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Restless City


New York City is famously The City that Never Sleeps, and I’ll give it one better – it moves at the speed of light. It’s almost impossible to stay one step ahead of the happenings in the Big Apple because something is always happening. So it’s no surprise that, since I put together my Curated Travel Guide to NYC one year ago, the luxe city in flux has some new discoveries to be had.

Unfortunately, last month Hurricane Sandy barreled through the Northeast leaving major devastation in her wake. Manhattan fared well enough, although much of downtown was flooded and powerless for a surreal five days. An easy way to show love is to support local downtown and Brooklyn establishments – many of which lost inventory, supplies and ingredients – to help get them back on their feet. The #EatDownTipUp campaign on social media is quite rousing – and don’t you want a more positive excuse to hit the town?

Mission Street Chinese is one of my new favorites on the Lower East Side – the slow-cooked Szechuan cuisine by Chef Danny Bowien, who helmed the original restaurant in San Francisco before opening its New York outpost earlier this year, is hot, hot, hot… and I mean that literally. At this unassuming downtown eatery, I was downing beer by the glass just to keep up with the spicy plates. Make sure to go during lunch for less of a wait (diners can be in line for up to three hours), and tip big for the incredibly warm and friendly service.

Empellón Cocina in the East Village gives Manhattan a bit more Mexican food cred… and, storm recovery or otherwise, you don’t need to twist my arm to sample such savory dishes as lamb barbacoa and Arctic Char with tomatillo-chipotle salsa. The chic spot is also home to the city’s biggest selection of tequila and mezcal, and Happy Hour has never looked quite as festive.

TriBeCa’s new Brushstrokethe place to get sushi downtown these days, by master restaurateur David Bouley – is a gorgeous restaurant with the big thrill being the amazing kaiseki-style dining in the main room. The tasting menu is a thing of beauty: I love the equally intricate, cleansing cocktails and six different varieties of green tea. The calm after the storm, indeed.

Putting a light-hearted spin on the situation, Cacao Prieto Distillery – located in Red Hook, Brooklyn, one of the areas hit hardest by Sandy – has decided to “grin and Bear it,” selling 1,000 limited-edition bottles of Gummy Bear Vodka just in time for the holiday season.

Whether you’re dining out or ordering in this month, make sure to support downtown to keep this power city afloat during tough times.

For more of my New York City favorites, visit The Travel Curator. Happy Journeys!

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