The Quick and Dirty: 10 Downing Food & Wine

A recent addition to the west village that serves new age American fare at moderate prices. Space is minimalist (read: boring), but the food has enough flare to keep you awake.

Scene: Crowd was dominated by your typical West Village inhabitants: hipsters, artists, and writers of all ages.

Vibe: Classic, casual, cool.

Good for brunch: Sunny side up duck egg, duck ham, maple stewed figs and onion on rye toast.
That just made my stomach growl.

No liquor served, meaning no bloody marys when you really need a bloody mary.
Only beer and wine.

Must try: I implore you to try the marinated brussel sprouts, even though the ingredients may intimidate: they're served over a poached egg and drizzled with an anchovy vinaigrette and a light dusting of parmesan cheese. To die for.

In the neighborhood:
Post brunch stroll: Newly renovated Washington Square Park is a few blocks north. If you're still in need of a Bloody Mary, make the pain stop at Hundred Acres on MacDougal St. Try one of 5 types they offer. I go for the chipotle, which comes with enough kick to get rid of my headache, plus a pile of garnishes to satisfy the unending hunger pangs.

Post dinner: Bummed about the no liquor policy? Satisfy your inner alcoholic at Little Branch, an underground (literally) jazz club, where mixologists warm up almost as much as the musicians.

10 Downing
Address: wait for it...10 Downing St, NY, NY 10014 (at 6th ave)
Reservations recommended

Recession Recipes: Roasted Garlic Spread

For those that didnt get scared off by the concept and are still reading, rest assured that the potency of garlic changes when gently roasted. The sharp, bitter cloves that we know and love, becomes a buttery spread with a wonderfully nutty flavor.It pairs perfectly with a crusty loaf of multigrain and a richglass of red wine. Its simple enough for even the most inept cooks and a deceptively affordable, decadent appetizer.


Bar Boulud: the Perfect Pre-Theater Bite

Taking your significant other to the ballet? Bar Boulud is the perfect pre theater bite. Cozy up to the bar with your honey, or better yet, grab a table outside, but wherever you decide to rest your rump, make sure you order the charcuterie plate. Not to be missed are the head-cheese terrine, the coarse pâté grand-père (foie gras, pork, port), and Daniel's home-style dry sausage. It is accompanied by a generous spread of relishes and a helping of warm, perfectly crusted bread. Add a nice bottle of burgundy and you'll be immediately transported back to that Parisian cafe you promised you'd someday return to.

Main courses can be glossed over, especially if you plan on making it through Act 2 of Swan Lake. However, if you still have room, a sampling of their boudin should do the trick. Smooth and unbelievably rich, they almost distract from the sumptuous clouds of lightly truffled mashed potatoes (with the blanc) or the delightfully sweet caramelized apple puree with the noir. Need a jolt of caffeine pre-theater? Get a double dose with dark chocolate tart.

- The HEAT


Seasonal Cooking: Linguine with Fresh Peas and Pancetta

Using fresh, local produce not only allows for healthier, fuller flavored dishes, but also helps reduce your carbon footprint. Spring is peak season for fresh peas. While admittedly, peas have never been a favorite of mine, cover them with enough cream, bacon and pasta and they quickly moved up the scale! Play with portions of cream and goat cheese for a healthier dish:

18 ounces fresh angel-hair pasta
1 cup half-and-half (substitute milk for a healthier option)
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 shallots, roughly chopped
1/4lb pancetta, cut into small cubes
2tbsp olive oil for pan
coarse salt and ground pepper

2tbsp goat cheese for crumbling on top
mint or chives to finish the dish

1. Set a large pot of salted water to boil.
2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and add shallots. Saute 1-2min unti they begin to soften.
3. Add pancetta and saute until aromatic, about 5min.
4. Add white wine to deglaze, scraping brown bits off the bottom of the pan.
5. Add peas and half and half and let simmer until slightly thickened, about 2min.
6. Add pasta to boiling water. Follow instructions for al dente on the box and remove 1-2minutes beforehand, as we'll finish the pasta in the skillet. Reserve pasta water to thin sauce.
7. Add pasta to skillet, stir and add pasta water as necessary.
8. Serve in warm bowls and finish with a sprinkling of goat cheese and herbs on top.

serves 4 to 6

The Heat's Hottest: All Purpose Knife

The hottest knife:
Rachael Ray Gusto-Grip East/West Knife. I'd like to see Rachael try to come up with as cute an acronym for this knife as she does for her cooking oil (excuse me while I go throw up), but this knife does it all...and with an antimicrobial handle to boot!