May 2018

 

There has been a change to the dates Toronto & Niagara we are now planning that trip for 6 nights over the last weekend in July and we are working diligently to finish the itinerary; currently the plan is to stay at and eat at the top restaurants with amazing tours of the city and the falls.

Iceland will be in the second week of October for 6 nights for so many things… waterfalls, black sand beaches, amazing rock formations, craters, geysers, the Golden Triangle, the Blue Lagoon, and if nature cooperates, the Northern Lights. We are going back to Cuba for New Year’s Eve 2018-2019, arriving 2 or 3 days after Christmas for an 8 day trip. This time we will go not only to Havana, but to other parts of Cuba not explored on our last trip such Cienfuegos and Trinidad. For any of these trips, please secure spaces ASAP. If you have not received an email or a phone call from me confirming your interest in a trip in which you are interested, please let me know so that I can ensure that your name is on the list.

Our April continues on the 22nd with a live jazz brunch including 90 minutes of unlimited brunch drinks at Cara Mia 2 (a new restaurant for us, and a sister to Cara Mia) in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen. The following Thursday, April 26, we will return to Sutton Inn, an intimate neighborhood eatery offering a seasonal American menu. We finish the month on Sunday, April 29, at a new restaurant, Nice Matin, named after the largest daily newspaper in the South of France, and according to the NYTimes, “gives the Upper West Side a splash of Provençal sunshine and a heady introduction to the cuisine of Nice.”

Many members have given feedback and suggested that we offer our dinners without a glass of wine.
I enjoy a glass of wine as much as the next person, but this month, we decided to try something different: wine is not included in the price of any of the dinners. Please come to the cocktail hour and enjoy a drink beforehand, or bring your drink to the table to enjoy with your meal. This allows members to choose the variety of wine they desire, and also beer or a cocktail if they would rather not have wine. You can also order a drink from your waiter during the meal, who will immediately hand you a check for it.

We start our May on Sunday the 6th with a new restaurant, Bistango, a popular neighborhood Italian restaurant with gluten free options that is one of the east side’s best kept secrets since 1988. The following Saturday, May 12, we head a little further south to Massoni, a casual Italian fusion restaurant nestled in the heart of the Arlo NoMad Hotel. On Wednesday, May 16, we celebrate our 36th anniversary at Shun Lee West with a grand Chinese feast. The following Sunday, May 20, we return to an old favorite for the first time in over three years – Rossini’s. It’s not opera night, but we will enjoy classic northern Italian dishes made to perfection. And we finish the month with a return to the Harvard Club, not for dinner, but for a champagne brunch with unlimited food and live music.

The following March events are still available for
The Single Gourmet Members and their guests:

  • Cara Mia 2 (live jazz brunch) 623 9th Ave (corner of W 44th St), Sunday, April 22, 12 noon check-in, 12:30 brunch, $59 prix fixe: 2 courses, 90 minutes of unlimited brunch drinks, tax & tip
  • Sutton Inn (American) 347 E 54th St (between 1st & 2nd Ave), Thursday, April 26, 5:30 pm optional drinks, 6:15 pm dinner, $82 prix fixe: 3 courses, glass of wine, coffee/tea, tax & tip
  • Nice Matin (French) 201 W 79 St (corner of Amsterdam Ave), Sunday, April 29, 5:30 pm optional drinks, 6:15 pm dinner, $79 prix fixe: 3 courses, glass of wine, tax & tip

 

The following May events are available for
The Single Gourmet Members and their guests:

 

Bistango Ristorante (Italian)
415 Third Ave (corner of 29th St)
Sunday, May 6
5:15 pm optional drinks, 6:00 pm dinner
$69 prix fixe: 3 courses, soft drinks (no wine), coffee/tea, tax & tip
(gluten-free option, add $5)

A multi-regional Italian restaurant focusing on a made-from-scratch approach to dining, Bistango Ristorante is one of Manhattan’s popular neighborhood dining spots, while also being one of the east side’s best kept secrets. Since 1988, Bistango has been known for its appetizing Italian fare, casual atmosphere, and gracious hospitality. Their menu changes seasonally using the freshest local ingredients. Nearly all of their produce, meats, and fish are wild or harvested in a sustainable manner to bring delicious meals to your table. Amazingly, Bistango has a gluten free option for all of their dishes – even pasta! We’ll start appetizers and a choice of: carciofini alla romana, burrata, or an arugula salad; followed by entrée choices of sautéed Bell & Evans chicken breast, grilled Scottish salmon in a lemon butter sauce, Kurabuto boneless pork tenderloin, or eggplant parmigiana; and finishing up with cheesecake or flourless chocolate cake.

