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Holiday Survival Guide: Best New Bars of 2013

December 15th, 2013 No Comments

Mary Rambin Drinking a Beer

When I go home over the holidays, I like to try the new hot spots all of my friends have been raving about. Thrillist just posted this list that includes bars from all over the country.  They rarely lead me astray, so if you see your city, give their rec a shot!

Click here to read the full article with descriptions of each place.

Atlanta

Austin

  • CRAFT PRIDE
    What you’re getting: A Jester King seasonal
  • WHISLER’S
    What you’re getting: The Dealer’s Choice

Cambridge, MA

  • BEAT HÔTEL
    What you’re getting: A VFW Old Fashioned

Charleston, NC

THE RAREBIT
What you’re getting: Moscow Mule with homemade Sweatman’s ginger beer

Chicago

  • BILLY SUNDAY
    What you’re getting: Fernet & Cola
  • THREE DOTS AND A DASH
    What you’re getting: Poipu Beach Boogie Board; a Treasure Chest (if you’re a baller and/or shot-caller)
  • PUNCH HOUSE
    What you’re getting: Dusek Punch

Dallas

Houston

Las Vegas

  • VELVETEEN RABBIT
    What you’re getting: The Crucifix in a Deathhand; the Burning Bush

Los Angeles

  • NO VACANCY
    What you’re getting: A delicious gin cocktail
  • HONEYCUT
    What you’re getting: Any drink on their extensive list; the Toucan Sam if they’ve got it

Louisville

  • EL CAMINO
    What you’re getting: Whatever sweet tiki drink Susie Hoyt wants to make you

Miami

  • DROGERIE
    What you’re getting: The Pain Killer

Milwaukee

Minneapolis

Nashville

  • PINEWOOD SOCIAL
    What you’re getting: The Honesty of Constant Human Error

New Orleans

New York

  • TØRST
    What you’re getting: A beer you’ve never heard of before that’s probably been barrel-aged
  • DEAD RABBIT
    What you’re getting: Morning Reviver
  • AMERICAN WHISKEY
    What you’re getting: Remember the Maine

Oakland

Portland

San Diego

San Francisco

  • TRICK DOG
    What you’re getting: Eye of the Tiger
  • MIKKELLER BAR
    What you’re getting: A crazy sour beer you’ve never heard of

Seattle

Washington DC

  • 2 BIRDS 1 STONE
    What you’re getting: The Daily Punch
  • BLUEJACKET
    What you’re getting: James & the Giant; the Stroppy pale ale

 

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Check out your new favorite taco, NYC.

November 7th, 2013 No Comments

Screen Shot 2013-11-07 at 9.15.03 AM

 

You will find it here:

Ottos Tacos ExteriorOttos Tacos Loca

Specifically at 141 Second Ave between St. Mark’s and 9th.  You know, where tons of great chefs are opening up their casual counterparts.  In this grab-n-go taqueria, you’ll find these guys (Chef on the left, my long time friend Otto on the right):

Otto and Chef Jose

Serving up this seeming simple but blow your mind flavorful menu (click to enlarge):

Ottos Tacos Menu

 

Don’t get dressed up or wear heels cause you’re walking in starving and taking tacos out to devour.  There are a few seats, but I expect once word gets out, they’ll fill up fast.

When you go, tell Otto I sent you and give hime a big hug for me!

Very proud of you my man.

Mary Rambin Otto's Tacos

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Eat, drink, and be Mary in Atlanta: a solid guide to Buckhead

October 4th, 2013 No Comments

leaves turning in autumn - atlanta, ga

 

Before my friend Becky went to Atlanta for work this week, she asked me for recommendations of places to eat, drink, and be…well, Mary, while in Buckhead.  My response: of course I can whip up a list for you!  Find it below pretty much cut and pasted from the email I sent her.

A day later it hit me it’s Autumn in Atlanta right now.  My favorite time of year there.  The heat has subsided; the kids are back in school; and the city is painted in red, orange, and yellow.  The trees above line my old street…Seems like a world away now.

Mostly I miss my girls: Susan, Libby, Renee, Margaret Ellen, Prentiss, Erin, and Missi.  A big hug to y’all.

