tour? Empanada Mama!Rum and Blackbird Tasting Tours: Island Burgers & Shakes' black & white milkshakeRum and Blackbird Tasting Tours: Gazala Place's handmade boureka...and The Lunch Belle's favorite savory pastryAs if it were humanly possible to further expand our stomachs in a 9-hour time frame, we enjoyed a protein-packed dinner at Wolfgang's Steakhouse (Park Avenue location), a restaurant started by a former headwaiter at Peter Luger Steakhouse.  Aside from the space's deafening acoustics, a basket of cold bread + nearly-frozen butter, and a Caprese salad composed of the most mealy "beefsteak tomatoes," I will give Wolfgang's credit for having, quite possibly, the best cuts of beef this side of the Texas border.  Let's face it, no one comes to a steakhouse for the salad or bread basket; although having stellar versions of each would, in fact, be the "icing on the cake." 

While my father and cousin shared a porterhouse, my mother and I split the filet mignon.  Served with a side of Hollandaise-like sauce, which had an overwhelming coconut-oil aftertaste, the beef proved more delicious in its naked state.  Encrusted with a smoky char, the filet's interior was fork-tender.  Our house-made side orders of French fries and onion rings were hot, crispy, perfectly salted and virtually greaseless.

Wolfgang's Steakhouse (Park Avenue): le menuWolfgang's Steakhouse (Park Avenue): bread basketWolfgang's Steakhouse (Park Avenue): Caprese saladWolfgang's Steakhouse (Park Avenue): filet mignon & house-made onion ringsOn Friday morning, we noshed on a larger-than-life breakfast at Shopsin's.  While Pop feasted on some sort of pastrami/egg scramble, Mom and I split the Mac & Cheese Pancakes and the Bobcater Sliders (mini-burgers topped with fiery Hatch green chile - inspired by the famous burgers served at the Bobcat Bite Restaurant in Santa Fe, NM).

Forgoing lunch, our meal at Shopsin's kept us satiated until dusk.  Friday evening was spent raising vital funds for the NY Junior League's "Playground Improvement Project," via the eleventh-annual Spring Auction gala.  Held at Capitale, one of Manhattan's most breathtaking venues, 460 guests nibbled on heavy hors d'oeuvre, sipped cocktails, bid on a fabulous array of both live and silent auction items, and danced the night away...all in the name of charity.  While our VIP guests enjoyed an exclusive after party at The Eldridge, the rest of our patrons celebrated at Levanteast (a very special "thank you" to nightlife genius, Matt Levine; and Brandsway Creative/ML Creative Group's Event Director, and dear friend, Michelle Jimenez.  You are stars!).

NYJL's Spring Auction 2010: Capitale (venue)NYJL's Spring Auction 2010: table scapesNYJL's Spring Auction 2010: "step and repeat"NYJL's Spring Auction 2010: group shotNYJL's Spring Auction 2010: my mother, me, and dear friend (and author of www.jgiwc.com), Teddi GinsbergUpon waking up on Saturday morning with pounding champagne-induced headaches, my parents and I cured our hangovers with a hearty lunch at the Brooklyn Diner, followed by a stellar 2pm performance of "The Jersey Boys."  For a late dinner, we found ourselves at Luna Piena, a delicious, no-frills Italian restaurant near my parent's hotel.

Aside from the 30-days leading up to my reservation, I had been looking forward to Sunday for years.  I wanted my first lunch experience at Dan Barber's Blue Hill Stone Barns to be accompanied by none other than my parents and dear childhood friend, Shelley.  Having been upstate a handful of times, I've always found myself mesmerized by its natural beauty and serenity.  Since Mom and Dad were such urban haters, I figured that a trip to a rural farm-located only 35 miles outside of Manhattan-just may change their jaded assumption that NYC is NY State.