 

Massoni at Arlo NoMad (Italian fusion)
11 E 31 Street (between 5th and Madison Ave)
Saturday, May 12
6:00 pm optional drinks, 6:45 pm dinner
$68 prix fixe: 3 courses, soft drinks (no wine), coffee/tea, tax & tip

Set in the heart “NoMad” (North of Madison Square Park) Massoni is an “Italian-ish” restaurant brought to you by Chef Dale Talde (who has been on Top Chef not once, but twice) and his partners, David Massoni and John Bush, all of Three Kings Restaurant Group. Praised everywhere from the WSJ to Departures, and WWD to the NYTimes, Chef Talde’s creations artfully transform beloved Italian hits with global influences for tastes and textures you won’t find anywhere else. Think arancini balls but with biyrani-style rice, served with cool ranch raita and spicy tomato, or Caesar salad made with nori. Massoni highlights a variety of market-driven ingredients from the New York State area in its unconventional takes on the Italian canon, offering the perfect mixture of the elegance of Arlo, the grit of Manhattan, and the colorful personalities of the Three Kings. Our menu includes appetizers of meatballs & garlic knots, Caesar salad, Burrata; for entrées, we have a choice of vegetarian pasta, chicken cacciatore, salmon en cartoccio.

 

Shun Lee West (Chinese)
43 W 65 Street (between CPW and Columbus Ave)
Wednesday, May 16
5:30 pm optional drinks, 6:15 pm dinner
$73 prix fixe: 4 courses, tea (no wine), tax & tip

36 years ago the first ever dinner for The Single Gourmet was held here and Michael Tong has continued to deliver for us. The NYTimes did a half-page story on us and the rest is history. Our menu is the best of the best with multiple choices such as soft shell crab, chicken soong, boiled wontons, Beijing duck and much more. Zagat 22 as an “exemplar of upscale dining, fancy Chinese food dispatched by a top team in an exotic, space.” There’s a reason why it’s been a neighborhood cornerstone since the 1980s and there is a reason why we visit here every May (besides the fact that it is a tradition).

 

Rossini’s Restaurant (Northern Italian)
108 E 38th St (between Park Ave S and Lex Ave)
Sunday, May 20
5:15 pm optional drinks, 6:00 pm dinner
$72 prix fixe: 3 courses, coffee/tea (no wine), tax & tip      

Zagat rated 24, “They don’t make ’em like this anymore!” say mature fans of this “romantic” Murray Hill Northern Italian that’s a “mainstay” for “old-world gracious” service and “superior” classic cuisine. Located in the charming neighborhood of Murray Hill, Rossini’s has been serving fine Northern Italian Cuisine for 40 years, based on many long-standing family recipes as well as new and innovative Italian presentations. With large chairs and a roomy interior, it provides an ambiance that is perfect for either the important business lunch or the intimate romantic dinner. The genuine friendliness and warm service makes diners feel right at home in this family owned restaurant. Our menu here will include rigatoni filetto di pomidoro, ravioli alla vodka, insalata alla Cesare, and house salad for the first course; a combination plate of vitello (veal) alla Rossini & pollo alla Francese (or a choice of one or the other), fish of the day (salmon or tilapia), or New York shell steak ($15 supplemental) for our entrees; and canoli, tortoni, or spumoni for dessert.

ALL menus listed are subject to change without notice due to restaurant supply.

To reserve any or all the events please go to our website or call us at (646) 825-0268, email us at events@thesingelgourmet.net or mail checks to: The Single Gourmet, 69 W 9th Street #6A, New York, NY 10011.

REFUND POLICY: Due to restaurant deposit and guarantee requirements, cancellations for dinners are accepted up to ONE WEEK prior to the event. If you cancel 4-6 days prior, you will receive a credit toward a future event, but there will be no refunds for cancellations made 0-3 days before a dinner. Ticketed events (tours, shows, and ANY non-dinner event) are non-refundable within 7 days of the event.

FOR ALL TRIPS, we strongly recommend travel insurance, as there will be NO REFUNDS.

 

TRIP TO TORONTO & NIAGARA FALLS
July 24-30
$3250
minus $300 if flying on your own
minus $250 if sharing a room
The itinerary is 85% done, but subject to change. NOTE, the dates of the trip have changed!
We are waiting on some restaurants which are always booked last (they will be great), a tour company for Niagara Falls one day and one of the hotels to confirm. We will update this as soon as finished. The hotel we have reserved is the Omni King Edward Hotel, in the heart of downtown Toronto, and walking distance from many attractions. The King Edward was the first hotel ever built in Toronto, with 400 rooms and 300 baths, and in 2013 underwent a $40 million renovation when it was purchased by Omni, which was completed in 2015.

We will do most of these activities (in no particular order), and maybe more:

  • Luxury day trip to Niagara Falls
  • Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, with 1.5 million gallons of marine and freshwater habitats from across the world, the exhibits hold more than 20,000 exotic sea and freshwater specimens from more than 450 species.
  • Wander 5 acres of gardens and the mysterious and picturesque gothic castle at Casa Loma
  • CN Tower, including a visit to the observation deck 1,151 feet above the ground with amazing views of the surrounding city
  • Toronto landmarks such as Dundas Square, Chinatown, St. Lawrence Market, and Eaton Centre
  • Scenic harbor boat cruise where you will be able to see breath-taking views of Toronto’s skyline and the busy, bustling waterfront and nearby Toronto Islands
  • Cooking class
  • Wine tour
  • 3-4 hour bus and walking tour
  • And as always, great restaurants.

