We Love You!

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We love our guests. We love you bunches. And we want you to have a fun-filled, loving Valentine’s Day, so spend it with that special someone or someones. (Some of my greatest V-Days have been spent with the best friends anyone could ask for.)

We’ve still got a few tables left tonight, so come on in and grab a romantic bite with us.

Until then, please enjoy one of the great romantic cinematic moments of all time:

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!!!! xxoo

S.W.A.K.

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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and Chef Yoel Cruz, romantic fellow that he is, has prepared a scrumptious, four-course prix fixe dinner for $55. That’s 55 bucks for four courses in New York City. Prepared by Chef Cruz. I dare you to find a better value.

First courses include oysters, mini lobster and crab cakes and corn blini with cured salmon, roasted peppers and dill creme fraiche.

The next round features a roasted beet salad, porcini dusted quail with a black truffle sauce, tuna tartare and lobster bisque.

Mains include filet mignon au poivre, roasted pekin dust breast, seared venison, tortilla crusted halibut and herb crusted rack of lamb (my fave).

Consulting Pastry Chef Alana Ford has put together a yummy chocolate pecan pie,  pistachio creme brulee, key lime pie and spiced bread pudding and an insane chocolate strawberry mousse cake. That’s right: Chocolate. Strawberry. Mousse. Cake.

We love you and want you to spend the evening with us! Click here to make reservations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

CHEF YOEL CRUZ

 

CONSULTING PASTRY CHEF ALANA FORD

 

I Hate Football. So What Now?

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Not a football fan? Frankly, neither am I. So I’m going to avoid the Super Bowl hooplah and do something (anything) that doesn’t involve watching large men hugging oval-shaped balls and tackling each other. Here are a few of my choices:

The Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival starts at 1 p.m. in Little Italy and makes its way through the streets of lower Manhattan and Chinatown. The hub of the whole party is at Sara Roosevelt Park at Grand and Forsyte Streets; there will be plenty of vendors, food and otherwise, catering to people of all ages.

The Morgan has an exhibit dedicated to The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s beautiful and philosophical story in which a pilot stranded in the desert meets a young prince fallen to Earth from a tiny asteroid. The Little Prince: A New York Story examines the relationship between this charming book and our fair city, where much of it was written. The display also features the author’s only surviving handwritten draft.

Sunday is the final day to catch the Harlem Fine Arts Show at Riverside Church. (The exhibition runs all weekend.) This year’s show focuses on Martha’s Vineyard and features over 100 emerging and established artists from the island.

It’s Ground Hog Day! If you’re an early riser, head to the Staten Island Zoo at 7:30 a.m. and catch Chuck the Groundhog’s winter prediction. You can stay and have breakfast with him too if you’re so inclined. Or you can do what I would do and sleep in, then catch a screening of the movie Groundhog Day at noon at the Nitehawk Cinema in Williamsburg’s brunch screening.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

 

Happy New Year! Now Get Moving…

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New Year’s Day is one of rejuvenation…new beginnings…oh, let’s be honest–getting rid of that flabby end result of all those chocolate Santas and fancy cocktails. So what better way to spend it than getting off your duff and moving?

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Happy New Year’s Day Hike: The Shorewalkers is, a group whose mission is, “to enhance, enjoy and protect the parks, promenades and paths along the waters in and around New York City, Downstate New York and North New Jersey.” Meet at noon at the 178th St. and Broadway Port Authority Bus Terminal information booth to take a 6-mile walk that explores the shores and parks of upper Manhattan. The three to four hour walk is an all-levels hike. But if you had one too many glasses of bubbly the night before, don’t worry–there’s a chance to bail around the two-hour mark at 207th St.

JCC in Manhattan’s New Year’s Day Fitness Fair: Free exercise classes, people! The folks at JCC clearly want to get you healthy. Zumba, yoga, meditation, cycling and more. Plus TRX suspension training which sounds scary, so it must be really, really good for you, right? Located at Amsterdam and 76th St.

I’m not sure if the folks at the Polar Bear Club are healthier than us, or just crazier. But every New Year’s Day, at 1 p.m. (earlier if you’re going to participate) they gather on the boardwalk at Stillwell Ave. on Coney Island to take a frigid dip in the Atlantic. They may be a little nuts, but they’re good people: every swimmer is encouraged to donate $20 to Camp Sunshine, a charity that supports children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. (And you can too, even if you don’t take the plunge.)

Here’s hoping everyone has a happy and healthy New Year!

 

 

What You Don’t Want To Do This New Year’s Eve

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You do not want to spend $300 on an overcooked steak, wilted salad and a glass of cheap champagne.

You do not want to watch the ball drop in Times Square, unless you’re Ryan Seacrest and getting paid handsomely to be there. Trust me. You just don’t.

You do not want to be at a party packed to the gills with people you don’t know, with nowhere to run when that creepy stranger leans in for a sloppy kiss come the stroke of midnight.

You don’t want to do any of those things or be in any of those places, right?

