food 01.4.12

Hot List
Walking Off the Big Apple

A low profile opening from a high-profile restaurateur, Philly's Stephen Starr stakes another claim to New York with Caffè Storico inside the New-York Historical Society, 170 CPW [77th] 212.485.9211. The look is scullery-chic, the food Italian, the wine list overpriced.

Warm up with Gaeng Som, the coconut-less Thai curry soup from Zabb Elee and other dishes from the northeastern part of the country—some of the best Thai in these parts. Very spicy here means AYOR (At Your Own Risk). 75 2nd Ave. [4th] 212.505.9533.

Is there anything the Carbone/Torrisi team can't do? No. This time, they've made the humble chicken parm (which we always hear with Edie Falco's intonation) into destination dining. Parm, 248 Mulberry [Prince/Spring] 212.993.7189.

We've been fans of Simpson Wong since Cafe Asean opened in the late 90s, so we're happy that he's earned two stars from Pete Wells' inaugural (if kludgy) review for Wong, 7 Cornelia [W. 4th/Bleecker] 212.989.3399, in today's Times. Wong does Asian cooking with an idiosyncratic voice and a sure hand.

Since its late summer debut on the UES, Ladurée, 864 Mad [71st] 646.558.3157, has had lines out the door for their macarons, pastries and chocolates.

From Galen Zamarra, the chef behind Mas (farmhouse), Mas (la grillade), 28 7th Ave. S. [Leroy] 212.255.1795, where it's all about the grills, pits, and spits—fighting winter's chill with fire.

Unbounded exuberance and adept execution make Do or Dine, 1108 Bedford [Quincy/Lex] 718.684.2290, in Bed-Stuy, an irresistible newcomer.

Cultural and literary notes, plus self-guided walks, courtesy of Walking Off the Big Apple, a strolling guide to New York City.

Walking Off the New Year's Resolutions: Exploring New York City on Foot

"Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it." - Søren Kierkegaard, Søren Kierkegaard's Journals and Papers, Part 1: Autobiographical, 1829-1848, p. 412

As the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) observed, cultivating the habit of walking can lead to several beneficial outcomes. Walking can help stave off illnesses, inspire new thoughts, and resolve personal difficulties. Modern research studies continue to confirm what the 19th century philosopher knew from experience. We know now that, in many cases, this modest and inexpensive form of exercise can lower anxiety, improve the mood, make for better sleep, and reduce the risk of dementia.

Let's add another important benefit of walking. In those places where we have remnants of an older pre-automobile pedestrian culture and where we're building new paths and plazas - that's our city, fellow New Yorkers - walking is still the best way to explore the landscape. Kierkegaard himself did not undertake walks just to get in better physical shape or develop a healthier frame of mind. He was checking out what was happening in his native Copenhagen. Exercise can often seem like a drag, but not if it can be combined with a little old-fashioned socializing and sightseeing.



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