We need deposits for this trip ASAP, so in order to fully confirm, please do so by emailing us your full exact name and your date of birth as printed on your government-issued ID. Even if you have sent them before, please send them again to confirm you are coming. We will then take a $500 NON-REFUNDABLE deposit for the airfare, along with a signed waiver/release.

FINAL PAYMENT WILL BE DUE JUNE 1

 

TRIP TO ICELAND
October 9-16
price not yet determined
minus $350 if flying on your own
minus $400 if sharing a room

Common wisdom says that Iceland and Greenland were given those names because the Vikings of Iceland wanted discourage too many people from coming to their verdant island, but they didn’t care how many people tried to settle the huge ice-covered land mass to its northwest. That may or may not be true, but according to National Geographic, 80% of Greenland is covered in ice (or at least it was back in 2016), and thanks to the Gulf Stream, Iceland’s summers are intensely green, even though 11 percent of the country is covered with a permanent ice cap. Located in the southeast of Iceland, Vatnajökull (known as the Water Glacier in English), is Europe’s largest glacier, and at 3100 square miles is a piece of ice nearly as big as Puerto Rico.

The first day we will take it easy and visit Iceland’s famous church, Hallgrímskirkja, go to a museum or two, and perhaps visit the presidential residence. But most of what Iceland has to offer is not indoors, with one marvel of nature after another. This itinerary is 80% complete, and we will go all around the island to survey the spectacular scenery that the island has to offer. This includes amazing waterfalls and black sand beaches, huge craters and small geysers, the classic Golden Circle, a whale watching expedition, and we will end the trip with a day of luxury at the Blue Lagoon.

By the way, yes that is me (John) in the photo on the bottom right; I visited Iceland for a week back in the summer of 2009, during the time of year when they call it the land of the midnight sun.

We also need deposits for this trip ASAP, because Iceland is very popular, especially in early October, so in order to fully confirm, please do so by emailing us your full exact name and your date of birth as printed on your government-issued ID. Even if you have sent them before, please send them again to confirm you are coming. We will then take a $500 NON-REFUNDABLE deposit for the airfare, along with a signed waiver/release.

 

NEW YEAR’S EVE 2018-2019
IN CUBA
December 27 – January 3
$TBD

Hola Senõras y Señores, we are returning to Cuba for New Year’s Eve! Two years ago, Aaron pioneered this trip and everyone raved about it. On this trip we will land in Havana, and also travel to cities that we did not visit the last time.

The doors to Cuba are not as open as they were before the change of administration of the US government, but it is still possible to go, and it is a privilege to be able to go now while Cuba is still open to us. However, as time goes by, it probably will be more open to tourists, and things will change as more Americans go down to visit. If you missed the trip two years ago, come this time so you can say, “I got to go while it was still, well, Cuba!”

Know that while the fabulous trip the agency has planned for us is going to be amazing, Cuba is not a luxury destination. It is still very much left as it was, stuck in time. There are no chain stores, no ads, few signs and it is basically a commercial-free zone. Cuba is culturally, historically, and politically rich, but not in terms of standard amenities you might expect. There is little internet connection, and international cell phone service is minimal. US credit cards don’t work in Cuba, so converting cash at the airport is necessary. So much is happening now, and it is a going to be one of these trips where you’ll tell yourself “wow, so close and yet, so far…” OK? So, now that this is out of the way, go get yourself a Cuba Libre and read on the fabulous itineraries we have for you!!

IMPORTANT NOTES ON FLIGHTS AND TRAVELING TO CUBA:

  • Cuba WILL SELL OUT quickly for the New Year’s Eve time period. Our tour company is holding onto a block of rooms, but they MUST have a headcount as soon as possible or they will release these rooms. This is not a trip where you can decide you want to join in November. We need an accurate exact headcount by the end of June, preferably the end of May.
  • As of this writing, DIRECT flights to Havana from NEW YORK are daily. However, to make your trip smooth, we strongly recommend you fly with the group. You don’t need to know all the details now, but we will take care of all the details, including making sure you know what documents to bring, and what paperwork you have to file.
  • We hired a legal tour company (the same one as last time) who is putting together a marvelous adventure for us. We say “legal” because they have to be authorized agents of Cuba and the US to take on US citizens and residents on an approved trip. We fall under the “people-to-people” category of approved travelers, making us official students of the Cuban culture. Our trip and tours were designed with the Single Gourmet members in mind, meaning that we will always be on private tours, with our own chauffeur and guides, and our learning experiences are much broader than the “daily talks” other tours offer.
  • This information is taken directly from the US embassy website in Havana: “Travel to Cuba for tourist activities remains prohibited by statute. However, the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has issued general licenses for 12 categories of travel. Individuals who meet the regulatory conditions of the general license they seek to travel under do not need to apply for an additional license from OFAC to travel to Cuba. The 12 categories of authorized travel to Cuba are: family visits; official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; journalistic activity; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; support for the Cuban people; humanitarian projects; activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; exportation, importation, or transmission of information or informational materials; and certain authorized export transactions.” The travel affidavit form we will have you fill out is about that. You will check our category which falls under “Educational Activities,” people-to-people travel.
  • We will give you more details about things such as medical insurance and cash in the coming weeks.

 

 

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