New York Foodie – Old School vs. New School

Old School and New Shcool New YorkThe best thing about NYC is its history. The fact that you can dine at restaurants where presidents and stars of the 1940s used to sit, eating what they ate and perhaps drinking their same wine, is unreal. It is a bridge to our past and really sets NYC apart.

No, actually…the best thing about NYC is how ever-changing it is. The fact that walking down the street you spot 3 new restaurants a month. The fact that if you don’t go try it now, it will be out of date in a week. The vibe keeps you on your toes and breathes life and excitement into the city.

No, actually…the combination of the two is the best thing about NYC. The fact that you can eat at old school steakhouses and new-school meat emporiums keeps thing interesting, fun, and most definitely, delicious.

Old School Steakhouse – Keens. This place has been around since the 1800s, and until Lillie Langtry objected, it was gentlemen only. The menu has barely changed since it opened, and from the relish plate brought at the beginning of the meal to the extensive scotch list brought around at the end, you may well feel like you are dinging in another era. Don’t miss the restaurant’s signature mutton chop, a prime rib-like cut of lamb that is pleasantly gamey and unlike anything else in the city.

New School New York Steakhouse TakashiNew School Steakhouse-Takashi. Meat is the name of the game at this Korean-Japanese bbq restaurant. Grill everything by yourself at pristine countertop grills. And everything means everything – pork belly, ribeye, liver, heart, and even tongue. The meat sourced is of the highest possible quality, and if you try a bite raw, you may decide not to cook it at all.

Old School Italian-Parkside3. Italian American restaurants might be degraded by foodies who pride themselves on only eating at seasonally influenced, chef owned restaurants, but, then, they may never have had perfect chicken parmesan. Head to this restaurant in Queens for gargantuan portions of Italian-American food, chianti served with a generous hand, and the ability to hob knob with everyone who is anyone in the Italian community. Don’t be surprised if you have to wait awhile for your reservation time – it’s not first come first served, it’s mama’s friends are the first served. And it is worth it.

New School Italian-Ai Fiori. Michael White’s Franco-Italian menu proves that Italian food doesn’t have to have even a hint to tomato to be powerful and tasty. His butter poached lobster and escargot with bone marrow are just two examples of how he takes the freshest possible ingredients, treats them with classic Italian technique, and turns them into a first-class tasting experience.

The best New York DeliOld School Deli-2nd Avenue Deli. This deli might have moved, but nothing else has changed. Order the instant heart attack for a pastrami sandwich served between not slices of bread but crusty deep fried latkes. Dig into the sour pickled tomatoes before your meal comes to the table, and don’t be offended if your waitress demands that you finish your min course before you get dessert. After all, we are all family here.

New School Deli-Kutshers. Buh-bye colorless brisket and salty stews. Hello gourmet gefilte fish and matzo ball soup. This trendy Tribeca eatery reimagines classic Ashkenazi Jewish dishes into haute fare, beautiful enough and flavorful e3nough to stand up to the finest of the city’s French cuisine. Be sure to try the duck borscht with roasted duck, Swiss chard, fingerlings and sour cream, the Friday night roast chicken with pletzel and maitake and black trumpet mushroom stuffing, and one of the craft cocktails, like the spicy gazpacho Mary.

Organic Retreat in Le Marche, Italy

Exclusive for Vagobond by Melissa Ruttanai.

La Travola Marche Italian Culinary TravelA local belief states that the Romans preferred to march to war across Le Marche, so their troops would arrive at battle well fed and fueled for victory. The Italian region of Le Marche is famed for vineyards and farmsteads spanning from the Adriatic to the Apennines. At La Tavola Marche, a farm inn and cooking school, chickens cluck cheerfully while the cat Piccolo stalks through flowerbeds with his uncle, Buster.

Health begins in the soil where alfalfa, grains, and carrots grow. At La Tavola Marche, owners Ashley and Jason Bartner focus on organic, traditionally prepared meals. He is a classically trained alumnus of the French Culinary Institut. She is a foodie and columnist for Taste Italia. Together, they’ve created an agriturismo that crosses a Roman feast with heart-warming hospitality.

La Travola Marche Italian Culinary TravelThe Farmhouse
La Tavola Marche sits atop a green knoll, crowned by a 300 year-old farmhouse renovated into guest rooms and apartments. A nearby spring feeds directly into the pool and pipes, providing mineral rich waters for cooking, bathing, and swimming. Down a stone path, the garden produces over 80% of their cooking ingredients, including zucchini with tender blossoms, strawberries, fava beans, parsley, and potatoes. Each morning Jason waters the plants for over two hours, twining tomato vines around traditional bamboo stakes and staving off fungal invasion with organic probiotics.

La Travola Marche Italian Culinary TravelWhile Jason razes a virtual symphony of succulence in the kitchen, his wife Ashley tends to the chickens and monitors her cache of homemade liqueurs. House specialties focus on digestives created from local ingredients like green walnuts, plums, and cherries. By using seasonal fruit, Ashley packs vitamins and minerals into traditional after-dinner drinks.

The Feast
On a typical evening, dinner encompasses five courses. In the stone courtyard, white votive candles cast a romantic light. The rooster calls his hens home. Housecats greet each other after a day playing in the fields. As Jason garnishes plates, Ashley sweeps dishes out to the tables. They are almost too pretty to eat.

La Travola Marche Italian Culinary TravelWith no less passion than her chef-husband, Ashley describes each platter with gusto: ripe melon wrapped with salty prosciutto, lentil salad with cucumber and shaved cheese, and garden-grown fava crostini. Primo and secondo courses playfully utilize what is locally available and at its height of freshness: hearty tagliatelle traditionally handmade without salt, roasted veal breast of puntine di Vitello. Table wine is locally made and bottled at the farmhouse. Just when you’ve reached maximum stomach-capacity, dessert and digestives appear to finish the meal with a sweet finale.

With their belief in healthy cooking, Ashley and Jason willingly provide recipes for their meals as well as cooking classes in the farmhouse kitchen. Don’t miss their Thursday night pizza parties. Visitors should take advantage of agrotourism and country lifestyle in Le Marche. Here, farmers chop wood for winter. Neighbors help weed each other’s gardens. And the moon rises over pre-Roman ruins. In La Marche, wine embodies the spirit of life while homemade meals remain at its heart.

La Travola Marche Italian Culinary Travel

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