The New Year’s Eve has come and gone and I am thrilled to announce that the trip we planned for Cuba was a great success. Everything was so great about that trip, and I love Cuba so much, that I am planning a return back to Havana with the group the week after Thanksgiving! If interested in this, please let me know. Since I now consider myself an expert on planning a Cuban trip, things will be very smooth for anyone interested in joining. You will get great meals, a great hotel and amazing tours. Ask anyone who joined on New Year’s Eve, they will agree it was phenomenal.
Before we get into this upcoming month of February, let’s review what is still on the agenda for January. This week on Sunday January 22nd, we head to midtown to enjoy some delicious Turkish food at SIP SAK. Orhan Tegan is the famous chef innovator of Turkish food in NYC and he welcomes us to an incredible and delicious 3-course meal. Chef Tegan has started many top restaurants around the world, including Turkish Kitchen in NYC. Finally, our month ends at the new Brazilian restaurant ZEBU GRILL on Saturday, January 28th. NOTE: This is the sister restaurant to CIRCUS in Midtown, that recently closed after 18 years.
The following Monday, February 6th, we head to CHEZ JOSPEHINE’S a beautifully elegant French restaurant that is unassuming from the outside, but once you enter you feel like you enter a 1920’s Parisian speakeasy, with velvet walls, candelabras, chandeliers and a lively piano player. Located in the theatre district and recommended by many members from our group, Chez Josephine has been serving French fare for 30 years. We dined here last year after a blizzard and many who could not make it, have asked for a return. The following weekend I will be eating my way through New Orleans and taking a break from NY. Therefore, our next event will be mid-week on Wednesday, Feb 15th at a new restaurant for the group, PIG HEAVEN. For almost 4 decades, Nancy Lee has been serving up Chinese Cuisine to the Upper East Side and for this post Chinese New Year’s dinner, she has promised us her best menu. Many members have asked for more Chinese restaurants for the group, and after dining here one night, I know for sure I found a great one. That Sunday, February 19th, we head downtown to GALLO NERO 3. Juliane and I have dined here half a dozen times this year and each time we discuss bringing the group because each time the meal is just too good. The Chef, Augusto, is one of the nicest chef’s I have ever met: he always comes out, greets us and offers us something as a token of appreciation for dining there. The restaurant is a hidden gem with a 4.5 star YELP rating and is just a few blocks north of Houston and 7th Avenue South. Finally, on Sunday February 26th we have 2 events; the first is a Mardi Gras Jazz brunch at THE BLUE NOTE. Please RSVP early for I have a limited number of spots and I assume many will be taken by the NOLA group. Join famous trumpeter Joey Morant and others as they play tribute to NOLA style Jazz Music in possibly the most famous jazz blub in the world. Brunch comes with a show ticket, an entrée and a drink from the brunch menu. Later that night, we head right down the street a few blocks away to CUBA, a very popular Cuban restaurant in Greenwich Village. Our Cuban inspired menu, will make you want to travel with me in November and their mojitos are known as one of the tops in all of the New York City!
The following December events are still available for Single Gourmet Members and their guests:
- Sip Sak- Top Turkish- 928 2nd Ave (Between 49th and 50th), Sunday, January 22nd, 5:30 pm optional drinks, 6:15 dinner, $70- 3-course meal, glass of wine, coffee, tax & tip
- Zebu Grill-Causal Authentic Brazilian, 305 East 92nd Street, Saturday, January 28th, 6:45 pm optional drinks; 7:30pm dinner, $69 3-course meal, glass of wine, tax & ti
The following February events are available for Single Gourmet Members and their guests:
Chez Jozephine- Jazz Swing Trio
414 West 42nd St (Btw 9th and 10th Ave)
Monday, February 6th
5:30 optional drinks, 6:15pm dinner
$76 3- course, glass wine, coffee, tax and tip
Zagat rated saying, “they hit the high notes at this old-style Parisian boite featuring French Bistro fare, colorful boudoir decor and a pianist tinkling the ivories.” If you have never been to Chez Josephine’s, you have missed out on trip right into Paris. 4.5 stars on Opentable they write, “The last of its kind near 42nd Street, Chez Josephine is a neighborhood gem founded in 1986 by Jean-Claude Baker as a tribute to legendary Josephine Baker. This Parisian bistro offers us Jacques & Marie’s Paris Swing Trio on Monday and a tantalizing menu in an intimate setting of red velvet walls, a cavalcade of chandeliers and a blue-tin ceiling. Chez Josephine draws a crowd unlike any other in New York as food critic Bryan Miller noted when he wrote: “The dining room is a confluence of the famous and the fashionable, the infamous and unsung, and indeed you feel the magic of Chez Josephine.” Our menu is French inspired with Escargots, French onion soup and Belgium endive salad, trout amandine, flat-iron Steak, braised lamb shank, chocolate lava cake and French vanilla cheesecake.