From the minute our train sprung above ground in Harlem, my parents were fixated on all of the sights beyond their window.  As our journey brought us closer to Tarrytown and further from NYC-revealing more trees and less buildings-I couldn't help but grin as I heard my mom telling my dad "how beautiful the scenery is."  When we arrived at the Tarrytown stop, we hopped in to a cab for the 10-15 minute drive to Blue Hill Stone Barns.  Our driver, Nacho, could not have been more helpful or courteous.  He handed us his card and offered to pick us up after our meal, so long as we gave him a 15-minute head's up.  (Readers: take this gentleman's information.  The next time you find yourself en-route to/from Blue Hill Stone Barns, "Nacho" is the best-and inexpensive, to boot-ride in town: 914-227-5580)

With 20-minutes to spare upon arrival, the four of us walked through the property's expansive, emerald-green gardens and farmland.  We visited the gift shop and the small cafe, where I purchased two jars of homemade jam and a fresh cheddar-chive scone.  Finally, at 11:30am, we made our way towards the restaurant for our lunch reservation.

Before I proceed with my photo documentary of this meal, I must say that my lunch at Blue Hill Stone Barns was, without a doubt in my mind, the best restaurant-dining experience of my entire life.  From the breathable/non-stuffy space (informally-sophisticated - tall, vaulted ceilings with exposed steel beams - white-washed walls - dark-wood paned windows which allowed for breathtaking farm views - fresh flowers throughout - a market table in the center of the dining room - and lots of, well, space!), outstanding service performed by knowledgeable and attentive staff, and the exquisite, simple food (only a genius can make vegetables taste this good!), I left my heart at Blue Hill.

I don't say this often-perhaps I've never even uttered these words on my website-but Blue Hill Stone Barns is an absolute "must."

Blue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): Shelley and I Blue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): one of the buildings on propertyBlue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): garden in front of the gift shopBlue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): close-up garden shotBlue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): chicken coopBlue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): lambs...boy, these guys make some funny noises!Blue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): pig penBlue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): interior restaurant space, market table and magenta flowersBlue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): warm, freshly-baked potato-onion bread, served with a side of farm butterBlue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): citrus palate cleanserBlue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): freshly-picked, mini root-vegetable sampler, including lightly-salted carrots and radishesBlue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): asparagus spear wrapped with cured ham and rolled in sesame seedsBlue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): chopped asparagus "burger"Blue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): toast-point topped with goat cheese, fiddlehead ferns, and edible flowersBlue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): a play on "ham and eggs" - a slice of house-cured ham envelopes a rectangular cut of egg souffleBlue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): goat cheese rollupsBlue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): asparagus salad topped with preserved egg yolk & edible flowersBlue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): soft-boiled farm egg topped with an egg-white shellBlue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): sliced Berkshire pork medallions atop grainsBlue Hill Stone Barns (upstate NY): a play on bread pudding - airy fromage blanc rolled in buttery bread crumbs, served with fruit compote and yogurt sorbet


My suety Saturday: brunch at Shopsin's and dinner at Los Feliz

I'm not going to lie: I think it's a total cop-out that I'm combining two restaurant reviews in to one post.  However, I don't have a sufficient number of quality pictures for either establishment, and here are my reasons why:

Shopsin's: I didn't take pictures here out of shear respect for the Shopsin's and, to be quite honest, because all of the first-hand accounts that I had heard about Kenny and Zack (Shopsin) scared the shit out of me (i.e. yelling and cussing at customers, etc.). 

Los Feliz: I attempted to snap a few shots of the menu, my margarita and a couple of the items we ordered at Los Feliz.  Unfortunately, after losing my battle to the restaurant's dim lighting, I quickly gave up and put my camera away.

Brunch at Shopsin's:

Located in a stall within the Essex Street Market stands Shopsin's General Store.  At capacity, this small restaurant can comfortably seat approximately 20 diners; five people at the counter overlooking the kitchen, three two-top tables to the left of the counter stools, and three more two-top tables located just behind the stools.  Hence the name, the space resembles an old-fashioned general store, or, dare I say it, a smaller-scale version of the Cracker Barrel: exposed shelves lined with canned veggies, jars of preserves, old tattered cookbooks and knick-knacks, etc.  I almost felt like I was on the set of a movie.

