The Best Museum Restaurant Is Closing
We know we sound like a broken record, but it’s worth repeating: more of the city’s restaurants close every week - some temporarily and some for good. This week, Flora Bar on the UES announced it would not reopen in the new Frick Madison Breuer Building. The sister restaurant of Cafe Altro Paradiso and Estela has been closed since March 2020. It was one of our favorite places to eat seafood and decidedly the best restaurant on the Upper East Side. We’ll miss Flora Bar (and its raw bar, purple endive salad, and lobster and crab dumplings) dearly.
This Friday Is The Start Of Lunar New Year
Even though the annual parade in Chinatown is postponed, you can still boot up Flushing Town Hall’s virtual Lunar New Year Bazaar or celebrate the year of the Ox with an amazing meal. Whether you’re looking for a takeout feast on your couch, an outdoor crafting party, or a special dinner out, check out our guide to see what restaurants are doing specials this year.
Indoor Dining & Vaccine News
Although the original plan was for indoor dining to begin Sunday, February 14th, this week Cuomo bumped up the start date to Friday. As policies continue to change quickly and vaccination scheduling continues to be messy, restaurant owners share mixed reactions about whether or not to open.
According to an Eater report, the city’s Health & Hospital system did not accept any vaccination appointments for restaurant workers last weekend. Allegedly there was a miscommunication between the city, state, and Health & Hospital about when restaurant workers could begin receiving the vaccine (FYI - both Cuomo and De Blasio officially granted eligibility for restaurant workers last week). As of Monday, the Health & Hospitals system has started scheduling appointments for restaurant workers. If you’re currently thinking, “Woof,” yes, we agree.
Just this week, Citi Field opened as a vaccination center for eligible Queens residents. Spread the word about signing up for the COVID-19 vaccine to anyone who works in the hospitality industry by sending them this link.
Valentine's Day Cometh
It’s Valentine’s Day this weekend? Let’s try that again. It’s Valentine’s Day this weekend. We started a new advice column to answer specific dining conundrums about the 14th (like where to celebrate if you just started dating and you don’t want to be too intense, how to break your takeout routine, and how to get your hands on a prosciutto sandwich sans prosciutto).
If you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day with food and not by exchanging jewelry you don’t even like, we have tons of ideas for date-night takeout, exclusive specials, and heated outdoor dining spots. Or you could do none of those things and just make a delicious cocktail at home by yourself.
Holding A Physical Magazine Is Our Kink
For all those who haven’t heard, magazines are still physical items. One physical item we’re particularly excited about is The Infatuation's first-ever zine called IYKYK: & If Not, Now You Do. The premiere issue is a deep dive into cha chaan teng, or Hong Kong-style diner food, and it was spearheaded by The Infatuation's very own Emily Ng. She’s our art director, so expect the zine to look beautiful (and be full of recipes, interviews, and more). IYKYK is available to order now, and a portion of the sales benefit Welcome to Chinatown to support Chinatown businesses.
Pop-Ups & Restaurant Openings
Adá Supper Club is launching their next delivery pop-up dinner, hosted by Anya Peters - the chef and owner Caribbean catering company, Kit an’ Kin. The at-home dinner will focus on food inspired by Peters’ grandmother’s childhood home in Jamaica. It’s happening on February 20th and 21st, and reservations open up Monday, February 15th.
The first event in Ursula’s new Queer pop-up series starts next Monday, February 15th and goes through Tuesday February, 16th. Woldy Kusina will be cooking a menu of Filipino dishes like bibingka waffles, a crispy mushroom sandwich, lumpia, pancit noodles, and a Filipino breakfast pastry - all available for pickup at Ursula’s restaurant in Crown Heights. Preordering, which you can do here, ends Saturday, February 13th at 5pm.
One of our favorite places to eat a burger in Manhattan, Virginia’s on Avenue C, is reopening on Thursday, February 11th for heated outdoor dining (and indoor service starting Friday, February 12th). We love Virginia’s burger because it’s relatively simple, like choosing an Abba song for karaoke. It comes on a soft bun with a thick patty, hunks of half-melted sharp white cheddar, mayo, and a little hill of not-too-sweet caramelized onions. There’s an option to add bacon, and we’d advocate for that. Use our guides to keep track of all the newest restaurant openings and pop-ups in NYC.
In more reopening news, Maison Yaki started takeout and delivery service again on Wednesday, February 10th - with a menu where every dish costs less than $20. Over the summer, Maison Yaki hosted a series of Black chefs and food entrepreneurs. You can place your order for French-inspired yakitori online.