Pig Heaven- The Year of The Rooster
1420 3rd Ave (80th/81st) Note: they recently moved
Wednesday, February 15th
5:45pm optional drinks, 6:30 dinner
$72 Chinese meal, tax & tip, NO WINE
For 37 years (2 years before Art Fischer founded our group), Pig Heaven has been serving up Chinese food to loyal upper East-Siders!!! It is about time that The Single Gourmet enjoy what others in the neighborhood have been recommending to me for years. 4-stars on yelp and Zagat rated 21, they say “If pig is what you want, this UES Chinese favorite run by gracious Nancy Lee is heaven indeed for anything pork-related, with a lineup showcasing its signature spareribs; the word is definitely out, so expect lots of company at the trough.” Chinese New Year’s came early this year and it technically ends a few days before our meal, but that doesn’t stop us from enjoying the incredible menu that Nancy has put together for us. Our menu is FABULOUS. Nancy gave us the best of her options as we start off with their most popular soup, chicken velvet corn soup, then items such as meat dumplings, scallion pancakes (hers are different than any out there), crystal shrimp dumplings, their famous BBQ Spare Ribs, Peking Duck with their in-house recipe followed by their most popular dish the Grand Marnier shrimp, orange chicken, beef and broccoli, their “all ingredient” yang chow fried rice and string beans.
Gallo Nero III- Cipriani Sous Chef
One 7th Avenue South
(2-blocks North of West Houston)
Sunday, February 19th
5:30pm optional drinks, 6:15 pm dinner
$69- 3-course, glass of wine, tax and tip
After 18 years of restaurant experience and owner of 12 Manhattan restaurants, Besim Kukaj has created an “at home” Italian feeling at Gallo Nero III. Another comfortable village restaurant discovery by Juliane and myself. We have dined here multiple times solely due to the delicious food (and really nice Chef who will come out to greet us all). With years of experience as second in command in the kitchen at Cipriani, Executive Chef Augusto Ferreira’s menu at Gallo Nero III reflects a passion for sumptuous cooking. A very high 4.5 stars on Yelp. This is truly a hidden gem that deserves to be packed nightly and to be visited over and over. Our incredible menu includes butternut squash soup, arugula and goat cheese salad, and stuffed portabella mushroom, with entrees such as halibut, veal chop, roasted chicken, and squash and peanut risotto, finished with chocolate caramel crunch cake & cheesecake
“New Orleans Mardi Gras brunch featuring Joey Morant and Catfish Stew at THE BLUE NOTE
131 West 3rd (off 6th Avenue @ West 4th Subway)
Sunday, February 26th Please RSVP by February 22nd
1:15 arrival for 1:30 brunch and show
$49 Live Show, Brunch Entree, 1 drink, tax &tip
One of the most exciting and dynamic trumpeters on the current scene, Joey Morant has been playing since he was 11. He electrifies audiences with his dazzling horn technique, skillful scat singing, and humorous asides. Known as “Mr. Entertainer,” Morant has traveled the world – Russia, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Germany, France, and Mexico – performing in an array of venues, including the London Paladium and a performance for Queen Elizabeth. He has performed and recorded with hundreds of musicians, including the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band, Ray Charles, James Brown, Tina Turner, George Benson, Lionel Hampton’s Orchestra, Paul McCartney, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Woody Herman, and Jabbo Smith. In his hometown of Charleston, Morant was a regular performer at the Chef and Clef and conducted a 17-piece orchestra at the Dock Street Theatre. He is a former director of Charleston’s MOJA Arts Festival and started the first jazz society in Toronto. He has written and recorded with Lee Morgan and worked with Art Blakey on the arrangement of Aretha Franklin’s rendition of “Dixie Melody” for her first album, recorded with saxophonist King Curtis. His first recording, Better Late Than Never, was released in 1998. Morant won Showtime at the Apollo and has performed on Black Entertainment Television’s Jazz Discovery program. He received heartfelt recognition from around the world for his deeply-moving musical tribute at Ground Zero on December 11, 2001, and in 2003 he received the Harlem Jazz and Music Festival Instrumentalist of the Year award.
Cuba Restaurant and Rum Bar
222 Thompson Street (Bleecker and West 3rd)
2 blocks south of Washington Square Park
Sunday, February 26th
5:30 pm optional drinks; 6:15 pm dinner
$75 3-course meal, mojito or sangria, t & tip
I decided to eat here before taking the group to Cuba just to get a feel of what would be in store in Havana for myself, and I fell in love with this place. Zagat rated 4.3 they say, “Everyone’s Havana great time at this high-energy Village supplier of authentic Cuban standards and heavenly mojitos charmingly served in funky Latin digs with a vacation vibe.”. In keeping with Cuban tradition, everyone will get a mojito (or sangria) with the meal. Voted best Mojito in town, I must admit it was better than many we had in Cuba (except for the ones that we made in our cocktail class). Our menu will include many Cuban specialties such as a seafood casserole of lobster tail, shrimp, scallops, monk fish, clams and mussels in a lobster cream sauce with diced sweet plantains or shredded skirt steak braised in salsa criolla, sliced onions and peppers nested in a tropical plantain basket or roasted chicken breast with sweet peas, cherry tomatoes, avocado with sweet plantains and saffron rice. Traditional appetizers and desserts are also included.