Ceci and I arrived at Shopsin's promptly at 9:55am, only to find ourselves waiting in a line for seats behind three anxious patrons.  Approximately twenty-minutes later, we were seated at a two-top table located to the left of the counter stools.  Our waiter, decked out in a Metalica t-shirt (circa one of their 1990-something tours), was prompt, knowledgeable about the menu and all of its 500 items (that's right, 500 items), and courteous; a far cry from what I had anticipated after reading all of Shopsin's service-related horror stories. 

Ceci and I decided to split an order of the famous Mac n' Cheese Pancakes, in addition to ordering our own entrees.  I chose the Migas, which is a Tex-Mex play on traditional huevos revueltos (scrambled eggs).  A large salad bowl was piled high with a mound of fresh-out-of-the-fryer tortilla strips.  Hovering Mount Crispy were fluffy scrambled eggs, salsa rojo, avocado, grilled green peppers and onions, and fresh sprigs of cilantro.  I did my best to neatly toss all of the ingredients together before showering my breakfast with house-made hot sauce and a dash of salt and pepper.  Although I was overwhelmed by the massive amount of tortilla strips, I was very pleased, both in flavor and texture, with my Migas. 

Between bites of my eggs, I could not seem to take my eyes off of our order of Mac n' Cheese Pancakes.  Before they arrived in front of me, I had no clue what to expect, and I'm sure that you don't either; so picture this, if you will: as you're hovering over the the skillet waiting for your Bisquick pancakes to brown on one side, you add a dollop of homemade mac n' cheese to the top of the under-cooked side, then flip.  So, what do you get?  A pancake that's half "cake," half crusty, cheesy and salty browned macaroni.  And the best part?  Adding maple syrup to the 'cakes, believe it or not!  Pure, unadulterated genius.      

Ceci and I loved every aspect of our experience at Shopsin's.  From the efficient service to the incredibly delicious and hearty food, Shopsin's ranks high in my book. 

~ ~

Dinner at Los Feliz:

Honestly, after my kick-ass brunch at Shopsin's, I thought that my Saturday (food wise) would just keep getting better from there.  Unfortunately, this is where it ended...

Cathryn, Clint, and I made our way (reservation-less) to Los Feliz at approximately 8:30pm on Saturday evening.  Upon our arrival, I was instantly taken by the restaurant's casual-yet-dramatic, sexy, dimly-lit, gothic-chic interior. 

I found myself pleasantly surprised that the three of us were seated, at a table of our choice, immediately.  A tortilla chip-filled brown paper bag and side of salsa arrived simultaneously with our glasses of ice water.  I chose to begin my evening with a hibiscus margarita; so you can imagine my confusion when I was served a colorless beverage in a salt-rimmed glass.  I overheard the young man at our neighboring table ask our waiter why the lime margarita he ordered was magenta-pink in color.  It was obvious that we were mistakenly served each other's drinks.  Once our orders were corrected, I secretly wished that I had just asked for a god damned bottle of beer: my hibiscus margarita was bland, watered-down, and utterly flavorless.  What a disappointment. 

The three of us were quite hungry, having already plowed half-way through our second bag of tortilla chips and salsa.  Finally, our waiter returned to take our order.  Cathryn, Clint and I decided that we would split three entrees: Chile Relleno Tacos, Chicharron de Pollo Tacos, and the Pollo Quesadillas.  Apparently, after I stepped away from the table to check out the restaurant's space downstairs, Clint asked for another bag of tortilla chips and salsa, only to be scolded and embarrassed.  "Another round of chips and salsa?" Our waiter snarked.  "I've been told by my manager that you need to be cut off."  Was this guy serious?

Downstairs, Los Feliz has several differently-themed cavernous rooms, in addition to yet another "downstairs" below that, which houses a lounge/club.  While I was only there briefly, I will say that the use of the space is quite impressive, clever and dramatic. 

