BEHIND-THE-PLATE

FIRST COURSE
Dopo East Debuts New Wine Room

Though this charming, classic Italian restaurant is off the beaten path, it is an inviting space, laden with “Grazi’s” and “Prego’s”, and encouraging smiles by the warm, efficient staff. It is upscale without being snooty or intimidating, a place you could easily bring your parents for a quieter, less intrusive New York City dining experience.

The newest additions architecturally enhance the already cozy environment, and it makes Dopo East that much more approachable. The back garden is enclosed in a glass ceiling and is temperature controlled, providing guests with the fantastic option of dining under the moonlight (without freezing) all winter.

FIRST COURSE
What Do Those Buzzwords On Your Menu Even Mean?

You want to eat responsibly, but reducing your carbon footprint isn't always so easy when the food industry has a revolving door of buzzwords that confuse and elude diners. While nutritional facts and purveyor lists are a welcomed sight on menus, even the most experienced diner and self-proclaimed foodie might find themselves wondering what exactly all these words really mean.

Before you find yourself tangled in a word jumble of heritage breeds, heirloom varietals, sustainably sourced and foraged foods, take a minute to brush up on some prime vocabulary.

This simple guide will explain some of the common food industry buzzwords so restaurant patrons will know what they are paying for or are not paying for when they dine out.

  1. Organic: Of course, organic brings about that warm and fuzzy feeling. If it is organic it must be good, right? Really, something is organic if it complies with government sanctioned regulations. In the U.S., this means no synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, no hormones or antibiotics, no GMO and absolutely no irradiation have touched your food. But, it does mean other fertilizers and pesticides may have been in contact with your favorite after work snack.
  2. Local: How local is local you ask? Well, that depends. According to Greenopedia, strict locavores only consider food grown within 100 miles of its final resting place on a plate to be “local." However, 400 miles is the more generous and common maximum distance food can travel from farm to table to still be considered locally grown or raised.
  3. Sustainable: In order for a food item to be sustainable, it must have the ability to maintain and reproduce without without damaging the surrounding ecology, economy, political environment or cultures. In the food world this means, that sustainable fish you chose for dinner last night may be or may not have been raised on a fish farm, but it will not be responsible for the collapse of world fish stocks.
  4. Heritage: According to The Livestock Conservancy, heritage breeds are a relic of the pre- industrial agriculture days. What exactly makes a particular breed of cow, chicken or pig heritage today is still being defined, but we do know that heritage breeds are animals with unique genetics that are helping to keep the biodiversity of the livestock industry growing.
  5. Heirloom: Much like your family heirlooms, heirloom varietals come from seed species that are very old. These are not your fruits and vegetables grown on large-scale industrial farms. Instead these plants often produce food that looks less uniform than the conventional, but are sought out for their flavor and uniqueness.
  6. Foraged: While the general population does not scavenge for food, the foraged food trend just might convince you to start (or leave the hard work up to the professionals who supply the trendiest restaurants with these highly sought after finds). Simply put the foraged dandelion greens on your $30 entree were plucked from their naturally occurring ground, not cultivated.
  7. GMO/Non-GMO: If it says non-GMO then zero genetically modified crops were used in its creation. If the uncertainty of what these so-called “franken foods” might cause later, best bet is to avoid them. It is important to note that GMO seeds are not the same as hybrid seeds, which were bred overtime through cross-pollination and not formed in a laboratory.
  8. Free-Range: This typically conjures up images of happy chicken freely wandering as they please, but according to The Humane Society, there are no enforced regulations required to make the claim in the U.S. The free-range birds are generally uncaged with some roaming freedom. What they eat and general animal welfare treatment is left up to the farmer.

FIRST COURSE
NoBread NYC is a Game Changer for the Gfree Community

Whether you have Celiac, food allergens, or have made a personal decision to go gluten free, wheat-free options in modern dining have really seemed to catch on. And while rice flour and tapioca starch abound in our grocery aisles, it can still be a task to know exactly what is and isn’t gluten free when dining out. Enter Nicole Cogan, the founder of NoBreadNYC.com. The former financial analyst left her job half a year ago to work on what has truly been a labor of love. Her food allergens and sensitivities combined with her work in an industry that often called for carb-packed power dinners with industry elites inspired the creation of her website, which has amassed a more than impressive following in a short amount of time.

FIRST COURSE
World Renowned Chef Richard Sandoval Finally Shares his Culinary Secrets

This past Thursday, November 20th, the man who does it all, Chef Richard Sandoval, named Bon Appétit Restaurateur of the Year, celebrated the release of his newest cookbook, New Latin Flavors. Loyal fans and admirers of his gathered at one of his NYC restaurants Zengo, a sleek and spacious restaurant with a blend of Latin American and Asian cuisine, for an unforgettable night. The event featured unlimited appetizers and specialty cocktails selected by the chef, from his New Latin Flavors cookbook. Each attendee was given the chance to meet with the legend himself, Chef Sandoval, and received a signed copy of his cookbook as well as a generous $25 gift card to use at any of his restaurants.