To reserve at any or all the events please go to our website or call us at (646-825-0268), email us at email@example.com or mail checks to: The Single Gourmet, c/o Aaron Lefkowitz, 69 west 9th Street Apt #6A, New York, NY 10011.
- Sip Sak- Turkish Famous Chef Sun, Jan 22nd 5:30pm $70__________
- Zebu Grill-Casual authentic Brazilian Sat, Jan 28th 6:45pm $69_________
- Chez Josephine- French with piano player Mon, Feb 6th 5:30pm $76_________
- Pig Heaven- Late Chinese New Year Wed, Feb 15th 5:30pm $72_________
- Gallo Nero 3- Cipriani Chef’s new home Sun, Feb 19th 5:30pm $69_________
- Blue Note- Mardi Gras Jazz Brunch Sun, Feb 26th 1:15pm $49_________
- Cuba- Authentic Cuban Cuisine Sun, Feb 26th 5:30pm $75_________
NEW ORLEANS- 1 spot left full itinerary
Feb 9-13th $2325 Single Occupancy (no airfare)
(due to the increase in airfare, this price does not include airfare)
Hotel at the 4-star historic newly renovated- Le Pavillon.
THURSDAY– 7:59 am JFK to 10:40am- arrival in NOLA. Unlimited martini lunch from 1:30-3pm @ Commanders Palace-voted most popular restaurant in NOLA for 18 years, James Beard Foundation Most Outstanding Restaurant for 6 years, 2016 restaurateurs of the year. #1 in Zagat NOLA and scoring a 28. We follow this with a 3-hour bus tour of the city. Dinner 8:30pm at GW Finns, New Orleans #1 restaurant on TripAdvisor, Zagat 27- “Creative” presentations of fish resemble fine art at this high-end French Quarter restaurant helmed by the outstanding Tenney Flynn, who can make a seafood lover out of anyone…. including hard-core foodies.” Night time is free to explore NOLA
FRIDAY– 8:30-5pm– Plantations Tour and Swamp-Boat Ride-. 8:30am bus to Cajun Pride Swamp tours for 90 minute swamp boat ride. Brunch 11:40 at Oak Alley Plantation, Cajun style buffet (no wine), 12:50 guided tour of the plantation then we head to Laura Planation for guided tour until 4pm. Dinner 6:45pm at Emeril’s Delmonico- Zagat 24– “Emeril Lagasse’s Lower Garden District Creole take on a steakhouse whisks diners away on an amazing journey of spice and flavor with magnificent and innovative dishes.” This is Emeril’s highest ranked NOLA restaurant.
SATURDAY- 9-11:45am-guided walking tour of the French Quarter and optional tour of St. Louis Cemetery. Lunch at #4 best restaurant in NOLA, Doris Metropolitan. Voted New Best Restaurant of the Year 2014. WW2 Museum or Ogden Museum of Art 2-5pm. Free time after the museum however I will be taking the group to watch a Mardi Gras Parade 6pm The XXX Krew Du Veux Satirical Parade with big brass marching band. Note this parade does pass our hotel as well. Dinner 8:30 The Pelican Club – Zagat rated 26, they say- “Always a winner, this wow place in the French Quarter offers consistently excellent Creole cuisine with Thai flair served in several elegant, intimate dining rooms suited to special occasions; friendly staff that helps diners feel welcome as well as weekend piano music in the bar also make it well worth the money.”
SUNDAY- 10:30am- JAZZ Brunch at Muriel’s– Zagat 26- “this classy, old-world restaurant is definitely not just for tourists, what with its superior execution of traditional Creole favorites (“don’t miss” the turtle soup); delightful drinks, an awesome jazz brunch and professional service all add up to a magical experience.” 12:30-2:30pm- Music History Tour-a two-hour guided walking tour through New Orleans into Louis Armstrong Jazz Park to a place called Congo Square where American music was born. With every story your music tour guide will play a snippet of music related to the story. 5-6pm- HAUNTED HISTORY CARRIAGE RIDE- Mule Drawn Carriages in NOLA (how amazing is that?) New Orleans is a city with a rich and dark history. Many believe that the city is among the most haunted in the United States. On this “History & Haunts Carriage Tour,” discover a few of the reported hauntings, and the legends behind them. We explore the Crescent City’s spooky side as we feel the fright of the evening on a one-hour carriage tour focusing on New Orleans’ nightlife, colorful neighborhoods, and the city’s dark and twisted past. Historical stories of love and tragedy come to life as our professional tour guides explain the legends and lore, in addition to historical narration detailing all major landmarks throughout the French Quarter. 6:15-9:15- New Orleans School of Cooking- This is a multi-course Louisiana style menu and we will take part in the full cooking of Southern dishes such as shrimp remoulade, crabmeat ravigote, corn & crab bisque, BBQ shrimp & grits, chicken & Cajun smoked sausage jambalaya and bananas foster (vegetarian option but let me know 2 weeks in advance). Free night on town.
MONDAY- Head home and rest from the busy weekend. Bus picking us up at 9am to airport.