My favorite places to sit at the bar and eat dinner:

 
– Cibo e Beve: This was my local hangout. Casual and fun Italian.  Tell Justin the bartender I say hello.
Local Three:  Farm to table.  Considered one of the best restaurants in ATL.
– Seven Lamps:  In the Shops Around Lenox.  Same chef as One Midtown Kitchen. Has a late night menu.
Bones: Best steak in ATL, older crowd, great wine by the glass.
– Houston’s on Peachtree or the one near Lenox Mall. always fun people sitting at the bar.
LPC: Upscale Italian and worth the $$.
10 Degrees South: go for the good time, not necessarily the food, sit on the back patio
St. Regis Bar: just drinks, quite a scene
Tin Lizzy’s: on Roswell and Piedmont: great chips and salsa, good mexican, super casual
– Aria:  for a nicer dining experience.
– Canoe: a Buckhead classic when you want to sit outside and just relax by the creek
 

During the day:

 
Cafe Jonah:  casual and healthy, cute cafe in an old house.
Dtox Juice : fresh juices. the kale salad and green smoothie is to die for.  Tell the owner Shannon I sent you!
Cafe at Pharr: quick and easy. get the chicken salad.
Super Jenny: best turkey chili EVER! you might have to wait in a line for it.
– Anis: if you’re looking for wine at lunch :)
Blue Moon Pizza: fresh, quick, and easy. you can order small pies or even by the slice.
– Farm Burger:  best burger in my opinion. they have turkey and veggie as well, soooo good.
Arden’s Garden – juice and salads to go.  kale Salad is amazing.
 

If you’re willing to go downtown:

 
– JCT Kitchen or Bar: a solid choice for great food and people
Bacchanalia: the best restaurant in ATL, hands down, Italian will blow your mind)
One Midtown Kitchen: Another ATL classic. one of the first farm-to-table spots.
Barcelona:  One of my favorite places for a fun dinner. great crowd! awesome food and wine.
– Lureupscale and trendy seafood in a lovely space.
– Ecco: only go and sit at the bar or outside.
Empire State South: farm to table, one of the best of ATL.  Known for it’s cocktails as well.
 

In Decatur:

 
No. 246 (my fave) or Iberian Pig for dinner.
 

Other stuff you need to know:

 
 BLAST900 - Tell Missi you’re a friend of Mary Rambin, she’ll squeal :) Give her a big hug for me and then get ready for the workout OF YOUR LIFE!
– Chastain park, 3 miles around, a beautiful way to end the day
Atlanta Hot Yoga:  If you dare, go to one of Jason or Octavia’s power classes!
– Mani/Pedi: Trina Nails - call ahead for Tracy.  Tell Tracy and Trish I say hi.

 

**Please note I haven’t been in ATL for a while and new places open up monthly.  For a current Top 10 list, go here.

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“Where should we go for dinner tonight?”

September 13th, 2013 No Comments

Thrillist iPhone App

 

When the questions arises, I can NEVER think of the places on my wish list or Eater’s hit list.  No more guessing or driving around in circles with the new Thrillist iPhone app.  

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What’s more important in a restaurant: food or scene? – RivaBella Review

August 23rd, 2013 No Comments

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This is not a new question, but one you should consider if you want to go to the new LA hotspot RivaBella. IDG (the group that runs Boa and Katana) and chef Gino Angelini took over the old Hamburger Hamlet on West Sunset to open this Italian outpost for scensters.   The interior design and decor is quite beautiful.  Cozy but chic.  The people are arguably even prettier.  But the food is average at best. Coming from Gino Angelini of one of my all time favorite Italian joints (Angelini Osteria on Beverly), this was a huge disappointment.

 

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Jonathan Gold from the LA Times says, “RivaBella makes ordinary Italian perfect.”  That’s a stretch for me, especially at those pricepoints.

Go for drinks; enjoy the scene; then get the H outta there.

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There’s a new one in your hood. Have you tried it?

June 27th, 2013 No Comments
The Smile, NYC

The Smile, NYC

It seems like every time I open a magazine, there’s a feature on an up-and-coming food city.  That city is different EVERY time.  Which means, it’s likely you live in one and have great new restaurants opening up around you….daily!  So it’s time to ditch the old favorites and try a new spot. (Randall, that means you too.)

