NYC Al Fresco Dining Guide

Al Fresco dining is one of the many highlights of life in New York City. There is simply nothing better than enjoying a delightful meal, a glass of wine and laughs with friends while you soak up the sunshine in a picturesque garden or patio. Now that Spring has finally descended on the Big Apple, let’s take a look at the best outdoor dining spots to visit while we are blessed with this good weather.



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A Bacon Lover's Guide to New York City

Bacon. Mmmm the simple utterance of the word conjures a flood of mouthwatering nostalgia. Just the proposition of enjoying a plate of those beautiful sizzling strips can give your worse day a complete 180. As true Americans it’s our right, nay our duty to seek and destroy sample the finest slabs of pork that this nation has to offer. Lucky for us New York City has some of the most imaginative and decadent locations to enjoy your fill of sliced hog. Here is a guide to some of the best bacon havens in NYC.

BarBacon: Bacon Lovers’ Mecca

HOW-TO Volstead by Lazy Point
Cocktail Recipes for Springtime Indulgence

All across the city, sunny seasons are in full swing and it's time to trade your snowboots for sandals, shed parkas for SPF, indoor affairs for rooftop parties. While you're at it, why not redefine your signature flavors for the coming season? If you're looking for a new favorite libation for spring, you have come to the right place. We have compiled some of our favorite springtime-inspired cocktails offered at venues from the Bronx down to Brooklyn, just in time to push you palette in festive preparation for Cinco de Mayo (for the less industrious cocktail enthusiasts, check out the Cinco de Mayo Cocktail Tour on Tuesday, May 5th for awesome cocktails and none of the work).

Unleash Your Inner Lumbersexual with Sweet Bourbon Cocktails

In the words of our favorite mustachioed, thickheaded and passionate woodworker, Ron Swanson, “Clear alcohols are for rich women on diets”. Throughout all seven hilarious seasons as the boss on Parks and Recreation, you’ll see Ron throwing back whiskey almost as much as Leslie Knope inhales waffles. Plus, whiskey doesn’t contain any fat (the word whiskey comes from the Gaelic uisge beatha, meaning “water of life”) and it's rich in antioxidants.

As the all-American, sweeter first cousin of whiskey, bourbon is made with distilled grain, 51% of which is corn, and water. Today we bring you a few delectable bourbon cocktail recipes from Four Roses Bourbon, whose Yellow Label Bourbon is perfect for creating the springtime cocktail, with a fruity and floral aroma and a crisp and smooth palate with hints of apple and fresh fruit. And for the more...relaxed bourbon cocktail enthusiasts, we also included a few NYC bars and restaurants to find similar cocktails for effortless enjoyment.

Ponty Bistro

Long before the two hour waits at Dirty French, there lies a cozy, neighborhood gem in the heart of Gramercy that has been serving up French-African food for nearly a decade. Ponty Bistro, with its warm, cherry wood furniture, and authentic African art, makes you feel like you might possibly be in a French inspired bistro in Senegal, where owner and executive chef Cisse was born. (The bistro itself is named for one of the main thoroughfares in Senegal.) Cisse is warm and charming, and much of his success lies in the relaxed, welcoming atmosphere that he creates – helping to motivate neighborhood regulars to keep coming back. The restaurant has done so well that the owners – Cisse and his cousin Chekh - managed to open up a second, more spacious location in Harlem. Featuring live music and catering to the African immigrant population residing in Harlem, Ponty is bound to be as big of a hit uptown as it is downtown.

Weekend Pick: Parisian Brunch @ Hotel Chantelle
If sipping mimosas at noon is your thing, prepare for an exquisite brunch at the 1940’s Parisian-inspired Hotel Chantelle. You can quit daydreaming about Paris now, and satiate your wanderlust in brunch items like “Grapefruit Brulee” and “Croque-Monsieur Spring Rolls” right around the corner on Ludlow St. Not into the fancy-shmancy menu? Try the fool-proof liquid diet instead, and sip on their featured 92 cent cocktails to the sounds of live jazz. Dandy Wellington and his Band will be returning for another dapper afternoon of smart-looking people in tailored suits and top hats; an affair reminiscent of Gatsby meets Holly Golightly. For an elegant afternoon of French cuisine and penny-pinching cocktails, you can make your reservation here. Brunch seating will be available this Saturday from 11:30am – 5pm, but feel free to stay longer if you’re here only for the band (or just feeling a little too boozy after one too many Strawberry Lime Rickeys). Bon appetit! What: Parisian Brunch @ Hotel Chantelle When: Saturday, April 18th, 11:30am Where: Hotel Chantelle, 92 Ludlow St, NYC
Brazilian Indulgece at Fogo De Chão

What does every New Yorker dream of? Well, of course there are an endless amount of answers to that question. At least when it comes to food, topping off every carnivorous New Yorker’s list will most likely be a perfectly curated steak. With an abundance of top-notch options in this city, sometimes we need a little help narrowing it down.