FIRST COURSE
The Duck & Waffle Cookbook Could Just Be the Best Holiday Gift on the Market

London’s own Executive Chef Daniel Doherty and cocktail mastermind Richard Woods graced New York City with their presence this week in celebration of Duck & Waffle cookbook release.

Duck & Waffle has successfully dominated the London dining scene since 2012 by pioneering the 24/7/365 service. Located on the 40th floor of a central London office building, Duck & Waffle is also the highest restaurant in the UK offering breathtaking views of the city.

FIRST COURSE
Weekend Pick: Eat Real Or Die Supper Series Deux at Gallery Collective


The Eat Real or Die Supper Series is back for a second installment!

This intimate dining experience will take place in the Gallery Collective in Northern Liberties. The event is hosted by SCJ Real Food owned by Samantha Carrie Johnson, who provides guidance on the elements of real food culture.

All guests will be provided with a four-course menu and cocktails that show a combination or organic, seasonal, raw plant based foods, and overall healthy experience. As a pop up dinner guests will also receive important food knowledge that can be used in your everyday life.

What: Eat Real Or Die Supper Series Deux at Gallery Collective

When: Saturday, November 15th, 7pm

Where: Gallery Collective, 937 N 2nd St., Philadelphia, PA

FIRST COURSE Pizzatteria Brunetti
Because We're All About that Pumpkin

1.) Pizzetteria Brunetti (626 Hudson St, New York, NY.)

This cozy West Village gem is the perfect environment to get intimate with a pumpkin pizza pie. The pumpkin puree is rich and decadent, and thin discs of pancetta blanketing the puffy dough cuts through the sweetness with just the right amount of salt. The addition of burrata and gorgonzola don’t hurt either, especially if you start the meal with one of Brunetti’s glorious salads to make yourself feel better. Go and revel in all its autumnal glory before you blink and it's Christmas.

FIRST COURSE
An Afternoon at Rasa in Greenwich Village

Have you ever had Malaysian cuisine? Maybe you have been lucky enough to try it at some point but we had not until we had the opportunity to enjoy a lunch at Rasa in the in the heart of Greenwich Village. What is Malaysian cuisine you may be asking? Malaysian cuisine is an amalgamation of various food cultures from around the globe and the country's dining scene has evolved remarkably over the decades.

Malaysia's culinary style is a mixture of Malay, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Thai and Arabian cuisines with a touch of Portuguese thrown in for good measure and is thus one of the most vibrant and talked-about in South East Asia.

FIRST COURSE
Sachi Bistro NYC: Making Asian Fusion in Murray Hill

Upon entry, Sachi looks like stereotypical version of a Western Thai restaurant. Granite elephant statues peek out from corners, nationalistically ambiguous art hangs on the wall, and beautiful stained woodwork is everywhere throughout the space. The dim lighting and slow paced dining room momentarily transports you far from Second Avenue, and you start to wonder if you have perhaps fallen down a rabbit hole and left the city. Then, an angry driver sits on their car horn for far too long, and you are brought back down to earth. You are in a simple yet elegant space in Murray Hill, perfect for either Date Night or Girls Night Out, and you are happy.

We started out with the Gunpowder Bramble, because regardless of the fact that its 70 degrees outside, it’s still fall, and fall is for bourbon. The Creme de Mure Blackberry Liquer pushes the cocktail a wee bit more to the sweet side than we would have liked, but the fresh lemon juice enhances the black tea infused in the Lapsang Souchong bourbon.

FIRST COURSE
Somtum Dur Offers Authentic North Eastern Thai Cuisine in the Heart of the East Village

With each bite of the papaya salad, authentically called Somtum, we were truly immersed in the spicy, bold flavor.

We thought we knew what Thai food was; pad Thai, coconut soup—you get the point. The North East region of Thailand is a whole new world that we never knew, and absolutely love.

Somtum Dur has its roots in the restaurant business in Bangkok and recently moved in the NYC market specializing in this “farmer’s plate” of tastes. In this particular region, the plate would be filled with anything and everything from the rice patty and farm, but papaya salad is usually a staple. This usually includes dried shrimp, peanuts, garlic, cherry tomatoes, shredded green papaya, lime and fish sauce. And last but not least, the ingredient that makes it what it is, the chili. Never afraid of a little risk, we asked that the chili be loaded on, and it was worth it. However, those less partial to spice will be happy to know that the flavor is still strong without it. As a matter of fact, you could taste the freshness of the ingredients even more. Additionally, for the health conscious person in all of us, there is no oil added which makes for a much cleaner eating experience.