L. E. Daily Tip: The Spotted Pig

Today's locally-focused tip is centered on the Spotted Pig in honor of its 10th anniversary this year. Longevity in the Big Apple is a very difficult proposition, especially in the restaurant business. However, the Spotted Pig continues to fill up on a nightly basis and has stayed relevant with locals and tourists alike. This corner pub heralded the concept of the Gastropub and the no reservation policy...  two trends that spread across NYC, the country, and major cities around the globe. 

The Spotted Pig is a great place for brunch, dinner, drinks at the bar (I prefer upstairs), and for late night drinking. They are best known for their chargrilled Roquefort burgers, but the gnudi is my favorite dish! Chef April Bloomfield is quoted as saying that she will eventually take it off the menu... thankfully that day has not yet come. If you haven't tried this dish, please make it priority #1.

If you love the Spotted Pig, give The Breslin Bar & Dining Room a try next time you are in midtown. Both are creations of Ken Friedman and April Bloomfield and both are 1-star Michelin restaurants. Other notable spots from this pair include Salvation Taco and John Dory Oyster Bar (awarded a two-stars review from the New York Times).

L. E. Daily Tip: Motorino and Luzzo's

There are tons of options for pizza in NYC, but I'm particularly blessed living in the East Village where there are two incredible spots a stone's throw from the corner of East 12th St and 1st Avenue. In no particular order, there is Motorino on E 12th St and 1st Ave and Luzzo's on 1st Ave between E 12th and E 13th Sts. 

Both Motorino and Luzzo's produce delicious thin crust Neapolitan-style pizza. Motorino cooks their pizzas in a brick oven, while Luzzo's has a 120+ year-old coal-burning oven. Coal-burning ovens are rare in NYC as no new ovens are allowed, they must be inherited! 

Motorino's strength: a focus on fresh ingredients. Their Soppressata pizza is outstanding, as well as their seasonal specials. Their restaurant is small, charming, and causal and they usually have a line out the door.  

Luzzo's strength: Their coal-burning oven does magical things to their crust. Their Salsiccia E Broccoli is phenomenal. Luzzo's is causal and charming as well, but it is a slightly larger restaurant and thus seating is easier to get. They also allow BYOB with a $15 corkage fee.  

You really can't go wrong with either. And if one has a long wait, go to the other for amazing pizza. They both have locations in Brooklyn and beyond (see their websites). 

L. E. Daily Tip: The Best NYC Sunset!

For the best NYC sunset, you have to leave Manhattan and head over to Williamsburg. The L Train is an easy way to get there or a taxi if that line is not convenient for you. Head to the beautiful Wythe Hotel on 80 Wythe Ave. at N. 11th St and ask the host(ess) for entry into The Ides Bar on the 6th floor. Try to get there about an hour or two before sunset and enjoy a couple of leisurely cocktails at the bar. The bar itself is inside, but it has a very nice outdoor patio attached. The backdrop of the bar is the beautiful Manhattan skyline. Hang at the bar or head outside to enjoy the sun and the unobstructed view. Enjoy the sunset as it dips behind the the city. Some nights are busier than others...  the crowd is a mix of locals and stylish tourists from around the world. Cheers!

L. E. Daily Tip: Forgetmenot

As the sign indicates inside this cozy surf bar on the border between Chinatown and the Lower East Side, "Locals Only." It's called Forgetmenot and it's a wickedly cool spot, so make sure you look the part and don't act a fool.

Forgetmenot is great for drinks with friends, a date, or for a causal, but delicious meal. It's located on 138 Division St and was expanded several months ago. Some expansions lessen a place. This expansion makes this dark, locals spot even better. Make sure you try their spicy watermelon margaritas now that the warm weather is here!