The Brazilian Steakhouse Fogo De Chão, located in midtown Manhattan at 40 West 53rd St., prides itself on “the Gaucho way of preparing meat.” Combining culinary traditions from both Brazilian natives and European influence, this restaurant has reimagined the southern Brazil technique, known as “churrasco” which entails roasting meats over pits of open fire to golden perfection.The three-tiered venue features contemporary décor which spans from the lounge area to private and semi-private dining rooms. As with any upscale restaurant, you can expect a suitable cocktail program. For a refreshing (and fairly potent) option, Fogo de Chão honors Brazil’s national cocktail with their signature Caipirinha, made with lime, sugar and cachaça, a distilled spirit made from sugarcane juice.

National Grilled Cheese Month & Spring Time Bliss

GRILLED CHEESE. How can something so simple evolve into an elaborate culinary genre of its own? April happens to be National Grilled Cheese Month and we’ve come so far from the days where grilled cheese meant two pieces of generic white bread, a few slices of American cheese, butter and a frying pan. The best part about this notorious and beloved sandwich is that no matter what your culinary abilities might be, whether you’re a broke college student or the executive chef at Michelin-starred restaurant, the majority of us can find a common ground with the grilled cheese.

We live in a dairy-obsessed world where many of us have graduated from processed cheese to fresh and artisanal cheeses. This means a whole new level of grilled cheese using everything from Havarti and Goat cheese, to Mascarpone to Gouda and Brie and every other gooey melting goodness you can imagine. Aside from dairy, chefs are getting crafty with bread options, fruits and vegetables, different preserves and spreads, whether it will be savory or sweet and even changing up the cooking method. We’ve rounded up a list of cheesy goodness for you to try this April whether you want to create your own or pick up a grilled cheese to go.

Sunday Champagne Brunch at Beauty & Essex

Ever wished you could attend one of those fancy New York parties you'd only see in movies? Well, allow us to help you turn your wish into reality. Head to Beauty & Essex this Sunday (and every Sunday) as the eloquent restaurant resumes its weekly Champagne Brunch affair.

At this weekend's brunch, extended until 6 pm, feel free to unleash your inner foodie and tantalize your taste buds with exquisite entrees, appetizers and delicious champagne cocktails on the eatery's upper level.

WHAT TO EAT Loaded Dawg
Spring into Healthy Eating in 2015

As the ice finally begins to melt and the faint memory of sunshine starts to come back to us, it’s time to think about spring cleaning. By spring cleaning, we don’t mean packing up your bulky sweaters and planning for a garage sale, although there’s nothing wrong with getting organized. We’re talking about a spring body cleanse and beginning to think of all the different ways you can improve the way you live through healthy eating for spring 2015.

One of the best parts about living in New York City is the abundance of natural and organic options that have been popping up on every corner. From pop up food carts to gourmet restaurants to wellness centers and organic delivery services, NYC offers healthy options for everyone. You just have to know where to look.

WHAT TO EAT Traditional Eggs Benedict (Agave)
The Best Brunch/Delivery Spots for Your National Deskfast Day Feast

As any New Yorker will tell you, brunch is a big deal. Whether the hybrid meal's appeal lies in the justification of sleeping-in and cocktails before 2:00 or the upscale connotation that comes with the word, does it really matter? Because today, March 19th, you'll have another excuse to indulge in luxury grub for National Deskfast Day. This nationally recognized, culturally treasured, time-honored institution of a holiday may have its protesters - is it a fake holiday made up to justify our gluttony, who cares?

Most simply, National Deskfast Day suggests that you celebrate the occasion having the most important meal of the day delivered to the comfort of your own desk. We have to admit, eggs benedict and a bloody mary behind your computer monitor sounds like a great way to combat trivial Thursdays. Yet another perk of being a city-dweller is that there is never a shortage on delicious brunch or even on those that deliver these to-die-for delicacies. Now we have to look deep inside ourselves and ask: "who will be catering my Deskfast Day?"