Support New York City restaurants (lunch at SD26)

Above: The signature dish at SD26, a large raviolo stuffed with cheese and a gently poached egg yolk. Prix fixe lunch at SD26 is just $28.

As my friends and I ate our way through Manhattan last week, I heard a lot of people say that the restaurant scene there has begun to “pick up” again in the wake of the financial crisis “reset.”

I left the city on Friday: on Monday, Manhattan saw its worst flooding in a generation, a catastrophe that has already impacted New York’s struggling restaurateurs.

Above: The wine list at SD26 is presented on an iPad. I was thrilled to discover that the restaurant has an open network and that I could get online at the bar as I waited for my good friends Michele and Charles Scicolone who treated me to lunch.

Gastronomic culture in Manhattan and Brooklyn plays such an important role in our country: many of our nation’s best chefs and top sommeliers pay their dues and make their names there. When restaurants in New York thrive, restaurateurship throughout our country prospers as well.

Now, more than ever, the New York restaurant scene needs our support.

Best wine in Chicago and what Comrade H had for dinner

Comrade T recently wrote me asking for advice on where party members find good wine in Chicago. I reached out to Comrades N and L for their advice and here’s what they said (paired with Comrade H’s excellent dinner, including Comrade B’s Dolcetto).

Start with the first good cherry tomatoes of the summer.

FROM COMRADE N

Comrade J, we’re always happy to aid the cause.

Webster’s and Rootstock are the most simpatico establishments in my view. Avec is also a good choice.

Good garlic.

If you really want top Italian wines (including properly aged), head to Spiaggia but be prepared to pay dearly for the privilege.

Comrade T, if you need recs for restaurants, shops or anything else in town, feel free to drop me a line.

Wild arugula.

FROM COMRADE L

The two Comrade N mentioned are really it in terms of well thought out, conscientious lists. Again, Comrade N is right in that Spiaggia, while quite expensive, has a very well thought out list. And Alinea, too. This is just more of a beer town (and BYO which helps). That said some places do have nice lists. I just went to the Purple Pig the other week and was able to find a few things (they have some López de Heredia there).

Life is good.

Anyway, below is a list that I put together for someone a couple months ago. The only thing I’d add is the new Girl and the Goat that just opened by Stephanie who won Top Chef a couple seasons ago.

RESTAURANTS
http://www.longmanandeagle.com/
http://www.kumascorner.com/
http://thepurplepigchicago.com/
http://thepublicanrestaurant.com/
http://www.avecrestaurant.com/
http://www.thebristolchicago.com/
http://www.nightwoodrestaurant.com/
http://www.rickbayless.com/restaurants/xoco.html
http://bigstarchicago.com/
http://www.girlandthegoat.com/

COCKTAILS/BEER
http://www.whistlerchicago.com/
http://www.theviolethour.com/
http://www.maproom.com/
http://hopleaf.com/

And of course, good oil (sourced from Rare Wine Company), good wine (Comrade B’s Dolcetto), good vinegar…

WINE STORES/BARS
http://www.permanwine.com/
http://www.redandwhitechicago.com/
http://www.websterwinebar.com/
http://rootstockbar.com/

AVANTI POPOLO!

(and buon weekend, ya’ll!)