Let’s face it: you just want to have a delicious, hassle-free meal with the one(s) you love. So save yourself. Come ring in the New Year us! No doubt the food will be good. (Does Chef Cruz ever disappoint?) The crowd will be friendly–no creeps allowed on the premises. And the bill won’t send you to the hospital with a coronary on the very first day of 2014.

The menu specials this year will feature seared foie gras, roasted wild boar, seared venison and a classic Surf and Turf, plus a variety of oysters and clams for the shellfish lovers out there. And yes, we have champagne.

So come spend the evening with us and start the new year off right. Click here for reservations.

 

 

Ho-Ho-Ho-liday Feast!

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First the bad news: that headline was really corny. The good news? While North Square will be closed on Christmas day, we’ll be open for business on Christmas Eve–complete with specials.

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Appetizer specials will include shrimp bisque, wild mushroom soup, eggplant cannelloni and grilled marinated quail.

Entree specials are roasted rabbit loin with wilted spinach, roasted carrots and spiced au jus. And grilled monkfish with herb roasted yellow potatoes, asparagus and a madras curry sauce.

Yum!

So whether you celebrate Christmas or not, give yourself a break and let us do the cooking!

We Heart Christmas Windows

Christmas windows have been a huge part of the New York City holiday season for years. I distinctly remember anxiously waiting on line, then standing as high as I could on my tip-toes to peer at the Lord & Taylor windows when I was a little girl. I can’t imagine it’s much different for the kiddos these days.

Here’s a quick rundown of where to see them and the themes:

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Macy’s (34th & Broadway) is a technology-heavy winter wonderland in its presentation, with an interactive element where you can change what’s happening on the screen with your movements.

The theme of Lord & Taylor (39th & 5th) windows seem much the same as when I was a kid (and this is meant as a compliment). The windows are inspired by vintage New York City, capturing the city’s history of tradition and heritage. The store aims to tell you a holiday story in each window as you walk down Fifth Avenue. And as always, Santa shows up.

The windows at Saks Fifth Avenue (51st & 5th) will depict the story of the Saks Fifth Avenue Yeti, (a cute, not-at-all-scary abominable snowman) said to live on the store’s roof and make snow during the holiday season. And every evening, there’s a 3D light show that maps the holiday story onto the building’s exterior.

Bergdorf Goodman (58th & 5th) goes for the fashion jugular, featuring a “holidays on ice wonderland feast of fashion” displaying clothing from the chicest of the chic.

Barney’s (62nd & Madison) can always be counted on to out-window all the other windows. Visual artist Joanie Lemercier collaborated with Jay Z (Hova!) for four futuristic set pieces complete with incredible light shows and a mini-theater. Visitors can actually become part of the display by climbing inside the last window to take a virtual ride on Santa’s sleigh.

And, finally, the windows at Bloomingdale’s (59th & Lexington) have different county themes, like France, Italy or China. Each window features a big box that swivels around to reveal different scenes in each country.

 

The New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show

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So, technically model train shows are geared towards children, but you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy them, do you? Remember Bobby Bacala on The Sopranos? (Okay, I know it didn’t end well, but still…)

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This yearly event is truly fun for everyone. There are more than a dozen large-scale model railway trains–from American steam engines and streetcars from the late 1800s to modern freight and high-speed passenger trains and trolleys.

The scenery that the trains pass through include waterfalls, rustic bridges and tunnels, plus local landmarks like the Empire State Building, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Brooklyn Bridge.

Oh–and Thomas the Tank Engine will be there. Score!! Who doesn’t love Thomas?

The show runs daily through January 12th (except for Christmas day) and it’s just a short train ride from Grand Central to get there. It’s probably smart to purchase your tickets ahead of time, due to its popularity.

So check this out. The attention to detail is mind-blowing. I mean, how amazing is this:

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Trees Are Being Lit Up All Over!

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Tonight is the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. This 75-year-old, 76-foot spruce from Shelton CT will be illuminated by 45,000 multi-colored LED lights and topped with a 9 ½-foot-wide Swarovski star.

Of course there will be stars of another sort performing–Mary J. Blige (love her!), Toni Braxton, Mariah Carey and Kelly Clarkson, to name a few.

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FYI, the first Christmas tree was set up in 1931 by workers who were building Rockefeller Center. The first tree-lighting ceremony ceremony was held in 1933, 80 years ago.

If you can’t get there–or hate crowds–NBC is broadcasting the event starting at 8 p.m., so be sure to tune in if you don’t want to miss the action.

Never to be outdone, we Village folk are having our own tree lighting here in Washington Square Park on December 11th from 5 to 6 p.m. under the arch. The Rob Susman Brass Quartet will play holiday songs–and children and grown-ups alike are encouraged to raise their voices and join in. (And no, you don’t have to be a good singer. Trust me. I know from experience.)

Oh, and Rock Center may have Kelly Clarkson, but we’ll have Santa Claus, people! (Now tell me who has the bigger star?) So come on down, give Santa your list, and stop by for a drink!

And finally, if you can’t make it to any of the above ceremonies, the Metropolitan Museum of Art conducts a tree lighting ceremony every Friday and Saturday evenings at 7 p.m.

So there you have it. We hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season so far!