When I returned to our table, I was shocked to hear that we had literally been "cut off" from more chips and salsa.  If that is the policy, then that's fine; if we needed to be charged for additional chips and salsa, no problem; but I find it inexcusable to treat a customer like he's some kind of free-loading punk who's only sipping ice water and not ordering food.  This was reaffirmed when I asked to speak to the manager.  "Sir, is there an issue with us asking for more chips?"  I asked.  "Yes, there is an issue," he responded.  "One or two rounds is fine, but three?"  I suppose he wasn't blatantly trying to be rude about the situation, but he certainly wasn't the poster-child for stellar customer service.  Had he worded things a bit differently, perhaps we would have left Los Feliz with a better taste in our mouths.  Instead, we were made to feel like morbidly obese local yokels. 

It's taken me a long time to come to grips with the fact that most Mexican restaurants in NYC charge patrons for chips and salsa.  I get it and, unfortunately, I have to be OK with it if I want to frequent some of my favorite spots.  However, if you're going to serve me free chips and salsa and then cut me off, explaining yourself in a patronizing and uncompassionate manner that leaves me and my fellow diners feeling like a bunch of free-loading fat asses, then I have a problem.     

And honestly, the food that we ordered was decent, but I'm not in the mood to give Los Feliz any more credit by talking about "how delicious our chicken quesadillas were," etc.  I'm sure we just came on an "off night," or "I'm being too sensitive," or "we just had a bad waiter," or whatever; but it's going to take me a while to get over the fact that we all felt much worse about ourselves post-dinner than we had prior to our arrival.


Pre & post New Year's wrap up: dinner at Allen & Delancey (NOW CLOSED); winning the proverbial 'luxury-leather-goods lottery' followed by brunch at Commerce

New Year's Eve re-cap:

I literally blinked and it was New Year's Eve.  I couldn't believe how quickly the month of December had passed me by.  Not only that, but the holidays just felt different this year.  For the first time since living in NYC, I didn't see the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center, go window shopping along 5th Avenue, or peruse the outdoor boutiques set up in Bryant Park and Union Square.  Upon returning home from my two-week vacation spanning Hanukkah and Christmas, I had less than forty-eight hours to prepare for a house guest.  Caroline, a good friend and sorority sister, was to spend four nights with me prior to returning home to Houston. 

With Miss Caroline in tow, we successfully managed to eat our way through the city, literally.  Please enjoy our culinary adventures beginning with New Year's Eve dinner and ending with an unexpected Saturday evening ride home escorted by New York's finest.

12/31: New Year's Eve dinner at Allen & Delancey (NOW CLOSED)

It was the first time that I would be in town (NYC) for New Year's Eve since December 31, 2004.  Although I was stumped about what to do/where to go, I was certain that I did not want to pay an exorbitant amount of money to ring in the New Year with a "champagne sparkling-wine toast" amongst a crowd of suckers who shelled out $150 (or more) for standing-room-only at a cheesy venue.  No thanks. 

Since Caroline would be in town, I wanted to celebrate the birth of 2010 with slightly more extravagance than ordering pizza and watching the ball drop from my TV.  And with that, I made a reservation for an 8:30pm seating for nine guests at Allen & Delancey.  It was quite a relief to be able to cross this task off of my list prior to departing for South America; but it was even more of a relief to learn that A&D would not be serving a prix-fixe-only menu, which most restaurants do for big holidays.     

In anticipation of our guests, Caroline and I arrived about twenty minutes shy of our 8:30pm reservation at A&D.   After ordering a cocktail, we grabbed a seat at the bar.  Upon observing the dimly-lit atmosphere, the first thought that popped in to my head was, "damn, I wish I had a boyfriend."  Flickering candles as far as the eye could see, grand antique mirrors, rickety wooden shelves supporting random chotchkies and old books, exposed brick walls...you get the point.  The space exuded romance from its every nook and cranny.

Caroline and I having a cocktail in anticipation of our guest's arrivalUnfortunately, that is where this fairytale ends.  Because aside from the restaurant's homemade bacon bread (no chunks of pork, more of a bacon "essence") and the great service we received, I was underwhelmed by my entree. 

