Socarrat, Where the Reigning Star Is Paella

Paella, the daily special at Socarrat in Midtown Manhattan

It’s not every day that you want to drop $30 or $40 on lunch. But if you have the time to pamper yourself with a nice relaxed meal, check out the new Socarrat Paella Bar. It looks, feels and tastes more New York than Valencia, but Socarrat, located on Second Avenue just above 50th Street, … Read more

At Last, Sandwiches That Taste Divine

Num Pang restaurant NYC

A life-changing stint in Philadelphia during my formative years left me with an irrepressible yearning for a truly great sandwich, coupled with enormous sadness over the difficulty of finding one. The hoagie of yore — a generously filled, crusty Italian roll doused with olive oil, vinegar and Italian spices and lined with shreds of raw … Read more

BOOKS

The Ethics of Chocolate

Cocoa farmer pruning a tree in Ivory Coast.

Given longstanding reports of slavery, economic exploitation and corruption in the West African cocoa trade, how guilty should you feel about eating a chocolate bar? How about one made with cocoa marketed under the fair-trade umbrella – a loose international system aimed at providing growers with fair prices while also imposing fair labor standards and … Read more

Some Like Their Dumplings Really Hot

Rickshaw Dumplings NYC

Chinese dumplings, one of the world’s great comfort foods, are steaming into the UN neighborhood. Rickshaw Dumpling Bar, a Manhattan chain with aspirations to go national, opened a branch at Lexington Avenue and 45th Street last fall, offering a slick and somewhat ethnically cleansed version of the plump little delicacies at uptown prices. In April, … Read more

Eat&Go Istanbul/New York: Right Place, Wrong Cafe

Dining on Dag Hammarskjold Plaza

What a tragic missed opportunity. The Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, which runs along East 47th Street between First and Second Avenues, is one of the most pleasant open spaces on Manhattan’s East Side and home to one of the city’s best greenmarket. United Nations employees traverse the plaza throughout the day on the way to work … Read more

BonChon Midtown: Stop! You’re Both Right

BonChon Midtown

BonChon Midtown is an ambitious new Korean Asian fusion restaurant just up the street from the UN campus. Or BonChon Midtown is a lively Midtown sports bar with 27 draft beers, a loud rock soundtrack and four — count ’em! four! — giant TV screens. Take your pick. This is a clearly a restaurant with … Read more

UN EATS

Matisse, Where Comfort Surpasses the Cooking

French bistro Matisse

In many a French neighborhood, there’s a corner hangout frequented more for its comfort than its kitchen. The food is good, but the ambience is the draw. Often, the place will serve as the unofficial cantine for neighbors and office workers in the vicinity. For those who live near or work at the United Nations, … Read more

BOOKS

Judging Charles Taylor

special court for sierra leone

Charles Taylor, the former Liberian president, displayed a talent for troublemaking from a young age. Convicted on April 26 by a United Nations-backed tribunal for numerous counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, Taylor appears to have kept up his bad behavior for most of his 64 years. As a boy in rural Liberia, … Read more

Schnitzel and Sides Ward Off the Midtown Fray

Austrian food NYC

Ever since a long-ago family vacation to Vienna, I’ve wondered about schnitzel. Why take something as expensive and bland as a scant slab of veal and pound it even thinner, drown it in breadcrumbs and fry it? At Schnitzel & Things, a small, stylish new restaurant and carryout on Third Avenue between 45th and 46th … Read more

Le Specialita: A Touch of Rome on 42nd Street

Cipriani's Specialita

Cipriani is an international restaurant and catering firm whose holdings range from Harry’s Bar in Venice to Yotto, a Japanese eatery in Abu Dhabi. The business may be best known in the UN neighborhood for its 42nd Street party palace, an ornate, cavernous space housed in a converted old-fashioned bank building that is rented out … Read more

BOOKS

A Search for Truth Behind UN Motives in Africa

lumumba and congo

“How can a beret colored blue … vaccinate against the racism and paternalism of people whose only vision of Africa is lion hunting, slave markets and colonial conquest; people for whom the history of civilization is built on the possession of colonies?” The question was asked by Patrice Lumumba, the Congolese premier, who was worried … Read more

UN EATS

Desi Shack, Serving Elements of South Asian Style

Desi Shack Restaurant, New York

Nothing gets in the way of a satisfying South Asian restaurant meal like hidden fat and unfamiliar names. What was that dish you ordered the last time, the one that took the skin right off your lips? A biriyani or a korma? And while you may no longer remember its name, can you ever forget … Read more

UN EATS

Sophie’s Cuban Cuisine, Post-Revolution

The traditional stews may be hit and miss ventures, but two sandwiches, roast pork

The same armed revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power in 1959 drove other Cubans to flee to America, where they opened many excellent restaurants that have been teaching us ever since about the garlicky charms of their homeland’s cooking. One of these, however, was not Sophie’s Cuban Cuisine, which started in 1997 near the … Read more

UN EATS

Alfama, Portuguese Tradition in Modern Digs

Sure, Portugal may be best known these days for the complaint that its slacker economy is weighing down the euro. But when it comes to the kitchen, Lisbon has always punched above its weight. And that is reason enough to be thankful that Alfama, a little gem of a restaurant that dished out fine Portuguese … Read more

UN EATS

The Elusive Great Sandwich: Potbelly Takes Manhattan

When it comes to grabbing lunch in the UN neighborhood, you can’t say there’s nothing to eat. There are lots of choices. It’s just that few of them are inspirational, particularly when you need to run out and grab something to eat at your desk. This is particularly true of that most noble and time-tested … Read more

UN EATS

Soba Totto: Slurping Up Flavors With a Side of Noodles

With cold weather setting in, what better lunch than a soothing bowl of soba (that’s buckwheat noodles to you Anglophones) swimming in hot broth? Now chase that with a good-size bowl of rice topped with stir-fried chunks of beef short ribs, or maybe fried oysters or thick slices of black cod, or maybe flakes of … Read more

UN EATS

A UN Perk, an Autumn Pick-Me-Up

One of the greatest unsung pleasures of working at UN headquarters is the marvelous greenmarket that springs up on 47th Street east of Second Avenue every Wednesday year round. Over the years the market, known officially as the Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza Greenmarket (http://www.grownyc.org/daghammarskjoldgreenmarket), has gotten better and better, stretching closer and closer to First Avenue … Read more

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