food 03.18.03


Leaf Storm Tea, at Amsterdam and 94th, is as long on charm as it is short on space. Essentially a takeaway tea shop (owner Amy Chen calls it a "Manhattan drive-thru window") it offers a terrific cup of tea and all the comfort that goes with it. In the next few weeks, Ms. Chen will begin selling a premium line of loose teas, after the first spring harvest…The Original New York Milkshake Company, 37 St. Mark's Place [2nd] 212.505.5200, open only a few weeks, serves nostalgia-inducing egg creams, grilled cheese sandwiches and whoopee pies…We liked Lozoo, 140 W. Houston [Macdougal/Sullivan] 646.602.8888, already for its modern take on Shanghai food, but it's up another notch with the arrival of their first-string chef from China…Celeste, 502 Amst [84th/85th] 212.874.4559, is crowded, noisy and takes cash only. But also: superb Italian food and wines at modest prices. If the owner has unusual cheeses he's, uh, personally…imported, be sure to sample…One of the best deals around is the $25 special at Caviarteria, 502 Park [59th] 212.759.7410. You get 2 glasses of Taittinger and 5 generous canapes: foie gras, smoked salmon, shrimp, gravlax, and osetra caviar…For another great deal, try one of the Talomas or Kirralaa bottlings, two wine lines that are the result of a collaboration between Rosemount Estate in Australia and California's Robert Mondavi. We tried the Kirralaa Cabernet 2001 and it lives up to the buzz. And most run about $15 a bottle…Looking for something a little stronger? Check in with the experts, Gary and Mardee Regan, whose website, Ardent Spirits, is a delight for spirits connoisseurs. Be sure to sign up for their free newsletter…At Sushi of Gari, 402 E. 78th [1st/York] 212.517.5340, go omakase, plan on spending a bundle and eating some of the best sushi around.

Myra Alperson's Noshwalks, 212.222.2243, is a series of weekend walking tours that scour the ethnic and local food shops, bakeries, butchers, restaurants, and gardens all over the five boroughs. An enthusiastic tour leader, she lards her walks with information about the history and development of each neighborhood. Walks include multi-ethnic Woodside (Irish, Mexicans, Filipinos, Thais, Chileans, Cubans, and Indonesians); Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, where the Italian community now shares space with a small Muslim group; Brighton Beach, and East Harlem. A new tour this season goes to the Sephardic neighborhood on Kings Highway in Brooklyn - Syrian and Israeli markets and bakeries are some of the highlights. The walks are an offshoot of her quarterly newsletter Noshnews. Tours are $18, the newsletter is $20 a year.

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