Mmmmm! Bacon breadSomeone forgot to tell me that I wasn't dining at a German biergarten when I uncharacteristically ordered the Pork & Lemongrass Sausage.  And no, "uncharacteristically" is not in reference to my Judaism, or lack there of (so sue me, I eat pork!).  Served atop a bed of fragrant black rice, sauteed bok choy, and cilantro sprigs (so many that I couldn't see the bok choy underneath) sat the plump house-made pork link.  My first bite rendered an overwhelming, almost offensive punch bitch-slap of lemongrass, which gave way to flesh that was drier and more chewy than the texture I was hoping for.  I wasn't especially thrilled when I had to exert more strength each time I attempted to sever the link's thick casing with my butter knife...in order to take the next bite.  However, in an effort to coat my stomach for what I knew would be many more glasses of something potent, I finished about 1/3 of my meal.  

Let's just say that the pork & lemongrass link-of-love looked much more lovely than it tastedBeing that our table of nine was not seated until 8:45pm, combined with the fact that we took a leisurely amount of time to order, I rang-in my New Year at A&D.  We toasted our prosecco-filled champagne flutes, kissed and hugged one another, and discussed our hopes and plans for the year to come.  Unfortunately, receiving our bill was quite a sobering moment as it was evenly divided by the nine of us (most of whom ordered cocktails, appetizers, etc.).  C'est la vie!

In conclusion:

  • As it turns out, the dreaded restaurant "holiday prix-fixe menu" would have probably been less expensive than what I had to shell out on behalf of those who ordered much more than me.
  • A&D is one of the most romantic venues in NYC
  • ...however, on the night I dined there, I found the particular meal I ordered to be less than sexy.
  • I plan to return to A&D.  I've concluded that I simply chose the wrong dish.  Speaking of choosing the wrong dish, take a look up at the picture of my entree.  I still can't figure out why the hell the kitchen would accompany a pork & lemongrass sausage link with 1/2 of a lime.  Did they really think that I was going to squeeze that tart juice all over my already-eye-puckeringly-sour citrus-laced pork?  Come on now.  And if the lime was there solely for decoration, the plate would have looked better without more green accents.  The cilantro and bok choy were more than enough.     

1/01: Finding a pot of gold at the end of Grove Street ~ A new favorite brunch item at Commerce

The last thing I remember seeing before my head hit the pillow was the teal-blue digital clock numbers on my microwave which read "4:03am."  Not six hours later, Caroline and I both awoke in disbelief that it was New Year's Day.  The first line of business?  Discuss the events of our evening over some greasy food.  "Carrie, I'm going to take you to one of my favorite neighborhoods in Manhattan called 'the West Village.'  We can just walk down there and find somewhere to eat."  And off we went.

The city was completely dead on New Year's Day, which was to be expected, though it eerily reminded me of the scene from Vanilla Sky when Tom Cruise finds himself all alone in Times Square.  Most of the retail shops in the West Village were closed, except for a tiny pet store called "Le Petit Puppy."  After almost buying a Brussels Griffon out of shear boredom and impulse, I decided that it was time we ate.  Clearly, I was not thinking straight.  As we meandered through the tangled streets of the charming neighborhood, I had to take a  call.  Caroline and I made a right on Grove Street, and just as I was ending my phone conversation, I saw her point towards a pile of what appeared to be unwanted items/trash on the opposite side of the street.  As we approached, I remember being taken aback by what was staring me in the face.  "Oh my God, Caroline!  Oh my God!  Do you realize what these are??"  I gasped.  Sitting right before our very eyes were three pieces of luggage (one was a hanging garment bag) with a very familiar "LV" monogram.  "Holy shit," I squealed, "these are vintage Louis Vuitton suitcases!  What kind of blithering idiot would throw these out on the street??"  As I observed the surrounding pile of items more carefully, I saw a toilet-on-wheels hidden behind a discarded Christmas tree.  Then, we found luggage tags with a name that matched the three gold monogrammed initials located on each bag.  "I bet this woman died and someone must have just finished cleaning out her apartment.  I think she must have been an elderly lady because of that toilet," I said.  Leaving the least desirable piece of the three, Caroline and I each grabbed a suitcase and walked towards Commerce for brunch.   