I wrote about Baltimore and Oakland just last week.  Denver and Houston are topping lists.  Atlanta has been a breading ground since Richard Blais won Top Chef.  Chicago, with 2 years of Michelin ranking under its belt, has been killing it with foodies.

What I’ve found is that no matter where I am, I can always find an exceptional farm-to-table restaurant.  Pretty much in any neighborhood.  I know “Farm-to-Table” sounds cliche, but can we really argue with chefs who are using locally sourced produce and preparing it in a clean and creative way?

New FTT restos are popping up on every corner in NYC and LA.  Below are 2 in each I think you’ll enjoy as much as I do. All of them are small and super cute, which means a reservation is a good idea.  If there are only two of you, you could luck out on a bar seat (except at The Smile).

In the comments below, go ahead and share your new favorite so we can give it a shot if we’re in your neighborhood.  Thanks in advance!

 

(To see the images larger, click the pics.)

 

NEW YORK

The Smile, 26 Bond Street, NYC, (646) 329-5836 thesmilenyc.com

Quick note: celeb scene is almost as good as the food.  If you do go to The Smile, say hello to Lily from my SoulCycle training group!

 

Tiny’s 135 West Broadway TriBeCa NYC (212) 374-1135 TinysNYC.com

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Willie Jane, 1031 Abbot Kinney, Venice CA (310) 392- 2425 WillieJane.com

 

 

Rustic Canyon,1119 Wilshire Blvd Santa Monica, (310) 393-7050 RusticCanyonWineBar.com

Rustic Canyon has been around for a while, but they just changed chefs.  Now at the helm is Jeremy Fox who is was previously at the only vegetarian restaurant to ever earn a Michelin star (Ubunto in Napa).  We at there last night and his food was fresh and extraordinary.

 

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Foodie finds in unfamiliar cities

June 13th, 2013 2 Comments
Westbury Kitchen Baltimore
Traveling to random cities over the past few years, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the food I’ve found.  Granted, I had to hunt for it, but the effort was worth my while with every bite.  Below is a collection of places I’ve been referred to, experienced, or just sound right up my alley.  Should you find yourself in one of these places, make haste to the bar or a table (reservations can be surprisingly hard to come by) and report back with your findings.

Baltimore

Charleston

Oakland

Denver also has an up and coming food scene, but I haven’t heard many specifics yet.  Cities I visited and struggled to find a handful of options: Detroit, Phoenix, and Nashville.  If you have suggestions in any of the places I mentioned, please leave them in the comments below.
I would include Houston and Atlanta in this grouping, but I wrote about my favorites frequently. Click here for Houston and Atlanta recommendations.
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LA locals will laugh at NYC’s new burger joint

June 6th, 2013 5 Comments

Fat Burger New York on Eater

 

 

When I saw on Eater that Fat Burger is opening in New York, I actually laughed out loud.  Where do I start with this mess:

First of all, restaurant concepts and brands should generally move East to West.  Especially chains.  Even when they do move from NYC to LA, I find the West Coast outpost to be far inferior to its NYC parent (STK, BLT, Fig &  Olive, there are others…). Northern California cuisine is another ball game, but I can’t think of any SF restos that have come to NYC. (Chefs obviously excluded – they’re smart enough to start something new in NYC!)

While I will admit to downing my fair share of Fat Burgers, that hasn’t been since college when it was the ONLY boutique burger joint in town.  Now there are a handful to choose from that blow a Fat Burger off the griddle!

BUT! We must consider the location they chose: Murray Hill. Due to its affordable doorman buildings, I finished my 3 year NYC stint on 30th and 3rd.  Now, when I go back to my favorite mani/pedi lady, I’ve found the midtown east hood has grown up since it’s “Curry Hill” days when it was the playground for B ‘n T (Jersey kids driving into the city to party). My goodness does that crowd love a new concept and chowing down late night.   Otherwise, new finance twenty-somethings are the locals and tend to need some serious hangover grub.  So, my thought is, the people probably haven’t changed that much and Fat Burger will be a huge hit.  Extra bottom line bonus if they deliver.

For those of you with a discerning burger palate – I hope that’s all of you – hear me when I tell you: NOT WORTH IT!

 

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