(Left: Chef Aaron Silverman and sous chef Scott Mums plating dishes at the Chef's Counter;

Right: a view of the main dining area at Pineapple and Pearls) 

Very few restaurants in recent memory could match the sense of conviviality and certitude in its mission than Rose's Luxury in Washington, D. C.  From the get-go, Chef Aaron Silverman and his staff wanted to create a dining experience that was warm and inviting, yet still rewarded foodies and gourmands with excellent globally-influenced Southern comfort food.    A meal at Rose's Luxury not only filled the stomach but satisfied the soul, and the crowds lining up for hours for a seat as well as the critics could only agree, showering the restaurant with acclaim and rave reviews.

When Mr.

Having achieved success with their SoHo casual restaurant Charlie Bird, chef Ryan Hardy and proprietors Robert Bohr and Grant Reynolds decided to double down on the Italian concept and open yet another Italian restaurant in the heart of NoLIta.  Named Pasquale Jones, the restaurant joins La Sirena, Lilia and Café Altro Paradiso in leading a mini-Renaissance of Italian cuisine in the city, showcasing the food in settings both grand and small.

The New York City Italian food scene is an extremely competitive arena, with hundreds of eateries vying for the attention and money of the fickle New York diner.  Last month alone saw a spate of high-profile Italian restaurants open in and around the city: Missy Robbins' Lilia, Mario Batali's La Sirena, and the Charlie Bird team's Pasquale Jones, to name a few.  This crowded field was recently joined by Ignacio Mattos who, with his partner Thomas Carter, opened Café Altro Paradiso in SoHo.

For its next Late Night Dinner, Momofuku Ssam Bar looked to the Midwest and invited James Beard nominee and Best New Chef Jonathon Sawyer.  Mr. Sawyer has been a great proponent of the Rustbelt Revolution ever since he opened his flagship restaurant The Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland in 2009, tirelessly supporting local businesses and using locally sourced ingredients and foodstuffs in all his restaurants.

It all started with a visit to a nutritionist.

Five years ago, chef Marco Canora was not feeling well.  He could not pinpoint what was making him feel ill, but he knew something was wrong.  Then came that fateful trip to the nutritionist, and the verdict came in: he had pre-diabetes, gout and hyperlipidemia.  He decided to eschew processed sugars, flour and oils, and ate more vegetables, proteins and "good fats".  He started feeling better and losing weight, and his numbers began to improve.

Just as the hype around Fuku and Fuku+ was dying down, David Chang set the culinary world a-tremble with the stealth opening of his newest restaurant Momofuku Nishi during the weekend.  Since late last year, when it was discovered that Mr. Chang had purchased a storefront along 8th Avenue in Chelsea, interest in this project has been steadily growing, as foodies and industry folks speculated what kind of food was to be served at the restaurant.  Mr.

It has become sort of a tradition of mine to dine at two different restaurants during New Year's Eve.  This New Year's Eve was no exception: the night began at Major Food Group's Saddle's and ended at my old stand-by Momofuku Ssam Bar.  The two restaurants could not be more different -- Sadelle's is the Jewish delicatessen re-imagined, while Ssam Bar deals with Asian-inflected cuisine -- but both represent the diversity and history of food in New York City.

It had become a tradition for me during the past few years to spend both Christmas night and Super Bowl Sunday at Momofuku Ko: such occasions are spent with family and friends, and the staff at Momofuku Ko has always been family to me.  So imagine my delight when, after a brief respite, the restaurant offered Christmas lunch and dinner this year.

Raw venison, pickled girolles and wet walnuts

Buttermilk scone, smoked mackerel and horseradish

Grilled ox tongue, beet root, anchovy and crispy onions

Brown sugar meringue, hazelnuts and raspberries

Breaking the meringue reveals a vanilla parfait

After a particularly long day sightseeing along the River Thames, I found myself at the foot of the Tower Bridge, tired and somewhat hungry.

My first night in London ended on a very good note, with dinner at the renowned restaurant Lyle's.  The food was quite outstanding: each dish was composed of five or so disparate ingredients, each simply prepared, which work harmoniously together to produce creative and delicious dishes.  It is a set menu costing 44 pounds Sterling, with a cheese course costing about 9 pounds Sterling, practically a steal.