The Lunch Belle meets her Louis!Caroline and I were definitely concerned as to where we'd put our bulky newfound treasure while we were dining, but the hostess at Commerce could not have been more welcoming and helpful.  "Oh my!  I can't believe you all found those on the street!  I can store them downstairs while you eat.  Does that work?"  We gladly obliged before being whisked off to a two-top booth in the restaurant's bar area.

Now I typically don't review a restaurant twice (I have previously dined at Commerce), but I simply could not keep this eatery's best kept brunch secret a secret any longer.  I have to applaud our waitress for doing a hell of a good job of up-selling, as it was she who strongly recommended that we start our meal off with an order of the homemade Cinnamon Rolls.  I wondered: would the Rolls arrive piping hot with a messy drizzle of white icing, a-la-Cinnabon?  Would they be served in a skillet?  How many come to an order? 

As it turned out, all of my assumptions about the Cinnamon Rolls were wrong.  A small dessert-sized plate was topped with two large 2'x2' buns resembling messily formed snail's shells.  A rich, warm sauce chock-full of cinnamon flavor and a roux-like consistency enveloped every inch of the delicate Rolls.  I could taste all of the homemade elements, especially the pungent yeast, within the soft, almost doughy bread/Roll.  I appreciated the fact that the sticky cinnamon sauce wasn't too hot, because I did not want to wait a second longer than necessary to take my next bite.

RUN, don't walk, to Commerce for their out-of-this-world homemade Cinnamon Rolls!


The Weekly Eater: 12/15 - 12/28

Each Monday going forward, I'm going to give you, my dear readers, a recap of where I ate during the prior week, and a list of where I have plans to dine this week.

Monday, 12/15: Dinner at Luna Piena

  • I love unexpected surprises, especially when learning that an old friend is in town. Nicole, who resides in Houston, called me on Monday night and wanted to grab dinner. Luckily, I was free and able to meet her at a moment’s notice. Since we were in the vicinity and Nicole’s only request was that we eat Italian, I decided to take her to Luna Piena. Since the restaurant had temporarily closed for a while, I had not been back since reopening.
    Our meal began with a bottle of Chianti and the house bread basket served with a lentil-olive oil dip. The bread could not have been fresher and the beans were a welcome change from boring, old butter. For an entrée, I ordered my usual Italian standby, homemade pasta with Bolognese sauce. I was thrilled to find that Luna Piena was still serving the solid, moderately priced fare I had remembered and loved.

Tuesday, 12/16: Urban Daddy’s holiday soiree catered by The Little Owl

  • What could be more exciting than attending a holiday party at MTV’s “The Real World” townhouse from season 10? Not too much, especially for a series devotee such as myself. Arriving on the earlier side, Emily and I were able to breeze through the guest list and coat check lines. After climbing two flights of stairs, we arrived to the “first floor” of the party. As we made our way through the growing crowd of people, we decided to try a cocktail served by the sponsor, Johnnie Walker. Then we made a bee-line for the glorious cold food buffet displayed on a wooden communal table. Directly behind the spread was a gentleman hand slicing prosciutto. Emily and I filled our plates with robiola, blue and brie cheeses, freshly baked focaccia, marinated mushrooms, roasted cauliflower, assorted Italian meats including some of the best salami I’ve ever had, roasted winter squash and thin-crust tomato pizza sans cheese. The only thing missing was utensils! Though it was awkward using our hands to eat marinated mushrooms and spread cheese on crackers, the food was fantastic. After miraculously having found a 2-top table, Em and I parked ourselves there for the entire evening, taking turns grabbing drinks and more food. Once the 600-person guest list reached capacity and people began placing their used plates and drink cups on our table, I knew that it was my queue to leave. Although so crowded to the point that I had to plot my exit, it was a lovely evening, indeed. Both Urban Daddy and The Little Owl did an amazing job.

Until January 3rd, I have plans to dine in three of France’s greatest cities. Happy holidays to all and best wishes for a bright, healthy and successful new year!